Gluten-Free, Soups, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Corn and Asparagus Chowder

Chowder is a simple enough bowl of goodness with a long and interesting history. It’s thought to have French origins, and to have found it’s way to Canada and America via French settlers in those regions over 250 years ago.  There are other similar dishes around the world with similar sounding names.  There are inevitably many variations in recipe ingredients.  One way or another it’s a one-pot recipe of delicious, nutritious and serious sustenance. The creamy sauce is given a wonderful zing using mustard.  It makes the whole dish sing.

In my veganised recipe I’ve added asparagus: it gives such a lovely sharp flavour and adds great texture.  And it doesn’t disintegrate during cooking.

Given the state of the UK summer at the moment, (endless rain and chill winds) it’s exactly what’s needed.  Pure comfort.

I also want to say that one of the joys of cooking, is learning to move away from exact recipes.  Chowder is a great place to start.  Below is a guide-line recipe, with guide-line ingredients and a general idea of quantities and flavours.  Free up your creative cooking and experiment with different vegetables, (keep the potatoes) and tasting the sauce as you go.  I’ve said before that really good cooking relies on spices, seasonings and sauces, and here’s another recipe that proves that 🙂

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CHOWDER

Serves 4

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Corn and Asparagus Chowder”

Burgers and Patties, Gluten-Free, Mediterranean Dishes, Salads, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring, Vegan Snacks

Greek Courgette (aka Zucchini) Fritters and Olive Tapenade

The simplest fritters in the world to make and frankly, they are so moreish they need to come with a health warning!

So here it is: eating fried food everyday is a very bad idea, but once in a blue moon ….  and when it tastes as good as these fritters do …that’s got to be OK with me.  🙂

I have an abundance of home-grown courgettes at the moment, but they’re readily available in the shops too!  Every year I promise myself that I will plant less courgette plants, and every year I fail to do so.  This year, I have six, and they seem to manifest courgettes overnight.  So I can categorically state that this is not my last courgette recipe post.  It can get bit frantic in the kitchen, but I know I will mourn them once they’re gone.  Particularly as they don’t freeze well.

So.  Back to the fritters.  I’m not a nutritionist, but I suggest taking a leaf out of the Japanese book, which is to eat fried foods (tempura for example) with fresh crisp radish, daikon or mooli. These vegetables will help cut through the fat and leave your digestive system feeling less overloaded.

I’ve made these fritters, (which are adapted from a traditional Greek recipe), gluten-free, simply by replacing wheat flour with chickpea flour.

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GREEK COURGETTE FRITTERS

Serves 2-4 

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Greek Courgette (aka Zucchini) Fritters and Olive Tapenade”

Growing things, Mediterranean Dishes, Pizza, Vegan

Moroccan Style Pizza

Here is a fantastic topping idea for pizza.  A tomato sauce base packed with the heady flavours of Moroccan Spices with toppings of sliced sautéed Aubergine, Chick Peas and Sweet Peppers.  And a scattering of peppery wild rocket and watercress.

Delicious!

Cooking has had to take a bit of a back seat for me lately …. as has the blog ….(who knows … where the time goes). What I do know, is that I feel so perfectly comfortable cooking vegan these days, I cannot conceive of ever eating animals ever again.  Vegan living is peaceable, and I love it.

One of the reasons I’ve been so busy, is because I have an allotment (community vegetable garden) and growing my own vegetables makes being vegan even easier, it has to be said!

Without boring you with all the details, here is a picture of my allotment.  Broad Beans in the foreground, garlic to the left, Apple, Pear and Cherry trees, Gigantes Beans on the right.  The strawberry bed is covered, because the starlings have been having a feast.  Further down there are potatoes, courgettes, peas, onions, carrots, parsnips and all sorts of cabbages.  Fruit bushes (red white and black currants, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries) and rhubarb.  And there’s more besides.  Tomatoes in the small polytunnel on the right. Yesterday I planted 12 Florence Fennel bulbs, which will be a first if they don’t bolt  :/  Watch this space ….. for fennel recipes … hopefully! 🙂

 

And here is my best allotment friend, boldly investigating the seed tin.  🙂

So food has to be quick and easy at the moment: Pasta, Briam (Greek vegetable bake) and vegetable stews. The sort of thing you can more or less throw together.

But the other night I fancied Pizza, so this is what I did.

Enjoy!

MOROCCAN STYLE PIZZA

Makes 2  x 32 cm. pizzas.

Ingredients:  Continue reading “Moroccan Style Pizza”

Curries, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Potato and Swiss Chard Curry

Here’s a delicious and easy dish that seems, incidentally,  to touch on all the reasons why I write this blog!

Firstly, I’m not writing a ‘cheffy’ blog…there are people who do that incredibly well already, and I’m not one of them.  I hope that I’m offering recipes that provide ordinary, everyday, tasty, nutritional, economical solutions to cooking vegan in a varied and interesting way.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m vegan for life, and this blog helps me so much, and I just hope that it helps anyone else from time to time too. 🙂

Secondly, if there’s one style of cuisine that shines the light for vegan cooking, it has to be Asian style, and particularly Indian cooking.  I love Indian spices, they turn the simplest and most modest ingredients into something absolutely fab!

Thirdly, I do grow a lot of my own veg. and my line of chard (which has been giving all winter) has finally bolted, so I picked the last of it the other day, and will be sowing more very soon.  I’ve used it here in an adaptation of the classic, Saag Aloo : Spinach and Potato Curry, so please feel free to use spinach instead of Chard.

Also, I want to say that I’m not a nutritionist, although I know a lot more about what I eat than I ever did before I was vegan, and Swiss Chard, this beautiful, dark green, leafy vegetable seems to be up there, packed with vitamins and minerals. I think it would be great raw in a mixed salad too.

So here’s my take on a healthy, nutritious, delicious, inexpensive meal …hope you enjoy!

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POTATO AND SWISS CHARD CURRY

for 4

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Potato and Swiss Chard Curry”

All About Beans, Gluten-Free, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan

Celery and Butterbean Gratin.

The star of this dish is a versatile Mediterranean-style sauce …. using preserved lemons.

Gratin originated in French cuisine, and traditionally uses vegetables cooked in a cream sauce, and topped with crispy brown crust, which can be toasted under the grill.

A while ago I made a jar of preserved lemons, however, you can buy jars of preserved lemons in many supermarkets these days.

You could try a variety of vegetables using this sauce recipe, for example: potatoes with leeks, or asparagus and mushrooms.

I chose celery this time.  You know …. Celery …. often found limp and languishing at the back of the salad drawer in the fridge.  Forgotten, underused, and annoyingly stringy. 😦

So I thought I’d give celery a bit of a boost.  It does, after all, apparently have all sorts of super health benefits ( try googling it for more info.).

Having chosen celery, I then thought that big, fat, melty butterbeans would make an excellent contrast for the celery… and it is without doubt a good combination.  Definitely a keeper.

So, back to the sauce: this is my third try at a lemony gratin sauce, and now I think I’ve got it right, preserved lemons really are something to shout about!  This would make a fab. sauce for pasta too.  Preserved lemons have a beautifully soft lemon flavour, mellow and gentle …very different from using fresh lemons. Remember to remove the pulp and rinse the peel thoroughly.

Here’s my recipe to have a go at making preserved lemons yourself: (click image for link)

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CELERY AND BUTTERBEAN GRATIN

depending on how hungry you are and what you’re serving with this dish…

it will make 2-4 servings

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INGREDIENTS:   Continue reading “Celery and Butterbean Gratin.”

Burgers and Patties, Vegan, Vegan Ingredients, Vegan Main Dishes

Jerk Tempeh

 

Jerk refers to a style of cooking, usually of meat, that originates in Jamaica.

Marinaded in a hot spicy paste, that traditionally includes scotch bonnet chillies and allspice.

In the spirit of all things vegan, I thought I would try it with tempeh, which is good at soaking up flavours if you treat it right. It worked really well, so here’s what I did.

Just a quick note – particularly for anyone who hasn’t come across tempeh before, because it is a great addition to a varied vegan repertoire …this is what Wikipedia says about tempeh:

Tempeh (/ˈtɛmpeɪ/; Javanese: témpé, Javanese pronunciation: [tempe]) is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy foods in that it is the only one that did not originate from Greater Chinese cuisine.

It originated in today’s Indonesia, and is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. It has a firm texture and an earthy flavor, which becomes more pronounced as it ages. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine, where it is used as a meat analogue.

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Tempeh is much sturdier than tofu, and it’s therefore a great ingredient to use in this recipe, as whether you griddle it (as I have) or barbecue it, it should withstand this style of cooking without falling apart, as long as you don’t slice it too thin.

In the UK, slabs of tempeh are usually bought frozen.  To prepare it for cooking: defrost, and then submerge it in a dish of warm water for about 15 mins.  This will ‘relax’ the tempeh, allowing it to absorb the flavours of the marinade.

It will sit in the marinade all day, but marinade it for at least 3 hours for good results.

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JERK TEMPEH

Serves 4

Ingredients:  Continue reading “Jerk Tempeh”

All About Beans, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Rice and Beans Jamaican Style.

This is simple …. and simply delicious.  Comfort food at its very best.

Mellow, warming and nutritious. I love it 🙂

It’s all in the flavour: a great spice combination

and the mellow creaminess of coconut milk.

I used pea beans,  (I grew them myself 🙂 ) but you can use kidney beans too.

You can buy ready-made Creole Spice, but I made a batch from scratch…

There are endless variations of this supremely wonderful dish … and here’s mine…

So.  Without more ado, let’s get on with it…

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JAMAICAN-STYLE RICE AND BEANS

Serves 4 amply

Cook’s note: The traditional way to make this dish is to use dried beans, and pre-soak the beans for at least 24 hours before you want to cook. (Change the water once or twice during soaking).

Creole Spice Ingredients:    Continue reading “Rice and Beans Jamaican Style.”

Cakes, Celebration Dishes, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Simnel Cake

Vegan and Gluten-Free Deliciousness….

According to Wikipedia, Simnel Cake is a fruit cake with two layers of marzipan, one in the middle and one on top.  It’s traditionally made at Easter time.  No-one seems to be quite sure what ‘simnel’ means.  Simnel cakes have been known since medieval times.  Different regions had their own version of Simnel Cake, and here’s a vegan and gluten-free one to add to the list.

I’ve flavoured mine with orange, cinnamon and ginger, and I’ve added grated carrot to help keep it moist and fragrant.

I bought ready-made, vegan, white marzipan, but feel free to make your own almond paste.

I hope you enjoy.

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SIMNEL CAKE

 12-16 slices

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Simnel Cake”

Curries, Gluten-Free, Quick Suppers For Two, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Spiced Cauliflower Steaks + a Quick Green Bean Curry.

I know I’m not the first to slice up a cauliflower and roast it, but, I just want to say how fantastically delicious it is!  And I never knew.

Until now.

In the UK, Cauliflower has slowly fallen out of favour in the last few years, but I think that vegans are doing amazing things with this humble vegetable.

My childhood memories revolve around Cauliflower Cheese, (cauliflower baked in a cheese sauce) and I always just prayed I would get lots of sauce and not much of the flavourless, watery cauliflower, which, sadly, was rarely the case.  Now I think Cauliflower Cheese vegan style is definitely worth a go, but right now I’m in love with the way cauliflower soaks up a lovely spicy marinade such as the one I’ve described below, and brings amazing texture to a dish.  It’s just another one of those combinations that seems to transcend the sum of its parts!

I served it with basmati and a quick green bean coconut curry , mango chutney and coconut yogurt.

And. It. Was. Just. So. Good.

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SPICED CAULIFLOWER STEAKS

+ a Quick Green Bean Coconut Curry

For 2

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Spiced Cauliflower Steaks + a Quick Green Bean Curry.”

Cooking for One, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Snacks

Spinach Roll – Italian Style!

This is  my variation on Calzone, a style of Italian Pie or Pasty, and it works because you get lots more filling and less pastry and it still holds together to make a great cold lunch to go.

I’ve concocted a spicy and rich, spinach and mushroom filling, with the addition of some tangy chopped green olives, but you can vary the ingredients…try kale instead of spinach or broad beans instead of sweetcorn.  Just make sure the mix isn’t too wet….it needs to hold together when in the oven.

Hope you like 🙂

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SPINACH ROLL

Makes 8-12 rolls.

Great for lunch to go, picnics or else straight from the oven….  

Cook’s note:   if you’re short of time, or just feeling lazy! …you can try using short-crust pastry instead of pizza dough for this recipe.  You’ll need 500gms. of ready-made pastry.

I’ve included these rolls in my ‘cooking for 1’ category, because I’m a great believer in cooking batches of things that will keep chilled for several days, and can be easily reheated!  Way to go 🙂

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:    Continue reading “Spinach Roll – Italian Style!”