Sometimes, I’m in the kitchen to experiment. A lot of vegan cooking comes down to experiments. And quite a lot of them are nothing short of failed experiments. lol.
Other times, I’m in there, determined to at least try and create a masterpiece…or should I say mistresspiece, whatever the faff….and there can be considerable faff…
In between, there’s usually quite a bit of thinking and investigating, followed by a fair amount of umm-ing and ah-ing…ehmmm… I wonder if this or that will work….hmmm..?
Very occasionally there’s a touch of potential sheer genius. Usually followed by a nagging question to self: How exactly did I do that btw?
In the meantime, there’s everyday cooking….which is …what it is …on the whole…
And then there’s the days that go more like: I really don’t want to cook today. And that’s that.
So here’s an everyday sort of cooking post, about how to get ahead, so that when those ‘that’s that’ days come up, I’m ready for them. Ha.
A big batch of bean and root vegetable chilli, for pasties, wraps, or stew, and a vat of vegetable soup.
Two dishes that are versatile, freezable, re-heatable and just the thing in the middle of the week when the weather forecast is threatening snow… eek.
Both designed to use whatever vegetables there might be hanging around in the vegetable basket.
Here’s how it unfolds:
Today, for me, there’s half a winter squash, onions, carrots, potatoes and a sweet potato. Cooked beans in the freezer (although tinned would be fine) and a tin of sweetcorn.
Flavourings: chilli, tomato puree, cinnamon, cumin and coriander, garlic and salt and pepper. And a lemon. Sort of Mexican really….
And then I found a packet of shortcrust pastry in the freezer, so I defrosted it.
- I peeled, deseeded, washed and roughly chopped the pumpkin (about 500gms.). Fried it off briefly, in a deep pan, with 4 cloves of roughly chopped garlic and then added 1tsp. ground coriander, 1/2 – 1 tsp. chilli powder and 1.5 tsps. salt. Sautéed 1 min.
- I then added 1 Litre of freshly boiled water.
- Brought it all to the boil and then covered the pan, and simmered it on low for about an hour, until tender.
- I peeled, washed and diced about 650gms. root vegetables, into small cubes (about 5-8ml. square.)
- I par-boiled the diced vegetables for 4 mins., before draining and setting aside.
- I finely chopped 2 onions.
- I fried the onions in 2 tbs. olive oil. for 5 mins.
- I added 3 crushed garlic cloves and sautéed for a further 1min.
- The I added a spice mix: 1.5tsps. chilli powder (or more?), 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1tsp. ground coriander, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. black pepper, 2 tsps. salt.
- Then I had a mexican brainwave and added 1tsp. cocoa powder too! Inspired 🙂
- Sauteed the spices with the onions for 1 min. then I added my washed, diced vegetables, a tin of sweetcorn and about 350gms. of mixed cooked beans and chickpeas. (tinned or frozen)
- I stirred it all around for a few minutes, then I mixed 3tbs. tomato puree with 250ml. water. I poured the tomato mix into the pan, and let it all simmer for 10 mins or so.
- I tasted it, then I added a little more chilli, juice 1/2 lemon, I tbs.dried oregano, 1 tsp. agave syrup and a dash more salt. Let it cook for a further 5-10 mins, to reduce the sauce.
- Then I took it off the heat and let it cool…
- I rolled out the 500gm. slab of pastry, thinly, until I had a square: 40cms. x 40cms.
- I trimmed the edges and cut it into 16 squares, 10cm. x 10 cm.
- I then made 8 pasties, using half the chilli bean mix: place a large spoonful in the middle of one pastry square, then baste the edges of a second square with non-dairy milk and oil then place over top of chilli mix and seal edges.(see pics.)
- I then basted the pasties with the oil/milk mix + a dash of chilli powder.
- I baked them in the oven Gas Mk. 6/200C for 30-40mins. until golden brown.
The other half of the chilli mix I boxed up in tupperware and into the refrigerator for future use: e.g. refried and rolled up in wraps…..
….or served with plain rice: adding 6 fresh chopped tomatoes (optionally skinned) or a tin of chopped tomatoes, and a little more seasoning, and then heating through until the vegetables are completely tender.
Back to the main event: when the pumpkin for the soup was really tender, I blended it with the cooking water until completely smooth (that’s the way I like pumpkin soup) but different vegetables may call for a more chunky blitz on pulse. I added 2tbs. soy and the juice of the other half of the lemon (waste-not-want-not) and gave it all another blitz.
I froze the soup in two batches.
8 Pasties, perfect cold: for ‘to-go’ lunches, or served hot as a tele-supper, with an avocado, cos lettuce and sweet pepper salad, + chilli jam or chutney.
A batch of chilli vegetable+beans, ready to turn into a stew, or get refried and rolled up in a warm wrap with diced tomatoes and sliced spring onions…
2 batches of frozen soup that will heat through from frozen…
There, I say to myself soothingly. That better……
thanks for reading