Breakfast, Japanese Inspired Dishes, Pizza, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring, Vegan Quick Suppers

Okonomiyaki. Japanese Pizza.

I had been wondering what to do with the cabbage in my veggie basket.  I was thinking of stuffed cabbage leaves… because prior to that I’d been considering the grape vine that is now leaping into life over my garden shed and thinking that it would be nice to try stuffed vine leaves from scratch when the leaves get bigger….and that was but a short jump to cabbage leaves 😉  ….idle lateral thinking really…

Then I found a few recipes for stuffed cabbage leaves and they all looked a bit mid-winterish… and not what I fancied…so I carried on searching.  Until I came across Okonomiyaki.  I gather that Okonomi means ‘as you like it’ and Yaki means cooked.

You can put all sorts of things into it but one of the favoured ingredients is cabbage.

Now I think cabbage is a pretty under-rated vegetable.  For many of us, that probably dates back to the days when a pile of wet, limp, soggy, yellowy-green leaves appeared on our plate accompanied by the instruction to ‘eat your greens’.  Over-cooked boiled cabbage is rarely attractive…..

But there are lots of great recipes that put cabbages in a very different light. From curries to ribbons of lightly-steamed spring greens drizzled with vegan-butter and a pinch of salt, and from crunchy coleslaw to crispy kale, there’s a myriad of ways to make cabbage shine.  And here’s another one.  Because cabbage is a beautiful thing.

Okonomiyaki, also known as Japanese Pizza or Japanese Pancake is really more of a frittata.  Traditionally, it includes eggs, so I’ve taken a bit of liberty to veganise it: using chickpea flour, chia seeds and black salt.

There is also a special Okonomiyaki Flour that includes milled yam.  I’ve used chickpea flour and mashed sweet potato……

But I’m pleased with the results.  I shall be returning to Okonomiyaki again and again….

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OKONOMIYAKI

for 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Okonomiyaki. Japanese Pizza.”

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Soups, Vegan

Asparagus and Ginger Soup.

A new twist on a classic soup.  Asparagus makes great soup: when you blitz it in the blender it goes so very silky and smooth, it’s like a green velvet nectar, and hopelessly moreish….

You can use stumpy old asparagus for soup (you know the ones I mean 🙂 ), and keep the young fresh spears for a more delicate dish.  In fact I think that the fibrous fat asparagus spears add an extra creaminess to this soup.

I’ve put a bit of a fusion twist into the flavourings … ginger …tamari ….and lemon juice.  With an entirely optional extra of garlicky croutons. 🙂

This soup still relies on salt and pepper to really bring out the asparagus flavour …and when it’s the moment to season it, it’s important to do it bit by bit, tasting as you go, as it’s very easy to over salt, but equally possible to under salt….

A word for salt: I love salt and it enhances and improves so many flavours I find it an essential ingredient, but if you’re in doubt about your salt intake, try Himalayan Salt, which seems to be the best of all salts.  Try googling it … there’s lots of info. to be found.

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ASPARAGUS AND GINGER SOUP + GARLICKY CROUTONS

for 3-4

INGREDIENTS: Continue reading “Asparagus and Ginger Soup.”

Japanese Inspired Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Asparagus and Aubergine Tempura with a Dipping Sauce.

Tempura needs the right conditions to excel…. a light chilled batter, sizzling hot oil and flavoursome vegetables.  Along with a dipping sauce that zings.

I hope that this recipe fulfils all of that….

I used a gluten-free white plain flour blend.  A 50/50 mix of rice flour and plain white all-purpose should work …

Keeping the oil at the right temperature is important.  It needs to be very hot, but surprisingly, it can also be too hot.  Ideally, when testing, add a drop of tempura batter to the hot oil, and if it sinks, and then rises immediately afterwards, it’s good to go.

Asparagus and Aubergine are great vegetables for this recipe because they have powerful flavours and cook quickly….. but of course, other vegetables can be used….

… but as we’re on the subject of Asparagus which has a short and intense season here in the UK… here’s another recipe from the blog ….

mushroom and spinach cannelloni in an asparagus sauce ( click image for link)  

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ASPARAGUS AND AUBERGINE TEMPURA WITH A SESAME AND TAMARI DIPPING SAUCE

for 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Asparagus and Aubergine Tempura with a Dipping Sauce.”

Mediterranean Dishes, Pasta, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Mushroom and Spinach Cannelloni in a Creamy Asparagus Sauce.

This is a delicious combination.

I have been very lucky this week.  I have an allotment big enough to grow lots of vegetables. However, I don’t have an asparagus bed… but one of my neighbouring allotmenters has gone on holiday, and asked me to pick (and use) all the asparagus that grows in his asparagus bed for a whole week …. 🙂 and it grows very fast!

I am, apparently, doing him a favour, because you need to keep picking it for more asparagus to grow.  Unexpectedly, I therefore have a barrow-load of asparagus on my hands, which most of us can only ever dream of!  Makes me think I must must MUST cultivate an asparagus bed…

So.  I guess its asparagus week. 🙂

and there’s more to come !

This recipe does use a lot of asparagus, which, if you don’t have and don’t want to buy, can be largely replaced with broccoli or cauliflower.  It’s incredibly delicious either which way….even though I say so myself !  Savoury, rich and creamy.  There’s a bit of faff involved, but here’s how to minimise it:

When people talk about filling cannelloni tubes, they usually mention spoons, spatulas and  piping bags, suggestions which, as far as I’m concerned increase the faff ten-fold, and invoke a stream of vows never to do cannelloni again. Ever.  Ridiculous idea. Filling a cannelloni tube with a spoon?  Impossible!  What were the Italians thinking of?????

So, my suggestion is to use your hands.  When the filling mix is cool enough to handle, wash your hands (goes without saying 🙂 ) and then plunge a cannelloni tube into the filling mix and just push the filling into the tube with your fingers.  Repeat until all tubes are filled.  Works a treat! ;O)

Hope you enjoy.

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MUSHROOM AND SPINACH CANNELLONI IN AN ASPARAGUS SAUCE

for 4 -6

Ingredients: Continue reading “Mushroom and Spinach Cannelloni in a Creamy Asparagus Sauce.”

Curries, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Mixed Lentil Dal with a Sizzling Sweet Pepper and Onion Tarka.

The fact is, that when I go into the kitchen to cook, I’m only ever a step away from making a curry. I always seem to have the right sort of ingredients, and the lines of jars of indian spices draw me like a magnet……because I just love a curry. There’s a magic in those spices that is endlessly enticing.

So. In a word (or three), here’s another curry 🙂

A mixed lentil dal with a sweet pepper and onion sizzling tarka.  Irresistible…….

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MIXED LENTIL DAL WITH A SWEET PEPPER TARKA

for 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Mixed Lentil Dal with a Sizzling Sweet Pepper and Onion Tarka.”

Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring, Vegan Quick Suppers

Garlicky Herby Hasselback Potatoes.

A Swedish invention, apparently a speciality in a Stockholm Restaurant in an area called Hasselbacken… and just a lovely way to spruce up an everyday baked potato!

They only take a few minutes to do …. with a sharp knife and a steady hand …. and they’re definitely worth it for all that extra crispiness on the outside and lovely mellow potato-ness on the inside … 🙂

You can of course omit the herby garlicky bit and have them plain with salt and pepper, or else scatter with grated vegan cheese for the final 10 mins. of cooking …or chopped spring onions might be nice…

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GARLICKY HERBY HASSELBACK POTATOES

Ingredients: Continue reading “Garlicky Herby Hasselback Potatoes.”

Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring, Vegan Quick Suppers

Thai Hot Noodle and Vegetable Broth

A quick delicious supper for 2.

Here’s a recipe for a hot, sharp, flavourful, fresh vegetable and noodle broth with Thai flavours.

The broth is flavoured initially with a chilli and garlic paste…and miso is added at the end to give it real depth.

Can be easily adapted to different vegetables, noodles or rice….

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THAI HOT NOODLE AND VEGETABLE BROTH

ample for 2

Ingredients: Continue reading “Thai Hot Noodle and Vegetable Broth”

Bread, Breakfast, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Chinese Steamed Buns, filled with Sweet Adzuki Bean Paste.

A  recipe for a sweet comforting breakfast.  These buns are definitely best eaten straight away, while still warm …but I have discovered that they revive when lightly toasted.  🙂

A simple enough recipe, a bit of faff involved …particularly if you make your own adzuki bean paste (which is worth it I think…).

You can buy adzuki bean paste in a good oriental store…. but this recipe for Yokan includes the ingredients and method for adzuki bean paste if you want to try it out.

(click image for link)

There are many variations, plain sweet buns….or you could try using jam or a fruit compote instead of adzuki bean paste…. or else savoury buns (leaving out the sugar in the dough recipe and adding more salt), stuffed with something like a mushroom tapenade or crumbled tofu flavoured with miso…

But the adzuki bean paste has a lovely distinctive taste with a gentle sweetness….

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CHINESE STEAMED BUNS FILLED WITH SWEET ADZUKI BEAN PASTE

makes 8-10

Ingredients: Continue reading “Chinese Steamed Buns, filled with Sweet Adzuki Bean Paste.”

Mediterranean Dishes, Pasta, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Quick Suppers

Spaghetti con una crema di Broccoli

Spaghetti, Broccoli and Peas in a Broccoli Sauce.

Light, fresh, mellow, earthy, full of the flavours of Italy…. Garlic, Basil, Pepper and Sage.  When I conceived of this dish, I expected to add soy or oat cream to the sauce, but I think using all the broccoli stalks added a creaminess to the sauce that needed nothing extra.  So.. no cream… just creaminess….!

Let me know what you think?

I love the idea of vegetables in a sauce using the same vegetable…I’ve done it before with peas, and also with cauliflower.  It works somehow…..

A word for protein… not only does broccoli contain protein but also immune strengthening minerals and powerful anti-oxidants.  To complete the protein picture of this dish I added 3 tsps. of hemp powder, which contains all the amino-acids needed.  It enhances the mellow earthiness of the broccoli and the sage… and is abundantly healthy!

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SPAGHETTI CON UNA CREMA DI BROCCOLI

for 3-4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Spaghetti con una crema di Broccoli”

Salads, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Salads Galore!

Salads bring colour, crunchiness, freshness and any amount of an abundance of good things to any table…any meal…any time…

… so here’s a brief celebration of how to make a meal out of salad …’n’…stuff … 🙂

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New Potatoes in a garlic dressing and scattered liberally with Sumac.

Boil the new potatoes, (get organic and cook them in their skins)… until very tender.

Strain, and allow to cool for 5 mins, letting the excess moisture evaporate…

In a bowl, add a glug or two of olive oil, a big pinch of salt and 3-4 peeled + crushed garlic cloves and a pinch of black pepper.

Place the potatoes in the bowl while they are still warm.

Toss the potatoes in the dressing.

Sprinkle liberally with Sumac – a beautiful lemony peppery spice from the middle east.

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Ruby Red Crunchy Salad. Continue reading “Salads Galore!”