All About Beans, Cook's Tales, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Quick Suppers

Italian Summer Vegetable and Flageolet Broth

‘Tis August…the silly season …and I’ve been away on high days and holidays …and taking a break from cooking …but not from eating ūüćī… a girl’s always gotta eat! ūüėä

One of the places I visited was Brighton, a big seaside town on the southern coast of the UK…and I want to sing its praises as a vegan foodie heaven. ūüíö

Apart from lazing on the beach soaking up a little Vitamin D, and a trip to the theatre, I did very little in Brighton except eat. ūüėČ There’s so many vegan possibilities in Brighton to suit all budgets and tastes, I was overcome with¬†an overwhelming desire to cram as many of them in as I could. ūüėŹ So I did. ¬†I stuck to what I like when I’m out and about – simple caf√© and street food, but there are also some stunning looking vegan restaurants when you’re feeling in gourmet mood!

Many of the caf√©s are in a relatively small pedestrianised area called The Lanes¬†where there are lots of¬†little independent shops with a strong emphasis on vintage and unusual stuff from across the globe. ¬†The only thing that deeply saddened me was several large piles of animal skins – being sold supposedly as ‘rugs’ …they seem to be everywhere at the moment???

ūüėď

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I more or less lived in the Infinity Foods Cafe¬†… I had an all day breakfast, scrambled tofu, rice and dal for lunch, peanut and maple cheesecake, AND lime and coconut cheesecake…… and ¬†this glorious mezze …. not all in one sitting I hasten to add. ūüôÉ

Vegan Mezze with gluten-free bread all for ¬£9.00 …

I can’t tell you how much I relished this, after so many mediocre vegan options I’ve had to put up with when eating out… Brighton was simply a joy…and I made the most of it. Yay! ūüíö

Wild Cherry Vegan Ice Cream (with vegan cone)

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‘Infinity Foods’ also has a shop, where I bought a range of vegan cheeses (including vegan parmesan – used in the recipe below), and the best gluten-free bread I’ve ever tasted which is baked fresh daily…..and a lot more besides…

…and no I’m not being paid to write this …but I’m very happy¬†to recommend them ūüíē

And there’s a vegan festival in Brighton in September….worth a visit ….

ūüćÉ

Back home the courgettes in my vegetable garden have been going insane, and lots of my long pod beans have reached flageolet stage, and the fact is, it’s actually really nice to come back to some home-cooking in a simple form, with this¬†summer vegetable and flageolet broth, using mainly homegrown veg. and simple¬†Italian flavourings. ¬†(You can easily find¬†all these ingredients in the shops).

There is something deeply comforting about a bowl of vegetables and beans… perfectly flavoured….. ¬†that cannot be denied!

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ITALIAN SUMMER VEGETABLE AND FLAGEOLET BROTH

Serves 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Italian Summer Vegetable and Flageolet Broth”

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Cook's Tales, Vegan

Sunshine Blogger Award

I’ve been nominated by the wonderful¬†https://mylightheartedkitchen.com¬†for a sunshine award. I feel very privileged because mylightheartedkitchen¬†is a beautiful and inspiring blog which I always enjoy every time a post¬†pops¬†into my reader. ¬†Take a look!¬† Also, mylightheartedkitchen has supported me from the beginning and I have really really appreciated that!

Daisy chain blogging connections are a lovely thing, because sometimes it feels hard to keep a blog alive and other bloggers know this. ¬†So thank you to ¬†https://mylightheartedkitchen.com¬† ūüôā x

Here are the sunshine rules: Continue reading “Sunshine Blogger Award”

Bread, Cook's Tales, Curries, Vegan

Stuffed Naan Bread + a cautionary tale…

I don’t go to restaurants much.

But the other day we went to a restaurant/cafe before going to a show.  It was a celebratory evening for 2.

We did our preliminary investigations, and found a simple sweet looking cafe (not far from the theatre, and not long opened), that did Asian food, and had on the menu displayed in the window, as clear as day, a vegan option.

An interesting looking aubergine curry with a peanut and jaggery sauce, with pilau rice and mango chutney.  Just the ticket.  I love Indian food and am always looking for inspiration.

We got there as the cafe opened, as we only had about 75 mins. before we needed to leave to get to the show. (We’d explained about the time thing and the vegan thing when we booked. ¬†‘That’s fine,’ they said).

We ordered drinks, and got on with relaxing and enjoying ourselves.

Waiter comes: ‘we’ll have the vegan option,’¬†we declare, pointing vaguely at the menu.

Off he goes.

Food arrives, and we notice that there’s naan bread rather than rice.

We might’ve asked why, but we wanted to enjoy ourselves, not get in a bother with the restaurant … and moreover we needed to get to the show on time…. and we just wanted¬†a really nice evening….no hassle etc.

The curry was delicious. ¬†Lovely spice mix, and the aubergine¬†was cooked to perfection. ¬†Sort of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside…

I began munching on the naan bread….. and after a little while my taste buds kicked in.

I said to my partner, I think this naan has got milk…or even cream in it.

He expressed disbelief…and reached for the menu.

‘That’s funny,’ he said, ‘this menu is different, but the naan is still included in the vegan option…’

‘Hmmm… not so sure,’ I said.

I didn’t eat any more of it.

When we paid, I asked the front of house manager about the bread….in a diplomatic sort of a way, and hoping I was wrong.

She looked oddly at me and confirmed what I’d thought. ¬†Yes, the bread had milk in it.

‘Why is it described as vegan then?’…I asked, as calmly as I could.

To cut a long story short, they got rather defensive. ¬†Confusion reigned, for us at least….

Which was a shame, because all we wanted a peaceable outcome.

The waiter came back from the kitchen muttering :¬†‘it was only the curry that’s vegan.’

Not helpful.

‘Err, have you heard of the trade descriptions act?’ we asked. ¬†There was no doubt that the naan was included in the vegan option on the in-house menu. ¬†It even had a little box around it. ¬†Asking why there was no rice (like it said on the menu in the window) seemed irrelevant by now¬†……

It all got a bit heated.  At no point did they offer a real, unconditional apology.

I explained to them that they were very lucky neither of us was lactose-intolerant /allergic.  This did quieten them down a bit.

We left, determined despite everything, to enjoy the rest of our evening.  Which we did.

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Here’s a recipe for a¬†naan bread they could’ve served¬†us.

Cooking for Peace.

NAAN BREAD, FILLED WITH A SPICY MIX OF ONION, GREEN PEPPER AND GREEN CHILLI

Makes 6

Ingredients: Continue reading “Stuffed Naan Bread + a cautionary tale…”

Cook's Tales, Gluten-Free, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Moussaka. Deliciously vegan…and with a gluten-free Bechamel…

I love Greece. ¬†I have spent many glorious¬†times there. ¬†Exploring the islands…. walking the hills … savouring the food…. soaking up the atmosphere…. and all the while; time seeming to stand still… sigh…

Before I get on to the recipe … which worked out exceptionally well btw., ¬†I thought I’d share just a few of my sketches from my old greek diaries… I remember so well hot summer afternoons, (when sensible people were having a siesta lol) ….wandering around finding shady places to sit, with¬†a view to sketch….

The only place that provided no shade whatsoever, was the¬†paralysingly hot bus station….where we were obliged to wait. ¬†No movement…. no sound…. just us….in the hot sun…waiting…. hoping…

¬†Finally, out of nowhere a driver would appear and a bus would rattle¬†noisily to life. ¬†Everyone piled on, and we took off over the hills, windows open….and the scent of thyme and rosemary coming in with the breeze…. heady days…. Continue reading “Moussaka. Deliciously vegan…and with a gluten-free Bechamel…”

Cook's Tales, Vegan

books… food and inspiration…

The other day I ordered these lovely little books, and they arrived today. ¬†They’re part of a series: The Edible¬†Series, a global history. ¬†I’m becoming¬†more and more interested in the history of food, and what better subjects to conjure with than spices, bread and tea…

tea bread spices

¬†The books present¬†a really nice overview – whistling through the centuries and cultures ¬†…. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†……making me want to discover¬†more. Continue reading “books… food and inspiration…”

Cook's Tales, Soups, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Quick Suppers

A day in the life of a vegan cooking blog…. Chilli veg+beans for pasties and stew + pumpkin soup…. getting ahead….

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?

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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. ¬† Continue reading “A day in the life of a vegan cooking blog…. Chilli veg+beans for pasties and stew + pumpkin soup…. getting ahead….”

Cook's Tales, Vegan Treats

Chocs away…fudge it …and faff…seasonal vegan sweeties for sharing…because I’m vegan….

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but as it’s the season for such things I thought I’d turn my hand to sweeties, not least because I really don’t have a penchant for dark chocolate brazils…which come my way with unerring predictability ….because I’m vegan, and therefore probably an alien who likes chocolate brazils. ¬† (No offence intended if they’re your favourites.) ¬†Nevertheless, ’tis the season for sharing, and it’s nice to have a little plate of sweet nothings for when those visitors turn¬†up! ¬†Particularly if they say: ‘Is this really vegan?’ ūüôā

vegan homemade sweets

First I did fudge, which is the least faff, but requires a sugar thermometer.

In my household, it’s the dry crumbly fudge that’s a major hit, but the recipe below can be adapted to make a smoother softer fudge if preferred….in fact I might try a¬†smooth soft chocolate version before too long.

Second, I did a chocolate bonbon …. a zesty sharp lime syrup, embedded in white marzipan and coated in dark melted chocolate before scattering with cocoa powder and ground almonds. ¬†Faff ¬†alert!

Finally I threw a handful of raisins and roughly ground almonds in to the remaining melted chocolate and sprinkled with desiccated coconut for a coconut-coated fruit and nut cluster.

Scary as my chocolate decoration skills are….at least you can tell I went to art school more years ago than I care to mention! ¬† And they’ll taste the same…anyway….

a platter of vegan sweeties – great for sharing

 

CLASSIC CARAMEL FUDGE VEGAN STYLE

Ingredients: ¬† Continue reading “Chocs away…fudge it …and faff…seasonal vegan sweeties for sharing…because I’m vegan….”

Cook's Tales, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

. .A Very British Cobbler. . . Vegan .

vegan savoury cobbler

Cobblers have a long and varied history.  In Britain they came into their own in World War 2.

There are American Cobblers, British Cobblers, Savoury Cobblers and Sweet Cobblers.  All sorts of Cobblers.

According to Wikipedia : 

‘The origin of the name cobbler is uncertain, although it may be related to the now archaic word cobeler, meaning “wooden bowl”.[1]

It may also refer to the placing of the biscuits on top of the filling in such a way as to resemble the cobble-stones on the surface of a cobble-stone street.’

In my mind, it’s also suggestive of cobbling something together……

Cobblers are all about making a little bit of something go a long, long way.

Herbs and spices often fulfil a similar role.

Taking ordinary everyday ingredients and adding a combination of herbs and spices can bring the simplest dish alive.

Frugality was normal back in the 1940’s, and it still is now, for many thousands, no,¬†millions, of people.

This is my vegan take on a dish that my mother used to make, and her mother before her.

A British Cobbler usually uses a scone dough for the topping, which excels at soaking up all those lovely vegetable juices….

Below, is my recipe for a Herbed  Vegan Savoury Vegetable Cobbler, using seasonable vegetables and herbs.

This recipe uses mixed herbs.  Just a  word for Rosemary:  Leeks, Potatoes and Rosemary are a wonderful match, so if you can use Rosemary as part of your dried herb mix, it will add a little magic.

vegan baked savoury cobbler

Herbed Vegan Savoury Vegetable Cobbler

Serves 4

Ingredients: ¬† Continue reading “. .A Very British Cobbler. . . Vegan .”

Cook's Tales, Preserving, Vegan on a Shoestring, Vegan Treats

Fruit Jellies – Food for Free – an old-fashioned way…with lots of promise

Just like my nanna used to make.

redcurrant, elderberry and rosehip+apple jelly

Because I run an allotment, and because I enjoy making things, and because I think homemade produce made with a little care and attention Р and, of course, a great deal of compassion Рinvariably tastes better than any shop-bought counterpart, I always have jars of homemade pickles, jams and chutneys in the cupboard.

Somehow, the jewels in the crown of these, are the jellies.

This year I went mad on jellies.  I had fruit from the allotment, and also we collected fruits for free during country walks  this autumn.

rosehips

Elderberries, rosehips, apples, gooseberries and redcurrants.

I also made quince jelly, and quince butter, but I shall devote another blogpost to that wonderful fruit (and also to the delights of gooseberry jelly) , as I¬†also made a¬†quince cheese, also known as Dulce de Membrillo in Spain, which is sitting quietly wrapped up in the refrigerator, and which I won’t be unwrapping ’til¬†Christmas.

There are aspects of making jellies that are a faff, and aspects that can be actually easier than jams.

Jellies are great because they bridge a gap between sweet and savoury.  They can go either way.

redcurrant jelly with vegan cheese, apple, olives and crackers

A fab. combination is fruit jelly and nut butter on toast …..swoon…… and jellies will also bring a zing to savoury dishes such as nut roast, vegan savoury pies or a platter of vegan cheese and crackers.

vegan cheese platter with redcurrant jelly

Continue reading “Fruit Jellies – Food for Free – an old-fashioned way…with lots of promise”