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”

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.”

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.”

All About Beans, Gluten-Free, Soups, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Shchi

A Russian style soup with many variations, which, according to Wikipedia, dates back to the 9thC.

Wikipedia: Shchi is a traditional soup of Russia where it has been known as far back as the 9th century, soon after cabbage was introduced from Byzantium. Its popularity in Russia originates from several factors. Shchi is relatively easy to prepare; it can be cooked with or without various types of meat; and it can be frozen and carried as a solid on a trip to be cut up when needed. Finally, it was noticed that most people do not get sick of shchi and can eat it daily. As a result, by the 10th century shchi became a staple food of Russia, and another popular saying sprang from this fact: “Щи да каша — пища наша.” (Shchi da kasha — pishcha nasha “Shchi and kasha are our food”).

Based on the humble and beautiful cabbage, this is a recipe that inevitably has endless variations.

Here’s my vegan version.  Based on a traditional vegetable version, I’ve included Sauerkraut, which makes it Sour Shchi.

It’s one of those soups that matures with time, so, if you want to try it, don’t hesitate to make a big batch, as it tastes even better the next day.

Hope you enjoy!

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SHCHI

Serves 4 or more…

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Shchi”

Gluten-Free, Mediterranean Dishes, Pasta, Quick Suppers For Two, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Pasta in an Avocado Sauce.

Pasta lends itself to simple ideas, and here’s one that’s so simple I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before 🙂

This superfoody dish takes minutes to prepare and, like all these sauces, is adaptable according to taste.

Try leaving out the spring onions and adding a chopped sweet green pepper.  Add herbs such as basil and parsley to the mix. Add more chillies for a real chilli hit….

pasta with an avocado sauce

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Avo Sauce for Pasta

For 2

Ingredients:    Continue reading “Pasta in an Avocado Sauce.”

Breakfast, Cakes, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Spiced Banana Breakfast Loaf

Vegan, gluten-free, sugar free and very delicious!

Firstly, I would like to wish everyone a very happy new year.  Here in the UK the skies are decidedly grey and the air is damp and chill.  And everyone’s got the January blues.  No better reasons are needed to make a cake.  A wholesome comforting moreish sort of cake.

There were a few over ripe bananas sitting forlornly in the fruit bowl, so I thought: this is the moment to make a cake that’s good for breakfast.

Cake for breakfast: way to go 🙂 💕

It’s not too sweet, it’s very moist, it’s full of good things, and is fab. just plain with coffee, or vegan-buttered…or if you want to go sweeter then you can’t go wrong with oodles of strawberry jam.

For sweetener I’ve used a new ingredient (for me) : coconut sugar.  It’s not as sweet as sugar and it has a flavour to it that’s slightly musty.  For that reason, I wouldn’t use it as my absolute go-to sweetener, but in this cake it blends very well with the spices and the banana.  It’s now available in some UK supermarkets, which is why I’ve included it today.

I’ve also included another ingredient that makes gluten-free cooking easier: self-raising gluten-free flour.  Again, it’s available in some supermarkets and it certainly helped to give this loaf a nice rise.

Enjoy! 💚

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SPICED BANANA BREAKFAST LOAF

Ingredients: Continue reading “Spiced Banana Breakfast Loaf”