All About Beans, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Andalusian Bean Stew

OK … I know … another bean stew … but there are just so many possibilities ūüôā

This one is distinctly rustic in character … lots of rough chopping … and strong¬†flavours.

Traditionally ¬†it includes chorizo …which I don’t do … so instead I’ve added tempeh, marinaded in tomato puree and tamari, and lightly saut√©ed in olive oil. ¬†It’s a hearty warming stew, and you can practically throw it together. ¬†So not much faff!

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ANDALUSIAN BEAN STEW

Serves 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Andalusian Bean Stew”

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

Gratin Dauphinoise – Potato and Patty Pan

Like many french dishes, Gratin Dauphinoise is simple, just a few perfectly matched ingredients.

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I grew some beautiful patty pan (summer squash) this year, which, like courgettes, arrive thick and fast…. and they just keep on comingūüôÉ . ¬†Mine are white, and creamy and mellow in flavour. ¬†There are however, all sorts of varieties of summer squash available in ¬†good vegetable stores.

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I thought they’d be a delicious addition to a Potato Dauphinoise, vegan style.

And they are. ¬†I’ve made this dish 3 times already ¬†ūüíēūüíēūüíē

I use oat cream here (infused with onion, garlic and herbs), which is of course much lighter than its cholesterol-laden dairy counterpart, but as far as I’m concerned, this dish is all the better for that. ¬†The summer squash add a different and lovely creaminess to the dish.

It’s easy to prepare, needs to be cooked long and slow, (while keeping just an occasional eye on it), and it doesn’t re-heat particularly well. So you just have to eat it all at once …damn it ūüėČ

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Hope you enjoy ūüíö

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POTATO AND PATTY PAN GRATIN DAUPHINOISE

for 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Gratin Dauphinoise – Potato and Patty Pan”

Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Snacks

Dolmades

Dolmades are the Greek version of stuffed vine leaves, a dish which is found widespread across the Mediterranean and the Middle East.  Inevitably there are many variations  and a variety of ingredients and flavourings.  This vegan recipe is fairly classic, using a stuffing of rice and black olives with Mediterranean herbs.

I have a grape vine growing over an arch at the bottom of my small garden.  The last couple of years it has grown madly, and regardless of how hard I cut it back, it always regrows with amazing vigour.  Even here in the UK, it produces bunches of very small but sweet and juicy grapes, which is a bonus, as I grow the vine mainly to create a canopy of dappled shade in the summer.

So, I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while; making Dolmades from scratch, using freshly picked vine leaves. ¬†However, you can find packs of vine leaves that have been preserved in brine, in certain stores, such as delicatessens.

There’s a bit of faff involved, but I think it’s¬†worth it, particularly with the right flavourings.

The thing that surprised me….probably because I’d never really thought about it, is that Dolmades are made with uncooked rice, and the rice cooks once the Dolmades have been made, rather than stuffing the Dolmades with rice that has been pre-cooked…. so the rice really absorbs the flavours as it cooks….

and in this recipe, mint and lemon juice play leading roles.

btw.

Dolmades¬†are just incredibly moreish…they really are¬† ūüôā

…and they transport me straight to a little taverna on a quiet beach in Greece…heavenly…

Hope you enjoy!

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DOLMADES

makes 22-24 individual Dolma

Ingredients: Continue reading “Dolmades”

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”

All About Beans, Cooking for One, Gluten-Free, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Snacks

Mushrooms and Baby Broad Beans in a Garlic, White Wine and Cream Sauce.

This is an easy and¬†delicious little recipe¬†born of the need to do something with my harvest of broad beans. They’re late this year because of the weather but they’re now coming fast. ¬†I love them. ¬†And they’re so easy to blanch and freeze. ¬†My garlic crop was good this year too ūüôā

The sauce is french-inspired, has few ingredients¬†and is creamy without the cholesterol ūüôā . ¬†This dish would be great with mashed potatoes or as a posh snack on toast, or fab.¬†with garlic bread! ¬† Tr√©s Fran√ßais!

Quick and simple to make.  If you prefer not to use wine, then try lemon juice or cider vinegar with some vegetable stock to give the sauce a tang.

Certified GF cornflour/cornstarch will make this dish absolutely gluten-free.

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Hope you like ūüôā

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MUSHROOMS AND BABY BROAD BEANS IN A GARLIC, WHITE WINE AND CREAM SAUCE.

 for 1-2

Ingredients: Continue reading “Mushrooms and Baby Broad Beans in a Garlic, White Wine and Cream Sauce.”

Gluten-Free, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan

Briam.

A traditional Greek dish. ¬†This is another one of those recipes that absolutely transcends the sum of its parts. I don’t know why. It just does. ¬†It contains the simplest of ingredients and you can more or less throw it together and stick it in the oven. ¬†And it’s just incredibly moreish and delicious.

 

briam1

My courgette plants (aka zucchini) have taken off. ¬†And as anyone who’s ever grown courgettes will know, once they start, they just don’t stop. ¬†Blink and another one appears. ¬†Hence the emergence of recipes¬†such as courgette cake ….and courgette jam… :/ ¬†But that’s way down the line. ¬†The end of the line is when courgette growers eventually resort to leaving piles of courgettes on next-door-neighbours doorsteps in the dead of the night. ¬†I’ve no doubt it shall come to that ūüôā

But these are my first, young, fresh and tender courgettes…and this is an utterly sane and simple recipe. ¬†A few everyday ingredients, and the patience to slice everything reasonably finely is all that’s required. ¬†Plus 90 mins. or so¬†baking time.

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BRIAM

Serves 4

Ingredients: Continue reading “Briam.”

All About Beans, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Gigantes Plaki. Greek Bean Stew.

I guess it must be time for yet another bowl of beans! ¬†Distinctly European on this occasion. ¬†This one is full of rich powerful flavours: olives, tomatoes (sun-dried and fresh), celery, paprika, garlic and tons of fresh herbs. ¬†And, of course, melty soft buttery butter beans to soak up all those wonderful flavours. ‘Tis a Mediterranean feast for the taste buds!

I haven’t thought much about food the last few days. ¬†There’s been a lot going on in the UK and I’ve been flitting around facebook trying to make sense of things and feeling generally distracted. ¬†It’s all very unsettling to say the least.

But, a girl’s gotta eat ūüôā , and a delicious¬†stew like this delivers a bit of my mojo back. ¬†It¬†really is good.

I bought dried butter beans. ¬†I soaked 500gms. of dried beans¬†for 48 hours, changing the water twice daily. ¬†I then cooked them long and slow for about 2 hours. ¬†I froze the ones I didn’t use in this stew.

I’m lucky because I have a herb garden on my vegetable allotment, so I used a range of my own freshly picked herbs. ¬†It’s worth using fresh herbs for this recipe, and they’re readily available in the shops these days.

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GIGANTES PLAKI – GREEK BEAN STEW

Serves 3-4

If using dried butter beans, soak and cook in advance.

(250gms. of dried beans should give 500gms. of cooked beans)

Ingredients: Continue reading “Gigantes Plaki. Greek Bean Stew.”

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 …. ūüôā 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. ūüôā

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 ūüôā ) 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.”

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”

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…”