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”

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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.”

Cooking for One, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Snacks

Spinach Roll – Italian Style!

This is  my variation on Calzone, a style of Italian Pie or Pasty, and it works because you get lots more filling and less pastry and it still holds together to make a great cold lunch to go.

I’ve concocted a spicy and rich, spinach and mushroom filling, with the addition of some tangy chopped green olives, but you can vary the ingredients…try kale instead of spinach or broad beans instead of sweetcorn.  Just make sure the mix isn’t too wet….it needs to hold together when in the oven.

Hope you like 🙂

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SPINACH ROLL

Makes 8-12 rolls.

Great for lunch to go, picnics or else straight from the oven….  

Cook’s note:   if you’re short of time, or just feeling lazy! …you can try using short-crust pastry instead of pizza dough for this recipe.  You’ll need 500gms. of ready-made pastry.

I’ve included these rolls in my ‘cooking for 1’ category, because I’m a great believer in cooking batches of things that will keep chilled for several days, and can be easily reheated!  Way to go 🙂

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:    Continue reading “Spinach Roll – Italian Style!”

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

Pasta in A Mushroom Sauce with Steamed Spiralised Courgette and Tender Stem Broccoli.

When my ‘to do’ list seems to grow every day (despite my best efforts to get it all done), instead of diminishing, I turn to pasta.

It’s so easy, so versatile … and well …so amenable.

And there’s such a fabulous variety of vegan, and sometimes gluten-free pasta easily available now….here’s the one I used today : gluten-free, green pea pasta, made in Italy.

What could be better?

There’s been a fuss in the UK media lately, because it’s been suggested that we increase our vegetable consumption from 5 portions a day, to 10.  For the sake of our health.  You’d think the sky had caved in the way some people have been talking.   Obviously, for vegans this doesn’t present a problem.  Because we couldn’t really manage without at least 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, could we?

So, back to the pasta.  I’ve really been loving how easy it is to make beautiful pasta sauces with vegetables.  I’ve done a few now.

Today, it’s the turn of mushrooms.

But before I go any further, I also want to mention that I’ve got myself a new gadget.  A spiraliser.   And despite my general suspicion of a lot of kitchen gadgets, I think I’m liking this one.

So here is a ‘5 portions of vegetables in one’ quick and easy recipe, that’s full of the joys of spring!

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Pea Pasta in a Mushroom Sauce on a bed of spiralised steamed Courgette served with steamed tender-stem Broccoli, fresh herbs and a handful of rocket.

For 2

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Pasta in A Mushroom Sauce with Steamed Spiralised Courgette and Tender Stem Broccoli.”

Cooking for One, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Menus, Vegan Snacks

Middle-Eastern Mezze Buddha Bowl

I think I’m late to the Buddha Bowl Party!  In the unlikely event you didn’t know, a Buddha Bowl is simply a bowl full of really good, nutritious and delicious food, often with a sauce or dressing, all plant-based.  I think the nearest traditional idea is Mezze,  a style of serving food that is found wide-spread across the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

What’s great about all this…. Mezze … Buddha Bowl …  is that you can create a meal of components … some cooked, some raw, some hot, some cold … which complement each other …   and can be made in varying quantities …  and then stored … and eaten at your leisure … in different combinations  … and exactly to your liking.

How lovely is that?

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So, here we have marinaded and roasted root vegetables, steamed broccoli and broad beans, chickpea and cucumber salad, roasted vegetable and tahini sauce and toasted sunflower seeds.  Garnished with Sumac and Za’atar.

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The Mezze I’ve created below serves 4 … but it’s a really great way of cooking for 1 … just make a batch and store, chilled!

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MIDDLE-EASTERN BUDDHA BOWL

4 servings…one way or another !

INGREDIENTS AND PREPARATION:    Continue reading “Middle-Eastern Mezze Buddha Bowl”

Mediterranean Dishes, Preserving, Salads, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Preserving Lemons and Limes. Moroccan Style.

There’s just a hint of spring in the air here in the UK, and my thoughts are already turning to fresh salads and light ‘spring-like’ food!

There are wonderful citrus fruit in the shops at the moment, and this recipe brings all the intensity of citrus flavours to the fore, while in the meantime gentling the sharpness that can sometimes be too overpowering.

Preserving lemons takes about a month, and then, stored in the refrigerator, they will last for months… which is great, because you don’t need much to bring a zing to any dish.

Typically preserved lemons are used in Moroccan dishes such as Tagine, and Couscous, but with just a little imagination I think there are many possibilities to introduce this gorgeous flavour : salads, pasta,  curries, marinades for tofu and tempeh, side dishes such as french beans, asparagus or carrots, as well as sauces, dressings and even desserts. As well as Mediterranean  dishes such as hummus or olive tapenade.

lemony lemonyness

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PRESERVED LEMONS

I litre jar : 8-10 lemons (and limes)

Cook’ notes: 

  • 1)The favoured choice of lemon for preserving is Meyer lemon, but other types of lemon work fine.  It’s important they’re unwaxed, as you will be eating the rind …. 
  • 2) I used Himalayan salt … which is the only salt I use in the kitchen these days.
  • The best jar to use is almost certainly a glass kilner jar with a good tight seal.  Don’t use metallic lids as they will react with the lemon juice.  

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Preserving Lemons and Limes. Moroccan Style.”

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”

Desserts, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Tarte au Chocolat

Here’s a lovely little treat……for Valentine.💕

Tbh, this kind of thing is way out of my comfort zone; (give me a bag of beans and a cabbage any day!), as you can see from my pastry skills (or lack of),  but I was inexplicably moved the other day to buy a little set of heart-shaped baking tins, and I definitely had chocolate on my mind…..   maybe it seemed to me that the world needs some love these days, as there appears to be a lot of hate around, and we all can all make space for the occasional chocolate heart…no?! 💚

This tart can be made as one big one, or 4 little ones.

I used ready-made vegan shortcrust pastry, but of course you can use your favourite home-made pastry, and, with a little care, a gluten-free version.

The filling is light and velvety rich and hopelessly delicious.

I hope you enjoy!

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TARTE AU CHOCOLAT

Serves 4

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Tarte au Chocolat”

Breakfast, Cooking for One, Vegan

Blueberry Porridge

On a gloomy, rainy day (like today) there’s nothing better than a bowl of perfectly cooked porridge.

Traditionally porridge is flavoured with a good pinch of salt, and drizzled with a little cream if it’s particularly cold outside!  Salted porridge is worth trying, and surprisingly good!

I’ve added some blueberries to the mix, simmered for a few minutes, so they get just hot enough to pop juicily in the mouth 🙂

Add extra fruit, a little vegan cream (optional), and a drizzle of your favourite sweetener.

Delicious!

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BLUEBERRY PORRIDGE

for 1

Ingredients:    Continue reading “Blueberry Porridge”

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.”