Celebration Dishes, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring

Butternut and Mushroom Celebration Pie.

Christmas is definitely coming and I thought that this year I’d try and make it simple, economical and quick to put together. ¬†Time is too short to spend hours in the kitchen…

… well I think so anyway ūüôā ?

Here’s a hearty pie that looks great, is very easy to put together and goes a long way. ¬†Delicious hot and cold … no expensive or hard to find ingredients … ¬†and can be made in advance ¬†in less than an hour …. chilled overnight…. and takes 30-40 mins. to bake.

I really wanted to take some of the fuss out of Christmas this time … but check out my seasonal archives in the footer if you’re looking for something more adventurous.

Half way through I had another idea, to adapt a couple of the ingredients in this easy recipe …. which I’ll explain later on.

Hope you enjoy!

 

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Butternut and Mushroom Pie

Serves 4-6

Ingredients and prep: ¬†¬† Continue reading “Butternut and Mushroom Celebration Pie.”

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Cakes, Desserts, Growing things, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Apple and Blackberry Strudel

A classic Viennese sweet pastry with an autumnal twist.  A deliciously simple, vegan version packed with autumnal goodness.  Also sugar-free :).

Great with morning coffee, or served as a dessert with cream, custard or ice-cream. I’ve been collecting blackberries and apples in the last week or two, so I couldn’t resist adapting the traditional version of apple strudel which usually includes raisins, and pack it with the flavours of autumn.

Hope you enjoy!

 

Apple and Blackberry Strudel.

8-10 slices

Ingredients and prep: ¬† Continue reading “Apple and Blackberry Strudel”

All About Beans, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Feijoada. Brazilian Black Bean Stew.

This is a delicious, vegan version of a hearty black bean stew, courtesy of Brazil.  Packed with rich flavours: the warm smokiness of smoked paprika,  the tartness of tomatoes and the sweetness of sweet potato and mango.

As long as you’ve got some pre-cooked black beans (I used Turtle Beans) to hand, this dish is easy to put together and doesn’t take too long to cook.

I love these rich bean stews: check out my category ‘All About Beans’ for bean recipes from around the world.

Hope you enjoy!

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Feijoada.  Brazilian Black Bean Stew.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients and prep: ¬† Continue reading “Feijoada. Brazilian Black Bean Stew.”

Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Cheese, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Snacks

Caprese Tart

If there’s one country that knows how to bring out the absolute best in tomatoes, it has to be Italy.

Salt. ¬†Pepper. ¬†Basil. ¬†Garlic. ¬†Olive oil. ¬†And Cheese …… One of the best combinations on the planet!

And that’s what you need for this great¬†¬†seasonal tart.

It’s fabulous hot or cold. ¬†Picnics, lunch to go, a lovely supper with all the tastes of summer …… whichever way you want it!

I used cherry tomatoes (homegrown!), but sliced or quartered tomatoes will be just fine.

I used store-bought ready-made puff pastry, but shortcrust will be just fine … as will your favourite savoury gluten-free pastry too.

I made a simple vegan ricotta-style cheese, but store-bought vegan ricotta will be just fine.

You can find the recipe for soy curd/ricotta cheese (aka Crowdie) right here:

So everything is just fine.  And you get a delicious Italian Tart which has to be on my favourite recipes list! §

CAPRESE TART

Serves 6

Ingredients: ¬† Continue reading “Caprese Tart”

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 ūüôā

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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. ¬†ūüôā

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”

Growing things, Mediterranean Dishes, Pizza, Vegan

Moroccan Style Pizza

Here is a fantastic topping idea for pizza.  A tomato sauce base packed with the heady flavours of Moroccan Spices with toppings of sliced sautéed Aubergine, Chick Peas and Sweet Peppers.  And a scattering of peppery wild rocket and watercress.

Delicious!

Cooking has had to take a bit of a back seat for me lately …. as has the blog ….(who knows … where the time goes).¬†What I do know, is that I feel so perfectly comfortable cooking vegan these days, I cannot conceive of ever eating animals ever again. ¬†Vegan living is peaceable, and I love it.

One of the reasons I’ve been so busy, is because I have an allotment (community vegetable garden) and growing my own vegetables makes being vegan even easier, it has to be said!

Without boring you with all the details, here is a picture of my allotment. ¬†Broad Beans in the foreground, garlic to the left, Apple, Pear and Cherry trees, Gigantes Beans on the right. ¬†The strawberry bed is covered, because the starlings have been having a feast. ¬†Further down there are potatoes, courgettes, peas, onions, carrots, parsnips and all sorts of cabbages. ¬†Fruit bushes (red white and black currants, raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries) and rhubarb. ¬†And there’s more besides. ¬†Tomatoes in the small polytunnel on the right. Yesterday I planted 12 Florence Fennel bulbs, which will be a first if they don’t bolt ¬†:/ ¬†Watch this space ….. for fennel recipes … hopefully! ūüôā

 

And here is my best allotment friend, boldly investigating the seed tin. ¬†ūüôā

So food has to be quick and easy at the moment: Pasta, Briam (Greek vegetable bake) and vegetable stews. The sort of thing you can more or less throw together.

But the other night I fancied Pizza, so this is what I did.

Enjoy!

MOROCCAN STYLE PIZZA

Makes 2  x 32 cm. pizzas.

Ingredients:¬† Continue reading “Moroccan Style Pizza”

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. ūüôā

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. ūüė¶

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.”

Burgers and Patties, Vegan, Vegan Ingredients, Vegan Main Dishes

Jerk Tempeh

 

Jerk refers to a style of cooking, usually of meat, that originates in Jamaica.

Marinaded in a hot spicy paste, that traditionally includes scotch bonnet chillies and allspice.

In the spirit of all things vegan, I thought I would try it with tempeh, which is good at soaking up flavours if you treat it right. It worked really well, so here’s what I did.

Just a quick note – particularly for anyone who hasn’t come across tempeh before, because it is a great addition to a varied vegan repertoire …this is¬†what Wikipedia says about tempeh:

Tempeh (/ňąt…õmpe…™/; Javanese: t√©mp√©, Javanese pronunciation: [tempe]) is a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy foods in that it is the only one that did not originate from Greater Chinese cuisine.

It originated in today’s Indonesia, and is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but it is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins. It has a firm texture and an earthy flavor, which becomes more pronounced as it ages. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine, where it is used as a meat analogue.

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Tempeh is much sturdier than tofu, and it’s therefore a great ingredient to use in this recipe, as whether you griddle it (as I have) or barbecue it, it should withstand this style of cooking without falling apart, as long as you don’t slice it too thin.

In the UK, slabs of tempeh are usually bought frozen. ¬†To prepare it for cooking: defrost, and then submerge it in a dish of warm water for about 15 mins. ¬†This will ‘relax’ the tempeh, allowing it to absorb the flavours of the marinade.

It will sit in the marinade all day, but marinade it for at least 3 hours for good results.

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JERK TEMPEH

Serves 4

Ingredients:¬† Continue reading “Jerk Tempeh”