Tag Archives: food bloggers

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!

§

POTATO AND SWISS CHARD CURRY

for 4

Ingredients:   Continue reading Potato and Swiss Chard Curry

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)

§

CELERY AND BUTTERBEAN GRATIN

depending on how hungry you are and what you’re serving with this dish…

it will make 2-4 servings

§

INGREDIENTS:   Continue reading Celery and Butterbean Gratin.

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 (/ˈtɛmpeɪ/; Javanese: témpé, 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.

§

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.

§

JERK TEMPEH

Serves 4

Ingredients:  Continue reading Jerk Tempeh

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…

§

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.

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.

§

SIMNEL CAKE

 12-16 slices

Ingredients:   Continue reading Simnel Cake

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.

§

SPICED CAULIFLOWER STEAKS

+ a Quick Green Bean Coconut Curry

For 2

Ingredients:   Continue reading Spiced Cauliflower Steaks + a Quick Green Bean Curry.

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 🙂

§

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!

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!

§

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.

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?

§

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.

§

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!

§

MIDDLE-EASTERN BUDDHA BOWL

4 servings…one way or another !

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

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

§

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.