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”

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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”

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 (/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.

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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”

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.”

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.”

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”

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”