Japanese Inspired Dishes, Macrobiotic Recipes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Brown Rice and Bancha

 …there’s a bit of an art to cooking brown rice…. but there are ways of doing it that avoid the pitfalls….

…brown rice is a great food for a cleanse mono-diet (1-5 days)… gentle and nourishing…

…and personally, I think that the beginning of spring is a good time of year to try a cleanse such as this…

….whether it be for one day, three days or five….

…below is a recipe for a macrobiotic meal using brown rice, that tastes lovely, is kind and restorative to the bodymind, and would additionally be an excellent way to finish a brown rice diet cleanse…  and also includes a method for cooking brown rice in bancha twig tea…

Steamed tofu and vegetables with tahini miso sauce, gomasio and brown rice.

Macrobiotic food at its simplest.

steamed tofu, arame and vegetables with brown rice

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I always think that the cold beginnings of new year in most parts of the northern hemisphere is not a good time to embark on diets and weight loss and things like that …

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…but when spring comes, and you maybe feel like shedding the wintery blues, then a brown rice diet can be a really nice thing to do…

Just a few simple rules:   Continue reading “Brown Rice and Bancha”

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Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Spiced Leek stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes

Leek and Potato is a classic combination, and this is a recipe that gives them a new twist.

All my recipes are tried and tested, but equally, what I hope is that they offer ideas. This is just one way to make a tasty economical meal using the idea of stuffing baked potatoes…. I’ve used a particular selection of vegetables and flavourings, but there are many more out there…just waiting to be tried.

So here is a  great, cosy, mid-week supper, using whatever you might have around (in this case I’ve got plenty of homegrown leeks, the last of my homegrown garlic 😦 … and a definite liking for indian spices…..)

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stuffed twice-baked potatoes

SPICED LEEK STUFFED TWICE-BAKED POTATOES + MANGO SALAD

for 4-6

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Spiced Leek stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes”

All About Beans, Bread, Mediterranean Dishes, Pasta, Soups, Vegan

Tuscan Bean and Pasta Soup + Olive and Herb Focaccia.

In the last few days I’ve been getting a few seedlings going.  Tomatoes, chillies and sweet peppers.  A gardener always lives in hope.  Spring here in the UK is being erratic, and we are waiting for Storm Katie as I write.

Making this soup has made me remember how delicious home-grown tomatoes are.  I can’t wait.

The bread is easy, and adaptable, instead of olives you can add sun-dried tomatoes, sliced artichoke hearts or diced spring onions….

olive focaccia and tuscan bean soup

TUSCAN BEAN AND PASTA SOUP + OLIVE AND HERB FOCACCIA

Serves 4   

Olive and Herb Focaccia:    Continue reading “Tuscan Bean and Pasta Soup + Olive and Herb Focaccia.”

Burgers and Patties, Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Moroccan Chickpea Burgers

Here’s a burger packed with the flavours of Morocco: coriander, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika, oregano, tahini, lemon juice and raisins, served on this occasion with date and parsley cous-cous, blood orange salad, harissa yogurt dip and toasted pumpkin seeds.

The never-ending search for the ultimate burger!  Everyone loves a burger….they’re so versatile, so adaptable…they will go with just about anything, they store well, freeze easily, can be re-heated/refried, and they will taste good hot, warm or cold…and whether it’s a sit down meal, lunch to go or a picnic…they just go on working …any way you like….

These would be delicious in a bun with slices of cucumber and hot chilli pickle.

Oh yes.

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moroccan chickpea burgers

MOROCCAN CHICKPEA BURGERS

makes 8

can be prepared several hours in advance and kept chilled in the fridge until ready to fry…or bake

Ingredients:   
Continue reading “Moroccan Chickpea Burgers”

Celebration Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Snacks

Mushroom and Chive Pithivier.

Here is a simple recipe for a holiday pie, that’s great hot, warm or cold.

Pithivier is a pie that originates in France.  It can be sweet or savoury,  but often has a sweet almond filling, and with cherries or plums.

The pie can be made as lots of individual pies, or one big one.

It’s hard to open a French cookery book without coming upon oodles of cream, lashings of butter, endless cheese, an infinite number of eggs and slabs of meat…..

So to redress the balance just a little, here’s a veganised recipe for a savoury pie, that has to be a crowd-pleaser.

French in style, peaceful in ingredients.

Mushrooms and chives in a savoury bechamel sauce, encased in flaky puff pastry.

Perfect for a picnic too……

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mushroom and chive pithivier, decorated with the sun the moon and the stars….

MUSHROOM AND CHIVE PITHIVIER

For 4-6

This pie can be made hours in advance, and left to chill in the fridge until ready to bake.

Ingredients:   
Continue reading “Mushroom and Chive Pithivier.”

Curries, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan on a Shoestring

Kadala Curry. A dish from Southern India.

My heart is truly with Asian Cooking, particularly Indian cookery, as, over the years,  before I became vegan, it is how I learnt that meat and dairy are not necessary ingredients.

Ever.

Whenever I visit my local Asian shop, I always come out with something I haven’t tried before. It’s like an Aladdin’s cave for me.

This time, it was Kala Channa.  Black chickpeas.   They are small, and dark brown in colour.  They are prized because of their high protein and fibre content.

When I finally got around to searching for what I might do with them, this dish came up again and again.

It’s a speciality of Kerala, Southern India.

Often eaten for breakfast.

It’s delicious.  The sauce is creamy, spicy, hot and mellow.

Kadala Curry with Steamed Basmati and Flatbreads

I hope you enjoy.

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I soaked the chickpeas for 3 days (changing the water twice daily),  and then cooked them in one big batch.  What I didn’t use in this dish, I froze for future use.

Makes life easier…..

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KADALA CURRY

For 4

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Kadala Curry. A dish from Southern India.”

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

Kuru Fasulye. Turkish White Bean Stew.

I have to say that this dish more or less brought tears to my eyes.  Call me odd… but it just tasted good.  I hadn’t quite expected it… the ingredients and the cooking method are simple enough…but brought together, it’s as though the whole thing seems to transcend the sum of the parts….

kuru fasulye + pilaf

There are cafes  in Istanbul dedicated entirely to this dish.  It invariably includes onions, tomatoes, tomato paste, peppers and of course beans. There are variations, and meat is often, but not always included….but hey… the vegan version has surely got to be just as good……. well actually, better, because it’s peaceful food…..

Norm Phelps : “Veganism is simply letting compassion guide our choice of food.”

f.f.i. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norm_Phelps

So, without more ado…here is the recipe:

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kuru fasulye

KURU FASULYE

TURKISH WHITE BEAN STEW

Serves 4 amply   
Continue reading “Kuru Fasulye. Turkish White Bean Stew.”

Bread, Soups, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring

Brotchán Roy and Traditional Irish Soda Bread.

Two old and traditional recipes rooted deep in Irish History. My simple offerings on St Patrick’s Day.

Both of these recipes have few ingredients.  I’m always in love with the simple recipes.  The ones based on local produce, local climate and the time of year.  The ones without fuss or fiddle. Leeks overwinter even in frost and snow.  And now, at the very end of winter in the northern hemisphere, there they are when there’s not much else left.

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My father was born on St. Patrick’s Day.  I didn’t really expect a food blog to get personal, but today it has.  Despite the fact that it was his last name, he was always known as Pat.

He had a little bit of Irish in him too, so I guess that means that I do too!  I miss him.

Food for peace on St. Patrick’s Day…. hope you like … 😉

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Brotchán Roy + Soda Bread

Brotchán Roy + Traditional Irish Soda Bread

For 4

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Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

This bread only has 4 ingredients.   Continue reading “Brotchán Roy and Traditional Irish Soda Bread.”

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

Pasta with a Watercress and Tofu Sauce + Sautéed Mushrooms.

Went to the local market last weekend and bought bunches of fresh watercress, some beautiful mustard greens and a selection of fresh mushrooms.

Simple good quality ingredients need simple cooking.  Which is how this dish came about.

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pasta with a tofu and watercress sauce + sautéed mushrooms

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PASTA IN A TOFU AND WATERCRESS SAUCE + SAUTEED MUSHROOMS + MUSTARD GREENS 

for 2

Continue reading “Pasta with a Watercress and Tofu Sauce + Sautéed Mushrooms.”

Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Main Dishes

Cretan Boureki

Turkish Borek, Albanian Byrek, Armenian Byorek, Assyrian Burek, Bulgarian Byorek, Israeli Bourekas, Italian Burriche, Bosnian Burek, Tunisian Brik ….and there are more…..

I find it fascinating following food through cultures and time, and discovering how it has evolved and regionalised on its travels.  In fact, on the travels of the human race: as people take their native cuisine into new cultures, and there it is changed and adapted, using different local produce and flavourings.

All of these different kinds of Burek form a family of filled and baked pastries, often using a flaky pastry known as phyllo.  Some fillings are savoury and some are sweet.

And then I found The Cretan Boureki.  It’s different from the rest in that it rarely has pastry. (sometimes it’s topped with a layer of flaky pastry).

It has three main ingredients: Potatoes, Courgettes and a local Cretan ricotta-like cream cheese called Mizithra.

To veganise this simple and effective dish, I made a quick almond and cashew Ricotta, flavoured with white miso and a dash of lemon juice.

The real revelation of this dish for me, is the inclusion of mint.

It really is amazing.  I don’t use mint much in savoury dishes, but this dish has taught me what a lovely herb it can be, used in the right place.

I found various recipes for Boureki, and most of them have a scary amount of oil in them, so I have reduced the oil a little, although I’ve not completely departed from the traditional way.

The Mediterranean diet seems to have health giving qualities, and their abundant use of olive oil only enhances that, as far as I can tell.

Come early summer, when the courgette plants on my allotment will be going completely crazy, I will be returning to this recipe …again….and again… 🙂

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boureki – vegan

CRETAN BOUREKI

SERVES 4-6

Almond Ricotta:   Continue reading “Cretan Boureki”