Saturday, 4 January 2014

Bharwaan Baingan: Vegan stuffed baby aubergine curry

I picked up some baby aubergines (eggplants if your not a Brit) they were a total bargain of a quid for 8! I remember seeing on a menu in an Indian restaurant once stuffed aubergines and investigated further and found this dish of Bharwaan Baingan which is a North Indian tangy curry.I adapted the recipe slightly and added some dessicated coconut to the stuffing mix and some soya yoghurt to the curry sauce for extra richness but apart from that it's pretty authentic. I promise you even though it's not the most beautiful thing you will ever see the taste is phenomenal with a combination of sweet coconut, deep spiciness and tangy yoghurt.

You will need:
  • 6-8 small Eggplants
  • 1 Large Onion chopped roughly
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder or amchoor
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp corriander
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • 2 tbsp soya yoghurt
  •  Wash and cut the aubergine in a cross, while keeping them together at the stalk (ideally you want your aubergines to be plumper than mine as they hold together better but this is all the market had)
  • Put all other ingredients except cumin seeds and oil, in a blender and make a smooth paste, add a little water if necessary.
  • Fill the split eggplants with half of the paste.
  • Heat olive oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and toast.
  • Add you aubergines and cook with the lid on turning to make sure all sides cook evenly.
  • Once all sides are cooked, stir yoghurt into the remaining paste and add to aubergines and simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Serve with a little soya yoghurt and some warm chapatis.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Happy 1st Veganiversary to me!

So guys, you have journeyed with me on my tofu clad road of veganism for a whole year! To be honest I knew I could do it i'm a Capricorn so can be a very stubborn goat at times. But it's not only stubborness that has helped me stick to being vegan it's throwing myself into vegan cooking and really enjoying explaoring new techniques and ingredients and learning alot about food production ethics along the way. Here's to this time next year! 

My first vegan Christmas

I thought I would find my first vegan Christmas difficult with the lures of cheese boards, brandy butter and my Nana's famous sherry trifle - but with a little planning and perseverance it turned out to be easier than I thought!

Firstly, I made myself a standby Christmas cake loaded with rich dried fruits and brandy to treat myself to when everyone else was chowing down on flaming Christmas pudding with lashings of cream.

My vegan Christmas Cake

You will need;
340g plain flour
170g soft brown sugar
200g currants
200g raisins
60g chopped glace cherries
30g chopped mixed peel
280ml dairy free milk (I used almond)
70g dairy free spread (I used Pure sunflower spread)
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice
pinch of salt
A few glugs of brandy

  • Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice in to a large mixing bowl, then rub in the dairy free spread.
  • Stir in the sugar, currants, sultanas, raisins, peel and cherries. Add the lemon rind and give it a good stir. 
  • Add all but 2tbsp of the soya milk and stir lightly. Heat the remaining soya milk in the microwave for about a minute and a half microwave so its the temperatur of a warm bath. Pour on to the bicarb and then stir it thoroughly into the mixture lightly.
  • Put into a lined 73/4 inch diameter tin, smooth and slightly hollow out centre.
  • Bake at about gas mark 4 for an hour, then turn down to gas mark 3 for a further 30 minutes. Until when you push a skewer into the centre of the cake it comes out clean. 
  • Let the cake cool and then skewer the cake all over and carefully spoon the brandy over the surface of the cake, depending on how boozy you want it repeat this over the next week or so every other day. 
  • To store wrap the cake in baking paper and store in an airtight container. 
  • Finally to serve, cut a large slice of the cake I like to warm mine slightly in the microwave for a couple of minutes and then pour over some dairy free cream (I love Aplro single cream) and some icing sugar. Nom! 

My vegan Christmas dinner

My actual Christmas day dinner was a bit of a cheat as I have almost zero cooking time as we have dinner at my Nana's house and while she is finishing off the veggies and potatoes I have to cook my whole meal.

So I had prepared and cooked my nut roast beforehand - I don't normally eat nut roasts like most carnivores don't normally eat turkey any other time that at Christmas. I use the Granose mix and add some little extras to make it a bit more special I had lots of chopped nuts to give it texture and some soaked porcini mushrooms for meatiness and then I made a simple redcurrant currant sauce by reducing redcurrants, water and sugar over a low heat to serve over it. I then roasted my parsnips in agave nectar and nutmeg which went crunchy and gooey at the same time. Mmmm!

I hope you all had a great veganoid Christmas and I wish you a very peaceful new year!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Vegan mexican marrow tostadas

This is a recreation of a dish I recently had in Wahaca in Islington of crispy toasted mini tortillas topped with a spicy and fresh tomato salsa a generous squeeze of lime juice and a first for me cactus! They were so delicious I wanted to create something at home that was just as tasty but easier to make (these would also make incredibly good vegan canapes)...

You will need;
Tortillas (as many as you want to gobble)
Marrow, chopped into small cubes
1 tomato, diced
3 spring onions, finely slices
1 can refried beans
3 cloves garlic
1/2 green chilli

To garnish;
Juice of a lime
Your favourite chilli sauce (mine it smoked chipotle)

  • If you want to make mini tostadas take a small cutter and cut out circles from the tortillas, if you want to make a larger version and have one per person then miss this step out.
  • Lay your tortillas onto a baking tray and brush with a little olive oil and salt on each side, place a rack on top of them to stop them curling up and bake in a low temperature oven (100 C) for about 10 minutes until crisp then allow to cool. 
  • Meanwhile fry your marrow in the chilli and garlic until golden and soft and heat your refried beans in a pan. 
  • Finally assemble your tostadas by spreading a teaspoon of refried beans followed by a teaspoon of marrow then top with tomatoes and spring onions a splash of chilli sauce and a squeeze of lime. Munch!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Easy peasy lemon squeezy roast gnocchi

This is by no means the most complicated recipe I could post it is however incredibly, easy, tasty and quick. This is something I make almost every week and its' a really good addition to your 'bung in the oven' vegan recipe book. Depending on how much time you have on your hands you can make your gnocchi from scratch or buy a pack ready made from the supermarket they're normally about 80p and totally veganoid. I've chosen to use butternut squash here as it is in season at the moment and incredibly cheap at about a £1 for a huge one but you could make this with cauliflower, carrots, beets or parsnips.

You will need:
2 cups gnocchi
1/2 butternut squash peeled
2 bunches of basil (yes i'm still trying to use it up)
4 cloves of garlic
1 lemon
olive oil

  • Mix the juice of one lemon with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper and the garlic chopped and stir. Chop your butternut squash roughly the same size as your gnocchi and add to the lemon and oil mixture place in a roasting pan and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes turning once finally finish with an extra squeeze of lemon, sprinkle of salt and some freshly chopped basil.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Vegan Orange & Strawberry Pancakes

 This is my go-to vegan pancake recipe you can make all sorts of additions and changes to flavour yours in whichever way you want sometimes I pop 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to them to make them chocolate pancakes other times I cinnamon and have them with baked apples but here is a variation I really love of zesty orange and sweet strawberry. I'd love to know how you guys have your pancakes!

1 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup almond milk (use any non-dairy milk you prefer)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 orange juiced
strawberries, chopped to top
2 tbsp canola oil
  • Easy as pie just stir your dry ingredients together and then whisk in the wet ingredients until a smooth batter is formed, then fry until golden brown on both sides. (Tip: you know when the side cooking is ready to be flipped as small bubbles will start to form on top)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

30 Minute Vegan Pizza

Vegan pizza has got to be the ultimate healthy vegan 'junk' food. I like my bases super crispy and because I am a garlic fiend I use about 4 cloves of garlic per pizza (feel free to not use quite as much as I do) and I still haven't found a vegan cheese in the UK that I actually enjoy eating so my pizzas never have vegan cheese on which definitely allows you to drizzle that extra glug of extra virgin olive oil on them.

Here is my speedy vegan pizza base recipe so that you can have a pizza from scratch in under 30 minutes.

375g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
7g dried active yeast
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
225ml warm water
  • Combine the dry ingredients into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the oil and water and mix with hands until a dough comes together, pat into a tin and top with whatever you like! 
  • Bake in a 200C oven for 15 mins until cooked
Topping suggestions: 
  • mushrooms and thyme
  • pesto and asparagus
  • courgette, mint and hummus
  • chillies and garlic
  • aubergine with minted soy yoghurt