09Aug/15

3 ingredient potato cakes

Potato cakes(2)

This is basically a 3 ingredient potato cake although you could add a handful of fresh parsley if you’ve got it handy.  I make these more often than any other because they are so simple and I always have the ingredients – so no rushing around for special spices etc. 

It goes well with baked beans or vegan sausage and we sometimes have it with rice and dal and a light salad.

Potato cakes(3)

Ingredients

1 kilo floury baking potatoes like King Edwards or Maris Piper(don’t use waxy potatoes)
2 teaspoon onion powder or granules
2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (I use Bob’s Red Mill or Cal but these are not easily available in the UK – you may find it in Wholefoods or online. I recently bought Cal from ebay although the postage from the US is high, click here. The other choice is Marigold Engevita which is available in health food stores or from Goodness Direct)
½ teaspoon salt
Handful chopped parsley (optional)
Oil for frying

Method

  1. Peel potatoes and cut into big chunks and boil, about 20-25 minutes
  2. Strain the potatoes and mash well
  3. Add nutritional yeast and parsley and salt
  4. Form into round potato cakes – large or medium is up to you
  5. Heat oil in frying pan for shallow frying
  6. Fry potato cakes for about 3 minutes on each side until nice and brown

 

07Aug/15

Chickpea salad

Chickpea salad(3)

Quick, easy and nutritious, chickpea salad for lunch.  Use whatever salad ingredient you have to hand, that is what I have done.

Ingredients

1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Few radishes, sliced
Few cherry tomatoes, halved
Little cucumber, sliced
2 spring onions, chopped
Some lettuce
Pinch of cumin powder
Pinch of chilli flakes, optional
A little lemon juice
Drizzle of olive oil
Sea salt

Method

Mix all the ingredients and serve on a bed of lettuce, enjoy

07Aug/15

Cheesy Cauliflower

Cauliflower cheese(4)

Cheesy cauliflower made with nutritional yeast, a little vegan butter and Oatly cream to give it a gorgeous, smooth, creamy flavour.  I also made some stock with the cauli stems and added the stems to the cauliflower bake – if you haven’t tried using the stems before you must have a go – waste not, want not and it enhances the texture and gives the dish a more cabbagey flavour.

Ingredients

1 cauliflower with fresh stems
1 onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Little ground black pepper

Cheesy Sauce
350ml stock
1 soya or oat cream (I used Oatly 250ml)
2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of turmeric for colour
½ teaspoon English or Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons cornflour mixed with a little cold water to make a paste

Method

  • Remove stems and cook the whole cauliflower in about 2 inches of water for 7-8 minutes, no more and set aside

Make the stock

  • Chop the stems into 1 inch pieces (cut off any tough bits)
  • Make stock with the cauliflower stems, onion, garlic, bay leaves and black pepper by adding 500ml water and simmering for 30 minutes
  • Strain the stock and keep the stems and onions aside – we will add this to the bake

Make the sauce

  • Make the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients except the cornflour and mustard
  • When it comes to the boil, add the cornflour paste and stir on low heat until sauce is thick – add mustard and take off the heat

 Bake

Cauliflower cheese

  • Break the cauliflower into large florets and place in a baking dish
  • Add the stems and onions from the stock
  • Pour the cheesy sauce and bake for 20 minutes on 200C , 400F, gas mark 6 for 20 minutes

Cauliflower cheese(2)

  • Place under hot grill for 5 minutes
07Aug/15

Rich tomato pasta

Tomato pasta

This is a simple, rich and tomatoey pasta which doesn’t require much else and is bliss served by itself.  The whole garlic bulbs are sweet and creamy when cooked with the sauce.  If you wish you could serve with vegan meatballs or vegan sausages.  We also had some spinach on the side.

The only downside to this this recipe is that although it is very simple, the tomatoes do need to be simmered on low for a few hours…..this is what makes the sauce rich and creamy and so very perfect transforming a regular tomato pasta into food fit for angels and all things heavenly.

You could use any sort of pasta but I opted for Casarecce which is currently my favourite. Summer is here, so what better time to buy a bag load of ripe, sweet tomatoes and make your pasta divine.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

400 grams pasta, I used Casarecce
1000-1200 grams large ripe tomatoes, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
100ml red wine (optional, replace with water)
Sea salt
3-4 whole bulbs of garlic
700ml water
Some fresh herbs – whatever you have growing in the garden; marjoram, basil, oregano will do fine
Vegan meat balls to go with the pasta (optional)

Tomato pasta(3)

Method

  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add all the chopped tomatoes, salt and red wine
  • Bring to boil, cover and simmer on low heat for about 2.5-3 hours…yes, you do need to cook the tomatoes really well

Tomato pasta(2)

  • After a couple of hours of cooking the tomatoes, mash them with a potato masher. Pop the whole garlic bulbs, a little water if required, cover and cook for a further 30-60 minutes until the sauce is thick and rich
  • Add 700ml water, bring to boil and add the pasta. Cook on low for about 20 minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan
  • Add fresh herbs, stir and serve with vegan meatballs or sausages if you wish
31Jul/15

Yogurt & gram flour curry

Kadhi with pakoras

Kadhi or yogurt & gram flour curry is something we don’t find in our usual curry restaurants and this is perhaps because it is assumed by restaurateurs that it is something which wouldn’t sit too well with the European palate and is more an acquired taste.

However, if you have ever had an Indian vegetarian thali, served with a variety of dainty little bowls containing different vegetable dishes, it is very possible that kadhi formed part of this medley.  You could say it is a little like being served with a bowl of miso in a Japanese restaurant but usually in India and Pakistan it is eaten with rice or kichdi, which is rice and lentil dish cooked together.

Generally, we would add some gram flour pakoras (click here for recipe) to the kadhi but some people add a few vegetables – you could happily eat this as a very satisfying soup!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons gram flour
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened soya yogurt (I used Sojade which is available at As Nature Intended or Wholefoods)
2 tablespoons oil
1 heaped teaspoon panchporan (a mix of black mustard seed, fenugreek seed, fennel seed, cumin seed, black onion seed, available at Asian stores or online here)
1 level teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 inch piece ginger, finely minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
Few curry leaves (optional but worth stocking up – you can buy these dry from Tescos & Asian stores)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
Some chopped fresh coriander

Method

  • Mix the gram flour and yogurt with a little water into a smooth paste. Add about 1 litre of water and set aside
  • Heat oil in a deep pan and add panchporan; give it a minute or two until the seeds begin to pop
  • Add spices, garlic, ginger. salt and curry leaves, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until tomatoes are soft
  • Add the gram flour and yogurt mixture and bring to boil. Be careful as it will boil over very easily.

Kadhi with pakoras(2)

  • As soon as it comes to the boil, lower heat and leave to simmer (do not cover), stirring intermittently, for about 45 minutes or until it is thickish, but not too thick. Consistency depends on how you like it – some people like it very thin and runny, whereas others prefer it thicker
  • Add lemon juice and give it a stir, now add the onion pakoras, sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve (see picture above)

Note: Instead of pakoras, you could add some vegetables like carrots, peas, sweet potato, butternut squash or green beans and cook for a further 15 minutes until vegetables are cooked

31Jul/15

Onion Pakoras

Pakoras with onions(3)

Most of us are familiar with onion bhaji – big balls of gram flour with onions and spices deep fried and served as a starter in most Indian restaurants.  

Onion bhaji, as we know it is a tad dense and compact, whereas onion pakoras, which is how we would prepare them at home are lighter, fluffier, and for me, far superior in taste and texture to the onion bhaji we inevitably order when out for a curry night!

Feel free to add green peppers, cooked peas, or even cooked chopped green beans to this mixture with the onions. Alternatively, dip thin slices of uncooked potatoes, spinach, kale or thinly sliced aubergine in the batter and fry until golden and the vegetables cooked through – this would be the Asian alternative to Japanese tempuras, but spicier!

Ingredients

1 cup gram flour (basan) available at all Asian stores and good supermarkets
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon chilli powder or flakes (optional)
¼ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, chopped
Few chopped fresh coriander leaves
Oil to fry

Method

  • Mix all the dry ingredients with some water, starting with a little and then adding more, to make a thickish batter – it should slip off the spoon easily

Pakoras with onions

  • Add the chopped onions and fresh coriander
  • Heat some oil in a small wok – about half inch of oil if you prefer not to deep fry – as you can see below, mine are not deep fried

Pakoras with onions(2)

  • Drop dessert spoonfuls of batter in the hot oil and fry on each side for about 2 minutes on low/medium heat until golden!
31Jul/15

Spicy aubergine bhaji

Aubergine bhaji(3)

Apart from potatoes, aubergines are second on my list of most used vegetables.  You can curry them, stuff them or dip in flour and fry them – I have even used aubergines in my vegetable biryani with very good results and of course aubergine pickled in vinegar with garlic and a some mint is delicious.

This is a spicy aubergine bhaji where I have used a mix of whole spices generally known as Panchporan – it is a mix of black mustard seed, fenugreek seed, fennel seed, cumin seed and black onion seed and is available in most Asian stores, some large supermarkets like Tescos or buy it online – click here)

Ingredients

1 large aubergine, cut into large cubes
3 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons panchporan (a mix of black mustard seed, fenugreek seed, fennel seed, cumin seed, black onion seed, available at Asian stores or online here)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 inch piece ginger, chopped finely
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
½ tablespoon tomato puree

Method

  • Heat oil and add panchporan
  • Let the spices brown for a minute or so until the seeds begin to pop – add all the other ingredients except aubergines

Aubergine bhaji

  • Cover and cook tomatoes on low heat for about 15 minutes – you shouldn’t need water, but if you do add a small splash
  • Add aubergines, cover and cook for another 15 minutes

Aubergine bhaji(2)

  • Serve with rice and dal or eat with any flat bread!
24Jul/15

Crispy potato based rice

Rice with roast potatoes

Rice with roast potatoes(2)

This is a variation of one of many Iranian rice dishes and this crispy potato based rice is simple to prepare and delicious with salad or a light curry.

So we just boil the rice as usual, pop it on a layer of sliced potatoes and steam to create a fabulous dish of crunchy and moist potatoes with rice – a simple, appetising dish of rich to be served with either a salad or a light curry – we had it with aubergine with chana dal cooked with soya mince and it was a huge success!  Click here for the aubergine recipe

Aubergine, chana dal & mince

4 good servings

Ingredients

300 grams Basmati rice, soaked for 1 hour at least
4 large waxy potatoes, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt

Method

  • Rinse rice, add salt and boil in a large deep pan with lots of water
  • Good quality basmati rice will take about 3 minutes from boiling to cook – keep it al dente
  • Strain rice in colander and add the peas and gently stir to mix
  • In the same pan, put the oil and 4 tablespoons of water
  • Layer the potatoes on the base of the pan
  • Top it with rice, cover the lid with a clean tea cloth and steam on med/high for 5 minutes, reduce heat to low and steam for further 15 minutes.
  • To loosen the potatoes, place the saucepan in an inch of cold water in the sink for 3 minutes
24Jul/15

Aubergine with chana dal and soya mince

Aubergine, chana dal & mince

Mince and chana dal (split peas) cooked in a rich tomato sauce and whole dried lime, split in two is a very popular dish in Iran.  Dried lime can be bought at Middle Eastern or Asian stores or online, click here.   I have successfully added aubergines to this dish as aubergines go very well with soya mince and tomatoes.  Served with plain boiled rice or flat bread this makes a very satisfying and healthy meal to serve to the family! 

I tend to add a pinch of baking soda when cooking any tough legume or bean as this hastens the cooking time – a trick I learnt from my dear Laxmi, who was a loving and gentle second mother to me and my family.

Ingredients

Half cup chana dal, preferably soaked for an hour but not absolutely essential
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 large aubergine, cut into large cubes
1 cup frozen soya mince (you could use dried soya mince too, click here to buy online)
1 medium onion, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
1 level teaspoon turmeric
3-4 tomatoes, chopped (or 1 tin of tomatoes)
½ teaspoon salt
1 dried lime, split in two (optional, click here to buy online) 

Method

  • Rinse and cook chana dal with a quarter teaspoon of baking powder – baking powder will expedite the cooking process! Be careful you don’t overcook the chana dal and keep it whole, strain and set aside
  • Fry onions in oil until golden
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, garlic, ginger and salt
  • Aubergine, chana dal & mince(2)
  • Cover and cook on low with a small splash of water until tomatoes are softened, about 20-25 minutes
  • Add aubergine, soya mince, cooked chana dal and dried lime.  Add a cup of water, cover and cook on low heat for a further 20 minutes until the stew is thick and aubergines cooked
  • Serve with boiled rice or flat bread – why not try this Maneesh I made the other day!

Maneesh(2)

11Jul/15

Spicy roast cauliflower

Roast cauliflower

Here’s a cauliflower roast to spice up your meal.  It is easy, just mix ingredients into thickish batter, coat cauli and bake – done.

Ingredients

Small cauliflower
2 heaped tablespoons gram flour (basan)
1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast (optional)
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon ground fennel seeds
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil in batter
2 tablespoons oil in roasting pan

Method

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients above up to 1 tablespoon oil and add a little water to make a smooth, thickish paste – enough to coat the cauli but not run off! If too thin, add a little more gram flour
  2. Put an inch of water in pan and par boil whole cauliflower for 5 minutes only
  3. Remove the cauliflower, allow to cool a little, then coat with batter
  4. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a roasting pan and roast cauliflower in preheated oven at 200C, 400F, gas mark 6 for 20 minutes