The Kindly Vegan

vegan recipes - it's easy

Leek & potato flan

Leek & Potato flan(2)

Hello again….. leek & potato flan following the success of spinach flan (yum!) – potatoes and leek make a more substantial filling and a green salad is all you need to go with it.  I tend to make a large flan using a 10 inch dish simply because it freezes well and is worth making more while you are at it!  Flans make a great meal and are excellent to take to work for lunch because you can eat it hot or cold without losing the taste or flavour.

Did an asparagus flan last night and made the shortcrust pastry myself with wholemeal flour – so much more flavour and texture when you do the pastry with wholemeal flour and do it yourself!  Will be posting this soon, so watch this space….

4-6 servings

Ingredients

3 med/large leeks, sliced
3-4 medium waxy potatoes (approximately 400-450 grams)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence or mixed herbs
Approximately 450 grams firm silken tofu (a block of tofu is usually 349 grams in the UK – you will need 2 blocks – slice and marinate remaining tofu in soya sauce and pop into the freezer – see recipe for fried tofu - have used smokey flavouring for this one but recipe applies to all sorts of flavoured tofu, delicious)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon asafoetida (this gives the tofu an eggy flavour and is optional)
Large pinch turmeric for colour
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 sheet of frozen shortcrust pastry, defrosted (I used Jus Rol which is vegan)
10 inch flan dish

Leek & Potato flan(1)
Sauteed leeks

Method

  1.  Boil potatoes in skin, peel and chop into small pieces
  2. Gently saute leeks in 2 tablespoons oil for 10-12 minutes – cover and stir to soften leeks
  3. Remove leeks and set aside. In same pan fry potatoes in remaining 1 tablespoon oil for 2-3 minutes.  Put leeks back in pan and mix with potatoes, little salt, black pepper and herbs
  4. Blend tofu with lemon juice, asafoetida, pinch of turmeric and a pinch of salt until smooth
  5. Add blended tofu to potatoes and leeks and mix thoroughly
  6. Roll out defrosted pastry and line the flan dish.  Place a piece of baking parchment and a handful of beans on it to weigh it down and blind bake at 200C, 400F, gas mark 6 for 15 minutes (non-fan assisted oven)
  7. Remove from oven, discard paper and store beans in a jar for use later.
  8. Pour the tofu and potato mixture into the pastry case and bake for 25-30 minutes – check after 25 minutes and if the tofu is firm, the flan is ready

Sweet & sour fragrant beetroot

Fragrant Beetroot

How often do we have beetroot? And in what form do we eat it?  Most of us have had beetroot in salads (I did a mean summer beetroot salad you may like to try) or perhaps tried our skills with Borscht and pickled beetroot is an old favourite; but generally that is the extent of our association with this beautiful vegetable.  However, there is more to it and in the sub-continent people go a step further and curry it!  Iranians add grated beetroot to yogurt and of course the colour and taste of freshly squeezed beetroot juice is truly intoxicating. Just remembered, I also do a beetroot and carrot cake! I’d be the first to admit that I am not a dab hand with cakes and desserts but this cake is really scrumptious and I was very proud of the results, cakes not being my forté!  Will post this soonish….

Beetroot is a powerful antioxidant and belongs to the chard and spinach family and if you can find some with fresh leaves then chop the leaves and add these too.  Every time I see bunches of fresh beetroot I am tempted to pop one bunch into my basket not having a clue how I will use it but determined to do something different.  This time I adapted the curried version my Mum cooked when we were young and added some sweet and sour, omitting the curry powder and replacing it with fragrant spices like mace, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Beetroot Fragrant(2)

4 servings

Ingredients

Fresh beetroot 500 grams, boil and chop into small pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt, or according to taste

Method

  1. Boil the beetroot in the skin, peel and chop into small pieces
  2. Fry the onion in oil until golden
  3. Add garlic, ginger, tomato puree and all other spices
  4. Fry on low heat, adding small splashes of water, for about 4-5 minutes
  5. Add beetroot and 200 ml water, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the spices and cooked and absorbed by the beetroot
  6. Add sugar and lemon juice – check and add more sugar/lemon juice according to taste
  7. Serve with rice, quinoa, cous cous or in a wrap

Rice, broad beans & herbs

Rice, broadbeans & parsley

On today’s menu, rice, broad beans & herbs – deliciously fragrant herbs and the smell wafts through the house drawing everyone to the kitchen! My upstairs neighbour always tells me how she loves the smell of my cooking floating up – makes her hungry which is always a good sign.

Rice is our staple at home; potatoes being a close second!  I grew up with rice as part of our meal every day although at home my mother would make chappatis too.  Rules of the table being, one chappati to start with followed by a helping of rice – the meal being balanced with a little wholemeal wheat in chappatis, rice, vegetables, dal and usually some yogurt with cucumber or spinach.  

My mother being of Iranian origin prepared some weird and wonderful rice dishes – Iranians do wild combinations of rice with vegetables, lentils, beans and dried fruit and most of these are served with loads of salad, yogurt and pickle.  I have already posted a rice pilau with broad beans with tomatoes but this one is with herbs – beautiful fragrant dill and flat leaf parsley.  It is simpler because the rice is boiled and simply added to the beans and herbs and stir fried for a few minutes.

Very quick, simple and takes no more time than popping a ready meal in the oven – serve with avocado, onion & tomato salad and/or beetroot salad and/or yogurt and cucumber. I hope you will try it and do variations for yourself by using peas, carrots, cauliflower florets, mange tout etc etc

I had some broad beans in the freezer which I had frozen earlier this year from the leftovers of the small crop in our garden.  Simply boil for 2 minutes, cool with lots of water and freeze.  I also freeze parsley and dill – wash, chop and freeze.  It’s the best way of preserving herbs and of course you will always have some to the ready when you need them.  Buy them when on special offer in Asian or Middle Eastern shops – I usually get 2 big bunches of dill for £1 and same with flat leaf parsley or coriander.

3-4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups Basmati rice (about 200 grams, soak for 1 hour)
2 cups cooked broad beans (fresh or frozen)
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh dill, chopped
2 small sticks cinnamon
¼ teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt

Method

  1. Fry onion and cinnamon sticks in oil until onions are golden
  2. Cook the beans separately and add to onions along with parsley, dill, turmeric and a pinch of salt – fry on low heat for 4-5 minutes
  3. Rinse rice and boil with a half teaspoon of salt in lots of water until rice is cooked – about 5-7 minutes depending on quality of rice
  4. Strain rice in colander and add to beans and herb mixture
  5. Stir fry over low heat and warm through for about 2-3 minutes – use a spatula and stir gently so as not to break the rice grains

Veggie pot

Cutlets(4)
Veggie pot served with sage cutlets

Made some vegan sage cutlets the other day and a week ago had made some parsley cutlets and served these with steamed vegetables.  Something slightly different as an accompaniment was called for this time round.  A bung it all in veggie pot sounded appetising (could almost taste it!) so that is exactly what I did.  Roughly chopped and sliced some veggies, popped them in a large saucepan and cooked in coconut milk with some herbs for flavouring and guess what? it was perfect!  Just what we needed to replace plain steamed vegetables and of course something new to add to our repertoire.

Give it a go as it couldn’t be simpler and is very satisfying specially now that autumn is here and winter on its way…..

4 good servings

Ingredients

4 medium potatoes (500-550 grams), thick slices
2 large carrots, sliced
2 large celery sticks, sliced
1 large onion, thickly sliced
200 ml coconut milk (coconut milk is creamier)
100 ml water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sachet of bouquet garni
2 bay leaves
Good pinch of salt
Black pepper
1 tablespoon cornflour

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in a large deep pan and bring to boil
  2. Lower heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes
  3. Mix cornflour with a little water or milk and add to veggie pot to thicken the sauce

PS.  I did sprinkle the veg pot with a little paprika just before serving with vegan sage cutlets – looks pretty!

Vegan sage cutlets

Cutlets(4)

Vegan sage cutlets are a variation I tried after doing the vegan parsley cutlets and it is well worth a go.  Used only garlic and sage and cut out the ginger and turmeric.  You could add thyme, rosemary or Italian mixed herbs and even some chilli if you like a bit of heat.  The basic recipe is the same – cannellini beans and vital wheat gluten which contains 75% protein and is generally used to make seitan.  It is fine to freeze so double the quantity and make more for another day.

I use Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten which is available online at Goodness Direct and I have also bought it from Whole Food stores.

I made a mixed vegetable pot to go with this which made a change to the usual steamed vegetables or salad.

6 cutlets

Ingredients

1 tin cannellini beans, rinse, drain and blend
1 cup (100grams) vital wheat gluten (available at Wholefoods or online)
3 large cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 full teaspoon dried sage
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Half small cup cold water (about 50 ml)
Aluminium foil cut into about 6-7 inch wide strips (6 strips)
Cooking oil for frying cutlets

Method

  1. Cut the strips of foil – you’ll need 6
  2. Blend the onion and garlic until smooth
  3. Separately blend the beans (a large plastic bowl is fine if using stick blender)
  4. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl, add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly with wooden spoon or use your hands
  5. Divide dough into 6 portions
  6. Lay one strip of foil on the chopping board, place one portion of cutlet mixture and shape into round or oval. Fold the foil over and lightly seal
  7. Wrap the rest of the cutlets in foil and place in steamer, one on top of the other
  8. Steam for 45 minutes
  9. Remove foil and shallow fry cutlets for about 4-5 minutes on low heat

These are fine to freeze so if you need to make more just double the quantities

Cutlets(1)
Wrapped in foil

Vegan parsley cutlets

Cutlets(2)

Vital wheat gluten is the natural protein found in wheat.  It contains 75% protein and is used to make seitan and in this recipe I have used it to make vegan parsley cutlets.  You could use the same recipe and vary the herbs and spices to make sausages.  I have another recipe for vegan sage cutlets which is a good variation and you can use thyme, rosemary or Italian mixed herbs to take it a step further.  It freezes well so just double the quantity and freeze for that rainy day.  

I use Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten which is available online at Goodness Direct and I have also bought it from Whole Food stores.

For variation try the cutlets with my veggie pot, all veggies available thrown together in a pot with some coconut milk and herbs – truly yummy

6 cutlets

Ingredients

1 tin cannellini beans, rinse, drain and blend
1 cup vital wheat gluten (available at Wholefoods or online at Goodness Direct)
3 large cloves garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
1 small onion
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or coriander
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Half small cup cold water
Aluminium foil cut into about 6 inch wide strips
Cooking oil for frying cutlets

Cutlets(1)
Wrapped in foil

Method

  1. Cut the strips of foil – you’ll need 6
  2. Blend the onion, garlic and ginger until smooth
  3. Separately blend the beans (a large plastic bowl is fine if using stick blender)
  4. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl, add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly with wooden spoon or use your hands
  5. Divide dough into 6 portions
  6. Lay one strip of foil on the chopping board, place one portion of cutlet mixture and shape into round or oval. Fold the foil over and lightly seal
  7. Wrap the rest of the cutlets in foil and place in steamer, one on top of the other
  8. Steam for 45 minutes
  9. Remove foil and shallow fry cutlets for about 4-5 minutes on low heat

These are fine to freeze so if you need to make more just double the quantities

 

Spinach flan

Spinach flan(2)

There are various recipes around for vegan flans but while preparing this spinach flan my priority was to keep it as simple as possible.  Broadly speaking, what we are doing is using spinach, onion and parsley for the filling and blended tofu to hold it together and give it that wonderful creamy taste and texture.  So although the ingredients list looks a bit long, it is quite simple.  

First of all get the pastry out and leave it to defrost.  Next cook the spinach, squeeze out the excess liquid and chop. Once you’ve done this, the rest is simply frying onions etc, adding spinach and parsley to it, blending the tofu,  rolling out the pastry and baking!  Admittedly it takes longer to prepare then say no-egg scramble, but it is definitely worth that little extra effort and of course what you don’t eat, if you don’t, you can freeze it for another day.

I used a good pinch of Asafoetida in mine which gives it an oomph so it might be worth getting a small jar from an Asian store or you could buy it online.  I also use it in no-egg scramble but it is optional.

4 good servings

Ingredients

1 sheet of frozen shortcrust pastry, defrosted (I used Jus Rol which is vegan)
450-500 grams fresh spinach, cooked, chopped and water squeezed out (I steam mine)
1 large onion, sliced
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (I tend to buy big bunches, wash, chop and freeze)
Firm tofu – I used Cauldron which comes in approx 400gm size pack
1 good tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk (soya, coconut or almond are all fine)
Good pinch of turmeric for colour
Salt and black pepper (you could use black salt instead to give it an eggy flavour)
Good pinch of asafoetida (optional – this is also gives the tofu an eggy flavour)

Method

  1. Gently fry onion and garlic in olive oil for about 8-10 minutes until soft and translucent but not brown (cover and stir is best to soften the onion)
  2. Add parsley and fry for a further 2-3 minutes then add spinach, a little salt and pepper and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the mixture is well blended
  3. Put tofu, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon milk, good pinch of turmeric and a little salt/black salt, asafoetida (if using) and blend until smooth.  Add another tablespoon of milk if it doesn’t go round well in the blender but not too much milk!
  4. Mix the spinach and the blended tofu and set aside
  5. Roll out the pastry to fit the size of the flan dish (mine is 10 inches round but there is no reason why you can’t use an oblong dish – the pastry is oblong so would make it easier!)
  6. Line the pastry dish with the pastry and blind bake by putting a sheet of baking parchment and a handful of raw beans in it for 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 200C, 400F, gas mark 6 (non-fan assisted oven)
  7. Remove beans and baking parchment and let the pastry shell cool for a few minutes
  8. Pour the spinach and tofu mixture into the flan dish and smooth the top
  9. Pop back into the oven for 25 minutes (check after 20 minutes as oven temperatures vary – press the filling with your finger and it should feel firm)
  10. Let it cool for a few minutes before cutting – good warm or cold and can be frozen

No-egg asparagus scramble

No egg asparagus scramble(2)

This is another version of no-egg scramble made with the ever versatile and indispensable tofu.  So quick and simple you could not but try it for your weekend breakfast or make a double helping and serve it for dinner with some steamed potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli and maybe some more asparagus left over from the pack?

Single serving

Ingredients

Firm or medium tofu, approximately 100 grams
5-6 asparagus tips for scramble (steam or lightly boil for few minutes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Good pinch of turmeric for colour
¼ level teaspoon black salt or ordinary salt (kala namak available from Asian stores or from Amazon)
Pinch of asfoetedia (optional – this is a pungent spice which adds an eggy flavour to the scramble. Schwartz do it as part of their spice range)
Black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Gently fry the asparagus in olive oil
  2. Add tofu and break it up with a fork
  3. Add all other ingredients and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes
  4. Serve on toast with a few more asparagus tips, fried tomato and mushrooms, peas or whatever you fancy

Bill’s Apple & Orange Marmalade

Bill's Marmalade

William Greer (Ole Bill), my dearest friend will have a go at anything!  Besides turning kindling and old, odd pieces of wood into something magical, building a stonewall in his garden, fire bricks out of old newspaper, he has now taken up preserving fruit with gusto! and the hedgerows in North Essex are not safe any more…. Not one for prescriptive anything and ready to break the rules, he gamely combines whatever his garden, the neighbour’s garden or the bountiful hedgerows of Essex have to offer and turns it into mouthwatering preserves, jams or marmalade (in this case apples and oranges, what next Bill?).

Bill's marmalade(2)

So here is his very own apple & orange marmalade recipe and he has promised to save one jar for me for when we visit later this year.  Bill and Barbara, his wife and childhood soul mate, live in Gestingthorpe in a postcard perfect pink cottage and I wrote about this a while ago with a few pictures of some of the beautiful pieces he crafts using mainly kindling and will sell if you ask nicely.

Makes approximately 10-11 regular 450 grams jam jars

Ingredients

1 kg oranges
2 kg mixed apples (any eating apple will do – I picked apples off a tree in the hedgerow outside our house)
3 kg sugar – granulated is fine
1.2 litre water

Method

  1. Squeeze the oranges, add juice and pulp to the water.
  2. Cut orange peel into 1/4 inch thick strips, length to choice, and leave to soak for 36 hours in 2 pints of water
  3. After 36 hours of soaking, peel, core and chop the apples and add to the oranges
  4. Tie the peel, pips and core in muslin and place in the preserving pan with all the other fruit
  5. Preheat the oven to 140C, 275F or gas mark 1; put the sugar in a bowl and place in oven
  6. Wash the jars and pop these into the oven as well
  7. Bring the fruit to a boil, lower heat and simmer until soft and pulpy (about 30 minutes – check to make sure the apples are cooked)
  8. Squeeze out and discard the muslin bag with the pith and pips
  9. Stir in the sugar on low heat and keep stirring until thoroughly dissolved
  10. Bring the marmalade to a rapid boil and continue boiling & stirring until setting point is reached (10-12 minutes)
  11. To test setting: Put a spoonful on to a cool saucer (pop into freezer when the jam is on!) – if it forms a light skin when pushed with your finger then it has set – congratulations!
  12. Remove from the heat, skim if needed
  13. Set aside to cool slightly for a few minutes, then pour into warm jars, cover while still hot, and label

 Bingo!

Bill(1)

 

Peas pilau

Peas pilau

Pilau rice means the rice is cooked in the liquid – water or stock.  Plain steamed rice is boiled in a lot of water (like pasta) and strained when the rice is al dente and then  put back on the hob on low to steam.   All sorts of vegetables can be added to pilau rice – peas, all variety of beans, carrots, potatoes, French beans, runner beans and whatever takes your fancy.  

There is no one way of cooking peas pilau – every household will have it’s own favourite tweak!  Sometimes I add fried onion which makes the pilau creamier and sweeter.  Other times when I can’t be bothered with chopping and frying an onion, I use this recipe which is simple and a good variation.  

Basmati rice comes in a variety of grades – some better than others.  That being so, it is not always easy to give precise measurements of how much liquid you will need.  But don’t panic – usually a ratio of 1:1 of rice and water does the trick.  And it is always possible to adjust the water while cooking the rice – see tip below.  Less water is probably better than using too much – keep a kettle on the boil and add a little more if required.  Once you’ve cooked pilau rice a few times you will know how much water to use just eye-balling it.  

You could use brown rice if this is what you prefer although typically pilau rice is cooked using white rice – brown rice will take a little longer to cook.

3-4 servings

Ingredients

2 cups Basmati rice (200-225 grams) soaked for 1 hour
2 cups frozen peas
Whole garam masala: 4 black peppercorns, 4 cloves, 2 cardamoms, 2 small sticks cinnamon, 2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black zeera or jeera (black cumin seeds are from the same family as regular cumin seeds but smaller – available at Asian stores, see link)
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 good tablespoons oil
2 cups water (300 mls) (see tip below for adjustment)
½ teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Rinse rice 3-4 times
  2. Heat oil in a large pan (small pans mean squished rice), lower heat and add whole garam masala and black zeera and fry for 30 seconds
  3. Add turmeric, peas and salt and fry for a further 2-3 minutes
  4. Add rice and 2 cups of water and bring to boil
  5. Lower heat to low/medium and simmer uncovered until most of the liquid has disappeared – about 3-4 minutes
  6. Cover the lid with a clean tea cloth and place tightly over the rice
  7. Lower heat to lowest and steam for about 10 minutes (use heat diffuser if you have one – I don’t know what I’d do without mine!)

Tip:       As there are various varieties of Basmati rice it is not always possible to give exact measurements of how much water you will need. However, it is easy to adjust the amount of water during cooking.  If you think you’ve added too much water, simply turn the heat on high and let it dry (only takes a minute or so);  if there is too little water and the rice still uncooked, add a little boiling water.  Rice needs to be watched and checked while it is on the boil – it should be al dente before covering and steaming 

Remember, rice freezes well and can be reheated in the oven

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