Tag Archives: simple

25Feb/16

Simple potato & onion gratin

Potato & onion gratin(2)

A while ago I did a potato, leek and mock bacon gratin which was delicious, however, the other day I didn’t have any leeks and decided to have a go with just potatoes and onions and cook on the hob in my heavy copper pan rather than the oven. Well, you wouldn’t believe how simple this was and how absolutely scrumptious! Took less time to prepare and cook so this definitely gets the vote in my weekly repertoire.  As this has no mock bacon, you can serve it with a variety of vegan products such as vegan sausages or some grilled seitan or tofu – enjoy

Potato & onion gratin

Ingredients

6 medium waxy potatoes (boiling potatoes) about 700 grams, sliced
2 large onions, thickly sliced into rounds
1 tablespoons olive oil (not your best olive oil!)
2 heaped tablespoons nutritional yeast (I use Bob’s Red Mill which is excellent but is hard to source in the UK. Ebay and Amazon sell it but postage from the US is expensive although the large tin lasts a long while.  Marigold is a lot cheaper but I’ve not tried this)
1 small cup vegan cream, about 150ml (I use Oatly Longlife)
1 stock cube, Kallo French onion or Vegetable, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of boiling water
1 tablespoon non-dairy butter like Vitalite
Black pepper

Method

  • Take a heavy based saucepan – I used my heavy copper pan. Coat the pan with olive oil and layer with sliced onions
  • Lay the sliced potatoes on top of the onions
  • Add nutritional yeast and black pepper to Oatly cream, stir and pour on the potatoes
  • Pour the dissolved stock cube on to the potatoes and dab with butter
  • Cover the lid with a teacloth and cook on low heat for about 30-35 minutes

Note: Place the saucepan in half inch of cold water for 2-3 minutes – this loosens the crust on the base of the pan and is easy to serve

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

 

17Jun/15

Mixed vegetable curry

Mixed vegetable curry(2)
I haven’t posted recently and am sorry about this…been so busy with the garden and other things which took priority.  Anyway, here is a simple mixed veg curry you could rustle up with any vegetable you have available.  I had a medium size aubergine (which believe it or not was half rotten so only used the good half), potatoes of course, and some frozen spinach which I put together to make this super delicious curry.

Ingredients

1 medium onion, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
3 tomatoes, or 2 large tablespoons tomato puree
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 medium aubergine, cut into chunks
100-150 grams spinach, about 3 handfuls fresh or frozen leaf spinach
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced or chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Method

  • Fry onion in oil until pale golden
  • Add spices, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and a little salt
  • Fry on low/medium heat for 2 minutes, cover and cook on low for 10 minutes – add small splash of water if required
  • Add vegetables and about 300ml of water, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are cooked and the sauce is thick
12Apr/15

Potato & Leek Gratin

Potato & leek gratin(2)

I think almost all my favourite dishes have one invariable…..Potatoes!! What about you? Okay so what vegetable teams best with potatoes?  For me leeks or onions…they both add a sweetness and creaminess no other vegetable can come close to, specially if the leeks or onions are sauteed.

So here we have potato & leek gratin minus the cheese – why no cheese? because we don’t need cheese, not at all.  Simply add a dollop of good quality nutritional yeast and you have a perfect, creamy, cheesy sauce.

I hope you will try this as it is simply the best potato and leek bake I have done to date and yet it is simple and takes very little time to prepare.  Serve with some greens (I love spinach!) or a salad – anything goes! 

3-4 servings

Ingredients

6 medium waxy potatoes (boiling potatoes) about 700 grams, thinly sliced
2 large or 3 medium leeks, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
I packet Vegan “bacon”, about 8 rasher (I use VBites Vegetarian Rashers which are vegan)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil (not your best olive oil!)
1 heaped tablespoon nutritional yeast (I use Bob’s Red Mill which is excellent but a tad expensive – Marigold is a lot cheaper but I’ve not tried this)
1 small cup vegan cream, about 150ml (I use Oatly Longlife)
1 small cup water, about 100ml
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence or a mix of thyme, rosemary, oregano
2 level teaspoons cornflour
Little salt and pepper to taste

Potato & leek gratin

Method

  1. Fry the thinly sliced leeks and garlic in olive oil for about 10-12 minutes until wilted and cooked or until the edges just start to go brown – remove and set aside
  2. In the same pan, add roughly chopped up vegan rashers and fry for a couple of minutes
  3. Tip the leeks and bacon into a large ovenproof dish
  4. Cover with thinly sliced potatoes
  5. In a bowl mix together the cream, water, cornflour, nutritional yeast, herbs, salt and pepper and pour over the potato and leeks
  6. Cover and bake in pre-heated oven at 200C, 400F, gas mark 6 for 40-45 minutes until potatoes are cooked
  7. Uncover and pop back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes to brown the potatoes
09Apr/15

Step-by-step Vegetable Biryani

Veggie biryani(2)

Traditionally, biryani is a rice dish prepared for feasts or special occasions by cooks who are hired specially to cook a huge vat, often outside in the garden on an open fire or even in the street if you don’t have a garden. It is served with yogurt raita and salad and, for me, doesn’t need any other supporting dish. Most families will treat themselves to a simplified version of biryani over weekends or holidays.

Biryani is rice layered with a spicy, fragrant vegetable curry where the vegetable curry is sandwiched between two layers of rice – it is quite simple and hardly ever goes wrong.  The rice is cooked till it is al dente (almost cooked with a tiny bite to it) and you can use a whole range of vegetables or step out of line and add a tin of chickpeas or white beans. 

One would think that rice layered with a vegetable curry would taste no different to eating rice and curry, but you will be surprised how different it tastes once it is layered and steamed.  The trick with biryani is to use generous amounts of fragrant whole spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, nutmeg and star anise – biryani cooked by professional chefs for weddings etc use an awful lot of fragrant spices and liberally sprinkle the rice with rose water and saffron prior to steaming the rice.

Here is a step-by-step vegetable biryani recipe which works for me every time with a perfectly balanced amount of fragrant spices and if you cook curries often, the chances are you have all the ingredients in your cupboard – so what are we waiting for….let’s venture forth and cook biryani like the professionals or better!

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups, about 300 grams Basmati rice (soak for an hour at least)
Half a large cauliflower, cut into large florets
400-500 grams waxy potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
1 tin of seitan, cut into bite-size pieces (I use “Mock Duck” by Marigold) – you could use soya chunks or any other substitute
Fry together
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
Few cloves, cardamom, black pepper (about 4-5 each)
2-3 small pieces of cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons oil PLUS 1 tablespoon for layering rice (see below)
Mix together in a bowl
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
2 inch piece ginger, finely chopped
4-5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato puree
3 tablespoons natural unsweetened soya yogurt
Juice of half lemon
½ teaspoon salt
Garnish – fry in a little oil for 1 minute
2 tablespoons each of cashews and raisins

Method

  • Fry onions together with the whole spices listed above until onions are golden brown

Veggie biryani(3)

  • Mix all the other spices listed above and add to onions
  • Fry spices for about 5-7 minutes, adding small splashes of water, until the spices are cooked

DSC_0096

  • Add potatoes, cauliflower and “mock duck”
  • Add approximately 200ml of water, cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes until veggies are cooked, but not mushy

Veggie biryani(4)

Cooking rice and layering

  • Rinse the rice, add a little salt and bring to boil in plenty of water in a large, deep saucepan
  • Boil for about 3-4 minutes in which time the rice should be almost cooked (al dente) – it is best to keep an eye on the rice at this stage as Basmati rice comes in numerous grades/varieties and the cooking time depends on the quality and type of the rice; strain in colander
  • Put about ¼ cup of water in the pan and 1 tablespoon of oil
  • Spoon about one-third of the rice in the pan and tip all the vegetables on top of the rice
  • Add rest of the rice to the pan to complete the layering

Veggie biryani(7)

  • Cover lid with a clean tea cloth and place firmly on the pan

Veggie biryani(8)

  • Steam rice on medium heat for 5 minutes, then lower heat to lowest and continue to steam for a further 20 minutes by which time the rice should be steaming
  • Serve garnished with cashews, raisins and the fried onion you set aside earlier
01Apr/15

Cheating Roast, cider & apples

Roast with cider(3)

We don’t eat an awful lot of processed food but the other day Holland & Barrett had one of their ‘buy one get one half price’ sales on and we bought a couple of VBites Cheatin’ Roasts for a quick Sunday meal. Instead of having it with the usual gravy, I find it best to cook it pot roast style with some veggies and fruit which create their own thick sauce and keep it nice and moist.

What veggies you use is down to you as well as the cooking medium – I have tried brown ale, cider, wine and just water and depending on which Cheatin’ Roast you opt for, one of the above is a very simple way of making this roast special.

Here I have teamed their Cheating Gammon Style roast with Aspall Cider, being vegan, it was the obvious choice.

Ingredients

One VBites Roast (I used the Cheating Gammon style 390g available at Holland & Barrett and online – see link)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, thickly sliced (use 1 large onion if you don’t have shallots)
1 large sweet apple, sliced
3 sticks of celery, sliced
8 dried apricots
1 bottle Aspall’s cider – 500ml plus 300ml water (Aspall’s is vegan)
1 teaspoon dry sage
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornflour mixed with a little cold water
Salt to taste

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a deep pan and add all the vegetables – fry for a few minutes to release the flavours
  2. Place the roast in the pan and add cider, water, apricots, sage, bay leaves and a little salt
  3. Cover the pan and let the roast simmer on low for about 45 minutes, turning the roast once halfway through cooking
  4. With a wooden spoon mash some of the vegetables then mix the cornflour with water and add to thicken gravy. You may find that your sauce is thick enough for you, in which case you can skip the cornflour!
  5. Serve with steamed greens and potatoes

Note: Whichever brand of cider you use, try to use a medium sweet cider but if the roast tastes a bit tart, add a tablespoon of brown sugar towards the end