Vegan, Vegetarian

Khoresh Bademjan (vegan)

Trying out new recipes was not top of my list during recent months. Work and keeping us all sane was the priority. Yesterday, while sporting my ‘Lockdown Grey’ hair, I decided to make something new. To draw from the selection of spices I have but not produce another dish with chili or curry as the dominant taste.

2While I haven’t that much knowledge of it, I have really enjoyed the Persian food I have had. I decided to put together a vegan version of Khoresh Bademjan. I substituted yellow split peas for the meat and it turned out quite delicious. I served it with plain Basmati rice but it would be equally nice served simply with flat breads.

My stash of Sumac was gone (now there’s something I never thought I would run out of!) so I used orange and lemon instead. It worked well and there are lovely citrus-y, garlic-y, flavours to this dish.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1lb aubergines, chopped into bite size pieces
Olive oil
Table salt
2 medium sized onions, chopped finely
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped finely (adjusted according to taste)
1 medium sized orange
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Saffron threads soaked in 3 tsp water
1 cup dried split yellow peas, rinsed with cold water
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato puree
Sea salt and ground black pepper to season

Method
1. Place chopped aubergines in a colander and sprinkle liberally with table salt
2. Leave aside for 20-30 minutes
3. Zest and juice the orange. Place the zest in the juice and set aside
4. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C
5. Rinse the salt off the aubergines and dry the pieces
6. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes
7. While the aubergines are roasting, heat about three tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pan
8. Add the onions, cover and cook gently for 6-8 minutes until soft
9. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes
10. Add the cumin, paprika and cinnamon, cook for 1-2 minutes
11. Add the lemon and orange juices (including the orange zest) and combine with the onion mix
12. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, saffron (with water), the yellow split peas and a good grind of black pepper
13. Simmer for 10 minutes
14. Add the roasted aubergines and simmer gently for 30 minutes (stir occasionally and gently so that the aubergines stay in pieces)
15. Add salt to taste
16. Serve with plain Basmati rice or flat breads

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Slow cooked pasta sauce

Slow cooked pasta sauce

Late in from work, I promised to make the Teen something tasty for dinner to be ready when she arrived in from college. Not a lot in the fridge but still enough to make a tasty pasta sauce. I’ve slow cooked meat ragu before so I wondered if I could make a vegan version. At that time of the day, I simply wanted to prepare something which ticked all the boxes but didn’t exhaust me making!

Into the kitchen and I find vegetables, tins of tomatoes, lentils and some wine so I get to work. I let it cook at a low heat and like the meat version, it became richer with the cooking. Served up with penne, it made a very happy Teen. And we discovered that it freezes well too. Win win!

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 tbsp, olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced finely
4 oz mushrooms, chopped finely
1 roasted red pepper, cut into thin slices
4 oz green lentils, rinsed
1 glass red wine
2 tbsp, tomato puree
1 tbsp, dried parsley
1 heaped tsp, dried basil
2 tins, chopped tomatoes
1 heaped tsp, sugar
Ground black pepper and sea salt to season

Method
1. Heat the oil and cook the onion over a medium heat until soft (about 8 mins)
2. Add garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes
3. Add carrots, mushrooms and lentils cooking for another 4 minutes
4. Add red pepper
5. Add red wine and cook for 2 minutes
6. Add herbs, tomato puree, tins tomatoes and sugar
7. Season with salt and pepper
8. Bring to the boil and then reduce
9. Cook over a low heat for 3 hours
10. Serve with a pasta of your choosing

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Creamy Vegan Curry

Creamy Vegan Curry

The Teen likes creamy food but she’s never liked cream in food. I kept this in mind when making a curry recently and wondered how it might turn out if I used coconut milk to make a creamy curry. I wanted the creaminess but not the coconut flavour which wouldcoconut not have suited the spice blend and it worked out perfectly once I got the following ratio correct. One tin of tomatoes to one tin of coconut milk was too creamy but two tins of tomatoes to one tin of coconut milk worked out perfectly. It made it a big pot of food so this curry generously feeds six!

It can be served with rice or warmed naan bread. It’s even nice to eat on its own and it freezes well too.

Ingredients
2 tbsp, sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2 tbsp, grated ginger
1 red pepper, cut in strips
2 large carrots, diced
4 oz, mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 chillis, chopped finely or 1 tsp, minced chilli from a jar
½ tsp, cumin seeds
1 tsp, ground cumin
1 tsp, ground coriander
1 tsp, garam masala
1 tsp, turmeric
2 tbsp, tomato puree
2 tins, chopped tomatoes
1 tin, coconut milk
Sea salt and ground black pepper to season

Method
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan
2. Fry the onion over a medium heat until soft for about 8 minutes
3. Add the garlic and ginger cooking for another 2 minutes
4. Add the pepper, carrots and mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes
5. Add the chickpeas, cumin seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, turmeric and cook for 2 minutes
6. Add the tomato puree and tins of chopped tomatoes
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper
8. Cook for 40 minutes over a low to medium heat
9. Add the coconut milk and heat through just before serving.
10. Serve with boiled rice or warmed naan bread

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Vegan, Vegetarian

Butter Bean and Sweet Potato Curry

Ah, you can’t beat a summer in Ireland! While you might expect to be knee deep in salad beansingredients and all sorts of delicious fresh produce, wintry fare is often far more suitable. No surprise then that I cooked a Butter Bean and Sweet Potato Curry yesterday for the teen. A one pot dinner which suited the weather perfectly. She ate it while sitting at the window looking out at the lashings of rain!

Ingredients
½ lb dried butter beans soaked overnight or 2 tins of butter beans
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
5 tbsp, sunflower oil
1 onion, cut into thinly sliced rings
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1½ tbsp, fresh ginger grated finely
1 tsp, minced chilli from jar or 1-2 fresh chillis, chopped finely
1 tsp, turmeric
1 tsp, ground cumin
1 tsp, cumin seeds
1 tsp, garam masala
1 tsp, ground coriander
1 tsp, mango powder (optional)
1 tin, chopped tomatoes
2 tbsps, tomato puree
Cup of water
Sea salt
1 cube, vegetable stock
1 tbsp, lemon juice

Method
1. If using dried butter beans – place in a saucepan, cover with plenty of water, add the stock cube and boil gently for 30-40 minutes until the beans are softening but still have a bit of a bite. Drain and set aside

While beans are cooking
2. Preheat the oven to 180C Fan
3. Toss the sweet potatoes and carrots in 3 tablespoons of oil and season with salt
4. Roast in the oven until carmelised but still have a slight bite (about 20-25 minutes)
5. Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and fry the onion until soft – about 8 minutes
6. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes
7. Add the chilli and cook for about a minute
8. Make a well in the onion mix and add the spices
9. Let these cook for a minute and then combine thoroughly and cook for a further 2 minutes
10. Add the tomato puree, tin of chopped tomatoes and lemon juice*
11. Cook for 10 minutes
12. Add the beans and roast vegetables
13. Add the water, if needed
14. Cook for another 5 minutes
15. Serve as it is, with green vegetables or some warm naan breads.

* The lemon juice is important as it cuts through the sweetness of the beans and roast vegetables

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Vegan, Vegetarian

Romesco Sauce

More experimentation in the kitchen. Whenever I am at my busiest, my mind wanders to cooking and today was no exception. I saw this sauce being made to serve with fish and thought it could be nice to serve as a vegan pasta sauce too.

After scouring a number of recipes, I put together the following. It can be stored for up to a week in the fridge but I doubt this will last that long! The teen ate it with a spoon from the jar and spread it on bread before eating it with pasta. We also thought that it would be a very nice accompaniment to serve with chips or potato wedges.

 

Ingredients
2 red peppers
4 tbsp, blanched almonds
2-3 cloves, garlic
2 tomatoes, peeled and cored
Pinch of salt
½ tsp, sugar
¼ tsp, cayenne
1 tsp, smoked paprika
2 tbsp, wine vinegar
2 tbsp, olive oil

Method
1. Pre heat oven to 180C
2. Place peppers on an oven rack and roast until soft, turning a couple of times over the 10-15 minutes required
3. At the same time, place the almonds and the garlic on a baking tray to roast for 8-10 minutes, turning the almonds once during the process to make sure they do not burn
4. In a liquidiser, place the tomatoes, salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika and vinegar
5. When roasted, remove the peppers, almonds and garlic from the oven and allow to cool
6. Peel the peppers and remove the seeds and stalk
7. Peel the garlic
8. Add the peppers, almonds and garlic to the other ingredients and blitz until combined but the nuts are still slightly visible
9. Add the oil and combine thoroughly
10. Transfer to a sterilised jar

 

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Vegan, Vegetarian

Chana Masala with Roasted Pepper

We’re at that time of the week when the fridge is bare! Time to conjure up something with the softening red pepper and larder staples of onions, garlic and chilli. In the press are tins of tomatoes, chickpeas and my collection of spices. I decide to put that pepper spicesout of its misery by roasting it in the oven to bring out its sweetness and to give it a slightly charred taste. And with the tomatoes and chickpeas, I make my version of Chana Masala. I add mango powder to the spice mix – yes, it does make a difference but it can be left out. I have to admit that I only bought it at the Asian Market as I was curious and then had to go looking for recipes to use it in!

It’s not traditional as I have no tamarind to add to the mix but the Teen declares it to be ‘unreal’ so that is praise enough for me!

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 red pepper, whole
3 tbsp, sunflower oil
I medium onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
½ tsp, cumin seeds
1 tsp, chopped chilli from jar or 2-3 fresh chilis, chopped finely
1 tsp, ground cumin
1 tsp, ground coriander
1 tsp, mango powder (optional)
1 tsp, garam masala
1 tsp, turmeric
¼ – ½ tsp, salt
2 tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tin, chopped tomatoes
6 dried curry leaves
1 tbsp, lemon juice

Method
1. Heat the oven to 200 C degrees
2. Place red pepper on the rack and roast for 20-25 minutes, turning twice through the roasting process
3. While the pepper is roasting, heat the oil in a large saucepan
4. Fry cumin seeds for 1-2 minutes
5. Add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes until soft
6. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes
7. Add the chilli and ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes
8. Add the ground cumin, ground coriander, mango powder, garam masala, turmeric, salt and combine thoroughly with the onion mix
9. Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, curry leaves and lemon juice
10. Slice the roasted pepper into thin strips and add to the mix
11. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes
12. Serve with flat breads or rice

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Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

‘Masak Merah’ Vegetables

I promised I’d cook the Teen something spicy for dinner. When I looked at my recipes and on line, I knew I wanted to try something different – not the usual coriander-cumin mix or something with coconut milk. After much searching, I came up with a veganpic version of ‘Ayam Masak Merah’ – without the Ayam! Quite simply, it is a recipe with roasted vegetables served with a spiced tomato sauce from Malaysia.

This recipe is a milder version than the traditional ones. It is still not for the faint hearted! I decided to make the sauce in advance and let it stand so that the spice could cook out and come through more evenly. In keeping with the style of cooking the original chicken component, I roasted the vegetables before adding to the sauce. All of this was served up with boiled Jasmine rice.

I used whatever vegetables I found in the fridge and larder. I cut them into sizes so they would cook at the same time. Putting them in a large bowl, I drizzled them in enough sunflower to coat them lightly and seasoned with sea salt. Placing them on a pre-heated baking tray, I roasted them in an oven pre-heated to 180c for about 20 minutes. I give the selection I used plus I threw in some spinach at the end of the cooking time.

Serves 4

Ingredients
Paste
1 stick lemongrass, roughly chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 bulb garlic, chopped
3 hot chillies, chopped (with seeds in)
1½ inch, ginger, chopped finely
3 star anise
½ tsp, black cardamon seeds

Sauce
3 tbsp., sunflower or vegetable oil
1 stick, cinnamon
1 tsp, turmeric
1 tsp, fennel seeds
1 tsp, ground coriander
1 tube, tomato puree
½ cup, tomato ketchup
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tin, chopped tomatoes
6 kaffir leaves
1 tsp, sugar
1 tbsp., lime juice
Sea salt

Vegetables
Sunflower oil

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size cubes
2 large carrots, cut into batons
2 bell peppers
2 large handfuls of spinach (added 5 minutes before the end of cooking)

Method
1. With a pestle and mortar, crush the star anise with the cardamon seeds
2. Put in the blender with the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, onion and chillies
3. Blitz into a rough paste
4. Heat the oil and fry the paste for 2-3 minutes
5. Add the cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, coriander and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes
6. Add in the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, tomato ketchup, sugar, kaffir leaves and lime juice
7. Bring to the boil and simmer at a low heat for 30 minutes
8. Season with salt to taste
9. Add the roasted vegetables, coat in the sauce and cook for another 15 minutes

 

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Pickles, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Gone mad picklin’!

I’ve always loved pickles. When I was little, I would sneak a silver skin pickled onion off the drinks’ tray. And I would wince, sucking the vinegar out of the little onion. There wasonioin something thrilling about it to a small person!

Pickles from Poland were always my favourite. There was a sweetness to the pickles rather than the sharp, face wincing, pickling liquid I had first encountered. Pickles were something I bought, not something I thought of doing myself.

Until this summer…

I’ve been making jars of pickled red onions, cucumber and more recently, Kimchi. I was surprised not only at how delicious they are but also at how easy and cheap it is to make them. We opened the first jar of pickled onions, put them on some mature cheddar – heaven! We’ve used these in sandwiches, salads and curries and the cucumbers in salads.

Red onions
1 1/2 pint storage jar with clips

Ingredients
1lb red onions, sliced very thinly
1½ cups, white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns

Method
1. Place the vinegar, sugar and salt in a pan
2. Heat slowly until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved and thenm remove from the heat
3. Pack about one third of the onions into the jar
4. Add a few peppercorns
5. Repeat process until jar is full
6. Press the onions down into the jar leaving about an inch from the top free
7. Pour in the warm vinegar mix
8. Allow to cool before sealing and put in the fridge
9. Store for a couple of days before using
10. When opened, store in fridge and it will keep for about 4 weeks

cucumberCucumbers
The process is similar to the one above and the result is equally delicious. The recipe makes 1 1/2 pint jar.

Ingredients
3 large cucumbers, sliced very thinly
1½ cups, white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
2-3 small sprigs of dill

Method
1. Place the vinegar, sugar and salt in a pan
2. Heat slowly until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved and then, remove from the hob
3. Pack a third of the sliced cucumbers into the jar
4. Add a sprig of dill
5. Repeat process until the jar is full, leaving about an inch from the top free
6. Pour in the warm vinegar mix
7. Allow to cool before sealing and put in the fridge
8. Store for a couple of days
9. When opened, store in fridge and it will keep for 4 weeks

 

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Vegan

Korma

This was an experiment! I knew what I wanted to make but I was shaky on the steps tospices get there! I should not have worried as it turned out very nicely. As a former colleague would say: “Tasty business. Very tasty indeed!”

The Teen was hankering after Korma. Being vegan, that is not readily available. Looking at a range of recipes, I wondered ‘What if I leave out the desiccated coconut and single cream and use coconut milk? And if I do this, how much would I use as a substitute?’ I added a bit, tasted. Then another bit. Tasted. Eventually, I chucked the whole tin in and it seemed I had thinned it out. I need not have worried. As it simmered, the taste deepened. Phew!

What vegetables did I use? Anything I found in the fridge and vegetable trays!

Substituting ingredients from traditional Kormas means that this can never be taken as authentic but in our opinion, it comes quite close in tastiness.

This took some time to make because I made the curry paste first but we think it was worth it. Due to the fact that there is a high concentration of onions, garlic and ginger in the paste, I did not add any into the Korma

Ingredients
2 tbsp, sunflower oil
Selection of vegetables, cut into pieces to cook at similar times
1/3 of homemade curry paste
1 heaped tbsp, tomato puree
1 tsp, sugar
1 tin, coconut milk
Black pepper and sea salt
Toasted blanched almonds to serve

Method
1. Heat the oil in a medium sized pan
2. Fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes
3. Add in the tomato puree, sugar, curry paste and cook for a couple of minutes to ensure all the vegetables are covered
4. Add in the coconut milk and season with salt and ground pepper
5. Simmer gently for thirty minutes
6. Serve with boiled basmati rice or naan bread

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Gigantes, Vegan

Gigantes (or Posh Beans on Toast!)

There isn’t a cuisine we’ve encountered that we haven’t liked but we do have our favourites. The food of mediterranean countries would be one of them – bold flavours, fresh vegetables and delicious tastes. Another bonus is that such cuisine can often be made using cupboard staples.

On Sunday, we ate lunch at a local Greek Cypriot restaurant. And it was perfect. Oodles of garlic and totally yum. The Teen couldn’t finish hers so took the leftovers in a Doggy Bag.

I wanted to make something tasty for the Apres Teen to go with the leftovers. Something tasty, hearty and vegan. Based on what I had in the cupboard, I opted for Gigantes. These I served to her with slices of toasted sour dough bread drizzled with olive oil. Basically, a posh version of beans on toast!

Ingredients
½ lb, dry butter beans (soaked overnight)*
Olive oil
Vegetable stock cube
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
½-¾ tsp, sweet paprika**
½-¾ tsp, ground cinnamon**
2 tbsp, tomato puree
1 tbsp, dried parsley
1/2 tsp, dried oregano (optional)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
Sea salt and black pepper

Method
1. Cover the pre-soaked butter beans with water, crumble in the stock cube and boil gently for 50 minutes
2. While the beans are boiling, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan
3. Add the chopped onions, cover so they soften rather than brown and cook for 6-8 minutes
4. Add chopped garlic and cook for a further two minutes
5. Add the paprika, cinnamon, tomato puree, dried parsley, oregano (optional) and tinned tomatoes
6. Season with salt and a good grind of black pepper
7. Drain the beans and add the sauce
8. Simmer for 40-50 minutes until the tomato sauce is semi absorbed***
9. To serve, drizzle a little olive oil over the top

*Can use two tins of butter beans instead of the dry variety
**We like more rather than less spice. You may, however, like to start at 1/2 teaspoon of each. This can be increased once the sauce is made and tasted.
***Reduce cooking time if using canned beans (30 minutes)

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