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Archive for the ‘Vegan’ Category

Chana masala

Meehra Sodha describes this as a Workers’ Curry variations of which are eaten all over India. We love the flavours and textures here and have eaten this part of a wider spread of dishes and also on its own with some naan bread from the local takeaway. It’s worth soaking your own chickpeas if you can as they have a better texture. Thi

Wine suggestion: a simple, medium-bodied and earthy red is required here, nothing fancy. We had a bottle of the Monfil Garnacha from Cariñena in Spain which is uncomplicated but satisfying.

Chana masala – serves 4

  • 200g dried chickpeas (or 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric

Put the dried chickpeas into a large bowl, cover with cold water, then add the bicarbonate of soda and soak overnight or for at least 6 hours. Rinse and drain the chickpeas, then cover with more cold water and boil for 30-45 minutes, until soft, keep spooning off any scum that rises to the surface. (If you are using tinned chickpeas you just need to rinse and drain them.)

Crush the ginger, garlic & green chilli together in a pestle and mortor with a pinch of salt to make a paste.

Put the oil into a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir the ginger and chilli paste through the onions, then tip in the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands. Add the tomato puree, stir well and cook for 8-10 minutes or until you have a rich, thick sauce.

Add the garam masala, 1½ tsp of salt, cumin, chilli powder & turmeric, and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the drained chickpeas. You can add some water at this point to thin the sauce a bit, start with about 5 tbsp and add more if necessary. Taste and season.

Serve with naan breads or as alongside a few other Indian dishes.

(Original recipe from Made in India by Meera Sodha, Penguin, 2014.)

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Vegan Pie

Vegan Pie

Vegan recipes often get bad press, not helped by the poor offerings of restaurants. This dish has bags of flavour and doesn’t require any extras to make it a whole meal. A big splodge of ketchup on the side doesn’t go a miss if you’re that way inclined.

Wine Suggestion: not all wines are Vegan, but there are no standards on stating this on a bottle or to say what fining agents (which determines if it is Vegan friendly) have been used in making the wine.

Fining agents are used by winemakers to make a bright, clean coloured and tasting wine. Naturally most wines begin quite cloudy or hazy because of proteins, tannins, tartrates and phenolics. Winemakers traditionally add fining agents to rectify this and these include casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg whites), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein) as well as others like various clays. These bind with the proteins etc which then fall out of the wine. So by the time it reaches the bottle and then your glass there are no traces of these products. However they have been used and part of Veganism is not only if the product is not in the food, but also the use in the production.

A lot of wines are potentially Vegan friendly, but quite often don’t say on the label and aren’t obliged to so don’t dismiss a wine for not being Vegan if it doesn’t say so, it may still be.

Look online on the winery sites if you are in doubt and even email the winemakers – they love to discuss their wines and are happy to answer questions on how each wine is made.

We drank some Domaine du Joncier Lirac Blanc from a wonderful, biodynamic and natural wine maker Marine Roussel. A blend of Roussanne, Marsanne and Bourboulenc and fined naturally with time and gentle handling this is both round, fresh and full of depth.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie – serves 8 (make in 2 dishes and freeze one for later)

  • 1.2kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 15 mins, then drained (reserve the liquid)
  • 2 large leeks, chopped
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • a handful of marjoram or oregano, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • a handful of thyme, leaves picked
  • a handful of sage, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 300g frozen spinach
  • 20ml olive oil
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • tomato ketchup, to serve (optional)

Put the unpeeled potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 mins until the skins start to split. Drain and leave to cool a little.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large casserole dish. Add the mushrooms, leeks , onions, carrots and stock cube and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring.

Add the garlic, tomato purée, paprika, squash and herbs. Stir and turn the heat up a bit, cook for 3 mins, then add the celery and continue to stir and cook for a few more mins.

Tip in the chickpeas along with the water in the can and reserved mushroom stock. Add the peas and spinach and stir well. Cook for 5 mins, stirring occasionally, then season, turn off and set aside.

Peel the potatoes and discard the skin. Mash 200g with a fork and stir into the veg. Break the rest of the potatoes into chunks, mix with the olive oil and parsley and season.

Divide the filling into two pie dishes and top with the potatoes. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and bake the pies for 40-45 mins, until the top is golden and the filling is heated through.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Burnt Aubergine salad

Not quite a Baba Ghanoush, but you can drizzle on some tahini paste to make it one. This was really delicious and we loved the freshness from the lemons and the burst of fruity pomegranate. You need to start this many hours in advance but the process is very straightforward and the result is worth it.

Burnt aubergine with garlic, lemon & pomegranate seeds – serves 4 as a meze plate

  • 4 large aubergines (about 1.5kg before cooking)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 80g of pomegranate seeds (about ½ a large pomegranate)

If using a gas hob, line the base with foil and keep only the burners exposed. Put the aubergines on 4 separate moderate flames and roast for about 15-18 minutes or until the skin is burnt and flaky and the flesh is soft. Use metal tongs to turn them now and then.

Alternatively, score the aubergines with a knife in a few places, a couple of centimetres deep, and place on a baking tray under a hot grill for about an hour (we do ours on a gas barbecue). Turn them every 20 minutes or so and continue to cook even if they burst.

Allow the aubergines to cool slightly, then cut along each one and scoop out the flesh and divide it into long strips with your hands. Throw away the skin. Drain the flesh in a colander for at least an hour or longer if possible to get rid of as much water as possible.

Put the aubergine in a medium bowl and add the garlic, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, ½ a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Stir and allow the aubergine to marinate at room temperature for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, mix in most of the herbs and adjust the seasoning. Pile onto a serving plate, scatter on the pomegranate seeds and garnish with the rest of the herbs.

We served ours with some barbecued flatbreads.

(Original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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A colourful spring side dish that goes really nicely with roast lamb. You can cook the beans in advance and just warm through with the tomatoes and balsamic when you’re ready to serve.

Tomato & Balsamic Green Beans – serves 6-8 as a side dish

  • 650g green beans 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Trim the beans and cook in boiling salted water for 6-8 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and cool under running cold water. Store in the fridge until needed.

Heat the oil in a pan, then add the tomatoes and fry gently for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Season well, then splash in the balsamic vinegar. Warm through, then tip the beans into the pan. Stir well, then cover and warm through for a few minutes.

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We made this with red onions as we had no Spanish onions to hand which worked well; if you have the Spanish onions it works even better!

New potatoes Lyonnaise – to serve 6 as a side dish

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large Spanish onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1kg large new potatoes, halved

Heat the butter in a large pan until foaming. Add 2 tbsp of the olive oil and the onions and cook on a fairly low heat until soft and golden, about 30 minutes. When the onions have softened, stir in the garlic and thyme and set aside.

Heat the oven to 200C/180 fan/gas 6. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the potatoes and boil for 5 minutes, then drain well.

Mix the potatoes with the rest of the oil and some seasoning in a large roasting tin. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway, until golden. Stir in the onion mixture and roast for a further 10 minutes.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A stir-fry of Sprouts; Brussels & Bean. A delight and a real treat as a healthy midweek supper.

Sprouts with Sesame & Spring Onions – to serve 2 (or 4 as a side)

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • thumb-size piece ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 300g Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 250g beansprouts
  • small bunch spring onions, sliced diagonally
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra to serve
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a wok. Fry the ginger and Brussels sprouts, tossing, for 5-6 minutes, until slightly browned. Add a few tbsp water while they’re cooking if you need to stop them sticking, though the odd crusty bit will only improve things.

Add the beansprouts, spring onions, honey and soy sauce, then stir-fry for 1 minute. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve with some extra soy sauce.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A Lebanese twist to tomato sauce with gentle spices and almonds; a lovely variation on a theme. The proportion of sauce to spaghetti is also very different to how the Italian’s make pasta so there is a lot of sauce for this dish. This worked for us but you could use the same amount of sauce for a greater quantity of pasta and therefore serve more people if you’d like.

The spices are subtle and warming and the pinches can be generous if you like.

Spaghetti with a Rich Tomato Sauce & Toasted Almonds – serves 2 generously

  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground allspice
  • pinch grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch ground pepper
  • 200g spaghetti
  • 50g flaked almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Put the tomatoes, tomato purée, garlic and sugar into a pan and simmer over a low heat. Stir frequently and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the olive oil, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to packet instructions (usually between 10-12 minutes). Reserve 3 tablespoons of the cooking water and then drain the cooked spaghetti.

Return the spaghetti to the cooking pot with the reserved cooking water and the tomato sauce.

Toss well and then serve sprinkled with the almonds and parsley.

Wine Suggestion: we drank a Valpolicella Ripasso with this dish and the ripe, juicy spices went well with the warming spices of the sauce.

(Original recipe from The Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage, Phaidon, 2012.)

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