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Archive for the ‘Vegan’ Category

Pistachio pesto

Our fabulous friends have a weekender in the country with loads of space for growing herbs and veg. We are the very happy recipients when there’s more produce than one family can eat and we put it to good use. So if you have a prolific bed/windowsill with parsley and basil growing you should make this delicious variation on classic pesto. It’s especially good with roast chicken (drumsticks for us) but would also be nice with fish or vegetables.

Pistachio Pesto – serves 4

  • 50g pistachios
  • 25g flatleaf parsley leaves
  • 25g basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • zest and juice of a lemon
  • 100ml olive oil

Put the nuts in a bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Leave for a few minutes then drain and tip onto a clean tea towel. Give the nuts a good rub with the tea towel and skins should slip off. Throw the skins away and save the bright green nuts.

Put the nuts in a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat until lightly coloured all over and smelling fab. Keep a watchful eye as they can turn from toasty to burnt in an instant. Put the nuts on a plate to cool.

Put the herbs and pistachios in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped (you could pound in a pestle and mortar but parsley is much more difficult to pound than basil so we recommend the processor if you have one). Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse briefly – you want to leave a bit of texture. Taste and season. Cover with oil and put in the fridge until needed.

(Original recipe from ‘The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure’ by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

 

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Winter root vegetable soup

So here we are almost March and we are experiencing an artic blast. The snow is piled up at the back door and Dubliners have been advised to stay indoors tomorrow as more is on the way. Soup seems like our only defence. Nothing fancy here but full of fresh vegetable flavours. It will protect you against almost all weather eventualities, or at least both fill and warm you up.

Winter Root Vegetable Soup – serves 6 to 8

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 litres vegetable stock
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and chopped

Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium to high heat. As soon as it has melted and started to froth, add the onion, leek and potatoes. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then cover and sweat over a low heat for 8 minutes.

Add the stock, the rest of the vegetables and some salt and pepper (white pepper would be our preference), then lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, partially covered. Taste the vegetables to check that they are completely soft, then check the seasoning before serving.

(Original recipe from Fresh by Donal Skeehan, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.)

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Sweet potato vindaloo

It hasn’t happened just yet but there will come a time when we will grow tired of all the winter root veg and will be hankering for spring and some lighter dishes. If you start to feel this way we recommend turning to cookbooks inspired by India which often contain some of the most interesting and delicious veggie dishes. Don’t be put off by the fiery connotations of ‘vindaloo’, this is a spicy dish but nothing too scary and is tamed by the additions of fluffy white rice and cool yoghurt.

Sweet potato vindaloo – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 5 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ¾ tbsp chilli powder (feel free to adjust to your own tolerance level)
  • 2 medium onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1kg sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
  • yoghurt, to serve
  • steamed white basmati rice, to serve

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying (for which you have a lid) over a medium heat, then add the cloves, star anise, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until fragrant and then remove from the heat and grind in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Add the garlic, ginger & vinegar and continue to grind to a smooth paste, then mix in the chilli powder.

Heat the remaining 3 tbsp of oil in the same pan over a medium heat, then add the onions. Cook for 15 minutes or more until brown and caramelised. Add the spice paste, salt and sugar, then cook for another couple of minutes before tipping in the tomatoes and crushing with a wooden spoon. Fill the empty tomato tin half full with water and add to the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for around 5 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes.

Bring the curry to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the sweet potato is completely tender. Serve with cool natural yoghurt and hot basmati rice.

(Original recipe from Fresh India by Meera Sodha, Penguin, 2016.)

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BBQ roasted cherry tomatoesA revelation of a dish that we’ve been cooking all summer. Much tastier than expected and goes with pretty much anything you cook on the barbecue.

Roasted tomatoes & red onions – serves 6

  • 2 red onions, halved and sliced
  • 500g mixed small tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, bashed
  • 3 thyme sprigs

Put the onion in the middle of a large square of double thickness foil. Fold the sides of the foil up to form a baking tray (or you can use a foil tray like we did).

Scatter the tomatoes over the onions and drizzle with about 3 tbsp of olive oil. Add the bashed garlic cloves and thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper. Put the foil onto a rack on the barbecue and cook for about 15 minutes or until the onions and tomatoes are tender.

If the weather gods don’t shine you can put all the ingredients onto a roasting tray and bake in the oven at 220C/fan 200C/gas 7 for 20 minutes.

(Original idea from BBC Olive Magazine, June 2005.)

 

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Radish & fennel salad

Let’s eat more radishes. They’re delicous and in season right now. Try this easy spring salad that tastes good with almost anything.

Lemony Radish & Fennel Salad – serves 4

  • 2 bunches leafy breakfast radishes
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced into rings
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 5 tbsp olive oil

Separate the leaves from the radishes, then wash & dry them.

Finely grate the zest of half the lemon, then juice all of it.

Put the lemon zest into a salad bowl and stir through the shallots. Leave to macerate.

Trim the fennel & slice it as finely as possible (a job for your mandolin if you have one). When you’re ready to serve, toss all the ingredients, including the radish leaves, with the lemon juice & olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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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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