Friday, 30 January 2015

Another Vegan Homity Pie

Thanks to Cranks, I've made many variations of the vegetarian Homity Pie at home, but last year I made a vegan version of it with vegan cheese substitute and guess what, I actually liked it and so did D.
This vegan cheese alternative came from Vegusto.  So far, its been the only vegan cheese that I don't mind eating now and again; and its the one I will pick up if I am ever catering for vegan friends.  Its good warm or cold.  I have actually taken it into work for lunch and even a picnic in the past, but the next time I made this will be for those long exploratory or rambling walks. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Vegan Malaysian Butternut Squash and Lentil Curry

Even though I am a cookbook hoarder, I am more than happy supporting our local libraries, especially as libraries all over the country are being threatened with closure and some have already sadly closed their doors. 

Well the most recent cookbook to fall into my mitts is by Hemsley Hemsley.  It's not a vegan or vegetarian cookbook, but it does have some stylish recipes that appeal to the eye.  But the one that I chose to make was down to earth and homely.  It was the Squash, Red Lentil and Coconut Curry.  The other reason I wanted to make this was that I wanted to use my own home-made Malaysian spice mix.  The recipe had been given to me by my Malaysian neighbours when I lived in Scotland.  It's very similar to this one by  A taste of memories - Echo's Kitchen.
Anyway, back to the cookbook, I have to admit I did not follow the original recipe as instructed. For a start the recipe in the cookbook uses 'bone broth' which is essentially old fashioned 'meat stock' dressed up in emperors new clothes.  A recipe for this features in the cookbook, of course this can easily be substituted for vegetable stock, but once I started reading the recipe I  decided to approach it the way I would do an Indian style vegan curry, sauteing the onion and garlic in vegetable oil, then adding in the spices. I have linked to the original recipe below, as well as my own adaptation.

It made for a nice, warming and filling dish.  Even though the flavour of the star anise and fennel seeds (from the Malaysian spice mix) came through, D said it was one of 'the most curried dishes' that he had had in ages.  This golden stew-like curry recipe makes a large portion, so we have been enjoying it over 3 days, first with rice, then crusty bread and today, rice again.   

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Vegan Welsh Cakes for St Dwynwen's Day

I have a great fondness for Scotland.  It was home for over 10 years.  I went to University there, got married there, I began my gardening and cooking blogging journey there and so much more, so celebrating Burns Night in our home has become a bit of a tradition,just take a gander at some of these vegan and vegetarian meals that I created at home with vegan haggis: both home-made and shop bought.

I also have an affinity with Wales.  It was where I was born and raised and its my home once again. Today, the 25 January not only marks Burns Night, in Wales its St Dwynwen's Day -Welsh Day of Love .  Follow this link to read more about Wales Patron Saint of Love.   

So what Celtic tradition to celebrate? well both of course!
A simple Burns Supper for the evening that will look something like this Vegan Tower of Haggis, Neep and Tatties served with some greens, followed later with some home-made Welsh Cakes.  
With Veganuary in full swing, I thought why not make a vegan version for St Dwynwen's Day. I've made Vegan Welsh cakes many many times, but surprisingly it has never featured on my blog, the only version has been the one made with butter - the vegetarian version.   I know there is no shortage of vegan welsh cake recipes on blogosphere.  Search and ye will find, but this is my offering.  My husband has had the vegan version many times and has never complained.  There is a small variation in taste, the vegan version is not as 'melt in the mouth' as the traditional ones made with butter, but these are still very good.   And if your wondering what I love you is in Welsh it's Dwi'n dy garu di '.  

Dydd Santes Dwynwen Haput!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Chocolate Habenero Black Turtle Bean Chilli

Another one pot dish and one that relies on store-cupboard ingredients, except of course for the chocolate habenero chilli that I picked up when I was in the big city a few months back, around the same time when I picked up dried marigold petals for my vegan Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake.  I had not intended to buy any dried chillies, let alone Chocolate Habenero but whilst staring at spice filled glass jars it just seemed to leap out at me and I was tempted.  

It does have subtle chocolate undertones, and an earthy and spicy chilli kick , but and here is the but, it did not blow me away as I had expected.  My chilli tolerance is quite high, my reasoning - I am of South Asian heritage and chilli runs through my veins - but I found this particular brand of chocolate habenero chilli was not overly spice hot.  The only thing that I can think was that the chillies were, perhaps on the shelf too long and therefore may have lost its vava voom, still the home-made chilli was very, very nice and I would a happily make it again. 
This was just going to be a straight-forward Black Bean Chilli made simply with black turtle beans so called because of the black shiny dark shell like appearance, but I also decided to throw in some winter greens (such as sprout heads, but any type of kale will do), and a can of sweetcorn for colour. It worked out lovely giving more body and texture to the dish.  
So far, we have had this dish with plain boiled Basmati rice.  D suggested that this would be good as an Enchillada filling, I agree but I don't have any tortilla wraps, so it will be more rice or perhaps even potatoes.  

I am sharing this recipe with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary who hosts No Waste Food Challenge and  January's edition of My Legume Love Affair #79 which was created by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.  It is now run by Lisa of Lisa's kitchen who happens to be this months host too. 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter Curry

Work has been keeping me distracted, so blogging about my vegan eats in the month of Veganuary has been low priority, but I have continued with the challenge and have to say I am doing very well indeed.  

I am very tired when I get home, I think the early morning starts are getting to me now, especially when it is unwelcoming outside.  The weather has been blustery, wet, icy, snowy and windy which is absolutely fine when your in a warm home or wrapped up well before stepping outdoors, but it has been playing havoc with our garden.  The garden pergola has moved a bit more, its looking more like the 'leaning tower of Pisa', but unlike the Tower of Pisa this pergola will be falling down the next time we get a strong gust of gale force winds, we are certain of it.  The greenhouse has lost a window pane.  You lose one and its impacts on the rest of the greenhouse.  We can only hope the weather calms down.

So back to food.  Of course I have been cooking and eating, just not blogging about it.  I have been making large one-pot meals.  The most recent was a Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter Curry.  I apologise in advance that there is no photograph as its just way to dark in the evening to take a photograph that would do the recipe justice.  The recipe for the Butternut Squash Curry is exactly the same as the African Sweet Potato and Groundnut Curry. I just substituted the Sweet Potatoes for Butternut Squash. It was delish!
Peanut butter is a fabulous natural thickener.  I do tend to buy the Meridian brand, but was recently tempted by this Mother Africa Peanut Butter jar as the colourful packaging and name grabbed my attention.  Sometimes I am a sucker for labels, not designer labels though - I have never ever been a follower of fashion or trends, I know its not the case, but I do sometimes think that I must be among a small minority of people living in the U.K, and more specifically Wales who has not done a selfie?! 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Winter Greens Shepherds Pie

D has been wanting me to make vegetarian Shepherds Pie for the past month, I have been putting it off for one reason or another, well today with the blustery wind keeping us firmly indoors he finally persuaded me to make one.

I was going to make one of my old fashioned tried and tested Shepherds Pie or Shepherdess Pie recipes made with beans and lentils, but he expressed that he didn't want one made with lentils and beans, as we have been feasting on lots of pulse based dishes recently such as the Black Eyed Pea and Lemon Hot Pot and Red Kidney Bean Schnitzels.  

The only issue I had with this was that we haven't been out to the shops to stock up on fresh vegetables, so I was having to make do with what we had in our kitchen cupboards.  And there seems to be an awful lot of dry ingredients: flours, grains and beans.  Well, I kept hush and just got on with it and decided the vegan Shepherds Pie base was going to be made with soya mince which I often use for my Mexican Tamale Pie.  And yes I know soya mince is a legume, but minced up D is none the wiser.  Shu.  Lets keep it hush between us.  
Winter Greens Shepherds Pie part covered with mashed potatoes
Another thing, this particular Shepherdess Pie is made with shredded winter greens not peas which is traditional simply because I did not have any in the freezer either, so I had to make do with what I had, He was beginning to be a bit of a grump about it, saying it wouldn't be the same without peas. 

Verdict, he really loved it.  It was very, very paprikarey, yes I was a little heavy handed with the smoked paprika!  

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Sarah Beatties Vegan Tamarind Parsnip Curry

I'm not one for parsnips.  I find them awfully sweet, therefore better suited in my humble opinion to sweet vegetable desserts like my vegan Pomegranate Parsnip Cake, Violet and Parsnip Cake;  there is even a vegetarian version Violet and Parsnip Cake or a retro version made with hazelnuts.   But when it comes to savoury parsnip dishes you will often find a bit of trepidation on my part. D put a mound of them on my plate on my Vegetarian Roast dinner plate whilst we were at his mums for Christmas day.  I gave him a big mean look, he smiled back.  

Saying all this, I really wanted to try this savoury recipe with parsnips.  I could already imagine how the turmeric would dye the white-creamy root parsnip into golden bites.  I could already imagine how the sharp tangy tamarind sauce would infuse the sickly sweet parsnip transforming it into something very delectable with flavour and bite.  I didn't want to imagine anymore.  I wanted to try it for real.  The recipe comes from one of my new vegetarian cookbooks: Meat-Free Any Day by Sarah Beattie, bestowed upon me by my lovely husband for Christmas.  Question was, what to cook from it first? Whilst turning the pages over slowly a couple of evenings back, I finally decided on this one for Parsnip and Tamarind Curry.  
Wow, would you believe it.  I really enjoyed every mouth full.  The Tamarind Parsnip Curry was every thing I had expected it to be, but more as the spiced coconut sauce was utterly gorgeous too, I really could have licked the plate clean.  What is more surprising is that even D liked it.  I think I mentioned before on my blog that D is not overly keen on the tamarind flavour,  but he really really liked this.  He impressed me further, by picking out other spices, namely the mustard seeds.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Smoked Paprika Red Kidney Bean Schnitzels

I bookmarked this Red Kidney Bean Schnitzel recipe immediately when I saw it in October on The Veg Hogs blog.  I have been meaning to make it for months, but I did not always have all the ingredients to hand, namely the semolina and dried sage.  

Finally I got some semolina, (Thanks to my mother who tends to keep semolina for her Halwa recipes) and decided to make it over the weekend.
These golden vegan schnitzels were proper crunchy on the outside.  I loved it.  After my teeth had bit through the crisp exterior, came the smoky spicy soft inside, delightful.  I served these schnitzels simply with a light rocket salad and a red tomato chutney; or like D you could just dollop a bit of brown sauce next to it.   
I followed the recipe pretty much as it was, but as I have signed up for Veganuary for the month of January, I omitted the egg.  To be quite honest, the beany mixture was quite pliable that it did not necessarily warrant egg as a binder.  The second change I made, I wanted to use Japanese panko breadcrumbs that have been staring at me, every time I went over to one of the kitchen cupboards, but please feel free to use additional semolina as suggested by the Veg Hog, or even fresh breadcrumbs, made with stale bread.  Whichever way you decide to coat it, these are delicious morsels to snack on any time of day.  
Thank you Veg Hog for sharing the recipe with us. And please, please dear readers do go by and check her blog -The Veg Hog, I have found her blog space utterly refreshing, down to earth, homely, honest and unpretentious. I am also sharing this bookmarked recipe with Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes for January's edition of Bookmarked Recipes.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Early January In My Kitchen

So what is in my kitchen this early January.  I have signed up to do Veganuary Challenge this month, so lots of the ingredients I have in my fridge happen to be vegan:  Non diary milk and sunflower margarine, but these two ingredients can often be found in my fridge, not just for Veganuary, so here are some other bits and pieces around the kitchen that you won't often find in my kitchen.  
I have been drinking lots of herbal infused teas recently due to my chesty cough.  I was given another box of Christmas Collection tea-bags.  I mentioned before that I was introduced to Yogi Tea by my bestest friend Leah when I visited her in the USA, it makes an appearance in my kitchen now and again and makes me feel a little nostaligic.
For lunch, I have been tucking into a bowl full of Black Eyed Peas and Lemon Hot Pot.  The lemony zing is just soothing on my scratchy sore throat.
Image courtesy of Celia from Fig and Jam
I was one of the lucky recipients to receive Sourdough Starter Priscilla through Celia at Fig and Jam and our host for In My Kitchen.  Itcame in the post last month.   Thank you Celia, as advised its in the fridge ready to be used one of these rainy or frosty weekends. 
I travelled into Bristol a few weeks back before Christmas and stopped at an Oriental Supermarket to stock up on some goodies, namely raw adzuki beans, a vital ingredient for my vegan 'facon bacon', which I made last week.  In the above image, you will also see that I was tempted by some Tapioca Pearls, Spicy Seaweed, Kaya - A Malaysian Coconut Jam.  I have the recipe to make my own, but when I saw the jar, well I had to get me some to try.  And a packet of what looks like purple potato wafer rolls, but it was the vivid colour on the packaging that got me interested.  

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Veggiestans Black-Eyed Bean and Lemon Hot Pot

It's become a bit of a tradition in my home to have black eyed peas in the first week of the New Year, not that D knows it - I just make the black eyed pea dish and he eats it.  Black eyed Peas are reputed to bring you good fortune, don't know how true that is, but we can hope.
This was a welcome dish as I woke up with a sore throat and a chest infection of some sorts.  I've been drinking herbal fruit teas enhanced with echiniacea.  I have no desire to go to the doctors, but may have to if it doesn't clear by next week, anyway, back to this Black-Eyed Bean and Lemon Hot Pot
The recipe for this Black Eyed Bean and Lemon Hot Pot comes from a vegetarian cookbook, gifted to me a couple of months back by my husband for my Birthday.  It it Veggiestan: A Vegetable Lover's Tour of the Middle East by Sally Butcher, I was also gifted Salmagundi (and am awaiting the appearance of Snackistan on my table one-day) also by Sally Butcher. Sally Butcher also runs Persopolis: A Taste of Persia in Peckham a little corner shop, that has a little cafeteria attached to it.

Friday, 2 January 2015

January is Veganuary Month

Last January 2014, I signed up to participate in Veganuary.  Veganuary is a campaign in association with Viva!  that is encouraging people from all backgrounds to pledge and eat vegan food for the month of January.  

As a vegetarian, I have always enjoyed creating dishes at home from scratch, many happen to be vegan and it is for that I have decided to do Veganuary 2015 all over again.  If your interested in learning more and wishing to sign up, then please follow this link.
I will be making lots of new vegan recipes, but here are some of the vegan recipes that I shared last year for Veganuary. 

Vegetable Palette: Christmas and Festive Vegetables Round Up #6

Welcome to December 2014 Round up of 'The Vegetable Palette: natures colours - natures goodness''.  The theme for December was Christmas and Festive Vegetables.   
The fist entry comes from Kate - the Gluten Free Alchemist, she brings to the table a Real Vegetable Mish Mash Bowl of Soup.  So-called because it can be made with any left-over vegetable: raw or cooked.  It is filling, thick, wholesome and warming.  Perfect for the season and would make a lovely starter to any meal this time of year.  
Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe shares with us Miso Harissa Roasted Pumpkin. I am quite curious about this roasted vegetable dish, as I have never had miso and harissa combined. Johanna describes the  pumpkin wedges as soft melting flesh with crispy skin.  I have to admit they look good. 
Helen from Family-Friends-Food shares with us  Winter Root and Brussels Tops Stir Fry.  I so agree with Helen. 'Brussels greens are under-rated', in fact I prefer them so much more to the little cabbage sprouts  looks .  This is a stir-fry dish to be served with noodles, but I think I would enjoy just as much with plain white rice too.  I also love the addition of black sesame seeds, 
Gayathri from Spices Galore shares with us a jewelled Pomegranate - Pine Nut Pilaf, but what is more interesting here is her accompaniment of Cauliflower Pineapple Curry, an unusual yet intriguing combination and one that I am willing to try some day.  

From Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker we have a rather colourful festive Broccoli and Red Pepper Quiche. I wish more festive buffet tables had Quiches like this to delight vegetarians like me.  I would dive in  with my fork without hesitation and take my fair share or should I say rather large slice!
We have a  festive filo pastry recipe from Laura at How To Cook Good Food. Laura shares with us Christmas Vegetable Strudel,  This one is filled with lots  of vegetables such as sprouts, spinach and leeks, enhanced further with red jewels in the form of edible cranberries and if that was not enough, she goes and puts cheese in it.  Rich.   
Caroline from Caroline Makes also shares with us a filo pastry recipe.  This one is a crisp, flaky vegan Vegetable Parcel.  This filo parcel would look great on any festive plate surrounded by all the trimmings.  The Vegetable Parcel is packed with lots of vegetables including butternuts squash, mushrooms, courgette and the tall handsome asparagus.
And finally, I've decided to make an exception, as only one entry per blogger is permitted for this challenge, but as this was the only Sweet contribution to Vegetable Palette, I have decided to include it.  Caroline also shares wit us her Less Sinful Mince Pies made with cranberries.  I could really eat one now, but would you believe me if I told you that Caroline never tried one herself - I know shocker, I couldn't resist.  
I would like to thank everyone for their contributions.  If you would like to participate in the Vegetable Palette, then please follow this link on how to participate - the theme is Feel Good Vegetables.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Eat Your Greens Round Up #7

Welcome to 'Eat Your Greens' Round Up  #7.    This is a monthly vegetarian cooking challenge for food bloggers to make something with a green vegetable each month.  
The first recipe comes from Janet at The Taste Space.  Janet shares with us a dish that contains a very seasonal ingredient - the little cabbages, also known as the humble Brussels Sprouts. We have a Brussels Spouts and Sweet Potato coated in a sweet glaze of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.  For those of you who like your sprouts, why not give this a go as an accompaniment to your next meal. 
As Eat Your Greens rules state, only one entry per blogger, but as its the festive season I have permitted this time to allow Janet to share another green dish. This time she shares with us a Green Soup with Edamame.  This is a fragrant broth enhanced with cinnamon, cumin and ginger and bulked up with lots of good vegetables, including broccoli, greens like kale or collards, edamame beans and shredded nori. Looking at this bowl, just makes me feel good. 
The Veg Hog brings to the table a rather comforting Brussels Sprouts dish.  She share with us a Brussels Spouts and Potato Bake doused with herbs and spices and then coated in melted cheese, I think even I could eat this one, quite happily in fact.  
Helen from Family-Friends-Food shares with us  Winter Root and Brussels Tops Stir Fry.  I so agree with Helen. 'Brussels greens are under-rated', in fact I prefer them so much more to the little cabbage sprouts  looks .  This is a stir-fry dish to be served with noodles, but I think I would enjoy just as much with plain white rice too.  I also love the addition of black sesame seeds, 
Next we have a hearty dish composed of many different vegetables such as Cauliflower, Asparagus, Radish and Mushrooms and enhanced further with spices.  This recipe comes from Sudha Neelam who blog over at Spicy, Quirky and Serendipity.  The green here comes from the chopped asparagus.  
Caroline from Caroline Makes shares with us a rather crisp, flaky vegan Vegetable Parcel.  This filo parcel would look great on any festive plate surrounded by all the trimmings.  The Vegetable Parcel is packed with loadsa vegetables including the leggy asparagus.
We have another filo pastry recipe, this one comes from Laura at How To Cook Good Food. Laura shares with us Christmas Vegetable Strudel,  This one is filled with green vegetables such as sprouts, spinach and leeks, glammed up further with cranberries and cheese. Would you like a slice?! I would.   
Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe presented to us with a rather stunning and inviting dish of Zucchini Flowers with Rice.  This dish would certainly adorn any table and serve as a fantastic centre-piece to get the juices flowing.  But this dish takes time, Johanna wrote that  stuffing the courgette flowers was a bit of a palaver, I would agree with her but eating this dish would be absolutely no problem for me, even if little Sylvia was being fussy with it.
And finally from Ros at The More Than Occasional we have a rather colourful festive Broccoli and Red Pepper Quiche. I wish more festive buffet tables had Quiches like this to delight vegetarians like me.  I would dive in without hesitation and take my fair share or should I say slice!
Thank you so, so much to everyone who shares their green eats.  If you would like to share your #Eat Your Greens recipes for January, then please follow this link for details on how to participate.