Tag Archive | vegan

♥ Fish friendly “tuna mayo”

I love jackfruit, it’s so versatile! I love using it to make pulled pork and crabless cakes. But it wasn’t until recently that I noticed how much it looks like tuna! So I started inventing and came up with the following “tuna mayo” recipe.

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Jackfruit!

My family come from Grimsby, so fish was very important to my Grandparents (probably why my living Grandad finds it so hard to believe that I’m vegan.). My dear departed Nan used to crack me up – she would refer to tuna as “poor man’s salmon”. Even after she had a stroke and suffered from bad memory loss, she still remembered how much she hated tuna!!! Still, I think she might have approved of this recipe as the jackfruit has a much less dry texture, not to mention no mercury or parasites! (Check out this funky little dude!)

Perfect for sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes (I really must write up my jacket potato recipe at some point – I really do make a great jacket spud!)

Furthermore, it’s a really easy recipe once you have all the ingredients:

“Tuna mayo” recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 x tin of green jackfruit in brine*  (280g)
  • 1 x nori sheet (finely shredded)
  • 2 x tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 x cup chopped capers
  • ¼ x cup vegan friendly mayo
  • ½ x tsp salt (sea salt is best)
  • 1 x tsp tamari (soy) sauce

*Make sure you use the green jackfruit in brine and not the ripe stuff in syrup. Otherwise, don’t come crying to me when your tuna mayo tastes like a fruit salad!

Method:

  1. Drain the jackfruit and mash-shred-massage into tuna-esque flakes using two forks or your fingers. Some jackfruit recipes I have seen discard the core but it will break up so no point in wasting it! (although I tend to pick out the seeds and eat them as I go…)
  2. Put the jackfruit in a bowl and add the nori, vinegar, capers, mayo, salt and tamari.  Mix well.
  3. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least an hour before serving – I find that the vinegar/briny taste develops over time.
It's looking like tuna already!

It’s looking like tuna already!

*Variation* – I quite like using a mixture of 2 parts mayo to 1 part salad cream for a lovely tangy taste, but as vegan salad cream can be a bit trickier to come by, I usually just use the mayo.

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Easy peasey squeezy lemons!

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♥ Tomato and mascarpone, gnocchi bake (Vg)

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Its Fathers’ day inthe UK tomorrow :o) I’m really looking forward to seeing my parents and treating them to a nice meal out. And I’ve got all my ingredients ready to make a yummy vegan chocolate cake to have with a cuppa beforehand.

The only downside is that I’ve spent all of today cleaning the house and trying to make it presentable! Nevertheless, I had promised myself that I would write up a post tonight. So despite my tired eyes and achy-sore fingers, here is my recipe for a tomato and mascarpone, gnocchi bake.

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Tomato and mascarpone, gnocchi bake (4 servings).

Ingredients:

  • 1 x cup fresh cherry-plum tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 x medium onion (chunkily diced)
  • 2 x garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 x handfuls fresh spinach (torn)
  • 349g of silken tofu (i.e. one pack)
  • 500g gnocchi (double check its egg and dairy free!)
  • 1 x cup dairy free cheese (grated)
  • 2 x tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional but highly recommended!)
  • 1 x tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x cup veg stock
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160oC
  2. Arrange the tomatoes and onion on a baking tray and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Add a few grinds of black pepper before roasting for 20 mins.
  3. In the meantime, fry the garlic in 1 teaspoon of olive oil until it starts to brown (5 mins).
  4. Add the tinned tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper and simmer until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds (around 30 minutes). Take off the heat and use an immersion blender to whizz in the nutritional yeast and tofu. Blend until smooth then heat until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Fry the gnocchi in 1 tsp of olive oil until browned (5-10 mins). This really adds depth to the flavour of the dish.
  6. Put the gnocchi, cherry tomatoes and onion into an oven-proof dish along with the spinach.ps4
  7. Stir in the sauce, then top with the breadcrumbs.
  8. Increase the oven temperature to 180 oC and bake for 20 – 30 minutes (until piping hot throughout – the breadcrumbs should go golden brown).
  9. Top with the dairy free cheese (sorry to obsess but I really recommend this smoked coconut gouda!) and pop under the grill until the cheese is melty.ps3
  10. Dish up and enjoy a nice warming, tasty and satisfying dinner!

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♥ Mexican-Style Marrows

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I have never liked marrow. But then again, before I went vegan I also didn’t like courgette, aubergine, cauliflower or mushy peas! So when we saw one in the shops the other day, my husband suggested that I give it another try.

The last time I had eaten marrow, my mum had stuffed it with sausage meat – bleurgh! However for mine, I had recently come across this recipe for lentil and brown rice chili and I really wanted to give it a go, so I decided to make them “Mexican” style.

I’ve also discovered a fantastic recipe for a smoked coconut gouda. This “cheese” is made from a can of coconut milk – not that you can tell! It’s refreshingly easy to make, meltable, grateable and super tasty. So of course I had to top my Mexican marrows with a handful.

I can safely say that I like marrow now! Unfortunately hubby only liked the chilli and cheese… argh! It’s so hard getting vegetables into him, even when it was his idea…

Mexican Marrows (makes 2 portions)

Ingredients:

  • 1 x medium sized marrow.
  • 4 x cups vegan chilli*
  • 1.5 x cups of grated smoked coconut gouda. (Or any other dairy-free cheese)
  • 1 x cup guacamole.

*(I used this lentil and brown rice chili recipe – I halved the quantity. NOTE: the recipe lists 2 x tablespoons of chilli powder… I thought this sounded a lot so I only used 2 x teaspoons, and it was still on the spicy side!)

  1. Method:
    Pre-heat the oven to 160oC.
  2. Cut the marrow in half length-ways and using a spoon, scoop out the middles (you can save this for another recipe. I fed mine to the chickens!)
  3. Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and add the marrow halves. Cover and leave for at least 10 mins or until ready to use.PS4
  4. Remove the marrow from the pan and dab dry with some kitchen roll. Add the chilli to the hollowed out area and use the back of a spoon to level off.PS3
  5. Caaaaareeeefully, put the two halves of the marrow together again and wrap tightly in foil.
  6. Put onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
  7. Take the marrow out of the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Unwrap and slice off the ends. Cut the rest into into 6 equal rings.
  8. Turn on the grill.
  9. Transfer the rings onto a baking tray and top with the grated cheese.  Pop under the grill for 5 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is melty and browning.PS
  10. Remove from the grill and top with guacamole.

I served mine on a bed of grated veggies in an apple cider vinaigrette.

Yum!

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♥ Carrot-hot dog casserole

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Facebook tends to go through phases of vegan crazes. Chickpea meringue, Betty Crocker & pop cake, potato-carrot cheese sauce and of course the good old “carrot hot dog”.

My feed is currently filled with pictures of buns containing what looks like an orange bratwurst. I’ve been dying to have a go myself, but since I wasn’t in a bread kind of mood, I decided to make a hot dog casserole  – something I loved before I went veggie.

I followed this recipe by Clean Eating Veggie Girl to make my hot dogs. It was very easy to follow, you just need to remember to make well in advance. I was a bit dubious about the end result but I was amazed at just how hot-doggy this humble root vegetable could be!

This dish is an easy way to eat the rainbow and is packed full of vitamins, fibre and protein ♥

Eat the rainbow!

Eat the rainbow!

Carrot-hotdog casserole

Ingredients.

  • 4 x carrot hot dogs (chopped – see above link for recipe)
  • 200g back beans (cooked)1 x onion (diced)
  • ½ x orange pepper (diced)
  • 2 x medium potatoes (skins on, chopped into chunks)
  • 1 x clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 x courgette (chopped into chunks)
  • 1 x cup aubergine (diced)
  • 1 x cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 ½ x cups spring greens (sliced up)
  • 500g x passata (i.e. 1 carton)
  • 1 x cup water
  • 2 x tsp dried thyme
  • 2 x tsp sfv veg bouillon
  • 2 x tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Optional – coriander leaf to garnish.

Method:

  1. Grease a baking tray (I used Frylight spray) and add the tomatoes and aubergine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before roasting in the oven at 180oC for 10 – 15 mins.
  2. In a pan, add the passata, water, bouillon, thyme, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over a gentle heat.
  3. In the meantime, fry the onions until translucent (about 3 mins).
    Add the potato and fry for a further 5 –  10 mins (until the edges of the potatoes start to brown).
  4. Add the pepper and garlic and fry for a further 5 mins.
  5. Add the fried and roasted ingredients to the passata along with the spring greens and pearl barley.
    Stir well and cook over a medium heat until the potato and pearl barley are tender.
  6. Stir in the beans, courgette and chopped carrot-hot dogs and continue to heat until the carrots are piping hot all the way through (although don’t allow to go mushy).

I served on a small bed of rice with a not-so-small glass of prosecco on the side.

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Good old M&S Prosecco

And as with most tomato based dishes, this one gets even better when left for a day and re-heated!

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Cheezy biscuits

I’ve had such a lovely weekend 🙂

On Friday I went to The Ship at Lathom’s 4th Annual Beer and Pie Festival with the Hubby, my Bestie and her Fella. Unfortunately I was unable to find a vegan friendly beer there (I emailed most of the breweries who were taking part who all confirmed that isinglass was used in the fining process) however all the ciders were safe and there were not one, but TWO vegan pies!!! And I made the discovery of the decade… I like mushy peas! I’ve hated them since childhood but something told me to give them another chance, and I’m so glad that I did.

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Spicy bean and mushroom pie, topped off with mushy peas and washed down with a “Strawberry Fields” cider.

We stayed over at the Bestie’s house so on Saturday (after a lovely breakfast of croissants, crumpets and cinnamon rolls) we trotted off to Southport to do some shopping followed by a fabulous tea at a Turkish restaurant called Havin. We had hummus and Patlican Tarator (sans yoghurt) with bread for starter followed with the Sebze Guvec (sans feta). The day was completed with a nice walk up the pier and a scout around the arcades.

I’ve had a mostly lazy day today, although I have been experimenting in the kitchen. I made bread rolls and seitan but today I am sharing my cheezy biscuits recipe!

Cheezy biscuits

Ingredients:

1 x cup all-purpose white flour
¼ x cup vegan marg
¼ x cup water
½ x tbsp. miso paste
¼ x cup nutritional yeast
½ x tsp garlic powder

Method:

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix until a smooth dough is formed.

Roll out onto a lightly floured surface and cut out the crackers using a knife or pizza cutter.

Place each cracker onto a greased baking tray and prick with a fork.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes at 180oC (until golden brown and slightly puffy).

Carefully transfer onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

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I intend on taking mine to work and eating with Toffuti cream cheese and a little mango chutney.

Hope you had a great weekend too!

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♥ Roaming round Romania

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I had to go to Romania with work the last week. When I think of Eastern European cuisine I (used to) think of rich meaty stews and hunks of flesh served with cabbage. However, I was pleased to learn that wasn’t necessarily the case in Bucharest.

Remus and Wolf

Remus and the Wolf

A fact I didn’t know – around 87% of the Romanian population are Orthodox Christians. What is the relevance of this? There are times of the year where Orthodox Christians undergo a strict fasting period which basically means they follow a vegan diet! (More information here). So although I found that most restaurants didn’t understand the term “vegan”, they knew exactly what I meant if I mentioned fasting! And in some cases there was even an extra menu dedicated to this.

Not everyone in Romania is oblivious to veganism however. Whilst I was there I visited one vegetarian restaurant called Barca which had a very extensive menu, entirely vegan apart from the occasional guest-appearance from honey. I had falafel with a chopped parsley salad and it was very tasty and light. The restaurant itself was also very clean and fresh-faced. I wish more UK vegan joints were like this!

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Falafel and parsley salad

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Inside

I also ordered takeout from a place called Biofresh. I had a salad consisting of courgette, tofu, dill, wheat germ and garlic with a dressing made from tofu, basil, pine nuts, olive oil and spices.  It sounds like such a simple meal but it was so delicious I was inspired to make my own variation when I got home. It was just a shame that nearly all of the desserts from these places contained honey (miere).

A non-veggie place I visited was a restaurant called “Caru’ cu Bere” (or “The Beer Wagon” in English). This place is one of the oldest beer houses in Bucharest and although it was a bit of a carnivore’s paradise, it was amazing! There were traditional dancers performing at regular intervals and it was heaving with people, even on a Wednesday night. I shared a loaf of bread with an aubergine dip and a traditional dip made from a variety of vegetables for starter, followed by a traditional vegetable stew with polenta for my main course. Both were hearty and delicious! I didn’t really have room for a pudding but then I got passed the “fasting menu” and discovered that they had egg and dairy free pancakes!!! Nom!

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Starter

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Main

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Pudding!!!

Dancing Romanian stylee!

Dancing Romanian stylee!

Should my Romanian hosts happen to stumble across this post, I would like to thank them wholeheartedly for looking after me so well and going to such lengths to ensure that I was happy and well fed! ♥

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♥ Lemon and poppy seed cupcakes

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Have you ever booked a weekend away and picked the hotel purely on the basis that it was in the same city as a café that sells vegan cupcakes…. only to find out that the café was sold 2 months’ earlier and now isn’t even vegetarian?!

That was my valentine’s weekend, haha! Aww well, we still had a lovely time 🙂

Anyway, hubby bought me a silicone cupcake kit for Christmas so I decided to christen it by making lemon and poppy seed cupcakes. I loosely based the recipe on this non-vegan version and I have to admit that I was pretty smug about the result! Seriously soft and fluffy but delightfully tangy and not too sweet… I ate 7 out of 12, whoops! And my favourite part? They rose! It might be pancake day today but these beauties were most definitely NOT vertically challenged!

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Super fluffy! ♥

Lemon and poppy seed cupcakes:

Ingredients (Makes 12):

  • 13/4  x cups self-raising flour
  • 1 x tbsp. slightly toasted poppy seeds*
  • 3/4  x cup sugar
  • Zest of 2 un-waxed lemons
  • 3 x tsp No-Egg  in 6 x tbsp. water  (whisked together until white and frothy)
  • 1 x tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 x cup soya yoghurt (or any other dairy-free variety)
  • ½ x cup vegan friendly marg
  • 1/3 x cup soya milk (or any other dairy-free variety)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 12 x cupcake cases ( I used silicone).

*(Toast in a dry frying pan on a medium heat for 1 – 2 mins)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, zest (reserve a quarter for decoration), poppy seeds and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, electric-whisk up the No-Egg and water before adding the marg, followed by the sugar, yoghurt, milk and finally the lemon juice.
  4. A spoonful at a time, add the dry ingredients into the wet and gently fold in. A silicone spatula is great for this
  5. Using a couple of teaspoons (one for scooping, one for scraping), distribute the mixture evenly between the 12 cupcake cases.
  6. Put in the oven and bake for 15 mins or until golden brown. A skewer should come out clean when inserted into the centre of each.
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

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These cakes are so tasty that they don’t really need icing. However, just to pretty them up, I added a small swirl of the following onto each and topped with some extra poppy seeds and a sprinkling of zest:

Icing

Ingredients:

  • 4 x tbsp. icing sugar
  • 1/3 x cup vegan friendly marg
  • ½ x cup vegan cream cheese (I used Violife)
  • Juice of ½ lemon


Method:

  1. Whizz together the marg, cream cheese and lemon juice using an electric mixer.
  2. Whizz in the icing sugar, cover and pop in the fridge for 20 mins or so.
  3. Once the cupcakes are COMPLETELY COOLED you can either spoon or pipe a small amount of icing onto each cake.

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Perfect with a cup of tea!

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♥ Pesto pizza dough

Aww I had the pleasure of bunny-sitting the bestie’s rabbits last week. They went home on Sunday and the house seems so quiet and empty without them stamping and kicking over their hay rack, haha!

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Gentle Sir meets Kate

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Bad Lad and his tube o’cabbage

Since they were being dropped off in the evening I promised bestie and her fella some noms. I was trying to think of a meal which would cover all tastes (her fella is scared of fruit, hubby is scared of greens and bestie likes everything covered in hot sauce!) when it came to me… pizza party!

So I gave everyone a pizza base each and plonked a variety of toppings on the table: homemade sauce –one spicy, one mild and herby – capers, olives, pineapple, faux chorizo, faux chicken, homemade pepperoni chunks, sweetcorn, onion, vegan cheese and I even used a pastry cutter to cut some Violife mozzarella slices into authentic circles. Then we swapped gossip whilst sipping wine and building our own individual masterpieces, which went into the oven whilst we scoffed some starters.

2015-01-27 18.55.43 ps3Since it was quite an easy tea to prepare, I felt I couldn’t cheat on the pizza bases so I made my own dough. I added pesto to make things a bit more exciting and I was pleased with the results – it gave the dough a subtle depth of flavor without hijacking the taste.

Pesto pizza dough

Ingredients (makes 2 x 10” bases):

  • 2/3 x cup warm water (if it burns, it’s too hot!)
  • 1 x tbsp. soft brown sugar
  • 1 x tsp salt
  • 1 x sachet of dry active yeast (7g)
  • 1 x cup plain wholemeal flour*
  • 1 x cup plain white flour*
  • 1 x tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 x tbsp. pesto (make sure its Parmesan / dairy free)
  • Extra flour for rolling out.

*you can use any ratio of the wholemeal and white flour if you want.

Method:

  1. Dissolve the sugar and salt in the warm water.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, olive oil, pesto and yeasty-water mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until dough starts to form.
  4. Finish forming the dough with your hand and knead for 5 minutes. I try to only use one hand because the dough is very sticky! (If it is too sticky you can add a bit more flour, but don’t add too much or else it will become too dry when you roll it out in flour later).
  5. Cover the bowl with cling-film or a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 hour to prove.
  6. Remove the cling-film / towel and punch gently to deflate. Knead for another 5 minutes before cutting in half.
  7. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out each half of the dough into your bases using a floured rolling pin.
  8. Transfer to a baking tray (you can lightly grease but I found I didn’t need to).
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 180oC.
  10. Add your base sauce and toppings. If using vegan cheese, I suggest adding it first after the sauce as it burns faster than normal cheese and the other toppings will offer it some protection.
  11. Bake for 15 – 20 mins or until the edges of the pizza are a lovely golden brown colour.
  12. Eat with a nice glass of wine in the presence of good company. Or in front of the telly with a beer!

Hubby is begging me to make another one already :o)!

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♥ Lemon and mint, dreamy, creamy, tahini dressing

I’ve been rubbish at blogging this year! For the first week of 2015 me and the hubby had the flu, and then we spent last week rushing to get the living room decorated before our new carpet arrives. I’ve just not had the time, energy or inclination to get creative in the kitchen!

I’m afraid today’s entry is still a bit of a cop out… but it was tasty so I thought it was worth typing up.

We had pitas with falafel tonight and I wanted a nice sauce to go with it. We had an ancient bottle of raitia in the back of the cupboard, which would have worked, but firstly its completely out of date and secondly it’s from my veggie days and no longer fits into my lifestyle. So in the bin it went!  So what to have instead? My lemon and mint, dreamy creamy tahini dressing – it does exactly what it says on the tin!

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Ingredients (Makes more than enough for 2 people enjoying some falafel!):

  • ½ x block firm silken tofu (I used Mori Nu brand)2 x tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 x tsp tahini
  • 1.5 x tsp dried mint (you can used fresh but I think the taste of the dried stuff works better here)
  • ½ x tsp ground cumin
  • ½ x tsp garlic powder
  • ½ x tsp salt
  • 2 x tbsp. soya  milk

Method:

  1. Put the tofu into a blender (smaller is better if you have the option since we’re making a relatively small volume).
  2. Add the lemon juice, tahini, mint, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Whizz up until smooth (a minute or so).
  3. Chop the tofu into medium-sized chunks. Get a small pan of water boiling and gently add the tofu. Boil for 1 minute before draining and leaving to cool. (This is a tip I picked up from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s awesome book “Appetite for Reduction” – she cooks the tofu first for her “Sanctuary Dressing” to get rid of the beany flavour).
  4. Scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula and add the soya milk (or any other replacement milk). Whizz again until blended. I like my dressing quite thick but if you wanted to thin it down with more plant milk then I’m not going to stop you!
  5. I always think this type of dressing is best served cold, so into the fridge for 20 minutes or so it goes, ready to serve up with some tasty falafel. I got mine from Costco of all places and it was very nice too!
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Is it too late to mention New Year resolutions?  I’m planning on learning to play the drums ;o) Wish me luck!

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♥ Fruity hot toddy

I’ve not posted an entry in ages! Been super busy over Christmas and I’ve been zonked out with a flu bug the last few days.

I’m currently sat shivering on the sofa in a million layers, enjoying a “fruity hot toddy” so I thought I would share the recipe in case anyone else is feeling under the weather.

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Fruity hot toddy

Ingredients:

  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 x cup lemonade
  • 1 x tbsp. whiskey (I used Famous Grouse)
  • 1/8th x tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 x tsp syrup (I used a fruit syrup, agave or maple would also work. – optional)

Method:

  1. Mix the lemonade, syrup and cayenne in a small saucepan and heat until hot (tip: it’s hard to measure out such a small amount of cayenne so I recommend not doing it over the lemonade, just in case!)
  2. Bring off the hob and stir in the orange juice, lemon juice and whiskey.
  3. Pour into a glass or mug and enjoy.

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