Saturday, 30 September 2017

Carrot Miso Dressing

I've always loved the carrot/ginger dressing you get in sushi places on the salads - it's quite thick, with a slight onion flavour and the ginger and miso give it a real kick. With its bright orange colour, it's great on a simple green salad, and veggie daughter and I both loved it on a quinoa veggie bowl (despite the ribbing we got from the rest of the family for eating such trendy middle class grub).

1 large carrot
1  shallot
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp white miso
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sesame (I actually had to use a blend of sesame and soya oil as that's all I had)
1/4 cup sunflower or rapeseed oil
2 tbsp water (or a bit more if it seems a bit too thick)

1. Whizz the carrot, shallot and ginger in a food processor, scraping down the sides.
2. Add the miso, vinegar and sesame oil and whizz a bit more
3. With the motor running, pour in the  oil and water to form a smooth emulsion.
4. Serve in liberal quantities.

Vegan or vegetarian sticky toffee pudding

175g/6oz chopped pitted dates
1 tea bag (regular or Earl Grey)
1tsp bicarb of soda
dash of vanilla essence
80ml sunflower oil
50g (2oz) dark brown sugar
50g demerara sugar
100g unsweetened cooked pureed apples (or you can use 2 eggs for a vegetarian version)
100ml soya 'milk' (or cow's milk for a vegetarian version)
175g /6oz SR flour
50g/2oz chopped walnuts
Toffee sauce:
1/2 can full fat coconut milk
100g demerera sugar
1/4 - 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1. Put the dates, teabag and bicarb into a bowl and pour 150ml boiling water over the top. Set aside for 10mins, take out the tea bag, add the vanilla and mash the dates with a fork.
2. Preheat oven to 180c.
3. Oil or grease 6 - 8 ramekins, depending on how big your puds should be.
4. Beat together the sugars and oil, then beat in the apple, soya milk and dates.
5. Fold in the flour and the walnuts.
6. Spoon the mixture into the ramekins, leaving enough room for them to rise.
7. Bake for around 20 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

While the puds are cooking make the toffee sauce:

1. Put the sugar into a heavy saucepan and heat for a minute.
2. Add the coconut milk and sea salt and stir to combine.
3. Bring to a boil, then simmer on a low heat until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (10 - 15 mins).
4. Refrigerate for an hour or two to allow the sauce to thicken.
Serve poured over the puds. You can also pour over vegan cream substitute.

Friday, 3 February 2017


400g can chickpeas, drained 
Clove garlic 
1 spring onion 
1 red chilli, reseeded
Handful of fresh coriander 
1 tsp ground coriander 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
1 - 2 tbsp olive oil 
1 tbsp plain flour 
1 tsp baking powder 

To serve: warmed pitta breads, lettuce, Tzatziki, cucumber, tomato, fresh coriander 

Blitz everything in a food processor to a textured paste. If you don't have one, you could mash the chick peas and chop and stir in the other ingredients.

Shape into 16 small balls.
Fry in olive oil for about 5 minutes, turning often.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Mushroom and Chestnut Pies

These were delicious and surprisingly rich and creamy for a vegan dish. Strictly speaking mine were not vegan, because I used beaten egg to glaze the pastry and turn it golden, but you could leave it off and have slightly less of a golden hue to your pies.

300g pack puff pastry (if making vegan, check the packet)
300g peeled roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped
500g mixed mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
15g dried porcini mushrooms soaked  in hot water for 20 minutes, drained and chopped 
40 ml sloe whiskey (or sherry)
150g shallots finely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, crushed 
1 tsp dried tarragon 
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried 
2 bay leaves 
Olive oil 
1 340g carton silken tofu 
Salt and pepper 

Beaten egg to brush the top of the pies (omit if making this vegan)

1. Gently saute the shallots and garlic in some olive oil until softened. Ad the mushrooms and saute them until softening. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook gently until the silken tofu melts down into a creamy sauce, about 10 minutes.
2. Roll out the pastry and cut out 4 circles, about 14cm diameter.
3. Spoon the filling onto two of the circles, the cover each with the remaining two circles. Crimp the edges to seal.
4. Brush the top with beaten egg if you want, then bake the pies for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Carrot and coriander soup

1 large leek, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
750g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp Pataks madras curry paste
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
olive oil
1.2 l vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

  1. In a pressure cooker, saute the onion and leek in a glug of olive oil until it is softened and just starting to brown.
  2. Stir in the curry paste and coriander. You can also add freshly grated ginger (but I didn't have any).
  3. Throw in the carrots, give it all a good stir, then pour over the stock.
  4. Put in the bayleaf, season with salt and pepper (be careful if you're using salted stock).
  5. Bring up to pressure and cook for about 8 minutes once at full pressure. If you don't have a pressure cooker, cook in a large pan for as long as it takes to soften the carrots completely.
  6. Leave to come down from pressure, then puree the soup (use a hand blender).
  7. Check the seasoning and serve with some chopped fresh coriander sprinkled on the top, and maybe a swirl of single cream if you're so inclined.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Perfect basmati rice

For 4 people (moderately hungry; if very hungry use 75g rice per person and increase amount of water proportionally)

200g basmati rice 
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp Salt

Rinse the rice in cold water and drain.
Place in a heavy pan with the water and salt, stir and bring to the boil. 
Reduce the heat and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.

Aubergine and courgette curry

This is a deliciously rich vegan curry perfect with fluffy basmati rice.

3 aubergines (about 600g)
2 courgettes
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic 
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger 
1 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp Garam masala 
2 tbsp Pataks madras spice paste
1 tsp ground coriander 
1 tin chopped tomatoes 
2 tbsp tomato puree 
1 chopped fresh Chili or to taste
1 tsp sugar
Sunflower oil 
Olive oil
1 bay leaf 

Slice the aubergine and courgette  quite thinly, place in layers in a colander, salting each layer well. The salt will bring out th moisture from the vegetables. Set aside for at least half an hour.

Meanwhile make the curry sauce:
Chop the onion. Heat some sunflower oil I a large casserole, the n add the seeds and let them heat for a minute or two. Add the onion and sugar and let the onion soften and brown slightly. Next add the crushed garlic and ginger and the Pataks paste and heat gently, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Add the rest of the spices and Chili, then about 100ml water and stir well, bringing to the boil. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and bay leaf, along with more water if it looks a bit dry. Simmer gently whilst you fry the aubergine and courgette.

Rinse the aubergine and courgette  and pat dry with kitchen roll.
Heat some Olive oil and fry the vegetables in batches until they are tinged with brown and slightly softened. Add each batch to the curry sauce as you go. When all the aubergine and courgette is in the sauce, give it a good stir, then cover and cook in a preheated oven at 180c for about an hour. Check and stir after about 30 minutes, reducing the oven temperature to 150c.

Serve with basmati rice