2

Black bean soup with avocado salsa topping and stuffed masa harina flatbreads

This is such a beautiful soup! To look at as well as to eat…

The black beans are flavoured with a Mexican slant, and the topping reflects that too with tomatoes, herbs, avocado, radish and sweetcorn. And when they’re combined for serving the gorgeous black of the soup looks amazing with the brightly coloured topping!

But just as good as the soup are the stuffed masa harina flatbreads, with their crisped outer and soft herby potato centre.

The masa harina is combined with tapioca flour to give a lovely springy dough, which is really easy to work with and has a lovely flavour. We’ll be making them again, trying out lots of different fillings!

 

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Black bean soup with avocado salsa topping and stuffed masa harina flatbreads

 

Serves 4


for the soup

300 g dried black beans

2 tbsp mexican oregano or regular italian oregano

¼ tsp dried thyme

½ tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp ground allspice berries

¼ tsp smoke powder, or 2 tsp smoked paprika

1.2 litres hot water

a large pinch of salt

for the avocado salsa topping

250 g tomatoes, roughly chopped. We used a mixture of different coloured cherry tomatoes

juice of half a small lemon

15 g fresh coriander, chopped

15 g fresh parsley, chopped

a pinch of salt

2 avocados, diced

4 radishes, sliced

50 g sweetcorn. We used tinned

for the stuffed masa harina flatbreads

200 g masa harina

100 g tapioca flour

a large pinch of salt

380 ml hot water

6 tbsp nicely flavoured oil, 2 for the dough and 4 for cooking. We used cold pressed rapeseed oil

200 g potatoes, diced

1 tbsp unsweetened soy yoghurt

juice of half a small lemon, start with half of it and taste before adding the rest

10 g fresh coriander, chopped

10 g fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper


To make the soup, put all of the ingredients apart from the salt in a large ovenproof casserole dish. Stir, put the lid on and cook in the oven at 160 degrees c for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the beans are tender. Blend until smooth (we used an immersion blender), and add salt to taste. We did this the day before, which helps with timing if you have one oven as the flatbreads cook at a higher temperature.

Next make the dough. In a large bowl mix together the masa harina, tapioca flour and salt. Add the oil, reserving ½ a tsp. Pour in the water and mix to a soft dough. Tip it out onto a board and knead, just until it comes together smoothly. Form into a ball and pop it back in the bowl. Rub over the ½ tsp of oil (this will stop it drying out), and loosely cover. Rest for at least 30 minutes.

For the masa harina flatbread filling, cook the potatoes (we used the microwave), roughly mash with the salt and pepper and leave to cool. Fold through the yoghurt, lemon juice and herbs.

To make the flatbreads, first divide the dough into 4. Roll each piece out into a round about 2 mm thick, take a quarter of the potato filling and place it in the middle. Fold the dough around the potato and carefully roll it out again, flipping every 3 or 4 rolls until it’s about 20 cm in diameter. The dough likely won’t stick together, but this is fine. Repeat with the other three pieces of dough. Rub ½ tbsp of oil into each side of the flatbreads and transfer to baking sheets. We needed to use two. Bake at 200 degrees c for 30 minutes, turning half way through.

While the flatbreads are cooking make the avocado salsa topping. Combine the tomatoes, herbs, salt and lemon juice and mix well. You can either mix the avocado, radish and sweetcorn into the tomatoes at this point, or keep them separate for layering.

Warm the black bean soup through if needed and then either top the soup with the salsa in the pan as we did, or ladle it into individual bowls and then add the topping. Serve with the masa harina flatbreads, cut into quarters.


By A and E.

6

Shish kebab style tofu

We’ve blogged this method of cooking tofu before, and it’s so ridiculously easy and makes such a great result that I hardly cook it any other way now!

There’s no need to press the tofu with this method, it’s simply sliced, and baked in a little oil in a hot oven for quite a while – about 45 minutes. The result is a crispy and chewy tofu which is wonderful in sandwiches.

And this past weekend I wanted a kebab! We’d picked up some B-Free pitta breads which happily are vegan and gluten free (but you could of course make our great recipe!).

The tofu is cooked in a marinade of fresh mint, cumin seeds and dried ramsons (or fresh garlic) and stuffed into a pitta with a creamy salad of cabbage and carrot, and some fresh tomatoes. And pickled chillies, yay!

The dressing for the salad is basically the same as the one for our creamy tahini roast cauliflower. It’s so good it’s become an absolute favourite! But a simple oil and vinegar dressing would be great too.

 

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Shish style tofu kebab

For the tofu shish
400 g firm tofu (the kind from the refrigerator)
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, shredded
1 tbsp dried ramsons, (or 1 clove of fresh garlic, crushed)
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp good oil, I used cold pressed rapeseed oil
For the salad
1 large leaf of sweetheart cabbage, rib removed and finely shredded
1 carrot, grated or shredded
100 ml unsweetened soy yoghurt
1 heaped tbsp tahini (softened with a tbsp of hot water if it’s set)
a pinch of salt
1 tsp lime juice
To serve
4 – 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
Pickled chillies
Pitta bread or wraps

 


 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

Slice the tofu into 0.5 cm slices. Gently toss it together with the oil, mint, dried ramson, cumin seeds and salt in a bowl. If you’re not ready to cook it straight away it’s fine left to marinate for a few hours.

Arrange the tofu in a roasting tray so it isn’t overlapping. Bake for 30 minutes, and then flip the tofu over. By this point it should have reduced quite a lot in size and be golden on the underside. Bake for a further 15 minutes until it’s crispy and chewy.

While the tofu is cooking make the salad.
Mix together the soy yoghurt, tahini, salt and lime juice and toss with the shredded vegetables.

Serve the delicious tofu stuffed into pittas with the salad, tomatoes and pickled chillies.


 By E.

4

Two easy salads – creamy tahini roast cauliflower and carrot, and black bean, olive and rocket

This cauliflower salad has become a firm favourite as part of work lunches over the last few weeks. It’s great eaten straight away, but the creaminess really seems to intensify over a couple of days! I’ve given the recipe here to include baby carrots, as I had some pretty little orange and purple ones in, but it works just as well using only cauliflower.

To pair with the creamy salad, the second recipe is brightly flavoured, with olives, rocket and lemon enhancing the black beans. Herbs are welcome in this salad too, I’ve used mint but parsley, coriander or basil would be great too. Even tarragon thinking about it.

The bean salad keeps well in the fridge for 3 days or so, we ate the salads for lunch the day after making them, and then three days later and they were great both times.


makes 4 servings


 

for the creamy tahini roast cauliflower and carrot salad

400 g cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets

200g baby carrots (or use 600 g total of cauliflower)

2 tbsp oil

Salt

2 heaped tbsp. light tahini

30 ml hot water

100 ml unsweetened soy yoghurt

Juice of half a lemon

15 g fresh coriander, chopped

Salt and pepper

for the black bean, olive and rocket salad

1 400 g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed (240 g drained weight)

75 g green olives

50 g rocket, roughly chopped

Juice of half a lemon

10 g fresh mint, roughly chopped (or use coriander, or parsley or basil)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

In a large roasting tray toss the carrots with the oil and a bit of salt. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and mix, then roast for a further 25 minutes, turning once. There should be some lovely caramelised dark brown bits on the cauliflower and the carrots should be tender. Cool.

In a smallish bowl, add the hot water to the tahini and mix it carefully to combine. The water being hot helps the tahini to soften as it can be quite stiff. Beat in the yoghurt, salt and pepper and lemon juice.

Mix the dressing with the vegetables and coriander.

 

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Creamy tahini roast cauliflower and carrot salad

 

For the black bean salad, simply mix all the ingredients together!

 

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Black bean, olive and rocket salad

 

 

By E.

0

Sausage, apple, parsley and parsnip rice salad

So here’s second recipe using our delicious sausage mix! This time the sausage is rolled into little balls and baked, before being combined with a lovely warm salad of brown rice with apple, parsley, and cubes of roasted parsnip and potato.

The mixture of flavours here with sweet roasted parsnip, nutty rice and tart apple works beautifully with the sage and spice in the sausage. They feel like very English flavours, and are lovely and comforting!

The sausage balls bake for quite a long time, but it’s worth it as they form a good crust on the outside. They can be frozen after baking (and cooling), and reheat very well, either in the oven or microwave. It’s great to have a few on hand for quick meals!

 

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Sausage, apple, parsley and parsnip rice salad

 

makes 4 servings


for the rice
200 g brown rice, rinsed
2 apples, peeled and diced
400 ml water
a pinch of salt
20 g parsley, stalks chopped finely and leaves roughly
for the vegetables
4 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 potato, diced
2 tbsp oil
salt and pepper
for the sausage balls
1 tsp gluten free yeast extract (the marmite type stuff)
100 ml hot water
400 g firm tofu (or 1 standard pack, usually 396 g for some reason)
80 g gluten free rusk
0.5 tsp ground allspice berries
0.25 tsp crushed caraway seeds, or a little less ground caraway
2 tsp dried sage
20 g tapioca starch
30 g coconut oil, melted (we melt it in the jar in the microwave for 30 seconds or so)
6 g salt


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

First make the sausage balls. Dissolve the yeast extract in the hot water.

Next add the rusk, allspice, caraway, sage, salt and tapioca to a large bowl and mix together. Crumble in the tofu (no need to press it first), pour in the coconut oil, and then the water and yeast extract. Mix well and leave for 10 minutes to allow the rusk to soak up the water. I find it easiest to squodge it all together using my hands. You can use a food processor if you like.

Divide the mixture into 4 and then make 7 balls from each quarter, 28 in all.

Spray or drizzle the balls with a very little oil, and roast for 45 minutes. After they’ve been roasted the sausage balls can be cooled and frozen. They can then be warmed through in the oven for 10 minutes, or also in the microwave for a minute or two.

For this recipe, add the vegetables to the oven (same tray if it’s big enough) after the sausage balls have been in for 15 minutes.

Once the sausage balls are in the oven get the rice on to cook. Add the rice, apple and water to a rice cooker or saucepan and simmer for around half an hour (with a lid mostly on if using a saucepan), until the rice has absorbed the water and is tender, and the apple has softened into a sort of sauce.

Combine the rice with the parsley, then toss through the roasted veg, and top with the sausage balls.


By E.

0

Sausage rolls, vegan and gluten free

As is often the case, my photography skills in no way match the deliciousness of the recipes… After making them three times, I have either forgotten to photograph them at all, or taken pretty odd photographs of these sausage rolls (I think maybe I was trying to be arty).

Don’t let the picture put you off though, this sausage roll recipe is ace! It’s definitely my favourite recipe out of everything that we made for a Christmas buffet, and Alex’s too. They went down immensely well with everyone!

The pastry isn’t exactly the cheapest, being made with rather a lot of ground almond, but it stays tender for a couple of days after it’s baked which can be a difficult thing to achieve with gluten free pastry!

The filling uses traditional sausage flavourings, along with rusk and tofu and is savoury and moreish. We get our gluten free rusk here, it’s great for sausage mixes and burgers too. You could probably use gluten free breadcrumbs instead of rusk, although we haven’t tried it. If you do choose to, be careful of the amount of water you add to the filling, you’ll probably need less than we’ve specified in the recipe.

We firmly believe that is important to make more of these sausage rolls than you think you’ll need, it’s almost impossible to stop eating them. But if you do end up with any leftovers, they reheat beautifully!

The sausage filling is great, we’ve got more recipes using it to come soon!

 

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Sausage rolls, vegan and gluten free (and delicious)

 

Makes 24 sausage rolls 10 – 12 cm long


for the pastry

175 g                     rice flour, plus a little extra for rolling out the pastry
175 g                     ground almonds
85 g                        cornflour
85 g                        tapioca starch
15 g                        potato starch
5 g                          xanthan gum
a pinch of salt
250 g                     vegetable fat (we use Stork)
130 – 140 ml       cold soy milk

for the filling

1 tsp                      gluten free yeast extract (the marmite type stuff)
100 ml                 hot water
400 g                     firm tofu (or 1 standard pack, usually 396 g for some reason)
80 g                        gluten free rusk
0.5 tsp                  ground allspice berries
0.25 tsp                crushed caraway seeds, or a little less ground caraway
2 tsp                      dried sage
20 g                        tapioca starch
30 g                       coconut oil, melted (we melt it in the jar uncovered in the microwave for 30 seconds or so)
6 g                          salt


Before starting, freeze the block of vegetable fat for around 2 hours. It shouldn’t be completely frozen but this will make it much easier to grate.

Using a balloon whisk, mix together the rice flour, almonds, cornflour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum and salt until well combined.

Grate the fat into the flour mixture, dipping the end of the fat into the flour after each grate. This helps the strands stay more separate and not just clump back together into a block.

Toss the strands in the flour mix and then lightly rub them in to get rid of any large lumps.

Add the soy milk, starting with 80 ml and mix together with flours and fat until it can be formed into a soft, slightly sticky ball (or lump!)

Wrap in cling film or a bag and chill for around an hour, this helps the pastry to firm up.

To make the filling, first dissolve the yeast extract in the hot water.

Next add the rusk, allspice, caraway, sage, salt and tapioca to a large bowl and mix together. Crumble in the tofu (no need to press it first), pour in the coconut oil, and then the water and yeast extract. Mix well and leave for 10 minutes to allow the rusk to soak up the water. I find it easiest to squodge it all together using my hands. You can use a food processor if you like.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.

Split the chilled pastry into 4 and roll the first piece into a rectangle around 10 cm x 40 cm and 2 mm thick. Trim the short edges and cut the rectangle into 6 pieces.

Split the filling into 4, and then each quarter into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a sausage around 10 cm long and 1.5 cm across. Lay the sausage on the first piece of pastry and roll, it should fit nice and snugly. The pastry can be prone to cracking, don’t worry if this happens, just lightly pinch the edges back together. Transfer the sausage roll seam side down to a baking tray and pat down slightly. Then repeat with the rest of the pastry and filling to end up with 24 rolls. You can trim the ends at this point if you like, but we don’t bother.

Cut slashes through the pastry in the top of each roll, at an angle and about 1 cm apart.

Bake for 25 minutes, until just starting to turn golden.

The sausage rolls are gorgeous hot or cold, but if you’re making them in advance for a party it’s really nice to heat them through for a few minutes in the oven before serving. This also crisps up the pastry a little.


By A. and E.

3

Black eyed bean soup with tahini and greens

So, it’s ages since we’ve published a recipe, shame on us! But we’ve cooked plenty of delicious things over the last few weeks, and we’re getting the recipes written up for those.

But the most recent thing I cooked is this lovely soup. It’s fairly quick, super easy, and very very tasty.

The tahini gives the broth a lovely deep flavour which works particularly well with the smoked paprika, and all the flavours come together to give an extremely satisfying result.

 

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Black eyed bean soup with tahini and greens

 

Serves 3 – 4

 


120 g black eyed beans

1 heaped tbsp. light tahini

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

1 tbsp smoked paprika

10 cherry tomatoes, quartered

150 g mushrooms, chopped

1.1 litres hot water

180 g mixed greens (I used 30 g frozen spinach and 150 g mixed cabbage from a supermarket pack)

2 tbsp tamari (or a pinch of salt)

black pepper

15 g fresh coriander, chopped

 


Rinse the beans and add them to a large saucepan along with the tahini, ginger, smoked paprika, tomatoes, mushrooms and water. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the beans are just tender. Mine took 30 minutes. Add the greens to the soup and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Season with tamari and black pepper to taste, and stir through the coriander just before serving.

 


By E.

3

Christmas almond macaroons

We wanted to make a Christmas treat with similar flavours to stollen, lots of dried fruit, spices and yumminess. These really exceeded our expectations, they are moist, slightly chewy and full of Christmassy goodness!

The aquafaba and ground almond mix is a bit of a star, and can be made without any of the dried fruit and nuts to make a lovely soft cookie.

These almost didn’t last long enough to photograph…

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Christmas almond macaroons

makes 12 to 14


100 ml aquafaba (this should be half the amount you get from 1 400 g tin of chickpeas)
50 g caster sugar
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp mixed spice
150 g ground almonds
50 g pistachios, roughly chopped
60 g glace cherries, quartered
30 g mixed peel
50 g raisins
2 tbsp icing sugar


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c and line a tray with baking paper.
Using a hand or stand mixer beat the aqua faba until it forms soft peaks. As aquafaba varies in strength, this can take anywhere 4 to 8 minutes.
Beat in the sugar until mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks. Next beat in the xanthan gum, salt and mixed spice.
Fold in the ground almonds, pistachios, cherries, mixed peel and raisins until well combined. The aquafaba meringue mixture will lose volume, this is correct.
Using two dessert spoons make quenelles of the mixture and drop them carefully onto the lined tray.
Bake for 20 minutes until attractively browned.
When cool, dust with the icing sugar.

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Christmas almond macaroons, just dusted with icing sugar


By A. and E.

0

Glazed sesame chestnuts

Chestnuts make perfect pocket warmers for walks out in the frozen winter. No really, they do!
Cook them just before you set out, and then wrap a few in kitchen paper or a handkerchief and pop them into your pocket. They’ll stay warm for a while keeping your hands toasty, and when they’ve cooled you have a lovely snack to give you energy for the rest of the walk!
This recipe is a smoky, spicy, tasty thing to do with the leftovers.

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Glazed sesame chestnuts

serves 4


around 25 chestnuts in shells, or 150 g shelled
2 tsp tomato powder, or 1 tsp tomato puree
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, or 1/8 tsp ready ground
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp tamari
1 tsp liquid smoke or smoked paprika
2 tbsp sesame seeds


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Cut a slit in each of the chestnut shells (you must do this or they’ll burst in the oven!) And roast for around 20 minutes until the shells have started to open a little. Cool just until you can handle them, and remove the shells and the papery covering inside the shells (if you’re lucky, it all comes off in one go!)
Putting them cut side down and pressing gently on the shell with your palm helps to loosen it.
If you’re using chestnuts that have been previously roasted and then cooled completely they can be rather hard to shell, so pop them back in a hot oven for 2 minutes before shelling. Don’t reheat them for too long or they’ll go hard when they’re baked in the glaze!
Mix together the tomato powder, nutmeg, salt, oil, tamari and liquid smoke and then toss the chestnuts in the resulting paste.
Spread them out on a baking sheet and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
Bake for 10 minutes, and serve warm or cold.


By E.

0

Flower sprout and tofu rice salad with dill and peas

So last year, flower sprouts were flower sprouts, a cross between a brussel sprout and kale and we’ve blogged quite a few recipes using them.
This year however, they appear to be called Kalettes… Which I think sounds like either a helpful 1950’s electrical kitchen implement, or a mysterious item of ladies underwear.
So I’m sticking with flower sprouts, it’s straightforward and my mind is less likely to disappear off on flights of fancy and am much more likely to get some cooking done.
So, to the recipe! The flower sprouts are slightly bitter, and so go beautifully with the sweet peas and pea shoots. With chewy savoury tofu and lovely fresh dill it all comes together very nicely.
I’m increasingly using the sachets of ready cooked rice as a base for lunch salads at the moment, mostly for speed to be honest, but there’s some lovely varieties around at the moment with all sorts of nice seeds and grains added.

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Flower sprout and tofu rice salad with peas and dill

makes 4 servings


200 g flower sprouts, washed and patted dry on kitchen paper
400 g firm tofu, cut into 2 cm ish cubes
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp dried ramsons or 1 clove chopped garlic
3 tbsp tamari
75 g frozen peas
100 g pea shoots
15 g fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
500 g cooked rice, (I use 2 of the ready cooked sachets, this time the Tilda brand brown basmati with quinoa, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Toss the tofu in 1 tbsp of the oil in a roasting tin. Bake for 20 minutes, until starting to brown.
Move the tofu to one side of the tin, turning the cubes over as you go. Add the flower sprouts to the other side, drizzling the remaining 1 tbsp of oil over them. Sprinkle the ramsons or garlic, and tamari over the tofu and flower sprouts and then bake for a further 15 minutes.
The flower sprouts should be crisp in places and cooked through. Leave to cool.
Cook the rice according to the sachet instructions, and tip into a large bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients.
Stir through the frozen peas, and the vinegar. This helps to cool the rice quickly, but stir it around often too. When it’s stopped steaming pop it in the fridge to cool completely.
Mix the tofu, flower sprouts and dill into the rice and peas, and serve each portion on top of 1/4 of the pea shoots.


By E.

0

Mushroom, pea and sun dried tomato oven baked risotto

I do like making a risotto in the oven, although I expect purists would say it isn’t a proper risotto if it isn’t stirred!
Either method works well with this recipe, and however soothing 20 minutes of stirring can be, sometimes chucking a pot in the oven while you get on with things is so very appealing!
I’ve used three types of mushroom here, large flat mushrooms which give great colour as well as flavour, mushrooms preserved in oil which have a lovely texture, and dried mushrooms for a deep savoury element.
It ended up being a gorgeous autumnal dish for a simple meal, with a nice salad of leaves and tomatoes as well.

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Mushroom, pea and sun dried tomato oven baked risotto

makes 4 servings


2 large flat mushrooms, chopped
90 g of jarred mushrooms in oil, drained, plus 1 tbsp of their oil (about half a jar, I used some from Lidl)
10 g mixed dried mushrooms
4 large sun dried tomatoes, chopped
50 ml vermouth
200 g arborio rice
2 tsp dried ramsons, or 1 clove of chopped garlic
450 ml boiling water, plus 100 ml to soak the mushrooms
75 g frozen peas
salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c. Soak the dried mushrooms for 10 minutes in 100 ml hot water.
While the mushrooms are soaking, put the flat mushrooms, jar mushrooms, oil and sun dried tomatoes in an ovenproof pan (one that has a lid) on a medium heat.
Cook for a couple of minutes until the flat mushrooms are softening, and then add the vermouth and turn the heat up a bit.
Bubble for 5 minutes or so until the liquid has reduced by about half. Squeeze the liquid from the rehydrated mushrooms and roughly chop them. Add them to the pan along with the rice, and stir well until all the grains are coated with the oil/vermouth mixture.
Mix in the ramsons and water and cover the pan.
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
By this point the rice should be cooked through and the water absorbed.
Add the peas and pop back in the oven for 5 minutes to heat them through.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with salad.


By E.