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Super easy vegetable lasagne

I’d been fancying lasagne all day, but didn’t really have the right ingredients in. Or so I thought…

I ferreted around in the cupboards, fridge and freezer, and came up with this recipe.

It’s comforting and moreish, and as well as being super easy, it’s pretty quick to put together!

Super easy vegetable lasagne

Super easy vegetable lasagne

Serves 1-2

2 sheets gluten free (or regular) lasagne

175 g tomatoes, chopped

125 g mushrooms, sliced

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 a red pepper, chopped

2 tbsp oil

1/4 tsp garlic powder

60 g frozen spinach

225 ml soy milk

1 tsp potato starch, slaked

1/2 tsp mustard powder (scant)

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp stock powder

1 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to fan 180 c.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil on a medium heat in a saucepan or frying pan and cook 3/4 of the onion and the red pepper for a few minutes until the onion is a little brown. Add the mushrooms and garlic powder and continue to cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until the mushrooms are softening.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the spinach in the microwave, on full power and partially covered, for 1 minute to defrost. Add the soy milk, and heat for a further 2 minutes. The spinach mixture should be just under boiling temperature, it needs to be very hot for the potato starch to work. Add the mustard powder and nutritional yeast and mix thoroughly, along with a little salt and pepper. Next add the potato starch, stirring as you do so. The sauce should thicken after a few seconds. It needs to be pretty thick for assembling the lasagne, it will loosen a little as it bakes and help to soften the pasta sheets.

Now assemble the lasagne, I used a 18 x 12 cm stoneware dish, which only just fitted everything in!

Put a thin layer of spinach sauce in the bottom of the dish, then add half the tomatoes, seasoning with half of the oregano and some black pepper. Then add a sheet of lasagne, and then half of the mushrooms on top of this.

Next is half the remaining spinach sauce. Then tomatoes, lasagne, mushrooms, and lastly spinach sauce. Top with the remaining onions, and drizzle with a little oil and some black pepper.

The lasagne ready to go into the oven

The lasagne ready to go into the oven

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the top is starting to brown and the pasta is soft.

By E.

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Review – Ten Acre Crisps

We first tried Ten Acre crisps a few months ago after a packet of their immensely tasty The Story Of When Cheese Met The Onion flavour appeared in one of A’s monthly vegan boxes.

And oh was it lovely to have a cheese and onion flavour crisp again! We did miss them after we went vegan. The cheese flavouring is strong and savoury, and very satisfying.

Ten Acre Crisps were launched in the UK at the end of 2013. They come in 8 flavours, along with a range of popcorn. The whole range is vegan, gluten free and kosher. Yay!

We stocked up on a few bags at the North West Vegan Fair in Blackpool last September, and tried very hard to make them last… they seemed to be quite hard to get hold of at the time.

A recent Veganstore order brought us a couple more bags of The Story Of When Cheese Met The Onion, along with How Chicken Soup Saved The Day, and When Hickory got BBQ’d.

When Hickory Got BBQ'd - photo taken on my desk at work, the crisps were for lunch today...

When Hickory Got BBQ’d – photo taken on E’s desk at work, the crisps were for lunch today…

The chicken flavour is salty, tasty and, to lift a phrase we never thought we’d use, finger licking good! The hickory crisps are a burnished golden colour full of smoke and tang and a taste that lingers long after the crisps have been wolfed down.

The crisps themselves are thicker than the mass produced type, but pleasingly so, not roof-of-mouth shreddingly so… Also, which is so important in a crisp, they actually look like they’ve been fried in oil. It’s all part of the joy of the snack!

The crisps themselves

The crisps themselves

Hopefully they’ll be stocked all over the place soon, as we’re very much looking forward to trying the rest of the range!

By A. and E.

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Notspam fritters with rainbow mango coleslaw

To celebrate the amount of spam comments wordpress helpfully filters out for us, I thought it would be fun to make a vegan, gluten free version of a spam fritter…

I’ve used marinated tofu coated in gluten free breadcrumbs and walnuts and fried, I don’t imagine they taste anything like spam, but I used ketchup in the marinade to make them pink!

The fritters are served with a beautifully colourful coleslaw.

It almost fits in with Using Things Up week… I only bought the mango, red cabbage and coriander!

Notspam fritters with rainbow mango coleslaw

Notspam fritters with rainbow mango coleslaw

Serves 2

200g tofu (1/2 a block) see below for notes on tofu

50 g gluten free breadcrumbs

15 g walnuts, chopped

oil for frying

For the marinade

3 tbsp ketchup

1/4 tsp roasted ground fennel

1/4 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp celery salt

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

pinch of salt

For the rainbow mango coleslaw

1/2 a ripe mango, cubed

65 g red cabbage, finely shredded

1 small carrot (60 g), shredded

1/2 a red pepper, shredded

10 g coriander,  chopped

1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp plain soy yoghurt

Cut the tofu into 6 slices. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a shallow bowl, and carefully coat the tofu. Leave for around twenty minutes for the flavours to soak in.

The marinade ingredients

The marinade ingredients

Meanwhile, chop the walnuts and mix into the breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl (I use pasta bowl for this).

For the rainbow mango coleslaw, simply mix all of the ingredients together.

Rainbow mango coleslaw

Rainbow mango coleslaw

Heat the oil in large frying pan on a medium low heat, around 2 tbsp per batch. Press each tofu slice into the breadcrumb mixture to coat on both sides.

Place the fritters in the pan, and them flip over straight away so that both sides get some oil. Fry them gently turning once (not too hot so as not to burn the walnuts), until golden. About 4 minutes each side.

Notspam fritters frying in the pan

Notspam fritters frying in the pan

You may need to do this in batches.

-a note about tofu…

I do find that most recipes specify only that the tofu is firm, which can lead to a lot of confusion, as silken tofu can be described as firm or extra firm on the packet, but is not the type usually required in recipes as it’s not as suitable for frying or baking as the firm sort.

Silken tofu does not require chilling, and so is found on the shop shelves. Silken tofu is very soft, with a texture rather like a set custard or pannacotta. It’s great as a scramble, and lovely in some soups, and used in desserts.

Here at veganbungalow, if we don’t specify a type of tofu for our recipes we mean the type with a spongy texture, packed in water and found in the chiller cabinet. This type of tofu is best pressed to drain out excess liquid before using. It’s even easier if you freeze it, which seems to toughen it up a little. It can then be defrosted in the microwave, and gently squeezed to get rid of the liquid.

By E.

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Review – Beaver Brand Jalapeno Mustard

Our American friends may be familiar with Beaver Brand jalapeno mustard, but when I spied it in my local Booths supermarket recently, I fell upon it with squees of joy… I love mustard, and I love jalapenos so it had to be bought! Beware though, it is most certainly not cheap.

Thankfully I tried a little before I slathered it all over my sandwich, it’s seriously hot! Which upon closer inspection of the ingredients list, makes a lot of sense… the first pepper in the list is cayenne, along with red jalapeno, green jalapeno, red chilli and ancho.

The first hit of flavour is definitely the cayenne, which to me always tastes like a rather raw sort of heat, although I don’t find it unpleasant. The mustard then mellows a little into the flavour of the jalapenos, which I really enjoy, it’s a rounded heat which fills the mouth but doesn’t hang around too long. The mustard flavour is more of a tangy banknote with all the chilli in there! I’ll be honest, I couldn’t detect the ancho flavour at all.

My very most favourite way of eating it so far has been spread thinly on wholemeal toast with peanut butter, it made such a satisfying weekend breakfast!

But I’ve also found it to be gorgeous with cucumber and vegan cheese in a sandwich, and mixed into vegan mayo as a dip for chips…

I’d definitely recommend it, particularly if you’re a fan of chilli sauces.

I'd already eaten quite a lot of it by the time I took this photo...

I’d already eaten quite a lot of it by the time I took this photo…

By E.

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Courgette, leek and onion soup

Continuing my few days of Using Things Up, this evening I made soup. Rather than simmering soup on the hob, my preferred method is to cook it in the oven. That way I can leave the vegetables be, to braise and impart their flavour to the stock while I get on with other things. Also, it means no oil is needed! This time I started the leeks and onions off in the microwave, as in my leek and celery broth recipe, so it only took 25 minutes in the oven to finish off. It turned out to be a soothing, satisfying soup, and I served it with pitta bread and vegan cheese warmed in the oven for a couple minutes after the soup came out.

Courgette, leek and onion soup

Courgette, leek and onion soup

makes 3 – 4 portions

1 and a half courgettes, diced

2 sticks of celery, chopped

1 leek, sliced

2 onions, sliced

(There was also a rogue mushroom in there, but I’m not really counting it in the recipe…)

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp roasted ground fennel seed

700 ml light vegetable stock, hot

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to fan 150 c.

Microwave steam the leeks and onions for 4 minutes, stirring half way through.

Add the vegetables, herbs and stock to an oven proof pot with a lid. I use a 20 cm cast iron casserole.

Cover, and cook for 25 minutes until the vegetable are soft. Blend until fairly smooth, then season to taste. I used white pepper for a little heat, and did find that this soup needed salt, to bring out the sweetness of the leeks and onions.

By E.

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Spiced sweet potato, mushrooms and chickpeas

It’s payday at the end of the week, so I’m in Using Things Up mode. Which also means exploring the cupboards and freezer for nice things that I’ve bought but forgotten about…

It seems like ages since I’ve had chickpeas for lunch. I had fresh sweet potato and mushrooms, spinach and ginger in the freezer, and plain soy yoghurt that needs using. So along with the fresh coriander reduced to clear from the supermarket on the way home from work, and a few spices, I have a saucepan full of comforting lightly spiced stew, enough to last a couple of days.

Spiced sweet potato, mushrooms and chickpeas

Spiced sweet potato, mushrooms and chickpeas

Serves 2 – 4

250 g mushrooms, quartered

1 large sweet potato, chopped unto cubes ( mine was 560 g)

1 tsp oil

60 g frozen spinach

400 g tin of chickpeas, drained

300 ml light vegetable stock

1/2 tsp ground roasted cumin seed

1/2 tsp ground roasted coriander seed

1/4 tsp around roasted fennel seed

1 tbsp grated ginger

4 tbsp plain soy yoghurt (or coconut milk would be nice too)

a small bunch of coriander, 10 – 15 g, chopped

1 tsp anardana powder (or garam masala)

Heat the oil in a saucepan, tip the mushrooms in and fry them, stirring often, until the liquid starts to appear. Add the cumin, coriander, fennel and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring so the spices don’t catch.

Add the sweet potato, spinach, chick peas and stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook, partially covered for 15 – 20 minutes, until the sweet potato is soft.

Stir in the soy yoghurt and coriander, and then sprinkle the anardana powder (and a little more soy yoghurt and coriander if you like) over the top before serving.

By E.

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Gluten free chocolate cake/flan case

Its a cold, wet, afternoon … again. I’m a bit weary, and feel like I’m fighting off a cold. So now is the time to reach for those great piles of vegetables we vegans are always consuming .. Isn’t it? ¬†… Nope!

I want cake.

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This was a quick, thrown together recipe, that came out nicely and reminds me very much of the pre-made flan cases … Which has to be usable at a future point .. Also there’s no added fat in the batter so it is slightly healthier .. Maybe .. Until the toppings anyway!

I’m presently lacking a full sized oven, so am using a toaster oven which is handling every challenge I throw at it!

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So, what do I need

200 ml almond milk

2 heaped teaspoons chia seeds

200g gluten free plain flour

1.5 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder

30g Cocoa powder

75g light muscovado sugar

Pinch of salt

9 inch sandwich cake tin or flan tin.

Toppings to serve, I used raspberry jam and vegan whipped cream.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Start by soaking the chia seed in the almond milk.

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Weigh out and mix together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt .. As you can see from my picture you could sieve them, but a decent stir will fix any lumps.

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Add the almond milk/chia seed mix to the dry ingredients and mix well. It gives a fairly sloppy mixture.

Pour into your cake tin and bake at 180 Celsius for about 20 minutes.

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I then microwaved some raspberry jam and spread it over the top, before piling vegan whipped cream and grated chocolate on the top.

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It certainly beat the blues!

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Chinese mock chicken with choi sum and celery

Over the last few months I’ve tried the whole range of Rolin Chinese mock meats that they stock online at Wing Yip supermarket. The mock meats are actually seitan, or as it says on the tins, fried gluten. They have a pleasing slightly chewy texture, and make a nice change from tofu or cashew nuts for a stir fry.

Sensibly, I made no notes about what I made with the mock pork, abalone, and duck… But the tin of mock chicken was sat there in the cupboard, looking like a great base for a dish to go with the leftover vegetable fried rice that needs using up today.

Happily, I also had choi sum, and I’m still working my way through the celery mountain… so I made this simple, but very tasty stir fry.

Chinese mock chicken with choi sum and celery

Chinese mock chicken with choi sum and celery

Serves 2

150 g choi sum, sliced into 1 cm lengths (keep the stalks and leaves separate)

2 sticks celery, sliced

1 tin Rolin mock chicken, (reserve the sauce)

1 tsp oil

1 tbsp ginger, finely grated

1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine

2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce

1/4 tsp potato starch, slaked

Rolin mock chicken

Rolin mock chicken

Heat the oil in a wok over a medium heat. Fry the drained mock chicken for a couple of minutes on each side, until browned. I’ve left the mock chicken in large pieces for the photograph, to show how it is when it comes out of the tin. I cut it into smaller chunks for the finished dish.

Mock chicken browning in the wok

Mock chicken browning in the wok

Remove from the wok and set aside. Add the choi sum stalks and celery to the pan, and stir fry for 2 minutes.

Add the ginger, shaoxing wine, the sauce from the mock chicken tin and the vegetarian oyster sauce to the wok.

Give everything a good mix together, and simmer for another 2 minutes. Add the potato starch, stirring as you do so.

Return the mock chicken to the wok, along with the choi sum leaves, and bubble everything together for a couple of minutes until the leaves have wilted.

By E.