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Savoury sandwich filling

This may seem slightly silly, however there is a very popular sandwich filling in the North of England (and possibly elsewhere too!) called cheese savoury. It’s just finely chopped veg and grated cheap cheese swaddled in mayonnaise, it’s crunchy, filling and colourful, and should be very easy to veganise.

ready to be thickly slathered on bread..

As I want the mayo to bind the veg and have a presence of its own I’m using a silken tofu and oil mixture which does give a tasty and thick end result.

The cheese component, I’m being lazy and just using a bit of nutritional yeast but a mix of blitzed up cashews and nutritional yeast would provide a bit more flavour.
For the Mayo

100g silken tofu

100ml sunflower oil

2 tsp mustard

2 tsp lemon juice

For the filling

1 medium carrot

2 sticks of celery

1 spring onion

Half a red pepper

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Salt and pepper to taste
To make the mayonnaise, use a stick blender to mix together the tofu, mustard and lemon juice, when combined slowly add the oil mixing all the time, keep an eye on the thickness as depending on the tofu you may need more or less oil.

Grate the carrot and finely chop the rest of the veg.

Mix about half of the mayonnaise through the veg with the nutritional yeast, then add salt and pepper  to taste, it’s simple but yummy!

By A

0

Fermented tofu and walnut stuffed pastry balls

We’re off to a party this evening, so have decided, last minute, that we should take some nibbles with us. This recipe is based on a thought I’d had making some burgers the other week (these ones) and it seems to have paid off. They are salty,  tangy, and the pastry holds together well enough to be bitten in half without disintegrating!

 The pastry uses a pre-mixed GF flour plus a couple of additions to help it behave how I want, as it needs to be squished and shaped the pastry has to be fairly resilient!

Ingredients

For the filling

100g walnuts toasted

50g fermented tofu

For the pastry

100g doves farm plain flour

25g gram flour

1tsp xanthan gum

Half teaspoon baking powder

50ml sunflower oil

30 to 50ml water

Pinch of salt

Goodly amount of freshly cracked black pepper 
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade fan.

Lightly oil a baking sheet, or muffin tray.

Blitz together the walnuts and fermented tofu to make a thick pate.

  
For the pastry, mix together all the dry ingredients well then add the oil and 30ml water bring together with your hands and add more water if necessary, the pastry should be slightly sticky but hold together well.

Break the pastry up into 12 balls.

Place a ball in the palm of your hand and squash flat, add about half a teaspoon of filling into the middle then wrap the pastry round the filling to make a ball, pop on the tray. Repeat for the other 11.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the pastry feels crisp, leave to cool before eating.

By A

2

Okra and mushroom tempura with horseradish dipping sauce

Okra isn’t something I cook with much, it’s not easy to get round here. So it’s quite a treat to have some to play with!
I decided to go the tempura route this time, partly because there’s still rather a lot of fresh horseradish left from the Christmas pie recipe, and with horseradish often being used as a wasabi substitute it seemed to fit nicely with the vaguely Japanese theme.
I’ve done mushrooms too, because they work so very well in tempura batter, and make a nice contrast to the okra. Crisp batter, tender vegetables, and punchy dipping sauce. A treat indeed!

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Okra and mushroom tempura with horseradish dipping sauce

serves 2


for the tempura
100 g okra, cut in half lengthways
2 large flat mushrooms, cut into 5 mm slices
100 g gluten free flour
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
a pinch of salt
120 ml ice cold sparkling water
3 tbsp cornflour (corn starch), for dredging
oil for deep frying
for the dipping sauce
1 tbsp finely grated fresh horseradish
3 tbsp tamari
1/2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
a pinch of sugar


To make the dipping sauce, simply combine all of the ingredients and leave for a few minutes for the flavours to infuse.
It’s best to work quickly when making tempura, so make sure the baking powder and salt are mixed into the flour, the water is measured out, and the vegetables are prepared.
Get the oil on to heat up. I used a 22 cm cast iron saucepan with about 4 cm of oil in it, which was 750 ml. Heated on a medium flame it took 5 minutes to get hot enough, so a little drop of the batter sizzles on the top if the oil.
Sprinkle the cornstarch onto the vegetables, and toss to coat.
Put the flour mixture and sparkling water into a bowl and whisk lightly, it should be lumpy.
Shake each piece of vegetable to remove excess cornflour and then dip into the batter. Lower carefully into the oil. Don’t overcrowded the pan! Fry in batches, for around 3 minutes until crisp.

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Tempura frying!

Drain on kitchen paper before serving with the dipping sauce.


By E.

0

Tofu noodles with beans and vegetables

Here’s another recipe using paper tofu, quite different from Alex’s cannelloni, but just as satisfying to eat!
Here I’ve cut the tofu into noodles, and used it in a salad. It worked ever so well! The noodles don’t need cooking, and have a very pleasing, slightly chewy texture.
The accompanying beans and vegetables were a bit of a mish mash of things I had in the fridge and cupboard… And although very tasty, this is all about the tofu noodles!
They’ll take lots of different flavours, and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on another pack of paper tofu for more experimenting.

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tofu noodles with beans and vegetables

serves 2


1 sheet of paper tofu, (about 25 x 20 cm)
1 400 g tin of borlotti beans, drained and rinsed (240 g drained weight)

100 g mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp oil
100 g flower sprouts, washed
75 g brined cactus slices (nopales)
2 tbsp chipotle in adobo
1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 watermelon radish, sliced and each slice quartered (or 4 regular radishes)


Heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and saute the mushrooms until cooked through. Remove to a bowl.
Put the flower sprouts in the saucepan and add boiling water to cover. Simmer for around 6 minutes, until tender. Drain.
Turn the heat off, and put the mushrooms back in the pan along with the flower sprouts, beans, cactus, chipotle, cider vinegar and coriander. Slice the paper tofu into 2 pieces 12.5 x 20 cm each, roll each one up and slice thinly into noodles. Add them to the pan, and toss everything together. Serve garnished with the slices of watermelon radish.


 

By E.

1

Sweet potato, leek and bean mash with herby flower sprouts and courgettes

Just a quick simple meal this one, and full of nutrients. The mash combines chick peas and butter beans with sweet potato and leeks to make a beautiful pale orange mash, and it’s tasty too!

Combined with flower sprouts and courgettes sauteed with thyme and rosemary, it’s going to make a great work lunch tomorrow. But would be lovely as a main meal too!

The chickpeas and butterbeans make a really good combination, but you could easily substitute other beans

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Sweet potato, leek and bean mash with herby flower sprouts and courgettes

makes 4 servings


 

for the mash

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 leek, halved lengthwise and sliced

1 400 g tin of butterbeans, drained (240g when drained)

1 400 g tin of chickpeas, drained (240 g when drained)

2 tbsp tahini

juice of half a lemon

salt

for the flower sprouts and courgettes

200 g flower sprouts, washed, and halved if large

4 small courgettes, sliced

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 – 2 tbsp olive oil


 

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the sweet potato. Simmer for around 5 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the chickpeas and butterbeans, bring back to a simmer and cook for a further 3 minutes.

While the sweet potato is cooking, microwave the leeks (covered and vented) with a splash of water for 2 minutes, stir, then a further minute. The leeks should be soft.

When the sweet potato and beans are done, drain and then add to the leeks (keeping any cooking liquid in the leeks), along with the tahini, lemon juice and salt. Mash roughly.

For the vegetables, heat the oil in a saucepan and then add the flower sprouts, courgettes and herbs. Saute for around 10 minutes until the courgettes are browning and the flower sprouts are just tender. I used the same pan I’d cooked the sweet potato in, but to speed it up you could use a separate one and cook them at the same time.

 

By E.

2

Globe artichokes with vegan brown ‘butter’ mayo and tomato oil

For all of our love of using tinned artichokes in recipes, neither of us had ever cooked a fresh globe artichoke. So when we were out on a shopping trip and saw some beautiful looking specimens for only £1 each, we thought it was about time we had a go!

The artichokes are simply simmered in water with lemon, fennel seed and bay, but we had a bit of fun with the dipping sauces…

Every time someone on tv or in a written recipe describes brown butter, they talk about the nutty flavour and fragrance, so we thought why not make a vegan version, using, well, nuts! So we browned ground almonds in oil and then used them to make a vegan mayo, it worked really well and makes an incredibly tasty and very moreish dip! As a contrast, we also made a fresh tomato oil, which is so simple to make, but very tasty.

For anyone who hasn’t eaten a globe artichoke before, the idea is to remove the leaves one at a time, and then using your teeth, scrape the tender lower part of the leaf from the more fibrous tip. It sounds odd, but is a very satisfying way to eat, dipping the leaves in the sauces as you go! When you get to the middle of the artichoke there is a little fibrous bit, this is the choke and should be scooped out with a teaspoon and discarded. You can then eat the lower section of the globe, near the stem. And the stem too if it’s tender enough!

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Globe artichokes with vegan brown ‘butter’ mayo and tomato oil

serves 2


 

to cook the artichokes

2 globe artichokes, washed well. Also remove any loose lower leaves, peel the stem and trim the end off. 2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

3 slices of lemon

2 litres boiling water (approximately)

for the vegan brown ‘butter’ sauce

25 g ground almonds

6 tbsp of a neutral flavoured oil, we used vegetable oil 3 tbsp soya flour

6 tbsp soya milk

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

a pinch of salt

for the tomato oil

3 tbsp olive oil

6 cherry tomatoes

a pinch of salt


 

First get the artichokes cooking. Put the artichokes, lemon, bay leaves and fennel seeds in a large saucepan and add the water. We used a stock pot, and 2 litres of water almost covered the artichokes. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer with a lid on for at least 30 minutes. Our artichokes took 50 minutes to cook, when they’re done the outer leaves will pull away with almost no resistance, and the stem will be soft.

While the artichokes are cooking, make the dipping sauces. For the vegan brown ‘butter’ mayo, put the oil and almonds in a small saucepan and heat until the almonds start to change colour and the fragrance is released. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. The almonds will continue to cook and therefore brown more before the oil cools. They should end up golden brown.

When the almond mixture has cooled a little, whizz it up with the rest of the ingredients using a small processor or immersion blender attachment. It should be lovely and thick, but dippable. Add a little more soy milk if it needs it.

To make the tomato oil, prick the cherry tomatoes with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife and heat with the olive oil on a low heat. After a few minutes the tomatoes should have collapsed and released their juice into the oil. Stir to break them up, and season with salt.

Serve the artichokes on plates large enough to take all the finished leaves as you’re eating, with the dips in little bowls.


 

By A. and E.

0

Paper tofu cannelloni

This dish made a fun and tasty supper, the paper tofu was rolled around a mix of strained soy yoghurt, spinach and mushrooms, cooked in a tomato sauce and topped with a mix of cashew nuts and nutritional yeast.

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ready to eat

Paper tofu, if you haven’t encountered it before, is very reminiscent of fresh lasagne sheets in both appearance and texture. It takes very little cooking and is a lot of fun to play with!

I’ve microwaved my veg which allowed me to collect all the liquid from them to use as the basis of the sauce.

Serves two
Ingredients
1 sheet of paper tofu, about 25cm by 20cm
500g soy yoghurt strained overnight
Juice of half a lemon
250g frozen spinach
150g sliced mushrooms
An eighth of a nutmeg grated
250g baby plum tomatoes
1 Tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
25g cashews
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Salt

Pre heat the oven to 200 centigrade fan

Microwave the frozen spinach and sliced mushrooms together until defrosted and the mushrooms are cooked.

Squeeze the liquid out of the spinach and mushrooms into an oven proof dish, add the tomatoes, oregano, cider vinegar and tamari to the dish and place in the oven. We want the sauce to reduce, the tomatoes will help thicken it slightly. After 20 minutes smush the tomatoes into the sauce and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Combine the squeezed spinach and mushrooms with the strained yoghurt, lemon juice and nutmeg, salt to taste.

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spinach and yoghurt mix

Blitz together the cashews and nutritional yeast adding salt to taste.

Slice the paper tofu lengthwise into two rectangular sheets

Roll the spinach and yoghurt mixture up in the paper tofu.

Remove the sauce from the oven and, carefully, add the cannelloni, spoon over the sauce and top with cashew mix.

Return to the oven for 15 minutes until the topping is golden.

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fresh from the oven

By A

3

Carrot, walnut and fermented tofu burgers

Fermented tofu (also called preserved bean curd) is a fascinating thing. We can usually only get it on trips to Asian supermarkets, but it’s always worth picking up a jar of this hugely flavoured foodstuff!
Fermenting the tofu changes it from its usual mild mannered flavour to an absolute powerhouse of strength and is very reminiscent of strong blue cheese.
I’m using it here with walnuts (as a side note just blend walnuts and fermented tofu together for a fantastic pate) to give crunch and a slight bitterness, carrots for more crunch and sweetness, and some leeks to provide an onion-y element without using onion directly.
   

about ready to eat

  
The recipe is simply itself, and the end result is very tasty. 

When adding the potato flour start with less and add more until you get a slightly sticky dough that holds together well, but is still moist.
Makes 6 burgers:
3 carrots peeled
1 medium leek
40g walnuts
4 pieces fermented tofu
30g or more (see note above) potato flour
Salt or tamari if needed

Roughly chop the leek then place in a food processor and reduce to fine shreds, place in a microwaveable bowl, add a little oil or water, cover and heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until soft and translucent.
Roughly chop the carrots, then place in a food processor and blitz to a fairly fine consistency.
Add the carrots and leeks to a mixing bowl.
Add the walnuts and tofu to the food processor and blitz to form a chunky paste.
Combine with the vegetables.

Taste and add salt or tamari if required, the tofu is very salty.

Add the potato flour, starting with a few tablespoons, and mix until it forms a slightly sticky dough.

Lightly spray a large pan with oil and, on a medium heat, form the mix into 6 burgers and cook for about 5 minutes per side till browning and cooked through.
By A

4

Christmas Dessert – Lapsang souchong and persimmon sticky toffee cake with tahini caramel sauce

For the dessert for our Christmas meal we’ve gone for an indulgent moist cake based on the traditional sticky toffee pudding recipe. Rather than use plain tea to soak the dates though, we’ve used beautiful smokey lapsang souchong tea, and added sweet persimmon with their subtle melon-like flavour to the mixture.

Rather like an upside down cake, the tin has a layer of muscovado sugar and persimmon slices added before the batter goes in, so that when the cake is turned out it has a beautiful design of caramelised persimmon on top.

And the caramel sauce is pretty special! We used tahini in it, to add an extra layer of toasty flavour which balances the sweetness.

All in all, it’s a delicious, different end to the festive meal!

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Lapsang souchong and persimmon sticky toffee cake, with tahini caramel sauce

makes 6 – 8 servings


 

for the date, tea and persimmon sauce

2 lapsang souchong tea bags

200 ml hot water

100 g stoneless dates, chopped

1 persimmon, chopped (remove the core if it is woody)

for the cake

225 g gluten free plain flour

225 g dark muscovado sugar

225 g vegan margarine

75 g plain soy yogurt

1 1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

A pinch of salt

for the topping

5 thin slices of persimmon, about 2 mm each. Pick the slices with the attractive star shape in the middle, caused by the core.

2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar

for the tahini caramel sauce

100 g white sugar

4 tbsp tahini

100 ml soy milk


 

Preheat the oven to fan 180 degrees c and grease a 22 cm cake tin. Line the bottom of the cake tin.

Put the tea bags, water, dates and persimmon in a small saucepan on a medium low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 -15 minutes, until the persimmon is soft and the dates have broken down and thickened the sauce. Remove the tea bags and set the sauce aside to cool.

Spread the 2 tbsp of soft dark brown sugar over the bottom of the cake tin, and arrange the persimmon slices on top. They should not overlap.

In a large bowl mix together the sugar and margarine until well combined. Add the date, tea and persimmon sauce and mix well, then add the yoghurt and mix again. It will look lumpy at this stage.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt and then add to the bowl.

Mix until everything has come together to make a smooth batter.

Pour the batter carefully into the cake tin and smooth the top. Bake for 40 minutes, until the cake doesn’t wobble when you carefully shake it.

To make the tahini caramel, put the remaining white sugar in a heavy based saucepan on a low heat and cook until it melts and turns lovely deep brown. Don’t stir the sugar, but if it’s melting unevenly swirl it around the pan. Remove from the heat, add the tahini and stir quickly, then add the soy milk mixing all the time. It will bubble up! Mix until the sauce is smooth and glossy.

To serve, turn the cake out onto a decorative plate so that the persimmon slices are on the top, and drizzle with some of the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce in a jug to add as you please.


 

By A. and E.

1

Christmas main – Artichoke, fennel and chestnut pie with horseradish oat pastry, tomato cranberry carrot sauce, and Christmas fries

So now it’s time for our Christmas main recipe!

Okay, so essentially it’s pie and chips (hey, we’re northern after all…), but ramped up with new and interesting flavours and wow it’s a great meal, even if we do say so ourselves!

The traditional Christmas dinner vegetable accompaniments with a vegan gravy are always delicious, but this year we really wanted to go for something different, and totally celebratory!

The pie itself has a delicious herby creamy filling full of vegetables and chestnuts, with a pastry made with toasted oats and fresh horseradish. The little kick that the horseradish brings is so good, and works beautifully with the filling.

The sauce was a revelation, it sort of evolved as we went along… The cranberries were a last minute purchase, but they really bring something to the sauce. It’s definitely one we’ll make again, it’d be great with pasta but it’s also lovely as a ketchup type of thing for dipping.

And the Christmas fries! We wanted potato and parsnip to feature in the recipe, but thought what fun it would be to do something different than the usual roasted version. So Alex hit on the idea of making them into shoestring fries, and they’re seriously delicious! We’ve added sweet potato too, and also fine green beans which fry up beautifully, the skins blister and the flavour is intensified.

Then because you have to have brussel sprouts with Christmas dinner we’ve simply steamed them and served them on the sauce, a really tasty combination.

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Christmas fries! With artichoke, fennel and chestnut pie, tomato cranberry carrot sauce, and brussel sprouts

serves 4


 

for the pastry

200 g gluten free flour

80 g gram flour (chickpea and split pea flour)

100 g gluten free oats

200 g vegetable fat (we use trex)

1 tsp xanthan gum

2 tbsp fresh horseradish, thinly grated (carefully, it’s very pungent!)

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp cold water

for the filling

150 g tinned artichokes, drained and quartered (about 1/2 a 400 g tin)

1/2 head of fennel, chopped

1/2 tbsp oil

45 g cooked chestnuts, quartered

300 ml soy milk

1 1/2 tbsp cornflour, slaked in a little cold water

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 tsp chopped fresh sage

salt and pepper

for the tomato cranberry carrot sauce

1 400 g tin of plum tomatoes

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp tamari

1/4 tsp gluten free yeast extract

a sprig of rosemary

40 g fresh cranberries

a little water to thin the sauce if you like, maybe 100 ml

for the Christmas fries

1 large potato, cut into matchsticks and dried in kitchen paper

1 medium sweet potato, cut into matchsticks

1 medium parsnip, cut into matchsticks

150 g fine green beans

oil for deep frying

salt

to serve

200 g brussel sprouts, or as many as you like


 

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c.

In a large roasting tin toss the fennel and carrots with the oil, but keep them separate as they are for different parts of the meal. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes, and then remove the fennel, it should be cooked through and browned in places. Stir the carrots and return to the oven for a further 40 minutes, they should be browned, very soft and reduced in size by around 1/2. The flavour will be very intensely carroty which is what you’re looking for.

While the vegetables are cooking get on with the pastry and filling for the pies. In a dry pan toast the oats for a few minutes, stirring often, until they smell toasty. Cool a little. The pastry is best made in a food processor, this keeps the pungent fresh horseradish under control! Whizz the toasted oats until they have broken down. Add the gluten free flour, gram flour, xanthan gum, horseradish and salt to the processor and pulse to combine. Next add the vegetable fat and pulse again until it all looks, well, lumpy! Add the water a little at a time until the pastry forms a ball.

To make the filling, heat the soy milk until it’s just simmering and whisk in the cornflour to thicken. Add the herbs and salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for 2 minutes, stirring often. Mix through the artichokes, fennel and chestnuts and cool a little.

Transfer the pastry to a clean surface and roll out carefully (it’s quite a soft dough), using a little flour if needed. Line the pie dishes, ours are 12 cm in diameter and 3 cm deep. We used enamel pie dishes, and to be honest it was pretty difficult to get the pies out, when we make them again we’ll use disposable foil dishes.

Roll and cut lids to fit your pie dishes. Fill the dishes with filling and top with the lids, pressing around the edge to seal. Cut a little hole in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake ( at 190 degrees c) for 40 minutes.

Next the sauce! Put the roasted carrots, tinned tomatoes, cranberries, tamari, yeast extract and rosemary in a saucepan on a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes until the cranberries are soft and the sauce is thick. Remove the rosemary and blend the sauce using an immersion blender. If you want to be cheffy, pass the sauce through a fine sieve to give a velvety texture. Thin with water to your desired consistency, we kept ours quite thick. Reheat in the saucepan when you need it.

To make the fries, heat the oil to 160 degrees c and drop the vegetables in. We used an electric deep fryer, but it’s a very small one so it took a few batches! Keep them warm in the oven as they’re done if you’re doing the same. The potato, sweet potato, parsnips and green beans all take 4 minutes to cook through. We tried the green beans fried from raw, and steamed in the microwave for a couple of minutes and then dried on kitchen paper. We preferred the steamed version, but both are good. Salt the fries.

Steam or boil the brussel sprouts just before serving. We steamed ours for 3 minutes in the microwave.

To serve, carefully turn the pies out and plate the sauce, fries and sprouts as you see fit.

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Okay, so we were a little silly with plating the sprouts and sauce…


 

By A. and E.