Food: Smoky chickpea and lentil stew

Here’s a dead simple recipe for a store cupboard vegan alternative to regular stew. The secret ingredient to this (and many other) recipes is time – just allowing it to simmer away and work its magic at a low temperature in the oven.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, chopped finely,

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic,

  • 1tbp of oil (vegetable)

  • 1 tin of chickpeas,

  • 1 tin of butter beans,

  • 150g of red lentils,

  • 200ml of water,

  • 1 tin of tomatoes,

  • 1tbp tomato puree,

  • 1tbp sundried tomato paste,

  • 1tsp dried cumin,

  • 1tsp pimentón,

  • 1tsp chipotle chilli powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon,

  • ½ tsp chili flakes,

  • 3-4 drops of liquid smoke,

  • Small handful of fresh coriander,

  • Small handful of fresh parsley,

 

To serve:

  • Small handful of fresh coriander or parsley,

  • 1 generous dollop of Oatly fraîche,

  • Lots of nice, crispy fresh bread.

 

Method:

 

Chop the onion and the garlic finely and soften in a little oil in a suitably sized Dutch oven. When they’re soft add the tomato puree and allow that to suck up all the extra oil. Add in the chickpeas and the tomatoes, sundried tomato paste, stir and season with salt and black pepper. Add in the lentils and some of the water for now. Season the stew with the rest of the dry spices and give it a good stir. Let the mixture come up to simmering point and then stir in the fresh herbs and the drops of liquid smoke. The lentils should have absorbed some of the water by this point so top it up and place in a preheated oven at 140°C. Allow it to cook for at least forty minutes before checking. Take it out and give it a good stir, give it a bit more water if it’s looking dry. At this stage you’ll need to give it another half an hour at least to let the lentils truly lose their bite and become soft. Keep stirring and checking until it’s the consistency you want. The longer you leave it the better it’ll be, I promise!

When it’s done serve with the chopped herbs, a dollop of Oatly fraiche and a mountain of good bread. It’s the perfect summer stew!

Food: Barbecue Cauli Stack

Aldi recently had cauliflowers at 45p, so I bought quite a few; they’re a great meat alternative, versatile and last for ages! Here’s a recipe I came up with to emulate that meaty bbq taste!

You’ll need:

For the BBQ Cauliflower:

  • 1/2 Head of cauliflower
  • 1tbs tomato pureé
  • Splash liquid smoke
  • 1tbs dark soy sauce
  • 1tsp Chipotle chilli powder
  • 1tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tbs paprika
  • 1tbs pomegranate molasses
  • 1tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1tsp dried rosemary
  • Splash garlic infused oil
  • 1tsp onion powder
  • Splash of wate

For the charred sweet potato mash:

  • 3 Sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • Salt n Pepper
  • 1 knob of vegan butter
  • 200ml plant milk (I used Oatly)

To finish:

  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 4 lingonberry pickled onions, chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

 

Method:

Okay, so this method is a little unconventional, but bear with me.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into thick coins, layer them on a baking tray and drizzle a splash of oil and season with a little salt. Make sure all the pieces of potato are covered and then put into a hot oven (200°C) and bake for twenty minutes. At this point you need to watch them like a hawk because you want them to be burned but not incinerated! Once they’re browned or lightly blackened, remove them from the oven put them in the pan with the milk, vegan butter and a little more salt. If they haven’t fully softened by now they will in the mix. When they’re softened take off the heat mash them together. Depending on the size of your potatoes you may not need all of the milk, just enough to give you a thick but creamy mash. Spoon the mixture into chef’s ring/ decorative tart tin  on your serving plate and allow to cool. If using a tin, like I did you may have to flip it onto another plate.

Now for the bbq cauliflower. Put a pan on the hob on low heat and drizzle with a little oil. I like using a Dutch Oven such as a Le Creuset as it can go from the hob to the oven easily. Add in the tomato pureé and let it fry off. Next, add in the spices, syrups and soy sauce and stir them into the tomato mixture. You should have a smoky, dark paste in the pan. Cut the cauliflower into little pieces and add them into the pan, trying to coat them with the smoky sauce. Let it fry off for a few minutes, then add in a splash of water. Stir and with the lid on, place in the oven on a low heat (140°C) for 30 minutes.

Once the time is up you should have a brown, glistening and surprisingly meaty cauliflower mixture. Place in a bowl and add the pepper, pickled onion and coriander.

Place a Chef’s ring on top of the mash and spoon in the cauliflower mixture. Once filled, press it lightly and slowly take the Chef’s ring off. Finish with some more chopped coriander. Works great served with some fresh green veg, I served mine with some purple sprouting broccoli.

 

Enjoy!

Food: Pulled jackfruit sandwich

This is a recipe for a very convincing vegan alternative to the popular ‘pulled pork sandwich’.

You’ll need:

  • 1 tin of green jackfruit
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1tsp sun dried tomato paste
  • 1tbs tomato purée
  • 2 tbs of smoked paprika
  • A splash of Chinese black vinegar
  • 1tsp onion powder
  • 1tsp garlic infused oil
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke,
  • 1tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsb Dijon mustard
  • 1tbs agave
  • A Spinkle of dried chilli flakes
  • 1tsp chipotle chilli powder
  • 1tbs dried rosemary
  • A sprinkle of muscavado sugar
  • Salt & pepper

 

For the homefries:

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • A glug of olive oil
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • 1tsp dried rosemary
  • A Sprinkle of paprika salt

 

For the smoked paprika mayo:

  • 3 tbs vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

 

Making the sauce is easy. Just place all of the ingredients (minus the jackfruit) into a pot (I used my trusty Dutch oven) and place on the hob on a medium heat. Once it starts reducing and releasing its smoky aroma into the air, take off the heat and set aside. Here’s where you can put the jackfruit in.  To prepare simply drain, place on a chopping board and cut the flesh of the pieces away from the core. Then place into the pot. It should already start to look like the real deal – the flesh of the jackfruit instantly turns stringy, looking uncannily like pulled pork! At this point you could cook the jackfruit and then serve, but being lazy I just left it in the sauce overnight – plus I’m sure by doing this the flavour permeated the whole flesh.

When you’re ready to cook simply place on the hob on a medium heat and stir. The flesh should be starting to flake and have a meat – like texture to it. Continue stirring for roughly 8-10 minutes until the Dutch oven has had time to warm up. If some of the flesh remains un flaked I’d recommend using a masher or a wooden spoon to loosen it up. Again, you could serve it at this point, however (In my opinion) ‘pulled pork’ needs to be put in an oven to bake, thus this has to do the same. Into a preheated oven at 160°C it goes for 30 minutes.

While it’s in the oven you can start preparing the fries element. To do this simply cut the potatoes into wedges (skin on) and parboil in salted water. Then, place the potatoes into a mixing bowl along with a glug of your oil of choice (I used olive oil) toss the potatoes in the oil and sprinkle them with the chopped fresh parsley and dried rosemary. Scatter evenly on a baking tray. Unless you make these in advance you’ll have to use the smaller oven, whilst the pulled jackfruit is cooking. Preheat the smaller oven to 180°C. Once ready, place the homefries in and cook for 30 minutes. Check half way through, making sure they’re browning nicely.

Once the time is up, take both the pulled jackfruit and the homefries out and leave a few minutes to cool slightly. It’s now time to serve. On your plate/platter of choice place a sourdough bun (cut in half) and spread on 1tsp of Dijon mustard. Next, spoon on a pile of the pulled jackfruit. Then a layer of balsamic dressed rocket. Finally, top with some kind of pickle element (I used my homemade lingonberry pickled onions) and the sandwich element is done.

For the fries, simply place in a dish and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt (I used the paprika salt that my mum made me for Christmas).

You’ll need something to dip the homefries in. Here’s an easy way to make a vegan spiced mayo. Simply squeeze some mayonnaise into a bowl, add mustard, lemon juice and smoked paprika. Mix until it comes together into a smoky and smooth dip. Season to taste.

We served it with a cocktail. I wanted to make an American classic, so we went for a Manhattan. Looking at the back of the cupboards however, it turned out that I had dry vermouth, not sweet vermouth. So I adapted it ever so slightly. To make you’ll need:

  • 2 parts whisky
  • 1 part dry vermouth
  • A dash of simple syrup (I used some homemade brown sugar simple syrup)
  • 2 dashes of bitters
  • A handful of ice
  • 1 Maraschino cherry
  • Some orange peel.

To make, pour the whisky, simple syrup, bitters and vermouth into a cocktail shaker, along with a handful of ice. Twist and squeeze the orange peel around a couple of martini glasses, releasing the oils. Shake and pour into the glasses. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

Enjoy!