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: Cilento ciambotta

Here’s a great recipe for using up the vegetables you have left in your fridge. Plus, it’s one of those that kind of works for all seasons, whether frosty Winter or a breezy Summer evening.

You’ll need:

  • 1 aubergine, cut into cubes
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Oil, for frying
  • 1tsp tomato pureé
  • 1tsp sundried tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 courgettes / zucchini, cut into coins
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • Handful of new potatoes, cut into pieces (I used purple potatoes)
  • Handful of good black olives
  • Splash of good red wine
  • 1tbs chilli flakes
  • Handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1tsp dried rosemary
  • 1tsp dried basil
  • 1tsp dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt & Pepper

 

Start by chopping the aubergine into pieces and place them in to a colander (over a bowl). Sprinkle salt over them and wait until it starts extracting it’s juices (this stops it becoming bitter). This should take 30 minutes or so.

While this is doing, in a Dutch Oven, fry the onions and garlic on a medium heat until they turn translucent. Then add in the tomato pureé & paste and fry until it’s cooked out. Next add in the tin of chopped tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes. Now is probably time to check on the aubergine.

Once the juice has been extracted from the aubergine, Rinse with some water, and add into the pot, along with the courgette, olives and herbs. Top up with some good red wine and stir. Season with salt & black pepper, not forgetting the aubergines might still be a little salty.

Place into a pre-heated oven at 140°C, for 50 minutes. In this time the wizard that is the Dutch oven/ cast-iron casserole will do it’s magic and meld everything together. After 50 minutes is up, take the lid off and check if the potatoes are done, by pricking them with a fork. They should be, as cutting them into small pieces, shortens their cooking time, however, if not, place back in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.

Serve, with a good drink and a nice loaf of bread

Enjoy!

 

Food: Vegan Irish Stew

With St Patrick’s Day celebrations over the last weekend why not try something traditional but with a Vegan twist? This simple recipe is made with TVP chunks which, I’ve found, aren’t that easy to track down! My packet was bought whilst on holiday in Llandrindod Wells! In any case, it comes dried in a bag and looks like misshapen croutons, but these swell to make delicious but firm soya pieces that can be used in a number of creative ways.

You’ll need:

  • 100g TVP pieces,
  • 2 medium carrots,
  • 2-3 medium potatoes,
  • 1 large onion,
  • 2 Bay leaves,
  • 1tsp of all purpose seasoning,
  • 250ml boiling water,
  • 250ml of Irish stout (I used Carlow brewing company for M&S Irish Stout as it’s SFV)
  • 1tbsp of dried thyme,
  • 50g barley or oats,

 

Prepare the TVP pieces first by covering them with boiling water in a bowl with the seasoning. They should begin to swell to nice, meaty pieces.

Peel and chop the onion and soften in a little oil over a medium heat in a decent sized Dutch oven, then peel and chop the carrots and potatoes into nice chunky pieces. Add these to the onions and pour over the boiling water and the stout until the veg is more than covered. Combine the barley or oats along with the TVP pieces and their broth into the pan and stir. Season with black pepper, dried Thyme and the Bay leaves. Check the saltiness of the water for preference. The seasoning can be quite salty so be careful when adding more.

Give the whole thing a good stir and then cook in the oven on a medium heat for forty minutes. When it’s ready the broth will be rich, the TVP will be soft but hold their shape and the vegetables will be cooked but not disintegrating. Enjoy with some crusty bread or potato farls and a liberal glass of stout, I paired ours with another couple bottles of Irish Stout brewed for Marks and Spencer’s by Carlow Brewing Company. Making the most of finding vegan friendly Irish stout
Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit! Sláinte!

Food: Curried pancake stack

This is what I made on Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday as an alternative to sweet British pancakes with lemon & sugar…which are amazing btw! Here’s how you can make these for dinner and have the sweet ones for dessert 😉 These are also, omitting the Oatly for  another plant milk/ yoghurt alternative, gluten free too!

You’ll need:

For the pancakes:

  • 100g Gram (chickpea) flour.
  • 30g Frozen spinach, thawed.
  • 100ml Aquafaba.
  • 2tbs Chia seeds.
  • 1tsp Green barley powder.
  • 1tbs of kalonji / nigella/ black fennel seeds
  • 1tsp Garam marsala.
  •  1tsp Chilli powder.
  • 1tsp Cumin.
  • Salt & pepper.
  • Splash of non dairy milk (I used Oatly)
  • 1 Portions worth of leftover curry, vegan in my case.

For the Raita:

  • 2tbs Oatly fraîche/ soy yoghurt
  • Splash of water (If using Oatly fraîche)
  • Thumb size piece of cucumber.
  • Handful of fresh mint.
  • Sprinkle of salt

To Garnish:

  • 6 Bhaji bites
  • Handful of chopped coriander
  • 5 lingonberry pickled onion rings, learn how to make them here

This recipe is a doddle to make, simply start by heating up your aquafaba on a low heat in a pan with the chia seeds. This should start the chia seeds coagulation process.

Whilst they begin to heat up, you can get your dry ingredients ready. Sieve the spices, green barley powder, gram flour and salt & pepper into a big mixing bowl. Once you can see the chia seeds have began to open and make a gel, take the mixture off the heat.

with a hand blender, pulse the spinach ever so slightly until it begins to break up. Combine with the aquafaba/chia mixture, then add the kalonji seeds. mix until you get a green, gloopy mixture. Now, all you have to do is simply mix with the dry mixture and add a splash of non-dairy milk accordingly until it becomes a thick batter.

Fry in an oiled pan, remembering to spread the mixture evenly. Keep an eye on the level of oil in the pan, between pancakes, you may have to add a bit more oil.

once they are all cooked, stack them on a plate for later.

I had a bit of batter leftover, but not enough to make another pancake. Instead of wasting it, I decided to make these bhaji bites. To the batter I added 1tbs of finely chopped spring onion, 1tsp turmeric and 1tsp paprika. mix and dollop a teaspoon worth into the pan, to which I added an inch of oil. They will slightly expand and bubble. Cook until crispy, but be vigilant as they can burn easily.

Once done, pop them onto some paper towel to drain and pop the leftover curry in a pan/ microwave to heat through.

Whilst you’re waiting for the curry to re-heat, it’s time to make the raita. Chop the mint & cucumber finely, adding to a bowl. Mix through the yoghurt/ fraîche. If you’re using the Oatly fraîche, you may need to add a splash of water to the bowl, as its quite a thick product. Season with salt & you’re done!

Time to assemble!

Layer each pancake with a big dollop of curry, then on the final layer, top with the raita & garnishes and finally crown with the bhaji bites.

It’s great paired with a light & refreshing beer. I made a shandy out of Five Points Ale & Cawston Press cucumber & mint soda and it worked perfectly!

Enjoy!

IMG_1878.JPG

Food: Vegan Smørrebrød

Smørrebrød, (lit. butter and bread), or open faced sandwiches, are an iconically Danish dish, but much of their popularity is due to a recent renaissance thanks to Adam Aaman’s Deli and Takeaway. Before that, their heyday was during the 19th century when they were eaten in Copenhagen restaurants by men playing cards. These days they’ve become an art form in themselves, each sandwich carefully constructed like ‘Nordic sushi’.

Using my recipe for Vegan gravlax I decided to come up with some classic combos. Smørrebrød needs good bread base so I bought a seeded rye rugbrød from Brød in Cardiff. The smør (butter) element is just as important to the dish as the bread, so make sure you layer each slice with a generous spread of your favourite butter, Vegan in my case. Spread liberally, In Denmark they say you should ‘spread corner to corner’.

Here are three classic varieties.

For the laks you’ll need:

  • 4 slices of Vegan gravlax,
  • Sprig of dill
  • 4 slices of cucumber salad,
    • Half a cucumber, sliced finely
    • 4tbsp sugar
    • 4tbsp white wine vinegar
    • some mustard seeds; some black peppercorns
    • Handful of fresh dill, chopped finely
    • a few bay leaves and a splash of water.

To make the cucumber salad simply combine the ingredients in a small bowl and leave to do their thing for an hour or two at least. It’s best to leave them for longer so the cucumber has time to soften a bit. I make mine up and leave them in the fridge as they last for ages.

To assemble, simply combine artfully & garnish with a sprig of dill 😀

For the kartoffel, you’ll need:

  • 3 medium new potatoes, boiled, cooled and sliced into coins,
  • A dollop of vegan cream cheese,
  • A spoonful of seaweed caviar (available from IKEA),
  • Sprinkle of crispy onions,

For the cream cheese I used Oatly’s PåMackan that I brought back from my trip to Malmö. Sadly it’s a Scandi exclusive for the time being but any Vegan cream cheese would work. I personally like the one from Bute Island Foods.

Again, to assemble, simply layer artfully with the potatoes at the bottom.

For the Levepostej og rødbeder, you’ll need:

  • 2tbs of Vegan leverpostej (see below),
  • 3 pieces of crinkle cut pickled beetroot,
  • 1tbs of chopped parsley,
  • 3 rings of lingonberry pickled onions:
    • 1 red onion, sliced thinly on a mandolin,
    • 1tbs lingonberry cider vinegar (IKEA),
    • 1tbs lingonberry syrup (IKEA),
    • A splash of water,

Again, the pickled onions benefit from having been made in advance, but an hour or two will do. As for the leverpostej (liver pate), this was a bit harder to replicate. It’s a classic Danish ingredient but for a Vegan it requires a degree of creativity! I used the mushroom pate from Suma, which is very rich and delivers that meaty body that you need. To give it the classic pink hue I simply mixed in some pickled beet juice! Hey presto – a convincing alternative is born.

Enjoy your smørrebrød with a shot of cold snaps – oh, and don’t forget to use cutlery! (It’s a faux pas to pick them up with your hands in Denmark :P)

SKÅL!

Food: Cawl empanadas

Recently, to honour Y Wladfa – the Welsh colony in the Chubut province of Argentina – I made cawl empanadas out of leftover jackfruit cawl mixture. The results were absolutely delicious and the spices go really well with the stocky richness of the cawl to create a moreish empanada filling.

You’ll need:

  • A cup or so of leftover cawl (you can find a recipe for vegan Jackfruit Cawl here).
  • 1 roll of ready made shortcrust pastry,
  • 1 tsp cumin,
  • 1 tsp ground coriander,
  • ½tsp of Chipotle chilli powder (or similar, feel free to use more!),
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree,
  • 100ml sunflower oil,

Method:

Combine the cawl with the spices and the puree in a pan and allow the spices to infuse. Allow the water to boil away until you’ve got a dryer mixture.

Roll out the pastry and use a small bowl to shape the empanadas. Spoon out the mixture onto the disks of pastry and fold over. Crimp the edges together with a fork and place on a baking tray. One roll of pastry makes roughly eight empanadas but it will depend how much leftovers you have.

Bake in the oven for twenty minutes at 180°c or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a rack. Bring the oil to frying heat in a frying pan and quickly dunk the empanadas in the oil for twenty seconds each side. The pastry should change colour quickly so be ready to get them out quick!

For an indulgent touch, serve with some vegan mayo pepped up with smoked paprika and garlic oil.

I paired mine with a bottle of Gaucho from Tomos a Lilford. A light yet full bodied South American IPA brewed with Yerba Mate in 2015 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Welsh landing in Patagonia.

¡Salud boyo!

m

Food: Jackfruit cawl

To celebrate St David’s day, I’ve done my take on the Traditional Welsh dish, cawl.

Cawl is an institution in Wales, the cornerstone of hearty home cooking that dates back to time immemorial. It’s traditionally a simple, peasant dish and is similar to vegetable soups from around Europe and the British Isles.

 

You’ll need:

  • 1 Tin of green jackfruit

  • 1 tsp Light Soy Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Gravy granules

  • 1 Large parsnip

  • 1 Large swede

  • 3 Medium potatoes

  • 2 Carrots

  • 1 Large leek

  • 1 Onion

  • 1 Bayleaf
  • 1 Veg stock pot

 

Method:

 

The base of the cawl couldn’t be simpler. Peel and chop all of the vegetables – the parsnip, leek and carrots into coins and dice the rest into cubes. Soften the leek and onion in a little oil and then add the rest of the vegetables. Cover with hot water from the kettle and bring to a gently boil. Season with lots of black pepper and the stock cube. Stir, cover and reduce to a simmer for half an hour or so or until the veggies have cooked. The natural flavours of the vegetables, especially the parsnip and the swede really come through and don’t need any other herbs to be added for authenticity.

 

While the vegetables are simmering you can prepare the jackfruit. Drain and de-core the jack fruits then cut the pieces into chunks. Heat the gravy and the soy sauce on the hob in a splash of hot water to make a rich marinating sauce. Add the bayleaf in. Place the jack fruit in a baking tray and cover liberally with the sauce. Bake in the oven at 140°C (fan) or until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the oven and wipe away any excess sauce. The sauce will have permeated the fruit so don’t worry about wiping away your hard work.

IMG_0695.JPG

When ready to serve, ladle the vegetables into a bowl with enough of the broth then place the pieces of  jackfruit into the bowl, sharing evenly between guests. Serve with crusty bread and strong (vegan) cheese with a hearty pint of ale for the full experience.

Mwynhewch!