Food: Umami rice balls

So, recently I felt like absolute death and didn’t fancy cooking anything elaborate. But during a window of not feeling quite as bad I rattled together this little beauty with leftover rice.

You’ll need:

  • 300-500g of leftover cooked rice,
  • 1 medium onion, chopped,
  • A handful of spring greens,
  • 3-4 mushrooms,
  • 1 tsp tomato pureé,
  • 1 tbsp Suma mushroom pâté,
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary,
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs,
  • 2-3 aubergines slices (in oil), chopped,
  • Salt for sprinkling (I used Saltverk Birch smoked salt)

For the Tomato umami drizzle:

  • 1tbs Kecap manis
  • 1tsp tomato pureé
  • 1tbs tomato ketchup
  • Splash of water to thin

For the Rosemary, garlic & smoked paprika mayo:

  • 4tbs vegan mayo
  • 1tbs Pimentón
  • 1tsp dried Rosemary, ground
  • 2tsp garlic infused oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan) and chop all the ingredients that need chopping. Fry the onion lightly in a little oil until soft, add the mushrooms and spring greens and continue to fry gently until they’ve softened down. Add the tomato puree and the pate and stir through.

In a big bowl stir all of the ingredients including the herbs into the rice and bring together with your hands into balls (roughly tennis ball sized). Place the balls onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in the oven until they’re crispy on the outside for 15 to 20 minutes.

Whilst they are in the oven, mix together the ingredients for the umami drizzle & the punchy mayo in bowls. Take the balls out of the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes. To serve, place in a bowl/ plate and cover them with the drizzle, sprinkle them with salt and serve the mayo on the side.

Enjoy!

 

Food: Armenian stuffed peppers (Dolma)

Having bought loads of peppers on double discount at work last week I had quite a few left to use up. What perfect way than with some stuffed peppers!

I had made a vegan version of Armenian peppers previously, for my Eurovision party- and it was a resounding success. This was surely the way forward.

The finished dish ends up feeding 2-3 people  (we were very full afterwards!)

To make you’ll need:

  • 5-6 medium/large red bell peppers, charred

For the filling:

  • 80g of cooked rice (per person)
  • 1/2 fried courgette, chopped finely  (I used some from an antipasti jar to save time)
  • 2 Lombardi peppers, chopped finely
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

For the mince:

  • 100g green lentils
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped,
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1tbs tomato purée
  • 1tbs sun dried tomato paste,
  • 1tbs dried parsley
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 1tsp bouillon
  • 1 cup red wine

For the sauce:

  • 1 carton/ jar of passata
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • A glug of olive oil
  • 1 (Heaped) tbs of pepper paste

Soy garlic yogurt mix

  • 2-3 tbs of soy yogurt (I used Alpro Go On. Which is a thicker Quark style yogurt)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic infused oil
  • A sprinkle of smoked paprika – to garnish

Start by making the mince.

I’d recommend doing this in advance so you have a batch ready for you to use.  We usually have big batches of lentil mince  in the freezer that Tom cooks up whilst I’m in work on a Sunday. It’s so versatile (if you remove the cayenne and mixed spice) and can be made into all manner of creations from pies, ragù, Chilli- you name it!

This batch i’ve included the extra spices as I knew this batch was only for making dolma.

In a small cast iron pot fry the chopped onion and garlic until soft. Add the paste and the purée and heat through. Pour in the lentils and stir until thoroughly coated with the sauce. Add the herbs, spice and bouillon with lots of freshly cracked black pepper. Cover with the water and put the lid on. Simmer for at last forty minutes, an hour won’t hurt – this will allow the lentils to truly swell and soak up all the liquid.

After an hour the mixture should be rich and just about ready. Stir in the wine until the mixture reconstitutes itself – allow to cook through for another twenty minutes until the wine has cooked out. Leave aside to cool slightly, or store overnight/ freeze*

*If using thawed/chilled mince, I’d recommend heating it through before stuffing.

Once your mince is ready the rest is simple and fairly quick to make!

When you’d like to make the dolma, simply put each pepper over an open flame ( I used my gas hob) until it begins to bubble and blacken. Once burnished and black, take off and leave to cool down.

PS: Be careful around open flames! The amount of times the pepper (now a ball of fire) fell off the ring- and I was wearing oven gloves!

As they are cooling I’d recommend cooking the other components.

Cook the rice as you would normally, remembering to cook slightly less than usual as you are stuffing it with a rice mixture rather than serving it with rice. Whilst it’s cooking start the sauce.

Heat up a saucepan and fry off the garlic with the olive oil until translucent. Next, add in the pepper paste and cook for another minute. Then add in the passata and let it simmer until the flavours start developing.

The rice should be done by this point. Set aside and leave to cool.

Return to the peppers and de-core & de seed them, making sure that you cut them close to the top so that you have a vessel to fill. Remember to keep the tops, though.

Grab the mince, empty it into a mixing bowl and combine it with the rice. Then, add in the lemon juice & zest, chopped peppers, courgette and parsley. season well.

Then pour the sauce into a baking dish and sit the peppers in the tomatoey-peppery bath. Fill the peppers up to the brim  with this aromatic mixture and re-hat them with their tops. Place into a preheated oven at 180°C for 10-15 minutes.

Once they are in the oven, you can make the topping. Combine all ingredients together, (except the paprika) until it becomes thick & glossy.

Take the peppers out of the oven and de-hat them once again ( no fear they’ll have their hats back on soon enough!) and smother with the  lemony-garlic yogurt. Top with the smoky, fiery paprika and return the tops on (see, I told you 😉 ). Serve with a side salad or on their own

Enjoy!

Food: Cauliflower paprikash

Here’s a cheap, satisfying & hearty recipe that is perfect for those cold Winter nights coming in!

You’ll need:

  •  ½ Head of cauliflower, cut into chunks,
  • 1 tbs Tomato puree
  • 1 Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml Water
  • 1 Onion, chopped finely
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • Splash of flavourless oil
  • 2 Peppers, chopped •
  • 1 Pack of vegan cream ( I used 1 pack of 250ml Oatly cream)
  • Splash of white wine (Vermouth will also work!)
  • 2-3tbs Of paprika
  • 1tsp Mixed spice
  • 1tsp Ground cinnamon
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped •
  • Salt & pepper

Serve with:

  •  100g Tagliatelle or rice (per person)

This is a ‘one-pan dish’, I use my Dutch Oven to make this – shove it in the oven, and as it cooks slowly I can get on with my day, then eat it!

To make, start by frying off the onions & garlic until they become soft & translucent. Next, add in the tomato puree and mix it with the onion until it has cooked out. Then, the tin of tomatoes goes in. After you’ve tipped the tomatoes out, add the water to the tin and add it to the pan- this way it gets all the tomatoey goodness. Next, add in your paprika & spices. Cook it out for a couple of minutes. Once this is done, add in the cauliflower, stir and season. Add half of the chopped parsley and with the lid on, add to the oven (pre heated to 140°c). Leave it to do its own thing for at least 40 minutes, 1 hour maybe even an hour and a half. That is the magic of slow cooking!

Once you’re ready to eat, salt a boiling pan of water generously and add in your pasta/rice. Cook until done.

To serve layer the luscious & hearty paprikash on top of the pasta/rice and garnish with the rest of the parsley!

Et voilà!

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!