Fakes / Greek Lentil Soup: vegan & wholefood

dsc_0044Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 x 400g carton chopped tomatoes or passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 litre hot water or vegetable stock
  • 250g whole lentils
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • red wine vinegar (to serve)

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large pan.
  2. Peel and chop the vegetables. Gently fry in the olive oil.
  3. Add water or stock, chopped tomatoes and tomato puree then bring to the boil.
  4. Add the herbs.
  5. Reduce heat, add the lid and simmer for about 1 hour or until lentils are tender.
  6. Serve with a splash of red wine vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil if liked.

 

 

Old Fashioned Bread Pudding – vegan & wholefood

dsc_0023Hailing back to the 11thC and still a stalwart of British bakeries, this old fashioned bread pudding is an excellent way to use up stale bread that would otherwise go to waste.

Traditionally bread pudding contains animal ingredients such as eggs, milk or cream and butter or lard – I’ve removed the added fat, substituted the cream or milk for a basic unsweetened soya and the eggs for custard powder (cornflour would also serve).

As well as being easy peasy to make it’s also pretty frugal; I estimate that at the time of making this batch cost me about £2.69 or 22p per square.

Full of fibre and virtually fat free it also makes a healthy and filling breakfast. Alternatively tart it up for Christmas with the addition of ground ginger, a few tablespoons of thick cut marmalade and chopped figs.

Serve straight from the oven hot with custard or eat cold the next day (I prefer mine cold).

Ingredients

Method

  1. Mix milk, brown sugar, custard powder and spices together.
  2. Cube bread and place in large bowl with dried fruit.
  3. Pour milk mixture over bread and leave to soak for 30mins.
  4. Mash lumps of bread with a fork or wooden spoon until broken down.
  5. Grease baking dish and pour in mixture.
  6. Smooth top and sprinkle demerara sugar evenly over.
  7. Bake at 180C for 1hr.
  8. Once cooled cut into 12 squares.

Leek, Potato & Barley Stew with Parsley Dumplings – vegan & wholefood

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Leek & Potato Stew with Parsley Dumplings 

Ingredients:

  • 2tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 x large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1/2 US cup barley
  • 1200ml boiling water
  • 1 x vegetable stock cube
  • 500g potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 500g leeks, washed and sliced
  • 100g self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 50g vegetable suet
  • 1 tsp salt
  • handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and saute for five to ten minutes.
  2. Add the water, stock cube, herbs and barley. Bring the pan to a boil. Put lid on pan, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes and leeks. Bring back to the boil. Put lid on the pan and, reduce the heat and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
  4. While the stew is cooking place the flour, vegetable suet, salt and parsley in a bowl. Stir to mix. Add just enough cold water to form a firm dough.
  5. Divide dough into six evenly sized balls. If sticky dust lightly in flour.
  6. Gently place the dumplings on the top of the stew, reduce heat and replace the pan lid. Continue to simmer for a final 10 minutes until the dumplings are risen.

 

Serves 4 

Succotash with Rice

Succotash with Rice

This classic American dish is good to serve either on its own as a light meal, or alongside other dishes for a main meal. I especially like it with tofu steaks or a bean burger and a big pile of spinach. I also think it would make a good stuffing for baked squash.

For ease and cheapness I’ve mainly used frozen vegetables here, principally sweetcorn (which I can get for about 99p a kilo from the supermarket’s ‘value’ range) and broad beans, but you could use fresh; especially at this time of year when a lot of people are harvesting lovely fresh produce from gardens and allotments.

A traditional recipe will typically use bacon for fat and flavour, I’ve subbed with what is perhaps my favourite spice for vegan cooking, smoked paprika.

Succotash with Rice

  1. Cook 8oz of brown basmati rice until tender (it usually takes me 22 minutes) then drain and set to one side.
  2. Simmer 8oz frozen baby broad beans in a large pan of hot water for about five minutes, add 8oz frozen sweetcorn kernels bring back up to a simmer and cook for a further five minutes. When vegetables are tender drain and put to one side.
  3. Heat 2 – 3 tblsp olive oil in a large pan and add 1 finely diced onion and half a bulb finely sliced garlic. Saute till tender then add  two diced peppers. Saute until pepper is tender. Add 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika and 1 tsp chilli powder and cook for a couple more minutes.
  4. Toss the cooked beans and sweetcorn into the pan with the onions and pepper and stir through. Salt to taste.
  5. Then a) either serve the succotash over the rice, or b) add the rice into the pan with the vegetables and serve mixed together.

Cannellini & Rosemary Brandade – vegan

Cannellini & Rosemary Brandade

Served with breadsticks or French bread and crudites this cannellini bean dip makes a nice summery lunch or evening snack.

Brandade is a creamy dip, more usually made from cod, which comes from Provence. This version using beans instead of cod is, so I’ve read, traditionally known as “poor man’s brandade”. The “poor man’s” version is not an uncommon appellation for traditional dishes to be around the world, which were created without meat on lean days.

Usually I will cook my beans from dry in 500g batches and if I’m not using them all at once, then I will freeze them in portions for later use (in recipes like this one). I find this to be both a time and money saving practice, though naturally you do have to plan ahead somewhat.

I often buy my pulses in 3kg bags online (search for the best deal) but if you scan the websites of the major supermarkets you will also find them sold relatively inexpensively in both tinned and dried form.

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Cannellini & Rosemary Brandade

  1. Finely chop the leaves from two sprigs of fresh rosemary (I got mine from the garden) and put into your food processor.
  2. Add one x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained (OR 125g dried cannellini beans, cooked till tender earlier).
  3. Process along with two tablespoons of olive oil1 tsp salt  & 1/2 tsp white pepper.
  4. Add three to four tablespoons lemon juice and blend well.
  5. Add enough soya milk (three to four tablespoons) to process to a soft puree.
  6. Serve with wholewheat grissini.

Chunky Sweetcorn, Butter Bean and Red Pepper Chowder – vegan

Chunky Sweetcorn, butter Bean and Red Pepper Chowder - vegan

This soup makes good use of cheap supermarket value range frozen sweetcorn as well as the humble old spud, a vegetable which I never tire of using in any season.

You can often get multi-packs of peppers from the supermarket value range too; if like me you’re not too concerned about what colour and shape they are then these store well in the fridge and can be used in lots of dishes from salads to fajitas to bean burgers and more.

It’s not strictly necessary to use the cream, you could just as easily use your regular plant milk, but I do like Oatly oat cream for its neutral flavour in savoury vegan cooking and it is a bit creamier than milk. I currently pick it up for 75p a carton in Tesco, though you can also get it in H&B as well as Ocado too (see HERE for price comparisons).

Butter beans add a nice chunky texture and I often use them in dishes instead of chicken or fish. Needless to say they are cheaper than either (in particular the East End brand are a good buy so look out for those in larger Tesco’s) and they pack a healthy protein punch to boot, especially when combined with the sweetcorn.

This is already a hearty soup, but if you want to make it into a more substantial main meal, then it pairs rather well with cornbread; I’ll be updating with a vegan recipe for ‘chilli cheeze cornbread’ at some point in the future.

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Chunky Sweetcorn, Butter Bean and Red Pepper Chowder

  • 30 g margarine (I use Pure sunflower)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small red peppers, diced (any colour will do)
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 500 g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 x US cups frozen sweetcorn kernels
  • 1 x 400 g butter beans, drained
  • 1 x 250 ml carton Oatly oat cream (or any plant milk)
  • 2 rounded tbsp plain white flour
  • Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped (I get mine from my herb patch)
  1. Melt margarine in a large pan on the hob. Add chopped onions and celery. Sweat for about five minutes.
  2. Add red pepper, sweat for another five minutes.
  3. Add chopped potatoes, sweetcorn, butter beans, white pepper and stock.
  4. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and put on lid. Simmer for ten minutes.
  5. Mix flour into oat cream, stir into chowder. Bring back to the boil, reduced heat and put on lid. Simmer for a further ten minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  6. Serve sprinkled with parsley if liked.

NOTE: If you prefer your chowder more thick and creamy just add a little extra flour with the cream, or partially blitz with a hand held immersion blender once cooked.

Fruit & Nut Breakfast Brown Rice – vegan

Fruit & Nut Breakfast Brown Rice - vegan

Reboot of an old recipe which I’ve adjusted since I posted it the first time.

Unsurprisingly, brown rice pudding isn’t as creamy as the white pudding rice variety but it is nutty and delicious, especially if aided and abetted by juicy dried fruits, nuts and the fragrant notes of pudding spice. Like many of my wholefood staples, I buy my brown rice online at Goodness Direct (see HERE) where you can obtain a hefty 3 kg bag of lovely short grain Italian brown rice for (at the time of typing this) the very reasonable price of £5

I like this wholegrain pudding best served for breakfast and will often prepare a batch on Sunday for the week ahead. Once cooked, it will stay good for several days if stored covered in the fridge.

FRUIT & NUT BREAKFAST BROWN RICE

Ingredients:

1 cup Short Grain Brown Rice (uncooked volume), cooked until tender (I do mine for 25 mins)

1 tsp Natural Vanilla or Almond Flavouring.

2 & 1/2 cups Milk (I use unsweetened soya)

1/2 cup Dried Fruit

1/2 cup Chopped Nuts (or desiccated coconut, hemp hearts or flaked almonds)

6 – 8 tbsp Liquid Sweetener (eg: maple syrup, brown rice syrup etc.)

1 tsp Ground Pudding Spice

Method:

– Put all the ingredients into a large lidded pan on the stove (I use the one I cooked my rice in).

– Bring to the boil, while stirring.

– Reduce the heat and put on the lid. Simmer for about 30 mins, stirring occasionally.

– Best left to cool for a while before serving (it will thicken up a little).

Serves 4 – 5