The Diminishing Vegan

Veganism and Weight Loss

Category: Dinner

Dark Seitan | Seitan Recipe

A few months ago I saw a new dark seitan recipe on facebook and thought I would need to try it out, I’m not sure why I took so long getting around to it but I remembered it this weekend and was sure I had all the ingredients so it was time. This seitan recipe is from the Buddhist Chef, I’ve split the recipe in half so makes enough for two – three decent sized portions, I have no idea on syns for slimming world, on the app 100g of tinned seitan is 0.5 syns as an idea.

Dark Seitan Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup of gram flour
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp paprika, basil and onion powder
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 3/4 cups of warm water
  • Pot full of veg stock, around 3 – 4 cups

Method

Combine the dry ingredients well.

In a separate bowl combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and warm water. Add this to the dry ingredients, this will make a wettish dough. Mix well, kneading for around two minutes. I found this dough to be a little wetter than usual when I make seitan but I think this is probably what made it so nice.

Shape the seitan into an oval/log shape. Wrap in clingfilm, tying each end to make a sealed package.

Dark Seitan 1

Bring the stock to the boil and drop in the seitan. Lower to a simmer and simmer for one hour, turning the seitan occasionally.

Once the hour is up turn off the heat and allow the seitan to sit in the stock for another 15 minutes. Slice, eat and try not to eat it all at once. Dark Seitan 2

This seitan had a lovely flavour, I had it as part of a roast and it was so good, the only problem was that I couldn’t stop myself eating it! It certainly didn’t last long. This was the best seitan I have made yet, it could have been used across a variety of meals, in sandwiches, salads etc, I’ll definitely be making it again.

 

Dark Seitan 3

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Baked Risotto | Dinner

I can’t remember when I found this recipe for baked risotto, I think it was shortly after I went vegan. Pre-vegan days I used to make another type of risotto, thinking back it was so overpoweringly cheesy, the thought of it turns my stomach now. I now jump between this one and a mushroom and onion risotto, but I usually make one of them at least once a fortnight.

The baked version has the advantage that it takes a lot less work, you mix the ingredients and shove it in the oven. On the down side it is never quite as creamy tasting, but it is still a tasty dinner. It also has another positive, this week I didn’t realise I had ran out of arborio rice so made it with long grain rice and it turned out just as nice. This serves around 3 people (or 2 with leftovers for us).

Baked Risotto

Ingredients

  • Spray oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup of arborio rice
  • 1 box of chopped tomatoes
  • Dried Italian seasoning, basil, salt and pepper for the sauce
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to around 200 celsius (180 fan, 400 fahrenheit). In a large pan cook onion and garlic for around 5 minutes until soft. Stir in rice until coated.

Add tomatoes and seasoning and cook for another 5 minutes.

Lastly add stock and bring to the boil, stirring continually.

Transfer to an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Bake in the centre of the oven until liquid is absorbed, which usually is around 30 minutes.

At the end, remove from the oven and stir in the spinach and nutritional yeast if using.

The nutritional yeast is 5 syns for the 2 tbsp, so split between the meal it’s around 1.5 syns a portion, it’s also optional and only makes a minor difference to the flavour leaving it out.

I have it with whatever fresh veg I have around, sometimes chips/onion rings.

baked risotto

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Vegetable Curry | Dinner

I often struggle making tasty curry’s, but this vegetable curry is a hard one to mess up. It took around 40 minutes to make, and has 1.5 syns and was enough for two biggish servings, if you doubled the quantities it would be fine for more servings.

Vegetable Curry

Ingredients

  • 2 white potatoes cubed
  • 1 large courgette sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper sliced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 10 mushrooms sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp of mild curry powder
  • 2 tsp of coconut milk powder
  • 1/2 a tub of passata
  • spray oil

Method

Using spray oil and a little of the curry powder, put the potatoes, courgette and red pepper in the oven for around 20 minutes to soften.

Once they are soft, sautee the onion, mushroom and garlic in a pot for a few minutes, then add the remaining curry powder and ensure it is mixed well, cook for another couple of minutes. Add the veg from the oven and passata and mix.

At this point I boiled the kettle and added an undetermined amount of water, you have to cook it on the hob for around 20 minutes to ensure the spices get through it all, so add enough to keep it liquidy, I would guess around 400ml. (This seems to be how much of my cooking goes, just throw it in and hope for the best!).

In the last 5 minutes I mixed my coconut powder with water, around 1/4 of a cups worth, to make a thin milk. You could also use coconut milk out of a tin if you like, I just find the powder is easier to store especially when you only need a little. 1 level tsp is 1.5 syns. I added the milk last and cooked for another couple of minutes.

We had this with rice and more speed veg in the way of purple and green cabbage. It was lovely, not too spicy, I could have chucked in some cayenne pepper but my husband wouldn’t have at it then so mild was fine.

vegetable curry

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Tomato and Herb Sauce | Dinner

This tomato and herb sauce is made usually once a week in my house, it’s quick, can be frozen, nutritional and definitely slimming world friendly. I usually serve it with wholewheat spaghetti, occasionally I’ll have with rice, or even just vegetables. It can also be used in lasagne, and I use a similar base when making bean chilli.

Tomato and Herb Sauce

Ingredients

  • Spray Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped finely
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 8-10 Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 1 Carrot, Chopped
  • 1 Stalk of Celery, Chopped
  • Tomato puree
  • 1 Box of Chopped Tomatoes (or a tin)
  • Vegetable Stock, around 1/2 litre
  • Italian Mixed Herbs
  • Basil
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

Sautee the garlic and onion in a pot with spray oil for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for another few minutes. Add celery and carrot and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the tomato puree and herbs. I don’t measure the herbs, just a generous sprinkle of the basil and mixed Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme and parsley). I season with salt and pepper.

Add the chopped tomatoes and stock. This will make quite a liquidy sauce. This needs reduced and will take around 30 – 40 minutes to get to a thickness that is suitable. The longer you cook the sauce the richer it gets, 30 – 40 minutes at a simmer is usually about right, but taste it often to be sure.

Finally, right at the end I may use the hand blender to blend it up a little. My daughter can be fussy about vegetables in sauce, so if I blend it up she can’t see them. If it’s just for myself though I often won’t bother.

Syn free, delicious, packed full of vegetables, it’s a great sauce. I hate jarred sauces now, they taste way too salty for me, but with this being so easy to make I really don’t mind. Plus, it costs about £1.50 for four portions. Cheap as anything.

Tomato and Herb Sauce

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Side Dishes | Christmas Menu

We are having a variety of side dishes with our Christmas meal, I had planned these with minimal fuss so I can focus on the seitan roast!

Side Dishes Recipes

Roast Potatoes

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • Rapeseed (Vegetable) Oil
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary

Method

The key is in the method rather than the ingredients for these potatoes. I peel and chop the potatoes first, then parboil for around 10 minutes.  Once done I drain and shake them about in the drainer to scuff  up the edges. While I’m parboiling I heat the oil in a baking tray in the oven. Rapeseed is good as it reaches a high temperature. Put in the potatoes, garlic and sprinkle a little rosemary over them. Then spoon some of the hot oil over the potatoes and cook until crispy. It depends on what else I’m cooking how quickly they are done, but around 30 minutes is usually fine.

Maple Carrots and Parsnips

Ingredients

  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Maple Syrup
  • Olive Oil

Method

Peel the veg, chop into longish chunks, quartering each vegetable then chopping up. Parboil them together for around 5 – 10 minutes, the parsnips cook quicker.

Heat olive oil in the tray first, then when veg is parboiled add to tray and squeeze a generous amount of maple syrup over. Season with salt and pepper too. Mix the veg and roast until done. I may add more maple syrup during cooking if required.

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts

Ingredients

  • 300 g Brussels Sprouts
  • 200 g Chestnuts (Vacuum Packed)
  • 8 Shallots
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 40 g vegan margerine

Method

Peel Brussels sprouts and score at the bottom in a cross (this takes ages!)

Boil a pan of water and blanch sprouts for a minute. Chop shallots finely. Melt vitalite in a frying pan and add shallots, cooking till golden. Add brussels sprouts, reduce and heat and cook for 8 minutes (or until they are all cooked through), stirring occasionally. Add chestnuts last, and cook for around another 4 minutes. Serve.

Yorkshire Puddings

Ingredients

  • 115 g Plain Flour
  • 1 heaped tsp Gram Flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 pint of soy milk
  • Rapeseed Oil

Method

Whisk the dry ingredients. Slowly whisk the milk in. Heat the tray with oil in every well until hot. Split the mix over a 12 well tray. Cook at 230 Celsius (210 Fan, 450 Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes without opening the oven. I’ve never made these before, I also have a backup recipe that uses soda water but will give this a try first.

Bread Sauce

I make this in memory of my dad, he loved bread sauce, I was never a fan but decided to make it last year when I went vegan and actually really liked it, so now it’s a permanent addition to the menu.

Ingredients

  • 600 ml Oatly
  • 1 onion, halved and studded with around 12 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 150g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 50g vegan margarine

Method

Put onion, bay leaf and peppercorns in saucepan and pour in Oatly. Bring to just about boiling and remove from heat. Allow to rest for 2 hours.

Remove onion, bay leaf and pepper and keep to one side. Add breadcrumbs and put back on heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season with salt, pepper and margarine. It can be chilled and reheated and you can add in the onion/bay leaf/peppercorns for more flavour if required.

There you have it, all of our other side dishes are either out of a packet or bought pre-made. I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas, enjoy the time with your family, the food, the relaxing.

Vegan Christmas

Spiced Parsnip Soup | Christmas Menu

This wintery spiced parsnip soup is from the festive feasts slimming world book and sounds deliciously warming. In the book this is served with garlic yoghurt, I won’t be replacing this for the vegan version although you can use a little vegan cream instead (if you remember!)

Spiced Parsnip Soup

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 large parsnips, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, skinned and cut into wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves sliced
  • 5 cm root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • fresh coriander

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 Celsius (180 fan, 400 Fahrenheit). Spray a roasting tin with oil and add parsnips, carrots, onion, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, spices and seasoning. Toss well, add more spray oil. Roast veg for around 40 minutes, or until vegetables are just beginning to brown.

Spiced Parsnip Soup

Transfer roasted vegetables to saucepan, add stock and simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.

Blend with a hand blender (or food processor/blender). Reheat gently, stir in lemon juice and fresh herbs, add more seasoning if required.

Spiced Parsnip Soup

That’s it, straight forward tasty soup. I made this on Christmas Eve and stock at the lemon juice/herbs stage. You can see my full Christmas Menu here and remember you can follow me on facebook, twitter or instagram!

Mushroom and Thyme Tartlets | Christmas Menu

These little Mushroom and Thyme tartlets are being made as a snack in my Christmas Menu. Thyme is my favourite herb, the flavour of it is delicious, and I often sneak it into anything I can get away with. These were a lovely little snack on Christmas day.

Mushroom and Thyme Tartlets

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 175g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Lemon Juice
  • 6 large slices of white bread
  • 1 tsbp vegan margarine
  • 75g vegan cheese (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit, 190 fan). Heat olive oil in frying pan, fry onions until soft.

Season  with salt, pepper and sugar, then add mushrooms and thyme. Fry until mushrooms have released water. When reduced stir in a squeeze of lemon juice.

Using a glass, cut out 6cm circles of bread, if not big enough roll out bread a little.

Brush one side with melted vegan margerine and place margarine side down in shallow cake tray (mince pie tray). Press in so bread is fully in contact with tray.

mushroom and thyme tartlets

Spoon mushroom mixture in, around 1 – 2 teaspoons per tart. Top with a little vegan cheese if you choose to.

Bake for around 10 – 15 minutes, or until bread is crispy and mixture is cooked.

mushroom and thyme tartlets

Remove from tin and serve.

Here you can view my overall Christmas Menu, and don’t forget to follow me on facebook, twitter and instagram!

 

Vegan Smoked Salmon | Christmas Dinner

Although I used to like smoked salmon back in my pre-vegan days, but to be honest it always gave me the shivers a little, was it raw? I’m not even sure! However, it was a classic at Christmas for me, and in the spirit of my fairly traditional menu I decided to attempt to recreate a recipe for vegan smoked salmon in it’s original form here.

Vegan Smoked Salmon

Ingredients

  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Tbsp Miso Paste
  • 1 Tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 sheet of Nori

Method

Use a vegetable/potato peeler to cut carrots into thin long strips. Place in a small baking dish.

vegan smoked salmon

Combine all remaining ingredients in a blender into a paste. Pour over the carrots.

Cover the dish with a tight cover of aluminium foil.

Bake at 200 Celsius (190 fan, 400 Fahrenheit) for around 10 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 100 Celsius (90 fan, 200 Fahrenheit) and bake for about 45 minutes.

vegan smoked salmon

Remove from oven, take carrot out of broth and refrigerate in an airtight container for at least an hour, or overnight.

vegan smoked salmon

I served this with crackers and vegan cream cheese for one of my starters in my Christmas meal. Although not quite like the traditional smoked salmon, it was a great stand in which I will definitely be making again. 

Stuffed Seitan Roast | Christmas Dinner

This stuffed seitan roast is probably the hardest thing I made this Christmas. It could quite possibly be one of the hardest things I’ve ever made. Following is the recipe, it’s worth the effort, this seitan roast was the centrepiece of the whole meal.

Stuffed Seitan Roast

Ingredients

Stuffing:

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 180g thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 2 thinly sliced medium leeks (only white and light green parts)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 60g thinly slices pre-cooked chestnuts
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 250g homemade breadcrumbs (or 125g pre-made breadcrumbs)
  • 70ml vegetable stock
  • Juice of half a lemon

Seitan:

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 300g cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 350ml vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g vital wheat gluten
  • 1tsbp fennel seeds
  • 1tsp sweet paprika
  • 1tsp dried thyme
  • 1tsp dried sage
  • Black pepper

Method

Filling:

Sautee mushrooms and leeks in sunflower oil until soft. Add salt, pepper, chestnut slices, garlic and thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring often so nothing burns or sticks to the pan.

Sprinkle in breadcrumbs. The mixture will thicken and begin to look dough like. Drizzle in stock and lemon juice, stir so mixture soaks up moisture, then set aside, ready to use.

stuffed seitan roast

Seitan:

Pre-heat oven to 170 Celsius, (325 Fahrenheit, 160 fan). In a food processor mix garlic, beans, stock, soy sauce and oil until it looks like a sauce.

In a large bowl mix wheat gluten, herbs and spices. Make a well in the middle and mix in the bean sauce. Use a spoon, it will eventually resemble dough.

stuffed seitan roast

Get 2 sheets of foil, both similar in size to a broadsheet newspaper.  Lay them down horizontally, and overlap them by about 10 cm (4 inches). They will wrap the roast.

On a large board or surface, roll out seitan to a 25cm x 30cm rectangle shape. It may be stretched out in areas, taken seitan from the edges to patch up if needed.

stuffed seitan roast

Place stuffing filling in the lower third of the dough, leaving around 4 cm (2 inches) of space at the bottom.

stuffed seitan roast

Roll the seitan up from the filling end, keep rolling until you reach the end and it makes a log shape. When finished rolling, pinch the ends and sides to keep the stuffing in.

Move the roll over to the tin foil, so the seam is in the middle of the roll. Roll it up in the tin foil and ensure the ends are tightly wrapped.

Move it to a large baking tray and cook in the oven for around 90 minutes, possibly 2 hours. Turn it every 20 minutes so it cooks evenly.

stuffed seitan roast

Test the roll 90 minutes in. It should be firm and withstand poking, bouncing back like a loaf of cooked bread. If still soft cook for another 20 minutes then test again. When ready, peel back the foil and allow for it to rest for 5 minutes.

christmas dinner

The seitan is in the centre of this picture, I served with gravy and bread sauce, the recipe this is reproduced from also has an apricot glaze and pinenuts, but I think I’ll just stick with the gravy. This stuffed seitan roast is the main course for my meal. Although this dish is a little time consuming I definitely recommend it if you are into seitan. The stuffing was also delicious. 10/10, would make again.  Here you can view my entire Christmas menu for further ideas.

Vegan Bean Chilli | Slimming World Friendly

Time to share one of my all time favourite recipes, and it’s a quick and easy one, vegan bean chilli!

I make this about once a fortnight, the only problem I have is keeping any for leftovers, there is something really moreish about it. It’s definitely slimming world friendly, in fact it’s syn free. If you have it with only veg instead of rice or cous cous then it’s SP friendly too!

Vegan Bean Chilli Recipe

Ingredients

  • One tin of mixed beans in water
  • One tin of kidney beans in chilli sauce
  • Onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 8 mushrooms
  • Jalapenos
  • 1 carton of passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Cumin, paprika, chilli powder, cinnamon, salt, pepper, coriander
  • Water if needed
  • Steamed rice and vegetables to serve (Optional)
  • Peppers (optional)

Method

Sautee the onion and garlic using spray oil until soft. Add the mushrooms. At this point I sometimes add peppers, however, if my husband is having it I don’t as he hates peppers (weirdo!).

Once the mix is soft, add tomato puree and spices. I don’t really measure them, but I would guess about 1/2 tsp of the chilli powder, cinnamon and salt, and about 1 tsp of the rest of them but this is informal, my spices have shaker heads so I just give them a good shake.

Once mixed, add in the drained mixed beans and the kidney beans in chilli sauce. If you can’t get the beans in chilli sauce don’t worry, it’s perfectly fine without them, I just like the flavour of the sauce. Add the passata and mix well. Simmer for around 20 minutes, add more water if it gets a little dry. While this is cooking steam some rice (or cous cous) and the vegetables. I usually have cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower sometimes I roast some courgette.

Near the end add in jalapenos. And there you have it, 0 syns, all speed and protein (until you add the rice!).

Vegan Bean Chilli

Vegan Haggis | Homemade Haggis

I’m Scottish, therefore I love haggis. However, I’m following slimming world, and the readily available pre-made vegetarian haggis’ (that are vegan), are 9 syns per 100g. That is 9 syns per quarter. I usually have half in one go, 18 syns is not something I’m prepared to eat, nor am I prepared to only have one quarter, so when it was St. Andrews Day recently, I went searching on the internet for a vegan haggis recipe that was fairly straight forward, and I found this one. I have tweaked the recipe a little to make it slimming world friendly (syn free, it uses a Healthy Extra B in the form of rolled oats), while it was not exactly like one of the shop bought haggis’, it was pretty damn tasty. I’ll definitely be having it again.

Vegan Haggis (Slimming World Friendly)

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stalk of celerly, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 75g Mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 125g tinned kidney beans
  • 125g red lentils
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 40g rolled oats
  • Salt and Black Pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 175 celsius, 160 for a fan. Use spray oil to sautee onion and garlic.

After 5 minutes add the bay leaf, celery, carrot and some salt. After another 5 minutes add the mushrooms. Cool for a further 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl roughly mash the kidney beans with a fork, Add lentils, spices and vegetable stock. Lastly add the oats and mix well. Add to the vegetable mix and cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

When you’re getting it out it does tend to fall apart, so spoon it out of the dish when it’s done. I had it with mashed carrots and turnip, then some cabbage and brocolli on the side and of course gravy (2 syns worth) on top making it syn free and SP. If you’re looking for a no syn alternative this is it! Enjoy!

Homemade Vegan Haggis

Steamed Light Seitan

This light seitan recipe is made fairly regularly in my house. My husband and kids aren’t too keen (I have no idea why!) but I often make a large batch and use over the period of a week or so. It is pretty straightforward to make, and lasts for a while when well wrapped in the fridge, and it can be used in lots of different ways. Some ways I have used it include in a roast dinner, coated with batter and fried, a cold sandwich filling, grated with beans, rice, sauce and veg in wraps, kebabs, to be honest pretty much any place that would have had chicken.

Recipe – Steamed Light Seitan

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of self raising flour
  • 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of wheat gluten

Method

Mix everything except the gluten until combined thoroughly.

Steamed Light Seitan Mix

Add gluten until it becomes dough like. Knead for around a minute. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Once rested split into four separate portions.

Grease 4 squares of tin foil. Shape the seitan into rectangular shapes. Wrap in tin foil. Steam for around 30 minutes.

Steamed Light Seitan Finished

Tonight I used this with vegetables and bbq sauce to make kebabs. I threaded chunks of seitan, peppers, onions and mushrooms onto skewers, coated with a little sauce and grilled, I had this with rice and vegetables.

bbqseitan

Seitan was something I’d never even heard of pre-vegan days, I hope other people hear about and try it, as it’s a great, easy, cruelty free replacement for meat. The recipe this is closely based from is located here. Please remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it is much appreciated!

Dhal – Vegan Dinner Party

For my vegan dinner party, another of the main dishes that I made was a very simple Dhal. I wasn’t even going to make one, but when I was looking in the cupboard I spotted a fairly large bag of lentils, and thought since I was going down the indian route, how much more work could a dhal be?

Well, I was right, this barely took any time to make at all.

Dhal

Ingredients

400g Red Lentils

2 tsp Turmeric

2 Large Blobs of Vitalite

2 tsp of Cumin Seeds

1 onion

3 Cloves of Garlic

1 Large Green Chilli

1 tsp of Garam Masala

Fresh Coriander

Thumb sized piece of Ginger

Method

Put lentils in a pan with enough water to cover around 2 inches above their surface. Bring to the boil and skim off the scum on top. Lower to a simmer, stir in turmeric for a lovely yellow colour and a blob of vitalite. Let it cook gently.

Dry fry cumin seeds until toasted. Remove from pan.

Melt other blob of vitalite, fry garlic, onion, chilli and ginger. Once golden add seeds, garam masala and coriander. Remove from heat until lentils are cooked.

Dhal

Mine at this point went like porridge, I needed to add more water a few times as they really thicken up. At the end I added in my extra mixture.

Vegan Dinner Party

Here it is with the final meal again. Here is the original recipe, I pretty much followed it to the letter. I also used some the next day but will do a new post about that another day.

Saag Aloo – Vegan Dinner Party

This has been one of my favourites from takeaways for a number of years, even in pre-vegan days. Potatoes and spinach, it’s just a tasty combination. I had bought already made saag aloo but had never tried to make it myself and I was surprised at how fast and easy it was.

Saag Aloo Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 1 White Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh Ginger
  • 500g Potato cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 Big Red Chilli
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 250g Spinach

Method

Heat oil, sautee onion, garlic and ginger. Stir in the potatoes, chilli, spices, 1/2 tsp of salt and continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes. Add a little water and cook for 10 minutes.

Saag Aloo

Check potatoes are ready with a knife, add spinach at the last minute and mix.

Vegan Dinner Party

Original Recipe found here.

Kadala Curry – Vegan Dinner Party

Kadala curry. I had never heard of it before the dinner party. Stuck for ideas of what to make, after looking through my cookbooks and not finding anything that really jumped out, I went to the BBC goodfood site and searched for vegan food. This is where I found the recipe for Kadala curry. This was easy to make, delicious, incredibly cheap, popular with meat eaters and will definitely be making it to my regular meal planning menu. This recipe makes four good sized servings.

Kadala Curry Recipe

Ingredients

Paste ingredients:

  • A little oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 bulb of garlic (9 cloves)
  • Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree

Curry Ingredients

  • 2 x 400g Cans of Chickpeas, drained
  • 400g Can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 100g Creamed Coconut
  • Large handful of fresh coriander
  • 100g Spinach

Method

First of all make the paste. Sautee the onion and chilli until golden in a little oil. In a food processor mix garlic, ginger, and a little more oil, then add garam masala, coriander and cumin, 1/2 tsp of salt and the onion/chilli mix. Add water if needed and mix to a paste. This can be kept for a little while, I prepared this around an hour or so before. Kadala Curry

Next up is the curry, heat the paste for a couple of minutes, add in chickpeas and tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the coconut and a little water, cook for another 5 minutes. Lastly, add the coriander and spinach. We had it with rice and the other dishes I made. Vegan Dinner Party

The original recipe can be found here.

 

Vegan Dinner Party

Upcoming will be a series of posts about the food I made at a vegan dinner party I hosted last night (8th October). Everyone at the dinner party other than myself and my daughter were hardened omnivores. I think I could possibly say that our friends who came do not often eat entire meals that are vegan.

As it was at our house, I was obviously going to do it fully vegan. Other than for one friend and my immediate family I haven’t made vegan food for others, therefore a fully vegan dinner party was a little scary! Plus, I tend to have anxiety over what others will think, so generally cooking for others gets my blood pressure up a little.

I researched food during the week, deciding I wanted to do something different from what I usually cook. Our guests were a great couple who we have known for many years and their lovely little girl, we had went to theirs previously, around a year ago. Yes, my anxiety over cooking lead to me waiting a year before arranging a return visit.

I love spicy, flavourful food, but I never make it from scratch. I feel that I have always been bad at making curries, but have always wanted to be better, so, while throwing myself in the deep end with the meal anyway I decided to make all new food I have never made before, of a type I am usually average at. On top of that I decided to make three mains,  a new side, and two desserts. Talk about jumping in head first!

So the menu went like this, although it was fairly informal.

Starter

Indian nibbles (pakora, mini samosas, these were purchased)

Poppadoms

Dips (Mixed pickle, mango chutney & spiced onion)

Mains

Kadala Curry

Saag Aloo

Dhal

Indian Chips

Steamed Basmati Rice

Pudding

Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

Salted Caramel Drizzle Cake

It was a fairly involved cooking experience but overall I think it went down really well! I can’t say for all but I really enjoyed it, and I think I nailed all three mains, which for someone who usually ruins curry was a minor miracle! All of the recipes were based from recipes I found online and I will do some individual posts about these over the next couple of weeks.

CFC Drumsticks – Dinner

CFC Drumsticks (Cruelty Free Chicken)

I’ve been putting off this post because it’s going to be a big one, these CFC Drumsticks took me about two hours to make a fortnight ago. Adapted from the amazingly inventive recipe here, dreamed up by Zacchary Bird, these are probably one of the most challenging vegan recipes I have made but I was glad I did!

I can’t remember where I saw these first, Instagram or Facebook, but they blew up both of my feeds and I was intrigued. I had tried jackfruit previously in a pie at VegFest but I had never tried cooking with the stuff myself.

First step – find some jackfruit. I swear, if there is any in the shops in Inverclyde I have no idea where! I went to my local-ish Asian supermarket and managed to get some but sadly it was sweet not young in brine, this is important, for the “meaty” texture it must be the young/green jackfruit in brine. For those in the UK here on is where I ended up ordering from, £1.39 a tin, worth every penny!

The following is a repost of the original recipe, however I did make some changes due to being unable to get some of the ingredients and hearing about some further suggestions on instagram.

Recipe

Batter Mix

  • 3/4 cup plain white flour
  • 3/4 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 1 can of aquafaba
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Meat

  • 2 cans young green jackfruit
  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 1 + 1/2 cups of chicken style stock ( I couldn’t find any vegan chicken style stock so followed this recipe from Sharon123 and made my own)
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 4 pieces of rice paper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 10 drops of liquid smoke
  • 500 – 750ml vegetable oil

Method

There is no getting away from the fact that this is a mammoth recipe. I’ll try to cover it fairly quickly, Zacchary Bird covers it in depth, it is his recipe and anyone interested should go and check out the original.

Drain, rinse the jackfruit and squeeze out the seeds. As it was my first time using jackfruit I actually found this stage quite complicated, trying to discern what was a seed and what wasn’t was confusing! Got there eventually though.

Put in a pot with the stock, nooch, onion powder and liquid smoke. Boil for 10 minutes, simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid is soaked up.

CFC Drumsticks 1

Prepared Jackfruit

Next, chop up the cauliflower, strip off all the florets and split the central part into four. This gives you the “bone” shape.

Lay out cling film. I then soaked a rice paper wrap and laid this on top of the cling film. Then I took the jackfruit mixture and squeezed it around the “bone”. It falls off, it is quite hard to do, this is why others have suggested the rice paper, you put your drumstick on it and wrap it all together using the rice paper and then the cling film. After this you put them in the freezer for an hour or so.

CFC Drumstick 2

Wrapped CFC Drumsticks

You then mix up your dry ingredients into one bowl, and aquafaba into another. Once they have frozen for an hour, put your oil on to heat and carefully unwrap from the clingfilm one at a time. Dip in aquafaba, then dry mix, then aquafaba then dry mix again then drop into the oil. They need cooked for around 3 -5 minutes, then take them out with tongs and drain on kitchen roll.

CFC Drumsticks 3

Cooked CFC Drumsticks

My CFC drumsticks were fairly pale, I think in part due to my paranoia of using oil and fires so I may have needed to heat it up a little more. However, I don’t think there was any impact on the taste, which was lovely! Weirdly meaty, but not meaty enough to put you off. I had them with fried new potatoes and barbeque beans. I would definitely make these again, however, the time constraints mean this is an occasional make as opposed to every day. I do recommend everyone to try them at least once though, even for the novelty.

CFC Drumsticks 4

Finished meal

Shout out to Zacchary for sharing my instagram post, keep an eye on his site for other fun recipes, I know I will be!

Carrot Hot Dogs – Dinner

Carrot Hot Dogs – Healthy Junk Food

Carrot Hot Dogs, when I first saw the recipe for these online I found it hilarious but appealing. I’ve got to be honest, in my pre-vegan days I can’t imagine I would have ever bothered attempting to make these. Too much effort, for carrots in rolls? Madness! However, when you consider what goes into an actual hot dog, it’s actually quite gross. I know some people love them but if you see how they are actually made, that weird, definitely not food like pink sludge. It makes me feel sick just thinking about it. I always felt a little weird eating hot dogs when I was an omni, but I did still eat them. They are one food I do not miss. Moving on to the vegan options, I have tried fry’s vegan hot dogs but I found they had an unusual taste, they were edible, just not enjoyable.

In come the carrot hot dogs! I can’t remember where I first saw them, I imagine it was possibly Instagram (I see everything on there!)  but I genuinely can’t remember. This recipe by cleaneatingveggiegirl.com was the one that I followed, the following is the recipe from that website,

  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1/8 Cup of Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup of Water
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Dried Ginger
  • 1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/8 Tsp Onion Powder
  • Olive oil for cooking

That is pretty much the recipe from cleaneatingveggiegirl.com but it’s definitely worth checking out her site for more recipes! I’m grateful for this one, because I am pleased to say that the carrot hot dogs were actually delicious!

Carrot Hot Dogs

Carrot hot dogs after cooking.

The above pic is three of them after cooking. The method essentially is mix together all ingredients except the carrots. Then put the carrots in the mix and marinade for as long as you can, the recommended was 24 hours, unfortunately I forgot about that stage but did mine for a couple of hours but they still had a nice flavour.

Once they are marinaded you fry them, it takes quite a while for them to take on the darkness. You put in some oil and some of the marinade, I basically kept adding marinade all the way through the cooking process. I would say they took around 15 minutes to get to the above stage.

Carrot hot dogs

The finished meal!

There is the finished meal, I am definitely making them again. Okay, they weren’t exactly like hot dogs, nowhere near in fact, but to be honest I think I would have been a little freaked out had they been. I preferred the flavour and texture of these when compared to Fry’s, and with the mustard, tomato sauce and onions in a roll they were really tasty, and healthy! Win Win!

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