Vegetarian and vegan recipes, cookbook reviews and the occasional competition
I’m glad I didn’t make these yesterday on Vegan Monday, as there’s no way I would have been able to resist them until today. Quick, easy and I didn’t even need to leave the house to buy any ingredients. Oh, they’re flipping delicious, too.
Chilli cheese flapjacks (makes 9 slices)
(recipe taken from All Recipes)
50g butter, melted (I didn’t have any butter, so used Flora)
150g any hard cheese, grated
2-3 chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
150g porridge oats
Salt and pepper
Okay, I slipped up with the lip balm thing again. And the hot chocolate thing. I am officially rubbish at Vegan Monday.
Still, breakfast (fruit), lunch (leek and potato soup) and dinner (leftover aubergine and lentil curry from last week) were all vegan. As were the snacks – I had peanut butter bars, raw vegan chocolate fudge and I made some black olive and sundried tomato bread in my new bread machine. This bread was so delicious it was fine on its own without any butter – it was Vegan Monday, after all.
Sundried tomato and black olive bread
(recipe taken from Bread Making Recipes)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
150g strong wholemeal bread flour
300g strong white bread flour
1 tsp fast-acting dried yeast
75g sundried tomatoes, chopped (if in oil, pat off the excess with kitchen roll)
70g pitted black olives, chopped
Ssh, don’t tell anyone, but when my delivery of raw cacao arrived in the post this morning, I got excited and skived off to the supermarket to get the rest of the ingredients I needed to make this raw vegan fudge my friend Vivianne had told me about on Facebook. I should have been writing my assignment, oops. Still, this fudge only takes five minutes to make, so I don’t feel that guilty.
You won’t need to feel guilty eating these either, as they’re raw, only using natural ingredients, which makes them super-healthy (although the coconut oil is slowly melted, so I’m not sure if that makes them not raw? Feel free to let me know. I’m aware of the 45C degree thing but have no idea how warm the oil got in the pan. Probably not very warm as it melted almost immediately).
They’re so super-healthy, I’m going to totally ignore how many calories they have in each piece. Not that I’ve counted them, but I’m sure it’s zillions.
The original recipe is here but I’ll post what I did below (halved the ingredients and used peanut butter and soft dates).
I bought the raw cacao from Goodness Direct (free delivery) and the coconut oil from Tesco (on the shelf with the other oils). I couldn’t see any pitted dates, so bought Crazy Jacks Organic Soft Dates which are ready to eat, so I didn’t soak them.
This fudge is rich and bitter – if you like dark chocolate, you’ll love these. Next time I’m going to add some whole nuts – maybe macadamias, that’ll be amazing.
Raw vegan chocolate peanut butter fudge (makes 16 pieces)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cups raw cacao
1/2 cup soft read to eat dates
1 to 2 pinches of unrefined sea salt
Carefully melt the coconut oil on a very low heat.
Place all the ingredients, except the peanut butter, in a food processor and blend until soft and well combined.
Add the peanut butter at the end to keep the crunch.
Spread evenly in a 8” square tin.
Place in the fridge for about one hour.
Cut into 16 pieces and store in an airtight container.
Hooray, it appears I made it successfully through a Vegan Monday for a change. No lip balm or hot chocolate slip-ups this time. I had fruit for breakfast, mulligatawny soup for lunch and a vegan chocolate peanut butter bar as a snack along with my vegan hot chocolate.
And also for a change, I made a proper dinner and didn’t just heat up a frozen burger-type product and serve it with chips and beans.
Aubergine, tomato and red lentil curry (serves 4)
(Adapted from Easy Vegan)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large aubergine, chopped into large chunks
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ginger, grated
250g cherry tomatoes
6-8 curry leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp tomato puree
125g red lentils
I’m still experimenting with the peanut butter bars. It’s so easy to just add whatever you’ve got available and you can’t go wrong really.
I’m not sure where you can buy Seeds of Love, except online – I got mine in a Nutribox a while back but you could add any nut and seed mix. Choc Shot is available in most large supermarkets (I bought mine in Tesco), on the hot chocolate shelf. If you can’t find any, I would imagine cocoa powder would do.
Vegan chocolate peanut butter bars (makes 9 bars)
50g Seeds of Love
4 tbsp golden syrup
4 tbsp peanut butter
1-2 tbsp Choc Shot
1 tbsp wholemeal flour
As the title says, I might as well call Vegan Monday, Junk Food Monday. Or move Vegan Monday to another day – a day when I can actually be bothered to cook something, rather than just see what there is in the freezer to heat up and serve with chips and beans.
Before I get on to what I had with my chips and beans though, let’s go back a bit. Remember last week I realised I hadn’t actually been vegan for any of my Vegan Mondays as my lip balm wasn’t vegan? Even the one I’d got from VegFest? Well, I solved that little problem by popping into Lush after university one day and got myself a little tub of None of Your Beeswax. Problem solved, yay!
So, what did I do this morning? Yeah, got up, brushed my teeth, put on some lip balm … from the bathroom cabinet … which wasn’t vegan, dammit! I’m going to have to buy pots of these to put everywhere although at £5.75 a pot, that’s going to make Vegan Monday quite an expensive challenge.
Anyway, on to dinner. I’d picked up some of Redwood’s (or whatever they’re called now) Fishcakes that I hadn’t had before.
I’d actually wanted some of their fish steaks, that I love, but Holland & Barrett didn’t have any, so I thought I’d give these a go. They were crispy and had a subtle fish flavour that wasn’t artificial or overpowering – I’ll definitely have them again.
Er, yes, they were served with chips (Tesco jacket wedges, to be specific) and baked beans.
Next Monday, I’m going to try harder not to a) use lip balm containing beeswax; and b) eat chips and baked beans.
The Meat Eater looked at his plate and said ‘this looks suspiciously vegan’. Huh? It was covered with cheese and not the slightest bit vegan. The boy is paranoid.
It’s a recipe adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian. The only bit I adapted was where she uses wholemeal auelli; I used non-wholemeal pasta (as I get moaned at if I use wholemeal despite the taste and texture being identical) and spirals, not auelli (as I haven’t a clue what auelli looks like and anyway, I had spirals in the cupboard).
Also, I didn’t fry the aubergine slices as that’s too fiddly and takes too long. Instead, I brushed some oil over them and roasted them in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Oh, and I used a large can of tomatoes, not 225g.
I didn’t use an egg, either.
And I only used one onion, not two.
Okay, I adapted it quite a lot.
Pasta and aubergine bake (serves 4)
(Adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian)
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
75g pasta shapes
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp dried oregano
50g fresh breadcrumbs
50g cheddar cheese, grated
Like Sooty without Sweep, and Sue without Mel, Orgran’s gluten free spaghetti in tomato sauce was okay, but there was something missing. I’m not sure what the something was (and it wasn’t a gormless squeaky thing either and yes, I know that’s not a nice way to describe Mel Giedroyc), but there was no ‘aaah, tinned spaghetti in tomato sauce’ comfort factor here.
The appearance was fine, it smelt tomatoey and all was looking good but the doubt crept in when I picked up a bit that had fallen on to the chopping board and it felt hard. Hard? Tinned spaghetti shouldn’t feel hard, should it? Shouldn’t it be a bit squidgy?
When it’s an unheated cold baked bean that’s fallen on to the chopping board, I usually eat it (it’s not just me who does that, is it? No? Good) but this time I decided to wait until the spaghetti was cooked.
It looked like any other spaghetti on toast – except it was already cut up into pieces and I like my spaghetti whole. Then again, the Meat Eater likes his cut up into short strands, so it’s not really something to criticise. It also tasted fine, it was just the texture and the texture actually wasn’t that bad, it just wasn’t quite right. I wish I could describe more how it wasn’t quite right but I’m afraid my Sooty and Sue analogy above is going to have to do.
All Orgran products are gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, yeast free, GMO free and vegan and they have a wide range of products. For more information, visit the Orgran website.
I forgot to mention these on yesterday’s Vegan Monday post. I’d been wondering what to have as a snack if I wanted one, as I’d run out of all the vegan sweets I’d bought at VegFest and hadn’t made any peanut butter bars.
Then I remembered I’d been sent a packet of Crazy Jack Organic Soft Apricots to try and thought I’d give them a go.
Usually, when it comes to dried fruit, they get a rating of ‘bleurgh’ from me. But not these, oh no. These are plump, juicy, soft and delicious and a world away from those scabby dried things you get in some cereals.
Blurby technical and nutrition bit:
Crazy Jack’s Organic Soft Apricots are grown in the Euphrates valley, near Malatya in Turkey. After being dried, they are partially rehydrated with water so they don’t need to be pre-soaked and can be enjoyed as a snack straight from the bag or in cooking and baking.
Soft dried apricots are naturally high in fibre, low in sodium and a natural source of iron. They are also a good source of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy blood pressure, and full of antioxidant phytonutrients (no, I don’t know what a phytonutrient is either).
They contain no artificial additives, colours, no added sugar or preservatives, are gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Available in 250g bags, they cost £2.99 and you can find them in Tesco, Ocado, Amazon and all good health food shops.
After my confession on Sunday about using non-vegan stock for my soup, I thought surely I’ve got it sussed now – there can’t be any more hidden dangers can there? Then, while I was applying lip balm for what was probably the seventeenth time on Monday, it occurred to me it probably wasn’t vegan. There weren’t any ingredients on the tube so I did a bit of a Google and, yep, it contained beeswax and therefore wasn’t vegan. So that meant I’ve failed five out of five Vegan Mondays so far. It also meant when I did my Vegan Month five years ago, I almost certainly failed every single day of it. Bummer.
But, then, aha! I thought, I’ve got a tube of lip balm given to me at VegFest the other week and all products at VegFest have to be vegan. It’s the law and everything.
So, I went downstairs (I have lip balm in every room, every bag and every pocket) and retrieved my vegan lip balm. Thing is though, when I checked the ingredients, it contained the dreaded beeswax. But how could this be when I got it at VegFest?
I emailed VegFest (letting them know it was only a slight niggle to me as I’m not actually vegan, just a mere vegetarian, but thought they should probably know) and Tim – the organiser – replied immediately apologising, saying yelp.co.uk (who’d given me the lip balm as a freebie for signing up to the mailing list) had signed a declaration stating they’d only bring vegan products and he’d make sure this never happened again. Naughty yelp.co.uk.
So, I went into town to buy some vegan lip balm. I went into The Body Shop and asked if they had any. One of the assistants said yes, they’re all suitable but another assistant peeled back the label of one and saw beeswax and put it back. She picked up another one, peeled back the label and said this one’s fine, there’s no beeswax in it. Yay, I thought, that’s Vegan Monday re-veganised.
I got home, peeled back the label to have a look for myself and saw beeswax clearly stated on it. Sigh.
Oh well, I’ll buy some online.
Anyway, enough about my lip balm dilemma. Here’s what I ate for this week’s Vegan Monday.
Vegan stew and dumplings
It’s a stew I made for the first time last year but this time I made my own dumplings using Tesco’s own vegetable suet (which is vegan).
The photo above is from last year’s blog post (which is also where you’ll find the recipe). I made the stew last week and this week had the leftovers with Linda McCartney sausages and green beans.
Even The Meat Eater didn’t feel the need to un-vegan it for a change.