Spicy bean enchiladas

After last week’s Italian themed meals of lasagne, pizza and pasta, this week I decide to be healthy and make meals that weren’t covered in cheese.

That was the plan, anyway.

What actually happened was that I made healthy bean-based meals and then covered them in cheese.

Food for Fitness
Food for Fitness

Last night’s bean-based-cheese-covered meal was white bean chili from The Seasoned Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer which was very nice indeed, but unfortunately went unphotographed.  Tonight, however, I got my camera out to take photographs of tonight’s spicy bean enchiladas, taken from Anita Bean’s Food for Fitness: Nutrition Plan, Eating Plan, Recipes.

Spicy bean enchiladas

Ingredients (makes 4)
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tin (420g) pinto or red kidney beans (or 175g/6oz dried beans, soaked, cooked and drained)
1/2 tin (200g) chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp (15g) taco seasoning mix or 150g (5oz) enchilada sauce
4 corn or wheat tortillas
225g (8 oz) passata with herbs or garlic
50g (2 oz) grated mature Cheddar cheese
Low fat plain yoghurt, sliced onions, shredded lettuce

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the beans to the pan and mash roughly.
  3. Add the tomatoes, taco seasoning (or enchilada sauce) and continue to cook for a few minutes.
  4. Spread one quarter of the mixture over each tortilla.  Roll up and place seam-side down in a baking dish sprayed with oil spray.
  5. Spoon the passata over the tortillas and sprinkle the cheese over the top.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for 30 minutes.  Alternatively, cover and microwave for 7 minutes.
  7. Serve with a spoonful of yoghurt, and sprinkle with onions and lettuce.

Here they are before they went into the oven.

Enchiladas pre-oven
Enchiladas pre-oven

And after.

Enchiladas post-oven
Enchiladas post-oven


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Winner of Vegan Brunch announced!

As promised, I put the names of all those who entered the competition into my pink straw hat

My pink straw hat with the names in
My pink straw hat with the names in

and engaged the services of my able assistant (aka The Meat Eater) who put a shirt over his head to stop him peeking (he wanted Jill to win because she made more effort but I said that was cheating)

My able assistant picking the winner
My able assistant picking the winner

and he picked out a name, and the winner is

The winner!
The winner!

Well done Tracy, email me your address and I’ll get a copy of Vegan Brunch in the post to you.

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Vegan Brunch competition

Thank you for all your entries to the competition to win a copy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s latest cookbook, Vegan Brunch.

The competition has now closed and I’ll be drawing a name out of the pink straw hat later today and will post the lucky winner’s name here.

Good luck!

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Competition: Win a copy of Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

If you’re vegan, or even if you’re not, you should own a copy of Veganomicon.

Now Isa Chandra Moskowitz – the bestselling author of Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World – has brought us a new cookbook: Vegan Brunch.

It starts with a list of pantry items, most of which are quite hard to find in the UK, e.g. vital wheat gluten (I tried to find it and failed, and ended up buying seitan mix from Veganstore), liquid smoke (which apparently is smoke from smouldering wood that has been condensed into its liquid form [no, I’m not making this up, honest] and tempeh. Also, it might be just me, but I’ve never heard of black salt (which according to Isa is pink and tastes of egg yolk and I‘m trying to decide if that‘s a good thing or not) and smoked salt (which only one recipe – tofu benny (Isa’s take on eggs Benedict) – calls for anyway).

The recipes are set out in sections. First up is the savoury section. A bit heavy on the tofu side, it starts with 11 tofu omelette recipes, followed by 20 pages of recipes containing tofu. Good news for tofu lovers then. Bad news for the other 99% of the population. Still, if tofu’s not your thing, there are plenty of other recipes to tempt you, e.g. mushroom, leek & white bean pie, chili cashew dosas with spiced apple cider chutney and buckwheat waffles with red wine tarragon mushroom gravy.

Pancakes and waffles take up a lot of room in the sweet section, including the odd sounding chocolate beer waffles and the gorgeous looking lemon cashew-stuffed crepes with whole berry sauce.

In the sides section there are a few sausage recipes and a recipe that caught my eye was the potato spinach squares.

Next up is the bread basket section, with a selection of baked goods such as muffins, cakes, bagels, rolls and scones (including a very tasty looking tomato & rosemary scone recipe).

Towards the end is the messy stuff; toppings, e.g. cashew sour cream and smoked almond gravy.

Finally, at the end is the drinks section, including pink grapefruit mimosas, so you can drink champagne in the morning, safe in the knowledge that everyone knows this is a socially acceptable thing to do and does not mean you are a raging alcoholic who drinks as soon as they get up.

Paperback, 240 pages, colour photographs throughout.

**Win a copy of Vegan Brunch**

Vegan Brunch is out on 4 June 2009. To get your hands on a copy before then, please leave a comment and I’ll pick a name out of a hat (a pink straw one to be precise) and will send one lucky winner a copy in the post.

Competition ends Friday 22 May 2009.  UK entries only please.

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Aubergines, asparagus; swings and roundabouts

I get up this morning and have a look at the Riverford website to see what vegetables they’re going to deliver to me today, and it says aubergine. Hurrah. I like aubergines. I like them so much I even announce to all my Facebook friends that I was looking forward to getting an aubergine. Yes, I’m that sad. Although, to be honest, I wasn’t as unduly excited as I was when I was expecting a pineapple.

However, when I get home, I don’t find an aubergine in the box, I find asparagus. This doesn’t unduly concern me as I like asparagus. I think I like it as much as aubergine but I had already planned my Quorn recipe for the aubergine so now I’ve got to think again and I try not to think too much if I can help it.

And so, later on, I have another look at the Riverford website to see if it really did say aubergine and either they changed it when I wasn’t looking or it never said aubergine in the first place, as it says asparagus again now and after consulting the BBC website to see what’s in season at the mo, it would appear that I am stupid or blind or a combination of the two, as aubergine’s aren’t even in season until July.

Mushrooms... asparagus...  oh yes, we are liking this box...
Mushrooms... asparagus... oh yes, we are liking this box...

Contents of box
Swiss chard
Portobello mushrooms
Gala apples
Fairtrade bananas

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Vegan leek and mushroom soup

Gulp, my last food post was over a month ago.  I have eaten since then, honest.  In fact, I’ve made a couple of great recipes from the wonderful Veganomicon, when I make them again, I’ll blog them.

I’ve also been making my weekly soup and having my weekly organic veg box delivered although with my imminent move to the country, my time has been filled mostly with making lists of things to do, and then not doing them.

But as I was deserted this morning by The Meat Eater citing reasons of wanting to ride motorbikes and jump out of aeroplanes, after customising my Twitter background (@jogblog if you want to follow me), I decided to make my soup early and after investigating the contents of my fridge, decided upon leek and mushroom soup.  With added potatoes and spring greens (the spring greens were a surprise, I was expecting spring onions.  Similar?  I don’t think so).

Serves 4
1 large onion
2 leeks
130g spring greens
200g mushrooms
150g new potatoes
2000ml stock
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chili powder
Salt & pepper

Cook the onions and mustard seeds in some stock for a few minutes.  Add everything else.  After about 20 minutes, blend it.
Go back to ignoring your to do list.

Leed and mushroom soup, pre-whizz
Leek and mushroom soup, pre-whizz


Leek and mushroom soup, post-whizz
Leek and mushroom soup, post-whizz

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Fiona Oakes: Vegan, marathon runner, superwoman

Fiona is running the London Marathon this year
Fiona is running the London Marathon this year

You’ve probably heard of Fiona Oakes.  She’s the founder of the Tower Hills Animal Sanctuary, where she cares for over 400 animals without making a single penny for herself (in fact, every month the feed bill exceeds donations by £2,200).

And as if that wasn’t enough, in her “spare” time she trains for marathons.  Lots of them.  And not only that, she’s bloody good at them too.  This year Fiona will be running London Marathon on 26 April.  But she won’t be at the back with the fancy dress brigade, she’ll be at the start with the elite women where she’s hoping for a top 20 place.

Please visit her website and do all you can to support her, she really is an inspiration.

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Leek and potato soup (vegan)

I saw lambs today.  Titchy, tiny ones.  They were very cute. That has absolutely nothing to do with this blog but I just thought I’d mention it.

So, after seeing lambs (titchy, tiny ones) I escaped the countryside (nasty thing the countryside, completely pointless, whoever invented it needs taking outside and giving a good kicking) and came home and made soup.  Leek and potato soup to be precise.

Ingredients (serves 5):
3 medium sized potatoes
5 smallish leeks
2,500ml stock
Bit of dried garlic
Bit of dried thyme
Salt and ground black pepper
If you got your potatoes from a manky local shop, cut off the manky bits then chop them up into smallish pieces (I never bother to peel potatoes)
If you got your leeks from an organic veg box scheme, wash off half the field that they’re covered in
Put the stock and potatoes in a large pan
Add the leeks
Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper
Boil for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft
Remove from heat and blend
Remind yourself to take camera with you on your next visit to Kent in case of any lamb-based emergencies

Leek and potato soup
Leek and potato soup

By the way, I’ve given The Meat Eater user privileges on this blog, so watch out for his guest Delia’s Chocolate Marbled Energy Bars blog post shortly.

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Rice & mushroom parcel: The Seasoned Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer

I am out of leftover homecooked food in the freezer so decide I will make a couple of recipes out of my new cookbook The Seasoned Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer and as usual, it’s the ones with cream and cheese that take my fancy and tonight’s recipe of choice is Rice & Mushrooom Parcel.  Although it has no cream in it, or cheese, but it does have mushrooms.  And puff pastry.  What more does a girl need?  Ah, wine.  Of course.

So armed with my cookbook, a glass of wine and my brand new-ish set of knives, I set about making this rice and mushroom parcel that I am informed feeds two.  I’m not sure which two people Mr Rimmer is talking about when I see the pile of mushrooms that I slice.  The two fat ladies, perhaps?  (Notwithstanding the fact that one of them is a dead fat lady.  No, not dead fat, as in I’m a Scouser and talk funny, dead as in dead.  No more.  An ex-fat-lady. Ceased to exist. etc.)

The Walthamstow Mushroom Mountain
The Walthamstow Mushroom Mountain

After I’ve spent five minutes of my life that I’m never going to get back slicing 600g of mushrooms and an onion, I pull out of the drawer my big frying pan and wonder if it’s going to be big enough for The Walthamstow Mushroom Mountain and decide it probably won’t be and therefore it will take longer than the five minutes Mr Rimmer reckons it’s going to take for the onions and mushrooms to cook.  Still, Eastenders isn’t on yet so all is good.

But before I start on this frying a mushroom mountain exercise, I have to hard boil two eggs.  HELP!  I’M STUCK!  I don’t know how long it takes to hard boil an egg.  I decide it’s about 10 minutes, which is handily how long it’s going to take to boil the rice I also need to cook.  Synchronisation, like swimmers.  Except in egg-form.  And rice-form.

After about 10 minutes or so, I decide the mushrooms and onion have cooked enough and I pour it into a bowl along with the chopped hard boiled eggs and rice (that is a pretty yellow colour thanks to the turmeric).

Now it gets tricky.  It’s always tricky when pastry’s involved.  Even if it’s ready-rolled pastry.

I get the pastry out of the packet and the recipe says put the mushrooom and rice filling mixture down the middle of the pastry.  BUT THERE’S F*****G TONS OF IT!  Still, undeterred I pour the mixture onto the middle of the pastry.  Now it says to wrap the pastry around to enclose the filling.  Wrap it like a Swiss roll or just fold it over?  I’m confused.  I decide on the Swiss roll approach and not too much filling oozes out of the sides and I even get to squish down the edges that I have brushed with egg.  There are, however, a few holes.  Ho hum.

A few holes
A few holes

But I decide not to try and patch the holes up and put it in the oven and after 25 minutes I decide it’s ready and there’s no way it feeds two, more like four, as it’s massive, even for a glutton like me.

Feeds two?  As if.
Feeds two? As if.

And hurrah, it’s delicious.  And definitely one I’ll be making again, although I think it’ll be nicer without the egg so won’t be adding that again.  If The Meat Eater’s lucky, I might even make it for him one day.

Rice & mushroom parcel
(taken from The Seasoned Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer)

250g ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
50g basmati rice
pinch of turmeric
grated zest of 1 lemon
50g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
600g brown cap mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp each chopped fresh parsley and tarragon
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
few sesame seeds, to sprinkle

For the parcel filling, cook the rice in salted boiling water with the turmeric and lemon zest for about 12 minutes until just tender, then drain.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan and gently fry the onion and mushrooms for about 5 minutes until soft.  Tip into a bowl.

Stir the cooked rice, herbs and chopped hard-boiled eggs into the onion and mushroom mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the pastry into a rectangle measuring 30 x 20 cm (12 x 8 cm inches).  Place the filling mixture down the middle of the rectangle, brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg, then wrap it around to enclose the filling and press the edges together to seal.  Roll the parcel over so that the long seam is underneath and brush with egg wash.

Place the parcel on a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Sprinkle the pastry with sesame seeds, then bake for 30 minutes until crisps and golden.  Serve hot cut into thick slices.

(Note.  I used lemon juice out of a bottle, dried tarragon, no parsley and no sesame seeds, and I didn’t leave it to chill for 30 minutes either.  And I haven’t died or been struck by lightning.  Yet.)

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