Asparagus, broad bean and parmesan frittata

Good Housekeeping Step by Step Vegetarian Cookbook
Good Housekeeping Step by Step Vegetarian Cookbook

Back to an old faithful cookbook tonight, the Good Housekeeping Step by Step Vegetarian Cookbook.  I’ve never made a bad meal out of it and it has the added bonus of every single dish in it being indexed at the beginning with a colour photograph, along with plenty of colour photographs in the main sections too.  It also gives you useful information such as calories, suitability for freezing and preparation and cooking time. 

I originally thought this was going to be a healthyish meal, but after seeing how much cheese and butter went into it, I’ve since changed my mind.  Especially as after conferring with The Meat Eater that if the recipe says it serves 2-4, does that mean we should eat all of it, he said yes, we should.  But I cycled 17.3 miles today so I don’t feel too much of a pig.  A small pig, maybe.

Asparagus, broad bean and parmesan frittata
Asparagus, broad bean and parmesan frittata

 Asparagus, broad bean and parmesan frittata (serves 2-4)
175 g (6 oz) small new potatoes
225 g (8 oz) asparagus spears
225 g (8 oz) frozen broad beans, thawed
6 eggs
Salt and pepper
50 g (2 oz) vegetarian Parmesan, freshly grated
45 ml (3 tbsp) chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, oregano and thyme
50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter

  1.  Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes until tender.  Allow to cool, then slice thickly.
  2. Meanwhile, trim the asparagus, removing any woody parts of the stems.  Place in a steamer over boiling water and cook for 12 minutes until tender.  Immediately plunge into cold water to set the colour and cool completely.
  3. Slip the broad beans out of their waxy skins.  Drain the asparagus, pat dry, then cut into short lengths.  Mix with the broad beans.
  4. Put the eggs in a bowl with a good pinch of salt, plenty of pepper and half of the vegetarian Parmesan cheese.  Beat well, then stir in the asparagus, broad beans and chopped herbs.
  5. Melt 40 g butter in a 25 cm (10 inch) heavy-based non-stick frying pan.  When foaming, pour in the egg mixture.  Turn down the heat to as low as possible.  Cook for about 15 minutes, until the frittata is set but the top is still a little runny.
  6. Scatter the cooked sliced potato over the frittata and sprinkle with the remaining vegetarian Parmesan cheese.  Dot with the rest of the butter.
  7. Place under a hot grill until the cheese is golden and bubbling and the top is just set.  Slice the frittata onto a warmed plate and cut into wedges to serve.
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Vegetarian borlotti bean moussaka

The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook
The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook

Another one from a cookbook I haven’t used for years – The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook.  The beans will counteract any unhealthyness in the vegetarian parmesan-style cheese (which I get in a block from Sainsburys, much nicer than the tasteless stuff in a pot), won’t it?  This went down so well with The Meat Eater that he went back for seconds.  Or it might have just been that I didn’t give him enough in the first place.

It says to use dried borlotti beans and soak them overnight, rinse, drain and simmer for 1.5 hours but that sounded like too much faff for me so I used a tin, also I didn’t sprinkle the aubergine slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes (I never do the salting of aubergine thing).  If you are going to do all this, you’d better take a day off work, as the sauce needs to simmer for40 minutes and it needs to bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes, so it’s not a meal that can be rustled up quickly.

Borlotti bean moussaka
Borlotti bean moussaka

Borlotti bean moussaka (serves 6)
Preparation time: 45 minutes + overnight soaking
Total cooking time 2¼ – 2½ hours

Ingredients
250 g (8oz) dried borlotti beans
2 large aubergines, sliced
one-third cup (80 ml/2¾ fl oz) olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
125 g (4 oz) button mushrooms, sliced
2 x 440 g (14 oz) cans peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 cup (250 ml/8 fl oz) red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
Topping
1 cup (250 g/8 oz) natural yoghurt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups (500 ml/16 fl oz) milk
¼ teaspoon ground paprika
½ cup (50 g/1 & two-thirds oz) freshly grated vegetarian parmesan cheese
½ cup (40 g/1 & one-third oz) fresh breadcrumbs

  1. Soak the borlotti beans in cold water overnight; rinse and drain well
  2. Place the borlotti beans into a large heavy-based pan, cover with water and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 1½ hours or until tender; drain
  3. Meanwhile, sprinkle the aubergine slices with salt and set aside for 30 minutes.  Rinse and pat dry.  Brush the aubergine slices with a little of the oil and cook under a preheated grill for 3 minutes on each side or until golden.  Drain on paper towels
  4. Preheat the oven to moderately hot 200C (400F/Gas 6).  Heat the remaining oil in a large heavy-based pan; add the garlic and onion and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until the onion is golden.  Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes or until browned.  Stir in the tomatoes, wine, tomato paste and oregano; bring to the boil; reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until sauce has thickened
  5. To assemble moussaka:  Spoon theborlotti beans into a large, ovenproof dish, top with tomato sauce and eggplant slices
  6. To make topping:  Place the yoghurt, eggs, milk and paprika into a jug and whisk to combine.  Pour over the aubergine and set aside for 10 minutes.  Combine the vegetarian parmesan and breadcrumbs in a bowl.  Sprinkle over the moussaka.  Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the moussaka is heated through and top is golden.
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Quorn beef style teriyaki

I seem to be having themed meals recently.  The week before last was Italian (home made pizza, sweet potato & mushroom lasagne, mushroom & asparagus pasta); last week was Mexican (white bean chili, spicy bean enchiladas) and now this week seems to be taking on a Quorn theme as on Monday we had Quorn chicken style tikka masala and tonight’s offering was Quorn beef style teriyaki.  And very nice it was too.

Quorn beef style teryaki
Quorn beef style teriyaki

Ingredients (serves 2)
300g Beef Style Quorn Pieces
75ml groundnut oil
50ml soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
½ an orange, juice and zest
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
125g dried egg noodles
½ red pepper, thinly sliced
50g mushrooms, thinly sliced
6 spring onions, sliced diagonally into 1cm pieces
½ lemon juice
2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped

Method

  1. Place the Quorn pieces into a bowl and add 50ml of the groundnut oil, the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, orange juice and zest and rice wine vinegar.  Leave to marinate while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, drain and set aside.
  3. Place a wok over a medium heat and add the remaining 25ml of groundnut oil.  Add the Quorn and marinade and cook for a few minutes.  Add the red pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the mushroom and spring onion and cook for 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the lemon juice and coriander.
  5. Add the drained noodles and combine in the wok with the other ingredients.
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Sweet and sour mixed bean hotpot

As much as I love cheese, after last week’s cheese-covered meals, I go through my cookbooks looking for an appetising cheese-less recipe and I pick up The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook that I haven’t used for years and I see this recipe and think ok, that looks healthy, it’s got beans in it and it even tells you not to peel the potatoes which appeals to a lazy slob like me and so I give it a go and here it is without its potato hat

Hotpot waiting for its potato hat
Hotpot waiting for its potato hat

and here it is covered in potato, not cheese

Covering food in potato - not cheese - for a change
Covering food in potato - not cheese - for a change

and after it’d been cooked and plated

Ready to eat
Ready to eat

and it was delicious and easily veganised by swapping butter for vegan margarine.

Sweet and sour mixed bean hot-pot (serves 6)
Ingredients
450 g/1 lb unpeeled potatoes
15 ml/1 tbsp olive oil
40 g/1½ oz / 3 tbsp butter
40 g/1½ oz plain wholemeal flour
300 ml/½ pint passata
150 ml/¼ pink unsweetened apple juice
60 ml/4 tbsp each light soft brown sugar, tomato ketchup, dry sherry, cider vinegar and light soy sauce
400 g/14 oz can butter beans
400 g/14 oz can flageolet beans
400 g/14 oz can chick peas
175 g/6 oz green beans, chopped and blanched
225 g/8 oz shallots, sliced and blanched
225 g/8 oz mushrooms, sliced
15 ml/1 tbsp each chopped fresh thyme and marjoram
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sprigs of fresh herbs, to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.  Thinly slice the potatoes and par-boil them for 4 minutes.  Drain the potatoes thoroughly, toss them in the oil so they are lightly coated all over and set aside.
  2. Place the butter, flour, passata, apple juice, sugar, tomato ketchup, sherry, vinegar and soy sauce in a saucepan.  Heat gently, whisking continuously, until the sauce comes to the boil and thickens.  Simmer gently for 3 minutes, stirring.
  3. Rinse and drain the beans and chickpeas and add to the sauce with all the remaining ingredients, except the herb garnish.  Mix well.
  4. Spoon the bean mixture into a casserole.
  5. Arrange the potato slices over the top, overlapping them slightly and completely covering the bean mixture.
  6. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for about 1 hour, until the potaotes are cooked and tender.  Remove the foil for the last 20 minutes of the cooking time, to lighly brown the potatoes.  Serve garnished with fresh herb sprigs.
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Bibijis Tikka Masala

I’m not a fan of packaged food, preferring to display to The Meat Eater my domestic goddess prowess by cooking from scratch but tonight I showed him my packet opening prowess instead.  And I’m definitely not a fan of sauces that state they’re suitable for vegetarians and then tell you to use it with meat but I was offered a free curry sauce and therefore all my principles swiftly went out of the window.

A pouch of Bibijis Tikka Masala arrived for me in the post, I opened the envelope and was greeted by a not very inspiring package.

Bibijis Tikka Masala packaging
Bibijis Tikka Masala packaging

Still, it’s the taste that counts, not the packaging although I’m not sure it would tempt me in the supermarket.  The packaging lists the ingredients (all natural) and nutritional information (including fat and calorie content which is very low).

After I’ve read the cooking instructions (cook some chicken (I substituted this for Quorn Chicken Style Pieces), pour the sauce over and simmer for 15-20 minutes) I read on the wrapper about their Unique Chilli System® where you can control the heat of the sauce by taking the whole chilis in there out to make the sauce milder, or leave in to keep it hot.  Is there really a whole chili in there, I wondered?  I cut open the resealable bag and peeked in.

Yep, there's a chili in there
Yep, there's a chili in there

Yes, there was a chili in there.  Hurrah.  I peered further into the sauce to see if I could see any more but so far only the one chili.

I cooked the Quorn Chicken Style Pieces in a wok and poured over the sauce and out fell two more whole green chilis.

It's not chicken tonight
It's not chicken tonight

While this was cooking, I boiled some rice (white; yes, yes I know… brown is healthier… but white is nicer) and about 15 minutes later dinner was served.

Dinner is served
Dinner is served

The verdict:
Smell: Fresh and appetising
Appearance: Not great when first put in pan but looked good on the plate
Taste: Salty, but not unpleasant.  Heat just right, not too hot and not too mild, although tikka masala isn’t supposed to be hot anyway (according to The Meat Eater – my curry knowledge is limited).  The whole chilis were nice and fresh.
Texture:  Good texture with just about the right consistency but a bit gungy in places, could be it needed a bit more stirring.
Colour: A natural looking orangey red.
Overall:  Very nice but not as good as the real thing.

Available in fine food outlets and available to order online at www.bibijis.com

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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

Nice.

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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
Calabrese
Swiss chard
Asparagus
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).

Ingredients:
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

Method:
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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