Asparagus and Swiss Chard Soup

asparagus-chard-soup

Asparagus season in the UK doesn’t last long – traditionally beginning 1 May and lasting for seven to eight weeks – and although you can buy it imported throughout the year, it just feels more right to be eating it in spring, when the UK crops are harvested. I received asparagus in my veg box delivery last week and usually I enjoy it simply steamed and served as a side vegetable but, as I was away all weekend, it didn’t get used as soon as I would have liked and as it was starting to go a bit limp, I made soup with it, along with some Swiss Chard that also came in the box.

Continue Reading

Green Lentil and Chilli Hummus

Green lentil hummus with garlic and chilli

Riverford sent me some celery. I don’t hate celery, per se, but I don’t like it cooked in stews or anything like that and I certainly don’t want to make a soup out of it and I don’t really like it raw in salads either. As far as I can see, celery’s only role in life is to be an edible spoon for hummus. Which, as roles in life go, isn’t a bad one – in fact, it’s to be commended, but I didn’t have any chickpeas with which to make the best hummus in the world ever so I was stuck with celery and nothing to eat it with.

So, as I knew I had a tin of green lentils, I pondered on Twitter whether green lentil hummus was a thing.

and received this reply from my Twitter friend, Healthy Hornett

and I reckoned she (actually, I have no idea if it’s a girl or boy Hornett so, if you’re reading this, @healthyhornett, sorry for assuming you’re a she) was right and, after promising to report back, I went off and made some green lentil hummus.

Well, two days later I did, anyway. And, do you know what? Green lentil hummus is most definitely a thing and an excellent alternative to the more traditional chickpea one.

I made this hummus in my Optimum G2.1 blender which whizzed it into smooth and creamy hummusy perfection in a minute but if you haven’t got a high powered blender, you might want to add a bit more olive oil to help it along.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Green Lentil and Chilli Hummus
 
A gorgeous alternative to the more traditional chickpea hummus
Author:
Recipe type: Vegan
Ingredients
  • 1 390g tin green lentils, drained
  • ½ cup (150g) tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 whole dried chilli
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until everything's combined
  2. Add the olive oil and process until smooth

For other alternatives to chickpea hummus, try this beetroot and cannellini bean dip from Fuss Free Flavours, or Tin and Thyme’s smoky red pepper dip and chive guacamole.


Continue Reading

Easy Vegan Tinned Tomato and Basil Soup Recipe

Vegan homemade tinned tomato soup recipe

Aah, tinned tomato soup. Or, more specifically; aah, Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup. Everyone loves cream of tomato soup, don’t they? I have it when I’m ill, when I’m hungover and it was all I could face when my house got burgled a few years ago (well, soup and alcohol, anyway). In fact, it’s more of a comfort blanket than a soup, really. I suspect it’s because I don’t see tomato soup as an ‘everyday’ soup, I don’t make homemade tomato soup very often and, if I do, it’s usually ‘tomato and something’, rather than just tomato.

But I had a few tins of chopped tomatoes taking up room on the kitchen worktop, so I decided I’d make a homemade tomato soup. I wasn’t expecting it to turn out like Heinz because mine would be a vegan version and therefore it wouldn’t contain any cream. I’d thought about thickening it with cashews but, thanks to my Froothie Optimum G2.1 high powered blender, it turned out beautifully creamy and smooth without needing to add any thickeners (I know it doesn’t look silky smooth in the photo but, trust me – it is).

You could, for a creamier taste, replace half the stock with soya milk (or dairy milk if you’re not fussed about it being vegan), but I don’t really think it’s necessary and I only swirled on a bit of soya milk for a prettier photo.

A cheap, creamy, comforting bowl of soup; even if you don’t need comforting.

Vegan homemade tinned tomato soup recipe

Easy Vegan Tinned Tomato and Basil Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A cheap, creamy, comforting bowl of vegan tomato soup
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 500ml vegan stock
  • A few basil leaves, torn
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan
  2. Add the onion and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes, until soft
  3. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and stock, then season to taste with the salt and pepper
  4. Stir through and simmer for 10 minutes
  5. Add the basil, stir through and transfer to a blender and blend until smooth

*Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for Froothie and any links to their products in this post are affiliate links which, if you purchase through, won’t cost you any more but will earn me a small commission. I only endorse products I am happy with and I have not been paid for this post.


Continue Reading

Veganuary: Vegan Leek, Mushroom and Spinach Tart

Vegan leek, mushroom and spinach tart

Hallelujah – I cooked something that wasn’t stodge! This vegan leek, mushroom and spinach tart is something I’ve cooked before, at least a variation of, anyway. Usually when I make it, I cover it in cheese, like I’ve done previously on my leek, mushroom and goat’s cheese tart, mushroom, leek and mozzarella tart, and my courgette and tomato tart.

I’ve got to admit, I had a bit of a pang when I took both mine and The Meat Eater’s tarts out of the oven, and The Meat Eater’s was covered in bubbling, oozing Cheddar but the pang faded as soon as I started eating.

This vegan tart is a great way to use up any vegetables you have in the fridge – you can substitute the leeks, mushrooms and spinach for whatever you have to hand.

Vegan Leek, Mushroom and Spinach Tart
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pastry
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Two-thirds of a 375g pack of vegan ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 125g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the leeks for about 3 minutes
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic and rosemary and fry for another 3 minutes
  3. Add the spinach and stir until wilted
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Cut the pastry in half so you have two rectangles
  6. Score a 1cm border round each rectangle of pastry and top with the leek mixture, keeping within the border
  7. Bake in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes

 

Veganuary Day 12 – Lunch

Warburtons Thin salad sandwich

Yesterday’s lunch was a Warburton’s Thin with spinach, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, hummus and vegan mayo. Do you like my new plate? I got it in Tesco for £3. It’s almost as nice as the penguin slippers I also bought (£6).

penguin slippers
Gratuitous pic of penguin slippers


Continue Reading

Recipe: Vegan Chickpea (Gram) Flour Pancake

Chickpea flour (gram flour) pancake

Chickpea flour (also known as gram flour) is so versatile. It can be used instead of eggs in omelettes, pancakes, quiches and loads of other things. My latest favourite way to use it is to make pancakes – they’re just as quick and easy to make as their eggy equivalents, but with the added bonus of it being vegan and therefore cruelty-free (and wheat- and gluten-free if you need to avoid those). What I mostly love about pancakes though is that they’re just a pancake-based pizza – choose your toppings just as you would a pizza and throw them on the top of the pancake at the end of cooking.

In the photo is a chickpea flour pancake I made the other day with spinach, mushrooms, olives, sundried tomatoes, garlic and pine nuts.

You should be able to find chickpea flour in your local supermarket (just bear in mind it might say gram flour on the packet) but if not, then any Indian/international store should have it.

Chickpea (Gram) Flour Pancake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pancake
Cuisine: Vegan
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup chickpea (gram) flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp water
  • salt and pepper
  • Your choice of toppings
Instructions
  1. Prepare your toppings (e.g. fry your mushrooms, spinach and garlic) and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the chickpea flour, baking powder and water, then season with salt and pepper. Whisk until no lumps remain.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and pour in the pancake batter.
  4. Cook for a couple of minutes until the pancake feels firm enough to flip over.
  5. Carefully flip the pancake over, scatter your toppings on top of the pancake and cook for another couple of minutes.

 

If you’re interested in cooking with chickpea flour, here are a couple of recipes from other food bloggers you might like:

Coconut Chickpea Chocolate Cake from Tin and Thyme
Quick Indian Pancakes with Spiced Potato Filling from The Veg Space

And for those of you who don’t need a vegan/gluten-free pancake, here’s a recipe for a more traditional pancake (i.e. one that’s made with eggs and dairy milk).


Continue Reading

Recipe: Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

Vegan cream of mushroom soup
Although my VonShef Soup Maker acts as a great blender, I’ve been lazy and have just chucked all my ingredients in, pressed the start button and buggered off to leave it to it. This method ends up with a smooth, creamy soup but slightly lacking in flavour with the onion and garlic not being fried first. This is only to be expected – after all, boiled onion doesn’t sound appetising, does it?

So, yesterday, I decided I’d had enough of creamy, yet bland, soup and took a bit more effort with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I’d decided to make. Yes, it meant more washing up but only one pan, so it’s not that much of a hassle and it was totally worth it.

I’ve made mushroom soup in the past (see here, here, here and here) but this one is definitely my favourite. I had a brainwave and wondered if cashews and soya milk would give it the creaminess some of my soups are lacking and yes, it certainly does. I usually use a potato to thicken my soups up but cashews are definitely the way to go in the future. Cashews will obviously add a lot of calories to a soup – if you’re bothered about that kind of thing – but they’re good calories and full of protein and apart from protein being good for you, it keeps you full up and this soup kept me full all afternoon.

Recipe: Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked overnight or soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500ml stock
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • ½ cup soya milk
Instructions
  1. If making in a soup maker:
  2. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  3. Add the mushrooms and fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the mushroom/onion mix and all the other ingredients to the soup maker except the soya milk.
  5. Cook on the blending programme for 20 minutes.
  6. Check the texture at the end, blend until smoother if necessary.
  7. Add the soya milk and blend again to mix through.
  8. If making on the hob:
  9. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  10. Add the mushrooms and fry for a few more minutes.
  11. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cashews and milk and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  12. Add the cashews and milk and blend until smooth.

 

 

Continue Reading

Recipe: Spinach and Tomato Soup

Vegan spinach and tomato soup

This morning, I opened the freezer to get some frozen fruit to make myself a nice healthy smoothie. Then I saw the crumpets… but – get me and my steely resolve – I resisted them, telling myself I’d have the crumpets for lunch instead.

I don’t know what happened but, instead of toasting the crumpets at lunchtime, I made some spinach and tomato soup. Not really the same thing, is it? Ho hum.

I made this vegan soup in my soup maker but if you’re going to make it on the hob, then fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, simmer for 20 minutes or so, then blend.

You can use any stock you like but I made my own ‘instant chicken’less bouillon powder’ from the recipe on the Gentle Chef website.

Vegan spinach and tomato soup

Recipe: Spinach and Tomato Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 150g potato, chopped
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml stock
  • salt and pepper to season
  • Chilli flakes and cumin seeds to taste
Instructions
  1. Add everything to the soup maker, cook for about 20 minutes, then blend.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.

 

Continue Reading

Recipe: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Mushroom Risotto

Slow cooked vegetarian mushroom risotto

Slow cooked vegetarian mushroom risotto

I can’t make risotto. I know how to make it, I’m just missing some kind of key risotto-making gene which means whenever I try to make risotto, no matter how much time I take slowly pouring in the stock and patiently stirring for three weeks (or however long it is; it feels like three weeks, anyway), the rice ends up as nasty crunchy bullets. Maybe the rice knows I’m not patient by nature and can feel the hate and resentment when I’m standing there relentlessly stirring instead of doing something far more pleasurable such as, say, emptying the cat litter tray or hanging up my washing.

So, why I decided to give risotto another go, I don’t know but, instead of the stirring-for-three-weeks-on-the-hob method, I had a look for a slow cooker recipe (although, for someone who can’t be arsed to stand around stirring things, I certainly lift the slow cooker lid plenty of times to give the contents a good stir) and found this one.

Usually when I use my slow cooker, I don’t bother with any pre-cooking malarky and just chuck everything in but, given my history with risotto-making, I thought I’d better give it a decent shot at turning out okay and followed the instructions, only deviating by adding garlic as there was no garlic in the original recipe, which led to a ‘what do you mean there’s no garlic in this recipe?’ moment. I mean, how can you have onions and mushrooms in something but no garlic? Crazy.

I’d like to say this risotto turned out perfectly, but I’d be lying. It was certainly tasty and definitely un-bullet-like but it was a tad stodgy and ‘wallpaper paste’ and ‘sticks to your ribs’ wouldn’t be unfair descriptions. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a disaster and I’d make it again and, if you give it a go, it’ll probably turn out perfectly. I just think risotto and I aren’t meant to be.

Slow cooked vegetarian mushroom risotto

Recipe: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Mushroom Risotto
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Slow cooker
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1.5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 200g Arborio risotto rice
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 30g butter
  • 225g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 30g vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil and add the onion and cook for 4 - 5 mins until soft.
  2. Add the rice and stir through so all grains are coated and cook for 2 mins.
  3. Transfer the rice and onion to the slow cooker and cover with the stock.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan and cook the sliced mushrooms for about 10 mins or until they have browned.
  5. Add the garlic to the mushrooms and cook for another minute or so.
  6. Stir the mushrooms into the rice and cook for 2 - 3 hours on low.
  7. Stir in the vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese in the last 5 minutes.

 

 

Continue Reading

Recipe: Dehydrated Vegan Cheese and Onion Kale Chips

Vegan cheese and onion kale crisps

I tried some of Inspiral’s Crispy Baobab & Onion Kale Chips the other day and loved them so much, I wanted to recreate my own, but without the baobab bit, as I have no idea what baobab is. According to the list of ingredients on the back of the packet, the chips seemed to mostly involve kale, cashew nuts and onion powder, and so I thought, ‘I can do that’ and I also thought, ‘I can do that for a lot cheaper than £2.19 for 30g’.

So I did. What I also did is make them cheesy, so they’re kind of like cheese and onion flavour crisps, kale-stylee. Oh yeah.

If you have a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix (and if you do have a Vitamix, I am green-eyed with jealousy), you might not need to add as much olive oil. I needed to add it though because my cashews refused to blend without some liquid added (this is because I only have a £20 blender and not a Vitamix, sniff).

I ended up dehydrating these kale chips for about 24 hours. Depending on how big your kale pieces are and also on how efficient your dehydrator is, you may need less time. Just keep checking until they’re crispy enough for you.

Recipe: Dehydrated Vegan Cheese and Onion Kale Chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dehydrator
Cuisine: Vegan
Ingredients
  • 3 large handfuls kale, thick stalks removed
  • 2 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Chilli flakes
Instructions
  1. Blend the cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, chilli flakes and olive oil until smooth-ish.
  2. Mix well with the kale, spread evenly on the dehydrator trays and dehydrate on 45C for 15 hours or until crispy.

 

Continue Reading

Recipe: Dehydrated Raw Chilli Crackers

Raw cashew and chilli crackers

Raw cashew and chilli crackers

Why did I wait so long to get a dehydrator? What I’ve eaten from it so far has made me want to give up pizza and become a raw foodist. Well, that might be a bit hasty, especially as it’s Friday and Friday night is chippy chips night, so any new raw foodist lifestyle will have to hang on for a bit.

Chilli, cashew and sunflower seed raw crackers

But, these raw crackers I made are amazing. I tried some raw crackers a couple of years ago when I bought some at VegFest but I didn’t like them. So I wasn’t expecting great things from these but now I never want to eat anything else, ever. They’re especially good spread with the best ever hummus and topped with olives.

Raw crackers with hummus and olives

The original recipe is here but I added chilli flakes because, well, you know… chilli…

Dehydrated Raw Chilli Crackers
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dehydrator
Cuisine: Snacks
Ingredients
  • 1 cup soaked sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup soaked cashew nuts
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 1 large spring onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 whole dried chillies
Instructions
  1. Put everything in a food processor and blitz it all up
  2. Spread the mixture evenly on your dehydrator trays
  3. Dehydrate on 48C for 15 hours (score lightly with a knife after about an hour and this will make breaking the crackers up easier when they're done)

 

 

Continue Reading