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61 items found for "vegan"

  • Apple Pectin

    I was going to save this post until the autumn, but accidentally bought a bag of apples which turned out to not be very good eating apples (well, Little One thought they were, but he sometimes has questionable taste) so it seemed like a good time to make more and to post about it. It is also a good time because pectin is useful in jam making for any fruit which isn't high in pectin, helping with gelling. And it's jam season! It is entirely natural and easy to make and allows you to make something of what would otherwise be compost. In order to make pectin, all you have to do is to save apple peels and cores (when I made pectin in the autumn, I made apple sauce from the apples and pectin from the off-cuts, and this time around I dried the apple slices). You then simmer them in water over medium low heat until the liquid turns pinkish and thickens a little. Strain out the bits and save the pectin. Et voilà! I put mine away in the freezer for future use (like in my Watermelon Rind Jam).

  • Watermelon Gazpacho

    When my husband and I first moved to South Africa, I struggled with the heat. I got there and felt sticky and full all the time, so the idea of eating food, let alone cooking it, was anything but appealing (don't worry, that changed, and some great recipes came out of our time there). Obviously sustenance was still required, so I looked up and started experimenting with various cold soups. Gazpacho is a classic, and living right in the middle of South Africa's food belt the watermelons were huge and beautiful and sweet and seemingly always available. What could be more natural than combining these two, producing watermelon gazpacho? Ingredients: 1/2 of a medium sized watermelon 1 medium onion 3 cloves of garlic (Beware: I am normally all for super-garlicking everything, but in this case it is overpowering. Start slow and add more if necessary,) 1 cucumber 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar A handful of basil leaves Salt and pepper 1 slice of bread (Optional) 1) Roughly chop all ingredients and blend - the consistency is up to you. Season to taste - you may need to add a little extra balsamic, depending on how sweet your watermelon is. 2) If your gazpacho appears too thin, blend in the slice of bread. 3) Chill and serve - good with croûtons. I find this soup to provide a refreshing and very light lunch, perfect for a hot day (we're in the middle of a heat wave now!) Since coming back from South Africa, watermelons are less plentiful, but whenever they are available this soup makes it back into rotation.

  • Carrot and Ginger Soup

    It can also easily be made vegan by switching the chicken stock to veg stock, too.

  • Pear Sorbet

    Last night at dinner, à propos of nothing whatsoever, Little Bit declared amusingly that he wanted to make pear sorbet... with spices, maybe...and squeeze in some lemon. So today, that is what we did, although at the last minute, he decided against spices. What better occupation for a snowy day, with the thermometer at -10°C all day, than making a frozen dessert? I must add though, that having received a new ice cream maker for Christmas (the 30-year-old one from my parents finally gave up the ghost), I was not opposed to this idea. Below are two variations on the method, one with an ice cream maker, and one without. Ingredients: 2 c of pear, chopped up 3/4 c water 3/4 c light brown sugar juice of 1 lemon 1) Bring water and sugar to a boil, then reduce heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved to create a simple syrup, then set aside to cool. 2) Blend pear, lemon juice and syrup until smooth. Taste test. 3) Set aside in fridge until cool, then pour into ice cream maker as per instructions. OR: 2) Place pear chunks in freezer, spread on a tray in a single layer, until frozen. 3) Blend frozen pear, lemon juice and simple syrup. Taste test and place in freezer. I had wanted to make this with either maple sugar instead of the brown sugar or a dash of maple syrup but discovered that I was out of maple sugar, and the only maple syrup in the house was bourbon flavoured, so I gave that a miss. On the whole though, I was very happy with both the sorbet and the ice cream maker. The sorbet was nice and simple. Most importantly though, the instigator of this whole thing was happy with it. Definitely a keeper! We tried it on its own, then also as a Sundae (on Saturday) with toasted almonds, warm chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Oh the decadence! I might still try another version with some cinnamon and maybe a little of something else, or an elderflower and pear sorbet, but that is for another day. For now, there is very tasty sorbet to eat.

  • Carrot and Ginger Salad

    We had leftover Broccoli and Fennel Tart for lunch, but not enough of it for a whole meal. We are going away for the weekend so I wanted to draw down on what we have rather than picking up more food. With a kilo of carrots in the fridge and a large chunk of ginger, a warm "salad" seemed ideal, especially for a cold, rainy day. It could just as easily be served over rice or couscous or something and become a more substantial meal though, or even have chunks of meat added to it to make it a main. We had it as described here below though, and aside from maybe a little fresh coriander, I wouldn't change anything. I spiralised the carrots and ginger (my first time spiralising ginger. I got mixed results), but they could just as easily be chopped or julienned. It was just the quickest, easiest way for me. Ingredients: 5 carrots, spiralised 3 inches of ginger (ish) spiralised or chopped 1/2 head of garlic, crushed (ours was a very big head. If yours is smaller, 1 regular head should do). 1 1/2 tbsp peanut oil 1 tbsp soy sauce 2 tsp pomegranate molasses 1 tsp nigella seeds 1/2 - tsp Aloha Chilli Spiced Cacao 1 tsp white sesame seeds 1 tsp black sesame seeds 1) Heat oil in a small wok or a frying pan. Add ginger and garlic and fry until fragrant, allowing a few of the pieces to brown a little. Add carrots and stir. 2) Add other ingredients aside from sesame seeds and cook for 5 minutes until the carrots are beginning to become tender. Add sesame seeds and cook for another minute, then serve. This was super tasty! I would not change anything. I had help cooking it (hence the second spatula in the picture) and Little Bit could stuff it into his mouth fast enough once it was ready (after brief protestations of "hothothot").

  • Mulled Mead

    Over a year ago, I made mead. It came out a little rougher than I had hoped, but much better than I had feared. I decided at that point to leave it to age to see whether it would improve, and planned also to try mulling it in the winter. For some reason, I never got around to mulling it last winter before finding out that I was expecting a Littler Bit, and therefore no longer drinking boozy things. It was therefore only now, with a Littler Bit happily swaddled in her Moses basket, that my sister, hubby and I decided to try mulling the remaining mead from a year ago. And how glad I am that we did! Don't worry if you haven't tried brewing your own, store-bought mead will work too, so don't let that stop you. Ingredients: 6 c mead 1 tbsp maple sugar 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp dried orange peel 1 cinnamon stick 6 cloves 1) Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about a half hour or longer to allow spiced to infuse. Drink hot. We very much enjoyed this. So much so in fact, that we are brewing a new batch of mead in order to have some for mulling purposes at Christmas. We did discover that leaving the mulled mead overnight, it was even better on day 2. I may even mull it a day or so early next time.

  • Tattie Scone Variations

    Planning on going away for a week, we had potatoes left which needed using up, and I wanted to bring easy picnic-ables with us, so hit on the idea of making tattie scones. A left-over half tin of tomatoes and some mozzarella also needing to be used up led to these two variations on traditional Scottish Tattie Scones, often eaten with a full Scottish breakfast. Tomato Tattie Scones Ingredients: 400g potato 3c flour 3 tbsp tinned tomatoes 1 tsp pepper Salt to taste 3 tbsp butter Mozzarella Tattie Scones: Ingredients: 400 g potato 2 1/2 c flour 1 mozzarella ball, grated 1 1/2 tsp basilic Pepper to taste 2 tbsp butter 1) Boil the potatoes until soft. Mash in butter (peeling or leaving the peels of the potatoes as you prefer). For the tomato scones, add tomatoes now, and mix well. For the cheesy scones, add the basilic in now. 2) Mix in the flour to form a dough- enough for it to be non-sticky but not so much as to make it dense. For the mozzarella scones, knead the grated cheese in at this point. 3) Roll out the dough to about 1 cm thick on a clean, floured surface. Cut into large circles (I used a soup bowl) and score quarters on the surface. Melt a little butter on a griddle or frying pan and cook over medium heat on both sides until golden. Some of these I cooked through right away, others I cooked only partially, froze them and then finished cooking when we defrosted and ate them, which worked well. We did cheat occasionally and pop the defrosted tattie scones in the toaster instead of on the stovetop. We also discovered that the scones made good picnic food, alongside our vegetarian Scotch eggs. Overall, thoroughly pleased with these as variations on a food I really like, and looking forward to trying them again.

  • Homemade Mustard

    After delving into making my own versions of mayo and ketchup, I figured it was time to start making my own mustard too. After reading a few different methods and about mustard making generally, I decided to give it a shot. At its root, making mustard requires mixing ground mustard seeds with water. The colder the water, the sharper the mustard will be. Allowing the mixture to chill in the fridge overnight is supposed to do away with the bitterness from the mustard seeds. That's it. Anything else is extra, and all down to personal choice and flavouring. Here's what I did. I opted for warmish water as Little Bit really likes mustard but not if it's too strong. I made two different flavours: mix spice and orange tarragon. Ingredients. 2 c yellow mustard seeds 3/4 c warmish water 1/2 c apple cider vinegar 2 tsp olive oil salt to taste For the mix spice variant: 1 tsp mix spice a pinch of brown or maple sugar For the orange tarragon variant: 1 tsp dried orange peel 1 1/2 tsp dried tarragon 1) Coaresly crack about 3/4 c mustard seeds. Set aside. More finely grind the remaining mustard seeds. How finely ground these are and how many are left coarser will affect the final texture of your mustard. Combine all the mustard in a bowl. Add salt and water. Stir. Add vinegar and olive oil, then refrigerate overnight. 2) Check the texture of the mustard and taste test. Add a little more water or vinegar as necessary. Then divide the mixture in half and add the remaining ingredients for each variant to one-half of the mustard. Allow to sit overnight again for flavours to develop. 3) Taste test and serve. To test these out, I made Clair Saffitz's brioche pigs in a blanket, along with a fresh batch of Beetroot Ketchup and some rosehip vinegar mayo. I was thoroughly pleased with these two mustards, and delighted to have finally gotten around to making my own. I can't believe how easy it was! I even got help grinding up my seeds in the mortar and pestle from Little Bit, who was very proud to have helped. The whole time I was making these, I was thinking of my grandmother who passed three years ago. Ahe loved mustard and took great delight in finding and trying new flavours and varieties. This is something we had talked about doing together but never got to. To try making your own, order mustard seeds for yourself here, and if you need a mortar and pestle for it, click here.

  • Vegetable Spring Rolls

    I've avoided making spring rolls for years, assuming them to be difficult. I don't know why I decided that these were too daunting as I quite happily make other similar things like dumplings and ravioli... Then a few weeks ago, I bought rice paper on a whim, thinking it was about time I tried to make these. This was my first attempt, and though not perfect, they came out very tasty and I was very happy with them. The main thing that needs work is our frying technique, as the rice paper seemed to almost melt away in some places. If anyone has tips on that, please do share! Ingredients: 15-20 sheets of rice paper (depending on how full you stuff them) 1 carrot julienned 2 spring onions sliced 1/2 head of garlic, crushed a knob of ginger, peeled and grated 1/3 c of shitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced 1 c beansprouts 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar 1 tbsp soy sauce 3/4 - 1 c peanut oil for frying For the sauce: 3 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar 2 tsp chili flakes 1) Sauté carrot and spring onion in oil for 1 minute. add mushrooms, bean sprouts and garlic, and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. 2) Remove from the heat and add ginger, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, mix and leave to cool. 3) Soak each sheet of rice paper in warm water for about a minute (make sure it is properly submerged or only one side will get wet and it will roll up!) Place a sheet on a piece of damp paper towel or a dish cloth. 4) Place 1 tbsp of filling in the centre about 2 cm from the bottom edge. Fold up the bottom edge and then fold in each side and roll up to the top. Place each spring roll on a plate with a damp paper towel and cover with another damp cloth. Do not let them touch or they will stick. 5) Heat oil (about 1 cm deep for shallow frying) in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Gently place each spring roll in the oil and using two forks, cook them evenly , turning them in the oil after about two minutes. When they are crisp and golden, take them out and drain them on dry paper towels. Don't let the spring rolls touch in the oil, or they stick together! 6) For the sauce, mix all ingredients together and let sit until the spring rolls are ready. Enjoy! They came out crispy with fresh tasting crunchy veg in the centre. They paired wonderfully with the sauce we mixed up and with the Tom Kha Gai soup. It made a light but very flavourful dinner.

  • Pesto Bloomer Loaf

    As mentioned in Day 40 of The Challenge This was an experiment. We have made the bloomer before, but as it requires you to roll out the dough into a rectangle the roll it up into a loaf, we decided to try it with nettle pesto spread on it. With black sesame seeds sprinkled on top it was a tasty snack but might need some tweaking. Certainly an idea to pursue though. Ingredients: 6 c flour 15 g cake of yeast 1 tsp sugar 1 1/5 -2 c lukewarm water 1/2 c pesto/nettle pesto 2 tsp salt water 2 tsp black sesame seeds 1) Dissolve yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water. Place flour in a bowl and make a well in it. Pour in the yeast and water mixture and gradually incorporate the flour into it. 2) Knead the dough for about 10 minutes to form a smooth elastic but heavy dough. Leave to rise covered with oiled cling film in a warm place for 4-5hours or until doubled in size. 3) Knock back and then knead for 5 minutes then leave to rise for 2 hours again, until doubled in size again. 4) Knead briefly, then roll out into a rectangular sheet about 1/2 cm thick. spread pesto on it up to 3 cm from the edge, then roll into a loaf. Preheat the oven to 230°C. 5) Leave to rise again for a half hour, and then seal the edges. Brush the top of the loaf with salt water and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top. Cut slashes into the top of the loaf. 6) Bake the loaf on an oiled baking tray for 25 minutes then lower the temperature to 200°C and bake for a further 20 minutes. This was tasty, and an interesting idea, but the nettle pesto had too strong a flavour for the bread. It was better once the bread had cooled and the pesto's flavour had mellowed. The bread itself is tasty, but the pesto spread idea needs tweaking. Maybe a regular basil pesto, or a red pesto? PS: We used some of this loaf to make a savoury pesto bloomer French toast for dinner with kale and onion salad and some cheese and it worked surprisingly well. I do recommend trying this. This was the first time I've made a savoury French toast, but I will do so again! We had it with various condiments, both sweet and savoury, ranging from maple syrup and rhubarb jam to BBQ sauce and mustard, and they all worked delightfully well. If you try the bloomer, I do recommend trying out the French toast as well!

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