Waiting for Pay Day Soup

Wating-for-Payday-soup

We’ve all been there, it’s got a week until pay day you have £0.18 left in your bank account, a couple of pennies at the bottom of your bag and all you want is something decent- not just pasta with a can of tomatoes chucked on top. I had a few random veggies left in my fridge which really needed eating so I decided to make a soup. The measurements and the variety of vegetables are a little odd (lots of green pepper- always the last thing to be eaten) but you can use whatever you have left in the fridge! It’s the whole point of this soup!

Ingredients

  • 1 potato
  • 2 green peppers
  • ½ a carrot
  • 1 can on tomatoes
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1 onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 mug of vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A sprinkle of mixed dried herbs
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 3 tsp of flaked chilli

Method

  1. Chop the onions, garlic and celery into small chunks and sauté in some olive oil and salt.
  2. While they are softening, chop the rest of the vegetables into similar sized chunks and add them to the pan to sauté a little more. (apart from the tin of tomatoes and beans.)
  3. After about 3 minuets, add the spices and cover the veggies in stock and a can of tomatoes.
  4. Leave to simmer for around 15 minuets or until it has reduced but 1/3.
  5. Now, rinse the can of beans under some cold water. This step is really important- the brine that they are kept in can make you a bit gassy if you do not wash it off!
  6. Add to the soup and then transfer half to your blender. With mixed veggie soups I like to leave some chunky bits- but you can blend the whole thing if you want!
  7. Now mix everything back together and serve with a crusty white roll and some avocado.

 

Vegan Fajitas & Homemade Guac

vegan fajitas

I think most people, before (they go vegan) are worried that they will get sick of eating veggies but if you think about it- you eat meat, dairy and eggs everyday and you don’t seem to be bored of them… The key to cooking is changing up seasoning and Mexican spices work perfectly with veggies. These vegan fajitas are quick, light and easy and make cooking after a long day at work 10 times easier. This normally makes enough for two meals and it’s great cold the next day.

Ingredients

• 1 red pepper
• 1 yellow pepper
• 2 tomatoes
• 1 onion (red or white)
• 1 avocado
• The juice of 1 lime
• 3-5 wraps (depending on how many you can eat).
• 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach.
• A splash of olive oil
• 3 tsp of cayenne pepper
• 3tsp of cumin
• Salt and pepper

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Method

1. Roughly chop the onion (This is a quick and easy recipe so don’t worry about dicing it finely). Then soften in a pan with some olive oil.
2. Chop the peppers into thick strips (about and inch wide). Add to the pan once the onion has softened a little.
3. Dice the tomatoes and add them to the pan as well.
4. Chuck in all the spices, give the veggies a stir. If you feel like the dish needs more spice then feel free to add some more!
5. Fry the veg on a low/medium heat and add a little water if you feel like they are sticking to the bottom.
6. While the veggies are cooking you can make the guacamole. But don’t forget to keep an eye on them, stirring every now and again.
7. Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone by smacking you knife into the middle and twisting it (It should come out pretty easily).
8. Spoon the avocado into a wide bowl and squeeze in the lime juice.
9. Season with salt and smash with a fork.
10. Your veggies should be soft and ready to eat now so serve with some tortilla wraps and some fresh spinach.
11. Enjoy, and try not to get too messy!

Tarka Dhal & Homemade Vegan Naan

Lentil Dhal

Lentil Dhal, the perfect, protein packed winter meal! It’s getting a lot colder now, so warm and hearty comfort food is in order. Thursday is my night to cook so, naturally it’s going to be vegan. The only issue is finding something that the rest of my meat eating family won’t turn their noes up at. We are all big fans of Indian food so I thought I’d give lentil dhal a crack. Now it may look like something your cat has thrown up but I promise, it tastes amazing- even my anti-vegan little sister was won over.

Ingredients:

For the Dhal:

  • 500g of red split lentils
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp of turmeric
  • 1 tbsp of garam masala
  • 2tsp of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 2 pints of water (you may need to add more)
  • 2 tbsp vegan vegetable stock powder
  • 4 bayleaves
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • The juice of 1 lemon

For the Naan

  • 450g strong bread flour
  • 7g fast acting yeast
  • 300ml of lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2tbsp coconut oil
  • A sprinkle of nigella (black onion) seeds

Method

  1. First you need to make the dough for the naan bread. I like to do this in an electric mixer because it’s not so messy but you can always do it by hand
  2. Sift the flour sugar and salt into a bowl
  3. Add the yeast and then the water
  4. Mix until the the dough is shiny and not too sticky
  5. Now you need to leave the dough to prove for 30 minutes minimum (an hour is best)- I normally leave it on top of a radiator or the tumble dryer to keep it warm. This will allow the yeast to act quickly.

 

  1. While you are letting the dough to prove you can get started on the dhal. First, roughly chop the garlic and onions and sweat them in a large pan with the coconut oil. I prefer to use as little oil as possible when cooking so, if the pan starts to stick add a little water.
  2. Once the onions and garlic are soft, add all the spices apart from the vegan stock powder. You may need to add a little more water here as it can make the onions and garlic quite dry.
  3. Once the spices are all mixed in add the first pint of water with the vegan stock powder and stir.
  4. Now add the lentils and the second pint of water and the lemon juice so that they are completely covered.
  5. Leave to simmer on a medium heat for 10 minutes uncovered. Remember to keep stirring every now and again so that the lentils do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  6. After 10 minutes some of the water should have been reduced, so you can now cover the pan, leaving a little gap at the side to let the side and cook for a further 20 minutes.
  7. Every five minutes or so, go back and check that the lentils are not too dry- you can always add more water.
  8. When you can no longer distinguish each individual lentil, the dhal should be ready- give it a taste and add more seasoning if you need to before serving.

 

  1. Once the dhal is cooked it’s time to bake the naan!
  2. Turn on the grill to a high-medium setting and heat the coconut oil in a pan.
  3. Once the oil is melted pour most of it into a bowl and leave it to one side.
  4. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll into a rough circle.
  5. Fry each piece (but only on one side) until it is golden brown on the bottom. You should see little air bubbles popping up, if you don’t that means you pan is not hot enough.
  6. Now, brush the top side of your bread with a little coconut oil and sprinkle the nigella seeds on top.
  7. Once the bottom of your bread is golden, put the frying pan under the grill and toast the bread until the top is brown. You should see more bubbles popping up.
  8. Repeat this step until all the dough is cooked. You can keep the bread in the oven on a low temperature while you cook the rest.
  9. Top the dhal with some fresh coriander and fresh chilli to serve!

The great thing about this meal is that it actually contained a lot more nutrients- especially protein than a piece of meat (no surprises to us vegans there!) But, if you are cooking for some non-vegan friends of family and they are worried about ‘not getting enough protein’ then this is the perfect meal to cook for them. Take a look at this comparison:

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/advantages-lentils-over-beef-4364.html

 

Mushroom Risotto

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Yes I know I know, mushroom risotto is such a typical vegetarian option, but it is honestly one of my favourite things. Plus I only found out recently that you could get the same creamy texture without cheese! I’ve put a little twist on this by adding a few finely chopped tomatoes and red wine instead of white.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large portabello mushrooms
  • 1 large handful of dried porcini mushrooms plus stock
  • 1 cup of risotto rice
  • 4-6 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 tomatoes
  • A splash of olive oil
  • 2 small red onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Parsley to top
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Sweat the onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft. While they are cooking re-hydrate the porcini mushrooms.
  2. Chop the portabello mushrooms into small chunks and stir into the onions and garlic with the rice, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the porcini mushrooms, their stock and a splash of red wine, then stir the rice until all the water has evaporated.
  4. Repeat this process, adding one cup of water at a time until the rice is creamy.
  5. Serve with some salt, pepper and roughly chopped parsley.

Alberto’s Potatoes

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I’m not going to pretend that transitioning to eating a vegan diet will be easy, particularly if your family eats meat, dairy and eggs. So I have created a simple meal, which will make you feel included in one of Britain’s longest traditions— Sunday Roast! The key to this meal is ‘Alberto’s Potatoes’. Alberto is the Italian chef my Mum met on her travels, and he taught her how to make easy but delicious roast potatoes… and you don’t even need goose fat! Serve them with traditional Sunday Roast veg and a grilled aubergine.

Ingredients Serves 4:

For the Potatoes:

  • 5kg potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 red onions
  • 2-3 sprigs of rosemary
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste
  • Good glug of olive oil

For the Aubergine: (For 1 vegan)

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 1tsp of dried oregano
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Steamed vegetables, as you would do for a usual Sunday Roast… just don’t eat the cauliflower cheese!

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Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200°C
  2. Chop the potatoes and carrots, into small chunks, and the onions into slightly larger chunks. You don’t want to chop the onion too small because it will cook too quickly and burn to a crisp!
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and whole sprigs of rosemary (no need to chop it up)!
  4. Cook in the oven for 30-40 minuets or until the potatoes are golden brown and the carrots are soft.
  5. Around 10 minuets before the potatoes and the rest of the lunch is ready, slice an aubergine lengthways into about 4 chunks.
  6. Coat with finely chopped garlic, oregano and olive oil and place under the grill or on the barbeque for 10 minuets. Make sure you flip the aubergine steaks over after 5 minuets.
  7. The aubergine should be soft and translucent, (so there are no hard white bits left in the middle). Aubergine will taste bitter if it is not cooked for long enough!
  8. After the aubergine is cooked, wrap in tin foil to keep it warm and cook the veg.
  9. Once the veg is cooked, you are now ready to serve and eat! The only thing you are not eating on the table is meat; this should make you feel more included in the family tradition!

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