Category Archives: books

Tibits, Tomato Soup and Vegan Month

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Autumn is deepening and darkening, it’s conker time, it’s almost November, and November is vegan month. Animal Aid are running The Great Vegan Challenge where anyone can pledge to be vegan for a month with lots of help and support detailed here on their website (some rather nice recipes there too).

The vegetarian restaurant Tibits in London, normally 80% vegan in its offerings, is going to be launching Vegan Days, specifically on the 1st, 7th, 18th and 29th of November. Further vegan days will be mentioned here on their website. Judging by the lovely book they sent us – Tibits at Home – the food is pretty delicious.

Divided into seasons, the plethora of colourful recipes are all accompanied by photos. We liked the fact there are juice recipes and lots of really tasty sounding quinoa dishes, but today we tried the tomato soup with lemongrass and coconut milk, recipe below.

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Theirs is rather better presented than ours 🙂 The book is now splattered, always a good sign with a cookbook.

Preparation time 40 minutes:
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 stalk lemongrass
200g green leeks
600g fully ripened tomatoes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
350ml vegetable stock
half tsp ginger powder
half tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp chilli oil
1 tsp sea salt
150ml coconut milk
freshly ground seasalt and white pepper

1. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Squash the lemongrass on a chopping board and chop finely.
2. Wash the leek, cut into half lengthwise and then chop into fine strips. Wash the tomatoes, remove the stem ends and chop into 3cm dice.
3. Sweat the onion, garlic and lemongrass in the hot olive oil until transparent. Add the diced tomatoes, veg stock, ginger, lemon pepper, chilli oil and sea salt and simmer at low temperature for 20 minutes.  Puree the soup in a food processor and pass through a sieve.
4. Add the coconut milk and the leek and lightly cook for another five minutes. Add seasalt and pepper to taste.

It was a very nice and warming recipe despite being from the summer section of the book. There are many sweet photos throughout, this was our favourite:

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Next up will be the parsnip soup though the linguini with pumpkin and swiss chard also looks enticing…

Don’t forget out own paprika pumpkin soup recipe this autumn, the shops seem to be stocking proper culinary pumpkins this year.

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Chilli! Books! Autumn leaves!

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A very simple and very good (and rather vague) recipe. Fry off some finely chopped onion and garlic and add a selection of roughly chopped – chunky – vegetables. We used: courgettes; red, green and yellow peppers and celery.  Mushrooms would be great too. Add chilli of choice, either finely chopped fresh chillis, dried chilli or a chilli powder mix, or maybe a mixture of these. Stir well.

Bung in a box of passata or chopped tomatoes and add a little water to the mix. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer. Once veg is tender add a tin or two of cooked red kidney beans and salt to taste. Nice served with rice, a baked potato or quinoa or, if you’re feeling a bit trashy, chips. Cucumber is a good cooling accompaniment. Other optional additions: a teaspoon of sugar stirred into the sauce really brings out the flavours in a different, sweet, way; a few squares of dark chocolate melted through it turn the dish into a darker, richer mole.

Don’t eat  when you’ve been talked into watching a scary fast moving zombie film that will make you consume the hot chilli far too fast and overheat in a bad way.

Unconnected, book related advice: reading Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time will stave off the depression caused by reading certain parts of the new Bridget Jones book.

And, books again: now is the time to get a copy of Rose Elliot’s Vegetarian Christmas for 1 pence or 1 cent. The price will inflate hugely through November and December and it’s a lovely collection of recipes. See our review here or visit Amazon in the UK or Amazon in the USA.

And finally, a mention for the wonderful online health food shop Goodness Direct, such a life saver for rural dwelling vegans.

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log fires and books

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Autumn. Apples on the trees. Piles of logs for the fire. Hot chocolate. Heavy rain. Soup. Books.

Though it’s actually the books of summer I’m going to blog about, Autumn only just having got underway. The book pages survived the site move in abbreviated form – adult non-fiction and children’s titles – but fiction got left behind in a dusty file… so this post redresses the balance somewhat.

Two exciting debuts: The String Diaries is a perfectly paced thriller, set in modern day Britain and ancient Hungary, a myth made real. It makes you jump at noises in the garden. Kiss Me First is contrastingly contemporary and all too creepily believable as it examines the reality of online identity through the eyes of its timid, possibly autistic, protagonist.

All Passion Spent entranced me with its beautiful prose and well recognised description of what it is to be human. For once a literary title did not have me wishing for aliens to land and kill everybody…

Psychological thriller Gone Girl is intriguing from the off and the characters stay with you, an exciting read.pantomime

Roddy’s Doyle’s The Woman Who Walked Into Doors is heart-breaking and poignant and so well written that I am still sad about the death of an unpleasant character. I intend moving on to its follow up, Paula Spencer, soon. I requested The Guts for my birthday but got waylaid and gripped by the unusual Young Adult LGBT title, Pantomime (only 99p on Kindle at present).

Adding in Eleanor & Park because it’s so very, very good. Horribly real. Beautifully sweet. Intensely readable.

I’m off to make banana raisin teabread, not quite sure why that feels so nice and autumnal but it does. I leave you with the wild waves of the local beach and some surfing… (look hard, you’ll see them.)

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gluten free broccoli and sweetcorn quiche

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This is a dish we enjoy so much we’ve had it twice in the last week. Using Orgran’s pastry mix instead of flour, it really is delicious.

I mainly ignored the packet instructions and just made the pastry how I normally do, probably using a bit more fat (Pure marg) and water than recommended. One pack makes enough pastry for two 10 inch quiches. Roll out to fit your greased dishes.

For the tofu topping (again I am listing amounts for two family size pies, adjust as required) blend two packs of silken tofu with a little black salt (Kala Namak), several sprigs of fresh rosemary and a half teaspoon of turmeric and then mix in a tin of drained sweetcorn. Place a par boiled, sliced head of broccoli evenly over the pastry bases and pour the tofu mix over. Top with sliced tomatoes and bake at 200C for half to three quarters of an hour.

On a sidenote, I bought the silken tofu from Approved Food, in date, for 50p a pack, making it much more affordable than usual. It’s probably not in stock now, stuff like that sells out fast, but it’s worth checking for vegan goodies regularly.

Current read, because lets face it, I’m unlikely to write another post devoted to books anytime soon: The Death of Eli Gold, it’s very good.

red dragon pie

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This recipe originated in Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Kitchen (BBC cookery series). Topped with mash, the base is a rich mix of aduki beans – said to give you the strength of the dragon, this is where the dish gets its name – and brown rice in gravy.

Here’s how we do it:

Soak beans overnight if using dried ones. For the mammoth pie above which did dinner and lunch next day for four, we used 250g of dried beans. Place in a  large pan, cover well with water, bring to the boil and let simmer for a long time… (should be instructions on the bag). Throw in the rice (200g) about half way through cooking. Add more water if needed. Once it’s all nearly cooked add the vegetables. In this pie there were four carrots and one head of celery, all chopped. Onion is good too.

As that cooks up a bit, add a teaspoon of mixed herbs, a good  squidge of tomato puree and a teaspoon of yeast extract. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir well. Top with mashed potatoes – especially easy if using cookware that does hob and oven like our favourite Le Creuset Cast Iron Round Casserole – and bake in a hot oven until nicely browned.

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a green book giveaway

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We have a beautiful paperback copy of Lynne Rickard’s new book , I Do Not Eat the Colour Green to give away. A lovely title which encourages healthy eating for kids. See our review of it up here

To enter just comment on this post and tell us what your favourite green thing is. Interpret the word green in any way you like 🙂 We only have one copy so Charlotte will pick the entry that appeals most to her this time – the names will be removed before she judges so feel free to enter if we know you personally or if you’ve never set eyes on this blog before – it won’t affect your chances 😀

Competition now closed: Congratulations to Wendy 😀

Vegetarian Christmas

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An older book, now out of print, but I don’t think anything has come along to best it as a veggie festive title (do comment if you know otherwise!). I got the hardback out of the library something like 18/19 years ago and it impacted me. The gorgeousness of Christmas food, the hints on preparing and freezing taking the hard work away from the day itself, the photos all through it. In fact looking through the pristine copy I now own (thank you Amazon marketplace, used condition, 1 pence!) I see obvious influences there for some of the recipes on our Yule page from puff pastry mushroom trees:

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to little Santa pizzas:

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and parsley potato stars: vc6

There are five complete Christmas dinner menus, sections on preparation, party food, puddings and cakes, lighter festive lunches and so many cute sides. There’s also a craft bit about making your own gifts. As with all Rose Elliot books there are vegan adjustments added in where appropriate.

Amazon links: Buy UK or Buy US

Whooper swans flew over as I was taking the photographs:

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