A very nice roast, the sweet spiciness of the chestnuts making it quite different in flavour to our cashew and walnut ones. Serves four generously.
Fry off 2 large red onions and 4 sticks of celery, both roughly chopped. Add in seven cloves (or less, up to you) of finely chopped garlic and a good bunch of fresh rosemary, scissored in.
Once the above has softened add a jar or tin of chestnut puree and stir until dissolved. Add a little water (about half a cupful) before mixing in a cup of Orgran Rice Crumbs (or other bread crumbs) and a couple of tablespoonfuls of gluten-free flour. Salt to taste.
Place in an oiled loaf tin and bake at 200C for at least half an hour or until firm. Yum. Slices well cold the next day for sandwiches or salads too.
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.
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:
Next up will be the parsnip soup though the linguini with pumpkin and swiss chard also looks enticing…
It goes all melty in the oven and tastes like something from the distant past, in a good way, not in an over-flavoured, chemically and unfortunate way. This pizza cheese comes ready grated and is delicious. I extended the taste testers beyond just our family, including those who still eat dairy cheeses, and the general consensus was that this vegan cheese ‘does not taste weird’, which is actually quite an accolade.
The same company do a range of sliced vegan cheeses in ten flavours: original, cheddar, peppers, hot peppers, olive oil, olives, tomato and basil, herbs, pizza and mushroom. They all share subtle flavouring from whole added ingredients and are very pleasant in a sandwich. Particular favourites in this house were mushroom, herb and pepper. Pictured below is the ‘original’ type paired with lettuce and onion.
I like the fact that the products contain no palm oil; they are also free from gluten and soya.
Recipe: take 3 packs of moo free mini moos three packs and arrange like so, in sunshine or rain.
Our favourite was the bunny comb, the little pieces of crunchie-esque candy are delightful (side note: we have a recipe for crunchies here). The sultana ones were reminiscent of Cadbury’s fruit and nut (been a long time but we recall) and the originals are smooth, mild and gorgeous, as moo free chocolate always is.
Open the box and it hits you: that exciting, sugary Easter Egg scent from childhood. I don’t know why chocolate should smell different when formed into an egg shape, but it does. Dark chocolate eggs are of course gorgeous, but altogether more grown up. This is the one for children and those who don’t like high cocoa content chocolate. The moo free egg is sweet and mild and could easily be mistaken for a milk chocolate product.
It’s a good 100g size and the bunny, butterfly and flower packaging is a nice change from dark eggs which are usually aimed at very mature people…
Available from Amazon.co.uk and larger Waitrose stores. Moo Free Chocolates have full details of all stockists on their website
But first to the crisps: completely guilt free, dried raw squares of tastiness. The three flavours are Beetroot, Spicy Thai and Red Pepper and they’re all very good…
…but the absolute winner for us was the red pepper. Reminiscent of pizza, these would be very nice little crackers too. Topped with a small slice of tomato, a basil leaf and maybe half an olive… but before these musings could be made real and captured on camera they were all scoffed by other people.
The brownies are satisfyingly sticky, soft and rich, remarkably like a cooked cake but you still feel great after eating them. No sugar rush/up/down thing going on at all.
And just look at this cacao mint brownie coming towards you:
Excuse the food porn 🙂 Other varieties are cacoa cashew which is pleasantly cinnamony, carob hazelnut and carob orange. The carob ones are nice, they got gobbled down fast, but chocolate is always preferred here.
All these delicious, healthy products are raw, organic, vegan and free from wheat and gluten 😀 You can read more about them and purchase on Gourmet Raw’s website Use code GR003 for a 10% discount.
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.
Rose Elliot’s Vegetarian Christmas is 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:
to little Santa pizzas:
and parsley potato stars:
There are five complete Christmas dinner menus in Vegetarian Christmas, 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.
Autumn. Cold winds. Rain. Hail. Even a few moments of snow yesterday between bursts of hot sunshine. Walking on the South side of the hill in the woods it is suddenly no longer autumn but the end of summer. Off with jackets, faces to the sun then round the corner into the North and winter, now walking against horizontal hailstones. It is confusing… we need soup 🙂
Method: soak a cup of broth mix overnight, then cook up for an hour or so before adding chopped potato, carrot and onion. Cook until veg is tender, add some kale or other leafy greens and either a teaspoon of Vecon Concentrated Vegetable Stock or a few sloshes of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (like soy sauce but with less salt and all the protein). Simmer a few minutes longer then dish up and garnish with parsley or chervil. Be warm.
Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story.