Pot Luck Perfection

VeganMoFo-beetrootWhat would you bring to a pot luck?

Pot luck suppers are more of an American thing, not so common in the UK. However, people do sometimes invite you bring a dish along and when anyone leaves the office I work in, we quite often all chip in and bring something in to share.

I’ve made these savoury muffins a few times and they go down a storm. The recipe is adapted from Appetite for Reduction by the marvellous Isa Moskowitz. The rosemary and parmesan give them a great savoury kick.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of mashed, cooked sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. grated vegan parmesan
  • 2-3 tsp water
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary and some finely grated parmesan to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place 24 mini muffin cases in a 24-hole muffin tin.
  3. In a bowl, mix the mashed sweet potato with the oil, syrup, vinegar and salt.
  4. Sift in the flour and baking powder then and add the rosemary and parmesan.
  5. Mix it all together until it make a soft dough – add some water if needed but take care not to make it too soggy and don’t overmix it.
  6. Drop a spoonful of dough into each muffin case.
  7. Bake for 15 mins until browned and firm.
  8. Remove them from the oven and stick a sprig of rosemary into a few of them and sprinkle with fine parmesan while they are still hot.

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Sunday Dinner – Vegan Bloody Mary

VeganMoFo-beetrootDid you ever have a “Sunday Dinner” tradition? Make a vegan version.

A good Bloody Mary before your Sunday roast dinner is hard to beat! It’s the only thing to drink before lunch – a great hybrid of soup and snifter! A traditional Bloody Mary is not vegan or even vegetarian because it contains Worcestershire sauce (pronounced ‘wuster’), which contains anchovies. Biona make a vegan version that works very well.

Serves 4

  • 500ml tomato juice
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • ½ lemon, cut into wedges
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 150ml vodka
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • Celery to serve

In a large jug, mix together the tomato juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and celery salt and squeeze each lemon wedge into the jug (leave some juice in each one). Season well with black pepper. Check the spice level and adjust if necessary. Drop the lemon wedges into the jug and stir together well. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. Pour the vodka and sherry into the jug and stir well with a celery stick. Serve immediately.

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Fancy but Frugal

VeganMoFo-mushroomYou don’t need to spend a fortune to impress!

I don’t make a lot of ‘fancy’ dishes but this is a bit of an exception but the ingredients are not too pricey – pastry, onion, spinach and a handful of walnuts. The cream cheese is optional. It looks much more complicated than it is – you just have to handle it with confidence!

The recipe adapted from: www.italianchips.com/spinach-pie

INGREDIENTS:

for the pastry:

  • 500g of flour
  • 90ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 200ml of dry white wine
  • 2 tsp of salt

for the stuffing:

  • 350g of steamed spinach chopped
  • ½ tub of Tofutti cream cheese (optional)
  • 100g of grated vegan cheese
  • 1 handful of walnuts, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 slice wholemeal bread, toasted and blitzed to make breadcrumbs

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the pastry but avoid overmixing – you just need to combine it all together, then set it aside in the fridge.
  2. Steam the spinach for a couple of minutes and roughly chop.
  3. Mix the spinach with the cream cheese, grated cheese, walnuts, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Divide the pastry into two.
  6. Make two circles (one around 30cm the other slightly bigger~35cm) using a rolling pin.
  7. Place the first circle on baking paper.
  8. Place one large handful of the stuffing in the centre of the circle, shape into a uniform mound.
  9. Arrange the remaining stuffing into a ring around the mound.
  10. Using a little soya milk or water, brush the borders of pastry around the edge and around the mound.
  11. Place the lager, second circle of pastry on top and gently press down around the mound and using a fork, gently squash the edges together around the entire circle.
  12. Place a small bowl over the central stuffing and punch with a fork all around to make a circle.
  13. Brush the whole top with soya milk or water.
  14. Then comes the exciting bit. Using a sharp knife cut the borders into 3cm slices (they will be slightly fanned in shape).
  15. Be bold now and turn each one firmly but gently onto its side to reveal the stuffing.
  16. Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven at 180°C.

Serve at a party, to share with friends.

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Scratch and Dent

VeganMoFo-beetrootHave you had any good finds in the clearance section? Perhaps you bought “imperfect” produce and it turned out pretty great. Make a meal inspired by something you found reduced.

I can hear a supermarket reduced label gun at 50 metres! You know those people who crowd around shop assistants while they reduce the prices on food that is near to its sell-by date? That’s me!

Yesterday I found some reduced avocados – only knocked down a bit to £1.50 for two, but they were big and just right! Avocados can be as hard as bullets, so you wait, and wait, and wait, then they go black! These were perfect, ripe and creamy just like it said on the packet!

Avocados are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a mid-afternoon snack or even a midnight feast! Mashed avocado with tomato, olive oil and lemon juice is sometimes know as Mantequilla de pobre (Spanish for ‘poor-man’s butter’). Delicious spread on hot, wholemeal toast! I have a friend who likes to chop them in half and eat them straight out of their skins, scooping out the flesh with a teaspoon.

For this recipe I mashed (not smashed!) avocado and added chopped red chilli and jalapeño peppers, olive oil, lime juice and garlic and garnish with chopped coriander (cilantro).

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Avocados were first cultivated in South Central Mexico around 10,000 years ago. Much later, in the early 1900s, they were known as alligator pears. They are a great source of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E and potassium. They are also a good source of healthy fats, but like all plant foods, contain no cholesterol whatsoever. They are a great first food for babies. One of my top ten favourite foods I reckon.

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Four for £4

VeganMoFo-peasCan you make a meal that serves four people for less than four pounds? Show us how.

This took some thinking about! I considered making a black bean chilli, a cauliflower pot pie, baked potato and bean salad, lentil dahl and rice… But none of those seemed inspiring enough for a dinner party…

Then I remembered the Bosh vegan steak – so there we are! Gluten flour is very cheap (around £2 for 500 grams, so just £1 for this recipe which uses 250g). Steak and chips with peas and a grilled tomato – 70s style!

I’ve adapted the steak recipe a little, adding pink peppercorns. The chips were made from potatoes my fella grew in our neighbour’s garden (which he has turned into a vegetable plot), and frozen peas are very cheap.

For dessert, I made an apple, rhubarb and redcurrant pie. The rhubarb was a gift from a friend who grows it and I grew the redcurrants, so the only cost was a large cooking apple and some homemade pastry.

I am assuming store cupboard ingredients can be used? The non-store cupboard ingredients for this meal came in at £2.24 – cheap as chips!

Vegan Steak

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ can chick peas
  • 4 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp.  tamari
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • 250g wheat gluten

Marinade:

  • 6 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 ½ tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns, mashed in a pestle and mortar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Blend all the ingredients except the wheat gluten.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and add the gluten and mix well.
  3. Place on a work surface, knead for 2 mins and flatten.
  4. Cut into 4 pieces.
  5. Squash each piece down with a potato masher. Wrap each piece in foil and steam for 20 mins.
  6. Coat with marinade a fry.
steak bosh edit

Seitan steaks – cheap as chips!

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Serving suggestion (this is actually a Vivera steak which blows the budget at £2.99 for two)

IMG_7564Apple, Rhubarb and Redcurrant Pie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g vegan margarine
  • 2 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 large cooking apple, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 sticks of rhubarb, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp. demerara sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 handful of redcurrants (I used frozen)
  • Soya milk to glaze
  • A sprinkle of demerara sugar to decorate

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Grease a 10 inch loose bottom flan dish and heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. To make the pastry, rub the marg into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the cold water and mix until it all sticks together, do not over mix or it will go woody! Put it in the fridge to chill.
  4. Heat the apple and rhubarb with the sugar and cinnamon in a pan with a couple of spoons of water until it is just soft. Put to one side.
  5. Roll out two thirds of the pastry and line the flan dish with it.
  6. Spoon in the apple and rhubarb and sprinkle the redcurrants on top.
  7. Use a heart-shaped cutter to cut the remaining pastry.
  8. Place the hears in a circle around the top of the pie.
  9. Brush with a little soya milk and sprinkle on some demerara sugar.
  10. Bake until golden and serve warm with ice-cream.

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Leftovers, day 2

VeganMoFo-Carrot…and now, show us how to use those leftovers!

Bubble and squeak is the breakfast of Kings! Mash up leftover potatoes with chopped leftover cabbage (use a little soya milk if needed) and squash into patties/cakes. Fry in a little olive oil until golden. Serve with sausages, beans and roast tomatoes.

 

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Leftovers, day 1

VeganMoFo-mushroomToday, make a meal with the intention of using the leftovers for something else…

That’s easy – roast dinner – roast potatoes and cabbage make the best bubble and squeak!

I used Fry’s Pepper Steak-Style Pies (on special offer from Ocado at the moment). I made the roast potatoes as shown by the Bosh boys here. Make sure you use floury potatoes and not waxy – Maris Piper are good. I steamed savoy cabbage, peas and served them red wine and onion gravy and wholegrain mustard.

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