Butternut squash risotto

 

I’m a big fan of risotto, and there are so many variations on what you can make it with that my head spins sometimes.  Tomato based, creamy based, arborio rice, pearl barley, ALL the different veggies… the list of combinations are endless.

You need to follow the basics of risotto making to ensure it comes out with the right taste and texture.  By all means, mix it up a bit, but it will require your time and attention.  Don’t just leave that poor fella on the hob, cooking away, while you go have a shower – NO.  Give him the love he deserves, and you’ll get it back in a delicious dish that you’ll make over and over again.

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Praise be to the risotto gods

Make sure you use specialist “risotto” rice (e.g. arborio, carnaroli, baldo etc…) and not your standard white or brown rice – because it WILL make a difference.  White wine is also needed, although if you’re trying to cut down on the alcohol, then substitute with white grape juice (no, really!) or more stock.  With this recipe I substituted the wine for stock and a little bit of lemon juice, and the result was still excellent.

So set some time aside, give this recipe a try, pay attention (be mindful!), and you’ll get results, I promise 😉

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes

4 TBsp oil

600ml vegetable stock

2 TBsp vegan butter/margarine

1/2 large or one small onion, chopped fairly fine

2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine/crushed

1 bay leaf

1 tsp mixed herbs (try including thyme, sage, rosemary and oregano, or a combination of them)

150g risotto rice (I used Arborio for this recipe)

100 ml white wine (substitute for veggie stock or white grape juice)

1 packed cup of fresh, roughly chopped spinach

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180C

Add 2/3 of the diced butternut squash to a bowl with 2 TBsp of the oil, and toss to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place the oiled squash on a baking tray, ensuring none of the squash is touching each other, and bake for around 30 minutes, turning over every so often to ensure all sides are cooked evenly.  Ensure they are fully cooked before removing from the oven.

Add the remaining squash to a saucepan with the 600ml vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, allowing the squash to poach in the stock.

Add the remaining oil and one TBsp of the butter to a frying pan on medium heat.  Add the chopped onions and allow to cook until translucent (don’t allow the onion to brown – so ensure the temperature is not too high), about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic, bay leaf and herbs, stir and cook for one further minute.  Stir in the rice, and keep stirring on and off for about five minutes, so the rice becomes coated in the butter and oil, and allow the rice to take on a toasty flavour.

Add the wine to the rice and stir to combine.  Increase the heat slightly and let the wine evaporate, about 1-2 minutes.  Start to ladle in the stock (leaving the squash in the saucepan to cook), but only ladle in around 1/2 a cup at a time.  Stir during each addition of stock, and then allow the stock to be almost completely absorbed into the rice before adding more.   Here is where you need to keep an eye on it, so be patient!  From start to finish of the stock, it should take around 15 minutes.

The squash in the stock should have now softened enough to mash.  Once the risotto is cooked, add the mashed squash and chopped spinach to the risotto and stir to combine.  Find the bay leaf and remove (unless you want to eat it?!).  Add the remaining TBsp of butter and season with salt and pepper.

Once the baked squash is ready, add that to the risotto and stir to combine.

Feel free to serve with some vegan parmesan (as I did), toasted seeds or nuts to the finished product!

Time to make: 10 minutes to prep the ingredients, 30 minutes to cook the squash in the oven, 10 minutes starting the risotto and 15 minutes cooking the risotto (while the squash is in the oven) = 55 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, there are a few moving parts to this, but nothing difficult if you know how to chop veggies and stir some rice!

#nowplaying : Omni – Delicacy

Quinoa and sweet potato falafel

Confession time – I’ve never made a falafel myself at home that didn’t turn out terrible.  Not sure what it is exactly that I do to them but they seem to want to disintegrate whenever I deep fry them, and baking makes them taste too… healthy (you know [junk food] me).  But now folks, I have managed to make a falafel that didn’t fall apart and tasted boss.  BEHOLD.

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These quinoa and sweet potato falafel are a game changer.  I didn’t bother with the deep fryer and went the grilling route, instead of baking.  Oh yes, it works.  FINALLY.  Trying to get more chickpeas and quinoa into your life has never been easier.  Well, for some people it’s easy, but for me with my regular #FattyFriday’s and penchant for vegan burgers and Vego bars, it tends to be quite difficult getting the healthy stuff in me.

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Make these sexy balls as big or small as you like – they tend to stick together well with the  squishy-ness of the sweet potato.  Use whatever herbs and spices you fancy too – these ones are a touch spicy but feel free to tone the spice down and give it more of your own flavours.  Enjoy in pita, part of a salad or on their own as a snack.  SO yum.

Ingredients

1 x medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

60g uncooked quinoa

1/2 a 400g tin of chickpeas (reserve the juice to make some chocolate mousse!)

2 cloves minced garlic

1 TBsp minced ginger

1 TBsp sunflower oil (or other high smoke point oil)

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp rice vinegar

juice of 1/2 a lime

handful of coriander or parsley (optional)

 

Instructions

Peel, dice and boil the sweet potato on the hob for 15 minutes, or until tender

While the sweet potato is cooking, cook the quinoa according to packet instructions

When the sweet potato and quinoa are cooked, set aside.

Add the oil, garlic and ginger to a fry pan and cook on low-medium heat for around one minute, ensuring the garlic doesn’t brown

Add the remaining ingredients to the fry pan, including the quinoa and sweet potato, and mash with a potato masher (or a fork if you don’t have a masher) until the mix is well combined and there are barely any chunky bits

Set aside the mix for a few minutes until it is cool enough for you to handle

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and turn on your grill to medium high heat

Roll the mix into balls of the same size (however big/small you like) and place on the parchment paper with plenty of space between them

I use either a little bit of water or oil to wet my hands with when rolling the balls, as it makes the mix less sticky on the hands and comes away easier (#toptip!)

Once all the mix has been rolled into balls, place your tray of balls under the grill for around 25 minutes, turning every 7 minutes or so.  Keep an eye on them to ensure they brown but don’t burn.

Once ready, serve with salad, avocado, tahini or in a wrap.  Enjoy!

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 50 minutes cooking (including sweet potato/quinoa) = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, relatively simple but with a few moving parts.  Not the quickest of recipes, but you could cook the sweet potato/quinoa in advance and heat up the balls when you need them

#nowplaying : Cabbage – Arms of Pleonexia

 

 

Seitan steaks

So this is a recipe that I really HAVE to share with you all.  I make seitan once every couple weeks on the weekend, because it lasts ages, you can freeze it, it’s a brilliant source of protein and you can do so much with it.

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There are loads of seitan recipes knocking around the internet, and I’ve tried making plenty of them.  I prefer making this one as it’s one of the easiest and I always have the ingredients ready to go.  Vital Wheat Gluten can be hard to find, but check your local Whole Foods, Holland & Barrett or health food store and you should be able to pick up a pack.  Make sure you get vital wheat gluten – if that’s not what it says, it’s not what you want!  You can also order online in bulk if you plan on making a shedload of the stuff.

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This recipe is for seitan “steaks”, so whatever you would use a steak for (if you were a meat eater…), you can substitute this for it.  Steak burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, gyros, kebabs or stew – whatever your gorgeous vegan heart desires.

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Steak, cheese and fried onion baguette. SEXXY.

It’s not a quick recipe, but it’s well worth the effort!

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten (I used Suma for this recipe)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder or granules

pinch of salt

3/4 cup of water (more if needed)

2 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, plus extra for marinating

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

5 cups of water

2-3 bay leaves

Instructions

Add the five cups of water and bay leaves to a large pot and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat until the water is only just simmering.  If the water is boiling too fast this will make the seitan expand more and become more sponge-like.  We don’t want that…

While waiting for the water to boil, add the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Add the 3/4 cup water, soy sauce and tomato paste to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.  Add a little bit more water here if needed (if all the wheat gluten hasn’t mixed in properly).

Knead the dough for about a minute and then let it rest for five minutes or so.

After five minutes, return to the dough and knead again for another minute.

Split the mixture into four or five steaks.  The seitan will expand a bit, so make sure your steaks aren’t too big to start with!  Try to flatten them as much as possible – use a floured rolling pin if that helps.

Add your steaks to the simmering pot of water and bay leaves, cover, and allow to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.

While your steaks are simmering, add about a tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari to a bowl.

When the steaks are ready, allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.

Once cooled, dip the steaks into the soy sauce and press to allow the sauce to penetrate the steaks.  You can leave them in the fridge at this point, or cook straight away.

Heat a fry pan or grill pan on medium high heat and carefully place the steaks in the pan.  Cook for a few minutes on each side, until crispy edges start to form, or if using a grill pan, until you get those black lines along the steaks.

Use as you wish… try not to eat a whole one right after they come out of the pan 😉

Time to make: 5 minutes to mix the ingredients, 5 minutes to knead and let the dough breathe, 40 minutes simmering, 5 minutes dipping in soy sauce, 5 minutes in the frying pan = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, relatively easy to mix and assemble but there are a few different steps… and plenty of dishes!

#nowplaying : Hookworms – Static Resistance

 

 

Tofush & chips (vegan “fish & chips”)

It was a long time coming, but the day had finally arrived.  I would try my hand at making vegan fish & chips, aka Tofush and chips.

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Tofush and chips with mushy peas. No fishies in this dishy.

Not sure why I had put this off for so long – fear of failure?  Thinking it might look crap?  Might taste disgusting?  It’s tofu, I mean, how much like fish can tofu taste?!  Turns out quite a lot, if you wrap it in a nori sheet.

I’ve tried vegan fish and chips at a couple of restaurants in London and always marvelled at how authentic it tasted.  The beauty of tofu is that it tastes like nothing.  It really does!  Which makes it the perfect ingredient to hold onto any sauce that you marinate it in, any spice that you shake on it or indeed, any seaweed that you wrap it in.

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While not the healthiest of dishes (deep fried, whoops), it’s one of the tastiest I’ve ever made for this blog.  Next time I’ll bump up the unhealthiness and try it with beer batter instead 😉

If you wanna go all out and have mushy peas alongside your tofush and chips, check out my recipe on this previous blog post.  Absolutely love a bit of homemade tartare sauce as well – remind me to share that on this blog at some point too!  But for now, enjoy your deep fried, fishy goodness.

Ingredients

1/2 block of tofu (approx 200gms)

1 TBsp lemon juice

2 TBsp olive oil

1/2 sheet of nori

30ml water

30ml plant milk (I used soy)

80g plain flour (plus more to thicken if batter isn’t thick enough)

1 tsp baking powder

salt & pepper

Enough oil to cover the tofush when frying (approx 5cm in height, depending on the size of your tofu).  I use sunflower oil as it has a high smoke point – much better for frying foods

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Instructions

Prepare the tofu by slicing in half, then slicing into large triangles, or any shape that you want your “fish” to look like.  I used the remaining tofu for scrambled tofu the next day.

Press the tofu in paper towels until very little moisture remains.

Add the oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to a flat bottomed dish, big enough to fit the tofu flat in the dish, and mix to combine.

Add the tofu to the dish and marinate for at least half an hour in the fridge.

While the tofu is marinating, combine the water, milk, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a small dish and whisk until smooth.  You want the batter to be the consistency of thick double cream.  Keep adding flour until you reach the right consistency (or milk if too thick!).

Once the tofu has finished marinating, it’s time to cut the nori.  You can either cut the nori the same size as the tofu and stick to one side, or do like I did and wrap around the tofu on all sides.

To keep the nori sheets in place I used a toothpick – much easier than fishing around in hot oil if the nori falls off.

At this point, turn on your hob to medium heat and heat up the oil.

Add the tofu with nori sheet into the batter and cover all over.

Check the heat of the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil.  If it floats and starts bubbling then it’s ready to go.  If it sinks to the bottom, give it another couple of minutes.

When the oil is hot enough, carefully place the battered tofu into the oil, turning over after about four minutes to the other side.

Remove from the oil when fried and crispy all over, and place on a paper towel.  Carefully pull out the toothpicks to ensure none of the batter comes off with them.

Serve immediately with crispy chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce.  Enjoy!

Time to cook: 20 minutes prep, 30 mins at least marinating, 10 minutes cooking = 1 hour, (or half an hour not including marinating time!)

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, got to make sure the batter is just the right consistency, plus the nori sheets can be a bit of a faff to keep on the tofu

#nowplaying: Idles – Divide & Conquer

Vegan in Perth, Western Australia

After going back home (and to my adopted home) earlier this year, I thought it was about time to sort out some blog posts on where I ate awesome vegan food in Perth and Melbourne, Australia.  There are so many more options now for vegans in both locations since I moved from Australia to London 8 years ago, and boy did I take advantage while I was there!

First stop is the city I grew up in – Perth, Western Australia.  I tell a lie actually, I grew up in the country, about an hour north of Perth in a small town called Gingin, but I digress…  Perth has never been the most forward-thinking of cities (can you tell why I’m now living in London?!), so I wasn’t expecting to find anything amazing as far as vegan options are concerned.  Unlike Melbourne where the word “vegan” can be seen on any main restaurant strip, Perth isn’t teeming with obvious vegan options.  Vegan meals are there if you do your research however, and I found a few gems while I was there briefly.

Raw Kitchen, Fremantle

Holy moly.  So much to choose from on the menu and such a great looking restaurant.  There are other vegan options around Freo, so if you’re spending the day there (and you should – Freo is lovely), you won’t be short of places to eat.  Raw Kitchen, however, is the star of the area.  I wanted to eat everything on the menu, but had to settle for the nachos – salsa, jalapenos, walnut refried beans, guacamole and cashew sour ‘cream’ over raw nachos.  LOOK AT THIS.

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Raw Kitchen, Fremantle

Didn’t have enough room for dessert, but I did have an elixir shot and a Longevity kombucha on the side.  The entire menu is vegan, and mostly raw, so knock yourself out!  Seeing as the weather is usually beautiful at any time of the year in Perth, eating raw is actually quite easy to do and really refreshing.

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Raw Kitchen, Fremantle

Flora and Fauna, Northbridge

If you’re an insta-whore, this place should be top of your to-do list whilst in Perth!  Don’t just take my word for it – take a scroll through their Instagram and you’ll see how gorgeous the food is.  Fresh and exotic fruits, edible flowers, pastel colours and cute little tables make taking Insta-pics here a delight.  The chefs clearly want to impress with their plating – I felt almost bad cutting into my food!  Almost…  The vegan banana bread with raspberry sauce was my brunch of choice, as they make their banana bread fresh every morning.  No words needed, just this picture.

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Flora and Fauna, Northbridge

Seriously guys, GO HERE!  Perfect for brunch and plenty of vegan options on the meat-free menu. Head there on a sunny day, as the outside seating area is much bigger than inside, and Northbridge is always buzzing with all sorts of interesting people wandering around.

Wassup Dog, East Perth and Fremantle

Because who doesn’t like hot dogs?!  Although Wassup Dog serve meat-dogs, they do a mean vegan option.  All of their ingredients are made from scratch (the bread, the condiments, the sausages etc.) and sourced locally, so you know you’re going to scoff the good stuff here.  They do breakfast (with a good looking vegan option) and also home delivery, if you CBA dragging yourself out of bed.  Here’s the “Vegan Dog” that I had, with a side of hand cut chips (natch).

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Wassup Dog, East Perth

How sexy is that?!  Their vegan sausage is made from pumpkin, sweet potato and coriander, plonked in a freshly baked bun and topped with sautéed peppers and onions, a smashed avocado and homemade vinaigrette.  Difficult to finish it off as the serving was so huge, but that, my dear friends, is not a complaint.

Lord of the Fries, Perth CBD

I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you.  The one thing that London lacks is a decent, easy to access (e.g. no massive queues), super cheap, veggie/vegan dirty take away chain.  THAT is why I love LOTF.  All the dirty burgers, hot dogs and fries you want, all veggie or vegan.  You can basically veganise anything on the menu here, and the choice is huge.  Firm favourite for me is French Canadian fries, hold the cheese, as can be seen here (excuse the legs!).

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Lord of the Fries (and my pasty legs), Perth CBD

So many sauce options however – get yourself a big serving of fries and slather on that sauce.  All of the “classic” sauces are vegan, and all of the burgers can be made vegan if you ask.  They have exploded in the last few years and have shops all over the country, including plenty in Melbourne.

There were a few places on my list that I didn’t get around to eating at (wahh!), but add these to your list if you have more time than I did.

Swan Valley Café – in the heart of the wine district (you know what to do guys…) is this vegetarian café with a huge breakfast, lunch and dessert menu.  The options are mostly vegan (tempeh burger!!) and they also do a good amount of raw and gluten free options.  There are garlic and onion free food options as well, which is great for Krishna’s.

Acai Bros – Another one in Fremantle while you’re in that area.  These guys do raw smoothies, acai bowls, shooters and juices.  If you eat there often enough I’ve heard that you’ll end up looking like the founding “Brothers”, which isn’t a bad thing (*ahem* LADIES *ahem*).

Roark & Co – Freo again (I see a pattern here…).  100% plant based café open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week.  Breakfast wraps, burgers, vegan tuna rolls and plenty of salads in the summer.  I should have stayed in Fremantle!

That was about the extent of my food choices in Perth while I was there earlier in the year.  Wish I ate out more, but at least now I know where to go when I venture back there, which is not a bad thing.  Next blog is going to be what I ate in Melbourne, which might have to be over two blogs, because I at a LOT of food there!

Let me know in the comments of any other places that look good in Perth so that I can go check them out when I go back there… one day 😉

#nowplaying: The Goon Sax – Boyfriend

Nut Roast Wellington

That feeling when you make something for the first time and it works out really, really well – hello nut roast wellington!  Don’t let the ingredients list fool you – this is a really easy recipe to get right, and it tastes delicious.  To be honest, it kind of tastes like a giant sausage roll, and who doesn’t like sausage rolls?!  The bigger the better.

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Bigger than my arm, guys.

I made this on Christmas Day because at Christmas the year before I bought a vegan roast from a shop, and I wasn’t really impressed by it (I’m not going to name names here…).  Instead of forking out a small fortune (it was) on something I wasn’t going to finish and didn’t really enjoy, I thought it best to make my own this time, and I’m so glad I did.

Don’t just have your nut roast wellington’s at Christmas time either – make those puppies all year round!  Sunday roasts in 2017 have just become a lot more tasty.

The recipe makes enough for about 3 – 4 people when served with veggies and all the trimmings.  Or just make it for yourself and have leftovers for days, like I did 😉

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Sausage roll vibes

Ingredients

1 small onion, diced

1 tsp oil for frying

1 red pepper, diced quite small

2 cloves of minced garlic

120g breadcrumbs (I used Panko, but feel free to use homemade)

Small handful of parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried sage

1 tsp dried rosemary

½ tsp salt (or to taste)

½ tsp pepper (or to taste)

1 ½ cups of nuts (I used 1/3 each of almonds, cashews and walnuts – no hard or fast rules here, you can use pecans, macadamias, peanuts etc., just ensure they’re in their natural form, i.e. not roasted or coated in any kind of flavouring, like salt etc.)

250g mushrooms

2 TBsp tomato paste

1 vegan egg (I used 1 TBsp flax mixed with 2 TBsp water, mixed together, and let it sit for five minutes before adding to the mixture)

1 sheet puff pastry (Jus Roll do vegan puff pastry – I’m always using that stuff!)

2 TBsp vegan milk for brushing over pastry

Instructions

Preheat oven to 175C (350F)

Remove puff pastry from the fridge/freezer and allow to warm to room temperature.

Add the oil to a frypan and heat on medium.  Add the onion and peppers and saute until soft, around 6-7 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and saute for a further minute, then set aside.

Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to a food processor and process until well combined.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add the nuts to the food processor and process until fine.  Transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumb mix.

Add the mushrooms to the food processor and process until finely chopped.  Transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumb mix.

Add the onion mix, salt and pepper, vegan egg and tomato paste to the breadcrumb mix.

This is where you get messy!

Use your hands to fully mix all the ingredients, and begin to form into a loaf/roll.

Transfer the roll to the middle of the puff pastry and fold the pastry over the roll to ensure the roast is sealed.

Brush the pastry all over with milk.  You could add poppy/sesame seeds here to the top of your wellington if that floats your boat.

I like to cut slits in the top of the pastry – feel free to do this however you prefer.

Transfer your wellington to a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until pastry is golden and cooked through.

Let the wellington stand for a few minutes before slicing.  Serve with all your favourite trimmings.

Time to cook: 30 minutes prep, 40 minutes in the oven = 1 hour, 10 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, quite a large ingredients list, and plenty of food processing going on, but it’s pretty straightforward and easy to just shove in the oven.

#nowplaying: The Lemon Twigs – I Wanna Prove To You

Vegan corn chowder

Finally the cold weather is upon us (in the northern hemisphere anyway) and we can all start making soup again *huzzah*

One of the easiest and most versatile meals to make in the winter is soup, and there are so many vegan soup options you’ll never be bored.  Do away with your tinned stuff, there’s absolutely no need.  Guarantee most vegan soups end up being a LOT cheaper than store bought tinned ones, plus you know what you’re getting will be fresher and tastier, as you can add or subtract any ingredients you want.

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I LOVE corn.  Love the stuff.  Could eat it every day.  Corn and potatoes.  I think I DO actually eat potatoes every day, in some way, shape or form.  Definitely not a bad thing (as Dr McDougall will tell you).  This soup is rich, creamy and chunky.  You can blitz all the soup if you like (might need to add some more water to thin it out), or leave some chunks to make it feel more filling.  I prefer the chunks, so only blitz around half of it.

This recipe serves 4 as a starter, or probably two as a main meal, accompanied with some fresh bread.  Super easy to make and great to freeze/refrigerate for leftovers.

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Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small white onion, diced

½ red pepper, diced

1 large potato, peeled and diced

3 Tbsp flour

1 cup plant milk (unsweetened)

2.5 cups of vegetable broth

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried parsley (or fresh if you have it)

2 cups frozen corn

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Add the diced onion and red pepper and heat on medium-low heat until the veggies are soft (around 10 minutes). Stir occasionally – make sure the veggies don’t stick to the bottom or start to burn.

Stir in the diced potato.  Add the flour and stir to coat the veggies evenly.

Add the vegetable broth and plant milk and stir to combine.

Add the salt, pepper, smoked paprika and parsley and stir to combine.

Bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cover saucepan with a lid.

Simmer until the potatoes are tender, around 20 minutes, depending on the size of your potato chunks (longer for bigger chunks).

Add the frozen corn to the pot and stir to combine.  Simmer for another 10 minutes until the corn is cooked through.

Once cooked, transfer a third of the mix to a blender and blend until smooth.  Add the blended soup back to the saucepan and stir.

Serve immediately with buttered crusty bread and top with chives/parsley/more corn.

Time to cook: 10 minutes prep, 10 minutes for the onions, 20 minutes cooking, further 10 minutes with the corn – 50 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2 – a very simple soup

#nowplaying Spring King – Detroit

Spicy buffalo cauliflower wings

Us vegans have all seen these buffalo cauliflower wings done a million times before, and the recipes are all pretty much the same… so why haven’t you tried making them yet?!  DO IT.

I’m a huge fan of cauliflower and spicy foods in general, so these tick some serious boxes for me.  No need for boring steamed cauliflower with dinner when you can whip these babies up instead.  If you don’t like hot stuff then you can substitute the hot sauce for BBQ sauce instead, or go half of each if you’re not too sure.

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Not the quickest of recipes so make a big batch and be patient.  Perfect for tapas or with a big salad, and don’t forget the ranch sauce!  Which I should also share the recipe for that with you… so many recipes, so little time.

The below makes enough for 2 side servings, or one serving if you’re just going to eat the whole thing and nothing else 🙂

Ingredients

1 small head of cauliflower (works out to be around 2.5 cups of florets – if you have a huge cauliflower then just double the below recipe)

1/3 cup of flour

¼ cup plant based milk (soy, hemp, almond, whatever – as long as it’s unsweetened)

¼ cup water

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp hot smoked paprika (omit if you prefer less spicy)

Couple of cracks of sea salt and black pepper

1 Tbsp vegan butter

½ cup hot sauce (I use Franks hot sauce.  Sriracha is a bit less spicy, but can still be used.  Whatever you have handy really!)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Cut/break washed cauliflower into small florets.

Mix together all remaining ingredients apart from the butter and hot sauce, into a shallow bowl, to form a batter.

Dip the cauliflower florets, one at a time, into the batter and ensure they’re completely coated.  Gently shake the florets of any excess batter if they are a bit drippy!

Transfer the battered florets onto the lined baking tray, and ensure there is plenty of space between them, to allow even cooking.

Place in the oven for 30 minutes, turning over once halfway through.

While the cauliflower is cooking, add the butter and hot sauce (or BBQ sauce/sriracha if using instead) to a medium sized saucepan.  Heat on low until the butter has just melted and the sauce/butter is fully combined.

When the florets have finished in the oven, add them (carefully!) to the saucepan with the sauce and gently use a spoon to mix and coat in the hot sauce.  (At this stage of the process my eyes were watering from the sauce fumes floating up from the saucepan… LOVE IT!)

Once coated, place the florets back onto the baking sheet, space evenly and return to the oven for 30 minutes.  Again, turn once halfway through cooking.

When cooked, remove from the oven and serve immediately with your favourite ranch dressing and eat ALL of them!

 

Time to make: 10 minutes prep/coating, 30 minutes in the oven, 5 minutes re-coating, 30 more minutes in the oven = 1 hour and 15 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  3/5 Bit of faffing involved in this one with the re-coating and it is quite time intensive

#nowplaying 65daysofstatic – Radio Protector

Tater tots

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Oh potato, what would I ever do without you?  So versatile, so tasty, so cheap.

I’m a big fan of the humble spud, especially when in chip form.  I’ve never bought tater tots from the supermarket before, but thought recently why not try and make them at home anyway.  They always look tasty, and homemade has to be better than store-bought, right?  Right.

These were cooked on Sunday and frozen to use later in the week.  They’re quite filling as a side dish, so don’t go crazy with the servings!

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Ingredients

1 kg starchy potatoes (russet, Maris Piper etc.)

1 TBsp all purpose flour

1/2 tsp garlic granules/powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 teaspoon dill

sea salt & cracked pepper to taste

1 cup vegetable oil

Method

Peel the potatoes, add to a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 7 minutes, or until the spuds are par boiled.

Remove potatoes from heat, drain and set aside to cool.

When cool, grate the spuds with a box grater (or if you’re fancy and have one, a food processor with a grater blade!).  When grated, remove as much moisture from the potatoes as you can, with either a clean tea towel or kitchen paper roll.

Transfer grated spuds to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients, apart from the oil.  Stir until combined.  The mix should be fairly dry at this stage.

Roll into tater tots sized balls and place on a plate/chopping board, ready to fry.  Your hands will get sticky give them a wash every five or so tots.

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Heat the oil in a saucepan.  Test the oil readiness by dropping a small grated piece of potato into the oil.  If it floats almost immediately then you’re good to go.

Carefully place six or seven tots into the oil, ensuring there is plenty of space between them.

Cook for four or five minutes, then turn over.  They should begin to brown nicely.

Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon/tongs (carefully if using tongs!) and place on kitchen roll to drain off the excess oil.

Repeat until all of the tots have been cooked.

Serve immediately, or keep warm in a low temperature oven until ready to serve.

To freeze, ensure your tots are fully cooled and store in a freezable container.  When you want to have them again, remove from freezer and place on a baking tray.  Bake at 200C for 20 minutes and serve with burgers, beans or whatever the hell you want!

 

Makes enough tots for a side for 4 people (or be a piggy and eat them all in one sitting!)

Time to make: 10 mins boiling spuds / 15 minutes grate and roll / 15 minutes frying = 40 minutes (this doesn’t include the half hour or so it takes the spuds to cool)

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, recipe has quite a few steps, plus waiting for the spuds to cool, and getting your hands dirty.

#nowplaying The Last Shadow Puppets – Miracle Aligner