Comforting seitan “beef” and barley stew

Anyone else make big old batches of seitan and use it in every damn thing?!  I used to love me a peppery beef stew when I wasn’t vegan (I can’t believe I used to eat that stuff, ewwwww), so a substitute that’s earth-and-animal friendly was very much needed for when I moved over to the “green” side.

This recipe is brilliant to make on the weekend and take to work for lunches during the week (if it lasts that long), and also freezes really well.  Another recipe where the flavours seem to get better when you leave it stewing in its own juices for a couple of days.  You can also team this stew with a variety of carbs, as it would go well alongside mashed potatoes (potato overload!), quinoa, rice or just a thickly cut slice of fresh bread with vegan margarine.

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Of course, you will need to make the seitan pieces ahead of time, but just pop them in the fridge and let them sit for a day or so.  This will ensure they remain flavoursome and delicious when you add them to your stew.

Do play around with the recipe as well – no need to put both spuds and carrots in it if you don’t want to.  Add some beans for a super protein kick, pop in some courgettes, peppers or aubergine, or you could even make some dumplings to add to the stew while it’s still cooking (excuse me while I drool a little…).  The options for this recipe are endless, and it’s a good opportunity to add whatever is in the fridge that you need to use up.

Get onto this recipe when you can, and make sure you tag me on Instagram if you make it so I can see how awesome it is!  Enjoy.

Ingredients

2 TBsp oil

2 seitan steaks (see my recipe from previous blog here)

1/2 onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 small carrots (or one big one), sliced 1.5 cms thick

1 TBp dried mixed herbs (or a mix of thyme, rosemary, oregano)

salt and cracked pepper to taste

1/2 cup red wine (substitute for extra broth if you would prefer without)

1/2 tsp paprika

2 cups vegetable broth

1 TBsp tomato paste

400 grams potatoes, peeled and diced (about two large spuds, or 4-6 smaller spuds)

1 cup cooked pearl barley, per packet instructions (approx 1/2 cup uncooked – this should be made ahead of time, or while your stew is cooking)

2 TBsp plain flour

Method

Cut the seitan steaks into bite sized pieces.  Heat a non-stick frying pan and add one of the tablespoons of oil to the pan.  Once heated, add the seitan pieces and fry until sufficiently browned.  Remove from the pan and set aside

Add the remainder of the oil to a large, lidded saucepan.  Add the onions and fry on medium heat until translucent.  Add the minced garlic and stir.

After a minute or so, add the carrots, wine, herbs and paprika, and stir to combine.  Bring to the boil, then simmer for a couple of minutes, or until the wine has reduced by half.

Add the broth and potatoes and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender (10 – 12 minutes, depending on the size of your diced potato).

Add the pearl barley, tomato paste and seitan, and stir to combine.

Mix the 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/4 cup of water to a smooth paste.  Add to the stew, while stirring continuously.

Leave to simmer for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until the stew has thickened to your desired consistency.

Serve with crusty bread or alongside some rice and tenderstem broccoli.

This stew also freezes well – ensure the stew has fully cooled before transferring to a container and freezing.

Time to make: 5 minutes to prep the ingredients, 5 minutes to sear the seitan steaks, 40 minutes on the hob = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, an easy one if you have all the ingredients and some pre-made seitan!

#nowplaying : Thom Yorke – Suspirium

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

BBQ pulled tempeh sloppy Joes

In my quest to veganise anything and everything, I’ve given Sloppy Joes the positivelyjen vegan once over.  I missed out on the “joy” of Sloppy Joes before becoming vegan, because I was never really a fan of mincemeat (no surprises really considering what’s in the stuff…).  Now that tempeh is on the scene there’s no turning back.

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I remember the first time I tried tempeh… please don’t make my mistake and try it uncooked and not spiced – put me off the stuff for months.  I persisted however, and now I’m picking up a packet every time I pay Whole Foods a visit.  Not as versatile as tofu, but packed with more protein (19g per 100g – that’s EPIC) and more fibre than it’s more-processed cousin.

You can use vegan mince if you’re not a fan of tempeh (Fry’s do an awesome vegan mince), but in trying to keep things a bit healthy in the house, tempeh has slipped in there for the foreseeable.   If you’re anti-spice too then feel free to leave out the jalapeño and chilli powder. Top with some green stuff (for the health), pickles, coleslaw (try my recipe here!) or your favourite vegan cheese.

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Let the sloppiness begin.

Serves two people/four small burgers (or serves one if you’re really, really hungry)

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 Tbsp cup chopped jalapeños (I use ones from a jar – you can use fresh if you have them)

1/2 medium sized brown onion, finely chopped

200g packet of tempeh (I use Impulse Foods, which is organic and produced locally in the UK)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp BBQ sauce

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp sriracha

1 tsp chilli powder

½ tsp cumin

salt & pepper to tastse

1/3 cup water

4 small hamburger buns

Instructions

Heat the oil in a fry pan/skillet over medium heat and add jalapeños and onion.  Stir to combine and continue cooking and stirring occasionally for around five to eight minutes, or until onion is translucent.

Add the garlic to the pan and stir for one minute until garlic is heated through.

Add the tempeh and water to the pan and break up the tempeh with a wooden spoon.  Mix to combine with the onions and heat through (about five minutes – keep stirring every so often).

Add the remaining ingredients minus the buns, and stir to combine.  Add more water here if needed – you want a sloppy but not runny consistency!  Cook for a further five minutes or so, until everything is heated through.

Spoon onto your hamburger buns and add your favourite toppings.

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking time = 25 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  1.5, quick and easy this one.  GET IN.

#nowplaying Radiohead – Man of War

Tofu “eggs” benedict

I think I’ve probably only ever had two or three eggs benedict meals ever before going vegan.  There was always the worry that when you order eggs at a café or restaurant they’re going to be too snotty and gross (EW), and that had forever put me off ordering them.  Plus being vegan, it’s now something that just isn’t on the wish list where brunch is concerned.

Have no fear – tofu is here.

It would be a pretty sad state of affairs if tofu wasn’t vegan, wouldn’t it just?!  Useful for so many things, and depending on what herbs and spices you throw at it, it can be super tasty as well.  Enter stage left – tofu benedict *audible gasps*

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JUICY

No snotty bits on these benny’s, and if you really wanna go crazy you can add some healthy stuff like asparagus or spinach into the mix.  I used a round drinking glass to cut out the tofu shapes, and used the leftover firm tofu to make the hollandaise sauce.  Using silken tofu for the sauce would be preferable, but if you’re out to save money and cut waste, then using the offcuts of the firm tofu still works well here.  Just have a good blender and you’re golden.

This brunch isn’t a quick and easy one, there is plenty of prep to do.  You can go without the bacon (SAVAGE), but if you want to whip some up for this, I would suggest using the always delicious Gaz Oakley of Avant Garde Vegan’s aubergine bacon recipe, found here.  Alternatively you could try my rice paper bacon recipe, found here.

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So much plant protein, so little time…

The tofu will also need a good hour or two marinating time, so add that into the equation.  I prefer to marinate the night before so the tofu is ready to grill in the morning.  You can also prep the hollandaise the night before and heat up in a small saucepan or carefully in a covered dish in the microwave.

Without further ado, behold, vegan tofu benedict *crowd cheers*

Serves two (or one hungry person)

Ingredients

Tofu “eggs”

1 x 280g pack Tofoo naked tofu, drained

¼ cup soy sauce (or tamari)

2 x TBsp oil

1 x TBsp agave

2 x cloves crushed garlic

¼ cup water

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp cracked black pepper

Hollandaise sauce

1/2 cup tofu (I use the leftover from making the “eggs” – silken tofu works better but cutting down on food waste is the goal for me!)

1 TBsp lemon juice

1 TBsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt

dash of cayenne pepper

dash of turmeric

2 TBsp olive oil

Instructions

 

Tofu

Depending on the shape of your tofu block (they come in all shapes and sizes!) slice the block into 1.5cm thick slices.  I usually get three slices out of one block of Tofoo tofu

Grab a large drinking glass (around 10cm or so in diameter) and cut a circle out of each slice of tofu

Place the leftover tofu aside to use for the hollandaise sauce

Add the remaining ingredients to a shallow dish, big enough to lay the tofu circles in one flat layer

Mix the ingredients well, then dip the tofu into the mix and ensure the tofu is coated as much as possible

Cover the dish with cling film (or a lid if you have one that fits) and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours, minimum one hour

While you’re waiting for the tofu to marinade, get a start on the hollandaise!

Once suitably marinated, remove from the fridge and turn over again to coat more fully

Heat a non-stick grill pan (or just a fry pan if you don’t have a grill pan) to medium heat and add the tofu

Add any remaining marinate to the pan, or you can use a pastry brush to brush the remainder onto the top of the tofu

Once one side is sufficiently browned, turn over the tofu and repeat

 

Hollandaise

Microwave the tofu until just warm.  DO NOT over heat!

Add tofu and remaining ingredients apart from the oil, to a food processor.  Blend until combined.

While blending, slowly add the olive oil until all is combined.

If you need to re-heat you can do so in the microwave, but just keep an eye on it.

Assemble your toasted muffins with a tofu “egg”, steamed asparagus (or spinach) and a dollop of hollandaise sauce.

Serve alongside beans, tomato, vegan bacon, hash browns, or whatever vegan hot breakfast foods you like… and enjoy!

Time to cook: 15 minutes prep, one hour at least marinating, 10 minutes cooking = 1 hour and 25 minutes, (or 25 minutes not including marinating time)

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 3, fairly easy recipe but it has two parts and marinating takes aaaaaages.

#nowplaying Kane Strang – My Smile Is Extinct

Easy vegan rocky road

In my quest to veganise every single type of chocolate treat I have ever had in my life, the time has come to give the rocky road a once over.  I like a basic rocky road – nothing fancy, not too many ingredients, and easy to make.  If that sounds like you then you need to make this rocky road.  NOW.

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After creating this batch I realised that I had made a grave mistake with the recipe.  There just wasn’t enough of the end product.  I scoffed the whole lot in… well I’m not going to tell you how long it took me because that would be embarrassing 😉  So if you want a nice, small amount of rocky road then go ahead and follow this recipe.  If you want plenty of the stuff (and trust me, you will), double the recipe.  Just make sure you have a big enough tin/container to fit it all in, of course.

Any digestive style biscuits can be used in this recipe, and I would suspect that chocolate or chocolate chip biscuits also work.  I found it difficult to source vegan marshmallows initially, but did manage to pick some up at Holland & Barrett in Brixton the other week, and they were brilliant in this.  I dream of a day when I can just walk into Tesco and everything you could ever want was available as a vegan version.  Not long now guys, keep pushing…

As ever, feel free to add anything to this recipe that you might like.  I’ve seen cherries, coconut, peanut butter, nuts and dried fruit all make appearances in rocky road before.  Mix it up a bit.

I will now add this recipe to my list of successfully veganised chocolate treats.  This veganising stuff is EASY.

Ingredients

100g dark chocolate

½ cup vegan marshmallows

100g crushed digestive biscuits (I used Dove’s Farm organic digestive biscuits, but any vegan option will do)

1 TBsp rice malt syrup (or agave if you don’t have rice malt syrup to hand)

Instructions

Line a 16cm x 10cm (approx) baking dish/tin with parchment paper

Roughly chop the dark chocolate

In a large glass bowl, melt down the chocolate with the rice malt syrup in a double boiler on the stove (see here for instructions)

Once melted and combined, add the marshmallows and biscuits to the bowl

Stir carefully until all the ingredients are fully integrated and the chocolate is covering all of the other ingredients

Transfer mixture into the lined baking dish/tin and press down gently

Place dish in the fridge to set (approximately 30 minutes)

Once set, remove from the dish carefully, onto a chopping board, and slice into squares

Serve immediately.  These should last up to 5 days in the fridge.

Time to cook: 5 minutes prep, 10 minutes melting the chocolate, 5 minutes mixing, 30 minutes in the fridge = 50 minutes (20 minutes not including time to set)

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = Easy treats 1.5/5

#nowplaying: The Fall – Touch Sensitive

Basic bitch banana & walnut bread

I LOVE me a good banana bread.  There are so many things you can put in them (blueberries, chocolate chips, poppyseed etc.) and many and varied ways of making the bread itself.  Because you’re on this blog however, let me show you how to make yourself a basic bitch VEGAN banana bread.

No weird ingredients, no faffing, just basic and hot damn tasty.  When I make this bread it rarely makes it out of the house, or lasts for longer than a day, it’s SO yum.  I’ll usually make bread when I have overloaded on smoothie bananas in the freezer and have to use up ultra spotty bananas some other way.

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If you manage not to scoff the entire loaf within hours of it coming out of the oven, it’s a good idea to cut into slices and individually wrap them – chuck them in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer if you want to keep some for later.

But honestly, it won’t last long 😉

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Nice nuts.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar of your choice)

2 medium bananas, mashed

1/3 cup plant milk (I used hemp in this recipe but any other plant milk will be fine)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, plus a few reserved for the topping

Instructions

Preheat oven to 185C (365F).

Grease and line a 20cm x 12cm (or thereabouts) loaf tin.

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl combine the oil and sugar.  Stir until well combined.

Add the bananas and milk to the large bowl with the sugar and oil, and stir well.

Transfer the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in the walnuts (feel free to add chocolate chips or blueberries here instead!).

Transfer the mix to the lined baking tin.  Place the reserved walnuts on top for decoration.

Place the tin on the middle rack in the oven and cook for around 45 minutes, rotating half way.

Check to see if ready by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the bread – if it comes out clean you should be ready to go.

Allow to cool (if you have the patience for it…) for 30 minutes, then slice and serve.

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 45 minutes cooking = around an hour, plus cooling time

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  1.5.  Basic bitch is as basic bitch does!

#nowplaying PiL – Death Disco

Sausage & black bean casserole (vegan)

It’s almost casserole season whoop whoop!  Living in London means it’s basically always casserole season though – do we even have a summer? 🙂 If you’re feeling like something hearty, warm and filling a casserole is always the answer.  They’re also awesome because you can have them with anything – mashed spuds, cauliflower rice, basic bitch rice, on top of nachos, with chips etc.

The beauty of casseroles is that you can chuck any old thing in them and provided you like the ingredients they will always turn out tasty.  Just get your base right (some kind of protein, onions, herbs/spices, stock, tomato-y stuff) and you’re laughing. 

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This is one of those meals that also freezes well, so it’s brilliant for meal planning and those who don’t have time to cook something epic every night.  For a slightly healthier version, omit the sausages and add more of your favourite beans.  If you’re after a protein-packed meal (#proteinaholic), they don’t come much better than this ladies and gentlemen.

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Ingredients

2 Tbsp oil

6-8 vegan sausages (I’m a fan of Fry’s – they’re big on protein if you’re into that kind of thing)

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

½ tsp smoked paprika (you can use chili powder if you prefer)

200g chopped/diced tomatoes

200ml vegetable stock

1 Tbsp tomato puree

½ Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

½ Tbsp coconut sugar (or any sugar you have to hand)

¼ tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp dried sage (if you have mixed herbs you can sub that for the sage and oregano)

2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or sub for ½ tsp dried)

1 bay leaf

50 ml red wine (or sub for water if you don’t want to use wine)

200g (half a can) of black beans

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

Heat the oil in a fry pan and fry the sausages according to the packet instructions.  Fry’s usually take around 8 minutes to brown all over.

Place the sausages in a large saucepan and set aside.  At this point you can chop the sausages up into bite sized pieces, alternatively leave them whole.

Place the onions in the fry pan on medium heat and fry until translucent, around five minutes.  Add more oil if the onions are sticking to the pan.

Add the crushed garlic and cook for around 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Add the paprika and stir to combine.

Add the tomatoes, stock, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, herbs and bay leaf and stir to combine.

Add the wine and bring to a simmer, turning up the heat if needed.

Tip into the saucepan containing the sausages and again bring to simmering point.

Reduce heat and cover the saucepan with a lid.

Allow to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the casserole, stirring to distribute.

Cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and allowing the sauce to thicken.

Serve immediately with mash, cauliflower rice or some fresh crusty bread.

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 40 minutes cooking = around 45 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  2.  Fairly easy, quite a few ingredients involved and there will be a few dishes 😉

#nowplaying Baby Strange – VVV

Vegan chocolate honeycomb

Another flashback to my youth in the land down under – Violet Crumble anyone?  Crunchie perhaps?  Gone are the days spending pocket money on a king sized Crunchie chocolate bar for morning tea (or sometimes for breakfast, alongside a packet of Twisties… how am I not dead?!), so now I have to make something similar from scratch to curb the cravings.

Making honeycomb is SO much fun, but it contains SO much sugar.  This is definitely a treat recipe, not a staple!  Makes you realise how much c r a p is in commercially sold chocolate bars.  At least with this recipe you know exactly what’s going into it.  The fun part is chucking in the bicarb soda – you’ll feel like you’re in a science lab, for real.

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Only four ingredients in this you’ll be happy to know, but it does take a bit of faffing.  It’s not the most immediate of chocolate craving crushers, but it’s worth it for the deliciousness that is waiting at the end.  The only question to answer now is – will you keep it in the fridge or leave it out?  That age old argument…

Ingredients

3 Tbsp rice malt syrup

1 cup coconut sugar

2 tsp bicarb soda

1 x block dark chocolate, melted (approximately 150 grams)

Instructions

Line a small baking tin/dish with parchment paper so that the paper is hanging over the sides (my dish measures 18cm x 10cm)

Add the rice malt syrup and coconut sugar to a medium sized saucepan (not a small one!) and stir occasionally on low heat.  You want all of the sugar to have melted, so continue to stir for up to 10 minutes, or until all of the sugar has dissolved.

Once dissolved, bring to the boil and without stirring, let the mix gently boil for about a minute.

Remove saucepan from the hob and add in the bicarb soda, stirring to combine.

The mix will fluff up a bit – the fluffier the better!  Ensure all of the bicarb soda is mixed in, but try not to over-stir.

Transfer the mix to the lined baking tin and allow to cool.

Once the mix has cooled, cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.

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Dat honeycomb…

The next day, remove the honeycomb from the fridge, remove from the baking tray and chop into bite sized chunks.  No need to be regimented here, rustic is good!

Line a baking tray/dish with parchment paper as before.

Melt the chocolate using the double boiler method.

Place the chopped honeycomb into a large bowl and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top.  Stir to combine.

Transfer the chocolate honeycomb mix to the lined baking tray/dish and press down with a spatula to ensure there are few gaps in the mix.

Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.

Remove from the fridge and serve immediately.

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes on the hob/pan, 5 minutes combining = 25 minutes (plus overnight)

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  2 – be careful not to burn the sugar/syrup mix, plus waiting time is excruciating!

#nowplaying The Cribs – We Share The Same Skies

Get saucy – vegan lasagna sauce

 

Lasagna is just such a classic meal.  I used to cook it all the time before going vegan, but was never sure how to transfer it over using plant based ingredients.

I should never have worried – the amount of plant based milks and cheeses around means lasagna will never go off the menu.  Plus you only need to substitute for some soy mince or lentils, or just make it all from veggies.  Most lasagna pasta sheets should be vegan (I use Biona Organic), so there’s no excuse!

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This sauce can be used in any recipe you’d need a bechamel or white sauce.  Lasagna is just one – give it a go on pasta, potato gratin or as a base for a mustard sauce or macaroni cheese.  It shouldn’t be a prominent flavour in the food that you are adding it to, so don’t go crazy on the flavourings.

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Saucy.

Ingredients

4 Tbsp vegan butter

1/2 small white onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups plant based milk (I use hemp milk but you can use soy or a milk that’s not too sweet)

juice of half a lemon

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp dried thyme (or one Tbsp of chopped fresh thyme if you have it to hand)

rock salt & cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

Add the butter, onion and garlic to a medium sized saucepan and heat on medium heat until the onions are translucent and the butter has melted (around 2-3 minutes).

Add the cornstarch and stir until combined (it will be clumpy!).

While stirring, add the remaining ingredients apart from the thyme.  Reduce heat and whisk until the sauce is at the required thickness.

Remove from the heat and stir in thyme.

Serve as lasagna sauce, over cauliflower/broccoli or in potato gratin.

 

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 5 minutes on the hob = 10 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  2 – have to keep an eye on the sauce while it’s on the hob.

#nowplaying Yak – Use Somebody

 

Apricot danish

Pastry is life.  Every time I buy a roll of Jus Rol pastry it goes within the day.  Not raw mind you (I’m not that silly… although it does taste nice raw too), but made into anything and everything – savoury, sweet, big, small, as long as it’s tasty.

I used to buy danish pastries a LOT when I first started working.  It didn’t help that I worked in a cafe that had an abundant pre-made supply.  Then I worked as a junior baker and we baked danish pastries from scratch.  Apricot were always my favourite.

This is a pretty basic recipe, no faffing at all, and very delicious.  You could substitute apricot for blueberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches – you name it, it’ll probably work.  As long as you like the fruit, you’ll love it with pastry!

Cropped

 

Ingredients

2 x rectangle sheets of puff pastry (mine were approx 15cm x 10cm), room temperature

1 x apricot, peeled and halved (see here for how to easily peel an apricot)

1 x tablespoon apricot jam or marmalade

Optional – handful of slivered almonds

Method

Preheat your oven to 220C (425F).

Arrange a baking tray with parchment paper to cover and place pastry rectangles on paper to warm to room temperature.

Once your pastry is at room temperature, fold the corners into the middle of the pastry, then place your halved apricot in the middle (see below).

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Brush pastry with slightly warmed jam/marmalade (5 seconds in the microwave should be plenty).

Sprinkle slivered almonds on top.

Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes, but check so as not to burn.

Serve immediately, or can be kept at room temperature for around 2 days.

 

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking = 30 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  1.5, not much to this recipe, which we like!

#nowplaying Blossoms – Charlemagne