Ful Masalah with Rosemary Infused Mash

Ful Masalah, if you’ve never had the pleasure, is an East African dish made with fava beans.  I can get these tinned at my local whole food shop, and cook with them a lot, but as I cannot find them in any of the supermarkets I decided to see what this recipe was like with frozen broad beans, which is the same bean anyway.  This recipe was inspired by the Ful Masalah I was served at an Ethiopian restaurant, with the addition of tomatoes which are good at the moment.  This is great to make for a crowd because it can be easily scaled up when pennies allow.

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Ingredients

8 tablespoons frozen broad beans, thawed (doesn’t take long if you spread them out)

4 cloves garlic, chopped fairly finely

1 tsp garam masala

2 tsp tomato puree

500g cherry tomatoes, halved

600g organic potatoes

60g vegan margarine

2 tbs soya milk

fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from the stalk using your thumb and forefinger

1 red chilli

Method

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200C/360F.

  1.  Melt the margarine on a low light, then gently fry the garlic in a nonstick wok for one minute.  Add the tomatoes and garam masala. 
  2. Fry until they begin to break down. Add the  beans.  Gently stir and lift to combine with the tomatoes. Simmer the sauce for ten minutes, slowly stirring the sauce occasionally.
  3. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes or so until tender.
  4. In the meantime, melt the margarine, gently fry the chilli until tender, remove with a slotted spoon, then stir in the rosemary.  Set aside until the potatoes are ready.
  5. Mash the potatoes with the soya milk and stir in the chilli.  Set aside.
  6. Put the broad bean mixture into the bottom of a shallow casserole dish.  Holding a sieve over the mashed potatoes to catch the spiky rosemary leaves, pour the melted margarine into the potatoes and mix in with a wooden spoon.  (It is amazing how quickly the margarine absorbs the rosemary flavour, so do not fear that it won’t be sufficiently infused after such a short time).  Smooth the potatoes over the Ful Masalah and fork it up.Bake for 20 minutes.

If you buy the organic potatoes, tomato puree and chillies in Aldi, and the rest in ASDA, you can make this for around £8.24 (that includes the milk and marg, so if you have these in this is going to be very cheap)!

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Lentil and Pesto Roast with Courgettes and Lemony Beans

This makes a good sized portion for an otherwise traditionally British family roast and is equally tasty cold the next day if any slices are left over.  Pesto enhances so many dishes, not just pasta or the ubiquitous panini; as it is both moist and flavourful, a jar of this time-honoured Italian sauce in the cupboard helps to stretch the pennies, because it also keeps well in the fridge once it has been opened.

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Ingredients

4 heaped tsp vegan pesto

250g split red lentils

1 red onion, chopped and fried until translucent (drain well)

85 – 115g breadcrumbs

115g vegan mature cheddar, grated

2 heaped tbs nutritional yeast

2 garlic cloves crushed with 1 tsp sea salt

340g runner (or similar) beans

1 lemon

2 large courgettes

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 and thoroughly grease a large loaf tin or a ring tin if you have one.  If you are using a nonstick metal pan, it is still prudent to line the bottom of the pan with greaseproof paper as the loaf can stick in the corners, however carefully you grease them.
  2. Wash the lentils, cover them with water, leaving about 2 cm to spare at the top, then bring to the boil, and turn down to a more gentle boil, but not a simmer.  They will have softened in about 15-20 minutes, but check after 15.  Do keep checking your lentils by stroking the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon; if they look at all in danger of boiling dry or you find some stuck lentils, top up with water just boiled from the kettle.
  3. When the lentils are soft, drain them and mix with pesto, vegan cheddar, garlic and salt into a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs gradually until you have a soft but firm mixture.  It shouldn’t feel too “solid”.  Pack this mixture into your prepared loaf pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until the loaf is firm.
  4. After about 15 minutes into the cooking time, put a pan of water on to boil.  Once boiled, cook the runner beans very gently until tender – probably 15 minutes at most.
  5. Slice the courgettes, then water fry them in a nonstick pan.  This should take about 10 minutes, so start them about 5 minutes after you have started the beans.
  6. After you have turned out the roast, tumble the green beans in the middle (or alongside), then finely grate lemon zest over them.  While still hot, squeeze out one half of the lemon (serve the other half with some water at dinner).
  7. Arrange the courgette slices around the edge.

If you have to buy the nutritional yeast, this will cost around £13.68.  Nutrional yeast tends to cost around £2.95, but you could add more cheese instead if you wanted. Additionally, I did include the purchase of a loaf of bread, but if you have bread in the house, it will save you more.  That said, this does make a good sized roast and there will be enough for the following day.

Squashy Bubble

Even people who aren’t squash fans love this velvety sauce from Italy; combine its richness with the humble Bubble from England and you have a divine mixture of the earthy and the luxurious (as in refined, not expensive).  If you enjoy this sauce, it goes just as well with its authentic  partners, gnocchi and pasta.  And for bubble fans, this is bubble lover’s paradise.  Serves 4.

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Ingredients

For the Bubble and Squeak

500g cooked old potatoes, mashed with 55g margarine then cooled

1 large onion, chopped

good grinding of black pepper

500g spring greens, sliced and steamed until tender

1 tsp Dijon mustard

25g margarine

2 cloves garlic

2 tbs soya milk

1 heaped tbs flour

1tbs oil

For the Butternut Squash Sauce

butternut squash

1 clove garlic

25g vegan margarine

1 30g packet cut fresh thyme; save 3 for decoration, then run your forefinger and thumb along the remaining stalks to remove the leaves

1 150ml carton soya cream

Method

  1. Melt 25g vegan margarine, then fry the onion until transparent. Add the garlic and fry briefly, until the garlic is tender; as always, avoid burning the garlic.
  2. In a big bowl, combine the mashed potato, spring greens, cooked onion, garlic and Dijon mustard.
  3. Whip in the soya milk.
  4. Shape into patties with clean hands, then roll each patty in the flour to coat.  Set aside while you make the sauce:
  5. Steam or boil the butternut squash until tender (about 10-15 minutes).
  6. Fry the garlic in a 25g margarine until softened, then tip the butternut squash, thyme leaves and garlic  in the food processor and blitz until smooth.
  7. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then fry the patties on both sides until brown.
  8. In the meantime, gently heat the butternut squash puree in a saucepan.  When it starts to bubble, turn the heat right down, then add the soya cream. Stir in and heat briefly – for a minute at most.
  9. Put a pool of sauce on a large plate, top with the bubble patties and garnish with sprigs of thyme.

If you buy the thyme, butternut squash, flour and mustard from Aldi, and the rest from ASDA, you can make this for £6.77, excluding the oil, salt and pepper.  I have factored in the margarine.

Spring Vegetable Caponata

This is a top-notch relish without the price tag because all the vegetables are now in season.  Caponata is an Italian condiment with infinite variations, so I thought I’d give it a local tweak with vegetables in season here.  Can be served as part of a vegan Ploughman’s lunch, or an accompaniment to a sandwich, or a side dish at dinner, or as part of a buffet.  It’s an obliging little dish which you can take anywhere!

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Ingredients

3 tbs olive oil

2 medium onions

100g garlic stuffed olives, sliced

1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes

2 tbs cider vinegar

200g baby courgettes, cut into 2 cm baton

200g baby aubergines, diced

2 tbs light brown sugar

zest and juice of an orange

salt and pepper to taste

25-30g fresh basil

Method

  1. Fry the onions for the caponata in the oil until translucent (5-8 minutes).  Stir in the olives, tomatoes, baby courgettes, baby aubergines, zest of the orange and the sugar whipped into the orange juice. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Take it off the heat.
  2. Chop the larger leaves of the basil and stir into the mixture, then when you have decanted the caponata into a pretty bowl, garnish with the smaller leaves.  This is best served a room temperature, so if you want to make it in advance take it out of the fridge half an hour before serving, and garnish with the little leaves at the last minute.

Tesco have brown sugar and basil on special at the moment, so if you can access one, this will cost £7.52 if you do not have cider vinegar in the house.  As always, this factors in all ingredients except the oil.  I was wondering, do you have websites which search supermarkets’ prices where you are living?  They’re so useful if you are on a budget.  I use mySupermarket here – do you have something similar?

Cherry and Pistachio Salad

If you buy the cherries now they’re in high season they won’t be expensive but this salad has a really luxurious feel to it with the succulent fruit and the moreish nuts.  It is just lovely, and really needs no dressing.  I can hardly call it a “recipe”, but it is my favourite salad and I wanted to share it!  Obviously all you have to do is work out how much you want to serve (according to appetite or numbers present), decide on which ratio of nut to cherry would please you, then stone the cherries, shell the nuts and mix throughly.  Serve immediately to keep the nuts crunchy.  

The cost varies enormously from supermarket to supermarket; the cheapest pistachios I found were £1.39 for 150g at Aldi.  Regarding the cherries, they tend to cost between £2.50-£3.00 for 350g in the shops but I rarely buy them there, as I find so them so much cheaper at markets at this time of year.  It all depends on where you live of course, but if you can’t find cherries personally I think pistachio graces whatever it touches!

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Mid-Spring Pie: Sausage, Chickpea and Leek Filo Pie PLUS Fragrant Sausage Stew with Garlic Mash

This mixture makes enough to serve with mash the following day; the accompaniments are so different it is improbable that anyone will notice, but even if they do they’re just as unlikely to complain about this appetisingly savoury Southern European blend of ingredients.

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Ingredients

Piecrust: 8 sheets long filo pastry and 55g vegan margarine, melted

Filling

(divide by half – except the smoked paprika – if you don’t fancy tomorrow’s dish)

11 veggie sausages, sliced and fried until brown

1 extra sausage for garnish, sliced, plus 1 tsp oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

175g baby leeks, topped and tailed, chopped and washed

2 tbs sundried tomato puree

2 tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tbs olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6.
  2. For the filling, fry the leeks in the olive oil until turning translucent, then add the smoked paprika and fry for another minute.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir thoroughly until blended.  Set aside half of this mixture for tomorrow.
  4. Brush a 7in springform pan with melted vegan margarine, then add the sheets one at a time, overlapping them as you go and painting with melted butter before each addition. Place them across each other, with a generous margin of pastry hanging over either side.  Make sure the bottom of the tin is completely covered, with no gaps.
  5. Add the filling with care and spread it across the bottom.
  6. Bring up the edges of the pie one by one so that they lie across the filling, brushing each sheet with melted margarine before adding another the next one.
  7. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until nut brown.  A few minutes before the end of the cooking time, fry the sausage slices until brown, then place a ring of discs on the pie as a garnish.

Fragrant Sausage Stew with Garlic Mash

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If you rename yesterday’s savoury mix for the pie, you are more likely to get away with the repetition, but of course it depends on how culinary minded your fellow diners are!  Remove the portion from the fridge at least half an hour before you cook it to allow it to come to room temperature.  If you want to cook this independently of the pie, obviously  you can follow the instructions given for the filling.

Make garlic mash: boil 800g old potatoes (peeled if not using a ricer) for about 20 minutes until tender, then either mash or put through a ricer.  While still warm, melt 55g vegan margarine and gently fry two finely chopped garlic cloves. Mash into potatoes with 1 tbsp plant milk and mix well.  Start gently reheating the stew when you begin mashing/ricing.  Serve on or off the mash, depending on preferences.

Based on an ASDA shop, you can make both dinners for £9.25, working on the basis of an empty cupboard and having to buy vegan margarine and smoked paprika.  If you have either of these already, that’s fab!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pepper and Chickpea Cutlets with Sweet and Sour Sauce

This classic Chinese sauce often graces food from other parts of the world and there is an infinitesimal number of recipes for it out there – we’ve all made it our own!  It certainly elevates these appetising but humble cutlets by combining the earthy with the unexpected to maximise both budget and flavour.  This uses a bag of 3 assorted peppers. Please note that this recipe uses cooked potatoes.  You may wish to get this done before you start on the sauce if you haven’t any leftover tatties.

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Sweet and Sour Sauce

Make this first, then you can simply reheat it when the cutlets are ready.

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped finely

1 red or orange pepper, chopped roughly

1 425g can of pineapple in juice; you need the juice and the fruit (chopped if you can’t find pineapple pieces)

2 green chilli, bought loosely

one 3 cm square of ginger root, chopped finely

2 tbs soy sauce

I tbs granulated sugar

2 tbs tomato puree

Juice of one lemon (but zest it first for the cutlets)

Method

  1. Water fry the onion until translucent, then add the pepper, chilli, garlic and ginger and fry for another two minutes.
  2. Add the soy sauce, chopped tinned pineapple with its juice, lemon juice, brown sugar and tomato paste.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Blend all the ingredients together by pulsing the food processor until you have a thick sauce with some pieces intact.

Chickpea Cutlets

Ingredients

1 x 240g can chickpeas (drained weight)

1 onion, finely chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped very finely

30g butter or vegan margarine

500g – 600g cooked organic potatoes

2 tbs soy sauce

zest of a lemon

black pepper

flour to coat, if wished

small amount of oil for frying

Method

  1. Mash the chickpeas together with the butter/marg and potatoes.  Grind in some pepper.
  2. Beat in the onion, peppers, garlic, soy sauce and zest of a lemon.  Allow to cool.
  3. With lightly floured clean hands, shape the mixture into rough cutlet shapes.
  4. Put the sauce on to heat through gently, then lightly fry the cutlets in oil (use a nonstick pan if possible) until golden brown on both sides.  
  5. You may wish to serve the sauce separately so that diners can decide how much they wish to pour over.

If you buy the potatoes, ginger root, lemon, bag of 3 peppers, soy sauce and tomato puree at Aldi, and the tin of pineapple, sugar, a loose onion, a couple of loose chillies and a tin of chickpeas at ASDA, with a bit of luck you’ll be able to get this on the table for just over a fiver (£5.07, if my calculations are correct, based upon today’s prices). This does assume you have oil in the house.

The Full Celtic

(Scottish Potato Pancakes, Sweet Potato Irish Coddle, Welsh Rarebit Tomatoes)

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This is a great leisurely feast to make if you love a full cooked breakfast but find the red-faced racing from hob to hob a little stressful; the coddle can be cooked in the oven and the tomatoes can simmer gently while you fry the pancakes.  Tweaking the traditional coddle by using sweet potatoes makes it lighter – it will be too heavy with the potato pancakes otherwise.  The coddle could be made the night before and reheated for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at Gas Mark 6/200C/390F.

Ingredients

For the Coddle 

1 kg sweet potatoes 

1 large onion, diced 

4 vegan bacon rashers 

4 vegan sausages

1 tbs olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

250ml cider

250ml vegetable stock, made with a stock cube

1 small packet parsley, roughly chopped

For the Tomatoes

500g cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbs *Worcestershire Sauce

200g vegan Cheddar, grated

For the Potato Pancakes

450g organic potatoes, cut into uniform sizes

60g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

60g vegan margarine

1 tbs plant milk of choice

Method

  1. Start with the coddle.  Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200C/390F.  Make the stock by dissolving one stock cube in 250ml boiling water.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 2cm cubes.  Set aside while you lightly fry the onions for three minutes.  This is just to release their natural sweetness – you don’t have to wait until they are translucent.  Scrape the onion into a casserole dish, then use the same pan to quickly fry the sausages for 2 minutes only.  You simply want to brown them.  In the meantime, chop the bacon.  Add both to the casserole dish and mix.  Tip in the garlic, sweet potatoes, cider and stock, cover the casserole dish, then put into the oven for one hour.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes for the pancakes if you are not using a ricer. Boil them until they are tender for about 20 minutes, or less if you cut them small.  Mash (or put through the ricer), then add 30g of the margarine, the plant milk and the flour.  Beat vigorously, then when the mixture is cold, shape into a ball with floured hands, flatten it, then roll it out to 2 cm thickness and cut out your preferred shapes with a biscuit cutter.
  4. Five minutes before the coddle is ready, combine the vegan cheese with the Worcestershire sauce, then, stirring now and then, simmer gently on the hob with the tomatoes until the tomatoes are softened and the cheese has melted.
  5. Melt the rest of the margarine for the pancakes, then fry for approximately two minutes on each side on a high heat to produce a gorgeous crust.
  6. On a large plate, dish out the coddle, top with the tomatoes and the parsley, then surround the whole with your pancakes.  Feast away!

*Chippa is a good vegan brand.  You can buy it at ASDA for 1.29.  Life is another one which you can get in whole food shops, but it is more expensive.

If you buy the sweet potatoes, cider, parsley and plain flour at Aldi, and the remaining ingredients (minus the vegan bacon; you will have to go to a whole food shop for that) at ASDA, this will cost around £15.33, buying everything from scratch.  However, you will have plenty of ingredients for your stores left: potatoes, sweet potatoes, bacon rashers, plain flour, vegetable stock cubes, vegan margarine, plant milk, Worcestershire sauce and vegan cheese. Of course, if you have any of these already, you’ll spend even less. 

 

Glam Chowder

The glamorous silkiness of the creamed sweetcorn and the okra are best achieved if you use really fresh okra so if you can’t find it, use frozen.  Otherwise it will be more slimy than silky.  Chowder is served up in many countries (America, Peru, Bermuda, UK); if you want to experiment with a vegan version you can start with the three base points of corn, plant milk and a thickening agent or two, then connect the dots in any way you fancy.  Here’s one possibility, using the gorgeous asparagus which is now in season.

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Ingredients

2 red onions, chopped finely

2 red chillies

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbs sunflower oil

500g potatoes, cubed

225g green beans, topped, tailed and sliced into 2cm lengths

175g okra, topped (or use frozen) and roughly chopped

1 418g tin creamed sweetcorn

4 heaped tbs frozen sweetcorn

250ml water mixed with 2 tbs soy sauce

150ml unsweetened almond/oat milk

100g asparagus

1 tsp ground black pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cut the top off the chillies, slice vertically, deseed them with the tip of your knife, then chop them.
  2. Grind them in a pestle and mortar with the oil and the salt to make a paste; the salt helps the grinding process.
  3. Tip the chillies in a big pan and fry them with the onions until the latter are tender – you may need to add a drop more oil.
  4. Add the potatoes and fry for five minutes, stirring frequently so the potatoes don’t catch.
  5. Add the water/soy sauce, bring to the boil and simmer gently for ten minutes until thickening.
  6. In the meantime, put a pan of water on to boil for the asparagus.
  7. Add the green beans, okra, creamed sweetcorn and frozen sweetcorn, then bring back to the boil and simmer for another 8 minutes.  Add the plant milk and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  8. While this is happening, steam or boil the asparagus for ten minutes.
  9. Check the veg; al dente works for the green veg but obviously not for the potatoes, so make sure these are really tender before you serve up.
  10. Check the seasoning, adding more if necessary, then transfer to a serving bowl and decorate with the cooked asparagus.

Based on a ASDA shop, this will cost around £8.60.  The sweetcorn and okra I used were both frozen; there was plenty left over to sit happily in the freezer so this is quite an economical dish!

One Filling, Two Flans:  Asparagus and Rustic Vine Tomato PLUS One Dressing, Five Salads: Four Monochrome, One Minestrone

gVegan flans (or quiches if you prefer that term) are often made with silken tofu, which produces a beautifully airy savoury custard.  If you roll the pastry thinly, you’ll be able to have enough flans for dinner one day and lunch/dinner the next.  It makes it easier to achieve this if you put the pastry in the cases in whichever way they fall for the tomato flans; that way, you don’t need to use a lot to fill in all the contours.  This filling will be enough for both days – easily – and if you serve your flans with different salads it won’t feel like repetition.

Ingredients

1x 500g packet puff pastry

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp Dijon mustard

100g Smoked Cheese Alternative (half of a 2oog packet), grated

300g silken tofu

About 100g fine, new asparagus

16 cherry tomatoes on the vine

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  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/390F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Cut the pastry down the middle.  Roll out half to fit a flan case and other half to fit another flan case or four individual cases – in which case you would obviously have to cut that half into four pieces and shape them into balls before rolling; roll from the middle of the circle, (at regular intervals along the perimeter) to the outside in one direction.  You need to do some calculation here; I used a 35 x 12 cm fluted tin for the asparagus flan and 4 round silicone cases with 12cm widths.  If my maths is right, that makes a total area of 533.04 cm, so you can use which pie plates/cases/dishes you have to hand for your two meals by roughly working out the total area of them.
  3. Once your containers are lined, put greaseproof paper on the pastry, top with baking beans (or pulses or washed stones) as weights and bake for 10 minutes to seal the bottom. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before removing the paper and weights.
  4. Water fry the onions until translucent.
  5. Add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Blend together the tofu, mustard and grated cheese, then mix in the onions and garlic.
  7. In one flan case, arrange the asparagus spears as you like them.
  8. In the other case(s) arrange the tomatoes.
  9. Spoon the filling in equal proportions in each flan case.
  10. Bake the flans for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.
  11. For tomorrow’s tomato flan, reheat in the oven for ten minutes at the same temperature.

Four Monochrome Salads and Minestrone Salad with Lemon Dressing

This dressing will be enough for all five salads if you want them to glisten rather than be drenched; obviously you will have to keep some back for the minestrone salad for the following day for the tomato flans.  If you make the purple salad first, the aubergine will benefit from some marinading while you make the others to go with the asparagus flan.  Before you start the salads, pop the water on to boil for the green beans.

Dressing

Whisk together the zest and juice of a lemon with one 1 tsp Dijon mustard, and 4 tbs olive oil.

Purple

Chop and fry a small aubergine in 1 tbs oil until tender; combine with a drained can of kidney beans and 50g of chopped red cabbage.  Dress immediately and allow to marinate.

Green

Combine one sliced Granny Smith apple with one punnet of mustard&cress and 200g cooked, sliced green beans.  Toss immediately in the dressing to stop the apples turning brown.

Yellow

Thaw 2tbs frozen sweetcorn; mix with a pack of baby corn, chopped, and a deseeded and chopped yellow pepper.  Dress immediately.

Orange

Grate 2 medium carrots, then mix with some chilli nuts and a chopped orange pepper.  Dress just before serving to keep the nuts crispy and crunchy – add some from the packet until you have the look and feel you’re after; it’s a matter of taste.

Minestrone Salad

Mix together 100g (raw weight) of cooked pasta stars (instructions will be on the packet) with 2 chopped medium carrots and 3 stalks of celery.  Dress the salad as soon as you have drained the pasta.

If you buy the lemon, aubergine, frozen sweetcorn, baby corn, organic carrots, chilli nuts, celery, asparagus and vine tomatoes at Aldi, and the rest at Tesco, you can produce these two meals, complete with salads,  for £17.31 for four people.  (This is assuming you have oil in the cupboard).