Easy vegan noodles

It’s been a busy few weeks with visitors including a visitor from Lisboa who needs to get blogging too!

This is a dish I make all the time, usually on Mondays, not really sure why but it normally ends up that way. It takes 10 minutes to make and is filling, warming and delicious.

Ingredients:

Dried Chinese style noodles (can be bought from any Asian shop)

1 Carrot (grated)

Half an onion or a whole small one

half a courgette

half a cup of frozen peas

finely chopped ginger (to taste)

1 green chilli

Soy sauce

Almonds (chopped)

Method:

  • Chop all the veggies finely and put into the pan with a splash of oil (sesame if you happen to have it) and a splash of soy.
  • On a low heat let the veggies caramalise slowly.
  • Put on a pan of boiling water and add noodles.
  • When the noodles are done, drain them and add to the veggies in the frying pan. Add a couple more splashes of soy sauce and stir until everything is mixed in.
  • Serve in a deep dish and sprinkle almonds on top.

Enjoy with a cold beer!

And the song is one I came across listening to a swing playlist the other day (I have started Lindy Hop classes). I really liked it and it’s very appropriate I think!

 

 

 

Vegan or veggie Shepherd’s pie

Shepherd’s pie (well actually Cottage pie) was the first real meal I ever learned how to cook at university. Back then it was always with meat of course. Traditionally Shepherd’s pie is with lamb and Cottage with beef. This recipe is with lentils and it is as tasty as f**k. I would even say that I prefer this to the meat version.

Here’s how to do it!

Ingredients:

Lentils (any lentils will work and the amount depends on the size of your your dish!) – I used about 4 cup fulls and I had some mixture left over at the end that I froze for another day 🙂

1 onion (i like red)

some mushrooms

loads of carrots….like 10

1 whole green chilli

couple of garlic cloves

And basically any other vegetable you like…peppers, spinach…whatever really!

1 can of tomatoes

butter (or vegan substitute)

Parmesan (or substitute)

cilantro

cumin

turmeric

veggie stock cube

Worcester sauce

Salt and pepper

Method:

whatsapp-image-2017-01-04-at-23-56-27

  • Put the lentils on to cook. Should take around 25 mins. Drain.
  • Cut up all veggies ready. Cut them how you like. I’m a chunky gal!
  • Add onions, 2 of the carrots, chili, garlic and spices to hot oil (use a deep pan). When they are soft, add the mushrooms and finally the lentils.
  • Stir and add tinned tomatoes.
  • Boil the kettle (or a pan of water), crumble in the stock cube to the pan and add about a cup and a half of hot water. Add Worcester sauce and seasoning. Chop up some coriander (I put loads because I love the stuff) and chuck it in.
  • Now leave to reduce down. Taste as you go in case you want to add something…extra spice, ketchup for sweetness, more Worcester…
  • As it reduces to the consistency of your liking, boil the rest of the carrots in salted water or with a stock cube. When they are sufficiently soft, add some butter (or vegan substitute), salt and pepper and mash.
  • When the sauce is ready, add to a baking tin and layer the carrot mash on top covering all the lentil mixture. Grate cheese on top and put in the oven on 180 for about 20 mins.

Et voilá 🙂 Serve avec un handful of coriander.

whatsapp-image-2017-01-04-at-23-56-25-1

Song for today…going back to cheesy uni years …

TTFN!

 

 

 

Nutty vegan brownies

Happy healthy new year! This is my first blog of the new year having just arrived back from 2 weeks in the UK. Much of my time there was spent indulging in typical festive food and drink, a lot of that meat and alcohol. So I have returned ready to attack 2017 with healthy food, lots of yoga and positive thinking.

I have tried making vegan brownies before and it was an “epic fail” as the kids say these days. This time, I skimmed around a few recipes online and mashed them together influenced by my instincts and whatever I could get my hands on. So nothing new there then!

They turned out rather well, I must say. They are particularly great for me because they were goey but NOToverly sweet at all. I don’t have a sweet tooth and I can’t cope with sickly things. Having said that, most of them will still be eaten by other people! So here’s what I did…

Ingredients:

2 cups of plain flour

1/2 cup of brown sugar (more if you want them sweeter)

1/2 cup of cocoa powder

1 and 1/2 bars of dark chocolate

1 teaspoon of bicarb

3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

1 cup of soy milk

A handful of almonds

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180ish..
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb and oil into a big bowl and mix. Oh and a pinch of salt…always salt!

brownie1

  • In a glass/perspex bowl on top of a pan of hot water heat one bar of chocolate with the cup of soy milk. When it has melted, add the sugar and stir together.
  • Now pour the mixture from the pan into the bowl and mix together. If the mixture is too thick (if it’s still floury and not liquid like), add some more soy milk gradually until you are happy with the texture. Remember that brownie mixture should be thick and goey not runny.
  • Cut up the almonds and smash up the remaining chocolate into chunks. I enjoy throwing chocoloate bars on the floor to break them up! Now,  add most of the almonds and the broken chocolate to the mixture and stir it in.
  • Finally put the mixture in a tin with baking paper and sprinkle the remainder of the nuts on top. Put in the over for around 20 mins. Use the knife test to check them every so often – you can leave them in longer if you don’t like them so runny in the middle…depends on one’s taste!!
  • When you pull them out, be sure to leave to cool a little (be patient!)before cutting into squares. A piece of cake!! Literally!!

brownie2

Enjoy with a nice cuppa and the following classic 90’s britpop:

Ciao for now..

Kidney Bean and Mushroom Burgers

It seems we are going vegan crazy lately. I’m having so much fun inventing burgers and seeing how they turn out. These were tremendous – they blended together well with the help of some breadcrumbs and the end product was crunchy and firm!

Ingredients: (for 4 burgers)

Half a jar of cooked kidney beans

6 button mushrooms

half an onion

1 small chilli

1 clove of garlic

cumin

turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

1 avocado

squeeze of lemon

1/2 sweet potatoes

Method:

  • Chop the onions, chili, garlic and mushrooms into fine pieces.
  • For a few minutes until soft and then put onto a kitchen towel to get rid of any excess moisture.
  • Add to a mixing bowl with the kidney beans. Add cumin, turmeric (as much or as little as you like) and some salt and pepper.
  • img_20161205_150457089_hdr
  • Add a handful of breadcrumbs and use the handheld blender to “whizz” into a paste. Be sure not to make it to sloppy – chunks are good! If it still feels too wet, add some more breadcrumbs!
  • img_20161205_151641196
  • Separate the mixture into four, flour your hands and make into patties. The shouldn’t be too fat if you want them to cook through when frying/baking.
  • Put into the fridge for around 30 minutes to help them keep shape.
  • Meanwhile cut the sweet potatoes into chunky french fries. Put them in a baking tray, coat in olive oil, salt and seasoning of choice – I find smokey Cajun style goes nicely with the sweet flavour. Put in the oven on around 180-200. It can be difficult to get them not to stick and come out crunchy – for optimum results each fry should not touch and they should be moved/turned on a regular basis. However if you aren’t to fussy, just chuck them all in together but move them around often so they don’t stick to the tray!
  • Make the guacamole simply by putting the avocado in a bowl adding salt and lemon and “whizzing” with the hand blender.
  • Take out the patties after 30 minutes and you can either fry in oil or bake in the oven until golden and crisp on the outside.
  • Serve on a piece of wholemeal toast with a dollop of guacamole on top and the sweet potato fries on the side.

 

Today’s song for cooking the track that most reminds me of Ana Banana:

 

Enjoy bouncing around whilst cooking!

 

Vegan Chilli SIN carne

Today’s recipe is dedicated to our good friend Stef Olmos, who just last week decided to go vegan. It has come about naturally that my closest circle of friends are almost all vegan or vegetarian and the ones that do it meat, do it very rarely like myself.

I am not a strict vegetarian, that’s to say, I’m not fundamental about it. If I feel my body needs meat, I will eat it in the most ethical way possible. Also, if I am a guest and there is only meat, I won’t get fussy. I think this is because, unlike my vegan friends, my main reason for cutting out meat isn’t because of the cruel treatment of animals but rather the sustainability of the planet and my health. Although coming into contact with more vegans, I am beginning to understand better why they feel as they do.

What I can say for sure, is that although it comes with its challenges, cooking vegan is very satisfying and it makes you feel great.

So, without further ado, here is today’s dish:

Ingredients:

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

1 carrot

10 mushrooms or whatever

half a jar of kidney/red beans

1 tin of tomatoes

cumin

1 green chili

red wine

Worcester Sauce

1 veggie stock cube

black pepper

rice

turmeric

coriander

Method:

It’s sooooooo easy!

pan.jpg

  • Chop the onion, chili, garlic and carrot and put into a deep pan with a generous splash of olive oil. Add a few cumin seeds depending on your taste and let them soften together.
  • Next add the mushrooms and after five minutes the red beans. Make sure you wash the red beans first if they come out of a jar.
  • Next add the tinned tomatoes and break up a vegetable stock cube into the mix. Add a little hot water- maybe 2 cups and let simmer and reduce.
  • As it is reducing it’s time to taste and add the condiments. I add a splash of Worcester sauce (I lie, I add about half a bottle) and also a splash of red wine. Then I add lots of black pepper. Just go with your instincts! You could also add soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Marmite…..up to you!
  • Now put on the rice. One cup per person. When the rice is almost done (i’m asuming one know, add a couple of teaspoons of turmeric and stir. Turmeric is super healthy and tastes amazing. I try to add it to as many things as possible these days. Be careful though, it stains!!
  • When the rice is done, serve on a place with a handful of chopped coriander and if you like a dollop of vegan yogurt on the side to cool the heat.

And for the song….

Ciao for now!

 

Esparregado

Me and wifey have been sooo busy lately, it`s a fact. So I´ve thought about posting something practical. And as wifey has been turning into the vegan thing my head has been going round and round trying to think of what the hell in Portuguese cuisine is vegan – it`s not a question with easy and straightforward answers. And that is another fact!

What have I cooked then? Esparregado! Yeah, that is the name of “it”. “It” is quick, simple, cheap and delicious. “It” is not a dish (although some people say you can just have “it” as a meal). I find that odd. But it serves many purposes. It can go from a side dish to dipping sauce – found this one not long ago and don’t even mention mayo or ketchup anymore…those are old fashioned! It`s kind of a spinach purée people used to cook in the old times. You can find it already cooked in most supermarkets (not in Spain or in the UK…although similar creamy vegetable purées can be found) and they are not that bad, but there’s nothing like cooking it yourself and learn how to add this or that to make it even more delicious.

So, let`s…

 

Ingredients:

400g of spinach

6 cloves of garlic (or more, or less, as you wish)

4/5 table spoons of flour

1 table spoon of balsamic vinegar (or more!)

A pinch of salt

A handful of raisins

 

Method:

First you have to cook the spinach. All of it. In a big pan!

Meanwhile, chop garlic into really tiny pieces.

Put olive oil in a pan and add the garlic. Let the garlic swim in the olive oil and when you think it’s enough take the pan off the hob and let it rest.

When the spinach is cooked, ask your friend colander to give you a hand but keep a bit of that water with the spinach (half a glass more or less)

Blend the spinach for a couple of minutes. If the mix it’s too thick add a bit more of water.

Add it to the other pan, back on the hob and start exercising (aka stirring) like there is no tomorrow.

When it boils add the flower and keep on stirring. Do that for about 5 minutes.

Add one spoon of balsamic vinegar and exercise a tiny bit more.

And voilà! Your esparregado is done. I like to add raisins to the mix but will leave that up to you. Hope you enjoy 😉

img_20161122_181455

This song goes to all esparregado lovers.

Depeche Mode – Freelove

Slightly sweet veggie burgers

Lately, I am a little obsessed with veggie burgers. It seems you can make them out of pretty much anything and this recipe certainly proves that! So….here we go…

Ingredients for 6 burgers:

1 jar of ready to eat chickpeas (you can always use dried if you prefer)

1 small tin of sweetcorn

4 tablespoons of flour

A hand full of breadcrumbs

Turmeric to taste

Cumin to taste

Guacamole:

2 avocados

Squeeze of lemon

Small green chili

Method:

  • Put all the the ingredients for the burgers plus some salt to taste into a big bowl and use a hand mixer until you get a consistency more like a paste. Don’t make it too sloppy, it’s nice to have chunks!

burger1

  • Flour your hands and grab a ball of the paste and form it into a patty. I usually make mine about the size of the palm of my hand. Put them on non stick paper then in the fridge for at least half an hour. This will help keep shape when cooking.

burger2

  • Remove from the fridge and fry in a couple of inches of vegetable oil (no need to waste olive oil for this…unless you are rich…then go ahead!)
  • Cook them to taste. I like mine crunchy and brown.
  • Allow to cool on kitchen paper to get rid of any excess moisture.
  • While cooling, make the guacamole. Peel the avocados and remove the stones. Add to a bowl with a squeeze of lemons and a finely chopped chili.Again use the hand mixer or just a fork if they are very ripe. Add a pinch of salt- very important!
  • Serve on wholemeal toast (I can’t stand sugary fake burger buns) and put a dollop of guacamole on top. You could also serve these with a lovely side salad or fries if you want a bigger meal.

burger-4

Now all that’s left is the song. Last week , there was a concert here in Barcelona that I didn’t end up going to that would have been amazing if the tickets weren’t 60 euros!! Not so happy with those prices but these people form part of the soundtrack to my youth.

The Prodogy – Breathe