Sweet Potato & Fig Salad

I don’t normally buy figs because they tend to be very expensive. However I walked into my local Morrison’s the other night and found a pack of four figs for 25p on offer. I had no idea what to do with them so I made a seasonal salad. You can adjust the spice in the recipe to your taste. Me? I like it reasonably hot!

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Ingredients:

4 large sweet potatoes

4 large figs

1 red chilli

250 ml balsamic vinegar

4 spring onions

2 teaspoons of caster sugar

Salt

Pepper

2 teaspoons of oil of choice. (I use rapeseed.)

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1) Get the oven on full whack.

2) Chop the sweet potatoes into wedges and place in a baking tray. Do the same with the figs.

3) Drizzle your oil over the tray mixture and add salt and pepper to season. Place into the oven for 30 minutes.

4) In the meantime stir fry a chopped red chilli and spring onions for a couple of minutes and leave to cool.

5) Now we need to make a balsamic reduction for the dressing. Pour the balsamic vinegar in a small pan and heat until it boils.

6) Add the caster sugar, stir well and leave to cool. the dressing should thicken to a syrup whilst cooling.

7) Remove the sweet potatoes and figs from the oven and mix in with the spring onions and chilli.

8) Serve drizzled with the sweet balsamic reduction.

 

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This could be great as a side dish or even a full main course salad.

 

Enjoy!

Growing Garlic

And so my adventure in Queer Vegan gardening begins! I’ve always thought that growing your own food is one of the most revolutionary things you can do, so why not let’s all do it together?

The first week in October is the ideal time to plant garlic so that you get lovely big bulbs in spring apparently. I’m going to do it one week early so that everyone has time to get the stuff they need to get this going.

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Stuff you will need:

An upcycled container. (I have used an old Ronseal container I found laying around.)

Compost. (Homemade is ideal, but if you’re just starting out like me, go and buy some.)

10 garlic bulbs. (Some guides say you need to buy these specially and can’t use the ones from supermarkets because they have been treated. I say, let’s try the cheap way and use the supermarket ones and see what happens. A lot of other people have had success with this.)

Method:

Wash out your container and fill it with compost.

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Now get your bulbs with flat bit facing down and cover with soil.

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This tub can be left outside, but don’t let it get too covered in frost and snow in the winter. I’m going to keep this in a corner to protect it a little bit, but not too much. Hopefully in the spring we’ll see some shoots. Let me know how you all get on and take some pictures! :)

Tesco Value Vegetable Sausages. (Product Review)

This is hardly going to be an exceptional blog post with lots of pretty pictures. The Tesco Value range does what it says on the tin. It’s cheap and it’s cheerful. These six sausages come in at £1. I know what all you UK vegans are thinking. You can get the meaty Linda McCartney sausages for a quid in most cheap supermarkets like Lidl, but here me out. These are really quite savoury considering they are basically vegetables in a tube and they might come in handy if you are struggling to get kids to eat vegetables. They are also lower in calories than the meaty versions. Have a look below:

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I served them up with herby mashed potato and broccoli. They were incredibly filling. I guess all I can say is, I’d probably buy them again just for something different. They are cheap and they are cheerful.

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Pan Fried “Duck” With Stewed Plums & Fondant Potato

Ok so this probably the most pretentious thing I have made. I was watching Saturday Morning Kitchen and some dude is pan frying a poor ducks breast to put in a salad. I’m like, SCREW THAT!! Let’s veganise this baby, for the animals, for your health and for the planet baby, yeah! See these ingredients! :)

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4 Plums

2 large potatoes

1 vegetable stock cube

2 carrots

4 runner beans

2 tins of mock duck

Salt

Pepper

Rapeseed oil

Golden syrup

 

Method:

 

Firstly you  need to do the potato fondants because they take about 35 minutes. Peel two large potatoes and core out a large cylinder.

Fry each end for about 3 minutes each in a hot, oiled pan.

In the meantime make up a pint of vegetable stock and pour it in a baking tray. Now place the two potato cylinders into that tray and place in the oven for 25 minutes.

Now slice the plums into quarters and boil for 10 minutes, before draining and frying with a large tablespoon of golden syrup for another five minutes. Then leave it to cool because that syrup is HOT!

Get your nicest non-stick pan, put a dash of oil in it, turn up the heat.

Open and drain your mock duck. Place the biggest, chunkiest bits in the hot pan and cover in salt and black pepper.

Turn once after 5 minutes.

Chop the carrots and runner beans. Place in a pan and boil for about 4 minutes.

Plate everything up in a way that please you. I did it in the most pretentious way I could think of.

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The bearded one asked for a non-pretentious version so I gave him this:

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I’d never made potato fondants before so this was a good experiment for me. The whole dish was divine and I managed to get everything to just the right texture. A dish to impress for sure! :)

 

 

Cheats Cheesy Pizza

Who doesn’t like cheating at cooking once in a while? Sometimes you’re just too busy to make things from scratch or you just fancy something different right? Well the other day when I was shopping in Morrisons I felt exactly like that and then I found this:

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It was in the fresh pasta section, but I decided to look anyway and low and behold, the damn thing is vegan! Instantly pizza came to mind because it would involve minimal work and I could just throw it in the oven for 15 minutes with a few toppings on top.

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I added aubergine, mushrooms, tomatoes, chilli peppers and fresh cherry tomatoes as well as a whole block of grated Cheezley vegan cheese. After 15 minutes and a few Italian herbs this is what it came out like:

 

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It went down beautifully with some homemade potato wedges and a green salad.

Being vegan can be really easy. If you want to learn more about veganism, check out http://www.vegankit.com

Caramelised onion & barley soup with cheeze croutons.

First let me apologise for there being a two month gap in blog posts. Life at Castle Mouche has been pretty hectic! We gave up our jobs and moved to the other side of the UK and then we adopted a new dog called Darcy who is taking up a lot of our time. I have however been cooking and taking pictures. Unlike a lot of bloggers my pictures aren’t staged. They just are what I happen to be eating and I decide to take pictures. :)

Let’s start off on a dish that is easy to make, loaded with calcium and can even be frozen for use later in the week.

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Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon of dried thyme

1 tablespoon sugar

1 pint of vegetable stock

60 g pearl barley

Half a bag of curly kale

Ciabatta bread

Grated vegan cheese. I used Cheezley.

Some sprouted beans for garnish. (Optional.)

 

 

  • Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, garlic, thyme and sugar.
  • Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly and then add the vegetable stock.
  • Add the pearl barley to this mixture and cook for a further 20 minutes.
  • In the mean time slice your ciabatta into croûton sized pieces, sprinkle with your grated vegan cheese and place under a warm grill for about 5 minutes. (Watch them carefully or else they are likely to burn.)
  • Add the kale to the soup and heat for another 3 minutes before serving warm with your croutons.

It’s really that simple! Enjoy as the nights start to get colder! :)

 

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Vegan Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

I got the idea for these bad bois from a random internet meme. I saw them and instantly thought, “this needs to be vegan!” Here’s the easy peasy veganised version for your taste buds pleasure! :)

Ingredients:

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Method:

Get the oven on at full whack!

Now cut circles from one of your wholemeal wraps to make a base. If you have pastry cutters that would be great, I don’t. I used the bottom of a tin which just happened to be the exact right size.

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Now place the bases in a muffin tin and place about a teaspoon of tomato puree in each.

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Fill each tin with the pre-grated Toffuti Mozzarella and VBites pepperoni style slices. (Chopped.)

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Then place them in the oven for 15 minutes before checking them. The cheese should be nice and melted by this point and you just need to brown off the top for another 5 minutes. Once cooked serve with a nice fresh salad.

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These are perfect for parties because you can literally eat them in a couple of bites, but the flavour is still really intense.

 

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If you’re not vegan already, please consider going vegan. It’s the least you can do for the animals, for your health and for the environment.

Find out more at:

http://www.vegankit.com

http://www.whyveganism.com

Emz X