Tomato Spaghetti With Smoky Bacon Tofu

If you get this recipe right, it will literally be one of the best things you’ll ever eat. The sauce has been in the making for several years. I use it in all Italian dishes now. The smoky bacon tofu is spot on. It actually tastes like bacon when warm and ham when cold. I destroyed my kitchen in a hurricane of destruction getting the recipe right.

First of all I was just going to do the sauce recipe for you and totally cop out on the bacon by using chorizo.

BeFunky_20150120_125503.jpgI decided against it. I used chilled smoked tofu to make some seriously awesome bacon. :)

Ingredients:

2 white onions, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp sugar

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp of chilli paste

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oregano

Half a pack of wholewheat spaghetti

1 block of smoked, chilled tofu

Half a pot of paprika

1 tbsp salt (separate from previous salt.)

1 tbsp yeast extract

Method:

First of all get your pan on for the spaghetti. I am lucky enough to have a spaghetti pan. Fill with water and a dash of salt. Allow water to boil first if you don’t have a spaghetti pan. Otherwise throw it straight in.

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Press the tofu. I’m not fancy. I use a large pot of sesame seeds and a sieve. Leave that pressing whilst you prepare the sauce.

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Get the sauce going now. Fry off the onions, garlic and chilli for a few minutes until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar and oregano mixing frequently and keeping on a low heat.

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(A good tip for chilli is to go to the supermarket late at night and pick up a big bag that has been reduced to 9p. Blend and then pickle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to get a lovely big jar of chilli paste you can spoon into multiple dishes.)

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Get a frying pan on with a good amount of oil in it and your stove should look something similar to this.

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Cut your drained tofu into pieces the size and thickness of your little finger. Pour the paprika and salt onto a chopping board and mix together with your hands. Place your yeast extract as a dollop on the side. One piece at a time, cover the tofu in salt and paprika. Then using your finger, smear yeast extract on both sides. Stick this in the pan and allow to brown for 2 minutes on each large side. Taste it as soon as it’s cool enough to put in your mouth. Does it taste like bacon? If the answer is yes, do the same with the rest. If the answer is no, add more yeast extract each time until the answer is yes. I went through quite a lot of tofu before I got this right. It’s not really an exact science unfortunately. One thing is true though, it bloody well tastes more like bacon than anything I have ever tasted since becoming vegan.

They should come out like this:

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Not pretty I know, but don’t worry. Taste is what this dish is all about.

Drain your pasta and mix in with the sauce straight away. Sprinkle the top with your tofu bacon that you’ve now cut into cubes. (Do not mix the bacon through.)

Serve straight away or eat cold for lunch the next day.

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The sweetness of the sauce should balance the smoky, salty flavour of the bacon.

I hope you enjoy this. I know it’s not the prettiest or the most comprehensive recipe in the world, but do you know what? The best ones never are.

 

Sticky Lemon Mushrooms

If you’re looking for an easy week night meal that takes about 30 minutes, this is the dish for you.

It’s full of intense flavour and you can add bits to it to bulk it up if you are extra hungry.

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Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 whole pack of mushrooms

1 tsp of Chinese five spice powder

2 tbsp plain flour

A thumb sized piece of ginger, shredded

250g of sugar snap peas or mangetout

2 spring onions, sliced

Then for the sauce:

3 lemons (finely grated rind and juice of 2, 1 thinly sliced.)

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp liquid vegetable stock

2 tbsp of golden syrup

2 tsp cornflour, dissolved in 1 tbsp of water

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1) Make the sauce. In a bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients, except the lemon slices, then set aside.

2) Heat the oil in a wok or a frying pan. Season the mushrooms to your taste and sprinkle with five spice and flour. Brown the mushrooms in the pan.

3) Add the ginger, mangetout and spring onions and sizzle for a few minutes.

4) Finally add the sauce and lemon slices and mix for 2/3 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.

Serve over white rice. Enjoy! :)

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Simple Sharing Platter

Whenever I have people over, I always provide food for two reasons:

1) I’m a good host and I like my guests to be comfortable in my house.

2) It promotes veganism and that is always a good thing.

I had my niece around just before Christmas. She isn’t vegan and isn’t a particularly adventurous eater. The only thing on my platter she had had before was the BBQ sauce.

I made the guacamole myself using avocado, lime juice, salt, chilli and garlic and a blender. The BBQ sauce was shop bought.

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I then baked Vegi Deli chicken style pieces in Jamaican All Spice and sautéed the aubergine in salt and garam masala until soft.

The whole lot took me about 20 minutes. Guess what? She loved it!

Simple and tasty vegan food wins the day again.

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Queer Vegan now has an Instagram page too. Check it out! Queervegan666

 

Tofu Mustard Steaks With Herby Lentils & Capers

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This is one of those, “I fancy something a bit different” recipes. It’s sure as hell not a meaty dish at all, despite what the name may say. It’s savoury for sure, but filled with spice and freshness that you would never get using a lump of cow. Before anyone yaps on, “urgh then you shouldn’t call it a steak.” PLEASE! I can call it what I like. It’s my damn recipe! :P

 

Ingredients:

1 red onion, diced

1 teaspoon of mixed Italian herbs

The juice of one lemon

The zest of the same lemon

1 block of firm tofu (I used Cauldron as it’s widely available in the arse end of nowhere where we live.)

Mustard (I used American burger mustard because my partner doesn’t like things too hot. I’d have used whole grain English mustard if I was just cooking for me.)

Black pepper

Salt

Green lentils, about 2 cups

2 tablespoons of capers from a jar (rinse them off because whatever they preserve them in is bitter as hell.)

Some olive oil

A glass of red wine to serve. ;)

 

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Method

1) Get the oven on full whack. It needs to be at a high temperature to crisp the tofu.

2) Drain and press your tofu to remove as much moisture as possible. I put mine between two plates because I’m not fancy enough to have a tofu press.

3) Once your tofu is ready, cut into four steaks and then cover in mustard, slat and pepper. Put them into the oven for approximately 40 minutes with a dash of olive oil over the top for extra crisp.

4) Now get your green lentils on the boil. following the packet instructions.

5) In a mixing bowl pour your lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper and then stir together. Now add the chopped onion and mixed herbs.

6) When the lentils are cooked, drain and then place in the mixed bowl, stirring to ensure good coverage from the dressing. Now add the capers. Serve the mixture between two plates.

7) Take the mustard steaks from the oven and place directly on top of your lentil mix. Serve hot with a glass of red wine and a fresh dash of olive oil over the top for flavour.

 

This recipe serves 2 adults.

 

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Sausage Ragu & Cheesy Polenta

A sausage ragu is one of those recipes you often see on pretentious Italian cooking shows. The chef spends all day cooking it and it looks like tomato slop on a plate. I decided I’d write my own recipe for it which can be completed without fancy ingredients and in about 30 minutes. This is now one of my favourite comfort food meals. It’s fresh and fragrant, yet filling and hearty. Everything you want in a dish right? Take a look at this!

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I enjoyed mine with a lovely Welsh cider really complemented the flavours in the sauce! :) (Pretentious or what? :P )

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced

8 vegan sausages (I used Linda McCartney as these days I’m skint.)

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

400 ml vegetable stock

2 tbsp tomato puree

400g instant polenta

1 whole block of vegan cheese (I used Cheezly because it’s hard to get hold of much in rural South Wales. Try Tesco’s smoked vegan cheese for the best flavours.)

4 fresh rosemary sprigs

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Method

Make the ragu! Heat the oil in a frying pan. Cook the onions and garlic for a few minutes on a medium heat.

Stir in the sausages, breaking them up into small pieces as they defrost. This should take roughly 8 minutes.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, stock, tomato puree and most of the rosemary. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken.

Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Whilst the ragu is simmering away, it’s time to make the cheesy polenta. Make up the polenta as per the packet instructions. Remove from the heat and stir in your cheese. (You’ll need to have grated it for this to work.) Season as you wish.

To plate up, pour the ragu over the top of the polenta and add some fresh sprigs of rosemary.

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I really hope you enjoy this dish. It’s worth the time and effort to make it. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Steak & Ale Pie

It’s one of those things non-vegans often say to me, “you can never replicate things like steak.” Well until now I’d tried and failed on many occasions and I was just resigned to never being able to get anything that chewy and meaty. Even Veggie World’s mutton style pieces couldn’t quite match up. So how did I do this? I went back decades to what vegans used to eat before we had all this super processed imitation meat. I bought a bag of TVP for £1.89 from a hippie store in Pontypridd. TVP stands for textured vegetable protein and I brought the chunky stuff. I’ve had it before and it tasted awful, but with a long marinade and then slow cook this stuff loses it’s original flavour and soaks up all the beautiful flavours around it, much like meat would. Try this recipe for your Sunday lunch. You won’t be disappointed!

 

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Ingredients:

2 large red or white onions, peeled and chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

1 bottle of vegan ale (I used Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference brand as it is clearly labelled vegan.)

1/2 a bag of TVP

1 large tablespoon of tomato puree

2 tubes of Just Rol shortcrust pastry

1 teaspoon of cornflour

1 cube of vegetable stock, not mixed

Parsley

 

Method:

Heat a pan and add a dash of oil.

Add the onion, garlic and chopped carrot and fry gently for a few minutes until they start to soften slightly.

Now add the TVP and tomato puree, making sure to stir the contents of  the pan well so that all the flavours coat the TVP.

Crank up the heat and add half the bottle of ale to the pan, again stirring well. Allow some of the ale to boil off and then add the rest.

Crumble the vegetable cube stock into the pan, add the cornflour and parsley to taste.

The mixture should start to thicken after a few minutes so turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 15 minutes whilst you heat up the oven. Have a taste of your mixture after this time. The TVP won’t be entirely the way it should be at this point, but the sauce should taste right. If it’s too thick or or too strong, add some water and mix through. (The flavour you are looking for is sweet but ever so slighlt bitter. Add brown sugar if the ale taste is too strong.)

Line a pie or bread tin with the Just Rol pastry and fill the tin with your pie mixture. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before placing the pie lid on.

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Now place in the oven on a medium heat for about 25 minutes or until you are satisfied with your crust.

 

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Serve with new or mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.

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Enjoy!

 

Quinoa Crusted Vegetables

The party season is upon us! Whether it’s Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas or New Year you’re celebrating, you’re need some munchies to have around whilst entertaining people. This is also great to eat on the sofa in front of a movie! :)

I was dubious at first, like, “how the hell is raw quinoa going to taste nice?” Trust me though. This is like having something breaded and crunchy.

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Ingredients

(Ok so scale up if you need to because this was just for 2 people.)

2 courgettes, cut lengthways

1 aubergine, sliced into discs

2 sweet potatoes

1 pot of store bought salsa

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

2 tsp oil

2 tsp Jamaican all purpose or jerk seasoning

A large handful of raw, dry quinoa

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Method

Get the oven on full whack.

Slice up the sweet potatoes into chips, place on a baking tray and cover in oil and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste and then chuck in the oven for 30 minutes.

Mix some salt, quinoa, oil and all purpose seasoning in a bowl.

Now dip the courgettes and aubergines into the bowl, making sure they get plenty of quinoa on them. (Your hands are going to get mucky. Deal with it.)

Place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.

The sweet potato fries and quinoa crusted vegetables should be ready about the same time.

Serve with salsa.

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