International Vegan Pizza Day 2014

I’ll tell you what; I’ve never eaten so much pizza in my entire life. I did use some cheeky little cheats to make it not only quicker, but cheaper too. πŸ˜‰

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I made:

Pepperoni pizza muffins out of a wholewheat tortilla, pre-grated Toffuti cheese and VBites pepperoni style pieces. (Recipe coming for this soon.)

An Italian style spicy sausage (which was just a thinly sliced Linda McCartney sausage lightly fried in paprika and chilli flakes), artichoke and mushroom strong “cheddar” thin crust pizza, using JustRoll pre-rolled dough and pizza sauce.

A herby smoked cheese stuffed dough ball.

A standard thick crusted, thin based vegetable pizza with Tesco’s own brand smoked cheese.

 

Firstly I never want to see another pizza again πŸ˜‰ , secondly I refuse to believe you can’t go vegan because “OMG what would I do without pizza” and thirdly and finally after not having cheese on a pizza for so long, I’ve found I actually prefer it that way. It’s fresher and you can taste all of the toppings instead of just cheese. It was however a nice treat and definitely wait until next year before I indulge that much again.

What did you do for Vegan Pizza day?

 

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Pasta Alfredo & Kale Pesto

Having a lovely creamy pasta with a salty flavoursome pesto on it, is something I’ve not had since I’ve been vegan, which is almost 9 years now. I decided to mess around with some ingredients and I came up with this:

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Because the sauce is made from butter beans instead of cheese, it’s really filling. That protein certainly packs a punch! *flexes muscles* Kale is also a superfood and you should eat it every day, raw if possible.

Ingredients:

Pasta – I used Penne.

Alfredo Sauce

  • Vegan butter such as Vitalite.
  • 4 cloves of garlic.
  • Sea salt.
  • Black pepper.
  • 2 cans of butter beans, drained.
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, undissolved.
  • Water as required from pasta.

Kale Pesto

  • A large handful of curly kale.
  • A large handful of raw walnuts.
  • Sea salt.
  • Rapeseed oil.

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It’s best to start with the kale pesto so that it has time for all the flavours to infuse. Place the kale, walnuts and a sprinkle of sea salt into a food processor pulse blending whilst adding drops of rapeseed oil to gain the required consistency as pictured above.

Scrape out the pesto into a spare bowl and clean the food processor of all pesto flavours. You’ll need it for the next bit.

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Get your pasta on to cook as per the packet instructions, drain and place to one side. (Try and keep at least a small glass of that beautiful starchy water. It will thicken your sauce.)

Chop and peel the garlic and fry gently in about two large tablespoons of Vitalite for 3 to 4 minutes. Once complete, pour the entire contents of the pan into the food processor. (Tip, keep tasting it to make sure it’s to your liking. My first batch was waaaaaay too salty.)

Now add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce and blend until you get a nice thick consistency. Place this sauce in the pan you fried the garlic in and spread out.

Now place the pasta in the pan and mix through. The pasta will start to absorb the sauce and reheat, however if it’s still too cold for your liking switch on the pan for a couple of minutes to heat through.

Season with some extra black pepper and the kale pesto.

This amount will feed four adults, easily. You’ll also have tons of pesto left over that will keep for up to week in the fridge.

 

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Love and light! πŸ™‚

Chilli, Ginger & Coconut Japanese Vegetable Broth

Firstly let me just say, that I am really into Japanese style food at the moment. Secondly and I’m just going to put it out there, this is probably one of the best dishes I have ever made. The only thing that could have made this better was if I had used a pestle and mortar instead of a blender to make the broth paste. (Arthur our lovely ginger cat decided he didn’t like it anymore and smashed it on the floor.)

Also ASDA AKA Walmart is totally rubbish for all things Japanese, so I had to make substitutions left right and centre to make this work. It’s ok though because the bearded one absolutely loved it! \M/

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We have six rescue cats by the way so whenever we are taking pictures that are not just purely of food, you’ll see a couple here and there. πŸ˜›

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped.
  • 4 large leaves of savoy cabbage, chopped.
  • Lemon grass herbs or paste.
  • 10 black pepper corns.
  • 1 large red onion.
  • 5 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 red chilli pepper.
  • A peeled slice of fresh ginger the length of your little finger.
  • 250ml water.
  • Sea salt to add for your taste.
  • Half a head of fresh broccoli, chopped.
  • A handful of fresh coriander, chopped.
  • 1 tin of coconut milk.
  • Sugar snap peas, de-podded.

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The method:

  • Get your wok out and place a small amount of oil in it. Turn up the heat and place the chopped red onion and peppercorns in the pan.
  • Stir fry for about 3 minutes and then turn the heat off.
  • In the meantime deseed your red chilli and place it in a food processor with the garlic and ginger. Now add about 100 ml of water and wizz it all up to form a paste. (You may need to pulse blend here depending on how good your blender is. I’m not like other food bloggers. Vitamix has yet to endorse me, but hey if you’re listening guys, I don’t mind. :P)
  • Place your paste into your wok and crank up the heat again for another 3 or 4 minutes to reduce it down a bit.
  • Now it’s time to start adding ingredients one by one, each time stirring and covering in the tasty mixture you just made. I started with the carrots and and worked my way through the rest ending in coconut milk.
  • Make sure you have mixed everything in well.
  • Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes so that the vegetables aren’t entirely raw.
  • Serve with some fresh coriander and chop sticks.

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Chutney Roasted Mock Beef Spinach & Beetroot Salad

Things don’t always have to be complicated to be amazing. Sometimes the most simple of ingredients thrown together can create an explosion of flavour in your mouth that you thought you might never be able to create.

A lot of people think that as a vegan you always have to make everything from scratch too. Well that is a big fat lie! The stars of this dish are the pre-made ingredients you can see below:

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The ingredients themselves are pretty simple too:

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  • A teaspoon of dried thyme.
  • A good few twists of black pepper.
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.
  • A whole pack of pre-diced and smoked beetroot.
  • 3/4 pack of baby leaf spinach.
  • 1 teaspoon of olive or rapeseed oil.
  • 1 whole pack of VBites beef style roast chopped into slices.
  • 2 tablespoons of your favourite sweet chutney.

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This recipe will make enough for two hungry post-workout adults. πŸ˜‰

  1. Get the oven on it’s top heat, whatever that is for you.
  2. Place the balsamic vinegar, oil and beef style pieces in a baking tray and mix together so that the flavours start to soak into the “meat.”
  3. Now mix in the chutney making sure every single slice is smothered in it. Use more that 2 tablespoons if need be.
  4. Place that deliciousness in the oven for 10 minutes. (Keep an eye on it because the chutney burns easily.)
  5. In the mean time mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and chop them down with a large pair of scissors to give it a shredded salad feel. (You won’t need any dressing. The “beef” will dress the entire thing.)
  6. When 10 minutes has passed, remove the roasting mix from the oven and combine with the salad you just made.
  7. Serve that baby hot and maybe with a pinch of dried chilli on top. πŸ™‚

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Cauliflower Rice Wraps

Quite often I sit at work bored out of my mind day dreaming about what I can have for dinner and that is often where my ideas for blog posts come from too. I wanted to make something Mexican inspired that wasn’t too heavy on the calories but still absolutely delicious. This is what I came up with! πŸ™‚

 

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Ingredients:

  • A small head of cauliflower. (I got mine in the reduced section at Tesco for 79p)
  • A large handful of brown lentils.
  • 5 cherry tomatoes.
  • 2 red onions.
  • Fajita spice packet. (Again Tesco have a cheaper own brand range that I used here.)
  • 4 cloves garlic.
  • Some alfalfa sprouts. (Optional but a nice nutritional hit.)
  • Fresh baby leaf spinach, about two handfuls.
  • A mild shop brought salsa or if you have time you can make your own.
  • Wholemeal tortilla wraps.

Method:

Rinse your lentils in cold water and then place in a pan and simmer for about 25 minutes or until reasonably soft.

Heat a small amount of oil in a pan. Peel and finely chop your onion and garlic and place in the pan.

Peel the leaves from your head of cauliflower. Now you can either grate it or you can place the cauliflower in a blender with the grater attachment. Once complete place in the pan with the onion and garlic and mix thoroughly.

Now add the fajita spice, mix through and turn the heat down whilst you wait for then lentils to cook.

Once the lentils are down, drain and then mix in with the cauliflower rice. You may wish to add more spice here. I added some black pepper, mainly because I really like it! πŸ˜›

Chop up your spinach, sprouts and cherry tomatoes and place in a salad bowl. I also like to place the fajita mix in a bowl and the tortillas on a plate so everyone can just help themselves.

This recipe makes enough for four large wraps and it’s super healthy.

 

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Jerk Tofu With Cucumber “Pesto” Salad

Sunday lunch has never really been traditionally British in the Queer Vegan household. We very rarely sit down to a plate full of roasted stuff covered in gravy and anyway, if we do it’s normally at the Toby Carvery accompanied by a beer. (We’re on quite a strict diet at the moment due to Tough Mudder training so that’s really not going to be happening.)

Today’s Sunday lunch was much more typical of what we would eat and a hell of a lot healthier too. This dish is ram packed with calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C and protein.

Ingredients:

  • Half a cucumber.
  • A large handful of baby leaf spinach.
  • Three cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • One tablespoon of pine nuts.
  • One tablespoon of sesame seeds.
  • One tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
  • One block of tofu, drained. (Place the tofu between two plates for about 30 minutes so that as much water as possible is pressed from the block.)
  • Two tablespoons jerk seasoning.
  • Two tablespoons breadcrumbs.
  • Two tablespoons vegetable oil.

 

Method:

  1. Slice your drained tofu into your preferred shapes. (I like a rectangle shape personally.)
  2. Mix the oil, breadcrumbs and jerk seasoning in a bowl. Then gently cover each piece of tofu with the mixture and place straight into a hot grill pan. (The ones with the ridges that give the tofu a char-grilled look.) Each side will take about five minutes.
  3. In the meantime place the crushed garlic into a large bowl. Grate the cucumber and the spinach either manually (good luck) or use a food processor with the grater attachment. Place these in the bowl also.
  4. Mix around with your hands so that the garlic infuses throughout the salad and then place onto a plate. (This amount should serve two.)
  5. Now sprinkle the pine nuts, sesame seeds and nutritional yeast over the salad and add some dried chili flakes too. (Optional.)
  6. By now the tofu should be cooked. Remove from the hot pan using a spatula and place on top of the salad.
  7. GET THAT YUMMYNESS IN YOUR FACE!

 

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Mock Duck Curry

I figured the other day that I’d not really done a half decent mock meat recipe on this blog. One of my favourite mock meats is duck. This is mainly because you can buy it outside of specialty stores and I have absolutely no idea what duck tastes like. I’d say that this tastes like a very savory braised tofu, which is great! Here’s my enthusiasm for mock duck:

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Just kidding. πŸ˜‰ I can show my appreciation on a far larger scale!

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So here’s your ingredients list:

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  • Enough basmati rice to feed two people.
  • A teaspoon of dried chili flakes.
  • Two cans of mock duck. (I picked these up from Holland & Barrett.)
  • Two tablespoons of mild curry powder.
  • A sprinkle of sea salt.
  • One tin of coconut milk.
  • 3 cloves of garlic.
  • A tablespoon of vegan butter. (I used Vitalite.)
  • Two red onions.
  • Two large potatoes. (Which you can see in the picture, but I only used one in the end.)

Method:

Place the butter, onion and garlic in a warm pan. Mix until butter has melted and then turn the heat down to it’s lowest setting.

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Add the chili, curry powder and salt and stir again.

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Dice your potato and add that in, ensuring that it gets fully covered in the spices.

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Now add the mock duck and coconut milk. If you have never cooked with mock duck before, you’ll notice it comes out of the tin looking like this:

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Just chop it up into smaller chunks and chuck it straight in.

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After about 20 minutes simmering on a low heat with the occasional stir, get your basmati rice on.

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You’ll notice that the colour of the source will begin to change and it will begin to thicken. This is absolutely intentional. Nobody likes a watery curry do they?

After another 10 minutes your rice should be done, so drain it and serve with some fresh parsley and of course the curry, which by now has been slowly infusing for around 30 minutes.

Believe me this dish is so simple to prepare considering for the layer upon layer of flavour you get at the end of it. I hope you enjoy and please remember to share far and wide so Queer Vegan can get some exposure!

Love and light! πŸ˜€

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Cashew Cream Cheese

I’ve been wanting to make my own nut cheese for a while now. I’ve scoured the wonderful internet and found many a hard cheese recipe that involved exotic ingredients and equipment that most people have never even heard of, let alone would actually have.

In my searching I found a blog called This Rawsome Vegan Life and she has created a creamy cashew cheese and placed it in a raw burger. This is my take on that recipe in two different styles. One will be with the raw burger and the other just as a snack.

Raw Burgers:

8 portabello mushrooms with stalks removed

Olive oil

Terriyaki sauce

Sea salt

For the filling:

6 spring onions, chopped

3 large tomatoes, diced

Dried chives

For the cheese:

400 grams cashew nuts

2 shot glasses of water

4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

The juice of one lemon

2 cloves of garlic

A tablespoon of herbs de Provence

A teaspoon of sea salt

Method:

  • Poor a good glug of olive oil, terriyaki sauce and a large pinch of salt into a mixing bowl.
  • Rub each mushroom in this newly formed sauce and place on a greaseproof sheet in a baking tray.
  • When this is done you have two options. If you have a dehydrator they go in there for 4 hours. If you have an oven, they go in there for 3 hours on the lowest heat setting.
  • Mix the filling together in a bowl and set aside.
  • Next it’s cream cheese time! Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse blend until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
  • Scoop all the cheese out and leave covered at room temperature for about two hours so the consistency thickens slightly.
  • When the mushrooms are cooked, serve the two halves like a burger bun stuffing them full of the cheese and the filling and pressing together.
  • Eat with your hands! (Or if this is too messy for you, use a knife and fork. πŸ˜‰ )

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There was quite a lot of cheese left over and it kept outside the fridge for three days before we finished it all off, mainly on crackers with lots of chilli and garlic crushed over the top.

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This cream cheese is absolutely delicious, healthy and totally addictive. I actually cannot wait to make more.

Enjoy amigos!

 

Leek & Potato Soup (Cheap As Chips!)

It feels like we have had two days of sunshine since the beginning of 2014. In fact the weather is so bad that there is a severe weather warning across most of the country with mass flooding and possible tornado warnings. I’ve never known anything like it in my life! Whether you believe it’s the human race’s fault or it’s happening on it’s own, you can’t deny that the weather and climate are certainly changing.

With that in mind, is it any surprise that I am once again providing you with a delicious and healthy dose of comfort food to keep you warm? Not really! πŸ˜‰

I rustled this up from scratch after a walk on the beach with the dogs and my family. I believe this might have been the first time my sister Donna has tried my food and she seemed to like it, so get in! πŸ™‚

Ingredients for 5 adults:

3 leeks, chopped

6 small potatoes, peeled

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 vegetable stock cube

1 pint of unsweetened soya milk

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard

Seeded rolls to serve

Method:

  • Fill your largest pot to the half way point and place on the stove on a high heat.
  • Place the potatoes, leeks, onion, garlic and stock cube in the water and turn down to a simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Drain the water and place back on the hob, this time adding the mustard and soya milk. (If you want it to be extra creamy, here is the place to add a dollop of vegan butter if that sort of thing takes your fancy.)
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Use a hand blender to turn the soup into a thick and filling mixture.

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  • Serve with “buttered” half stale rolls that your Dad picked up for 8p. πŸ˜‰ (Or some nice fresh ones are just fine too.)

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It has also been mentioned in a lot of my outreach work lately that people believe vegan food is expensive. Here is proof that it isn’t. The total cost of this dish per head was less than Β£1. Please enjoy and share far and wide.

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Super Secret Scrambled Tofu Recipe: The Best You’ll Ever Have!!!!

I think people are a bit lost when it comes to tofu. It’s this white squishy block which doesn’t taste like anything. I saw an episode of Come Dine With Me once and a vegan guy on there served his dinner guests raw tofu and avocado. What the hell was he thinking? YUCK!

The number one rule is flavouring: herbs, spices and marinades are the best but sauces, bread crumbs and oils can also be great too.

On Facebook I’m constantly raving about how amazing Mykey’s scrambled tofu is, so I finally caught him in the act on Sunday morning and took some pictures.

 

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First let’s get these ingredients down:

  • A large handful of fresh baby leaf spinach (frozen is far too watery.)
  • 6 large button mushrooms
  • Tumeric
  • Black salt (not essential but will make the tofu smell and taste more like egg.)
  • Terriyaki sauce
  • 1 pack of chilled firm tofu (not silken)
  • A dash of oil
  • Wholemeal sourdough bread to serve
  • Nutritional yeast

 

Method:

Heat the dash of oil in a frying pan.

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Slice your mushrooms and place into the pan, stirring every minute or so.

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In the meantime, drain your tofu over the sink.

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When the mushrooms have begun to soften, add the tofu by squeezing it through your hands so it crumbles. Break any extra bits up with your mixing spoon.

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Now add about a tablespoon of powdered turmeric, a glug of teriyaki sauce, two tablespoons of nutritional yeast and two pinches of black salt and mix together.

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Add your spinach and mix in until wilted.

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Now you can turn off the heat whilst you wait for you bread to toast.

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Spread generously with vegan butter, add tofu and then get it all in your face, with ketchup.

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Oh and be careful, other’s in your house may want some too! πŸ˜›