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! πŸ™‚

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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! πŸ˜›

 

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. πŸ˜‰

 

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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! πŸ™‚ (Pretentious or what? πŸ˜› )

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. πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Β£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 Β 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!

 

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!

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! πŸ™‚

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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 Β 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! πŸ™‚

 

 

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. πŸ™‚

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 croΓ»ton 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! πŸ™‚

 

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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! πŸ™‚

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

 

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?