Vegan Cheese & Chutney Parcels

I don’t very often cook with pastry. It’s far too much like baking for me. However with the availability of fresh vegan pastry now widespread, I thought I’d give it a go.Blog 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of JusRol fresh filo pastry
  • Poppy seeds
  • 5 small new potatoes
  • 1 carrot, peeleds
  • A small handful of curly kale
  • Caramelised red onion chutney
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 block of Violife vegan cheese, grated

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Method:

  • Get the oven on a medium heat.
  • Dice the potatoes and carrots and place in a pan of water, allowing to boil before turning the heat off.
  • Heat a pan, drain the potatoes and carrots and place in the pan with the kale and chutney.
  • Stir in the herbs and spices. Stir occasionally until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
  • Roll out the pastry and cut into squares. Place a large spoonful of the pan mixture into the centre of the square and top with cheese.
  • Fold the edges up over the mixture and sprinkle with poppy seeds. (You should have enough for four large parcels.)
  • Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm with ketchup.

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If you want to make your pastry, feel free. This isn’t Masterchef so I’ll take that short cut. πŸ™‚

Blogs on Mushroom Laksa and The Vegan Police coming soon.

 

 

A Day in the Life of Me

People often think that vegans live this strange kind of life, where we sit around in tie dye clothes and pray to a tree Goddess all day. Maybe there are some vegans like that. I guarantee though that most of us are just so normal it hurts. Here’s my Sunday for you. My day of rest and fun. πŸ™‚

We let the dogs in early in the morning when it is our rest days, so often I wake up like this.

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Epic breakfasts are also reserved for weekends. I made us siracha avocado, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes and bagels. Super yummy!

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Whilst we have breakfast, the girls enjoy causing mischief.

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And one of our five rescue cats, Saski Mouche enjoys the winter sun on the windowsill.

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After breakfast I enjoy some Gears of War whilst The Beard enjoys some Fallout 4.

My mum called around lunch time and I went to Sainsbury’s for a cheeky mince pie and a cup of coffee with her.

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Later on we took the girls out for a long walk up the mountain. We live in a really beautiful area and on our days off, we try and make the most of it.

For dinner I whipped up a lentil roast with a red wine reduction and some spring greens.

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So that’s it. Nothing fancy and not a hippy in sight.

 

 

 

Anna Loka: A Review

Anna Loka is a brand new vegan restaurant in the Roath area of Cardiff. Β I had Β been hearing some great things about the day time cafe menu, but they didn’t have an evening opening so I held back on visiting.

Recently they started to open in the evenings from 6pm. We booked for a table of ten to celebrate my imminent marriage to the bearded one.

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They offered 3 courses for Β£19.95, so of course we had the full lot. Here’s what was on offer:

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I had the pumpkin arancini. It was crunchy on the outside and Β gooey on the inside. The sweet tomato and herb sauce really complimented the the richness of the arancini.Β wpid-wp-1445193405256.jpeg wpid-wp-1445193583241.jpeg

My friends and family all had different dishes and were very happy with their choices. I had a few bites of everyone else’s, including eating the pansies from my mum’s salad, which the whole table found amusing.

Falafel.

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Beetroot Cappaccio.

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Southern fried vegetables.

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The main course was something altogether. Mine was absolutely mind blowing! I had the seitan steak. It was like roast beef, smothered in a beautiful gravy with perfect mustard mash and crunchy green vegetables. They even made the seitan themselves.

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My brother had the baked aubergine. He said it was good. I didn’t like it. I thought the aubergine was under cooked and the flavours didn’t seem quite right. Mismatched almost. It looked great though.

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The rest of the family had the raviollo. I tasted some and it was herby, fresh and full of flavour. It was a great dish, but I preferred my steak.

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We tried each other’s puddings and agreed that they were all amazing. I’d order any of them again. Personally, even though I ordered the creme brulee (and it had the crack when I broke the crunchy topping) , I thought the parfait was the star of the desserts.

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I give Anna Loka a 9.5 out of 10. The 0.5 will be remedied when I can have a nice glass of red wine with my steak. (They intend to bring in alcohol in the future.) The service was excellent and the food outstanding overall.

I’ll be popping in to try the breakfast and lunch menu at some point in the future too.

 

Jerk Pulled “Pork” with Banana Salsa & Peach Cobbler Pudding

This was a bit off the cuff. I just decided to take pictures of a two course meal I cooked my friends. The pictures therefore aren’t amazing, nor is there enough of them showing different elements. I’d like to apologise for that now. However, I couldn’t deny you this recipe because it was so damn good.

Ingredients

Salt

300 g brown sugar

4 cans of braised tofu

4 tbsp of jerk seasoning or hot fajita spice

A small glass of pineapple juice

50 g golden syrup

2 cans of black beans or pinto beans (Or a mix of both)

Lots of soft flour tortillas

Natural soya yoghurt (I just used one small pot)

3 medium bananas, not quite ripe, peeled and chopped

1 red onion, peeled and chopped

2 just ripe avocados

Juice of half a lemon

Juice of half a lime

Fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

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Method

An hour before, mix the salt, sugar and drained tofu in a large bowl and leave to marinate.

Once the hour is up, mix in the jerk seasoning, pineapple and golden syrup into the bowl.

Place in a hot pan and stir occasionally until the liquid starts to evaporate. Then turn down to a low heat whilst you break apart the tofu into pulled strips.

Leave to slowly cook off the rest of the juices whilst you make your salsa,

Put the diced banana in a bowl with onion. Peel, chop and stone the avocado and add that too. Mix in the lemon, lime and coriander and you’re done.

Reheat your beans and warm up your tortillas and your done.

Check it out.

Ready Made Ready made 2 Mixed beans Dollshouse

Serve with natural yoghurt for a cooling effect.

My friends had 3 each of these bad bois. I was stuffed after two.

When this has gone down you can serve your pudding. Obviously you would have had this prepared and in the oven before hand because you’re sensible like that right?

Being me, this is a super simple pudding and not too heavy on sugar.

Ingredients

2 tins of sliced peaches in juice

The zest of one lemon

2 tbsp golden syrup

140 g plain flour

50 g porridge oats

25 g cold vegan butter (I used vitalite.)

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Method

Get your oven on at about 200 degrees.

Drain the peaches and reserve the juice. Tip them into a deep baking dish. Toss with the lemon rind and 1 tbsp golden syrup.

In a bowl, combine the oats, flour and butter. Add the remaining golden syrup and peach juice.

Mix with a spoon until you have a crumbly mixture.

Scatter over the peaches and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with any leftover natural soya yoghurt you have.

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I hope the pictures weren’t too bad and you have a rough idea of what I’m on about.

Enjoy. X

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. πŸ™‚

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.

 

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™‚