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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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. 😛

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. 😉

  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. 🙂

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Aubergine Parmigiana (Soy & Gluten Free)

This is total comfort food for when those spring evenings aren’t quite warm enough yet. It’s also a budget meal with just a few ingredients and herbs that you can make with what you have in a standard vegan cupboard. If you’re not vegan yet, perhaps you should visit http://www.whyveganism.com and get on that shit, right now! 😀

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Ingredients:

3 large aubergines

1 glug of olive oil

2 red onions

3 garlic cloves

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

Salt and pepper to season

1/4 tub of nutritional yeast

Method:

1) Slice the aubergine into quite thick slices and rub with salt and pepper. (Aubergine tends to be quite watery and you want it to absorb all the tomatoey goodness.)

2) Place in layers in a a lasagne dish.

3) Now mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. (Except the nutritional yeast.) Leave to marinate for 10 minutes whilst you heat the oven.

4) Now pour over the aubergine dish and sprinkle all of the nutritional yeast on the top.

5) Bake for 40 minutes.

6) Serve with new potatoes or a crisp salad.

 

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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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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. 😉 )

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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!

 

What I Ate Sunday

Today has been a really productive and non-stressful day and for the first time in what seems like forever, the sun was out. I woke up at around 07:15 but didn’t bother to get up until 08:30 due to having lots of snuggles of felines, a large white woof and a beardy man times. I left the bearded one in bed and made an epic smoothie, which subsequently I spoiled him with in bed.

This is a banana, mango, spinach, peanut butter and raw cacao powder smoothie. It tastes like a peanut butter and banana milkshake.

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That did me for the whole morning because it was so filling, however on return from our 6k walk with Bailey Woof I was getting a tad hungry so I made a wholemeal spinach and pasta “cheesy” bake with a cucumber and tomato side salad.

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A little while after this we hit the gym where we lifted some seriously heavy shit. I needed a protein hit after that so when we got home I rustled up some cashew nut cheese on some wholemeal sweet onion crackers.  (I’ll be posting a recipe for this soon.)

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For dinner Mykey made a kale, bean, mushroom, spinach and breaded tofu stir fry which totally hit the spot.

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So there you have it. Simply, tasty and healthy vegan food. 🙂

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! 😉

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! 🙂

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. 😉 (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 £1. Please enjoy and share far and wide.

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Lentil Stew & Sesame Rice

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: my family are difficult to feed. Each one has a different food that they dislike. Some won’t eat peppers, some won’t eat anything green, some won’t eat spices and others won’t eat mushrooms or tomatoes.

My way of eating changed dramatically when I left home. I started to experiment with world cuisine and ate foods I’d never have dreamed of eating before, which goes to show that a lot of people who are fussy eaters, me previously included, carry a lot of their dislike in their head rather than in their taste buds.

I am often tasked with cooking when I stay at my parents because I am adept at cooking large quantities of tasty food in a relatively short time. I decided to make this lentil stew and add various ingredients that I am constantly told won’t be eaten. Needless to say, it was all eaten.

Ingredients:

  • 285 g red lentils
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 large white onions
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 cube of frozen ginger
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper (All of them hate spice.)
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes (My mum and little sister hate tomatoes)
  • 1 lemon
  • 700 ml vegetable stock
  • Fresh parsley
  • 400g brown rice
  • 65 g sesame seeds (My little sister won’t eat seeds.)

Method

Do the rice first because it takes forever!

  • Place rice in a pan of boiling water and allow to cook on a low heat for about 45 minutes.
  • When rice is cooked, drain and mix with sesame seeds.

In the 45 minutes it takes to cook, get on with the stew!

  • Rinse the lentils under cold water and leave to drain.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and salt and cook until the onion is soft.
  • Now add the garlic, ginger, cumin and cayenne and keep stirring.
  • Add the vegetable stock, lentils, half of the lemon cut into slices and chopped tomatoes.
  • Simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes.
  • Finely chop your parsley and sprinkle with freshly squeezed lemon juice from the remaining half of the lemon.
  • Serve to your fussy family and watch them all eat it! 🙂

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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! 😛