Friday, 30 September 2011

Quinoa-stuffed vegetables- vegan

I used acorn squash, baby acorn squash and round courgettes for this, but you could use bell peppers, aubergine or large tomatoes too. I chose to make this dish with quinoa because of its superior nutritional qualities. Quinoa is a grain-like plant, but not a true grain as it is not a member of the grass family. (Despite this, however, we are not able to use it on ekadasi days.) It is actually related to spinach and amaranth. Quinoa is 12-18% protein, and is unusual amongst plant foods in that it contains a balanced set of aminoacids, meaning that it is a complete protein food. It is a good source of dietary fibre too, also easy to digest and gluten-free. In terms of minerals, it is high in phosphorus, magnesium and iron. As quinoa seeds have a natural coating of bitter saponins they are best rinsed before cooking. Quinoa can be sprouted or used as a more nutritous substitute for couscous or rice. I have often used it in salads too.
Here I cooked the quinoa unitil soft and all the water was absorbed, then added extra ingredients and flavours. Key in this version is the addition of our home-made organic sundried cherry tomatoes for some extra zing.
For every 500g of uncooked quinoa, use:
1 tab dried oregano
1 tab extra virgin olive oil
1 tab organic pumpkin seeds
50g chopped sundried tomatoes (I used our homegrown, home-dehydrated and bottled in salt water with a little olive oil)
3 tabs Cajun spice mix (see "Cajun-style eggless pancakes from the Princess", posted 7.6.11)
seasalt to taste

  • Hollow out the vegetables (if using large tomatoes or aubergine, reserve the flesh, finely-chopped, and add to the stuffing mixture) and part-bake larger vegetables such as pumpkins or squash in an oven preheated to 200-225C on oiled baking sheets.
  • Cook the quinoa according to the directions, until all the cooking water is absorbed.
  • Add the seasonings and mix well. Fill the vegetables with the mixture and return to the oven until they are soft and starting to brown.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Chocolate flapjacks- vegan

I can't take full credit for these flapjacks; the concept was my husband's. At last a vegan flapjack that holds together without the use of margarine!
250ml organic cold-pressed sunflower oil
250g demerara sugar
50ml water
400g porridge oats
150-200g plain chocolate/ vegan "milk" chocolate
  • Gently heat the sugar and oil until the sugar has melted 
  • Remove from the heat
  • Add the water and oats and mix well.
  • Press down into an oiled oblong Swiss-roll tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is starting to brown.
  • Before the mixture has cooled, break the chocolate into small pieces and scatter evenly over it. Leave it for a few minutes to melt and then spread it. When partially set, mark out so that the cooled flapjacks will cut up without breaking the chocolate or crumbling at the edges. Makes 16 flapjacks.
Possible tweak: Add a little natural almond essence to the oat mixture: it goes really well with the chocolate.