Saturday, 14 July 2012

How-to 2: Make Crispy Roast Potatoes

Crispy roast potatoes

This month I'm going to show you my way of making roast potatoes that are crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy inside. They go with lots of meals and are a really useful basic to your repertoire. But don't eat too many! They are high in calories due largely to the fat content. The long cooking time at a high temperature also unfortunately will destroy much of the vitamin content, although they will contain some C and A.... but they are delicious, and a winner with kids!

1: Wash the potatoes, but don't peel them

2: Chop into 2 or 3 pieces, depending on the size of the potato

3: Place in a pan with minimal water, cover and cook (ideally all the water will be absorbed).

4: You will know when they're ready when they fall off the blade of a knife

5: Toss well in a colander to drain off any excess water, adding a little oil. (Make it one with a high smoke point like rice bran oil.) If they're cooked soft they should start to crumble at the edges; this is what makes them crispy.

6: Place on an oiled baking sheet or roasting dish. Roast at 225C for about an hour, turning halfway through, until browned and crispy.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Apricot-Cocoa Hemp Bars- vegan, uncooked (not raw)

Apricot-Cocoa Hemp Bars

I was so eager to make these once I got the idea that despite the fact I didn't have all the ingredients I wanted to use, I went ahead anyway. The result was a quite passable cocoa and hemp hit; so passable, in fact, that I decided to blog it and I'll also blog the version I intended to make once I get the ingredients. These bars are "uncooked " rather than raw because I don't want to mislead raw foodists: although there is no cooking involved in this recipe, the cocoa and the jam have already both been subjected to high temperatures. What I intend to make involves natural orange flavour and date paste rather than apricot jam, and I'll maybe dehydrate it for a few hours to make it chewier. (Cacao rather than cocoa would make it a truly raw bar too.)
Why hemp?- Well, it's truly a superfood, containing EFAs such as linoleic acid and omega-6, and is second only to soya beans for protein. (Watch out for it here in Ingredient of the Month sometime in the future.) Don't worry: there is no THC in the hemp you buy to eat, so it won't hurt you! As the cocoa flavour and hemp-y texture is quite intense, I made 8 small bars from these quantities. 

7 rounded tabs shelled hemp seeds
2 flat tabs fine wholegrain porridge oats
2 flat tabs apricot jam
2 flat tabs organic cocoa powder

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Press evenly into a lightly-oiled tray or a silicone mould and refrigerate for at least half an hour to firm up.
  • Cut into bars, remove from the mould and serve.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tangy lime and coriander guacamole- vegan

Guacamole with tortilla chips makes a filling snack

This is the other recipe from "Eco-builders' Breakfast", as promised. This guacamole also goes well with baked potatoes, salad or crudites. Rather than being spicy, it is tangy and refreshing on the palate. It served 6 avocado-lovers.

8 small but perfectly-ripe avocadoes (I used Hass, as I prefer the flavour)
About 100ml fresh lime juice (I squeezed 3 limes for this- you could use less if you don't like it too tangy)
1 1/2 tsps seasalt
1 1/2 tsps ground coriander
A little fresh coriander (dhaniya) to garnish

  • Mash or blend the avocadoes to a paste. I prefer it with some larger bits, but you could make it completely smooth.
  • Stir in the salt and coriander.
  • Serve garnished with the fresh coriander.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Scrambled tofu- vegan

Scrambled tofu on pumpernickel toast for breakfast!

As promised, here is the first of the recipes from the "Eco-builders' breakfast" I posted yesterday. I am not a huge fan of "pretend meat/ eggs" but scrambled tofu is delicious, quick and easy to make and it's a low (ish)-fat, high protein light and digestible meal. I often make it simply by mashing tofu with a fork while adding seasoning and a little soya milk, and it always tastes good. This is a slightly more sophisticated version- don't be put off by the long list of ingredients; if you don't have them all just substitute your favourite flavourings. I suspect it would be really nice with a little chopped fresh tarragon on top, but sadly I didn't have any at the time. I have also made this using curry powder, and for those who miss eggs the addition of a little black salt would give it that sulphurous flavour. This recipe serves 6 portions as a side. It's quite rich, so you don't need a huge amount on your plate.

850g firm tofu
1 tab extra-virgin olive oil 
8 tabs unsweetened soya or nut milk
1 rounded tab yeast flakes (aka nutritional yeast)
1/4- 1/2 tsp compound hing
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsps turmeric
1 tab light soy sauce/ Liquid aminos
1 1/2 tsps seasalt
  • In a bowl, rinse, press and coarsely mash the tofu. Leave some slightly bigger lumps for texture.
  • Stir in the oil and soya milk.
  • Mix in all the other ingredients. Don't over-mix, or you will get too smooth a texture.
  • Tip into a shallow non-stick pan, or one that is lightly oiled, and cook over a gentle heat, stirring until heated through.
  • Serve on the toast of your choice (see picture above), or on its own.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Eco-builders breakfast- vegan

Where's the beans on toast?!

This post is dedicated to my dear friends Sucandra Dasi and Dhamsakha Dasa, who are currently expending a lot of energy in realising their dream of building an eco-community of green housing and sustainable organic gardening. I think this cruelty- free"builders' breakfast" (as we call a cooked breakfast in the UK) would be ideal to fuel any hungry eco-builder and keep them going all day... and not a baked bean or bottle of brown sauce in sight!

On the plate is (clockwise from top):

  • Tangy lime and coriander guacamole sprinkled with preserved black beans
  • Baked plantain
  • Scrambled tofu topped with baked tomato on toasted pumpernickel
I will post the recipes for the guacamole and the scrambled tofu next...