Friday, 25 October 2013

Date Porridge- vegan

Add some fruit and almond milk to your porridge for an even better breakfast experience! 
I have to confess that, sometime last month, I ditched my breakfast smoothie in favour of something a little more substantial. There's something just not quite right about making and consuming smoothies when it isn't even light yet and it's slightly chilly, isn't there? Now usually my "something more substantial" isn't as healthy as a smoothie, but then I decided to try out my husband's favourite hot breakfast- porridge. Good old plain and boring porridge... except that nothing my husband makes is ever plain and boring, so this recipe is packed with fruity, seed-y flavours, natural sweetness and nutrients. Like a smoothie really. 

Serves 2-3:
1 cup porridge oats
2 cups water
6 dates, pitted and halved (we used fresh, but dried dates are also good)
1 tab pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-Plus almond milk to mix, agave nectar and fresh fruit to go on top
-Deluxe version: Throw in some raisins and cashew nuts too.

  • Simmer all the ingredients together until the oats are cooked.
  • Stir in some almond milk and top with agave and fresh fruit. Guaranteed to keep you fuelled until lunchtime, however late that may be!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Seitan in Damson Sauce- vegan, low fat

Served with stir-fried kale and brown rice, this makes a nourishing and tasty main meal
We don't have seitan very often like this; served up in slices, but when I was thinking about what to do with our last bowl of damsons from the garden I knew that if it was going to be a version of plum sauce then it had go with seitan. For those who are sensitive to gluten or wheat, then tofu would make a less chewy (unless you freeze it first) but equally delicious substitute. I was a little disappointed that the wonderful burgundy/ purple colour of the damsons fades to a reddish brown once cooked but their fruitiness comes through well. The flavour of this sauce is a quite complex mixture of fruity, tart, sweet, aromatic and spicy but it is very simple to make. It could be even simpler if you sub damson jam for the puree. (In that case you would leave out the agave in the sauce recipe.)

Serves 6-8 people
seitan made with 1.5kg strong white (bread) flour- make sure it is boiled in stock for at least 45 minutes before slicing and cooking in the sauce; just follow the link above for how to make it.
1 cup damson puree (Made by heating damsons until soft then rubbing through a sieve- the best way to deal with those pesky little stones.)
1 1/2 cups water
1 tab agave nectar
3 tabs soy sauce
2-3 star anise
1 tsp powdered ginger (or the equivalent fresh- I just didn't have any at the time)
1 tsp seasalt
2 tsps red chilli powder
1/4 tsp compound hing
a pinch of black pepper

  • To make the sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together in a large shallow ovenproof dish.
  • Slice the seitan and lay the slices in the sauce.
  • Bake at 200C for 30-40 minutes, until at least half the liquid is absorbed. You may want to cover the dish with foil for the last 15 minutes or so to prevent it drying out. Our seitan turned out really succulent and tender; maybe something to do with the acidity of the fruit in the sauce?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Cheese on Toast- aka Grilled Cheese- the Vegan Way (soya free)

Think this is cheese on toast? Think again...
If you are vegan you might miss the creamy, oozy crunchiness of a grilled cheese sandwich; the tangy Winter comfort snack that is cheese on toast- well here's how to enjoy something very close to that, only better because it has no animal ingredients. We ate this for lunch at the weekend, as the accompaniment to a hearty vegetable stew. The bread isn't even real yeasted bread, but a type of soda bread my husband taught me how to make. The recipe below should make enough "cheese" for 2 people to enjoy it grilled on toast.

The "cheese" does "melt", but without the stringiness of dairy cheese
100g ground cashews
1 level tab nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp seasalt
2-3 tabs lemon juice
30-50ml water (you'll have to play this one by ear)
  • Simply whisk all the ingredients together into a paste.
  • Leave in the fridge, uncovered, to firm up a little so that it spreads in bread or toast without dripping down the sides.
  • Try topping toast, pizza, jacket potatoes and stuffed vegetables with it...