French onion soup (recipe)

This post is part of VeganMoFo 2019, a month-long celebration of vegan food. This week’s theme is travel, and today’s prompt is favourite international dish.

I’m not usually keen on onion-centric food: onion rings have too strong a flavour for me, and I don’t like the crunch of lightly-cooked onions when they’re part of a larger dish. However, at my company’s annual conference last year the vegan option was French onion soup, and to my surprise I enjoyed it.

This is proper slow food: I put on the deluxe edition of London Grammar’s Truth Is A Beautiful Thing as I started, and I was still cooking when the album finished an hour and twenty minutes later. The long cooking time makes the onions soft and silky, and mellows their flavour.

soup

Ingredients (per person)

2 onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon brown sugar
200ml vegetable stock (or water)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
¼ lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
Several pinches of black pepper

Method

Finely slice the onions and garlic.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions, garlic, and a tablespoon of water.

Cook over a low heat, stirring every few minutes, until the onions start to brown. This may take up to an hour. If the onions start to stick to the pan, add a little water.

Once the onions have started to brown, stir in the sugar and add the stock (or water) and vinegar.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for fifteen minutes. Season with the juice from the lemon, salt, and pepper.

Serve with slices of crusty French bread.

 

Gram and vegan cheese shortbread (recipe)

This post is part of VeganMoFo 2019, a month-long celebration of vegan food. This week’s theme is travel, and today’s prompt is road trip snack.

These gram and vegan cheese shortbread rounds may be small, but they pack in a lot of flavour. Fill a mini lunch box with them for a delicious snack that’s robust enough to survive being thrown around in your travel bags.

This recipe is adapted from a non-vegan original in Rose Prince’s The New English Kitchen. The keys to success are using a firm vegan butter (I used Naturli Organic Vegan Block) and the strongest vegan cheese you can find (I used Daiya Medium Cheddar Style Farmhouse Block).

lunchbox

Ingredients (makes 12)

60g gram flour
50g vegan cheese, grated
40g vegan butter, cut into cubes
¼ teaspoon salt
Several pinches of ground pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180℃.

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until they start to combine.

processor

Tip out onto a clean surface and knead for a few seconds until the mixture has an even consistency.

Roll into a cylinder about 3cm in diameter, and then cut into rounds about 1cm thick. Use a sharp knife and rotate the cylinder a quarter turn after each cut to avoid squashing it.

before-baking

Put the rounds onto a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. The edges should start to turn a golden brown colour. Leave to cool.

after-baking

Vegan Mofo 2019: Quiche

Taking a break from Nordic Baking we move on to the technical challenge from this week of Vegan Mofo: Quiche. I have a few quiche recipes but I also have a picky wife so I cobbled a few of them together, added a little silken tofu for an extra giggle and made it with spinach. A Kate-approved filling.

IMG_7191

For The Pastry 

170g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g vegan margarine
Chilled water

Mix the flour and salt together.

Add the margarine to the bowl a tablespoon at a time. Mix in with your fingers until it forms large crumbs.

Add the chilled water, a tablespoon at a time, until it is liquid enough to bind the dough together.

Shape into a flat disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Once the dough is chilled roll it out into a nice big circle. Lay it over a cake tin and gently press down into the edges. Prick the base of the the pastry with a fork. Cut out a circle of baking paper and lay it over the base, weighting it down with baking beads or old beans.

pre bake

Bake without any filling for fifteen minutes. Meanwhile you can be working on…

The Eggy Filling

225g gram flour
300ml water
100g silken tofu
1/4 teaspoon black salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Blend together. That’s it.

The Spinach

125g of baby spinach

Wilt down with a little salt and pepper.

The Combo

Neaten up the edges of the pastry by knocking off the bits that are over the edge of the tin (try and be neater than me. I’m a bad influence)

Pour in the spinach and the eggy filling. Mix it all together a little bit.

Turn the oven to 160°C

Bake the completed quiche for 40 minutes.

 

 

Vegan Mofo 2019: Pastry / Veganising The Nordic Baking Book

Today we move on to pastry which is an area I’m not exactly well versed in. But I try, and also I cheat.

Julstjärnor – Finnish Puff Pastry And Plum Stars

Vgeanised by being a cheating cheater who cheats and never makes her own puff pastry. The cheaper Jus-Rol is made with veg fats instead of butter.

star
Turns out that constructing these based only on a line drawing was a little difficult and my fist batch can out looking like… well like a symbol that isn’t appropriate. Thankfully, after a quick google my second batch turned into a beautiful star. The taste fantastic. Plum is an amazing jam.

Hindbærsnitter – Danish Glazed Raspberry Squares

Veganised by replacing the butter with Naturli block and using oat milk to bind the pastry rather than egg.

jammy

So far in these write-ups of my experiments I’ve been using the Swedish words for the baked goods. I’m doing it in the hopes that one of the words will stick and I’ll have gained at least one word of a foreign language out of this project. Which I’m mentioning because this is Danish instead.

I wish I’d used a mix of Trex and Vitalite for the sweet shortcrust rather than the Naturli block. It was incredibly hard to work. But when cooked and used as the bread in a fabulous jam sandwich it was perfect. Thankfully I only made a half batch because we ate them all very, very quickly.

That’s it for pastry, tomorrow we’ll be looking at bread. Brace yourself. I’ve baked a lot.

 

Vegan Mofo 2019 Kitchen Tour / Wild Woodgas Stove Recipe: Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Stew

I’ve shown off my kitchen in previous years so let me show off my new kit.

stoveinhand

Isn’t it cute? It’s a Wild Woodgas Stove and I bought her a couple of months back.

stove

Why? Well mostly because Torbay Council frown on setting open fires on the beach so I bought it to contain the flames. It’s also super light weight, and you can pack it, its fuel and your matches into a cute little billy can. We take it out for supper on the beach once a week. Then on Friday I post a recipe on here.  You can find the past recipes here and this week we have a Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Stew.

stew

Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Stew

Spice Blend

2 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together and pop in a container.

In The Wild

One can of chickpeas
One can of baby carrots and peas
Jar of passata
Water
Your container of spice blend
A lemon

Drain the veg and chickpeas and add them to the pan.

You want to cover the veg and chickpeas with a 50/50 mix of water and passata. Don’t panic: you don’t need to be absolutely precise. Then add in the spice blend.

chickpeastew

You just need to get everything piping hot and then squeeze on the juice of half of the lemon.

Serve with some flatbread.

Wild Woodgas Stove Recipe: Twist Bread Hot Dogs

My wild cooking project wasn’t the only cooking project I’m working on over the summer: I was also working on veganising recipes from the Nordic Baking Book. The two combined with Pinnbrôd. Or at least that’s what it’s called in Sweden. When I posted it to instagram I was told the German word is Stockbrot.

Both the Nordic Baking Book and Wild Baking recommend making the bread twists fat enough to slip a cooked sausage in; lubricant may be required. Just as god intended. Vegan sausages are better though. They don’t take as long to cook, so you can just wrap the dough round the sausage and by the time the bread is done the sausage is too.

twist sea

The challenge then is getting the stove to the right temperature. You’ll want to burn it down until there are no more flames. The other trick is to find the right size of sausage. The Taifun cocktail sausages are perfect for the size of the stove.

To Make The Dough:

1 cup of plain flour
Two big pinches of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons of water

Mix the dough together just before you go out, and pop in a container.

In The Wild:

Dough
Hot dogs

Allow the flames on the stove to die down and work while the embers are still hot.

Place the hot dog on a skewer.

Break off about a tablespoon of dough and roll it out. Wrap it in a thin layer around the hot dog.

Cook over the embers, twisting constantly until the bread is cooked through.

twist

Wild Woodgas Stove Recipe: Potato Curry

Each year I set myself a summer project. In the past I’ve learned how to spin, sewn one dress for every week of the six week holidays and, of course, each year I aim to get the flat so tidy I never have to clean again.  This year my challenge is to cook outside more often. As a result I’ve bought myself a Wild Woodgas Stove.

with a veiw

I’m aiming to get one new recipe written up each week that’s been cooked on my new stove. This first one is for a mild, sweet and sour potato curry. It’s in two parts. First you cook the curry paste at home, then you add some water and a can of new potatoes out in the wild to make it a meal. I use the term ‘wild’ loosely. Theses recipes aren’t necessarily going to work for backpacking. It’s more cooking-but-a-little-lazier and with a great view.

Potato curry

This serves two, with flatbreads for dipping

To make the paste

1 tbsp oil
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of black mustard seed.
Pinch of Asafoetida
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
5 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of tamarind paste
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Heat the oil over a medium-high heat. When hot add the cumin and mustard seed.

As the mustard seeds start to pop, add the asafoetida, sugar, tomato, tamarind, and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Add coriander and turmeric. Turn the heat to low and reduce the water. The paste is done when it just coats the bottom of the pan – if you drag a spoon through it it should leave a gap in the sauce.

paste

Let it cool and then jar it up.

In the wild

1 can of boiled new potatoes
Water
Your jar of curry paste

Drain the new potatoes and add them to a pan.

stovecooking

Put in the curry paste and enough water so that the potatoes are almost all covered.

Pop the pan over the fire and heat until everything is cooked through.

cury