Deconstructed Dish: Vegan Mofo Day 20

I don’t own a single pair of fancy pants. My pants are plain. I don’t really pay much attention to garnishes, I don’t know how to foam or make tiny balls out of food and I don’t really deconstruct things. So I had no idea what to do about this post until this morning when I fancied a s’more. I took the component parts; biscuit, marshmallow, chocolate, and put it back together into a chocolate bark. Well almost. I couldn’t find any vegan digestives within walking distance so I substituted with rich tea. Not quite the same but works in a pinch.

S’more Bark

200g Vegan Milk Chocolate

Three digestives/rich tea biscuits slightly crushed

A handful of vegan mini-marshmallow 

1. Line a tray with baking parchment.

2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

3. Spread the melted chocolate onto the baking parchment.

4. Sprinkle on the marshmallows and biscuits.

5. Pat the toppings down a little and leave the chocolate to solidify.

A Dish With Five Ingredients Or Fewer: Vegan Mofo Day 19

I sometimes see these recipes shared on Facebook that have Just Three Ingredients and I think would a couple more ingredients really make it that much more complicated? I think of Indian curries with lists of spices but it’s not that much harder to make a plain tomato sauce. I don’t believe in forcing simplicity but some things are naturally simple and this pasta dish is one. 

Just to prove that I could I bought all the ingredients at Tesco metro. So on a busy night I could pop out, buy the ingredients and cook the dish in about an hour. Obviously your mileage from a Tesco metro may vary. 

Pasta with Broccoli and Garlic Breadcrumbs 

200g (ish) Pasta

One pack of tenderstem broccoli (stems can be eaten, but obviously Dirk ate mine)

3 tablespoon olive oil

One clove of garlic, crushed

One slice of bread 

1. Pop the bread into a blender or food processor and chop it down into rough breadcrumbs.

2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, when it has three minutes to go toss in the broccoli to cook.

3. Meanwhile heat the oil in a large frying pan and when it’s hot fry the garlic for 30 seconds.

4. Add the breadcrumbs to the pan, tossing them to toast eavenly.

5. When the pasta and broccoli is finished drain it off and toss with the garlic breadcrumbs.

Spicy: Vegan Mofo Day 15

I have a large and varied spice collection but there are two that stand out for me. I like to think of them as siblings, or best mates. They appear together around the globe: from India, across the Middle East, to the Americas. It’s coriander and cumin. 

Labels Lie

Just like I love all sorts of spices I love all sorts of food cooked with them. I’ve already paired these together chilli this mofo. It’s time to use it on potatoes. The following recipy serves 2.

Crispy Oven Baked Chips

1 large baking potato

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander 

1/2 salt, smoked if you have it

1 tablespoon nutral oil, such as vegetable

Pre heat the oven to 200°c 
Slice the chips, try not to leave many thicker than 1.5cm. As for skins you can leave them on or off, your choice.

Place the spices in a large bowl, place the chips on top and drizzle the oil on. Shake everything around until fully coated. 

Bake in the oven for 45 mins. Flip the chips over half way through.

Go, go, gadget: Vegan Mofo Day 9

This week vegan mofo is focusing on what happens behind the scenes in our kitchen. Our first prompt is about gadgets. This presents me with a problem: I have never met a gadget that I didn’t want to buy. I have the instant pot and the vitamix and I love them both. But better people than me have written about them, written books even. So I’m going back to basics. I’m going to tell you about the one appliance that no self respecting English woman would be without. Meet my electric kettle.

Fancy Pants Kettle

Like any kettle our kettle boils water but it also has a few special features. You see we are serious about our tea. Not serious like we’ll only drink one brand of tea bags. Serious like we’ll only drink loose leaf. And it needs to be brewed right. That means the water has to be the correct temperature. This is very important. If you put boiling water on your tea you’ll just get a cup of tannin which is useful for dyeing but awful for drinking. You can set our kettle to heat water to different temperatures depending on what type of tea you are drinking. I love it.

Various Tea Pots

The other thing we use our kettle for is making hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is best, of course, when you heat your milk on the hob before adding you chocolatey stuff. Sometimes, though, you are on holiday. Or guide camp. Or you’re up in the middle of the night coughing your guts up. Then you need instant. As I’ve never seen a vegan instant hot chocolate I’ve started to make a mix up myself. It has coconut milk powder, which isn’t the most neutral taste but it does go well with chocolate.

instant chocolate

Instant Hot Chocolate Mix

1 part caster sugar
2 parts hot chocolate powder
3 parts coconut milk powder

Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.

When ready to make you hot chocolate put the kettle on to boil, while it’s warming up place 2 tablespoons of in a mug and cover with an equal amount of water. Whisk together to make a slack. Carry on whisking as you pour the boiled water into the cup.

Enjoy (once it’s cool enough)

Conversion Meal: Vegan Mofo Day 5 With Chilli Recipe

Chilli, you may be thinking, isn’t that impressive as a meal. It’s pretty standard. So why do I think it makes a great conversion meal? Well most people care about animal suffering and they’ll admit that vegan food tastes good but a lot of people think being vegan is impossibly hard.

Chilli is not impossibly hard. It’s easy. It’s tasty. You can save extras for leftovers, scale up for a large group, cook it on an open flame, cook it in your kitchen, serve it with rice or spuds, or spaghetti. It’s also ridiculously easy to convert your existing recipe to be animal free. You can use one of the meany veggie mince substitute on the market, fill it with veggies, or do what I do and bean it up.


Black Bean Chilli

1 tbsp oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 400g can of black beans (or one cup dried beans cooked)
Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium high heat and add the onion, cook until translucent.

2. Add the garlic and spices and cook for 30 seconds or so until the spices are fragrant

3. Throw in the tomatoes, then fill your tomato can half full with water (or half empty) and pop that in the pan too. Add the can of black beans and simmer for twenty minutes.

4. Salt to taste and serve.

And that’s how easy it is to be vegan.

Catering: Vegan Mofo Day 4 with a recipe for Thai Green Risotto

The worst catered meal was a butternut squash risotto. It was bad. It was the vegetarian option for a ball with over a hundred participants. By the time it got to me it was more like paste. As in wallpaper paste. The rice was almost disintegrating and I can’t even remember it tasting of butternut squash. To add insult to injury it also had kale in it. Rather than adding some texture and variety to my bowl of slop it just added to the sadness of it all. The kale was so overdone it was grey. I don’t even know how you overdo kale like that.

I still can’t eat butternut squash risotto. I basically just stick to my tomato one. But I thought I’d experiment with this one. Bringing in the fresh flavours of Thai Green Curry Paste and stirring in spinach right at the last minute so it still has some bite.

Thai Green Risotto with Spinach
(serves 3 realistically, 2 greedily)

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Half an onion, diced

4 tablespoons Thai Green Curry paste

2 cups risotto rice

1/2 cup coconut milk

4 cups Vegetable Stock

2 cups baby spinach 

First set the instant pot to saute. Heat the olive oil and fry the onion until translucent, then add in curry paste and fry for a couple of seconds until fragrant.

Add the rice to the pot, and stir. Let the rice toast until most of the grains are translucent. Keep stirring to stop it from sticking.

Add the stock and coconut milk and stir it all together. Pop on the lid, press manual and set the timer for five minutes. 

Once the time is up open the valve for a quick release. Open up and stir in the spinach, allow it to wilt and then serve.

Recipe: Split Fava Dhal

We spied a packet of dried fava beans in Seasons in Exeter. Kate asked me if I could make something with them. I mean in theory I guess. I’ve been trying to get more pulses into our diets and my main method has been dhal. Now here was Kate asking me to cook some pulses and I was just shrugging. Never made a fava dhal.

First a note on the beans themselves. They are produced by Hodmedods who grow beans here in the UK which is pretty cool. It’s always exciting to try things that are new to us, especially if they are grown in Yorkshire.

So how to make these new to us pulses into a dhal we’d both enjoy? I looked to my cookbooks. I wanted a recipe to use as my base but I knew that the fava beans would bring their own distinctive taste. I went for the Thomi Mahaar Dhal from one of my favourite books Cooking Like Mummyji. I simplified a little, left it a little wet, and changed the pulses from urid to fava. Lets go!

1 cup split fava beans

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons oil

One medium onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

Half of a 400g can of tomatoes, blended

1 tablespoon of ginger, minced

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon asfoetida

1. Bring the split fava beans to boil in 2 cups of water. Add the salt and turmeric. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for an hour, stirring every so often. Add more water if the pan gets too dry.

2. Keep the beans on a low heat while you fry the topping. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and garlic and fry until golden, reduce the heat and add the spices and tomatoes.

3. Fry until the oil begins to come through, making the sauce look nice and shiny.

4. Put the beans into the serving dish and pour the stuff in the frying pan on top.