Recipe: Pesto Wedges

It’s not often that Kate actually asks me to make something specific. The other day I asked her what she wanted me to make for her birthday and she told me not to go out of my way. But Kate has, actually, requested these potato wedges.

I made them initially to go with a burger that I’d stacked with mozzarella slices, bitter greens, and pesto. I thought I’d carry the Italianish theme over to the wedges by coating them with pesto and then baking them just a little longer.

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Pesto Wedges (serves 2)

2 baking potatoes
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
3 tablespoons of vegan basil pesto

Preheat the oven to 220°C

Slice the potato into skinny wedges

Pop the potatoes into a large mixing bowl, put the oil and salt on top, and toss to coat

Spread the wedges out on a baking tray; try to keep it to a single layer

Bake for 20 minutes

Remove the wedges from the oven and carefully put them back in the bowl

Scoop the pesto on top of the wedges and toss to coat

Spread the wedges back onto the baking tray and put back in the oven

Bake for a further five minutes and you’re done!

Review: Zaika, Vegan Recipes from India by Romy Gill

Zaika is a rare thing in our household. It’s a cookbook bought by Kate. She was after more ideas for dishes she could cook and we found this one while browsing the Waterstones by Exeter Cathedral. The vibrant illustration of the cover drew us in, the elegant photos of simple-looking food convinced us. So Zaika came home with us.

sweetandsour

Kate made the first recipe: we loved Sweet and Sour Tofu, which she pairs with the Jeera Rice. It’s one of a handful of recipes in the book for Chinese food by way of Bengal. An amazing fusion of flavours and the tofu here absorbs all the best of them. This has become a firm favourite although Kate adds more ketchup to make it a little saucier. We’ve only stopped eating it so much recently because it’s hard to get hold of the good tofu.

naan

I meanwhile went towards the bread section and tried out these Nigella Seed Naans. I adore Naan bread. These ones are especially lovely with the generous amount of Nigella in them. We’ve eaten them alongside curry, used them for sandwiches. They’re lovely.

jackfruitsab

As we got further into the lockdown two things happened: I ran out of flour, and I wanted to combine the cans I had sitting in the cupboard with the fresh vegetables I did have to make something filling, different, and exciting. So one night I served up a tin of jackfruit, some tomatoes and some pre-made roti as Jackfruit Sabzi. The whole thing is cooked quickly on a high heat so in no more than twenty minutes you get an intensely flavoured dish. It’s also really hot which is only a problem in that the description for this one is ‘mild’. Other dishes described as hot we’ve found to be mild. If that has the potential to ruin a meal for you you’ll need to use your own judgement.

samosa

When flour finally came back into our lives I wanted to make something elaborate but first I had to make Potato and Pea Samosas. Okay so they look a bit of a state but that’s my fault. My cooking skills have always been a bit lacking in the presentation department. You’ll have to trust me however that the taste was perfect. From the pea and potato stuffing to the ajwain in the pastry.

chickpea

Then I had to make the spicy chickpeas. These turned out to be the runaway hit out of all the fabulous things we’ve made. They take six minutes to make out of nothing but pantry ingredients and the taste is mind-blowing. They’re the best chickpeas either of us have ever had and they cook in six minutes.

samosa chatt

The reason I had to make the samosas and the chickpeas was that they’re both component parts of that elaborate dish I wanted to make, combined with two chutneys, vegan yogurt, pomegranate seeds, aloo bhujia and some coriander for fun. It was a lot of effort but worth it for the fabulous combination of flavours and textures. It’s an amazing dish.

I wholeheartedly recommend you get yourself a copy of Zaika. It’s the perfect cookbook for any vegan who wants to work more Indian food into their repertoire. If you’re like me and have more than a few Indian cookbooks this one is still worth a buy. Its focus on fresh ingredients, the fact that it’s entirely vegan and that chickpea recipe make it stand out from the crowd.

 

Review: Young Vegans Pie Shop (delivery)

Young Vegan’s Pie Shop is one place that is on my list to visit, but I’m ashamed to say we’ve never actually made it there. However, when the lockdown started we saw that people where still getting their pie fix from the online shop. Two orders later and we’ve finally tried all the flavours. So let me tell you all about them.

macandcheese

We’ll start with the last one we tried: Mac and Cheese. The mac and cheese filling is gloriously cheddary, and very well cooked. It reminded me more of the Holland’s Cheese and Onion pies of my youth rather than eating Macaroni Pies that one time in Scotland. Which is to say it went well with gravy.

steak

Steak and Ale (pictured on the left there) was one of Kate’s choices. She enjoyed the taste, and said it was exactly what you’d expect from a steak and ale pie, but she wasn’t keen on the mushrooms or the texture of the large steak chunks. She much preferred the Aussie Pie.

aussie

The Aussie Pie is beefy but that beef is minced and mixed with onion for a classic meat pie combo. It’s also the only pie in gluten-free pastry. Gluten-free vegans should be happy then that it gets the coveted Kate seal of approval.

chickenparm

Next up is a pie that I tried alone: the Chicken Parmigiana. I liked the chicken in this one but the real stars are that tomato sauce and that cheese sauce. They’re so rich, and perfect and go so well together. I insisted Kate try a bite and she said that they could have made a pizza flavoured pie, and then I broke it to her that Young Vegans have a pizza parlour and our plans for our next trip to London firmed up a bit. Except for the date.

cheeseburger pie

Then there is the pie that Kate refused to even take a bite of: the cheeseburger pie. I loved it for exactly the same reason that she wouldn’t go near it: it has a gherkin in. And from that explanation you probably already know if you’ll like it too. There is a burger patty, cheese, ketchup, and the gherkin. I think it’s fast food fusion perfection.

katsualone

If both of us had to pick a favourite pie though it would be the Chicken Katsu. Our love for Japanese-style curry is well documented so it comes as no surprise that we like it encased in a pie. This is a really yummy curry too.

If you’re in the UK we recommend that you order yourself some pies from Young Vegans. They’re delicious and you can pop them in the freezer and cook from frozen. Perfect.

Review: Tyne Chease Applewood and Provençal

Things have stalled around here. I had a bunch of reviews of places in London ready to to go but then, of course, we went into lockdown so then it seemed a little… odd. Instead I’m going to post about vegan businesses that are still shipping and delivering and we’ll get back to actually visiting restaurants when we can. That being said: Tyne Chease is delivering.

apple

We first reviewed Tyne Chease in 2017 when we got a selection box. This time we tried the two new flavours: Applewood and Provençal. Applewood is a plain nut cheese smoked so if you’re expecting something more like Applewood Cheddar you’re not going to find it here. Instead it’s a delicious, soft, creamy cheese with a beautiful natural smoke. It’s really good.

prov

Your opinion of the Provençal flavour is going to largely depend on your thoughts on eating lavender. I know some people are reminded way too much of soap and find it unappetising. I’m firmly on the pro eating lavender side of things though and this has just the right amount.  The lovely floral and herb coating brightens up the cheese and adds a touch of magic.

If you’re looking for something to add a little cheer right now, why not make an order with Tyne Chease. You won’t regret it.