Smashed potato and rocket cake with tomato and celery sauce

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This meal came about because we were running low on fresh food before we did the weekly shop and needed to use up potatoes, rocket, tomatoes and some celery…  My husband decided to make himself a tomato soup and I opted for potato cakes – the soup was thicker than planned and so became a sauce and I decided that my potato cakes needed a little of something extra.  Hey-presto – a new meal was born!

Somewhat surprisingly it actually tasted really good so has now become a bit of a regular!

For the smashed potato cakes:

  • Small bag of organic new potaotes
  • Half a bag of organic rocket (roughly chopped)
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

For the sauce:

  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 medium organic onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 6 organic tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tin of organic chopped tomatoes
  • 1 stick of celery (roughly chopped)
  • Approximately 1 pint of vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon of agave syrup
  • Salt and pepper to season

To make the sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and the onion, fry for a few moments to soften
  2. Add the celery for a further few minutes
  3. Add the tomatoes (tinned and fresh), stock and agave syrup to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Season to taste
  5. Blend to a smooth consistency (I use a hand-held blender)

To make the potato cakes:

  1. Boil the potatoes for approximately 10-12 minutes, until cooked (I leave the skins on)
  2. Drain the potatoes and then add the chopped rocket, olive oil and salt and pepper to the pan
  3. Roughly mash all the ingredients together
  4. Shape the mixture into chef rings to make patties and then fry in a little olive oil for a few minutes each side

Serve the potato cakes with the sauce and enjoy!

Crab-friendly ‘crab’ cakes

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I heard about a vegan restaurant in California using hearts of palm to make ‘crab’ cakes a few weeks ago and have been keen to experiment ever since.  These were my first attempt and they were really tasty but I personally think I may add a bit of potato to the mix next time as the texture was quite crunchy and I think a combination of soft/crunchy may work better.  I also found that although they looked quite ‘crabby’ the taste and texture was quite different to the crab-unfriendly version (from what I can remember!) Having said that, these are still well worth a try for something a little different plus they taste good in their own right and they’re healthy!

If anyone else has experimented with crabless ‘crab’ cakes then please do post a comment to let me know how you got on and to share any tips or ideas you might have.

(Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main)

  • Tin of hearts of palm – roughly chopped into small pieces and make sure you buy it with salt, not sugar!
  • 1 small bunch of radishes – topped, tailed and grated
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic – peeled and crushed
  • Drizzle of organic sunflower oil
  • 5 teaspoons of paprika
  • 6 teaspoons of dill – fresh or dried
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Panko breadcrumbs to coat
  1. Once prepared place the hearts of palm, radishes and garlic into a sieve and using the back of a spoon force out as much of the liquid as possible (for the mixture to hold together in the pan later you don’t want too much moisture)
  2. Add the oil, hearts of palm, radishes, onion and garlic to a pan and gently fry for a few minutes to soften
  3. Add the paprika, dill, lemon juice and salt and pepper
  4. Leave the mixture on the side to cool down to room temperature and then place in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill further
  5. Using either your hands or chef rings mould the mixture into patties and coat in panko breadcrumbs
  6. Fry in a little oil for a few minutes each side until nicely browned
  7. Serve with a green salad, dill sauce (mix soya yoghurt, dill and lemon juice) and a wedge of fresh lemon

 

Loaded potato skins

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Although the potatoes need quite a while in the oven the actual time needed to prepare these is very short, making them a great mid-week supper option.  I used a Vegusto vegan cheese for this but any vegan cheese that melts would work well.

(Serves 4)

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 1 red onion – chopped
  • Small pack of vegan cheese – I used Vegusto (No moo, melty)
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  1. Prick the potatoes with a fork and drizzle over some olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt
  2. Bake for around 90 minutes (until fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside) at 180°C
  3. Remove the potatoes from the oven, cut in half and scoop out the potato inside
  4. Mix the potato in a bowl with the red onion, cheese, thyme, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil
  5. Stuff the mixture back into the skins and return to the oven for a further ten minutes
  6. Serve with a salad and soya yoghurt or sour cream

 

 

Jamie Oliver’s Vegan Keralan Curry

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I’ve really noticed in the last couple of years more mainstream celebrity chefs are including plant-based meals in their cookery books and TV shows, which is fantastic.  This delicious Keralan curry is one of Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals – it’s deliciously fragrant with a great fruity twist from the addition of the pineapple and a wonderful variety of textures. This dish really takes me back to a wonderful few weeks spent in Southern India sampling the amazing light and fragrant curries – A great part of the world to visit if you’re vegan!

I didn’t actually make the minty yoghurt this time but you could easily make it with unsweetened soya yoghurt to make the entire meal dairy-free.

The link to the recipe is below: 

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/keralan-veggie-curry-with-poppadoms-rice-minty-yoghurt

Lentil and bean chilli

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This is a really simple meal and relies mainly on store-cupboard ingredients so it’s a great option for mid-week when you meant to get to the shops but didn’t quite get there!

(Serves 4)

  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • Drizzle of vegetable oil
  • 1 red pepper – chopped
  • Half a mug of red lentils
  • Tin of organic kidney beans
  • Tin of organic baked beans
  • Tin of organic chopped tomatoes
  • 1 dessertspoonful of tomato puree 
  • 1 dessertspoonful of Marmite
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon 
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate
  • Cracked black pepper to season
  1. Drizzle some oil into a large pan
  2. Add the garlic and onion and fry for a few minutes to soften
  3. Add the kidney beans, baked beans, lentils, red pepper, tomatoes, marmite, chilli powder, cinnamon, chocolate, black pepper and a couple of mugs of water
  4. Stir all the ingredients together, bring to the boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes

Serve with rice and vegan sour cream or yoghurt

Mushroom and pepper Stroganoff

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Despite it still (officially) being British summertime the weather here has been decidedly wet and windy today.  This vegan Stroganoff is perfect comfort food for rainy days but also holds its own at dinner parties if you’re entertaining.  You can make it ahead of time (meaning more quality time with your guests) – just warm through on the night and don’t add the soya cream or fresh parsley until you’re ready to serve.

(Serves 4)

  • 1 punnet of organic closed cup mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 punnet organic chestnut mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 organic red pepper – sliced
  • 1 organic green pepper – sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 1 organic white onion – chopped
  • Sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed spice
  • 1 tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce (I use one by Biona)
  • 1 dessertspoon of Marmite
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup soya cream (I use an Alpro one)
  • Bunch of fresh parsley – chopped
  1. Add the sunflower oil to a large pan and warm
  2. Add the paprika and mixed spice and allow to dissolve in the warmed oil (be careful not to burn)
  3. Add the garlic and onion to the pan and cook for a few minutes to allow the onion to soften
  4. Add the mushrooms, peppers, Worcestershire sauce, Marmite, brandy and a generous sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper
  5. Stir and cook for approximately 10 – 15 minutes
  6. Stir the soya cream and fresh parsley through just before serving

I served it here with long grain rice but it’s equally delicious with tagliatelle

Vietnamese summer rolls with tofu

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First of all I feel I need to apologise to anyone reading this from Vietnam – I realise that in comparison to the little works of art that appear on the table in Vietnam and Vietnamese restaurants around the world these are a little slap-dash to say the least!  BUT they do taste amazing plus they’re really healthy and quick to prepare.  

They make a great starter at a dinner party  – you can just stick all the ingredients on the table and let everyone assemble their own – nothing like getting your guests to do the hard work!  Personally, I think these make a great TV dinner.

(Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a light meal)

  • 8 vietnamese rice paper wrappers/spring roll wrappers – You can buy these from Asian supermarkets, health food shops and some regular supermarkets
  • 2 organic carrots – sliced into thin batons
  • Half an organic cucumber  – sliced into thin batons
  • 3 organic spring onions – sliced lengthways 
  • Small pack of organic marinated firm tofu – thinly sliced
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • 1 portion of vermicelli rice noodles
  • Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
  • Splash of soy sauce – I use a low-sodium one
  • Hoisin sauce for dipping
  1. First of all pop the vermicelli rice noodles in a bowl with boiling water to soften
  2. Heat the toasted sesame oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the tofu
  3. Splash a few drops of soy sauce over the tofu and fry for a few moments each side until it turns a golden brown
  4. Pour some boiling water into a large, flat-bottomed plate – this is to soften the rice paper wrappers – they just need a couple of seconds immersed in the water
  5. Place the water-softened wrapper on a plate and fill with ingredients
  6. Fold opposite ends in and then roll up, lengthways, as tightly as you can – this does require some practise!
  7. Serve with a small bowl of hoisin dipping sauce

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Chilli ‘beef’ in lettuce shells

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This Asian-inspired dish is really simple to make and super-tasty.  Sweet and spicy with an extra something from the ginger, spring onions and fresh mint.

Good as a starter, a light main or to share with friends.

  • Bag of frozen soya mince (I used the one by Fry’s)
  • 1 red onion – finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger – finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies – finely chopped (with or without seeds depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
  • 2-3 tablespoonfuls of sweet chilli sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoonfuls of hoisin sauce
  • Handful of fresh mint – roughly chopped
  • 3 spring onions – sliced
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 small romaine lettuces
  1. Warm the sesame oil in a wok
  2. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for a few minutes to soften
  3. Add the soya mince, sweet chilli sauce, hoisin sauce and water and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  4. Remove from heat and stir through the mint and spring onions
  5. Fill the lettuce leaf ‘shells’ with the mixture and serve

NB you can vary the proportions of chillies vs hoisin and sweet chilli sauce depending on how you like the spicy – sweet mix

Spinach and rocket salad with oven-roasted tomatoes, avocado, capers, red onion and pan-fried gnocchi

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We eat so many salads in the summer and despite what some people think they really, really don’t have to be boring!  To be honest we rarely eat the same salad twice as it normally depends on what is in the fridge at the time…

I usually pop gnocchi in boiling water for a couple of minutes but this time I pan-fried it for a slightly different taste and texture.

(Serves 2)

  • 2 large handfuls of organic rocket
  • 2 large handfuls of organic spinach
  • Punnet of slow-roasted tomatoes (see previous recipe)
  • 1 bag of gnocchi
  • 1 ripe organic avocado – peeled, stoned and sliced
  • 1/2 red onion – finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • Handful of toasted almond flakes and pumpkin seeds
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil
  • Tablespoon of vegan pesto (I often make my own but Zest do a great one)
  1. Pan-fry the gnocchi in a little olive oil allowing to lightly brown on the outside
  2. Assemble the rocket, spinach, tomatoes, gnocchi, avocado, onion, capers, almond flakes and pumpkin seeds in a bowl
  3. Mix the olive oil with the pesto and drizzle over the salad
  4. Toss and serve

If taking this on a picnic then just take the pesto and olive oil separately and drizzle over at the last minute to avoid the salad leaves going soggy

 

Vegan Spanish tortilla

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I’m always on the lookout for ways to “veganize” foods that I enjoyed before I stopped eating animal products.  This is a recent discovery and I love it!  Tortilla is often served in tapas bars around Spain in small cubes but this is equally delicious served hot or cold with a big green salad.  It keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days and frequently pops up in our picnic hamper over the summer.

I’ve substituted the eggs for silken tofu flavoured with kala namak and nutritional yeast for a subtle “eggy” taste.  Although I adore the taste of turmeric I initially added it to this recipe for the colour as much as anything else.

(Serves 4)

  • 2 packs of silken tofu
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large potatoes (thinly sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons of dill (dried or fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground kala namak (black salt)
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • Sea salt and pepper to season
  1. Blend the tofu, turmeric, kala namak, nutritional yeast, dill, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to a smooth consistency.
  2. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a non-stick frying pan and heat it up
  3. Add a layer of the tofu mix followed by a thin layer of potato
  4. Continue this process until all the ingredients are used up.  Make sure you finish with a layer of the tofu mix
  5. Put on a low heat for 40 minutes to cook through
  6. Finish off with a few minutes under a hot grill to brown off