A Monday Evening Chinese Feast.

…as you do.

Chinese feast

Clockwork from the top left….. Stir fried veg (Brocolli, butternut squash, purple spring onions, pak choi, runner beans, coriander, chilli, garlic, sesame seeds fried up in sesame oil.), Crispy “Seaweed” (kale fried in rapeseed oil, then baked with sesame oil, five spice and smoked salt – seriously amazing!), rice bowl (just basmati, cooked in veg stock), and then last but not least “char sui” tofu.

The tofu is drained of liquid, then marinaded in mesquite liquid smoke and dark soy sauce. It’s then given a crust of smoked paprika, five spice,¬†szechuan pepper and sugar. Then, it’s fried in sesame oil and put aside. The barbeque sauce is red onion, tomato, garlic, fresh ginger, chillies, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, smoked paprika, five spice, and more dark soy and mesquite liquid smoke. Baked in the oven until the tofu is meltingly delicious. (If you’re an omnivore, and like your Chinese style barbeque ribs, you’ll love this!)

Load up into your rice bowl, and you’re ready to go….

Ricebowl

 

Of course the good thing about feasts is…… LEFTOVERS for lunch the next day!!!

Leftover Chinese

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Vegan Craft Beer…and Souvlaki

If there’s one thing I like as much as good food, it’s good beer.

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On the way home from work today I decided to pop into Arcade Beers ¬†and grab a few cans to go with the souvlaki I’d been planning since around 10.30am.

A quick browse of their chilled cans, and a search on Barnivore showed that the Moor Beer Company are vegan.

Got home, poured out the delicious, fresh, grassy hoppyiness that is the “Envy” and cracked on with my souvlaki…..

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Tofu and red onions marinaded in olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper, oregano, garlic,smoked salt and sugar. Grilled on a skewer, served with salad on a crispy baked flat bread (flavoured with nigella seeds). Sounds good? It gets better…… VEGAN TZATZIKI.

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Grated cucumber, salt, garlic, lemon juice and vegan mayonnaise.

 

Oh, and there was salad.

It wouldn’t be a vegan blog without kale.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that you crave…

Casserolled veg with steamed kale.

I spent alot of time today daydreaming about melt in the mouth vegetables, casseroled in a simple broth – so popped by the shops to get some bits and bobs before heading to the vets to pick up Rambo (cat 7 – see below) who’d been to the cat-dentist.

He’s fine before you ask – mostly toothless, but still chasing paper around the room, and currently trying to raid a handbag in a very unsubtle manner.

The casserole – big chunks of potato, cauliflower, red onion, leek and brussel sprouts. Vegetable stock flavoured with black pepper, bay and cider. And a big side of steamed kale with Himalayan Pink Salt.

If satisfaction were a plate……..

 

Sub-Saharan Deliciousness.

I’m always on the look out for new “cuisines”, and until recently haven’t really explored Sub-Saharan African foods. This changed recently when I discovered Nigerian “Suya” – a type of kebab which will no doubt feature in an upcoming post as it’s addictive.. like delicious, spicy, tofu-crack.

Nigerian curry

Tonight’s meal is a curry inspired by the same Nigerian flavours – chillies, black pepper, cumin and nutmeg, a peanut and coconut sauce, and big chunks of hearty veg – cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato, red onion and spinach.

Topped off with crispy baked chickpeas in red harissa – firey!!

I mopped this up with some home made flat breads, and can now barely move.

An Italian feast with a difference.

I feel a bit dirty saying this, but this dish was inspired by…. Jamie Oliver.

Italian roast

Sometimes we watch mindless drivel on 4od just like everyone else.

This time around it was “Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feasts” – or whatever it’s called. Jamie Oliver was there, with his big rubbery lips, tearing up a variety of game birds and throwing the grease around everywhere, before slopping it onto a huge pile of polenta.

Oddly, this made me wonder what it’d be like to do a similar dish with some of my favourite veggies.

Polenta’s one of those things i’d been wary of for years. I’d first tried to cook it many many years ago and it turned out grainy and horrible. This time around, I got it right. The trick is to keep it moving, and sieve in the cornmeal to avoid the lumps. I added some Violife vegan cheese to this one, and it really enriched it.

On the veggie front – fennel, asparagus, red onion, red kale – griddled, roasted, crispy and delicious.

Then a simple red wine, veg stock and garlic reduction poured over the top.

Add even more red wine – party on a plate!

The Seitanist.

Pies. Everyone loves pies. Inverted pentagrams are popular too.seitanist

A couple of weeks ago I was cooking for a friend. He’s a firm believer in the qualities of a good pie. He is a meat eater, and likes a bit of old school black metal.

So I decided to introduce him to my old friend Seitan.

Seitan is braised wheat gluten. Also known as mock duck, mock abalone etc etc. It’s also DELICIOUS.

For this pie filling I cut some up into hearty chunks, cut up some Fry’s vegan sausages, red onion, fresh rosemary and reconstituted porcini mushrooms and fried them all off, then simmered them down in the porcini stock until it became thick and yummy.

The pastry is just plain flour, Sainsbury’s Baking Block (vegan AND sustainable palm oil), salt and water.

Served up with hassleback potatoes and steamed cabbage. Hearty food for a cold winters evening. Afterwards we went off and burned down some churches.

A little fire to start your day off…

Scrambled tofu is the food of the gods – this is a known fact across every civilisation on Earth.

Cropped scramble

What’s even better than scrambled tofu, is topping it off with some Al’Fez Green Harissa.

Red onion, spring onion, chestnut mushroom, fresh chillies, tomatoes and spinach fried off with turmeric, smoked paprika, black mustard, black pepper and asafoeteda. Silken tofu folded through and broken down into a scramble, served piping hot with toast (more of the “soaker” bread) and a jar of harissa. Nothing sets you up for the day better.

Vegan food is SOOOOO healthy….

All this salad, and the fresh vegetables….. How about some good old fashioned “fish and chips”?

Fish and chips

Last week I was making some cauliflower pakora – and I realised how similar the texture was to white fish like cod or pollock. (I wasn’t always veggie-inclined, and can still remember things like this) – so that set my mind to creating this.

I grew up just outside Glasgow. There’s a saying they have about food in Glasgow – “If it can’t be deep fried, battered or iced – then it’s already deep fried battered and iced.”.

Oven chips – nothing fancy there, take them out of the bag, whack them in the oven.

Frozen mushy peas. Tinned ones are awful. Loads of salt and vinegar.

I steamed the cauliflower first, and made a batter from plain flour, baking powder, salt and beer. I used Brewdog’s 5am Saint for this one – it’s got a nice maltyness to it that I thought would work well. I was little concerned that the hops might be overly present, but fortunately that didn’t come through at all. This made a batter that was SO good I didn’t want to waste it – so the rest got fried off as scraps.

I did have a rather elegant scrap-spire artistically rising from the top of my mushy peas, but sadly this got broken as my wife leaned across my plate to eat the scraps she alleged to not really want.

Second picture on this post – a closeup of the texture of the cauliflower….

Closeup of the fish

YUM.

Brunch as procrastination.

I’m writing a book – it’s not about food, or cats.

Za'atar fried potato, smoked salt roasted mushrooms baked black beans and steamed cabbage

Yesterday was going to be a day of epic writing. I had it all planned out…. and then I woke up.

Cue much faffing about, and really doing very little indeed.

So I decided to focus my faffing into preparing a huge meal of brain-powering deliciousness.

Top-right, clockwise…..

Steamed baby spinach leaves, with roasted chestnut mushrooms in smoked salt.

Za’atar coated fried potato.

“Baked” black beans in a tomato sauce flavoured with smoked paprika.

Toasted sourdough “soaker” bread. (Again, courtesy of my wife.) A “soaker”, apparently, is a bread baked with grains that have been soaked in water to prevent them leeching the moisture out of the dough. This one has millet and linseed in it. (I’m starting to get a little arthritis in my hands, and linseeds are a great source of omega-3).

Needless to say – after I demolished this all I wanted to do was sleep. I did get a little writing done, but not much.

 

Pizza time!

I’ve been reading alot about “white pizza” recently, and decided to try my hand at one….

White pizza with griddled fennel and asparagus

I make alot of pizzas – they’re easy to make, and REALLY tasty, but I’d never had a go at “white pizza”until this.

On a white pizza a bechamel sauce replaces the more traditional tomato sauce.

 

So I knocked up my usual thin and crispy base (plain flour, olive oil, salt and oat milk), stuck it in the oven to part-cook, and set to work on a savoury bechamel.

 

I finely diced a white onion, and set it to sizzling away in some olive oil, then gently started to sieve in some plain flour, stirring all the time. Once all the flour was in place, it was time to start slowly pouring in the oat milk – it thickens up really fast at this point, and it’s important to keep stirring! When I was happy that it was smooth enough I set it aside.

 

Next up, I griddled some asparagus and fennel, blitzed up a nut cheese with some cashews, salt and water, and cooked this off with some garlic and spinach.

 

Layered up, and popped in to oven for a second quick blast – then eat!