Salad and sausages….

What could be better?

Apologies that it’s been a while since my last blog post. Real life gets in the way, and lack of motivation too if I’m honest. There has been lots of GREAT food trust me – I just didn’t get around to photographing it, or writing about it.

Tonight, I had a huge pile of salad leaves to use up (I can’t walk past those little yellow “reduced” stickers in Sainsbury’s!), but also had a real hankering for sausages (VBites “Vegi Deli” Lincolnshire Sausages to be precise – they’re DELICIOUS!).

So the challenge was set – how to make salad and sausages work…..

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Once I got some onions, chilies, smoked paprika and garlic sizzling away, it kind of made itself. Added the sausages and a tin of chick peas, served with ripe avocado quarters, fresh sweet tomatoes, and mixed salad leaves. Sated my hunger for sausage, and maintained a healthy facade all at the same time.

A pilgrimage of sorts….

It’s been a while – sometimes real life gets in the way of blogging… but the good news is that PLENTY of great food has been eaten over the past weeks, including quite alot of eating out.

I don’t tend to go out to restaurants very often these days – over priced, uninspiring vegan options don’t tend to lend to much excitement. However……..

I’ve been meaning to visit PRASHAD for a very long time, and it was worth the wait.

If you’ve not heard of Prashad – they’re a vegetarian Indian restaurant, winner of lots of prizes, and writers of fantastic cook books.

So four of us (one vegan, two veggies and a meat loving omni) piled into the car and headed to sunny Drighlington. In our excitement we were a *little* early, but the friendly staff got us to a table in no time at all.

We had already decided on the vegan set menu, our friends went for the vegetarian one. I had been warned that there was ALOT of food… I didn’t see this as a bad thing!

First up was an “amuse bouche”. Mrs Veganfoodisshit finds the idea of amuse bouches a bit daft, but i’m not one to complain about an extra course, however small.

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A delicious little ball of tastiness on a bed of coriander chutney. The pakora was lightly spiced, the coriander bright and fresh. My bouche was well and truly amused.

A curry night isn’t a curry night without poppadoms and chutney – and this was THE best lime chutney I’ve ever tasted! The poppadoms were amazing too – lightly flavoured with asafoeteda.

Next up was Prashad’s famous chaat and bhajis. I’ve always been quite dubious about chaat – on paper it’s a bit of a mishmash – fried pasta, pastry, potato, chickpeas etc smothered in sauces. In reality it was so good I almost forgot to take a picture!

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The Bhaji were incredible, and came with even more of that stunning coriander chutney.

..and then the main course…

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I’m a big fan of thali – It saves deciding on one thing – just have it all!! And the masala dosa was so tasty I could have cried.

So in short – Prashad was every bit as good as I’d expected…maybe even better.

Sunday Roast.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a good old fashioned roast dinner….

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Roast dinners are, I’d imagine, one of those meals that omnivores are baffled by vegan versions of – unless you substitute the meat for some processed blob of fake chicken with awful “stuffing” in the middle. For me though, even back in my old meat eating days, roasts were always about the veg – so why bother replacing anything?

Top left clockwise – Roasted butternut squash (with sesame oil and smoked salt), on a bed of steamed and baked white cabbage. Roasted “hassleback” potatoes, with olive oil and za’atar. And stuffing balls, with red onion, sage, walnuts and breadcrumbs made from homemade malted sourdough.

All well and good, but it’s not a Sunday Roast without GRAVY!!

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Red onion, sage and garlic gravy. Fried off the onions and started a simple roux off, then added the sage and garlic, then gently poured in veg stock, stirring all the time to stop the gravy from going lumpy. Added a little soy sauce for colour and extra umame. Washed down with a nice bottle of Sainsbury’s “Winemakers Selection” Reciente Rioja. Sainsbury’s are getting very good with their vegan labeling these days.

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….

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

Leftover Chinese

😀

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.

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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.