Pie and Mash.

Due to Mrs Veganfoodisshit’s job as a baker, she works some pretty antisocial hours. Sometimes, this means that she has to go to bed very early. This leaves me pondering on meals for one.

When that happens, it’s usually PIE O’CLOCK!

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Creamy mashed potatoes, made with olive oil, oat milk and wholegrain mustard, steamed cabbage, and of course…. the pie.

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If your pie isn’t completely encased in pastry, it’s just a casserole with a lid. This, is a pie. A simple short crust pastry of plain flour, olive oil, salt and water, wrapped around a filling of chestnut mushrooms, red onions and seitan (tinned “mock abalone” this time) in a rich gravy with lots of sage and black pepper.

It was huge, and washed down with beer. And scoffed in front of an episode or two of Daredevil.

 

 

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Early harvests.

I love this time of year – it’s when the foraging begins!

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…I say foraging, but we actually cultivate both wild garlic and nettles in our back garden!

Wild garlic has such a short season you have to make the most of it while it’s still here – so we’re having wild garlic in EVERYTHING just now. Nettles – they’re best when they’re still young and tender.

So these got picked, washed and sauteed with some sliced fennel bulbs. I baked some asparagus in olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper. Made some almond and cashew riccotta (blitzed them up with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt – delicious!), stuffed some large mushrooms with them, topped off with some basil pesto, and served with some seeded malthouse sourdough.

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It was a bit tasty.

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.

Harissa Happiness

I had a hankering for spice today, and we just happened to have bought a bulk order of Al Fez Harissa (both red and green) from Suma recently – so I went with something with a bit of a North African twist.

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Aubergine is one of the most amazing things in the world. And when it’s first griddled, and then baked until meltingly soft, and smothered in green harissa it becomes almost supernatural in it’s perfection.

I’m also, as you may already know, a HUGE fan of okra. Here’s a tip for you – if you don’t want your okra going slimy, or breaking down in your sauce – toss it in lemon juice, salt and oil and roast it until the skin bubbles – chuck it in whatever sauce you’re cooking at the last minute. Alternatively you could always take a leaf out of Bundobust‘s book and make okra fries. (These WILL make an appearance on the blog in the future – I set out to copy them the first time I tasted them.). If you aren’t familiar with Bundobust – it’s a craft beer bar in Leeds that also serves amazing vegetarian Indian street food.

The sauce for the okra is loosely based on one I first tasted in Empires Cafe in Edinburgh. It’s made from charred tomatoes and red peppers, flavoured with ALL the garlic, lemon juice, paprika and a generous amount of red harissa.

The couscous has pumpkin seeds and rocket through it, and is flavoured with black pepper and ajwain seeds. I’ve only recently discovered ajwain seeds, and love their thymey/minty flavour.

Last, but not least, the chickpeas. My wife had really gone off chickpeas (ok, maybe I *might* have added them to just about every meal for a while) – but then I introduced her to ROASTED CRISPY chickpeas. It’s just a tin of chickpeas (don’t forget to keep the amazing AQUAFABA to use as an egg substitute!), tossed in olive oil, smoked salt, smoked paprika and roasted. Then, just before serving, coat them in a teaspoon of red harissa (that might actually be the first specific measurement on this entire food blog!).

Goes rather nicely with a fruity red wine 🙂

Soya Suya

Seriously, I’m just going to change the name of this blog to “The Flatbread Chronicles” and be done with it….

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This is my “take” on the classic Nigerian street food/kebab, suya.

Suya’s normally made by marinading bits of dead animal in spices and peanuts. Mine, as the name implies, is tofu.

I firstly drain and press out the tofu, then marinade in dark soy and liquid smoke. Then dust down the outside with smoked paprika, chilli powder and a sprinkling of sugar. The marinade is peanut butter, veg stock, fresh chillies (bashed into a paste in a mortar and pestle) with black pepper and nutmeg. Traditionally a spice called “Uda” is used, but as I haven’t been able to source a reasonably priced UK supplier, I’ve been using the mix of nutmeg and pepper.

The salad is just cucumber, tomato and coriander diced – with salt and lemon juice.

Flatbreads, made the usual way – but with oat milk instead of water this time. They were lovely and soft.

My nose and eyes are streaming, my insides are on fire, but damn that was good!

 

Falafalafalafalafel

I’ve just realised that flatbreads seem to be featuring alot on this blog. I guess that’s a pretty good representation of my life though – I’m a big fan of my unleavened breads.

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My wife is one of those “artisan baker” types – and yes, she even gets paid for it. So tend to be a bit lazy about breads. Nomatter how nice a loaf I make is, hers are always better. WAAAY better. Maybe that’s why I focus more on flatbreads. Chapattis, tortillas, pittas, rotis, khebz – that’s my territory.

 

I also love falafel. Who doesn’t love falafel? Granted, these were kind of “cheats falafels” as I used tinned chickpeas, and breadcrumbs – they were still very tasty though.

I blitzed up some old stale (sourdough) bread for the crumbs, smoothly blended some of the chickpeas, roughly crushed some more. Chopped some chilli, garlic and parsley, and mixed it all together with some ground coriander seed, cumin and za’atar. Formed it into balls, drizzled on some oil, and baked at a high temperature for around 20mins.

For the flatbreads – the usual really – strong white flour, salt, oil, water, a little more za’atar this time too. Kneaded until smooth, left to sit for 10 mins, rolled out, in the pan, couple of minutes on each side.

Served with salad and olives, drizzled with tahini and lemon juice.

If i’d have thought, i’d have dropped some harissa on top of that too for some extra punch – but I was VERY hungry.

 

 

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……..