Giving it a go

It would be a bit rubbish if I had married a veggie and instantly converted myself. That is just not the kind of person I am. However, living with a veggie has meant I have had to adapt and has opened my eyes to a whole world of wonderful food I had never experienced before. I love cooking and eating and sharing this with the person I share my life with is therefore obviously important to me, so this has meant when I cook for us both at home, I cook veggie. I am not dead set on becoming a vegetarian right now and am not sure if I will in the future but I have been so inspired by the many vegetarian/vegan blogs out there that I was itching to start my own. So here we go.

Friday, 28 January 2011

A very pretty Apple Cake

A nice winter warmer.

- Preheat the oven to 180oC
- Use a round 20cm cake tin with removable base, grease it with butter
- Peel 4 braeburn apples, core and slice them about 2cm thick
- Place in a bowl with 1/2 cup water and microwave for 1 minute until slightly soft
- Drain them and squeeze a little lemon juice on them and stir
- In a free-standing mixer - blend together 1/2 cup butter with 1/2 cup golden caster sugar
- Add 1/2 cup apple sauce, 2 tsps vanilla extract and 3 tbsp soya milk and continue mixing
- Sift in 1 1/2 cups plain flour and 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and mix
- Tip the batter into your cake tin
- Arrange the apples on top
- In a bowl mix together 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Sprinkle this over the apples and bake for 35mins
- Place a few raspberries in the middle and serve warm with custard

Giant Mediterranean Veg Tart

I tend to have this as a main course on a week night with a big Greek salad (nice and quick), but it also works well as mini tarts for starters at a party.

- Pre heat oven to 200oC
- Roll out 1 large rectangle of Jus-Rol puff pastry. I buy the refrigerated stuff not frozen.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the pastry on this before assembling
- Thinly slice 1 red onion, 1 red pepper and half an aubergine and set aside
- Grate 1 pack halloumi
- Spread the halloumi evenly around the pastry leaving a 1 inch border
- Sprinkle with Italian herb seasoning (my new favourite herb mix, I use Tesco)
- Arrange the veg in whatever pattern you feel like, sprinkle very little salt (the cheese is very salty), black pepper, a little more Italian seasoning and 5 tbsp olive oil.
- Brush milk around the border and stick in the oven for around 25mins until golden and puffed up
- You will likely need to drain off the water from the aubergine halfway through cooking

Pineapple Trifle

This is another one of those things I was getting in a grump about, thinking I wouldn't be able to enjoy jelly with my husband but then I came across some great vegetarian jelly in my local Indian market which cheered me right up!

- Make up 2 packets of vegetarian pineapple jelly in a big glass bowl
- Add 1 tin of pineapple pieces to this, stir and leave in the fridge overnight to set
- On top of the jelly, pour 2 tins Ambrosia custard and smooth the surface with a palette knife
- Whip a large pot of double cream with 5 tbsp icing sugar and 3 tbsp Malibu rum (or more if you're feeling boozy!)
- Pour this on top of the custard and smooth the surface
- Top with a handful of toasted flaked almonds

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Keftethes and salad

These Greek meatballs are my favourite and I was determined to find a veggie and egg free way to make them. These are a bit more fragile than the meat version but worth the effort!

- Defrost 500g frozen soya mince for 5mins in the microwave.
- Add to it 1 large chopped white onion and 1 cup golden breadcrumbs
- Also add 3 tbsp dried mint, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp salt
- Mix well
- Whisk together the equivalent of 4 eggs with Ener g egg replacer
- Stir this into the meat ball mix, use your hands to make it start to bind
- Squidge these into small patties, they are supposed to be round and slightly flat, but mine didn’t quite turn out that way
- Shallow fry on medium heat turning when golden.
- Serve with a salad of tomato, cucumber, white cabbage and white onion dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and salt
- Also nice with a toasted pita bread and fresh houmus
Enjoy :)

Paneer, potato and pea curry

- Cut 500g paneer into small cubes
- Shallow fry turning often until evenly golden. Sprinkle with salt and remove from the pan.
- Fry 1 diced red onion with 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 finely sliced green finger chilli and 3 inches chopped ginger.
- Add 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/2 tsp ground coriander and 1 tsp salt
- Fry for 1 minute
- Add 2 tbsp tomato puree and stir this in
- Then add 650ml  water to the pan
- Whilst this is coming to the boil - peel and halve 12 new potatoes and place them in the sauce. Turn down to low heat.
- When the sauce has reached desired consistency, about 20mins for me as I like it medium-thick, add 1 cup frozen peas to the pan
- When the peas have cooked the dish is ready to serve.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Thai Tofu Curry

I fancied a tasty and spicy but healthy dinner last night and this hit the spot :)

- Fry 2 sliced red onions with 3 chopped cloves garlic in a little oil till slightly brown
- Add 6 sliced white mushrooms and fry till cooked
-Add 1 and a half heaped tbsp of Rendang curry paste (I use this more often then the ready made thai red paste as this often as fish sauce/dried shrimp in it, but any tasty veggie thai flavoured paste would do)
-Drain and press 1 block of firm tofu, cut into small pieces and add to the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Fry for 5mins
- Add 1 tin of coconut milk, bring to the boil and simmer until curry reaches your desired consistency. For me about 10mins.
- Add 4 asparagus spears chopped into 2 inch pieces during the last 3mins of cooking.
- Adjust for seasoning and squeeze a little lime juice at the last moment.
Serving options: soup style on its own, with sticky white rice, sprinkled with coriander.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Sandwich Fillers

This is something I really struggle with....making tasty meat free, egg free (hubby doesn’t eat egg either) sandwiches. To make life more complicated I don’t like cheesy tasting cheeses! I have come up with a few ideas which have gone down really well so thought I would share :)

Veggie sausage, ketchup, red onion and fresh chilli on granary bread
Grilled mock chicken, cabbage and red pepper with peri peri sauce
Falafel, coriander, tomato and tahini in a wholemeal pita
Mashed up onion bhajias with red onion, cucumber and tzatziki
Grilled mock chicken, avocado, baby spinach leaf and vegan garlic mayo on a good brown seeded bread
Halloumi and tomato in a wholemeal pita
Grilled mock chicken with plum sauce, lettuce, cucumber and spring onion in a wrap