Sunday, 12 February 2017

Cocoa Gravy

This version of our classic Vegan Gravy was created after a tip-off from Pete Gardner at Cocoa Amore, Leicester's independent chocolate boutique.

You will need:

- 1 teaspoon of oil
- half a medium sized red onion, finely chopped
- 5 finely sliced medium sized mushrooms (you don't want big slices)
- a healthy pinch of freshly ground pepper
- half a pint of cold veg stock, preferably kept over from veg cooking
- one Kallo mushroom stock cube
- two heaped dessertspoons of fine cornmeal
- 2g 100% pure cocoa/cacao* (no added sugar, milk etc. - pure cocoa) - more if you want, after you've tasted

Do this:

Add the finely chopped red onion and mushrooms to the oil, and sautée gently till the onion's going clear and the mushrooms floppy and cooked through. Add the black pepper.

Crumble your Kallo mushroom stock cube to the (cold) veg stock, mix thoroughly.

Stir in the cornmeal, and pour gently into the onion and mushroom mix. Stir well.

Bring to the boil till it starts to thicken, then turn down and simmer gently.

Break the cocoa/cacao* into pieces and add to the gravy, stir till it melts, and stop cooking when it's as thick as you like it!





VEGAN TOAD IN THE HOLE. Yes.

You thought the Yorkshire Pudding mix was the Holy Grail, and it was - but this is the discovery of King Richard III under the car park...sort of. Well he had strong connections with York...

Tonight we made Toad In The Hole by pre-heating the oven to 220 degrees C (VERY HOT), adding a significant lump of vegan marge (you can use an oil if you prefer, it'll be a little greasier) to a metal pan and placing it in the oven to pre-heat.

After 5 minutes, add 4 un-meat sausages (Fry's are good, we don't recommend Linda McCartneys' for this) to the heating pan. Put it back in the oven.

Meanwhile, mix up our vegan Yorkshire Pudding Mix. For four sausages, divide the mixture's quantity in half. The quantity of batter mix in the original recipe will be good for 6+ sausages.

Once well mixed, take out your pan with sausages (don't leave more than about 10 minutes).
The fat should be smokin' hot and the sausages starting to brown.
Pour in the batter mix, distributing evenly over the sausages, quickly, and put back in the oven.

Cook for 20 minutes, and check nay poking the a sharp knife into a fat bit after 20 mins - it's OK for it to be a bit sticky inside!

Serve with Cocoa Gravy, roast spuds and plenty of green veg.


Monday, 15 February 2016

Our Man In Japan's Risotto






We were asked to give this a go by our friend Warren in Fukuoka; Altar Ego Radio contributor, Japanese-speaker and compiler of interesting vegan recipes.

Its ingredients look odd at first but it was very tangy and fresh.

You could just as easily make this into a kind of dal by using lentils instead of rice, but you'd need to adjust cooking times for the lentils accordingly - start boiling them ahead of time, then drain, then add to the recipe when they've got around 20 minutes to go.

So, you'll need:


- 1 cup arborio or risotto rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 chopped chillis 
(your call on how hot these are - whether that's 2 scotch bonnets or 2 relaxed ones is up to you!)
- 1 glass vegan white wine 
(Warren used half a glass, I put in 1 whole but small one)
- 500ml of vegetable stock 
- Zest and juice of half a lime
- Half an onion, chopped finely
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 - 1&1/2 tablespoons of coconut milk 
(or you can use 50g creamed coconut blended into 200m heated soya milk)
- Fresh garlic leaves to garnish 
(optional, I had some just pulled out of the garden so I added it)

- Salt & pepper to taste

I should point out that in the absence of lime, I used half a lemon and some finely chopped lemongrass - I feel pretty sure the net result was very similar.


Here's what you do:

- Wash the rice thoroughly in boiled water, till it runs clear.

- Put your tablespoon of olive oil into your deep pan or wok and sauté the rice gently till it begins to go clear, and is fully coated with the oil. It can gently 'golden-brown' a little, but do not let it burn! About 10 minutes, stirring constantly.


- Pour in the white win, bring to the boil.


- Chop and add the chillis. 
TASTE after cooking for a further five minutes.
The rice should be a nice moist mixture by now. 
Add more wine if it looks a little dry.
Add more chilli if it's not warming the cheeks.


- Stir the coconut milk (or 50g creamed coconut in soya milk) into the rice till fully combined.


- Finely chop the lemongrass and add together with your lime/lemon juice.

Top to bottom:
Freshly picked garlic leaves, lemongrass, chilli slices.

- Make up your stock and add to the rice mixture. Bring to boil, then allow to simmer, stirring frequently.

- Add the chopped garlic glove, and turmeric. This'll give it its unusual golden glow.


- Add salt and pepper to taste.

- Keep cooking till most of the liquid is dissolved into the rice. It will go a little porridgy, but that's OK - and KEEP TASTING!

Serve with the chopped green garlic leaves on the top. Works well as a main dish, or as a small side with a main event.




Tuesday, 2 February 2016

THE HOLY GRAIL - Vegan Yorkshire Puds

Many a tear has been shed over failed Yorkies, because being almost entirely egg-based they are, of course, going to need some serious alchemical synthesis to get those buggers into Vegan Mode.

Well, Graham had a crack at these some months ago, and Lord they were good, but I lost the recipe and had to do them from memory.


They worked.
Gasp.

The first thing to get comfortable with is that they're never going to rise like their ovum cousins - they'll puff out quite a bit, but don't expect towering balloons of brown crispiness. They'll crisp up, they'll puff out, but in a less jazz-hands kinda way.

So here is what you need:

- 3oz vegan marge such as Biona, Pure or Vitalite
- 2oz Organ 'Egg' Replacer (worth buying - I don't use this much, but it seems to be the magic ingredient for these, and one box = 66 'eggs')
- 60ml of soya milk (avoid using ta sweet milk if you can, it messes with the flava) or 2oz water - this is to mix with the Egg Replacer
- 4oz plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of sage, fresh or dried
- A turn of fresh black pepper (optional, but I like this addition, makes them a little meaty)
- Soya milk to mix to a batter 

And here is what you do:

1
Put a knob of the marge in each section of a cake pan / bun tray / muffin tray / whatever you have that makes little versions of things, usually 12 to a pan.

Put it in a VERY HOT oven - anywhere between 190-220 degrees C should do it, that's Gas Mark 4-5 - you know your own oven.

2
Wait for the marge to melt and get smokin' hot  - should take about 10 minutes - and while you do, mix baking powder, flour and salt well:

3
Mix the egg replacer with the milk.
Add HALF of this Egg Replacer mixture to the dry flour mix.
Whisk to a smooth paste, then add the rest of the Egg Replacer mix.

3
Combine the rest of the dry ingredients with each other, and add soya milk a bit at a time.

4
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, carefully, then check to make sure there are no lumps, then WHISK WHISK WHISK (a fork works best, you'll get too much stuck in the whisk if you use one) to get those bubbles in.

When the batter looks bubbly, thickish and well mixed, review: it should look just like classic Yorkie batter, or like a pancake mix.

5
Check your pan. See that the marge has gone very runny and is smoking a little. If it is, take that roasting hot tin out of the oven CAREFULLY and as fast as you can without making a mess, put an even quantity of the batter into each aperture.

You should see the edges of the puds start to fizzle and rise immediately, which is a sign you've got the timing right.

6
Cook for 15-20 minutes!

Eat the whole lot in an amazed frenzy of 'checking they're OK!'




Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Turmeric and Ginger Tea with Coconut Milk



When Leigh recently had a bit of inflammation about the shoulder (a lot of wood-cutting for our woodturner and some hard gym sessions), I turned to this recipe I'd seen a friend talking about online a few weeks before.

This is my own tweaked version of what turned out to be a very nice drink indeed. It doesn't taste anything like you'd expect - it's creamy, soothing and rich with just a tang of turmeric and the knowledge, that comes with this delicious golden herb, that you're easing those inflamed tissues every time you sip.

Despite it feeling like a very wintry drink, I shall most definitely be making it again. Whether I am inflamed or not! And don't let my photos put you off - it was really hard to photograph! (all that yellow).

Makes 2 mugs.

YOU WILL NEED:


1 x 1-inch knob of fresh turmeric
1 x 1/2-inch knob fresh ginger
2 x teaspoons almond oil or coconut oil
1 x cup full-fat coconut or soya milk
1 x cup coconut water OR powdered ground coconut
1 x generous tablespoon maple syrup

DO THIS:

Wash the turmeric and ginger, then grate them finely into a mortar (don't bother peeling, if you grate well enough the tiny skin bits will only add to the roughage!)

Put the coconut oil into the mortar, and grind the oil into the turmeric and ginger with your pestle until they form a fine paste.

Pour the coconut milk and coconut water into a saucepan, and put in the paste made with turmeric, ginger and oil. 

Turn the heat up to medium-high and warm the ingredients together until it's bubbling a bit. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan, allowing the turmeric and ginger to steep for about 3 minutes.  Stir in the maple syrup until it dissolves.

Strain the tea through a fine-mesh strainer or strainer into a tea pot, or pour into mugs.  
Serve warm.

If you can't get fresh turmeric (which comes in nice yellow strange-shaped blobs), substitute 2 teaspoons of organic powdered turmeric.





SOLID EGG 2015

We’ve made our solid easter eggs twice before (you may even have eaten one) but our versions for 2015 are fabulously evolved beasts!





The eggs are a labour of love that, quite frankly, we make because we can, and because we should, and because the world has been crying out for a solid - like, actual SOLID Easter egg - since Easter Eggs were invented. Easter usually comes right in the middle of an annual busy period, so there is always a late night or two as packaging is designed and photographs are taken…samples eaten...eggs collected…but somehow we do it, for the love of sinking one’s teeth into a bed of praline or gnawing on three inches of chocolate into the night.

















Hand-made for us this year by Leicester chocolatier Pete at  Cocoa Amore, whose shop sits right in the middle of the current Richard III activity in Leicester, Solid Egg 2015 has a girthy 70% cocoa shell filled with either solid chocolate or incredible soft praline. Now coming as one solid egg (rather than two halves), we’ve made these in Solid Chocolate, Praline, Salted Chocolate or Ginger (the latter in limited supply). Every egg comes wrapped in a chocolate-brown signed screen print of cocoa-loving artwork by me, printed in Factory Road, just a few doors down. Which is fully washable and can be used for any purpose after the egg is long gone!








































This year we’ve made 20 available as a special edition snuggled in a hand-woven nest by international willow artist Tom Hare. If you’ve been to any of the RHS gardens, or Kew Gardens, or latterly to Bishopsgate, the Bellagio in Las Vegas or to Macau...you might have seen his work. He too was in the middle of a super-busy period when we commissioned these nests from him, so we’re grateful to have them - each one will be different from the last.
As usual the eggs are 100% vegan, gluten and dairy-free, with the emphasis on flavour and quality. Oh, and size. And…weight - over 500g per egg.
Watch one being cut, and listen for the chocolate crack!


Check the photographs for proof of the existence of this magnificent celebration of bunnies, greed and re-birth!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Get Nakd cheaper!

When I first went vegan, Nakd bars became a go to snack. It was something I could easily pick up in a supermarket without having to worry about it's content as it happily boasts it's dairy free status.

It got to a stage where actually having looked at the ingredients I realised there must be a way to make these without having to fork out the high costs attached to the tiny little bars. So I got searching, and found a Larabar recipe. It's so simple, and you can mix the ingredients- swapping out nuts, adding in seeds, trying other dried fruits. Whatever you like. But this recipe is a alternative version of the Cashew Cookie Bar from Nakd- which I think is much tastier and probably saves me my pennies (haven't actually worked that out...)

Anyways, you will need:

1 cup cashews
1 cup dates 
1 tbsp peanutbutter
1-3 tbsp water

You need to have a food processor too. I have tried before to make it in a small blender but it did not like it. 


 So you follow the tricky step of chucking the right contents of everything into the food processor bar the water and hitting the blitz button until it begins to bind. At this stage add a tbsp of water at a time until it thickens more and properly sticks together. It'll look something like the image below- but it depends on how sticky you'd like it. Obviously the more water the stickier.



Then whack it all onto one half of a sheet of greaseproof paper to roll it out. Before, I used to use my hands and just mould it into a larger bar that I'd then cut up. It made it irregular, which I didn't mind, but left my hands feeling rather grim. So I started to roll it out wedged between greaseproof to save the rolling pin from making a claggy mess. 


Just cover it up- leaving space at each edge and roll it all out.


Hurrah! Then I just cut the edges off to neaten it, and cut into bars/squares ready to have healthier snacks to munch on throughout the week. My little nephew tried this once and loved it, so if you have little ones it may be a nice alternative to a choppy bar. Plus once it's made- you get to enjoy the cut off edges with a cuppa!





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...