Creamy Garlic Mushrooms on Toast

Ok this is definitely me cheating a little but I promised a recipe a day for Meat Free Week and that’s kind of a tough task when you have a life.  So tonight’s recipe is super obvious and ridiculously easy but not everyone can cook, right? (I’m moving in with a dear friend next week who last night attempted to fry an egg in a griddle pan) and many of you, like me, lead busy lives. So this is what I made for tea tonight and I think it makes a great quick, satisfying meal for any time of day.

Creamy garlic mushrooms on toast (an ode to my soon to be flatmate, Becky)

Ingredients – can anyone else not spell ingredients?! I spell it ingrediants every time I write it!!

Butter/vegan margarine

Mushrooms (obviously) – whatever you have or want; wild, chestnut, field or standard button mushrooms all work, you kind of get what you pay

1 clove of garlic – finely chopped or crushed

Salt and Pepper

A slice of good quality bread – wholemeal or granary is nice for this

Single cream / Vegan alternative (I used Alpro soya)

Method

Melt the butter/marg in a pan over a low-medium heat

Roughly chop your mushrooms into bite-sized chunks (or keep whole if the very tiny ones)

Add the mushrooms and the garlic to the pan, season with salt and pepper and wait. You need to be patient because you want the mushrooms to cook slowly, this will draw out the moisture and intensify the flavourIMG_20150322_113242

After 10 minutes or so the liquid from the mushrooms should have seeped out and evaporated, the pan should be dry and the mushrooms should have shrunk

At this stage toast your bread

Pour a little cream over the mushrooms and turn the heat down. The cream should reduce into a thick sauce

Pour the creamy mushrooms over your toast and serve.

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Duane’s Aubergine Saag

Last night I was lucky enough to have a friend cook me tea, he made a trio of vegetarian curries and rice (despite not being a veggie himself) and they were all delicious! So I thought why not pinch one of his recipes and include it on here.

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This spinach and aubergine curry was particularly tasty and the way the aubergine soaks up all the flavours makes it a really creamy and smooth curry with just hint of spice.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of ghee (to make this vegan use a flavourless oil)

1 teaspoon of garam masala

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 red chilli

3 cloves of garlic

A pinch each of cumin and ginger

1 large white onion

2 aubergines – diced into about 2cm cubes

1 large tin of spinach (check the World Food section in the supermarket)

½ a tin of coconut milk

Method

Melt down a couple of tablespoons of ghee in a large pan (preferably one that has a lid/something you can use as a lid). Or if you are using oil instead heat the oil.

Add the garam masala, turmeric, red chilli and garlic (finely chopped ) and a pinch of cumin and ginger.

Finely 20150325_204804chop the onion and fry together with the spices on a low heat until softened.

Add the two diced aubergines and fry off for a couple of minutes, before adding the spinach, the coconut milk and a splash of water.

Season with salt and pepper and turn up the heat up for a few minutes

Once everything is starting to bubble; ‘whack the lid on’, turn the heat right down and leave it to simmer for an hour or so

 

Thanks to Duane for this recipe; all credit/criticism to him please 🙂

Bean and Cheese Quesadillas

So I’ve noticed a lot of what I cook is Mexican inspired but I think the flavours are so delicious and there is such a variety of accessible dishes to choose from all with relatively few ingredients so why not!

This quesadilla recipe is particularly easy and very adaptable depending on what veg you have, the basic ingredients are refried beans, cheese and tortillas (actually cheese can be left out if you are feeling healthy).

Had to rush this entry a bit as heading out for a curry at a friend’s so sorry if there are any obvious mistakes…. maybe I will include his dish tomorrow if I get the recipe! Watch this space 🙂

Serves at least 2.

Ingredients

Oil

Half an onion

1 pepper – I actually used half green and half red

3 tablespoons of sweetcorn – I guess?!

Half a tin of refried beans (spicy or non-spicy)

Fresh coriander

Cheese – I used vegan cheese but any good melty cheese works

Tortillas – I use the mini ones as they are easier to flip

To Serve – salsa, guacamole, sour cream (or vegan alternative), salad leaves, nachos, piñatas, sombreros   – the usual Mexican accompaniments

Method

  • Fry the chopped onion and peppers in a splash of oil in a reasonable sized saucepan on a medium high heat until soft and slightly brown. You could also add a chilli at this point if you like it hot!
  • Add the sweetcorn and fry for a couple more minutes.
  • Next add the refried beans and stir together with the veg, leave to heat through. This should only take a minute or 3.
  • When the mix is hot, add the chopped coriander if you have it.
  • Meanwhile heat a frying pan and grate some cheese.
  • Next assemble your quesadilla. Put one tortilla on a flat surface (chopping board is fine) spread a layer of the refried bean / veg mix across the whole tortilla. Sprinkle a sensible amount of cheese to cover the beans and sandwich the mix with another tortilla.
  • Transfer the tortilla sandwich (quesadilla) to the hot frying pan and leave to toast for a minute or 2, every so often peering under the edge – you want it to turn a light golden. Once achieved, you need to flip. As earlier mentioned, small tortillas are much easier to flip just using a fish slice/ spatula. If you are doing big ones I would suggest you place a plate over the top of the quesadilla whilst still in the pan, and then whilst holding tightly down on the plate turn the pan upside down so that the quesadilla ends up on your plate. Then you can slide it back into the pan to toast the other side.
  • Once toasted on both sides put aside to rest and a make some more. Then cut into quarters to serve

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PS you could make a bigger batch of the bean veg filling by using a whole tin and doubling veg etc and any leftover you can put it in the fridge for a couple of days and keep going back to it when you need more 😀

 

 

Avocado Chocolate Pots

Given that it’s Meat Free Week and this is Meat Free Manchester I have decided to up my game and do a recipe a day to help out anyone who’s giving vegetarianism or veganism a go for the first time. Granted, this particular recipe might not help you out in terms of Tuesday night tea but there is a lot of hype surrounding these (if you’ve been watching Masterchef you’ll know what I’m talking about) and I had to give it a go. Regardless they are a bit of fun and crazyily straightforward and surprisingly tasty – my meat-eating friend even enjoyed them!

I present to you the Avocado Chocolate Pot! This made two espresso pot sized desserts (2 servings)

Ingredients

2 small avocados or 1 big one – make sure they’re ripe but not too ripe.

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

About 1 tablespoon of cocoa

A slash of non-dairy milk (I used soya)

A squeeze of agave nectar

Method

Basically use some common sense for this recipe. I scooped out the avocado first and then by eye added the rest of the ingredients. To start just add a little cocoa / agave nectar / milk and blitz until smooth. You can then add more of whichever you need depending on how chocolatey / sweet / solid it is respectively.

Once you are happy with the proportions and taste put in little serving pots – espresso pots work really well. Then chill in the fridge.

To serve I grated some dark chocolate on the top for a bit of fancy J

 

Sorry for the lack of photos; me and my friend ate them before I had chance to get my phone out, they basically looked like chocolate pots though!

 

 

 

Roasted Veg and Butter Bean Pâté

After a couple of distinctly non-vegan weeks (which included a cake sale, baking cookery course and a cheese & wine evening) I made a concerted effort get back into my mainly vegan ways last week – for my waistline if nothing else! One evening after my tea I decided I would roast a load of veg (peppers, onion, garlic and cherry tomatoes) along with some oregano and paprika (no oil) for my tea the following evening – I was planning on going to the gym so the more prepared I was the better. Now, traditionally I would have my roasted veg in a pitta with loads of hummus but this wouldn’t exactly work for my low fat meal plan. I peered my cupboard and spotted a small tin of butter beans – I would make my own creamy low fat accompaniment.

This is the meal that followed; Roasted Veg with Pitta bread and Butter Bean Pâté

Roasted Veg

I’m not going to insult you, you know how to roast veg…..get some veg (whatever you have), add heat!

Butter Bean Pâté

210g Butter Beans (a small tin) – other beans would probably work too. Whizz up the butter beans, I used a hand blender, crush a smallish clove of garlic and mix in, add lemon juice and mix, season with salt and pepper. Adjust the levels of lemon juice, seasoning and garlic to your taste. You could also add some chilli or herbs if you fancy it.

Toast a Pitta

Eat – your super low fat, tasty, creamy, zingy, vegan, garlicky, fresh, yummy tea!!

I haven’t tried this but if you wanted to I guess you could warm up your pâté and it would be more like a mash, give it a go and let me know if it works.

20150317_202202My veg look a little burnt in the photo but I promise they weren’t, oh and I added olives! Sorry for the omission! 🙂

 

Chickpea, Couscous, Apricot, Pistachio and lots of other tasty things Salad

I started a new job this week and yesterday the whole office took part in a shared lunch. This was no ordinary office shared lunch, my new colleagues are foodies!

A list was left in the office kitchen for everyone to write their contributions on, this way there wouldn’t be too much of the same food, a quick glance showed a huge variety of inventive and exciting dishes that ranged from mini calzones to filo parcels to pumpkin cake. The pressure was on and I was keen to make a good first impression, especially as word had got round about this blog! After a closer inspection of the list I figured a salad would be a good addition but as I say it needed to be impressive. When I got home I was immediately drawn to Veggiestan by Sally Butcher, I knew there would be some interesting salads in there…..I settled on Spinach, Apricot and Bulghar Wheat Salad.

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The following recipe is based loosely on this, it would have been an exact copy but as I decided to try and buy the ingredients from my little local supermarket at 8pm on Tuesday night I had to make a number of adjustments.

I have to say though the finished product was yummy and it all got eaten J

Makes a big sharing portion, probably enough for 10 as a side

Salad Ingredients

2 tins of chickpeas

Apple juice (optional)

1 sachet of lemon and coriander couscous (I only used this because I couldn’t get plain)

1 big or 2 small carrots

1 small bag of spinach

½ red onion

150g dried apricots

1 bunch each of parsley and coriander

75g unslated/shelled pistachios

For the dressing

Olive oil, 1 lime, Cumin, Chilli flakes and Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Drain the chickpeas and put in a saucepan, cover with 50/50 water and apple juice until just covered. Put on a medium heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Drain and cool. This step is probably optional but I like to make sure my chickpeas are really soft and the original recipe calls for the bulghur wheat to be cooked in apple juice.
  2. Roughly chop the apricots, cover in warm water and leave to soften up for about 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the couscous according to the packet instructions. If you are using plain couscous make up about 110g and you might want to use vegetable stock.
  4. Shred the spinach, finely dice the onion and grate the carrot(s) and throw in a big serving dish or Tupperware (if taking to work). Sprinkle over the nuts.
  5. Chop the herbs and add to the veg and nuts.
  6. Grate the zest of the lime into a jug, add the juice and top up with twice as much oil. Stir in 1 teaspoon each of cumin and chilli flakes and season with salt and pepper.
  7. When the chickpeas and couscous are cool add to the bowl/tub. Drain the apricots and add to the mix – give it all a big stir at this point to combine everything.
  8. Finally pour over the dressing (I didn’t use the full amount so add a bit at a time and make a judgement)
  9. Stir again and serve or stick it in the fridge and don’t forget to pick it up on the way to work!

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