Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2012

You can ask my family, but recently I’ve been getting a bit obsessed with savoury breakfasts. I’m a savoury over sweet person and I don’t understand why the standard weekday British breakfast is all about the sugar.  I miss the dosa sambar and spicy coconut chutney from south India, or the rye bread, smoked cheese and cucumber of Germany, or the falafel, olives, and fuul (fava beans) of Egypt, I want something savoury and sustaining, but I can’t quite bear to eat those leftovers in the fridge (no, it’s not because they are spicy/garlicky/I ate them about 12 hours ago…its because I was saving them for lunch!).

So I decided to do something about it- and start a weekday tradition of my own! The key is something ready-made and easy to grab. I know the reason I turn to toast and cereal is the fact it is SO easy to assemble with my eyes half shut.

To savoury muffins then, and what better vegetable than one of my all time favourites butternut squash? I decided to base my meanderings around this recipe for butternut squash and kale muffins but make a few changes with flavour combos in mind. It wasn’t until after I made it that I realised how healthy these muffins are, no sugar, no fat and vegetables, I cannot think of a better way to start the day! If  I’m starting to sound like some weird health nut let me make it up- they taste great cut in half with lashings of butter. If you’re not convinced about savoury foods for breakfast these still make a great (healthy) snack during the day.

butternut squash and feta muffins

  • 100g (1/2 a block) feta cheese
  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash (about 1/2 a medium sized squash)
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/4 cup rye flour (optional- replace with wholemeal flour if you don’t have it to hand)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig sage, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten- I used egg replacer in the form of flaxmeal/linseed even though this isn’t a vegan recipe because I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while- it works really well, I made it using these instructions.
  • 200ml milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel, deseed (save the seeds if you fancy roasting them as a snack) and cut the squash into small (3cm) cubes. Place on a baking tray, spray or drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for around 15 minutes until cooked but still firm, then leave to cool whilst you get on with the muffin mix. Cut the feta into similar size cubes and set aside. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl including the chopped herbs and walnuts. Add the egg (or egg replacer) and milk and combine to make a batter with dropping consistency (add more milk if necessary).

Once combined well, fold in the feta and squash. Grease the muffin baking tray you will be using and spoon 1 large tablespoon of mixture into each smaller muffin tin or 1 1/2 tablespoon into large muffins tin baking trays.  This should make about 18-20 mini- muffins. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes if you’re making cup-cake size muffins, or 20-25 for larger muffins. Make sure muffins are golden brown and cooked through by using a cocktail stick and seeing if it comes out clean. Store in an airtight container.

Happy alternative breakfasting!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

So I have to admit, I made a variation on this several times during lent as it is super easy and quick if, say, your family is having fish and chips and you have to concoct something for yourself at speed. It may not be the most inspired vegan meal, but man is it good, especially if you use a good quality paprika that makes it extra smoky and fiery (definitely something I was craving on the occasion I was cooking chorizo quiche for the fam).

veggie/vegan chilli

Serves 4 – for a tart filling which serves 2, see below

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped/minced
  • 500g tin beans in water (any variety or mixed)
  • 500g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 250 ml  apple juice
  • 160 ml (about a third of the tomato tin) red wine
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon/1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tbsp cous cous (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar
  • pepper and salt to taste
Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry off the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the beans WITH THEIR WATER, tinned tomatoes, wine mushrooms and apple juice. Bring to the boil and add the spices, stock cube and purée. Allow to simmer with the lid off for 15 minutes. Depending on how thick the sauce is looking, or what you are serving it with (I was serving it with soft tortillas so I didn’t want it to be too runny, but if you were serving it with rice or a baked potato, you’d want a bit more sauce) add the cous cous to thicken. Simmer for a further 15 minutes, lid on. Right at the end, stir in the sugar and vinegar. Taste and then season. Serve with nachos, tortillas, baked potato or rice and a crispy green salad.

 variation for tart filling

serves 2

I halved the ingredients  and omitted the tinned tomatoes, couscous, sugar and mushrooms adding an extra squirt of tomato purée and a squirt of tomato ketchup cooking quickly (probably only 10-15mins simmering) until it makes a drier sauce. I then put the mixture into pre-blind baked pastry cases (Jus-roll short crust pastry cooked at 200C for 15 minutes) and baked for 10-15 mins with a dollop of vegan “cheese” (more of a cheesey dip, the consistency of hummus)  on top from this recipe. I particularly like this fake cheese recipe because it doesn’t use soya milk and I find I don’t like the strong soy-taste in fake cheeses using soya milk.

Read Full Post »

Happy Easter one and all!

 

Apologies for the 40days and nights (plus a few Sundays) absence. I also would have posted this yesterday, but I spent most of it either at church or in a roast beef induced stupor.

I tried a bit of an experiment over lent, which unfortunately coincided with being quite busy. From Ash Wednesday until yesterday, I have been eschewing animal products in an attempt to live more simply, healthily and with less of an environmental impact (although research has led me to believe an entirely vegan diet may not be the best way to do this…any links or input on this would be much appreciated).  Part of my Christian belief is that we have a responsibility to not over tax the planet’s resources, mainly because the poorest and most vulnerable people often suffer the most from environmental changes. I went vegan to challenge myself  and to work out how to eat fewer animal products in the future. Being vegan for lent is not such an uncommon thing in the wider Christian world, outside of our western bubble (where most people give up chocolate) many eastern orthodox traditions practice a Lenten fast without any animal products and it is sometimes called the “Daniel Fast“.

I will share some of my vegan culinary creations in the next few posts, but for starters I’d like to share these links to websites and blogs I have discovered over lent which boast excellent food (oh, and they happen to be vegan or vegetarian too).

Post Punk Kitchen

Choose Veg

One Green Planet

The Vegan Society

Green Kitchen Stories

Pea Soup Eats

Other exciting finds are that  jus-roll pastry, cheap bourbons  (thanks Ash), fig rolls and Mr. Kipling jam tarts are all vegan!

So what did I make of being vegan for lent? I think the main hurdle to overcome, as with any fasting, is psychological. Contrary to popular belief, there is a heck of a lot that one can eat as a vegan. Take the recipes on here for example: spicy aubergines, lentil tagine, mango salsa and the chick pea and spinach curry are all vegan without any alterations, and it doesn’t take much to make the fatayer, bubble and squeak or chinese broth to be vegan, with a few substitutions and omissions.

I really enjoyed trying new recipes, new food combinations and thinking more carefully about my nutrition, which I should probably be doing whatever I’m eating (on that note, I’d like to dispel a few myths of veganism which still prevail in these enlightened times, you CAN get enough protein on a vegan diet and I even gave blood halfway through lent, where they tested my iron levels and found them to be perfectly normal) . Yes, it was hard at times, and as much as I loved all the fresh and exciting food, sometimes the Brit in me just wanted something brown, smothered in gravy (and mature farmhouse cheddar cheese). For sake of the planet and my health, I’m definitely going to try and continue some of the habits I acquired during lent (like snacking on nuts and seeds, not resorting to putting cheese on everything vegetarian, and eating more pulses) into my omnivorous diet.

P.S. Ready made vegan cheese is not worth it. It is absolutely rank.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: