You might think – for 90p a pack of six in Tesco what’s the point? But these are awesome.
- 500gm plain flour
- 4gm dried yeast (half a sachet)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1tsp sugar
- Glass of warm water 40 deg C
Ideally, use a food processor. If not you may reconsider going to Tesco.
Pour the dry ingredients into the processor. Give it a whizz to aerate the flour. While the motor is running gently and slowly pour in the water. The mix will start to look like crumbs. Very gently add more water a splash at a time until the dough forms a ball. Whizz for another 40 seconds. Now take the dough out and let it rise in a warm place covered in oiled cling film or plastic bag. After about an hour when it has grown by at least 50% it is ready. Pull off a fistful of dough and roll thinly, about 4mm thick. Heat a heavy griddle or frying pan (no oil) , and cook the pittas on the dry pan turning once when the under surface has brown spots. When cooked through from both sides, keep warm in a kitchen towel while you make the rest. This mix makes about 6 large pittas.
Serve as a sauce with grilled chicken or as a dip
- 125ml plain yogurt
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- grinding of black pepper
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cucumber
Grate the cucumber coarsely. Get it as dry as possible by draining in a sieve and/or patting dry with kitchen paper. Now mix everything together. That was easy!
You can buy smoothie mixes very cheaply – find them in the frozen food section of your supermarket. Buy some, plus apple juice and you are good to go. Alternatively try this. Makes for two:
- An old banana
- Glass of orange juice
- 50-80ml plain yoghurt depending how thick you like it
- Glass of frozen fruit, e.g strawberries, or half a glass of fresh chopped fruit which will squish down more than frozen
Put all of it in a blender and whizz until smooth. Yes you can blend from frozen. Adjust the quantities until you get the consistency you prefer.
If you buy a kebab from a genuine takeaway or van you will usually be offered (or find) some bright pink pickled vegetable with a nice crunch and a bit of a tang. These are surprisingly easy to make, and go well with your own kebabs at home. You will need some sort of glass jar, I used a Kilner but others are available. Wilco is a surprisingly useful source for these. There are other recipes available on-line. This one does produce good pickles though. Others appear to have more salt and less vinegar. Experiment!
- 1 large or 2 small turnips, 400-500g total
- 1 small uncooked beetroot.
Trim off the peel and slice into sticks the size of French fries, or shorter chunkier pieces.
- 175ml water
- 175ml distilled vinegar (white)
- 4 tsp salt
- 1 chilli stabbed with a knife (optional)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole.
Mix the pickling ingredients and stir until the salt has dissolved.
Pack a jar with the beets and fill with the liquid. Place in the fridge and check it each day to see the pink tinge grow! The original recipe advised swirling around every few days. After a week it will be ready to eat. Keep it in the fridge and it will last a few weeks I am told. It didn’t last that long here – it was eaten. The Lebanese call these pickles “lift”. Yes, you can see Rudi in the photo.
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 cloves garlic
Chop and sweat in a dash of olive oil for 10 minutes
- 2 tins good quality tomatoes (that is the -ish bit)
- 6 proper tomatoes
- 1 litre vegetable stock (a stock cube is fine)
Simmer 15 minutes
Add a small handful of fresh basil leaves and whizz with a stick blender. Adjust the seasoning and job done. Idea to table in 30 minutes. From a Jamie Oliver recipe. Great with our Irish Soda Bread recipe as you can see in the picture.
A bid fiddly but worth it. First heat your oven to 170C. Grease a large loaf tin and line with baking parchment.
- 3 weetabixes, crumbled
- 100g sultanas
- 150ml milk
Mix, then set aside.
- 2 eggs
- 250g light muscavado sugur
Whip to a froth (or as best you can in a mixer)
- 120g butter, melted
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 150g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Mix into the egg and sugar froth. You can do this in a food mixer. Now stir into the weetabix mixture. Don’t use a food processor for this step or you will “loose” the sultanas.
Bake for 1-1.25 hours. Leave in the tin for at least 5 minutes after it is cooked.
This is pretty simple if you have a food processor. Here are the steps.
- Chop an onion finely in a food processor.
- Fry in oil gently with two cloves of garlic.
- Whizz 4 slices of bread to breadcrumbs – put in a bowl
- Whizz 200g cashew nuts to crumbs. Put in bowl.
- Whiz 250g plain tofu and 140ml vegetable stock to a paste. Add to bowl.
- Whizz 200g mushrooms to a fine chop and fry in a little oil
- Add the onion to your bowl, and mix in with half a teaspoon dried thyme and half a teaspoon dried rosemary
- Grease a 2lb loaf tin or equivalent size pie dish and put half the mix in, pressing down.
- Add the cooked mushrooms and spread out.
- Add the rest of the mix and press down.
- Cover with foil and cook in an oven at 180C for one hour.
- Allow to rest ten minutes.
- Turn out and carve.
- Eat hot or cold.
As a non-vegan, I was surprised to discover that Jus-Roll pastry was vegan. Very useful. (So is Bisto gravy, can you believe that?) Quantities are a bit vague because we made this from leftovers so you may need to tweak a bit.
- Half a pack of Jus-Roll puff pastry
- Tin of Borlotti beans (or any beans really), drained
- salt and pepper
- Pinch of cumin
- Small pinch of chilli powder
- Large spoonful of Vegan Bolognese
- Tablespoon of vegan milk
Mush the beans with a stick blender, fork, end of a rolling pin or a clean jam jar. Mix with the other ingredients. It should form a stiff paste. Roll out the puff pastry to about 4mm thick. Cut into rectangles about 200mm by 150mm. Spoon a “sausage” up the centre line of each pastry rectangle on the long dimension. Roll the pastry round the filling and glue the join with a bit of water. Roll over so the join is underneath. Place on a greased baking tray. Brush the milk over the top to make a glaze and slash at an angle across the top of the rolls to allow steam to escape. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 20-25 minutes.
PS if you don’t have any vegan bolognese you could enhanced the mix with some finely chopped and fried onion, and a contrasting type of bean (white or red). You could add more seasoning, garlic and herbs if you prefer.
In my opinion as a meat-eater, this is very nearly as good as the beef version! This makes a batch good for 4 meals at least.
- 400g dried green lentils
- I onion, chopped finely
- 2 carrots, chopped finely
- 2 celery sticks, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 litres vegetable stock
- Tin of chopped tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
First cook the lentils in the stock for 45 minutes. Add more water if it threatens to dry out.
Meanwhile chop the vegetables or if you have one, pulse in a food processor. You need to consistency fine not chunky. Now sweat in a pan with the oil until soft. Add the tinned tomatoes, cooked lentils with their liquid and season. Cook another 20-30 minutes. Now for the clever bit. Use a stick blender or fork to mush half the mix into a paste and stir into the rest of the mix to make a thick gloopy sauce. If it is too dry add stock, if it is too runny, boil it away a bit with the lid off. Real vegans will add yeast powder to the mix.
Serve as a pasta sauce, or make a lasagne. The problem with a vegan lasagne is making the creamy topping. Vegetarians will be fine with a standard bechamel sauce and grated cheese! Vegans will have to improvise with tofu alternatives. Keep some back to use as an ingredient for vegan sausage rolls!
This makes a small loaf so it is quick, and very authentic in texture and flavour.
- 170g self raising wholemeal flour
- 170g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2tsp salt
- 290ml buttermilk
Mix all the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and knead briefly.
Heat the oven to 200C. On a flat greased oven tray, place the ball of dough. Slash a deep cross on top with a knife. Bake 30 minutes.