Arford Cooks

Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Tag: vegan (page 1 of 3)

French-style crusty loaf

French bread is often very crusty with a soft fluffy inside. I have always assumed that this type of bread needs special flour and expertise, but not so. A chance find on the internet showed up this recipe. This is a bit weird – you will need a cast iron casserole, but trust me. Have a go!

  • 360g plain flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5tsp instant yeast
  • 300ml warm water

Throw all of this in a food processor and process for 45 seconds. Alternatively do it the hard way and knead by hand for 10 minutes! This will produce a very sticky dough so good luck with the hand method.

Let your dough rise for an hour in a covered bowl left in a warm place. Use flour on your hands and in the bowl to try and keep it from sticking, but you probably won’t. No matter, at this stage anyway.

Do you have a proving basket? Thought not, neither did I. After the hour is up the dough will have doubled in size, the yeast inside is going crazy. Try and get it out of the bowl, then gently knock it back by taking the floppy sides and folding them over into the middle to make a sort of cushion. Lots of flour will be needed to keep it from sticking. This is OK.

Now flour your proving basket/bowl. Carefully place your dough into the bowl, with the folded sides down. Allow to rise again for half an hour.

Meanwhile heat your oven to 230C with is very hot. Put your cast iron casserole dish into the oven to heat up. If you keep the lid out, you can use it as a cutting guide to make a baking parchment sling for your dough. The sling is simply a piece of paper the size of the base of the casserole, with two strips extending from opposite sides to make the handles.

When all is ready, upturn your proving basket/bowl onto the paper and if you floured it enough it will flop out. If not you may have to do running repairs (as I did). The only difference is that the top won’t look as pro, but you will be forgiven when they eat it.

Take your casserole dish out of the oven, use the paper sling to put the delicate dough into the casserole, put the lid on and put it back into the oven for 30 minutes. The casserole will get all steamy inside which is what makes the crusty surface of the loaf.

After 30 minutes, take the lid off. The bread will have risen but it won’t look too brown. Put it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Now you can take it out and impress your family and friends with an amazing crusty artisan loaf!

If all that makes no sense at all, watch the videos on the original recipe site

Best DIY Pizza

This makes four small or three generous pizzas.

  • 7g sachet dried yeast
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 325ml lukewarm water (warm enough to wash in)

Mix together in a jug and leave for a few minutes

  • 400g strong white flour
  • 0.5 tsp salt

Stir to mix then mix in with the yeasty liquid. Either do this in a food processor and run the motor for 60 seconds or knead by hand for ten minutes.

Shape into a ball, smear with oil and place in a large warm bowl. Cover in oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place like your airing cupboard for an hour or until double in size.

Take out all the shelves from your oven. Heat your oven to as hot as possible, 250degC.

Knock back the dough and break into three or four equal lumps. Dust a work surface with flour and roll/stretch into discs about 0.5cm thick. Take squares of foil, oil them (this is important) and lay the pizzas on them.

  • Top quality passata or homemade tomato sauce

Spread thinly over the pizzas. Add

  • toppings of choice (ham, prawns, anchovies, sliced pepperoni; or if you want vegan stick to sauted mushroom, olives, sliced antipasto artichoke, basil leaves, sliced pepper, sliced onion, etc.)
  • Top with sliced or grated mozzarella cheese or vegan cheese.

Now for the clever bit. Slide the foil carrying your pizza onto the oven shelves. Put the shelves back in the oven and cook for ten minutes. If they look done they are done!



Saffron Couscous

An easy way to tart up couscous as a side dish. This makes a side dish for four.

  • Generous pinch of saffron fronds
  • 3 tbs boiling water

Place them in a saucepan and let the saffron steep for 20 minutes while you make something else.

  • 2-3 tbs pine nuts

Dry fry the pine nuts until they look a bit brown. Set aside.

  • 225g couscous
  • Equal volume of boiling water or vegetable stock
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Put all this in the pan containing the saffron. Cover and leave for five minutes.

  • Leaves from a small bunch of parsley, chopped.

Stir in the pine nuts and parsley. Fluff up with a fork and serve. Good alongside falafels, pittas, hummus and courgette and tomato

Falafel (reliable recipe!)

I have tried several recipes and not all of them work. This one does! It needs a bit of preparation but it’s well worth it. Here are quantities to make a generous pile to feed four.

  • 225g dried chickpeas

Either soak overnight, or cook for 5 minutes in your Instant Pot and leave for a further hour in the water.

  • Optional – 1 small onion
  • Bunch of parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic loves
  • 1 tbs chickpea/gram flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper

Put these and the drained chickpeas in a food processor with about 50ml water. Process to a coarse paste. Add a spash more water if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

Make little balls 2-3cm in diameter – you will make about 20 with this batch. A small icecream scoop is useful. Heat a pan full of oil to about 160degC and shallow fry the balls in batches. You may need to flip them halfway through cooking if your oil isn’t deep. They are cooked when the outside goes brown and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm until ready to serve.

Lebanese Courgette and Tomato (Koussa Wbanadoura)

An easy side for a Lebanese meal. This is nice and sloppy so it goes well with dry dishes like couscous and falafel. This serves 4 as a side.

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs oil

Saute gently until translucent.

  • 2 courgettes, sliced thickly and quartered.

Add to the pan. Saute until starting to colour.

  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-6 tomatoes depending on size, diced.

You could use a tin of chopped tomatoes if times are hard. Now gently stew all this in a covered pan for 15-20 minutes. Add a splash of water if it is drying out. That’s it! Job done.

Cauliflower and Cheese Soup – Mary Berry

This is very quick and you can make it in an Instant Pot or on the stove – both methods given.

  • tablespoon of oil
  • 1 onion, chopped

Saute in Instant Pot or gentry fry in the pan until translucent

  • 1 Cauliflower

Chop into florets, slice the stalk and pale leaves. Add to the pot and cook for a minute or two

  • 2 tbs plain flour

Add to the pot and stir about

  • 1 litre vegetable stock

Stir in, cover and cook. Instant Pot Soup setting for 10 minutes or hob for 15-20 minutes until tender.

  • 50g blue or cheddar cheese (or vegan cheese/equivalent)

Stir in and melt. Zip with a hand blender and adjust the seasoning, you might need a little salt and white pepper.

Very veggie dhal

This makes a great main-meal dhal, which can be vegan, vegetarian or meaty depending what you put on top of it.  It can also be a curry side. This serves 6 or more but you can scale it down.

  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 Tbs ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry unil soft. Add

  • 1 heaped tsp turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Fry for one minute. Add

  • 3 cups split red lentils
  • 2 courgettes grated

Fry one minute. Add

  • 1.2 litres water

Simmer for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and add water if it looks like it is drying out. Then add

  • 3 cups roughly chopped spinach
  • 1 x 400g can chick peas
  • 1x 400 ml can Coconut milk
  • 1 tsp tamari or soy sauce or salt

Simmer for another 10 minutes until thick. Adjust the seasoning, you may need more salt. Meanwhile, in another pan heat

  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds

Fry gently until the aromas are released.

Serve into bowls, topped with the chilli/cumin oil.  You can serve as it, with rice or breads (vegan), or

Top with hard-boiled egg and youghurt (vegetarian), or

Serve with a dry meat curry or tandoori grilled chicken or lamb

Tomato Tabbouleh Salad

This is an easy lunch salad as long as you plan ahead with the bulgur wheat! You can us a variety of proteins for this to make it a more substantial dish, or you can use it as a side. For 2 portions (main) or 4 portions (side):

  • 100 gm Bulgur wheat
  • 400ml water

Simmer 15 minutes covered, turn off the heat and leave for 10 minutes. Meanwhile

  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs tomato puree
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Mix to make a dressing. When the bulgur is cooked, fluff it up. It should have absorbed all the water. Mix in the dressing and leave to cool.

  • 2 dried figs or dates, chopped
  • 2 spring onions chopped, or chives
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful of mint leaves, shredded
  • handful of parsley, chopped
  • Optional – 1/4 cucumber cubed

Mix up with the cooked bulgur to make a salad. If you are serving this as a main course salad, you can top with:

  • fried halloumi (vegetarian) or…
  • Smoked mackerel fillets, or…
  • Falafel (vegan), or…
  • Grilled chicken breast, or…
  • beef mince kofta, or…
  • Lamb meatballs

and a few fancy lettuce leaves alongside. Pittas, yoghurt, hummus, Lebanese pickles all start to make this look like a feast.

Vegan courgette fritters that non-vegans will love

Makes about 16 fritters: serves four as a main meal or eight as part of a brunch

  • 3 cups (500g) grated courgettes, water squeezed out
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (125g) plain flour
  • 1/4 cup (15g) nutritional yeast
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic puree
  • 2 spring onions chopped, or chives
  • 1/4 cup (56g) meted vegan butter or spread

Mix that lot in a bowl. The batter should be fairly stiff, adjust flour or water until it is. Heat a frying pan, add

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Put fritter-sized blobs of batter in the pan. Fry 2-3 minutes per side until brown and crispy, and cooked through. They will be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. You may have to do this in batches. Keep warm until ready to serve.

 

Parsnip, hazelnut and apple soup

This is a really “different” soup that is good for everyday and would stand up for a dinner party starter too.

  • 100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • Bunch of sage leaves (about 20)
  • 500g parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 2 eating apples, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4tbs oil

Heat your oven to 200C. Reserve a few sage leaves, 1 tbs of oil and 15g of nuts. Toss the rest into and oven tray and roast for 30 minutes until tender and slightly charred.

  • 1 litre vegetable stock

Remove the sage leaves from the tray and discard. On the stove top, pour the stock into the tray and bubble until the charred bits in the tray have loosened and incorporated into the liquid. Blend until smooth. If it is too thick, add some more stock.

Fry the reserved sage leaves and hazelnuts in oil until the leaves are crispy and the nuts are brown.

  • 4 tbs creme fraiche (or vegan alternative)

Serve the soup in bowls with a spoon of creme fraiche and a scatter of nuts and leaves.

 

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