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Cheese & Apple Scones

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This recipe is extracted from Vegetarian Food for Healthy Kids by Nicola Graimes.

Savoury scones/biscuits make a good alternative to the usual sandwich and these have been pimped up with the addition of cheese, apple and linseeds/flaxseeds. Spread them with butter or, to make them more filling, split in half and fill with cream cheese and slices of cucumber. To make a sweet version, leave out the cheese and stir in 2 tablespoons sugar instead.

Makes: 8
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
200g/7oz/1½ cups self-raising wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground linseeds/flaxseeds
50g/1¾oz/3½ tbsp chilled butter, cubed
1 apple, with skin, cored and grated
90g/3¼oz mature/sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup milk, plus extra for brushing

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl, adding any bran left in the sieve/fine-mesh strainer. Stir in the linseeds/flaxseeds.
  3. Using your fingertips, lightly rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the apple and Cheddar. Gradually, stir in the milk using a fork, then bring the dough together with your hands.
  4. Press out the dough on a lightly floured work surface, about 2.5cm/1in thick. Using a 4.5cm/1¾in cutter, stamp out 8 rounds.
  5. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with milk. Bake for 20–25 minutes until risen and
    golden. Transfer to a wire rack and serve warm or leave to cool completely.

vegetarian-food-for-healthy-kids

Nicola Graimes
Vegetarian Food for Healthy Kids
£12.99, available from Nourish Books

 

A Part-Time Vegetarian Choice: Pikelets with Pear and Ginger Compôte

A cross between the English crumpet and American pancake, the pikelet is thought to have originated in Wales. You need to plan ahead when making pikelets as the yeast requires time to do its thing, so these are best served for brunch (or indeed for tea). Nicola Graimes’s recipe from The Part-Time Vegetarian includes a warming pear compote flavoured with ginger and cloves, but they could also be served topped with a few rashers of crisp bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Part time veg day 7 Pikelets006

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus rising

Cooking time: 16 minutes

Ingredients:
Pikelets
225g/8oz/ 1 ¾ cups plain/all-purpose flour, preferably spelt
1 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tsp caster/ granulated sugar
1 large egg
270 ml/ 9 ½ fl oz/ scant 1 ¼ cups milk
½ tsp salt
sunflower oil, for frying
Greek yogurt, to serve

Pear and ginger compot:
3 just-ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into bite-size cubes
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cm/ ½in piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves
40g/ 1 ½oz/ 1/3 cup sultanas/ golden raisins
1-2 tbsp clear honey

Method:

  • To make the pikelets, mix together the flour, yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined, then make a well in the middle.
  • Whisk the egg into the milk. Pour the mixture into the well and gradually draw in the flour, whisking to make a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with cling film/ plastic wrap and leave for 2 hours in a warm place until bubbly and risen. Stir in the salt just before cooking, otherwise it will inhibit the yeast.
  • Meanwhile, to make the compote, put the pears, orange juice, ginger and cloves in a saucepan over a high heat and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and stir in the orange zest and sultanas/ golden raisins. Cover the pan and simmer for 5-8 minutes, or until the pears are just tender but not falling apart. Stir in enough honey to sweeten.
  • Heat a little oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and wipe it over the base using a crumpled up sheet of paper towel. Place a small ladleful (about 3 tablespoons) of the batter into the pan, then repeat to cook 4 pikelets at a time. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until risen and golden. Keep warm wrapped in a cloth or low oven while you make the remaining pikelets.
  • Serve the pikelets with pear and ginger compote and with yogurt on the side.

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Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
£20.00, available from Nourish Books

 

 

 

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Coconut & Sweet Potato Noodle Soup

 

Coconut soup

Soups play a major role in Asian cuisine, and this fragrant, nourishing and coconut-rich soup can make a satisfying one-dish meal. This is an extract from the Big Book of Wok by Nicola Graimes, that brings together a collection of 365 recipes for snacks, lunches and dinners.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 large onions, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 12 chestnut mushrooms, sliced 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 1 recipe quantity Thai Red Curry Paste
1.2 litres (2 pints, 5 cups) vegetable stock
250ml (9fl oz, 1 cup) coconut milk
2 tbsp light soy sauce salt and freshly ground black pepper handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped 175g (6oz) rice noodles, cooked

Method:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok and stir-fry half the chopped onions until crisp and golden. Remove from the wok and set on one side.
  • Heat the remaining oil in the wok. Add the rest of the chopped onion and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms and sweet potatoes and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and soy sauce and cook for another 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the coriander.
  • Divide the noodles between four bowls and pour the soup over the top. Sprinkle with the crispy onions and serve.

 

Try This Easy to Make Griddled Salad with Basil & Tahini Dressing!

The delicious tahini dressing with a citrussy zing and the sweetness of basil lifts the flavours of griddled vegetables and makes a rich and satisfying lunch. The dressing also tastes good with falafels or as a dip.

GrilledVegSalad

Serves: 4
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
4 large courgettes, thinly sliced lengthways
2 aubergines, thinly sliced lengthways
1 fennel bulb, cut into quarters and thickly sliced
1 small head of cauliflower, thickly sliced
4 large portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil or melted coconut oil
4 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves, such as dandelion, mint, parsley, coriander, mustard, beetroot greens, rocket and kale,
to serve

Tahini dressing:
60g/2¼oz/¼ cup tahini
250ml/9fl oz/1 cup orange juice
zest and juice of ½ lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ tsp ground sea salt
1 small handful of basil leaves

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 100°C/200°F/Gas ½ and put a plate inside to warm. Heat a large, ridged griddle over a medium- high heat.
  • Put all the vegetables in a large bowl and add the oil, then toss gently to coat the vegetables and tip into the griddle. You may need to cook these in batches. Spread the vegetables out evenly. Cook for 8–10 minutes until marked with golden lines on one side. Reduce the heat, if necessary, to avoid burning.
  • Meanwhile, make the dressing. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor, then process on high speed for 30 seconds, or until the dressing is smooth and creamy.
  • Leave to one side to allow the flavours to develop.
  • Turn the vegetables over and cook for 8 minutes, or until there are golden lines on the second side.
  • Transfer the cooked vegetables to the warm plate while you cook the remaining batches. Put the salad leaves on a large serving plate and put the cooked vegetables on top, then drizzle with the tahini dressing.
  • Serve immediately

Adele McConnell is the founder of the hugely successful vegan food blog, vegiehead.com, and was the winner of the prestigious ‘Vegan Food Blogger Award’ by The Vegan Woman 2012. She loves sharing her passion for vegan food. Watch her inspiring, easy-to-follow cookery demonstrations on her YouTube channel.
Adele MacConnell - 100 Vegan Recipes

“Feed your soul, taste the love: 100 of the best vegan recipes”

The Vegan Cookbook by Adele McConnell

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Vegetarian Recipe – Pepper and Tofu Saltado

Saltado is a Peruvian one-pan dish with an Asian influence. Traditionally made with beef, this vegetarian version features marinated cubes of tofu, new potatoes and red peppers in a herby, spicy tomato sauce.

7-Tofu & Pepper Saltado

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
6 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 heaped tsp hot chilli paste
400g/14oz firm tofu, drained, patted dry and
cut into cubes
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra if needed
450g/1lb new potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large onions, chopped
2 large red peppers, deseeded and cut
into chunks
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
550g/1lb 4oz tomatoes, skinned, deseeded
and chopped
2 large handfuls of mint leaves, chopped
2 large handfuls of coriander leaves, chopped

Method:

  • Mix together 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of the chilli paste in a large, shallow dish. Add the tofu and turn until it is coated in the marinade. Leave to marinate for 1 hour.
  • Twenty minutes before the tofu is ready, heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add the potatoes and fry for 16–18 minutes, turning regularly, until golden and crisp all over. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Add the tofu to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden all over. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Add more oil to the pan if needed, then add the onion and cook for 6 minutes until softened.
  • Add the red peppers and cook for another 3 minutes until tender. While they are cooking, mix together the garlic, ground spices, vinegar and the remaining soy sauce and chilli paste, then add it to the pan with the tomatoes and 5 tablespoons water.
  • Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the tomatoes break down to make a sauce.
  • Return the cooked potatoes and tofu to the pan with three-quarters of the herbs and heat through. Serve sprinkled with the remaining herbs.

Nicola Graimes is an award-winning cookery writer and former editor of Vegetarian Living magazine. She has written more than 20 books.

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Veggienomics by Nicola Graimes is available now with free UK postage

Order the book here

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Guilt-Free Recipe for Easter

Looking for something different and guilt-free for Easter? Look no further than these Chocolate Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting.

Perfectly light and moist – a great alternative to the heavier Easter treats around. Using avocado in icing might sound strange, and I suppose it is a little strange, but surprisingly it works! And they’re egg and dairy free so even your vegan friends can enjoy a treat at Easter!

Have a look at our Publicity Assistant, Gemma, making up her batch at home:

The Recipe, in black and white

Makes 24 mini cupcakes (12 servings)

Per serving:
Fat: 4.5g (of which saturates: 0.8g)
Calories: 111kcal
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

For the chocolate cakes:
240ml/8fl oz/scant 1 cup almond milk, plus extra for the frosting
1 tsp cider vinegar
185g/6½oz/heaped ¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract (optional)
250g/9oz/2 cups self-raising flour
30g/1oz/ ⅓ cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the avocado frosting:
2 ripe avocados
4 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
2 tbsp clear honey
a little almond milk, to loosen

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and line two 12-hole mini-muffin tins with paper cases.
  • Mix together the almond milk and vinegar in a large bowl and stir well, then leave to one side for a few
    minutes to curdle.
  • Beat in the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and almond extract, if using, and whisk until frothy.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together well.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins, filling the sections three-quarters full. Bake for 10–12 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • To make the frosting, scoop out the avocado flesh into a small blender or food processor (or bowl and
    work with a hand-held blender).
  • Add the cocoa powder and honey and process until smooth, then gradually add a little almond milk, a drop at a time, until the mixture just begins to hold its shape.
  • Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle and pipe the frosting onto the centre of the cakes in a nice high peak. (You don’t need to cover the entire surface as this would add too much icing and therefore too many calories.)
  • Peel back the paper and enjoy – the great thing is they are so mini you can eat two!

 

GuiltfreeBaking

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Guilt-Free Baking

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Get Your Breakfast Right with Jo Pratt’s Vegetarian Recipes

Impress your family and friends with this delicious breakfast or brunch dishes. These recipes are easy to make at home or at work, and they are reach of healthy ingredients to energize your day. You can get more breakfast ideas reading Jo Pratt’s In the Mood for Healthy Food.

Poached eggs, tahini and pan-fried avocado

Once toasted, the crunch you get from the bread works really well with the soft egg and avocado. As for the tahini – it really tops off the dish. This protein-rich paste made from ground sesame seeds gives some real oomph. If you’ve not already tried pan-frying avocado, then you must give this recipe a go. It has a smoky taste, similar to that of mild smoked bacon, so it’s perfect with eggs for a late breakfast or brunch.

In the mood for healthy food Jo Pratt

Serves: 4 (or 2 very hungry people)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 eggs
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1cm/½in thick slices
4 thick slices of fresh bread (such as sourdough or rye bread)
3 tbsp tahini, plus extra to serve
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Method:

  • Bring a medium to large pan of water to the boil over a medium-high heat and add the white wine vinegar.
  • Break in the eggs one at a time and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
  • Cook for 2–3 minutes until the whites are set.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the avocado slices and fry for about 1–2 minutes on each side until slightly golden. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Toast the bread until golden. Spread each slice with tahini, then top with the avocado slices. Remove the poached eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  • Dry any excess water with paper towels and then put the eggs on top of the toasts.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Scatter with the sumac and sesame seeds, then serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little more tahini.

Turmeric and coriander omelettes with chilli tomatoes

This is certainly a breakfast or brunch dish that’s not lacking in flavour or colour, and is guaranteed to impress whoever you make it for. Turmeric gives the omelette a vibrant yellow colour and a mellow spiced flavour, and is said to have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that could potentially ward off some pretty horrible things.

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Serves:  2
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
4 tsp olive oil
For the chilli tomatoes:
4 tsp olive oil
200g/7oz/1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a pinch of dried chilli/hot pepper flakes
1 tsp nigella seeds
2 large handfuls of spinach leaves, roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  • To make the chilli tomatoes, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil.
  • When hot, add the tomatoes and garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes until the tomatoes start to soften, then stir in the dried chilli/hot pepper flakes and nigella seeds and season with salt and pepper.
  • Continue to cook for 2–3 minutes until the tomatoes are squishy. Finally, stir in the spinach until it’s wilted, then keep warm while you make the omelettes.
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl, add the turmeric and coriander/cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a small non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add half the oil and swirl around to coat the base and sides of the pan.
  • Pour half of the egg mixture into the pan. Move around in the pan with the base of a fork (taking care not to scratch your pan) until you have a soft scrambled consistency.
  • Now leave the omelette to finish cooking so the egg is just set – this should only take a minute or so. Keep warm while you make the second omelette with the remaining egg mixture.
  • Transfer the omelettes to plates. Spoon half of the chilli tomatoes and spinach onto one side of each omelette.

 

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Jo Pratt
In the Mood for Healthy Food
£ 20.00, available from Nourish Books

 

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Chestnuts’ Special Place at the Christmas Table

Chestnuts

Chestnuts are traditionally given a special place at the Christmas table. These shiny brown nuts are delicious boiled or roasted – always split the hard skin first to stop them exploding while cooking – and eaten on their own. They are also good puréed and served as a side dish or mixed into stuffings. Tossed with freshly cooked Brussels sprouts, a knob of butter and freshly ground black pepper, they make one of the best vegetable dishes on the winter menu.
In southern Europe, they have a long culinary history, being used in breads, cakes and sweetmeats and to make a type of flour. Chestnuts have a natural affinity with chocolate and you will find many recipes for rich chocolate desserts, ice creams and cakes that include them.
Most recipes for chestnuts require them to be cooked and peeled, and although this is simple to do, you can buy ready-prepared chestnuts in cans or vacuum packs. These also have the advantage of being available at any time of the year.

Chestnut and hazelnut roast

Serves: 6-8
Ingredients:
100g/31⁄2oz hazelnuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
225g/8oz mushrooms, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
225g/8oz chestnuts, cooked, peeled and finely chopped
85g/3oz white breadcrumbs
pinch of dried thyme
4 tbsp vegetable stock
juice of 1⁄2 lemon

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
  • Put the hazelnuts in a food processor and process briefly to chop finely, but avoid grinding to a smooth powder. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic and gently fry for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with a little salt and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. They should be moist, but not wet.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the hazelnuts, chestnuts, breadcrumbs, thyme, stock and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  • Press the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until golden.
  • Leave the roast to stand for about 5 minutes, then very carefully invert on to a board or serving platter, cut into slices and serve.

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Susannah Blake
Seasonal Food
Available from Nourish Books

 

 

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The Vegan Storecupboard

We are approaching World Vegan Month, which punctually runs in November every year starting on November 1st, and celebrates a plant-based diet.

If you feel inspired to try and start a vegan diet, the first step is to choose the right ingredients to cook with at home, which will help to keep the costs down. In The Vegan Cookbook – 100 of the Best Vegan Recipes, Adele McConnell lists the best vegan ingredients to start with in order to plan a well-stocked storecupboard. Although some of the foods may be unfamiliar, Adele has chosen them for their health benefits. You can stock up gradually and to save costs you can buy a lot of pulses (such as peas, beans and lentils) in bulk.

Almonds are high in magnesium, vitamin E, phosphorus and calcium. They are a great convenience snack and they make incredible milk.
Antipasti vegetables such as sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes stored in oil in jars (or artichokes in brine from a tin), are handy to add to a tomato based pasta sauce for a quick and easy dinner or to serve on a platter with vegan cheese and biscuits.photo-1430163393927-3dab9af7ea38
Cacao nibs are shelled and crushed cacao beans. They have a dark, bitter taste, and a small amount will add a chocolatey flavour to any dish. This is real, unprocessed chocolate, containing feel-good nutrients such as theobromine, phenylethylamine and anandamide. If you don’t have raw cacao nibs or raw cacao powder, a high-quality vegan dark chocolate will suffice.
Cacao powder is made from raw, ground cacao beans and has a fairly bitter, rich and earthy taste. Rich in magnesium and antioxidants, it is a healthier choice than cocoa, which is highly processed and has lost much of the nutritional value that was present in the raw product. You can use cocoa instead of cacao, but not if you are making a raw recipe.
Carob powder comes from carob, a legume (bean), which has a mildly sweet and fruity taste. Unlike chocolate, it contains no caffeine. The powder can be used in place of cacao or cocoa in recipes. Milder-flavoured raw carob has not been heat treated and is preferable for raw desserts.
Chia seeds are ancient Mexican seeds that have recently been gaining recognition due to their health properties. They are high in the essential fatty acid omega-3 and -6, and they are useful for vegans because they contain vital omega-3, which is difficult to obtain from animal-free sources. Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, cereals, baked products, soups and salads. They also make a substitute for egg as a binding agent, by soaking in 1 or 2 tablespoons of water until they form a gel.
Coconut aminos is similar to soy sauce, but without the soya. It is less salty, but it still has the same kick you expect from soy sauce or tamari. It can be used in place of both.
Coconut cream is the thick, solid layer that forms on the top of coconut milk, if the fat content is high enough, and is also sold as cream in cartons and tins. For extra-thick cream, store the carton or tin upright in the fridge, then open it and take off the cream from the top.
Coconut milk is a more liquid equivalent of coconut cream. The thickness and quality of milk varies according to the brand. I choose
cream most of the time and water it down myself if I need milk.
Coconut nectar is a mineral-rich liquid from the sap of coconut trees. It has a caramel-butterscotch flavour and can be used in place of honey, agave syrup, and any plain sugar product. It has a low GI, and it also contains vitamin C.
Coconut oil has a fairly high smoke point (176°C/350°F), and so is suitable for frying. It can be heated without being damaged and oxidized, as other oils are. Oxidization causes oils to become unhealthy free radicals in the body. Choose organic, virgin and unrefined coconut oil, as they are minimally processed. Non-virgin coconut oil may be produced from dried coconut (copra) and will have lost nutrients as well as being highly processed. Use coconut oil for baking or frying and in desserts or smoothies.
Alternatively, use olive oil (not extra virgin) for frying over medium heat. Organic safflower oil is high in omega-6 essential fats and is my personal alternative for cooking if I am short of coconut oil. Rice bran oil is rich in vitamin E and omega-6, and has a high smoke
point at 232°C/ 450°F. The only oil suitable for raw dishes, however, is coconut oil – for taste, nutrition and its ability to solidify quickly.
Coconut sugar is a good alternative to cane sugar due to its mild caramel taste. It has a lower GI than cane sugar and is also rich in minerals. You can make the recipes in my book using brown sugar, but try to source coconut sugar to make sweet dishes healthier if you can. Coconut sugar is classed as raw, so can be used instead of brown sugar for recipes that are labelled as raw. Agave syrup is sometimes given as a sweetener, although I rarely use it because it is high in fructose, which can lead to weight gain. Brown rice syrup is my preferred alternative as a sweetening syrup.
Coconut yogurt is a relative newcomer to the market, and dairy-free coconut yogurt is a wonderful substitute for soya yogurt. It is rich and creamy and has the most amazing taste. It should be stored in the fridge. Desiccated coconut and coconut flakes are nutritious and useful for adding to cakes, muffins and smoothies.
Gluten-free flour is available in a variety of types, such as brown rice, coconut, buckwheat and gram (chickpea). Your local health-food shop or supermarket should stock a range, and you can also buy gluten-free flour blends, although these vary in quality. All gluten-free flours work slightly differently from regular flour and I recommend you try different ones to see which you prefer. Coconut flour is a tricky ingredient to work with because it absorbs a lot of liquid. If you try it, use only 20–30 per cent of the quantity of the regular flour stated in the recipe.
Nuts are a great way to get protein into a vegan diet – don’t be scared by the fat content! They contain healthy fats when eaten raw and unprocessed. You can add a variety to your diet, such as almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecan and pistachio nuts, walnuts and peanuts (which are actually a legume, although we still eat them like a nut). Eat them alone, in salads, soups and stews, in raw desserts and smoothies, or blend them into nut butters.
Seaweeds are rich in iodine and offer a broad range of other nutrients: B vitamins, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium and riboflavin. Salty flavoured nori sheets are used to make hand-rolls. Agar-agar is used to set jellies and desserts in a similar way to the animal product gelatine.
Seeds are high in protein and minerals. Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and flaxseeds are just a few of the healthy seeds available. You can sprinkle them on to salads and soups, and make them into milks.

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Adele McConnell
The Vegan Cookbook – 100 of the Best Vegan Recipes
£14.99
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Recipe of the Week – Okonomiyaki

HH Part time Veg Day 5 Osomiyaki5866

Extract from The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes

Sometimes referred to as ‘Japanese pizza’, the name okonomiyaki actually means ‘grilled/broiled as you like it’, which goes to explain the many regional styles as well as personal variations there are of this dish. Just to confuse matters, okonomiyaki  is probably more accurately described as a cross between a thick omelette and a pancake. This interpretation is based on the Osaka-style,  where all the ingredients are mixed together before cooking. Try the veggie version, or add meat or fish for non-veggie guests or family.

Serves:  2–4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 12 minutes

Ingredients:
150g/5½oz white cabbage, finely shredded
6 spring onions/scallions, thinly sliced
50g/1¾oz kohlrabi or turnip, peeled and coarsely grated
110g/3¾oz/scant 1 cup plain/
all-purpose flour
½ tsp sea salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1½ tbsp sunflower oil

Topping:
mayonnaise in a squeezy bottle, for drizzling
1 handful of radishes, sliced
1 handful of wild garlic leaves (and flowers) or chives, chopped
1 tbsp pink pickled ginger
1 tsp nori flakes

Method:

  • Put the cabbage, spring onions/scallions and kohlrabi
    in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and salt and stir well until thoroughly combined.
  • Mix the eggs with 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup water. Pour it into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and stir gently but thoroughly until combined. Try to keep the stirring brief as you don’t want to activate the gluten in the flour as this will produce a heavy pancake.
  • Heat half the oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and tilt the pan so it coats the base. Tip the contents of the bowl into the pan and flatten with a spatula into a thick, round pancake shape, as even as you can get it. Turn the heat down slightly as you don’t want the base to burn and cook for 5–6 minutes until light golden.
  • Turn the pancake over (the easiest way to do this is to place a large plate on top of the pan and carefully turn it over to release the pancake). At this point, add the remaining oil to the pan before sliding the okonomiyaki back into the pan. Press down with a spatula and cook for another 5–6 minutes until light golden.
  • Slide the okonomiyaki onto a chopping board. Drizzle the mayonnaise in lines over the top and pile the radishes, wild garlic, pickled ginger and nori in the middle. Serve cut into wedges.

Part-Time Variations:

There are so many variations on toppings and fillings, so feel free to pick your own or try these suggestions:

Bonito okonomiyaki
Bonito flakes (paper-thin slices of dried fish similar to tuna) are typical. Sprinkle 2 tbsp bonito flakes over the top instead of the radishes.

Bacon okonomiyaki
Put 200/7oz diced bacon in the dry frying pan and place over a medium-low heat. When the fat starts to run, turn the heat to medium and fry the lardons for 5 minutes until golden and crisp. Stir half into the batter mixture and scatter the remainder over the top. There is no need to clean the pan before adding the okonomiyaki mixture, although you may like to reduce the amount of oil to 1 tablespoon.

Smoked salmon okonomiyaki
Stir 100g/3½oz smoked salmon pieces into the batter mixture and top with Japanese pickles.

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Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
Available from September 2015
Pre-order the book on Amazon

 

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Recipe of the Week – Potato Pakora Burgers

Part time veg day 4 Potato pakora burger053

Extract from The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes

An Indian twist on the regular veggie burger, these spiced potato patties are coated in a gram flour batter and cooked until the outside is crisp and golden. You could make the pre-battered potato patties a few hours ahead of serving, if convenient.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
480g/1lb 1oz white potatoes, peeledand quartered
1 tsp turmeric
6 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp sea salt
2.5cm/1in piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp butter sunflower oil, for frying freshly ground black pepper

For chickpea batter:
80g/2.oz/. cup gram/chickpea/
besan flour
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp milk

To serve:
4 small naan breads
4 tbsp tamarind and date chutney
4 tomatoes, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 recipe quantity Mint Raita, adding 2.5cm/1in piece of cucumber, diced

Method:

  • Put the potatoes in a large pan, pour in enough water to cover and bring to the boil. Add salt and stir in 1 teaspoon of the turmeric and cook for 12–15 minutes until tender.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, mix together the ingredients for the batter with the remaining turmeric. Whisk in 5–6 tablespoons water to make a smooth, pancake-batter consistency. Leave to rest until needed.
  • Drain and return the potatoes to the still-hot pan to dry, then when cool enough to handle, coarsely grate them into a mixing bowl. Stir in the spring onions/scallions, chilli, nigella seeds, salt, ginger and butter, allowing the latter to melt in the heat of the potatoes. Season with pepper and stir until combined, then, using your hands, form the mixture into 4 large patties.
  • Heat enough oil in a pan to deep-fry the pakora burgers. The oil is hot enough when a cube of bread turns golden in 30 seconds. Dip each patty into the batter mixture until thickly coated, then fry two at a time for 1.–2 minutes, or until golden all over. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven while you cook the remaining pakora burgers. Wrap the naan in foil and warm them in the oven at the same time.
  • To serve, top each naan with a spoonful of the chutney. Place a few slices of tomato on top before adding the pakora burger, red onion and a spoonful of the mint raita.

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Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian
Available from September 2015
Pre-order the book on Amazon

 

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Nisha Katona Urges You to Support Your Local High Street with Meat-free Mondays

street

Wandering around the many areas of Merseyside, one is struck by the shuttered shops that now form the toothless grin of many a high street in recession. Many of those gaps, I have noticed, are being filled with the shiny frontage of “metro” supermarkets.  As a consumer it is easy to feel instant relief at this. Convenient, open late, and an indication that things are improving in the economy perhaps? However, the march of the supermarkets seems to hide a dark problem.

Recently, I was lucky enough to spend the day with a farmer friend. Young, enthusiastic and the organiser of the Wirral Food Festival, his optimism was important in the face of the challenges faced by local growers. He explained how important the festival was in showcasing the best of local food producers as they may well be a dying breed.  I was very interested to know how we could stop this from happening. We the consumers, it seems, hold the key. Choose your local shops over the supermarkets as much as you can.

It seems the supermarkets are ruthless in negotiation, often making verbal agreements for huge orders only to reject the produce if is not “body beautiful” or for any other minor reason. Farmers are also forced to grow more than they can expect to supply as there are hefty penalties (financial and the lack of repeat business) incurred if they come up short.  This results in huge wastage and massive loads of unwanted produce being “dumped” on the market, demolishing the value of British meat and veg altogether. I was so surprised to hear that the wonderful “buy one get one free” offers are paid for by the farmers, not the supermarket. If supermarkets are selling to us for a discount, they are forcing the farmers to sell to them for that discount. No skin off the nose of the supermarkets and totally devastating to the farmers who are over a barrel. Similarly with the producers of British meat. We as consumers are demanding huge amounts of cheap meat.  We would rather travel to a supermarket and pay a few pounds less for meat and veg than pay that bit extra and buy from our local butcher or farm shop.

pataks_nisha_squar_2852765bThere is a huge price to pay for this, consumers:  the death of local business!  We have a choice how we spend our money. In saving a couple of pounds this is what we lose as a nation. We lose the very heart and lungs of our high streets, our butchers, green grocers and fishmongers. By insisting on perfectly formed vegetables, we encourage supermarkets to tyrannically reject perfectly delicious British produce. As a cook and food writer, I know full well that the best flavours lie deep in the matured, the gnarled and the knobbly.

Think about our favourite holiday destinations – what we love about them are the local artisan bakers, the shop windows full of cheeses and hams, the beautiful bright chaos of the fruit and veg stalls, and local produce in local restaurants.  Well, here’s the thing, we can have all of those things here in our very own highstreet if we just keep supporting our local shops.

My challenge to you is this: to go meat free one day a week. Have better quality meat from your local butcher less often. This small sacrifice will save your local producers, your high street, and your health.

I know that asking an Englishman to give up meat is like asking him to remove a limb, but it’s just one day. Just think – by doing this and spending what you save at your local butchers and greengrocers, you are saving the charming food markets, the wonderful produce, and the bustling high streets that make up the very heart of England.

Meat Free Monday Spiced Fritters

Cup full of Gram Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
salt
lemon juice
2 heaped teaspoons of curry powder or garamasala
garlic puree
Vegetable chunks-any trimmings

Mix all the ingredients except the veg with enough water to give you a thick pancake mix consistency.  Chop all your left over veg trimmings, dunk them in the batter and plunge fry.  Great way to turn your left overs into crisp spiced nuggets.

 

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Nisha Katona

Pimp My Rice

Available 15th October 2015

Preorder from Amazon now.