Asparagus season always seems like a welcome relief at the end of the grey winter months. In my current part of the world it’s kind of big deal too as it’s noted for growing some really fabulous quality asparagus. It’s just a shame that the […]
This is one of my new favourite dinners. Not only is it truly tasty but eating it makes me feel all sorts of virtuous! I love the chewy, nutty fibre rich grains paired with the slightly sweet roasted vegetables but it’s the subtle spices and the creamy tahini dressing that really make it a joy to eat. It’s so good for you but you wouldn’t even know it, it’s one of those dishes where you won’t even notice that it’s vegan!
You can use whichever grains you like, just cook them according to the packet instructions. It’s also nice to change around the vegetables depending upon whatever is in season, most things will taste great with the spices and tahini. This is quite a wintery combination but roasted peppers and aubergines would also be delicious in the summer, simply adjust the roasting time accordingly.
2 tbsp oil
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic
200g mixed grains (I used spelt, pearl barley & brown rice)
300ml vegetable stock (add more if you need to during cooking)
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
seasalt and black pepper
700g vegetables (I used cauliflower, broccoli and squash)
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
black pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp ice water
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and chop your veggies into bite-sized pieces. Crush the spices a little in a pestle and mortar and mix them with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the salt and pepper. Toss the veggies in this, making sure that they are well coated. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast them for 45 minutes, until they are tender and a little charred around the edges.
Meanwhile you can prepare the grains. Dice the onion and gently fry it in the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Allow them to soften but they don’t need to colour at all. Crush the garlic and add that to the pan too. Mix in the grains and pour over the stock. Bring to the boil before simmering until the grains are tender. Drain away any excess liquid.
To make the dressing simply whisk together the tahini, olive oil and lemon juice. Season with the black pepper and then use a little ice water to thin out the consistency to make it pourable.
Toss together the roasted vegetables and cooked grains before piling into bowls and drizzling over the dressing. Delicious!
Thick, rich and velvety, this is the perfect winter soup! It might sound like an odd combination of flavours but it really works. The sweet, earthy parsnip and the slightly peppery celeriac, the tangy apple and the warming horseradish, it’s all just wonderful together.
Like all blended soups this is really quick and simple to prepare and makes a delicious warming winter supper, perfect with warm buttery bread.
1 tbsp butter
3 shallots or 1 small white onion
250g Bramley apple
1 ltr vegetable stock
few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp creamed horseradish
salt and black pepper to taste
milk to thin
Peel and roughly chop all of the vegetables and the apple. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and gently fry all of this over a low heat until it is just starting to take on a little colour. Add the stock and the thyme and increase the heat. Boil the soup until the vegetables are really soft, for about 15 minutes.
Remove the thyme stalks and transfer the soup to a blender and blend until it is smooth and velvety. Stir in the creme fraiche and horseradish and season to taste with salt and pepper before thinning the soup to whatever consistency you prefer with a little milk.
Every year Mr C convinces me to cook Burns Night supper for him, playing on his Scottish heritage. I’m always very happy to do so on the proviso that we have a veggie-friendly haggis. With only two of us, cooking a haggis each would seem pretty extravagant.
Whilst we were living in the states I came up with this recipe (or roughly this one anyway) for a vegetarian haggis so that we could carry on the tradition. It’s worth noting that I’ve never tried real haggis so I’ve based the flavours of this recipe on the veggie versions that I’ve eaten in the past. The vegemite and miso work wonders at adding some savoury, umami notes and using white pepper as well as black really helps with the seasoning.
50g pearl barley
50g red lentils
1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion
1 medium carrot
1 heaped tsp shiro miso
100g kidney beans (canned)
2 tsp vegemite
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tbsp dark brown sugar
pinch of seasalt and plenty of black and white pepper to season
Bring a pan of water to boil and add the barley, cook for 15 minutes. Add the lentils and cook for 10 minutes more, until the pulses feel tender. Turn off the heat, drain away any excess liquid, add the oats and leave them to absorb the last of the moisture.
Whilst you’re waiting for the pulses to cook finely chop the onion, carrot and mushrooms and fry them in the oil until the onion is golden and the vegetables are tender, add the miso and cook for a moment or too longer. Once they’re cooked pop the veggies into the bowl of a food processor and add the kidney beans, vegemite, sugar, thyme, nutmeg and seasoning. Whizz it up to combine everything but don’t make it too smooth. Add the pulses and briefly blitz it again.
Take a longish length of clingfilm and pile the mixture onto it. Wrap it up and roll it into a fat sausage shape, twisting the ends tightly. Wrap the haggis in foil and fold over the ends to seal it. Now you can either leave the haggis to chill until you’re ready to cook it or place it in a steamer over a pan of boiling water. Steam the haggis for 45 minutes, then unwrap and serve with neeps, tatties and whisky sauce.