Tag Archives: mushrooms

In my veg box this week – mushrooms, kale, corn

24 Sep

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I last wrote about my veg box. I’ve not been slacking, we had to cancel a few weeks of deliveries, at first because I had so much home-grown produce from my Mum’s allotment, and then because Mr Veg and I went on holiday to Italy. We had such a fab time in Italy, and of course ate some gorgeous food, but I’ll tell you all about that another day.

This week we have:

Mushrooms
We get a bag of mushrooms most weeks. It’s a bit strange, they’re really good mushrooms but we only get a really tiny amount of them – about 100g. It’s not really enough to make them the star of a dish. What will I do with them? This might sound a bit odd, but it depends on whether or not Mr Veg likes mushrooms at the moment or not (he has a bit of a love/hate thing for fungi). If he does like them then great, I’ll use them to enhance an unadventurous dish like spaghetti bolognese, stir-fry, or a vegetable pilaf. Otherwise, I might just be having mushrooms on toast tomorrow, one of my favourite breakfasts.

Kale
I was really really hoping to get some kale this week, so I was thrilled that it was the first thing I saw when I opened the box. The butternut squash my Mum gave me a few weeks ago is almost ripe now, I’ve thought of two ideas of what to do with it and both involve kale. I like the idea of combining sweet, rich, soft squash with green, earthy, crunchy kale. Whichever idea I go with will probably end up on the blog, so keep an eye out.

Corn on the cobs
Wow, these are the first (possibly only) fresh corn I’ve had all summer. I’m definitely having them tonight – sweetcorn is one of those vegetables that gradually gets less sweet, so time is of the essence. I’m not going to do anything fancy, just boil them and slather them with a bit of hot sauce.

Also received this week: bananas, plums, apples, grapes, a lemon, a red pepper, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions.

“In my veg box this week…” is not intended as a product review, simply a description of some of the fruit and vegetables that are in season and what I like to do with them. I pay full price for my vegetable box and have no affiliation with the company that delivers them or any of their suppliers.

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Crispy chickpea flour pancakes

2 Feb

I’d previously only ever used chickpea flour (aka gram flour or besan) for making onion bhajis or for holding together falafels, but I recently found out you can use it to make gorgeous crispy pancakes, somewhere between a thick flatbread and an omelette. They’re really quick and easy to make. In fact, even on a weekday morning when I have less than 10 minutes for my breakfast, I can make and eat one of these with time to spare. They’re totally delicious, and you can stuff them with or into whatever you fancy. How about filling one with fried mushrooms or tomatoes, or mashed avocado with tahini or hot sauce? They’re also the perfect size for stuffing into a tortilla or pitta bread, maybe with some beans and salsa, or some hummus.

Here it is, my new favourite breakfast:

Recipe (serves 1)

  • Quarter of a cup of chickpea flour
  • Quarter of a cup of cold water
  • A pinch each of ground cumin, salt, and pepper
  • A teaspoon or so of oil

Heat a small (15cm or so) frying pan over a medium-high heat.

Mix the chickpea flour and seasonings together in a small jug or bowl. Add the water and whisk quickly with a fork. Break up any large lumps but don’t worry too much about the smaller lumps.

Pour the oil into the hot pan and let it heat through. Add the batter, it will be thick but should easily spread to cover the bottom of the pan.

Fry the pancake for a couple of minutes each side until cooked through and crispy. Stuff, roll, and enjoy.

A very veggie Christmas

21 Dec

“So, what do you eat for Christmas dinner?”

It’s the one question all meat-eaters want to ask vegetarians and vegans at this time of year. It’s no surprise they’re curious, food seems like one of the most important aspects of Christmas, and for many people the idea of Christmas day without a massive dead bird in the oven seems a bit weird. To answer their question, and to make a few suggestions, here are a few things I’ve had for my veggie Christmases over the years.

Nothing

I don’t mean nothing at all. What I mean is nothing extra. Pile your plate high with roast potatoes, parsnips, sprouts, stuffing balls, Yorkshire puddings, and drown the whole lot in some lovely vegetarian gravy. I’ve read comments from other vegetarians complaining about being forgotten at Christmas meals and being given a plate of side dishes, but when the side dishes make the meal you don’t really need anything else!

Nut roast

The mainstay of the office Christmas lunch has a terrible reputation, but when it’s done right it’s a fab choice. It’s tasty, satisfying and super healthy, and it’s brilliant for leftovers. Don’t go for a dull, brown packet-mix. Instead, scour the internet for a festive recipe that has things you like in it. To name just a few:

Pie

I’m the only vegetarian in my immediate family, so when I spend Christmas day with them I tend to make my own meat alternative, usually a pie of some sort. Making something different for just one person does sound kind of lonely, but I see it as a real treat, a chance to have whatever I want. Unfortunately I am a creature of habit and tend to always want the same thing – a brie and mushroom parcel. I’ve recently cut out dairy completely, so next time I’m with my parents for Christmas I’ll probably make a mushroom and something else parcel (pine nuts would be lovely). As a rough guide, 100g of puff pastry to 100g of filling makes a generous pie or pasty for one person.

Speaking of mushrooms, one of the nicest meals I ever had was a beautiful mushroom strudel. It was probably nothing more than wild mushrooms cooked with garlic, wrapped in filo pastry, but despite its simplicity it was so special.

Fake meat

I don’t eat an awful lot of fake meat. It’s high in protein but nutritionally it doesn’t have a lot else going for it. I prefer whole foods. However, it is a fun option if you fancy a nostalgic treat, and you can use it to make a very traditional-looking Christmas dinner. A fake meat extravaganza is the usual choice for Christmas dinner in the Veg household, where the vegetarians (me, Mr Veg and his little bro) outnumber the one meat eater (my mother-in-law, AKA Southern Mum). There are several brands of vegetarian chicken-style roasts now, we normally have a couple of these so there will be plenty of leftovers.

I love making veggie pigs in blankets to go with it. Just brush some vegetarian bacon slices with a little oil, and wrap around your favourite vegetarian sausages, hold together with cocktail sticks and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

A slightly unusual alternative to this that I’ve tried very recently is a shiitake and leek stuffed seitan roast from Isa Chandra Moskowitz: http://www.theppk.com/2011/11/seitan-roast-stuffed-with-shiitakes-and-leeks/. It’s dense and chewy and really tasty, and the best thing is you can adapt the stuffing and other flavourings to suit you.

The only bad Christmas meal I ever had

I’ve written more than once about chefs who don’t have a clue about what to cook for vegetarians and this is probably the worst experience I’ve had in that respect. The vegetarian option for the office Christmas lunch a few years ago was described only as a vegetarian suet pudding. It could have been lovely, but sadly it was suet pastry wrapped around unseasoned, mealy lentils. It probably would have been ok if there was some gravy or other sauce but sadly there wasn’t. It was dry and bland and a real disappointment.

I’d love to hear what other vegetarians and vegans have for Christmas dinner, please let me know your best and worst experiences.

Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!

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