Fruity Friday (MOFO #12) – Tea Poached Pears in Chocolate Sauce

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It’s the end of the third week already, can you believe it? Some chocolate covered pears will cheer you up though right?

Today’s recipe is from Veganomicon and didn’t take any adaptations to make it gluten free. It makes a change to not have to edit a recipe that tastes this good!

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I’ve never made or tasted a poached pear before but I loved the idea as soon as I saw it on the page. The recipe uses black tea, orange zest and vanilla extract to poach the pears in and then mixes some chocolate with some of the tea mixture to pour over the top. I used Earl Grey teabags for a bit of a lighter flavour and my pears turned out beautifully soft and had a comforting tea flavour. I loved the idea of using the leftover tea to make the chocolate sauce as it gave the sauce a bit of depth.

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I added some crushed almonds to the top of my pears to give a bit of crunch and ladled the chocolate sauce over the top. I managed to eat my way through 2 pears before I could stop!

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Have you ever poached a pear?

Throwback Thursday (MOFO #11) – Cracked Potatoes with Melty Cheeze

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Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I am looking at classic foods which we used to know and love in our pre-vegan days. Today’s recipe is from Delia’s How To Cheat At Cooking and includes two classic comfort foods, roast potatoes and melted cheese. Need I say more?

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Delia is well known for being an excellent cook so this book is very surprising. All the way through it gives you recipes for some gorgeous food that has “cheats”. In this recipe the cheat is Aunt Bessie’s Homestyle frozen roast potatoes. It also contains grated Gruyère cheese and parmesan so is definitely not vegan. Surprisingly it’s very easy to make it animal friendly though!

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Firstly with this recipe I slow roasted my own potatoes until they were crispy and golden brown. I then cracked them slightly with a fork before adding my favourite violife cheese and some shredded leeks instead of spring onions. Violife is one of the only vegan cheeses I’ve found which will actually melt under the grill. I ended up with some gorgeously crunchy potatoes with some naughty melted cheese on the top. This has to be one of my favourite side dishes of all time.

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What do you think about cheating with frozen roast potatoes or other convenience foods? Would you rather stick to wholefoods?

Stress Free Saturday (MOFO #9) – Aubergine, Potato and Pepper Stew

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We’re halfway there guys! Today is Stress Free Saturday which is the day where I share a recipe with you which does not need adapting. Today’s stew is from the Meat Free Monday Cookbook and is my all time favourite aubergine recipe!

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This book is an excellent one for both veggies and vegans alike. It’s based on the idea of eating only vegetarian food on Mondays and is broken down into seasons. The aubergine, potato and pepper stew comes under Autumn which means it’s perfect for this time of year.

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I followed the recipe exactly but left out the feta to make it vegan. Once the veg was prepped and it was simmering away I could relax for half an hour until my bowl of comfort food was ready! The stew is made with peppers, courgettes, aubergine, potatoes, butter beans and olives and is beautiful served with rice.

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What is your favourite aubergine recipe? Maybe I need to expand my repertoire!

Throwback Thursday (MOFO #8) – “Fronch” Toast

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We’re almost halfway through Vegan MOFO and it’s going too fast! Today I’m carrying on with my theme of making recipes from my pre-vegan days suitable for my gluten free and vegan diet.

Today is Throwback Thursday and I want to talk to you about french toast (aka eggy bread!). Before I was vegan my birthday breakfast was always eggy bread with a dollop of ketchup to dunk it in. For those of you not familiar with it, eggy bread is slightly stale bread which is soaked in an eggy mixture and then fried. It’s deliciously naughty!

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Today’s recipe comes from Vegan With A Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This was one of my very first books when I turned vegan but since I went gluten free and started avoiding soya I’ve not used it much at all. The Fronch Toast recipe is very easy to make gluten and soy free though and makes an absolutely perfect Sunday breakfast.

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Isa recommends a baguette shaped loaf for this recipe but I used a DS Ciabatta which I cut in half. It soaked up the mixture delightfully because of the air pockets inside. Instead of soy cream I used the new Alpro rice cream which was surprisingly thick and creamy! I also replaced the soy milk with some unsweetened almond milk.

The eggs in this recipe are replaced by cornflour and chickpea flour which is a combination I would never have thought of. They worked perfectly though and created a gorgeous crispy coating. This is definitely going to be a regular in my kitchen!

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Which breakfast treats do you miss from your childhood?

Stress Free Saturday (MOFO #6) – Peas, Leeks and Spinach

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Welcome to Stress Free Saturday! My MOFO theme is adapting your pre-vegan cookbooks to match a gluten free and vegan diet. I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to do at the end of a week is spend lots of time in the kitchen trying to figure out how to veganise a recipe. This is why on Saturdays we will be doing Stress Free Saturday – recipes from non-vegan cookbooks that just happen to be vegan and gluten free!

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Most chefs love vegetables  and there are a million and one different ways to prepare them. Jamie Oliver really likes to make his veggies shine and I found a beautiful side dish in one of his early cookbooks, The Return of the Naked Chef.

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In this recipe Jamie cooks sweet peas with spinach, white wine and spring onions to make a fresh and tasty side dish. Whilst the recipe is completely vegan I did make a few changes. In mine I used leeks instead of spring onions as they were what I had on hand. I cooked the vegetables in some vegetable stock instead of wine and added a bit of dairy free margarine at the end.

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It’s nice to do something different with vegetables and this was a beautiful way of serving peas and spinach! These kind of recipes can be found in most cookbooks so it’s worth flicking through any old books you’ve had to see if there are any hidden gems.

Make sure you come back tomorrow where I will be rounding up my favourite recipes from the first week of MOFO!

Throwback Thurday (Mofo #4) – Peanut Squash Stew

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We’re coming to the end of our first MOFO week! Hasn’t it flown by? I’ve been enjoying reading everybody’s posts. Make sure you keep an eye out on Sunday for my seven favourites!

My theme this year is making recipes from pregan cookbooks both vegan and gluten free. On Thursdays I will be sharing recipes that you will have eaten before you went vegan but with a conscientious twist!

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Delia’s how to cheat at cooking is a 2008 book aimed at the more “lazy” cook. This is a book full of frozen mashed potatoes and ready made pastry – not something I would usually be interested in! Then I thought why shouldn’t we get to make easy recipes too? The recipe I’ve chosen includes spices from jars and tinned tomatoes which makes it just that much easier to pull together.

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Delia’s West African Groundnut Stew is a spicy stew made with braising beef, onions, carrot and swede. Rather than use a meat substitute here I realised that the flavours of the chilli and allspice would go fantastically with some butternut squash and my vegan version was born!

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Peanut Squash Stew

(Inspired by Delia’s West African Groundnut Stew)

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Ingredients

250g Butternut Squash (cubed)

100g Potato (cubed)

50g Frozen Sweetcorn

1 onion (chopped)

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp allspice

3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

150ml vegetable stock

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Method

1) Add a small amount of oil to a heavy bottomed pan and lightly fry the onions and spices for a few minutes

2) Add the squash and potatoes, stirring to coat in the spices

3) Add the tinned tomatoes, peanut butter and stock to the mixture and bring to the boil

4) Simmer for half an hour or until the vegetables have softened

5) Serve with rice and poppadoms!

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This stew was warm, comforting and peanut buttery! Exactly how comfort food should be!

Make Ahead Monday (MOFO) – English Onion Soup

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My theme for this year’s Vegan MOFO is using recipes from old cookbooks that you owned before your vegan days. Therefore it’s only fitting for me to start with my first favourite book!

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Can we just take a second to appreciate how well loved this book looks? My favourite Jamie Oliver book has seen plenty of splashes! I remember making an incredibly cheesy pasta dish from this book with purple sprouting broccoli. It was one of the first meals I cooked for a group of people and I was very proud. I’d find it very difficult to part with this book which is good because there is no need! The book includes some vegan/gluten free recipes and a number which can be adapted.

For my first Make-Ahead Monday post I’ve adapted a beautiful soup which focusses on English onions and herbs and is topped with some devilish cheesy bread. It makes around 8 bowls and can be happily frozen and defrosted. This is my adaptation of English Onion Soup with Sage and Cheddar.

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At first glance this recipe is a minefield. It contains knobs of butter, gluten filled bread, gooey cheese and anchovy filled worcestershire sauce.

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There are a number of butter substitutes in the supermarkets now and Pure is one of my favourites. I started the soup of with a spoonful of their olive margarine and the onions were sizzling away in no time.

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The recipe calls for red onions, white onions, shallots and leeks. These are cooked for almost an hour so that they slowly soften and almost caramelise. I replaced the sage for tarragon as it gives a gorgeous earthy flavour which matches so well with the sweet onions.

The recipe suggests “2 litres of good quality beef, chicken or vegetable stock”. It’s easy enough to find a vegan vegetable stock cube but if you are coeliac like me then it also needs to be gluten free. My favourite brand for this is Kallo who I’ll be discussing this in tomorrow’s Tuesday Tips so remember to come back!

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Jamie then cooks his soup for 15 minutes while he prepares his cheese on toast. There are a multitude of cheese substitutes out there which would do this dish justice but I decided to go in a different direction and make some garlic bread to top my soup with. Here you can see I have used Dietary Specials (DS) white ciabattas which are my favourite go-to bread replacer. They also work really well here as they don’t fall apart in the soup.

I topped the ciabattas with a thick layer of Pure Olive spread and sprinkled powdered garlic and mixed herbs over them before putting them under the grill until browned. I then added them to the top of my bowl of soup and put them back under to finish. Don’t forget to add a liberal sprinkling of vegan worcestershire sauce for a nice spicy edge! I use Biona but there are a few different brands. I also added a sprinkling of nutritional yeast on the top for some added cheesiness.

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And here is my finished product! I put the leftovers into freezer bags and they lasted a couple of weeks. They would have lasted longer but I couldn’t resist!

For the full original recipe please look in the Jamie at Home book.

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Have you had any luck in veganising any recipes from Jamie Oliver’s books?