Tag Archives: vegan

Kidney Bean Dahl/Stew – recipe

Kidney Bean Dahl

1 tin kidney beans
1 tin tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 chilli fresh or dried
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric
Salt & Pepper

Smash a clove of garlic with the flat of a knife, sprinkle with salt and put to one side.

Heat the pan you will be using, dry. Toss in the whole spices, move them around until the colours darken and they smell good.

Take out the spices and add cooking oil and sliced onions to the hot pan. Leave the onions on as low
a heat as you can for as long as you want, the longer the better. After a few minutes add the chopped chilli and crushed, salted garlic.

Grind the toasted spices in a pestle and mortar, or in a bowl with a rolling pin or spoon. They’ll crush easily. Turn up the heat and add all the spice powders, stir for a couple of minutes then add the kidney beans. After another minute or two, briefly run a potato masher over the kidney beans. You’re aiming to crush quite a few of them without leaving a mashed up mass.

Add the tomatoes and the other thinly sliced clove of garlic, then tip in two tomato cans of water. Add salt and pepper Turn up the heat and stir. When it comes to the boil, reduce to simmer and partially cover the pan.

This will be ready in 30 to 40 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes or so. Check for seasoning.

After 10 to 20 minutes add your herbs and greens. These can be whatever you fancy. I favour chopped comfrey or nettle leaves with rosemary and mint. The mint works particularly well.

You’ll find the slight crushing of the beans creates a thick, creamy sauce.

This will give 3 or 4 portions, served with rice, bread or potatoes.

You could add a dollop of yoghurt before serving, or add chopped potatoes with the tomatoes.

As always, the spices, herbs and their quantities are there to play around with until you’re happy.

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Vegan Bierocks

A couple of weeks ago on the BBC’s “Hairy Bikers’ Bakeation”, they tried out a recipe for German bierocks, little pockets or spheres of bread dough stuffed with minced beef, cabbage and onion.

They looked delicious, but I wondered if I could come up with a vegan or vegetarian version? A few days musing and I remembered a (Mexican?) recipe for mashed, spiced kidney beans.

Cooking oil
1 tin kidney beans

Soften the onion over a low heat, turn heat up, add garlic and spices. Tip in the drained beans, season and mash well with a potato masher. Be generous with the oil as the beans will soak it up.

Substitute the above for the meat filling in the original recipe and you have vegan bierochs.

Tip – don’t roll the dough too thinly, as you will end up with a crispy shell rather than a nice bread like case. They might be improved with the addition of a little tomato sauce to the bean mixture.

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Orange and Red Onion Salad – recipe

Orange and red onion salad

A simple, delicious, North African influenced Spanish salad. I’ve eaten this on its own, with good bread, cheese and green salad, with various vegetable fritters fried in a gram flour batter and with thinly sliced hot or cold chicken.

2 oranges
1 red onion
Olive oil

Peel the oranges very tight to the flesh. Cut in half, stem to bud, then slice thinly with a serrated knife to give half circles.

Arrange these on a plate, scatter over thinly sliced red onion, a little olive oil then sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. If you’re feeling bold, scatter over a few whole black peppercorns.


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Banana Bread – recipe


I searched and searched for a simple banana bread/cake recipe which was
a) vegan
b) easily adapted to taste.
Eventually I found this online and, true to form, have long since lost the link so cannot give its due attribution.

6 oz self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 oz sugar
2 oz butter/margarine
3 very, very ripe bananas

Mix baking powder into flour.
Cream butter/marg and sugar together.
Mash in the bananas – I prefer to leave in a few lumps for an occasional flavour bomb.
Stir in the flour/baking powder mixture.
Pour into a greased tin and bake at 150°C for an hour or so.
The smell will tell you when it’s ready.

This keeps very well in the bread bin, I can’t say for how long because it’s so moreish it’s gone within 3 or 4 days. Apparently it freezes very well, although I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you come across a vast bounty of cut price bananas.

The best results come from really ripe, blackening bananas. I look out for reduced price bananas in the supermarket, on the fruit and veg market and in the village shop. Today I bought a dozen “over” ripe bananas for .60p from Tesco. Ideal!

I have used granulated sugar and demerara with equally pleasing results. No doubt you could use any sugar – muscavado, jaggery, honey. As John Seymour said, “Sugar is sugar is sugar”.

Possible additions – chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts, walnuts or hazelnuts for example.

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Great Places To Eat – No. 2

Scarthin Books Cafe, Cromford, Derbyshire

Scarthin Books by the mill pond in Cromford, is a rambling, slightly tatty, very friendly and fascinating bookstore – one of the few remnants of the independent book shop movement of the ’60s to early ’90s.

On the first floor, behind an amazing door which has to be seen, is the small vegetarian cafe. A little too small, perhaps, but rarely crowded in my experience.

They have a good selection of vegan dishes, including carrot cake made using carrots from their own garden, and whenever possible, eggs used in the vegetarian dishes are from their own chickens.

Plenty to read – the music and food sections of the shop are in the cafe, together with an eclectic magazine rack – and it’s always warm in winter. In warmer weather, there are seats and a table hewn from a tree trunk out by the pond.

Gary Repton is in the process of editing a short film about the shop.

If I go alone, I end up making a morning or afternoon of browsing and book buying, stopping for a break in the cafe for tea and a home made homity pie or slice of pizza.

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Recipe Selection

Quick Japanese pickles These were featured in an episode of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s latest tv series.

Rhubarb Marmalade I first made this as a teenager, from rhubarb taken from my then girlfriend’s grandad’s allotment in Retford, which is now a car park.

Vegetarian “Haggis” Someone referred to this, unkindly I thought, as ‘vegetarian placenta’.

The Working Class Foodies collection A very good, ever growing collection of video recipes from a New York based brother and sister.

Recipes from the superb SavoryJapan website. The blog is worth a look, too.

Finally, one of mine –

Pickled Mushrooms

The commercial pickled mushrooms I’ve found in central/eastern european food stores (such as Babushka in Mansfield) have been disappointing. I don’t remember where I found the original basis for this recipe, but it is simple, adaptable and delicious.

Half pint cider vinegar
1 pint water
1 dessertspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
These quantities are variable, you need enough to cover the mushrooms you are pickling.

Bring to the boil then add –
black peppercorns, 5 or 6
grated rind of half a lemon
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
3 or 4 cloves of crushed garlic
3 or 4 fresh, dried or pickled birds eye chillies (red or green, red is a nice colour contrast)

Simmer for 2 or 3 minutes

Add sliced mushrooms and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Tip into a colander and leave to drain for a few minutes.

Pack into sterilised jars along with one each of the chillies and garlic cloves and cover with olive oil.

I make this whenever I spot cut price mushrooms on the market or in the supermarket. It should also work well with whole “fairy ring” mushrooms, although I have yet to try that.

In my experience, the jars keep for at least 2 months.

Lovely as an accompaniment, stirred into pasta/ pasta sauce or added to the toppings of home made pizza or even store bought pizza.

[Image from scorzonera’s fungi flickr set]

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