Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Good food!

Well, I said I hoped to post once a week and this is my third post in just a few days! I find myself with a little time tonight so thought I'd share those recipes I mentioned. Talking of food, I have just devoured a gorgeous chocolate mouse (provamol soya desert). Better than the ones I used to eat before I cut out dairy. It amazes me how much eating dairy dulled my taste buds - things taste much better now.

As I said, I am not a great cook. I am not too good at inventing recipes but since turning vegan I have found it so easy. Take yesterday for example, I had a busy day with the two kids, arriving home right at dinner time with no plans and no idea what was in my cupboard. In fifteen minutes I had made a tofu and veg stir fry with rice noodles and it was delicious, my 2 year old loved it and it took no effort whatsoever - and so low fat which is a bonus!

So, here are just a couple of my favourite things so far, I will add more when I learn more!

Lentil spread for sandwiches/pitas/tortilla wraps etc:

1 cup green lentils (cooked)
1 cup red lentils (cooked)
2 cloves of garlic
Spices of your choosing (my favourites are a mixture of tumeric, paprika and coriander - half teaspoon of each)

Optional: half a finely chopped red pepper /quarter of diced red onion or anything else you fancy throwing in there!

Put all ingredients in a pan with a small amount of water (just so it doesn't stick to pan). Cook for 5 minutes. Mash or puree then chill in fridge. Easy & tasty!

Tofu & veg stir fry:

Firm tofu
Soy sauce
Chinese sweet chilli sauce (optional)
Rice Noodles

Of course you can mess around with the ingredients for this too. Marinade the tofu for an hour in some soy and chilli sauce (after squeezing the block to get rid of any excess water). Throw all veggies in a wok or deep frying pan with just a touch of vegan friendly oil (I use olive oil). When veg is done (firm, not overcooked) throw in the beansprouts for 1 minute. Add the tofu and touch more soy sauce. Take off heat. Cook noodles for 4 minutes, throw in stir-fry and mix everything together. Serve & enjoy!

Vegan chilli:

Kidney beans (one tin or cup of dried, soaked overnight)
Chick peas (one tin or cup of dried, soaked min 8 hours)
Tomatoes (1 x tin or a few fresh, chopped)
1 clove garlic
1 Onion
Green or red chillis (how many depends on your taste, I use 2 green or 1 red minus the seeds)
Half cup red lentils (dried)
Optional: mixed peppers/fresh torn basil leaves

Couldn't be easier. Put all ingredients together in an oven pot with lid or cooking pot on top of the stove. Oven cook on a medium heat for about an hour and a half or hob cook on low heat for about an hour (stirring occasionally). If the sauce is not thick enough, add a little cornfllower during cooking or throw in a few more red lentils (but let cook for 20 mins minimum). Serve with rice or tortillas.

Tomato and lentil soup:

This was a favourite before I gave up meat many years ago and I still adore it. Fast, easy and very very nice!

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 x 450g tins chopped tomatoes
250 g dried red lentils
Basil (pref fresh but dried ok too or oregano)
Veg stock cube
*optional dash of chilli powder (yes, i like spicy food!)

Cook the onion in a little olive oil til soft. Add garlic, tomatoes, lentils and herbs. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add water and stock (I guess with the amounts,depending on how thick I want the soup) Cook for half an hour. Cool a little then blend roughly. (Tip* use a slotted spoon to drain some of the water off for the first blending session to gauge the thickness of the finished soup, if too thick, put more liquid in the next time). Reheat when ready to eat and add a touch of soya milk if you want a creamy soup. Serve with chunky bread. Can't go wrong!

That's all for now on recipes and there are plenty of sites you can go to for more adventurous recipes, I will add some links when I get chance, (maybe get my husband to post the recipe for his wonderful paella) but I would like to spend a few moments looking at things to buy to have in your cupboard as a vegan or at least things that I have used a lot of in the last few weeks, some of which I'd never used before!

Soya milk
Dried lentils
Chickpeas (dried is more economical)
Kidney Beans (dried is cheaper, tins more convenient)
Black eyed Beans
Soya flakes (good for making burger mix and adding to casseroles etc)
Soya cream
Dark dairy free chocolate (if you are a chocolate fan, after losing the taste for dairy it takes sooo good!)
Nuts - walnut, almonds, hazelnuts
Dried fruits - bananas, papaya etc (Tip* mix with a variety of nuts and some raisins for a perfect snack food - complements wine very well)
Brown rice
Rice or egg free pasta

Also, always have a good selection of tasty veg to hand, my favourites are below, it makes it easy to make anything whenever you like:

Corn on the cob
Red Onions

You will adapt easily to a new way of doing things and even if you don't, it's still just as good for the animals of you substitute meat with a vegetarian alternative. Try spaghetti bolognese with veggie mince, for hot dogs use veggie hot dogs, veggie meatballs with gravy, veggie chicken pieces in a curry. Think about it. You can make a difference. We change the world one at a time.


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