Tag Archives: Vegan

Fake baked beans

1 Feb

It’s not that often – or cool – that people portending to keep food blogs describe the attempt to recreate the flavours of a canned product a lofty goal. But, if this blog is anything, it is not ‘often’.

So it is that this recipe is an endeavour to recreate the amazingly delicious Turkish/Cypriot giant beans you get in cans. While it does take a few more hours than it would to tug at the ring pull and deposit the gloopy blob of beans from a can into a saucepan, it’s infinitely more rewarding (if you’re the kind of person who finds work a reward). Also, it does happily lack the excess salt, oil and probably E numbers lurking in the packaged versions.

Also, we may not always live in such close proximity to Cypriot grocers, so we need to start developing self sufficiency. These giant beans are such a great, heart warming breakfast dish – all pillowy and comforting in their fillingness.Not sure if our liberal use of smoked paprika stops this from being Cypriot, but it tastes pretty fab.

(I swear we do cook things other than breakfast, it’s just that the light is so much nicer in the daytime.)

Giant Turkish/Greek beans (serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 C butter beans (or 2 tins of pre-cooked)
  • 6 C water
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 3 – 4 TBSP chopped dill

You can’t really make this on the morning of your breakfast, unless you use canned beans. If you do, use two cans to make this recipe. If you do, skip the next sentence.

Soak beans in water overnight, then boil in water for about an hour. It’s not a glamorous task, but occasionally skimming the scummy froth (mmm!) off the top of the water will ensure the beans are ‘better for your tummy’.

When beans are nearly cooked (basically edible), drain and return to the pot with chopped tomato, paprika and onion. cook for a further 20 minutes on low heat. Add dill, cook for another two minutes, then remove from heat and add lemon as well as seasoning.

This is perfectly good to have on it’s own with some nice crusty bread, but we quite enjoy it with a side of grilled haloumi (don’t know what happened to this one) and a poached egg. Ripe avocado and rocket would also do very well.

Estimated cost (without egg and haloumi):  £1.50

Musical accompaniment: NPR ‘All Songs Considered’ stream

Beetroot carpaccio

18 Dec

So vegetarian Christmas, eh? Little bit lame, little bit not-so-special, little bit ‘where’s the nut roast’? No, say we. No. Man Woman refuses to eat nut roast, we will not partake in tofurky and we will not be scaling down to pasta.

The ceremony of making ham over hours and stuffing turkeys, actually I’m quite jealous of all that. So this year, our first Christmas staying put in the U of K, we’ve decided to go all out, and go traditional. But not traditional at all, you know. Still, however, in the tradition of tradition in a way. Point is, there is some traditional ingredients and concepts, but an absence of animal parts and their sad vegetarian imitations.

We decided to test the limits of this concept at a recent dinner party (I say dinner ‘party’ but our tiny flat allows us to squeeze just two other people in). At an earlier ‘party’ we’d drunkenly vowed to prepare our guests a Nordic/Finnish feast. There being about 14 actual vegetarian recipes (which are not baked goods) in the now fashionable Finnish repetoire, we realised it’d have to be Finnish in spirit, if not quite yet in reality.

So, thought we, let’s break this down to its elements. Finns like beetroot. Finns like dill. Finns like preserving things in salt.  Beetroot and dill carpaccio was the only logical evolution of these three facts.

This dish, which was served as a part of a starter (recipe soon to follow), would be great as part of a Christmas feast or as a side to creamy or heavy dishes as it’s nice and sharp. Northern European ‘tapas’ anyone? While this time of year up in this hemisphere can mean loads of heavy foods and root vegetables with which Man Woman are still largely unfamiliar with and unsympathetic to, this is a nice way to introduce some seasonal rooty freshness. But also, for our friends back in summertime, this totally works for hot weather too. You can tell it’s Christmas ’cause everybody wins.

So this carpaccio was kinda in homage to the Nordic habit of gravalax and also looked a whole lot like smoked reindeer meat while being notably less gamey. Bonus!

Beetroot carpaccio with horseradish and dill (serves 4 as side)

  • 1/2 large beetroot
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 2-3 tsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP grated horseradish (we used one from a jar – use less if using fresh horseradish)
  • 4 tsp chopped dill
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Slice the beetroot as finely as possible. If you can manage to get a full cross-section, congrats, you’ve been keeping your knives well and you deserve a gold star. Otherwise, shavings (think ham!) are fine too.

Mix all other ingredients in a bowl and adjust to taste. It should be very acidic.

Lay the beetroot in a shallow dish and cover with the lemon mix. It may be almost like a paste, but so long as you smear and toss it through all the beetroot it’ll be fine.

Chill in the fridge for at least ten minutes.

Estimated cost: £1.20

Musical accompaniment: She and Him, Christmas Album

Cheat’s amazing breakfast (shhh! It’s toast)

25 Oct

This is less a recipe than a ‘serving suggestion’, in all earnestness. Man Woman feels guilty about posting it here because it is so simple. It is, actually, toast. Which is why we’ve had to call it ‘cheat’s amazing breakfast’, because it is pretty amazingly good, and yet it’s stupidly easy to the point of being obvious. But again, in the face of English brunch establishments collective aversion to moving beyond fry-ups and eggs Benedict (which have their place and can be done well and so on and so forth), this almost feels necessary. It’s a straight up copy of a great, fall-back breakfast Woman used to devour at Cafe Sofia in Erskineville, around the corner from Erko Villa, aka her old share house.  It seems a very Sydney breakfast: healthy, easy, care-free and just a little bit pretentious.

Cheat’s breakfast: Mushrooms, tomato and avocado on toast

  • Sourdough
  • 6 mushrooms per person
  • 1 TBSP soy per serve
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed) per serve
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 avocado

Slice mushrooms thinly and throw into small pan with heated olive oil, crushed garlic and a dash of soy sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and glossy.

Now this is embarassing. Cut tomato. Spread avocado on sourdough (or whatever bread you like, in all honesty), top with mushrooms then that tomato. Crack pepper, drizzle lemon and olive oil if you feel so inspired.

Estimated cost (per person): £2.10

Musical accompaniment: Dark, Dark, Dark

Portuguese tomato-chili rice with almond asparagus

7 Oct

Man just asked Woman, by rights and passport a Portuguese national, what makes this rice Portuguese.

“My dad makes it,” said she (I).

While much of what my Portuguese dad makes is not Portuguese, I am quite confident this is a recurring dish in Portuguese cuisine. Portuguese cuisine, I  must emphasise. You might be tempted to say, ‘oh, like paella’. Portuguese people rightly say no. This is not like paella at all. And while in technique this dish bears some resemblance to risotto, shut up. It’s not risotto either. (I refer you to the campaign)

Woman’s dad often served this with pork, or probably if he remained on the old continent, bacalao (salted cod) or similar.

Portuguese rice

  • 1/2 C arborio (or just bloody pudding, that’s what the peasants do and who’s to argue?) rice
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 can whole peeled or diced tomatoes
  • 1 ripe, medium-sized tomato, diced
  • 1/2 good-sized Spanish  (ummm… Iberian) onion cut into chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Half a capsicum (optional)
  • dash of dry white wine
  • 1 – 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 8 – 10 sprigs of parsley, chopped up
  • 1 TBSP piri-piri sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Almond asparagus

  • 4  asparagus
  • 2 TBSP sliced almonds
  • a very non-stingy amount of salt

Heat olive oil in a pan, adding onion then garlic. Before either soften, add rice and swirl around in pan to ensure it’s entirely coated with oil. Throw in a splash of dry white wine.

Add 1 C of the water, with stock (you could dilute it before, but we couldn’t be bothered on a cold Friday night) and allow to absorb over medium heat for about 5 – 10 minutes. Add can of tomatoes and chopped fresh tomato. Add extra 1/2 C water.

Cook for another while. I don’t know how long it was, to be frank, more than 10 minutes. I was busy taking down washing and filling hot water bottles. Essentially you want to rice to be soft, there to be no excess liquid, but the rice to have an al dente bite. Just before serving, add lemon juice, piri-piri sauce (if so desired) and stir through chopped parsley.

This would work fantastically with prawns or other firm white seafood. Other white land-dwelling meat should work fine, but ManWoman doesn’t know why it’s encouraging you to eat meat, when the asparagus was so fantastic.

So, asparagus.

While heating up or finishing off the Portuguese rice, heat more olive oil in yet another (that would be the second) pan. Chuck your asparagus in there, go on. Salt generously and then throw in the sliced almonds. Toss these around for a while, if some almonds go black, don’t fret. It won’t do much damage really, they end up being quite edible.

Before asparagus get anywhere near soggy – it is our belief that they can probably be eaten raw-er than their greener counterparts – serve atop a few scoops of the Portuguese rice.

You may – obviously, us not being the boss of you  or anything like that – grate some parmesan or hard white goats’ cheese atop this delight, but I dare say you won’t need to. It’s pretty freakin’ good.

Estimated cost: £3

Musical accompaniment: CocoRosie

Summer spaghetti: Broad beans, spinach and mint

12 Jul

Man Woman will not dwell on the presence or absence of the English summer. It does not, in fact, weigh on our minds at all. No, rather it will often be midday before Man or Woman might even remark, ‘Oh look, dear, it happens to be a miserable shit of a day once again. Ever so glad we migrated.’

For us, as non-natives, part of the goodness of eating seasonally is actually discovering what is in fact seasonal. Broad beans, we understand, are summery even if the skies under which they grow are bleak and seemingly devoid of any sunlight. Moving on, this recipe was the first time we used them and it is pretty good. All can be made while the pasta is boiling and happily exists without the cheese if you want to go dairy-free.

A note here, this recipe quantaties are totally subjective. This amount will get you a nice balance of pasta to veg, but tweak to your tastes.

Broad bean, spinach, mint & hazelnut spaghetti

  • Wholewheat spaghetti
  • 1/3 C fresh broad beans (or peas, edame – any fresh green pod-borne things etc)
  • 1 C spinach, chopped
  • 6 or so leaves of fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely sliced
  • 2 TBSP hazelnuts (pistachio, pine nuts or even walnuts could also work well)
  • 100g soft goats cheese or feta (optional)
  • Butter/olive oil for frying shallots

Bring a large pot of water to the boil and chuck the spaghetti in. (Really do use wholewheat – it so much tastier).

In a small pan, heat a little butter or olive oil and throw in the shallots and nuts. After a minute or two, add the broadbeans and keep stirring as the spaghetti cooks.

Once cooked, drain the spaghetti, return the spaghetti to the large pot and throw in chopped spinach. Let it wilt a little in the still-hot pot and then mix in the beans, shallots and nuts.

Throw in mint and then serve. Top with goats cheese if you like, and either way drizzle with good olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Estimated cost: £2.20 without cheese, £4 with cheese

Musical accompaniment: Something classical. We really should start paying more attention to this.

Sesame rice balls (ongiri)

13 Jun

Ongiri for dinner

Ongiri for lunch

Leftover sushi bits are hard things to deal with, freshness being kinda the critical element of sushi and all Japanese wonders. After a sushi dinner party, Man Woman had an abundance of cooked rice and would-be nori roll fillings still hanging about and decided, when all other options fall flat, make balls.

This is inspired by the rice balls from the macrobiotic restaurant in Sydney Iku, which nourished Woman during many long and impoverishing journeys through Glebe markets. As a leftover recipe we used what we had leftover – a bit of carrot, some errant aspargus spears, etcetera. Use whatever you have to hand, but I’d try to keep the rice:non-rice ratio faily similar to this, because too much non-mushable veg (sweet potato and the like would be an exception) would stop this from binding.

I also have on good authority that kneading of this mix is crucial to ensure it holds.

Rice balls (ongiri). Makes 8 – 10 – serves 2 to 4 people

  • 1 C sushi rice uncooked
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1/3 C tofu (ideally a flavoured one – smoked or some such)
  • 1/4 C asparagus
  • 1/3 C carrot
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • thumb-size piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp mirin (sweet cooking wine – optional)
  • 2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1.25 C water – for cooking the rice
  • Sesame seeds – for rolling

Chop vegetables up quite small (see below pic as a guide) and mix with cooked rice. Add ginger, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil and mirin – if using. If you, perchance, have any left over picked ginger knocking about in the fridge, chuck that in promptly.

With wet hands, mix the rice and veg, pressing down as though kneading dough.

Keep a bowl of water next to you and pour out about half a cup of sesame seeds onto a plate.

Make balls by scooping a palmful of rice mix into your wet hands (the repetition of wet hands is a purposeful emphasis – without repeatedly dipping your hands into water or the like, the sushi rice will stick to you, not itself and you will never, ever create rice balls). Firmly shape into a ball for about a minute, if not a bit longer. Roll in sesame seeds, coating entirely, and set aside.

I put my rice balls in the fridge for a couple of hours before cooking, but it’s not necessary.

Ongiri in process

Fry or bake?

You can shallow fry these in about 1cm of vegetable oil, turning as the seeds in the oil golden. This creates a nice chewy crust which contrasts nicely with the soft rice inside – it is, however, frying and thus bad for you and doesn’t have that  clean feeling of not frying.

For baking, pre-heat the oven to 190C. Brush the balls lightly in sesame or veggie oil. Bake for about half an hour or until the crust gets coloured – these won’t get as dark as the fried balls, but the crust does get that chewy texture. You don’t have the oil weighing you down after the meal as the fried ones do and the chance of burning yourself with an errant, angry sesame seed flying out of a hot pan of oil are markedly lessened. Bake, I reckon.

Either way serve with salad. I also made a quick lemon, black bean and ginger sauce to go with it (just mix these ingredients and adjust to taste).

Estimated cost: £2.50

Musical accompaniment: Lia Ices

Gazpacho

25 May

We’ve very hopefully created a new tag called ‘summer recipes’. I feel this could be tempting fate, but gazpacho kinda forces summer into your kitchen. You can’t fight it.

This recipe is adapted from the totally fabulous – but not very veggie friendly – the New Spanish Table.

Gazpacho

  • 5 tomatoes (3 cups)
  • 1 cucumber (about 150g – smallish)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2/3 C bread crumbs (or stale bread, cubed and soaked in water)
  • 3 large spring onions
  • 1/3 C water
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 TBSP sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 ysp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Throw all the veg, breadcrumbs and spices into a blender and blitz for all you’re worth. Add vinegar to taste.

Finito!

Estimated cost: £2.30

Musical accompaniment: The Cave Singers

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