Fusilli with Lemony Garlicky Greens

This dish might possibly contain two of my all time favourite ingredients – lemon and garlic. Ah, what the heck, throw in the extra virgin olive oil and you’ve got yourself one fine dish. I’d be happy to have this with pasta alone, or even a risotto – the simpler the better, don’t you think? But I have nutrients to get and vegetables to use up so this particular dish has an array of quite lovely greens; asparagus, courgette, green beans and peas. Was there ever such a quartet of superbly summery legumes?

Making this made me realise how much I want, no, how much I need, a zester. I’m not sure why I’ve haven’t purchased one yet because I think this every time I find myself zesting – and there often is zesting: lemons, limes, oranges, clementines, grapefruits. Ok, I’ve never actually zested a grapefruit but it’s possible and it might be a nice addition to something….perhaps a dessert….or even better, my grapefruit salad! See what I mean? I NEED a zester! I wonder if I can find an eco-friendly one…..(mind wanders off)….

…before I go a googling let me leave you with this fresh, zesty, summery, makes me wish I had an appropriate outside space in which to eat it, delightfully satisfying dish.

ingredients:

1 courgette

1/2 pack green beans

1/2 fine stem asparagus

1 cup frozen peas

3 garlic cloves

1 large lemon

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper.

Prepare the veg – thickly slice the courgettes and cut each of the asparagus and green beans into three pieces.

Heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan, add the courgettes, season and fry for a few minutes ensuring not to let them colour too much.

Finely chop the garlic. Zest the lemon. Add both to the pan with the courgettes along with the juice of half a lemon. Make sure the garlic doesn’t brown.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and quickly blanch the asparagus and green beans, then immediately rinse them in cold water to prevent them from cooking further. Place the frozen peas in a bowl and cover with boiling water from a kettle. Leave to stand for a few minutes before draining.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Salt generously, add the pasta and cook until al dente – err on the side of caution if using fusilli as it will lose its shape.

Add the remainder of the veg to the pan. Squeeze over the juice of the remaining half a lemon, drizzle over some evoo and season. Drain pasta and stir through the veg. If you wish drizzle over a little more evoo. Allow the pasta to absorb some of the juices before serving. I like to grind black pepper on it before eating:)

It’s the summer, get a cookin’!

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Portobello Mushroom Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

There’s not a lot to say about this recipe other than it ROCKS! My husband love, love, loves it. I love, love, love it. You are sure to love, love, love it.

When we used to live in Camden we loved going to Hache, a burger restaurant to match no other. Back then my favourite was the blue cheese – I probably never even gave a glance to the vegetarian menu. Oh how times have changed, eh? It’s fine though because through broadening my horizons I have chanced upon some seriously lovely alternatives to the beef burger, this being one of them.

I didn’t discover it on a veggie website either – it was Martha Stewart to the rescue! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; don’t restrict yourself to vegan/veggie websites or blogs. The omnivore world is catching on and they want to take part in veggie meals too and have some superb ideas that can compete with any meat dish. How can you not love Martha? I definitely want her in my life and the fact that she championed VeganYumYum’s AMAZING knit night cupcakes makes me like her even more.

You know, thinking about Martha and cooking makes me want to have my permanent home and kitchen right now. Sigh! Soon enough, soon enough:) In the meantime PeaSoup is ‘A home cooking weblog from a tiny kitchen in Solihull’ – doesn’t sound quite as glamorous as Smitten Kitchen’s New York location but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this little Midlands town, which is very green and very sweet. I’m particularly loving the olde worlde buildings in the town centre. The name Solihull brought images of an industrial town so this was a welcome surprise.

The important thing about this recipe is to not eliminate two very important components – the avocado and the ciabatta bread. The avocado sauce, which one could argue is just a guacamole (and it pretty much is) is essential in making this burger not just good but great. I’ve also discovered that what I loved about Hache was not the meat but the fact that they used fantastically chewy ciabatta that could cope with all the juices and not fall apart in your hands. Therefore, if you can find ciabatta, use it! If, however, all you can get your hands on is burger buns be sure to toast them lest they disintegrate whilst you’re eating.

As for the sweet potato fries? Well, who needs encouragement to eat those!

portobello mushroom burger

ingredients:

2 large portobello mushrooms

balsamic vinegar/dressing

olive oil

salt and pepper

2 slices tofutti dairy free mozzarella cheese (f.y.i. vegans – this stuff rocks!)

2 ciabatta rolls

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

Remove the stalk form the mushrooms and gently wipe them. Place in a baking dish, season, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Bake in oven for 30-40mins.

avocado sauce

ingredients:

1 large avocado

2 spring onions

1/2 green chilli

1 tbsp chopped parsley

juice 1/2 lemon

salt and pepper

Scoop out the flesh of the avocado into a bowl. Mash with the back of a fork.

Finely chop spring onions, chilli and parsley. Add to bowl along with avocado, season generously and squeeze in the lemon juice.

Mix thoroughly and place in fridge until ready to use.

sweet potato fries

ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

olive oil

salt and pepper

Wash and dry the sweet potatoes – no need to peel.

Chop into long, medium sized slices. Drizzle with Olive oil (just enough to coat otherwise they will not crisp up and remain soggy), sprinkle over cumin, chilli and season. Toss the fries in the oil and spices ensuring they are evenly coated.

Bake in oven for 30mins, turning them occassionally.

About 10mins before everything is ready pop the ciabatta rolls into the oven. When they are ready halve, place a slice of tofutti mozzarella cheese on the bottom half and grill until melted:

Spread the avocado sauce on the other ciabatta half and assemble….

….to the bottom half add salad leaves, mushroom and top with the ciabatta spread with avocado. Serve hot with the crispy sweet potato fries.

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Fashion. Beauty. Eco. Organic. Vegan.

I’m still in Solihull. Life is hectic. But there’s always time for food and fashion! Yes, this is PeaSoupEats but for me this blog is a mini diary tracking my likes and dislikes so it would feel weird keeping such a great sale all to myself. You could say it would be downright selfish. So, here I am with a link in tow to an amazing online sale. For today, I give you PeaSoupWears….

Whilst I may love my fashion it will come as no surprise to most of you that my shopping days have somewhat changed since my foray into the world of veganism. Compromises have had to be made and in truth this has been more difficult than changing my eating habits.

We buy things without thinking all the time. I’m as guilty as the next person. I see something I like and I want it – without giving a second thought to where it was made, by whom and what materials or methods were used. It is of no concern if we want it because that’s the way us consumers are. I’ve come to realise that this is no way to live because that one purchase can have a tiny ripple effect throughout the world possibly or indeed probably right back to the very factory in which it was made.

That is why I have begun to accept responsibility for my actions. I’m a vegan so how can I in all good conscience shop in a store that uses unethical, environmentally unfriendly, unsound eco measures in creating the newest most up to date garment that will surely be tossed in the bin or given to the charity shop in a matter of months.

I’ve always been a charity shop fiend but recently I’ve been in them even more than usual so I can categorically state that the two most popular brands to be found in these places is Primark and Topshop. What does that tell us? These brands are the two greatest contributors to throwaway fashion. The fact that the term ‘disposable fashion’ even exists is terrifying – this consumerist lifestyle is not sustainable and needs to be addressed. Some may argue that Primark have made great strides in improving their ethical standpoint but considering the quantity of garments they make and the cheap materials they use there is only so much they can do. It might sound extreme to suggest buying all second hand, vintage clothing and I would agree. I like new things as much as anyone but I don’t want that purchase to contribute to more landfill, more toxins being released into the atmosphere, more animals being needlessly killed, more people being exploited – you get the message.

I try to always take a measured balanced approach to everything I do – this might sound strange coming from a newly converted vegan that only seeks to eat organic and buy secondhand everything:) I can assure you though, I want to enjoy life and I do get a lot of pleasure from finding gorgeous items for myself, my home and my fridge! I’m human and more importantly I’m a girl;) Therefore, if I find a store that happens to sell organic, vegan goods that meet my high standards (I may be vegan but I ain’t wearing tie dye!) I want to clap my hands, jump up and down with excitement and then pass on the good news to whoever will listen.

This is my new discovery then and since they have this fabulous sale I think it’s only right I let my readers in on the action. If you’re also worried about the products you are buying and want to find out whether they meet with your standards then check the brand name on caring consumer. I was so shocked to find out most of my favourite brands do test on animals:( No more Maybelline Lash Stiletto for me (I loved this mascara, by the way). But where one door closes another one opens and I’m delighted that Beauty Without Cruelty might have a mascara that will be the answer to my long lash prayers. Another beauty recommendation comes in the form of Green People‘s cleanser(this stuff is fab!), which is in their small but perfectly formed vegan range. The only thing stopping me from buying their mascara is the fact that it contains beeswax – hopefully they’ll amend the formula soon!

I am getting to the point I promise you but first a few more suggestions. If you haven’t discovered it already, People Tree is an ethical fashion company, which sells some uber sweet garments sure to suit any style. They also sell their wares on ASOS and even though their clothes are pretty reasonably priced anyway their sale page is a real treat! Obviously, I love to wear lots of Stella McCartney – ha, in my dreams more like! But seriously, Stella is proof there is no need to wear leather or fur to be fashionable and her beauty products are thankfully more affordable than her clothes. I like her attitude and her promotion of Meat Free Monday makes her an inspiration in my book. Jo Wood also has a fantastic organic range that has some vegan friendly products – I really want one of her divine fragrances. She’s so quirky and wonderful (she also looks incredible!) and in my opinion has impeccable taste.

On a slightly more accessible and affordable note Figs and Rouge has a to die for range. Check out your nearest Boots and if they don’t stock it yet demand that they do because these products are fabulously vintage and impossibly girly – a must buy!!

Okay, okay, nearly there – I will post the link to that fabulous sale momentarily. If, however, I have intrigued you these three sites are a mixture of informative, insightful and interesting.

Right. Here it is:

http://www.bboheme.com/index.php

p.s. I want the Kathleen Pistachio Wedge in a size 31/2 (teeny feet!) – 18.50 for a pair! Bargain:) xxx

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Forgotten Food – Vegan Vanilla Ice-Cream & 10min Pizza Dough

It’s been one of those weeks again – here, there and bleedin’ everywhere! I’m currently in Solihull of all places because my Husband is working here for a few weeks. Today though I’m off to London to have an Improv rehearsal and to spend time with the little Sis. I’ll probably have to make a trip back to Derry in the next few weeks too, so my head (and my body!) are all over the place at the minute and it’s difficult to keep up with my blog the way I like to.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing any cooking mind you – there’s always time for that:) Recently I’ve made a few wondrous discoveries, the first being vegan chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and before you ask, yes, they did taste every bit as good as they sound. I don’t want to give too much away – I’ll leave that for my dedicated post. The second ¬†discovery is silicon muffin cases. I hate waste and with cupcakes and muffins there is a lot of it – I mean, you only use those paper cases once and then you chuck ‘em. I know you can get recycled ones but they are hard to come by and they don’t really solve the problem. So, i’ve decided that I’m only going to use the paper ones for special occasions – birthdays, weddings and bar mitzvahs, that sorta thing. Wait! Nevermind.

Speaking of waste and my loathing of it I found these pictures lying dormant on my memory card from when we moved. I say moved when what I mean to say is packed up all our belongings and for the second time in two years had to ship it across the Atlantic and at present I have no idea where our possessions are or when they will be arriving in the UK. The day we were getting our flight I decided to use up all the ingredients left in our fridge, freezer and cupboards – no mean feat! What I ended up with was a hotch potch that culminated in being the ultimate hangover food, complete with complimentary side dishes which staved off the hunger until we landed in London – well almost, I just remembered I had some falafel at the airport but whatev’s.

It might not make a huge amount of culinary sense so just bear in mind the background to the food and be a little forgiving. I’m not going to go into the pizza topping details other than to say I used steamed broccoli (if you have never tried broccoli on pizza you must), sweetcorn, fakin’ bacon (yes, it does exist), roasted pepper and daiya cheese (vegan stuff). I had no tomato to speak of so I layered the cheese – some on the base and some on the top. It worked:) This crust is much thicker than my other pizza dough recipe – think Goodfellas style. Although I will admit to liking a thin crust pizza this is nice for a change and it’s great for when you’re in a hurry.

The ice-cream is a little bit of a blur to me so I am even slightly hesitant about offering the ‘recipe’. I’ve put that word in brackets because it was a made up, on the spot, this technically should work, fingers crossed, operation. The results surprised even me. My husband just nodded the entire time whilst eating it so it did taste pretty darn good. Feel free to mess around with it yourself – before freezing add some nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, whatever takes your fancy. Do not, however, stir it periodically like you would do with a ‘normal’ ice-cream recipe – in my experience and opinion vegan ice-cream does not like this and ice crystals are not welcome here!

Right, that definitely is enough back story. Enjoy x

10min pizza dough (actually a glorified Anjum Anand naan recipe – thankyou lovely lady!)

ingredients:

250g/1 cup plain flour (pref. organic unbleached)

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp yeast

130ml/ 1/2 cup water or soy milk

2 tbsp oil (I used canola but vegetable or olive would be good too)

Pre-heat oven with upturned baking sheet (or pizza stone if you’re lucky enough to own one, grrrr!) to the highest possible setting.

In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and yeast. In a separate small bowl mix the water (or milk) and oil.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in half of the liquid – I don’t pour it all in just in case it becomes too sticky. Using your hands work the flour into the liquid in a clockwise motion adding more liquid if needed. Once you have an approximate dough ball, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for several minutes until the dough is smooth.

Place in a oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to stand for 10mins whilst you get your toppings ready!

Roll out the dough to form one large pizza base and transfer to a chopping board before adding the toppings – it will make it easier to then subsequently transfer it to the baking sheet. Bake in oven for 10-15mins or until the bottom is crispy.

vegan vanilla ice-cream

ingredients:

2/3 frozen bananas (chop some ripe bananas into large pieces  and pop in the freezer for several hours)

1 cup vanilla soy milk

glug of maple syrup or something similar to sweeten the ice-cream further.

In a blender, blitz all the ingredients together until completely smooth. Transfer to a container and freeze for several hours – do not stir! Allow it soften slightly before serving.

Yup, dats how easy it was – at least as far as I can remember;) I served mine with some melted vegan chocolate that hardened fantastically when poured over the ice-cream. My God did it taste good.

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Tomato Soup with Twice Baked Potatoes

I’m on my soup kick again! This time it’s a Sophie Dahl number from her series The Delicious Miss Dahl. Initially I was mega wary of this series, which is based on the cookbook of the same name. When I heard Sophie Dahl had written a recipe book I rolled my eyes thinking she was just another celebrity jumping on the cooking bandwagon – I found it hard to believe a supermodel actually cooked or ate especially given Sophie’s recent dramatic weightloss!

I couldn’t watch the series when it first aired as I was in the States (man did I miss BBC) so this has been a recent discovery of mine – I feel like I’m always a little bit behind the times:( So, I was going on heresay and what others thought about the programme – the reviews were mixed to say the least! Some said she was simply imitating the wonderful Nigella whilst others cringed at her poetry reading.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect but I’m pleased to report I really adore the show. I like Sophie. I believe she’s being herself and you can’t fault that. She’s so girly but not in an annoying way and it doesn’t hurt that she’s not a meat eater. She clearly loves cooking and is at ease in the kitchen – you can’t fake that kids – and I do love the style of the show in general. I’m a sucker for all things vintage and her perfectly English kitchen, with all those glorious flowers and gorgeously retro utensils just make me smile.

Yes, I know how much styling goes into it but that doesn’t detract from its loveliness somehow. The same goes for Nigella’s programmes – love it all, every bit of it. These are not just cookery programmes, they are lifestyle shows. Unashamedly so and I for one applaud them. We all need a bit of frivolous entertainment once in a while and if there’s some delicious recipes thrown in who are we to argue:)

baked potato

ingredients:

2 large baking potatoes

small bunch of chives

1 tbsp soy butter

splash of soy cream

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees celsius/350 farhenheit. Pierce the potatoes all over, rub with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Place directly onto the oven shelf and bake for an hour or until the skins are crispy.

Halve the potatoes, scoop out the insides and mix with the mustard, butter, cream and seasoning. I use the back of a fork to mash the potato. Stir in the chopped chives and place back in the oven for a further 20mins until golden.

tomato soup

ingredients:

2 1/2 packs of organic tomatoes

2 red onions

1 large garlic cloves

few sprigs thyme

1 tbsp sugar

olive oil

splash of balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

Halve the tomatoes and garlic (horizontally, don’t peel), quarter the red onions and along with the thyme place in a large roasting tin. Season, drizzle with the olive oil and place in the same pre-heated oven as the potatoes to roast for 40-50 minutes.

After you take it out of the oven let it cool for a few minutes before squeezing the garlic from their skins and mashing with the back of fork. Place all the ingredients into a food processor (you’ll have to do it in batches) and blitz until completely smooth.

Place the soup into a large pot. If it’s too thick loosen it with some water. At this stage you can taste, season and add the balsamic vinegar if you so wish Gently re-heat the soup but do not allow to boil. By this time the potatoes should be ready – serve each bowl with two halves of twice baked potatoes.

Make sure to dunk that skin!

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Dorset Cereals – win!

Just thought I’d post some photos of my winning case of Dorset Cereals that I received a few days ago. I voted for another blog in the Dorset Cereals Little Blog Awards and to my surprise my name was picked at random to win a case of their lovely breakfasts. I requested the marmalade granola and cranberry and raspberry porridge – yummy yum! I gave the honey granola to my Mum because us vegans don’t eat the lovely nectar of the bees (yes, I’ll admit that stuff tastes good – just as well agave nectar and maple syrup aren’t off limits!).

If you haven’t tried Dorset Cereals I urge you to do so – wholesome, honest and delicious. They also happen to be one of only three cereal companies approved by the vegetarian society:)

I’m so chuffed, I don’t think I’ve won anything before – my luck has been pretty good of late. Maybe it has something to do with being back in Ireland! I’m just glad it wasn’t a case of Lucky Charms;)

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Sweet potato and mushrooms on toast

I’ve told you before how I love to veganize recipes. I’ve also told you how one of my favourite books to do this with is currently Tana Ramsay’s Homemade, which may seem odd seeing as the book is divided into such sections as Beef, Chicken and Seafood. Do I let this deter me? Hell no. Adapt and conquer is the motto of the day and I really feel I have successfully done both with this book, which thrills me no end!

By using these non-vegan recipe books I am trying to encourage my vegan friends to engage with the wider culinary world and therefore not feel excluded or on the periphery. It can be a little lonely being vegan and feeling like you mustn’t use this or you can’t eat that does get on top you sometimes, which is not pleasant. Read, use, enjoy omnivore books and blogs and select the recipes that look appealing and can be easily modified to suit your lifestyle.

I love food and I love cookbooks. I still post on the Nigella forum and I really like communicating with people that have that same love for food I do. I would hate to feel I needed to restrict myself to only vegan forums – that would make me pretty unhappy and food is surely about happiness after all.

My favourite blog is still Joy The Baker and she comes up trumps everytime with recipes that can be veganized in a flash. For example, her latest single lady pancake recipe is practically vegan anyway because it is eggless – yahoo! Boy does it taste good too – yowsas, that is a knock-out pancake if ever there was one! Try it.

Where was I? Oh yes, sweet potato and mushrooms on toast. Another knock-out recipe perfect for breakfast or lunch. Try it too.

ingredients:

3 sweet potatoes

1/2 punnet closed cup mushrooms

2 spring onions

olive oil

2 sprigs rosemary

handful chopped chives

3/4 tbsp soy cream

4 slices granary bread

soy spread

sea salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius/ 350 farhenheit. Peel and dice the sweet potato into medium chunks. Finely chop the rosemary, sprinkle over the sweet potato and drizzle with oil. Season and toss using your hands ensuring the potato chunks are thoroughly coated. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Slice the mushrooms. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the mushrooms for a few minutes. Season and at the very end add the parsley. You could also add a splash of balsamic if you wish.

In a bowl mash the sweet potato with a fork. Season and add the cream and chopped chives, reserving some for garnish.

Toast the bread and butter with the soy spread. Spread the sweet potato mash onto the toast and top with the mushrooms. Sprinkle on the remaining chives and serve:)

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Alicia’s Peanut Butter Cups

Oh dear! These are going to be the death of me – for real! I should probably let you into a not very well kept secret – I have a MAJOR weakness for peanut butter. Pb&j, fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches (Elvis stylee) and of course peanut butter and chocolate (in any way, shape or form). Pre-vegan lifestyle my only real shop bought chocolate craving came in the form of Reese’s peanut butter cups – man though things are go-od. These, however, are better. When I first read about them in The Kind Diet I kinda though to myself, ‘Better than a Reese’s peanut butter cup? Yeah right!’. Well. Yeah! Right!

If you’ve clicked on the link above you’ll already know who the aforementioned Alicia is. If not, let me briefly explain. Alicia is of the Silverstone variety – yes, you are correct, the self same actress from that awesome 90′s film that all us girlies loved, Clueless. Do not even attempt to deny you didn’t watch this film more than ten times when you were a teenager and rocked out to its awesome soundtrack. Times change and Alicia is now, as well as an accomplished actress (anyone who can hold their own on a stage with Laura Linney is alright in my book!) activist, vegan and writer of this truly amazing, life affirming book The Kind Diet. Don’t knock it till you’ve read it lovelies.

I’d already made the transition before my copy arrived in the post so it was not the instigator for me the way it has been for many. What I will say is that I couldn’t read it fast enough – I practically devoured the information with the same gusto I ate these peanut butter morsels. It’s a very easy read with heaps of humour, lots of compassion, mega amounts of vital health information and a bucket load of to die for recipes. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, so if you have any inclination towards a healthier, happier you I urge you to purchase a copy pronto.

Now, back to the food.

You want these. You need these. They are practically guilt free for goodness sake. I advise making them mini, however, as it puts them into a category of not even an eat. Okay, I’m kidding myself but it was worth a try, right?

ingredients:

1 tbsp Pure soya butter

4 heaped tbsp organic crunchy peanut butter

5/6 organic dairy free digestives or equivalent

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp organic cane sugar (if you haven’t maple syrup just use 4 tbsp sugar)

100g dairy free dark chocolate – at least 70% cocoa

3/4 tbsp soy milk

2 tbsp of chopped pecans, almonds or peanuts

Prepare your muffin cases.

Put digestives, graham crackers or whatever you are using(I’ve even used cereal!) into a ziplock bag and bash with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. I re-use the same ziplock bag again and again and again.

In a small saucepan melt the butter. Add the peanut butter, digestive crumbs, maple syrup and sugar and mix throughly. If the consistency is more liquid than solid, add more peanut butter and crumbs – simples. Remove from the heat and divide amongst the cases. I fill them about half way up. Set in fridge.

In the same saucepan (wash it first, of course) melt the chocolate (break into small pieces)and soya milk until you have a smooth chocolate sauce.

Take the half filled cups out of the fridge and carefully spoon over the chocolate sauce. Sprinkle over the chopped nuts and return to the fridge for at least a few hours.

Eat…….and another……oh go on then, one more:)

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Black Bean, Sweetcorn and Sweet Potato Enchilladas

My gosh do I love Mexican food! If you have a quick look at my recipe history you’ll soon discover many Mexican inspired dishes that I used to make all the time. Since turning vegan, however, my Mexican dishes have waned a little, as I find my new vegan feet in the kitchen. Feet and food? Ahem, let’s move on!

So, we’ve gathered I love Mexican food and there’s only so many veggie tacos you can eat before you crave enchilladas, quesadillas, chimichangas, need I go on? After browsing some of the many truly amazing vegan blogs out there I was moved to try this wicked enchillada dish. In fact, it wasn’t even a recipe I had discovered but merely a photograph someone had posted of a meal they’d eaten in California or some such place (it appeared sunny and gorgeous – i’m jealous). It looked so good I found myself drooling all over my keyboard and I knew instantly it had to go on my weekly menu.

To my mind it did not disappoint although as I was cooking for my Sister I worried she may compare it to my meat dishes, which she used to love when we lived together – pressure! In my opinion these were better by a long way, as eating them didn’t result in a lying on the sofa in a Mexican coma for several hours after. They happened to taste pretty phenomenal too although it would’ve helped if I hadn’t forgotten to switch the oven on when I first popped them in. I was baffled after checking them periodically and wondering why they didn’t seem as cooked as they should be, grrrr! When they eventually did get baked they went down pretty well. I say pretty well when what I mean to say is that I thought they were stonkingly good and everyone wanted the leftovers for lunch even though there wasn’t really enough to go around! Sometimes it pays not to make things too delicious;)

For the sauce I used passata – kinda obssesed with the stuff – but I think I would water it down further next time just because I’d like the sauce to be less thick. Or indeed just use a can or two of chopped tomatoes. Fine, this is a problem easily rectified. Next, I would cook the beans for a little longer also because I like the texture to be less firm – my personal preference. That’s about it I think. Oh yeah! The sweet potato were absolute perfection and would be an excellent side dish or accompaniment to a whole host of dishes. I’ve just used the last of the paprika though so it’s off to the supermarket with me because I have a feeling I’m going to be wanting these again very very soon:)

ingredients:

1 1/2 cups dried black beans (or two cans cooked)

1 1/2 cups frozen sweetcorn

4 sweet potatoes

1 white onion

1 red onion

6 wholewheat flour tortillas

1 jar passata

3 cloves garlic

1 green chilli

2 red birdseye chilli’s (or scotch bonnets)

2 tsp paprika

1 tbsp dried chilli flakes

zest and juice of 1 lime

handful chopped flat leaf parsley and/or coriander

salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/350 farhenheit.

Wash the sweet potato and take off any knobbly bits from the outside – do not peel. Cut into large pieces and add to a deep dish or baking tray. Pour over a little oil, sprinkle over the paprika and season. Using your hands toss the sweet potato in the oil and paprika ensuring everything is evenly coated. Bake in oven for 40mins, checking half way through and giving the tray a shake to make sure the potato is not sticking.

If you are using the dried black beans soak them for at least 4 hours. Rinse, transfer to a pot, cover with cold water, bring to the boil for 10mins and then simmer for at least 40mins – but check them to make sure they don’t turn to mush. Drain and rinse. Set aside.

Put the frozen sweetcorn in a bowl, pour over some recently boiled water and leave for 5mins. Drain and set aside.

Finely chop both onions. Heat a little oil in a pan, add the onion, season and leave to sweat for several minutes stirring periodically. Add zest and juice of lime to the pan and stir.

Chop or crush garlic and finely chop the chilli’s. Pour Passata into a large pot and add the garlic, green chilli only and 1/2 cup water to thin out the sauce. Season and bring to a gentle simmer.

When the onion has sufficiently softened, add the red chilli, chilli flakes, black beans and sweetcorn. Cook for several minutes, taste and season if necessary. You may want to add a little water or some extra oil but it’s not essential. At the end add the chopped parsley/coriander.

Take out the sweet potato – you can use the same tray/dish to bake the enchilladas (saving on the washing up!). To each tortilla add a layer of black bean/ sweetcorn mix followed by about six sweet potato chunks. Roll and place in tray. Once you have six filled tortillas pour over the spicy tomato sauce and return tray to oven. Bake for 25-30mins.

Meanwhile you can make an easy guacamole to serve with it:

easy guacamole

ingredients:

1 ripe avocado

juice of 1/2 lime

2 finely chopped spring onions

salt and pepper

optional – a little dash of soy cream:)

Peel and stone the avocado. In a bowl mash avocado with the back of a fork. Season. Add juice of lime. Chop spring onion very finely and add to bowl. Pour in a little cream if using. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Taste and season if needed. Place in fridge until enchilladas are ready to be served:)

Fiesta time!!

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Thin Crust Pizza with Roasted Carrot

This week is running away with me at the moment, so I’m squeezing in an uber easy pizza recipe that I hope will hit that end of week spot.

I’m currently working on a little cookery video, which is slowly coming together – hence my lack of posting over the past few days. Don’t worry it’s not me talking to a camera, it’ll be a very stylishly edited together step by step recipe guide – thankyou kind and talented Hubbie:)

For now, however, I’ll have to be making do with some rather poor photographs (although I’ll admit to having a penchant for the vintage hue they possess). To be entirely honest I wasn’t really expecting to blog about this particular recipe but hey ho, here it is!

pizza dough

ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp active dry yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

1 tbsp olive oil

I know us non-Americans don’t use cups but since spending time in the States I have abandoned all other measurements. If you don’t have an actual measuring cup just use a small teacup and the results will be the same – my measuring cups are currently in transit and I have been using the teacup method with success. I do warn you though, once you try it this way, you too will be a cup convert!

In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre. Add the oil to the water and pour into centre of well.

Using a spoon or hand slowly mix the water/oil into the flour working inwards until all the flour is combined and you end up with a doughy ball. It may be a little sticky – don’t worry about this.

Flour a clean surface and turn the dough out onto it. Knead until you get a smooth, even ball – several minutes should do it.

Oil a bowl (I use the same one as before). Turn the dough ball in the oil, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or so.

Turn it out onto the floured surface again and gently knock the air out of it with the palm of your hand. Shape into an approximate ball and return to bowl, covered for a further 20mins.

pre-heat oven to the highest possible temperature. Turn over a baking sheet, sprinkle with flour and allow it to heat in the oven at the same time.

Divide the dough in two (or just one large pizza) and roll it out into an oval/round shape. Place onto a chopping board at this stage for easy transfer to the oven. Top with tomato sauce (or pesto!), roasted carrots, sweetcorn, basil and vegan cheese (trust me, this works!) and/or any toppings you fancy. As it is a thin crust pizza I would advise against overloading it.

Transfer to pre-heated baking sheet and bake for 10mins.

n.b. This is a slighlty altered recipe from the ever wonderful SmittenKitchen

roasted carrots:

ingredients:

roasted carrots

handful of finely chopped rosemary and thyme

3 tbsp olive oil

slice carrots very thinly. Transfer to a baking dish, pour over olive oil and sprinkle chopped herbs. Season and toss all the ingredients using your hands until the carrots are evenly coated.

Bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit) oven for 30mins.

Simples.

A side note: I make my tomato sauce using Passata. Also, this pizza works just as well without cheese (vegan or otherwise). I’ve had difficulty finding decent vegan cheese in Ireland so I just leave it off now and it is still delicious.

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