Wednesday, 26 August 2015

You Can't Beet It

Despite the unseasonably horrible weather I was unwilling to give way to Autumn yet, so salads went on the menu during the second day of my wet weather cooking weekend.

I love beetroot and we currently have a fair amount growing away in the garden so to use some of them was an obvious choice.  I normally use it grated but fancied a change.  The result turned from 'just a little side dish' to my favourite dish on the whole plate.  I wish I had made more now but I will surely rectify that over the coming days. 

You Can't Beet It Beetroot Salad
Peel and cube four large beetroots before steaming until slightly soft.  Place in a bowl and add one tablespoon each of tahini and balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon of tamari, and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Stir it all together until the beetroot is well coated.  Serve warm or chilled; both taste good!

Another dish I decided to make, to add in a good dose of protein, was a 'mock tuna' salad made with chickpeas.  This is a hearty mush which uses chickpeas in a more unusual way. It is also very quick to make and also adjust to your personal taste.

Mock Tuna Salad
Drain and empty one standard can of chickpeas into a bowl and mash, mash, mash into a mush.  Finely chop up 1 small red onion and 1 stick of celery and add to the bowl.  Chuck in a generous sprinkling of dried dill (or fresh if you have it but I don't seem to be able to grow the damn stuff so dried it was!).  Add a bit of salt and pepper if you like. Now at this point I debated whether to add in some seaweed sprinkles but as I was already making another seaweed dish I decided against that.  I might try it next time though. Give everything a good mixing up before adding a dollop of vegan mayo and a teaspoon of cider vinegar to your taste and giving it a final mix up. There, it's ready. Chill before serving if you like.

On to some carbo stuff.  Phil loves rice but, as I'm sure I have mentioned in previous posts, I am really not very good at cooking rice; oh apart from rice pudding, I'm okay at that.  I don't know what it is but when I cook rice in a pan it just never seems to taste as good as when Phil does it. I'm sure there is this little 'thing' he does that I don't know about but it's true and that is why I normally leave rice cooking to him.  However, I really wanted to try and cook rice for him in some form and I found, scribbled away in my recipe folder, a recipe from somewhere of a baked rice dish.  It was a very plain and simple recipe, in fact I think it might have been from a kid's recipe book I sent to my niece.  I took the basics of this recipe and added in a bunch of other stuff to jazz it up a little.  It turned out really nice and we had tons left over for lunch the next day.  Again, it was quick to prepare as you just bung everything in the oven dish, stir and cook.

Baked Rice, Lentil and Vegetables
Add all the following ingredients into a large oven dish with a lid - 

1 tablespoon oil
1 1/2 cups brown basmati rice (give it a good rinsing first)
1/2 cup dried brown lentils (again, give a good rinse first)
1 chunked courgette
2 chunked carrots
A few cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tablespoon veg bouillon powder
Juice of one lemon
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste as I used a hot one!)

Stir it all together in the oven dish then bake for one hour at about 200 degrees C. Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't burn on the bottom.  It'll be ready when all is softened and all the water has absorbed from the bottom.

The final salad was just some freshly harvested salad leaves from the garden but what about the 'main event'?  

Well, I made a dish that I haven't made for ages; the Sea Fruit Strudel from 'Vegan', a great little book by Tony Weston and Yvonne Bishop.  This a tasty way to incorporate a bit of seaweed in to your diet, along with lots of other tasty bits and pieces.  

As ever I improvised a little as we didn't have any dried apricots (and have you seen the price of them recently?!).  I used sun dried tomatoes instead and this worked fine. Likewise we didn't have avocado oil so olive oil was fine and I didn't use orange rind at all. It all worked out lovely and it reminded me that I should really not leave this quite so long before I make it again.

Check out the recipe on Foods For Life website or buy the book to enjoy this along with all the other tasty recipes inside.


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