Category Archives: Recipes

I like cooking. I’m not the best at it, but sometimes I make something that’s pretty great and people ask me for the recipe. Other times I talk to people about reducing their consumption of animal products and they seem like they need some help coming up with what to cook. So here’s a page where I plan to collect the recipes I want to share. 100% vegan 100% of the time, obviously.

Notes:
I’m not very accurate recording how much of what I use, and besides I haven’t optimized it anyway. So they’re just guidelines, mkay?
Some recipes require a particular set of ingredients (you can’t make pumpkin soup with cauliflower), some have some flexibility within a selection (ratatouille without fennel is fine, but if you skip aubergine, courgette and peppers too I don’t think it’s ratatouille anymore) and some can be basically whatever (what are the ingredients to a stir fry? whatever you want, really). So feel free to skip or add ingredients as you see fit. I’ll try to write some notes on the recipe about which category it fits in.

Cheese is for the weak

Knowing what vegetables you’re using is also for the weak. Apparently. Because I just made a really nice pasta with some leafy greens of unknown identity – no idea what they were when I picked them up in the store, fried them in olive oil and garlic, or when I just took a bite – tasty though! So if you decide to make this recipe, I wholeheartedly recommend to go to the (super)market and choose something from the edible plants section that is made of leafs and is green (maybe not lettuce though…)

For those of you wandering what utensils I was using the eat my pasta: it’s a spoon.

Pasta with leafy greens and chickpeas

Ingredients for three people [1]
punnet of cherry tomatoes
pasta for three, ~225 g (I used a mix of wholewheat and plain fusili)
50-100g pine nuts (depends how nutty you want to be, harhar)
chili flakes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
leafy greens ~200 g
can of chickpeas
100 mL soy cream
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (= nooch)
olive oil, pepper, sail

Preheat the oven to 200*C (fan oven). Put cherry tomatoes in a roasting tray and drizzle over a good amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Once your oven is hot, bake the tomatoes for about 20 minutes. [2]

Boil your pasta for as long as it needs and add some salt and olive oil to the boiling water if you fancy feeling like you know what you’re doing. Drain when done and put the boiled pasta back into the pan. (You can do most of the rest of the recipe while the pasta boils.)

Put a large frying pan on medium heat and roast your pine nuts. Be careful to move them around in the pan almost constantly as they burn quickly. When they’re browned take them out and put aside for now. Heat up olive oil in the pan and fry some chili flakes and the minced garlic. Add the leafy greens and stir fry for five minutes on low to medium heat. Add the chickpeas (without the liquid [3]), salt and pepper and stir for a minute or so. Poor in the soy cream, stir in the yeast flakes, and leave on the heat for a bit longer so that the cream is warm as well. Then add the mixture and the roasted tomatoes (with roasting oil) to the pasta. [4] Done!

Notes

[1] You guessed it, me today, me at lunch time and another me in the near future! Unless you make me an offer now I suppose.
[2] If you like garlic, add a whole clove of garlic or two to the roasting tomatoes. I don’t think it matters much for the tomatoes but the roasted garlic is super nice to eat straight out of the skin.
[3] You can save the liquid from the can of chickpeas – it’s called aquafaba – and use it as an egg white replacement. I like to make chocolate mousse with it (melt some chocolate with a pinch of salt, whip up the aquafaba, then add some powdered sugar and whip some more until stiff, stir in the chocolate, divide over glasses or something and let set in the fridge overnight).
[4] It took me 20 minutes to cook this dish, which seems to imply that it took me zero minutes to prepare the tomatoes and mix everything together. I actually cut the over time for the tomatoes a bit short because I was pretty hungry. If you want to time everything perfectly and not have your pasta get cold while you’re waiting for the tomatoes, I’d recommend waiting for five minutes after they’ve gone in the over before boiling the pasta and doing everything else.

Happy New Lasagna!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a great New Year’s Eve, and if you didn’t, don’t worry about it, it was just a Monday night except with a lot of expectations 😉

Speaking of expectations, what do you think of when somebody says the word “lasagna”? I once learned that to most people, this means layered pasta with tomato-meat sauce and cheese, whereas I had always known it with a vegetable filling (and bechamel with parmesan). Since I went vegan I’ve had to reinvent it. I still like it, so it’s a happy new lasagna.
It’s also a pretty good meal for serving a lot of people (or just for myself, me tomorrow, maybe a bit for someone else, and the rest for me again) , so I decided to make some for the party last night. I’ve heard some good things about it and I’ve been asked for the recipe (succes!), so here you go. It’s not the quickest or easiest recipe (the bechamel being the main cause of both these things), but trust me it’s worth it.

Lasagna

ingredients for one over dish, feeds 4-6 people
lasagna (the pasta)
olive oil
—- filling —- 1
onion
3 garlic cloves
courgette
500g passata di pomodoro
red wine (optional)
can of (green) lentils (or cook your own)
200g spinach (I used fresh but frozen should be fine too)
salt, pepper, mixed herbs (dried oregano, basil, that sort of thing)
—-bechamel —- 2
30g vegan butter/margerine
~3 heaped tbsp plain flour
400mL almond milk (or soy or oat…)
200g grated vegan cheeze (I used violife block)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (engivita)

Filling Chop the onion and finely mince the garlic. Cut the courgette in small-ish pieces. Put a large pan (preferably cast-iron or other thick pan) on medium high heat and add some olive oil once it’s hot, then fry the onion for a few minutes. Add the garlic, stir, then add the courgette.
After frying for about five minutes, add the wine – if using – and the passata di pomodoro. Also stir in salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Add in the spinach, rince the lentils and add them as well. Have a taste of the filling to see if it needs more salt/pepper/herbs.

Bechamel Put a saucepan on medium heat and melt in the butter. Then turn the heat low and stir the flour through the melted butter, the clumpy stuff you get it called a roux. Add a little bit of nut milk and stir, it gets absorbed into the roux. Add a bit of milk again and so on, switch to a whisk once the clump becomes more liquid4. Add in the rest of the milk and keep whisking while the sauce thickens. Switch to a large spoon to stir in the grated cheeze and yeast flakes.

Build your lasagna. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees celsius (fan oven). Take a low and wide over dish, and start with a very thin layer of your tomato filling5, then a layer of lasagna (it’s okay to break the sheets to fill the shape of the dish). Spread half your filling on top of the pasta, then poor half your bechamel on top of that. Repeat with another layer of pasta, filling, bechamel. Try to cover the top of the lasagna with the bechamel to keep the filling from spilling out too much, spread using a spoon if needed. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes (check the top doesn’t become blackened or dark brown, you may need to turn down the heat a little). Done!

1] This is one of those recipes where I might as well write “veg” in the ingredients list, since you can swap in basically anything you like for the filling. For example, peas or olives work really nicely as well.
2] The quantities for the bechamel sauce are a horrible guesstimate, sorry. If you find your sauce is too thick, just add some more milk. If you find it’s too thin and it really doesn’t thicken after cooking it for a while, that’s a bit tricky since just adding lour makes it clumpy. You can either live with it and hope melting in the cheese makes it thick enough (it just needs to not seep through your vegetable layer), or make a new roux of butter and flour in a separate pan, then bit by bit add the bechamel you already have in.
3] The spinanch may not all fit at once, but it reduces a lot once it’s heated. So just add in handful after handful and stir through the sauce until the next batch fits. If using frozen spinach, also add it at this stage but it’ll take longer since it needs to thaw.
4] You can use a whisk for all of this, but I find using a spoon for the first bit easier since the clumpy roux tends to get stuck inside the whisk. You can also add more milk at a time once the first clumpiness is overcome.
5] The purose of the layer is to make it easier for the bottom layer of pasta to cook; since it’s the liquid in the filling that cooks it.

Party food for party people

I live in a quiet neighbourhood with paper thin walls between the houses. But, once a year it’s okay to ask for your neighbours’ forgiveness, and throw a party. So we did, yesterday. And if you know me you’d know that I’d absolutely take the opportunity to go all out on making party food. I get to build up my excitement doing something I like (got to get the cleaning out of the way first), it makes the party so much better if there’s plenty of snacks, and I get to show off to people how tasty vegan food can be; I just love it!

I believe everyone had a great time and I’m sure the food helped. Also thanks to my friends who brought bread* and hummus. I’ve had a few people ask about two of the snacks I made in particular (success!), so here are the recipes. Besides those we had nachos with home-made salsa and guacamole, and plenty of store-bought snacks because I’m not the kind of maniac who is also going to make their own crisps and biscuits.

Tapenade

This is a Mediterranean dip that goes really well on bread or crackers as an appetizer (or a 5 pm snack because you had some leftover from the party and kind of forgot to eat lunch).

Ingredients
—————
one tin/jar black olives (although you could use green as well)
sun-dried tomatoes (about a third or half as much as olives)
olive oil (use some from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes with all the tastiness in it)
2 cloves of garlic
fresh parsley (I guess this is optional because I forgot to get some and it was still great without)
—————
Blend everything together with a hand mixer or food processor or the like. Add a little bit of oil and blend until you like the consistency. It should be a thick, spreadable dip.

Pizza swirls

I don’t have much to say about these, since it’s not my recipe at all. Check it out at Bosh!. I used olives, sun-dried tomatoes and a few cherry tomatoes as fillings, because that’s what I had at hand. 

* If you live or have lived in the UK you would know: the supermarket bread here is really miserable. Even the fancy looking, more expensive “seeded batch”, it’s just not that tasty and has no texture. Since I don’t have a bakery near me, I’m pretty lucky I got some freshly baked sourdough from my friend.

A stir fry of sorts

Some time ago on holiday with friends I made stir fry for dinner, and now, they want the recipe. But, I don’t remember how I made it! It’s stir fry, it could be anything! The main ingredients I remember are: some peppers (because I remembered thinking very long and hard on whether I should add them), no mushrooms (because we forgot we had them and I made soup with them later), and cashews (because we had to especially get more because someone ate them…). So, here’s an extrapolation from these parameters using my prior knowledge on what I would probably put in a stir fry.

Stir Fry

Ingredients (4-ish people)
—————
1 red chili
piece of ginger (1 cm)
~5 cloves or garlic
1 lime (we will use both zest and juice)
soy sauce (keep on the side if you have a soy-intolerant friend :p)
—————
1 broccoli
~200 g mangetout
~200 g bean sprouts
2 peppers (any colours)
handful cashews per person
bunch of spring onions
oil (sunflower or a mix of sunflower and coconut or sesame)

Make a spice base by grating garlic, ginger and zest of the lime, and adding finely chopped chili (remove the seeds unless you want it extra spicy). Cut the broccoli stalk in pieces* (keep them separate) and divide the head into medium-sized chunks. Remove the core and seeds of the peppers and cut them in strips, then cut the strips in threes to get nicely sized bits. Very roughly chop the cashews, it’s okay if there’s still some whole ones.

Put a wok (or large skillet if you don’t have one) on high heat and add your oil. When the oil’s hot, add the spice base and fry it for a minute or so. Then add broccoli stalk bits and peppers and fry for a few minutes. If using sesame oil, I usually only add it at this point because I don’t want it to get too hot and evaporate.

Add the rest of the broccoli, cashews, and mangetout. Add black pepper and salt (especially if skipping the soy sauce) and stir. Splash in some water to make the broccoli cook easier and reduce the heat somewhat.

Once everything is done or nearly done, add bean sprouts and lastly the spring onions (they don’t need to be fried). Alternatively, you can briefly cook the bean sprouts by poring boiling water on them, leaving it for a minute, and draining them. You can then add the cooked bean sprouts and the spring onions after turning off the heat.

Flavour the stir fry with soy sauce and lime juice. I recommend squeezing only half the lime and tasting, then decide if you want more lime**.  Serve with boiled rice (I prefer brown rice with this meal) or noodles.

Notes:
* Almost everyone I know throws out the stalk of the broccoli, but it’s actually perfectly fine to eat. Some time ago I had a Chinese neighbour who taught me how to cook her veggie stir fry and she would be careful to use all of the edible parts of the plant. No reason not to, just make sure you boil/fry the stalk bits a bit longer than the rest. I now feel justified using it too, although I do remove a bit off the end since it’s usually dried out.
** You’re gonna squeeze the lime, then taste a bit of veg by fishing it out of the wok with your fingers. You will then go “oh shit, this is way too limey!” Idiot, you are tasting the lime juice on your fingers. Wisdom gained from personal experience.
– I’m not telling you to wash your veggies in the recipe, but you should wash your veggies.
– Even though they are not in this recipe, you can definitely add mushrooms (brown ones  – which are grown above ground – have vitamin D and are tastier than white ones). You can skip any of the vegetable ingredients and add some others, a few suggestions: green beans (in halves or thirds), spinach, baby corn, white or red cabbage (slice very thin), carrots, … I also like making golden brown fried tofu and adding this to the stir fry.

Magical Pixie Dust (aka seroendeng)

When you’ve made your Indonesian satay sauce and you’re ready for more, here’s a good one. Seroendeng [seh-roon-deng] is an Indonesian side made from coconut and used to sprinkle over rice or other food. The great thing about it is that you can make a bunch in one go, keep it in a sealed container, and use it with a lot of rice-based, asian-y dishes to add some flavour. Or you know, just eat it straight from the bowl if you have some leftover…

Seroendeng

Ingredients
—————-
A spoonful or two of the paste as for the satay sauce recipe*
2 tbsp brown sugar (or palm sugar)
about 3 tbsp oil (coconut or sunflower preferably)
200-ish gram of desiccated coconut (or like, whatever amount you want)
[optional] handful of peanuts

Heat up a skillet with the oil. When the oil’s hot, fry the spoonful spice paste (boemboe) for a few minutes. Turn the heat low and the coconut. Stir through the oil and spices and keep stirring the whole time. Add the sugar and peanuts, if using. Keep stirring until the coconut looks mostly brown. Take off the heat. Done.

* I recommend making seroendeng when you’re already making spice paste for something like the satay sauce.

Serving: As the last thing before eating, sprinkle a few spoonfuls over your rice (or veggies, or on top of your satay sauce, or all of the above). 

Indonesian goodness

Indonesian food is quite popular in the Netherlands (…let’s not talk about the colonizing past for a sec) and that’s wholly understandable: it’s the best. Here in the UK, I can’t find all the exact ingredients I need, but I’m pretty sure I’ve given it a good try. I really like cooking this for a group of friends and so far, reactions have been very positive.

A home cooked Indonesian meal could look something like this: some boiled rice, vegetables like green beans, leafy greens and some bean sprouts, tempeh or tofu but most importantly, satay sauce. The peanut-based sauce is really what makes it so delicious and so that’s the first recipe I’ll give you. Always make a little more than you think you need (but only do one iteration of that thought process else you’ll end up with an infinite amount of sauce).

Indonesian satay sauce

Ingredients (for two people, I think)
——————
2 small shallots
3 cloves of garlic
piece of ginger (about 1 cm)
half a red chili
ground coriander (like, 2 tsp?)
cumin (same?)
—————–
couple of bay leaves
A LOT of peanut butter (at least two scoops with a tablespoon as full as possible)
some oil (coconut or sunflower pref.)
water (maybe 50-100 mL to begin with, but you’ll add more as you cook the sauce)

Make a paste from all the ingredients between the lines (this is called a boemboe [boomboo]). You can use a food processor or spend a lot of time chopping them as fine as you can/ using a grater. Pestle and mortar is the traditional way.
Heat up a layer of oil in a saucepan and fry the paste for a few mins. Add the bay leaves and stir so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom too much. Add some water and a few scoops of peanut butter. Stir to get a homogeneous mix and let it heat for a while. Add water to thin to the consistency you want (the sauce will thicken up some as you heat it) and add peanut butter to get a thicker sauce or if you decide you want more. Best to cook the sauce for a while but not to let it boil.

Notes: For this recipe and other Indonesian cooking I usually look at the site kokkieslomo, which is great if you can read Dutch… Peanut sauce I’ve been making since forever but I took some inspiration from here.