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Veggie Barley Stew with Cheezy-herby Dumplings

It’s less than two weeks until christmas, the ground is frosty and the air is crisp. I’m trying to keep my Christmas binge to Christmas Eve, Day, and Boxing day this year so I’ve been looking at coming up with warming, filling, yummy meals that feels luxurious but are still low in fat. If you want to reduce the fat in this recipe further then skip the dumplings. This serves 4 with the dumplings or 3 without them.

Veggie Barley Stew with Cheezy-Herby Dumplings

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2 medium onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, sliced
2 large parsnips, sliced
1 medium leek, sliced
1/2 whole swede, diced
175g Pearl Barley, rinsed
1 ltr vegetable stock
1 tbsp shoyu
1 tsp miso
1 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp dried Parsley
1 Bayleaf
1 tsp vegetable/olive oil

Dumpling Mix:
100g Self-raising Flour
50g vegetable suet, grated
50g vegan cheese, grated
2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme, lightly ground
2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp fresh chives, chopped

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Extra Tasty Gluten-Free Vegan Mac & Cheeze

I use store-bought vegan cream cheese in this recipe but you could replace this with your own home-made v-cream cheese. Try this recipe here or this one here

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Don’t worry it’s not burnt, the crispy onions just get very dark

Ā 250g rice pasta (dried weight)
100g vegan cream cheese (with garlic and herbs if possible)
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
100ml unsweetened plant milk
1 tsp english mustard powder
Crispy onions (optional)
Vegan hard cheese of choice, grated (optional)
salt and black pepper to taste

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Soya-Free Vegan Sage and Red Onion Bangers

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1 cup vital wheat gluten
3 tbsp chickpea flour
1/2 cup cold vegetable stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage (or 2 tsp dried sage)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground nutmeg
1 tsp garlic powder (1 one glove garlic, minced)
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

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Curried Cauliflower with Cumin Roasted Vegetables

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600g medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
1 medium red onion, halved and cut into thin wedges
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 orange pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 medium courgettes, cut into 1 cm slices
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped
1 tin tomatoes, blended
salt & black pepper

Preheat oven to 210C/Gas 7.

Boil the potatoes in water for about 5 minutes. Just parboil them, you don’t want them cooked through. Meanwhile, place the cauliflower florets in a bowl and cover in cold water to soak for 30 minutes.

In a large non-stick frying pan toast the mustard seeds and 1 tsp of the cumin seeds over a medium heat for about 30 seconds. Stir in 2 tbsp of the oil, the garam masala and 1/2 tsp of turmeric. Cook for a few minutes to release the fragrance before adding the onion. Fry the onion in the spices for 1-2 minutes, stirring often.

Drain the potatoes then toss them in the pan with the onion and spices, season with salt and fresh black pepper. Tip everything into a large baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

Take the tray out of the oven and add the peppers and courgettes. Toss together gently to coat in the spiced oil and place back in the oven for a further 30 minutes.

While the potato and veg mixture is roasting, put the rest of the oil into a large pan and set over a medium heat. Add the rest of the cumin seeds to the oil and allow to sizzle for a few seconds. Now drain the cauliflower and add to the pan. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes to coat the cauliflower well in the spiced oil and is starting to brown in places. Add the ground cumin, coriander, green chilli, and the rest of the turmeric as well as some salt and black pepper and gently mix while cooking for 30 seconds. Add the blended tomatoes, bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked but still has some “bite” to it. (Feel free to add peas, beans or greens so the pan for extra tasty vitamins and minerals)

This serves 4-6 people and can stretch even further if served with a cup of cooked rice per person.

Virtual Vegan LINKY Potluck

Virtual Vegan LINKY Potluck

The Holy Grail: Simple Vegan Yorkshire Puddings

Since adopting the vegan lifestyle in February last year I have been working on an easy recipe for yorkshire puddings. Now yorkshire pudding (pronounced york-sher pudding) appears to be little known outside the UK. However, inside the UK, an easy and accessible vegan yorkshire pudding recipe is like the holy grail! I spent months scouring the internet for a recipe that was easy to follow and didn’t require a bunch of ingredients I had never heard of and that actually worked!

There were those that used egg replacer like this one from Viva! that seemed simple but didn’t have that signature hole in the centre of the pudding. Then there were those that used one or more ingredients that were not easily accessible to me like this one from Maple Spice. So I decided to go back to the drawing board.

I started with my grandmothers old Bero Baking Book and the basic yorkshire pudding batter mix of flour, egg, and milk. I then swapped out the egg for egg replacer and the milk for soya milk and was left with a good rise but a soggy middle and no signature hole in the top. I tried again but this time once the top had baked I “popped” the top with the end of a spoon and created my own hole before putting them back in the oven to cook through. It worked! But I couldn’t help but think that there must be and even easier way so I kept trying.

I got to thinking that, when baking cakes, a mix of cedar vinegar and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda for my US friends) makes what would normally be a heavy bake all light and fluffy. Could this work for yorkshire puddings too? I ditched the egg replacer and grabbed the bicarb and vinegar to have another go.

I did two batches at the same time. One with 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarb in the flour and 1 tbsp cedar vinegar in the milk, and one with 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarb in the flour and 2 tbsp lemon juice in the milk. The lemon juice batch was inedible as 1 tsp is far too much bicarb and neither developed the hole in the top I was looking for. “Maybe if I combine some of the original recipe with this new technique?” I thought. So I tried adding the tbsp of cedar vinegar to the milk but otherwise keeping my original recipe the same. I made two more batches, one with a teaspoon of Vegg in with my usual egg replacer, and hoped for the best. At this point I had resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to get a natural hole but if I could improve the taste and/or texture then all the better! Turns out that the vinegar adds nothing to the Yorkshires however the Vegg does add a subtly better flavour. The slight improvement is not enough for me to tell you to go out and buy it just for this recipe, however, if you happen to have some lying around your kitchen then throw a spoon of it into your mix.

Frankly, I’m at a loss as to how to create a yorkshire batter that develops its own hole but for now I’ll just stick with my original recipe. So, until I find a better way, this is my vegan yorkshire pudding recipe:

Yorkshire puddings

Vegan Yorkshire Pudding (Starting Recipe)

100g Plain Flour
250 ml Unsweetened Almond Milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
4 tsp Orgran Egg Replacer powder + 1 tsp Vegg (optional)
8 tbsp water

Preheat oven to gas mark 8.

Add a drop of oil in each section of your yorkshire pudding pan and place in the oven to heat.

Whisk together the flour and milk.

In a blender/food processor combine the egg replacer, Vegg (if using), and water until very fluffy.

Quickly fold the “egg” into the flour mixture.

Once the pan is very hot, pour the yorkshire mixture into the 6 sections and put back into the oven (never pour the mix into a cold pan or you won’t get a good, crisp rise).

After 15-20 minutes take the pan out of the oven (the tops should be starting to crisp at this point but have yet to take on much colour) and “pop” the tops to expose the centres then put back in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.

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If the tops look like they are going to burn before the centre is cooked then just put some tin foil over the top.

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(Note: Cooking times may vary depending on your oven so don’t worry about being too strict with the times I have given here.)

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I love these with roast potatoes and parsnips, boiled seitan, sage and onion stuffing, and oodles of gravy! Sunday dinner at its yummiest!

EDIT: These Yorkshire Puddings also freeze really well. Just defrost and either pop in the microwave for a minute or warm in the oven for 5 minutes.

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