So here it is, the second offering in my Indian feast triptych of delights. I'll confess, this is probably my very favourite of all three, purely just because I am a spinach ADDICT! I love the stuff, I eat it in salads, I drink it in smoothies and sometimes, I just eat handfuls of it on its own. I especially love it when it's wilted and mixed with potato, cauliflower and spices. YEAH MAN!!! In true award ceremony style, I have to thank my awesome friend Esharan for the inspiration for this recipe, because when a friend gives you a vegan recipe passed on by her Indian mother who is an incredible cook- YOU JUST MAKE IT OK?!?!?!!!! (Thanks Shaz xxx)
Hello, how are you? Enjoying the cold, drizzle and darkness that winter is bestowing upon us? No, me neither. I've blinked and it's winter again, how depressing. When it's freezing and dark outside, hot comforting and spicy foods seem to appeal the most. Even though I am officially a salad addict, you just kinda need more during the cold times. The night is dark and full of terrors. Ok, it's not really, but I am a Game of Thrones fan and that's pretty sums up how I feel at the moment!!
So then, this dish is part of an Indian triptych I created (I believe my days in art school were the last time I used that word!) to help fuel your (and of course mine, I'm not that selfless!) cold winter nights.
This is sooooo quick to make, it took me about a total of fifteen minutes to whip it up! It's one of those type of dishes I create without really knowing that I'm going to create it. I think "I'm hungry" and I look in the fridge, pull out a few things, get some essentials from the cupboards and WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU LEAH I have a sumptuous feast waiting before me to be devoured! This is one of those meals where if you don't have all the ingredients I've listed, or want to substitute them with other things, it's still going to turn out great and tasty!
This recipe has its inspiration rooted in the most unlikely of places - The Toby Carvery. What does a vegan know about Toby Carvery I hear you ask?!!? Well, actually you may be surprised to learn that this "haven of meat" serves not one, but two specified vegan options! So, anyway, my boyfriend (vegan, loves junk food!!) loves their nut roast Wellington and set me the task of recreating it in someway. Since the actual Wellington is pastry, I can't eat that being gluten free, and it makes me very sad to make yummy dinners for us both that I can't eat (obviously!!) so I decided to stuff a mushroom with the most delectable and 'meaty' filling I could conjure up!
I bloody love sushi! It's been one of my very favourite foods since I first tasted it years and years ago. There is something about stuffing my face with little savoury bite sized chunks of loveliness that I can just never resist. Another great thing about it is that it is so easy to veganize it. Most people think that sushi means raw fish, however I believe it actually means 'with rice,' so really in some respects this isn't really sushi. That's because I made this lot with quinoa!
So I've eaten this about 5 times in the last two weeks. I invented it when I decided to cook something for my Mum, who wasn't feeling too well. She wanted something fresh, tasty, light and nutritious, so this was my creation. I've spent so long playing with Asian and Middle Eastern flavours that it was an exciting change for me to 'think' in Italian! It looks great, it tastes great and is super cost efficient as it works out to about £3 per head, if not less. I called it Italian Stack because that's the first name that came to my head, but I should have called it Rocky, as it's a stacked Italian!! (Bad joke over now!)
So I'm back. I had the best 9 weeks of my life in Asia (Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam. We meant to go to Laos but ran out of time!) and am aching to go back. Of all the places we went, it was Northern Thailand that was my very favourite. It felt like a spiritual home and I miss Chiang Mai with all my heart!! Before I went away I assumed that I would lose lots of weight and waste away into nothingness, being a gluten free vegan and all. As it happened that wasn't the case at all. We ate like KINGS there! Happy Cow was our best friend, and being that much of Asia is Buddhist, there were tons of vegan restaurants around, and not just for tourists/westerners. We found many local vegan restaurants, where there was no menu or English spoken, and it was a case of pointing and smiling at what you wanted piled onto your massive portion of rice. The food was really incredible and we didn't feel like we were going without at all, which was totally unexpected! I did two cooking classes while I was out there, one in Vietnam and one in Thailand, and now I am back and armed with some great new recipes to share with you! Here are a few to drool over. Apologies for the photography, my camera lens got a bit dirty out there!
I'm always trying to make my meals healthier. If I can, I will. For example I will try to grill or bake things instead of frying. Or if I have a sweet craving I will try to satisfy it with fruit (medjool dates are AMAZING for satisfying a sweet tooth) instead of reaching for the (vegan) chocolate. I'm also quite good to live with (some may dispute this!) and here is my reasoning: I try to compensate for my ridiculous untidiness by cooking awesome feasts for my loved ones on a regular basis. That is a lot easier for me to do than becoming a tidy person although I am trying to be more tidy (that's a lie, I'm not at all!!! Mwahh hahaaaaa!) Anyway...... my point is that if I can make something even healthier whilst keeping the tastiness then I will. So this is why it occured to me a while back when I was creating an Indian feast to make Pilau Quinoa instead of rice.
These burgers are great! They were super tasty raw (and by raw I mean dehydrated for a few hours) however you could cook them too if you wanted, and they would still taste great. When I made these I was travelling with work the next day so took the leftovers with me for lunch, which turned out to be really yummy cold too! The reason I kept them raw was to keep all the nutrients in the vegetables intact, as when food is cooked it loses some of its nutritional value. I used a dehydrator for this, but if you don’t have one you could just put your oven on the lowest heat and leave the door ajar, and that’ll work fine too.
This is a super healthy burger packed full of protein thanks to the quinoa. It is super easy and you can really add whatever you like to it. Perfect in a bread bun or equally as filling on its own.
You can cook this tofu in two different ways, one being slightly lower in fat if you are looking to watch your waistline! It’s totally up to you how you choose to cook it – there are no rules! This is my take on a Hoisin sauce, I was messing round with ingredients one day and tasted my concoction, and hot damn it tasted like Hoisin! That was a good day! Of course if you wanted to just buy a jar of pre-made Hoisin sauce then you could, but by making it yourself you are making the exact amount you want, and also eliminating any of the odd preservatives and chemicals that you might find in shop bought sauces. But like I said, it really is completely up to you!