Posts tagged main meals 1
‘Leftover’ Nut Roast Pasties

Boxing Day was a pretty quiet and relaxed day. These are the two days of the year when I can actually enjoy just lounging around…any other time I would get fidgety and feel the need to be doing something more!

In the morning we went for a walk through the park and the fields for a bit of fresh air, where myself and my brother and sister decided to take to the swings… if you can’t be a kid at Christmas… then when can you?  

The weather was actually quiet warm and sunny, very unusal for this time of year, so it felt a bit 

overkill to be dressed up in scarf and hat (the hat soon came off)!

Once back home I made lunch for everyone….my ‘leftovers’ pasties. 

The recipe is so quick and simple and was briefly mentioned here, but I’ll reiterate it again for quick reference. I just love the simplicity of the recipe and the fact that it could be so easily adapted for any ‘leftover roast’ combo. I haven’t included meat here, but obviously this could be included also if you wished. My family added some of the meat into their pasties.

Recipe: ‘leftover’ Nut Roast Pasties

Makes 6-10 pasties depending on size

Ingredients:

(these measurements are all approximates and easily interchangeable for other similar ingredients)

  • 1 ½ cup mixed veggies (I used brussel sprouts, roast potatoes and parsnips, carrots and mashed potato)
  • ½  cup nut roast or stuffing
  • A few tablespoons of sauce (cranberry sauce, bread sauce, gravy etc)
  • Approx. 1 tsp mixed herb seasoning (optional)
  • Approx. 30x50cm rolled ready-made or homemade shortcrust pastry (I cheated this time and used ready-made!)

Method:

Cut out approx. 6 large saucer sized rolled ready-made or homemade shortcrust pastry (shop bought shortcrust pastry in the UK is usually vegan anyway but check the label). Or you could cut smaller circles and make mini pasties.

In a medium bowl add all ingredients and mush together a little so well mixed. Spoon approx. ¼ cup of the mixture in to the centre of each pastry round leaving at least 2cm of pastry round the edge. Wet the edges a little and lift up and seal the edges together making a semi-circle with the seam at the top. Crimp the seam with your fingers.

Place the pasties on a greased or lined baking sheet, brush with soy milk and bake at 180C for approx. 25 mins until golden. Serve warm or cold.

Note: the dollop of filling I have shown there is too much in relation to the circle size- after this photo was take I had to reduce it a little to be able to seal the egdes!


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Chili Veg Pitta Pockets

Sometimes a meal comes together very haphazardly and not at all how it had been planned. This is one such example….

I will admit I am solely to blame for this scenario since labelling the leftovers to go into my freezer is not always my strong point. I often make the mistake of thinking ‘well it will be obvious what it is, I won’t need to write a label on the bag’.   Hmmm, once frozen solid with ice fuzzing up the outside it isn’t always quite that obvious!

You see, I had thought that I had taken out a portion of soup from the freezer and the plan was to serve this along with a salad and homemade bread rolls, however upon investigation it turned out to be a portion of vegetable chilli… quick rethink, so instead we have an alternative meal for two:

A dish of vegetable chilli

A dish of roasted veg (in this case parsnip, pepper and carrots)

A serving of toasted pittas cut into pockets

A quick and easy DIY fill-your-pittas experience…. the soup can wait for another day!

Recipe: Vegetable chili

Serves 4 

Ingredients

  • Large glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion- diced
  • 2 peppers- cut into chunks
  • 1tsp mild chilli powder, 1tsp cumin seeds, 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes- peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large carrot- peeled and cut up
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 150g red lentils (pre-soaked)
  • 200ml hot vegetable stock
  • 400g can red kidney beans
  • 50g green beans
  • 1 courgette- cut into chunks
  • 100g frozen peas
  • Tomato puree and hot water- if needed
  • (Other vegetables can be added or substituted)

Method

Pre-soak red lentils in hot water for approx. 20 mins. Fry onion in oil for 5 mins, add the peppers, garlic and spices and cook for 2 mins. Stir in the carrot and sweet potato then add the tomatoes, lentils, and vegetable stock. Simmer for 15 mins. Add remaining ingredients- kidney beans, green beans, courgette and frozen peas, and simmer for approx. 10 mins until all vegetable are tender. Addtomato puree with extra water if more sauce is needed. Serve with wholegrain rice or pasta if desired. 

Note- in this recipe I served one portion size of chilli with some extra roasted veggies- I simple cut the veg into batons drizzled over a little olive oil and some salt and pepper then roasted for approx. 20 mins. Warm the pittas in the oven right at the end.

Freeze left over portions in individual bags- label them up (don’t say I didn’t warn you!)


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Mega meatball sub

A couple of weekends ago on a ‘lazy’ Saturday morning (I do try but I just can’t do ‘lazy’ as I just end up being fidgety if I sit still for too long!) the boy set me a challenge ‘can you make me a meatball sub’ ….(wait there’s more)…. ‘but not just any meatball sub, I want vegan meatballs with marinara sauce, jalapeno peppers, caramelised onions and sweetcorn, all wrapped up in a nice big homemade sub roll’

Ok- the challenge was set! First I needed to do my research and figure out a healthy, tasty fool-proof ‘meat’ ball recipe.  The one I settled on was based on a recipe by 'My Vegan Cookbook' with a few minor tweaks of my own.

It took me most of the morning but we got there in time for lunch. Oh yeah it was good!!  I had made a double batch of everything (except the veg) so I had leftovers to freeze for ‘round two’ another time.  The meatballs are great to freeze so I’d encourage you to make the full batch as below (or even double) and freeze the remainder for a quick and easy spaghetti dish at another time. There is also a fair bit of work involved in pre-cooking the rice and lentils, another good reason to make a big batch! 

Recipe: vegan ‘meatballs’

Serves 3-4

Makes approx. 12 balls

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cooked lentils
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1/3 cup wheatgerm
  • 1 tbs ground flax
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs oilve oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup wholemeal spelt flour (or standard wholemeal flour)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp parika/cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp molasses (increase this to 2 tsp if you like a stronger taste but personally I find it overpowering)
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp smoky chipotle pepper sauce (gives the balls a spicy smoky kick but don’t worry if you can’t get hold of it)

Method

Mix everything together in a large bowl. Mixture should be sticky but manageable. From apricot sized balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 180C for 25- 30 minutes turning over half way through.

For frozen meatballs, place on a baking sheet and cook at 180C for approx. 20 minutes straight from the freezer.


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My colleagues eat their veggies... Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry!

My workmates still find it a novelty that I eat a predominantly vegan diet. Having known me for so long before I changed my approach to food I think they are still waiting for the point that the ‘novelty will wear off’. I don’t preach or proclaim to know it all but if questioned I try to impart some genuine understanding as to why I do things this way. Typically most will smile and say something along the lines of ‘well I couldn’t do it’. It’s understandable and I know I would have thought exactly the same, I think it takes a first-hand experience for someone to realise the benefits in their own life and how simple it can actually be (once you get the hang of it)!

So, then my ideal opportunity came along….

I work in a relatively small architectural practice (yes, architecture is my ‘day job’) and every so often we all take it in turns to cook lunch for the rest of the team so we can all sit down together and enjoy some social time, food and gossip. I’d been teasing them all (telling them all!) for some time that when my turn came I’d cook them a vegan lunch- I think they thought I really was joking.  I also have a vegetable patch at work… yes very random, but more on that another time, so a veg patch vegan lunch before summer was over was too good to miss.

It amused me that everyone was so apprehensive and worried about what I would serve- who can be scared of some harmless veg! I also know that some of them had also hidden away a little back-up snack should it be needed. I had a mission on my hands, a mission to prove that a meal made without animals could be tasty, filling, varied, decadent and delicious. 

Success…it went down a storm and made me a very happy bunny!  So much so that many of them requested the recipes for the food I’d served.   

The meal consisted of: sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry along with a roasted vegetable tart accompanied with potato wedges, falafel and a big mixed salad. Also for dessert (it would be a sin to forget dessert!) some of my amazing (but still in the process of being refined) sugar free, fat free, animal free chocolate brownies with blueberries and raspberries topped with (vegan) cream.  I promise I will share the brownie recipe with you soon- just not yet, it’s not quite ready (though they still gobbled it up!)

For starters…here’s a recipe to keep you going, everyone wanted more and I promise it will satisfy all the meat eaters in the crowd!

Recipe: Sweet potato curry

Makes 4 large meal sized portions (or lots more tapas style portions)

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tablespoons madras curry paste (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 4 medium (fist sized) sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped into 1 inch chunks)
  • 1 large red pepper (sliced)
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 200g bag of spinach
  • 1 x 400ml can of full fat coconut milk
  • Rice, quinoa or naan to serve - optional

Method:

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for few minutes until soft. Add curry paste and fry for 1 more min. Add the coconut milk, sweet potato, pepper and chickpeas  and cook for approx. 15-20 minutes until potato is cooked. Add spinach (fold spinach through mixture in handfuls) simmer for a couple more minutes until spinach is wilted. If thee is not liquid enough add a little water.

Serves immediately. If there are any leftover portions this curry freezes well.

Edit 2016 : I have since made this curry countless times and it's so versatile! It also works really well with many other veggies you may have to hand- I like to swap in green beans, courgette or cauliflower for the pepper and/or some of the sweet potato.

ooops, sorry... this one just snuck in!!


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