Category Archives: cooking

Spiralised Carrot and Chickpea Pad Thai, plus a spiraliser review

My second book (High Protein Vegan) already has a recipe for a grain-free pad Thai, but seeing as I didn’t have any cabbage on hand, didn’t have the time to make a batch of soy-free tofu and I now have a magical veggie pasta maker, I thought I would try making a different version.

This new recipe is just as delicious as the original recipe, I don’t even miss the crispy bits of fried soy-free tofu.  The raw carrot noodles add a nice crunch to the dish and go really well with the sweet, sour and spicy pad Thai sauce.

If you cook for people that prefer to eat wheat noodles instead of spiralised veggies this recipe can still be made without fuss – first bring some water for their pasta to the boil, prepare all the ingredients while waiting for the water to boil and cooking the pasta (I use wholemeal wheat spaghetti, it takes 9 minutes), then when the pasta is cooked, sauté the onions and heat up the chickpeas and sauce.

Put layers of pasta with half the chickpea/sauce mix in one bowl and roughly mix together, do the same thing with the spiralised carrot and the rest of the chickpea mixture.  Top the bowls with peanuts and coriander (add some mung bean sprouts if you have those on hand too) and enjoy.

Serves 2
soy-free*, gluten-free*, sugar-free**, grain-free*, under 45 minutes

Ingredients:

For the sauce:
•zest of half a lime or lemon
•juice of 1 1/2 limes or lemons
•2 tablespoons coconut sugar, or unrefined cane sugar such as rapadura or sucanat
•1 tablespoon coconut aminos, miso, tamari or naturally fermented non-GMO soy sauce
•2 tablespoons water
•1/2 a large fresh chilli, finely chopped (or 2 teaspoons minced chili from a jar, or cayenne pepper, to taste)
•optional (but highly recommended if you’re using lemon instead of lime) 1 teaspoon tamarind purée (tamarind pulp/tamarind concentrate)
•optional pinch or two of salt, to taste (recommended if using coconut aminos)

•4-5 spring onions (green onions), finely chopped
•1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

•4 medium carrots per serve (400g/14oz) (or use less if you’re not as hungry than I am – most recommendations for the amount of spiralised veggies per serve are 1 or 2 carrots or zucchinis, which I find is not filling enough)
or 100-150g (3.5-5.3oz) dry wholemeal noodles such as spaghetti per serve

•1/3 cup chopped peanuts
•optional handful or two of finely chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
•optional 1 cup mung bean sprouts

Method:

If you’re boiling pasta for someone, start boiling the water first, and prepare the ingredients while it boils and then cooks the pasta.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl, set aside until needed.

Heat some olive or sesame oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the spring onions and sauté until fragrant, a couple of minutes.  Add the chickpeas and the pad Thai sauce and bring to the boil, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved and the chickpeas are hot.

Put layers of spiralised carrots (or cooked noodles) in bowls, top with a layer of the chickpea mixture and roughly stir to combine, repeat until all the noodles and chickpea mix have been used.  Top with the peanuts and coriander leaves and enjoy.

*this depends on your choice out of coconut aminos, miso, tamari or soy-sauce.

**For sugar-free option use coconut sugar.

And now for the spiraliser review:
I’ve been wanting to make raw pasta for years but never got around to it until recently because there are so many spiralisers around now and I wasn’t sure what one to get.  Reading other people’s reviews of spiralisers isn’t much help because most people have only tried out one of them and are inclined to say that it works for them so must be the greatest spiraliser around.  After doing some research about which ones are available in Australia, I chose the Benriner vertical slicer from Kitchenware Direct.

This spiraliser is the same one that is known as the ‘Cook Help’ in other countries.  It’s made in Japan, it feels really sturdy and as though it’s made to last.  It is simple to use, I didn’t even need the amusing instructions.  It comes with 3 different blades for different sized spiralising (the middle one is my favourite for most veggie pastas), and it only takes around 30 seconds to change the blade, and not much longer to clean it.  The time it takes to spiralise enough veggies for a meal for 2 is less than it takes to boil spaghetti.

As you can tell from the recipe above, I’m not restricted to the most well known raw pasta of spiralised zucchini (which is only in season here for around 3 months of the year), but have found that carrot can get really good results in some recipes.  Beetroot can be spiralised and made into a delicious salad with a balsamic and olive oil dressing – topping this with some cooked lentils and cultured nut cheeze makes for an easy protein-rich meal.

Since getting this spiraliser I’ve been eating even more vegetables than usual and enjoying some raw pasta meals.  A few times I’ve spiralised some daikon radish and carrot used that in place of the kelp noodles from the almond sesame noodle recipe from Practically Raw, I also added some peas for extra protein, even without the capsicum in the original recipe this was great, the sauce has so much flavour.

One concern I had about spiralisers is the amount of waste.  Some of the horizontal spiralisers leave a core in the vegetable that can’t be spiralised, so if you only have small vegetables it can waste quite a lot of them  Watching this video had convinced me that the Benriner vertical spiraliser was the one to get.

Another thing I like about this spiraliser is that it doesn’t take up much bench space or cupboard space.  I also like the green colour, which means it doesn’t stain from spiralising carrots like I imagine some of the white spiralisers might.

When I got this I had no idea I would be using it so much – pretty much every day I have been making a veggie pasta meal, side salad or garnish with the spiraliser.  I’ll post the link again, if you’re in Australia and want to buy one: here.  I’ve ordered from this shop several times and the orders always arrive quickly and in good condition.

Spanish Chard with Beans, Raisins, Sunflower Seeds and Garlic, plus a cookbook giveaway

Have you ever found a recipe for silverbeet/Swiss chard that you just want to constantly cook?  My dolmathes recipe from High Protein Vegan is one of those, but as much as I like it, it takes too much hands-on time for me to want to make it frequently these days.  The recipe I’m sharing today (also from my second book), takes minimal time and effort, and people that don’t usually appreciate leafy green veggies enjoy this one.

Silverbeet/Swiss chard is really easy to grow in the garden – I didn’t appreciate it much until I started growing it because it seems a lot more dependable where I live (compared to kale which gets eaten by aphids here).  In colder climates chard dies in the winter, but here it grows right through winter, and bursts into leaf in spring, providing a lot of leafy greens for very little effort.

chard

Giveaway time:

Before I share the recipe I would like to offer a copy of High Protein Vegan as a giveaway prize – in celebration of it being released one year ago.  This is the first ever cookbook to focus on high protein vegan recipes and it’s had some great reviews so far.

To participate in the giveaway, sign up on the right hand side of this blog for the Triumph of the Lentil blog mailing list, ‘like’ my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter and leave a comment on this post – then on the 1st of December I’ll use a random number generator to pick a comment.  If you’ve already signed up to follow this blog by email, facebook or twitter you’re also welcome to enter the giveaway.

The giveaway is now closed.  The winning comment is:

random number

About the recipe:

This is an incredibly tasty way to eat a lot of greens in one meal with a little sweetness from the raisins, crunch from the chard stems and umami flavours from the smoked paprika and miso.

I like to serve this with brown rice or other cooked wholegrains (use quinoa for a really fast meal) but bread or roasted veggies are also good choices.

Gluten-Free Option*, Soy-Free Option*, Grain-Free Option**, Nightshade-Free Option, Nut-Free, Under 45 MInutes
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water, for soaking raisins
4 tablespoons raisins or sultanas
4 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 bunch swiss chard or silverbeet (around 500g/1.1lb)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked azduki, borlotti or pinto beans
1-2 teaspoons miso, tamari or coconut aminos
optional salt, to taste
optional smoked paprika, to taste

Method:

Bring the water to the boil, take off the heat and soak the raisins in it while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until golden.  Set aside.

Cut the chard, including the stalks into one inch (2.5cm) pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the garlic until golden.  Add the chard and sauté for one minute.  Stir through the beans until the chard is wilted and the beans are hot.  Drain the raisins and add these, along with the sunflower seeds.  Adjust the seasonings with miso and smoked paprika.  Serve right away.

*be sure to choose a soy-free and/or gluten-free miso, or use coconut aminos instead

**use coconut aminos instead of miso

This post is a part of Wellness Weekend, Pennywise Platter, Healthy Vegan Fridays and Waste Not Want Not Wednesday

High Protein Gobi Manchurian

Cauliflower (gobi), when fried or baked in batter takes on a different taste and texture, one that makes cauliflower-haters enjoy it.  I made this for someone who refers to cauliflower as “broccoli’s evil cousin,” and he liked it a lot.

gobi manchurian
I’ve made other cauliflower dishes with a chickpea flour batter: pakoras from my first book, and the caesar salad with crispy cauliflower and chickpea fritters from High Protein Vegan.  The Indo Chinese dish gobi manchurian is something I’ve been wanting to make for a while – it usually consists of cauliflower fried in a flavoured wheat and corn starch batter, with a spicy tomato and chili sauce and I thought it would work brilliantly using chickpea flour instead of the other flours.  This makes it gluten-free and high enough in protein to be a satisfying and filling main dish when served alongside some rice or quinoa, and maybe a side salad with plenty of crunchy lettuce.

This recipe has been made soy-free by using coconut aminos and some extra salt where soy sauce would normally be used.  Soy-free chickpea or adzuki miso will also work, and if you have no problems with soy, then regular non-gmo soy tamari, shoyu or another kind of naturally fermented soy sauce can also be used.

This is a hearty and savoury dish that can be made really quickly (or the batter can be soaked overnight, for the best nutrition).

Gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, grain-free, low fat option, under 45 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the battered cauliflower:
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (besan)
3/4 cup water
optional 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (or tamari, or naturally fermented soy sauce, or miso)
1 teaspoon finely chopped red chili
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt (use only 1/2 teaspoon if using tamari, soy sauce or miso instead of coconut aminos)
1 small-medium cauliflower (around 500g)
olive oil, for frying

For the sauce:
optional 2-4 teaspoons sesame seeds
2-3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil or olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1-3 teaspoons finely chopped chili
1/2 cup tomato purée (passata) (to make it yourself, just put some tomatoes in a food processor and process until smooth)
2-3 tablespoons coconut aminos, miso, naturally fermented gmo-free soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons coconut sugar, rapadura, sucanat or jaggery
salt, to taste
2 teaspoons tapioca flour or non-gmo corn starch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Method:

For the best nutrition, combine the chickpea flour with 3/4 cup lukewarm water and the lemon juice and leave it to sit in a large bowl, covered, at room temperature overnight (it should be a thick batter).

Mix through the garlic, ginger, coconut aminos, chili and salt.

Gently divide the cauliflower into florets.  Chop the larger ones in half if you wish.  Thoroughly coat these in the batter*

The rest of this recipe comes together really quickly, so measure out and prechop all the sauce ingredients.

In a large dry saucepan, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until they taste toasted.  Remove from the pan and set aside until later.

Put around 1cm (1/2″) olive oil in a large pan.  Heat over medium-high heat.  To test the heat, add a piece of the coated cauliflower, the oil should fizz up around the cauliflower right away.  Fry the cauliflower in batches until golden-brown, flipping the pieces over halfway through frying.  It takes 2-3 batches in a 24cm chef pan.  Drain the fritters in a colander lined with a tea towel.

Alternatively, for a lower fat option, bake on greased or lined baking sheets in an oven preheated to 180c (350f) for half an hour, flipping the pieces over after 25 minutes.

When all the cauliflower has finished cooking, heat the toasted sesame oil in a large saucepan over a heat between medium-high and high.  When the oil is hot, stir through the onion for two minutes, then stir through the ginger and garlic for one minute.  Stir through the chili for thirty seconds, then add the tomato purée, coconut aminos and coconut sugar.  Stir through until bubbling then taste, and adjust the seasonings with salt and chili (it should be fairly hot, but still edible and tasty).  Keep stirring for another minute or two, to allow the sauce to reduce, then quickly stir through the tapioca flour and water mixture.  Quickly add the fried cauliflower and stir to coat.  Serve right away, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

gobi manchurian 2

*if you have extra batter left over, cut an onion into half moons (or use any other chopped, fast cooking vegetable) and coat in the batter, then fry after the cauliflower has finished.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

extract

Good quality vanilla extract can be really expensive, and the shop I usually buy it from is often out of stock.  But now that I know how easy it is to make at home, I’ll never buy it again.  This recipe is so easy, and tastes even better than shop-bought extract.

If you buy organic vanilla beans in bulk (200g (7oz) of them is around 53 beans) it works out to be less than $5 for the vanilla beans, plus the cost of the vodka.  Even using good vodka this ends up being half the price of what I used to pay for shop bought extract.  (Cheap and nasty vodka will also work in this recipe).

ingredients

Ingredients:

Around 700ml (23oz) vodka
9 vanilla beans

Method:

Pour a little of the vodka out (around 1 or 2 shots worth), save it for later or drink it.

Slice the vanilla beans lengthways in half.  Scraping out some of the pulp and adding this to the vodka will make for a stronger vanilla extract.

Carefully place the vanilla beans and the pulp in the bottle of vodka.  Put the lid on and leave it to infuse in a dark cupboard for around two months.  To speed up the process turn the bottle upside down, then right side up every so often…this means you can use your extract after a month.

When the vanilla extract is ready either remove the beans and put it into smaller bottles (it makes a nice gift), or simply keep it in the vodka bottle with the vanilla beans.

beforeandafter

Zucchini and Tomato Chutney

Most people that grow zucchinis in Tasmania seem to think the plants produce too much – I can never have enough of them – whether it’s grating them up and sneaking them into delicious chocolate mud cake, adding them to roast veggies for the last 10 minutes of roasting, grating and mixing them into a chickpea flour batter and frying as fritters, there are so many uses for them.  Here is another way to use this vegetable, in a chutney that will probably keep for 12 months in the cupboard.  It’s a small batch so if you’ve never made your own chutney before this is a nice one to try.
I’m growing costata romanesco zucchini this season (I think this is the third year in a row that I’ve grown it), it’s a really tasty Italian heirloom variety – so it’s GMO-free and easy to save the seeds.

costata romanesco zucchini

costata romanesco zucchini

Making your own chutneys and sauces is actually really easy and affordable.  With shop-bought organic chutneys and relishes often being ridiculously expensive with weird stuff like xanthan gum and anonymous ‘natural flavour’ added to them it can be worthwhile to make your own, even if you don’t grow any veggies.

I based this recipe with the same amounts of fruit, sugar and vinegar as a pumpkin chutney recipe from Good Home Preserving.  With the right jar preparation the pumpkin chutney recipe keeps for 12 months, so I imagine that this one will keep well too.  The trick is to sterilise your jars with heat before filling, and to tip them upside down after filling until they cool down.  I use this same trick for jams and sauces.

The flavourings I use in this recipe are reminiscent of a typical English chutney or relish.  Feel free to change the spices, as long as the main ingredients are the same this recipe will work.

Gluten-free, soy-free, low fat, sugar-free option

Kitchen time 10-15 minutes.  Cooking time 1 hour.


Makes around 1100ml/1.1 quart/4 2/3 cups)

Ingredients:

300g (10.58oz) rapadura, sucanat, coconut sugar or raw sugar
300g (10.58oz) apple cider vinegar
700g (1.54lb) zucchini, diced
1 small carrot (or extra zucchini), diced (50-100g/1.76-3.2oz)
200g (7.05oz) diced tomatoes, or tomato purée/crushed tomatoes
50g (1.76oz) sultanas or raisins
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
125g (4.4oz) onions, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard powder (or yellow mustard seeds, crushed in a pestle and mortar)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 heaped teaspoon Himalayan salt, or natural sea salt
3 cloves, ground (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves)

Method:

Rinse enough jars out with very hot water (preferably boiling).  Place upside down, directly on the racks of a cold oven.  Heat the oven up to 120c (250f).

Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-low heat.  Stir every now and then until the sugar is dissolved.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid off, for around an hour.

When the chutney has finished cooking, bring a small pot of water to the boil.  Add the pot lids or gaskets and boil for 30-60 seconds, carefully remove the lids and place upside down on a clean tea towel to dry.

Carefully remove the hot jars from the oven.  Fill them up with the hot chutney (I place a wide-mouthed funnel over the jars and use a soup ladle to add the chutney).  Screw the jar lids on tightly and turn upside down until thoroughly cold.  Turn the right way up and store in a cupboard, it will probably keep for 12 months.  It will taste best after it’s been in the cupboard for a couple of weeks, but it’s still good to enjoy right away.  Once the jars are opened, keep them in the fridge.

Great served with mildly flavoured seitan sausages such as pumpkin seed, lentil and herb from High Protein Vegan, or burgers such as chickpea schnitzel patties or bean and sunflower seed rissoles from ‘High Protein Vegan’, or the lentil burgers from Triumph of the Lentil.

chickpea schnitzel patties from 'High Protein Vegan'

chickpea schnitzel patties from High Protein Vegan

P.S. I have more recipes coming up on this blog soon.  To ensure that you get to see them subscribe to the mailing list on the right hand side of this page to get blog posts by email – I don’t send spam, just blog posts which are not that frequent and always have a recipe or something useful in them.  Facebook is making it really difficult for blog pages to get news out to people that like the page, so even if you ‘like’ the Triumph of the Lentil Blog page, you may not find out about new posts unless you follow this blog by email or Twitter.

This post is a part of Wellness Weekend, Pennywise Platter, Wheat-Free Wednesday, Made from Scratch Monday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday,

Magic Almost-Instant Sourdough

On a side note, the Kindle edition of my latest book is now out: UK, US, DE, FR, IT, ES, JP

This sourdough starter still takes a few days, but not nearly as long as other recipes, which typically call for feeding the sourdough for a week and throwing out a lot of the dough along the way.  This is a waste-free sourdough that’s ready to use in 3 1/2 days.


Some tricks that make this sourdough extra fast:
Sourdough likes oxygen.  For best results stir the mixture in between feeds to allow air into it, this will make it grow more quickly.
Rye flour.  I’ve made sourdough with wheat in the past and had unpredictable and frustrating results.  Rye has some special quality that makes it ideally suited for making sourdough.
I think that untreated water makes a difference.  In the past I’ve used city water and the results haven’t been nearly as good.  The chemicals that are dumped into mass water supplies probably aren’t great for growing wild yeast.  For best results, use pure rain water or chlorine-free bottled water to establish the sourdough.
A bowl of warm water.  I’ve never lived in a house that has that mythical warm rising place that most baking books seem to expect so I place the jar of starter inside a bowl, filling the bowl up with warm water to around the same level as the starter in the jar.

I use a 1.5 litre (1.5 quart) wide mouthed jar for my starter.  The lid always remains unsealed, so that gasses can escape and the jar doesn’t explode.  As you can see from the photo below, the starter has bubbled up and overflowed a few times after feeds – to prevent this happening, check it whenever you’re nearby and give it a stir if it looks like it’s near the top of the jar.


Day 1:
1 cup rye flour
3/4 cup cold water

Combine these ingredients in a jar or bowl.  Place something over the top but do not seal, then place the jar in a bowl of warm water (not too hot, test it on your wrist to check that it’s a comfortable temperature).

Day 2 (around 24 hours later), add:
1 cup rye flour
3/4 cup cold water

Add this to the day 1 starter, and place the jar in a bowl of warm water.

Day 3, add:
2 cups rye flour
1 1/2 cups cold water

Add this to the previous days starter, then place the jar in a bowl of warm water.

In just 12 hours after day 3, the starter is ready to use.

This sourdough is really low maintenance once established.  After removing 1 1/2 cups to make a batch of bread, just add 2 cups of rye flour and 1 1/2 cups of water to the starter and leave it on the kitchen counter for 24 hours to ferment.  Once established it doesn’t need the bowl of warm water, and after it’s finished the 24 hours on the counter it can be kept in the fridge until the next time you bake.  The trick to having a low maintenance sourdough is to just make bread with it at least once a week, that way feeding the starter can easily be done at the same time as mixing dough, and it doesn’t become an extra chore or involve any waste.

A Sourdough Bread Recipe for Baking in Loaf Pans

(suitable for Romertopf pans, and other similar-sized ones for 750g (1.65lb) loaves)
Kitchen time 5-10 minutes
Rising time around 24 hours
Baking time 1 hour
Makes 2 large loaves

I will admit that the taste of this isn’t as good as a hand shaped loaf baked on a preheated pizza stone, but lately I have been enjoying baking with ceramic loaf pans – it means I can make 2 large loaves at the same time, rather than if I hand-shaped this amount of dough it would mean having to bake the loaves separately.  Hand shaped loaves baked on a preheated pizza stone will take less time to bake, just flip the loaf over after around 40 minutes, knock on the base and if it sounds hollow then it’s ready – for the best results with hand shaping, use wheat flour in stage one instead of rye flour.

If using a ceramic loaf pan, allow the bread to cool before removing from the pan.  To remove the bread I slide a bread knife in completely around the loaf, pressing the loaf away from the pan as I go.  I then use the bread knife as a lever to lift the loaf out of the pan.  To easily clean ceramic baking pans, leave them to soak in hot water for a while.

Stage 1:
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups cold water
2 cups rye flour

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl of around 7 litre (7.39 quart) capacity.  Cover with a tea towel and leave to sit at room temperature for around 12 hours.

Stage 2:
4 1/2 cups cold water (use only 4 cups if using spelt flour)
3-4 teaspoons salt
9 cups wholemeal wheat or wholemeal spelt flour

Mix the water and salt into the starter dough from stage 1.  Thoroughly mix through the flour.  Cover with a tea towel and leave to sit at room temperature for around 12 hours.

Stage 3:
Preheat the oven to around 220c (430f).

While the oven is heating up, sprinkle the base of two large loaf pans with cornmeal or flour.  Punch the dough down, knead for a few seconds, and divide into two pieces.  Each piece can be completely coated in sesame seeds (or other seeds) if you wish, by covering a dinner plate in seeds, stretching the dough out into a flat circle to fit in the plate, folding the sides over into the middle, and placing this seam side down in each tin.  Alternatively, just plonk the dough into the pans and sprinkle with seeds if you wish.

If your pans will fit in the sink, fill the sink partly up with warm water – the water should reach up most of the sides of the pans, but not flow into them.  Leave the loaves to sit in the sink for around 20-40 minutes, until the oven has heated to 220c (430f).

Slash the top of the loaves with a knife and bake for around an hour.

Soy-Free Tofu

When I’m working on books I never really know what recipes to share on the blog, and what can wait for the book.  This is something I knew I had to share right away.

It’s not the same as soy tofu – it doesn’t have the same texture or taste, but it is a protein-rich medium for all kinds of delicious sauces (like chermoula, pictured above), or to be fried up and used in a variety of recipes, like the grain-free pad thai from my next book, pictured below.

It can also be cut into chip shapes, shallow fried and enjoyed as a high-protein alternative to potato chips, to turn a chip sandwich into a balanced meal.


I’ve based my recipe around a combination of things – Burmese tofu has been traditionally made with chickpea flour for a long time, but typically involves a lot of prep time and tricky steps, and while this would reduce the phytic acid in the tofu, it makes the process a lot slower.  With my recipe the tofu can be ready to use in under 45 minutes.  If you’re good with planning ahead and want to make the tofu as nutritious as possible then the batter can definitely be soaked for 8 hours or more before heating it up, otherwise enjoy this cheap, fast and tasty homemade alternative to tofu.

Soy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, low fat, nightshade-free, onion- and garlic-free, under 45 minutes
Makes 4-6 serves

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups chickpea flour (besan)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups cold water

Method:

Line or grease a 20x30cm (8×12″) pan.

In a heavy-bottomed chef’s pan, frying pan or saucepan place the chickpea flour and salt, and squash out any lumps.  Add water a little at a time, making sure that no lumps form.

Turn on the heat to medium and stir continuously until very thick.  I make this on an electric stove in a 9 1/2″ (24cm) chef’s pan and it takes around 7 minutes.  If you’re using a gas stove it will be quicker, if you’re using a smaller saucepan it will take longer.

As soon as the mixture is very thick, quickly spread it into the prepared pan, pressing to form a flat, even surface (it will set very quickly).  Leave to set for at least half an hour before using as tofu.

To remove from the pan first slice into whatever shape you want them to be, and gently lift up.  I find that lining the pan with a silicon baking mat or some baking paper makes it a lot easier to remove.

This will keep in the fridge for up to a week and can be used in all kinds of recipes that call for tofu.

Satay Soy-Free Tofu

This post has been shared on Pennywise Platter, Wellness Weekend, Whole Food FridaysandHealthy Vegan Fridays

One year of Triumph of the Lentil, a giveaway, and soy-free vegan omelettes

It’s been nearly a year since my first book was released.  At the time I had no idea if anyone would want to buy it and cook from it but it’s been great having good feedback on it and knowing people are cooking and appreciating my recipes.

When I started putting Triumph of the Lentil together there were no soy-free vegan cookbooks around.  As more people develop sensitivities to this often-used legume it’s been important to me to have something out there that says “yes you can be vegan and enjoy all this delicious food without using soy”.  My next book will continue this, with every recipe having a soy-free option, and plenty of recipes suitable for other allergies and diets.

I’d like to give away a copy of Triumph of the Lentil to a lucky reader.  To enter the competition, ‘like’ the Triumph of the Lentil Blog facebook page or follow me on twitter, or sign up to the mailing list on the right hand side of this page.  Leave a comment on this post with an email address I can contact you on.  On the 15th of June the winner will be selected from the comments at random and contacted.

Edit: The winner has now been selected and contacted.  Thank you to all those who entered.

To everyone that has already signed up to my facebook, twitter or mailing list – you are welcome to enter the competition, just leave a comment on this post.  Your support has been greatly appreciated.

Thank you to everyone that has enjoyed the book and blog over the past year, I hope that you will all like my next one even more.

And now for a recipe:

Soy-Free Vegan Omelettes

These are a very quick and easy dish to make.  In the photo the omelette is stuffed with kale, tomatoes and homemade cashew cheese, but all kinds of toppings are great on these omelettes, we often eat them with pickled gherkin slices and kale.  For a filling meal serve with cooked grains, bread, chips or roasted vegetables.

Soy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Nightshade-Free, Onion- and Garlic-Free, Low Fat, Under 45 Minutes
Total time: 20 Minutes.  Serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (savoury yeast flakes)
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 cup water

Method:

Combine the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl, breaking up any lumps.  Add the water a little at a time, mixing to form a batter.

Thoroughly brush or spray a frying pan with olive oil and heat on a medium-high setting.  When the pan is hot, pour in half the batter (if it is thicker in the centre and thinner on the outsides you can use the back of a metal spoon to gently spread the batter out).

Cook without disturbing until the edges are cooked through and there are bubbles in the middle.  Gently flip over and cook for a further minute or two, until the other side is completely cooked.  Place on a plate, keeping it warm in the oven if you wish.

When the first omelette is out of the pan, quickly pour the other half of the batter in and cook in the same way.

Put toppings on one half of each circle and flip the other side over the top.

This post has been a part of Allergy-Free Wednesdays.

Preparing for a Vegan Bake Sale, and a Recipe for Vanilla and Almond Crescents

This week there are bake sales happening all around the world as part of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. My local vegan group didn’t have as many people baking as last year and it got me thinking about a stress-free way to make lots of delicious things.

It’s helpful to figure out what keeps for the longest, what can be made at the last minute, what is best made the day beforehand and work out a rough schedule from there.

•Cakes, muffins and cupcakes are best made the day before the sale, it gives them time to cool down, but not so much time that they will lose freshness.

•Many biscuits can be made a few days in advance. The best candidates for these are ones that use plenty of oil and a minimum of water. The Vanilla and Almond Crescents that I created for a baking book (to hopefully be published in 2013 or 2014) are great for this, the recipe is in this post.

•Raw truffles will keep for a while in the fridge, and can also be a good thing to make at the last minute as I did the morning of the bake sale by making a half batch of raw brownies from My New Roots and rolling them in cacao to serve as truffles.

•Dry ingredients can be mixed together hours, days or weeks before baking.  This is especially helpful if you’re baking a lot of cakes in one day.

More observations from vegan bake sales:

•There can never be enough chocolate. I found this out at my first stall that with a selection including some of Gunter’s delicious recipes, the chocolate caramel and almond torte pictured above (from Triumph of the Lentil), plain chocolate cake, carrot cake and date cake that the most popular cakes were the ones with chocolate.

•Vegan-friendly cafés and businesses are often happy to donate cakes or ingredients.

•Having ingredients lists on hand for everything is a good idea for people with allergies, and is asked for here when council permits are required.

•Covers for the food are often expected by the council as a condition of the permit. Transparent ones are the best and plastic wrap can serve this purpose if there is nothing else around.

•It’s easy enough to get a bake sale organised, even with a minimum of people. It’s a good fundraiser and an excellent way to expose people to vegan food. Not all places require council permits, and if they are difficult to deal with then it’s easy to get around that by giving food away for free with a donation box at the stall.

And for the vanilla and almond crescent recipe…

These are an incredibly delicious biscuit with just the right amount of sweetness and lots of rich flavours from the almonds and vanilla.  My choice of coconut oil for this (and most of my cooking) is the more refined kind, which is refined by filtering it through clay to remove the coconut taste and smell, this gives a ‘buttery’ flavour and texture to the baked good with all the goodness of coconut oil, but without being overwhelmed by coconut flavours.

Soy-Free, Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Option, under 45 minutes

Kitchen time 15 minutes, baking time 12-15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds, ground
3/4 cup unrefined sugar
2  1/3 cups barley flour (or wholemeal spelt, wholewheat pastry or gluten free)
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or a mixture of melted coconut oil and olive oil)
1/4 cup water
2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

optional powdered vegan sugar, for coating

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175c (350f).  Line or grease two baking sheets.

For best results, grind the almonds and sugar together in a food processor.  In a mixing bowl, combine the almonds, sugar, flour and salt.  Stir through the coconut oil, water and vanilla extract to form a thick dough.

Take tablespoons of the dough and shape into logs that have thinner ends and a thicker centre.  Curl into crescent moon shapes and place on the baking trays.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Sprinkle with powdered vegan sugar if you want.

I suspect these will keep in a sealed container for longer than a week, although they never last that long in our house.

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Raw Cashew Yoghurt

We go through times where we don’t have that much variety in our meals, it’s really easy to have a few favourites that can be made through the whole year and always have the ingredients around to make them.  Lately I’ve been trying to plan our meals and weekly shopping a bit more so that I can try out new recipes.

I recently got Bryanna Clark Grogan’s book ‘World Vegan Feast’ and dog-eared around half the pages, there are so many recipes that look really good (and the ones that I’ve tried so far have been great).  There was one for shawarma wraps that involved yoghurt, so rather than following a faster recipe I decided to use my meal planning skills to make a fermented vegan yoghurt instead.

Ingredients:

1 cup cashews
water, for soaking
1 cup water, for blending

Method:

Soak the cashews in the water for at least half an hour (preferably overnight).  Drain and place in a blender with a cup of water and blend until smooth.  Using a nut milk bag or a very fine sieve, strain the mixture into a wide-necked jar or bowl.  Leave it to sit at room temperature until it tastes fermented.  It takes around 24 hours in my fairly cold kitchen, if your kitchen is warmer you might want to check after 8 hours or so.

Compared to shop-bought soy yoghurt this is much creamier, richer, and has a slight cashew taste.  Great for any recipe that calls for plain yoghurt, or just served plain with some fruit.

Bryanna Clark Grogan’s recipe consisted of some homemade seitan – slowly baked in broth then thinly sliced and marinated in an incredibly delicious sour and spicy marinade.  The seitan is then grilled (broiled) and served in a wrap with salad greens, tomatoes, red onion and vegan yoghurt and sumac.  It was very tasty, I will definitely make this again.


This recipe has been a part of the Pennywise Platter, March the 14th