Cheese and vegan pizza

Today i’ve spent a long time in front of my computer writing for the novel i’m working on. As I was supposed to making pizza for guests on Saturday but ended up making so much food we did not need the pizza I made one for tonight. I’ve been experimenting with vegan cheese a fair bit lately and this is the recipe I use for pizza. It is fairly mild so you can use a fair amount although this recipe is enough for two pizzas. You can also add various herbs and spices to the basic recipe to personalise it.

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons cornpowder
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic granules
1 tablespoon Italian herbs (you can change this to whichever herb or spice you like or leave it out completely)
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon canola oil (you can use regular vegetable oil here but I like the colour of canola)

Method:

1. Place all ingredients except for the water and oil in a blender and blend until mixed together.

2. Transfer the mixture into a small saucepan and stir over a medium heat until it starts to thicken. Keep an eye on this as once it starts to thicken it does so quickly.

3. When the mixture is thick allow to bubble for a couple of seconds as this removes any flour taste.

4. Remove from the heat, add the remaining oil and water and whisk thoroughly. Your mixture should now be fairly firm but still able to be poured.

5. Add to your pizza and allow to cook for about 10 minutes until it films over.

This recipe also suits as a dip for fresh salad vegetables or for a firmer macaroni cheese.

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Vegan lentil and broccoli bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is such a traditional meat dish it can be difficult to find a vegan version which tastes just as good. This one with half lentils and half TVP (textured vegetable protein) I think is really yummy. It is also really good for you with the lentils and vegetables!

As with most of my dishes you can also freeze it so long as you allow it to cool completely first. Personally i’m not too keen on spaghetti as a pasta so i’ve used fusilli here but you can use whichever pasta you prefer.

Ingredients:
2 onions chopped finely
4 sticks celery chopped coarsely
1 head broccoli (I like broccoli stalks so I used these too but you can just use the buds if you like)
4 carrots peeled and finely chopped (you can grate these if you prefer but I like the bite of them)
2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
100g lentils (I used red lentils here but any kind works)
100g TVP (not all TVP is vegan as lots contain milk and / or egg so ensure you check the packet)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp oil (any kind is good here but I used olive oil as it is just for frying)
4 cups pasta

Method:

1. Prepare the vegetables and fry gently in the oil for about 10 minutes until tender.

2. Add the tomatoes, lentils, TVP and seasoning and bring to the boil then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. You want to do this until the lentil are soft to the bite and most of the liquid is absorbed. Keep stirring this occasionally to avoid sticking to the pot

3. While the Bolognese is simmering cook the pasta according to the packet, drain then leave aside.

4. When most of the liquid has been absorbed by the Bolognese mixture taste to decide if you wish to add more seasoning. If you do not stir until the liquid is absorbed and then add the pasta.

5. Stir the pasta thoroughly into the Bolognese then serve and enjoy!

6. As stated above this does freeze very well but ensure you cool the dish completely before doing so.

Baked macaroni cheese

I may have mentioned this before but macaroni cheese without the nasty cheese sauce is one of my favourite comfort dishes. Even when I was vegetarian I was never fond of cheese sauce and would just have my macaroni with grated cheese on top.

This recipe is so easy to make, though it does take a little bit longer than just grating cheese, is able to freeze and you can add different vegetables and herbs to make it personal to you. I love my macaroni with spinach and peas so that is what I have used but you can use pretty much any vegetable you like.

Ingredients:
2 cups macaroni (or any other dried vegan pasta)
1/2 cup oil (you can use any kind of oil here. I use canola just because I like the taste)
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp tahini (use whichever tahini you prefer. For this I use mild so the taste does not overpower the other flavours)
2 cups boiling water
1 cup bread crumbs (use store bought bread crumbs for this or if you are using your own ensure you leave them until they have dried out)
300g frozen spinach
300g frozen peas

Directions:

1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet then drain and leave to be used later.

2. Make a roux by whisking the flour and half of the oil over a medium heat until it is thick.

3. When the roux is thick add the water, spices, tahini and nutritional yeast flakes and whisk until all the ingredients are completely mixed together.

4. When all ingredients are mixed together add the remaining oil and check the seasoning so you can add more if desired.

5. Mix the pasta and whichever vegetables you are using into the mixture and ensure all is completely coated before transferring to a casserole dish.

6. Top with the bread crumbs and bake for about 20 minutes until the dish is ready.

7. Like most recipes if you are planning on freezing portions ensure they cool completely before transferring to freezeable containers.

Raisin Scones

I used to absolutely love scones with lots of jam and cream when I was vegetarian. Since becoming vegan I had never really tried to make scones as I figured they would not taste anything like the same. As I had some vegan cream in the fridge I decided to give it a try and I am really pleased with the results!

The cream in the photographs is the same cream I used for my pancakes but I put it into a piping bag to make swirls. You can freeze these scones if you do not want to eat them all at the same time. If you want to do that ensure they cool completely before doing so.

scones as they come out of the oven

scones with jam and cream

Ingredients:
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp sugar (usual warning applies)
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup raisins (or any other dried fruit like sultanas)
Approx 1 cup soya milk

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.

2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together until they are all well mixed.

3. Add the margarine and mix it into the other ingredients until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.

4. Stir in the raisins until they are well mixed.

5. Stir in the milk. You want to use approximately the full amount here but depending on what flour you use you may need more or little. The consistency should be firm but still pliable.

6. On a floured surface roll the scones out and use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes. Ensure the height is no less than 1 1/2 inches.

7. Bake in the heated oven for about 10 minutes. The time may vary here so keep an eye on it and they are ready when the top is a golden brown.

8. As stated above if you are planning on freezing so you can use them when you like ensure they are completely cool before putting into an airtight freezable container. You should not need to wrap them separately.

Vegan Jambalaya

I love rice. All types of rice from fried to rice in soup. I also really love one pot dishes as it saves on washing up and you can probably tell by now that i’m all about taste and all about ease! This dish is beautiful. It freezes incredibly well, you put all ingredients in the pot and pretty much just let it cook and you can add as much or little of the spices as you like to make it absolutely a personal dish.

I also really love butter beans. I think most people have an ingredient which reminds them of being a child. For me it is butter beans. They remind me of my Papa (my mum’s dad) because he used to make scotch broth (butter bean soup) for me when I was a child with extra butter beans because I loved them so much. As such whenever I have butter beans I think of my Papa who was such an important part of my life so this ingredient is one of my all time favourites.

As I had made brownies earlier today I decided to make this dish to go along with the American theme of the day. A week later than 4th July but who’s counting right? This recipe makes loads so feel free to half the quantity or freeze what you don’t use.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp oil
2 chopped onions (as fine as you like, as this is a dish which is all about the veg I do them fairly thick)
2 green chopped green peppers (again as finely as you like)
4 stalks celery chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups water
2 400g cans diced tomatoes with the juice
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp fennel seeds (I actually really love fennel so tend to use slightly more)
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (you can use whichever rice you prefer but I love brown rice as it gives an extra bite to the dish)
400g butter beans
400g red kidney beans

Method:

1. In a very large pan heat the oil and add the onions, pepper, celery and garlic. Cook these over a medium heat under they are slightly soft. Be sure to stir these often to prevent sticking.

2. Add the water, tomatoes and herbs when the vegetables are soft then bring to a boil.

3. Add in the rice, reduce to a low heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes. Depending on what rice you use this time may vary. Ensure you stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

4. When the rice is soft add in your beans, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Again ensure you stir occasionally.

5. When the beans are cooked through the jambalaya is ready to be eaten.

6. If you are going to freeze like mostly all dishes ensure you leave time for the jambalaya to cool completely before putting into containers. This lasts for ages but it is so nice you probably wont be able to keep it for long!

Chocolate (carob) brownies

I have a really bad allergic reaction to chocolate. Sucks I know right! A few years ago I had a body piercing which went wrong and made me incredibly allergic to nickel. As a result I can’t eat any foods containing nickel and I have to be incredibly careful if I am touching nickel. Chocolate is something which should be in everyone’s life whether vegan or not and thankfully these brownies taste just like chocolate, are amazing hot or cold and would fool anyone into thinking they were not vegan. There is a lot of sugar in these so a little goes a very long way if you are on a diet but as a treat they are difficult to beat!

with vegan icecream.

before cut into squares.

Ingredients:
250g plain flour
400g white sugar (usual note applies here – not all sugar is vegan)
65g carob powder (or cocoa if you don’t have allergies)
1tsp baking powder
2tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tsbp vanilla extract

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees c.
2. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the wet ingredients to the mixture.
3. Mix all ingredients together with a whisk until there are no flour lumps. It will begin to feel quite stiff.
4. Pour into a baking mold (ideal size for this is 16x16cm)
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. You will know it is ready when a fork comes away cleanly.
6. Cool and cut into squares when fully cooled.

This freezes really well so you can have a piece just as you like but ensure you cool it completely before you cut into squares and certainly before freezing.

Pancakes and cream

There are times when only pancakes will do. The weather in Scotland has been utterly rubbish lately with non stop rain in June and people are feeling a bit angsty. Pancakes usually makes things better so adding vegan cream has to be the best right? Below is the recipe you need for pancakes with homemade cream and maple syrup.

For the pancakes:
Ingredients:
40 grams plain flour
40 grams room temperature water
1 teaspoon baking powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oil (just enough to ensure they wont stick)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:
1. In a bowl whisk all ingredients together. Ensure no flour lumps.
2. Leave the mixture to rest for a few moments while you bring a frying pan up to a medium heat.
3. Use a ladle to put a third of the mixture into the pan.
4. When the uncooked side starts to bubble slightly turn over and ensure both sides are cooked.

These pancakes are not as sweet as the other sweet kind I make and they are thicker but they go perfectly with maple syrup and the cream below as extremely sweet pancakes would be just too sweet.

For the cream:

450 grams firm tofu
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup (you can use agave or just plain sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Easy right?

This keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days if it makes too much.

Hope you enjoy!