Vegan Pizza

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So after 4 months without internet we are finally connected again… I have loads of things to catch up on, but here is one of my favorite meals… Pizza!

Pizza has to be one of the meals that so people assume that vegans cant eat… it is simply not true, pizzas are great, wither made at home or out in a restaurant, leave off the cheese and you can have a traditional Italian pizza, none of this over fatty, greasy American style pizza, but proper traditional Italian pizza (Italian restaurants are great!)

Now of course if you are short on time you can buy pizza bases and tomato source from the supermarket and there is nothing wrong with this, but if you have time then nothing can beat a fully home made pizza!

Pizza Base – What you will need (2 pizza bases)

  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 160ml warm water
  • 250g Strong white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Tomato Topping:

  • 1 tin tomato
  • 6 sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Handful fresh Basil & Marjoram  (if possible)
  • Dried mixed herbs to taste

Pizza Topping:

  • 4 – 6  Mushrooms
  • 1 Pepper
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 small tin sweetcorn
  • Handful olives

How to bake?

First you need to make your dough, this will take at least 1 hour to prove, but since the rest of the meal wont take long, and cooking time is only 12-15mins the overall cook time is only about an hour an a half.

  1. In a large mixing bowl add your yeast to the warm water, and leave for around 10mins until it starts to froth.
  2. Add the flour
  3. Add the salt (make sure the flour is between the yeast and the salt, otherwise the yeast will stop working properly)
  4. Add the oil.
  5. Mix well, then knead the dough for around 5 mins. The dough should be quite soft and smooth.
  6. Put dough back into bowl with a drizzle of oil and leave to raise for around 1hr.
  7. Start on the tomato source….
  8. Separate the tomatoes from the tomato juice in your tin of tomatoes.
  9. Put the tomatoes into a blender, add the sun dried tomatoes, and herbs. Blend until smooth.
  10. Transfer the blended tomato mix into a small pan, and simmer the tomato source on a medium heat for about 15mins,  add the tomato puree and dried mix herbs to taste. Once reduced  take off the heat and leave to cool down.
  11. Prep all your veg!
  12. Once your dough is ready its time to have fun… But first turn your oven on, it needs to be at least 200c Pizzas cook hot and quick!
  13. Half your dough and knead and stretch your dough into shape. Lay out on two trays. 
  14. Once your dough is in the required shape (this can take a while, the dough will stretch and move around, and if your trying to be fancy and twirl it, well it might take a long time!) But once happy, cover in the tomato source and then top will all veg.
  15. When the pizza is ready, I tend to sprinkle a few more dried mixed herbs on top, and then spritz with a little oil, since there is no cheese to cover or protect the veg.
  16. Put into oven and cook for around 12-15mins
  17. Remove and enjoy!

Other great tried and tested toppings….

  • Tinned Pineapple
  • Fresh spinach
  • Red Onion
  • Fresh Tomato
  • Sun dried Tomato
  • Courgette
  • Vegan cheese

 

Veggie Curry & Naan

 

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Gosh it has been a while since I last managed to find time to post anything on here… life has been crazy, I got a new job, moved out of the cabin and now am in a lovely little flat… with a very small kitchen and no internet! It has made life interesting! It is a rented flat as well, with a dodgy cooker which is slowly driving me mad… the temp keeps changing, some days it cooks hot other days not so much!

One of my all time fave dinners is Nicks veggie curry, and to make it extra special because I had a day off last week I made vegan naan bread! So here you go, fantastic veggie curry and naan.(I am afraid the naan is not g/f but the curry is!)

What you will need:

  • Lentils about 150g
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 small Cabbage
  • Spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • Onion (optional – I cant eat them but I know most people do!)
  • Mild curry power
  • Garam Masala
  • Coconut milk
  • Veggie Stock
  • ——–
  •  1 tsp. active dry yeast (1/2 package)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. soy milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4-2 cups bread flour
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

What you need to do:

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If you want to make the naan you might need to make them the day before, or start early! It will take at least 2hrs to make them. The curry will take about 45mins!

  1. To make the naan follow this recipe: Vegan Naan
  2. Start your curry…Wash your lentils, the cover with water and simmer until they start to go pale, almost translucent, (about 20mins)
  3. Peal and chop the carrots and cauliflower, pepper, cabbage (and onion if your using it!)
  4. Fry all the veg together in a large frying pan or wok. Once all veg is tender, drain then add the cooked lentils, coconut milk, and stock.
  5. Now add the spice to taste, this really is a taste thing because different brands will make a huge difference when it comes with mixed spices!
  6. Let the curry simmer and reduce down for about 10mins. Now add the spinach – If you are doing from this frozen it will brake up quite quickly, if it is from fresh be amazed at how small it becomes once it has wilted!!
  7. Check on your naan bread, if you made them earlier you might want to toast them to warm them up again 🙂
  8. Now enjoy!! For variations you might want add chickpeas or other seasonal veggies try with and without the coconut milk (you might need to add a little soya milk)

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Vegan Soda Bread

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So I was brought up making bread, I think I may have been around 7yrs old the first time my mum started me on the bread making, I dont think my family have brought bread in since that time, and it has always been made by hand.

I love going home for proper bread, why I can hear you asking dont I make all my own bread now, and the answer is simple, it is hard to find a place to buy a sack of flour and since I am effectively a lodger living with my partners parents it is hard to find somewhere for that sack of flour to live… plus my mother in law is gluten free, and making fresh bread in her kitchen all the time would just seem cruel!

However there are some days when you just need fresh bread… I stumbled apon this recipe a little while ago on a day when I need bread, but had run out of instant yeast… it could have been a disaster! But here to save the day this super easy very simple and very quick soda bread… it doesn’t even need to be kneaded or left to rise just mix it up and pop it the oven, amazing!!

What you will Need:

  • 500ml Unsweetened Soya Milk
  • 1 tbsp Cider Vinegar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c and prepare a 2 pound loaf tin or a flat baking tray
  2. Combine the soya milk and cider vinegar and leave to sit for around 5mins
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients
  4. Add the soya milk and olive oil to the dry ingredients and mix together until you have a sticky dough. The dough is going to be much wetter than you expect if you are used to baking normal bread, but so long as it is all combined you should be ok. Add more flour if you think you need it, but you do not want a dry dough!
  5. Tip your dough into your tin or onto the tray. If you want to try and shape the dough a little, for example to make it round on the tray, try covering your hands in olive oil before you touch the dough.
  6. Pop the loaf in the oven for 45-50mins, or until golden brown (you can tell when bread is done, if you tap the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow!)

And that is it! No kneading, no trying to find a warm place to leave the bread to rise. This loaf will be warm and out of the oven ready to eat covered in jam, before a normal load has risen enough to be baked!!!

N.B Because there is no yeast in this bread it tastes very strongly of the flour and the soya milk, so be careful that you dont use a sweetened soya milk… unless you want sweet bread!

Christmas lentil roast

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So a little seasonal one to start with since it is the season and all! I first saw a recipe for this a few weeks ago, having tried it and tweaked it here is my vegan made easy version! Total cook time 50mins, (20mins prep time and 30mins in the oven)

Quick shopping list:

  • 1 pack ready roll puff pasty (double check the ingredients, but most ready roll puff is now vegan!)
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils (easy cheat buy a packet of “Merchant Gourmet” Puy Lentils)
  • 1/2 pack Mushrooms
  • 1 large Red/Yellow Pepper
  • 2-3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 small handful dried cranberry’s
  • 3-5 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 onion (optional, I am allergic to onion so never cook with it, but understand many like them!)
  • tomato paste (to taste, I use about 2 tablespoons worth)
  • 1 small handful chestnuts
  • 2 handfuls mix nuts (suggest walnuts and brazil nuts)

How to cook:

  1. Take the ready roll puff pasty out of the fridge, it will need to sit for at least 10mins before you use it.  Pre heat your oven.
  2. Prep all your fresh veg (plus your chestnuts and sun-died tomato), cut it small you dont want too many lumpy bits. Cut your chestnuts a little larger, they are very soft when cooked so add great texture.
  3. Fry all your fresh veg, minus the spinach this will be added later. Add mixed herbs as many as you like and whatever you like, personally basil and oregano are my fave.
  4. Once your veg, partially the mushrooms have started to soften add the sun-dried tomato, chestnuts, tomato paste and lentils. Cook on a medium heat for a few mins before adding the Spinach. Leave to simmer for a few minutes
  5. Prep your nuts, you can easily cut them to the required size in a normal food processor. I would suggest you want small to pea sized lumps of nut.
  6. Take your pan off the heat. Add the nuts and mix them through. The mix should be moist and soft, but almost stiff, you dont want a wet mix.
  7. Take your ready roll puff and cut it in half. You should have enough mix to make 1 very full bake, or 2 medium sized!
  8. First work out which way you are going to want to roll the pasty, I find it easier to roll away from me, so I take my pastry, and pile the mix up in a long line, on the side furthest away from me, about 1inch away from the far side. You do this so that you can roll the remaining pastry over the top, wet the edges of the pastry so that you can join the line, and gently push the whole bake over a little  so that the joining line is at the bottom of the bake. Dont worry if this isn’t perfect, so long as it is mostly joined the bake shouldn’t split too much!
  9. slice the top of the bake into segments that you will then use to guide you when you plate up later! (I only do 3 even slices, this gives 4 even pieces.)
  10. Put into the oven and bake for 30mins at 180c
  11. Enjoy!! (great with tasty roast potato and gravy the works, can also be pre-heated if you dont eat it all in one sitting.)