Lentil Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed or grated

350g red lentils

1.5 litres vegetable stock

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons crushed dried chillies

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 lemon, juiced

handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

 

Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear.

Heat oil over medium heat and fry onions until slightly browned and soft.  Add garlic and cumin, and fry for a minute.  Add lentils and stir fry a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.

Add stock and chilli flakes, and simmer covered until the lentils are very soft and breaking apart.  Add more stock or water if needed, it needs to end up soupy.

Add salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Puree it all together with a stick blender.

Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Falafel

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in 5 cups cold water for 24 HOURS

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup finely minced onion

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cloves garlic, mashed

ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Oil for frying

 

Drain the chickpeas and put in food processor with baking soda and salt.  Pulse until you have a texture similar to fine breadcrumbs or bulgur wheat – NOT a paste.

Put chickpeas in a bowl, and add the remaining ingredients.  Mix gently with a fork – do NOT pat down.

Put an inch of oil in a frying pan and set to medium temperature.

Make patties and slip into oil – I take a tablespoon of mixture onto a soup spoon and press down a little to remove some liquid and get it to hold together. then slide it off the spoon into the pan.  It can easily fall apart, so be patient – it is worth it!

Fry until brown then flip and do the other side.

Serve – with tahini sauce, hummous, tabouleh, chopped tomato and lettuce, etc in pita bread.

Red Lentil Dahl

This is my favourite dahl recipe – nutty, spicy, creamy.  It is great with rice or naan or poppadums, or as part of an Indian meal with other dishes.  It also freezes really well, so I often make a double batch and freeze meal-sized portions for an easy week day meal option.

Lentils

2 cups red lentils

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

Boil 1 litre water in a pot. Add red lentils and cook for 10 minutes.  Add spices and cook another 15 minutes.  Add more water if needed.  Result should be very creamy.

 

Onion, tomato mixture

2 medium onions, chopped roughly

1/3 cup sunflower oil (or other oil)

6 cloves of garlic, chopped

3cm piece of ginger, chopped

2-4 chopped chillies to taste

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chopped coriander

 

Heat oil and gently fry onions for about 15 minutes without browning.  Onions should be soft and translucent.  Add garlic, ginger and chillies.  Cook another 10-15 minutes.

Add spices and cook for a minute, stirring to prevent burning.

Add tomatoes and coriander, and cook about 5 minutes until tomatoes are soft, stirring.

Add lentils to onion/tomato mixture and cook gently about 5 minutes to meld all the flavours together.  Check to see if more salt is needed.

Serve.

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Eggplant Zalouk

This dish needs to be made the day before, to allow all the flavours to develop.  It is wonderful as part of a middle eastern meal, or just piled on top of some toasted turkish bread as a spread topped with some ground black pepper.  The key is to grill the eggplant until it is blackened and collapsing, and to use very good quality fresh or canned tomatoes.

2 medium sized eggplants

1/3 cup olive oil

can of tomatoes or 500g ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded and chooped

Tablespoon crushed galic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/t teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup finely sliced coriander leaves

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

salt to taste

 

If grilling in the oven: halve the eggplants and put cut side down on a foil lined tray.  Grill on high for about 30 minutes until the skin is black and the insides are collapsing.

Alternatively you can roast the whole eggplants on a barbeque, turning now and then, until blackened and collapsing.

Put eggplant in colander and remove the skin.  Allow to drain.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan and gently fry tomatoes, garlic and spices (salt to taste) for about 20 minutes.

 

Add the chopped skinned cooked eggplant and coriander.  Cook another 15 minutes until very soft.

 

Add lemon juice to taste, and more salt if needed.

Chill over night to allow flavours to develop.  Serve the following day cold.

 

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Chilli Beans – for tortillas, nachos or on rice

This freezes very well, so I often make extra and freeze in single meal portions for easy week day meals: wrap in a warmed tortilla (I use multigrain tortillas) with guacamole, or tip over some instant steamed rice (I like Tilda brown basmati & quinoa) and top with chopped avocado and tomatoes.

2 x 400g cans red kidney beans, drained

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-4 crushed cloves of garlic

1 habanero chilli, very finely chopped (or 2 small thai chillies – to taste)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs (thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, etc)

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce (this makes a difference from normal soy)

about 1 cup vegetable stock

 

 

Saute onion in olive oil over moderate heat about 10 minutes until transparent and slightly browned.  Add garlic and fry for couple of minutes.  Add cumin and coriander, stir thoroughly and fry another minute – watch it doesn’t burn.

Add all the other ingredients (use as much vegetable stock as you need to make it reasonably runny – as you cook it down you can add more).

Simmer for at least an hour until thick.

Serve with guacamole, salsa, (optional grated vegan cheese) over tortillas or nachos or rice.

 

Butter Beans and Tomatoes

If you can get Spanish butter beans they are worth the price, absolutely delicious straight out of the jar. I use ‘NAVARRICO JUDIÓN, LARGE BUTTER BEANS’.

400g butter beans, cooked
400g Italian/Plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon sundried tomatoes, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
8-10 basil leaves, or about a tablespoon of fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds etc – keep seeds & insides in a separate bowl. Cut quarters in half.

Drain butter beans, keeping 3 tablespoons of liquid in a separate bowl.

Heat the olive oil over a low heat. Add tomatoes and cook gently for a few minutes.

Add the beans and reserved liquid, squeeze juice out of reserved tomato seeds & insides into pot, add garlic and sundried tomatoes – add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook gently for about 5 minutes.

Tip into serving bowl and stir through the fresh herbs.

Serve with crusty bread to mop out the delicious juices.

[these photos show just a half quantity of the recipe]

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Mushroom Pastry Puffs

Ingredients

~5 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry (most supermarket puff pastry is vegan, check the back of the packet)
a little milk or a beaten egg for brushing onto the pastry

50 grams margarine (I use nuttelex)
200g mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt (or use 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon ground pepper (black or white)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (else use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 cup ground almonds

Make filling:

Gently fry the mushrooms and herbs in the margarine. When brown, add the water and salt & pepper – simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.

Put into blender, add almonds, and puree to a fine paste. Set aside.

Assemble:

Thaw pastry.

Using a cookie cutter (I use a large star, you can use another shape), cut shapes out of the pastry. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of one shape, then top with another and press the edges firmly together.

Brush with milk or beaten egg, then back for ~15 minutes at 220 Degrees Celsius until puffy and browned. Serve on their own or with a chutney of your choice (e.g. tomato or caramelised onion).

Eat straight away 🙂