Quorn ‘Chicken’ Pot Pie with Vegetables

Mmmmmm. Pie. Just as well I was already a dab hand at pie making before falling in love with a Wigan-er 😉 This pie works well with any sort of filling, and if you omit the quorn and use pulses or seitan or something instead for protein it is vegan. Result.

For 4 people you need
250g quorn chicken style chunks, or some other sort of protein for a vegan version
1 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 leeks, sliced
1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn
200ml veg stock
100ml soya milk
2 tsp cornflour slackened in a couple of tbsp of water
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
75ml white wine
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
1 beaten egg or some soya milk to glaze

Gravy, mash and contrasting veggies to serve

Begin by frying the leek and carrot in the oil for 3-4 mins. Cover with the stock and cook out for a further 5 mins or so to ensure the carrot is tender in the finished pie.

Add the quorn/protein and sweetcorn, mustard and wine. Season to taste. Reduce the heat and add the soya milk. Stir through the cornflour mixture and stir over heat until the sauce is as thick as you want it to be (the longer you cook it for the thicker it will become).

Transfer into a pie dish and preferably leave to cool for an hour or so before topping with the pastry. It doesn’t matter if you can’t let it cool however.

Crimp the pastry and then brush with egg/milk and bake in a hot (200 degree) oven for 45 mins or so until piping hot and golden brown. Serve with veggies and mash and most importantly GRAVY! The fastest way to a pie eaters heart 🙂

Singapore Rice

Rice cos we’d run out of noodles, d’oh but actually it worked really well. We had this hot for tea and then I took it to work the following day and had it cold. Both were equally yummy. A good dish to use up the veg lurking in the bottom of your fridge.

For 4-6 portions you need
1 cup rice
1 onion, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger, grated
Assorted veggies – we used diced carrots, shredded savoy cabbage, a head of broccoli
2 red chillies, sliced
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, tumeric, curry powder
100ml veg stock
4 eggs
Soya sauce, chopped fresh coriander and fiery encona chilli sauce to serve

Begin by cooking the rice and then draining and rinsing with cold water.

Meanwhile, scramble the eggs in a wok until lightly done and scrape out onto a plate.

Re-heat the wok and fry the onion, ginger and garlic for a few mins. Add the chilli and whatever vegetables you are going to use. Fry for 1-2 mins then cover with the stock and a lid to allow them to steam to al dente. Add the spices and return the rice and eggs to the wok. Cook through thoroughly and serve garnished with the soya sauce, coriander and enough chilli sauce to make your eyes water.

Cheesy Carrot and Butterbean Burgers

I’m 21 days into my #vegpledge now and am really enjoying eating without meat. It’s made me go back and reassess the books on my shelf and rediscover forgotten recipes from my veggie past! This one was brilliant for hitting the “I NEED A BURGER NOWWWWWW!” spot when we only had 40 mins to cook tea and couldn’t go out to get any ingredients aside from burger buns cos it was 5pm on a Sunday… They took me 25 mins from start to finish and everyone loved them. Make double and freeze if you want to save even more time when the next burger craving hits!

For 4 burgers you need
For the burgers
1-2 carrots, coarsely grated
1 onion, grated
1 can drained butter beans
100g mature cheddar, grated
100g fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp dried mixed herbs

4 burger buns
Cucumber, red onion, tomato, mayo, mustard, ketchup etc to dress the burger
Chips and salad to serve
Oil for shallow frying

I use my food processor to make these and it makes them even speedier. Begin by using the blade to make the breadcrumbs, then place these in a large mixing bowl. Then puree the beans with the blade and add to the bowl. Switch to a grating disc and grate the carrot, onion and finally the cheese.

Mix everything you need for the burger together until combined and then shape into 4 patties. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook for 3-4 mins each side, flipping over once.

Load the burger into the dressed buns and scoff. Feel smug the craving has been sated sans dead animal.

Cumin Roasted Caulifloer (v)

This is a great way to use up any leftover cooked cauliflower you may have hiding in the back of your fridge, but is also a yummy way to jazz up a sometimes overlooked veggie.

For one person you need
1/2 cup prepared cauliflower florets (lightly steam for 2-3 mins if not using up leftovers)
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

Toss the cauli in the oil, cumin and seasoning and then roast for 15-20 mins until lightly browned and starting to crisp. Delicious on its own or with anything you fancy!

Red Lentil, Quinoa and Mixed Nut Roast (v)

I love a good nut roast. No, really I do. And I’d much rather see this on a pub/cafe menu for Sunday lunch than some god awful filo pastry thing filled with a suspicious cat sick looking filling going soggy in the gravy. Bleck. So, in an attempt to use up all those itty bitty packs of nuts lurking at the back of my cupboard I concocted this and it was a triumph (well we all enjoyed it and it was delicious cold the next day in sandwiches!).

For 8-10 slices you need
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup quinoa
2 tsp vegan stock powder
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup mixed nuts (I used walnuts, peanuts and cashews)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tsp marmite
2 tsp vecon stock paste
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp hendersons relish/veggie worcester sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp pine nuts

Begin by placing the lentils, quinoa and stock powder in a pan and covering with exactly 1.5 cups water (you’re going to cook them by absorption). Bring to the boil, stir, and then reduce the heat as low as it will go and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-15 mins until the lentils are just done. Turn off the heat and leave to steam for a further 10 mins or so.

Meanwhile, fry the onion and garlic until soft. Chop the nuts until half are quite finely chopped and the other half are a little more chunky.

Combine everything in a mixing bowl, apart from the pine nuts, and mix thoroughly. Add a few more breadcrumbs (or even a crumbled weetabix or two!) if the mixture looks too sloppy. You want it to the reasonably firm but not too stiff.

Scrape out into a pyrex dish and smooth down. Sprinkle over the pine nuts and bake in a moderate (180 degree) oven for about 45 mins until it’s crispy on top. Serve with the usual roast dinner accompaniments. I also like mine with lashings of cranberry or mint sauce. And don’t forget the gravy! Any leftover roast will keep for a few days in the fridge and makes a fab sarnie filling or it will also freeze well. I find it’s worth making a large batch and freezing one half for another day.

Double-layer Banoffee Pie with Salted Caramel

We somehow accumulated a banana glut and there’s only so many banana smoothies I can drink and the freezer was already full of (a very nice) chocolate banana cake so I asked for ideas on things to use them up and the overwhelming response was banoffee pie! So here is my version of the classic.

For a pie that serves 8-10 you need
For the base
150g digestive biscuits
100g butter

For the caramel
397g can condensed milk
100g butter
100g light soft brown sugar
pinch salt flakes

4 bananas
250ml double cream
1-2 squares of plain chocolate

Begin by melting the butter and whizzing the biscuits in a food processor until they resemble sand. Pour in the butter with the motor running until combined. Spread into the base of a flan/pie dish, leaving a little lip around the edges to catch the caramel. Chill in the fridge while you make the caramel.

Melt the butter and sugar in a pan and then add the milk. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, and boil rapidly for 1 minute. Be careful not to get splashed by the bubbles as it will be VERY HOT! Mix in the salt.

Slice 1-2 bananas into 5mm slices and lay over the base. Top with the caramel and leave to chill for 1-2 hours in the fridge.

Once the caramel has set, place another layer of bananas on the top and then top with whipped cream. Be careful to only take the cream to soft peak stage as you want a pillow of creamy softness on the pie. Swirl to finish and then decorate with grated chocolate. Yum!