Tomato and Aubergine “Cheesy” Lasagne

IMG_8478IMG_8482Is there such thing as too many lasagne posts? I hope not, this one is very different and has much more the consistency of a “regular” lasagne due to my discovery of Vegusto products. These appear to be a well kept secret amongst the vegan community, an online based company that offer meat and dairy vegan replacements, the only difference is that their ingredient list is much better than the average, so often these products are filled with confusing ingredients, weird numbers, soy, sugar things you can’t pronounce. Their ingredients include, wheat protein and spices and they are DELICIOUS. Suddenly so many things are on the menu, cheese toasties, pasta carbonara (no-moo melty cheese sauce), pitta with sandwich slices (hotsami sandwich slices are so tasty), and there’s variety for those who want things that taste like meat (Lyon style luncheon roll) or things that don’t (dill sandwich slices). Needless to say I’m working my way through all their products. With the arrival of my latest (no-moo melty cheese and Vegusto mince) I made a tasty lasagne.

Ingredients:

[Serves 2 hungry people or 3/4 regular appetised people]

For the tomato sauce:

  • 25g Pure Dairy Free Butter
  • 200g Chopped Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 400g Can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 190g roughly chopped tomatoes (2 large)
  • 15g Tomato Purée
  • 1 Vegetable Stock Cube (5g Marigold Swiss)
  • 160g Veggie Mince (such as 1 whole pack Vegusto mince)
  • 1/2 tsp Dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 9g Cornflour
  • 30ml Water
  • 10g Fresh Basil, chopped

For the Aubergine Slices:

  • 580g Aubergine (regular aubergine is preferred- I only had baby aubergine which made for more easier chopping)
  • 4 Pinches of Salt
  • 4 Pinches of Pepper
  • 20ml Vegetable Oil

For the Cheese:

  • 25g “Cheesy” parmesan-esque powder such as Nutritional Yeast
  • 100g No-Moo Melty Cheese, or other melting “Cheese” alternative

Starting with the tomato sauce, add the butter to a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and let it swear for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes and tomato purée and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Crumble in the vegetable stock cube, add the oregano, mince, salt and pepper and stir. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil.

Dilute the cornflour in the water and stir it all into the sauce (this is to thicken). Turn down the heat and leave it to gently simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in some of the freshly chopped basil (leaving some to sprinkle on the finished dish). Remove from the heat and set aside.

Slice the aubergines into around 4, lengthways. Season with slat and pepper.

Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and fry the aubergines for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

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Preheat oven to 160°C. In a small sized casserole dish arrange a layer of aubergines on the bottom, sprinkle some cheesy powder and then pour on some tomato mixture, add the melting cheese on top and then repeat to make another layer of each.

Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove your bake from the oven and sprinkle with the reserved basil.

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Serve and enjoy -also makes great leftovers 🙂

Gina

xx

Raw Choco Nut Brownies

Brownie1 I’ve made a few variations of this recipe (hence the variety of photos) and the thing I love is how much mixing and matching you can do depending on what nuts/flavours are your favourite (I love almonds) also this recipe was made depending on what I had in the cupboard, as with all recipes, it’s always fun making a batch and then amending it to make it perfect for you.

Ingredients:

[Makes roughly 24 square brownies]

  • 50g Almonds
  • 85g Cashew Nuts
  • 100g Pitted Dates
  • 10g Walnuts
  • 30g Peanut Butter
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 30g Cacao Powder (Can use cocoa powder)
  • Optional: 50g Desiccated Coconut
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • Almond Milk/Water to make it more blendable

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I put all the ingredients in my Vitamix and blended, if it gets really tough add some water or almond milk, you want it to be blendable but also thick enough to squash into brownies. Often you will probably need to use a spatula to move everything towards the blades of the blender and then pulse. Remember that the harder you work to blend, the smoother the brownies will be, if you want chunkier brownies you don’t need to blend as much (see photos I made smooth and chunky variations).

Flatten onto a tray with a baking sheet on it and place in the fridge/freezer until hardened, if you use a metal baking tray this will be quicker.

Serve, enjoy!

GG

x

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Note: The two photo variations are with and without the desiccated coconut, one is with cacao and the other cocoa powder and also mixing up the nut ratios. Have fun!

Spinach Squash Lasagne with Cashew Ricotta

LasagneLasagne2

 

 

I’ve been MIA for a little while longer than usual, I’m sorry, I’m in the middle of some major exams (please send me love and light), however to make it up to you I’ve got a good one; I felt myself getting a bit mundane with my dishes as I’ve wanted to focus on revision (and went through a phase where I was OBSESSED with looking at recipes and trying out new things) but I was neglecting my food and I wanted to return. This is my happy return.

Ingredients:

[Serves 2 – tastes even better as leftovers]

  • 100g Cashew Ricotta (See Recipe below)
  • 1/2 Kabocha Squash (these are GREAT delicious and very healthy but if they’re not available you can use butternut)
  • 2 Courgettes
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Small Onions, chopped
  • 1 Can/ Carton Chopped Tomatoes (Can also use some kind of tomato sauce)
  • 200-250g Spinach (depending on how much you like it, I went for the full 250g)
  • 250ml Vegetable Stock
  • Optional:Basil Leaves and a “cheese” of your choice (I used some delicious Vegusto) to decorate

Preheat oven to 220°C

Cut the squash into chunks and steam them until soft, meanwhile steam the spinach (I had to do this in quite a few batches and had a bit of a conveyor belt system going, once one batch is done, squeeze it out in a colander and add to a mixing bowl with the cashew ricotta).

Meanwhile add chopped tomatoes, garlic, onion and stock in a pot and leave simmering while some liquid evaporates.

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Once the squash is soft add to the spinach ricotta mixture and mash together.

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Prepare your “lasagne” sheets: slice the courgettes using a peeler with slices and wide as possible (I tried using a mandolin slicer it didn’t want to work). Line a baking dish with one layer of courgette, add half of the ricotta/spinach mixture, give it another layer of courgette then by this point the tomato sauce should be a nice consistency (I drained off some liquid).

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Add a layer of tomato, another layer of courgette (you see where this is going- we alternate) then remainder of ricotta/spinach mixture, followed by a final layer of courgette. Decorate with the remainder of the tomatoes, some “cheese” pieces (can use nutritional yeast) and place in the oven for around 15-20 minutes (doesn’t need long there’s nothing that needs cooking and I couldn’t wait!), at some point check on it and add the basil leaves as they dry out quickly.

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To Make the Cashew Nut Ricotta “Cheese”

(this makes more than the lasagne needs but it’s delicious and so versatile)

Ingredients:

  • 75g Cashew Nuts
  • 10g Pine Nuts
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast

Soak 75g Cashew Nuts for around 24 hours (I soaked them even longer, when they just begin to ferment you get that ricotta taste as opposed to a regular cream cheese).

When ready, roast pine nuts in a pan for a few minutes until golden

In a bullet (can use normal blender and pulse – you want it chunky) add all ingredients and blend/pulse until you get a chunky ricotta consistency – voila! Taste it – delicious ricotta! Also works well with jam in a toastie 🙂

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Enjoy!

Gina x x

Scrambled No Egg (and no tofu)

Scrambled

So often vegans delight in the fact that they can recreate the beloved scrambled egg with the use of tofu, and it does always look tasty, and having made it before it sure is tasty, but finding myself moving away from soy products I really wanted to know if there was another way to have the veggie filled tasty breakfast. Obviously as this post exists there is. Following a recipe for scrambled eggs is a bit silly because everyone knows it’s about throwing everything you’ve got into a pan and making something humble and delightful.I found this from Ricki and DietDessertandDogs.com (some of her favourite things I presume) and threw in what I had and it was just what I wanted. It makes a lot of sense because in all the successful crêpes, pancakes and frittatas I’ve made, chickpea flour was always at the heart of it, I bought a bag from Wholefoods and it has lasted me a while. The great thing is also while scrambled eggs is a substantial source of protein -aha! So is the mighty chickpea. If you don’t have the flour I’ve seen variations done with mashing chickpeas instead.

These are the ingredients I used (you’ll notice some minor differences from the original) and to be brutally honest with you I didn’t measure out the herbs, I just threw them in.

Scrambled Ingredients

[Serves 1 for a tasty breakfast]

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion Chopped
  • 1 Chopped Bell Pepper
  • A few Chopped Mushrooms
  • 1/4 Cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  •  1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 60ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini
  • Chopped Coriander
  • Some Chopped Olives
  • Some Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • Optional: Nutritional Yeaste

Gently heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chopped onion and pepper fry for a few minutes and then add the mushroom, for around 6 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl whisk together the chickpea flour, thyme, oregano, basil, turmeric, nutritional yeast and salt, if using.  Add the stock and tahini and whisk again until the tahini is well incorported. Stir in the coriander. Add some water to the mixture to make it more spreadable, then add to the onions and flatten, let cook for a minute then stir it around,  you want the clumps (“eggs”) to be dry. Just before removing from the heat add the tomatoes, spinach and olives and stir round to incorporate.

Enjoy!

Gina

x

Sweet Potato Burgers (v)

IMG_7469

IMG_7468These past few days I’ve been visiting my family in Somerset and showing them my vegan ways and that we eat tasty things too, hence the “burger” recipe. The pictures look really nice because I was in my sister’s kitchen in her new lovely house, also my parents have given me a pretty bowl I’ll be using for my next recipe (does that excite you? because I literally can’t wait)

The sweet potato is always a crowd pleaser. This recipe is really simple, and you can pre-prep the burgers and keep them in the fridge until you want to use them.

EXTRA NOTE: I ended up having left over patties which I refrigerated and the next day on a whim I got some puff pastry and moulded a patty inside it and baked for around 40 minutes and it was SO GOOD! These babies are pretty versatile.

[Makes 8 medium sized burgers]

Ingredients:

  • 750g Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp Chili Paste (Can use 1 tsp chopped chilli)
  • 75g Flour (and a bit extra for dusting)
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

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Steam the sweet potatoes until soft and then leave them for a little while until they are cool enough to handle.

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Mix all the ingredients (with the sweet potatoes when they’re ready) and mash it all together (I used a wooden spoon at first but you don’t want it too smooth so I then used my hands). Squash them into sizable burger patties that you are happy with, you can now refrigerate them (between sheets of baking paper) or cook them straight away. You could fry them, I put mine under the grill for around 15/20 minutes.

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Can be served in a bun with a side salad, and topping them with avocado tastes absolutely wonderful.

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Enjoy!

Gina

x

Moroccan Date and Cinnamon Tagine (v)

 

Date and Cinnamon Tagine

Hello,

Out of all the senses that I can represent to you reading this, it’s a dear shame that it’s sight. If I could swap the photo for smell, or better, taste, I would. This tagine looks very chickpea tomato-y, but it’s so sweet, the sweetness of the cinnamon and dates are what you’re tasting. I guess you’ll have to try it to know what I mean.

I always wondered what classified as a “Tagine.” It appears to be used when people don’t seem to know what to refer to a mix of ingredients. I found in a book yesterday that a “tagine” is the traditional pot that Moroccan dishes would be made in. I like to deliver recipes with a healthy serving of knowledge.

[Serves 2]

Ingredients:

  • 2 Small Red Onions, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 100g Dates, chopped
  • 1 Medium Courgette, sliced
  • 400g Can/Carton of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Chickpeas, drained

Sauté onions and garlic in a pan with a pinch of salt until the onions have softened (you can use oil here if you wish but I used some water).

Add the courgette and dates, continue to sauté until the courgette softens (again with water this happens quite quickly, more raw= better)

Now add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and cinnamon. Allow to simmer until it becomes a fragrant, sweet thick delight.

Serve with quinoa, rice and maybe a salad. (Pictured with some spicy cous cous and spinach).

Enjoy it,

GG

x

Delicious Gnocchi (v)

GnocchiI wish you all could have been in my kitchen to try this. It was the most delicious consistency you could ever wish for in a gnocchi. So soft, so superior to any pasta or rice, it was honestly the perfect companion to my new healthy pesto.

Nobody should be denied something this delicious, especially when it has so few ingredients.

[Serves 2]

Ingredients:

  • 5 Medium Potatoes (was 430g when weighed, raw and peeled)
  • Flour (I used Spelt)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp Xanthan Gum (Can use starch)
  • Homemade Pesto

Cook the potatoes (I steamed, cutting them in small pieces to make it quicker) and mash them.

Mix with salt and Xantham Gum (or starch) add flour until it becomes a dough, roll-able consistency (for me this was around 170g).

Gnocchi Dough

Flour your surface, roll out the dough into a long snake as thin as you would like the gnocchi to be, then cut off your gnocchi from the end. Roll them into little balls and press a fork down on them to create a good gnocchi shape.

Gnocchi Balls

In a big saucepan bring some water (with a pinch of salt) to the boil, gradually add the gnocchi (don’t rush this part, I staggered the gnocchi in parts), the gnocchi will sink and after a few minutes rise to the top to tell you that they are ready. With a slotted utensil, scoop them out (you can get a bit of a conveyor belt system going as you take ready ones out and sink new ones in).

Your gnocchi are done, add some sauce (in photos shown with my pesto, which I recommend trying, can also use a tomato sauce).

Serve, be mind blown, enjoy.

GG

x