The yogurt knitters set… AKA Vegan 3 course

Borrowed logo!

Borrowed logo!

Hear the radio show here on Croydon Radio.

Hello!

This month I’d like to treat you to 3 course vegan meal… My favourite. See, I am not always a fan of meat and having had health concerns in the past I often eat meat and dairy free meals. I am very much against battery farming and especially the over-production/consumption for some meats in particular in this country.

Cooking meat & dairy free does require a bit of creativity at times and frankly what tends to be presented in some mags or vegan restaurants aren’t often appealing. To see some of my musings, go see my vegan blog http://www.all-vegan.blogspot.co.uk… scroll down to see some of my most exciting combos.

One myth I’d like to dispel also is that, Quinoa is not that outlandish! That barley is a great alternative to rice and that NOT ALL vegans are “sandal wearing nuts eating yogurt knitters”… So, stop hating and explore before earning the right to put vegan advocates down.

PS: not all of them are militant nutters either.

Hope you will tune in to discover what I’ll be cooking.

It is all about encouraging you to eat what you like, but removing or replacing the animal related elements. By reducing the meat and dairy consumption, you will reduce some health risks, reduce the over-production of some meat related products and also discover that there is a lot more out there to explore in terms of food. You don’t have time? Put down the box set…

You will also get to discover the health values in some of the ingredients used.

See you on Saturday 5th from 4pm on Croydon Radio.

x.

Hortense

PS: I am only a part-time vegan and full time lazy chewer. Oh, did I mention God botherer?

Have a great week!

Update: Hope you manage to tune in to the show. This is what the food looks like… Find the recipe for the starter, main and dessert here. Do post a comment!

Vegetable cakes with beetroot dip, creamy Barsotto & vegan brownie with Banana & Peach ice cream

Vegetable cakes with beetroot dip, creamy Barsotto & vegan brownie with Banana & Peach ice cream

Fried plantain & Ginger butter beans

My Cuban starter

My Cuban starter

Fried plantain & Ginger butter beans served with flash fried cherry tomato & a coriander avocado chilli salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter beans (1 small tin 31p)
  • 1 garlic clove

    The essential ingredients

    The essential ingredients

  • 3 cherry tomatoes (10p)
  • 30g red onion
  • 1 ready to eat avocado (45p)
  • Lettuce (10p)
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • 10g fresh ginger (10p)
  • Dry thyme
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Plantain (40p)
  • 1 lime (29p)

Total spent: £1.75 or 0.44p per person. The cherry tomato was found in LIDL at 49p for a box of 15 units. The eating avocado cost 0.89p for 2 and as for the lettuce, I only used 5 big leave worth about 10p. The whole lettuce cost 37pThe rest of the shopping will be used for other dishes during the week. The plantain can generally be bought at 3 to 5 units for £1. I only bought 1 plantain as I did not have use for more.

Method:

The prep

The prep

Start by draining and rinsing the beans. Set aside. Dice the garlic, onion and 1 cherry tomato. Peel and grate the ginger, then cut in 4 each the other 2 of the cherry tomatoes (you should have 8 tomato wedges altogether).

1) Flash fry the quartered cherry tomatoes: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil add 1 pinch of salt, thyme and the tomato. Toss fry for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl for later.

The ginger butter beans

The ginger butter beans

2) Cook the beans in ginger: In the same frying pan, add and heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the diced onion and fry for a minute. Add the beans and grated ginger. Stir, add salt and pepper as well as 200ml water then cover to simmer for 20 minutes. This will allow the beans to soften and really absorb the flavours. All the water to evaporate, but to not let the pan dry as we need the bean to be slightly wet.

3) Fry the plantain: The ideal frying plantain should be uniformly

Raw plantain

Raw plantain

yellow with both end still slightly green. When fried it will still be just sweet enough and firm. A very ripe plantain tends to be too sweet, absorbs a lot of oil and can be very sticky.

So, peel the plantain and cut it as on the picture on the right, about 1cm thick each. A whole plantain should provide about 10-12 slices.

The plantain can be fried in a chip pan with a lot of oil. If using this option, heat the oil as if for French fires, then drop the plantain pieces in and allow to fry and brown all over or 2 minutes an half.

Fried plantain... perfect brown

Fried plantain… perfect brown

If you do not have a chip pan, just us a frying pan, and pour in about 200ml of vegetable oil. Allow the oil to really heat up, then carefully place the pieces of plantain in one single layer. Fry each side for 1 minute or minute and a half, then turn over to do the same for the other side. If the fire is too high, the plantain will burn. Turn down the heat if necessary and continue. If the heat is too low, the plantain will absorb too much oil. Not ideal.

Plantain topped with Ginger butter beans & flash fried cherry tomato

Plantain topped with Ginger butter beans & flash fried cherry tomato

Which event method you choose to fry the plantain, once the plantain is fried, remove from oil, place on absorbing tissue and lightly dust with salt.

I served the plantain topped with the ginger butter beans and the flash fried cherry tomato all held with a tooth pick… with an avocado, coriander and chilli flakes salad.

4) Making the green salad: select the greenest leaves of the lettuce, wash them individually under the tap and roughly cut them. Do the same for the handful of fresh coriander.

Lettuce, coriander, avocado, lime & chilli flakes

Lettuce, coriander, avocado, lime & chilli flakes

Mix both in a salad bowl and sprinkle with chilli flakes. Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and serve with slices of avocado and lime wedges as no vinaigrettes will be needed.

This starter could be great for a very Cuban brunch… add some barbecue chicken wings and fermented, radishes and green beans…

I had fun putting this together. Hope you will too. Do post your comments.

Tuck in!

Tuck in!

In the next post you will be able to see the main from this menu. The Ropa Vieja with Sundried Tamales…

See recipes in the next post - Tamale & Ropa Vieja

See recipes in the next post – Tamale & Ropa Vieja

Broccoli salad

HJ's Broccoli salad

HJ’s Broccoli salad

Starters for 4

Ingredients:

  • 200g chicken breast (65p)
  • 300g fresh broccoli (50p)
  • 3 tomato (33p)
  • Mayonnaise (already in the house)
  • 1chicken stock cube
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • garlic granules
  • 1 mini baguette (29p)

Total spend:

Bought a whole chicken of 1.350kg for £3.50 for the full menu. It works at 30p per 100g of chicken.The tomato was bought in the supermarket at 69p per pack of 6. So, total spent for the starter £1.77 or £0.44p person.

Method:

Rinse the chicken breasts and place in a small pan with 500ml water, black pepper and a whole chicken stock cube. Boil for 12 to 15 minutes.

Preparing the broccoli - Raw

Preparing the broccoli – Raw

Meanwhile, prepare the broccoli by just cutting a collecting just the florets. It is almost like ricing the broccoli. This is the only bit of the salad that takes long. In order to have a tender but crunchy salad, the bits used from the broccoli must just be the green bits.

Preparing the broccoli - Blanched

Preparing the broccoli – Blanched

Once all the florets have been collected, put the broccoli in a heat proof dish and cover with boiling water. Leave in boiling water for 1 minute or 1 minutes and a half. Then pour in a colander to get rid of the hot water, then rinse immediately with a very cold tap water to stop the vegetable softening. Set aside in the colander to remove any excess water.

Rinse and  dice the tomatoes in about the same size as the broccoli floret about half a Cm square. Put the dice tomato in a colander to allow excess water to drip away as you prepare the other ingredients. Set aside.

Dicing the chicken

Dicing the chicken

Now back to the chicken. Once it is cooked to your taste, remove from the pan and allow few minutes to cool down before dicing in as small a pieces as the tomato and the broccoli florets.

Tomato, chicken, broccoli

Tomato, chicken, broccoli

Now that all the ingredients are ready, combine the broccoli, chicken, tomato in a large bowl. Add black pepper, salt, garlic granules,  4 heaps tablespoons of REAL mayonnaise and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

mixing it all

mixing it all

Transfer into a serving bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Broccoli and chicken salad serve with French stick.

Broccoli and chicken salad serve with French stick.

Serve as suggested with a piece of baguette. Enjoy.

It is a French menu next!

229430528My goodness! How time flies! It has already been a month since my last visit to Croydon Radio.

I will be back Saturday 18th with Tom at 4pm.

This month we are eating like the French; full fat, cream, sugar and MAYONNAISE of course will be joining us for this little rendez-vous.

So, make a note for your diary and tune in to hear how you can try my easy menu at home…

Remember having a healthy diet does include fat and sugar. Just spread the fat consumption and switch heavy and light meals throughout the day/week. And for heaven’s sake’s watch how you eat and take responsibility for your own weight!

See you on Saturday at 4pm on Croydon Radio.

PS: I am not disclosing the menu as Tom will be guessing what he is eating and… you dear listeners will have to tune in to hear what is on the menu!

A samedi et bonne semaine!

———————————-

So, the menu was:

Starter: Broccoli & Chicken Salad – Tom was not a fan of broccoli and only guess it afterwards.

HJ's Broccoli salad

HJ’s Broccoli salad

Main: Poelee of vegetables with chicken coated in caramel. The vegetable poelee included mushrooms and aubergine which, Tom the official taster could not detect.

Chicken coated in caramel

Chicken coated in caramel

Dessert: Toasted madeira with whisked cream soaked in a Jack Daniels syrup and cooked fruits including pineapple which Tom could not detect…

Yum. Full cream, alcohol... FRENCH!

Yum. Full cream, alcohol… FRENCH!

the mission here was to make our Croydon Radio presenter Tom eat things he thought he did not liked…

He ate everything! Mission accomplished!

Read all the recipes in the next few post. Thank you for checking in!

Starter, main, dessert £3.50 per person

Starter, main, dessert £3.50 per person

Black pepper and chilli flakes croutons

Ready croutons

Ready croutons

These croutons were made for the starter as part of the food bank menu

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices of brown bread (from the fridge)
  • Chili flakes (optional, from the cupboard)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Olive oil (can be found in the 99p store, but already in the cupboard)

Total spend: £0.00

The oven should already be heated given the potatoes and Crumble already done.

Cut the bread, season and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Don’t forget to stir as you bake.

Asparagus & spinach soup

The green stuff all god for you!

The green stuff all god for you!

Serves 5

This is the starter for the Food Bank Menu.

Ingredients:

  • 50g fresh parsley (40p)

    The soup ingredients

    The soup ingredients

  • 265g drained spinach – 1 small tin (FB or 0.65p)
  • 244g drained asparagus – 1 small tin (FB or £2.00 (would be cheaper fresh))
  • 10g fresh ginger (or dry ginger 10p)
  • 50g onion (in the cupboard)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 heaps tablespoon dry milk (FB or 10p (or use breakfast milk))
  • 2 stock cubes (2p)

Total spend: on Food bank budget £0.52 or £0.10 per person. On low budget £3.27 or £0.65p per person.

Method:

Dice onion, garlic and ginger. It is preferable to grate the ginger if you can. If you do not have a grater, finely chop it, then bash to bring out it full flavour.

Removed parsley leaves from the stalk, rinse and chop. Set aside. Drain the spinach and asparagus, leave them for 5-10 minutes in the sieve to allow as much liquid from the tin as possible to drain away.

Prepare the stock; place the stock cubes to dissolve in 800ml of boiling water and stir in the dry milk until all the granules have dissolved set aside.

Not exactly green from the tin

Not exactly green from the tin

In a deep pan, heat 3 tablespoons oil and fry for two minutes the ginger, onion and garlic.

Add the asparagus and spinach salt and pepper then fry until the all he water left in them evaporates. This will take about 5 minutes to 7 minutes on medium heat. Do not cover the pan.

Add the stock and bring the contents of the pan to boil until it no longer foams. That will take another 5 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Now add the parsley and simmer for just 3 minutes to wilt it. Do not let the parsley lose its colour.

Remove the pan from the heat and using a hand blender, liquidize the content of the pan until smooth before serving as suggested with home made croutons (see how to make them here).

Serving suggestion

Enjoy!

Next, a foodbank menu

Hi All, we are back this week with Tom C. on Croydon radio at 4pm.

The menu on Saturday 6th June will be a 3 course meal with a food bank food parcel.

As you would know if you are a food bank user, from time to time, you will in your parcel receive stuff that you won’t know what to do with. You won’t always have tins of food that you are familiar with and the idea here is to use some of those food items in the way that you already know how.

What's in a parcel?

What’s in a parcel?

For example, some people would assume that crumble can only be made with apples or rhubarb. Now imagine that you have only been given tins of apricots and they have been collecting dust in the cupboard because you don’t know what else to do with them.

What would you do with a tin of asparagus if you found it in your food parcel?

Now cooking has no real rules unless, you are baking… Am here to help people know that celery was never meant to be eaten just as a stick. So if you like crumble desserts, you can make them with any fruit you like. If you like soups do them with any vegetables. Just don’t overdo it on sugar or fat or over eat. If you are at home, allow yourself to fail… no one is watching! Have fun, just don’t waste!

So, next Saturday we are in a family gathering situation where we are dusting off the tins we have been collecting because we had no idea what to do with them.

The menu is as follows:

Starters: Asparagus and spinach soup with homemade croutons

Mains: Marrow fat peas ratatouille with a side of herby new potatoes

Dessert: Individual apricot crumble pots topped with roasted desiccated coconut and custard

Hope the menu sounds interesting enough for you to tune in and hear about it… and of course Tom will be tasting all of it!

Starter, main, dessert... Enjoy!

Starter, main, dessert… Enjoy!

See you next week and if you have any question or ingredient you are struggling to use from your food parcel, let me know.

Have a great week!

Listen to the foodbank menu show from here. For more foodbank related recipes, download The Bank Cook recipes collection here.

The Bank Cook Book

The Bank Cook Book

Avocado salsa with paprika corn cracker cups

DSC01564 small

Salsa for 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium fresh tomatoesDSC01523 small
  • ½ medium green pepper
  • ½ medium yellow pepper
  • ½ medium orange pepper
  • 2 medium ready to eat avocados
  • 2 limes to serve with
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Olive oil
  • 1 whole lime zest

    DSC01524 small

    waiting to be served

  • Salt
  • Big hand full of fresh coriander
  • 6 paprika corn cracker cups

Method:

Wash and cut the tomatoes, sweet peppers in the same size. Thinly slice the onion in a way to obtain half circles.

Halve the avocado, remove the stone, score and bathe in lime juice. Chop the coriander.

In a big bowl, combine, the tomatoes, peppers, red onion, crush the garlic on top, add the lime zest, coriander & salt toss.

Serve the avocado in the cracker cups with the salsa on the side. Drizzle with oil and leave the guest to squeeze the lime on their own plate…

Enjoy!

DSC01562 small

Serving suggestion

Click to see the main from this menu and the dessert 1dessert 2.

Don’t forget to post a comment and listen back to the show on Croydon Radio with Tom C.

About the Mexican menu

Mexican-No Tacos!

Mexican-No Tacos!

Hi! Hopefully you would have read the previous post by the time you got here. Mexican food was suggested by one of our listeners on Croydon Radio… Read about it here.

I tried to make it as authentic as possible. In most parts of the world like Asia, Africa, India or Latin America, the use of pre-prepared

Collecting the corn kernels

Collecting the corn kernels

ingredients can be seen as un-authentic. So, where necessary, spices will be grinded at home, the corn kernels will be remove from the cob at home if necessary, the beans will be bought dry, soaked and cooked in house if the dinner requires it.

That way, the ingredients have better value for money and deliver the most authentic taste, consistency and texture.

Here in Europe, it can be cheaper to buy the tin of corn or beans as they are better value for money, but with no control over the texture.

Funnily enough in the places above mentioned, buying tinned or frozen could be considered a luxury while here in Europe it is the basics.

So, in my Mexican menu, I have used the dry black beans that I have

Dry black beans

Dry black beans

soaked for 24hrs and boiled for 1hr to obtain a just-right texture. I have used black beans, but they aren’t as easy to find in tins so, feel free to use the kidney beans available in all supermarkets… Those can easily turn in to mush I don’t use them that much.

For the corn, I used fresh corn on the cob and shaved the kernels off myself. The best alternative would be the frozen corn rather than tinned sweet corn.

The rest of the components and ingredients for this menu can be found everywhere.

The Mexican menu I came up with and is as follows:

The starter is completely suitable for vegans and the cracker cup can be made from a foodbank parcel content.

For vegans, replace the chicken with large mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms which are chewier.

If using foodbanks parcels, replace the plantain with tinned potatoes, use tinned kidney beans, carrots & tomatoes.

Those flakes ARE HOT! really!

Those flakes ARE HOT! really!

Visit Croydon Radio website to hear me talk about the menu… Don’t forget to suggest something for the next show and leave some comments below!

Thank you for checking in!

See you next month!

Don’t forget. If you are a foodbank user, you can find more specifically created recipes on http://thebankcook.com/about/. Download the recipe collection here.

If you are Vegan, check out my vegan creations on http://all-vegan.blogspot.co.uk/

Hortense

Smoked Oysters Salad

Salad in mixing bowl

Salad in mixing bowl

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Smoked oysters – 1 tin – Sainsbury’s (tinned fish aisle) – £2.00

    Salad ingredients

    Salad ingredients

  • 2 Garlic & Herbs Naan breads – LIDL – 49p
  • Little lettuce gems – LIDL – 69p
  • 3 tomatoes – Market – 15p

 

 Total cost: £3.33 – 0.83 per person

Method:

  • Remove the Naans form the package and place in the oven to heat up. Follow the instructions on the package.
  • Rinse and quarter the tomatoes.
  • Separate the lettuce gems and wash them on by one as they can be very very
    Opened oysters tin

    Opened oysters tin

    sandy. Roughly cut the bigger leaves by hand in 2 or 3. Place them in a colander to release the water.

  • Open the smoked oysters.
  • Now that all is ready, in a big bowl, combine the lettuce, tomato and oysters.
  • The oyster are slightly salty, but you might have to add a very little pinch of salt and pepper to it. Drizzle the oil from the smoked oysters on the salad and also the juice of a half lemon. The lemon is optional. The salad doesn’t really need it.
  • Plate and serve.
Serving suggestion with a slice of Naan bread

Serving suggestion with a slice of Naan bread

Enjoy

Note: There is an even cheaper alternative to this starter. If you didn’t have £4 to spend. You could just use the tomatoes, smoked oysters & a drop or Mayonnaise or squirty salad sauce. Even simpler; pretty squares toasted bread, butter & Oysters. Done.

Alternative option: Tomato, oyster & Mayo

Alternative option: Tomato, oyster & Mayo

Shopping: the tomatoes were bought on Surrey street market where bowl of about 20 medium tomatoes can be found at £1.00.