Tag Archives: gluten free

Warm Tofu With Garlic Sauce and Sesame

Warm Tofu with Garlic & Sesame Sauce

This recipe could equally be called “The Easiest Way Ever To Make Tofu Taste Delicious”. It doesn’t involve any of the usual tricks people try to make tofu palatable: there’s no pressing or marinading or pan-frying or grilling. But the result is even better than you often get with some of these techniques.

The idea is simple: simmer tofu in water for a few minutes until its nice and hot. While that cooks, whip up a simple quick savory sauce, heavy on the chilli and garlic. Remove the tofu and place in a shallow bowl, then serve the tofu with garlic sauce.

That’s it.

Warm Tofu with Garlic & Sesame Sauce

The warm tofu basically becomes a sponge for the marinade, in this case, a potent garlic sauce that’s well seasoned with garlic, spring onions, soy sauce, a good dose of chilli and finally, a smattering of sesame seeds for flavor and texture.

It all comes together in about 10 minutes. Add some steamed rice and vegetables (broccoli works really well here) and you have a complete meal in no time flat that’s tasty enough to wow your friends. In fact, this is one of my favourite meals to serve lunchtime guests (Kavey in particular) when time is better suited to conversation and catching up rather than excessive amounts of extravagant cooking.

Warm Tofu in Garlic Sesame Sauce

Inspired by Lillian Chou’s recipe on gourmet.com.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 400g package of firm tofu
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onions
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, and coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Method

  1. Put the tofu in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer then keep covered on a low heat while you make the sauce.
  2. Mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle (or with the side of a knife) with a pinch of salt. Stir the mashed garlic together with remaining ingredients.
  3. Lift the tofu with a spatula or slotted spoon out of the water and transfer to a shallow bowl. Spoon the sauce all over the tofu and serve.

Warm Tofu with Garlic & Sesame Sauce

Raw Double Chocolate Brownies

Raw Vegan Brownies

Here is a brownie that ticks all the right boxes – raw, vegan, gluten-free, paleo… – and they taste delicious too. The classic raw brownie is made by blitzing dates, nuts and cocoa in a food processor and mushing the mix together into a ball or bar. Though tasty, those raw brownies are also very dense and usually very sweet because it takes a lot of dates to hold the mixture together. These raw brownies are a slightly different breed. Made with coconut flour, ground almonds and apple puree, they have a texture that’s much more like a traditional brownie.

I was inspired to make these by Emma Potts of Coconut & Berries who posted a recipe for Raw Berry Cream Brownies which totally got my attention. I used a similar method for the brownie base, but instead of a berry cream topping, I went for chocolate ganache – it was a double chocolate kind of day.

This recipe uses cacao powder, which you can readily buy at health food shops or online. I make my own cacao powder from Naturya Cacao Nibs which I blitz to a powder in my blender (I use a Froothie Optimum 9400 which has a jug specially made for grinding dry ingredients). You could do the same to make almond flour, too.

Raw Vegan Brownies

Alternatively, if you’re not fussed about the raw aspect, you can use regular cocoa powder (cocoa powder is made by roasting cacao at high temperatures, which destroys some of the enzymes, and makes it no longer raw – snap!).

Another bonus to these brownies is they give me an opportunity to use my retro vintage nut grinder! Perfect for sprinkling walnuts on top of the brownies! (Of course, you could just use a knife and a cutting board instead.)

Raw Vegan Brownies

Raw Double Chocolate Brownies 

Makes 6 brownies.

For the brownies:

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-4 Tbsp maple syrup or agave (add more or less depending on how sweet you like your brownies)
  • 1/3 cup apple puree or mashed banana
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder if you aren’t worried about the raw thing)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds or almond flour
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • pinch of salt

For the ganache:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener of choice)
  • small pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method

  1. Line a small baking tin or container with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all of the brownie ingredients together with your hands or in a food processor. You should get a very thick mixture.
  3. Spread the mixture into the prepared container and smooth out the top. Refrigerate or freeze.
  4. For the ganache, melt the coconut oil over low heat in a medium pot. Remove from heat and whisk in the cacao powder, agave, salt, and vanilla until combined and smooth.
  5. Pour the ganache over the brownies and spread out evenly. If you’d like, dust the top with cacao powder and/or chopped walnuts. Put back into the refrigerator to chill.
  6. Remove from the refrigerator, slice and enjoy!

Raw Vegan Brownies

There are lots more people out there grinding their own flours and powders to make awesome snacks. Check out Nazima’s Fig and Blackberry Crumble using her own quinoa flour, and Emma’s Flatbread made with almond and oat flour.

Also seen on Great British Chefs.

 

Squash and Sweetcorn Tamales

Roast Butternut Tamales with Mole Poblano

Last night I had a little Tamale Party with friends Jane, Jimmy and Steve to celebrate Jane’s and Jimmy’s Month of Anniversary. The event stemmed from a recent walk in Wales, wherein I expressed to Jane and Jimmy my desire to further my tamale practice, and they offered themselves as willing taste testers and sous chefs.

Hot Tamale Party Chalkboard Menu

There was a pretty steep learning curve here, and I admit our tamale rolling efforts weren’t exquisite (that may have been the numerous margaritas, white russians, negronis and long island iced teas talking). So this morning I woke up and had another sober attempt at rolling tamales, and things went pretty well, so I thought I’d share my notes and photos from the process in case it’s helpful to anyone else.

Roast Butternut Tamales with Mole Poblano

The recipe I used as a base is Rachel Demuth’s Tamales Rellenos de Calabacin from Demuths Cookery School which uses roast butternut squash and feta for the filling. I’ve written about this recipe before, but this time I made a few tweaks that I think improved matters considerably. I added roasted red pepper and sweetcorn to mine – the corn really made it for me. Instead of feta, I did some tamales with queso fresco, and others with goats cheese. The queso fresco offered a nice melty chewy cheesy hit, but I think I preferred the salty creaminess of the goats cheese tamales.

Big learning points were: make sure that the batter is pretty soft – you should be able to smear it across the husk with a spoon; also, spread the batter in one corner of the husk – this makes rolling the tamale a no-brainer (this video was very helpful in this regard).

My tamale technique still needs practice and I’d love to experiment with other fillings, so hopefully my amazing sous chefs will return for more tamale rolling and taste testing, and requisite margarita drinking which, let’s face it, makes even the most poorly rolled tamale taste like a dream!

Squash and Sweetcorn Tamales

I recommend serving these with mole poblano sauce, but you could also do any kind of salsa, red or green, or a creamy verde sauce.

Makes about 10 tamales.

Ingredients

  • 20 large fresh or dried sweetcorn husks

For the masa

  • 200g masa harina
  • 50g butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50mls milk
  • 100mls vegetable stock

For the filling

  • 100g queso fresco, goats cheese, feta or other cheese of choice
  • 1 small butternut squash (or another variety if available)
  • corn kernels from 1 ear of corn
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 chopped fresh red chilli
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole with the skin on
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • Chopped coriander
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Roast the squash and red peppers in a hot oven (180/gas mark 7) with the garlic, chilli, thyme, and olive oil until it is soft-this should take 30-40 minutes. When cooked remove the garlic from its skin and pound in a pestle and mortar and then stir back through the squash. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir through some chopped coriander and lime juice. Add the corn and crumble in the cheese (or if using a very soft cheese like goats cheese, keep it separate until you are filling the tamales).
    Roast Butternut Tamales with Mole Poblano
  2. To prepare the sweet corn husks, if fresh, carefully peel the husks off the cobs and place in a saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 5minutes, drain and leave to cool. If using dried husks soak them in hot water for 30minutes. When they are soft rinse them under running water as you separate them. Lay them flat on a plate and keep them covered with a damp cloth.
  3. To prepare the masa, combine the masa harina with the salt and baking powder. Add the butter in chunks and crumble it through with your hands until it reaches the consistency of breadcrumbs (much like making scones).
  4. Add the milk and stock and mix with your hands until combined and you have a soft dough. Add a bit more milk until it becomes easily spreadable (slightly softer than the consistency of scone dough).
  5. To assemble a tamale, take on corn husk and place it on the table. Put a heaped spoonful of batter in one corner of the husk and spread it out into a long rectangle with two sides running along the edge of the husk (see picture below).
    Roast Butternut Tamales with Mole Poblano
  6. Take a spoonful of the filling and spread it out down the middle of the masa. Roll the tamale as you would a burrito, starting with the end where the masa is flush with the side of the corn husk, rolling over so that the edges of the masa meet, folding up the bottom corner of the tamale, and then finishing the roll.
  7. Steam the tamales in a vegetables steamer. Cover the bottom of the steamer with some left over husks, place the tamales standing upright and fill the spaces between them with wads of silver foil. Cover the top with a lid or cover with silver foil. Steam for 45- 60 minutes. You can tell when they are done because the masa will be soft and sponge like.
  8. Serve them as soon as possible, before the masa becomes stodgy.

Quinoa Flour Cookies with Ginger & Molasses (Gluten Free)

#glutenfree ginger biscuits made with quinoa flour courtesy of @shiptonmill & @quinoaqueens recipe.

Sometimes I think my friend Sam knows me better than I do. For my birthday last summer, she gave me a gift to satisfy both my baker self and my quinoa-loving self: a generous stash of Shipton Mill‘s new quinoa flour along with a copy of Quinoa: The Everyday Superfood by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming.

I’d never cooked with quinoa flour, or even knew it existed. But lo and behold, it does (my US friends can find it from Bob’s Red Mill).

Quinoa flour is naturally gluten free and, being quinoa, is high in protein, calcium and iron. You’ll find that most quinoa flour recipes use half regular wheat flour and half quinoa flour. This is for two reasons: quinoa flour isn’t going to give you the same rise as wheat flour. Also, quinoa flour has a nutty flavour that can be a bit overpowering in most recipes.

But there are exceptions.

Gluten Free Quinoa and Spelt Flour Ginger Biscuits

This recipe for quinoa flour cookies from the quinoa cookbook called to me because it is made with 100% quinoa flour and is entirely gluten free. I decided to make them for my gluten-avoiding mom and friends a few weeks ago and alerted them that the cookies were a total experiment and I had no idea how they would be. But I think the results surprised all of us. I can’t say there was any hooting and hollering, but we scarfed almost half the batch in one session.

First of all, the cookies, despite being gluten free, rose well in the oven and came out beautifully cracked and delicious looking. And the flavour was just as good. Here, the nuttiness of the quinoa flour works well with the spicy ginger and rich molasses.

Colour me a fan of quinoa flour – after making these cookies, quinoa flour became a hallmark of my mom’s visit and I’ve done some more experimenting since (expect a post on quinoa flour soda bread coming soon).

And colour me a fan of this cookbook. I look forward to trying more of the recipes – there are some great looking salads, casseroles and even smoothies, all using quinoa in various shapes and guises (whole, sprouted, flour, etc).

The authors of the cookbook generously gave me permission to post their recipe on my website. They’re nice ladies. Check out their website and give them a follow on Twitter and Facebook.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Quinoa Ginger Molasses Cookies
Recipe type: Cookie
 

I have a hard tome finding molasses in the UK so use dark treacle instead which works just as well. I also think some chopped stem ginger would do well in these cookies. If you try it, let me know!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup organic butter or coconut oil
  • ¾ cup organic brown sugar or sucanat
  • 1 large organic egg
  • ¼ cup unsulfured molasses (or dark treacle)
  • 2 cups quinoa flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar (for rolling)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar in large bowl. Beat in molasses and egg.
  3. In another smaller bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves).
  4. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture until combined into a dough.
  5. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place the cane sugar in a shallow bowl and roll to coat the balls. Place two inches apart on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. When they puff up and are lightly browned they’re ready! Let them cool slightly before removing them to cool completely on a rack.

 

Indian-Style Pumpkin Soup

Indian style pumpkin soup

I’ve had a jar of Danival Organic Puree Pumpkin languishing in the back of my cupboard (bottom shelf) for years. I bought two jars of the stuff to make pumpkin pie and a failed experiment with the first jar led me to conclude that was NOT the pumpkin pie puree I was looking for (but really, is there any substitute for Libbys?).

But with this recent detox and the sudden inclusion of lots of soup in my life, I decided to unleash the pumpkin in hopes of a quick lunch soup fix. The fix was a success, using a recipe from the ever reliable How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. It’s my most loved and most used cookbook and once again it delivered the goods. His recipe uses fresh pumpkin but here’s how I did it using pumpkin puree.

Indian-Style Pumpkin Soup
Recipe type: Soup
 

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder (I made my own using Mark Bittman’s fragrant curry powder recipe)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 500g jarred or canned pumpkin puree (or 3lbs fresh winter squash like butternut or acorn, peeled and chopped)
  • vegetable stock or water
  • salt

Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onion and cook slowly until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the curry powder, garlic and ginger and fry for another minute or so until fragrant.
  3. If using pureed pumpkin, remove the pot from the heat. Add a little water and scrape up any spices that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. (If using fresh pumpkin, add the pumpkin with enough water or stock to cover and simmer until the pumpkin is soft.)
  4. Put the onion mixture into a blender with the pumpkin and enough water or stock to achieve a desirable soup consistency.
  5. Put the blender contents back into the pot and on the heat. Let it heat thoroughly. Taste, season and serve.

 

Clean Detox Day 15: Cream of all the soups!

Clean detox day 15

Breakfast: A variation on the black and blue smoothie, made with blackberries, mango, avocado, kale, flax seeds plus a dash of cinnamon and a couple drops of orange flower water.

Lunch: Besan cheelas (Indian chickpea flour pancakes) with Indian cabbage salad and coconut coriander chutney. Not sure why I took so long to make these pancakes – they’re quick, easy and awesomely delicious, plus that have that eat-with-your hands delight that makes them all the more satisfying. You can also make them non-Indian style (the Italian version is called farinata). I love to wrap the cabbage salad inside the besan cheela and eat with chutney, so I made some coconut coriander chutney following this recipe but it was a little mealy (the recipe uses desiccated/dried coconut). Maybe I should have soaked the coconut first? Or maybe I need to face a real coconut and bust out the hammer.

Clean detox day 15

Dinner: If I’ve learned one thing on my detox, it’s that if you saute any kind of vegetable with onions and garlic, then puree it with cashews and veggie stock, you get the most amazing silky smooth soup that’s basically a vegan version of all those “Cream of” style soups that I have such fond memories of. Today’s was a “cream” of celery soup inspired by my friend Sharon, garnished with that crispy kale I’m so into at the moment.

Clean detox day 15

I’m now scheming all kinds of other creamy soups I can make… cream of cauliflower… cream of broccoli… cream of asparagus! And let’s just give a shout out to the whole vegan protein bonus that the cashews bring to the soup. I reckon other nuts will be worth trying… almonds, brazil nuts… pistachios!

When tomatoes and peppers are back in my life, I’m thinking an almond version of the classic African peanut soup will be worth a try. Next week!

Related Links:

 

Beetroot Gazpacho Soup

Beetroot Gazpacho Soup

I’m currently not eating tomatoes or peppers as part of my 21-day “detox” experiment. The reason being that these vegetables, along with potatoes, eggplants and other vegetables of the nightshade family, are often rich in alkaloids that can be mildly toxic (so says Dr. Junger, who designed this detox, as does Ayurvedic medicine interestingly enough).

This has been challenging because tomatoes and peppers were a staple of mine, and with the weather being unbelievably warm, summery and beautiful here in the UK for the last few days, I’ve been madly craving gazpacho.

Last summer I tried Nigel Slater’s tomato gazpacho and absolutely loved it (the same recipe also led me to discover the joys of sherry vinegar). So this week I decided to try getting my gazpacho fix by using beetroot instead of tomatoes and peppers.

The result, as Kanna put it, was “very special” and “exceptionally good” (I blush – Kanna does not deliver her compliments lightly). I followed the recipe pretty closely – I used three very large beetroot, cut back on the smoked paprika, omitted the sugar, upped the cucumber and added some fresh dill. The garnish: sliced spring onion, more dill and cubes of avocado. We sprinkled the avocado with Le sel au piment d’Espelette, salt with dried pimento chillies (one of my summer road trip acquisitions from Espelette – when in Basque!).

Beetroot Gazpacho Soup

As an added bonus, this soup also satisfied my craving for Cold Beet Soup, my Lithuanian grandmother’s family recipe where buttermilk (not detox friendly) is a key ingredient.

I almost hate to associate this soup with the detox, because it really stands alone as a delicious summer soup and a beetroot revelation. The only question I have is: have I created something new, or did I really just make borscht?

Beetroot Gazpacho Soup

Beetroot Gazpacho Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Adapted from Nigel Slater’s tomato gazpacho.
Ingredients
  • 3 very large beetroot
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

Instructions
  1. Scrub the beetroot well, then cook in boiling water until they are absolutely tender (pike a skewer through them – it should go through easily and the beetroot should fall off the skewer). Let the beetroot cool then remove their skins.
  2. Now, get your blender ready. Coarsely chop two of beetroot, along with the red onion and cucumber, and add to the blender. Remove most of the green shoots (reserve for garnish) of the spring onion and add the white part to the blender, too, along with the garlic. Pulse until you get a soup that’s of the consistency you like – I like to keep it a little bit chunky.
  3. Pour the soup into a big bowl. Finely dice the last beetroot and add that to the bowl, along with the sherry vinegar, dill, smoked paprika, olive oil and a bit of salt. Mix well, then taste and add more vinegar, paprika, olive oil, dill and salt to your liking.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to let soup get cold and the flavours mingle.
  5. Serve garnished with sliced spring onion, more dill and diced avocado. (A swirl of sour cream would probably be nice, too!)

Nutrition Information
Calories: 90 Fat: 3.8 Carbohydrates: 13.5 Fiber: 2.8 Protein: 2.4 Cholesterol: 0

 

 

 

Clean Detox Day 4: Crispy fish without the flour

Photo Collage

Breakfast: Smoothie made with blueberries, blackberries, avocado, spinach, almond butter and one humble date. This was the first smoothie I wasn’t crazy about. It had too much spinach in it, and lacked creaminess despite the avocado. I also went too heavy on the blackberries so there were all these little seedy bits on there. Too many seeds to enjoy it. Oh well – tomorrow is another smoothie day.

Lunch: Leftover courgette and herb soup with a very small garnish of pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Dinner: Paprika-fied haddock with carrot, courgette and runner bean “noodles” seasoned with garlic, lemon, parsley and chilli flakes. Avocado on the side. I enjoyed this with one small caveat. I pan-fried the fish, and instead of coating it in regular flour, I used quinoa flour (which I mixed with some salt, pepper and smoked paprika). The quinoa flour didn’t really go crispy like normal flour would have. But my current Airbnb guests who are gluten free gave me a hefty tip. More on this below…

Image created with Snapseed

Yesterday saw the arrival of my latest Airbnb guests, an extremely cool couple from Boston (USA represent) who are totally “my people”. Before they came they told me they were gluten-free. It turns out they don’t eat all sorts of things, either because of various “allergies”. I’ve been fascinated by their stories because this is what the Clean program is all about: removing possible triggers for allergies, inflammation and bad stuff that will do damage to the glorious intestinal gut flour that keeps things moving happily and the body feeling its best.

I think they’re interest in food is a lot like mine: we’ve had a time in our life when we drastically changed our diets, and this led us to thinking and learning more about food, and the more you learn, the more interesting food becomes. So the three of us have had a really good time talking food, but from a perspective I’m not generally used to, and it’s been great because they have some super gluten-free tips, particularly when it comes to fish.

To get a nice crispy piece of pan-fried fish, instead of coating it in normal flour, coat it in almond flour! This makes total sense, and I think sesame seeds or other pulverised nut would work well, too. She also suggested baking the fish, and sprinkling spices, herbs and ground nuts (or even sliced almonds) over the top. I’m a sucker for texture, and this is ticking all the right boxes!

I’m hoping to return the tip favour with some of my own trips with quinoa and healthy vegan breakfast salads.

The caveat to all this great conversation meant that I put off having my dinner (non-liquid, another “cheat”) until really late and I was super duper hungry and after my nice light dinner I proceeded to eat a pear, a peach and a nectarine. Right before bed.

Sleeping is prime digesting / detoxing time, and on the Clean program you’re supposed to leave a 12 hour window between dinner and breakfast to give the body 8 hours to digest and 4 hours to “detox”. I may have sabotaged this with my late night fruit binge. And it also means I can’t eat anything today until 11am. Given that it’s only 7:06am right now, this might be a long morning.

Or not! I can’t say I feel horrible and it’s not like I ate cake or ice cream. Or drank beer or wine – that is the true Friday victory!

Related Links:

 

Beetroot and Walnut Veggie Sausages

Beetroot & Walnut Sausages

I wrote about these veggie sausages for Great British Chefs this week, but thought they were so good I wanted to give them a wider audience. Make them and enjoy with a crispy salad of carrot, apple, celery, red onion and honey mustard dressing, plus a big blog of good dijon mustard on the side.

Yesterday, Monday, 5th November 2012 marged the beginning of British Sausage Week, a time intended for encased-pork devotion. I may not eat pork, but I do have a fondness for sausage-esque foods. This may have something to do with my Chicago-based upbringing, studded with Polish sausage at family gatherings and an ardent appreciation for the Chicago-style hot dog, served with yellow mustard, whtie onions, pickle relish, “sport peppers”, tomato and celery salt (never ketchup). (Mention must be said of Hot Doug’s, the “sausage superstore and encased meat emporium”, for doing the best Chicago-style veggie hot dog in the world – it’s wrong, but oh so right.)

Back to British Sausage Week, I thought it a fine excuse to seek out a worthy veggie sausage to honour the occasion. But let’s not misdirect our plaudits: I’m not referring to those “fake meat” varieties of veggie sausage you often find in the supermarket (or dare I say Hot Doug’s), filled with weird stuff that not only isn’t meat, but also isn’t food in my opinion (don’t get me started on Quorn). In fact, these supermarket varieties give “vegetarian sausage” a bad name. In fact, the veggie sausage can be a delight, with as much nuance and comfort factor as its porky counterparts.

So what makes a great veggie sausage? I feel the same way about veggie sausage as I do about veggie burgers: they shouldn’t try to imitate meat – people who want a meaty sausage should just eat a meaty sausage. But if you love vegetables and want to experience them in tubular form, then veggie sausages are the way to go and are a novel form factor in which to showcase delicious ingredients. Options abound, from Rachel Demuth’s Glamorgan Sausages, made with cheddar, spring onions, breadcrumbs and loads of herbs to the Gluttonous Vegan’s Beany Snausages, a sort of rice-and-beans in sausage form.

I like my vegetarian sausages to be about the vegetables, and since we’re in the depths of autumn and beetroot season, I am sharing with you my recipe for beetroot and walnut veggie sausages inspired by Susan Voison. These sausages combine ingredients that work exceptionally well together – beetroot, walnuts, fennel and chilli – to create a sausage reminiscent of American-style “Italian sausage”. It’s great in a bun with sauteed onions and peppers, or on its own with tomato sauce or dijon mustard. The sky’s the limit: these babies are versatile, not to mention vegan and gluten free. You can even crumble them up and put them on a pizza.

Beetroot & Walnut Sausages
Beetroot and Walnut Veggie Sausages
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 medium raw beetroot
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • ½ medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • olive or sunflower oil for baking

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Prepare a roasting tin or baking pan by oiling it generously with olive or sunflower oil.
  2. Place the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them sit for at least 10 minutes, then drain and squeeze out the excess liquid.
  3. Put the walnuts into a food processor and pulse to chop finely (but not too finely, we want chopped nuts, not nut powder), then remove and put into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Peel the beetroot and cut it into small cubes. Add it to the food processor along with the mushrooms, garlic, and onion and pulse to chop coarsely. Add the chickpeas and all remaining ingredients and pulse several times to chop the chickpeas. Don’t over-do it: you want to maintain some texture, while still processing enough to form a mixture that you can shape into veggie sausages.
  5. Add the processor contents to the nuts and stir well to combine.
  6. Using a tablespoon, scoop out pieces of the mixture and, using damp hands, form the pieces into sausage-shapes (of whatever size you fancy!), squeezing lightly to compact it (you can also shape them into balls or patties if you wish). Place the sausages on the roasting tin or baking sheet.
  7. Bake for about 35 minutes, turning the sausages once mid-bake, until lightly browned on all sides.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 227 Fat: 12.9 Carbohydrates: 26.6 Fiber: 7.3 Protein: 8.3 Cholesterol: 0

Besan Cheela: Indian Chickpea Pancake

Indian chickpea flour pancakes

Today is Pancake Day, and last week I marked the occasion on Great British Chefs with an article about my favourite savoury pancakes. In writing that post I re-discovered one of my old favourites, the Besan Cheela.

Fellow fans of Indian food may know that “Besan” is the Hindi / Northern Indian word for chickpea flour, and a “Besan Cheela” is a very simple savoury chickpea flour pancake that’s the perfect delivery device for chutney, pickles and yogurt.

You can make these pancakes simply with salt, water and chickpea flour, but I like to spice it up: a bit of chilli powder and fresh coriander goes a long way. But you can go even father with Urvashi Roe’s (The Botanical Baker‘s) spice blend of ajowan seed, turmeric, cumin, coriander and fresh ginger and garlic. I’ve also enjoyed these with a bit of sauteed onion and peas in the mix.

Indian chickpea flour pancakes

You can eat a Besan Cheela all proper-like with a knife and fork, but I like to use my hands, ripping off pieces of the pancake to dip in mint chutney, or wrapping it in cabbage salad or lentils and eating it like a taco. I’ve also been known to adapt a Besan Cheela into a vegan omelet. And why not? The Besan Cheela is inherently vegan and gluten-free, so makes a great pancake (or omelet!) option for people who don’t eat wheat or dairy (neither of which I am, but it’s good to be aware of these things for the people who are!).

On that note, I’ve recently been trying to eat more savoury breakfasts lately and the Besan Cheela is a total win. Yes – Indian food for breakfast rocks. Cheela with lime pickle is a great way to start the day. Who’s with me?

Before I adjourn to the Besan Cheela recipe, here are a few other pancake (or pancake-ish) recipes for Pancake Day that you might enjoy:

Indian chickpea flour pancakes

Besan Cheela

Inspired by mytastycurry.com‘s basic Besan Cheela recipe and Urvashi Roe’s spice blend. I also really like these with sauteed onion and peas added to the mix. Serve with fresh yogurt and

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp each salt and chilli
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin and coriander (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp each ajowan seed and turmeric (optional)
  • ~1tsp each grated fresh ginger and garlic (optional)
  • Fresh coriander leaves

Method

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together into a batter, adding a bit more water to get a consistency that will spread out in the pan (it might take a few pancakes to get this right).
  2. Heat a nonstick pan on medium and smear it with a little ghee or oil. Ladle some batter into the pan (I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup for this) and swirl it swiftly to get a pancake (if it doesn’t swirl easily, you you need to add a bit more water to the batter).
  3. Cook the pancake on one side until it’s almost completely dry on top and golden on the bottom (you may have to adjust the heat to keep it from burning). Flip the pancake and cook until the other side is golden, too.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Yield: About 8 pancakes

Per pancake: 94 Calories | 1.6 grams Fat | 15.6 grams Carbohydrates | 4.9 grams Protein | 4.4 grams Fiber