Vegan virtues: January recipes

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Star chef Dipna Anand shares some Punjabi-inspired vegan recipes to warm the cockles as we enter a new year.

alu gobi

(Prep: 10mins – Cooking: 20 mins – Serves: 4-5)

Not only extremely popular across India, alu gobi has also made its mark in Britain. It’s a customer favourite, enjoyed with a naan or a chapatti as a main meal or even a side dish. If you are looking for the perfect Punjabi vegetable dish which is quick and easy to prepare then look no further; it’s what I call simple food – hearty and tasty at the same time.

Ingredients:

6 tbsp vegetable oil, two finger green chillies, finely chopped, one medium onion, finely chopped, 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste, 2 tomatoes, finely diced, 1 ½ tsp salt, 2 medium potatoes, peeled, diced into ½ inch cubes, 300ml water, 500g cauliflower florets, 2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp turmeric, ¾ tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, crushed

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan for one minute.

2. Add the cumin seeds to the oil together with the green chilli and when the seeds begin to sizzle, add the chopped onions to the pan and cook for three or four minutes until the onions begin to colour.

3. Add ginger and garlic paste and cook for one minute before adding the turmeric, red chilli powder, diced tomato and salt and cook for one further minute.

4. Add the diced potatoes to the sauté pan with 150ml water, cover the pan and simmer on a low-medium heat for about eight to 10 minutes (mix occasionally).

5. Add the cauliflower florets to the sauté pan with the remaining 150ml of water, cover the pan and cook for nine or 10 minutes (mix occasionally, if more water is required in between and the alu gobi is drying out, add as needed).

6. When the cauliflower and potato are cooked, add the garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves and fresh coriander to the pan and cook for a final one or two minutes.

7. Garnish with finely chopped ginger juliennes and chopped coriander stalks.

BEGAN BHARTHA

(Prep: 10 mins, Cooking: 20 mins, Serves: 6-8)

This is my mum’s version of the dish and it’s packed full of flavour yet does not use that many spices. Some recipes use a lot more ingredients and spices and complicate the method, yet Mum’s way is simple and straightforward and the result is hearty and flavoursome!

Ingredients:

Two large aubergines (800g), 4 tbsp olive oil, two finger green chillies, finely chopped, one medium onion (finely sliced), 1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste, 3½ tomatoes, blanched, skinned and chopped 1 ½ tsp salt, 160g peas, frozen or tinned, 5 tbsp water, 2 tbsp fresh coriander (finely chopped) . Tadka (finishing touch!): ½ tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coarse black pepper, 1 tsp turmeric powder, ¼ tsp white pepper powder ¾ tsp garam masala. Garnish suggestion: aubergine skin, rolled into tubes and roasted in the oven for 10 minutes

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

2. Cut the aubergines in half, length-ways, lay them flesh-side up and roast on an oven tray for 45 minutes. Once cooked, let them cool.

3. Using a spoon scrape out the inside pulp of the aubergine avoiding scooping out any of the skin and put the pulp into a bowl.

4. Cut the stem from the skin and mix with the pulp, leave the aubergine pulp to one side and discard the aubergine skin or save for garnish.

5. In a sauté pan, heat the oil, add the green chilli, cumin and coarse black pepper and onions. Fry the onions until golden brown and almost caramelised, this should take about seven or eight minutes on a medium heat.

6. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for two minutes.

7. Add half the chopped tomatoes and cook for four or five minutes.

8. Add the salt, turmeric and white pepper powder and cook for a further three or four minutes.

9. Add the peas to the masala and cook for 4-5 minutes.

10. Add the aubergine pulp and stems to the masala sauce together with the remaining tomatoes and water and cook for eight to ten minutes.

11. Add the final touches of garam masala and fresh coriander and cook for a further two or three minutes.

12. Serve with a fluffy buttered chapatti, spread like pâté.

• Dipna Anand is the founder of London restaurant Dip in Brilliant – visit www.dipinbrilliant.com

Peace offerings: Christmas recipes

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Here are some indulgent yet wholesome and uncomplicated recipe ideas to help keep us grounded throughout this mad month.

Almond biscotti

(makes 24)

These are great to make ahead and present in a glass jar or tin when you are serving coffee or after-dinner liqueurs. Dip these in Vin Santo to transport yourself to heaven. Give me these over mince pies any day!

Preheat your oven to 170°C. Add 220g of plain flour, 1½ tsp of baking powder, generous pinch of salt, 60g of ground almonds, 120g of whole almonds and 150g of golden caster sugar to a large bowl and mix together. Lightly beat two eggs and add to the mixture with 1tsp of almond extract and bring together with a wooden spoon. Use your hand to bring the dough together into a ball (it may be a little sticky) then lightly flour a work surface, divide the mixture into two and roll it into two long sausage shapes, about 20cm long each. Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and slice into 1cm thick pieces using a serrated knife then lay flat back on to the baking sheet and cook in a cooler oven at 150°C for another 20-30 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Chuck steak con carne

(serves 6-8)

This is the kind of one-pot dinner that gives you a break after all the fiddly, feasting food. Really hearty and another crowd-pleaser. Serve with sour cream with a dusting of paprika, grated cheese, nachos and rice or winter slaw.

Heat your oven to 170°C. Chop 1kg of beef brisket into 2.5cm chunks then brown in a hot pan with 2tbsp of vegetable oil in batches. Transfer the beef to a casserole pan then finely chop two red onions and sauté until softened and starting to turn golden. Add five minced garlic cloves, cooking for a few minutes then add 2tsp each of ground cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano and ½tsp of ground cloves. Add more oil if you need and cook out the spices then add 2-3tbsp of chilli paste (chipotle or ancho work well) and transfer everything to the casserole with the beef. Add two tins of plum tomatoes and 500ml beef stock and bring to a boil then put the lid on and transfer to the oven for two hours. Drain and rinse two tins of kidney beans and add to your casserole, cooking for a further hour without the lid until the beef is tender. Check seasoning and serve.

Winter slaw

(serves 6-8)

Something fresh and tasty to go with leftover turkey or ham. This makes a large bowl and looks great piled high in the centre of the table for people to help themselves. Add some pomegranate seeds for a little sparkle.

In a large bowl mix together 4tbsp of buttermilk, 1tbsp of Dijon mustard, 1tsp of celery salt and the juice and rind of one lemon. Add in two grated carrots, ¼ red and ¼ white cabbage, finely shredded, five finely sliced radishes, five sliced spring onions and a large handful of roughly chopped parsley. Mix together, adjust seasoning to taste and pile high into a serving bowl.

 

Chive blini with salmon, caviar and crème fraiche

 

This is always a great crowd-pleaser. I like to serve these on Christmas morning between breakfast and lunch, as we are all opening presents with some bubbles. It is really worth making these yourself as they are far more tasty than shop-bought, just warm in the oven before serving.

In a large bowl weigh out 100g of plain flour and add a generous pinch of salt. Separate an egg, adding the white to a clean mixing bowl and the yolk to the flour. Measure out 150ml whole milk and add half to the flour. Use an electric whisk to whisk the egg white until it begins to stiffen and leave to one side whilst you then whisk the flour mix until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the milk while continually whisking then 25g of melted butter and a handful of chopped chives. Fold through the egg white. Warm a pan and brush with a little butter until it begins to foam then add small spoonfuls of your batter. Cook on a low heat until the bottoms begin to brown then flip and repeat. Serve warm with a dollop of crème fraiche, smoked salmon, caviar and dill.

 

 

Cosy cravings

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In the heart of winter sometimes we crave informal, uncomplicated, wholesome food. These recipes from Katie Kingsley will provide comfort and nourishment through the festive period.

Roti with curry sauce

(makes eight)

These are a fitting evening snack for when lunch has been particularly late or large. Prepare the roti the night before. In a large bowl mix 400g plain flour with 2tsp fine salt and add 200ml lukewarm water, gradually, to form a dough. Knead until elastic, smooth and shiny then wrap in cling film and rest for 30 minutes. Divide into eight balls, roll in a generous amount of vegetable oil, place on an oiled plate then cover and chill overnight. Oil your work surface and take a ball in the palm of your hand then flatten it and use a rolling pin to get the dough as thin as possible. Roll it up as you would a crepe then roll into a snail shape bringing the end back and tucking into the middle before rolling out again into a disc about the size of a large frying pan. Heat your frying pan over a medium heat, and fry until golden bubbles form, brushing both sides with a little oil as you fry, then fold before serving. To make the curry sauce add a tin of coconut milk, 3tbsp smooth peanut butter, 2tbsp soft packed brown sugar, 2tbsp red curry paste, 2tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy), 1tbsp soy, 2tsp tamarind paste, three minced garlic cloves and a pinch of salt to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until thick. Leftover curry sauce is great made into katsu chicken.

Parsnip pancakes with sour cream and caramelised onion

(makes eight – ten)

A delicious snack exploiting this sweet winter root. Halve three white onions and slice into half moons then fry in 2tbsp oil until starting to brown. Add a knob of butter, 1tsp soft brown sugar, 1tsp fennel seeds and a sprinkle of salt and continue to sauté until they are caramelised. Parboil six parsnips for 2-3 minutes then drain, running them under cool water and dry off as much as possible before grating them (a food processor makes light work of this). Add a leek finely chopped (white part only), one large lightly beaten egg, 3tbsp plain flour and season generously before mixing together using a spatula. Heat 2tbsp of oil with a knob of butter in a large frying pan and form balls with your hands of the parsnip mixture then use the spatula to press down once in the pan and flatten to about 1.5cm thick. Cook each side until crisp and golden. Serve with a dollop of sour cream with fresh chopped chives mixed through and caramelised onion.

Chunky chicken minestrone

(serves four – six)

Just the thing to nurse winter ailments and so simple to put together. Quarter a whole chicken leaving the skin on or use legs if you are cooking for fewer people. Season the chicken with salt, heat oil in a sauté pan then brown on both sides before transferring to a plate. Pour 200ml white vermouth into the hot pan to deglaze then transfer to a casserole or heavy saucepan, with the chicken and two tins of rinsed butterbeans. Add 500ml good quality chicken stock and a few tbsp chopped rosemary then partially cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add a few handfuls of minestrone which cooks in the broth, season to taste and serve the chicken as whole pieces or remove and shred before returning to the pan. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Sussex Pond Pudding

(serves four – six)

Just the thing to nurse winter ailments and so simple to put together. Quarter a whole chicken leaving the skin on or use legs if you are cooking for fewer people. Season the chicken with salt, heat oil in a sauté pan then brown on both sides before transferring to a plate. Pour 200ml white vermouth into the hot pan to deglaze then transfer to a casserole or heavy saucepan, with the chicken and two tins of rinsed butterbeans. Add 500ml good quality chicken stock and a few tbsp chopped rosemary then partially cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add a few handfuls of minestrone which cooks in the broth, season to taste and serve the chicken as whole pieces or remove and shred before returning to the pan. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Warming wonders

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October is all about wholesome, nutritious, heart-warming, health-giving food. Food replaces sunshine, warming us from the inside out rather than outside in! Katie Kindsley brings us her recipes…

 

Scallops with apple & bacon

(allow three or four scallops per person)

Perfect for this time of year, bringing scallops and apples together in perfect harmony, this is sour, salty and sweet success. Remove the rind from three slices of thick-cut smoked bacon and set aside. Chop the bacon into small pieces and fry in a little butter until brown. Peel and cut half a green apple into small cubes, heat 1tbsp of butter in a small pan and add the apple and bacon then continue to cook while you cook the rind in the pan just used. Add a small knob of butter and fry until the bacon fat renders. Add 50ml bourbon to the apple mix and let it bubble for a minute before adding 50ml maple syrup and continue to simmer so it reduces by at least half to a thick sauce. Place your scallops in the pan with the sizzling bacon fat and cook on high for a minute or so on each side, seasoning with salt until they’re nicely brown. Toss some watercress in a little lemon juice and heap on each plate, laying your scallops on top. Spoon over some apple and bacon mix and freshly grind some black pepper.

 

Thai noodles

 

This is versatile so use whichever vegetables you have to hand or whatever’s in season. All you will need to gather from your pantry is noodles, curry paste, coconut milk and fish sauce (or soy for vegans). Heat 2tbsp of coconut oil in a pan and sauté a finely chopped onion for about three minutes. Add three cloves of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, cooking until fragrant then add 2-3tbsp of red Thai curry paste for a minute and then a 400ml can of coconut milk, 1tbsp of honey and fish sauce to taste. Stir then boil for five minutes or until the sauce is thick. Add your veg at appropriate times so they are cooked but have bite (I used fresh corn kernels, broccoli and aubergine). Remove from the heat and stir in cooked rice noodles, Thai basil and serve with lime wedges and fresh chilli.

 

Boston beans with pork belly

Serves 4-6

Definitely a weekend treat to relish and as wholesome as a corn-fed farm boy. The night before soak 500g haricot beans in water for at least 12 hours. Rinse and place in a heavy, five-litre casserole pan covering with water by about 3cm. Boil hard for about 10 minutes then lower to a simmer, cover with the lid and cook for 1 hour. Take a 400-500g piece of pork belly (rind on), cube then add to the beans with 50g soft dark brown sugar, 3tbsp black treacle, 1tbsp English mustard, three peeled crushed garlic cloves and 3tbsp of tomato puree. Peel about 10 pickling onions and insert five cloves into one before adding to the beans with a generous seasoning of black pepper, giving a mix. Preheat your oven to 140°C, place the lid on and cook for 3 hours. Remove the lid and drag the pork chunks to the top before cooking for a further hour uncovered. The beans should be soft and the mixture glossy and thick, (cook for longer if it is still a little watery). Season to taste and remove the clove spiked onion before serving with crusty buttered bread and fresh coriander.

 

Blueberry buttermilk pancakes

Serves 2-3

My son will be raised on these and not just on special occasions, as they are easier to whip up than French toast and twice as delectable. A recipe to scribble down and shortly after memorise through repetition! Sift 200g self-raising flour into a large bowl then add 2tbsp caster sugar, 1tsp lemon zest, a lightly beaten egg, 1tbsp melted butter and 380ml buttermilk. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined (a few lumps will not matter). Add one or two handfuls of blueberries or raspberries, stirring gently to combine and without breaking up the fruit. Heat a small knob of butter in a pan and cook spoonfuls of batter on a low-medium heat for a few minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Grill-seekers!

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Summer is here which means al fresco aplenty and Katie Kingsley has rustled up some delicious ideas to enjoy on the side!

Giant couscous salad with roasted peppers, tomatoes, pesto and feta

If you can’t find Israeli/giant couscous, small pasta shapes or orzo work well. This salad packs a lot of flavour; a more than worthy accomplice to any barbecued protein! Measure 200g giant couscous (I used wholewheat), rinse well and add to a pan of simmering vegetable stock (500ml). Once back to a rolling boil, turn down to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 6-8 minutes then drain, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, stir and leave to cool.

Cut two red and one yellow pepper into chunky slices and place cut-side up on a foil-lined baking tray. Halve a pint of cherry tomatoes and place with them in the tray then slice a whole garlic bulb through the middle and place, cut-side-up, in the tray. Drizzle with olive or rapeseed oil and season before placing in a heated oven for about 40-60 minutes and the edges are nicely charred. Remove the garlic halfway through (it will have turned a light gold) and cloves and pound into a paste with a pestle and mortar with a sprinkle of rock salt and glug of extra virgin olive oil. Stir the paste through the couscous then add the roast veg, dollop on fresh pesto and crumble feta on top.

Griddled cos with anchovy butter

Almost everyone who tries this will want the recipe and it’s a pleasure to disclose in its refreshing modesty. Ideal for barbecues, there is something alluringly unconventional but worthwhile in grilling the salad. Halve three or four cos lettuces then heat a grill pan or barbecue to hot, brush your cos with olive oil and grill cut-side-down for a few minutes before turning and grilling for an extra few minutes. You want nicely charred griddle lines and edges.

Transfer to a serving dish. Use a small pan to melt 80g butter then sauté two garlic cloves until golden before adding three finely chopped anchovy fillets, 2tbsp of finely chopped rosemary, the grated rind of a lemon and juice of half. Season to taste and drizzle over your charred lettuce.

Toasted caramel pineapple with coconut ice cream

Dress this dessert up into an exotic sundae with chocolate, coconut shavings and rum or keep it simple on a platter with scoops of ice cream and generous drizzles of caramel sauce. End your barbecue on a high as pineapple is said to contain significant amounts of the feelgood chemical serotonin. Peel and core a pineapple then cut into about 10-12 wedges. Place wedges on the barbecue and cook for a few minutes on each side until you get griddle lines then transfer to a serving dish.

To make your caramel sauce, measure 100g granulated sugar into a large clean pan, heat to medium and once the sugar has started to melt shake the pan occasionally until all the sugar has melted. Cook and stir with a spatula until the sugar has turned a light brown then add 30g butter and whisk vigorously until the butter has melted with the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and add 60ml of single cream, whisking rapidly again until combined. If you have any sugar crystals, pass the caramel through a metal sieve, leave to cool then drizzle sparingly over charred pineapple and ice cream scoops.

Easiest ever flatbreads with herb butter

I have made these countless times; a delicious accompaniment to any barbecue. I like to pre-roll these so when people arrive, you aren’t in and out the kitchen all day – just separate them with baking paper or cling film. Place 350g natural yoghurt with 350g self-raising flour into a large bowl then add 1tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. Use your hand to bring the dough together (it will feel a bit sticky so add more flour until you can).

Once you have the dough in one lump, give it a bit of a knead in the bowl then lightly flour your work surface and divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece out to about 5mm thick and cook on a hot barbecue or griddle pan for one or two minutes on each side. Melt butter and sauté minced garlic cloves before adding fresh herbs then brush the herb butter over the flatbreads. Enjoy your summer!