Vegan Basian for Pasta Dishes
by Jennifer Pothecary
My far ‘better half’, having been recommended a dairy-free diet after fighting cancer, asked me to gave away all the cheese in the fridge and buy some vegan cheese. Those allergic to soya, please note, I am buying VIOLIFE which is made, in the main, from coconut milk. There is nothing on the packet about cooking with it, but my good friend and fellow hedgehog volunteer, Karra, told me that it makes a lovely macaroni dish.
Now, in charge of us hedgehog volunteers is a lady who, together with her extended family, takes an occasional holiday in Barbados and they come back with wonderful Basian recipes. So, here is my vegan version of one. It is so delicious that I would cheerfully serve it at a posh dinner party, together with a side salad (add some fruit to the salad and make it exotic: think sun and rum and cheerful, friendly dark skins; forget about northern Europe!!).
This is for two. Please use your own quantities:
- In olive oil, lightly fry an onion – cut very small
- Add at least 3 cloves of garlic – cut very small
- When the above are soft, stir in a tablespoon of gram flour
- Add lots of seasoning: paprika, herbs, etc. to your taste – think sunshine!
- Now stir in passata – 200 grams
- Keep to a creamy consistency, so add some soya or rice milk
- Add half a packet of Violife and keep stirring – it is slow to dissolve
- Finally, mix this into your favourite cooked pasta.
Despite being well travelled (I worked for an airline), I never went to Barbados. My friends who go there tell me that this is known as macaroni pie; so it needs to be thickish. It is a happy part of their culinary culture and comes out in big trays, often being taken from door to door in vans and other transport.
When you eat it and enjoy it, please say a prayer for the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital; pray we keep going with enough funds and volunteers.
Roasted Vegetable lasagne
– 3 red peppers
– 2 aubergines
– 8 tbsp olive oil, plus a little for greasing
– ½ quantity tomato sauce
– 300g fresh pack lasagne sheets
– ½ quantity white sauce
– 125g ball mozzarella (or vegetarian alternative)
– handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Deseed the peppers, halve, then cut into large chunks. Trim ends off aubergines, then cut into slices about ½cm thick. Lightly grease 2 large baking trays, then place peppers and aubergines on top. Toss with the olive oil, season well, then roast for 25 mins until lightly browned.
2. Reduce oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Lightly oil an ovenproof serving dish (30 x 20cm). Arrange a layer of the vegetables on the bottom, then pour over a third of the tomato sauce. Top with a layer of lasagne, then drizzle over a quarter of the white sauce. Repeat until you have 3 layers of pasta.
3. To finish, spoon remaining white sauce over the pasta, making sure the whole surface is covered. Scatter mozzarella over the top with the tomatoes. Bake for 45 mins until bubbling and golden.
Credit: BBC Good food
3 medium carrots, about 200g, grated
100g cashew nuts
1 pinch cayenne pepper
150g couscous, cooked
1 portion gravy to serve
0.5 tsp ground black pepper
0.5 lemon, juice only
2 medium onion thinly sliced
2 sheets thawed ready-to-roll puff pastry
1 portion redcurrants to garnish
1 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Soy sauce or tamari
0.5 bunch fresh rosemary, finely chopped
0.5 bunch fresh sage, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
4 tbsp oil
3 tbsp cranberry sauce, to serve
200g cooked chestnuts
Credit: SuperValu website
- Take the pastry out of the freezer the night before and put it in the fridge to defrost overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
- To make the chestnut cashew stuffing, peel and thinly slice the onions. Chop any rough gnarly bits off the carrots and parsnips and grate them. There’s no need to peel the veg, as there’s a lot of goodness in the skin
- If your cashew nuts are not roasted, then put them in a small dry pan set on a high heat and toast them for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, till they start to go golden, making sure they don’t burn. Set aside to cool.
- Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan or pot set on a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until they start to go translucent. Add the grated carrots and parsnips and sweat for 5 more minutes, stirring regularly. Remove the pot from the heat.
- Meanwhile, crush two-thirds of your roasted cashew nuts by putting them in a food processor and pulsing until they are finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, you can crush them by wrapping them in a clean tea towel and bashing them with a small pan or rolling pin until they get all mashed up and fine.
- Finely chop the cooked chestnuts and combine with the sage and rosemary. Add to the pan along with the soy sauce or tamari, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add the remaining one-third of the unbroken cashew nuts together with the broken-up pieces and mix well. Taste the stuffing and season if you think it needs any more salt or pepper.
- Add the cooked couscous and lemon juice to the stuffing and put the pan back on the heat. Cook through for a couple more minutes, stirring well, until everything is warm and well mixed.
- To assemble the Wellington, lightly brush one sheet of pastry with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on the top side and put on the lined baking tray.
- Put the cashew chestnut filling into the centre third of the pastry, leaving a third of the pasty clear on either side and also leaving a little space on each end so that you can properly seal your Wellington. Form the filling into a smooth mound.
- Place the other sheet of pastry on top of the mound. Bring the pastry around the filling from both sides so that it covers the filling completely from both ends and brush a little oil on top. Trim any excess pastry from the edges. You can use any leftover pastry to make Christmas-themed shapes. Brush the entire outer layer of the pastry with oil to seal.
- Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry starts to turn golden brown and the kitchen smells fab! Garnish with fresh sage and redcurrants. Serve with gravy and cranberry sauce on the side for a magical Christmas meal.
These are very gooey but if you want your brownies a little more solid you can cook them longer than the recommended time. Feel free to add your own additions like hazelnuts, walnuts or sunflower seeds.
250g plain flour
350g demerara sugar
65g plain cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
250ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Prep:5min › Cook:20min › Extra time:5min › Ready in:30min
- Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a 23x33cm (9×13 in) baking tin.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
Makes: 18 cupcakes
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
330ml almond milk
250g plain flour
200g caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
120ml melted coconut oil
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Prep:10min › Cook:15min › Ready in:25min
- Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line two muffin tins with 18 paper cases.
- Pour the apple cider vinegar into a measuring jug. Fill with almond milk to make 350ml. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases, dividing evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the tin set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Ice with your favourite icing, if liked.