Sunday, 17 June 2012

One Day A Week Vegan - Take Two

We all loved Wednesday's supper thanks to a newfound recipe. I'm currently obsessively reading Sophie Dahl's latest cookery book From Season to Season: a year in recipes. I was hooked from opening the Cook's note page and seeing a list of "usefuls to have in your larder,"  that sounded like my kind of ingredients. It began with Belazu Balsamic Vinegar (which I have to say I've never used or even heard of before) through Miso paste, Tahini, pomegranate molasses and pumpkin seed chick peas, lemons, cardamom, Arborio rice, spelt flour, honey... all of which I love and use...and tons of other things including:

"Some good-quality dark chocolate"

"Some cheap chocolate for eating on the spur of the moment when miserable"


"Fresh coffee" kind of woman...

For supper I made Chickpea/garbanzo bean mushroom burgers with tahini sauce that you can find on page 48 or link to similar ones here.

The ingredients include chick peas, onion, mushrooms, garlic,  a couple of tablespoons of spelt flour, ground cumin and coriander, olive oil,sea salt and pepper.

After cooking the onions in olive oil you pulse (or mash with fork or potato masher) all the ingredients together and combined to make little burgers.  Fried in olive oil they have lovely crunchy outside and are very light and so tasty. If you like felafel I'm sure you'll be a fan of these too.  

NB I didn't just cook the onions for a few minutes but left them longer to caramelise...I'm not a big fan of undercooked ones and wanted to maximise the lovely flavour of sweetly caramelised onions.

I used dried chick peas, leaving them to steep in water over night and then drain before cooking for at least an hour. You could use canned ones if you are in a hurry but you'll find that one can of chick peas costs as much as a packet of dried ones. Apparently once cooked you can freeze them so it might be worthwhile making up batches. 

I served ours with tahini dressing made by combining a little with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. It would go really well with humus too if that's not too much of a chickpea overload... I also like them with my favourite balsamic vinegar/olive oil/honey/grainy Dijon mustard dressing.

Accompaniment was  Seasonal Vegetable Stir-fry using the following ingredients for three people:
  • Three or four leaves of spring greens with the stalk removed.
  • Two small sweet peppers
  • Three spring onions
  • Fresh flat leafed parsley
  • A couple of cloves of garlic
  • One large portobello mushroom or a handful of chestnut ones
  • A head of broccoli cut into floret, reserving the stalk for soup
  • Oil to stir-fry I used olive oil
  • Tahini or soy sauce
  • Fresh lemon or lime
  • Toasted sesame oil if you have any and sesame seeds to dress
  1. Wash, deseed and thinly slice all the ingredients, removing the outer skin of the spring onions.
  2. Heat up the oil in a wok or frying pan and add the onions stir-fry gradually adding the other ingredients apart from the parsley,making sure the garlic doesn't burn. 
  3. Add the soy sauce and fresh lemon juice.
  4. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the vegetables wilt a little but still have a nice crunchy bite. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary adding more soy sauce or lemon juice.
  5. Serve dressed with a little sesame oil and seeds.

The burgers would also be lovely served in a good bun with caramelised onion or chilli marmalade or with rice or mouths watering...

Pudding was a simple Fresh Berries with a Crunchy Honey Topping desert

  • A punnet of fresh blackberries
  • Fresh cherries
  • One orange or clementine
  • Oats I get these ones in a 5kg pack, they last for ages
  • Runny honey or agave syrup 
  • Some nuts...I used pistachio and almond slivers but hazelnuts would be lovely too.
  1. Stone and cut in half the cherries and divide into serving dishes
  2. Add the berries
  3. Top with a few oats and a sprinkling of nuts or seeds
  4. Drizzle with honey and a good squeeze of orange juice... 's amazing that this simple assemblage of a few ingredients is one of the best deserts I've ever had.  It works well with whatever is in season but exeptionally so with soft fruits like the juicy blackberries.  I can't wait for the mulberries to come on the tree...

As I've challenged myself to be an at-least 
One Day a Week Vegan and not one meal a week vegan I must tell you about the other meals.


Harissa Soup with Spelt pasta

Ingredients for three to four people:

  • One leek
  • A couple of tomatoes if in season or one can of chopped tomatoes
  • Two carrots
  • Four or five medium sized new potatoes
  • A couple of leaves of spring greens or spinach..or something foraged like nettle or sticky willy!
  • A handful or garden peas or frozen when out of season. I also added a few chick peas to complete the North African feel of this soup
  • Tomato puree
  • A little turmeric
  • A couple of cloves of garlic
  • Harissa paste or spices including ground coriander and cumin seed and some form of chili
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Spelt or any other kind of eggless pasta
  1. Wash all the vegetables well.  
  2. Top and tail the leek and then cut in half length wise and then quarter length wise and cut up into small pieces. Pour some olive oil into a heavy saucepan and sauté the leeks.
  3. Remove the stalk from the middle of the spring greens and cut into small strips.  I find kitchen scissors very useful for this.
  4. Peel the carrots, top and tail and cut into thin circles.
  5. Peel and slice the potatoes.
  6. Chop the tomatoes finely and crush or chop the garlic.
  7. Add the garlic to the leeks and cook.
  8. Add the turmeric and cook for a few minutes before adding the Harissa paste followed by all the other vegetables.
  9. Stir well and allow all the vegetables to sautee for a couple of minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, cooked chick peas, fresh or garden peas and hot water and seasoning.
  10. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender adding the pasta in the last few minutes.
The potatoes and pasta make this a really substantial soup.

Finally most important meal of the day Breakfast - this was a bit of a meal on the run but one of my favourites. Good crunchy peanut butter with local honey which tastes all fudgie and delicious on spelt bread not long out of the oven...

So that was our day...and I'm pretty sure we had plenty of second class protein...what with all those chick peas and nuts and iron in the dark green leaves. 

...I'm already planning my next vegan day...

I'll be linking over here on tuesday....

edit: NB Big apology...I should have substituted the honey with maple syrup or another vegan alternative on my vegan day...


  1. thanks for popping over to visit me :) i love your blog, especially the photos of your kitchen, i love your kitchen !!

  2. Oh thanks Paula...thats kind...
    Have a good week

  3. Debby, wish we lived closer, I honestly think you and I would have a fabulous time cooking together in the kitchen. The best part would be once the meal was prepared and we could sit at the table to eat and talk for hours.

  4. That would be so good Tracey....

    Take care,

  5. Those berries look so delicious. Vegan can be scary for so many as are any restrictions. I personally like to focus on all the foods I can eat.

  6. The hardest thing for me on a vegan day is giving up eggs. I really love them and we have great yellow yolked ones from friends. I do think that a vegan diet would really agree with me though. I feel my body feels much more comfortable and lighter the following day...but it's probably all in the mind!

    The blackberries were amazing very big ones...almost as good as your blueberries...

    Have a fun week

  7. gosh deb everything looks delicious, I can easily imagine going veg on food like this. I do think going fully vegan may not be the right thing for your body though, a lot of friend I know that have been vegetarians for 10 years and can cook amazing food, so I'm not talking processsed junk vegan soy nuggets, have met with some sort of health challenge and returned to eating meat, or fish, or at least some eggs/cheese. But a vegan day a week is definitely very cleansing for the body, I in fact do that myself. Not as a strict self-challenge or anything, but because I just don't feel liek I need meat everyday.

  8. I think you're right Shu Han. I suppose it's best to have a balanced diet eating as many different food groups as possible in moderation. I'm sure I read somewhere yesterday that even too much spinach can be bad for you!!

    But like you I'm going to try and do my vegan days...My body seems to feel so good the following day...

  9. I have all of those things in my cupboard, except for Belazu balsamic, which I've never heard of. I've not seen any of Sophie Dahl's books either, but will look out for this one now. Wonderful photographs as usual and I just want to tuck in.

  10. Oh thanks Choclette. I'm really enjoying SD's latest book lots pf practical stuff, the kind of food I love.