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Vegan Buffalo Hot Mess

Buffalo Hot Mess

It’s 4th February – 4 days post Veganuary – and I am still quietly plodding along with vegan cooking and eating. In previous years, I’ve been sick to death of the restriction by the end of the month and delved back into mozzarella and chorizo with reckless abandon as soon as the clock struck midnight on January 31st. I don’t know what’s different about 2019, but I’ve not felt particularly restricted at all and I’ll roll with it for as long as I feel like it.

This weeks recipe is my current most favoured lunchbox situation. Vegetables are roasted in advance and placed into a plastic container. Cheese is grated on top, and hot sauce is drizzled over. This, when microwaved at the office come lunchtime, is the height of comfort.

You can roast quite literally anything you fancy and in any amount. I’ve found this to be a great way of using up smaller portions of vegetables left over from other kitchen adventures.

I’ve included specific veg and amounts in the actual recipe as a guide, but it’s worth considering which great roasters are in season this month: sprouts, cauliflower, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beetroot are all great contenders for being drowned in melted cheese.

I’ve written out quantities for 1 serving. Scale this up if you’re on a meal prep mission for a few days in a row, or keep it where it is to try it out for size before you commit.

Serves 1:

2 small or 1 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1 beetroot, peeled and chopped
1 large leek, sliced into 2cm rounds
1/3 block vegan cheese (violife original block or ASDA cheddar alternative are my go-tos)
buffalo sauce, to taste (I use Frank’s)
1 tbsp oil (olive, rapeseed, whatever you’ve got in is fine

  1. Heat oven to 180C Fan (Gas 6) and toss vegetables in a roasting dish with the oil and plenty of salt.
  2. Put the vegetables in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, give them up to an extra 10 minutes more depending on how crispy you like those edges – I’m a 40 minute girl, myself.
  3. Allow to cool, then transfer vegetables to a microwave safe box. Top with grated cheese and drizzle with hot sauce.
  4. When you’re ready to eat, take off the lid of the box and replace it loosely, then microwave for three minutes.

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Creamy Vegan Cheese and Kale Linguine

Vegan Cheese and Kale Linguine

Much like literally all good pasta sauces ever, this one leans heavily on being brought together by the liquid gold that is reserved pasta water. I’ve eaten this in a few different forms about five times over the past couple of weeks, alternating vegetables depending on what’s in the fridge.

Ingredients come from cupboard to plate in about 15 minutes at an absolute maximum, let this be a permanent weeknight staple if you happen to be inclined towards vegan eating.

Serves 1:

75-100 linguine (or spaghetti, or.. whatever pasta you happen to feel like making today)
1 big handful kale leaves
1/3 block vegan cheddar, grated (both Violife and ASDA cheddar alternative are decent)
2 tbsps nutritional yeast 
1 tbsp vegan spread (pure soya is my go-to of late)
pinch of mustard powder or tsp actual mustard if you have it
plenty of salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Put the pasta and kale into a saucepan, cover with boiling water, season with salt, and cook according to pasta packet instructions.
  2. Drain the pasta, reserving at least 1-2 tbsps of starchy pasta water.
  3. Chuck the pasta back into the pan, with the water, and keep it under a low heat. Add the soya spread, vegan cheddar, mustard powder, nutritional yeast and lots of black pepper.
  4. Gently swirl the pan and keep it bubbling until it forms a thick sauce.

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Vegan Currywurst at Beelzebab, Apple Braised Cabbage and an Impromptu Vegan Dinner Party

Week 2 of Veganuary has passed with neither insult nor injury.

My stomach has returned to its former not-8-months-pregnant-looking glory thanks to the week 1 bloating phase being well behind us and, at this half way mark, I’ve not really had a craving for anything non vegan or felt particularly deprived.

This perceived lack of deprivation in my diet may well be coming only from the fact that I’m also knee deep in Dry January, and all minor inconveniences are paling in comparison to the fact that not a single drop of alcohol has passed my lips in 14 days. Who’s to say.

Here’s this weeks highlight reel:

Beelzebab at The Hope and Ruin

Beelzebab are renowned the whole city over for their vegan kebabs and hot dogs, but it was the ‘loaded fries’ side of the menu that my friend and I gravitated towards when we were in for a drink this week.

Currywurst (right) is £5.95 and chilli cheese fries (left) are £6.95, both an ideal portion for a carb-heavy, self indulgent, beautifully beige dinner – highly recommended on a Monday – and both completely delicious. We’ve already made plans to come back this week and try the dogs, so watch this space for a report back on those.

Beelzebab can be found at The Hope and Ruin: 11-12 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3WA. Full menu can be found here but is (I think) ever so slightly out of date price-wise.

Apple Braised Cabbage

Apple Braised Cabbage

Cabbage is really boring and annoying when you just cook it by itself. Braise it on a Sunday and whack it in the fridge and you’ve got a ready made, slightly less boring and annoying green vegetable side ready for a midweek meal.

Makes 2-3 servings

1 savoy cabbage, 1 onion, 1 apple, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, pinch sugar (or drizzle of honey if not veganuary-ing), 500ml veg stock

Slice onions finely and get them cooking low and slow in a heavy based saucepan. While the onions are cooking, roll up cabbage leaves and slice finely to create long strands. Finely slice apples. Add cabbage and apples to onions. Pour over the stock, vinegar and sugar. Bring to the boil then simmer for anywhere between 35 minutes and an hour. The longer, the better the flavour – just keep an eye out and make sure you don’t lose all the juices.

Kale and Cauliflower Coconut Curry with Clove, Cumin and Date Rice

This was an off the cuff, using-stuff-up-in-the-cupboard dinner and I’m really just posting the recipe here because my Mum wants it. If it interests you, however:

Serves 2-3

For the curry: 1/2 a head of cauliflower (cut into florets), 1 bag kale (stalks removed), 1 onion (chopped), thumb sized piece of ginger (thinly sliced), 1 green chilli (thinly sliced), 1 can coconut milk, 1 veg stock cube, 2 tbsps peanut butter, 2 tbsps curry powder

For the rice: 1 mug basmati rice, 1 pinch cumin seeds, 3 cloves, handful medjool dates, chopped

Cook the onions, ginger and chilli for 5 minutes or until onions are beginning to brown. Add cauliflower, kale and curry powder and cook for two minutes, ensuring everything’s coated in the curry powder. Pour in the coconut milk, then put the stock cube in the coconut milk can, fill it with boiling water and pour that into the pan too. Add the peanut butter and give it a stir. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is thick and the cauliflower is cooked.

While the curry cooks, get the rice on. In a saucepan, toast the spices (no oil) for a couple of minutes to start releasing their flavour. Put the rice in the pan followed by three mugs of water. Again, bring to boil then simmer. It should be ready around the same time as the curry – but double check pack instructions on cooking times. Stir through chopped dates once the rice is cooked and drained.

A Vegan Dinner Party

When my friend came to visit from Tunbridge Wells this weekend, we found ourselves at a loss for what to do when ‘sitting at the pub until we can’t string a sentence together anymore’ (our usual activity of choice) was ruled out as an option thanks to my selfish decision to take on Dry January. So, rather last minute, we decided I’d descend upon Rem‘s kitchen and knock up a couple of courses.

Cherry Tomato and Chestnut Mushroom Bolognese

 

Serves 4-6

2 punnets (or 500g) chestnut mushrooms (chopped into small cubes), 2 onions (finely chopped), 3 cloves garlic (minced), 2 carrots (peeled and finely sliced),  2 tins cherry tomatoes, 1 veg stock cube, 1 large glass red wine, 1 tsp marmite

Gently cook the onions, carrot, mushrooms and garlic until beginning to caramelise. Add the wine and cook on a medium heat until reduced (5 minutes or so tops should do it). Add the cherry tomatoes, and fill one of the empty cans with the stock cube and boiling water, then add that to the pan too. Finally add the marmite and season to taste (a pinch of sugar never goes amiss here, but I’ll leave that up to you). Simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened.

Cherry Coconut Vegan Browies

These are unreal. Follow this recipe but sub the ground almonds for desiccated coconut. Unless you fancy ground almonds, in which case follow it to the letter. I served them hot with alpro soya vanilla ice cream which is now sold in the freezer section of pretty much all the big supermarkets.

That’s it for this week..

This weekend I am going to Nice!! In the South of France!! All by myself!! For no reason beside the fact that sober weekends in Brighton are really weird!! So I’ll either cobble together something while I’m waiting for my flight home on Sunday night or.. this will be late next week. Who knows.

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