Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Quorn and Mushrooms in a White Wine & Tarragon Sauce

Quorn in a White Wine & Tarragon Sauce
Here's a 1980's retro recipe which I've adapted by using meat-free fillets to make a lower fat, vegetarian version (and a vegan option). If you don't eat meat substitutes, simply swap them for extra mushrooms.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 Quorn fillets/vegan chicken-style fillets 
  • 200g button mushrooms, halved
  • 150ml dry white wine 
  • 300ml vegetable stock (made with a stock cube)
  • 1 level tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp tarragon leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp double cream or dairy-free cream (optional)
  • 500g new potatoes, boiled, drained (and sauteed in 1 tbsp olive oil - optional).
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion is soft.
Add the mushrooms and cook for a further couple of minutes until they start to release their juices.
Remove from the heat and stir in the flour to coat the vegetables.

Slowly stir in the wine, 200ml of the stock and the tarragon, making sure there are no lumps of flour.
Return to the heat and gently bring to a simmer, stirring all the time, until the sauce has thickened.
Pop the Quorn fillets into the sauce and simmer with the lid on, for approximately 20 minutes.

Stir occasionally and turn the Quorn fillets over. Adding a little more of the remaining stock if needed, to make a pourable sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, if using.

Serve with sauteed or boiled new-potatoes and steamed asparagus or tender-stem broccoli.

Alternatives: This also makes a great pasta sauce without the Quorn. Cook as above using slightly less stock. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce, then stir in the cream if using.
Serve over cooked tagliatelle.

I’m adding this recipe to the Speedy Suppers linky, hosted by Sarah at Dinner With Crayons and Katie at Feeding Boys. Pin It

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Valentine's Ice-Cream Cookie Sandwich

Valentine's Ice-Cream Cookie Sandwich
Here's a simple Valentine's dessert which can be made in advance and assembled on the day. Although I used dairy ice-cream in this recipe, the cookies and accompaniments are vegan and can easily be served with a dairy-free ice-cream alternative (I can recommend Booja Booja).

Left over cookies can be sandwiched with softened ice-cream, wrapped in foil and frozen until needed.

For the shortbread cookies
  • 4oz/100g dairy-free spread, softened
  • 4oz/100g caster sugar
  • 8oz/200g plain flour
  • 1oz/25g unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream the spread and sugar. 
Mix in the remaining ingredients, to make a firm dough.
Add a little drop of cold water or some extra flour if needed.
Chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out the chilled dough between 2 sheets of grease-proof paper, until it is about ½ cm thick.
Using a heart cookie cutter, cut out as many shapes as you can from the dough.
Either leave whole, or slice vertically with a sharp knife to make half hearts.
Carefully remove the dough cut-outs from the paper and place on a greased baking sheet (leaving a small gap between each cookie).
Reserve the scraps and re-roll. 
Repeat until all the dough has been used up.
Prick each cookie with a fork.

Bake at 180C/170C Fan/Gas 4/350F for 8-12 minutes (depending on the size of the cookie, and whether you prefer a soft or crunchy cookie).
Cool for a few minutes on the tray before removing and cooling on a wire rack.

Once cooled, sandwich with softened ice-cream/vegan ice-cream. 

Suitable for freezing.

Eat straight away or serve as follows...

To serve 2 people

For the chocolate strawberries

  • 1oz/25g dairy-free chocolate, melted
  • 2 strawberries
Melt the chocolate and dip the strawberries in. Place on grease-proof paper to set.

For the strawberry sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2-4 strawberries, diced
  • 2 tsp Cointreau or other fruit liqueur (or orange juice)
Mix the sugar and chopped strawberries together in a heatproof bowl and microwave on high for 30-60 seconds, until the strawberries have softened.
Add the Cointreau and stir well.

Sandwich 2 cookies with a generous scoop of ice-cream. Top with a chocolate-coated strawberry and serve with a spoonful of strawberry sauce.

Alternatives: For a dinner party dessert, cut out circular cookies and serve as above.

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Friday, 7 February 2014

The Vegan Pantry - A review

The Vegan Pantry is a varied collection of 60 recipes from chef, teacher and nutritionist Dunja Gulin. The book is well illustrated and the recipes are easy to follow. It features an introduction to vegan cooking basics and pantry staples, as well as a step-by-step guide to soaking and cooking pulses and making your own vegan cheese and nut milk. The book includes ideas for breakfasts, snacks, soups and desserts as well as main meals; the recipes are nutritionally balanced and on the healthy side of vegan! I particularly enjoyed the Macedonia-style baked beans (although I cheated and used tinned beans rather than dried!).
"Featuring 60 recipes...from tofu scramble and spicy potato strudel, to simple fun food for every day, such as spicy burgers with wedges. Stylish dishes, such as dark chocolate tart, make vegan entertaining easy. Also included are instructions on how to make nutritious nut milks and cheeses."
Although the book is marketed at new vegans, as a long-standing vegetarian (who probably cooks 2-3 vegan main meals a week), I would suggest that it might be better suited to slightly more established or adventurous vegans, who don't like to rely on convenience products. Many of the recipes feature tofu or seitan, gluten-free and sugar alternatives, and some more unusual ingredients such as umeboshi paste and kombu seaweed. 

Some of the recipes involve a fairly wide range of ingredients and take a little while to prepare, so this probably isn't the book for busy vegan parents, however, if you have the time to cook from scratch most of the time, like entertaining and enjoy modern vegan food, then this would be a great addition to your cookbook collection. It would also be a good purchase for vegetarians who want to reduce their dairy/egg intake, as well as those omnivores who want a expand their collection of healthy, low-fat/whole-food recipes.

The Vegan Pantry by Dunja Gulin (photography by William Reavell) is published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available from rylandpeters.com.

Integrity Statement
I received a complimentary copy of The Vegan Pantry to review. I did not receive payment, and the views expressed are genuinely those of myself and my family.

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