Happy Halloween!

Vegan HaHa is finally back! After a couple of weeks break, Vegan HaHa has returned. As today is Halloween, in this post I’ve got two simple but delicious recipes for a grown-up  dinner inspired by some of the elements of Halloween. As it isn’t a full-on frightfest, these recipes would be great anytime this autumn. The main course is a pumpkin curry flavoured with red Thai curry paste, served with black rice and for dessert a blood orange sorbet. Both recipes serve 4.

Red Thai Pumpkin Curry

In this dish, the pumpkin is roasted first. This helps to intensify the flavour and then once in the sauce, the pumpkin breaks down and acts as way of thickening the curry.

1 medium pumpkin – the one I used was weighed about 1.3kg before peeling and seeding

1 medium onion

1 red or yellow pepper

400g can of chickpeas

50g Red Thai curry paste – check that it is suitable for vegans as some brands have fish sauce in them

400ml coconut milk – you can use light coconut milk but I find this sometimes splits if heated too high. It’ll still taste okay, a little less creamy though but it wont look as nice.

200g kale or other shredded greens

Handful of fresh coriander, a finely chopped red chilli and some finely chopped roasted peanuts for garnish.

  1. Heat the oven to gas mark 7/220C/425F. De-seed, peel and cut the pumpkin into 2cm cubes. Put on a lined baking tray and roast on the oven for about 30mins until the pumpkin is cooked through. This step can be done a day in advance if necessary.
  2. Whist the pumpkin roasts, chop the onion and gently fry in a little oil. If you prefer you could use cooking spray or even a little water. Just be careful not to let it burn.
  3. De-seed and chop the pepper and add to the onion along with the cooked pumpkin. Cook the veg until they begin to soften.
  4. Add the chickpeas and curry paste and stir well to coat the veggies in the paste.
  5. Add the coconut milk and the greens. Cook until the greens have begun to wilt and the pumpkin has broken down into the sauce. Top with the garnishes once plated.

The rice can be put onto cook whilst you make the curry. Just follow the instructions on the pack. It should take about 25mins.

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Sorbet is one of those things that I feel I should know how to make but never have so this was good opportunity to experiment. I wanted to make one with blood oranges, partly because it sounded a bit spooky but mainly because blood oranges are delicious. They are slightly more bitter than a normal orange and the colour of the flesh and juice is an intense ruby red. This makes them ideal sorbet material.

The recipe for this is not my own as I wasn’t sure of the quantities of sugar involved to make one up, so to be on the safe side, I followed someone else’s. My local supermarkets didn’t have any fresh blood oranges so I to use ready squeezed juice. The sorbet is best made a day or even several in advance to give it time to freeze properly. My freezer is pretty full at the moment so my sorbet took a little longer to freeze than the original recipe suggests. I had to leave it another whole day in the freezer before it set properly. Despite that, it turned out to be delicious. It would be great as lighter dessert alternative for Christmas given the colour and the wintery, seasonal nature of the blood orange.

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The link to the original can be found here:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2016/feb/25/how-to-make-the-perfect-blood-orange-sorbet

I also found a fabulous blood orange flavoured vodka so we had a glass of that topped up with tonic.

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Happy Halloween!!! xxx

 

 

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Vegan MoFo 2018 – Day 30

Thank You!!!

So the MoFo has reached the final day for this year. Life got in the way of blogging this week unfortunately. However, I am really pleased that I still managed over twenty posts this month. Today’s post is just a quick one to say thank you for all your support and lovely comments. It makes it all worthwhile to know people like what you’re doing. Last year I had to stop blogging after the MoFo finished as it was too hard juggling everything but I hope this year to continue so fingers crossed.

So, once again thank you and I look forward to posting more over the coming months.

Lots of love

Vegan Ha Ha

Vegan MoFo 2018 – Day 23

Sunday Lunch

So I intended to do much more for this post today but a number of factors means it isn’t quite as good I wanted. When I planned this post, I forgot my other half would be away and then yesterday I came down with a cold. This meant that I couldn’t really spend the time in the kitchen I would have liked. However, I was determined to do at least one of the elements I had planned. The most important one was the yorkshire puddings. I have never made a vegan yorkshire pudding. Heck, I never made them before I went vegan, I always bought the frozen ones as the fear of flat, soggy yorkshires was too great. But today, despite the cold I went for it. The result wasn’t bad.

Due to the constraints I was under, I had to find a recipe that had as few ingredients as possible and was straightforward. The one I went for was on the website of the supermarket Tesco oddly enough.  The recipe went as follows:

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 7/220C/425F. Put 225g self raising flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, pinch salt in a bowl and then whisk in 300ml unsweetened soya milk, 100ml warm water. Whisk until very smooth with no lumps. Leave to rest at room temperature for 10mins. I didn’t have quite enough self raising flour so had to add a bit of plain and this might account for why some of the puddings didn’t rise as well.

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In a 12 hole muffin tray, put 1 teaspoon oil in each hole and heat oven for 5mins. Pour batter evenly into each hole and return to oven for 25-30mins til risen and golden brown.

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They weren’t too bad. A little on the stodgy rather than the fluffy side but a decent attempt nevertheless. I would definitely try to make them again and would be tempted to try a different recipe. I have frozen the leftovers so it will be interesting to see if they reheat well.

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Enjoy xxxx

 

 

Vegan MoFo 2018 – Day 21

Bargain Basement Cooking!

Today’s challenge has been to make a meal with food found in the clearance sections at the supermarket. I didn’t have the time to go out and do the foraging myself so I sent my other half on a bargain hunting mission at one of our local supermarkets. And this is what he returned with…

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There was a pack of stir fry veg, some extra mange tout, some fresh chillies and a tub of pineapple chunks. Well stir fry was obviously the way to go. I had a pack of ready cooked rice in the cupboard and few mushrooms that were on their way to the compost if I didn’t use them up so I threw them into the mix too. I normally would have some sort of tofu dish with stir fry but as there wasn’t any in the fridge, I used a can of chickpeas instead.

To get some flavour into the chickpeas, I tossed them in a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and then put them on a lined baking tray and baked them in the oven for about 15mins. Whilst they cooked, I fried a thinly sliced onion and one of the chillies finely chopped in a teaspoon of sesame oil. Once they began to cook, I added some pieces of the pineapple cut into small cubes and stirred for a few minutes, then added the cooked rice and finally the chickpeas.

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In another pan, I stir fried the veggies with some Chinese five spice powder.

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And ta-da! Bargain basement dinner done. In less than 30 minutes too!

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Enjoy xxxx

 

 

Vegan MoFo 2018 – Day 20

Four For £4

I got lucky when I was deciding to what to make for today’s challenge. My parents gave us some marrow that a neighbour had grown which was substantial enough to feed at least four people. Marrow might not seem like the most exciting vegetable but I think it does have potential. I particularly like stuffed marrow and worked out I could do this dish quite cheaply.  As marrow can be quite bland, I decided to go for a stuffing with plenty of spice. I have made marrow stuffed with couscous before and thought this would be ideal. I had some ingredients already in the cupboard, such as veggie stock and spices so didn’t need to buy in those. I did buy a pack of couscous for £0.65,  tin of chickpeas for £0.55, a red bell pepper for £0.55 and a pack of onions for £0.60. Whilst looking for the spices I found a pack of raisins and thought they might go well in the stuffing.

Begin by preparing the marrow: Cut the marrow into large chunks, halve the pieces and then scrape out the seeds.

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Put the pieces in a large pot and cover with plenty of salted water. Bring the water to the boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for about 10mins or until the marrow is soft but still retains shape. Put the pieces cut side up in a baking dish.

To make the stuffing, prepare 125g couscous according to the packet instructions. I always soak the couscous in vegetable stock rather than just water as I find it adds more flavour. Finely slice the onion and dice the pepper. Fry in a little oil or cooking spray (you can use water if you prefer to cook oil free) with a couple of finely minced garlic cloves, a teaspoon each of ground coriander and cumin, half a teaspoon tumeric and teaspoon chilli flakes. Add a couple of tablespoons of raisins and the tin of chickpeas and cook until the veggies are softened. Season with salt and pepper and also season the pieces of marrow. Spoon the mixture into the hollowed out marrow pieces and then cover the dish with foil. Bake for 20mins at Gas Mark 5/190C/375F.

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If you were not limited to £4 you could always add some sort of sauce, in the past I have made a spicy tomato sauce to pour over the top. You could also serve with a salad of some sort. Enjoy xxxx

 

Vegan MoFo 2018 – Day 19

Leftovers Part Two

This is a very short post today! Just a quick one to show how we used the leftovers from yesterday’s bolognese sauce. The sauce lends itself very well to re-purposing. It could be basis for a chilli or filling for a moussaka with a bit of tweaking or even the filling for a shepherd’s pie if topped with mash. But I just kept it simple and made sloppy joes.

If you are unfamiliar with a sloppy joe, it is basically minced meat in a sauce served on a bun. The sloppy joe lends itself very well to being veganized. You could use some sort of pre-made veggie mince, shredded seitan or tempeh. Or like I did, use some sort of pulses in place of the meat. I added a dollop of tomato ketchup to leftover sauce to sweeten it slightly and served on toasted burger buns with plenty of mild, hotdog mustard.

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Enjoy xxxx

Vegan MoFo 2018 – Day 18

Leftovers Part One

Today is the first of a two parter. The first challenge is to make a dish and the second challenge for tomorrow is to use the leftovers to make another dish. So for part one, I made a bolognese style sauce that I served over pasta. In the spirit of this being budget week, this sauce is pretty economical to make. It can be scaled up or down as necessary and as I will show in tomorrow’s post, the leftovers can be used up the following day.

I used 250g dried brown lentils in my sauce and they needed to be soaked overnight. I used the brown lentils as they keep their shape when cooked and I wanted a sauce with more texture but red lentils could be used. Boil the lentils in fresh water for about 10mins and then turn down the heat to simmer for about another 15-20mins.

While the lentils cook, chop 1 medium onion and 250g mushrooms chopped into a small dice. Begin by frying the onion in a little oil (you could also use a little water or veg stock if you prefer to make this recipe oil free). Once it begins to soften, add a finely chopped garlic clove and two teaspoons dried oregano. Stir and add the mushrooms and fry til the mushrooms begin to cook down. You might want to keep stirring to prevent sticking. Add 500g of passata. You could also use tinned tomatoes, I just prefer the smoother, thicker texture of the passata for this sauce. Stir in the passata to cover all the veg and then add the cooked lentils, season with salt and pepper. Stir well again and then cover the pot and turn down the heat to simmer the sauce for another 20mins or so until the onion and mushrooms are cooked through. Make sure to keep checking and stirring in case it sticks.

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Enjoy xxxx