Archive for the ‘Recipes & Preserving’ Category

Here in the UK we have a brand of non-animal meat substitute called Quorn, they do a Vegan range other than their normal vegetarian meat substitute products. It is made from Mycoprotein which according to my research is made from a fungi called ‘fusarium venenatum’, once the fermentation process has finished, it can either be Vegan by seasoning and mixing with Potato Protein or just Vegetarian by mixing with free range egg. Quorn is used as the meat substitute in this recipe, however please note, I am not a Vegan and, as I couldn’t get hold of the Vegan Minced ”Beef” from my regular shop, I used the egg based one – there are also other brands of Meat Free alternatives out there, the market is growing …

 

 

I have started using Non-Meat alternatives mainly because of the fact that most farm animals in the UK and Europe have been fed with GMO feed for many years despite the general opposition to GMO ”technology”, the other alternative if you can afford it is to buy only Organic Meat products.

I use Bolognese sauce not only as a nice family dinner but also ensure to bulk it up a lot so that I can freeze perhaps 2 or maybe 3 takeaway containers full of the lef-tovers for future last-minute quick dinners or for work lunch (In a food flask).

Another option if you don’t have a lot left over, is to chop up the pasta and mix it into the remaining sauce, you can throw this into a container in the fridge and can use it as a toasted sandwich filling the next day!

Ingredients:

  • Pack of Vegan or Vegetarian ”Beef” (Usually 300g),
  • Spagetti or Fuscilli etc,
  • Peas,
  • 1 or half of an Aubergine (Egg plant / Brinjal),
  • 2-3 Tbsp Lentils (Any colour),
  • 3 Tbsp Bulgar Wheat (Optional, but helps to bulk it up),
  • Chopped Onion,
  • Tin of Organic Chopped Tomatoes,
  • Bottle of Organic Passata (Not entirely necessary but makes it nicer),
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree,
  • Salt, Pepper and Italian herbs such as Basil, Oregano and Rosemary
  • Nettle Seeds (Optional – these need to be foraged, they are already available Now due to the weird season we have had this year – June 2018)
  • Optional – if needed, you may find this recipe to be quite sharp / sour, if so you might need to sweeten it a little bit, I recommend using ketchup instead of sugar

Method:

  1. Throw in some Olive Oil into a decent sized Medium – Large pot, heat up and add in your Meat or Substitute, cook for a few minutes then take out and place in a temporary bowl,
  2. add a cup or slightly more of water into the same pot and cook the Lentils and Bulgar Wheat, you can sprinkle in the nettle seeds if using any, cook for 10 or so minutes, then scoop out into the same bowl as the Meat or Substitute – it does not matter if there is any water remaining,
  3. Add more Olive Oil and fry the Chopped Onion and Chopped Aubergine (Brinjal / Eggplant), cook until the Aubergine is lightly brown but mostly soft throughout – you can add in some salt here if you like, perhaps some spices like Paprica,
  4. Add in the Passata and tin of Chopped Tomatoes, as well as the tomato puree, you can throw in some stock too at this point (Beef stock for non-vegan and Vegetable stock for everyone else) – Creating liquid stock from store-bought product is quite easy, I will post soon on this subject,
  5. Once all is mixed in, throw in your herbs and add the bowl of ”Meat / Substitute” and Lentils / Wheat, mix all in and let simmer for 30 mins to an hour – in the meantime you can heat a pot of water to cook your chosen pasta in.
  6. For further bulking up, you can also throw in some Grated Carrot (Don’t use more than half a carrot), chopped celery, Courgette (Zucchini) etc! Try not to skip the Aubergine, they really do add a great taste to this recipe!
  7. Serve and Enjoy!
Bolog Finished.JPG

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

For all of my recipes including Vegan, Cakes, cough / cold medicines, jams & Jelly, Chutneys, Soups, Pies, Smoothies, Cider and Vinegar, Wine and CompotesClick Here.

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This really is a very delicious soup and people who don’t like broccoli much will usually say it’s actually quite nice!!

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Organic Vegan Broccoli Soup

  • 3-4  Heads of Broccoli – chopped (or 1 per person being served),
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil,
  • Big pot of Boiling Water (enough to cover the Broccoli),
  • Salt ‘n Pepper to taste

Bring the pot of water to boiling point, throw in the Broccoli and let go to boil again, add in some salt (skip the salt if you are going to use the excess ”stock” as liquid plant feed). Once boiling, time 3.5 – 4 minutes then switch off. It’s best to let it cool down a bit before throwing the broccoli chunks into the blender, blend some with about half a cup of the remaining water and keep blending / adding water little by little – DON’T add too much in one go! Just keep going until you have a nice smooth consistency, once you are happy then throw in the olive oil and blend again with your salt and pepper. Serve with some nice Crusty Soup bread – I like to do a large batch and freeze a couple servings to take to work in the coming months…

With the price of Organic produce going lower and lower, there’s no excuse anymore in not having at least a part-healthy diet! Yes, a head of Organic broccoli is about a third smaller than non-organic, but it’s the nutrient content and health benefits we are looking at, not the size (bulk) – FACT: Chemically treated produce has less nutrient value and ARE subsequently, bad for your health!!!

For further Vegan recipes that also have non-vegan options, check out:

Mushroom Soup and Berry / Fruit Smoothies

This recipe is actually a non-vegan smoothie which I adapted after having vegan friends around whom I didn’t know yet were vegans!

bbs

Vegan Blackberry Smoothie

  • A cup full of Berries (Preferably from last year’s food foraging?),
  • A cup full of Fresh Apple Juice,
  • 1x Ripe Banana,
  • Not necessary but, honey to add in if you or your expected guest/s have a sweet tooth (usually about 1tsp to 1 tbsp depending how keen you are on your dentist!),
  • For Non-Vegan, add half to one cup natural yogurt,
  • Optional: Pre-soaked Nettle seeds and/or chia seed, you could even throw in some home made Elderflower Cordial!

Place all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth and serve – honestly, honey is not necessary as the apple juice and banana are more than enough for sweetener.

If you find yourself saying that this is not sweet enough, then you should look at gradually reducing your sugar intake. The way I reduced my sugar was to have half a teaspoon less in my tea / coffee and every few months reducing a bit more, I am now down to no sugar at all in tea and only one teaspoon in a coffee. I can now have a little as a teaspoon of honey in my morning porridge – compared to the early / mid nineties where I would have 2-3 Tablespoons in a cereal.

There I was thinking I have already posted this recipe years ago, so making this tonight I had a look and yep, not shared this one yet!

mushy soop

The Vegan option, as well as the milk instead of pouring cream, are all my own adaptions. This is a great recipe that can be changed to suit your own needs or taste as I discovered when tasting it before the blending stage …

What’ needed:

  • 500g Mushrooms, I recommend mixing two varieties,
  • 50g soft butter (Use oil for vegan version),
  • 1x Onion Chopped,
  • 1 Ltr Vegetable Stock (powdered stock makes 1 ltr with 4x level teaspoons),
  • 150ml pouring cream or full cream milk (Skip step for Vegan recipe),
  • 3x tbsp general flour,
  • Salt and Pepper,
  • Garnish with chopped parsley,

Method:

  1. Chop the mushrooms and cook for 5 min’s in half of the butter / oil, chop your onion whilst cooking the mushrooms.
  2. Remove the mushrooms from the pot with a spoon leaving as much of the juice in the pot, now add rest of the butter . oil, the onions and cook for a few min’s.
  3. Add in one tablespoon of flour whilst stirring the onions, keep adding until all three tablespoons have been added, keep stirring and cook for 1-2 mins,
  4. Add in the 1ltr of Vegetable Stock, the mushrooms and cook for 10-12 min’s, afterwards, remove and blend until smooth (Skip this step if you prefer a textured/ chunky soup) – Vegans stop here, serve with some chopped parsley, check the taste and add in salt / pepper if necessary and enjoy!!
  5. Add in the pouring cream or full cream milk together with the blended soup, return to the pot and cook for a further 5mins or so, check your seasonings and serve with chopped parsley … this recipe, as with most soup recipes, goes very well with buttered French Bread

Notes:

Some brands of Vegetable Stock can be quite salty so you could find you don’t even have to add any salt to the soup! A healthier brand I use and recommend is Marigold Organic Swiss Buillon.

There are enough Dandelion flowers in bloom that you can start collecting now for various recipes, Last year’s Dandelion Flower Wine was a great success as well as the Jam – I still have one bottle of Wine left which us being saved for s good sunny day.

dandelion gorilla 1

Today I collected enough for a batch of Jam, this recipe will be an annual mainstay in my home preservation to-do list, the only other Jam recipe I like almost as much is an experimental one which includes Fuschia berries, Ginger and Crab Apples – this recipe, will remain top-secret for now unfortunately 😉

I noticed today that many of the flowers are in bloom all at once owing probably to the sudden 10 Deg Cel. + more heat we have had since the previous week, compared to last year where the plants gradually sent up flowering stalks a few at a time – in conclusion I recommend you get out now before the plants run out of energy and shoots! Throwing a bag in the fridge / freezer is always an option when you don’t think you can get hold of enough in one go!

Another recipe is Dandelion Root Coffee, you merely collect enough dandelion roots to fill a typical oven baking tray.

Wash them pretty well, chop them into small +- 3cm / 1 in long pieces and lay out on a baking tray and cook in the oven until they brown and become a bit crusty (to be able to crush them into a powder) this calls for carefully keeping an eye and ensuring the roots don’t burn. Once complete, just crush them into a powder and store in a jar – some people wrongfully call Dandelion Coffee a ”Coffee Substitute” this is a different taste and is much healthier …

Links for recipes:

I have been making Apple Cider (even a semi Pear Cider) and Cider Vinegar using a very very very veeerrrry simple recipe now for 3 years running, so simple in fact that you Do Not Need a Fruit Press!

Young Organic Apple Jonagold on an urban Permaculture Farm

Organically Grown Jonagold Apples – Cider & Vinegar Making

What you need is: Apples, Water, Container/s (5ltr / 1 Gal), Sugar (1 Cup), Knife with Chopping board … and Time – That’s It!

What I recommend is to get hold of a few different varieties of apple (even some pears), try your best not to use only one apple variety.

Click the Link Here for the full recipe with explanation between Cider only and Cider Vinegar as the final result.

Nature provides! I say no more, well I still have to give you all the basic recipe for this natural Immune System Booster.

At the moment, Elderberries (‘Sambucus nigra‘) are still available on most Elder trees (pay attention to trees that are mostly in shaded areas or situated behind / under larger shrub or trees as these will bare berries a little later or / the berries will take a bit longer to spoil).

 

I emphasise on the importance in obtaining Fresh berries as opposed to buying dried berries online, buying online should be a last resort only if you have actually made the effort in trying to locate the Trees and found none or if you live in a highly polluted area…

The steps are really simple and this syrup can be made into many different recipes for various Medicinal Benefits, here however, I am giving the very basic recipe and you can then go ahead to try different herbs / spices to make different batches for the Flu / Cold season.

What’s needed:

  • Harvested Elderberries that are enough to make Two Cups of loose berries (I recommend you pick a lot and freeze he rest but please, remember to leave some for birds and other wildlife),
  • Water (2x Cups),
  • Local Honey (One Jar per 2 cups of berries),
  • Muslin cloth or bags,
  • Optional: Cloves, Ginger, Thyme, Cinnamon sticks etc. for more advanced medicines

Method:

  • Place the Two Cups of Elderberries in a Saucepan / Pot together with the Two Cups of water and a cinnamon stick, then boil,
  • Once Boiling, lower the heat and simmer until the liquid reduces to around half the original volume,
  • Pour into a heat resistant container and let cool down to room temperature ( a measuring container might be best for your first time),
  • Once cool, pour the mixture through a Muslin cloth or bag into a new container, lift out the cloth / bag and give it a good squeeze to release extra juices,
  • Add the same amount of Local Honey as your leftover liquid so for example, if you had 350ml of the juice after it cooled down, then add 350ml of Local Honey and mix well,
  • Place into clean sterilised jars (I Highly recommend the Washing and Oven method)
sambucus nigra

‘Sambucus nigra’ – Ripe Elderberries

This recipe is to boost the immune system for the flu and cold months and needs to be placed in the fridge / freezer immediately.

Dosage:

  • Take one spoonful every morning during or near the flu season, increase to three times per day if you feel flu or a cold coming on.

In the fridge this should last 3-4 months only so I reccommend actually making a large batch (4x cups of Elderberries makes around 3 standard jam / honey jars with some leftover) and freezing the rest to keep aside for closer to December onwards.

One good idea I have seen is to pour them into ice trays for freezing, you can then remove a few cubes for your own use anytime between or before December!

elderberry syrup

Elderberry ‘Sambucus nigra’ Syrup, medicinal recipe