recipes vegan

Pasta sauce – pumpkin, spinach, tomato, lentil

I was surprised to find that Julian really liked this ‘I really don’t want to go shopping tonight so what do I have in the cupboard’ sauce – in fact he ate it as a soup/stew.

Put around 100g of red lentils in a pan of boiling water (unsalted) & boil for around 15 mins until tender & add salt and drain to give a thick soupy consistency. In the interim chop up around 200g of a washed pumpkin (e.g. 1/4 of a butternut) and cook in the microwave until tender but not falling apart. I leave the skin on because it becomes soft anyway and takes ages to peel. Fry 1 chopped onion with 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic. Add the lentils, 1.5 tins of tomatoes or 1 x 700mL bottle of passata, some sprigs of thyme & oregano and bring to the boil. Then add around 200g of well washed roughly chopped spinach, put the lid on the pan & simmer for about 2 minutes until the spinach is soft.

I would eat this with a more substantial pasta (e.g. bows or spirals) to carry the sauce and if I had had any I would have stirred ricotta or creme fraiche through the pasta before putting the sauce on top. But I didn’t so just grated parmesan on top.

To drink: a robust fruity but unoaked red.

Vegan friendly.

recipes vegan

Helen’s Christmas cake recipe

….for this year – nice & moist with the apple! Apparently english people would eat it with a nice piece of cheddar. I’m fine with that though I quite like it plain!

250g unsalted butter
340mL apple juice
~950g of mixed dried fruit, my preferred mix:
250g pitted dates chopped
200g dried figs
200g prunes
320g mixed dried fruit (includes peel but not fake cherries!)
1 big granny smith or other tart apple peeled, cored & grated
1tsp bicarb
150g plain flour
150g ground almonds
150g whole almonds
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
finely grated zest 1 orange & 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 150C (140C for fan). Melt butter in large saucepan with apple juice, add & stir all the items up until the line of dots, bring to the boil & simmer for 5 mins.
Transfer the mix to a large mixing bowl & stir in the bicarb (will sizzle like mad) & leave to cool for 10 mins.
Mix in the dry ingredients.
Transfer to a greased 20cm tin (wrap with alfoil if it’s a spring form as the butter will leak). Tie a circle of baking paper over the tin, prick it with a fork to release steam.
Bake for 2.5h approx. Ready when a skewer comes out clean.

For Christmas wrap well in baking paper, make holes in the top with a skewer & regularly feed with with some calvados or brandy.

(N.B. the original recipe says use 315g of butter, so if you feel that the mix is too dry, feel free to add more butter!)

recipes vegan

Simple pumpkin & lentil curry (vegan)

I found this recipe in The Age a long time ago & it’s very good. With lentils I don’t worry too much if I don’t have the correct variety, I use whatever is to hand rather than go out on a special shopping expedition!

200g chana dhal (lentils)

vege oil

either 1 large onion sliced or a handful of those fried onion flakes available in asian stores

1.5 tsp cumin seeds

2 small red chillies, slit

600-700g pumpkin (= 1 butternut) chopped into 2cm chunks (life’s too short to peel a pumpkin!)

20 curry leaves

1 tsp brown mustard seeds

Cook the dhal in 500mL water in a covered pan 30 mins or until nearly cooked.

If life isn’t too short to fry an onion fry the onion with a pinch of salt until brown in a medium saucepan, remove the onion & then fry the cumin seeds in the same pan for a few seconds, before tipping in the dhal. Add the chilli, pumpkin, some salt & cover. Simmer stirring regularly until the pumpkin is soft. Add the curry leaves. Heat the mustard seeds in a dry small pan until they crackle & then tip into the pumpkin mix. Serve with the fried onion on top with steamed basmati rice.

food recipes vegan

Rice with pulses (one dish vegan meal), much nicer than the ‘saffron rice’ at Indian restaurants

150g split yellow lentils

vege oil

60g dessicated coconut soaked for an hour in 60mL water (I’m going to try it dry next time)

7 dried red chillies

2tsp corainder seeds

1 tsp split chickpeas (chana dal)

1 tsp split black lentils (urid dal)

1tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

500g basmati rice

50g tamarind soaked in 120mL boiling water for 10mins, then strained to get the water


vege oil

1tsp mustard seeds

10 curry leaves

3 tbs chopped raw cashew nuts (the original recipe uses 1 tbs, but they’re very good!)

Boil the yellow lentils in 450mL water until tender, drain.

Fry the coconut, chillies, corainder seeds, extra lentils, turmeric, fenugreek in oil in a frying pan until fragrant. Cool, then grind to a fine powder (so I bashed them until I lost patience in a mortar & pestle).

Rinse the rice, simmer it in 1L salted water for approx 20mins.

Then add the yellow lentils, tamarind water & coconut etc. powder. Cook for a further 5mins, add a little more water if necessary.

For the tempering heat the oil in a small saucepan, add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop add the curry leaves & cashew nuts & cook, stirring, until the nuts turn golden brown. Pour the mixture over the cooked rice, mix & serve hot.

food recipes vegan

Ginger Parkin – no eggs, vegan suitable if you use margarine & soy milk!

mmmm cake! This is exceedingly easy to make & tastes a bit like anzac biscuits! It’s nice & moist and would work as a pudding with custard. Don’t worry the mix is really liquid, it turns out fine!

Preheat the over to 150 deg.

Melt in the microwave a mix of:

200mL milk

2 tbs golden syrup

110g butter

In a bowl or mixer mix:

175g plain flour

200g sugar (raw would be nice, white is fine though!)

125g porridge oats

1.5 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp bicarb

grated one thumbs length of fresh ginger (optional) – with ginger the exact amount is unimportant – more = stronger ginger flavour!

Mix the melted ingredients into the dry using whisk or mixer.

Bake in a buttered loaf tin for 45 mins. I hate lining tins, but this is a sticky cake so I’d have to recommend lining the base of this one!

Makes 16 squares.