World Vegan Month

World Vegan Month

1st November was World Vegan Day; it marks the start of a month where people are supported by national and local groups to try out the vegan diet.

Animal Aid holds the Great Vegan Challenge which is fantastic as it provides lots of help and support. It provides participants support helping them to reduce their environmental impact, improve their health, discover amazing new food and prevent the suffering of farmed animals. http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_veggie//3339//

I have been vegan for 25 years and can vouch that it a great way of life. I am very fortunate to be able to share my knowledge of vegan food through cookery courses and cookery demonstrations.

It was a pleasure to give cookery demonstrations at the recent West Midlands Vegan Festival in Wolverhampton recently. I grew up in Wolverhampton and it’s amazing to think that veganism has grown so much that a huge two day vegan festival could be held there.

wol 2015

Being vegan has never been easier. The choice of plant based milks, cheeses, margarines and ice creams grows by the day. It’s also exciting to see key manufacturers rising to the challenge and creating vegan versions of their products. Vegan cuisine is varied and has something for everyone from convience foods to cooking from scratch to raw food diets.

Here’s a recipe I’m been making for most of my vegan life, it’s a firm favourite with all I have shared it with at cookery demos and school workshops. If you haven’t made it before I hope you enjoy it!

Spicy Chick Pea

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic crushed

1 yellow pepper chopped

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tin chick peas (or 100g dry chick peas/200g soaked weight)

½  tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground ginger, cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

chunk of creamed coconut (approx 25g)

handful of fresh coriander

2 tbsp olive oil/rapeseed oil

 

Heat oil in a pan, sauté the onion, garlic and pepper in oil, add spices and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly (add a little water if sticking).

Add the cooked chick peas, tomatoes and a little water if needed.

Bring to the boil, add the creamed coconut and simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Add the fresh coriander towards the end of cooking time.

Serve with rice or pitta bread; also goes well with jacket potato. Try adding green beans or cauliflower.

new_dish

Autumn Harvest

The fruit keeps on coming! Following a bumper crop of cherries are a great crop of apples.

apples

I have a Bramley Apple tree in the garden, this apple is one of the most popular varieties for cooking. It cooks down quickly and is delicious on top of breakfast porridge. I also make muffins, spiced apple cake and Malvern Pudding.

Our Lizzy Malvern Pudding

Our Lizzy Malvern Pudding

Malvern Pudding is a local dish. Apples are traditionally cooked with sugar and lemon zest and topped with custard which is caramelised under the grill.

Here is my version which is completely egg and dairy free. This pudding is also gluten free.

An Abundance of Cherries

I have a morello cherry tree in my garden which has produced a bumper crop of cherries this year. I have filled bowl after bowl of deep red cherries.

Morello Cherries

Morello cherries are sour and work best when cooked. The hard work is in the pitting, I have a cherry pitter but this still takes a while.

 Lots of this year’s crop has gone into the freezer. I have made soft conserve using the cherries. This works well with rich chocolate cake such as Black Forest Gateau.

jam

Morello cherries are delicious when preserved in brandy or kirsch. Spoon the cherries into clear preserving jars and top with sugar and the brandy. As a general guide use one third sugar to two thirds alcohol to fruit. Label and place in a dark cupboard for three to four months. This makes a lovely treat accompanied with chocolate brownies and ice cream. I’ve put a couple of smaller jars away to give as Christmas presents.

cherries and sugar           cherries in jars

I have also experimented and put a jar of cherry brandy away – the main attraction for this being the cherries didn’t need to be pitted! Let’s hope it works out.

I’m also looking forward to sampling some local eating cherries this year.

A Taste of Summer

The wild strawberries are amazing in my garden this year. It’s lovely popping in the mornings to pick them fresh for breakfast. Even better to serve some as part of a vegan cream tea!

Home made scones delicious topped with fresh juicy strawberries.

Makes 12  scones

Ready in 35 minutes

  • 340g/12oz self raising flour
  • 85g/3oz margarine
  • 55g/2oz caster sugar
  • 125ml/¼ soya pint milk
  • 4 tbsp plain soya yoghurt
  • pinch of salt

Pre heat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C.  Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Rub in the margarine until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Mix the milk and yoghurt together, and stir it into the mixture. Mix it together, until a soft dough is formed.

Turn onto a floured board and knead lightly. Roll out to an even thickness of about 2cm (¾ inch).

Using a 5cm (2 inch cutter) cut out scones and place on a floured baking tray. Keep rolling and cutting until the dough is used up.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Fill with jam and cream and top with a strawberry. Enjoy!

 

Our Lizzy's Vegan Cream Tea

Our Lizzy’s Vegan Cream Tea

 

Spring Greens!

I love Spring – so many shades of green! The morning light has been amazing, highlighting the many shades of green as the blossom fades!  It’s been good getting out for walks. I always enjoy collecting wild garlic and it’s been good sharing it at cookery demonstrations this Spring.

wild garlic

It works well blended with white beans to make a delicious pate.

Wild Garlic Pate                                                                                

  • 1 tin white beans e.g. butter, cannelini
  • handful of wild garlic (approx25g)
  • 1 tbsp olive/rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend.

Season, more lemon juice could be added to taste. A small amount of water may be added to achieve a dip-like consistency.

I’m also enjoying asparagus season, it’s lovely to make use of this local ingredient while it’s here. Here’s a recipe which has gone down well at local food festivals.

Our Lizzy beans

Fried Butterbeans with asparagus

 2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tin butter beans

zest of 1 lemon

1 red chilli finely chopped

handful of sliced asparagus

salt and pepper

handful chopped parsley

2 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil

Put pan on the heat, add the asparagus with a small amount of water.

When the water has absorbed add some oil. Add the butter beans and fry for a few moments.

Add the garlic, chilli and lemon zest and cook for two minutes more.

Remove from heat, season to taste and sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.

 Serve with flatbread or cous cous. Broccoli spears work well when asparagus goes out of season.

It’s been great being part of Asparafest in Evesham this year, celebrating asparagus and all things green!

Gus 2

 

Veg Fest Brighton

I am delighted to be giving a cookery demonstration this year at Brighton Veg Fest.
Our Lizzy Veg fest
This is in partnership with Animal Aid who are guests of honour. I train school speakers on behalf of Animal Aid to give cookery demonstrations to in food technology lessons. I will be sharing some of these recipes in my cookery demonstration on Saturday 28 March at 3pm.

The recipes are all healthy, low cost and really quick to make.

Vegetable Chilli
Serves 4
Ready in 15 minutes

 2 tbsp olive oil
 1 chopped onion
 1 or 2 cloves of garlic crushed
 1 pepper, chopped
 1 tin of chopped tomatoes or a carton of passata
 1 tin of kidney beans
 Approx 100g meat free mince – Linda McCartney, or any supermarket own brand.
 ½ to 1 tsp crushed dried chillies to taste
 100ml water

1. Heat oil in a pan, sauté the onion and peppers until soft.
2. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes more.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, along with the dried chillies. Bring to the boil and stir well.
4. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes; add more water if needed.
5. Taste; add more dried chillies if required.

Serve with rice or soft tortillas and salad. Leftover chilli is great for filling a jacket potato. Try adding some grated carrot or some mushrooms along with the peppers. Or replace the mince with different beans to make a mixed bean chilli.
Our Lizzy Vegetable Chilli
Sausage and Bean Casserole
Serves 4
Ready in 15 minutes

 2 tbsp olive oil
 1 onion, sliced
 1 courgette/carrot sliced
 1 tin white beans e.g. butter, cannellini, rinsed and drained
 4 ready cooked veggie sausages e.g. Redwoods/Fry’s Polony, sliced
 1 tin chopped tomatoes or a carton of passata
 ½ tsp paprika or smoked paprika
 chopped parsley to taste
 black pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a pan, sauté onion and courgette add paprika and stir briefly.
2. Add the tomatoes/passata, beans and sausages.
3. Stir well, add water if needed.
4. Cook for 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced.
5. Add fresh parsley and black pepper as required.

Good served with jacket potato or rice. Try it with baked sweet potato. Other vegetables could be used, for example peppers and mushrooms. Butternut squash works well. A red onion could be used – this gives a sweeter flavour. Experiment with gently frying the slices of sausage first before adding to the dish.

Cooks tip: Passata works well. If you are using tinned tomatoes you may need 1tbsp tomato puree to help thicken the sauce.

Spicy Chick Pea

One of my all time favourite recipes, see my website for instructions on how to make it.

http://www.ourlizzy.com/recipe-vegan-spicy-chick-pea.htm

Learning to make sourdough bread

I love eating sourdough bread but making it had always been a mystery! I recently teamed up with Janice Bell of Bread at Home to learn how to make the perfect loaf.

Our Soups and Sourdough day was great fun with Janice teaching the bread and myself teaching a variety of homemade soups to compliment the bread.

Janice Bell of Bread at Home

Janice Bell of Bread at Home

Sourdough is the older traditional way of making bread and was widely used before yeast was manufactured. It is actually a lot easier as there is less kneading involved – it’s just a question of working out what time you would like your bread cooked and working backwards in stages.

Sourdough starter is mixed with water and flour to make a sponge this is left over night and mixed with water, flour and some salt to create a very soft dough. Working the gluten involves giving the dough a really good stretch!
stretch the dough

After lots of time for resting prepare proving baskets with a dusting of rice flour. Then shape the loaves, place in the baskets and leave to rest.
prepare proving baskets

When the dough is fully proved turn onto a tray, slash and bake in a hot oven.

A finished loaf!

A finished loaf!

I’m looking forward to baking sourdough on a regular basis for B and B guests. If you are interested in learning how to make sourdough or other sorts of bread please get in touch with myself or Janice for course details. http://www.ourlizzy.com http://breadmakingworkshops.co.uk/

Start the year and the day with a good breakfast!

Happy New Year!
Breakfast is always a good way to start the day so I thought I’d share this quick and easy recipe with you. It’s a popular choice with my B and B guests. Tofu is high in protein and this scramble is cooked without fat. Up to you how much sunflower margarine you then spread on the toasted bread!
scrambled tofu
Breakfast Scramble

1 pack long life silken tofu
½ small onion finely chopped
pinch of turmeric
pinch of Marigold bouillon powder
salt and pepper to taste
fresh herbs to taste

Add the tofu to a pan, mash with a fork. Add the onion along with a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of bouillon powder.

Place on heat and cook for about three minutes.

Season with salt black pepper and fresh herbs as required.

Serve on a bagel or fresh toast.

A perfect start to the first Meat Free Monday of 2015. I’ll look forward to serving this in Farmhouse Breakfast Week later this month!

Festive Smoky Bean and Squash Strudel

I’ve had a busy few weeks teaching the different Christmas cookery courses. It’s good having new inspiration for vegetarian main course dishes. I wanted to share a recipe which has been popular this year. I’ve enjoyed using the autumn squash and it’s good taking them through to Christmas. It also makes use of another favourite ingredients Hodmedod’s yummy black badgers also known as carlin peas. This dish is also nut free so suitable for gatherings where there may be people who are allergic to nuts.

Hope you enjoy it!
squash strudel
Smoky Bean and Squash Strudel

1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
200g roasted squash slices
150g cooked beans, e.g. carlin peas
½ carton of passata
½ tsp smoked paprika
extra virgin rapeseed oil
salt and pepper to taste
230g pack of ready rolled puff pastry (Jus Rol)
soya milk to glaze

Roast the slices of squash in the oven or in a heavy pan on the hob.

Heat oil in a pan, sauté the onion and garlic. Add the paprika and cook briefly.

Add the beans and passata bring to the boil, and stir well.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the liquid is reduced.

Add the roasted squash to the pan and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 220°/Gas 7.

Roll out the pastry, place on a greased baking tray. Cut off a narrow strip to use for decoration.

Spread the cooled mixture on half the pastry and fold the pastry over to cover. Seal edges brush with milk and decorate with pastry strips or star shapes.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden.
festive squash

Amazing Autumn Squashes

I love the colours of autumn; these are shown in the amazing variety of squash which is harvested at this time of year.

I was fortunate to meet Hayley and Jim from Hotchpotch Organics which is based at Elmney Castle near Pershore. http://www.hotchpotchorganics.co.uk/ they grow a fabulous selection of squash, it was a great opportunity to try out varieties that I had never used before.

Celebration, sweet Dumpling, Onion, Delicata, Buttercup

Celebration, sweet Dumpling, Onion, Delicata, Buttercup

My favourites were:
Delicata oblong-shaped squash has a golden flesh with a nutty flavour and creamy smooth texture. Buttercup is large and dark green in colour. It has a dry, flaky, almost potato-like flesh that bakes and roasts really well.

During the last weekend of September it was the Malvern Autumn Show at the Three Counties Showground. I demonstrated on the Wot’s Cooking stage.

Malvern Autumn Show Our Lizzy on the Wot's Cooking Stage

Malvern Autumn Show Our Lizzy on the Wot’s Cooking Stage

One of the dishes I made was a risotto using spelt and onion squash the recipe for this in on my website. http://www.ourlizzy.com/butternut-squash-risotto.htm

I run a course dedicated to autumn squashes. We make a selection of soups, casseroles and stuffing’s.

Hope you enjoy this recipe; it works well with Sweet Dumpling or Delicata.

Stuffed Squash

Wash and cut the squash lengthways. Scoop out the seeds and membrane using a spoon, trim with a small knife if needed.

  • ½ onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 roasted red pepper chopped
  • 1 tin flageolet beans
  • ½ tin chopped tomatoes/passata
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • ½ tsp Italian dried herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Rinse and drain the flageolet beans.

Heat oil and sauté the onion until soft then add the garlic, peppers and beans. Sauté until the beans are turning golden. Add the tomatoes and stir well – you may want to add some tomato puree if needed.

Add the mixed herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the filling into the squash. Cover with foil and bake at 200°/Gas 6 for 30 minutes. Remove the foil drizzle with oil and bake for 15 minutes more.
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