Tag Archives: Vegan

Moscato Poached Apricots with Lemon Verbena

There are three young apricot trees planted in pots nestling up against the Suffolk pink walls of my house.   It’s taken years to get more than a few apricots, which are eagerly awaited and even counted as they are ripening in our greedy anticipation.  This year, for the first time ever, there were enough to make jam and to make this dish several times over which, considering 6 apricots has been the best amount in previous years, is a real joy.

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Apricots ripening

I must admit that when I planted them I had visions of biting into sun-warmed apricots and having the intense apricot-y juices explode in my mouth (even dribble down my chin so juicy would they be) but sadly this is not the case.  I don’t know whether I’ve chosen the wrong varieties or whether the Suffolk sun isn’t up to the job, but sadly my apricots, though flavoursome, don’t seem to go soft and juicy.

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Thinking about poached peaches (a favourite recipe from Raymond Blanc) which really helps unripe – and therefore non juicy – peaches I decided to try the same with my apricots.  As luck would have it there was a moscato (Mrs Wigley is a truly wonderful name which makes me giggle, but you could use any sweetish wine, pink or white, sparkling or still)  on special offer, 50% off, so I decided to give it a go.

I am so glad I did.  The apricots were completely transformed into soft, juicy and full of flavour.  The finished dish uses only four ingredients and is so versatile.  It’s even vegan if you make sure you choose a vegan wine.  Using baking paper made into a cartouche (easy two stage instruction at end of post) rather than a lid allows the fruit to stay submerged and juicy.  My favourite way to serve these apricots is with madeleines warm from the oven (inspired by another food hero of mine, Rick Stein, but that maybe a stage too far) or its wonderful with vanilla ice-cream – or both!

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Blackberry and Merlot Sorbet

When anyone talks about blackberries I always think back to when I was eleven and was allowed to go on my bike with my best friend, Kirsty Kay, to go blackberrying.   I was so proud as this was my reward for passing my cycling proficiency test. I felt so grown up!  From then on, right up until I was 17, the last week of the school summer holidays was always bookmarked for me by picking blackberries.  My poor mother couldn’t keep up with my collecting abilities so there were endless jars of blackberry jam in the cupboard and bags of frozen fruit in the freezer.   Sadly, I was never very fond of the taste of blackberries themselves so I didn’t help in the eating of them – I think she had to give lots away!

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This recipe was one that helped changed my mind about blackberries.  It is a very grown up and sophisticated sorbet that is simply amazing to eat.   Perfect for the last days of summer which can often be hot and humid and you want something sweet but not heavy to round off your meal.  I always imagine eating it outside on a summers evening for some reason. Continue reading

Curry In A Hurry (From Scratch!)

You know sometimes when you get in from a long day and you just want to make something that doesn’t take forever and yet is special enough to make the effort worthwhile.    Out of store cupboard/freezer/leftovers so that is no special shopping involved.   That is adaptable.   Be you vegetarian, meat-eater, pescatarian, vegan or needing to use up fridge leftovers.   Made completely from scratch so you can pour yourself a glass of something and unwind, enjoying the cooking process without any great juggling acts.   Curry in a Hurry.   No pastes or packet mixes needed. All ready, including grinding the spices yourself, in about 30 mins.

This recipe is based on one of the most popular recipes I’ve ever put on the blog.   Sri Lankan Veg Curry.   It uses the flavour profile of that sauce, but simplified.   Using the sauce mean you can tailor it to  mood or dietary requirements or even just what you have in the fridge.    So you can add leftover meat or that ready roasted chicken you bought from the supermarket, chickpeas, roasted veg, frozen prawns or chunks of fish.  A friend of mine tested it out and used halves of boiled eggs!!??? She said it was nice though I can’t get my head around that one. Continue reading

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

I fondly remember making these with my lovely goddaughter Chloe a couple of years ago.   They were delicious.   She had a bit of time that day so made her wonderful peanut sauce to go with them – if you are reading Chloe I am still after that recipe!

Chloe is vegan now and this is her version.  I often make them and add shredded left over roast meat to the roll but, honestly, it doesn’t need it. They provide a wonderful crunchy freshness as a totally vegan dish and  I swear they make you feel good as well as being delicious.

I love  Chloe’s website www.vetyogi.com and I really would recommend you have a look   There are wonderful guides to yoga postures and my favourite – 5 minute sequences for everything from neck and shoulders to back to feet and toes   Absolutely wonderful to practice along with at any time

In the mood for something healthy, fresh, crunchy and quick to make? These Vietnamese Rolls are ideal for helping you to get some of your 5 a day, and you can use whatever you fancy (or whatever you happen to have in the fridge). I often take these to work for lunch, and I find myself really looking forward to them. I can’t pretend my way is very traditional, but to be honest as long as they taste good, I just use whatever I have in at that time. Continue reading

Aubergine Parmigiana

It’s been a wonderful year for tomatoes and aubergines and I have had a bumper crop!  But, to be honest I’d make this dish at anytime of year as the flavours are somehow rich, lively and vibrant yet comforting.   Just what you want in any season.  Layers of soft aubergine, bright tomatoes, zingy fresh basil and unctuous, stringy mozzarella  topped with a crunchy breadcrumb and parmesan topping.  Yum yum pigs bum!  Except there is no meat in this – pig or otherwise!

The first time I made this for Chloe (my goddaughter) was before she was vegan.  She loved it so much that I now regularly make it for her using vegan mozzarella and parmesan both of which are really excellent in this dish.  The brand I use is Violife.  When I make if for myself I use dairy cheese.  If I am making for both Chloe and me then a cocktail stick pushed in to the assembled dish stops any confusion and – in our house – leads to a chorus of “spot the vegan” sung to the cartoon tune of “stop the pigeon”.   I make it in individual dishes but there is nothing to stop you making this in one large dish for a family sharing meal though you’ll need to adjust the cooking time by adding an extra 15 mins.  I usually accompany the dish with either a dressed salad or green beans as a side. Continue reading

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