Monday, 29 April 2013

Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps

Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps - vegan.

Potato salad you can eat with your hands.....cleanly!!

Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps - vegan.

Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps - vegan.

....or not! It's up to you :-)

Creamy Curried Potato Salad - vegan.

This is such a good potato salad. I was after a creamy curry type potato salad and liked the looks of this one on BBC Good Food as it was so easy and sounded taste wise like my kind of thing. It is delicious! Creamy with only a mild taste of curry - nothing overpowering here, and crunchy celery together make a perfect potato salad.

I first had it in a bowl lined with a large leaf of romaine, mostly as I was too lazy at the time to make another leaf salad to go on the side! They went well together but it was a little hard to eat as you had to cut the leaf as you ate it. 

Creamy Curried Potato Salad - vegan.
A perfect lunch with a tall refreshing glass of Peach Moon!

The answer was obvious - roll the salad up into the leaf! I'm sure I'm not the first to do this but it really only now dawned on me that this could be done (!)

Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps - vegan.

Recipe makes a large bowl of potato salad, would serve 4 as a main dish. Depending on the size of your leaves it could make about 8 lettuce rolls. I found 2 lettuce rolls made a satisfying lunch.

Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps - vegan.

• around 625g new potatoes, halved if large
• 5 spring onions
• ½ Tbsp peanut oil
• ½ tsp brown mustard seeds
• ½ Tbsp madras curry paste
• 100g plain soy yogurt
• 2 Tbsp vegan mayo
• 1 large stick of celery, sliced thin
• ½ tsp sea salt
• 5 grinds of black pepper
• ¼ tsp black onion seeds
 a few large leaves of romaine lettuce - for the wraps.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add the potatoes. Boil for 15 - 20 minutes or until just tender. Drain, run cold water over them then plunge them into a large bowl filled with ice. Leave for about 10 minutes or until cool, they don't have to be cold now, just cooler than they were.

While the potatoes are cooking, slice the white part of the spring onion saving the green part. Heat the peanut oil in a small frying pan and add the white spring onions, mustard seeds and curry paste. Fry gently for about 3 minutes until the onions are softer and the curry is fragrant. 

Scrape all of this into a bowl then whisk in the mayo until smooth, then whisk in the yogurt until smooth. Transfer to a rubber spatula and fold in the celery and the sliced green parts of the spring onions.

Drain the potatoes then peel them and dice them. (Note - I usually always peel but if I have a particularly stubborn peel on the potato that doesn't want to easily slide off then I'll just leave it on.) Add all the potato to the bowl and fold gently with the spatula until well coated in dressing. Fold in the onion seeds then cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until chilled.

Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps - vegan.

To make the wraps, take a large leaf of romaine and slice the pointed end off so you have a more rounded leaf. If the spine is too thick to roll then pare it down with a knife. Spoon some of the potato salad onto the centre, fold the left and right ends over then roll it up away from you.

Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps - vegan.

Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps - vegan.

Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps - vegan.

 As you can eat these with your hands - they are not messy either, they would make a great item to take on a picnic or a packed lunch. Simply wrap up the rolls into cling film and pack with some fresh fruit or whatever you like! Those 2 there were wrapped in cling film overnight in the fridge and the lettuce was still nice and crisp the next day - nothing went soggy. 

Packed Lunch with Creamy Curried Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps

Nutritional Information: this is for the whole recipe, divide as you need. For a main dish serving, assuming you get 4 servings out of it then it would be 200 calories. If you get 8 lettuce wraps from it then they would be about 105 calories each, but that will depend on the size of your leaves and how much you can stuff them :-)

Calories: 800
Protein: 18.5g
Fat: 30.5g
Sat Fat: 4.0g
Carbs: 116.8g
Sugar: 8.0g
Fibre: 15.3g
Sodium: 1654mg

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Friday, 26 April 2013

Peach Moon

Peach Moon - Blue Moon beer, peach schnapps and orange juice.

Blue Moon beer, peach schnapps and orange juice. Quite easily my new favourite drink for the summer. I saw this, as many others have, on Pinterest as it's making the rounds. I liked it and tucked it away to have a look at later when I had the ingredients to make it. 

I finally bought myself some Blue Moon, clicked on the link and realized it was just a link to a restaurant's drink menu - no recipe!! 

Aarrrgh!! How much peach schnapps?? How much OJ?? Is it like a shandy type drink with half OJ and half beer or the type you just add a shot of OJ to? Sigh....a further google search came up with pretty much nothing.

So, I got experimenting and actually fell in love with the first proportions I put together - 1 shot of peach schnapps, 2 shots of orange juice to one 330ml bottle of Blue Moon. It's gorgeous: peachy, refreshing and like summer in a glass - enjoy!

Peach Moon

• 1 x 330ml bottle of original Blue Moon beer
• 1.5 fl oz shot of Archer's Peach Schnapps
• 3 fl oz shot of smooth orange juice
• slice of orange

Pour the Blue Moon slowly into a large glass about halfway, add the schnapps and orange juice, give it a little stir then fill the glass up with the rest of the blue moon and give it another little stir. Add a slice of orange to the glass for garnish.

Source: Seen on Pinterest from Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que.

This is Blue Moon for those who haven't heard of it (vegan as well of course). It's a Belgian style white beer (from America) and as stated on the bottle "Brewed with white wheat and oats, Blue Moon features a crisp wheat finish and the perfect combination of orange peel and coriander." It comes in other flavours but it's this original one you want to use here. For the record, I do love this beer on it's own as well!

There are other brands of peach schnapps but Archer's is vegan according to Barnivore and the one I used here.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Smoky and Spicy Sausage and Tomato Pappardelle Pasta

Smoky and Spicy Sausage and Tomato Pappardelle Pasta - vegan

Well, from a rather complicated salad which involved making 2 homemade vegan cheeses and 2 days to make to a ridiculously easy and very tasty pasta dish for you, dead easy to whip up for dinner.

As good as this was using all the ingredients I did, don't feel you can only make it with the ingredients I used. Replace the sausages with your favourite brand, the hot smoked paprika with any type of smoked paprika, smoked sea salt with regular table salt or the pappardelle with any old pasta shape :-) 

(I absolutely love pappardelle, it just has such a silky texture which goes lovely with "meat" style pasta sauces. It can be hard to find without egg but Tesco have started selling one - scroll down to see photo below - which I am most pleased about!)

I used these Wicken Fen Tomato and Garlic Sausages to make the sauce. They are vegan and the flavour just goes perfectly in this dish. I think I actually prefer them as a pasta sauce than I do on their own! Like everything else here though, just swap with whatever vegan sausages you like. If you can, make sure it's a brand that crumbles easily - Fry's for example wouldn't work really well. 

As you can see, I kept this pasta as is but some sliced fried mushrooms would be a gorgeous addition, as would serving this with some Garlic Bread!

The smoked paprika I used here - Tesco's, doesn't state that it is hot but it is. It's like cayenne pepper hot! If you are using just a regular smoked paprika and still want a spicy dish simply add between 1/8 - 1/4 tsp of red chilli flakes at the same time as the paprika.

Smoky and Spicy Sausage and Tomato Pappardelle
serves 2

• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• ½ onion, diced
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• ¼ tsp hot smoked paprika
• ½ of a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (don't drain)
• ½ Tbsp tomato paste (puree)
• ¼ tsp smoked sea salt
• 1/8 tsp sugar
• 150g Pappardelle Pasta (dry weight)
• 2 Wicken Fen garlic and tomato sausages

If using these sausages cook them from frozen in the microwave for 2 minutes then crumble by hand. If using another brand, follow their instructions for cooking but opt for a way that won't give a crispy coating like frying as that will make the sausages hard to crumble. If they are sausages that are already cooked you can just defrost and crumble as they get heated in the sauce.

The sausages crumbled.

Get a large pot of lightly salted water on for the pasta and cook until al dente. 

While it is cooking, heat the olive oil in a smaller saucepan then add the chopped onion. Fry gently until soft and transparent. Add the garlic and paprika and fry on low just until fragrant - about 30 seconds.

Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, smoked sea salt and sugar. Bring to a simmer then add the cooked and crumbled sausages. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes, you can add a splash of water if needed.

Drain the pasta reserving some of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot and pour over the sauce. Mix well adding enough of the cooking water to make a loose sauce. Dish up onto a couple of plates and serve immediately!

Smoky and Spicy Sausage and Tomato Pappardelle Pasta - vegan

Nutritional Information: per serving, will vary depending on brand of sausages used.

Calories: 475
Protein: 16.1g
Fat: 12.4g
Sat Fat: 2.2g
Fibre: 4.1g
Carbs: 75.4g
Sugar: 7.2g
Sodium: 605.3mg

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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Got Leftovers?

I realize my previous recipe, the Creamy Lemon Barley Salad with Asparagus and Peppered Almond Feta leaves you with a lot of salad component leftovers - extra feta, extra creamy lemon dressing and extra yogurt cheese so I thought I would give you some ideas on things to make with them. NOTE - recipes for the yogurt cheese, feta and salad dressing are in the barley salad post.

Dilled Yogurt Cream Cheese Type Spread
Vegan Dilled Yogurt Cream Cheese Spread

First, I like to make a simple cream cheese type spread with the yogurt cheese. It gets thick enough in the fridge to spread so I add salt, onion powder, garlic powder and dried dill for a really nice, tangy spread. I've shown it here on ryvita crackers but it's fab on bagels too!

• yogurt cheese
• sea salt
• onion powder
• garlic powder
• dried dill

Simply mix together to taste.

Baby Spinach, Romaine and Avocado Salad with Peppered Almond Feta, Pumpkin Seeds and a Creamy Lemon Mint Dressing
Baby Spinach, Romaine and Avocado Salad with Peppered Almond Feta, Pumpkin Seeds and a Creamy Lemon Mint Dressing

Baby Spinach, Romaine and Avocado Salad with Peppered Almond Feta, Pumpkin Seeds and a Creamy Lemon Mint Dressing

Second, you can use the creamy lemon dressing as a regular salad dressing but note - it's too lemony for a leaf dressing. That strong lemon taste gets subdued in the barley salad but it's pretty full on otherwise. The dressing also gets quite thick when it sits in the fridge so just water it down slightly - that both brings the texture back to normal and dilutes the taste. For these salads I also added chopped fresh mint for a creamy lemon mint dressing and it was gorgeous!

Baby Spinach, Romaine and Avocado Salad with Peppered Almond Feta, Pumpkin Seeds and a Creamy Lemon Mint Dressing

• baby spinach
• romaine leaves, torn
• shallots
• avocado, diced
• cucumber, sliced and quartered
• toasted pumpkin seeds
• peppered almond feta
• creamy lemon mint dressing 

This was an absolutely delicious salad!! Just gently toss everything but the feta and pumpkin seeds in a good amount of dressing until well coated then crumble the feta on top and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds.

 Asparagus, Peppered Almond Feta and Pine Nut Pizza
Asparagus, Peppered Almond Feta and Pine Nut Pizza

Third, if you still have feta leftover and some asparagus you can make this pizza I made - it's SO GOOD! I just used a store bought pizza base here to make it easy but you can also make your own base

• pizza base
• peppered almond feta
• asparagus
• olive oil
• salt and pepper
• toasted pine nuts

Simply bake the base plain until cooked - crisp base and puffy and golden. Remove from the oven and spread the peppered almond feta over top - not too thick, just a nice even spread. Sauté the asparagus whole in a little olive oil, pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper until just fork tender, place a lid over now and again to steam it as you fry. Lay on top of the pizza then sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. 

Asparagus, Peppered Almond Feta and Pine Nut Pizza

I served mine with a simple mixed leaf, avocado and cucumber side salad tossed with the creamy lemon mint dressing as per instructed above. A beautiful simple dinner!

Asparagus, Peppered Almond Feta and Pine Nut Pizza

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Creamy Lemon Barley Salad with Asparagus and Peppered Almond Feta

Creamy Lemon Barley Salad with Asparagus and Peppered Feta - vegan.
(First, a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me in The Vegan Woman's 2013 Food Blog Guide!! Second place is such an honour and there was such lovely things said there. Makes it all worthwhile. Thank you.)

Now - Finally! A new recipe!! I should say that I haven't been completely inactive on the blog front, if you follow the daily blog you'll know I've been revisiting a lot of my older posts and trying different variations of things and updating those posts accordingly. 

I made things like....

 ...Kahlua Chocolate Mousse from the Triple Layer Mousse Dessert in individual cups...

 ....a gorgeous pizza loaded with roasted veg, toasted pine nuts, black olives, rocket and drizzled with balsamic vinegar...(ok, that's not an updated recipe but it was so good I had to show it here!).....

 ....these salad rolls by Rawthentic but made my own spicy nut butter dip (stunning!!).....

.....a variation of my Crispy Fried Tofu in Spicy Teriyaki Sauce for my tofu hating husband replacing it with sugar snap peas, asparagus and chick peas...a wonderful option for the tofu haters!.....

For Easter dinner I made these bunny rolls using my Light and Fluffy Pull Apart Rolls recipe - ok, they turned out a little bit like bunny/kitty hybrids but they're cute so we'll forgive that!

So, I have been busy updating the blog, there's just not been a NEW post for awhile....until now! 

Back to the feature post  - Creamy Lemon Barley Salad with Asparagus and Peppered Almond Feta. This is a lovely salad: cool, creamy and zesty with perfect hits of peppery almond feta, crunchy pine nuts and fresh mint and featuring my all time favourite veg - asparagus, now in season :-)

I opted for barley here as I love it but only have one other recipe on the blog using it - the Barley Hotpot so I figured I was well due a barley post. Then I saw this barley salad on The Kitchn and was inspired to make a salad with it. You can of course use any grain you like here if barley isn't your thing - couscous, bulgher, quinoa, rice, even orzo, but we both really liked the different texture barley brings to this.

Creamy Lemon Barley Salad with Asparagus and Peppered Feta - vegan.

The shining star here is the peppered almond feta. It is just that - the almond feta with a lot of coarsely ground black pepper added and I love it so much I honestly think I might just always make it this way from now on! It's not an overpowering amount of black pepper, just a nice gentle hit of it which naturally goes beautifully with the lemon flavours in this.

The dressing is a slight adaptation of this Creamy Lemon Dressing but I replaced the sour cream with the "yogurt cheese" from Miyoko's "Artisan Vegan Cheese" cookbook. It sounds complicated but it literally is just drained soy yogurt. Draining the yogurt off makes it much thicker giving you a really creamy dressing. This does mean that this recipe requires making 2 homemade vegan cheeses and thus takes a couple days to do but nothing is complicated, just a bit of waiting. Just note that you'll need to start this a couple days before....

Creamy Lemon Barley Salad with Asparagus and Peppered Feta - vegan.

Creamy Lemon Barley Salad with Asparagus and Peppered Almond Feta
serves 4 as a main salad

• 200g / 1 cup pearl barley
• ½ cup or more of the Creamy Lemon Dressing (recipe follows)
• 150g asparagus, ends snapped off and sliced into 1 inch pieces
• 2 shallots, sliced or chopped
• 25g / 2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
• 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
• some Peppered Almond Feta (recipe follows)

Creamy Lemon Dressing - note this makes extra!

• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (generally the juice of 2 large lemons)
• zest of 1 large lemon
• 3 cloves of garlic, pureed (I use a fine microplane grater)
• 2 tsp dijon mustard
• 2 tsp syrup sweetener *
• ½ tsp sea salt
• ½ cup olive oil
• ½ cup yogurt cheese (recipe follows and makes extra)

* I love to use Sweet Freedom syrup here which is vegan but tastes so much like honey it's unbelievable....but you can use light agave or maple syrup here.

First make the yogurt cheese - line a sieve with 3 layers of cheesecloth, place it over a bowl and add 500g or 2 cups of plain (not sweet) soy yogurt:

Fold over the overhanging cheesecloth to gently cover the yogurt then leave it out to drain at room temperature for 24 hours.

The next day you should have quite a bit of liquid drained off - see, that's the stuff you don't want watering down your dressing!!

....and you should have a much firmer amount of yogurt:

Tip this into a bowl, cover with cling film and chill until needed. I highly recommend getting Miyoko's cookbook as she has great cheese spread recipes using this stuff. Makes better cream cheese than Tofutti's!! I like to add some salt, dried dill, onion and garlic powder for a great bagel spread with the leftover yogurt cheese here.

To make the salad dressing, add the lemon juice, zest, garlic, dijon and salt into a medium sized bowl and whisk well. Slowly start adding the olive oil whisking all the while until fully incorporated. Add the ½ cup of yogurt cheese and whisk well. Now add the sweetener to taste - I used 2 teaspoons. Keep in mind the dressing might seem quite strong in lemon flavour at this point but it mellows a LOT in the salad. This is definitely one of those salad's where everything only comes together taste wise at the very end :-)

Creamy Lemon Barley Salad with Asparagus and Peppered Feta - vegan.

Peppered Almond Feta:

Just make the Almond Feta as per the recipe on the blog here but add ½ tsp of coarsely freshly ground black pepper while blending. For me that was 40 grinds with my pepper grinder set on coarse. It should look nice and speckled like this:

Follow the instructions as stated, draining overnight in the fridge then baking it off the next morning. I also baked mine slightly longer for this one as I wanted a more crumbly feta in the salad - 45 - 50 minutes instead.

NOW the Salad!

Wash the barley very well under several rinses of cold water. Place in a large saucepan and cover well with cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer covered for about 1 hour, stir now and again. (Alternatively you may just want to follow the instructions on your pack of pearl barley as I have found every pack I buy says something different!)

Drain and rinse the barley under cold water, shake off any excess water then place in a large bowl.

Boil the asparagus in salted water until just fork tender, depending on how thick the asparagus is this may take 3 minutes or 6. Have a bowl filled with ice water ready, drain the asparagus, run under cold water then plunge them into the ice water. This will stop them cooking and help them retain their bright green colour and crispness in the salad. Once cold drain then tip onto a clean tea towel and pat dry with paper towels just to remove any excess water as you don't want that watering down the salad.

Add the asparagus to the barley with the shallots, toasted pine nuts and fresh mint. Pour over about ½ cup of the dressing and fold it in with a rubber spatula until well mixed. 

Now, I don't add the feta at this stage as when you mix it in it will turn creamy and disappear a bit. I prefer to crumble the feta onto my salad just before eating and gently mix it in with my fork while eating to keep it chunky. That being said my husband actually preferred the feta stirred in until creamy and if you are making this salad for a buffet then just make it easy for yourself and add the feta now. I haven't given an amount of feta here, just eyeball it,  you won't need all the feta but do use a good amount, it's those hits of peppered feta that MAKE this salad!

Cover the salad with cling film and chill well - I found this salad best the next day when the flavours have more time to mellow and infuse.

To serve, add another little drizzle of dressing then crumble over a good bit of peppered feta (unless you added it earlier) and a sprig of fresh mint. 

Sorry there is no nutritional information for this one but it was impossible to calculate as the dressing and feta amounts are random.

NOTE - click here for some ideas on what to do with all the leftover salad dressing, yogurt cheese and feta - including spreads, pizza and salad!

Creamy Lemon Barley Salad with Asparagus and Peppered Feta - vegan.

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