Vegoada

Vegoada, is a pun on feijoada, a Brazilian/ Portuguese concoction of masses of meat, black beans and cabbage. This (obviously) has no meat, and is cooked in an entirely different way, and pretty much has nothing in common bar the black beans and a smokey flavour. No recipe as such – just throw it together. In fact the only reason I’m writing it up (despite having made it once a week for aeons) is because a friend suggested I blog recipes my (currently 8-month-old) baby likes. Hence the new category ‘stuff my baby will eat’.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized beetroot (but I’ve also used carrots, celeriac and sweet potato instead)
  • Olive oil
  • Big tin of black beans, drained (get from Portuguese/Brazilian/Angolan/ Caribbean shops)
  • Either a few fresh tomatoes, chopped, or a carton of passata
  • Few shakes of smoked paprika
  • Bunch of coriander, chopped
  • Juice of 1 or 2 limes
  • Yoghurt or sour cream or poached egg to top (optional)

Method

  • Roast peel, chop and roast the beetroot (or other veg) in the oil and smoked paprika for about 20 mins at 200 c (ish)
  • If using fresh tomatoes add them for the last 10 mins of cooking
  • Add the passata (if using) and tin of black beans, stir and return to the oven to warm through
  • When hot, stir in the lime juice and fresh, chopped coriander
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve naked or topped with the yoghurt or sour cream or poached egg

My Portuguese meat eating boyfriend loves this, despite also loving the actual feijoada, and my baby likes it too. Here’s the evidence of him eating it (and hitting it, smearing it about, natch).

Vid of baby eating Vegoada

Black Lentils and Orange Squash

Serves 2 people with leftover lentils. Because leftover lentils are ESSENTIAL for LIFE

Ingredients

  • Mug of black lentils (whole urad dal)
  • 1 onion
  • Splash of sunflower oil
  • Tbsp bouillon powder or veg stock cube
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 butternut squash
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 4 tbsp Creme fraiche
  • A generous handful of fresh sage and rosemary
  • Salt

Method

  • Soak the lentils (urad dal) for 8 hours or overnight
    then rinse thoroughly
  • Finely chop the onion then fry in the sunflower oil for 5-10 minutes, until soft and browning
  • Add the lentils and the bouillon, or stock, disolved two mugs of  boiling water. Cook with the lid on until the lentils are soft, about an hour. If there is any water left, boil rapidly with lid off until it’s gone (or drain if you prefer). You may also need to add water during cooking, dal is not an exact science.
  • Peel and chop the squash into large slices or chunks (remove seeds) and toss in the olive oil, then bake at 220 degrees for 20 minutes (turn halfway through)
  • Using a mezzaluna (or sharp knife and shopping board) very finely chop the herbs together with a half teaspoon of salt so that you end up with some delicious green, herblicious salty dust. Add 2/rds of this to the cooked dal together with a knob (or 2) of butter and warm through.
  • Add the remaining salty herbs to the creme fraiche and stir well.
  • To serve, ladle the lentils onto plates, top with the squash and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Black lentils and squash

A note about the lentils: Urad dal aka black lentils aka black gram aka mungo beans can be found in Indian shops. If you can’t find them use puy lentils instead (much less soaking and cooking required though). Don’t use skinned urad dal or split urad dal – they taste totally different as the flavour comes from the skins.

You may have had them in Indian restaurants where they are cooked with masses of cream and butter. The skinned urad dal are ground to make dosas. What a versatile bean.

The Fake Sausage Wrangle

I generally don’t eat pretend meat (apart from as a student when I was utterly addicted to Meatless Streaky Strips, a microwavable bacon that resulted in something like a hot frazzle sandwich, I digress…) but I do lean rather heavily on the veggie sausage on work nights. They (and a glass of red) are my life support after a tough-ish day when I’m too weary to cook from scratch.

While I bristle and take plenty of umbrage when sneery meat eaters complain about the BBQd cardboard in their hot dog bun, they unfortunately do have a point. Veggie sausages are not very good. However, they are for the time being something of a necessity, convenience-wise. I’ve tried making my own with lentils, using a breadcrumb base, and using a gnocchi base. The bread crumb ones were the most successful but don’t do the job as convenience food. Then I found this recipe from Vegan Dad that he had adapted from veg blogging guru Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

It uses gluten flour (expect several trips to health food shops and delis in which you ask for gluten flour and they give you gluten free flour, before finally tracking it down on the internet).

This recipe is great. You steam the ‘sausages’ before grilling or frying or BBQing them, so can steam a whole batch and freeze for another time. I don’t use the nutritional yeast because I don’t trust those strange ingredients you see all the time in vegan blogs that purport to give a ‘cheesey’ flavour. I’ve made them loads, kind of planning to come up with my own definitive favourite flavours, but in the end I evolved a more pragmatic approach.

Now I start with a bowl with the gluten flour and add the beans (or chick peas) which are a necessity for the right texture. The beans must be lightly mashed, not pureed or the bangers come out too rubbery. Then add whatever you fancy; VERY finely diced veg, loads of herbs and spices, grated cheese, nuts, touch of Marmite…

I also made these with my niece and nephew, giving them a bowl of gluten flour each and lots of little piles of other ingredients so they could add what they fancied. (And followed by EXTREME segregation in the steamer so we couldn’t mix their sausages up). You shape the mix into rough sausage shapes and wrap in foil. The sausages magically expand in the steamer to make a perfect, dense sausage shape.

Spicy chickpea salad

Serves 2

Serve by itself or with a green salad. This is very good for you but doesn’t taste in the least bit worthy. Great for a quick lunch, its full of zingy flavours which wake you up after a morning’s work – it also makes an ideal packed lunch.

Vegan.

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained (or 250g cooked chickpeas if you prefer to boil your own)
  • 2 large carrots, very thinly sliced (see method)
  • 1 courgette, , very thinly sliced (see method)
  • 1 stick of celery, diced or ½ a kohlrabi, peeled and diced
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, cut in to halves
  • Chili sauce to taste. This salad should be flavoursome rather than hot. I use 1 tsp of Cap Bon Harissa (beautiful packaging and easily available) or 1 tbsp chilli tomato ketchup – use whatever you have in the fridge or a little bit of chopped fresh chilli if you prefer.
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Method

  • Heat the oven to 220 °c.
  • Peel and trim the carrots, trim the courgette. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thin, long strips of the carrots and courgette. This gets tricky towards the end, so finish up by using a knife if its easier.
  • Put the carrot and courgette strips in a tin, toss with a splash of olive oil and spread out. They should be very lightly coated in oil so use very little. Roast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. They should be soft but still with a bit of bite, and slightly charred in a few places.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, mix the chickpeas with the diced celery or kohlrabi, the chilli sauce and the halved tomatoes.
  • When the carrots and courgette strips are cooked, put the chickpea mixture in the tin with them and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Pop back in the oven for a couple of minutes to warm through.
  • When ready to serve, stir in the fresh herbs.
Harissa Le Phare du Cap Bon

Harissa Le Phare du Cap Bon

Lemony butterbeans with sage breadcrumbs

Vegan. Serves 6 as a side dish, 4 if the lead

Using a puree of cashew nuts to make a rich and creamy sauce is a vegan trick and it is brilliant.

Ingredients

  • 500g cooked butterbeans
  • 100g cashew nuts soaked for 1 hour in water
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 100ml water
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Breadcrumbs equivalent to 1 small bread roll
  • 10 sage leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Method

  • Drain the cashew nuts and blend them with the lemon juice, garlic, salt and water which you add gradually until you have a thickish sauce. You may need a dash more water
  • Stir the sauce into the beans and put in an oven proof bowl
  • In a food processes whiz the bread, sage, pepper and lemon zest into breadcrumbs
  • Sprinkle on the beans and then drizzle with olive oil
  • Bake at 220 degrees c for 20 minutes until heated through and brown on top

Good with…

Some green salad as a light lunch, or with veggie sausages. Which will be the next post…