Paella — but you can call me Goulash

When I was a kid, a family friend once entered the room with a bowl of some sort of food.  When I asked what it was he gave me a sinister look and declared “Goulash…”.  I’ve since looked up goulash, but whenever I see a mixture of stuff that is tomato-rich, I think of him.

I think this (http://www.simpleveganrecipes.co.uk/index.html?recipe=recipes/vegan-paella-recipe.html) was one of the first vegan recipes I made from this book.  It is good enough to repeat and I think the presence of the cashews makes a nice crunch and adds a good flavor.  This was the amusing recipe I was thinking of that lists spices in the directions that aren’t in the ingredients list and the ingredients were very out of order.  I have fixed that below.

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2t chili powder
  • 12 oz. (300g) brown rice (1 cup)
  • 3 cups (800ml) of vegetable stock
  • 6 fl.oz. (150ml) dry white wine (or substitute with 1 tbsp vinegar)
  • 1 can (454g) chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2t tarragon
  • 1t basil
  • 1t oregano
  • 1T tomato puree
  • 1 red and 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 8 oz. (200g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 oz. (50g) mange tout [1] topped and tailed
  • 4 oz. (100g) frozen peas
  • 2 oz. (50g) broken cashew nuts (about 1/2 cup)

In a large, heavy saucepan saute the onion in 4T olive oil.  Add chili powder and the rice and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Add vegetable stock, wine, tomatoes, tarragon, basil, oregano, tomato puree, . Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add peppers, celery, mushrooms, mange tout and cook for another 30 minutes until the rice is cooked. Add peas, cashew nuts, salt and pepper. Heat through until peas are ready and serve.

[1] The other fun I had was “mange tout”.  Being silly I wondered “what’s a mangy toot?”  It’s unripened pea pods for the not French among us.

Non-Loaf Vegan Nut Roast

While I based this recipe very heavily on this (http://www.simpleveganrecipes.co.uk/index.html?recipe=recipes/vegan-nutroast-recipe.html), I am going to write it according to the minor changes I made.  The printed version is a little funnier because it reads “bread made into crumbs” while the online recipe reads simply “breadcrumbs”.  Since I make a fair amount of bread, I used actual crumbed bread.  I think the various chunks of bread provided a more interesting texture than if I had used packaged breadcrumbs.  Of course, with the latter it is also difficult to tell if they are truly vegan.

  • 1t olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped small (but not diced)
  • 1 grated carrot (I shredded it with a peeler)
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 2oz. sliced mushrooms, chopped — about 1/4 cup
  • 8 oz. chopped mixed nuts — about 1 cup
  • 1 oz. (25g) wheat flour — about 4t (I’ll confirm later and update)
  • 5 fl. oz. (125ml) vegetable stock
  • 2oz. (50g) breadcrumbs — about 1/4c
  • 1T Mixed herbs — I used rosemary, sage, and basil at 1t each
  • 1/2t salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4t pepper (or to taste)

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5 / 190 °C / 375 °F.

Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion until translucent (5-10 minutes). Add pepper, celery and mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes — only trying to bring them up to temperature. Add the grated carrot and saute for one more minute. Remove from the heat, add the flour and stir. Add vegetable stock, nuts, breadcrumbs, mixed herbs and a little salt and pepper, and mix well. Grease the inside of a loaf tin. Put the mixture into the tin, pressing it down with a spoon. Bake for 40 minutes.

As with so many adventures, my very first step (bite, in this case) resulted in a “this isn’t what I bargained for”.  For some reason, I was expecting something more like a “meat loaf” from this, but it was nothing like it.  This was a “roasted nut casserole”.  I think the next time I will subject the nuts and mushrooms to a joy ride in the Machine of Whirling Blades to get a more granular texture out of them.  Perhaps that would help it be more “loafy” in texture.  An Ooze of Vegetable Broth (aka a gravy) might help as well.

Spicy Lentil Casserole of Hidden Spices and Lentils

Spicy Lentil Casserole it said (http://www.simpleveganrecipes.co.uk/recipes/vegan-lentil-casserole-recipe.html).  I am looking for both the spice and the lentils.  But this can be fixed pretty easily — which I will do on my next batch.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed (or 2t minced garlic from a jar)
  • 1lb 9oz (700g) potatoes, cut into chunks — err… I think what I ended up with was more like 4c of potatoes when measured as chunks.
  • 4 carrots thickly sliced
  • 2 parsnips, thickly sliced — and PEELED!
  • 2T curry powder
  • 1.75 pint (1 litre) vegetable stock — in other words, 3-1/2 cups
  • 4oz (100g) red lentils
  • Small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped (optional) — OR 1T ground corriander

Heat 2T oil in a large pot and cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the potatoes, carrots and parsnips and cook over a high heat for 6-7 minutes, stirring until the vegetables are golden.

Stir in 2T curry powder and the stock and bring to a boil. Add the lentils, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the lentils are cooked. Add fresh coriander, or 1 tbsp ground coriander.

That is pretty straight forward, but I would do things differently the next time.

First, I approximated my own curry using strange arts of divination and insanity I can’t repeat.  But what I did find was a recipe online that I would happily tweak.

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix well and store in an airtight container.

I would start by taking that up to 3/4t red pepper and going from there.  Maybe even some spicy paprika would tune this up nicely.

Second, I would add more lentils so this was more of a lentil dish and less of a potato/parsnip dish.  I would double the lentils and add another 1-1/2 cups of water or stock.

Third, I like garlic and this would benefit from the equivalent of a 3rd clove of garlic.

The adventure was small in this one, but from time to time we need a simple quest like finding a shrubbery.

Vegan Bourguignon

Original Recipe is from here:  http://www.simpleveganrecipes.co.uk/index.html?recipe=recipes/vegan-bourguignon-recipe.html.  Though I am reusing a lot of it, I am also adjusting it based on my experience.

A clever title on this one eludes me as the adventure is in the original reading and making of this recipe. First, this recipe comes from a cookbook that we got from the UK. Many of the ingredients are by weight, not by measured cup, so this has made things interesting.  Having a kitchen scale helps.

Second the ingredients order and the cook times in the printed cookbook are out of order or wrong.  There’s even a recipe that the directions call for ingredients that aren’t in the ingredients list.  Fun!  This is cooking without a net nearly at its finest.

This recipe makes a baked dish that is potato-heavy in flavor.  I find that it is very understated and could benefit by being with something more flavorful.  I might even be tempted to add some hot spices to this in another incarnation to give it more characters.

  • 8 oz. (225g) onions, chopped — I used a whole “medium” onion
  • 8 oz. (225g) carrot, sliced — I used about 4 carrots which I think was more, but it came out fine
  • 1 lb. (450g) potatoes, diced — I made a wild guess and went with about 2c of potatoes diced
  • 4 oz. (100g) mushrooms, chopped — This is easy, it was half an 8oz package
  • Golden syrup — 1t, by the way.  We used honey as we’re not being that super strict with our veganism.
  • Plain flour — being “white” flour.  I use 1t of unbleached.
  • 7 fl. oz. (200ml) Vegan red wine — There are many sub-cup, non-fractional fluid additions to recipes that are amusing…
  • 5 fl. oz. (125ml) Vegetable stock — … this is another funny fluid amount  But trust it.
  • Tomato purée — I love this.  How much?  2T.  So I open a whole can just to use 2T?!  This means plan other meals that will also use this, even if only to add it to some spaghetti sauce to thicken it up.
  • Bay leaf
  • 1/2t salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4t pepper (or to taste)
  • 3 oz. (75g) frozen peas or green beans — My casserole dish filled up rapidly and I added these later.  It worked fine.

Preheat oven to GM 5 / 375 °F / 190 °C.

Fry the onions and carrots for a few minutes. Add the potatoes, mushrooms and 1 tsp. golden syrup. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Add 1 tbsp. flour and stir. Pour in the red wine, vegetable stock, 2 tbsps. tomato purée, bay leaf and a little salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes. Put the mixture into a large casserole dish and place in oven. It should be baked for 1 hour, with the peas or beans being added halfway through.

Here’s one of those “I get the idea” recipes that I’m going to rewrite.

In a large[1] pan, sauté the onions and carrots over medium heat in 1T of oil (olive oil) until the onions soften — about 10 minutes.  Add potatoes, mushrooms, and 1t Golden Syrup (or honey).  Cook for 3-4 minutes to coat the potatoes and mushrooms in syrup/honey and warm them.  Add 1t of flour and stir well to coat as much of everything as possible.  Add wine, stock, 2T tomato puree, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Mix and “cook for a few minutes” to warm everything … so let’s say 5 minutes while stirring regularly.  Put mixture in larger casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove and add peas or beans.  Bake for another 30 minutes.

That adventure was relatively simple.  Overall I found the preparation relatively easy which ensures a place in a regular rotation of meals.

[1] I used a 12″ skillet and ran out of room.  So by large, I mean large.  A wok might even be a good idea here.