Mar 19, 2014

Pumpkin and Coconut Cream Pie

This is the time of year that seasonal eating becomes quite tedious after eating a great deal of cabbage in different guises; broccoli, kale,brussels and then the root vegetable de jour; parsnip, celeriac, swede or pumpkin. Still I can't complain, since we've been in India for a most of the winter it's only been a few months of this for me. But still, we do a good line in complaining chez Yogi Kitchen..


So Pumpkin it is for dessert having half of one left that I just couldn't get excited about. This actually turned out well and a bit different with the last minute addition of the coconut. It's one of those ingredients that makes everything taste good. Firm but moist and quite pumpkin tasting. I would recommend getting your hands on a Kabocha or Sugar-Pie squash if possible. If all else fails a Butternut will do OK. Also, use maple-syrup if you can, it greatly enhances the taste. 

Well, that's all for now. We're moving in less than 2 weeks now and once we move in and settle into our permanent place I promise some more involved and innovative recipe-blogging from the new-kitchen in Finsbury Park, London.


Makes 1 12" Pie  (roughly 8 slices)

Crust

1 cup oats
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup vegan spread or butter
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs vegan milk/milk
pinch of salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease the pie-plate well. 
  2. Sift the flour, oats, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Add the milk in teaspoon by teaspoon until you have a moist dough you can firmly press into your pie-plate
  4. Bake for 15 minutes and let cool whilst you make the filling. 

Filling

1/2 pumpkin
1/2 cup vegan milk/milk
1/4 cup cream/cashews soaked and blended to a paste with a touch of water
1/4 cup agave/maple syrup
1/4 cup dried flaked coconut
2 tsp agar flakes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt


  1. Place the pumpkin in a roasting tray cut side down. Roast for 30 minutes, checking after 30 minutes with a knife. It should be completely soft through the skin. If it's not, return for another 15 minutes to the oven.
  2. Remove the pumpkin and let cool slightly before peeling off the skin, scooping out the seeds and roughly chopping.
  3. Whilst you wait for the pumpkin to cool dissolve the agar flakes with the milk over a low heat, stirring continuously for 5 minutes, until you can no longer se any flakes in with the milk.
  4. Now place the pumpkin and milk in a blender along with the rest of the ingredients apart from the coconut. Blend well into a smooth paste.
  5. Place the coconut in a pan over a low heat and slowly stir, toasting to a couple of shades darker. This should take about five minutes. Be careful, it easily burns. 
  6. In the meantime, spread your filling over the cooled crust in the pan. Now sprinkle the coconut flakes over the top evenly and chill to set the pie of at least 2 hours, preferable overnight. Serve with cream, vegan cream or tahini goes well too.



Mar 10, 2014

Vegan Burrito

We've been preparing simple meals since staying 2 months in an Air B&B whilst looking for a permanent flat.  But we still manage to get around to some pretty proper cooking,  even though the kitchen is hardly our own; I have a mixed herbs and a packet of ground cumin to give you an example of our seasoning situation.

Weekends, usually Saturday and Sunday we do a brunch to free us up to get out afterwards without needing to find a suitable place to eat-out. This is the best brunch item we've had recently. A vegan-mince and Spanish-rice inside the tortilla with a little guacamole and salsa. Then over the top, a refried beans and tofu-sour cream. A burrito to be eaten with a knife and fork for sure, which actually makes a nice change, to use a knife as a non-meat eater.



chilli-mince

1/2 cup tvp-mince
1 stick celery
1/2 green pepper
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs tomato puree
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
1 cup stock or water


  1. Rinse the tvp a couple of times and in a sieve under cold running-water and set aside to drain
  2. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the mince in 1 tbs of the olive oil for 7-10 minutes until it begins to brown. 
  3. Cut the celery and pepper into small pieces and sauté in remaining 1 tbs of olive-oil for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato puree and stir again for a minute to cook through. Now add the rest of the ingredients, including the mince, cover and turn to a medium low for 20 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated. Set aside and keep warm.


refried beans

1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
2 sticks celery, cut very finely
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs tomato paste
2 cups stock or water
flat leaf parsley chopped roughly


  1. Saute the celery in the olive-oil until it softens. Add the tomato paste and a splash of stock and stir for another minute until dry.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the beans, and simmer, partially covered for 10 minutes. Now uncover and start to roughly mash the beans against the side of the pan with a fork  or potato-masher as you let simmer for another 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm whilst you do the rice.


salsa and guacamole

2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 small jalapeño chile, minced
juice of 1 lime
handful of coriander, chopped roughly
1-2 tsp salt
1 ripe avocado, mashed

  1. Mix all the ingredients together apart from the avocado.
  2. In a separate bowl stir 3-4 tbs of the salsa into the mashed avocado, until you have the required consistency. Check for seasoning and set both aside.


spanish rice

3/4 cup basmati rice (preferably rinsed, and soaked overnight)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs tomato puree
1/2 green pepper
1 stick celery
1/2 cups stock/water
1 tsp salt
flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the pepper and celery. Add the tomato puree and stir for another minute.
  2. Drain the rice and add in to the olive oil and vegetables, stirring over a low-heat until it begins to turn translucent. 
  3. Pour in the stock, season and bring to the boil. Now turn-down as low as you can, cover, and simmer for another 7-10 minutes. Switch off and leave to steam for a further 5 minutes before adding the parsley. Keep warm.


tofu sour-cream

1 cup silken tofu
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp agave
juice of half a lime
1 tsp salt


  1. blend all ingredients together for a minute until well-combined and slightly airy.

To assemble

tortillas, lightly toasted in a frying pan over a low flame for about 30 seconds

Now wrap up the rice and mince in the tortilla, adding the salsa and guacamole. Spoon the beans on top, followed by the sour cream. You're done. Enjoy!

Mar 2, 2014

Chocolate Cream Pie

It's been a while. Apologies if anyone had been checking in just to see that picture of chips again - . Well, at least it was a good picture this time. Appropriate too as the the chips really have been down. We've been back from India, arriving in the worst month here in the UK and having to look for a permanent flat whilst staying in a temporary Air B&B with time running out..



There's always time for chocolate pie though. Especially as during this time of dashing around at a moments notice to look at another 'amazing flat you need to see before it goes today'; it's been Valentine's and Theresa's Birthday. I'm ashamed to say, in a foreign kitten without all my stuff around I could hardly manage anything more special than this. 

Funnily enough, even without a special dinner or valentines' gift she was actually quite satisfied with this offering. I must try it more often when I'm in trouble with her (often). But I was also surprised how good it was. This is definitely worth trying when you're on the back-foot..

Chocolate Cream Pie (makes one 9" pie)

For the crust

1 cup oats
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 tbs unrefined sugar
1/4 cup oil or butter
1 tbs milk or water
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9" pie plate
  2. In a large bowl sift the oats, flour, sugar and salt together. Then rub in the butter until you have a texture of fine-breadcrumbs. Now stir in the milk and press, firmly, into your pie-plate. 
  3. Bake for 10 minutes until slightly browned. Take out and cool on a rack. Keep the oven on, you'll need it again.

For the Filling

1 cup milk or non-dairy milk
1/2 cup silken tofu
1/4 cup cashews (soaked overnight if possible and then drained)
1/4 cup good quality cocoa-powder (I use Green & Blacks)
1/4 cup agave or maple syrup
1 tsp agar flakes


  1. Meanwhile, as the crust bakes, make the filling. Place a 1/4 cup of the milk in a small saucepan with the agar flakes. Place on a low heat, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes until the flakes are completely dissolved into the milk.
  2. At the same time, place the rest of the ingredients in a blender an blend, on and off for a few minutes until you have a very smooth mixture.
  3. Pour the agar-milk mixture into the blender and briefly blend again.
  4. Pour over the base and smooth. Bake for 20 minutes, then cool for half and hour before places in the fridge. Wait at least a couple of hours until the pie cools and firms up before serving.

Jan 25, 2014

Polenta / Cornmeal Fries

I know we've done chickpea flour-chips before,  but these are a bit different. They hold their shape better than the chickpea fries, being a bit firmer and have a slightly grainy texture which I liked better, but I think Theresa wasn't so sure.

I would go to these now as my staple 'chips'. It's pretty much a baked polenta really. If you cut them into larger slices you could serve it with a tomato sauce or pesto as a main meal. Very adaptable and versatile which is what I like in a recipe.

We usually have chips with a veggie burger; though home-made, not so innovative. And of course Vegenaise. A fantastic vegan mayonnaise, which ridiculously is still only available in North America. So we get people to bring a jar whenever anyone comes over. There is nothing that even resembles a good vegan mayonnaise here yet, and I mean nothing.

To enter into a debate about the best veggie-burger recipe would be foolish at this point, but lets just say I'm working on one with TVP and silken tofu which may be definitive and will be posted shortly.




2cups milk/soya milk
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups polenta
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp salt
5 tbs olive oil


  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan stir together all the ingredients and 2 tbs of the olive oil, setting aside the rest for later. Grease a baking sheet or large plate with a little oil.
  2. Over low heat keep whisking the mixture for about 5 minutes until it starts to thicken and becomes completely smooth without any lumps.
  3. Change to a wooden spoon and stir until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  4. With a greased spatula, transfer to your greased plate or baking sheet and quickly smooth the mixture to a layer approximately 0.5cm thick.
  5. Place in the fridge and allow to set for at least an hour or overnight.
  6. When you are ready to make your fries, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cut your polenta into the fries shape of your choice.  
  7. Place on a clean baking sheet and drizzle over the remaining olive oil and gently tossing the fries so as not to break them.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice to evenly brown the chips. Serve hot. 

Jan 16, 2014

Chinese Steamed Buns

One of my earliest memories of coming into London was Chinatown. Just the smell of it was so exotic and exciting. It also frightened me a little; the shops with all the roots and bits of dead animal for chinese medicine, all the chickens and pigs hanging in the windows.   I guess it still unsettles me, but I'm also intrigued by the food. It's not often that I don't have a clue about half of the food items in any particular culture but Chinese is so different  to any other.




We also had the steamed buns with pot-stickers which you can view on an earlier post. Unless you want them as a snack, which I think they work pretty well as, this plate gives a good example I think of how to incorporate them into a healthy-esque meal.  For the stuffing it's often pulled-pork and we haven't got around to making a vegan version of this yet; apparently you can make it with Jackfruit. Instead, I did a shredded cabbage with avocado and topped it with a home-made hot-sauce. I would recommend probably just avocado and sauce. Anything extra and it falls out. I don't like a messy sandwich..

Makes 4

1 1/2 cups soft (cake) white flour
1/2 tsp yeast
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs sugar or honey
oil for greasing


  1. Sift the flour, salt, yeast and baking powder together in a large bowl. 
  2. In the meantime warm the milk and sugar, or honey, in a small pan.
  3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and kneed for a few minutes until you have a smooth dough. Place in a greased bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place to rise for an hour or so.
  4. Set up your steaming equipment. You will need a large pan half filled with water and a steamer or metal sieve placed above it. Put the water to boil.
  5. In the meantime punch your dough down and divide into 4 equal sized pieces. Roll into large circles 1cm thick. Fold in half, but do not press the halves together. This is your crease in which the stuffing goes. Place on a lightly floured worktop. Cover with greased cling film and leave again to rise for 15 minutes.
  6. Now carefully grease the top of the buns so as not to deflate them. Place them grease-side down in a the steamer and steam for 4-5 minutes. They should rise to about double their size. Serve warm if possible. You can keep them warm in the steamer for half and hour if not eating immediately. You may need to cut along the fold again slightly to stuff them.

Jan 15, 2014

Rhubarb Gallete

Not what first comes to mind when you think of a trip to India. But on our third three-month trip for the third year in a row, we've just not been so excited about Indian food this time. Ultimately, perhaps, we all finally default back to the food of the culture within which we were brought-up?

It's also funny to find rhubarb here. I've never seen any Indian-recipe for it, neither on any restaurant menu. It's also strange as at this time of year in the UK 'forced-rhubarb'; rhubarb grown under cloches or in a greenhouse is also pretty much the only seasonal fruit we have. Maybe, my post is to some degree topical after all.





These Galletes are a sophisticated choice for, say, a dinner party or picnic. Once you've got through making the pastry they're quick and easy. You can also do savoury ones which I think we'll experiment with next.  I've made quite a lot of pastry here in India. Also strange; but I've had more time than at home. Having demonstrated to Theresa that I can adequately make pastry, I have now been given the green-light to proceed with more ambitious pastry-based creations. Next on the cards is some sort of nut-roast en-croute so keep checking back..!


For the Pastry

3/4 cup plain white flour
3/4 cup wholewheat flour
1/4 cup coconut oil (or you could use butter, vegetable or even olive-oil)
1 tbs fine sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2-4 tbs ice-cold water
  1. sift the flour, sugar and salt together and then rub in the oil until you have a mixture resembling fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Slowly add the water until you can gather the dough up into a smooth ball. Wrap tightly in cling film and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes. You could refrigerate it if you need and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. But pull it out at least an hour before you plan to roll it.
For the Rhubarb Filling 

2 cups rhubarb chopped into 1" pieces
1/2 cup fruit juice or water (reserve half to mix into the cornflour)
2 tbs unrefined sugar (or you could use agave or honey)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbs cornflour
  1. Place all the ingredients apart from the lemon-juice and cornflour in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring a few times, for about 10 minutes. The rhubarb should be completely soft but not broken down. 
  2. Mix you reserved fruit juice or water into the cornflour until you have a smooth paste. Over low heat, stir this into the rhubarb-mixture until it starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside until cool.
To assemble the Galletes and bake
  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment.
  2. Dust your counter with flour and roll out the pastry medium-thin. Roughly a half-centimetre in thickness.
  3. Cut out round circles of around about 6-8 inches using a bowl or lid. Spread about 2 tablespoons of rhubarb on to the middle of each circle. Pinch in the edges and place on the baking tray, evenly spaced. 
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes until slightly browned.  Serve warm with cream or ice-cream.

Jan 10, 2014

Bangalore; a tale of two cities

Its' not hard these days to recognise the inevitable encroachment of capitalism and the kind of stuff that goes with it in any Indian city you visit. I imagine the same could be said of places in Africa or China, but due to the prevailing culture being so strong, and so different, from the breeze blowing from The West, you can't help but feel more of a contrast here in India. 

Not having been to Bangalore for over 5 years we were amazed with all the new Western-style restaurants and shops that had sprung up. Nice if you haven't had any of this for a few months. I can't say that wasn't quite a large part of our motivation in going. On the other hand we found a couple of really old-fashioned establishments like the one pictured below. Coffee is a South-Indian speciality as they grow the beans up-state in Coorg where the mountains make the climate ideal growing conditions. They make their coffee by decoction; basically pouring boiling water through a small cylinder of coffee and collecting the residue at the bottom, then adding hot milk to this.





The menu was short and as well as the South-Indian staples of dosa and idli you could also get cucumber or tomato sandwiches or an omelette. It was like stumbling on a little piece of the Raj somehow forgotten in the sweep or modernism and still just ticking-along as it always had. Pretty bizarre, but it had a nice feel and I would be happy of all of India was still like this, but I think somewhere in between the 60s and 90's this kind of thing disappeared to be replaced by cheaply constructed modern places that lack any charm or sense of culture and history behind them. 




Now what is being done is much nicer, but completely Western. Apart from the Indian-food we could've been in London. Actually, we could easily have been in London with the food too. Still, we were pretty happy to find modern and clean places like this one although the food was a little disappointing. Along with everything else, old recipes have been abandoned, only to be replaced by a ubiquitous 'restaurant-style' Indian food which is way to rich and oily, often features hybrid-dishes that have no history within the cuisine and no subtlety in their flavours. 




That is not to say the food was bad, just that there are so many unique and different recipes within South-Indian cooking and still all you get is the staple paneer dish, a basic dal and a few other dishes I could've predicted before I entered. At about 4 pounds for a buffet in this kind of restaurant it was hardly a bad-deal though and we had a good time in a Western-style manner. I just would prefer more places like India Coffee House to still exist. This place was quite a respite fro the chaotic and dirty modern-India but hardly intriguing for any tourist. Just another good deal for someone with money travelling here these days.



Dec 24, 2013

Spinach salad with hot bacon mustard dressing

People always say that the first thing to break vegetarian is bacon. Well now you don't have to worry about your resolve because this vegan-bacon surprisingly turns out to be a great substitute. I guess I wouldn't serve it as part of a bacon and eggs, but you can put this whole affair in a wrap and it's pretty satisfying.

The salad is also really cheap and easy and a great accompaniment to say a pizza or a pasta. Don't be put-off the possibility of getting a bacon-taste out of coconut as I was. I wouldn't believe it when Theresa mentioned she'd read it on a blog and wanted to try it. It did take some time and some convincing, but now I often request her to make this salad when I'm busy with the pizza.



A simple recipe post, but sometimes these small tricks actually have the greatest day to day application. Make big batch of this bacon up and store it in an air-tight container. It will keep for a couple of weeks and you can pimp-up all kinds of salads, sandwich fillings, dressings and sauces with it.

For the dressing

3 tbsp olive oil
2-4 tbsp water
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp miso
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp tahini


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small pan and with a small whisk, gradually whisk over a low heat, adding the water bit by bit until you achieve a texture like pouring cream. Cover and keep warm.


For the coconut-bacon

1 cup dried, flaked coconut
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp agave or maple syrup
1-2 tbsp water
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp  smoked paprika


  1. Preheat your oven to 25 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment.
  2. Whisk all the ingredients together until well blended and then stir in the coconut.
  3. Turn out and spread as one layer onto the baking tray and bake for between 20-25 minutes.
To assemble the salad

1 bag of baby-spinach leaves
Avocado

  1. Toss the spinach leaves with the avocado and bacon pieces in a large bowl. Slowly pour over the hot mustard-dressing and serve immediately.


Dec 12, 2013

Kunefe in Green Lanes

First, let me warn you this post has no recipe attached. It's just we visit this area so much I thought it warranted a mention. One of the longest roads in London and one of the oldest (used to be used as a thoroughfare to herd livestock into the city tone sold at Smithfields), the bit we're interested in is the Turkish-Cyrpiot bit up from Manor House towards Wood Green.


Granted, here I'm looking less than inspired, but that's simply because I take a terrible photograph. I promise you I look - way - better than this in real-life. But the road has a lot to offer of interest from Gozleme, a Turkish stuffed pancake for breakfast (this post was written about a place up the way in Dalston, but you can find a lot more places offering this in Green Lanes) , to fantastic Meze lunches, and recently, we stumbled upon a couple of cafes' specialising pretty much solely in Kunefe.



Kunefe is found from Greece all the way across the Middle-East to Lebanon and Syria under slightly different names and variations. It always features layers of pastry between a soft, mozzarella-like cheese which is then soaked in a sugar-syrup. In Greece, the dessert contains a nut layer and used angel-hair pastry, in Syria they use a smooth-pastry and often eat it between bread like a sweet sandwich. The Turkish one is kind of in the middle; not as dry as the Greek one, but still using the fine-pastry threads and featuring pistachio nuts.  It should always be cooked at the time so it's hot and the cheese is soft. In Green lanes as in the photos' above they have a special stove and pans expressly for this purpose.


I must say, it's really novel, but a little too sweet for me, Theresa liked it more.  But I love the fact that you can always find new food-experiences on Green Lanes, so I wanted to give it a mention. You can also find a Syrian version of this a little closer to central London at a fantastic ethnic-food shop called "Green Valley" on the Edgware rd which I also suggest you might want to check out. Then if you go there, maybe follow up at Beirut Express, cheap m=Middle-Eastern cafe a few doors down. OK, that's the end of my recommendations today. The next post I promise a simple recipe..

Nov 30, 2013

Vegan Gnochi Alla Romana





Not exactly the first post I envisaged on arriving for our annual 3 months stay in India. This year, however, we haven't felt so inclined to get stuck in to cooking Indian food straight away. Don't really have a good reason why; I think, it's like everything that once was novel, things lose their charm over time, sadly enough.

So, we're mainly back on recreating Western-Food here. Last week we had a couple of Italian friends over and did a potato gnocchi which was fantastic; but, unfortunately, in all the chaos of flour and dough-rolling, we forgot to photo our communal efforts. Which is really a shame, as a regular potato gnocchi has defeated me on a number of occasions due to having made a dough to wet that subsequently disintegrated on boiling.

As every food-blogger likes to say, these are easier. Way easier than the other potato-based gnocchi as you only have to bake them. I did them with roasted pumpkin and white- bean sauce. I have to say, I still feel I might mess with the recipe further to try and get the creaminess that the regular version would give with the copious quantities of parmesan. These aren't bad though, worth trying yourself and then having a play around with. Using semolina, makes them wholesome and very cheap and also, due to the blandness of semolina, I think you could flavour them  number of ways. I was actually think maybe a kind of asian-fusion next time with miso and soya-sauce and then some kind of peanut/tahini sauce to go with them.

Serves 4

1/4 cup cashew nuts (soaked overnight)
2 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp miso
1 tsp mustard
3/4 cup semolina
salt and pepper
2-3 tbs olive oil


  1. Drain the cashews and place them in a blender with a few tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth, then set aside.
  2. Heat the milk with the bay leaf, nutmeg, yeast flakes, miso and mustard, taking care to make sure it doesn't boil. When it's simmering, turn to low, take out the bay leaf and slowly add the semolina in a steady stream.  Now add the cashew-cream, season with salt and pepper, and keep stirring over a low-heat for 5-8 minutes until the mixture is thick enough it pulls away from the sides of the pan. 
  3. Turn onto a greased baking tray and let set in the fridge for at least an hour.
  4. When you are ready to bake them, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease another oven dish and using a glass, or pastry cutter, cut out small circles from the set-semolina. Overlap them in your second oven dish and spoon over the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve hot. They can be eaten on their own, but I think the vegan-version works better with a sauce.