Monthly Archives: February 2015

Recipe: Mushroom & Broccoli Orzo

Standard

Do you ever fancy a mushroom risotto but don’t fancy the standing and stirring that goes with it? Although I thoroughly enjoy a good stir in the kitchen, there are times when I don’t have the time or really can’t be bothered. In those situations I reach for orzo pasta – the tiny, rice-grain-shaped ones. It cooks a lot quicker than rice and will give you a lovely bowl of warm comfort in a short time and for very little effort.

I have used mushroom stock here – from the Italian porcini stock cubes. They are well worth seeking out, but otherwise vegetable stock and some mushroom ketchup will do the job. This is one place where button mushrooms will do well – they hold themselves together well in the cooking process. I think this tastes good enough on its own, but the cheese lovers can add the veggie parmesan substitute of their choice if they feel like it.

 photo broccoli20amp20mushroom20orzo_zpsbcgmhfcg.jpg

Ingredients
1 clove garlic, crushed
200g mushrooms, sliced
200g broccoli, sliced
200g orzo pasta
750ml mushroom or vegetable stock + 1 tbsp mushroom ketchup
1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped

Heat a little olive oil in a wide saucepan.
Add the garlic and warm through.
When you can smell the garlic in the oil add the mushrooms and broccoli.
Stir for a couple of minutes and then add the orzo, stock and tarragon.
Stir well and bring to the simmer.
Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer, uncovered, for 8 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
If it hasn’t absorbed all the liquid, turn off the heat and let it stand for a couple of minutes and the pasta will take up more of the stock.

Serves 2

Advertisements

Restaurant Review: Adulis, SW9

Standard

I think most of us have a restaurant they have heard about and think would be good to visit, but never actually end up going there. For my friend, Jaz and I it was the Eritrean restaurant at the end of her road. We’ve been talking about going to it for years without ever even trying to make a date, but recently the stars aligned and we finally made it there.

There being Adulis on Brixton Rd, near The Oval tube station. It was worth the wait and anticipation.

The first I want to know as a veg*n diner is what the veggie selection is like. Adulis has a great vegetarian selection at starter, main and set meal sections of the menu.

We skipped starters and went for the set platter – the Naitsom Special – a selection of vegetarian dishes served on a large, round platter lined with injera, the half-pancake, half-bread staple of Eritrea. This was a wise choice in terms of how much food we could eat, but it did mean we had quite a wait before the food arrived.

 photo IMG_0080_zps2lweeg9e.jpg

The food arrived arranged into little piles on a platter of injera with a basket of injera to accompany it. You don’t use cutlery, you tear off a piece of injera and use it to pick up morsels of food. This is not a place for the carb-phobic, you end up eating a lot of injera this way, which is probably why my friend and I got nowhere near finishing it all. The selection of dishes is a good mix of hot and cold in temperature and spice level. Some a pure vegetable and some a mixture of pulses. Standout dishes for me were the yellow split pea stew, the okra (and I don’t normally like okra) and the lentils. There wasn’t a taste or texture I disliked there.

We finished with the coffee ceremony, where coffee is brought to your table in a traditional ceramic pot and served alongside popcorn and frankincense burning on a little brazier. And stuff freshly ground coffee, these beans are freshly roasted in a corner of the restaurant so everyone gets to enjoy the smell.

 photo IMG_0084_zpsyq0uuzia.jpg

The food was great and so was the atmosphere. This was a mid-week evening and the restaurant was full, so I recommend that you book ahead. The service was on the leisurely side, but came with a genuine friendliness and care for the diner that is all too rare and completely charmed me. The price for the two of us, including drinks, came to £52. I am pleased to have found another veggie-friendly restaurant and cuisine. I will be going back and I won’t be waiting years to do it.

Adulis
44-46 Brixton Rd
London
SW9 6BT
Tel: 020 7587 0055

Price for 2 including drinks £52

Recipe: Vegan Pancakes

Standard

It’s Shrove Tuesday on Tuesday. Or, as it’s better known in the UK, Pancake Day. It was a way of using up eggs and butter before the fasting of Lent took over. This being the UK, a virtue was made out of a necessity with the addition of a sporting element and yet another improbable race was added to the British Canon of People Dressed in Stupid Costumes Doing Silly Things at Speed.

All of which is fine if you eat eggs and dairy. But what if you don’t? I have done some searching on the internet to find a good pancake recipe. It’s been a little complicated because a lot of the recipes are for American pancakes, which, while fine for breakfast, are not what is wanted here. I finally tracked down enough proper pancake/crepe recipes and did some trial and error to come up with the best and simplest recipe.

The essential ingredients are flour, soy milk, baking powder and salt. Please don’t omit the last one, it really does make a difference even if you’re going with a sweet filling.

This recipe makes 8 pancakes, but that will depend on the size of your frying pan and how thin you can get the coating. The first one out of the pan is always the throwaway (or cook’s treat) because you never get the temperature right or the pan oiled correctly.

 photo pancakes_zpslauaxbt4.jpg

Ingredients
175g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
250ml soy milk
2 tsp vegetable oil
oil for frying

Mix the dry ingredients together thoroughly and slowly add the milk and oil.
Whisk until you have a smooth batter the consistency of thick cream.
Heat the frying oil in a medium sized frying pan.
Pour in enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan.
Fry over a medium/hot heat until it is a light brown on the bottom and moves freely about the pan.
Flip (or toss!) and cook until just cooked, with light brown patches.
Serve folded with a sweet or savoury topping. I go with tradition with lemon juice and sugar.
Makes 8 pancakes

Recipe: Minted Pea and Carrot Soup

Standard

There’s a time in every winter when you just want something simple and warming. A pulse and vegetable soup hits the spot every time for me. This is based on the famous pea and ham soup, so I have used the green marrowfat peas, but yellow split peas or lentils would work equally well. Just adjust the cooking time to suit. The mint lifts the flavour of this soup above the ordinary.

Minted Pea & Carrot Soup photo MintedPeaandCarrotSoup_zps09c2a31c.jpg

Ingredients
250g marrowfat peas, soaked
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks of mint
750ml vegetable stock
3 or 4 mint leaves, shredded for garnishing

Add the ingredients to a large saucepan.
Bring to the heat and simmer, covered, until the peas are tender. This should be 45-60 mins.
Remove the mint stalks and discard.
Spoon out about 1/4 of the peas and carrots and reserve.
Blend the remaining soup until smooth and then add the reserved peas and carrots back in.
If you want a completely smooth soup, just blend all of it together.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with the mint leaves sprinkled over.

Serves 2

Recipe: Lemon and Coriander Noodle Soup

Standard

This is a simple, fragrant soup with sour and hot notes. it makes a lightening-quick, great tasting, lunch or supper. You can add more vegetables to this if you want, but I’ve kept it simple with only the flavour of lemon, coriander and chilli.

I have assumed you’ll be using the type of noodles that come already portioned in nests or bundles of noodles. If you don’t have that type of noodle, you’ll need about 80g per person.

 photo Lemon20amp20Coriander20Soup_zpsjvvedo6g.jpg

Ingredients
2 portions noodles (about 80g each)
500ml vegetable stock
1/2 chilli, chopped
25g fresh coriander, chopped
100g tofu, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Sesame oil

Cook the noodles according to packet instructions.
Drain into a colander and cool under a running cold tap.
Set aside.
Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan.
When it is simmering add the chilli, coriander, tofu and the lemon juice.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Season with salt.
Divide the noodles into two serving bowls.
Pour the soup over the noodles.
Serve with a little sesame oil drizzled over the top.

Serves 2 for lunch