Guest Chef Blogger – Sarah Beattie
12 May at 9:45AM
We have teamed up with Sarah Beattie, a Food Writer for Vegetarian Living Magazine and author of numerous cookbooks, to bring you a range of her favourite meat free recipes ahead of World Meat Free Day. To find more recipes from Sarah, follow her at https://www.facebook.com/SarahBeattieFood
Crema di Ceci
- 4 tbs olive oil + extra to serve
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- about 2 tbs fresh rosemary “needles”
- 800g cooked chickpeas (homecooked or canned/jar)
- 1lt vegetable stock
- salt, pepper
- a little chopped parsley
- Heat the oil and fry the garlic and rosemary until the garlic begins to brown – don’t let it burn.
- Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
- Add the stock, season well, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve with a dribble of oil and some good bread.
Quick Gado Gado
Gado Gado is a traditional Indonesian salad with a spicy peanut (or sometimes cashew) based dressing. I’ve cheated by using a good quality peanut butter to speed things up. The vegetables can vary according to what you have on hand.
Crisp deep-fried crackers are served with it – both tapioca-based prawn crackers (unsuitable for vegetarians but onion ones can sometimes be found) and Emping, made from melinjo nuts. You can buy both ready fried and uncooked ones from Asian shops including www.eastwestoriental.com. If you can’t find any, you can substitute mini-popadums.
- 200g Chinese cabbage, shredded
- 200g spinach or chard, shredded
- 200g beansprouts, rinsed
- 250g cooked new potatoes, quartered
- 3 eggs, hardboiled: peeled and quartered
- ½ cucumber, cut into 1cm chunks
- 1 red onion
- 1 tbs rice flour
- 150g firm tofu, cubed
- a few crackers (see above)
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and coarsely chopped
- 200ml tinned coconut milk
- 100g organic peanut butter
- 1 tbs palm or muscovado sugar
- 1 tbs prepared tamarind (Barts Spices sell tamarind paste that has been soaked and sieved ready to use otherwise stand 1tsp pulp in boiling water, strain and sieve)
- 1 tbs light soy sauce
- lime juice to taste
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Plunge the cabbage, spinach and beansprouts into the water. Drain immediately, shaking off excess water. Tip into a large basin of iced water to crisp up and cool. Drain and spin. Put in a large shallow bowl. Add the potato and egg quarters. Scatter over the cucumber.
- Heat the oil to the depth of 3cm in a wok. Slice the onion thickly. Press out the slices into rings and dust them with the flour. When the oil is smoking hot, shake off any excess flour and fry the rings until crisp and brow. Drain on kitchen paper. Then fry the tofu. Drain. Lastly fry the crackers. Whilst these are all cooling on the kitchen paper, prepare the dressing.
- Heat the chillies and coconut milk in a small pan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the peanut butter, sugar and tamarind and whizz with a wand blender. Add lime juice to taste.
- Add the fried onion rings and tofu to the salad then drizzle with some of the dressing. Serve with the rest of the dressing in a jug and the crackers.
Barberries – zereshk – a small dried acid berry can be found in the UK now: (www.seasonedpioneers.co.uk or from Sally Butcher’s (author of Veggiestan) Peckham deli – online at www.foratasteofpersia.co.uk ). However if you can’t get any, use roughly chopped dried cranberries or add fresh pomegranate just before serving. The scent of the polow cooking is irresistible but be strong and hold out: do not lift the lid on the pan until the time is up! The rice cooks in the steam and if you remove the lid, the steam will escape. I’d be content with just the polow but you can serve it with a rich fragrant stew or curry. Some of the over 20 recipes and descriptions I read called for enormous amounts of sugar – one used a staggering 350g – I found four tablespoons worked well. I’ve specified organic oranges to be sure the rind is not covered in chemical waxes.
- 400g basmati rice (or if you can find it, Iranian Domsiah)
- boiling water
- 1 tsp saffron
- 2 large organic oranges
- 3 – 4 carrots,
- 4 tbs sugar
- 2 pods cardamom
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- a pinch of dried rose petals
- 2 tbs oil
- 50g almonds, roughly chopped
- 50g pistachios, shelled
- 25g barberries – or see above
- 50g golden sultanas
- 60g butter or margarine
- a cinnamon stick
- Wash the rice well and leave it to soak in clean water with a tablespoon of salt for at least 2 hours or overnight. Put half the saffron to soak in 50ml boiling water.
- Using a potato peeler, pare the rind from the oranges and cut into julienne strips. Drop into a small pan of boiling water. Boil for a minute, drain, rinse and cover with 150ml boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Peel the carrots and cut into strips about ½ cm wide. Add to the orange peel with 3 tablespoons of sugar. Cover and simmer until tender – about 8 -10 minutes.
- Grind the remaining tablespoon of sugar with the other half of the saffron in a pestle and mortar. Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and grind them in with the sugar and saffron. Work in the cinnamon and rose petals.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the almonds and pistachios for 1 minute. Sprinkle over the barberries and sultanas. Continue to fry whilst stirring for half a minute. Take off the heat and scatter over the spice and sugar mixture. Turn about until all is coated.
- Put a large pan of well-salted water on to boil. When it’s boiling, add the rice and boil hard for 5 minutes. Whilst the rice is boiling, melt the butter or margarine, over a very low heat, in the base of a heavy-bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid. Drain the rice. Put a third of the hot rice onto the melted butter or margarine, cover with half the orange and carrot strips, then add half the nut mixture, add another third of the rice, the rest of the orange and carrots and then the nuts. Finish with the remaining rice. Pour over the saffron and its soaking water. Push in the cinnamon stick. Cover the top of the pan with foil then ram on the lid. Make sure the heat is very low and cook for 40 minutes without lifting the lid.
- Serve in a big dish or platter, mixing the yellow and white rices and putting pieces of the crisp the bottom crust - tahdig , scraped from the bottom of the pan, on the top. Some Iranian cooks put the base of the pan in iced water after the cooking time is up, to loosen the tahdig and then turn out all the rice, like a cake, onto a plate. If you don’t care about the tahdig and you are concerned about keeping the heat low enough, you can bake the rice at 150˚C / Gas Mk3 for 35 minutes. You still need a tight fitting lid though.
Bolas or Folares – Bread Pies
You can use all sorts of things for the fillings in these lovely layered pies. Jars of antipasto vegetables (peppers, artichoke, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, olives) or freshly grilled, roasted or fried peppers, aubergines, mushrooms or onions can all be used. Many Portuguese sheep cheeses such as Serra de Estrela, Castelo Branco and Azeitão and the goats’ cheese, Pastagens do Covento, are traditionally vegetarian, using thistles instead of animal rennet to curdle the milk and are delicious in the pies – if you can find them. If not, use another semi-soft goats’ or sheep’s cheese. Vegans can use Sheese or just stick to the vegetables. Fried vegan chorizo slices can been popped into balls of dough for individual Bolas.
I used a Brioche flour mix for a richer dough – vegans can add some soy flour to plain and use soy milk instead of dairy and egg – but any favourite bread dough will work. I’ve made a three layer round one but you can make a simpler two rectangle if you prefer. The latter is more like an Italian calzone or folded pizza. As with calzone, it’s a great addition to a picnic hamper as the pie can be cut in wedges when you arrive but it’s robust enough to travel well. I prefer it to making a big pile of sarnies that always seem to fall apart, no matter how well you wrap them.
- 350g flour
- 1 tbs sugar
- a good pinch of salt
- 2 tsp instant dried yeast
- 175ml lukewarm milk
- 75g softened butter or vegetable margarine
- 1 egg
- 2 or 3 sundried tomatoes, shredded
- a small jar of piquillo peppers, drained
- 100g semi-soft sheep’s or goats cheese, thinly sliced
- Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix the milk, butter or margarine and egg in another bowl. Pour this mixture into the dry (but don’t yet wash the bowl). Mix to a soft dough and knead well until smooth and no longer stick. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to double in size.
- Lightly oil or grease a loose-bottomed cake tin (about 20cm). Knock back the dough and knead it lightly again. Divide into 3 parts. Flatten the first and fit it into the base of the cake tin. Cover with half of the filling ingredients. Flatten the second ball of dough and cover the filling. Top this with the remaining sundried tomatoes, peppers and cheese. Flatten the remaining dough and cover the filling, tucking down the edges neatly. Use a wet pastry brush to wipe around the inside of the bowl in which you mixed the egg and milk and then brush the top of the pie. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise. Preheat the oven to 180˚ C / Gas Mk6.
- When the pie has nearly doubled in size, put it into the hot oven and bake for around 25 minutes. If the top gets too dark, cover it loosely with baking paper or foil. Take out of the oven and allow to cool on a rack.
Bobotie with Blatjang “Salsa”
Serves 6 – 8
- 80g bread
- 250ml milk
- 3 cloves
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 dried chilli
- 1tbs butter + 1tbs oil OR 2tbs oil
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 ½ tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 bay leaves
- 250g mushrooms, chopped
- 500g Quorn vegetarian mince
- 1 tbs fresh chopped marjoram or oregano
- 1 lemon or lime, zest and juice
- 400g apricots, stoned and chopped
- 2 eggs
- a few blanched almonds, optional
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- a small fresh chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- a little sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/ Gas Mk4. Have ready a 2litre baking dish.
- Put the bread to soak in the milk and set to one side.
- Dry fry the cloves, cumin, coriander and chilli for a couple of minutes. Grind and reserve.
- Heat the butter and/ or oil in a large pan. Add the onions and fry until beginning to brown. Add the garlic, ginger and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, until the garlic begins to turn colour.
- Add half the ground mixture of spices plus the cinnamon, turmeric and bay leaves. Mix well, then add the mushrooms and vegetarian mince. Cook until the mushroom juices run. Stir frequently.
- Add the marjoram or oregano and half the apricots with half the zest and juice of the lemon or lime.
- Squeeze the bread and add to the mixture in the pan – save the milk. Mix very well into mince. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then pack into the baking dish – the mixture should be like sloppy burgers. Level the top.
- Beat the eggs with the saved milk, seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour over the mixture in the baking dish, scatter over the almonds, if using, and put into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes and serve with the Blatjang (see below) and rice.
- To make the Blatjang salsa, simply combine the remaining apricots with the reserved ground spices, the rest of the lemon or lime zest and juice, the spring onions and the fresh chilli. Add sugar to taste.
© Sarah Beattie 2016