A Vegan Plan B

img_1069You forgot to buy an essential ingredient, the evening didn’t go as you had planned, you screwed up the dinner you were going to cook, or you simply can’t be asked. Let’s face it, cooking is part of life and, as such, doesn’t always work out the way you’d like (while at other times it’s so much better than you’d ever hoped). So you need a Plan B; a meal that you can throw together in no time at all, is tasty and prevents you from ordering out.

As a vegetarian (and probably even as an ominvore before that), my Plan B usually involved two eggs, a frying pan and two slices of bread. With eggs off the menu, I had to find something different but preferably similar for those times when I need a quick and easy meal. So I give you the vegan omelette, made with a chickpea flour batter. Of course I don’t claim to have invented this dish (plenty of versions of it on the Internet), but this is my take on it.

I’ve used mushrooms, onion and pepper here, but you can of course use any (left-over) veg you’d like. You could also add dried or fresh, chopped herbs to the batter.

Ingredients

Vegetables
5 medium mushrooms, halved, each half chopped into 6 pieces (but depending on the shape and size of the mushrooms)
½ large onion, finely chopped
½ red pepper, (sort of) finely chopped
garlic oil

For the batter
50 g chickpea flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper, to taste
anywhere between 70-90 mls of water (or more, depending on your flour. You’ll want it to resemble a pancake batter, so you can pour it into the pan)
flavourless vegetable oil

Preparation

– In a medium-sized skillet, fry the veg in the garlic oil till cooked.
– Meanwhile, mix all the dry ingredients for the batter in a bowl (don’t add the water yet).
– Put the cooked vegetables on a plate and set aside.
– While heating the flavourless oil in the same pan, make the batter by adding the water and whisking.
– Pour it into the pan and quickly spread it out by turning the pan this way and that.
– Now, also quickly, distribute the vegetables over the omelette.
– Turn the heat down to low and cook for 5 minutes.
– Slide it out of the pan (the edges may stick a bit, gently loosen them with a spatula) and eat.

Vegan Naan Bread

img_0918I absolutely love naan bread. The best is made in a tandoori oven (so basically naan served in Indian restaurants), the second best is cooked at home using a cast-iron skillet like I do here, but somehow I often end up buying the dry supermarket stuff with too many ingredients in it. Or used to end up buying, because most shop-bought naans aren’t vegan. Think what you will about veganism, it eliminates a lot of processed foods from your diet in one fell swoop (or maybe I should say ‘even more’ processed foods). img_0916

So these days, if I want to eat naan bread, I have to make my own. This is no problem, because this recipe, based on Jamie Oliver’s quick flatbreads, allows me to whip them up in no time at all. img_0823Two tips: coat your fingertips with a bit of oil while ‘kneading’ the dough (quickly bringing it together) and while pushing it out. Excess flour will burn in your pan, creating smoke and a smell. Secondly, wrap your naans in a clean tea towel and leave them in there until you’re ready to eat. Cooling them on a wire rack results in crispy flatbreads, which is not what you’re after.


Ingredients (makes 2 large naans)

175 g plain flour
2 generous tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each of nigella seeds (kalonji) and fennel seeds
150 g soya yogurt
generous squeeze of lemon juice

Preparation

– Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or other shallow, lidded pan with a heavy bottom on a medium-high heat. Make sure it is scorchingly hot by the time you put in the dough.
– Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
– Mix yogurt and lemon juice in a smaller bowl.
– Throw wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ones and mix with a spatula. Finish with a quick and light ‘knead’, using oil-coated fingertips.
– Divide the dough into two balls, pressing one out on a silicon baking mat (not essential but very handy here) with your fingers. A tear shape is traditional but I just press until it’s roughly 1 cm thick.
– Slap the naan onto the surface of the hot pan and clamp on a well-fitting lid.
– Cook/bake for 2 minutes, turn, put lid back on and give it another 2 minutes. If the top looks a bit anaemic, turn again and bake for another minute, lid on. Wrap in a clean tea towel.
– Repeat with the second ball of dough. If the pan gets a bit too hot, turn the heat down slightly; you want some nice blistering but no charcoaly bits.

Garlicky Avocado Mayo with a Kick

img_0896This is one of those quick write-down-now-before-I-forget-what-I-did posts, because, simple as this recipe is, it’s bound to slip through the colander that is my brain.

This makes a lovely tangy mayonaisse-like sauce that you can slather on pretty much anything. The kick from the Sriracha (or any chilli sauce) is optional. You may want to add some pepper if you leave out the heat.


Ingredients

1 ripe avocado
½ tsp Dijon mustard
generous pinch of salt
1 tsp of Sriracha sauce, optional
2 tbsp garlic oil

Preparation

– Put all ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor.
– Blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary, until well mixed.
– Leave the machine running while you drizzle in the oil.