My biggest baby likes to cook pizza.
Vegan Meat Feast – Artisan Vegan Mozerella, Vegan Brunch Choritzo, Suma Burger Mix Meatballs, Onions, Peppers, Aubergine Sauce
Sourdough Base
200g refreshed starter
400g strong white flour
150g water
Glug of olive oil
Pinch of salt

Knead well, rest 2-4 hours, roll out, top, bake.

Tomato and Aubergine Sauce
When I make aubergine bacon I keep the end slices in the freezer to enrich this sauce.

1 tin tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Aubergine – no more by volume than you have onion, chopped
Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Tablespoon olive oil

Fry the onion and aubergine in the olive oil. When the vegetables are translucent, add the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Use an immersion blender to smooth the sauce out and reduce well. Allow to cool, this should make enough for at least three pizzas so freeze the excess.

Top the base and sauce with a few of the following:
Artisan Vegan Mozerella
Slices onions
Sliced peppers
Mini meatballs made from reconstituted burger mix
Seitan Choritzo

Or omit sauce and add:
Thinly sliced potatoes, chilli and rosemary

And cook for approximately twenty-five minutes.

Cinnamon Rolls

Delicious for breakfast, make them the night before and rest in the fridge. Bake them in the morning.

200g refreshed sourdough starter
200g soy milk
20g sugar
500g strong white flour
Pinch of salt

Teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil

4 tablespoons caster sugar
1-2 tablespoons water

Mix the dough and knead well, rest for two hours.
Roll out to 1cm thick, and sprinkle the fillings over the top.
Grease a medium sized roasting tin or cake tin.
Roll the dough up into a sausage and chop into roughly twelve rounds.
Arrange in the tin and rest overnight in the fridge.
In the morning bake for about 15 minutes at 180c.
Allow to completely cool (most of them anyway), mix the icing and drizzle over the top.

Spring Rolls

The grown ups are having a quick Thai Curry with lots of vegetables, coconut and jackfruit (deep fried before adding) with green curry paste. Served with Rice and plenty of coriander.

I also helped the kids to make spring rolls – a couple for the grown ups too! This is a fun kitchen task for kids… Not remotely authentic but tasty.
Ingredients to make 8 small rolls
8 rice paper spring roll wrappers
1/2 carrot
1/4 onion
1/2 a pepper
1/4 small courgette
2 chunks of jackfruit, drained from the tin and deep fried
Tablespoon sesame seeds
Tablespoon rapeseed oil
Teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Tablespoon soy sauce
Hoisin Sauce / Sweet Chilli Sauce / Sitracha to serve

Shred the jackfruit, and finely shred all the vegetables.
Fry the vegetables in the two oils and add the sesame seeds. Stir in and ass the soy sauce. Then allow to cool.
Soak the rice paper sheets in water, one at a time, until pliable.
Place 1/8th of the vegetable mixture in the centre, fold in three sides and then roll up.
Fry the spring rolls- either deep fry or in a generous amount of oil. You could probably bake them too.
Serve with dipping sauces.

Super Easy Roast Bean Tortillas with Hot Tomato Sauce

Another quick and easy staple.
Shove it in the oven and stir occasionally… The children have assorted salads and spreads in theirs.

Ingredients to serve two
2 tins of kidney beans, drained
– or mix it up by subbing aduki, black beans and/or haricot for around half or two-thirds of this quantity
2 peppers, in thin half-rounds
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Enough olive oil to generously coat

Hot sauce:
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Fresh chilli, finely chopped or dried chilli flakes to taste
Note- the above sauce is lovely. But now I usually have these with the Red Velvet Mole from Appetite for Reduction

Salad leaves
Wholemeal Tortillas
Vegan cheese (optional, grated – I like Veganic Pizza Cheese)

Throw everything, well mixed, onto an oven tray. Bake at 200c for about an hour, stirring occasionally and scraping up anything stuck on. You can turn it off any time and let it sit in a warm oven until you want to heat it up to eat it.

Hot sauce:
Sauté onions and garlic in a little oil, before adding tomatoes, chilli and balsamic vinegar. Reduce to a thick sauce.

Let everyone roll their own, adding cheese and salad as they wish. Children may prefer things like peanut butter, sliced apple, banana, cucumber, celery, vegan meats… Or whatever you can imagine that can be wrapped!

Baked Cous Cous and Roasted Vegetables with Creamy Garlic Dressing

When in doubt, roast something.

This is a very easy and tasty dish for a howling cold day.

Root vegetables, peeled and chopped into small cubes. For four adults (with left overs) I did:
4 small potatoes
2 large carrots
2 large parsnips
2 medium onions
2 peppers
But almost anything will do. If you reduce the quantity of vegetables then compensate with extra Cous Cous.

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 pints stock (home made) or half stock, half white wine
4 servings of Cous Cous (according to the packet)

1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least four hours in 1 cup soy milk
2 cloves crushed garlic
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Harissa (optional) or Sirracha
Put the cashews to soak in the morning.
Pre heat the oven to 200c.
Mix the vegetables with the oil and roast for around one and a half to two hours, stirring regularly.
Add stock and Cous Cous, stir well, cover and return to the oven for approximately half an hour. The Cous Cous should be plump and fluffy.
While the Cous Cous is cooking, whizz the soaked cashews, soy milk, garlic, lemon and salt until smooth.
Serve with Harissa and garlic dressing on the side, so people can add their own to taste.

Lentil Splodge- easy and satisfying

It would be wrong to call this a recipe, this is an infinitely variable and customisable meal that takes almost no effort or thought. And it will make you feel loved from the inside out.
Tonight we’re having it with baked potatoes, though sauté potatoes are even better with it. The children are having potato skins with nutritional yeast, marge and ham mixed through. We’re both having salads too.

Rough ingredients list
Red lentils

Add a few of these:
Yellow lentils
Chilli – fresh or flakes
Vegan Worcester Sauce
Carrots (grated)
Celery (finely sliced)
Coconut milk (reduce water accordingly)
Garam Masala
Mustard Seeds
Coriander leaves or seeds
Other vegetables…

Fry the onion and garlic, with celery, garam masala and mustard or coriander seeds if you’re using them.
Add any other vegetables (if you want) and fry briefly before you add your choice of liquids and lentils.
Simmer slowly for at least half an hour, after that time you can put the lid on and the flavours will develop and improve.
Serve hot with chips, rice or crispy baked potato, but really good sauté potatoes are best.
Garnish with roughly chopped coriander leaves… If you have them.

Carribean Ham

This is Vital Wheat Gluten auditioning to become a Store Cupboard Staple. I make my own gluten from flour usually, which is fairly labour intensive but gives a nice chicken-like texture to little vegan nuggets and so on.

The one problem with home-rinsed gluten is that you can’t get intense flavour into it. My omnivorous children want ham sandwiches, which I will get them, but I’m also on the hunt for an awesome vegan alternative.

This recipe for ‘Everyday Ham’ from the Carribean Vegan looks pretty good, but Vital Wheat Gluten has to be ordered in bulk online so it needs to be fairly amazing to earn its space!

10am – I’ve mixed everything up and popped it into the steamer (cough collendar over a pan) wrapped in muslin. It smells pretty awesome and it’s a doddle so far, five minutes so far and little washing up.

10:45 – scored, studded with cloves and basted with pineapple juice and maple syrup… Into the oven. It looks impressive, if small. If this is good then I’ll be making double quantities.
11:10 – it looks good but I think I’m going to bake it a little longer than advised. I’d like a nice sweet rind…
11:45 – that’s more like it! 45 minutes gets a nice caramelised outside. I’ve transferred it to the fridge to cool and firm… Can’t wait to try it!
I gave it an hour in the fridge and tried it cubed on top of lentil soup and in a sandwich.

It’s very tasty, delicious in fact. Dense and flavourful. The children find it a bit too ‘spicy’ but I can probably come up with a milder version.

I’m going to order some wheat gluten online and see if I find uses for it.

I say that Wheat Gluten has passed the first round of auditions.