Vegan MoFo: British scones

Scones and pancakes are the two quick makes I turn to when we are all needing a little something in the afternoon to accompany our pot of tea. Neither are particularly sweet but they make a good vehicle for jam or conserve.

The scones use few ingredients, none of which are unusual, which makes them easy to put together. They do need a light touch and quick handling so that they rise nicely. I don’t even start to mix everything until the oven is heated and I keep the margarine  in the fridge until the last minute to keep it as cold as possible. This also makes for lighter fluffier scones. Also, do not be tempted to use a rolling pin. Just flatten, a very little and gently, with your palm.

I should probably apologise for the recipe being in ounces but it’s the recipe my mum used, the one I’ve used all my life and it’s much easier to remember the quantities.

 vegan scones

scones
16oz self raising flour
4oz margarine
2oz caster sugar
Pinch of salt
10 floz soya milk

Heat oven to 220C (unless you know it’s fierce, then keep it at 200C)

Heat the soya milk very gently until blood temperature but not hot.

Rub the margarine into the flour until roughly done. It doesn’t need to be like breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar and salt.

Using a table knife cut in the milk (so rather than stirring it you are using a sort of slice and mix action).

Pull it gently together with your hands and flatten the top but keep your scones the same height as you want because they don’t rise much.

Cut out your scones, place on a baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Eat warm with jam.

vegan scones

Vegan MoFo: Fish Free Worcestershire sauce

fish free Worcestershire sauce

I can’t claim any rights to this recipe as it’s adapted from an old PETA cookbook I bought  years ago before they went a bit…odd. It stores well in the fridge.

250mls cider vinegar

3 heaped tablespoons blackstrao molasses

60mls shoyu or tamari. (These have a greater depth of flavour than bog standard soy sauce)

60ml tamarind liquid*

1 heaped tsp mustard powder

1 heaped tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8-1/4 tsp ground cloves (or throw 3 or 4 in whole)

1/4 tsp ground cardamon (Or just throw in about 3 or 4 whole pods)

Optional: Add a whole dried chilli for a mild kick

Put everything in a pan. Bring to the boil. Turn off and pour (whole spices and all) into a bottle.

Leave for a week for best flavour but it can be used straight away.

Store in the fridge

* Tamarind liquid is just 1/4 cup squishy packaged tamarin pods soaked in about 1/2 cup hot water. Stir it all around to release the flavour and then strain off 1/4 cup liquid. If you cant find it just use water.

Vegan MoFo: rosemary roast marrow with baby plum tomatoes

roast veg

Simple in the extreme. Muchly Yum. Good as a satisfying side or a light supper over rice.

Peel, de-seed and chop a large marrow into nice big chunks and place in roasting dish. Scissors cut a small bundle of fresh rosemary over it. Mix through a punnet of halved baby plum tomatoes (other toms will do). Rub a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a little seasalt into the mixture and roast at 200C for at least half an hour.

Here it is cooking up with baked potatoes and a gluten free banana raisin loaf 🙂

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Vegan MoFo: Sundried tomato pesto

sundried tomato pesto

It’s not particularly original I know but, along with my easy and quick white sauce, it can be rustled up in minutes which makes it indispensable when there is a cranky hungry child, or adult.

It simply involves blending up about 8 sundried tomatoes along with a little of the oil in the jar, a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and a big handful of basil. Sometimes I add in ground almonds if they happen to be in the cupboard. Once you’ve mixed it with the warm pasta you could throw in some spinach and really it should all be served with a salad but on the night before food shopping pasta on it’s own will do.

sundried tomato pesto pasta

Vegan MoFo. Food anecdotes: Dal

While creating lots of self referential links  I was dumbfounded by the realisation that I haven’t once  posted about Indian food. How can this be?! How has this been omitted?! I’m genuinely quite incredulous because we make it at least twice a week.

While buying aubergines and peppers in  rural Aberdeenshire was difficult anything out with the Mediterranean an impossibility. I had an exceptionally plain palate as a child and whether that was of my own making or an enforced decision due to living in neeps and tatties country and not particularly having many options I’ll never know. What I do know is that the closest I got to Indian food was a packet of mild curry savoury rice and a  less authentic food you would be hard pressed to find. I think it contained dried red peppers, maybe peas, I can’t remember, and has the mildest hints of curry to it as if a packet of curry powder had been waved at it.

In 1995 I tuned into a program called Madhur Jaffreys Flavours of India and it was fundamental in altering my attitude to foods. It was fascinating. It was such a completely different way of cooking and the spices! Wow! I’d never heard of them. Our kitchen cupboard contained two packaged spices and herbs: mild curry powder and mixed herbs. Exotic!   I’m not sure what changed but considering that  I had never been an adventurous eater or cooked more than a packet of supernoodles it was a great departure. Perhaps it was a realisation that something had to change.  I had become a junk food cheese obsessed non bean, non lentil and non vegetable eating vegetarian in 1993 and then a  non bean, non lentil and non vegetable eating vegan in1994. I realised that if I I was serious about removing dairy & eggs as well as meat from my diet I had to be the healthiest I could be to prove that my choice was right.

I wrote out the recipes and after school i would venture into the one and only ethnic food shop that Aberdeen had to offer to buy my spices and eventually I started asking the advice of the owners how to cook things: although every vegetable I bought I was told to “cook like a potato”. I experimented after school and slowly introduced different types of pulses and vegetables into my new spiced up flavoursome cooking.

That is where my love affair with Indian foods started.    The flavours can be punchy and as hot as hell or subtle and mild but always beautifully aromatic. Dal is an easy place to start. It can be made a little sweet with cinnamon and coconut milk, maybe sour with a hint of tamarind or perhaps fiery and fresh with some coriander chilli and lime stirred in at the end. I can’t really claim this to be completely authentic but I do claim it to be delicious.

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Channa dal about 2 cups, 2 bay leaves and Cassia bark (or a cinnamon stick). A few cloves and some cardamom pods can also be added

Throw in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until channa dal is tender.

Meanwhile: Fry off 2 onions, 3 cloves crushed garlic and good chunk of finely chopped ginger over a gentle heat and try not to burn. Add in a tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek, a tablespoon each of ground cumin and coriander and fry off a little. If you can get fresh curry leaves put them in too. Throw this mix into your dal.

Now you can add fresh chillies if you like or some tamarind or maybe some coconut milk and let it simmer away. Add salt only once the channa dal is soft. Spinach and fresh coriander should be put in at the last minute if you fancy it…and why not?

 

Vegan MoFo: Calcium rich nutritional yeast sprinkle

I love a bit of nutritional yeast to the extent that I import great tubs of it at huge expense. I love that it has a tangy savoury taste and is cram packed full of  B vitamins but there is always room for nutritional improvement.

While flicking through Vegan Lunchbox I came across a recipe for breadsticks which involved grinding up sesame seeds with nutritional yeast and right there was the obvious answer. Sesame seeds are high in calcium and make a tasty savoury addition to the sprinkle, add in some freshly ground flax seeds and you throw some omega 3 into the mix.

You can add salt, garlic granules and/or dried onions too if you fancy more of a kick but I leave the salt out for the toddler.

nutritional yeast cheesy sprinkle

1/4 cup Sesame seeds
1/4 cup Nutritional yeast (While I import mine it can be bought through Goodness Direct but I haven’t tried this version so can’t personally vouch for it)
1 tbsp Flax seed (linseed)

Grind it all up in a coffee/spice grinder and store in an airtight container. Sprinkle where desired.

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