Monthly Archives: May 2013

Vegetarian Sausage & Cider Casserole

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This cleared out not only the cider, but some left-over cheese, potato, and spinach as well. Googling “cider” plus “recipes” brings up a veritable mountain of “Sausage & Cider” casserole recipes, and as the local supermarket is very conveniently doing “3 packs for £5.50” on vegetarian sausages, who am I to argue…….?

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Vegetarian Sausage & Cider Casserole

More Sunshine!

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We have, for the second time this year, a lovely sunny bank holiday Monday. Not an absolute scorcher, but neither I nor 70 million other Brits are complaining. We’ll take whatever sunshine we can get!

My friends left half a bottle of moderately decent cider behind so I’m on the hunt for a cider-based recipe for dinner tonight. If I’m successful I’ll blog the results (probably whilst swaying gently and informing you all that you’re all “my besshtt friends”). In the meantime feel free to enjoy some photographs of the fine landscape and areas of historical interest around Tangleton…..

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Lentil, mushroom and spinach cottage pie

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Had a couple of friends down for the weekend from old Londinium, and, if I do say so myself, the cooking was a triumph. This morning’s hangover was alleviated by the Hott Eggs recipe plus grilled vegetarian sausages, and yesterday’s dinner consisted of home-made houmus with black olives and crispbreads, then a comforting cottage pie of red lentils, mushroom and spinach, with balsamic vinegar to give it a bit of an edge.

I’d post a photo, but by the time I remembered to dig out my camera, we’d eaten the lot.

Lentil, Mushroom and Spinach Cottage Pie

In Which I Create

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As before mentioned, found a recipe for home-made chorizo online. Now this was home-made chorizo containing pork, so therefore I had to work out a way to vegetarianise it.

What could possibly go wrong?

I shall draw a veil over my first attempt, involving tofu. No, seriously, let’s not go there. No, not even for a laugh.

A second attempt using cooked potato and vegetarian ham was more promising, although I overdid the cider vinegar and the apparently fat and luscious garlic bulbs I purchased from the convenience store down the road turned out to be somewhat “vintage” and “mature”.

The third try, armed with garlic bulbs that hadn’t acheived sentience, is actually a bit more like it. I think I need to research some sort of vegetarian “binder” to keep the slices from falling apart, but having fried up a load of slices of Attempt 3, with some scrambled egg and grilled mushrooms, I think I’m starting to get somewhere with this….

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Vegetarian Chorizo

Book of Cold Life

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Had a go at the http://www.vedgedout.com Not-Beef-Stew recipe by Somer, which was rather fab, to the point that I’ve had to freeze the remainder of it so I don’t keep nicking bits from the tupperware container in the fridge. Additionally, one of my work-colleagues has very kindly given me some old vegetarian cookbooks, as he was having a bit of a clear-out.

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These are of 1970s/1980s vintage and are therefore somewhat worthy, and a bit hilarious from the modern point of view, terribly spoilt as we are by the incredible range of foods and cultural influences available in 2013 Britain. Look, The Brown Rice Cookbook!!

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(Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for wholegrains, but seriously, an entire cookbook devoted to brown rice…!)

Plus photography so 1970s that you can practically taste the flared trousers and wife-swapping parties….

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I think “Cooking without Meat” (publ. 1973! I wasn’t even born in 1973!) is likely to be the more useful of the two; it does a lot of stocks and sauces and side dishes and bits and pieces that could be easily adapted or added to the dishes I do now. Watch this space! “Vegetarian Dinner Parties” (1983) is an interesting Cold War museum piece, but most of the dishes are already vegetarian standards, if not cliches, so I’m keeping it just for amusement value. It’s divided up by chapters on the various vegetarian world cuisines, and I have a nasty feeling that most of the “Eastern European” section concerns countries that unfortunately no longer exist…..!

All this literary criticism has left me little time to do much cooking of my own, so here’s a cheap and easy cliche of my own, especially when the local supermarket is doing two large tins of the main ingredient for a quid….sweetcorn fritters.

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Sweetcorn Fritters

Feeling Chorizo-y

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So I have, if I do say so myself, quite a nice flat, in a well-appointed apartment block in a desirable part of Tangleton town centre. Cream walls, dark wood floor, kitchen done out in black with tasteful highlights of chrome steel, plus the previously-mentioned inbuilt metal spice rack. For keeping your spices in. Rather than keeping them in a pile on the side of the kitchen counter.

Frankly I’m amazed they actually let me rent the place.

I have sporadic bursts of attempting to match all this sophisticated city-living. Today I decided, to hell with my boring salt and black pepper packets, I’m going to buy some small metal salt and pepper shakers, in an excitingly curvy round shape, that will sit next to the cooker and look all designer-labelish and shiny and sophisticated and all that stuff.

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I then proceeded to slice a ruddy great hole in my finger when I levered the lid off the salt shaker so I could fill it, which bled for about 20 minutes, and redecorated the shaker, the chopping board, 6 sheets of kitchen towel and the wok with fetching diamonds of crimson. Therefore guaranteeing that today’s recipes were a) of a higher iron content than usual and b) probably not really vegetarian.

Today’s other main ingredient comes courtesy of my local supermarket, which has started selling vegetarian chorizo (at an extortionate price). I’ve found a recipe online for how to make it at home, so that will probably be the basis of a future post. In the meantime, I bring to you a couple tasty tasty recipes to meet your vegetarian sausage needs…..

Peppers stuffed with couscous and chorizo, and vegetarian sausage stew

Serendipity

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IT LIVES….!!

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This afternoon was spent at the GP clinic, as I had one of those wonderful women’s health examinations which make you wonder about the motivations of Mother Nature, what with the creation of a system of internal tubing that in any other situation would make a professional plumber whistle quietly and comment “Who the ‘ell put that stopcock there?! Bloody cowboys! That’ll cost yer £300 plus VAT ‘cos you can’t get the parts these days, KEV! get the largest sink plunger from the van would yer?”.

But I’ve found that in situations like this (or opticians/dentists/chiropodists etc), it’s actually a good idea to inform the healthcare provider upfront that you suffer from anxiety attacks, because generally they’re fairly sympathetic and will work with you in managing the situation so that the procedure can go ahead with minimum grief to either side. Establishing that extra bit of control often is enough to prevent the anxiety spiralling upwards into a full-blown attack. Plus, it also acts as a good screening process for arseholes, in that if the reaction is one of why should I care / you’re being stupid / these exams don’t hurt, you know not to proceed with the procedure as you will quite likely find yourself being completely disempowered, and therefore you can politely make your excuses and leave / ask for another healthcare provider / throw yourself out via the nearest window in a spectacular crash of glass fragments, like they do in the movies.

After all this, something comforting for dinner seemed like a good idea. Fortunately I’d found a tin of chestnut puree on offer for a mere 34p at Big Supermarket Chain, due to the tin being badly dented, and this richest of nutmeats was just the luxurious touch that this evening needed (well that, and a quadruple vodka).

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Chestnut & Peanut Nut Roast / Chestnut pesto