Category Archives: entree

Chunky Purple Pasta

purple pasta

A delicious and thrifty dish, made all the more frugal in this instance by the aubergine and beetroot being obtained during Tesco’s 2p evening reduction time (may not be all stores and times vary, worth asking).

Ingredients for sauce (amount serves four):
a little olive oil
1 leek, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
a bunch of fresh beetroot, peeled and cut into chunks
2 small aubergines, cubed
1 courgette, also cubed
1 pack of passata (we prefer Lidl’s cheap brand to Tesco value, much nicer)
1 can of red kidney beans
2 teaspoons of dried oregano (or other herbs, fresh are nice too)
salt and black pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, fry the vegetables in the oil until softened then add the passata. Bring to the boil, adding beans, herbs and seasoning as you go, water if too thick, tomato puree if too thin. Turn down to a simmer until all is cooked, probably for about 20 minutes; test for seasoning, adjust if needed, and pile the sauce on top of your pasta. Garnish with parsley and enjoy.



gluten-free veggie lasagne

lasange

This was made with gluten free lasagne sheets found in Lidl (Jan 2015), making it especially frugal, though many brands exist and the recipe will work with wheat based products too. It made enough for four huge portions or six medium.

Ingredients:
1 250g pack of lasagne sheets

For the tomato sauce:
a little olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 aubergine, cut into small chunks
4 sticks of celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 500g pack of passata
about 2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of dried oregano or other dried herbs
salt to taste
Method: fry the vegetables in the oil for a few minutes until softened. Add the passata, rinse out the pack/bottle with the water before adding it to the sauce. Bring to the boil, add your herbs and salt.

In a flat oven proof dish layer up the lasagne and the tomato sauce. It’s best to put a little sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking. The Lidl brand of lasagne did not need pre soaking (thank goodness! It always sticks together!) but check the instructions on your pack. Make the top layer sauce too.

For the white topping sauce:
1 tablespoon of vegetable margarine
1 tablespoon of gluten free flour
about a cup of soya milk
salt and pepper to taste
Method: melt the margarine and stir in the flour. Gradually add the milk over a medium heat, stirring all the time to avoid lumps (though don’t worry too much, in this dish they’re not very noticeable), until the sauce thickens. Add your seasoning and pour onto the top of the lasagne.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for at least forty minutes or until a knife slides easily into the middle of the lasagne.

Variations:
1. This recipe used the most basic of vegetables, you can use whatever you have to hand: peppers, courgettes, peas, sweetcorn. We added sweetcorn to the white sauce pictured.
2. A layer of tinned spinach instead of the last layer of tomato sauce is very nice and juicy. Ditto mushrooms.
3. We topped with a small packet of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
4. You can add tomato puree if the sauce seems overly runny, though remember it does need to have more liquid than plain pasta sauce as the lasagne will absorb some of it.

lasange



aduki bean and amaranth pie

aduki

A protein dense and filling meal, the recipe is a variant of red dragon pie. I bought the dried beans very cheaply from Approved Food, they do seem to get them in quite often. Mention goes to Lucy who reminded me of the protein rich properties of Amaranth, and then I was surprised to see it at only 83p for 250g from Goodness Direct (at time of writing).

The quantities listed are for an enormous pie that feeds four people with lots of leftovers for the next day. Adjust as required.

500g of dried aduki beans, soaked in water overnight
100g amaranth
4 scraped and chopped carrots
6 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
3 bay leaves (remove before or while serving)
1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce
a bag of potatoes (I used 750g), peeled if needed and chopped. The smaller you cut them, the less cooking time they require.
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (optional, but they give a cheesy edge without being too rich)a dab of marge
splash of soya milk.
salt and pepper to taste.

Place your soaked beans in a large pan, cover well with water, bring to the boil and turn down to simmer. Different brands seem to need different times of cooking. Supermarket ones could need an hour, organic types need less. Once they are beginning to soften, add your amaranth, vegetables, herbs and bayleaves and cook until tender. The amaranth will swell quite a bit so top up with water if needed. Once it’s all cooked add the soy sauce, tomato puree and season to taste.

It’s a good idea to put your potatoes on to cook at the same time as the amaranth, or before, for simultaneous readiness. Mash the tatties up with marge, milk and seasoning and place on top of the bean mix. It’s great if you have hob to oven cookware and can plop everything in the same pan, but if not layer them up in a suitable casserole. Run a fork round the top of the mash for a nice finish. Bake in a hot oven for 10-20 minutes until nicely browned.

The leftovers are often comprised of mainly bean mix, so get used as a base for pasta sauce the next day.

Gluten-free if you’re careful with your brand of soy sauce, some have wheat.

aduki2


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basic pasties

pasties

A truly versatile and cheap dish this as the filling can be more or less anything you want. Weve done basic vegetables here but leftovers can make a spectacular pasty to rival expensive ready made ones (chilli, curry, bean casserole). Making your own pastry is also very thrifty – at the time of writing value brands of flour come in at 43p for 1.5 kilos making the flour in this recipe cost just under 10p. If using margarine at £1 for 500g that’s your block of pastry for 40p all ready to make 4 substantial pasties (or one big pie).

Ingredients:
for the pastry:
300g of flour (any type you like really, self raising will puff up a little, plain won’t – we used wholemeal in these pics, white would be lighter in colour).
150g of vegetable margarine
tiny amount of water (2 or 3 tablespoons)
for the filling:
teaspoon of oil (olive or sunflower)
1 onion, chopped
1 medium sized potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
a little salt for seasoning

That would make the basic pasties but we added optional:
a teaspoon of finely chopped fresh thyme from garden (any herbs you like would do)
a half teaspoon of Vecon Stock (stock cube fine too)
a tablespoon of dried soya mince and a few spoons of water as needed for this and stock to combine well

other additions that spring to mind: frozen peas, red kidney beans, other root veg.

To make the pastry: place flour in a bowl. Break the marg into small pieces and rub it in to the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a very small amount of water and knead this into flour until you have firm dough (adding more water if too dry or more flour if too wet). Sprinkle flour on your working surface, divide the dough into four equal pieces and roll each one out to a rough oblong shape.

To prepare the filling: add oil to pan and heat then add in the vegetables and salt and mix well. Add other ingredients if using, stirring thoroughly to combine and prevent sticking. Cook for a few minutes.

Share the filling out onto the pastry oblongs, placing it on the front half of each, then fold it over and squeeze the edges together to seal (you can use some water for this if a bit dry and not sticking well). Onto a baking tray and into the oven at 200C/400F for 20 minutes to half an hour until pastry is well browned. Nice served with oven chips (50p a kilo in Lidl at time of writing) and salad or great in a packed lunch.

nut roast

nutroast1

A sixth of a cup/30g/1oz of margarine
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 and a half cups of hot water
1 teaspoon of yeast extract (marmite, vegemite or Vecon Stock etc.)
3 cups/550g/16oz of ground nuts (cashews, almonds, brazils – even peanuts do)
2 Tablespoons of flour
2 teaspoons of fresh herbs – winter savoury is great (if using dried 1 teaspoon)
3 cups/160g/6oz of white bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the margarine (in a large pan for mixing) and cook the celery and onion in it for a few minutes. Mix the yeast extract into the hot water (alternatively you could use any stock you like) and add this to the onion and celery. Stir in the flour, nuts, herbs, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper and mix well. Allow to cool slightly while you grease a loaf tin. Place the nut roast mixture in the tin and press down well. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes at 180/360 then turn out of the tin and slice. Nice served with all the traditional trimmings.

Variations:- you can substitute wine (red or white) or soya milk for the water and yeast extract. A layer of sliced mushrooms and garlic is nice. Fill with sage and onion stuffing. You can use this mixture to stuff vegetables like peppers or large tomatoes for a different dish too.

The rosemary and redcurrant jelly detailed here is a gorgeous accompaniment to any nut roast. Amazing in sandwiches too with the cold sliced roast next day. If reading this in winter, sorry, it’s a bit late to go out and get redcurrants (though rosemary plants grow all year round!), but it’s a great one to make for next year. A jar of that would be a very nice gift too.

Other good roasts elsewhere: Lentil Walnut Roast (gluten free), Chestnut Roast and Garlic Lemon Seitan Roast with Stuffing

beanburgers

From Jane of Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation and Viva!

1 medium onion, chopped quite fine
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp oil + a little more oil to fry burgers (or use 1-cal spray if you’re watching your fat intake)
1 medium carrot, grated on medium holes
1 heaped tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mild chilli powder or to taste
1 tin kidney beans or the equivalent weight of any cooked pulses (about 240g drained)
1 tbsp each of: French or Dijon mustard; soya sauce; tomato ketchup
75g/3oz jumbo oats (or more – to make the mixture stiff enough to form into burgers)

1. Saute onion and garlic in the tsp of oil until soft. (If adding chopped mushrooms or other finely chopped veggies, cook in at this stage too). If a little dry, just add a splash of water/stock.

2. Add grated carrot and spices and fry for a minute or two.

3. Mash up cooked beans/lentils with a potato masher and add them to onion/carrot mix.

4. Add tomato puree, mustard and soya sauce and mix in well.

5. Add oats and stir in well also.

6. Best made a few hours (or even night before) then stored in fridge, but they’ll still fry up if you make them straightaway.

7. Form the mixture into burgers (lovely and messy!) and fry gently on each side with the 1-cal spray or oil until they are browned.

8. Good on their own or in a wholemeal bun with vegan mayo or relish, plus salad and all the trimmings. Also nice with baked potatoes, potato wedges, brown rice salad… just about anything.

Try Kleeneze’s burger press with this recipe, for perfectly round burgers!

mince and dumplings

A traditional Scottish meal – often served with oatmeal stuffing, greens and mashed potatoes. Alternatively try the dumplings cooked in a casserole

Ingredients for mince:
a little sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
2 or 3 carrots, diced
Approx 2 cups of frozen vegemince or re-hydrated dried soya mince
About 1 cup of water or stock
Dash of soy sauce
1 fresh bayleaf or half a teaspoon of dried bayleaf
salt and pepper to taste

For the dumplings:
100g/4oz self raising flour
50g./2oz hard vegetable margarine or vegetable suet, broken into small pieces
1 teaspoon of dried herbs (optional)
a little salt
water to mix to a dough (about a quarter cup)

Fry the onion and carrot in the oil for a few minutes. Add the mince, water, seasoning and soy sauce. Make small tears in the bay leaf and place in the pan with the other ingredients (alternatively add dried bay). Bring to the boil and turn down to simmer. For the dumplings: rub the fat into the flour, add herbs if using and salt. Gradually add water and mix until you have a workable dough. Form into about 10 small balls and place in the simmering pan of mince for about 20 minutes until cooked. If the pan of mince is quite shallow you may need to turn the dumplings halfway through cooking. If you used a fresh bayleaf you should remove it before serving (though I have sometimes forgotten and had no complaints!!)