Friday, March 5, 2010

Roots n radicals – Beet the System, or I'm Seein Red

Here's a salad that's red. Really red.

You will need:

300g raw beetroot
100g cranberries
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 reasonable squirt of balsamic vinegar

Peel and grate your raw beetroot until the kitchen looks like a crime scene and you've dyed your hands red forever. Add to a bowl and stir in the other ingredients. Using balsamic vinegar, rather than cider vinegar, will give it a bloodier red appearance. Cool. Balsamic is also dead cheap at the moment as it was yesterday's middle class fad. Along with rocket, buy to let, downsizing to Provence, Coldplay, Estuary English, Glastonbury...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Roots n radicals – Carroty mash: The great leap forward

As Dr Johnston, author of The Dictionary, once said: “When a man is tired of carroty mash, he is tired of life.” or was that London?
Doesn't matter, carroty mash is the ultimate root dish – carrot mashed with parsnip rocks. Some people swear by the carrot/turnip combo, and the Scots have a taste for tatties and nips, but they're wrong. Carrots and parsnips are as traditional a combo as Morecambe and Wise, chips n mushy peas or Leeds and Bradford. So there.
Even so, you have to move with the times, so here's a variation you might want to try if you fear you're overdoing on the trad mash this winter.

You will need:

350g parsnips
150g carrots
2 teaspoons vegan cream cheese
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger

Boil your carrots and parsnips till tender – it can be an idea to bung in the carrots for a few minutes first as they take longer. Add the remaining ingredients and give it a mash. Dump in an ovenproof dish and bake at 200C for 20 minutes. Easy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Roots n radicals – Sweet potato on the side

Easy one this, and the idea is pinched from the excellent El Piano in York. Check it out if you're in town – they did the place up, made it almost totally vegan and the food is a winner every time. Woohay. And although they've tidied up the menu, they've kept a Spanish feel to it – I still find it a little Meze though! Geddit!?!?!
They've just released a cookbook based on their simple seductive food, which is also worth checking out.

You need:
250g sweet potato
2 teaspoons vegan cream cheese

Dead easy this. Boil the sweet potato until tender n mash with the vegan cream cheese. Dollop it into an ovenproof dish and bake at 200C for 20 minutes. Bingo.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Coconut sponge cake

170g self raising flour
170g caster sugar
3 tablespoons of grated coconut
5 tablespoons melted soya marg
225ml cold water

200g icing sugar
100g soya cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and flour a 20cm cake tin with a little soya marg. Sift the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and give it a stir. Add the grated coconut and mix well. Pour the melted soya fat and cold water into the mixture and carefully fold it into the mixture. Pour the mix into the cake tin.
Bake for around 25 minutes until golden brown on top and it passes the knife test.
For the topping, beat the icing sugar with the soya cream cheese until it is smooth.
When the cake is done, leave it to cool for five minutes and turn it out on a wire rack. When it is completely cool, spread the topping on it. Put it in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve with whatever fruit you'd like on top and a dusting of icing surar.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Percy goes Brazilian!

There's nothing better than a good chocolate and nut cookie binge and here's an idea for one with Brazils. You can also use the same weight of macademia nuts, hazelnuts – you name it!

100g self raising flour
50g golden caster sugar
50g soya margarine
50g dark vegan chocolate all broken into chips
50g Brazil nuts, again broken into chips

First, preheat your oven to 190oC or gas mark 5. While it's warming up, rub the flour, caster sugar and margarine together to create a dough. Mix in the chocolate and nuts. Cut into rounds either by flattening out and cutting up with a cookie cutter or by rolling out into a sausage and chopping off ½ inch slices. Place your rounds onto a greased baking tray and gently press down. Bake in the top of the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes and move to a wire rack. Best eaten while the chocolate is still gooey.

Friday, April 3, 2009

vegan chockogeddon cake

For the sponge:

275g self raising wholewheat flour
200g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking powder
250ml olive oil
150ml orange juice
150ml water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tin black cherries

For the icing:
200g vegan plain chocolate
4 tablespoons soya milk
1 orange

Preheat your oven to 160oC. Sieve the flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl and mix. In a separate bowl mix together the oil, orange juice, water and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together until you have a smooth and fairly runny batter.

Grease and line two sponge tins with greaseproof paper and pour in your batter. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a knife will come clean out of the cake. Take them out of the oven, leave to cool for five minutes, remove from their tins and cool on a rack.

For the icing, stand a heatproof bowl in a pan of boiling water. Keep over the heat and put in your chocolate and soya milk. While the chocky's melting, squeeze the orange and add the juice to the bowl. Grate some of the rind off the orange skin and add that to the melted chocolate too.

Half the chocolate mixture goes between the two sandwiches along with half the black cherries and the other half goes on top with, yes, you guessed it, the rest of your black cherries.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

White cabbage is not the most boring vegetable...


A while ago I renamed white cabbage as "grey cabbage" due to its notable lack of versatility.

OK, it's good for you, but it doesn't taste of much and with the exception of coleslaw, which originated in the gastronomic limbo of Holland, and some outlandish German concoction, called Sauerkraut, there's nothing much you can do with one, except raise it to the ceiling and say: "Alas poor Yoric..." every time you get it out of the fridge.

Apparently, this really grates after a while, which is just what you should do with white cabbage.

Or not. Here's a recipe that spruces up boring grey cabbage and doesn't smack of ghastly continental cooking. This isn't bad, but if you really want to do something tasty with a grey cabbage, do the decent thing - curry it.

Cabbage rolls:

1 grey cabbage
150g rice
60g noodles
500ml veg stock
olive oil
60g toasted sesame seeds
150g firm tofu
2 sheets nori seaweed
3 teaspoons parsley
400g tin of tomatoes
25ml cider vinegar
1 teaspoon demerara sugar

Break up the noodles and brown them by frying in the olive oil for a bit. Add the rice and veg stock and simmer until the rice is soft.

Meanwhile, half the grey cabbage and separate out the leaves. In batches, blanche them in boiling water for a couple of minutes.

In a bowl, mix together the sesame seeds, crumbled tofu, nori seaweed and parsley. Add the rice/noodles and mix. Spoon into cabbage leaves, roll em up and put them in a baking dish.

Mix together the tomatoes, vinegar and sugar and pour over the dish of rolled up cabbage leaves. Bake at 200oC for 35 minutes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Vegan Sushi - The Aztec and The Beast

Here are two ideas for vegan sushi. You can do pretty much what you want with sushi - it rocks. This recipe makes a reasonable amount for four, but it's so good that it tends to be wolfed down really quickly.

My advice is to entrench yourself near to the serving plate and don't let anyone else come near until you've had enough. Sharing is for hippies.

3/4 cup sushi rice
2 cups water
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons demerara sugar
5 sheets nori seaweed

The Aztec:
1 avocado
1/4 red pepper
1 spring onion
toasted sesame seeds

The Beast:
1 Carrot
10cm length of cucumber
1 spring onion
cashew nuts

Dipping sauce:
50ml soya sauce
1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste

Put the water and rice in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the water. Add more water if you need. Towards the end, fluff it up with a fork.

Meanwhile, mix the vinegar and sugar.

Put the rice into a large bowl and while still hot add the vinegar and sugar mixture. Fluff it up, while blowing on it to cool it down. Leave to cool.

Steam the carrot and pepper. Toast any seeds that you might have to. Lightly toast your seaweed and put on a sushi mat. Cover with a thin layer of rice, put the ingredients to either the Aztec or the Beast across the middle of the sheet and roll.

Mix together the ingredients of the dipping sauce and voila! Bob's your uncle.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


2 Large mushrooms
100g firm tofu
1 teaspoon tumeric
sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds
few leaves of basil
liberal squirt of lemon juice

Grill the mushrooms on both sides. Meanwhile, crumble the tofu in a bowl and mix together the rest of the ingredients. Heap onto the mushrooms and brown off under the grill. Easy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sweetcorn, squash and kale soup

1 340g can sweetcorn
1 squash
1 thumbnail-sized piece of root ginger
1 handfull kale
1 pint veg stock
olive oil
squash pips

Sweat the ginger and squash in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add the sweetcorn and stock. Bring to the boil and cook until the squash is tender.
Add the kale and cook a little more. Add to a blender and hit Pulse a few times. Remember - keep it chunky!

Meanwhile, toast the squash pips and grind up in a blender. Garnish the soup with ground up pips.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


340g jar of pitted black olives.
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red pepper
2 spring onions with greens
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
good squirt lemon juice

put em all in a blender, push the ON button and you're off!

Monday, March 9, 2009

let them eat cupcakes

One of the biggest fallacies of cooking with animal products is that you need egg to bake with. Do you flipping heck as like!

On that note, here's a really cool recipe for cupcakes, kindly made by the lovely Sharon. I don't really use other people's recipes, but Sharon appropriated it from the excellent Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. And I scoffed them.

Gingerbread Cupcake

1 1/2 cups self raising flour
3 tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup light molasses
1/2 cup syrup
1/4 cup soya milk
2 tbsp soya yoghurt
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
1/4 cup crystallised ginger, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 175oC. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
Sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt into a bowl.
Whisk the oil, molasses, syrup, soya milk, yoghurt and lemon zest in a separate large bowl. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just smooth. Fold in the ginger.
Fill the cupcake liners by two-thirds. Bake for approx 20 minutes until a knife comes out clean. Move to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before adding the topping.


1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream together marg and cream cheese. Whip it up with a mixer, while adding the icing sugar in 1/2 cup batches until smooth. Mix in vanilla.
Pipe on top of the cupcakes.

Friday, March 6, 2009

live in cities you freaks!

Christ! Some people don't live in cities. Freaks!

These people don't have access to basic necessities - cinema within walking distance, pound shops, vegetable samosas, running water, shoes.

Can't help you with cinemas, pound shops and running water, but try getting your vegetarian shoes HERE. I got some big boots and they ROCK.

And regarding samosas, well, here's a recipe for city and non-city dwellers alike. Makes a boxful, which is dead good like. Serve with salad as a starter. Or eat them until you go off pop.

sweet potato and banana samosas

1 pack filo pastry
1 medium sized sweet potato
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 small red chilli
1 small onion
1 banana
1 dash mango juice

Peel and chop the sweet potato and put in an inch of boiling water with the tumeric. Boil until soft, drain and put it into a big bowl.

Fry the mustard seeds, chilli and finely chopped onion until the seeds start popping round your ears and the onion has gone clear.

Add to the bowl with the sweet potato and bung in the banana (as the vicar said to the actress). Mash roughly with a dash of mango (as the actress said back to the vicar).

Now follow Percy the Punk Rock Penguin's pictorial guide to making samosas.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

wholemeal just ain't rock n roll

What was George Orwell's gripe against vegetarians?

For a champion of libertarianism, he came unstuck on so many occasions.

In Road to Wigan Pier, he ranked them alongside cranks like nudists, weirdy beardies and sandal wearers for dragging back the socialist cause.

Then he defended the annual bout of christmas hedonism against the puritan lifestyle of vegetarians and teetotallers. Teetotal veggies like Ian MacKay and Ray Cappo appeared 40 years later.

Orwell was wrong, but he foresaw the future. Innit. Like.

"As teetotallers and vegetarians see it," he wrote, "the only rational objective is to avoid pain and stay alive as long as possible."

Yeah yeah, that might be true for bearded, sandal wearing workers in wholefood cooperatives, and possibly true for nudists, but those who like to mix their ethical diet with full on punk fucking rock can leave them to it and go and eat something altogether groovier instead.

So, here's something that's cheap, fast and will probably give you indigestion. Just like MINOR THREAT or YOUTH OF TODAY.

Kidney bean burger

1 tin kidney beans
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon rosmary
1 medium red chilli
½ green pepper finely chopped
1 spring onion
½ cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons roasted sunflour seeds

Put the kidney beans, tomato paste, tahini, chilli and oats in a bowl and mash together with a potato masher. Add the remaining ingredients and mix together.

Shallow fry on a high heat in olive oil until golden brown on both sides, and then turn down the heat and cook for a further five minutes to cook them all the way through.