Store cupboard recipe 2: Garlic spaghetti

I am sharing another of our favourite vegan store cupboard recipes. This is great with a fresh salad, but failing that we have also eaten it with frozen peas or broccoli. As you may have noticed, we love garlic. And in times like these we do not have think about whether we can eat it without offending anyone the next day! 😜

Garlic spaghetti


It is so quick and simple to make.

For two people you will need:

  • 300g spaghetti
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6+ cloves of garlic, depending on their size (or add an extra two or three!)
  • 1 packet smoked tofu or vegan bacon, chopped into cubes (normal tofu is also good as long as you season it really well)
  • approx 200ml good olive oil
  • herbs, dried or fresh, for sprinkling
  • vegan parmesan or nutritious yeast for sprinkling
  • lots of salt and black pepper

While your spaghetti is cooking, sautée the onion in olive oil until soft, then add the garlic and switch off the heat. In a separate pan fry the tofu in a little olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Mix the onion, garlic and tofu together and serve over the spaghetti. Sprinkle with herbs etc.

Enjoy!

xxx

 

Store cupboard recipe 1: Vegan (garlic) mayonnaise

One of the first things we did when we became vegan a few years ago was to invest in a powerful mixer. We chose a German one – ‘bianco di puro’ – developed with a vegan lifestyle in mind. In fact the company promotes veganism with their product at fairs and exhibitions nationwide.

It was a fabulous investment, and we use it several times a week. I make my cashew sauce with it, but the best thing I use it for is our mayonnaise. Finding a tasty egg-free mayo is not easy in Germany, so a few years ago I started experimenting. It took several attempts to get it right and it has been fine-tuned over time as well. I would like to share this ‘recipe’ with you today as all the ingredients are probably in your pantry. But do bear in mind that differing ingredients and mixers may produce different results and patience is required until it turns out perfectly!

You will need:

  • 100ml soya milk
  • 1 1/2 tsps white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  • 150 ml vegetable oil (I use about 100 ml rapeseed oil and 50 ml sunflower oil, but you can experiment to find what you like best)

Mix all of the ingredients except the oil in your mixer at high speed for about 20 seconds.

Set the speed to low and now gradually add the oil with the motor running. When all the oil is added, switch to high speed for about ten seconds. Your mixture should now be creamy and have a thick mayonnaise consistency. Refrigerate until using and eat within 24 hours. (It may start to separate if kept longer.)

I do hope you will try this if you have a high-speed mixer. It does work in a normal mixer too, but my experience was that it did not thicken up as much. It tastes fantastic just with bread and salad, and is ideal (without the garlic) for homemade coleslaw too. 😃

Seasonal Tip: adding a leaf or two of wild garlic instead of using normal garlic gives it a delicate garlic flavour and a beautiful green tinge. 😃

Thanks for reading!

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Shooting Star

Joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme is so much fun. 😃

A strong ice cold north-easterly wind over the past few days has provided material too, with several Narcissi being bent flat and the hellebores looking decidedly fed up with the constant battering!

First I cut some of my Hellebore ericsmithii ‘Shooting Star’. I decided it looked best alone in my mini vase bought in Norfolk a few years ago. 🙂 I love the way Shooting Star changes from pale creamy white/yellow to pale pink.

The background plant is my dear Maidenhead fern, which has forgiven me twice in the last year or so for not watering it and has bounced back each time!

Then I used the second matching vase for the other oddments rescued, including the battered Narcissi. I will make a mental note not to plant any more tall ones on windy corners. 😉

Since moving out further into the countryside away from street lights and motorways we have been able to see more stars than ever on clear nights, and more shooting stars in the past two years than in my entire life up to then! My first memory of a shooting star was in Blakeney, Norfolk, where my vases come from. I was only about 8 years old and I spied the star through a pebbled stone archway looking out to sea. Magical!

So, not only do I have some pretty flowers to look at, but pleasant thoughts to go with them. I do hope you are all able to have some pleasant thoughts today despite these difficult times.

Keep smiling and take care.

xx

In a Vase on Monday: Home Comforts

I am pleased to be able to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme again after a couple of weeks off. And I am looking forward to spending more time gardening and blogging in the next few weeks as Spring finally arrives! 😃

My favourite Hellebore – ‘Ice ‘n’ Roses Rose’ -features this week, accompanied by a few primulas that came with me from the old garden and are already starting to spread. With my beloved gardening angel in the background these tiny offerings bring me comfort as the world beyond my home and garden reels.

I also picked a single daffodil which had been snapped off by something/someone… I don‘t have many in flower yet so this was a matter of rescuing a casualty! A sprig of Buddleia is in the vase too – all my buddleia remained green this winter as we didn’t have a big freeze or any permafrost.


I am not sure what it is that sometimes snaps off flowers… birds? I have had hellebore flower heads, Iris reticulata and in past years even tulips snapped off just below the flower. I wonder if you have ever seen this happen in your gardens and can offer an explanation?

My thoughts are with all my blogging friends across the world – stay calm and carry on gardening! 😉

 

Spring Edginess and Plant Labels

You know the feeling… the gardening magazines are telling you what you should be doing this month, and the glossy catalogues are all urging you to buy young plants for spring planting…

…. and it is still cold and wet with frosty nights and icy winds!

I should cut back my Miscanthus and Calamagrostis in the butterfly bed, as new growth is just about showing. And the Buddleia can be trimmed down a bit more too. But I think they look so lovely still with the hellebores and a few scattered spring bulbs.

There is one thing about this picture that disturbs me though.

Those white plant labels!

Then I had a brainwave. The black plastic pots that plants from the nursery come in can be used again for seedlings etc, but there are always some with sharp edges or broken bases which end up at our recycling centre. Why don‘t I recycle them myself…. into strips that can be used as labels? I tried it out, cutting rounded ends so they can’t scratch me when I’m weeding, and my silver pen works just as well on them as on the expensive black labels I have bought in the past. What‘s more, they are softer and more flexible than the bought ones, which snap easily if trodden on by mistake. (We will see how durable they are long term.) I will also make the next lot just a little longer so they can stick into the ground firmly.

(If you do try this out, let me know how it works for you. Or maybe you have a better way of labelling plants…?)

So here is my latest purchase -a pretty creamy white hellebore, with new label: H. x ericsmithii ‘Shooting Star’.

Intrigued by the name, I googled it and found an article about Mr Smith, a plantsman from the middle of last century who specialized in hellebore and hosta hybrids among other things. Here is the article if you are interested in a nice read…

‘Eric Smith, a Plantsman’ by J.C. Archibald

The other labels will also be replaced…. once it warms up out there!

Wishing you all some nice gardening weather soon!

In a Vase on Monday: (A) Spring in My Step

I am happy to be joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely Monday meme today. My hellebores are looking so pretty and there were enough to pick for a vase, albeit with quite short stems. 😃

My title describes how I have been walking around the garden the last few days… I have even been able to clear a lot of winter debris so the spring bulbs can shine. Lots of green shoots showing! 😃

The pink vase seemed appropriate, as all but one of my hellebore flowers so far are a shade of pink. I really love the double one… ‘Double Ellen Pink’.

The mottled one is ‘Diva’, as is the white one… The white flowers fade to a lovely pinky mauve.

I added a couple of sprigs of Pussy Willow – last week‘s storm took down a whole tree full of buds along the route we walk our dog, and I took the opportunity to break off a few large twigs for a vase. I do hope the storm in the UK has not affected any of you too badly.

Wishing you all calm and mild weather this coming week!