Zucchini (Courgette) Soup

I am waiting for the second wave.

No, not that one.

The second wave of zucchini!

Yes, it is that time of year where many gardeners find themselves inundated with zucchini. My first wave hit at the end of June. And continued until early July.

Since then a steady stream of smaller ones have made it more pleasurable and less stressful! I made large quantities of soup. Twice. With some in the freezer too. And stuffed zucchini is also a regular at the moment.

 

My soup has been a big hit. I think the key to adding flavour is plenty of garlic. I will have to try growing my own garlic one day as we consume an awful lot of it. 😉 A good vegetable stock, a potato and some (surprising?) seasoning make it delicious. Here is the recipe. I wrote it down the first time I made it and liked it so much that I have been using it since:

Zucchini soup

  • 1.25 kg (2.75 lbs) zucchini, roughly chopped into cubes
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • a little olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 250 ml almond milk

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sautée the onion until soft. Add the garlic, zucchini, potato, all the herbs and spices and the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat until the zucchini and potato are soft. It will only take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Add the almond milk and then blend until smooth and creamy. 😃

(And if you like garlic as much as we do, this tastes great with garlic bread. 😉)

Zucchini Soup

 

Oh dear, now I am hungry!

Are you enjoying vegetables from your own garden this summer?

xxx

Store Cupboard Recipe 5: Jam Tarts

As restrictions are slowly in the process of being removed in most parts of the world, this will be the last of my vegan store cupboard recipe series for a while. It has been an interesting exercise in seeing how long I can eat a varied diet without popping to the shops regularly. However, I do hope we will all be able to return to our usual routines soon!

The ingredients for these tarts are bound to be in anyone‘s store cupboard or refrigerator. And when that craving for something sweet grabs you, why not whisk up a batch of these! They are very quick and easy, and go beautifully with a cup of tea. Just in case you have never made these before, here is the recipe.

Jam Tarts

For approx. 18 tarts you will need:

  • Some muffin or patty tins, greased, and a cookie cutter
  • 250 g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 125 g (1 stick and 1tbsp) very cold margarine or vegan butter, cut into small chunks
  • a little cold water
  • Jam of your choice

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F)

Make shortcrust pastry by rubbing the margarine into the flour with fingertips until fine and crumbly. Add just enough cold water to bring the dough together into a ball. (Tip: shortcrust pastry freezes really well – I only made 12 tarts and froze the remaining pastry for a rainy day. 😃)

Roll out on a floured surface to about 3mm (about 1/8 inch) and, using a cookie cutter that fits your patty tins, cut out shapes and place in the tins. Add a heaped teaspoon of jam to each. I used several different jams – strawberry, apricot and blackcurrant.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the pastry starts turning golden and the jam is bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the tins.

Enjoy!

 

Store cupboard recipes 3 and 4

I have been craving sweet stuff recently and made myself some flapjacks. After all, you only need sugar, margarine and oats! If you have golden syrup even better.  Mine were bit crumbly, but this recipe I am linking to uses half sugar and half syrup, so give yourself a treat and give it a go!

BBC website Flapjacks recipe

Of course, mine were vegan, using margarine instead of butter. And I added a little maple syrup. Other options for spicing them up would be adding a teaspoon of cinnamon or cardamom. Or a handful of dried cranberries.

The second recipe is one I have been meaning to post for years! It is an old favourite for a quick and tasty dinner when there are no fresh veggies left in the fridge. I think it was originally a rice salad that ‘evolved’ into a hot dish. I call it  simply ‘Curry rice’. 😃

Curry Rice

All you need for two to three portions is:

  • 200g basmati rice
  • About 2 tbsps margarine
  • 1-2 tbsps curry powder (depending on how hot your curry powder is!)
  • 200g (frozen) green beans
  • 200g tin of sweetcorn
  • Salt and black pepper

Warm a large serving dish in the oven. Cook your rice and your green beans separately, according to the instructions on the packets. When the beans are cooked, turn off the heat, add the sweetcorn and leave for a couple of minutes to warm through. Then drain.

Mix the rice, beans and corn, the margarine and the seasoning thoroughly and place in your warm serving dish.

We like this with homemade naan bread or spicy fried tofu cubes. You could in fact serve it as a side dish but we like a big portion, so it is a main meal in our house!

Hope you too are eating well during lockdown. 😉

P.S. Here are a few more recipes that can be made with minimum ingredients:

Falafel

Cannellini and Tomato Bake

Vegan Milchreis

 

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!

 

 

Cardamom and Almond Cake (Vegan)

With January almost over (yippee!), and the days becoming noticeably longer (another yippee!) I hope to have a flower or two to share very soon. But in the meantime I decided to make my Cardamom and Almond Cake again, so that I can share the recipe with you. I made it at New Year and it was so good, but not as cardamommy as I had hoped. So today I added an extra teaspoonful of this delicious spice and it was perfect!

It reminds me a little of the (non-vegan) Swedish Visiting Cake I made a few years ago, with a soft spongy texture, the contrasting crispy flaked almond topping, and of course the lovely aroma. And this one is of course vegan. 😃

So here is my recipe – my second for Veganuary 2020. Please let me know if you try it as it is my own creation!

Cardamom Almond Cake

Preheat your oven to 180° C (350°F) and grease and flour a 24 cm (9 inch) baking tin.

In a large bowl, sift together:

  • 250g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds or almond flour
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsps cornflour
  • 6 tsps ground cardamom spice

In a pan, melt:

  • 60g (half stick) vegan butter
  • with 250g (1 1/4 cups) sugar
  • and then add 60 ml (4 tbsps) vegetable oil (eg rapeseed oil)

In a dish, mix:

  • 450ml (2 cups) plain unsweetened soya yoghurt
  • a dash of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps soya milk

In addition you need about 25g (1oz) flaked almonds.

Now pour all the wet ingredients into the sieved flour mixture and gently fold in. You should not beat or mix, only fold. And watch the bubbles appear as the chemistry does its magic! Pour into your prepared tin immediately, scatter flaked almonds on top and place in your hot oven. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. I made half this recipe (8 slices) in an 18 cm (7 inch) tin today and it only needed about 35 minutes. Do check regularly though, as the almonds may start to burn if it is in too long.

Here is the larger cake:

And here is a slice for you to try…. 😉

Enjoy!

And have a good week!

😃