The Economical Vegan


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Roast Dinner and Gravy – Again – and Asparagus Soup!

Some nice people on one of my vegan groups online were asking about vegan gravy recipes and also about what to have for Christmas dinner. So this is for them, and for anyone else who likes a good old fashioned roast but wants to keep their vegan credentials intact. So, first, being an economical vegan, I got a pile of veg from the hated supermarket that was all reduced, to add to the veg I now get weekly from the organic veg co-op at work. I managed to get some lovely asparagus down to 42p per pack, as well as lots of fresh herbs. So when I got home, I made asparagus soup – I cut the asparagus in half, and saved about 2/3 of the tops, then put the rest into a pan with onion, sauteed them in a little oil, added a small potato, finely chopped, and then boiling water and some bouillon and a little salt. I simmered this for 30 mins, while making the dinner.
I put some red lentils in a pan with water, and brought them to the boil, simmering for20 minutes. I scrubbed organic potatoes, then chopped them and put them in the base of my steamer with water. I scrubbed organic carrots, and then chopped these and put them in the next layer of the steamer, with a pack of fine green beans (reduced). The next layer was organic cauliflower, some chopped kale left over from the previous week’s veg bag, and washed chopped spring greens. I cleaned and tailed some sprouts and put these in a second pan. I peeled and chopped a large organic swede, and cut it into chips, then put it in the Actifry for about 35 minutes, with only a small measure of oil.
I peeled a red onion and whizzed it in the chopper. I then did the same to some walnuts and brazil nuts, and put all of these in my mixing bowl. I added a large tablespoon of organic peanut butter, and made breadcrumbs with stale wholemeal bread. I added bouillon powder, salt, dried herbs, and then drained the lentils through a sieve, saving the liquid, and putting the lentils themselves into the mixer. I then mixed this up well, and put into my silicone muffin tray, making six portions of nut and lentil roast. This went into the oven at 180 degrees for about 45 minutes.
I brought the lentil liquid to the boil, added some boiling water, stock, gravy browning, mustard and veg gravy granules, and simmered to make a tasty gravy. When the veg in the steamer were done, I drained the potatoes, added veg spread and a little sea salt, and mashed them well until they were fluffy.
When the asparagus soup was cooked, I blended it with a hand blender, then passed it through a sieve to remove all fibrous stalks – a lengthy process but really worth it, as it produced a creamy, smooth soup with intense but subtle flavour. The dinner was delicious too.

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All things pumpkin

Well, this year was the first time I grew pumpkins. Three of them survived the elements, the destruction of the greenhouse, and the death of everything else I grew. One of them was so huge, it weighed 3 stone! So far I have scooped out two of them, on Halloween, for carving and food. I have added photos to this blog for the first time, showing you my carving skills! I started with the giant pumpkin. First I scooped out the stringy flesh and seeds, and deposited them in one bowl. Then I used a sharp carving knife to score and cut out as much of the flesh I could, then used a large metal spoon to scrape out the rest. I used my largest pan and repeated this on the smallest pumpkin. Then I carved them for Halloween. I was left with a huge amount of pumpkin flesh to cook and eat. It amazes me how many people say to me that they didn’t realise they could eat the flesh from the pumpkin!
So, these are the things I made.
First, I shredded some of the fresh pumpkin and added it to bread dough whilst making bread, along with some pumpkin seeds. The bread was a straightforward wholemeal bread mix with instant bread yeast. Once it was in the mixer kneading, I made two types of pumpkin soup. The first was a simple soup – sautéed onion, pumpkin, and an organic potato with veg stock. The second was a thick soup, onion, pumpkin, red lentils, chick peas, one carrot, a potato, veg stock, a couple of cloves of garlic, some fresh chillies, dried chilli, and some turmeric, and some cashew nuts. I simmered this a long time before whizzing it and the other soup.
I made a pumpkin pie, using frozen pastry (vegan of course), some mixed dried fruit, mixed spices, plenty of cinnamon, and sugar.
I made a pumpkin curry, with onion, curry powder, veg stock, garam masala, chilli powder, garlic, and put this in the freezer. I also stewed some pumpkin and froze that.
A couple of days later I made mashed pumpkin to go with our Sunday nut roast dinner. I steamed the pumpkin flesh, then mashed it with a little potato (for texture) some vegan spread and salt and pepper and a little mustard.
I also made veggie burgers with rice, onion, shredded pumpkin, gram flour and seasoning, and pumpkin and potato cakes made from curry powder, veg stock, mixed mashed pumpkin and self raising flour, made into patties and fried. I froze most of these for later use. Today, I am using the last of the pumpkin in a pumpkin and swede mash.
I saved the seeds and dried them in the oven, then ground them up to make a pumpkin seed flour for baking.
We still have the medium sized pumpkin to use. It is still fresh and orange and ready for use. But not for a while yet!