Friday, 8 November 2013

Smoked Tofu Dogs with Homemade Ketchup and Beer Mustard

I had the taste for some All-American diner type food the other week, vegetarian style. I had seen numerous recipes for Tofu Dogs over the last few moths but have always dismissed trying them out as they always sounded a little too labour intensive. Well it turns out that they aren't too time consuming and can be kept in the fridge for a quick, tasty snack. I'd recommend trying them out and also having a shot at throwing together your own homemade condiments. 

The condiment recipes are not my own, I found the recipe for the Ketchup over on a food blog called Simply Scratch, I'd highly recommend checking their blog out for an absolutely huge collection of top recipe ideas. The Beer Mustard comes from the BBC's Mairi Wilson, and is very straight forward to make and delicious. I did however scale down the recipe slightly and added a little dried dill but I still ended up with two fairly large jars of Mustard.

The recipes for the Ketchup and the Tofu Dogs are both suitable for vegans. The Beer Mustard however, is not, simply replace the honey with Agave Nectar or other Honey substitute.

Ingredients for the Beer Mustard - 

100g Black Mustard Seeds
100g Yellow Mustard Seeds
500ml Ale
100ml White Wine Vinegar
1tsp Ground Sea Salt
Pinch of Chilli Flakes
3tbsp Runny Honey
1tbsp Ground Nutmeg
1tsp Dried Dill
2 med sized Sterilised Jars, for storing

For the full, original recipe visit the BBC's Food section here.

This Mustard is very easy to throw together and would make a great addition to any Christmas food hamper. To begin simply place your Mustard Seeds into a bowl and cover with the beer. Now all you need to do is allow this to soak overnight, you will notice the Mustard Seeds will swell as they begin to take on the liquid. 

Ensure you have sterilised jars at the ready before undertaking the next step. Once soaked, simply mix in the remaining ingredients and blend until nearly smooth. You can choose to blend more or less depending on your desired consistency and texture. When fully blended, place into the jars, seal and refrigerate until use.

Ingredients for the Ketchup -

2x 130g tubes Tomato Purée 

125g Dark Brown Sugar
½tsp Mustard Powder
½tsp Ground Sea Salt
¼tsp Garlic Salt
¼tsp Celery Salt
Pinch of Ground Cloves
Pinch of Ground Allspice
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper/Chilli Powder
4tbsp White Wine Vinegar
150ml Water (May require more depending on consistency)
2 med sized Sterilised Jars, for storing

For the full, original recipe visit Simply Scratch here.

Add the Tomato Purée to a large bowl with all of the dry ingredients.

Add in half of the water and the 4tbsp of White Wine Vinegar, you can always add in the remainder of the water if the Ketchup is too thick. Stir well, until the sugar is completely dissolved, you may find it easier to use a whisk rather than a spoon as this will blend it more thoroughly.

Once mixed successfully, have a little taste test as now is the time to add any extra ingredients you feel the ketchup may need before transferring the mix into sterilised jars. Why not add some Chilli Powder for a Ketchup with a kick or some Smoked Paprika for a Barbeque-esque Ketchup?

Ingredients for the Tofu Dogs and Chips -

Makes 6 Tofu Dogs

250g Smoked Tofu, mashed
4 med sized Potatoes, peeled
3 heaped tbsp Wholemeal Flour
6 large Pickled Onions, sliced
¼tsp Garlic Salt
Dash of Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
Dash of Chilli Sauce - Cholula (or a pinch of Chilli Powder)
6x sheets of Tin Foil
6x sheets of Greaseproof Paper
Bread Rolls or Baguettes
Black Pepper, to taste
Oil, for frying

For the Chips -

6 med Sized Potatoes, sliced
Oil, for roasting
Salt & Vinegar, to season

Add the tofu to a large bowl with the Worcestershire Sauce, Chilli Sauce and Garlic Salt and mash well with a fork or potato masher. Add the peeled potatoes to a pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for around 15-20mins until soft.

Next, begin to mash the potatoes before adding in the Tofu, continue to mash until thoroughly mixed.

Add in the 3tbsp of Wholemeal flour and mix thoroughly once more, you will notice the mixture beginning to thicken.

Cut your Greaseproof Paper and Tin Foil to size before continuing. You want the Greaseproof Paper to be longer than the desired length of your Tofu Dogs and then the Tin Foil needs to be big enough to wrap the whole thing together before being cooked. Dust the Greaseproof Paper with a little more flour and turn out around 3tbsp worth of Potato/Tofu mix onto the Paper and shape by hand before rolling up.

Now, roll the tinfoil around the Tofu Dog before twisting the ends, these can be easily stored in the fridge once cooled and popped into the oven whenever you're peckish. Cook for around 15mins at 180ºc.

To make the chips, simply slice your remaining Potatoes, add to a pan of boiling water and parboil for 7mins. Whilst the Potatoes are cooking you should preheat the oven to 180ºc.

Drain the potatoes and place in a roasting dish before drizzling with Oil and seasoning with a little Salt and Vinegar. For the perfect Chips, cook for 30-40 mins, until golden brown, make sure to turn regularly for an even crispness. I personally prefer to season the Chips with Vinegar whilst they are cooking in the oven as the flavour cooks into the chips without making them too soggy.

Fry the Pickled Onions with a little black pepper, these will make a great Tofu Dog garnish. Why not try adding Pickles, Salad or Chutney as well?

The Tofu Dogs will be fine to eat straight from the oven but I found that they were a little soft, so I seared them over a high heat in a griddle pan for a few minutes in order to harden the outer layer.

Serve in a crusty Baguette with a side salad and your homemade condiments.

Many thanks, once again to Simply Scratch and the BBC

Have a nice day y'all!


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Spinach Vegan Lasagne

I've been meaning to put a recipe for a Veggie Lasagne online for sometime, but decided against it as I thought I'd try something a little more challenging, a Vegan Lasagne.

The cheese sauce topping is made using Sheese, a dairy free cheese substitute and there's a recipe for Macaroni Cheese on their website that I adapted the sauce from.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients -

2x Medium Onions, Grated
2x Cloves Garlic, Grated
1x Carrot, Grated
1/2x Medium Butternut Squash, Peeled, deseeded and chopped into 1cm cubes (keep the seeds for garnishing the top of the lasagne)
1x Sweet Potato, Peeled and chopped into 1cm cubes
200g Mushrooms, Sliced
150g Spinach, Washed
6x Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Halved
6-8x Sheets of Lasagne Verdi (you may require more depending on the size of the oven dish you are using)
1x Slice of Bread, Crumbed
2tbsp Sun-dried Tomato Purée
125g Gouda Sheese, Grated
300ml, Soya Milk
Olive Oil
1tsp Oregano
1tsp Basil
A pinch of Sage
Salt and Pepper to taste

Note - The above picture of my ingredients shows a tin of Tomatoes that I didn't end up using, please ignore.

Start by grating onions, garlic and carrot and adding to a frying pan with a little oil, salt, the oregano and basil. Heat to a medium temperature and cook gently for around ten minutes.

Whilst this is frying, peel and chop the squash and sweet potato. I find it best to cut the squash just above the bulbous part, as this separates the lower section that needs deseeding and the upper that does not.

Scoop the seeds and pith out into a bowl of warm water and set aside for now. Leaving the seeds to soak for around 45 minutes to an hour in water will soften the pith and allow them to be easily separated later.

Chop the sweet potato and butternut squash into 1cm cubes and add to a pan of water and bring to the boil. Parboil for around 5 minutes, there's no real need to cook for much longer as they will cook further in the oven dish later on.

Slice mushrooms and tomatoes and add to the pan with the onions, carrots and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes. Drain the water from the squash and sweet potato and add to the pan. 

Preheat the oven to 180°c. Mix the ingredients in the pan thoroughly, adding in the tomato purée and spinach, allow to heat gently whilst you begin to prepare the Sheese sauce.

If you would prefer to make a dairy based topping, simply follow the sauce recipe from the Casareccia and Cheddar Bake post here. For the Sheese sauce, add around 50ml of olive oil to a non stick pan and slowly heat and stir, as though making a roux. Next start to gradually add in the grated Gouda, leaving around 25g aside for topping the lasagne later. As you add the Sheese it can tend to clump together a little, unlike regular cheese. Do not worry as it begins to melt properly as you add in the soya milk. 

Slowly begin to mix in the soya milk and heat gently until the Sheese is fully melted. You can always add in more/less soya milk should the mixture be too thick/runny, also add extra herbs and a little pepper to the sauce to give it a deeper flavour.

At this point, you should be able to separate seeds from the pith by placing in a colander and rinsing off any excess. Pat dry using kitchen roll and place on greaseproof paper in the preheated oven with a little salt and sage to season and cook for around 10 minutes, allowing to go golden brown. If you don't wish to add the seeds to the lasagne topping, they make a tasty snack on their own. 

Make your breadcrumbs, you can use store bought here if you wish however, I tend to bake one slice of wholemeal bread at around 140°c for 5 minutes until it dries out but doesn't toast and then finely chop.

Begin to layer the lasagne, starting at the base with the squash and sweet potato mixture, then add a layer of pasta followed by the mixture again and repeat until you reach the top of the dish, finishing up with a layer of pasta (remember to leave room for the Sheese topping).

Spread the Sheese sauce out evenly onto the top of the lasagne and bake for around 20mins in the oven at 180°c.

After 20 minutes, remove from the oven and add any extra toppings. In this case, extra sheese, breadcrumbs and squash seeds. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes until the topping is crisp and golden brown and the pasta has cooked.

Serve with a side salad and buttered crusty bread, Rose Lemonade optional.

Bon appétit!


Monday, 23 September 2013

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Kale Soup. An Autumnal Return.

Rocket Bean is back and here to serve you a fairly basic soup recipe that you can add to, chop and change and make all your own! My personal favourite version of this soup is basically the same recipe but with a bunch of Stilton added in to it, however for this post I decided to go with the healthier, vegan option.

When it comes to vegetable stock you can obviously just use store bought stocks (as I did for this recipe) however,  Rose Elliot's 'New Complete Vegetarian' cookbook has a good recipe for a nice and easy vegetable stock. This basically consists of simmering your veg (onion, celery, carrot, potato and parsley) for around 40-60 minutes before draining. The good thing about this stock recipe is that you can freeze or refrigerate until it is needed. 

Serves 6

Ingredients -

1x Head of Broccoli, chopped
1x Head of Cauliflower, chopped
1x Leek, sliced
2x Medium Onions, sliced
2x Cloves of Garlic, sliced
2x Medium Potatoes, sliced
1x Carrot, peeled and sliced
2x Large handfuls of Spinach
2x Large handfuls of Kale
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Herbs to taste (here I am using Thyme, Rosemary and Oregano)
Vegetable stock
Oil for frying

As the soup will be blended at the end, the veg can be fairly roughly chopped for this recipe.

First up, chop your carrot, onions and garlic before adding to a large pan with a little oil, salt and pepper and your preferred herbs. Fry together for around 8-10 minutes over a medium heat to allow the onions to sweat and the flavours to infuse into the carrots. 

Next add in the chopped cauliflower, broccoli, leek and potato and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. Note: You may want to make this in two batches if you don't have a big enough soup pot.

Now add in the kale and spinach, there's no real need to chop this up as it wilts down pretty quickly once the water is added to the pot and it will blend very easily once cooked as well.

Fill the pot with boiling water to cover the veg and add in your stock. Remember if you are making a large amount of soup to use the right amount of stock. For this large batch of soup I used 2 stock cubes. Bring the soup to the boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer for around 20 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Blend the soup, taste and add any more seasoning you may think it requires. Serve with bread.

Another thing to note is that due to the amount of soup made we had this for lunch over the next few days and it starts to taste even better when it is left for a day or so.

Hope you all had a good summer and are looking forward to some hearty Autumn recipes from RB.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Homemade Felafel, Hummus and Flatbreads served with Griddled Vegetables

Back once again!

Shortly after arriving back from the shop with my ingredients, the yoghurt tried to escape. It succeeded.

This is a recipe I've been meaning to put on Rocket Bean since I started writing the blog last year, but I've not made Hummus in so long. I'm really not sure why, considering how easy it is to throw together. And, if you have the Tahini prepared in advance then you're more than halfway there.

I haven't made the flatbreads before, it was a recipe I came across on Jamie Oliver's website (so I can take no credit for that one), after trying them I can say that they were very easy to make, tasty and I had some for breakfast this morning and I even made a bunch more this afternoon.

Serves 4

Ingredients for the Flatbreads-

500g Self Raising Flour
1tbsp Sea Salt
1tbsp Baking Powder
500g Natural Yoghurt

The flatbreads are fairly straightforward, mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.

I mixed everything together using a spoon first before turning the mixture out onto a floured surface (the recipe says that you may want to add a little more flour if the mixture becomes too sticky).

Next knead the mixture until it comes together and roll out into a long baguette shape. Cut this loaf into 12-14 sections (depending on how large you want your breads to be).

You will want to roll each section into a ball (on a floured surface, to prevent sticking). Whilst doing this, preheat a griddle or non-stick frying pan to a high heat. Now, dust a rolling pin with a little flour and roll out each piece of dough. Roll them to your preferred thickness, they will rise a little during cooking so you can get away with them being pretty thin.

I found that about 4-5 minutes per side is enough to cook the breads . Leave to cool or eat straight from the griddle.

A lot of recipes for Hummus say that the Tahini is optional or sometimes leave it out altogether but I think it is essential to the recipe and that making your own can make a big difference to the dish. As mentioned before, having it prepared in advance will mean you can throw a Hummus together pretty quickly.

Ingredients for the Tahini-

200g Sesame Seeds
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste

To make the Tahini simply place the sesame seeds onto a baking tray and place in a preheated oven at 180ºc for around 10-15minutes, turning regularly. You want the seeds to go a light golden brown colour, although not brown or darker as this can make the tahini taste quite unpleasant. 

Remember to turn the seeds every few minutes to ensure they cook evenly

Once the sesame seeds have toasted, put them into a blender and add in the Olive Oil. I would recommend using around 5-6 tablespoons of oil as this should give the tahini a fairly 'runny' consistency and allow for easier pouring. The mixture should have a similar taste to peanut butter. Ideally you should make a fair amount of Tahini (this recipe makes enough for 2-3 batches of Hummus based on these quantities) as it can be stored for around 6-8 weeks in the fridge, plenty of time for making your next batch of Hummus. 

Ingredients for the Hummus-

1x Tinned Chickpeas, drained

2x Garlic Cloves, diced
1tsp Coriander, ground
1tsp Cumin, ground
1tsp Paprika
Juice of 1 Lemon
Salt and Pepper to Taste
150ml Tahini

If you are using tinned chickpeas then no cooking is involved in the making of the Hummus, simply add all of the ingredients into a blender and mix well. 

It's best to be frugal with the ingredients at this point, i.e. don't add too much salt, pepper, garlic or lemon juice, I would recommend blending and then sampling the mixture as you can always add more later. I have often added too much garlic to the Hummus and due to the fact it is uncooked it can be a little overpowering. You can also experiment with adding in chili powder, smoked paprika or extra lemon juice for a different tasting hummus.

Ingredients for the Felafel-

2x Tinned Chickpeas, drained
1x Large Onion, diced
2x Garlic Cloves, diced
2 tbsp Plain Flour
1tbsp Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp Cumin, ground
1 tsp Coriander, ground
Salt and Pepper to taste

As before, if using tinned chickpeas there is no cooking required n the making of the Felafel mixture, simply add all of your ingredients to a blender and mix well. You can also mash the ingredients by hand, using a fork on account of how soft the tinned chickpeas are.

Once mixed together sufficiently, add two generous tablespoons of flour and mix again. Now, flour the work surface (and dust your hands with flour) again and take about one table spoon of the mix in the palm of your hand and roll into a ball, it should be roughly the size of a golf ball.

Traditionally, Felafel are deep fried in oil (around 350ºc for a little over 5 minutes) but I tend to place them on a baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper and drizzle with a little olive oil before placing into a preheated oven (180ºc) for around 30-35minutes until they harden a little and go slightly brown.

The Felafel were made during the day and allowed to cool. So I fried them with just a little oil for about 10 minutes whilst cooking the vegetables in a griddle pan.

This recipe makes enough of everything for about four people, although it will serve two with plenty of leftovers for the perfect hummus/felafel/flatbread sandwich for lunch.

Note: if you are using dried chickpeas for either the Hummus or Felafel you will need to soak them overnight before cooking. Add them to a pan of hot water, bring to the boil and then simmer for around an hour until soft.