What a scorcher hey??!!! I had planed to go to the Library and then for a picnic in the park with the kids today but we ended up hiding out in the cool of the library for several hours, snacking on sandwiches and tiffin thankful that the children’s section kept us hidden from the watchful eyes of the librarians!
While there we got a chance to have a really good look around and I managed to come a way with a couple of great traditional English cookbooks which are already calling at me to spend my days lost in them, notepad at the ready, to veganise some of my old favourites. Well….actually, that’s a bit of a lie as, bar cakes and puddings, my mum was really more of a ‘roast on Sunday, pasta bake on Monday, Sheppard’s pie on Tuesday, Mincemeat w/ pasta on Wednesday’ and ‘dear god kill me now -I can’t believe I can still remember the meal plan this is probably the reason why I rebel against any form of routine thrown my way’ on Wednesday (you get the picture!!).
When I say ‘my old favourites’ I should explain what I mean - I have always been a bookworm and when friends were off running around being naughty I was easily found in my room with several stacks of books (if not I was either watching wrestling or on my weekly pub/cinema visit) and it still makes me giggle that they used to push me to go out on dates when I was in college - probably not what most parents envision having to do!! So when I say that I’m going to ‘veganise some of my favourites’ what I’m talking about is the food that inspired me, the food that made me start taking a real interest in cooking, that conjures up such vivid memories of happy childhood for me and that is the food that I read about in the worlds of Enid Blyton and Harry Potter. These are the meals I would seek out when at restaurants or friends houses and why my first job, working at a hotel, was so exciting for me. I don’t think the chefs had ever seen anyone so excited to get a portion of chicken and ham pie (there was even treacle tart for pudding!!). These are the recipes I am seeking out to bring to you in vegan form as for me they are truly magical and I hope they turn out to be just that for you too.
I do have several ‘traditional’ recipes floating around already but sadly my old computer gave up on me and took the pictures with it :-( (I know, I know - I will always back up in future!!). So for now I’m giving what is still a very British recipe - a curry. Yes, I know, some people try and deny it but curries are as British as The Queen and this lovely creamy coconut curry doesn’t even resemble anything you might get in India! It’s a personal favourite of mine as it’s very easy to make and the use of dried beans means is a great store cupboard recipe. I also love that it has a yummy coconut cream flavour without having to go to the expense of coconut milk which seems to get more expensive by the day!
This recipe is a lovely way to work adzuki beans into your diet which are packed with magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, manganese and B vitamins. They’re known for being a great weight loss food as they’re low in fat and high in nutrients and can also help to lower blood pressure. They’re packed with soluble fibre which binds itself to toxins and cholesterol and can help to eliminate it from the body. For this reason they are know to be a very healing and cleansing bean but I just eat them for the nutrients and because they taste nice!
To stick with the magical theme the lovely Worzel Gummidge joined us for dinner - thankfully he kept his head on! We ended the meal with a cup o' tea and a slice o' cake.
CREAMY BEANY COCONUT CURRY
2 medium sized bowls, 1 large saucepan with lid, blender/stick blender/ food processor, chopping board, knife & vegetable peeler
6oz adzuki beans, soaked over night
3oz coconut chips (or any unsweetened dried coconut0
2oz flaked or ground almonds (you can use whole almonds if you have a good food processor)
500ml warm water
1 tbsp of oil (preferably virgin coconut oil)
½ tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp rapadura or unrefined sugar
1 ½ tsp curry powder
1 ½ tsp garlic granules (or 3-4 cloves minced)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp onion granules (or 1 diced onion)
½ tsp seasoned salt or to taste
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 carrots, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1/ Place the adzuki beans in a pan with fill with plenty of water (until there is roughly 3cm of water above the beans) bring to the boil then cover and simmer gently for 45mins or until the beans are tender. REMEMBER TO CHECK!!! The last thing you want to do is to just assume your beans are done and have to put up with a curry filled with crunchy beans!
2/ Meanwhile, place the rest of the ingredients bar the carrot and sweet potato (or the onion and garlic if using fresh) in a bowl and cover with the warm water. Leave to soak for 30-45 minutes.
3/ If using fresh onion and garlic: Fry the onions in a pan over a medium heat in 2 tbsp of oil until soft (around 8mins) add the garlic and cook over a low heat for 3 more minutes then set aside.
4/ After the coconut mix has finished soaking transfer to a blender and blend until smooth, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the sides. Once it is a smooth consistency set aside.
5/ Once the beans have cooked transfer them to a colander and rinse. Give the pan they cooked in a quick rinse then add the cooked beans back to the pan along with the coconut mixture, carrots and sweet potato (also add in the fresh garlic and onion if you opted to use them).
6/ Cover the pan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes until carrots and sweet potato are tender.
Serve with Chapattis or Basmati rice.
If you like a lot of sauce with your curry to get optimum dipping then add 300ml extra water and 2 tbsp of gram flour
For a beautiful curried soup simply blend all of the ingredients after they have all finished cooking, adding extra water if necessary.
For a more intense almond flavour try toasting the almonds in a dry pan first until they turn golden brown in colour.