It’s been a longer gap than I would have liked this time - my youngest has been poorly and my life got a little full with doctors visits, emergency doctors visits and not full enough with sleep! Thankfully he’s doing a lot better now - turns out he’s allergic to paracetamol which explains why the minor ear infection was causing such massive problems.
However, before all of this ill toddler panic, I was a very happy bunny as the fabulous weather decided to take a turn to the cool for a few days. I relished in the days of rain, storms and nippy breezes and dreamt of the autumn days to come. I’ve never been one of those typically English people who complains about the cold then complains that the summer is too hot - weather wise I do like to watch the seasons go by and I love the unpredictable nature of a good British summer but I just do not enjoy those super summer days that everyone else seems to relish in.
My other reason for loving autumn and winter is that I just LOVE the food that comes with the season, summer is all light food and snacking but I ADORE having a big plate filled with a hearty casserole or a perfect pie and piled high with a mountain of fluffy mash drizzled with too much gravy!
For the few days the weather was cooler I was in my element making lentil soup with fresh baked bread for lunch, a chickpea and tofu pie (my version of fish pie) and ending the cool spell with a personal favourite of sausage, mash and gravy.
I’ve decided to share with you my recipe for a fantastic mushroom gravy. It truly is scrumptious, easy to make and along with going well with a roast or the sausage and mash mentioned above it makes a great sauce and I often serve it with things like tofu and veg over a bed of quinoa.
Originally I wasn’t going to put this recipe up as I though ‘who wants a gravy recipe?’ but once I started working at my local health shop I was shocked at the number of vegetarians and vegans who didn’t know how to make a gravy and were reliant on nasty packet mixes filled with all sorts of chemicals or would just make up a vegetable stock cube to put with their dinner! After scribbling down the recipe a few time for customers and getting positive feed back I though it would be a good one to share with you.
This gravy is bold but not over-powering and I’ve served it to vegans and meat eaters alike and the recipe is always requested.
**One of the ingredients I use is ‘Shiitake mushroom powder’ now this isn’t actually anything I’ve ever seen for sale, what I do is to buy a bag of dried shiitake mushrooms, blend until fine then stick them back in the packet to store. You can use another dried mushroom if you’d like but PLEASE give it a go - it adds such a deep flavour you’ll end up adding a teaspoon here and there to all your favourite sauces then end up wondering how you ever got along without it! It works out well cost wise as also as although they are expensive to purchase you only use 1 - 2 tsp at a time so it will last **
FANTASTIC MUSHROOM GRAVY
Above: Taifun Herb Grill sausages served with mash potato, caramelised onions, peas, sweetcorn and the mushroom gravy. I’d added some butter beans to the gravy as we were all really hungry that night and they’re my daughters favourite but left to my own devices I would have added cannellini beans as I think they go really well with this meal.
Milk pan, wooden spoon, whisk (or just the wooden spoon for those with strong arms!), teaspoon, table spoon, measuring jug
1 tbsp non-dairy margarine
1 tbsp gram flour
2 ½ tsp shiitake mushroom powder **see note above**
½ tsp low salt stock powder
3 tbsp low salt soy sauce
½ tbsp balsamic vinegar (or cider vinegar)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1. Melt margarine in pan on a low heat
2. Mix in the gram flour until it makes a smooth paste then mix in the mushroom powder and stock powder.
3. Increase the heat to medium/high and add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, stirring all the while.
4. Switch to using your whisk (this will prevent you ending up with a lumpy gravy) and start to gradually whisk in half of the water.
5. Let the gravy simmer for 3 - 5 mins on a low heat until it’s thickened then whisk in more of the water until the gravy is at the desired thickness.
6. When ready to serve switch off the heat and whisk in the nutritional yeast flakes.
If you’re really wanting the gravy to pack a mushroom punch try adding a drizzle of truffle oil just before serving.