A Spicy, Tangy, Herby, Green, Mexican Kinda Sauce! (Catchy Name Right?)

Even though I’ve never been and tasted the real deal, I like to make Mexcian food. A lot. I love it, it can be both super simple and quick and it can be complex and take ages to make a perfect dish.

One simple sauce that make quite often to go with Mexican food is a coriander, jalapeño and lime sauce, maybe that’s a catchier name, oh well! I got the idea from a Jamie Oliver recipe where he says, “To make the jalapeño salsa, drain and add the jalapeños to a food processor with a splash of the pickling juice. Tear in the coriander (stalks and all) and add a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Blitz well until smooth.” – sounds simple, and it is! I add lime juice to mine for a good citrus kick. If you haven’t got a food processor or a stick blender, just pile it all on a board and get chopping! You might have to mess about with the amount of chillies if you don’t like it too hot. Try adding a few at a time and giving it a taste as you go.

Green Mexican Sauce Ingredients

It’s a seriously good sauce and only takes a couple of minutes to make, so next time you decide to make tacos or burritos, make a batch of this sauce to go with them. It’d be good as a dip for chips or roast potatoes.

It’s a good addition to my sweet potato and chickpea taco recipe too!

Tarka Dal

A few weeks ago I was left with almost bare cupboards and had to be resourceful, I love concocting things from random ingredients I have left lurking in the back of the fridge. this time I made dal, it was the first time I’d actually made it and it was a success. It’s one of my favourite things to order when I go out for a curry.

Dal, daal or dhal, however you want to write it, is the dried pulse, usually a lentil or a pea which has been split, it’s also the name of the stew which is made from them. Pulses are a great source of protein, so next time someone starts having a dig at you about where a vegetarian or vegan gets their protein from, there’s one perfect example to shut them up!

Dal is quite a basic thing to make, you can make it just with lentils, water, turmeric and salt. Tarka dal is different in that you add more spices and things like onion and garlic to the stew. It makes it a bit more exciting than just turmeric and salt. Although I’ve written my recipe below, which is a good place to start, the beauty of dal is that you can change it up and make it differently every time. Add more chilli if you like it hot, try a different blend of spices, a different pulse, try adding spinach, give it a try and tweak it next time.

My lentil hating sister has become a convert to dal after trying it in London with me, she’s been bugging me for a recipe, so as promised, here it is…

It makes enough for about 4 people, it all depends on what you have with it though! If you have leftovers it’s great the next day for lunch anyway.

Dal Ingredients

Ingredients:

300g red lentils (rinse under cold water until the water runs clear)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 green chillies, depending on how hot you like it, finely chopped (remove the seeds if you don’t like it too hot)
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated or chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp mustard seed
oil
salt to season

Put the lentils in a pan, cover with cold water to about an inch above the lentils. Put the pan on to a medium to high heat and bring it to the boil. Then reduce to a low heat to simmer. Stir in the turmeric, put the lid on and leave them to cook gently.

In a frying pan on a low heat add some oil and slowly fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and remaining spices, fry for another couple of minutes. Check your lentils (when they’re ready, they should be soft and the texture should be like porridge, add a bit more water if they’ve gone too thick, or if they’re too thin leave the lid off and let some water evaporate), if they aren’t ready then leave this mix off the heat to the side until they are cooked. When the lentils are cooked stir the mixture through them. Add some salt to taste.

Serve the dal with rice or some kind of flatbread, or both if you’re really hungry! I like some fresh coriander on top of it too. It’s also good with a bit of yoghurt to cool it down if it’s too spicy for you.

Tarka Dal

Vegan Banana Pancakes & Ice Cream

Pancake Day!

I like a pancake, though I don’t really like the traditional sugar and lemon topping, I’m definitely a savoury pancake lover. I’m a northern girl so I grew up having pancakes with stew, southerners, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I’m from Sheffield, so the garnish of choice for my stew and pancakes was naturally Henderson’s Relish, give it a try if you can get your hands on some, it’s delicious and it’s vegetarian, so obviously better than that other sauce with the orange label!

If you read my blog regularly you’ll know I’m cutting down on dairy, so this pancake day it made sense to give a vegan recipe a go, not something I’ve tried before. I searched the internet and found a recipe on PETA’s site, it only needed three ingredients, all of which were in my cupboard so no mad dash to the shop after work needed! Perfect to go with a hearty veggie stew.

So, that’s how I like my pancakes. My husband, though a lover of stew and pancakes, has a huge sweet tooth. I never usually make sweet pancakes, but thought I’d give it a go this year. Whilst looking for vegan pancake recipes I found this Anna Jones recipe for banana pancakes. We’ve established I’m not a lover of sweet pancakes, but I’m also not a lover of banana, so potentially disastrous for me!

I finished work, got my stew on the go and set to making the pancake batters. The recipe for the savoury ones was really easy, I added a little more milk than the recipe said to as I thought it was a bit thick. The recipe for the banana ones was a little more fiddly but still easy and only took a few minutes to make.

With my veggie stew bubbling away on the hob I started to fry the savoury pancakes. The first one was a mess, always is! I started to doubt the batter. After the state of the first one the next few came out fine, nothing to worry about. Topped with a ladle of stew and a few splashes of Hendo’s we tucked in, they were delicious, definitely didn’t miss the dairy here.

After a bit of a break we decided we were ready for the sweet ones! I should add that I don’t make a habit of making two courses on a school night! Anyway, to the banana pancakes, the batter was thicker than the others, like an American style. I popped four small pancakes on to fry while I made a sauce, which turned out to be pretty good actually, it was a brown sugar, dark rum, pineapple and cinnamon concoction. We served the pancakes up with the sauce and some vegan ice cream. The verdict was they were quite good actually, for someone who doesn’t usually like banana or sweet pancakes I’d say it was a success!

All in all a great pancake day dinner!

 

Vegan Tagine

We’ve had a tagine sat in one of our kitchen cupboards since we moved in to our house, 5 years ago! I was so excited when we got given it as a gift one Christmas, that’s the food geek in me, I was keen to give one a try but I’ve never actually braved it. Veganuary is making me try new recipes and so last week I decided to dust off the tagine and brave it! You don’t need a fancy pot to cook it in, any casserole with a lid will do, but it does look kind of fancy and cool if you’ve got one!

I set to looking for a recipe from one of my many cookbooks, I found one I thought sounded good from Leon Ingredients & Recipes, and I also found a recipe for a meat tagine in Jamie Oliver’s book Jamie Does… me being me, I tweaked both and did a bit of a hybrid of the two. Obviously I left the meat out! I often decide to try a recipe and realise I’m a few ingredients short, rather than letting that put me off I tend to see what I can use instead.

So my version of the recipe turned out to be this… It’ll serve 4 people…

Ingredients:

Olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1 tin of plum tomatoes
1 onion, roughly chopped
3cm ish piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 red peppers, roughly chopped
1 medium sized sweet potato, roughly chopped
1 tin chickpeas, drained
75g dried apricots, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

To garnish before serving I used a handful of coriander and a handful of flaked almonds, I was going to add some vegan yoghurt but I forgot! I served it with my version of a tabbouleh too, a salad of mostly parsley and bulgur wheat.

You can cook this on the hob or in the oven, I started it off on the hob and then cooked it in the oven, if you’re doing that you’ll need to pre heat it to 180 degrees.

Heat the oil over a low heat and slowly fry the onion. When the onion is soft and sweet add the spices and the ginger and garlic, cook for another minute before adding the tomato purée and rest of the vegetables, give them a few minutes and then add the tomatoes, lemon juice, dried fruit and some seasoning. I added a little bit of water too as it was a little thick. At this point I put the pot with the lid on into the oven and left it for half an hour. If you’re cooking it on the hob just pop a lid on. It’s ready when the sweet potatoes are cooked through, just keep testing them, if they aren’t ready leave it a bit longer.

It went down well with my husband and our friend. It was an easy tasty recipe so I’ll make sure the tagine doesn’t just get forgotten about in the back of the cupboard this time, it’ll be out again soon!