Thursday, 12 June 2014

Sesame Halva- raw vegan

Please excuse the awful, hasty picture- will try to replace this when I make more!
This has been an old favourite treat of mine since I was in my early teens- my mum used to buy it from the local wholefood shop; only that kind was made with honey. This halva, if you use un-heat treated agave, is raw vegan. It's not perfect yet- far too gooey- but tastes divine anyhow, and I was so excited I couldn't wait to share it with you, so here it is:

Recipe makes 16 bite-sized squares
150g unhulled sesame seeds
50ml agave nectar
  • Grind the seeds finely, half at a time, until they are a slightly oily texture and starting to clump together (but not like tahini or nut butter). Our Cuisinart worked just perfectly for this.
  • Knead/ stir in the agave. 
  • Press into a tray (I used a plastic one that some baby sweetcorn had been packaged in) and refrigerate/ freeze until firm and a little dried out. Unfortunately it will go sticky as it returns to room temperature so perhaps it should be eaten up as quickly as possible!
Next time:
I will make it with half agave, half coconut sugar
I will add almonds/ pistachios/ sultanas/ a swirl of cacao...



Monday, 9 June 2014

Hot 'n' Smoky Three Bean Burritos- vegan

The finished burrito served with baked sweet potatoes, salad and cashew cheeze
Every once in a while, I get the idea to have to cook something Mexican. Is it the creamy, beany, avocado-y textures or the spicy chilli taste? The chewy tortillas or the crispy nacho chips? I don't know what it is, but Mexican food- at least, the sort that's popular outside Mexico- is so colourful, tasty and downright fun that it's sure to put a smile on everyone's face when you serve it up!
Burritos are Mexican-American wraps consisting of a soft wheat tortilla with a filling of refried beans, meat, fish, cheese, guacamole, salad etc. Burrito means "little donkey", and there are several stories about how they got their name, but perhaps the most plausible is that the wraps resemble the packs or bedrolls that were carried on donkeys. Although undoubtedly 19th-century Mexican in origin, it is said that burritos were adopted by the farmworkers of California as a cheap and practical meal to have at work, and the first time they appeared on a menu as "burritos" was in a cafe in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Our burritos capture the cheese and beans idea, but are plant based. They are packed with protein, tasty and satisfying, hot and smoky. To get the hot and smoky thing going I used smoked paprika and chilli flakes that I found in the spice cupboard (that's the problem- or beauty, depending on how you look at it- of impulse cooking) but of course, if you can get chipotles or chipotle paste, that would be more authentic. We were more than happy with my paprika-chilli mashup though. This recipe serves 4 people with 2 burritos each.

Here are the burrito ingredients before wrapping-  you can see the rich red colour of the spicy beans at the top right corner.
Burrito filling:
330g cooked beans (pinto, red kidney or black eyed beans are all great)
100g green beans
1 large red bell pepper
1 tab extra virgin olive oil
For the hot 'n' smoky paste:
100g ground almonds
5 tabs double-concentrated tomato puree
1 tsp tamarind concentrate (which finds its tangy way into a lot of what I cook these days!)
2 tabs genmai (brown rice) miso
1 tab extra virgin olive oil

  • Saute the green beans and the pepper in the oil until soft. 
  • Add the other beans and gently part-mash them using the back of a large spoon.
  • Mix all the paste ingredients together thoroughly; check the hot smokiness is to your liking and adjust accordingly.
  • Carefully mix the paste in with the cooked beans and red pepper mixture.
  • If you like your burritos warm, heat gently stirring often before you assemble them.
Tortillas:
Of course, if you know you are making these in advance, you may want to buy wheat or corn tortillas. I made 8 flax chapattis, as the ground flax is not only healthier than the added oils and humectants in most bought tortillas, but it also keeps them nice and soft and flexible.

Cashew cheeze:
You could buy your favourite vegan cheese, or try this quick recipe:
150g finely-ground cashews
1/2 tsp seasalt
1 tab nooch (isn't that so much easier to type/ say than nutritional yeast or yeast flakes?)
3 tabs water
  • Just mix it all together.
To assemble:
A cold burrito could have salad inside rather than beside it, and it's up to you whether you put the cheeze in or decorate the top of the burrito with it. Guacamole would be great too; we have a simple and tasty recipe here. Wrap the burrito by laying the fillings in the centre and tuck both sides in. Then roll as tightly as possible. If taking on a picnic or packing for work or school, wrap it in foil to keep it from coming undone.
 
If you'd like to have a look at some more of our Mexican recipes, try:
Hot mango salsa
Chia fresca
Tofu quesadillas
Seitan fajitas

Mexican rice

Vegan nachos