Leek and Vegan Blue Cheese Macaroni Bake

Experimenting with vegan blue cheese…

200 gr macaroni
3 baby leeks or 1 large leek, chopped finely
4 walnuts, shelled and chopped coarsely
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp plain flour
1 cup soy milk
1/3 The Redwood Cheezly Blue Style Cheese
Salt and lots of freshly ground pepper

• Cook macaroni according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a large pot and fry the leek until they are soft.
• Mix together the leeks, parsley and macaroni.
• Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add flour and stir well. Add the soy milk and cook until it reaches a consistency of a sauce. Stir in grated vegan blue cheese. When the cheese is melted remove from the heat and mix with macaroni. Add salt –if necessary- and pepper.
• Place the mixture in an oven-proof dish and bake for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Vegan Chicken Wrap

I have been wanting to try something like this for a long time. I have many reasons for this. First, I thought, like many wraps, it would make good lunches. Second, the large packaging of Sayur Vegetarian Chicken was becoming an issue. You cannot separate the fillets without thawing the whole pack and once the whole pack is thawed you have you use it fast. So we have been having veg chicken varieties for the last a few days. Used some of it as chicken steaks, some went into a vegetable stir-fry and last piece became the main ingredient in these Middle Eastern style wraps.

By the way, the type of salad in this recipe is used in many kebabs and I’ve been wanting to utilise it somewhere. Well, I guess that is my third reason…

1 large piece Sayur Vegetarian Chicken, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp light olive oil or any kind of vegetable oil
½ onion, peeled and chopped finely
4 lettuce leaves, washed, drained and shredded finely
4 sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 mini wraps, I used whole wheat ones
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp sumac
Salt and pepper

• Mix together chopped onion, lettuce and parsley in a salad bowl. Add sumac and black pepper.
• Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add to the salad and mix well. Set aside.
• Heat the oil in a non-stick pan –I actually used my non-stick wok. Fry chicken strips on high heat until they are crispy, stirring constantly. When they are done remove them from the heat.
• Heat the mini wraps in the microwave for 30 seconds between paper towel.

To assembly: take one mini wrap and lay it on a plate, top up with the salad and the chicken strips. Wrap and serve.

Orzo Pilaf with Baby Peas and Mint

You might be wondering what orzo is. Well, it is a rice-shaped pasta that’s a healthy addition to many main dishes. It can also be used in salads and soups. I use it in many different ways although the most interesting way of using orzo is in a clay pot dish. Apparently, orzo makes a great base for that style of dish. So, I heard. I personally haven’t tried making anything like that. To be honest, my own repertoire doesn’t go any further than soup or pilaf with this ingredient although I may have hit the jack pot with the recipe below –not the clay pot.

The placemats are handmade by my mother who passed away just over a year ago.

1 cup orzo
½ baby peas, frozen
2 tsp Massel’s Stock Powder Chicken Style, heaped
2 tsp dried spearmint, some extra for garnishing
Plenty of boiled water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper

• Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo and sauté until lightly browned. Add baby peas and continue stirring.
• Sprinkle stock powder, black pepper and mint and add boiled water. I used quite a bit of stock powder in this pilaf. That’s actually how I reduce the amount of salt I use.
• Usually you cover the pot and reduce the heat until all the liquid is absorbed and everything is cooked would be the way to go but I find electric cookers incredibly unreliable. So, here’s how we’ll tackle this problem; we’ll treat it like risotto. Open pan cooking method, that is. Add more water when needed. I added more water the second time as the orzo was still firm.
• When you finally have all the ingredients cooked and still have a little bit of water in the pot, turn the heat off and place a piece of paper towel between the lid and the pot. Leave it like that until dinner time.
• Garnish with extra mint if you like.

Cannellini Bean Salad with Black Olives or Fasulye Piyazı

After consulting a couple of Aunties from Turkey through their own recipes, some Ottoman cookbooks, a few fellow bloggers and my own recipe archive, I put together this recipe. The original name for it is Fasulye Piyazı and it usually has hard-boiled egg in it.

One thing that everyone agrees on, though, is that when you make a salad, any type of salad, your ingredients should be dry. If not, all the water running from raw ingredients like lettuce, tomato and fresh herbs or the moisture from beans will mix in with your expensive extra virgin olive oil, etc and you will end up with a diluted salad dressing. Based on the tip I got from those people with experience, I dried my beans with a tea towel.

1x Macro Wholefoods Organic Cannellini Beans, drained, rinsed and well dried
1 spring onion, chopped finely
½ banana chilli, sliced
½ handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
10 black olives, pitted
5 tiny gherkins, rinsed, dried and chopped finely
1 ½ tbsp extra virgn olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper

• Place the beans, spring onions, banana chilli, olives, gherkins and parsley in a bowl.
• Whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss with the salad and serve.

Broccoli and Potato Bake with Vegan Blue Cheese

I normally make this for non-vegan friends when they come for dinner. Potatoes provide bulk, broccoli makes the best accompanying vegetable to starchy vegetables. So everyone wins. I remember one of the guests saying that it tasted like a real dish with the right ingredients even for a meat lover. Ok, I don’t know what that means but this bake tastes really good especially with a nice crusty top made from sunflower seeds and blue cheese.

1 small broccoli, broken into florets and steamed until tender
1 large potato or 2 small ones, cubed and deep fried (I cook mine in ActiFry these days)
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
A handful flat-leaf parsley
1/3 packet The Redwood Blue Cheese Style, grated
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp Massel’s Stock Powder Chicken Style
Freshly ground black pepper

• Heat the oil in a pot and add the chopped onions and stock powder. Brown the onions until they are thoroughly cooked.
• Add potatoes, broccoli, chopped parsley, black pepper and a little bit of boiled water just to moisten things up.
• Place the mixture in a baking dish or individual dishes like me.
• Mix the grated blue cheese and sunflower seeds. Sprinkle dishes with this mixture and brown the top under the grill.
• Serve while hot.

Vegan Mung Bean Salad with Sumac

I have quite a few ingredients in my kitchen that need to be used up. So I used the last of my mung beans for this post. It is easy to make and gluten free.

½ cup mung beans
1 small Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
A handful flat leaf parsley (leaves only), chopped

1 tsp sumac
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Black pepper

• Pick over the dry beans first to remove stones, dirt balls, beans with worm holes, and other foreign matter. Wash the mung beans to remove dust. Wash a second and third time if necessary although they should shine after their bath.
• Add 1 ½ cups water to the beans and boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Drain and set aside.
• In a salad bowl, mix parsley, spring onions, brown onions together. When the beans are cool add them to the bowl as well.
• Whisk the oil, lemon juice, sumac, salt and pepper. Toss with the salad. Serve.

Smashed Olive Salad, Antakya Style

Olive Salad, Antakya Style

I remember having this salad in Istanbul with my ex-niece –yes, we remained friends –at one of those places where you buy your deli stuff downstairs and have something to eat upstairs before you go home. Although the shop itself is quite famous, I cannot remember the name of it. It must be around Eminönü because we bought some upholstery material for the couch.
It took me some time to remember the name of the salad let alone find the recipe for it. I had to see some photos –thanks to Google. However, in the end, I did find the recipe for it although I wasn’t patient enough to get some smashed olives. So my olives you see in the photo are not smashed. Nonetheless, they are Turkish olives. The salad is very easy to make and quite delicious too.

2 cups smashed olives, pitted
2 or 4 spring onions, chopped
1 tomato, peeled and chopped (only the fleshy part, no seeds)
4 twigs flat leaf parsley, washed and chopped finely
3 tbsp pomegranate dressing or freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp chilli flakes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

• Place smashed olives, chopped tomatoes, spring onions and parsley in a mixing bowl.
• To make the dressing, mix pomegranate dressing or lemon juice with olive oil and salt. Dress the salad with it.
• Sprinkle with chilli flakes and serve.

Vegan Raw Celeriac Salad with Walnut

Vegan Raw Celeriac Salad with Walnut
I have just noticed that, once you open a jar of Plamil Vegan Mayonnaise, you have 6 weeks to use the whole jar. So I was forced to find different ways of using it. The salad below is what we are having tonight with Fry’s Schnitzels with roasted –actually ActiFried but we’ll come to that later- sweet potatoes.

½ head celeriac, peeled and grated
3 tbsp Plamil Vegan Mayonnaise
2 spring onions, washed and sliced finely
A handful fresh dill
2 walnuts, shelled and chopped finely
Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp chilli flakes
Black pepper

• Mix grated raw celeriac and lemon juice in a salad bowl.
• Add rest of the ingredients and mix well.
• Garnish with extra chilli and serve.

• Crushed garlic
• Grated carrot
• A drizzle of extra olive oil
• Pitted black olives
• Chopped parsley