Bukhara Pilaf

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Inspired by an incredibly old recipe from an incredibly old cookbook –I think it was my mum’s. Well, the recipe evolved over time in my kitchen but it still must be one of the first non-standard pilaf I have ever cooked in my life. I think the original recipe uses some sort of liver but the recipe I used for the very first time was a vegetarian version. While I was tidying up my recipe archives I found it sitting somewhere, totally neglected. We love it and I hope you like it too. Enjoy Peoples 🙂

1 cup medium grain white rice, rinsed and drained well
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 tbsp pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp dried currants, totally left alone
2 tbsp vegan margarine
2 cups water
Fresh parsley leaves to garnish
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

• Heat the margarine in a shallow, heavy-based pan over a medium heat and stir in the rice, grated carrot, pistachio nuts and dried currants. Fry until the rice is opaque and carrots are soft. Add the water and salt.
• Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to a bare minimum and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, fluff it up and leave it covered for 5 minutes with a piece of paper towel between the pot and its lid.
• Finally taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon onto serving dishes and sprinkle with parsley and black pepper. Serve warm as a side dish.

Curried Potato Salad, VegFusion style

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I find potatoes incredibly versatile –yet, please don’t make me list all the things you can make by using potatoes here. Anyway, potato salads are probably one of my favourites in the realm of potato possibilities.

Just like my other dishes here on VegFusion, my version of this classic is –again –different. I actually don’t boil potatoes for salads anymore; I ActiFry them. The recipe below, yhough, covers both boiled version as well as my version which is ActiFried. Hope you enjoy VegFusion style curried potato salad.

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 tbsp (heaped) vegan mayonnaise
1 tsp (heaped) Dijon mustard
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp mild curry powder
Fresh chives, chopped

• Place potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover by several inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, add ½ tablespoon salt, and reduce to a gentle boil. Cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain into a colander.
• If you own an ActiFry; place the potato cubes in your ActiFry and add a tbsp of vegetable oil. Set the timer to 25 minutes. When it’s done, place the potatoes in a large bowl and let it cool.
• Place mayonnaise, curry powder, and salt in a large bowl; whisk to combine.
• Add potatoes, green onions and chives to mayonnaise mixture. Stir to combine.
• Chill until ready to serve.
• Sprinkle the salad with more fresh chives and serve.

Broccoli and Baby Corn Salad

Vegan MoFo Day 11
This is such an easy, lifesaver kind of salad. I make it all the time and it’s such a good side dish you can serve with pretty much everything. Enjoy Peoples!

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Broccoli and Baby Corn Salad
1 large broccoli, broken into its florets
5 baby corn, cut into 4 (lengthways)
A handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

• Steam the broccoli florets and baby corn together until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool. Once cool, add the parsley.
• Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
• Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables. Mix well without breaking the peace between ingredients and serve.

Garlicky Endive, VegFusion Style

DPP_00028 (1280x1107)I have made a conscious decision some time ago to add more greens to my diet. So, I am experimenting with all kinds of green leafy vegetables at the moment. On top of my list, there is endive greens. I actually didn’t have a plan when I bought these prickly looking greens but Italians came to the rescue.
My recipe is another hybrid one but what can I do: I have my own style. So I improvised, again!

Endive greens are quite bitter so I balanced it with fresh garlic and used lemon juice to freshen it up. I must admit, I am quite happy with the results. The recipe below is enough for 4 as a side dish. If you’re greedy like me, you could have the whole thing for lunch all by yourself.

Garlicky Endive, VegFusion Style

1 large bunch endive, washed and cut into small pieces (about an inch long)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Generous amount of olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper

• Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook gently without browning.
• Start adding the endive although it is better if you start with the tougher parts first as they take longer to cook. At this stage, it will look like you don’t have enough space for the whole bunch but as they cook, the endive wilts nicely, making room for more. Once the whole thing is in season with salt and pepper.
• Cover and braise for 10 to 15 minutes. Just before you serving, drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice. You’re done!

Raw Celeriac Salad with Walnuts and Dill

I know I have a similar recipe which I shared long time ago but this one is slightly different and the photo is better too. You don’t mind me sharing it again, do you?

DPP_00015 (1280x960)Back in Bodrum (Turkey), this was the first thing I used to make on the day of the local market, right after bringing the fresh produce home. This salad stores well in the fridge and you always have something to add to whatever you cook during the week. It is also a good sandwich filler.

DPP_00025 (1280x960)I strongly recommend you prepare everything before you attack the celeriac here as it turns brown so fast. I sometimes even put the lemon juice in the food processor first and then grate the whole thing straight on top of it. You either plan well or work fast. That is the only rule here.

½ head celeriac, peeled and grated
3 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
2 sprigs fresh dill, chopped finely
2 walnuts, shelled and chopped finely
Freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes
Black pepper

• Grate the celeriac either in a food processor or by using a hand grater.
• 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.

Chickpea (garbanzo bean) and Smoked Almond Salad with Vinaigrette

I have been using smoked almonds extensively in salads since we discovered them at Scoop. Here’s a salad featuring these interesting ingredients.

Chickpea and Smoked Almond Salad with Vinaigrette
Bowl in this photo is hand-made in 2011 by ceramic artist Turgut Tuna.  It is hand made and it came all the way from Turkey. Thank you Zeynep and Canbora 🙂 It is from Iznik -famous for its ceramics and tiles.

1x tin chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed well and drained
1 small carrot, grated
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
½ green pepper (capsicum), chopped
½ cup smoked almonds
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To make vinaigrette: Combine vinegar and oil, whisking until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make salad: Combine chickpeas, carrot, smoked almonds, pepper, onion and mint in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette and mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Potato, Asparagus and Avocado Salad

Potato, Asparagus and Avocado Salad

If you are fed up with a straight forward roast potatoes as a side dish and want something different then Potato, Asparagus and Avocado Salad is just the right thing for you. It is light, creamy -thanks to avocado for that- and filling too!

2 medium potatoes
1 bunch thin asparagus
1 avocado (slightly soft)
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ bunch parsley
¼ bunch dill
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

• Wash potatoes and asparagus. Peel potatoes and cube them evenly. Remove the woody ends of asparagus.
• Steam potatoes until they are just cooked. Remove potatoes from steamer and steam asparagus this time until they are just cooked as well.
• While potatoes and asparagus are being steamed, wash parsley and dill. Dry them with paper towel or process them in salad spinner and chop.
• In a salad bowl, combine potatoes and asparagus. Let them cool.
• In the meantime, prepare your salad dressing: Squeeze lemon. In a small bowl, mix mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and whisk with a fork until the dressing is homogeneous.
• Once cooked vegetables are cool, halve the avocado, remove its pit and slice.
• Combine avocado and herbs with potatoes and asparagus. Whisk salad dressing one more time and pour the dressing over the salad and serve!

Freekeh Pilaf

VeganMoFo Day 30

DPP_00016 (1280x842)The recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook called “Plenty”. I own a signed copy of it along with the other Ottolenghi cookbooks; Jerusalem with Sami Tamimi and The Ottolenghi Cookbook. When my husband was in London for work, he got them for me. He ordered them online and they were delivered to his office the next day. That’s how fast things are in other countries.

I’m sure you’re wondering what freekeh is. Ottolenghi explains it very well. So I quote:

“We normally enjoy grains once they have matured and dried, but there is a widespread culinary tradition of consuming green, semi-mature grains, which taste grassier and more nutritious than the dried version. Throughout the Middle East it is common to process young and green durum wheat into freekeh. This is done by literally burning the wheat head in order to scorch the chaff and thus to assist removing the grain. The result is lightly charred green grains with a wonderful smoky aroma, which are often used like rice or bulghar wheat. Freekeh isn’t easy to find but you should come across it in Arab grocery shops. Or you can use bulghar as a substitute, in which case reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes and leave to stand as with the freekeh.”

But I did find a pack of freekeh at a specialty shop in Sydney! And the recipe was there. It sort of happened…

1 medium onions, thinly sliced
25 gr vegan margarine
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
1 cup freekeh
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
2 cups vegetable stock
Handful parsley, finely chopped
Handful coriander, finely chopped
Handful mint, finely chopped
1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted and roughly broken
Salt and black pepper

• Place the onions, salt, vegan margarine and oil in a large, shallow heavy-based pot and sauté on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, or until the onion is soft and brown.
• Meanwhile, soak the freekeh in cold water for 5 minutes, drain in a sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Drain well.
• Add the freekeh and spices to the onions, followed by the stock and pepper. Stir well. Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to a bare minimum and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it covered for 5 minutes. Finally remove the lid and leave the pilaf to cool down a little, about another 5 minutes.
• Stir the herbs into the warm (not hot) pilaf. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon onto serving dishes and sprinkle with parsley and pine nuts and finish with a trickle of olive oil.


Harissa Flavoured Couscous with Raisins and Pine Nuts

VeganMoFo Day 20

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I am absolutely sick and tired of serving cold couscous. You know those instant ones (flavoured or plain) that come out of a pack and you mix it with hot water and wait for 5 minutes. Then fluff it up. When you finally put it on the table, it’s already cold. Surprisingly, this one isn’t like that at all.

First redeeming feature of it is the fact that it is not plain. Second, if you cook it in a stainless steel pan –which I did–it’ll retain the heat when it’s time to serve, it is still warm. You still wait for 5 minutes before you fluff it up and it’s still warm. Third, you know exactly what’s in it.

We had this Harissa Flavoured Couscous with Moroccan Faux-Chicken with Lemon and Olives the other night –the tagine dish that I have been blabbing about for a few days. The recipe didn’t come directly from anywhere. I was moving my recipe archive from one computer to another the other day –I use an incredibly cool software for that but I’m saving the topic for another post –and noticed some couscous and tagine recipes that I haven’t tried yet. Well, this one below is a hybrid of a few from my archive.

½ teaspoon harissa spice mix
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
1/4 cup dark seedless raisins
1 tablespoon vegan margarine
1 cup couscous
1 tablespoon pine nuts

• Dry toast the pine nuts until they are slightly golden. Remove and set aside.
• Combine 1 1/4 cups water with harissa spice mix, turmeric, cumin, salt, raisins and vegan margarine in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
• Stir in couscous; remove from heat.
• Add pine nuts, then cover. Let stand 5 minutes.
• Using a fork, fluff couscous and place in a serving bowl.


Pan-Fried Dutch Carrots and Asparagus with Pine Nuts

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This is such an easy, fast cooking and gluten-free side dish which we have probably once every week. Serve Pan-Fried Dutch Carrots and Asparagus with Pine Nuts with any vegan sausages, fish or schnitzels.

1 bunch Dutch carrots (baby carrots), peeled and cut lengthwise
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 clove garlic, crushed
A handful continental parsley, finely chopped
A handful pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 tbsp light olive oil or any vegetable oil of your choice
Black pepper

• In a small bowl, mix together pine nuts, black pepper and chopped parsley. Set aside.
• Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and add the carrots first. When they start turning slightly brown add the asparagus. Cook the vegetables until they are al dente. Lastly, add the crushed garlic to the vegetables. Once garlic is fragrant and slightly cooked add the pine nut, parsley and pepper mixture and give it a good stir.
• Remove from the heat and serve warm.

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