MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION FOR MY recipes are seasonal and organic produce. I love cooking with vegetables, grains, fruits, beans, seeds, herbs and spices. My style of cooking is all about flavour, colour and fun. All my recipes are vegan, refined sugar free and low fat. During my life I have experimented with all kinds of diets and cooking techniques, think: raw food, vegan, macrobiotic, vegetarian, gluten free, high starch/ low fat, etc. All these different styles have made me the cook that I am today. Here are some of my favourites for a winter feast.
lasagne with lentil ragout and cauliflower béchamel Lasagne is a crowd-pleasing dish with its comforting flavours. It’s perfect for when guests are coming – you can prepare the lasagne ahead of time and pop it in the oven when they arrive. I swapped the traditional meat-based sauce for a lentil and tomato ragoût and the milk-based béchamel for a creamy cashew sauce.
SERVES 6 • 250g dried lasagne sheets of your choice (spelt, wholegrain, gluten-free)
FOR THE LENTIL RAGOÛT • 2 carrots, grated • 1 onion, finely diced • 250g mushrooms,
roughly chopped • 1 courgette, grated • 5 garlic cloves, chopped • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
(or more, to taste) • 700ml tomato passata • 1 tablespoon mushroom powder • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional) • 500g (drained weight) cooked,
lentils (either homemade or from two 400g cans) • 2 teaspoons dried oregano • 1 bunch of fresh basil,
roughly chopped • 300ml vegetable stock or water salt, to taste
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL • 400g cauliflower florets • 200g cashews, soaked and drained • 200ml vegetable stock or hot water • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast • ¼ -1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (to taste) • Salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. 2. To make the ragoût, heat a large non-stick frying pan and add the carrots, onion, mushrooms and courgette. Water fry them with 2 tablespoons of water or stock. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and translucent (this will take about 8–10 minutes). Then stir in the garlic and chilli, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Now add the passata, mushroom powder, maple syrup, lentils, oregano, basil, vegetable stock and salt to taste. Bring to the boil, then simmer over a low heat for about 15–20 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Start by adding the cauliflower florets to a pan of boiling water and cook until they are soft (they are done when you can easily pierce one with a sharp knife). Drain the florets and transfer to a blender. Add the soaked cashews, vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, salt and nutmeg. Blend until completely smooth. Set aside. 4. When the ragoût is ready you can assemble your lasagne. Take a large deep-sided ovenproof dish (mine is 20 x 30cm) and spread a little ragout over the base. Form a layer of lasagne sheets then a layer of ragoût. Continue to layer the lasagne sheets and ragout until the dish is almost full and you have used up all the ragout. Top the lasagne with the bechamel and transfer the dish to the middle of your oven. Cook for 45 minutes then remove from the oven. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
savoury beetroot muffins Cake salé (‘salty cake’) is not part of Dutch cuisine. I was introduced to it by a French friend and I really wanted to make my own savoury cake. The key feature of the cake is that it’s light in texture. Normal cakes include eggs to accomplish this, but here aquafaba gives these hearty muffins a nice airy touch. Beetroot is naturally a bit sweet so these savoury muffins benefit from the contrast provided by the salty olives. All in all, I think I’ve succeeded in my mission to make a vegan cake salé.
MAKES 10-12 MUFFINS • 70g pumpkin seeds • 1 and ½ raw medium red beetroots, peeled • 6 tablespoons aquafaba
(chickpea cooking liquid), chilled
• 200g wholegrain spelt flour • 50g oat flakes • 2 teaspoons baking powder • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional) • 1 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper • 300ml natural plantbased yogurt • small bunch of chives,
finely chopped • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme • 70g pitted black olives,
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/ gas mark 6. Heat a cast-iron or non-stick pan and dry-roast the pumpkin seeds until they start to pop. Set aside. 2. Finely grate the beetroot using a foodprocessor, mandoline or box grater. Set aside. 3. Whip the aquafaba in a clean bowl using handheld electric beaters or a stand mixer until stiff white peaks form. 4. In another bowl mix the flour, oat flakes, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, nutritional yeast (if using), salt and pepper. 5. In a blender mix together the yogurt and beetroot until combined. Add this to the flour mixture, along with the herbs, chopped olives and whipped aquafaba. Mix gently until all the ingredients have been combined. 6. Line a muffin tray with paper cases and divide the mixture evenly between them. You can use an ice-cream scoop to make the muffins the same size. Scatter over the pumpkin seeds. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes. When a wooden cocktail stick inserted into a muffin comes out clean, the muffins are cooked. Remove from the oven and leave them to cool. 7. Once cooked, you’ll notice that their vibrant pink colour has faded – this is normal. >>
FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019 www.thegreenparent.co.uk