Toad, get out of that hole!

Veggie toad-in-the-hole this week 🙂

Once again, the recipe carried an option to make the veggiefied component — in this case, the veggie sausages — from scratch, and once again I lacked the time, energy and budget to do this, so I used half a dozen Linda McCartney rosemary and red onion sausages. Yum yum!

This freed up my concentration a bit to focus on the Yorkshire pudding batter, which can take a bit of finesse. Luckily, the ratio of ingredients — 100g plain flour, 200ml semi-skimmed milk and two smallish eggs — proved to be ideal 🙂 There was enough to go around the sausages and almost cover them, and it rose perfectly during the cooking process. The sausages were done to perfection as well, even though I’d put them into the tin still frozen. I suspect that this result was due to a combination of the half-hour cooking time and a slight insulating effect from the batter.

All in all, a successful recipe that’s definitely going on the rota — and next time I might even remember to make some onion gravy to go alongside!

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Meat? What b—-s!

I seem to have worked out a fix for that strange glitch I mentioned in my last post, with the login screen not loading properly *touch wood*

This week’s recipe was supposed to be veggie meatballs, but I double-checked the recipe when making out my shopping list and realised that a) they’d involve a lot more fiddly wrangling that I’d have the time or energy for, and b) the recipe contained a large quantity of lentils, which…tend to disagree with me :S The upshot was that I took a box of Linda McCartney-brand chorizo-and-red-pepper-flavour veggie sausages and chopped them up (the LM veggie meat balls not being available), and threw them into tomato sauce made to the recipe in the ‘basics’ section at the back of Hairy Dieters Go Veggie.

Apart from the veggie sausages thing, the only other change I made was putting a small chopped chilli pepper into the tomato sauce, rather than harissa paste. What I ended up with was essentially a slightly spicy tomato soup (with veggie soss) which was as good or better eaten cold than fresh-hot. A very good thing, given the resurgence of the UK heatwave…

Run ragged with ragù

Apologies for the lateness of this week’s post — I’ve been seeing a strange phenomenon recently, with the WP login screen not loading properly. Only on Monday evenings (my usual posting time) at first, but this week it’s started happening on Tuesday evenings as well. Weird…

Anyways, on to this week’s recipe! Mushroom and lentil ragù — although the recipe allowed for the substitution of quorn in place of lentils, which is good because lentils tend not to agree with me… I also used a whole celery heart rather than just a couple of sticks, because I’d found said heart on yellow-label and didn’t want it to go to waste.

It turned out pretty well overall, although the flavour felt a bit pallid — I suspect that this is due to a combination of the large amount of celery I used, as well as my having tipped the quorn mince, still frozen, straight into the sauce from the packet (thus adding extra water in the form of accumulated frost). The absence of meat and meat fats may also have been a factor, but that would defeat the object of this being a low-calorie vegetarian recipe! This does indicate a need for much experimentation and testing 😉

Pie? Load a’ cobblers!

This week’s recipe was mushroom, leek and chestnut pie — an interesting combination.

Owing to a slight mishap when constructing the potato pastry for the crust — I forgot to add the milk — I ended up putting the pastry over the filling in blodges, as in a cobbler. It worked pretty well, I’d say ^^

The filling was pretty good too — good creamy texture to the sauce/gravy, and the mushrooms and leeks were very satisfying. The chestnuts added a good crunchy texture to the dish and helped to bulk things out further.

I did my usual trick of adding the rinsings of empty jam and chutney jars to the stock, but I might have overdone it this time — I’m not sure the flavours of mixed fruit jam and mango chutney really go together. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing learned ^^

Bathing bread in flavour

Pan bagnat — ‘bathed bread’ — was this week’s recipe, a pleasant Provençal sandwich to match the continuing heatwave.

Owing to a lack of ciabatta rolls, I used basic pre-sliced wholemeal bread — I don’t think this influenced the final flavour negatively. I would have used the rye bread I made last Friday, but that ended up spreading out from the oval shape I put it into the oven as (between the sugar and the heat, the yeast was VERY lively) so the shape was a little flat for my purposes). The use of wholemeal bread also obviated a concern I had about the recipe as printed, which instructed the scooping out of most of the bread from each half of each ciabatta roll, leaving a crusty shell and a pile of breadcrumbs for use in some future recipe. My main worry about this was that the crust alone would nit possess the structural integrity to hold the filling without falling apart, especially as the quantity of filling is quite generous. Using some decently sturdy wholemeal slices sidestepped this nicely 🙂

The sandwiches themselves were delicious! The recipe says that pan bagnat tastes even better when kept for a few hours than it does fresh, and experience bears this out — the raw red onion can be a tad powerful in the fresh sandwich, especially in conjunction with the tomatoes and the vinaigrette-style dressing. Twenty minutes’ pressing (ten each side) and a night in the fridge, wrapped in foil, helped mellow things out nicely 🙂

I’ll definitely make this again, but I might leave out the step of rubbing the bread with the cut side of a garlic clove before assembling the sandwich. It was a bit fiddly and didn’t seem to add anything to the overall flavour. I suppose it could be replaced with a small quantity of garlic purée, though…