Monday, 24 February 2014

Courgette, Pea & Mint Patties

Since becoming vegan last year I have experimented with many different veggie patties, burgers, fritters and falafels. People are always asking what we eat now, assuming that we have very little choice. But there are so many amazing plant-based foods available, before you even start on the vegan substitutes out there. So in reality, with a little planning, it's really not that hard and the options are endless.

This is my favourite "pattie" recipe so far; a combination of lush, fresh ingredients to really tickle your tastebuds. Peas and mint are great bedfellows - I just know that you Nottingham folk can't resist your mushy peas and mint sauce! And with the addition of courgette these patties are light and such a joy to eat.

 To make 6 medium-sized patties you will need:

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 small white onion
  • 140g frozen garden peas 
  • Handful of mint leaves, stalks removed
  • ½ a handful coriander leaves, stalks removed
  • 1 tbsp coarse breadcrumbs, such as Panko
  • 1 tbsp gram flour 
  • 3 tsp egg replacer - I use Orgran "No egg" - plus 4 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 5 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper
Grate the courgette and onion onto a tea towel then pat down to squeeze out the moisture. Cover and set aside.

Blitz the defrosted garden peas until they are broken up into small pieces, but not entirely processed. Fresh peas are best, if you can get 'em! You can do this with a fork, rather than a food processor, if you wish. Then finely chop the mint and coriander.

Put the courgette, onion, peas, coriander and mint into a bowl and mix together. Then add the breadcrumbs, gram flour and baking powderSeason with a little salt and pepper then mix together well.

In a small bowl lightly whisk the egg replacer with the water until fluffy. Pour into the other ingredients and fold through gently until all the ingredients come together. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then shape the patties, lay on a plate or baking sheet, then chill for a further 30 minutes.

Put the rapeseed oil into a frying pan and warm on a high heat. As the oil is starting to bubble gently set down the patties. They should start to sizzle immediately. Fry for 15 minutes, turning regularly, until the patties are evenly browned all over. If at any point during cooking the patties are cooking too quickly turn down to a medium heat. Serve immediately. 

 I served the patties with mixed leaves thrown in a light vinaigrette and a raita-style dip using plain soya yoghurt. It was a lovely combination - this is a lovely meal for coming into Spring, really fresh and vital! 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Spicy Orzo with Swiss Chard & Anchovies

Continuing on our constantly evolving food journey I find that every day truly is a school day. My husband found out he is lacking in vitamin D, which could explain some recent health issues. With this in mind I've been using lots of lovely dark green vegetables and other foods high in vitamin D this week. Spinach, Kale, Chard and Mushrooms to name a few. As well as the addition of canned fish such as Sardines and Anchovies which are high in key nutrients. 

We've kept fish on the menu - on an occasional basis - because as well as their nutritional value we really do enjoy them. However, I watched the documentary 'Vegucated' yesterday and it's definitely resonated with me. The ocean is just another resource for us to drain. But what right do we have? Anyway it just got me thinking and I'm not ruling out giving up fish altogether. We'll see, but I will definitely be making an even bigger effort to source sustainable seafood in the meantime. 

 This is a quick, simple dinner - perfect for week-nights and packed with goodness. Orzo is a durum-wheat pasta and this dish is not dissimilar to a risotto, in a way. To serve 2, you will need:

  • 130g Orzo
  • 200g Swiss chard 
  • 1 tin of anchovies
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • Small handful of dill
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • Black pepper
Firstly bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the orzo as per the instructions on the pack, approximately 7 minutes, drain then set aside. Try not to overcook as it can become stodgy.

Chop the anchovies and finely slice the garlic. Rinse then shred the chard - I usually cut into strips around 1-2cm wide. Put the pine nuts into a small pan and onto a high heat. Shake around while on the heat and once the nuts have browned slightly take off the heat and set aside in a ramekin. Try not to get distracted while doing this as they will burn very quickly once they start - believe me, I speak from experience!!

Warm the olive oil in a deep pan and set on a medium heat. Add the garlic and anchovies and move around the pan with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes allowing them to release their aromas. Then add the chard and coat well in the flavoured oil. Turn down to a med-low heat, put a lid on the pan and let the chard wilt for 2 minutes. 

Finally add the orzo, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes, toasted pine nuts, dill and a grating of black pepper then mix everything together well before serving. I reserved a little dill and a few pine nuts to pop on the top to serve.

Really lovely warmth and depth of flavour. If you can't get hold of chard any other dark greens will work fine in it's place. If you find anchovies overpowering then just add less - I like the kick a whole tin gives but it can be quite salty if you are not used to them. 

If you are making any of my recipes I would love to hear from you. You can contact me on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest @VChloeK & tag your photos #edibleroots