Vegan Mushroom Pie

Recipes

Everyone has that dish that they crack out when there are guests for dinner that they want to impress. I am naturally a people pleaser and for me there’s no greater satisfaction than to hear genuine yummy noises from around the table. My no.1 dish for this occasion is a variation on Jamie Oliver’s quick chicken and mushroom pie (first featured in Jamie’s 30 Minute meals). This pie comprises of a creamy chicken and mushroom filling with a ready rolled puff pastry lid and it’s as easy as it is delicious.

Chris and I took part in Veganuary this year and after that was over Chris decided he wants to be a vegan full-time. (He has since discovered that the vegan life is not for the faint-hearted and is allowing himself meat and dairy on special occasions, thank goodness). I didn’t want to be without this pie so created a vegan version and I would love to share it with you.  My favourite thing about this is it doesn’t taste ‘vegan’ at all and I’d happily to serve it to anyone and everyone.

My greatest discovery of veganuary this year was the new plant-based Elmlea. It has truly revolutionalised cooking without dairy as it’s possible to very easily get that wonderful creamy texture without having to faff around with cashews and blenders. It whips perfectly, works well poured over desserts and, for me, tastes exactly like normal cream. I use this plant-based ‘cream’ to replace the usual crème fraiche in the recipe and replace the chicken with flat mushrooms. Most ready-made pastry is already suitable for vegans so no changes are necessary there. The ingredients used to season in this recipe are very important in order to make up for the lack of meat so don’t leave any out!

This recipe serves 4 (with mash and veg) or 2 greedy people

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 punnet chestnut mushrooms

1 punnet flat field/Portobello mushrooms

150ml White wine

1tsp mustard

Veg stock cube

½ tsp dried thyme (or fresh if you have it)

Salt

Black pepper

1 tbsp cornflour

100ml Elmlea plant based cream

1 roll of ready-rolled puff pastry

1tbsp plant milk (for the ‘egg’ wash)

Start by chopping the onion and frying it in olive oil in a large pan. Finely chop the garlic and add it after a few minutes. Chop up the mushrooms into large pieces – half the chestnut mushrooms, chop the flat mushrooms into thick slices so they’re still decent sized chunks once they’ve cooked down. This will give the pie filling some good texture. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry for a few minutes. If the veg starts sticking to the pan, add a splash of water.

At this point, sprinkle the cornflower over cooking vegetables and mix in thoroughly to remove any lumps. Mix the wine in gradually so it combines evenly with the flourly veg mixture. Add the mustard and stock cube and mix to ensure the stock cube has properly dissolved. Cook for a five more minutes so the alcohol evaporates. Add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste (plenty of pepper is advised) and then stir in the ‘cream’. Cook for a few more minutes.

Take off the heat and transfer the pie filling to a suitably-sized, oven-proof dish. Place the pastry over the top to form a lid and curl the pastry around the edges to make a crust (and to maximise the amount of pastry involved!). Brush over a light wash of plant based milk (I use oat as it doesn’t carry much flavour) so the pastry turns golden and shiny in the oven. Use a knife to make a couple of slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.

Put in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celcius for 25-30 mins or until golden. Once cooked, serve immediately with roasted carrots and broccoli or mash and peas. Bon appetite.

Coronation Chickpea

Recipes

Coronation chickpea is my veggie version of my all-time favourite sandwich filling. Options are sometimes pretty limited when it comes to easy veggie lunches so when I’m bored of cheese or falafel, this is my go to. I’m lucky enough to work just a short walk from where I live so pop home in my lunch breaks and this recipe is so quick I can whip it up, and eat it, in less than 20 minutes. It’s sweet, a little bit spicy and makes the most satisfying lunch.

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas
A handful of sultanas
2 tbsp mayo (or low fat greek yoghurt if you want it lower calorie)
1 tbsp mango chutney
2 tsp medium curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
½ Lime
Salt and pepper

Start by thoroughly rinsing the chickpeas. I have been known to individually peal a can of chickpeas and I would really recommend doing this if you have the time- it makes them smooth and the dish will feel that little bit more special. I recently had a very pleasant chickpea pealing session with Chris in my in-law’s garden with a G+T. It does double the prep time for this recipe though and is not essential but worth your consideration if you’re not in a rush.

Add them to a large bowl with the sultanas, mayo, and mango chutney. This dish is very easy to make vegan by just using vegan mayo. I tried this with vegan mayo the last time I made it and couldn’t tell the difference. You can also switch out some or all of the mayo for low fat Greek yoghurt to make it a little bit healthier without sacrificing any taste. Squeeze over half a lime and mix it all together.

Add the spices and seasoning and mix together until evenly combined. Add some chilli powder if you are that way inclined.

And that is literally it! I like to have mine in a toast sandwich with baby spinach and tomato or on top of a jacket potato.

The flavour of the spices will grow over time so it’s actually better the next day. 1 can’s worth will fill up 3 sandwiches and will last in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Vegan Lent | Breakfast at The Grub and Grog Shop

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My obsession with food has recently made me interested in diet related challenges. I don’t mean dieting per se but restricting certain foods as a way of practising discipline, being a bit healthier or broadening my foodie horizons. Aside from all the religious benefits, Lent provides a perfect opportunity to alter one’s diet for a significant time but knowing the end is always in sight. This year’s Lenten semi-fast was Vegan.

Chris and I have tried a month of going vegan in the past (Vegebruary rather than Veganuary partly because we missed the boat and partly because 28 days is more appealing than 31). It’s a good way of dipping your toes into veganism without feeling like you’ll never eat cheese again. I like the challenge but I especially like the fact it forces me to cook and eat things that I wouldn’t normally and it gets me out of the rut of making the same things every week.

Oat chai latte from Starling Cafe in Harrogate. Praise the Lord for Oat Milk.

One of the biggest challenges of having a vegan diet is eating out but the trendiness of veganism is making this easier all the time. On the 2nd weekend of Lent we found ourselves with 20 hours in Leeds as part of a wedding planning trip up North. I was excited by the prospect of being in a city I’ve never been to before as I knew there’d be the chance to try some cool places for food. To be honest, Leeds is so big that restricting our search to just vegan/vegan-friendly places probably made things easier.

We had lunch en route which ended up being crisps and a greggs vegan sausage roll (absolutely delicious – no apologies here.) Once in Leeds, we did some research into where to eat and found three places that we wanted to try on the Saturday:

Coffee and cake at Roots and Fruits

Vegan chocolate cake and oat latte

Drinks and bar snacks at The Old Red Bus Station (we also had vegan mac’n’cheese balls but were so hungry that we ate them before I could take a picture).

A fruity mocktail

Dinner at Knave’s Kitchen

Beer battered Nori tofu fillet burger with mushy pea mayo
Onion bhaji burger with raita and mango chutney

My favourite food of our short trip to Leeds came the next morning when we opted out of the hotel’s offering and went to a cool vegan-friendly café for breakfast. The grub and grog shop offers meat, veggie and vegan dishes and quirkily makes vegan the default on their menu, adding (m) and (v) if things aren’t vegan. The venue itself was a lovely space and had a collection of board and card games so we played Dobble while we waited for our breakfast.

Inside the grub and grog shop

This place really understands doing vegan food right. The vegan breakfast that we both had wasn’t just a full English without the meat or with dodgy vegan sausages sub-ed in. It was made up of red cabbage fritters, homemade hash browns, mushrooms, funky beans and sourdough toast – nothing like what you might expect in a cooked breakfast but actually really great. The beans were so good I asked the waiter about them – they were a healthier version of baked beans made by an independent company and tins of them were available to buy in the café. I really wish I did or got the name of them because they were truly the best beans I’ve ever had! They were tangy and fruity and more than made up for the lack of meat flavour in the meal.

Vegan breakfast at the Grub and Grog Shop

I tried to replicate bits of this breakfast at home last week and was pretty successful. For the beans, I added a tablespoon of chutney, a sprinkle of garlic powder and paprika and drizzle of sriracha and cooked it through. It worked so well and I can really see myself doing this now whenever I  have beans!

My improvised version with homemade sweet potato fritters and jazzed up beans. Admittedly not as beautiful but pretty delicious all the same.

If you happen to be in Leeds for breakfast, The Grub and Grogg shop is definetly worth checking out – whether you’re vegan or not. Otherwise, put some chutney in your beans and just thank me later.