Mmm, tasty oil! There are two ways to add delicious flavours to your oil; flavouring by infusion and flavouring by cooking. Infusion can take quite a while but, for delicately flavoured oil such as basil, it’s the only way. It’s also much better suited to drizzling as it has fresher flavours. Creating flavoured oil by cooking, on the other hand, can be done as an adjunct to normal cooking to provide a steady supply and allows a rich palette of vegetable flavours such as roasted onion oil or roasted aubergine oil.
Since meeting John I have got really into sourdough. He introduced me to the concept, and I dipped into my housemate’s copy of Andrew Whitley’s ‘Bread Matters’ to establish my own starter and learn a basic sourdough loaf recipe. The idea is to allow wild yeast to colonise some flour/water mix, which, once well-established, can be used as a raising agent in cooking. It also has the benefit of adding a distinctive (and delicious) sour flavour to your food.
It’s been more successful (and tasty) than I could have imagined! The sourness (caused lactic bacteria that co-exist with the yeast in your starter), gives things a really unique flavour, that I just can’t get enough of!
Sourdough is really versatile, and now, in just a couple of years, I find I’m dependent on it, even taking it on holiday with me recently so that I didn’t have to miss out on my favourite dishes! Loads of my best recipes use it, for example our yummy vegan pizza, cheeky spiced garlic bread, and ethiopian sour injera pancakes.
As you can expect to keep seeing posts from me that use it, I thought I’d better tell you how to make your own! It’s really much simpler than I was expecting, and after daily attention for a few days at the beginning to get it started, it has been really low maintenance – I keep it in the fridge and only bother to feed it when I’ve used some. I’m really slap-dash with my techniques and quantities, but the yeast seem to be quite happy with this semi-neglectful arrangement and continue to thrive (I suspect it may even make them tougher).
If you’ve been put off by overly-complicated sounding processes in the past please read my method and consider trying again. Wild yeast are fairly simple little microbes and with a few very basic principles you can easily start your own colony! Don’t be intimidated, give it a go.
Three main principles of yeast-keeping are explained here, to enable you to keep your starter going indefinitely with minimal effort, as well as a simple technique to get your starter established.
This recipe is a basic tomato sauce that can be modified to create a range of different sauces for different occasions. However, it’s ideal in its own right for recipes such as pizza and lasagna.
Although the sauce is simple to make, it’s really thick and tasty as it involves reducing the tomatoes slowly to really bring out the flavour.
A modified version that can hold its own as a pasta sauce is included here too.
I drew inspiration from a post on Emmy Cooks, and have since used this recipe lots, including for tagliatelle and ravioli, but most often for lasagne.
Handle gently with fingertips throughout to avoid it getting doughy.
Makes enough for 3-4 large lasagne sheets, or 2 good portions of pasta wth sauce.
My vegan cheezy sauce is an ongoing work of refinement, and is constantly being tweaked. It has evolved from my mum’s cheese sauce, which she served with cauliflower and home made chips.
Previous iterations of this recipe have included at one time or another one or more of: ground cashew nuts, tahini (1-2 Tbsp), lemon juice (1/2 a lemon), garlic powder (1/4 tsp), and a pinch of coriander powder.
I am now fairly settled on a version that I’m really happy with as it’s creamy and well-rounded. The latest addition is the white wine, which adds an amazing tang and complexity that I haven’t found in a vegan cheese until now!
Use this sauce wherever you want a cheezey white sauce, e.g. for cauliflower cheeze. Dilute it with extra soya milk to make vegan lasagne, or make a thicker version (less soya milk and more cornflour) for my vegan quiche recipe.
Makes enough for 4 servings, or as a component in one of my many recipes that use it!
Here is my mum’s recipe for simple pastry. She always used it for cheese pies which were my favourite growing up. Her mum (my grandmother) was always in raptures about how light and crumbly it was, and insisted on having it when she came to visit!
I use it for tofu and ale pies and vegan quiche. This recipe makes enough for a medium quiche or pie and you can scale it up or down for the size you want.