Veggie Haggis!

I’m really into Burns night. I’m not sure why as I have no Scottish ancestry and it’s one of those events that is heavily based around meat. We used to have Burns night formals at university, with the Selkirk grace, a piped in and addressed Haggis and a Ceilidh at the end. Great fun! Since university, I have hosted or attended some form of Burns night celebration at least once each year. These have involved Ceilidhs, parties full of Whisky sours, my awesome home made whisky sticky toffee pudding (one day I’ll share the recipe), lots of bad Scottish accents and using kazoos and tin whistles in place of bagpipes.

This year I was lucky enough to attend 2 small intimate Burns celebrations! On Saturday a lovely friend in Bury St Edmunds hosted us for a day of  vegan treats and excess!!! She made us carrot and coriander soup for lunch, bought in a crimbles vegan stem ginger cake and attempted my vegan torte recipe. We also picked up a Macsween veggie haggis and a small non-veggie haggis for those meat-eaters around the table!! The soup was awesome and the crimbles cake was too good! For dinner, neeps and tatties were baked and mashed in their skins and served with the haggises and broccoli. Lovely! The torte for dessert was fab too. It had alpro pouting yoghurt in instead of the cream, which gave it a softer texture and a slight tang, so it wasn’t as ridiculously sweet. I probably ate ¾ of the whole thing over the weekend!!

We also had Monday night plans for a burns night at another friend’s house, so I decided to attempt making my own vegan haggis!! I think it’s probably healthier with less fat than the Macsween one, but if you were really desperate you could add some vegetarian suet!

Ingredients (serves about 8)

150g oatmeal

50g chopped mixed nuts- I used hazelnuts, pecans and brazil nuts

25g sunflower seeds or other seeds

Medium onion, finely chopped

carrot, grated

One tin of red kidney beans (400g)

50g red lentils

20g quinoa

350ml vegetable stock

tbsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (we have the hottest cayenne pepper ever! If yours is milder, use a full tsp)

½ tsp paprika

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp sage

½ tsp salt

Good grind of black pepper

Heat a little oil in a pan and gently toast the oatmeal and nuts for about 10 minutes.

Add the onion and carrot and cook for another 5-10 minutes until onions have softened and gradted carrot has shrunk.

Throw in all the other ingredients and mix well. Simmer gently until most of the water has been absorbed, add more water if it seems a bit dry.

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(Oops you can see the mess I made in our nice clean kitchen)

Squash into a prepared loaf tin or casserole dish and bake in the oven at 160’C for 30-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven, use bagpipes to pipe it to the table and recite  Robert Burn’s “Address to a Haggis” before serving.

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It went down really well!

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Mildred’s Vegetarian Restaurant, Soho

Official Website: www.mildreds.co.uk

 

Address: 45 Lexington St, W1F 9AN

 

Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus

 

I’ve been coming to Mildreds since well before I moved to London. It’s got a certain atmosphere- for example, I would never ever bring my parents as they would hate it!! They don’t take reservations (except for in the ‘party room’) so you turn up, get your name down and then stand in the tiny, crowded, noisy bar area with a drink until your table is ready. I was boasting to my friends that Mildred’s have “not been taking reservations since 1989” well before it was trendy!!

Downstairs, the tables are all very close together and there’s a loud buzz of chatter. The last couple of times I’ve been, however, we’ve been seated upstairs which is much nicer! There’s a room that’s a bit like somebody’s front room with big windows to the front, pictures on the walls and about 4 large tables (seating 4-6) Even though I was told a 35-40 minute wait this time, it was nearly an hour but worth the wait for a nice upstairs table!

Staff are friendly, efficient and apologetic for long waits. They always bring jugs of water for the table which is much appreciated, and take orders whenever you’re ready (pretty quickly after you’ve been salivating over the menu for an hour already!)

This time, we got some gyoza to share- 6 little vegetable gyoza dumplings with a soy dipping sauce. Some of the best gyoza I’ve had! Lightly flavoured and lightly fried.

I then went for the burger of the day- mushroom, pea and mixed peppers, which was lovely. Served in a bun with relish, vegan basil mayo and loads of skinny fries (or upgrade to the sweet potato fries) One friend also had the burger and the other one went for a non-vegan burrito, which had a vegan option without the cheese. She really enjoyed it and was very full afterwards. It didn’t stop us all sharing the crumble of the day (apple and peach maybe? Although there were definitely some berries in there too) with soya custard. It was quite a big portion (see the theme!) and very nice. I think it was actually gluten free crumble but whatever it was it was sweet and crunch and there was loads of fruit too!

I have been to Mildred’s so many times that I’ve probably had most of the vegan things on the menu. The mushroom and ale pie is a must- it is so amazing and comes with fries and minted mushy peas! The curries are always good, sausage and mash is ultimate comfort food, burger never disappoints. In fact I’ve never had a bad meal here! Pudding is often the chocolate and raspberry truffle which is amazingly thick and rich and yummy chocolate with fresh raspberries in it. Drinks are lovely. I sometimes have a bellini whilst waiting but went for a bramble last night which was strong and slightly bitter- lovely! I also enjoy their smoothies (a friend last night had the banana, soya milk and maple syrup that had a great fresh taste but didn’t quite go with my bramble) and the raspberry and vanilla lemonade is fab too.

Many of my non-vegetarian friends love Mildreds and the queues (even on a Tuesday night) are testament to it’s awesomeness! It’s a shame I never get around to taking photos.

Red kidney bean and sunflower seed burgers

A little burger recipe for you!!

Ingredients

Tin of red kidney beans

1 onion

1 carrot

20g maize meal or gram flour

100g sunflower seeds

50g breadcrumbs

1 tsp mild chilli powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tbsp olive oil

Pinch salt

Ground pepper

Chop the onion finely and fry in a little oil until soft and translucent.

Mix together all the ingredients, including the fried onions and drained kidney beans. Mash some of the beans but leave most of them whole. Bring together with your hands and form into 6-8 patties.

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Fry each pattie on either side for a few minutes until crispy, then place on a baking tray and bake in the oven at 180’C for 10-15 minutes.

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Serve in a burger bun with lettuce and relish.

I had mine in some bread with lettuce,  mustard and some chopped gherkins!

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Mexican wedding cookies

Another post I’ve been meaning to do for a while. At some point last year I went through a phase of making loads of these little nutty cookies that are known as either mexican wedding cookies or russian tea cakes. I decided that a box of these would make a nice gift for my brother’s girlfriend’s mother over Christmas, and I do believe they did!

Ingredients
100g vegan margarine (I used pure)
40g icing sugar
pinch salt
100g finely chopped nuts- I use almonds or walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g sifted plain flour
3 tbsp soya milk
5 tbsp more icing sugar for rolling

Cream together the margarine, sugar and vanilla extract until fluffy and creamy. Combine the dry ingredients and then mix into the margarine about 1/4 at a time, adding the soya milk as necessary. It should form quite a soft dough, but you may need to get your hands involved. Form into golf ball sized balls and place on a baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven at 180’C, until lightly browned. While still warm, roll in icing sugar and allow to cool. Great with a cup of coffee.

Scrambled tofu on toast

Well it’s been a tiring stressful week. I’ve been doing the work of 2 people in the office and everyone is so demanding!!! Compounded by the fact that the weather has been freeeeezing with slippery pavements and snow, I come home hungry and can’t be bothered to cook properly. For this reason I have been having one of my absolute favourite lazy meals; scrambled tofu on toast. Now, since I’ve been making for the past 5 years with varying quantities of everything, I never had a proper recipe but worked out my standard one this week and here it is:

Ingredients to serve one
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 pack cauldron firm tofu
4 tbsp soya milk
1 tsp maize meal (cornflour or plain flour will do)
1 tsp powdered turmeric
pinch salt
1 tsp soy sauce
pinch smoked paprika (optional)

Heat the oil in a pan or wok and crumble in the tofu. Mash it around in the pan so it’s quite ‘scrambled’
Add in all the other ingredients and combine in the pan, mixing around to stop it sticking for 3-8 minutes until it’s all a light yellow and looks a bit like scrambled egg.
Serve immediately. I have it on vegemite toast. Yum.

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On one of our early dates, I made my now-fiancé some scrambled tofu at his student flat, claiming he ‘wouldn’t be able to tell’ that it wasn’t egg. I’m pretty sure he could. I also often add sweetcorn or peas from the freezer to pad it out a bit which goes really well!!!!

I had scrambled tofu with mushrooms on toast for breakfast today, and thought I’d also share my lunch; a salad of green lentils, raw carrot, lettuce leaves and roasted cauliflower with a mustard dressing.

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One of my new year’s resolutions is to blog more and get better at this photo lark, so expect to hear more from me!!

Happy New Year!