Mushroom kebabs – homemade vegetarian shiitake mushroom kebabs

So it turns out I’ve become a bit of a cliché.

For the last few months I’ve been on a drive to save money and eat more healthily. The good news is these two aims have complimented each other nicely, as a lot of my healthier meals have been meatless. I’ve exchanged meat for a lot of beans, chickpeas and lentils, which are a lot cheaper! Apparently, this makes me a flexitarian, which is a very trendy thing to be right now. (Also known as “a vegetarian who cheats” according to The Guardian…)

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One of my favourite recent recipes on the blog was my delicious lamb kebabs. I wanted to make them again, but a “flexitarian” version. I choose shiitake mushrooms as my meat substitute because of their texture and taste. They are topped with an awesome garlic mayo and homemade pickles. Try them out – you definitely won’t miss the meat!

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 200g shiitake mushrooms
– one red onion, peeled and cut into half moons
– 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
– 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
– 1 teasoon dried oregano
– 1 teaspoon dried thyme
– half a teaspoon celery seeds
– 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce

To serve:
– flatbreads (I made mine using this BBC Good Food recipe)
– roasted garlic mayonnaise (a few teaspoons of mayo mixed with a few cloves of roasted garlic
– pickled cucumbers (check out Feasting At Home for great tips on how to do this)
– a handful of parsley

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Method
1. Mix the flatbread dough.
2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until softened and turning translucent.
3. Clean and slice the shiitake mushrooms. Add them to the pan along with the spices and Worchestershire sauce.
4. Cook for at least 5 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and have absorbed all of the amazing flavours.
5. In the meantime, mash the roasted garlic with the mayonnaise and cook the flatbreads.
6. Serve and enjoy!

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Chickpea goulash (paprika-spiced vegan chickpea stew)

Chickpea goulash (paprika-spiced vegan chickpea stew)

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I was recently lucky enough to visit Australia. I spent a week in Sydney and the second week in Melbourne, eating a lot of amazing food. One happy day in Melbourne, I discovered a gorgeous shop selling spices.  I spent quite a long time smelling the amazing aromas, and picked up a few treats, like an applewood smoked salt that makes everything taste unbelievable!

Their goulash seasoning smelt so amazing that I was inspired to create this recipe. It is SO tasty. It’s a vegetarian spin on a traditional goulash. Hungarian goulash is usually made with pork, so this version with chickpeas is a lot lighter, healthier and cheaper to make. I batch cook this as it freezes really well. You don’t really need anything else with it, as the chickpeas are so filling. You can serve it with soured cream or even grated cheese… but obviously if you’re vegan then use vegan substitutes.

You can sprinkle parsley on the top of this when you serve, but I love using the chopped leaves from the top of the celery instead. (No waste!)

Chickpea goulash Facebook

Ingredients (makes 4 portions)
– two onions, peeled and finely chopped
–  4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
– 2 celery sticks, sliced
– 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
– 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
– 2 bay leaves
– 2x cans of chickpeas, drained
– tin of chopped tomatoes

Optional – soured cream / vegan soured cream to serve

Method
1. Heat a little oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for a few minutes until softened and the onion is starting to turn translucent.
2. Add the bay leaves and paprika, plus salt and pepper. Stir together – this should begin to release a gorgeous smoky smell.
3. Tip in the chopped tomatoes and drained chickpeas. Stir everything together and leave to simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes until thickened.
4. Taste and season.
5. Serve with your favourite toppings

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Sweet potato mac and cheese (gluten free)

Sweet potato mac and cheese (gluten free)

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Last Christmas I got Anna Mae’s Mac n Cheese recipe book, which has rapidly become one of my most used books. It’s full of amazing recipes for macaroni cheese and is so beautiful to boot. If you have any cheese-loving friends, I would highly recommend this as a gift.

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It’s made me play around with Mac and Cheese recipes, which has been fun! This one is definitely my favourite, not least because it is gluten free. Substituting the pasta for sweet potato noodles adds a delicious flavour and makes it slightly healthier…. although there’s still a LOT of cheese in this! I use a Lurch spiralizer, which I’ve always found to be a really reliable model.

If you don’t have a spiralizer, then you will just have to cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes and cook them for an extra 5-10 minutes before adding the cheese mix.
Or just buy a spiralizer!

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
– 1 tablespoon oil
– 1 teaspoon each paprika and thyme
– 300 ml milk
– 25g unsalted butter
– 25g rice flour (or other gluten free flour)
– 125g cheddar
– 75g Parmesan
– 100 g mozzarella
– 1 teaspoon English mustard
– salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper

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Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and spiralize them to make thin noodles. Trim any really long noodles and toss with the oil, paprika, thyme plus salt and pepper. Bake for 35-40 minutes in an oven proof dish, moving regularly to make sure the edges don’t burn.
3. While the noodles cook, make your cheese sauce. Melt the butter over a medium heat and slowly stir in the flour. Cook out the flour for up to 4 minutes.
4. Warm the milk (don’t let it boil) and add this gradually to the butter and flour, whisking constantly. When it is all combined, cook for about 8 minutes, or until the the sauce has thickened.
5. Grate your cheese. You can do this by hand, but to be honest, I cut mine into large cubes and then chuck it in the food processor. So. Much. Quicker.
6. Add the mustard, cheddar and Parmesan to the white sauce and stir until all of the cheese is melted in.
7. Pour the cheeeeesy sauce all over the noodles, which should now be cooked through but a little al dente. Stir together, then spread the mozzarella over the top. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Turn the oven to high grill and cook for 6-8 minutes until the cheese is molten and bubbly.

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Oven-fried shrimp gyoza

Oven-fried shrimp gyoza

I found out something very exciting recently….

You can BAKE gyoza!

Dumplings can be cooked in the OVEN!

This is revolutionary! Up until now whenever I’ve made them, I’ve had to fry or steam them, which is quite messy (and I don’t really like frying things anyway). However, they are so easy to cook in the oven, and it’s much easier to get a crispy texture this way.

The other exciting this with this is the sauce I drizzled on them. It’s called Chin-Su and is a Vietnamese chilli garlic sauce. I found it when I was in Penang and I’m a bit obsessed with it. It’s can be a bit tricky to get hold of, but you can easily use Sriracha as a substitute.

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Ingredients (makes 24 dumplings)
– 24 gyoza skins
– a handful on spring onions, finely sliced
– 100g raw prawns
– 4 peeled garlic cloves
– roughly 4 button mushrooms
– roughly 4 pieces of baby sweetcorn
– 50g Chinese cabbage
– 2 tbsp soy sauce

Glaze: 2 tbsp each neutral oil and soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil

To serve (optional): soy sauce, sliced chilli, Chin-Su or Sriracha sauce, sliced spring onions

baked-prawn-gyoza-20-30-14Method
1. Preheat the oven to 220 C.
2. Very finely chop the prawns, garlic, mushrooms, corn and cabbage. Mix together well with the soy sauce and some freshly ground white pepper.
3. Place a small tablespoon of the mixture in the centre of each gyoza skin. Wet the rim with a little water and fold them together. Try to seal the edges as much as possible.
4. Mix the glaze ingredients together and brush the sealed gyoza with the glaze.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the skins are turning crispy and the filling is fully cooked.
6. Serve with dipping sauce and more sliced spring onions

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Chorizo shakshuka eggs – the perfect brunch!

During the week, I have getting up and getting out down to a science. I want to maximise the time I get to spend in bed, so my morning routine is as quick as possible! However, I can’t function without breakfast. I get shaky and hangry if I don’t eat in the morning, which means I need a breakfast that is quick yet filling. Every morning, just before I leave the house I make a smoothie from frozen bananas, oats and milk (with a little cocoa in for good measure!) and drink it when I get to work. It’s time efficient and keeps me going until lunchtime. I use my amazing Kenwood 3-in-1 blender to make them, which even copes with frozen bananas. Awesome!

On the weekends though, I like something a bit different. A friend introduced me to shakshuka eggs at a brunch date a while ago, and this is my twist on the recipe. It isn’t traditional, but it is a super tasty one-pan dish made with inexpensive ingredients. It makes a delicious brunch and is easy if you have guests as you can just leave it to simmer.

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Ingredients (serves 3)
– one onion, finely chopped
– two carrots, peeled and diced
– 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
– 100g chorizo, diced
– roughly 6 button mushrooms, washed and sliced
– 1 teaspoon each paprika, ras-el-hanout and cumin seeds
– 400g tin of whole peeled tomotoes
– 1 tablespoon tomato puree
– 1 tablespoon brown sugar
– 6 eggs
– salt and black pepper

– bread to serve

Method
1. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and heat the onion and carrot for 2 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, then the chorizo, then the mushrooms. Stir each one in separately and cook over a medium heat until the vegetables are beginning to soften and the oil from the chorizo is coating everything nicely.

3. Add the spices and mix in. Enjoy the smell!
4. Pour in the whole tin of tomatoes and break them up with your wooden spoon (or I usually use a silicone spatula). Stir in the brown sugar and tomato puree.
5. Leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to the sauce to reduce, but if it gets too thick, add a little water to loosen it.
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6. Taste the sauce and season well.
7. Make a little hole in the sauce and crack an egg in. Repeat with the other eggs, spreading them evenly across the pan.
8. Either keep the pan on the hob or put it under a grill for roughly ten minutes until the egg whites are set. I like the yolks to still be runny – just cook to your preference.
9. Serve with plenty of bread to mop up the delicious sauce. You can garnish with coriander or parsley if you have some available.
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My top recipes of 2016

So, 2016 has been a good year for About The Taste. Thanks to everyone who has looked at my blog posts over the last year. Here are my most popular recipes from 2016. Enjoy!

Gnocchi, halloumi, rocket and roasted red pepper salad

Gnocchi and halloumi salad (2)

This is a colourful and tasty dish that cooks in one pan. Plus it only has five ingredients. What’s not to love?! Get the recipe here.

Easy tomato soup

Tomato soup (3)

This recipe is popular because people have been searching for ways to use up over-ripe tomatoes. That’s really encouraging! I love that these beautiful tomatoes aren’t being wasted, but are being put to good use in this easy soup recipe. Great news! Get the recipe here.

Chorizo carbonara

Chorizo courgetti carbonara (1)

Carbonara is such a favourite of mine. I have plenty of recipes for different variations, but this seems to be very popular. You can use the usual pasta in this, or you can use your Spiralizer to substitute in zucchini noodles to make it lighter. I prefer a combination. Get the recipe here.

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