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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Crispy chicken nachos with peri peri garlic sauce

peri-crispy-chicken-tacos-2There are so many things that I love about this recipe. It has very quickly become one of my favourite, and I’ve made it at least once a week for the past month. I don’t regularly repeat recipes, so this one is definitely special!

I love that the chicken is baked, not fried. I love the tangy, creamy dressing that totally lifts all of the other ingredients. I love the crisp lettuce. I love the soft taco cups that have a bit of a crunch but don’t cut your mouth to pieces. I could go on…!

I usually try to be quite generic with my ingredients and not recommend specific brands, but I’m naming one in this recipe. I use a Nando’s peri peri garlic sauce to make the dressing and I’d definitely recommend you do the same. Their sauce is awesome!

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Ingredients (makes 4 taco bowls)
– 200 grams chicken breast strips
– 60 grams breadcrumbs (you can use Panko for extra crunch, but normal breadcrumbs are perfectly fine)
– 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 1 tablespoon plain flour
– 4 flour tortillas
– half a head of lettuce, shredded (something with a crunch, like iceberg or romaine)

For the sauce:
– 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
– 3 tablespoons Nando’s Peri Peri Garlic sauce
– 2 teaspoons lime juice
– 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
2. Mix the breadcrumbs and paprika together, then season with salt and pepper. Whisk the egg and flour together well in a separate bowl.
3. Dip the chicken first in the egg, then coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined baking tray.
4. Repeat with the other pieces of chicken, then bake for 15-20 minutes until the coating is crisp and the chicken is cooked through.
5. While the chicken is in, push each of the tortillas into an individual bowl and bake at the same temperature until the tortillas hold the “bowl” shape. This usually takes about 12 minutes.
6. Mix together the sauce ingredients. Shred the lettuce.
7. Remove the chicken from the oven and slice each piece. Build the tacos by lining a bowl with shredded lettuce. Top with chicken pieces and then drizzle the sauce over the top. Yum!

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Enchilzone – an enchilada-calzone

enchilada-calzone-enchilzone-3There are a lot of cool ideas for food mash ups, but an enchilzone is my new favourite. I had the idea when we were travelling recently and ate at a restaurant that had Italian food and Mexican food on its menu. My brother and I were discussing combining the two. Fajita pizzas would be an obvious choice. Maybe burrito filling layered between tortillas like a lasagne. We had many ideas, but our winning one was definitely an enchilzone though!

It is a delicious enchilada filling, encased with a crunchy folded tortilla like a calzone pizza and baked with the enchilada sauce over the top. And plenty of cheese, of course! I used a chicken filling, but you could experiment with whatever you like in your enchiladas.

Ingredients (makes 4 enchilzones)
– 300g passata
– 2 teaspoons each of: ground cumin, oregano, brown sugar, ground coriander, paprika and chilli powder (optional)
– 1 medium sized onion, peeled
– 2 garlic cloves, peeled
– 2 peppers (your choice of colours – I use a green and a yellow)
– 2 chicken breasts
– 4 flour tortillas
– 150g grated cheese (such as cheddar or Monteray Jack)

To serve – sliced jalapeños and soured cream

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Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. Pour the passata into a small saucepan with half of each of the spices. Simmer over a low heat and leave to thicken. Stir occasionally.
2. Slice the onion, garlic, peppers and chicken. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir for five minutes, then add the pepper.
3. Stir in the other half of the cumin, oregano, sugar, coriander, paprika, and chilli powder to the chicken and vegetables. Coat thoroughly. Cook for about 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
4. Place a quarter of the chicken mixture in the centre of a tortilla and fold over. (You can use a dab of the tomato sauce as a glue if necessary.) Repeat three times.
5. Taste and season the sauce. Spoon over the folded tortillas in a line down the centre. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.
6. Bake for 15 minutes until the tortillas are crisp and the cheese is melted. Serve with sliced jalapeños and soured cream.

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Homemade lamb kebabs

Homemade lamb kebabs

Homemade lamb kebabs 2

It’s not often I eat the same meal two nights in a row. In fact, I enjoy experimenting and trying out recipes so much that I end up making new meals rather that repeating ones I enjoyed. Every so often I remember something I loved and wonder why I haven’t made it again recently… then I’m right back to experimenting.

This was an exception though – I was thrilled to make this again. Eating it two nights in a row was an absolute treat. These homemade kebabs are so delicious and quite quick to make, even with making your own flatbreads. It’s an assembly job, so I’m going to deal with each bit separately.

These instructions will make 4 kebabs – serves 2.

Flatbreads
This isn’t my recipe, it’s from BBC Good Food. They’re called quick flatbreads, and they are definitely speedy.
Take 200g plain flour and 1 quarter teaspoon of salt, and mix in 100ml of water. Add in 2 tablespoons of light oil and knead together for 5 minutes into a dough. You may need to add more flour or water to make a soft dough, but these proportions have worked well for me.
You can cook straight away or leave to rest for 30 minutes. Separate into four equal sized balls. Roll out each ball with a rolling pin on a floured surface. I’m not good at making them circular, but I’m going to pretend I was deliberately going for the rustic look.
To cook, heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook the flatbreads on both sides for 1-2 minutes each. Place on kitchen roll to absorb excess oil until ready to use.

Lamb kebabs (1)

Lamb
-250g very thinly sliced lamb (I use a cut called sukiyaki, which is basically shaved lamb)
– half a 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

1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until softened and turning translucent.
2. Add the lamb and spices to the pan, along with the Worchestershire sauce. Stir well and cook until the lamb is done to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.

Lamb kebabs (4)

Toppings
This is up to you, you can top your kebab with whatever you like. To me, pickles and garlic sauce were non-negotiable, but go with what your tastebuds tell you.

I always have roasted garlic in my freezer, so I could make a roasted garlic mayonnaise in seconds. I took four cloves out of the freezer bag and when they had softened slightly, I mashed them with four tablespoons of mayonnaise and a little salt. That’s it!

I had pickled some cucumbers recently, using this advice from Feasting At Home. They are awesome and so they went on top, along with a sprinkling of parsley.

Lamb kebabs (5)

To assemble, take a warm flatbread, spoon on some of the lamb, then top with pickles and the garlic mayo. Sprinkle over some chopped parsley, wrap up and enjoy.

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