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89. Spanish Style Sausage

I was in two minds whether to blog about these or not. It was very hard to get a photo that didn’t look like…. Well…. Use your imagination.

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Tastes more appetising than it looks….

However, these sausages taste a lot better than they look! And the skin makes them extra fun to make.

And, they contain both tempeh and seitan! That makes them vegan level 8 – right?!

Spanish Style Sausage recipe

Ingredients:

Dry-

2 x tsp onion granules
2 x tsp garlic granules
1 x tsp sage
1 x tsp thyme
3 x tsp smoked paprika
1 x tsp salt
1 x tsp cumin
1 x cup wheat gluten

Wet-

½ x tbsp. soya lecithin (optional but improves the texture)
½ x tbsp. olive oil
3 x tbsp. port
1 x jar tempeh (230 g)

 
Skin –

2 x rice paper sheets
1 ½ x tbsp. liquid aminos (or soya sauce)
1 x tsp smoked paprika
½ x tbsp. olive oil
2 x tbsp. boiling water

Method:

  • Put the dry ingredients in a food processor and give them a good mix.
  • Add the wet ingredients and whizz until a dough starts to form.
  • Take the dough out of the food processor and give it a good knead for 8 mins.
  • Roll out into 2 x sausage shaped and wrap up each one in Clingfilm.
  • Pop into a steamer and cook on a medium heat for 45 mins.
  • Take out of the steamer and allow to cool before removing the Clingfilm.
  • Make a marinade for the skin by mixing all of the ingredients apart from the rice paper.
  • One at a time, soak the rice paper sheets in the marinade until beginning to soften.
  • Roll up each sausage in one rice paper sheet.
  • Heat up a frying pan with a little oil and add the sausages. Fry on each side until browned.

I sliced up each sausage and added to a spicy tomato sauce to make a tasty Patatas Bravas <3

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Topped off with homemade vegan cheese <3

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88. Popcorn Tofu

20160324_200515Tofu is an excellent source of amino acids, calcium, iron and loads of other good stuff. But who gives a crap, sometimes you just want something deep fried and delicious. Popcorn tofu – all of the taste, none of the campylobacter!

There are various tofu popcorn recipes knocking around, but I didn’t peek! This recipe is all  my own – although I guess the concept is pretty basic 🙂

This recipe comes as three parts: the tofu, the “egg” wash and the coating. It looks like a lot of ingredients but its well worth it. The result is lovely, slightly tongue tingling pieces of tofu which are soft in the middle but wonderfully crunchy on the outside.

Ingredients:

• 250g Tofu – firm, not the silken variety.

“Egg” wash:
● 1/3 x cup non-dairy milk (40ml)
● 1/3 x cup Aqua faba (40ml)
● 1 x tbsp. cornstarch

Coating:
• 1 x cup plain white flour (125g)
• 2 x tsp ground black pepper
• 1 x tsp ground coriander
• ½ x tsp ground ginger
• 1 x tsp salt
• ½ x tsp smoked paprika
• ½ x tsp ground cumin
• ½ x tsp garlic powder
• ¼ x tsp tumeric
• ¼ x tsp ground nutmeg
• 1/8 x tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you’re a hot head!)
• 1 x tsp dried sage
• 1 x tsp dried parsley
• 2 x cloves (ground)

Method:

1. Drain and press the tofu in advance. Once prepared, cut into 1inch cubes. (Tip: For an even more authentic texture, freeze and defrost first. Shaking a few drops of liquid smoke over the cubes adds even more taste.)
2. Whisk up the aqua faba, dairy-free milk and cornstarch until white and fluffy. Pour into a bowl along with the tofu cubes and refrigerate for 30minutes.
3. In the meantime, create the coating by mixing together the flour, herbs and spices.
4. Roll each cube of tofu in the flour mixture until coated and set aside for a few minutes. You will see the coating turn a yellowish colour as the tumeric soaks up the moisture.
5. Add all of the coated tofu cubes into the remaining flour mixture and give them a gentle toss to make sure that they are fully coated. The coating might look a little lumpy but this is good as it gives a nice authentic texture when fried.
6. Deep fry at 190oC for 3 – 4 minutes. The tofu will float when cooked and should be a nice golden colour.
7. Drain on some kitchen roll before enjoying!

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Tip: It is best not to overcrowd the fryer. So unless you have a very large fryer I would recommend cooking in two batches. You can keep the first batch hot and crispy by spreading out across a baking try and putting in a warm oven.

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86. Creme Cheeze

Creamy smooth, mildly cheezy with a slightly acidic twang – Creme Cheeze is super versatile! Spread it on a bagel, stir it into hot pasta or pipe it into a cherry pepper. Just make sure you make it in advance as it will need to firm up in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients:

  • 75 g of vegetable shortening
  • ½ x block firm silken tofu (drained and cut into smaller pieces)
  • 2 x tbsp. non-dairy yoghurt
  • 1 x tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 x tsp salt
  • 1 x tbsp. nutritional yeast

Method:

  1. On a low heat, completely melt the vegetable shortening in a small saucepan (but don’t allow to get too hot).
  2. Take the pan off the hob and carefully add the tofu and mash into the shortening with a fork. It will sizzle but this is fine – the heat will help to take away some of the beany taste.
  3. Add the other ingredients and stir together.
  4. Whizz together using a hand blender until smooth.
  5. Pour into a container, cover and chill overnight.

 

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85. “Bacon” crumbles

This isn’t the most healthy recipe that I’ve ever come up with, but at least none of the ingredients have been classified as carcinogenic like real bacon!

I never liked real bacon anyway, the amount of fat that comes off it is grotesque. If you don’t pour bacon fat down the sink for fear of the drains getting blocked, I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be adding it to your body. After all, your arteries are much thinner than the kitchen plumbing!

These delightful little crumbles make a great topping for soups and salads, or can be added to a dairy-free carbonara sauce to add a salty, crunchy hit.

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Ingredients (Makes 1 ½ cups):

  • 1 x heaped cup wheat gluten (equal to 160g)
  • 1 x tsp garlic powder
  • 3 x tsp smoked paprika (split into 2 & 1 tsps)
  • 2 ½ x tsp salt (split into 2 & ½ x tsp)
  • 3 x tbsp. vegetable oil (split into 2 & 1 tbsp.)
  • ½ x tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 x tbsp. Maple syrup
  • 1/3 x cups water (equal to 175 ml)

Method:

  1. Add the wheat gluten, garlic powder, 2 tsp paprika and 2 tsp salt to a food processor and whiz until blended.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, soy sauce, maple syrup and water and blend until “crumbles” form. If the crumbles look too floury then add another tablespoon of water. However you don’t want big chunks as these won’t crisp up as well.ps.2 20160322_183736_resized
  3. Add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil to a non-stick frying pan and heat over a medium flame.
  4. Add the raw crumbles and fry until browned and slightly blackened in places. Be sure to continually stir to prevent the crumbles from burning. This will take 15 – 20 mins.
  5. During the last few minutes, add the remaining 1 tsp paprika and ½ tsp salt and stir well to make sure the crumbles are evenly coated.
  6. They will firm up and become more crunchy once cooled. If adding to a sauce, add last to make sure they don’t go too soft.

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84. Flash’s soft white baps!

Buns, baps or barms?

Buns, baps or barms?

If you want to cause an argument in the UK, ask a group of people what they would call this particular bread product. Is it a roll, bun, cob, stottie, batch or a barm? In this case I’ve chosen to call it a bap, purely for the innuendo.

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Sooo super soft!

This is such a great easy recipe, the hardest part if having the time to let the dough prove. But its well worth making space in your busy schedule for these as they are delicious and don’t contain any of the nasty preservatives found in shop bought bread.

Ingredients (makes 8):

  • 1 x 7g sachet of active dry yeast
  • 150 ml warm water
  • 150 ml room temperature soya milk (or any dairy alternative)
  • 1 x tbsp sugar
  • 1 x tsp salt (plus extra for the glaze)
  • 2 x tbsp. olive oil
  • 300 g strong white bread flour
  • 200 g plain white flour
  • a little oil for greasing the baking tray and glazing the buns (I like to use a low cal spray)

Method:

  1. In a jug, mix the water, soya milk, salt and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and put in a warm place for 10 minutes or until the yeast blooms.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the bread flour and plain flour and mix to combine. Create a well in the centre.
  3. Gently stir the olive oil into the yeast mixture before pouring into the well of the flour. Using a wooden spoon, mix until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Using your hand, knead the mixture until a dough is formed.
  5. Transfer onto a clean work surface and knead for 5 minutes. You shouldn’t need to add any extra flour.
  6. Roll the dough into a ball and put back into the mixing bowl. Cover with cling-film and leave in a warm place for at least 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180oC.
  8. Deflate the dough and knead for another 5 minutes. Roll into a log shape and divide into 8 equal pieces.
  9. Knead and shape each piece into a ball before flattening into a disc of about 1inch high.
  10. Grease a baking tray and lay out the baps on top. Don’t place too close together as they are going to roughly double again in size.
  11. Glaze the top of each bap with a little oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  12. Move to a warm place for at least 30 minutes or until the baps have doubled in size.
  13. Place into the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. They should only just be turning a light golden brown but will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  14. Whilst the buns are baking, line a plate or a tray with some kitchen roll.
  15. When ready, remove the baps from the oven and immediately place on the kitchen roll before wrapping in Cling-Film. It is normal for the Cling-Film to steam up – this will make sure that the baps are soft whilst the kitchen roll will prevent them from becoming soggy. 

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    The Cling-Film ensures that the baps stay soft once cooled.

  16. Allow to cool and then eat! They are especially good served with soup.Baps PS5

Best used up within 1 -2 days of baking.

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82. Festive Vegan Pâté

Ps4 Pate

I’m really pleased with this recipe! I think that if I was served it in a restaurant, I would be worried that they were conning me into eating creamed corpse!

It tastes exactly how I remember smooth pâté to taste and feel in the mouth, but with a festive hit of cranberry, herbs and mixed spices. And the red onion and red kidney beans help it to look like the real thing too.

Plus, if you have a food processor, it’s relatively easy to make :o)

Festive pâté recipe (makes 3 ramekins’ worth / 6 generous portions):
Ingredients:

½ x small red onion (chopped)
1 x clove garlic (minced)
1 x tin red kidney beans (reserve the brine!)
1 x tbsp. tomato puree
1 z tsp sage
2 x tsp thyme
1 x tsp mixed spice
1 x tsp salt
2 x tbsp. dried cranberries (split into 2 equal portions)
1.5 x tbsp. soya cream
3 x tbsp. dairy free butter / marge (split into 3 equal portions)
2 x tbsp. vegetable shortening (I used Trex)

Method:

1) Drain the kidney beans but reserve the liquid.

2) Fry the onion and garlic in 1 tbsp of the butter until the onion is beginning to turn translucent

3) Add the kidney beans and herbs and fry for 2 minutes longer.

4) Put the contents of the frying pan into a food processor and add the tomato puree, sage, thyme, mixed spice, salt, soya cream and ½ the cranberries. Whizz up until smooth. Leave alone until stage 7.

5) Gently melt 1 tbsp of the butter and all of the shortening (in a microwave or over the stove).

6) Whisk up the brine from the tin of kidney beans until pale and fluffy-looking. Carefully fold in the melted butter and shortening.

7) Start up the food processor again on a slow setting. Slowly pour the butter-brine-shortening mix into the pâté. Whizz until completely mixed.

8) Spoon into ramekins (or any nice looking small dish). Smooth down the tops and put in the fridge for 10 minutes or so.

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9) When the pâtés are chilled melt the remaining butter and pour a thin but solid layer over the tops of each. Chill until the butter has completely solidified and turned opaque. You can use more butter if needed.

It was really late at night when I made these - so for the photo, the butter hadn't properly set. It was past my bedtime!

It was really late at night when I made these – so for the photo, the butter hadn’t properly set. It was past my bedtime!

10) I saved a few cranberries to decorate mine, but this is completely optional!

Enjoy on toast or crackers.

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80. Homemade spaghetti hoops

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I’ve not blogged in ages! Been so super busy… 2 weeks in Zanzibar (saw the birth place of Freddie Mercury, yay!!! ♥) a week in Rotterdam, then rat-sitting my friends’ 16 rescue rats.

So busy in a good way ☺ and I’ve had some really good vegan friendly food whilst I’ve been at it! #noexcuses.

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Ratties!

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Food and drink consumed in Rotterdam

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What Zanzibarbarians eat!

Anyway, sometimes when you’re super busy, you just want to grab something quick and easy for tea. Maybe something from out of the freezer or from a tin.  I often fall back on the English classic of “Something, chips and beans” as I call it. Or sometimes, to introduce a bit of variety, we’ll have “something, chips and spaghetti hoops”. The “something” could be veggie sausages, a tasty pre-made pie or maybe some breaded “chickn nuggets”.

I’ll admit that I’m rather fond of tinned spaghetti hoops. I prefer generic own-brand to the market leader stuff (rhymes with “shmienz”), I think because they tend to be a little less sweet. But you have to be careful because some brands – like ASDA – are not vegan friendly and others are full of scary sounding ingredients.

However, as with most things, if you make them yourself at home you can monitor exactly what goes into them. So although I won’t pretend that this is the healthiest recipe in the world ever, I think it’s fair to say that my homemade spaghetti hoops are much better for you that the shop-bought stuff!

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Obviously this recipe takes much longer than the time it takes to open a tin, but you can make up a batch in advance and keep it in the fridge. It might even freeze well too… but I have never had enough leftovers for long enough to try.

Please note that I have intentionally made this recipe so that it tastes authentic and like the stuff from a tin. If that’s not your thing then you could use more tomatoes, and fresh garlic and onion… but to be honest if you’re going to do that then you might be better off just making pasta and marinara sauce!

Homemade spaghetti hoops recipe (makes about 2 tins worth):

Ingredients:

200g / 1.5 cups dried pasta hoops  (I found mine at the International Supermarket in Liverpool)
570g / 3 cups fresh tomatoes*  (diced)
1 x veg stock cube (make sure its sfv!)
3 x cups water
1 x tsp salt
2 x tsp sugar
½ x tsp garlic powder
½ x tsp onion granules
½ x tsp paprika (I used smoked as it was all I had – it worked!)
1 x tsp nutritional yeast (optional but inspired by the cheese powder included in some brands)
3 x tsp cornflour dissolved in 2 tbsp cold water

*make sure you use nice, fresh, tasty tomatoes! If you end up using watery-rubbish ones, you may find you need to add a tablespoon of tomato puree to the sauce to make up for it.

Method:
Cook the pasta hoops according to the instructions on the packet. For authenticity you may want to slightly overcook the pasta to make it go extra soft (don’t do this if you plan on re-heating).

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In a medium-sized pan, add the diced tomatoes, stock cube and water. Put over the hob and bring to the boil before reducing to a simmer for 15 – 20 minutes (or until the volume has reduced by about half).

Add the salt, sugar, garlic powder, onion granules and paprika. Stir well and leave simmering for a further 5 minutes.

Take off the heat and stir in the nutritional yeast before blending until smooth with a hand blender (you can use a food blender if you prefer). Take care not to spray hot sauce over yourself!

Whisk in the cornflour-water mixture and put back on the heat whilst continually whisking. Heat until the sauce is thick and opaque.

Stir in the cooked pasta and heat until piping hot.

I served mine with some purple veg casserole and a freshly baked bread roll (which just so happened to have a melting Violife “cheese” centre).

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Hellz yes!

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79. The Vegan Venue – Warrington

I live in Warrington, a town in the North West of England, almost halfway between Liverpool and Manchester. Warrington is famous for its Rugby team (the Warrington Wolves), steel wire and the famous song “Zombie” which was written (and performed) by the Cranberries, about the IRA bombing of Warrington in 1993.

Warrington however is not exactly on the map for being a vegan hotspot! But perhaps times are beginning to change… hooray!

I was so sad that I nearly cried when our first and only vegan restaurant, “Shambala” closed down. But today I nearly cried because I was so happy after visiting Warrington’s newest vegan joint, “The Vegan Venue”!

Rumours of this new takeaway / shop crept onto my Facebook page late last week and it didn’t take me long to discover that its ONLY 2 FREAKING MILES AWAY FROM MY HOUSE!!!! I cycle further than that to work! So today being Saturday, there was no way that I wasn’t going to pay a visit.

Placed in Padgate, The Vegan Venue is fairly easy to get to and has a sizable carpark across the road. First impressions when you enter the building is that it’s CLEAN! Now I’m not saying that all vegan eateries are dirty (V-Revolution in Manchester for example is spotless). BUT, I’m sorry to say that are lot are grim. Not that mucky cutlery and sticky menus puts me off tasty cruelty free food….

Anyway, I wasn’t expecting much from such a new business (they’ve not even been open a week yet) but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had a pretty impressive menu! (I’ve posted a photo of it below). They sell everything from fresh juice to “bacon” bagels to calzone to burgers, pies and wraps. They also have a daily specials board and a cabinet with the most gorgeous looking vegan cakes you have ever seen!

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So what did I go for? I chose the daily special – a huge, great, massive, big-as-my-head burrito (and my head is pretty big!) It was filled to the brim with rice, marinated “beef” strips, lettuce, tomato, courgette, black beans and freshly homemade guacamole.  It was deeeeeelicous!

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It’s huuuuuge!

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Serious, even my massive mouth couldn’t get around it!

I also bought a piece of orange and pistachio cake. OMG! Yet again it was huuuuuuuuge! And so amazingly, mouth-wateringly yummy.

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Drooling just looking at this photo! (Orange and pistachio cake)

AND I picked up a pack of ten acres crisps and a very nice vanilla Nespresso latte (would deffo recommend!)

One of the very best parts about the shop however was how lovely and kind the owners are :o)
(Not to mention how reasonable the prices are!)

I really hope all the vegans and veggies of Warrington and its surrounding areas make a special effort to make sure that this place does well. Would be great to see them be able to extend their opening hours and get permission to transform from a takeaway to a sit-down café!

So, massive thanks to The Vegan Venue! You made my Saturday :o)

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78. Ikea-style meatless meatballs with creamless cream sauce

I’m really glad that Ikea have started to do vegan friendly meatballs. However I am also disappointed for two reasons: one, the fact that they didn’t manage to produce a vegan friendly sauce to go with them; and two, I was kind of expecting something more…meaty! I guess I should have guessed that a “veggieball” would contain veg, but the optimistic part of me was hoping for something a little more exciting.

I know that many vegans won’t agree with me, since people seem to be divided into those who are repulsed by mock meats and those who love them. But for those of you who fall into the latter category, here is my* recipe for Ikea-style meatless meatballs and creamless cream sauce!
(*I used the non-vegan, original Ikea recipe for guidance).

Ikea style meatless meatballs (Makes 14 – 16)
Ingredients:

1 x jar tempeh (230g)
2 x flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tbsp. ground flaxseeds mixed with 3 tbsp. water, leave for 10 mins before use).
60 x ml non-dairy milk
1 x tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 x cup breadcrumbs (shop-bought work best)
½ x tsp white pepper
½ x tsp allspice
1 x tsp liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1 x tsp vegan friendly Worcestershire sauce
1 x tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
1 x tsp browning (optional)
½  x cup gram flour
Enough oil to grease a baking tray.

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 180oC.
In a large bowl, crumble up the tempeh with your hands before rubbing in the allspice and pepper.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dairy-free milk, flax eggs, onion, liquid aminos, Worcestershire sauce, and if using, the nutritional yeast and browning.
Stir in the breadcrumbs – a mouldable dough should form. Finish combining with your hands.
Pull off bits of the dough and roll into ½ inch sized balls using the palms of your hands.
Put the gram flour on a plate and roll each meatball around in it until coated.
Lay the meatballs on a well-greased tray before shuggling to lightly coat each in the oil.
Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes (or until browned and tasty looking).

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Creamless- cream sauce
Ingredients:

150 x ml soya cream
250 x ml vegetable stock (or vegan beef-style stock if you have it)
1 x tsp soy sauce
1 x tsp vegan friendly Worcestershire sauce
1 x tbsp. plain white flour
¼ x tsp white pepper
¼ x tsp salt
2 x tsp vegan friendly beef gravy (I used original Bisto – the one in the red tub).

Method:
Add the stock to a pan and whisk in the flour. Heat up the stock and whisk in the soya sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and salt.
Once bubbling, stir in the gravy granules until dissolved.
Once the sauce has thickened to the desired consistency, reduce the heat and stir in the soya cream.
Continue to heat (without boiling) until the beany taste of the soya cream is gone.
Serve over the meatballs.

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I can’t resist eating mine with oven-baked chips and a good dollop of lingonberry sauce. Although I did promise a Facebook acquaintance that I’d mention that the proper way to eat Ikea style meatless meat balls is with boiled potatoes!

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77. Fish friendly “tuna mayo”

I love jackfruit, it’s so versatile! I love using it to make pulled pork and crabless cakes. But it wasn’t until recently that I noticed how much it looks like tuna! So I started inventing and came up with the following “tuna mayo” recipe.

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Jackfruit!

My family come from Grimsby, so fish was very important to my Grandparents (probably why my living Grandad finds it so hard to believe that I’m vegan.). My dear departed Nan used to crack me up – she would refer to tuna as “poor man’s salmon”. Even after she had a stroke and suffered from bad memory loss, she still remembered how much she hated tuna!!! Still, I think she might have approved of this recipe as the jackfruit has a much less dry texture, not to mention no mercury or parasites! (Check out this funky little dude!)

Perfect for sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes (I really must write up my jacket potato recipe at some point – I really do make a great jacket spud!)

Furthermore, it’s a really easy recipe once you have all the ingredients:

“Tuna mayo” recipe
Ingredients:

1 x tin of green jackfruit in brine*  (280g)
1 x nori sheet (finely shredded)
2 x tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 x cup chopped capers
¼ x cup vegan friendly mayo
½ x tsp salt (sea salt is best)
1 x tsp tamari (soy) sauce

*Make sure you use the green jackfruit in brine and not the ripe stuff in syrup. Otherwise, don’t come crying to me when your tuna mayo tastes like a fruit salad!

Method:

Drain the jackfruit and mash-shred-massage into tuna-esque flakes using two forks or your fingers.

Some jackfruit recipes I have seen discard the core but it will break up so no point in wasting it! (although I tend to pick out the seeds and eat them as I go…)

Put the jackfruit in a bowl and add the nori, vinegar, capers, mayo, salt and tamari.  Mix well.

Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least an hour before serving – I find that the vinegar/briny taste develops over time.

It's looking like tuna already!

It’s looking like tuna already!

*Variation* – I quite like using a mixture of 2 parts mayo to 1 part salad cream for a lovely tangy taste, but as vegan salad cream can be a bit trickier to come by, I usually just use the mayo.

Tuna ps1

 

Easy peasey squeezy lemons!

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