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76. Beanz meanz cheeze!

We’ve  all seen the cashew nut cheeze sauce craze. We’ve all endured the potato-carrot cheeze sauce trend.
…And now I think it’s time to pay some attention to cheeze sauce made from beans!

I won’t pretend that vegan cheeze sauce made from white beans is an original idea (a quick Google search will tell you that) but this recipe is entirely my own making and I enjoyed it so much that I had to share.

I have used this sauce to make mac’n’cheeze, nachos and burritos – and it worked perfectly in each case. The beans give a lovely creamy texture and the best part is that its quicker to make than the cashew and potato-carrot versions as it requires no soaking or pre-boiling of veggies. So great to make after a long day!

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Mac’n’cheeze with Beanz meanz cheeze sauce, button mushrooms and loads of black pepper ♥

Beanz meanz cheeze sauce
(Makes around 2 portions for mac’n’cheeze or 4 portions for nachos / burritios).

Ingredients:

½ x cup drained, tinned white beans (I used cannellini)
½ x cup firm silken tofu
1 x tsp tomato paste
1 x tsp apple cider vinegar
2 x tsp white miso paste
½ x cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼ x tsp turmeric
1 x tsp onion granules
½ x tsp garlic powder
1 x cup dairy-free milk (I used soya since the recipe uses tofu anyway)

Edited to add: Optional – 2 x tsp tapioca starch to thicken and give a little bit of a stretch to the sauce.

 Method

  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender / liquidizer until completely smooth. (If too thick add a little more liquid).
  2. Transfer into a small saucepan and heat over a medium flame whilst stirring continuously.
  3. Once piping hot, use as required!

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This sauce will keep well in the fridge for several days and can be heated up in the microwave or on the stove.

Creamy, cheesy and satisfying!

And just what I needed to warm up after playing with the chickens in the rain (^_^)

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Liz and Anne play with their Chube 

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75. Tomato and mascarpone, gnocchi bake

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Its Fathers’ day inthe UK tomorrow :o) I’m really looking forward to seeing my parents and treating them to a nice meal out. And I’ve got all my ingredients ready to make a yummy vegan chocolate cake to have with a cuppa beforehand.

The only downside is that I’ve spent all of today cleaning the house and trying to make it presentable! Nevertheless, I had promised myself that I would write up a post tonight. So despite my tired eyes and achy-sore fingers, here is my recipe for a tomato and mascarpone, gnocchi bake.

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Tomato and mascarpone, gnocchi bake (4 servings).
Ingredients:

1 x cup fresh cherry-plum tomatoes (halved)
1 x medium onion (chunkily diced)
2 x garlic cloves (minced)
2 x handfuls fresh spinach (torn)
349g of silken tofu (i.e. one pack)
500g gnocchi (double check its egg and dairy free!)
1 x cup dairy free cheese (grated)
2 x tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional but highly recommended!)
1 x tin chopped tomatoes
1 x cup veg stock
3 tsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste.

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 160oC

Arrange the tomatoes and onion on a baking tray and drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Add a few grinds of black pepper before roasting for 20mins.

In the meantime, fry the garlic in 1 teaspoon of olive oil until it starts to brown (5 mins). Add the tinned tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper and simmer until the liquid has reduced by 2/3rds (around 30 minutes). Take off the heat and use an emersion blender to whizz in the nutritional yeast and tofu. Blend until smooth then heat until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Fry the gnocchi in 1 tsp of olive oil until browned (5-10 mins). This really adds depth to the flavour of the dish.

Put the gnocchi, cherry tomatoes and onion into an oven-proof dish along with the spinach.

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Stir in the sauce, then top with the breadcrumbs.

Increase the oven temperature to 180 oC and bake for 20 – 30 minutes (until piping hot throughout – the breadcrumbs should go golden brown).

Top with the dairy free cheese (sorry to obsess but I really recommend this smoked coconut gouda!) and pop under the grill until the cheese is melty.

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Dish up and enjoy a nice warming, tasty and satisfying dinner!

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74. Mexican Marrows

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I have never liked marrow. But then again, before I went vegan I also didn’t like courgette, aubergine, cauliflower or mushy peas! So when we saw one in the shops the other day, my husband suggested that I give it another try.

The last time I had eaten marrow, my mum had stuffed it with sausage meat – bleurgh! However for mine, I had recently come across this recipe for lentil and brown rice chili and I really wanted to give it a go, so I decided to make them “Mexican” style.

I’ve also discovered a fantastic recipe for a smoked coconut gouda. This “cheese” is made from a can of coconut milk – not that you can tell! It’s refreshingly easy to make, meltable, grateable and super tasty. So of course I had to top my Mexican marrows with a handful.

I can safely say that I like marrow now! Unfortunately hubby only liked the chilli and cheese… argh! It’s so hard getting vegetables into him, even when it was his idea…

Mexican Marrows (makes 2 portions)
Ingredients:

1 x medium sized marrow.

Filling:
This lentil and brown rice chili recipe (I used half the quantity that the recipe makes. NOTE: the recipe lists 2 x tablespoons of chili powder… I thought this sounded a lot so only used 2 x teaspoons, and it was still on the spicy side!)

Topping:
1.5 x cups of grated smoked coconut gouda.

Optional: 1 x cup guacamole.

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 160oC.

Cut the marrow in half length-ways and using a spoon, scoop out the middles (you can save this for another recipe. I fed mine to the chickens!)

Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and add the marrow halves. Cover and leave for at least 10mins or until ready to use.

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Remove the marrow from the pan and dab dry with some kitchen roll. Add the chili to the hollowed out area and use the back of a spoon to level off.

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Caaaaareeeefully, put the two halves of the marrow together again and wrap tightly in foil.

Put onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 40minutes.

Take the marrow out of the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Unwrap and slice off the ends. Cut the rest into into 6 equal rings.

Turn on the grill.

Transfer the rings onto a baking tray and top with the grated cheese.  Pop under the grill for 5 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is melty and browning.

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Remove from the grill and if using, top with guacamole.

I served mine on a bed of grated veggies in an apple cider vinaigrette.

Yum!

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73. Carrot-hot dog casserole

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Facebook tends to go through phases of vegan crazes. Chickpea meringue, Betty Crocker & pop cake, potato-carrot cheese sauce and of course the good old “carrot hot dog”.

My feed is currently filled with pictures of buns containing what looks like an orange bratwurst. I’ve been dying to have a go myself, but since I wasn’t in a bread kind of mood, I decided to make a hot dog casserole  – something I loved before I went veggie.

I followed this recipe by Clean Eating Veggie Girl to make my hot dogs. It was very easy to follow, you just need to remember to make well in advance. I was a bit dubious about the end result but I was amazed at just how hot-doggy this humble root vegetable could be!

This dish is an easy way to eat the rainbow and is packed full of vitamins, fibre and protein ♥

Eat the rainbow!

Eat the rainbow!

 

Carrot-hotdog casserole
Ingredients.

4 x carrot hot dogs (chopped – see above link for recipe)
200g back beans (cooked)
1 x onion (diced)
½ x orange pepper (diced)
2 x medium potatoes (skins on, chopped into chunks)
1 x clove garlic (minced)
1 x courgette (chopped into chunks)
1 x cup aubergine (diced)
1 x cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 ½ x cups spring greens (sliced up)
500g x passata (i.e. 1 carton)
1 x cup water
2 x tsp dried thyme
2 x tsp sfv veg bouillon
2 x tsp smoked paprika
Salt and black pepper to taste.
Optional – coriander leaf to garnish.

Method:

Grease a baking tray (I used Frylight spray) and add the tomatoes and aubergine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before roasting in the oven at 180oC for 10 – 15 mins.

In a pan, add the passata, water, bouillon, thyme, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over a gentle heat.

In the meantime, fry the onions until translucent (about 3 mins).
Add the potato and fry for a further 5 –  10 mins (until the edges of the potatoes start to brown).
Add the pepper and garlic and fry for a further 5 mins.

Add the fried and roasted ingredients to the passata along with the spring greens and pearl barley.
Stir well and cook over a medium heat until the potato and pearl barley are tender.

Stir in the beans, courgette and chopped carrot-hot dogs and continue to heat until the carrots are piping hot all the way through (although don’t allow to go mushy).

I served on a small bed of rice with a not-so-small glass of prosecco on the side.

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Good old M&S Prosecco

And as with most tomato based dishes, this one gets even better when left for a day and re-heated!

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72. Paprika rubbed ribz

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Here’s a yummy recipe for all you seitan worshipers out there!
Sweet and tangy, juicy and tender. Paprika rubbed ribz… the McRib can McF*ck off! 😉

Paprika rubbed ribz
Ingredients (makes around 8 ribz)

Seitan:
3 x cups of veg stock
3 x tsp liquid aminos / soy sauce
4 x garlic cloves (minced)
3 x tbsp. veg oil
3 ½  x cups vital wheat gluten
½ x cups nutritional yeast
3 x tsp smoked paprika
2 x tsp black pepper
2 x tsp ground cumin
½ x onion (sliced)Paprika rub:
4 x tbsp. brown sugar
2 x tbsp. paprika
1 x tsp salt
2 x tsp black pepper
½ x tsp chilli powder
1 x tsp garlic powder
1 x tsp onion granules

Method:

Seitan:
Whisk together the veg stock, liquid aminos, veg oil, onion and garlic.
Fold in the flour, yeast, paprika, pepper and cumin until a dough is formed.
Knead for 10 minutes or longer – the dough should become tough and springy.
Cut into 8 equal parts.
Roll out each bit and use the handle of a spoon/fork/knife to press out the shape of individual ribs. Be creative!
Wrap each rack loosely in foil and put into a steamer. Steam for 45 mins – 1 hr.

In the meantime prepare the rub:
In a bowl, thoroughly mix the sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, chilli powder, garlic powder and onion granules. Simple!

Take the ribs out of the steamer and allow to cool until warm but handle-able. Rub in the rub onto both sides. The heat from the ribs should cause the sugar to dissolve slightly, making the rub stick to the surface.
BBQ for 5 minutes on each side, or grill for 3 minutes on each side. Enjoy on their own or on a roll with some salad and BBQ sauce.

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And of course, it wouldn’t be honest of me to have an “experimental” cookery blog if I didn’t share my disasters with you. I originally intended these ribs to look like ribs, using lolly sticks as bones (reminiscent of my spare rib recipe). However it had been a while since I last cooked seitan and I forgot how much it puffs up…. Dinosaur ribs anyone?!

:-p

Before...

Before…

...and after!

…and after!

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71. Cheezy biscuits

I’ve had such a lovely weekend 🙂

On Friday I went to The Ship at Lathom’s 4th Annual Beer and Pie Festival with the Hubby, my Bestie and her Fella. Unfortunately I was unable to find a vegan friendly beer there (I emailed most of the breweries who were taking part who all confirmed that isinglass was used in the fining process) however all the ciders were safe and there were not one, but TWO vegan pies!!! And I made the discovery of the decade… I like mushy peas! I’ve hated them since childhood but something told me to give them another chance, and I’m so glad that I did.

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Spicy bean and mushroom pie, topped off with mushy peas and washed down with a “Strawberry Fields” cider.

We stayed over at the Bestie’s house so on Saturday (after a lovely breakfast of croissants, crumpets and cinnamon rolls) we trotted off to Southport to do some shopping followed by a fabulous tea at a Turkish restaurant called Havin. We had hummus and Patlican Tarator (sans yoghurt) with bread for starter followed with the Sebze Guvec (sans feta). The day was completed with a nice walk up the pier and a scout around the arcades.

I’ve had a mostly lazy day today, although I have been experimenting in the kitchen. I made bread rolls and seitan but today I am sharing my cheezy biscuits recipe!

Cheezy biscuits

Ingredients:

1 x cup all-purpose white flour
¼ x cup vegan marg
¼ x cup water
½ x tbsp. miso paste
¼ x cup nutritional yeast
½ x tsp garlic powder

Method:

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix until a smooth dough is formed.

Roll out onto a lightly floured surface and cut out the crackers using a knife or pizza cutter.

Place each cracker onto a greased baking tray and prick with a fork.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes at 180oC (until golden brown and slightly puffy).

Carefully transfer onto a wire rack and allow to cool.

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I intend on taking mine to work and eating with Toffuti cream cheese and a little mango chutney.

Hope you had a great weekend too!

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68. Pesto pizza dough

Aww I had the pleasure of bunny-sitting the bestie’s rabbits last week. They went home on Sunday and the house seems so quiet and empty without them stamping and kicking over their hay rack, haha!

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Gentle Sir meets Kate

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Bad Lad and his tube o’cabbage

 

Since they were being dropped off in the evening I promised bestie and her fella some noms. I was trying to think of a meal which would cover all tastes (her fella is scared of fruit, hubby is scared of greens and bestie likes everything covered in hot sauce!) when it came to me… pizza party!

So I gave everyone a pizza base each and plonked a variety of toppings on the table: homemade sauce –one spicy, one mild and herby – capers, olives, pineapple, faux chorizo, faux chicken, homemade pepperoni chunks, sweetcorn, onion, vegan cheese and I even used a pastry cutter to cut some Violife mozzarella slices into authentic circles. Then we swapped gossip whilst sipping wine and building our own individual masterpieces, which went into the oven whilst we scoffed some starters.

2015-01-27 18.55.43 ps3Since it was quite an easy tea to prepare, I felt I couldn’t cheat on the pizza bases so I made my own dough. I added pesto to make things a bit more exciting and I was pleased with the results – it gave the dough a subtle depth of flavor without hijacking the taste.

Pesto pizza dough

Ingredients (makes 2 x 10” bases):

2/3 x cup warm water (if it burns, it’s too hot!)1 x tbsp. soft brown sugar

1 x tsp salt

1 x sachet of dry active yeast (7g)

1 x cup plain wholemeal flour*

1 x cup plain white flour*

1 x tbsp. olive oil

2 x tbsp. pesto (make sure its Parmesan / dairy free)

Extra flour for rolling out.

*you can use any ratio of the wholemeal and white flour if you want.

 

 

Method:

Dissolve the sugar and salt in the warm water.

Sprinkle the yeast over the top and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, olive oil, pesto and yeasty-water mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until dough starts to form.

Finish forming the dough with your hand and knead for 5 minutes. I try to only use one hand because the dough is very sticky! (If it is too sticky you can add a bit more flour, but don’t add too much or else it will become too dry when you roll it out in flour later).

Cover the bowl with cling-film or a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 hour to prove.

Remove the cling-film / towel and punch gently to deflate. Knead for another 5 minutes before cutting in half.

Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out each half of the dough into your bases using a floured rolling pin.

Transfer to a baking tray (you can lightly grease but I found I didn’t need to).

Pre-heat the oven to 180oC.

Add your base sauce and toppings. If using vegan cheese, I suggest adding it first after the sauce as it burns faster than normal cheese and the other toppings will offer it some protection.

Bake for 15 – 20 mins or until the edges of the pizza are a lovely golden brown colour.

2015-01-27 18.55.23 ps4Eat with a nice glass of wine in the presence of good company. Or in front of the telly with a beer!

Hubby is begging me to make another one already :o)!

 

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67. Lemon and mint, dreamy, creamy, tahini dressing

I’ve been rubbish at blogging this year! For the first week of 2015 me and the hubby had the flu, and then we spent last week rushing to get the living room decorated before our new carpet arrives. I’ve just not had the time, energy or inclination to get creative in the kitchen!

I’m afraid today’s entry is still a bit of a cop out… but it was tasty so I thought it was worth typing up.

We had pitas with falafel tonight and I wanted a nice sauce to go with it. We had an ancient bottle of raitia in the back of the cupboard, which would have worked, but firstly its completely out of date and secondly it’s from my veggie days and no longer fits into my lifestyle. So in the bin it went!  So what to have instead? My lemon and mint, dreamy creamy tahini dressing – it does exactly what it says on the tin!

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Ingredients (Makes more than enough for 2 people enjoying some falafel!):

½ x block firm silken tofu (I used Mori Nu brand)2 x tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 x tsp tahini

1.5 x tsp dried mint (you can used fresh but I think the taste of the dried stuff works better here)

½ x tsp ground cumin

½ x tsp garlic powder

½ x tsp salt

2 x tbsp. soya  milk

Chop the tofu into medium-sized chunks. Get a small pan of water boiling and gently add the tofu. Boil for 1 minute before draining and leaving to cool. (This is a tip I picked up from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s awesome book “Appetite for Reduction” – she cooks the tofu first for her “Sanctuary Dressing” to get rid of the beany flavour).

Put the tofu into a blender (smaller is better if you have the option since we’re making a relatively small volume). Add the lemon juice, tahini, mint, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Whizz up until smooth (a minute or so).

Scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula and add the soya milk (or any other replacement milk). Whizz again until blended. I like my dressing quite thick but if you wanted to thin it down with more plant milk then I’m not going to stop you!

I always think this type of dressing is best served cold, so into the fridge for 20 minutes or so it goes, ready to serve up with some tasty falafel. I got mine from Costco of all places and it was very nice too!

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Is it too late to mention New Year resolutions?  I’m planning on learning to play the drums ;o) Wish me luck!

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65. Mushroom calamari

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There’s not much that I’ve really missed since turning vegan. After the first month all my cheese, milk and most of my meat cravings had completely subsided. I did miss BBQ ribs, but I created a vegan version pretty early on. The other thing I really missed was calamari!

The other day I was eating some pasta that I had made using  oyster mushrooms I’d bought cheap at the supermarket. I’d over-cooked them and turned them chewy… which is when the idea of using them to create calamari came to me.

You’re only an easy recipe away from crispy, delicious yumminess!  Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out a way to make rings, but the taste and texture is totally there!

Ingredients (makes 2 portions):

Batter:

2 x tbsp. gram flour

2 x tbsp. cold water

0.5 x tsp bicarbonate of soda

0.5 x tsp apple cider vinegar

 

“Calamari”

60 g oyster mushrooms (bigger the better)

200x ml cold water

2 x tsp salt

1 x tsp kelp powder

1 x tbsp. flour

2 x tbsp. breadcrumbs

 Method:

Pre-heat a deep fat fryer to 190oC.

Whisk together the gram flour, 2 tbsp. water, bicarb and apple cider vinegar to make a thick batter. Leave to one side.

Slice the oyster mushrooms into approx. ½ cm wide strips.

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Put the 200 ml of water into a small pan with the kelp powder and salt. Add the mushrooms and heat over the hob. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes (This makes the mushrooms a bit chewier so they have more of a bite).

Drain the mushrooms using a sieve. Once cool enough to handle, it’s best to pick the mushrooms out of the sieve and lay on a piece of kitchen roll a) to drain them and b) so they don’t end up coated in too much mushy kelp powder. Bleurgh!

Coat the mushrooms in the plain flour before dipping in the batter until evenly coated. Then roll in the breadcrumbs until again evenly coated.

Deep fry at 190oC for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Scoop out, drain and put on a bit of kitchen roll to absorb some of the oil.

Serve! I mixed together some fresh lemon juice with a squirt of vegan mayo to make a tasty dip.

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64. Portobello mushroom burger

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I’m so happy with this burger! I was sat at work all day today imagining making it and coming up with the recipe in my head. It was a great feeling to come home and put the theory into practice.

The crispy crunchy out coating compliments the succulent and juicy centre. Who would have thought that the humble mushroom could be used to make such a delicious “meaty” meal?

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Ingredients (makes 2):

2 x Portobello mushroom

2 x tbsp. gram flour

2 x tbsp. plain flour

2 x tbsp. water

1 x tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 x tsp apple cider vinegar

1 x tsp garlic powder

1 x tsp smoked paprika

½ x tsp cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

2 x tbsp. breadcrumbs

Method:

Carefully take the stalk out of the mushrooms and bake on a tray in the oven 180oC for 10 – 15 minutes (or until the mushroom starts leaking juice!)

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Whilst the mushrooms are cooking, whisk together the gram flour, plain flour, water, bicarb, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. A thick, orangey-red batter should form.

Take the mushrooms out of the oven and once cool enough to handle, pat dry with a bit of clean kitchen roll.

Dip the mushroom in the batter until evenly coated. Then dip into the breadcrumbs until again evenly coated.

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Before…

 

Deep fry at 190oC for 5 minutes or until golden brown. You might want to flip the mushrooms over half way through.

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…and after!

Drain and put on kitchen roll to absorb some of the oil.

And serve! I had mine on a bagel with a cabbage leaf, a slice of Violife cheese (I’m addicted) and a sauce I made by mixing vegan mayo with spring onions. Mmmmm!

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