…These are definitely some of our new favourite things!
Ten days in, and Si has really outdone himself with dinner – tonight he conjured up a miracle: a vegan meal that you genuinely couldn’t tell apart from meat. But so healthy and flavoursome and full of vegetable goodness… more on that later.
We were saying today, while marvelling that we’re almost a third of the way through Septofu, that this vegan month feels really different to January. Because I’ve done it before and I know it’s fine, it all feels much more relaxed and low-key – we’re just doing it. In Veganuary it was like we were trying to convince me that being vegan would be ok – lots of eating out and visiting markets and making really complicated meals – but while we are still planning to have the odd restaurant meal this month, it’s quite nice to just ‘be’ – and to be chilled enough that if we want burger and chips for tea, then that’s what we’ll have!
Today I was working from home, so lunch was leftover tagine from the other day. To spice things up a bit I stirred some harissa through while reheating it on the hob, and mixed the couscous with sultanas, spring onion, peanuts, and chopped apricots for a lovely mix of textures.
When Si got home, though, it was out with the leftovers and on with the creativity! He had planned a batch of cabbage leaves stuffed with what he called ‘vegan haggis’. How did this come together?
It all started with six cabbage leaves – Si carefully trimmed away some of the hard stem at the back of each one, and then blanched them in some boiling water. He left them in cold water to stop them cooking… meanwhile… into the food processor went half a can of butter beans and some almond milk, which he zhoozhed together, before folding in an amazing packet of Sainsburys grains mix (lentils, quinoa, broccoli, edamame beans, wheatberries, and kale) and squishing in a pack of Linda McCartney meatballs.
This mixture was divided between six cabbage leaves and tied up with string – that done, they had a little rest while Si started on the burnt veg gravy. This basically involves bunging onion, cabbage, carrot, and garlic in a pan, and you cook it and cook it and burn it and brown it until it caramelises and cooks down – keep topping it up with a bit of veg stock so it doesn’t stick, then zhoozh it with a stick blender.
While the gravy was cooking down, Si roasted a potato and a parsnip – the flesh of these went into the food processor with vegan spread, almond milk, and vegan cheese to make the smoothest, most luscious mash. Steam the cabbage parcels for about 20 mins, and it all comes together!
It was magical. The mixture at the heart of the cabbage leaves became really solid and meaty in texture – you really wouldn’t have thought that there wasn’t pork mince in them. The texture was very like sausagemeat, and it all held together wonderfully. The mash was sweet-savoury, and the gravy had all kinds of caramelized flavours. Great work, Si!
And for pudding? A lovely creamy Alpro yoghurt, which was billed as caramel but had all kinds of great butterscotch flavours going on. Another joyful discovery!
Tomorrow we move into the second third of Septofu… bring it on!
Today I ate/drank:
- Tea with almond milk
- Handful of peanuts
- Aubergine tagine with fruity/peanut/spring onion couscous
- Orange squash
- A crispy potato skin (from making the mash for dinner)
- Stuffed cabbage leaves, mash, and burnt onion gravy
- Alpro caramel yoghurt