Sep 10th, 2015
Last night my sister-in-law V and her partner A came to dinner. This was a real challenge for me because V is a vegan and A is intolerant of carbohydrate and doesn’t eat sugar. Wow – what to make?
I racked my brains a bit and came up with this…. Everything was home made (well nearly everything – there were some ryvita dipping crackers that were shop bought, plus I got the quinoa ready prepared in a pouch)
Starter – Vegan dips (humus, guacamole, salsa, bean and beetroot) with crudités, warm garlic and rosemary rolls and dipping crackers.
Main – Quinoa stuffed peppers in a rich olive and tomato sauce with mixed green veg.
Sweet – Raspberry ice ‘cream’ with fresh raspberries and/or banana cake
Humus – cooked chickpeas with a little of their cooking water, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and tahini – whizz in a blender until nearly smooth (but still with a little texture).
Guacamole – finely chop one red chili and some spring onions, mash in ripe avocados and juice of a lime
Salsa – finely chopped onion, red pepper, ripe tomatoes, chili and coriander
Beetroot – blend cooked white beans until smooth, add cooked beetroot (not in vinegar) and mint and blend smooth
Stuffed Peppers – Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds. Rub peppers and lids generously with olive oil and bake in medium oven until soft. Allow to cool. Make a tomato sauce by frying onions in olive oil and then adding a mix of cherry tomatoes and good tinned plum tomatoes (chopped up). Cook down for a while and then add lots of olives and fresh herbs. Finally add some tomato puree. Stuff the peppers with the quinoa (I used some ready to eat pouches which already had been flavoured with basil and sundried tomatoes – largely because I wasn’t sure if I would like it and didn’t want to be left with a huge bag of the stuff). Arrange in an ovenproof dish, pour the sauce over and cook (I covered them with tin foil) for about 30 minutes or until hot through. Serve with green veg (I did french beans and asparagus).
Ice ‘cream’ – take two cans of full fat (not light) cocoanut milk and put in a pan, retaining about 100ml. Gently warm the bulk of the milk and then add either sugar or sugar substitute to taste (I used powdered stevia leaf. Blend the retained milk with two tablespoons of cornflour until very smooth and mix in with the rest in the pan. Gently heat, stirring all the time unti the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon – be careful not to let it boil (you could add a vanilla pod but I didn’t have one). While this is happening, gently heat a punnet of raspberries and either add a bit of sugar, sweetener, or (as I did) home made jam (strawberry). Swirl the fruit into the milk mixture to make a ripple effect. Chill in the fridge until completely cold, and then either process in an ice cream maker (best way), or improve your arm muscles by taking it out of the fridge and beating it smooth every half an hour or so until frozen. The latter way it turns out a bit more like a granita, but it is still very nice. Even minus the sugar it is definitely not low calorie though.
Banana cake – mash three or four very ripe bananas until pulpy. Add 75ml sunflower oil and 100g unrefined caster sugar and mix through. Sift 250g flour with 3 heaped tsp baking powder and add to mix. Finely chop 100g of dried apricots and mix through. Bake in a loaf tin for about 40 minutes at 180C (my oven is quite hot).
As you can imagine all this took a bit of time to do, but it was worth it because it all turned out well, and was much appreciated. It makes all the difference when people really enjoy what you make. I am not sure R liked it much though. He wouldn’t admit it but I am sure he would have preferred a burger….