This is a legendary way to spice up your winter burgers, burritos or pizza (?!) plus homemade pickled jalapenos are way, way better than shop bought. When not pickled, I even like ’em in a smoothie, something like kale, banana and apple, is awesome with a few slices of jalapeno, great also paired with pineapple.
You can take this recipe wherever you like flavouring wise, add spices or herbs, but I went for simple garlic with a little tickle of ginger. Maybe some chipotle or other Mexican dried chillies, I wonder how that would go, never tried it…. let me know!
Use this method of pickling for most veggies, it’s a really simple way to preserve and enhance the flavours in vegetables. For some strange reason, they were selling off jalapenos for pennies at our local shop in Caernarfon, I snapped them up and knew exactly where they were heading. Jane is not a massive chilli fan, so having a jar of jalapenos in the fridge is perfect for me, I pop in there every now and again to add a little zing to dishes, of course, these will light up anything remotely Mexican. They are surely one of the most legendary Mexican ingredients.
When I love a dish, I always want to find a way to make it myself. These pickled are something I first really got a taste for in Mexico, I especially like the big jars of pickles in most street food style eateries, called ‘Escabeche’, huge jars of things like carrots, radishes, cauliflowers and onion. A perfect lift to go with the rich Mexican dishes. You can make ‘Escabeche’ like this, maybe add some black peppercorns to the mix.
I said this will work for most veggies, which is true, but with watery vegetables like cucumber, it’s best to salt them first. Rub some salt into them and leave them to drain over a colander for an hour or so then rinse well. This removes a good amount of the water and makes for more intense pickles.
If you leave the seeds in, expect fireworks! In a good way if you’re a chilli head. Take them out for milder, more placid results.
I love pickled garlic, so I’ve added a load of garlic cloves. They mellow when pickled and are really crunchy and lovely. If you’re not a fan, just omit them and add more chillies.
The Bits – One large jarful
14 jalapeno chillies (sliced)
175ml white wine/ distilled white vinegar
8 or as many as you like garlic cloves (peeled and whole)
2 bay leaves
4 slices fresh ginger
2 tbs sugar
1/2 tbs sea salt
In saucepan, add all the ingredients, bar the chillies. Stir and bring to a boil, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Add the chillies and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, pack your chillies, garlic and ginger into a clean jar, pour over enough pickling brine to cover. Seal the jar and leave in the fridge and enjoy! You can eat them straight away, but they’re better after a day or two.
The chillies will be quite happy in the fridge for a week.
Chillies are full, full, full of Vitamin C. Perfect for a boost in the winter. They are also rich in vitamin A and K, they even have a little fibre going on.
Mole sauce is such a Mexican classic! A full-on fiesta of flavours; spices, chilli, smoky chipotle, creamy black beans, chocolate and here I’ve added some cashew butter instead of the traditional peanuts.
These beans are quite a mouthful! Spicy, chilli, creamy with a tickle of lime at the end and when served with smoky tofu bacon and all your favourite Mexican condiments; salsa, avocado/ guac etc you’ve got a Mexican feast. There is a black bean & cacao recipe in Peace & Parsnips, this is a new twist on that really.
I was lucky to travel from the North to the South of Mexico by car a good few years ago. Zig zagging down Mexico I did munch the odd taco and was blown away by Mole! I’d never heard of it before and was mesmerised by the complexity of it, the stories of how it takes days to make (something to do with grinding and roasting all the ingredients). It seemed like such a legend! It is. Normally served as a treat during a massive, joyful party, which are common in Mexico, so much so that ‘Ir a un mole’ (Go to a mole) is used to say ‘Go to a wedding’.
Mole comes in all shades in Mexico, of which Mole Poblano is probably the most famous, the flavours of which, if not the techniques of cooking, my mole beans take after.
How many savoury dishes are enhanced and inspired by chocolate so effortlessly and deliciously? I have used Willie’s 100% Chulucanas Peruvian Cacao, bought by the block, you will find it in supermarkets and of course, on line. This is the best cacao I’ve ever tasted in the UK. Grated into this dish, it will be sublime! Adding richness and depth to the dish. However, other cacao and cocoas will be more than fine also. I’m thinking about experimenting with a cacao gravy for Christmas dinner. I’ll let you know how that goes.
I’ve streamlined the traditional recipe here big time, it’s normally quite involved and uses a whole cupboard of ingredients, spices and a whole gaggle of Mexican style chillies, which are totally awesome, but not always that easy to get hold of. Chipotle paste is a decent go to, I made my own Chipotle en Adobo recently, which is well worth it if you’re a Mexican food fan or just mad about things chilli and smoky.
The real inspiration for this dish was Helga, a good friend of my sis’s, Laura. Helga is Mexican and sent these beans from Mexico City to be used especially for just such a dish. I’d also like to thank the cooks of the B.H.K Vegan Cooking Group on Facebook, who voted for a savoury dish this week. The delicious thing about this type of dark mole is that it skirts between sweet and savoury, with the addition of raisins here and a good amount of cocoa/ cacao. I must admit, I was a bit surprised when the savoury vote came in, I was sure it would be sweet all the way! I’d even got a recipe lined up and everything!!
I’ve added grated golden beetroot, red cabbage and red pepper to the plate, for crunch and colour. These kind of ingredients, along with carrots, cauliflower, savoy cabbage etc can all add the same crunch and colour to any dish. Brightens things up no end!
I’ve added some simple tomato salsa to the dish and sliced avocado. Lime, essential on, or in, most things Mexican and of course a god tickle of chilli! I also like serving this dish with some warm tacos/ tortillas.
These beans and bacon make the most perfect leftovers, serve cold on a summers day, wrapped up in a warm tortilla (I like the corn ones). When I say tortilla, I mean the soft ones, not the big nacho style ones that look like napkin holders.
The black kale/ cavolo nero, adds great texture to the beans. Savoy Cabbage or Spring Greens will also be delicious.
Chipotle paste?! No probs. Head down a supermarket and ask someone. It’s there.
I used the crumble method of cooking the tofu bacon in the pics. Both methods are really nice.
(By the way, for those who are not too familiar with Mole, the e has a little dash over it, making it Mole as in Olé! Not the same as the small, lovely creature that terrorises lawns.)
Black Bean and Cacao Mole with Smoky Bacon (Vegan)
The Bits – For 4
550g black beans (cooked)
2 big handfuls black kale/ cavolo nero (chopped into strips)
1 large onion (sliced)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
3 medium tomatoes (chopped)
2 tbs tomato puree
1 stick cinnamon
2 teas all spice
2 teas ground coriander
4 tbs raisins
2 tbs chipotles en adobo/ chipotle paste (how hot do you like it?!)
250ml water/ or bean cooking broth
2 tbs cocoa/ cacao
3-4 tbs cashew butter/ peanut butter
1-2 teas sea salt
1 lime (juice)
2 tbs cooking oil
Salt and pepper (for seasoning)
2 handfuls coriander
1-2 chilli (ﬁnely sliced)
Vegan yoghurt/ sour cream/ creme fraiche
In a large saucepan, warm the oil on medium heat, fry the onion for 12 minutes until caramelised and golden, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the cinnamon stick, all spice, chipotle sauce, coriander, raisins, tomatoes and tomato puree and stir. Cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are soft, add the beans and water. Put a lid on it and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes.
Stir in the cashew butter, kale and cacao, cook for a further 10 minutes. The beans should be breaking down and going a little creamy. Now stir in the lime juice, season with salt and a good amount of pepper and serve straight away.
Serving ideas – Ideal with a crumble of tofu bacon, sour cream/ yoghurt and coriander. It makes a nice dip too. Take the cinnamon sticks out and pulse it a few times in a blender. Serve with nachos and guacamole.
Smoky Tofu Bacon
The Bits – Serves 6-8 as nibbles
450g firm tofu (cut into bite size pieces, cut thinly for sandwiches)
3-4 teas smoked paprika (more if you like it really smokey!)
1/2 teas turmeric
1 1/2 teas maple syrup
1 teas nutritional yeast flakes
2 teas tamari/ g.f. soya sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs veg oil
Mix marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Marinate in a fridge for a couple of hours or overnight is good.
Preheat a fan oven to 200oC and place tofu onto a lightly oiled baking tray. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes. Until nice and crisp.
Serve straight away but is also very nice served cold.
Use the leftover marinade to dip the tofu in or as a base for a dressing or even add to a stew/ soup to add a little flavour kick.
For the tofu bacon crumble – I mashed up the tofu, then marinated. Drained excess marinade and fried in a large frying pan on medium/ high heat with 2 tbs cooking oil until caramelised and crispy, roughly 8-10 minutes.
Black beans are one of the best sources of protein out there. They are also one of the best sources of things called phytonutrients (basically, compounds in plants that do us loads of good). They’re a good source of iron, copper and plenty of fibre. They will help us to take care of our bones and heart, they even contain selenium, which is not found in many places in a plant-based diet. Overall, they are a very healthy and super tasty star!
I couldn’t write about Mexico without sending my love and best wishes to all effected by the recent earthquake in and around Mexico City. If you’d like to help, here are details of an amazing charity, A Hand for Mexico, based in Mexico City and helping the people affected, as well as helping to re-build the city, focusing on shelters, schools and hospitals.
Vegan omelettes are delicious and simple to prepare. A very tasty day-starter especially when boasting smoky chipotle, mushroom, toasted sweetcorn and a lively salsa.
The flavours of Mexico mirror Mexican culture; diverse and vibrant, fresh and intense. There are many ways to make a plant-based omelette but I like this combination of gram flour, caramelised veggies and silken tofu. Loads of flavours and textures going on.
I’m not so keen on creating dishes that exactly mimic meat/ cheese/ eggs etc, just something that everyone will be able to enjoy and appreciate the similarities in texture and flavour. This is one of those dishes that is carnivore approved!
Eating vegan food doesn’t mean giving things up, it normally means adapting dishes and is always full of creative surprises. Just like these omelettes. They are rich and delicious and of course, are packed with wonderful nutrition.
I normally like juices, fruit, porridge, muesli etc for breakfast, I don’t have a sweet tooth, but it seems to be what my body is craving first thing. There are however those exceptional days when only savoury will do. This normally follows a few glasses of moonshine down at the local tavern I find!
Pan fried mushrooms are just packed with umami-style flavour, along with the sweetcorn and the toasty, nutty flavour of the gram flour making for a flavour packed breakfast.
Mexicans are brilliant at breakfast and many of the classic breakfast dishes are egg-based. Huevos Rancheros, Huevos a la Mexicana, Breakfast tacos or burritos, Gorditas (think a pasty meets a tortilla, stuffed with beans and griddled, utterly delicious)……. All easily veganized, especially as avocado is such a staple in Mexico. They are normally served with loads of chilli in some form or another, either chopped raw or a potent sauce. There is also the beauty of the ubiquitous and always freshly homemade green and red sauces (salsa verde y rojo) that can be spooned over anything to add sensational flavour. Breakfast is no exception.
Chilli is sure to get the body and mind warmed up for the day! Once a week, I like to have a spicy brekkie and in Mexico became accustomed to chewing on a whole chilli in the morning. Beats an espresso I can tell you!
WHAT IS CHIPOTLE?
Chipotle is basically a smoked red jalapeno chilli that is now readily available around the UK and Europe. If you’re reading in the States, I’m sure you know your way around a chipotle already! Chipotle chillies can be bought in many forms either dried, in adobo (canned), as a paste (popular in the UK) or ground. You can sometimes replace chipotle with smoked paprika in recipes.
I spent six months backpacking around Mexico, many years ago now, but I can still perfectly recall many of the meals I ate there. The diversity and flavours of Mexico blew me away. Thank goodness there are a few decent Mexican restaurants in the UK nowadays, there is much more to Mexican cuisine than a Texmex Burrito (although they can be awesome too!)
One of the delights of Mexican cooking is the chipotle and other smoky, sweet chillies. They are unique and a real delicacy. Many markets have a huge variety of smoky chillies piled up, all used in different dishes, from the salsa rojo to the feast that is a mole pobaldo. Chipotles are quite fiery, but I’d say are medium on the blow your head off scale. Less hot than a raw jalapeno that is for sure.
Chipotles are normally smoked for several days and in that time shrivel up. The flavours really intensify, so this is worth bearing in mind when cooking. A little chipotle can flavour a large pot of stew. Chipotles are quite tough and are therefore best used in slow cook dishes like soups, stews and are especially good as a surprise ingredient in chutney/ marmalades. I love a cheeky Chipotle Marmalade and will attempt to get a recipe on here one day.
Gram flour is a wonderful ingredient. So full of flavour and totally gluten free, made from ground chickpeas. Gram flour can also be made form roasted pulses and comes in raw and roasted varieties. Roasted gram has a fuller flavour.
It is a healthy alternative to wheat flour and I’m using it to help bind together vegan baking at the moment. A couple of tbs mixed with an equal quantity of water can make a huge difference to the texture of a cake.
Gram flour has been used in Europe for many years, its maybe not so exotic as we think. Examples of this would be the pancake style dishes Socca (France) or Farinata (Italy). Both traditional and totally gram. When gram flour is cooked its strong flavour mellows, I do quite like my vegan omelettes a little soft, but some are not keen on the flavour of raw-ish gram flour. Gram flour is a top larder item for every cook.
My other favourite chilli at the moment, the mighty British Komodo Dragon Chilli. POW!
We can’t eat meat and dairy at current levels. The world will not sustain us. There are very clever people out there who are creating fake meat and cheese in laboratories and just recently I saw a youtube clip of a scrambled vegan egg. It certainly looked like the real deal, all soft and shiny when cooked. What it tastes like remains to be seen so I’ll stick with this omelette for now.
Most of us are waking up to the fact that our eating habits must change, for so many positive reasons; we love animals, for our own health and the health of the planet. The future of food for me is lots of fruits, legumes, veggies and nuts. However, some folk will still want a bloody hamburger or a runny egg yolk, this is now becoming a very real, plant-based alternative.
This is a lively breakfast/ brunch (in fact lunch too) sure to get your taste buds firing first thing, certainly adding a little spice and big flavours to an autumn morning. A wake up call! A fiesta in your mouth!!
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Corn season in the UK is coming to an end, but what better way to use your gorgeous fresh corn on the cobs. You can use tinned sweetcorn, but it just ain’t the same.
Some vegan omelettes call for the tofu to be mixed in with the flour, but I like the texture contrast of keeping it separate.
I like these just cooked, over cooking an vegan omelette will only make it dry. Which is never a good thing. A couple of minutes in a warm pan is enough and then straight under the grill and then eaten just after. Just like an egg omelette, the warmer and fresher the omelette the more delicious.
I love chilli so 1 1/2 tbs is a good amount. Use a little less if you’re not quite ready for a full chilli hit at the breakfast table.
Adding fresh coriander to the salsa and omelette is lovely. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any.
The Bits – For 2 large omelettes
150g gram flour (besan)
½ teas salt
½ teas baking powder (gluten-free)
1 teas cumin seeds
250g firm silken tofu (sliced)
200g sweetcorn (2 corn on the cobs)
2 large mushrooms (like field or portobello)
1-1 1/2 tbs chipotle paste
Oil for cooking (I used rapeseed/ canola oil)
Avocado and Tomato Salsa
2 spring onions
2 large leaves kale (curly, black kale etc – stems removed and finely sliced)
1 lime juice
½ lime zest
½ teas salt
In a bowl, mix together the gran flour, water, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
Make your salsa, this can be done in advance. Combine all the ingredients, lightly toss together and check seasoning.
Grab a large, heavy bottomed frying pan. Add 1/2 tbs oil and warm on a high heat. Once hot add the cumin seeds and corn. Stir and saute for 5 minutes, until the corn has a nice, dark golden colour. Set corn aside. Wipe pan clean.
Pop pan back on the stove. Warm another 1/2 tbs oil and add your mushrooms, saute for 2 minutes, stirring regularly, add the chipotle paste and cook through for another minute. Set aside and wipe clean pan.
Warm a grill on medium heat. You can flip the pancake in the pan, but it is quite thick and can break easily. Better to go for the grilling option.
Warm 1/3 tbs oil in your frying pan, make sure the pan base has a nice thin covering of oil. Scatter half your corn and mushrooms into the pan and spoon over half your gram flour mix. Ensure the pan base has an even covering of mix and place half your tofu evenly across the omelette. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then loosen the edges with a flat spatula. This is a good sign that the base is cooked (you can even have a quick peek!)
Place the pan under the grill (drizzle a little more oil over the omelette for added richness at this stage) and grill until the omelette is cooked through, a nice golden colour, a couple of minutes should be enough.
As soon as possible along with the salsa. You can either fold the omelette or leave it flat and sprinkle over the salsa, like a pizza. Mexican omelette pizza!? Quite a thing!!
A nice sweet and sour sauce, something like a smoky Mexican Salsa Rojo would be perfect, but not necessary.
Gram flour is higher in protein than wheat flour and is packed with healthy unsaturated fats, iron and fibre. More reasons to go gram.
Plantain Breakfast Burrito with Pico de Gallo (Original Recipe from Peace and Parsnips)
Here’s the perfect Saturday morning Burrito packed with colours and all the flavours we love from Mexico. If you can’t get your hands on a plantain, use potato instead and cook it for a little longer.
I spent six months in Mexico quite a long time ago now, driving around from North to South. The food memories (and parties) have always stayed with me. In fact, you could say that a street taco changed my life! It certainly changed my ideas about food and what constitutes ‘good food’ or ‘fine dining’. I ate some of the best food of my life, huddled under a light bulb on a street corner or hanging out at a 24 hour taco stall. Maybe it was all that Corona, but Mexico was one long feast and my eyes were opened to the complexity of Mexican food and its distinct regional influences.
Burritos are something we all know and are very much a meal in a wrap. There are so many ways to fill a burrito, but in the morning, when you’re looking for something a little bit different, a plantain is a very versatile and nourishing amigo. It brightens up your day from the very beginning!
This recipe and others from Peace and Parsnips were posted yesterday on the Hello! Magazine website, the article was all about Beyonce and her new vegan venture. Maybe Beyonce would like a Burrito for brekkie tomorrow! Check it out.
Taken from Peace and Parsnips:
Most of us need a quick breakfast that is easy to prepare, and burritos are ideal. In Mexico, home of the burrito, breakfast differs from lunch in only minor detail – restaurants serve dishes almost identical to any other time of day. Pico de gallo is a classic, and easy enough to assemble for breakfast – although having a bowl of pico de gallo in your fridge is never a bad idea at any time of day. It can be found all over Mexico and Central America and bizarrely translates as ‘beak of rooster’. If you’re not serving your burrito with pico de gallo, I recommend mixing some fresh coriander leaves and tomatoes into the filling. Qué rico!
The Bits – F0r 4
2 large green plantains
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely diced
240g firm tofu or tempeh, well drained and mashed with a fork
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon oregano
1-2 green chillies, deseeded and finely sliced Oalapeiios would be perfect)
a large pinch of sea salt
4 large whole wheat tortillas (must be fresh – stale tortillas will crack when rolled – and they dry out very easily, so keep them covered: gluten-free tortillas are available)
Make the pico de gallo. Peel the plantains with apotato peeler, then halve them lengthways and chop them into lcrn chunks. In a large frying pan, heat half the oil on a high heat, then add your plantains and toss well. They will become nicely caramelized. Stir them regularly to prevent them sticking and remove when they have some nice crisp brown bits – roughly 5-7 minutes. Set aside, uncovered.
Add the rest of the oil to the pan. On a high heat, saute your onions and peppers (that’s posh frying) and stir well. After 5 minutes, when they are beginning to caramelize, add the tofu, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, oregano, chillies and salt. Cook and stir for a further 5-7 minutes, adding 1tablespoon of water to ensure the spices are not sticking to the base. Now stir in the cooked plantains and check the seasoning. Cover and set aside.
Wipe out the frying pan with kitchen roll and warm your tortillas for a minute on each side (or you can warm them beforehand on a medium grill). They should be just warmed through, fragrant and still soft and pliable. If they are too toasted, they break when wrapping.
Spoon 3 tablespoons of plantain filling into the centre of each tortilla and top with 2 tablespoons of pico de gallo. Fold in the two opposing edges, pressing gently down, then roll the whole thing over. A burrito is like a tucked-in wrap, a fat tortilla parcel if you like.
Salsa verde is also amazing lathered over burritos or served on the side. Serve these burritos warm, with more fresh chillies or chilli sauce. POW!
A simple and lip smacking sauce from our hombres in Mexico. Salsa Verde is so fresh tasting, especially when lathered on a street taco in Mexico City. Viva la verde! Summer is on the way, we need to get these recipes gathered and prepared. Here comes the sun……….
With a fridge full of amazing green herbs and lemons all around, making this was a real no-brainer. I have played around with the spices here, but I think it adds even more punch and flavour to the sauce.
I was first introduced to this incredible, tangy number in a Mexican street stall lathered all over a street taco with lashings of raw chillis (normally after a few late night tequilas). The art of a good taco is in the balance of all the ingredients, but for me the salsa verde was always the most interesting component. How do they fit so much POW (followed instantly by a TWANG) into a sauce?! Later I found out and have been making variations ever since, normally potent concoctions with herbs, citrus and chilli as the core (and of course the essential tomatillos (green tomatoes).
The Verde is a super healthy affair also, making your own sauces cuts out the middle man, who usually enjoys adding scary sounding chemicals to sauces and no doubt bags of white sugar and other baddies.
This salsa is easily prepared and you may want to chop up your garlic, lemon rind etc depending on the potency of your food processor. We think its best to mash it all up in a pestle and mortar (and hope you have time for this). Here in Spain, our blender/f.p. is more of a smoothie maker and woefully under powered for the umph a salsa verde needs, you should be left with a vivid green sauce, all the bits well blended and together, mingling and sharing.
Due to the tomatoes, salsa verde doesn’t hang around to long in the fridge, its best eaten fresh poured over roasted veggies or in sandwiches/ tacos/ enchiladas/ burritos etc and we also use it in cooking as a sauce. Salsa Verde will also grace any pasta, I wonder if they’ve thought of it in Italy yet!?
Tomatillos can be a little hard to get hold of outside Mexico, other green tomatoes work almost as well.
Makes one decent size tubful
4 large green tomatoes/ tomatillos, 1 tbsp capers, 1 ½ big handfuls of fresh coriander, 1 of parsley, 1 of mint, 1 teas roasted fennel seeds, 1 teas roasted coriander seeds, 1 teas ground coriander, 2 fresh red chillis (jalapeno? Gauge how hot you like it), 3 cloves of garlic, 2 lemons (juice and zest), 150ml olive oil, hefty pinch of sea salt
In the mix – Salsa Verder
Pop all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz away until deep green and extremely tasty. Or if you lead a life of leisure and want to do it properly, add garlic, seeds, capers, chilli and lemon zest to you pestle and mortar, add a little oil and get mashing! Add this potent paste to your food processor with the other ingredients and blitz for 2 minutes.
Its very easy to just ladle this straight into your mouth! We would however recommend it mixed in with roasted veggies and will zing up any rice dish. Use it as a sauce and revel in the goodness. Jane and I would also have it thinned out a little, as the perfect dressing for a lively salad.
We Love It!
There is nothing like the bite and zing of a salsa verde, citrus and herbaceous with hints of spice. It’s really, very healthy too. The only sauce for a spring barbecue and salad session. Why not start early this year!
All those green leaf herbs are superbly good for you, packed with anti-oxidants. Tomatillos were originally cultivated by the Aztecs and contain more minerals than your average red tomato.
The only soundtrack to salsa making, Santa Esmeralda – ‘Please don’t let me be misunderstood’ (bad miming and all!)