Smoky sweet potato rounds

A friend of mine recently accused me of potato snobbery. “You look down on the potato,” she told me, as I extolled the virtues of the sweet over that of the white. Later on, I reflected on my nutritional-ism of sorts, and then that weekend bought a bag of organic new potatoes. They tasted good, boiled and vegan-buttered with a little salt. But, nevertheless, I still hold its sweet cousin as the superior of the two.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with liquid smoke – a sauce flavoured with hickory, molasses, and vinegar. It’s very American-BBQ-esque, and bears both the range of meats it can accompany, and the emblem ‘Suitable for Vegans’. I love it in baked beans and in tofu marinades; here I’ve used it to season my sweet potato, cut into rounds for a more efficient cooking time.

 

 

wp-image-1925118017jpg.jpg

 

 

You’ll need:

  • one medium sweet potato
  • tbsp olive oil
  • tsp liquid smoke (I got mine from Tesco; a barbecue sauce could, potentially, be substituted)
  • tsp smoked paprika
  • tsp cayenne pepper
  • tsp onion powder / granules
  • pinch of brown sugar / agave syrup
  • salt and pepper

 

Preheat the oven to gas mark 7. Slice the sweet potato(es) into rounds, and place in a bowl. Drizzle / sprinkle / scatter over seasonings, and use your hands to coat well.

Transfer to a baking dish and roast for forty minutes. Serve with steamed veg and peas, and a veggie sausage or two. Delicious!

Smoky baked beans

Once in a blue moon, I have a beans-on-toast craving. There’s something eternally reassuring about slices of soggy toasted bread, bearing a burden of sweet beans. They bring to mind childhood lunches on cold afternoons in the school holidays, and for many they’re a go-to in times of emergency, idleness, or self-pitying illness.

I won’t dispute the institution that is baked beans on toast: but I will offer a slightly fancier version, for times when Heinz won’t cut it (and there are such times – I’m sorry, these beans are on a whole new level.) I’ve used liquid smoke here, although a good barbecue sauce will do the trick.

20161105204531_img_0226

 

To serve two, you’ll need:

  • a can of cannellini beans, mixed beans, or haricot beans
  • a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • one small brown onion
  • two cloves of garlic
  • half a small red chilli
  • tomato puree
  • a tsp each of cayenne pepper, chilli powder, smoked paprika, and cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • tbsp liquid smoke (I bought mine from Tesco)
  • 1/2 tbsp agave syrup, or 1 tsp brown sugar
  • tsp balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper.

Begin by finely chopping the onion, and gently cooking until softened. Add finely chopped garlic and chilli, and cook for two minutes, before adding the spices and frying for another minute.

Squirt in a tbsp of tomato puree, and stir well to incorporate. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, drained beans, liquid smoke, syrup, and vinegar, before leaving to simmer for half an hour, stirring regularly – you want a thick consistency.

Serve with potatoes and steamed veg – or, to pay homage to its roots, pile on top of crispy ciabatta and sprinkle with parsley and nutritional yeast. Now that’s beans on toast.

20161105204603_img_0231

Roasted pumpkin and quinoa bowl

Give me a grain, a bean, and plenty of veggies, and I’ve got a delicious dinner. Pumpkin and butternut squash are very abundant at this time of year, and they’re so versatile, lending themselves well to roasting, putting in stews, and blitzing into soups. I love big wedges of pumpkin roasted with plenty of fresh herbs – they can be left in the oven whilst you get on with other things, and then served with a quick assortment of whatever you’ve got in your cupboards.

Make sure you don’t throw away the seeds – they make an fantastic topping to salads, once washed, dried, and roasted in a little salt and oil.

 

20161020193233_img_0198.jpg

 

To serve two, you’ll need:

  • half of one small pumpkin
  • one small head of broccoli, or a tin of beans
  • one small white onion
  • tin of chopped tomatoes
  • tomato puree
  • handful plum tomatoes
  • two cloves of garlic
  • handful sprigs fresh rosemary
  • quinoa / couscous
  • vegetable stock
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • dried herbs: thyme, oregano

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Carefully slice the pumpkin in half, using a large and sturdy knife. Cut one half into six wedges and and rub with olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Lay on a roasting tray, and place in the oven for around an hour.

Peel and finely chop the onion, and gently cook until softened. Add finely chopped garlic and cook for two minutes before mixing with a squirt of tomato puree. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and bring to a simmer, adding a 2 tsp of dried herbs, and a generous splash of red wine vinegar. After fifteen minutes, add either broccoli florets or beans, and simmer until the broccoli is tender.

In the meantime, put the quinoa on to cook, or pour boiling water over couscous and cover. Do add seasoning to the quinoa as it simmers – a pinch of vegetable stock will do the trick.

When the pumpkin skin is crisped and the flesh soft, serve everything in a bowl, and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Eat with cosy socks on in front of the TV.