Sunday, 9 October 2011

A culinary diversion: Vegan Shepherds Pie

After the celebratory drink I came back to a bit of housework and foodie dare.  The part-time vegan boyf would like Shepherds Pie for tea; and not the lentil kind.  We briefly discussed my making a vegan and a non-vegan option, but then he saw my face!  It's not that I am opposed to cooking meat, but given the option nowadays I would rather not.  Odd, as I can still quite happily say that I am not vegan because of the animals, but I can no longer happily say that I don't think about it and that it doesn't effect my decision making.  In the meat aisle at the supermarket yesterday I counted the whole oven-ready chickens for sale: over two hundred... then add the separated parts, the bits you find in processed and tinned food etc etc, the sheer scale is overwhelming.  

Anyways, we compromised (I do love my boyf!) and I got to play with my new must-try ingredient, vegan dried minced protein - sexy sounding isn't it!

Soaking said protein, according to the instructions, was not looking promising, so I employed a few of the vegan cooking tricks that I've learnt over the months.  They are some of the things that I think should be in the  "100 Things That Every New Vegan Should Know" List.  In no particular order:

1) Season and season well.  This includes herbs and spices, not just salt and pepper.
2) When cooking lentils for a dish, cook them in a good vegetable stock.  Harks back to point 1 and the difference in taste is amazing - I eat them straight out of the pot!
3) Texture is hard to replicate with just vegan mince.  For the added "crunch" stir in a handful of ground nuts and veg.  In the pie today I added cashews and a couple of inch pieces of carrot, which I had ground together till nearly fine.
4) If you can, find a Vegan Mentor - I have one and her tips are amazing!  They also prompt me to look for other ones.
5) Read, read, read - especially blogs where people seem to always be experimenting.
6) Experiment!  What can go wrong? ;o)
7) Play with your presentation.  My Shepherds Pie would normally just be dumped in a big dish, but we eat with our eyes as well as our mouths and so tonight everyone gets a mini individual pie that they can dip into rather than push round a plate!  Vegan food is special food, it deserves a little more attention.
8) Don't give up if you don't like soya or rice milk; there is plenty more (almond, coconut, oat) to be tried!
9) Miso is a great seasoning, just a teaspoon stirred into a dish or sauce adds a little umpfh.

So, mini 100% Vegan Shepherds Pies, ready for the oven.  The 10 yr old approves.  Lets hope the boyf does too, otherwise it's the Sunday Night Buffet at the Indian!

Coming back in to continue sewing, I couldn't resist a pic of the back of the outfit.  Two thoughts: the tail piece is amazing! and I may need to make a second bodice, one day, in cream...

For now, I have a lining to make.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Lucy Green. Powered by Blogger.