Sunday, 28 July 2013

Channelling Nigella - Vegan Cannelloni

Nigella Lawson
Okay you win. I submit. This is strictly a one off! I never wanted to be a recipe blogger. There are enough good veggie recipe blogs out there. Check out my friend Nicole Don't get me wrong, I love to create good meals and I adore eating them, but the idea of writing a recipe blog? Let's just say it's not my tazza di te, as they say round here. That measured precision approach to cooking of conventional recipes bores me into oblivion. But... enough people have asked for this.

I do everything by taste, feel and proportion. Not just cooking!! A dash of this a splash of that and a good tablespoon of the other. Everyone knows stuff like shortcrust pastry is half fat to flour don't they? They don't? Buy a cookbook for heavens sake! Guests shyly ask for recipes all the time. (The shyly part is probably because they listen to Paul's tales of my 'chefy stropps'.) But I want to put the record straight. I'm a pussycat in the kitchen and I purr like Nigella Lawson straight into camera while licking the hummus I've just scraped from the blender slowly, delicately, tantalisingly off my little finger and out of my moustache. Yum. Needs a soup├žon more lemon, a smidgen of salt. Forget grammes and millilitres. The only way I can write a recipe is like Nigella. If you've read How To Eat you'll get my drift.

So I begin channelling Nigella. The camera pans across the kitchen and alights for just a millisecond on my cute Brummie ass in tight maroon cords. Then it rises the length of my slender sinewy figure. You can see my nipples through my tight T-Shirt. It finds me beaming, lips glistening. I run my tongue along my moustache. Turned on yet? Cut to elevator music as I open the fridge and take out an enormous wedge of chocolate gateau and stuff it greedily into my cake hole. Scene set we're off:

Vegan Cannelloni

Tasty dish No. 1
From your big posh larder cupboard pull: Olive oil, Onions and vegetables (according to your own taste), Passata, Rice Milk, Garlic, Herbs, Lasagne sheets, Porridge Oats, Walnuts or Brazils, Sunflower or pumpkin seeds, Cornflour, Yeast Extract, Tomato Puree, Salt (if you want) and pepper.

Serves 6 (sometimes 4 according to how hungry/greedy people are)

For the white sauce you'll need a small onion - white or red it doesn't matter, a clove of garlic or more depending on your taste. Some olive oil. Personally I like enough to kill a beginner. Some cornflour and some rice or soya milk. Seasoning to your own taste.

If you've ever wondered what's meant by 'first of all make a roux' here's what you do. Add a good slug of olive oil to a pan. Add your onion and garlic chopped finely and cook for a few minutes. You can't be exact, if you like more allium pungency cook less than if you like the sweeter caramalised taste. Next add your cornflour and stir vigorously. If your going to make a large proper teacup full of sauce you'll only need a heaped teaspoon of cornflour. Cook the cornflour but don't let the mixture burn. Remove from the heat and gradually add your rice or soya milk. Keep stiring to avoid lumps but if they form give it a blast with a hand blender to smooth it out. Return to the heat and boil and it should thicken. Too thick? Add more milk. Set aside.
Jonnie Falafel

For the tomato sauce you need a small onion, some chopped olives and and and capers, some tomato paste and a half bottle of a good quality smooth passata. Add some oil to pan and heat. Add some chopped onion and cook until tender. Next add your passata, olives and capers and if you like extra tomatoeyness a tablespoon of triple concentrate tomato puree. Cook together for a bout 15 minutes. Done. You can of course vary the vegetables. If you use zucchini, peppers, mushrooms they will not affect the cooking time. Chopped harder vegetables like broccoli or carrot will need longer cooking. If you like herby flavours you should add the herbs with the onions and cook for a while before adding everything else.

Make an egg substitute which is going to bind your filling together and be the matrix for the main flavours. Crack a couple of tablespoons of linseeds in a food processor and whizz up with hot water. Set aside and it should thicken like wallpaper paste. To this mixture add a good heaped teaspoon of yeast extract (Marmite will do) and half a tube of tomato puree. Whizz up. It should be thick and brownish.

Tasty Dish 2
The filling. Fry a finely chopped onion and any finely chopped.vegetables you like. As before you can add herbs to your taste. Once cooked turn off heat and leave. In a food processor whizz up some porridge oats, with some pumpkin or sunflower seeds and add some walnuts. I like walnuts because of their fatty unctuousness, but Brazils work just as well. Hazelnuts have a strong flavour but you can use them. Peanuts just taste wrong. Mix these dry ingredients with your cooked vegetables. Add your egg substitute and combine well.

Now comes the assembly. Place filling on the cooked lasagne sheets in sausage like lines and roll up. Place each roll in an oiled baking dish. When the dish is full, pour over your tomato sauce then the white sauce over that. Cover with foil and bake at 170 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake further until browned. Remove from the oven, cut into portions and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

It's ready for your guests to enjoy. I always save a portion and all the bit's that stick to the dish, cover it with cling film and bung it in the fridge. Then I string fairy lights all around the kitchen in case of night starvation when  I get up at 2 am and finish it off along with the rest of the chocolate cake. Gaviscon follows. Ciao a tutti.

1 comment:

  1. Hey John,

    So nice of you to make this recipe. We will try it this summer for sure! This and your couscous are just so delicious!