The brilliance of tins

Breakfast

Blueberry bagel with banana filling, pomegranate seeds

I’ll be branching out into different breakfast ideas tomorrow, but I was keen to finish a packet of bagels before they passed their prime. Today I just lightly toasted the bagel, added some soya spread and used half a sliced banana as a filling.

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Lunch

Falafel and hummus pitta, salt and vinegar crisps, satsuma, fruit bar

Having run out of bread this morning, I opted for Costcutters at lunchtime to minimise the financial impact of the dreaded shop-bought sandwich. In London, the Costcutters shops do a nice falafel and hummus pitta, although I must admit it’s not as good as the Tesco falafel wrap. It still makes a pretty satisfying lunch though, and I was heartened by the vegan-friendliness that seems to be emerging in Costcutters. As well as several vegan sandwich options, there was some vegan chocolate on show and even some sesame snaps. In fact, it’s not the only place that seems to be increasing its plant-based options. When I last looked, even the newsagent’s at Plumstead station was selling some Alpro soya milkshakes (highly addictive) and Plumstead isn’t exactly the capital’s animal-free hotspot.

Dinner

Fragrant bean casserole, teriyaki rice crackers. Dessert: Rhubarb and soya custard

This is a quick and tasty casserole that can be turned into an exotic version of shepherd’s pie by being topped with mashed or sliced sweet potato. I know the ingredients list looks long, but the items are generally cheap and it’s quick to prepare.

Ingredients for fragrant bean casserole (serves 4):

– 1 onion

– A little vegetable oil

– 2 tins of chopped tomatoes

– A tin of chickpeas

– A tin of beans (e.g. kidney  or haricot beans)

– 2 carrots

– A generous handful of sultanas

– A generous handful of dried figs and dried apricots (chopped)

– 1 garlic clove (crushed)

-1 small piece of ginger (peeled and grated)

-A few cardamom pods (around 6)

-A small sprinkle of cinnamon (1/4 tsp)

Method:

1. Chop the onion and set aside. Peel and chop the carrots. To prepare the cardamom pods, crush them, extract the seeds and crush these. A rolling pin works well for this if you don’t have a pestle and mortar.

2. Rinse the pulses and place in a bowl along with all the other ingredients except the onions and oil.

3. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Sautee until it begins to go transparent.

4. Add the other ingredients and simmer until ready to serve, stirring regularly. It will need to simmer for at least 20 mins, but can be simmered for longer. This recipe also works really well in the slow cooker; just add all the ingredients in together and look forward to a kitchen filled with  lovely smells when you come home.

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Dessert was also based around a tin (or a tin and two packets to be precise). Vegan rhubarb and custard couldn’t really be simpler but can be made to look like a traditional dessert. I generally find that a large tin of rhubarb is plenty for 3-4 people, and one carton of Alpro soya custard is more than enough. The chocolate buttons are an optional decoration, but they come from the Sainsbury’s free from range and are really rich and full of chocolaty flavour 🙂 For the optimum rhubarb and custard experience, I would suggest using Alpro soya custard rather than the Provamel version as it has a much better flavour. Soya custard is much lighter than the dairy version and will leave you feeling bouncy rather than bloated.

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