Think being vegan means you can't have people over for dinner? Think again! Last weekend I made a dinner for two that was vegan, so obviously egg free and dairy free, as well as completely gluten free! Yes folks, you read it here: a vegan, dairy free, egg free and gluten free feast.
If you get your flavours and textures right then your guests won't be sitting there thinking, 'I could really use some meat...' Plant based meals can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. It's also a great feeling knowing that not only is someone enjoying your cooking - it's something else entirely when a non-vegan feels full and content with a vegan meal!
As we descend into autumn we're all getting into the seasonal spirit - pumpkins, red/orange leaves, jumpers and of course the appropriate films. Although many of us enjoy horror or halloween-y films all year around it becomes more acceptable, nay encouraged or even mandatory to dig out DVDs or search on Netflix for your favourites.
- "It's Just A Bunch of Hocus Pocus!" -
That's right. Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson Sisters in the 1993 Disney hit Hocus Pocus. It remains after all these years my favourite go-to Halloween film. I love it and could watch it on repeat. You might think that if the film of the evening was Hocus Pocus, I might have made a seasonally orientated dinner. Nope.
So what did I make? What didn't I make is probably more appropriate. I crammed in the carbs, sprinkled the spices and massaged the marinades to create this magic.
One of my major issues with cooking is time management and multitasking. I make a list of what I make and sometimes even do doodles of pizzas, smoothie bowl toppings and the same for buddha bowls. Unless I'm making rice or pasta, it's very rare that I have two hobs burning simultaneously.
But I've made some of these things before and knew roughly how long they would take to do. This makes it a lot easier (in theory) to plan a bit of a buffet and try to keep things warm. Let's get to the main event!
- The Meal -
First things first: Marinate your tofu! The longer it gets the chance to do this, the nicer it'll be. I'm always unsure about tofu in dishes for other people. I know I love it but other people, especially non-vegans, might not be as swayed. Doing it properly will hopefully be the genesis of an unbeknownst love for tofu. I drained, rinsed, dried off and pressed mine before cutting into cubes and marinating in turmeric.
Garlic and Dill Squash Cubes: Lately I've been obsessed with butternut squash. This is no exaggeration: I buy one or two every week and usually it ends up as a nutritional yeast powered sauce. I peeled and cubed the squash, sprinkled with turmeric and dill then covered in olive oil. Add in some peeled garlic cloves and pop in the oven for about an hour. Except for giving them a shake/turning them, you can pretty much leave them alone to cook.
Paprika Roasted Potatoes: These little spuds are manna from heaven. I don't know if it's the Irish in me or what but my love for roasted potatoes is unparalleled. I prefer to peel mine before boiling in salted water (I used four small potatoes). When fork tender, drain into a colander, sprinkle some gluten free flour and paprika and give it a shake. Transfer onto a baking tray and drizzle some olive oil, then pop into the oven for about 35 minutes.
Satay Sauce: There's the sauce you get in restaurants/takeaways, then there's the sauce you make at home. I don't have a favourite because I like them both. This satay sauce is essentially a mix of tinned coconut milk, peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup and salt. Bring to a boil then turn down heat and stir until it thickens.
Stir Fry: Drizzle olive oil into a pan, add some chopped onion (or shallot) and chopped garlic until fragrant. Throw in your marinated tofu until it's as cooked as you desire. I like to sprinkle some salt at this point, but that's optional (I think). I added some pak choi, chopped carrot and zucchini/courgette. Stir (and fry) and there you have it.
Rice: Ideally you should prepare your rice before you begin your stir fry, I don't have to tell you how to make rice, do I..?
I laid the various parts out in dishes and set them on the table, and left the pan on a wooden base. Let your guests help themselves! There was enough for two here with a little bit left over.