enemy of Leon (friend_of_tofu) wrote in vegancooking,
enemy of Leon
friend_of_tofu
vegancooking

Creole recipes I have made (sorry, no pictures currently)

I recently picked up a second-hand copy of a UK recipe book from 1989, "Creole Vegetarian Cookery" by Kenneth Gardnier. It was an excellent buy and full of extremely useful instructions about how to cook all sorts of native Caribbean vegetables. Not all the recipes are vegan as he seems quite fond of dairy products, but they are easily veganised.

So, I made a bunch of the recipes recently - here they are.

Curried Pumpkin

675g/1.5lb pumpkin [I cut up 1+3/4 (ie 1.75 of 2 - I had a segment left over) small edible pumpkins and the amount of flesh was just right]
2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Poudre de Colombo [see below]
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
Deseeded and chopped hot pepper to taste [I used half a long red sweetish chili pepper]
2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
300ml/0.5 pint water
1+1/2 vegetable stock cubes [I only had one left, so I used a spoon of vegetable bouillion too]
Juice 1/2 lemon
Sea salt to taste

1. Peel and discard the stringy insides & seeds of the pumpkin [no chance! I kept my seeds for toasting with soy sauce, or something], then wash and cut into 2.5 cm/1 inch cubes
2. Heat oil in heavy pot, saute onion until translucent but not brown
3. Add garlic, curry powder, allspice & hot pepper, cook for about 1 min
4. Add pumpkin and chopped tomatoes, cook for further 2 mins, stirring occasionally
5. Add water, stock cubes and lemon juice; stir to mix and simmer covered for c. 20 mins/until pumpkin is tender (Halfway through cooking, taste for seasoning and add if necessary)
6. Serve immediately accompanied by rice or roti [the author recommends that this goes really well with the rice recipe below, and it does]

This turned out to be a lovely recipe, a warm tangy curry which isn't overpowering. One thing I did think was that it might be less stressful, instead of peeling and chopping pumpkins, to quarter them and roast the flesh in the oven til just cooked, THEN chop it into the curry at the end and leave it to sit in the sauce for a few mins until serving. Less tiring on the wrist, perhaps?

Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Cream
50g/2oz butter/margarine [I recommend a sunflower instead of a soy substitute, it smells better]
2 medium onions, sliced
1/4-1/2 hot pepper/to taste, deseeded and chopped [I used half a sweet red chili, as before]
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons annatto liquid [I didn't bother with this one]
Pinch freshly ground mace [I used preground]
2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 tablespoon Poudre de Colombo [see below, again]
Sea Salt to taste
450ml/3/4 pint coconut cream [there was no way on earth I could be bothered to make fresh coconut cream! I used a 400ml can and shredded some solid creamed coconut into it to make up the amount]
900g/2lb sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed
1+1/2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives to garnish [I didn't have any]

1. Heat fat, saute onions until lightly brown. The flavour of browned onions is important to this dish. Add all other ingredients except for the coconut cream, potatoes, coriander and chives. Mix well and simmer for 2 minutes.
2. Now add coconut cream and increase heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 6 mins/til sauce thickens. Tate for salt.
3. Add cubed sweet potatoes and coriander and cook for a further 3-4 mins. Stir to prevent burning/sticking.
4. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.

This tastes absolutely stunning. If there's anything I can criticise it for, it's that, unlike other curries, it doesn't seem to taste better when you reheat it again the next day.

One idea I did have for speeding it up was to reduce the fiddlyness of the sweet potatoes - peeling their hot, boiled skins was slow and annoying. The author says sweet potatoes are best boiled in their skins and peeled afterwards, preferably with some lemon or lime juice added to the cooking water. However, it is easier to peel them in advance, but one doesn't want them to get waterlogged - perhaps peeled, rubbed with lemon/lime and then steamed would be the healthiest way? This could even be done in a microwave for ease.

Mixed Vegetable Curry

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium potatoes, peeled, washed, each cut into 6 [I used 3, plus the leftover segment of pumpkin, plus I cut all the veg slightly smaller than the recipe suggests, to save cooking time]
1 courgette, peeled, cut in 3 crossways then in 4 lengthways [I had no courgettes and used some sliced carrots instead]
1 large sweet green pepper, deseeded and sliced [I had a medium red pepper and a small yellow one, so that's what I used]
1 aubergine, diced [again, didn't have one, made up with carrots]
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cardamon seeds, freshly ground [I popped all the whole spices into the blender's coffee mill]
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon diced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground mustard seed
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar [I used cider]
1/2-1 teaspoon powdered chili [had no chili powder, used fresh chili instead, medium-small, green, hot]
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Juice 1 lime
400g/140z tin chopped tomatoes
2 tomatoes, deseeded and quartered [didn't bother with this]
4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves

1. In a very heavy pot, heat oil until smoking
2. Throw in potatoes, courgette, sweet pepper, aubergine, onion and garlic and saute until vegetables are lightly browned [I fried onion first, then garlic, then potato/squash, then carrots]
3. Add all other ingredients except fresh tomatoes and coriander leaves, continue to saute on high heat for 3-4 mins, being careful not to burn the mixture. Toss ocasionaly and use wooden spatula to scrape bottom of pot
4. On lowest possible heat, cook, covered, until potatoes are tender. For last 4 mins, cook uncovered, with tomato quarters on top to heat through.
5. Remove from heat. Remove tomato quarters and set them aside [*so* couldn't be bothered with all that!]
6. Turn out onto serving dish/into bowl, arrange tomatoes on top, garnish with coriander and serve

This recipe is described as a "dry curry, sweet and spicy" and I really liked the flavours - quite different from the other two. As you can see, I mainly used it as a way of getting rid of the veg I had, and it's pretty robust about having its ingredients switched round.

Poudre de Colombo

3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon annatto seeds [I don't have any so I've not used them, don't know if it matters]
Deseeded and chopped hot pepper, to taste [I used half a long sweetish red chili]
2cm/3/4" fresh ginger, peeled [I find chopping it small helps a lot]
1/2-1 teaspoon salt.

. Pound all ingredients to fine paste with pestle and mortar. [I used the coffee mill on my blender, and it was much quicker and a smoother paste] Use in recipes as directed [I actually ended up using all I made each time - just under 2 tbsp - instead of the 1 tbsp the recipes direct - this is described as a reasonably mild curry paste and it is, but still very flavourful. Despite the name, it apparently comes from Martinique]

Rice with Cashew Nuts & Mango

225g/1/2lb long grain rice, soaked for 1-2 hours [when I first made this, I found the rice ended up softer than I preferred, so if you prefer your rice firmer, you may want to shorten the soaking time]
75g/30z unsalted butter [sunflower based marg is much better for this than olive oil or soy]
110g/4oz cashew nuts [I chop them, but not too small]
170g/6oz mangoes(peeled weight), diced [this is either 1 v large mango or 2 medium sized ones that you need - this recipe is a good way to use up squishy mangoes as it really works better the riper they are]
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
4 whole allspice
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
A few raisins or sultanas (optional but good) [I left them out, I hate raisins in savoury grain]
Sea salt to taste
Water

1. Drain rice thoroughly, spreading on a kitchen towel if necessary
2. Melt butter [marg!] in a pot with a tight-fitting lid and gently brown the cashew nuts
3. Add the rice and coat well with the butter, mixing in the nuts
4. Add all the other ingredients with enough cold water to cover by about 2.5cm/1" and bring to the boil. Stir to make certain that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
5. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible and simmer tightly covered for abut 20-25 mins or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Serve hot. Goes very well with curried pumpkin [above].

This rice smells like the BEST THING EVER! Really, it's incredible. The only bad thing I can possibly say about it is that its taste could never be as heavenly as its smell, but it's pretty damn tasty. Also, lots of soft mushy mango is best, less ripe mango is still nice but remains in firmer bits in the dish instead of blending in, and imparts a stronger citric sort of tang, which may detract from the warm soft spices of the dish.

Don't eat the berries or cloves ;¬)

Coconut and Sweet Potato cake

225g/1/2lb sweet potatoes, peeled, scrubbed with lemon or lime, and grated
juice & rind 1/2 lemon
110g/4oz dessicated coconut
75g/3oz sultanas
3 eggs [I made this cake first time with free-range eggs to make sure I was doing it properly, but it would be no work to use egg-replacer instead]
110g/4oz caster sugar
170g/6oz butter, melted [sunflower oil marg is best]
225g/1/2lb wholemeal flour [I only had plan white, seemed to work fine]
1+1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch cinnamon
50g/2oz pistachio nuts, finely chopped [couldn't find any, left out the nuts, also seemed fine]

1.Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mk 4
2. Mix together sweet potatoes and lemon juice, then add coconut and sultanas
3. Beat eggs [or replacers] with sugar and melted butter. When well-beaten, add to potato & coconut mixture
4. Sift together the dry ingredients, including lemon rind [couldn't be bothered to sift] and combine with mixture. Add almond essence and finely chopped nuts
5. Transfer to deep 20cm/8" round cake tin lined with greaseproof paper [I used a silicon cake tray] and bake for about 1+1/4-1+1/2 hours/until inserted skewer or toothpick comes out clean. Leave in tin for 5 mins then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Due to the vagaries of the stupid electric and fan-assisted oven I was using, cooking was not perfect. I felt the cake came out with more of a harder 'crust' than it needed, so next time I will take it out when it is light brown and the toothpick test tells me it's done, regardless of time elapsed. Really pleasant though, the version made with white flour led to quite a light, delicately flavoured cake, considering the ingredients. Well worth making. No doubt it would be just as easy to substitute veg oil for marg, as well. I don't think the nuts are necessary, as this both felt and tasted great without any nuts, but you could probably add any chopped nuts you liked if you didn't have pistachios, though I guess softer nuts would be best - toast first?

I hope people find these recipes useful and enjoyable. I shall try to post more once I've tried them out.
Tags: desserts-cakes, ethnic food-creole/cajun, grains-rice, herbs&spices, main dishes-curries, nuts-cashews, vegetables-squash-pumpkin, vegetables-sweet potatoes/yams
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