making decent hummus is a pain in the arse

i’m like three quarters of a tin into peeling chickpeas and am deeply regretting attempting to save money by not buying premade hummus. and i have another tin to go. send proper hummus -_-

also, hai. i have been on a life journey that precluded food blogging. thankfully (?), i am unemployed and broke again and turning to my one surefire stress relieving hobby of cooking. you’re welcome, anytime, truly. …send money and/or a decent job.

i made a fancy thing!! polenta provençal 

sorry for the shitty, multiple-filtered picture. i was going to take a picture immediately upon plating, but i just *had* to have a bite. then, halfway into eating it, i remembered to take a picture. 

so what goes into polenta provençal, i can hear you ask. WELL.

this is a great meal because it looks très fancy but you can prepare all the different components in advance and combine them all together for a super-quick showstopper of a meal.

first thing’s first! go make a whole bunch of the ppk’s chickpea cutlets. you can freeze them before the frying stage too so they’re ready to whip out and cook at a moment’s notice. one of these will sit on top of your polenta, swimming in provençal sauce. 

so i’ll go ahead and write up my polenta and sauce recipes below, for your delectation. 

cheesy polenta
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 cups vegetable stock (can use a combination of stock and plant milk for a creamier flavour)
2Tbsp margarine
1tsp garlic granules
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 head’s worth of boiled cauliflower florets, coarsely mashed (optional)
grated vegan cheese to taste (optional)

look, i make polenta very simply. some people recommend whisking in the cornmeal after bringing the stock to boil – fuck that. put your cornmeal and cauliflower (if using) into a large pan, and pour the liquid over slowly while stirring. if you stir with a fork it helps prevent and break up lumps.

THEN bring your pan to a boil over high heat. add the garlic granules and pepper. you’re going to want to stir this fairly frequently. 

after you’ve brought it to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer (else it’ll start spitting at you). keep stirring frequently. you’ll notice it thickening up nicely. when it’s at pudding consistency, take it off heat and add the margarine, nooch, and cheese. stir well and ladle it out immediately – it will solidify more as it cools!

if you’re making this in advance and it goes very solid in the fridge, you have a couple options. you can either bake or fry it which is delicious, or if you want it more liquid you can whisk in boiled water in a pan and bring it back to boil.

provençal sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced into small cubes
2 sticks celery, de-stringed and chopped finely
2Tbsp capers with brine
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, diced (omit if on a low-potassium diet)
oil or margarine for frying

heat the oil or margarine in a skillet over low heat. add the onion, carrot, and celery, stirring to coat in oil. this is a pretty low-maintenance pan right now – just make sure the mirepoix is spread out evenly and leave it for awhile to soften, stirring occasionally. 

you can wait until the onions are translucent and the carrots soft, or you can even leave for longer until the mixture is golden-brown and caramelised. in any case when cooked to your liking add the capers, brine, and tomato if using, and allow to simmer for a bit longer to let the flavours meld. can be used straightaway or refridgerated/frozen.

low-po: chickpea mayo

is this a new series?? YES IT IS A NEW SERIES

my partner’s on medication that hoards potassium in the body, and has had to go on a low-potassium diet. only problem is, potassium is in EVERY. THING. especially vegetables. what’s a committed vegan to do??

well, with the help of ten thousand million diet sheets from various NHS trusts, we have figured out that a low-potassium vegan diet IS possible! and with that in mind, i would like to share with you my first low-potassium recipe: chickpea mayo sandwich filler.

why chickpeas? why anything?? WHAT IS THIS SORCERY. …okay, calm down. 

tinned chickpeas are low in potassium and can be subbed out for meat in a main meal. (thank fuck for that.) other low-potassium protein sources include seitan, tofu, boiled broad beans, leached red lentils, vegan meat analogues, etc. but i digress.

so in the interest of saving money as we’ve been buying loads of meat analogues, i decided to try my hand at an easy chickpea sandwich filler. i remembered that loads of people make tuna-style salads with chickpeas, so decided to take a cue from there and made an AWESOME chickpea mayo sandwich filler that everyone in my family can eat 🙂

chickpea mayo sandwich filler
1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 to 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
1-2T mustard (i used squeezy so as to get our son to eat it)
juice of a quarter lemon, plus more to taste
2T capers, plus 1-2T brine
1-2tsp kelp seasoning, or crumbled seaweed
salt and pepper to taste

mash the chickpeas first, with a masher or fork. add the mayo, and mash again – you want it chunky without too many whole chickpeas. then add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. put in the fridge to chill and let the flavours come together. serve in a sandwich or with pita bread.