Sometimes, cooking is entertainment. Sometimes, however, after a long day at work, I just want to make something quickly without any of tha...
According to Ben Franklin or Albert Einstein - depending on who you listen to - madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
If that's the case, I go mad in the kitchen fairly regularly.
I buy tempeh every few months, thinking maybe I'll get it this time and each time, I have to throw away the lion's share of a packet thinking "third time round and it's still disgusting".
Vegan cheeses are the same. Every now and again I see a new one and I think, "well, that's new. Maybe it's not rancid like all the other non-dairy cheeses I've every eaten." Yeah, or maybe not. Like every other vegan cheese I've tried, it's grim and it goes straight in the bin. Note to vegan cheese makers: if you can't make anything nice, don't make anything at all.
Celeriac is a similar experience. I buy a metric truckload every winter, delighting in its cheapness and Britishness. Then I make celeriac soup. Then I think, "and what am I going to do with half a celeriac that's been in my fridge for two weeks?"
This is what you do with half a celeriac that's been in your fridge for two weeks.
Celeriac and apple remoulade recipe
6oz of celeriac, peeled and grated
One small cooking apple, grated
One celery rib, cut into small pieces
The juice and zest of a quarter of a lemon
A pinch of celery salt
Generous grinding of pepper
Half teaspoon of garlic powder
A teaspoon of mustard
A shake or two of vegan worcestershire sauce
Two teaspoons of capers
Vegan mayo, about two heaped dessertspoons, but you might want more or less to taste
How you do it
This the kind of recipe I like - here goes: mix all the ingredients up in a bowl.
I love Christmas unashamedly - the twinkly lights, the nights out, the time off work - but when it comes to the lacuna between the big day itself and the return to the office, I find myself a bit jaded on the food front.
After having been repeatedly assaulted by salty or fatty treats and having become oblivious to their charms, suddenly now they're pretty much all I want to eat at the moment.
So I duly turned into a fatty, salty treat for the new year: savoury shortbread.
I am sad to report these savoury biscuits don't really keep well at all, so get them eaten as soon after you've made them. It's as good excuse as any for a bit of gluttony, I reckon.
They're good served with soup in case you wanted some inspiration on how to dispatch them - I ate a good few with a bowl of aubergine and tomato soup. Unfortunately, the soup in question - while tasting quite good - looked like a cross between a pete bog and a monster from Star Trek, so I'll spare you the recipe for that one.
Carrot and sage savoury shortbread
Makes about 10 biscuits
2oz vegan margarine
4 and a half oz self raising flour
A couple of generous handfuls of nutritional yeast
A medium carrot (say about 2 or 3oz when topped and tailed), grated
Half a teaspoon of vegan broth powder
A sprig or two of sage (about 10 to 12 leaves), chopped
A little water
Salt and pepper
How you do it
Rub the flour into the marge until you have something that looks a bit like breadcrumbs.
Add the nutritional yeast, grated carrot, chopped sage, broth powder, salt and pepper to the mix and stir until combined.
Add a little water (start with a dessertspoon or two) to the mix and work in. You're aiming to end up with a ball of dough that comes away cleanly in a single solid lump. If it's too dry, add more water, a teaspoon at a time. If it's too wet, add more flour.
Once you've got a ball of dough that's cohering happily together, wrap it and stick it in the fridge for an hour.
Once it's had time to cool, get it out and roll it out on a floured board until it's about 3mm thick or so.
Cut out rounds (if you don't have a cookie cutter to hand, use a wine glass) from the shortbread and lay onto a greased baking tray.
Cook in a 200C oven for about 15 to 18 minutes, until the edge of the shortbread is crispy and starting to brown.