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Kate L Pugh - Cookery Diary

This is highly experimental. Don't be surprised if I get fed up of updating it. It's dual-purpose - first, it'll give new vegans or people thinking about becoming vegan an idea of what a real actual vegan eats day-to-day; and second, it'll encourage me to cook properly instead of living on toast.

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Week Beginning Sunday 25 February 2001


I had a rather large bag of Desiree potatoes that I'd bought last Tuesday in a fit of enthusiasm after all that mashed potato, so I thought I'd better start using them up. I peeled and parboiled some of them, then sliced thickly and layered with some thickly-sliced raw courgettes (zucchini) and a sauce that I made by mixing canned chopped tomatoes, garlic puree, onion powder, capers, chopped black olives and a spoonful of vegan red pesto (from a jar that's had a fair bit of use over the past two weeks), finishing with a thin layer of sauce. That went in a moderate oven and it's still there now.

[Note added later: I left it in for about an hour and a half, uncovered, since I didn't want to be left with loads of liquid (cooked out from the courgettes) in the bottom. The liquid did all evaporate, and the courgettes didn't get too mushy. I'm still trying to decide whether it would be nicer cooked for a shorter period of time but with some flour or nutritional yeast or something sprinkled in between the layers to soak up the liquid - but this would change the flavour too, and it was nice as it was. I don't want to pre-cook the courgettes to get the water out, since the whole point of what I'm trying to figure out is to end up with them a bit less cooked. One thing I will try next time is spreading the top layer of potatoes with a thin layer of red pesto, since putting the tomato sauce mixture on the top left me with burnt olives and no crispy topping. Once it was cooked, I divided it into plastic containers and fridged it (don't freeze potatoes; the texture goes yucky).]

I didn't manage to fit all the parboiled potatoes in the baking dish, so I sliced the remaining ones about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick, spread one side thinly with red pesto, and put them at the top of the oven on a greased baking tray until they had browned. Ooooooh, they were really really nice. I'll do these at a party sometime - they can be prepared well in advance and then popped into the oven to serve hot.



Didn't cook or eat anything exciting today; just snacks.


I made a double helping of tonight's pasta dish, and fridged half for tomorrow's lunch. The aubergine was done by slicing it thickly lengthwise, then rubbing it with a bit of good olive oil, and then cooking it on a ridged grill pan on top of the stove until it was soft and had black griddle marks on each side. Then I cut it into smaller strips and tossed it with the pasta. The garlic shoots were cut into short lengths and briefly steamed on top of the pasta pan. I seasonaed the pasta with a bit of oil left over from a jar of roasted artichoke hearts, plus a few chopped sundried tomatoes and some black pepper, celery salt and lemon juice. I didn't want to add pesto because I've been putting that into pretty much everything recently.


I decided to have a go at making samosas tonight, partly because that bag of potatoes didn't seem to have diminished, and partly because I had a packet of filo pastry sitting in the freezer waiting to be used.

I think I got the filling absolutely right. I peeled and parboiled a couple of potatoes and a large carrot (the carrot for less time than the potatoes). While this was happening, I fried a chopped onion in some peanut oil until nice and brown, then added some celery seed, some cumin seed, some black mustard seed and some black onion seed (I picked these spices because I had them in the cupboard and thought they'd go well together). Then I put in the cubed potatoes and carrots, and fried it all together a bit more, taking care not to mash the potatoes. At the end, I added a pinch of ground turmeric and mixed it in, then added some (still frozen) frozen peas and seasoned it with salt. This would make a nice little side dish on its own if you heated it through to cook the peas.

The pastry wasn't great, though - it had dried out in the freezer (possibly before I bought it, since I hadn't opened it) so was hard to work with. Also, I didn't want to deep-fry the samosas because I couldn't be bothered dealing with the clearup, so I brushed them with peanut oil and baked them instead. The result was OK - the filling stayed inside (and tasted great), but the pastry didn't crisp up at all.