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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Recipes with vegetable broth

07May 12

Basic Seitan Recipe

Basic Seitan RecipeSometimes I like to vary from using tofu because a lot of my non-vegetarian friends claim that it can be quite bland and sometimes has a strange texture (although this really depends on whether you know how to cook it properly). They also say that it doesn’t resemble meat in taste or in texture.


On the other hand, I’ve never heard anyone make similar complaints about seitan, also known as “Wheat-Meat“, which is nice and chewy and really does resemble meat a bit.  The price, however, is a bit abusive if you buy it at the shop, so here’s a basic seitan recipe which will make about four times as much for the same price.

I personally like using seitan in hearty seitan stewstir-fries, or even fried and eaten in a bun like a hamburger.  It’s very filling and really not all that hard to make, and once you get the hang of it, you can try other spices to make your own personalised flavour.

What you’re going to need:

  • 250ml wheat gluten
  • 180ml vegetable broth for the seitan mix.
  • 30ml soy sauce
  • 5ml ginger powder
  • 5ml garlic powder
  • 1.5 litres vegetable broth for cooking
  • 4 onion slices
  • 3 slices fresh ginger

What you have to do:

  1. Mix together the wheat gluten, ginger powder and garlic powder in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix the soy sauce and 180 ml of vegetable broth in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the soy sauce mixture to the gluten and spice mixture, stirring gently with a spoon and then with your hands until they are well blended.
  4. Kneed the dough gently10-15 times on a flat, clean surface.
  5. Let the dough set for 5 minutes, then kneed again 4 more times.
  6. Separate the dough into 4 chunks and stretch into 2 cm thick cutlets.
  7. Bring the cooking broth to a boil in a large stockpot with the onion and ginger slices.
  8. Add the cutlets to the broth and simmer slowly, covered, for 60 minutes.
  9. When the cutlets are expanded and firm, they’re ready.
  10. Place the cutlets in plastic containers and fill up with broth.
  11. The seitan can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 8

Difficulty: Medium

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16Apr 12

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

This rich, creamy potato and leek soup is a classic French dish which can be served either hot or cold.  When served cold, the French call it vichyssoise, which certainly sounds a lot better than cold leek soup!  In any case, it’s equally delicious either way, even if the whipped cream, butter and milk probably do make it somewhat fattening.  If you’re on a diet, you can substitute the whipped cream for evaporated skim milk and either eliminate the butter or replace it with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.

It’s very important to make sure you don’t boil the soup after adding the cream, as this will cause it to curdle.  The same precaution needs to be taken when reheating.  This rule applies of course to any recipe with cream or milk.  For a vegan-friendly version, I imagine you can substitute the cream, butter and milk for soy or rice versions of the same, although I’ve never tried this, so I can’t guarantee the results.


What you’re going to need:

  • 3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 medium-sized leeks, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced (do not use the tough, dark green part)
  • 1 litre vegetable broth
  • 300ml cold water
  • 125ml whipping cream (add up to an  extra 125ml of milk if you like your soup thin)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • chopped chives to garnish

What you have to do:       


  1. Combine the potatoes, leeks, vegetable broth, and water in a large heavy pot or saucepan.
  2. Cover the pot and bring to the boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Without draining off the broth, mash the vegetables in the pan with a vegetable (potato) masher until they are fairly smooth. (If they do not mash easily, the soup has not cooked long enough. In this case, let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes longer.)
  5. Add the cream, butter, salt, and pepper.
  6. Heat the soup just to the boiling point, but don’t let it boil.
  7. Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with the chopped chives.

Note: If you want a bit of spice in your soup, try this pumpkin soup with curry and Garam Masala.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Easy

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06Apr 12

Crepes Stuffed with Ricotta and Courgette

Crepes stuffed with ricotta and courgetteThey’re cheesy, chewy and delicious, and you’re going to love them.  What more can I say?! Prefer fruit over vegetables? Try these crepes suzette with oranges.

What you’re going to need:

For the crepes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 100g flour

For the filling:

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium-sized courgettes, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
  • 25g butter
  • 25g flour
  • 300ml milk, heated with 1 bay leaf, 1/2tsp ground nutmeg and 3tbsp diced onion
  • 2tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 200g Ricotta cheese
  • 50g Parmesan cheese
  • 300ml vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter to grease the  baking dish

What you have to do:

For the crepes:

  1. Beat together the eggs and milk with an electric blender for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the flour and continue mixing for about a minute or until the mixture is smooth and thick.
  3. Let set for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat a bit of butter or oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  5. Drop about two tablespoons of batter onto the frying pan and fry for 1 minute, flip over and fry 1 minute more.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the batter.  You should end up with around 10 crepes.

For the filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the courgette and garlic for a few minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.
  3. Drain off any excess oil with kitchen towel and set aside.
  4. Heat the butter in a saucepot over low heat, add the flour and stir well to form a smooth paste.
  5. Add about a third of the hot milk mixture, stirring constantly until the sauce is nice and smooth.
  6. Add the rest of the milk mixture while continuing to stir; keep at it until smooth.
  7. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
  8. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Add the courgette and garlic to the sauce along with the ricotta and half the Parmesan.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Fill the crepes with the filling, using a spoon.
  11. Roll them up and lay them out on a buttered baking sheet/dish.
  12. Pour the vegetable broth over the top and sprinkle on the rest of the Parmesan.
  13. Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes.
  14. Serve hot.

Preparation Time:  30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves:  4-6

Difficulty: Hard

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