No-egg omelette with asparagus (gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan)

Eggless_omelette_filled_with_roasted_British_asparagus
Egg-free omelette with roast asparagus. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Hello again. I hope you are keeping well. A simple recipe for you this week. Perfect for the time of year. It makes a lovely lunch or light supper, and more than anything else, it gives me the opportunity to show you how you really can make an omelette without breaking a single egg ūüôā

Ingredients_for_making_an_egg-free_vegan_omelette
Egg-less omelette ingredients. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

My chosen filling for the month of May would always be fresh asparagus. This magnificent vegetable has been available here, home-grown in the UK, for about 3 weeks now. And very delicious it is too. I roasted a few stems to eat with my omelette and then let the rest go cold to eat with a salad.

A_Union_Jack_design_pot_full_of_British_asparagus
British asparagus. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

To roast asparagus (I find thicker stems cook better this way), trim off the woody ends and lay out, spaced apart on a large lined baking tray. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes at 200¬įC, 180¬įC fan oven, gas 6 until tender. Drain and serve hot or cold.

3_steps_to_preparing_and_roasting_asparagus
Preparing and roasting asparagus. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

On with the recipe. I add chopped fresh herbs to the omelette mixture for colour and flavour. I have tried adding shredded leek and spring onion but found that they added water and changed the texture. A few tablespoons of chopped herbs is fine but anything more and the mixture may become more pancake-like. The aqua fava gives added lightness to the mixture which makes it less like a pancake batter. Leave this out if your prefer. By the way, if you’re not gluten-free, plain white flour can replace the tapioca flour.

Makes 4 small omelettes or 2 medium-sized

Ingredients

  • 75ml chickpea or bean water (aqua fava)
  • 50g tapioca flour
  • 50g gram (chickpea) flour
  • 3g gluten-free baking powder
  • ¬Ĺ tsp salt
  • 150ml dairy-free milk (I use oat milk)
  • 2 tbsp each freshly chopped parsley and chives
  • Sunflower oil for cooking
  1. Pour the chickpea water into a bowl and whisk for 2-3 minutes until thick and foamy.
  2. Sieve the flours, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Make a well in the centre and gradually blend in the milk to make a smooth batter.
  3. Scrape the whisked foam on top and add the herbs. Gently fold everything together until well blended.
  4. Brush a small crepe or frying pan (approx. 15cm base) with a little oil and heat until hot. Reduce the heat to low and pour in ¬ľ of the batter to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook over a medium/low heat for 2-3 minutes until bubbles form on top and the mixture is almost set. The omelette should be lightly golden underneath.
  5. Turn over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until cooked through. Turn onto baking parchment and cover with foil whilst preparing the other omelettes. Best served warm with your favourite filling.
    8_steps_to_preparing_and_cooking_egg-less_vegan_omelettes
    How to make an egg-less omelette. Images: Kathryn Hawkins
    Egg-less_vegan_omelette_filled_with_roasted_British_asparagus
    A perfect May-time lunch. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

    I hope you have a good few days ahead. Enjoy the fine weather if you have it and above all else, keep safe.

     

 

Spring vegetable pancake (Gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan)

Spring_vegetable_pancakes_with_grilled_fresh_asparagus
Spring vegetable pancake with new season asparagus. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

If you’ve read my previous posts at this time of the year, you’ll know that spring is my favourite season. Not just because I love the flowers and¬†the feeling¬†that everything is coming to life, but my favourite vegetable is¬†available right now¬†for a very short period of time, British asparagus.

Vase_of_fresh_British_asparagus_spears
Fresh British asparagus. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I rarely do very much with asparagus. I like to savour the tender green stems just as they are. Either a quick flash in¬†a hot¬†frying pan or a blast in a hot oven,¬†to give¬†them a subtle smokiness, and that’s all the extra flavour I need.

Fresh_British_asparagus_spears_cooking_in_a_hot_frying_pan
Fresh asparagus in a hot pan. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

This week’s recipe is based on¬†a Japanese dish called Okonomiyaki which caught my eye recently. Originally made with wheat flour and eggs, my version of the pancake¬†is gluten-free and egg-free. There’s a bit of vegetable preparation, but once that’s out of the way, everything else is very straightforward. The pancake makes a lovely lunch or light supper, and¬†is the perfect base for a topping of freshly cooked asparagus.

Spring_cabbage_spring_onions_and_fresh_asparagus
Spring-vegetables for pancake making. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

If you don’t want the hassle of a cooked topping, try sliced avocado and baby spinach or a pile of fresh pea shoots and wild rocket for a salad¬†topping instead. If you have the¬†inclination and the extra ingredients, I recommend making¬†the barbecue¬†dressing that accompanies the pancake. Utterly delicious, simple to make,¬†and far¬†tastier than any barbecue sauce I’ve ever been able to buy. A great¬†finishing touch to¬†any grilled or barbecued food.

Home-made_barbecue_dressing_ingredients_in_a_glass_bowl
Home-made barbecue dressing. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. flax seeds
  • 45g white rice flour
  • 50g dry white¬†free-from breadcrumbs
  • 75ml white miso or vegetable stock
  • 75g soft-leaved cabbage, such as Sweet-heart or Hispi, shredded
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 150g thin fresh asparagus stems, trimmed
  • Vegan mayonnaise to serve

For the barbecue dressing:

  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp gluten-free light soy sauce
  • ¬Ĺ tsp smoked paprika
  1. Put the flax seeds in a coffee grinder or small food processor and blend until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 6 tbsp. cold water. Leave to soak for 5 minutes by which time the mixture will thicken.
  2. Sift the rice flour on top and mix together with the stock to make a smooth batter.

    Flax_seeds_in_coffee_grinder_and_mixing_to_make_vegan_pancake_batter
    Making the pancake batter. Images: Kathryn Hawkins
  3. Add the cabbage, spring onion and breadcrumbs and mix everything together to make a thick, stiff batter Рadd a little water if the mixture is very dry, but this is not a pourable batter, it is more like a firm cake mixture.
  4. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a frying pan with a lid and add half the batter. Press the mixture to form a thick round approx. 16cm diameter. Fry over a medium heat with the lid on for 5 minutes. Carefully flip over, and cook on the other side, covered with the lid, for another 5 minutes. Drain and keep warm, whilst you cook the remaining mixture in the same way.

    3_images_showing_cooking_spring_vegetable_pancake
    Cooking spring vegetable pancake. Images: Kathryn Hawkins
  5. Once the pancakes are cooked, heat the remaining oil in the frying pan until hot and quickly cook the asparagus, turning, for 3-4 minutes until just wilted. Drain and keep warm.
  6. To serve, mix all the dressing ingredients together. Slip the pancakes on to warm serving plates and drizzle with mayonnaise and the barbecue dressing. Top with asparagus and serve immediately.
    Close-up_of_spring_vegetable_pancake_with_asparagus_on_top
    Asparagus-topped spring vegetable pancake. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

    Until next week, I’ll leave you with another image of my favourite vegetable. Have a good week and I look forward to seeing you next time ūüôā

    Close-up_of_British_aspagis_in_a_vas
    Early May British asparagus. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Soba noodles with fresh asparagus (gluten-free; dairy-free; vegan)

Bowl_of_soba_noodles_with_fresh_asparagus
Soba noodles with asparagus. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

 

It is the height of the home-grown British asparagus season right now, and I’m eating as much as I can while these fresh, green, juicy¬†stems are available to buy. I¬†rarely do anything fancy with asparagus,¬† just enjoy it on its own, steamed, griddled, or baked in the oven, and seasoned simply with a little salt and pepper. Delicious.

Bunch_of_fresh_British_asparagus
In season. British asparagus. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

This is a very simple, yet very tasty,¬†combination that makes a lovely light lunch or quick supper dish. If you want to make it in advance, it’s just as¬†good¬†eaten cold as a salad, or¬†boxed up¬†for a picnic or packed lunch.

Bottles_pf_sesame_oil_mirin_andTeriyaki marinade_with_a_bunch_of_soba_noodles
Three favourite seasonings for soba noodles. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

To serve 2: prepare 200g fresh asparagus spears by trimming away about 3cm of the stem Рthis is usually a bit woody and tough to eat. Then cut the rest of the stems into short lengths. Brush a non-stick frying pan with a little sunflower oil and heat until hot. Stir fry the asparagus for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Turn off the heat and add a good glug of gluten-free teriyaki marinade. Immediately cover with a lid and leave to stand. Leave to one side while you cook the noodles, or leave to cool completely for serving as a salad.

Preparation_of_fresh_asparagus_and_stir_frying
Trimming fresh asparagus, and stir-frying. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of unsalted water to the boil and add 100g soba (buckwheat) noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes until tender, then drain well and place in a heatproof bowl, or rinse in cold running water, and leave to drain and cool completely.

When ready to serve, toss the asparagus and pan juices into the noodles along with 4 tbsp. freshly chopped chives, ¬†2 teasp sesame oil and 1 tbsp. mirin. Pile into serving bowls and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy ūüôā

Soba_noodles_with_asparagus_Image_by_Kathryn_Hawkins

 

 

 

 

 

Asparagus and sesame sushi rice bars (gluten-free, dairy-free; vegan)

Sushi_rice_bars_topped_with_fresh_asparagus

Asparagus is my favourite¬†vegetable. It has been¬†highly prized since Roman times, and¬†it is peak asparagus season at the moment. I had my first taste of the new season’s¬†crop a couple of weeks ago¬†when I was¬†on holiday in Sussex, and I have¬†consumed quite a lot more since then!

The season here in the UK is brief: just  6 short weeks in late spring. In my mind, asparagus is one of the vegetables that tastes noticeably different when locally grown and freshly picked. The flavour is sweeter, fresher and nuttier than the varieties that are flown in all year round. I think it is well worth the wait each year and I am taking every opportunity to savour and enjoy it whilst these magnificent steams are available.

Freshly_harvested_British_asparagus
New season British asparagus. Image: Kathryn Hawkins
Fresh_asparagus_spears_in_a_glass_of_water
Keeping asparagus fresh. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

As with any vegetable, buy and eat asparagus as soon as possible after picking¬†to enjoy the freshest flavour and¬†juiciest texture. But if you do end up with more than you can eat, trim away the woody ends as you would with fresh flowers and pop the stems¬†in a vase or jug of cold water. Either store in a cool place or put in the fridge. This way, the stems will stay fresh for at least 48 hours. You can freeze it, but I really don’t like the softer¬†texture of frozen asparagus once it is cooked¬†– I think it over-cooks too easily –¬†however¬†it makes¬†the perfect base¬†for soup-making or blending with mayonnaise or very ripe avocado¬†for a dip, so it is worth freezing a few stems for this purpose alone.

Trimming_away_the_woody_end_from_fresh_asparagus_stems
Preparing fresh asparagus for cooking and keeping. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

I like my asparagus best when it has been griddled or roasted. Thin spears cook very quickly¬†in a hot, lightly oiled¬†frying pan or on¬†a griddle pan¬†brushed with oil. Larger stems are¬†good for¬†roasting¬†–¬† brush with oil and spread out on a lined baking tray, and bake in a moderately hot oven for 10-15 minutes. If you prefer to use water, try to cook the stems so that the tips stay out of the water. You can buy tall upright asparagus steamers if you’re a big asparagus fan – these enable you to stand the stems upright in bunches –¬†only the stalks are in the water¬†whilst the tops cook in the steam. Otherwise, steaming, covered,¬†over a saucepan of water is the next best way –¬†keep the cooking water to add to your recipe¬†as stock¬†if you’re making a soup or risotto.

Here’s my recipe for sushi rice bars¬†topped with asparagus tips¬†– a delicious light snack for a spring lunch. If you need to trim away lots of stalk to make this recipe,¬†keep the leftovers, and¬†either use them to make stock or soup, or slice them into thin rounds and add to a stir fry.

Sushi_rice_bars_topped_with_fresh_asparagus
Homemade asparagus and sesame sushi bars. Image: Kathryn Hawkins

Makes: 12

  • 150g sushi rice
  • 25g piece root ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1¬†tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped chives
  • 4 tsp¬†mirin, sweet sherry or white balsamic vinegar (Agredolce)
  • ¬ľ¬†tsp salt
  • 12¬†fine asparagus spears
  • Fresh chives and flowers to garnish

1. Double line a shallow 18cm square cake tin with cling film so that the film overhangs the sides. Rinse the rice in cold running water. Put in a small saucepan and pour over 200ml cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes undisturbed. Turn off the heat and leave to stand with the lid on for¬†20 minutes. It is worth checking the manufacturer’s cooking instructions for the particular rice you are using as¬†timings and water quantities¬†may vary between brands.

2. Meanwhile, peel the ginger and garlic and chop finely. Heat the vegetable oil in a small frying pan and gently fry for 2-3 minutes until softened but not browned. Leave aside.

3. When the rice is ready, scrape it into a heat-proof bowl and fork through to break up the grains. Add the ginger and garlic along with the seeds, chives, wine, sherry or vinegar and salt. Mix well.

4. Pile into the prepared tin, press down with the back of a spoon and leave to cool completely, then fold over the cling film and chill for 2 hours until firm.

Ingredients_and_preparation_of_seasoned_sticky_rice
Making seasoned sushi rice. Images: Kathryn Hawkins

5. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Trim the asparagus to approx. 8cm lengths and place in a steaming compartment over the water. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender Рinsert the tip of a sharp knife into the end of the stalk is a good way to check it is perfectly tender. Cool under cold running water, then drain, place on damp kitchen paper and chill until required.

6. To serve, remove the rice cake from the tin and remove the cling film. Place on a board, cut into 12 bars and arrange asparagus on top of each bar. If liked, wrap a length of chive stem around each piece and arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with chive flowers, and serve with wasabi paste if liked.

Spears_of_fresh_British_asparagus
New season fresh, British asparagus spears. Image: Kathryn Hawkins