vegetarian cooking

Peanut butter and dark treacle popcorn

Posted on May 21, 2020 at 4:20 pm

This is one of those tweak recipes that makes you go WOW. It’s sweet, salty, savoury, and with a touch of bitterness. It’s also gluten free and vegan. Feel free to substitute to cater for allergies.

This recipe makes a decent snack size portion for 2 to 3 people. It’s also quite filling!

  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 cup dark treacle (or molasses, or honey, each will change the overall flavour)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • heavy pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • Pop the popcorn via your preferred method. I stick it in the microwave on popcorn setting.

    While the popcorn is popping, put the treacle and the sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once it’s boiling, add a heavy pinch of salt. Stir in the 1/2 cup peanut butter, bring back to the boil and then take off the heat.

    Decant the popcorn into a large bowl. Pour over the treacle / peanut butter mix and stir. Allow to cool before you destroy it!

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    Sweet potato and chickpea curry

    Posted on September 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

    2 medium red onions, peeled
    1 clove garlic, peeled
    1 bird’s eye pepper, Thai chili or other very hot small pepper with its seeds
    1 2 ½ to 3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
    3 tbsp vegetable oil
    ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
    ½ tsp ground ginger
    1 tsp ground coriander
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
    3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed or 1 tsp ground cardamom
    Salt to taste
    2 pounds (about 3 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ to 1 inch cubes (I am a scrub and chop skin-on kind of guy)
    1 ¾ cups coconut milk (one can)
    1 tbsp tamarind paste
    2 ¼ cups hot vegetable broth
    4 to 5 cups (about 4 cans) cooked chickpeas
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves

    1. In a food processor, combine onions, garlic hot pepper and ginger. Pulse until finely chopped. Place oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add chopped onion mixture and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
    2. Add hot pepper flakes and spices. Stir to mix. Add sweet potatoes and stir until well covered in spices. Stir in coconut milk.
    3. Dissolve tamarind paste in hot broth and add to pan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until sweet potatoes are just tender, about 25 minutes
    4. Add chickpeas and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust salt to taste. Serve over rice.

    Note on spiciness: this dish comes out medium hot to hot in terms of spice. You can swap out the bird peppers for jalapenos, or even omit the added chilli altogether if you want to make it more to the medium spice. You can also add sour cream or yoghurt to the dish to reduce the heat.

    The chickpeas are rich in many trace minerals your body needs. The sweet potatoes are ridiculously good for you from the perspective of fibre, minerals, vitamins, etc. This recipe is also trivially easy to double in size if you need to serve a large group, or just want lots of leftovers. It also tastes awesome.

    Buying everything in the store (the no other option way)
    2lb sweet potatoes at 99c/lb (I often get them for half that price)
    onions – about 50c
    chickpeas – $1.19 a can
    coconut milk – $1.39 to $2.39 a can
    vegetable broth – tends to be around 79c a quart
    spices, ginger, etc – about $1
    Total store cost: around $10.50

    Doing it the Addicted To Canning way
    sweet potatoes – $2
    chickpeas – 2 pints – 50c
    onions – 50c
    coconut milk bought from ethnic stores – $1.09
    spices, ginger, etc – about $1
    vegetable broth – made from leftovers, so basically 0c
    Total AtC cost: around $5.09

    Just by canning your own chickpeas and vegetable stock, you can more than halve the cost of the dish.

    The cost per serving of this ridiculously good for you dish, based on 6 to 8 servings:
    STORE BOUGHT – $1.32 to $1.75 per serving
    AtC WAY: $0.64 to $0.85 per serving

    It’s cheap, healthy, vegan, tastes awesome, and if you serve it over basmati rice it is complete protein.

    What more can I say?

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    Deliciously cheap burgers

    Posted on April 15, 2011 at 8:18 am

    So, not that you have some canned beans, what are you going to make with them?

    How about bean burgers? Laughably cheap and really easy? Of course!


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked beans (any variety), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or whatever other seed or nut you fancy, chopped to sunflower seed size
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot or other vegetable
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or other grain
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • breadcrumbs or wheat germ for dredging
  • Optional seasonings: 1/4 teaspoon thyme, rosemary; 1 teaspoon chili powder; 1/2 teaspoon cumin; black pepper; hot sauce; garlic salt
  • optional: 1 tablespoon milled flax seed
  • Mash up the beans as best you can with a large spoon against the side of the bowl. Use a food processor if you like, but the beans you canned should be fairly soft and squishy already.

    Mix all other ingredients except the breadcrumbs into the mashed beans. Add any of the seasonings you want – I put in a couple of hefty splashes of Tabasco(R) sauce, a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs, and some garlic salt.

    The mix should be very sticky – if it’s watery add some more oatmeal, if it’s crumbly add some more liquid. Try the mix to see if it needs any more seasoning.

    Shape the mix into patties. I got about 8 large patties out of my mix, but the quantity will vary depending on how you shape the patty. Coat the patties with the bread crumbs or wheat germ and let them sit for a while for the crumbs to adhere properly to the surface of the burger – 5 to 10 minutes or so.

    Heat up your frying pan with a little oil in it – olive or sunflower will add lots of healthy fats to the burgers.

    Fry on both sides till Golden Brown and Delicious – it’ll take 3-4 minutes per side.
    Serve as you would any other burger!

    Health benefits: as well as all the benefits from the beans, the oatmeal and brown rice have lots of fibre as well as trace minerals and nutrients. The seeds and nuts add more of the essential amino acids, minerals and nutrients our bodies need. Flax seeds add omega-3 essential fatty acids.

    Cost estimate: 25c for a pint jar of beans (because you made them yourself, right?); the sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or whatever other seed or nut will vary, but let’s say about 10c. The onion, carrot, or whatever other veggie will come to about 10c. The other seasonings, rice, etc – let’s say about 25c. Throw in another 25c for things I am uncertain how much they cost at the teaspoon-out-of-a-jar-that-cost-a-dollar.

    About 95 cents for 8 large, healthy, low fat burgers that taste amazing (take it from this carnivore, they are DELICIOUS), are packed with dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins, and more protein than you can shake a stick at? What are you waiting for – make some today!

    With thanks to the lovely and talented Hilah for the recipe (warning: some adult language).

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    Pressure canning – beans

    Posted on April 14, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Beans are a powerful ally in living frugally. They have the best “bang for the buck” in terms of nutritional return for money: insoluble and soluble fiber, high in protein, complex carbohydrates, folate, and iron. Once you get a stockpile of dried and canned beans in your pantry you are opening up new vistas of frugal, healthy, and stupidly cheap food.

    Start with 2lbs of dry beans – any type, any combination. I started with 1lb of dried black beans and 1lb of dried kidney beans. Sort through the dried beans discarding any that are broken or that are stones masquerading as beans. Wash them in lots of cold water and place them in a large pot with enough water to cover them by 1 inch / 2.5cm. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Allow the beans to stand for 1 hour in the hot water.

    You now have a choice: discard, or don’t discard, the water. Many recipes recommend discarding the water and starting again with fresh as this reduces the amount of oligosaccharides, which are responsible for the… fragrant!… reputation that beans have. The water also contains trace minerals and nutrients, so I leave it up to you to decide which is more important for you.

    Two pounds of dried beans will yield you between 6 and 10 pint jars of ready-to-use beans, depending on which ones you go for. The black/kidney bean mix I did yielded 8 pint jars, at a cost per jar of 25 cents. Most of the cans in the stores are done by weight rather than volume, but they probably contain about 1.5 cups of cooked beans, usually at around 50 cents to over a dollar in price.

    Put the squeeze on those bad boys for 75 minutes per pint jar, 90 minutes per quart jar. The National Center For Home Food Preservation is an absolutely essential reference for those of you above 1000ft.

    Beans. Full of nutrition. Good for you in multiple different ways. Work well with vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore cuisine. Laughably cheap and stupidly easy to prepare. What more do you need to know?

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