Groat Sausages 2.0

Last October we veganized a groat sausages recipe from an old cookbook. They became rather soft and fell easily apart. Here’s an improved recipe. The texture is tighter, so they’re easier to handle, and lentils make them better nutritionally. The sausages have a mild flavour like traditional groat sausages, but the recipe could be easily revamped into more spicy version. We had these with potatoes, green salad and tomato slices. Mustard and ketchup are also nice accompaniments for the sausages.

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Groat and Lentil Sausages

1 l water
2,5 dl broken barley
2,5 dl red lentils
1 onion
0,6 dl oil
5 dl soy milk
2-3 tsp salt
0,5 tsp ginger
0,5 tsp all spice
4,5 dl vital wheat gluten

Bring the water to boil. Add barley and lentils and simmer 20-30 minutes, or until barley is soft and lentils are mushy. Stir in the soy milk and allow to cool. Chop the onion and fry in oil until browned. Mix all the ingredients together. Take a pieces of aluminium foil , put some sausage mixture on them and wrap as tightly as you can. Bake in 175 Celsius degrees for 1-1,5 hours, depending the size of your sausages. Fry the sausages on a pan or bake them in the oven without the foil until browned before serving.

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Sausage Sunday

Between one of the old cookbooks was a leaflet called “Sausage, a good nutritious food-ingredient”. It’s not as old as the cookbook, I’d guess it’s from the 70’s. Today we veganized a casserole recipe from the leaflet. It was a quick, easy and tasty meal, so this recipe is definitely a keeper in our kitchen.

Sausage and Vegetable Casserole

1 package (280 g) soy sausages
1 small cauliflower
3 dl frozen vegetables
margarine (and/or oil)
3 tbsp wheat flour
1 dl oat or soy cream
2,5 dl oat or soy milk
salt and pepper

Boil the cauliflower until tender. Slice the sausages and fry them in margarine or oil until browned. Melt 2 tbsp margarine in a pot and stir in wheat flour. Add half of the cream, mix well, add rest of the cream, mix again and add the milk in several batches. Simmer 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Grease an oven proof dish and put cauliflower florets, sausages and frozen vegetables in it. Pour the sauce on them. Bake 20-30 minutes in 225 Celsius degrees.

Homemade Sausages

Nowadays groat sausages contain meat, but a century ago they were often meat free and their main ingredient was barley. They were far from vegan, since they included animal fat and guts. We found a groat sausage recipe from “Kansan kotiruoka ja kotitalous”, and thought it would be easy to veganize, since there weren’t any meat in it. The sausages were okay, but the recipe could be improved. We already talked about replacing half of the barley with beans or lentils next time. But here’s the first version with potato pancakes, lingonberry jam and salad.

Groat Sausages

1 l water
5 dl broken barley
1 onion
0,6 dl oil
5 dl soy milk
2-3 tsp salt
0,5 tsp ginger
0,5 tsp all spice
2 dl vital wheat gluten

Bring the water to boil. Add barley and simmer 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool. Chop the onion and fry in oil until browned. Mix all the ingredients together. Take a pieces of aluminium foil , put some sausage mixture on them and wrap as tightly as you can (the mixture is quite wet, so you probably won’t be able to wrap them very tightly). Bake in 175 Celsius degrees for 1-1,5 hours, depending the size of your sausages. Fry the sausages on a pan or bake them in the oven without the foil until browned before serving.

Swedish Movie Night

On Saturday we had a Swedish movie night with our friends. The Russian movie night couple of months ago was in our home, and this time we went to their home. First we drank snaps, Akvavit of course. But we didn’t sing any Swedish snap songs. Akvavit was very good, it tasted like fennel with a hint of caraway seeds.

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After the snaps, we had awesome pea soup. Seriously, it must have been the best pea soup I’ve ever had. Our friend had simmered it 5-6 hours, maybe that’s the secret of her soup. We couldn’t find any mellanöl or other Swedish beer, so we had porter instead.

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We also had crisp bread and new Alpro soy margarine.

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When we had finished our soup and bread, we watched the movie. Our friends had chosen Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend buying/renting/borrowing a copy. Or if you have already seen it, you can watch it again.

After the film we had the main course. It was pyttipanna made with potatoes, onion, habanero and soy sausages. As a side dish we had cucumbers, which were similar to these Vinegar cucumbers, but they were made only with water, salt and dill.

For the dessert we had coffee and vanilla buns made with a recipe by The Vegan Swedes.

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We had great time eating and watching the movie. Now we’ll have to decide which country we choose next. Finnish cuisine is strongly influenced by Russian and Swedish cuisines and all the food we’ve made for our movie nights are commonly eaten in Finland too. Maybe next time we’ll have a country that is not so close to us.

Leftovers in a Pan

Pyttipanna (pyttipannu in Finnish, pannu=pan) is a popular way to use leftovers in Northern Europe. Usually it’s made of potatoes and sausages, but you can use nearly anything. This one is made with potatoes, onion, brown beans and frozen vegetable mixture.

Pyttipanna

Boiled potatoes
Vegan sausage, beans, tofu or seitan
1-2 onions
oil or margarine for frying
salt and pepper
paprika

And whatever you happen to have or want to use: frozen, canned or cooked vegetables, garlic, chili, more spices etc.

Peel the potatoes, onions and garlic. Cube the potatoes and sausages/tofu/seitan (and vegetables). Chop the onion and garlic. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry until potatoes are browned. Add beans and frozen veggies in the end of frying. Serve with ketchup and mustard, and maybe pickled beets and cucumbers or some relish.

Vegan Sausage Gravy

I grew up eating Brown Sauce (gravy) and I still love it. Brown Sauce is quick and simple to make, but I had to practice few times until I learnt to make good sauce. Brown sauce is versatile: you can eat it with potatoes or use it to reheat veggie balls/patties. Or you can add sausage or seitan cubes to turn into a different dish. Here’s our Sausage Gravy with boiled potatoes.

I usually don’t put cream into brown sauce, but we had opened package in the fridge and had to use the cream before it goes bad. Soy sauce is also good in the sauce, but I wouldn’t use it with cream. If you skip the sausages and cream from the recipe, you get the basic brown sauce. You may want to make it a bit thicker if you don’t mix anything in it, so use little more margarine and flour.

Sausage Gravy

4 vegan sausages (I used Vegan Dad’s recipe)
3 tbsp margarine
3 tbsp wheat flour
5 dl water
pinch of salt and pepper
2 tbsp ketchup
1 dl oat cream or 1 tbsp soy sauce (optional)

Cube the sausages. Melt 1 tbsp margarine in a frying pan and fry sausages until nicely browned. Transfer into a pot. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp margarine and add the flour. Fry until the flour is well browned. It has to be quite dark, it’s probably ready when you think it’s going to burn any second. Add the water and stir vigorously. Add the rest of the ingredients. Pour on the sausages, bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes or so. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes.

There are couple of chances to screw up. If you don’t fry the flour long enough, the sauce will be pale, but you can cheat by adding soy sauce. When you add the water the sauce easily gets lumpy, but there’s some tricks to avoid it. 1. Take the pan off from the stove. 2. Use hot water. If you’re boiling potatoes, use the water from the potato pot. 3. Don’t add all the water at once, it’s easier to stir smooth that way. 4. If your sauce is lumpy, you can try to get rid of the lumps with whisk. If it’s still a little lumpy, you probably won’t notice the lumps when eating.

Cooking with the Sopranos

We have been watching Sopranos DVDs and usually the food they eat looks so delicious. So we borrowed The Sopranos Family Cookbook from the local library. I wouldn’t buy this book, because most of the recipes include meat, but I like to have it at home for a month. Few recipes are already almost vegan, you just need to sprinkle vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast on top of the dish instead of  dairy cheese. Some recipes need more substituting to make them vegan and some recipes are completely useless. I have tried only one recipe so far, and it included four kinds of meat! Pork and veal were used only for flavour, the meat pieces were removed before serving, so they were easy to substitute. The other two meats were sausages and meatballs, which were easy to veganize. The soy ball recipe makes loads of balls, so you may want to make only half.

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Sopranos Style Lasagne

Lasagne pasta
Tofu ricotta
2 dl oat cream + 1,5 dl nutritional yeast (or melting soy cheese)
1-2 dl Parmazano or other vegan parmesan

Tomato sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
2 sausages
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp tomato puré
3 cans of crushed tomatoes
2 dl water
1 vegetable bouillon cube (I used herbs and garlic flavoured)
salt and pepper
6 basil leaves, chopped

Soy balls

3 dl textured soy protein
vegetable broth
2 dl bread crumbs
1 potato
1 dl wheat flour
1 garlic clove, minced
1 onion, chopped
0,5 dl nutritional yeast
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
2 tbsp oil + more for frying

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot. Fry the sausages until they are brown from every side and put them on a plate. Throw the garlic cloves to the pot and fry couple of minutes or until they are browned. Remove from the pot and eat them. Fry the tomato puré for a minute and add crushed tomatoes. Add water, boullion cube, salt and pepper. Stir in basil and sausages. Bring to boil, cover the pot partly and simmer for 2 hours, stirring from time to time. Add more water if necessary.

Meanwhile make the soy balls. Put the soy protein into a bowl, add some broth and stir with fork. Keep stirring and add more broth until the soy protein is moist. Remember that it’s easier to add broth than remove it, so add only little bit at time. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients and mix with your hands. Make small balls, about size of a grape. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the balls from every side.

When the sauce has been simmering for two hours, add the soy balls and simmer 30 more minutes. Remove the balls and sausages from the sauce and add water if the sauce is very thick. I had to add several desilitres, because the sauce for lasagne must be much thinner than the sauce that is eaten with cooked pasta. Slice the sausages.

Lightly grease a lasagne dish and spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom. Put a layer of pasta on them, then some soy balls and sausage slices, spoon tomato sauce on them, then  1/4 of Tofu ricotta and few tbsp nutritional yeas mix and  parmazano. Make the rest of the layers the same way. After two layers my dish was nearly full, and I decided to put fewer balls and rest of the sausages on the last layer. I thought I’d freeze the rest of the balls and sauce. But I couldn’t even put the last layer of pasta to the dish, because it was this full:

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I still had some sauce and quite a lot of soy balls and cheeses left, and thought that I could make more lasagne and freeze that instead of balls and sauce. I added one more can of crushed tomatoes to the sauce, because there wasn’t enough left for another lasagne. This time I managed to put layer of pasta on the top, and spread rest of the tomato sauce and nutritional yeast mix and sprinkled some parmazano on it.

Bake in 175 cesius degrees for 45 minutes.