Vegan Liver Pâté: Better Than It Sounds

Christmas is now almost at its end, with just two more days of my holiday left. Most of it has been spent with Jo’s mum in the north of Sweden, doing as little as possible and trying to relax. Thankfully we were in a perfect place to take it easy. Few distractions and a few days of minus twenty degrees saw to it that I spent many an hour either film watching, playing the ukulele or reading.

There is a downside to this luxurious living. In fact, there are a few. Like having no internet connection and a lousy, painstakingly slow 3G connection. Or having to wash dishes in the bathtub. Or having the nearest shop be fifteen kilometres away. Inconveniences that, had we stayed there for a longer period, would have become major points of irritation. As it was, they were bearable problems.

Of the presents that were received or given, my favourite ones are the cookbooks: three in total. I got A Vegan Taste of East Africa and Chloe’s Kitchen, both of which I had asked for. The East Africa cookbook does not look so inspiring, with many recipes using the same five or six ingredients. I am, however, hopeful that some good can come of it. Just because the ingredients are simple does not necessarily mean the recipes will be bland. Chloe’s Kitchen is more appealing from the start, offering slightly more complex recipes, like jalapeño cornbread poppers with whipped maple butter or eggplant timbales. All of which brings me to the actual point of this entry.

Jo tried a recipe for vegan liver pâté whilst we were there. A recipe that she had found on who, in its turn, had found it from a cookbook dating back to the beginning of the forties, where wartime rationing led to some inventive usage of available goods. While the list of ingredients does not sound inspiring, the end result was fantastic: a mild tasting pâté set off by the pungent yeast (we used 50g, but for the next attempt I think we will use 25-30g, for no other reason than to compare).

5dl oat milk
75g melted margarine
2dl rolled oats
1dl breadcrumbs
1dl fresh parsley
1dl chopped onion
30-50g fresh yeast
1tbsp soya sauce
¼-½ vegetable bouillon cube
½-1tsp dried marjoram
2ml ground cloves
salt (possibly)

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and let it stand for a few minutes to allow the yeast to activate. Mix with a hand mixer to a smooth consistency. Pour the mixture into an oiled bread pan. Bake for one hour at 175 degrees.

Both Jo and I love the taste, whilst the girls may need a little more convincing (less yeast, maybe?). Hopefully in the near future we can do away with the pricy Tartex spreads that the girls like so much.

Fried Beans

Stockholm has recently started giving out a number of two year licenses to twenty food trucks. Until this decision came about, the people of the city had to put up with a dirge of hot dog vendors, causing some discussion amongst carnivores about the state of fast food, and causing dismay amongst the vegan community about a similar (if not in different terms) thing.

Since Stockholm Council has issued the golden tickets, we have tried a couple of them, the most recent being El Taco Truck. We sampled the refried beans in mini tortillas, which turned out very nice, if not a little expensive for what was offered. It was enough for me to come home and dig out a recipe for fried beans that I saved.

2 x 190g cans kidney beans
½ dl neutral oil
1 silver onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ red chilli, finely chopped
2 tbs creme fraiche
1 sprig coriander
salt and black peppar

Fry onion, garlic and chilli on a low heat until onions are soft. Add beans and creme fraiche, heating up whilst stirring. Mash bean mixture, adding lime, coriander and seasoning to taste.

The recipe is exceptionally simple to make, giving a wonderfully mild taste. Definitely worth while doing again, maybe next time with pinto beans.

Jämtland Bean Burgers

Our summer holiday in the north of Sweden has been, thus far, more like a rainy autumn week. We have ventured outside as much as we dare, though the inclement weather has given Jo the justification she requires to continue the renovation of our house.

We have also taken time to evaluate the contents of mormor’s fridge, freezer and food cupboards (I believe her house is old enough to include a “pantry”). She has accumulated far too much food for her own requirements, so I have taken it upon myself to decrease the amount of extra ingredients she has, at the same time making cheap meals for the family.

I get a good feeling from making food out of otherwise forgotten bags, packets and tins that lie hidden away. Some of the items found have gone past the best before date. This does not overly concern us, as long as any item looks, smells and tastes ok. There have been a few, however, that have not got to the taste test, being some eight to ten years old.

The other day I tested a burger recipe that was very loosely based on a few recipes I had seen, using up some leftover bulgar and a couple of packets of precooked beans. I cannot remember exactly the quantities, as I was not convinced the recipe would a) hold together when fried b) taste nice. I was greatly surprised that the burgers were tasty enough that even Freya liked them. As a note to myself, the recipe goes more or less so:

Fry half a finely chopped onion and add to 2dl bulgar (precooked with a bullion cube). Add tomato paste, garlic salt, dried Italian herbs and one packet each of half mashed black beans and butter beans. To make the correct consistency, add breadcrumbs. Form burgers to falafel size and fry on medium heat with a little oil.

Tofu Salad

I’ve recently been trying a number of new recipes that held the promise of entertaining the tastebuds. Sadly, many of them failed to impressive, leaving disappointment as an aftertaste. One recipe that did have Jo and I wanting more came from The Sexy Vegan Diet, which in turn got it from Tofu Salad. The recipe is not strictly raw food because of the inclusion of tofu, though we are not complaining.

2 packets of tofu
2½ dl vegan mayonnaise
4 tbs finely chopped onion
1¼ dl grated carrots
¾ dl parsley
4 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbs dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

I think that the above amounts make the recipe to heavy, so I take less mayonnaise and add a bit more carrot. The end result is still rather stodgy, though. I also omitted the parsley, having none at hand. We have also tired it with black salt powder (kala namak), to give it an eggy taste, which works very well.

On A (Gluten Free) Roll

Not only two blog entries in one day, but another success in the kitchen. I found a recipe for Creamy Tuna Pasta today, and, with a few modifications, it turned out very nice, thank you.

I used an 85g bag of vegan tuna, bog standard tomato purée instead of sundried tomatoes, halved the amount of peas (though will omit them in the future to make it child friendly, and did not add any capers. Oh, and the fresh parsley became a smidgeon of dried parsley. I don’t know what semi-dried tomatoes are, but took sun-dried tomatoes instead. Didn’t seem to hurt the overall dish.

350g fettuccine or spaghetti
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup (250ml) thin cream
2 tbs sundried tomato paste
425g can tuna in oil, drained
1 cup (150g) frozen peas
1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
100g semi-dried tomatoes
2 tsp capers, rinsed, drained


Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and toss with half the oil.

Heat remaining oil in a large frypan over medium heat, add onion and cook 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in cream and paste, add tuna and peas. Heat gently for 1-2 minutes. Stir in half the parsley with the tomatoes and capers, add pasta and season. Stir until just heated through. Serve sprinkled with remaining parsley.