Category: Recipes

Creamy Mushroom Carbonara – Compassionate Kitchen Crew – cooking class review

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

Apologies for my long time absence on here. I am still alive, but I’ve not been too well and as a result I’m probably not going to be as regular updating this little space as I’d like to be. 

A couple of week’s ago, I was invited along to attend the Compassionate Kitchen Crew’s cookery class and what a great evening it was! The Compassionate Kitchen Crew are made up of Becky and Sarah, two beautiful ladies who are doing a great job of making plant-based cooking accessible to those who are either looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into their lives or who are thinking of making the transition to a fully vegan lifestyle.

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

As I drove up the road, I was on the look out for a village hall, but Sarah hosts the class in her beautiful home in Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire. With her family around her, and gorgeous spaniel, you’re soon made to feel very at welcome gathered around their kitchen island. Becky does a great job taking you through the process of cooking a couple of dishes, based around one ingredient. The class I went to focused on cashew nuts, and we were treated to a delicious Creamy Mushroom Carbonara (see recipe below) made with a cashew creamy sauce, and a beautiful Blueberry Cheesecake. Ingredients that might be a bit unusual are explained, and questions are totally encouraged! Class sizes are limited to six, so there is no hiding at the back, and you’ll come away having had a lovely evening, having spent it with some wonderful people, having eaten some delicious food – and got some new recipes up your sleeves to try out in your own kitchen! And a total winner was we were given an extra slice of cheesecake to take home!

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

If plant-based eating is all a bit new to you then this is perfect for you! Make sure you book early because classes get full quickly. October classes are looking at Chickpeas, November – Tofu and December – Cranberries. And I’m sure there will be plans for classes in 2018!

Here’s the recipe for the delicious mushroom carbonara. 

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

Creamy Mushroom Carbonara
Serves 4 

Mushroom marinade:
1/3 cup tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tspn liquid smoke
4 large flat mushrooms (sliced)

Cream sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 cup cashews (soaked)
1 cup plant milk
1 cup silken tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 cup of frozen peas
400g pasta
Rocket
Vegan parmesan

  • Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and coat the sliced mushrooms
  • Tip bowl contents into a wok and fry (no need for oil)
  • Take out and set aside for later
  • Blend soaked cashews, milk, tofu and nutritional yeast in a food processor
  • Heat the oil in the wok and add the crushed garlic, fry gently so as not to burn the garlic
  • Add the creamy mixture and stir in with the garlic oil
  • Add the cooked pasta and stir in well in coat the pasta in the sauce
  • Add in the peas and mushrooms and stir for 3-4 minutes until peas are cooked through
  • Serve with rocket leaves and grated vegan parmesan.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

 

Raspberry and Thyme Shrub

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the launch of the summer issue of the Chilterns Food Magazine at the beautiful Wild Strawberry Cafe at Peterley Manor Farm (well worth a visit if you’re out these ways), celebrating food from the local area. The Chilterns sits just to the north-west of London, and it’s where i’m lucky to call my home. It’s one of those places that often sits in the shadows of the Cotswolds, but the Chiltern Hills definitely stands alone as a scenic place to live. Chilterns Food Magazine celebrates all things local, and I’m a firm believer that food should be as seasonal and local as your purse and lifestyle dictates, whether you’re vegan or not.

The drink recipes in this magazine have got my thirst needing to be well and truly quenched, and having never heard of a ‘shrub’ before seeing this recipe, although a little time-consuming, looks well worth the effort. It turns out “shrubs were originally colonial drinks, the name coming from the Arabic word sharab which simply means, to drink. They are made from fruit, sugar and vinegar and are left to ferment and infuse, sometimes overnight, sometimes for longer.”

Raspberry and Thyme Shrub
Makes approx 500ml

2 cups of raspberries
1 cup of raw cane sugar
8 thyme sprigs
1 cup of apple cider vinegar

  • Wash and slice the raspberries and mix with the sugar in a bowl, cover and leave to infuse for two days.
  • Put the thyme sprigs in a non-reactive container (so not metallic) and cover with the apple cider vinegar (use unpasteurized otherwise you get a cloudy drink), cover and leave in a cool dark place for two days.
  • Strain the raspberres through a non-metallic strainer and pour the vinegar over the top.
  • Place the combined shrub into a sealed glass bottle give it a good old shake then leave in your fridge for a week before using.

This method is a slightly longer process but the way the flavours combine make the effort worthwhile.

To get your Gin game on, find your local provider of Gin and add 50ml of gin with 30ml of this shrub!

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Recipe from: Chilterns Food Magazine
Photography: Jamie Orlando Smith

Raspberry Vegan Victoria Sponge

I turned vegan nearly four years ago. Around that time I made my sister a vegan victoria sponge not to dissimilar to the one below. I was determined to not miss out on the food I was used to. To be honest, when I made the decision to give go vegan most people thought it was a phase, even I probably wasn’t wholly convinced how long I’d be able to stick to it. But, here I am, four years on and I haven’t looked back. Sure, there is food I miss occasionally, but not enough to warrant me eating it.

I made this cake last week to celebrate my friend’s birthday. It’s not quite a true Victoria sponge, as I popped some raspberries into the sponge mixture, creating quite a dense and moist sponge rather than light and fluffy one. But, needless to say it was a success and very much enjoyed, so I thought I’d share it. I used some almond soya yoghurt and it gives it a delicious hint of almonds, reminiscent of a bakewell tart – perfect!

Raspberry Vegan Victoria Sponge

300g plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
150g caster sugar
100ml vegetable oil
1 tspn vanilla extract
250ml almond soya yoghurt
100ml oat milk

For the icing:
100g vegan margarine
150g icing sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract

2 tbsp Strawberry jam
225g Raspberries
100g Strawberries

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line a 7 inch cake tin.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder and sugar.
  • Add the oil, yoghurt, vanilla extract and milk and stir together. Add half of the raspberries.
  • Pour the mixture into the cake tin, and cook in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. 
  • Once cooled cut the cake in half.
  • In a large bowl, add the margarine, icing sugar and vanilla extract, mix together using a blender or fork until smooth.
  • Spread the strawberry jam onto one side of the sponge. On the other half spread half of the buttercream filling. Place the two sides together then spread the remaining buttercream on the top of the cake.
  • Decorate using the remaining raspberries and the strawberries.

Keep in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

 

 

Roasted herby vegan potato salad

Last Sunday we celebrated my Dad’s 70th birthday with a day trip on the canal, it’s a firm family favourite – spending the day drifting down the canal and tackling a lock or two! We moored our boat up and enjoyed a mega feast, my offering to the table was this delicious vegan potato salad. Roasting the potatoes makes this salad a little more special rather than your ordinary boiled type, and with all the herbs used there is no danger of this not tasting absolutely delicious. 

If you’ve got a barbeque planned over the summer, why not make this vegan potato salad to serve alongside these tasty Beetroot and Black Bean Burgers?

Roasted Herby Vegan Potato Salad
Serves 6

1kg new potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves
3 sprigs of rosemary
Handful of mint leaves
Handful of parsley
Handful of coriander
A few sprigs of dill
Salt and pepper

  • Par-boil the potatoes in a large saucepan for five minutes. Drain the potatoes.
  • In a large roasting tin, add the potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Add the garlic cloves still with their skin on, and the rosemary sprigs.
  • Place in the oven at 190C. Roast for 40 minutes. 
  • Finely chop the rest of the herbs.
  • After 20 minutes, turn the potatoes over in the pan so they are evenly roasted.
  • Once roasted until lightly crispy, remove the potatoes from the oven. Remove the rosemary sprigs and garlic, and add the chopped herbs. Season with salt and pepper and stir the herbs through. 
  • Serve straight away, or leave to cool and eat cold.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Pasta alla Trapanese [vegan]

Pasata alla Trapanese

A couple of years ago my boyfriend and I went on holiday travelling around Italy for a couple of weeks – it was pretty awesome. We went to Rome, Naples, Sorrento and then took a night ferry over to Sicily. I ate A LOT of pizza and serious amounts of tomato pasta, there wasn’t too many vegan options, but it didn’t matter because pizza and pasta are fine by me! When we got to Sicily, their speciality took a seriously good turn – Pasta alla Trapanese. It’s basically tomato almond pesto and tastes so good.

Occasionally I buy the expensive pasta in the supermarket, because it reminds me of that holiday. 

Pasta alla Trapanese

Pasta alla Trapanese [vegan]
Serves 2

140g pasta
50g almonds
250g cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Handful of basil

  • Blanche the almonds in boiling water for a few minutes. Cool and peel as much of the skin off as you can.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, blitz the almonds, along with the garlic. Add the cherry tomatoes and blitz together for a few seconds, you don’t want it to go to watery. Stir through the olive oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and add the tomato almond pesto and make sure the pasta is coated.
  • Serve with the basil leaves.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Vegan Pad Thai with Asparagus

Vegan Pad Thai with Asparagus

This Vegan Pad Thai is so quick and easy, you’ll definitely want to add this one to your weekday evening meal repertoire – trust me! In fact, I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe, this was just my Saturday night dinner creation. I took a few snaps for my Insta account, but it was too good not to share! Vegan Pad Thai, I think, is up there as my favourite meal at the moment (disclaimer, this changes A LOT!)

Asparagus has such a short season which if you’re a big time fan like me will crush your heart as it does mine, but if you’re quick there is still time to make the most of this awesome veg. If Asparagus is no longer in season when you’re reading this, don’t despair, some green beans, or purple sprouting broccoli will work just as well, just check what is in season!

Here are some more recipes for you to make the most of the Asparagus that comes your way:
Asparagus & Pea Soup
Vietnamese Vegan Pho with Grilled Asparagus

Lemon Artichoke Hearts and Asparagus

Vegan Pad Thai Vegan Pad Thai

Vegan Pad Thai with Asparagus
Serves two

1 tbsp sesame oil
Bunch of asparagus
1 carrot
1 bell pepper 
1/2 courgette
2 x bundles of noodles
Thumb sized piece of ginger
2 x cloves of garlic (crushed)
1 red chilli
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
Handful of coriander (chopped)
2 x limes
1 tbsp pistachios or peanuts (chopped)

  • Heat the sesame oil in a wok or a large saucepan on a medium to high heat. Chop the carrot, pepper and courgette and add to the pan along with the asparagus and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
  • Boil the kettle, and start cooking the noodles as per your packet instructions (mine took 10 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, thinly slice the ginger and chilli, add to the wok along with the garlic and stir through the vegetables.
  • In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup and the juice of one of the limes, add a tablespoon of water and stir until smooth.
  • Once the noodles are cooked, drain using a colander and add to the wok. Pour in the peanut sauce and coriander, stir until everything is coated in the sauce.
  • Serve sprinkled with pistachios and a wedge of lime.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins [vegan & gluten-free]

vegan chocolate muffins

These Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins are not only are vegan but they are gluten-free too, so you’ll be able to cover all your food label bases with these bad boys! I know Easter has come and gone, but I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to chocolate inspired food just yet.

Before I became vegan I couldn’t imagine my life without Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, yes that was the extent of my chocolate range, maybe Galaxy too! I thought dark chocolate was gross and there was no way I could eat it! Fast-forward four years, and I’m a dark chocolate convert. 80% is my jam, my boyfriend bought be a 100% easter egg, I’m not quite there yet….but give me another four years and maybe…! Around Christmas time last year, I accidentally ate some Green and Black’s milk chocolate – turns out it no longer tastes good to me. It was so creamy and sweet that it hardly tasted of chocolate anymore. My tastebuds have been completely transformed.

Now these Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins are definitely for serious chocolate lovers who like their chocolate seriously dark and powered by cocoa! Definitely one for the grown-up palette!

vegan chocolate hazelnut muffins

chocolate vegan and gluten-free muffins vegan and gluten-free chocolate hazelnut muffins

Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins [vegan and gluten-free]
Makes 12

250g buckwheat flour
50g cocoa
125g caster sugar
1 tspn xanthum gum
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
200ml plantbased milk (I used coconut)
100ml vegetable oil
200ml plantbased yoghurt (I used soya)
1 tspn vanilla extract
50g dark dairy-free chocolate
50g hazelnuts

For the icing:
80g icing sugar
1 tbsp boiling water

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C and line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa, sugar, xanthum gum, baking powder and bicarb.  Stir until thoroughly mixed together.
  • Add the milk, oil, yoghurt and vanilla, and gently stir until smooth.
  • Chop the chocolate and hazelnuts into chunks and stir through.
  • Dollop the mixture into the 12 paper cases.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  • Once thoroughly cooled, add the icing sugar and water into a mixing bowl and stir until smooth, using a piping bag or spoon, drizzle over the muffins.

Enjoy

Veronica x

Lemon Artichoke Hearts and Asparagus

I love artichokes. Artichoke Globes that is, not those pesky Jerusalem ones, they’re gross and they make you pass a serious amount of gas…true story! I’ve never actually cooked the Globe ones from scratch before, I have just bought them covered in oil in a jar. Don’t get me wrong, jar ones absolutely have their place, but now Globe Artichokes are in season I came across them at my local market, they looked so pretty and were so cheap, I just had to grab myself a load and figured I would figure it out! Turns out they’re not too difficult to prepare, fiddly sure, but not so hard. I also grabbed a bunch of Asparagus because hello Asparagus is in season too…man Spring is the best!

This would make a great side dish, perhaps to a risotto or a pie of some sort, your side veggies definitely don’t just have to be boiled!


Artichoke Hearts and Asparagus
Serves 2

5-6 baby globe artichokes (or regular sized ones)
Bunch of asparagus
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves 
Olive oil

  • Rinse the artichokes in cold water.
  • Peel off the outer leaves until you reach the paler leaves. Trim the tops and the stem.
  • Slice them into quarters, and then place them in a bowl of cold water with 1/2 of the lemon juice, whilst you prepare the rest of them. If you’re using regular sized artichokes you need to make sure you scoop out the furry middle, you don’t need to worry about this with the baby ones, they’re just babies.
  • Steam the artichokes using the lemon water for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus by snapping off the lower part of the stalk and discard.
  • In a baking tray, place the asparagus along with the steamed artichokes. 
  • Drizzle with olive oil, the remaining lemon juice and the garlic cloves, I threw in the juiced lemon too.
  • Place under the grill for 10 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Season with salt and pepper. 

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Cashew and Sesame Purple Sprouting Broccoli [vegan]

There is more to vegetables than simply boiling them! Don’t get me wrong, boiled veg has it’s place on a plate sometimes, but this Cashew and Sesame Purple Sprouting Broccoli is one of those dishes that showcases just how an ordinary vegetable can become the star of the show. This makes an ideal side dish or serve with noodles and eat as a main meal. 

Cashew Sesame Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Serves 2

1 tbsp sesame oil
1 leek
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
50g cashew nuts
120g broccoli
Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated)
1 tbsp tamari
1 chilli
1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • In a wok or frying pan, heat the sesame oil on a medium heat.
  • Chop the leek and add to the pan along with the garlic and cashew nuts, and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the broccoli, grated ginger, tamari and chilli and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and stir through.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Aubergine Pomegranate and Kale Salad [vegan]

Aubergine and Pomegranate are up there with my favourite ingredient combinations, and this salad pairs the two particularly well, even if I do say so myself! 

When aubergine is roasted to perfection, it melts in your mouth, not cooked enough and we all know the rubbery crunchy texture you have to endure, thinking if only we’d been a little more patient! Throw in some pomegranate to a mouthful of well-cooked aubergine and you’ve got yourself a pretty darn good mouthful of food!

This looks like one of those dishes that is far too faffy to make, but this middle-eastern inspired salad really is so simple to make and you’ll impress people with this dish fo sho!

Aubergine and Pomegranate Salad
Serves 2

1 aubergine (cut in half)
Half a pomegranate
1 tspn smoked paprika
1/4 tspn ground cinnamon
1/4 tspn cumin
1 tspn maple syrup
50g kale
100g couscous
Juice of 1 lemon 
Handful of parsley
Handful of coriander
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil

  • Cut the aubergine in half and score the flesh diagonally with a sharp knife. Pop on a baking tray and drizzle with half the olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt.
  • Place in a pre-heated oven at 180C and roast for half an hour.
  • Meanwhile, cook the couscous; cover with boiling water, add the juice of half a lemon and leave the couscous to soak up the water, fluff with a fork after a few minutes. Massage the kale with with your fingertips using half a tablespoon of olive oil (this softens the leaves and makes it easier to eat raw).
  • Chop the parsley and coriander and add to the couscous, along with the kale, and the pomegranate seeds (save some to sprinkle on top when serving).
  • In a small bowl, add the smoked paprika, cinnamon, cumin and maple syrup and stir until it makes a paste. Once the aubergine has cooked for half an hour, remove from the oven and brush the flesh of the aubergine with the paprika paste and return to the oven for another fifteen minutes.
  • In a mug, add the tahini, apple cider vinegar, the other half of the lemon juice and four tablespoons of water and mix until smooth. (Stirring thoroughly is the key with a good tahini dressing and you’ll go through a range of textures until it is ready!)
  • Serve the aubergine on top of the couscous kale salad, along with the tahini dressing and extra pomegranate seeds.

Enjoy!

Veronica x