I’m not one normally for doing reviews, but I had an offer of going along to a vegan supper club, hosted by the lovely people from Began’s, and I’m not one to turn down an invite! Began’s is a street food stand, based in High Wycombe, Bucks on Fridays (check it out if you’re in the town). Out in leafy Buckinghamshire, vegan food isn’t normally something we’re used to getting our hands on that easily, so I had to make sure I ventured along to their stand, and it didn’t disappoint! So, I knew I’d be in for a treat at their supper club, hosted at Copper’s Coffee Bar in the lovely Marlow.
I took my boyfriend (he’s not a vegan) along with me, and we ordered everything on the menu, so we could share and try it all. To start we had Spinach Dhal and Tofu Gyoza, both of which were delicious, but I absolutely love gyoza, and the boyf, not really a fan of tofu, declared these to be amazing.
In between courses there were live musicians to keep us entertained, just incase our small talk ran out! Our mains were Seitan and Ale pie with mash and Seitan BBQ ribs, with a side of mac and cheese, some coleslaw, corn and rice. I’ve only eaten seitan once before and it’s a winner. If you’re looking for a ‘meaty’ substitute seitan is the answer. These dishes were so good, but the pie was the hands down favourite in our opinion. Pudding didn’t disappoint, and we managed to fit in a Chocolate Oreo Cheesecake and an Eton Mess, which was deliciously coconutty, and the cheesecake was suitably chocolatey! All in all, a great evening with delcious food, a warm and friendly vibe in a cool venue. Good job Began’s a great vegan supper club! 🙂 Here’s some photos of the food to get your tummy’s rumbling.
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 [vegan]
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.
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 with Asparagus
1 tbsp sesame oil
Bunch of asparagus
1 bell pepper
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.
Hands up, who would put lemon drizzle cake up there as their all time favourite cake!? Yep, me too! I would say it’s a definite crowd pleaser, and you’ll have people scraping around for the last cake crumb when you make this.
I made this for my Mum’s birthday a couple of week’s ago, it went down a storm! Mother’s Day is on the horizon (in the UK) and if you’re looking for a cake to treat your frickin’ awesome Mum, then this’ll do the job nicely!
I’ve used maple syrup, but feel free to use normal caster sugar if you’re not worried about that, and you could totally sub the spelt flour for all self-raising. The poppy seeds give it an additional flavour and crunch, but leave them out if you want.
Vegan Lemon and Blueberry Drizzle Cake
175g spelt flour
100g self-raising flour
1 tspn baking powder
Zest of two lemons
1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
100ml vegetable oil
80ml maple syrup
Juice of two lemons
For the drizzle and icing:
1 tbsp maple syrup
Juice of 2 lemons
80g icing sugar
- Grease and line a medium sized loaf tin. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flours, baking powder, lemon zest, baking powder, poppy seeds (if using) and stir together.
- Add the vegetable oil, water and maple syrup into the dry ingredients, and mix throughly, add the lemon juice and blueberries and stir through.
- Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
- Mix together the juice of one lemon and a tablespoon of maple syrup. Using a skewer or a fork, pierce some holes in the cake and pour it over the top of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin.
- In a bowl, sieve the icing sugar and mix together with the lemon juice until smooth, drizzle over the cake once it has cooled.
- Keep stored in an air tight tin.
For as long as I can remember Lasagna has been my favourite dish. I love a good vegetable lasagna packed full of whatever the season has to offer, but lentils provide this beaut more of a meaty texture. This dish is packed full of flavour, and a tofu topping means you don’t need to faff about with a bechamel and worry about lumpy sauce = win!
Vegan Lasagna with lentils and kale
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
200g puy lentils (soaked overnight if possible)
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp thyme
1 tspn ground cinnamon
2 tbsp tomato puree
400ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
6 – 8 lasagne sheets (depending on the size of your dish)
For the topping:
1 block of firm tofu (drained)
3 tbsp pine nuts (keep an extra few to sprinkle on top)
80g spinach (washed and dried)
Salt and pepper
A few cherry tomatoes
A few basil leaves
- In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil on a medium heat.
- Chop the onion and garlic and add to the pan and cook for five minutes.
- Rinse the lentils and add to the pan, along with the chopped tomatoes, oregano, thyme, cinnamon and tomato puree. Cook for five minutes.
- Gradually add the vegetable stock, along with the kale, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Cook for about 25 minutes until the lentils are cooks. Season with plenty of pepper and a little salt.
- Meanwhile in food processor, add the drained block of tofu, the pine nuts and spinach and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large oven-proof dish add half of the lentil and kale filling and spread evenly. Lay the lasagne sheets covering the filling.
- Spoon half the tofu mixture and spread evenly across the pasta sheet.
- Spread the remaining lentil mix over and top with more pasta sheets and the rest of the tofu mixture.
- Top with sliced cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and a few basil leaves.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for thirty minutes.
- Serve with some tasty salad leaves.
Pretty much everyday I get hungry around 11am, depending on what I’ve had for breakfast. I always need some kind of mid-morning snack that’s going to keep me going until lunchtime and this banana and chocolate bread has currently won me over in the snackosphere.
I’ve not been shy on the chocolate chunks, if something is going to have chocolate in the title then I’m going to want to get a massive hit of chocolateyness, and this doesn’t disappoint. I even took a little jar of nut butter into work and smothered it on a slice – I was winning in life at that point. Later in the day I definitely wasn’t. It turned out I’d not put the lid back on that blommin’ jar properly and got home to discover I was half a jar down and one tote bag was totally ruined. I would definitely put this catastrophe into a middle class problem type meme.
Banana and Chocolate Bread
3 ripe bananas
1tbsp maple syrup
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed, 3 tbsp water mixed together)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tspn vanilla extract
100ml plant based milk
200g spelt flour
50g self-raising flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
125g dark chocolate
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C, grease and line an 2lb loaf tin (mediumish size).
- In a glass, mix together the flax seed and water and set aside for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, mash up the bananas. Add all the wet ingredients – maple syrup, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, plant milk and the flax seed egg. Stir together.
- Add the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and stir until all mixed together.
- Chop the chocolate – I like mine quite chunky so don’t over chop, stir into the mixture.
- Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, and pop in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when you insert it.
- Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. I like to cut a slice and eat it whilst it is still warm, after all that’s when the chocolate is at its best!
If there is one thing we’ve learnt from this….screw those lids on people!
I’ve definitely become a breakfast convert. Don’t get me wrong, I never skipped it, I can’t miss meals….I mean, food, hello!! I just wasn’t ever that adventurous. Back in the day, I used to just eat very sugary cereal or a couple of slices of toast and jam. Pretty standard, pretty dull. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes do just eat toast and jam, and have a pretty standard weekday breakfast of porridge, dang good porridge, but at the weekend I try to create a delicious more complex breakfast, after all it’s the most important meal of the day, right?
I used to really enjoy eggs for breakfast, so if you’re new to veganism or looking for alternative and are missing that eggy texture to go with your breakfast then you really need to try tofu scramble. Tofu is pretty bland on it’s own but once you’ve added some spices you’ve got yourself a flavoursome dish.
Tofu scramble with cavolo nero
1 block of firm tofu
4 stalks of cavolo nero
1 tbps coconut oil
1 small onion
1 tspn turmeric
1/2 tspn cumin
A pinch of ground coriander
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
- Empty the tofu out of the pack and drain any liquid. Pop the tofu block on a plate, and place another plate and a heavy object on top of it and leave for half an hour to drain any excess liquid.
- Melt the coconut oil on a medium heat in a frying pan.
- Finely chop the onion and add to the frying pan, fry for five minutes until softened.
- Add the tofu and using a wooden spoon gently break it up.
- Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli flakes and stir into the tofu.
- De-stalk the cavolo nero and finely chop, add to the tofu.
- Leave to cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
- Season with salt and pepper.
I’m having a miso revelation. I love the stuff and this miso noodle soup is not only super quick to make but also really tasty, and it’s really good for your tummy too.
Miso is from Japan and is made from fermented soybeans, sounds a bit weird, but honestly it’s good. Fermented foods are a great natural probiotic. I’ve been doing a bit more reading into how to look after my gut and keep it happy, making sure I’m getting plenty of probiotics into my system, and eating more fermented foods is where I’m heading.
Miso noodle soup with fried tofu
For the tofu:
1/2 block of firm tofu
1 tspn coconut oil
2 tbsp tamiri (soy sauce)
For the soup:
800 ml vegetable stock (I used vegan boullion)
2 garlic cloves (sliced)
1 red pepper (sliced)
1 carrot (sliced)
1/2 white cabbage (shredded)
2 bundles of rice noodles
2 tspn miso paste
1 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
- First, drain the liquid off the tofu, using a sieve. Pop the tofu block on a plate and then pop another plate on top and leave for half an hour, with a heavy object of some sort on top.
- Once the liquid has drained, slice half the tofu into centimetre slices. Keep the other half in a container in the fridge and use for another dish.
- In a frying pan, melt the coconut oil and add the sliced tofu and sprinkle the tamari on the tofu, keep it on quite a high heat and it’ll start to crisp up, turning over every now and then.
- Meanwhile, heat the vegetable stock on a medium heat, add the carrot, pepper, garlic and cabbage and bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes, add the miso paste, tamari and rice noodles.
- Cook as per your rice noodle instructions.
- Once cooked, serve in bowls.
- Top with the tofu and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
I’ve got another delicious pumpkin recipe this week. I still had half a pumpkin leftover from last week and hadn’t quite got round to using it up, but I don’t think you can ever get too much pumpkin at this time of year!
300g risotto rice
2 cloves of garlic
5 or 6 stalks of cavolo nero
1 litre vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
- Peel and cube the pumpkin and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan on a medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Chop the onion and garlic and cook in the pan until softened.
- Add the risotto rice to the pan and coat with the oil and onion.
- Add a little of the vegetable stock, and stir continuously until the stock as soaked up, keep adding the stock a little at a time and repeat until nearly all the stock has gone.
- Chop and wash the cavolo nero and add to the risotto, along with the roasted pumpkin.
- Continue stirring and add the remaining stock.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Super tasty and warming autumnal dinner.
Last year we threw tradition out the door with our first vegan Christmas. We made a delicious nut roast to replace our usual turkey centrepiece. It actually sounds really weird now, to say we used to eat turkey. Sorry to get all freaked out and vegan on you but it honestly seems crazy to me now that I would eat that, especially as we have just rescued some more ex-caged hens. I honestly can’t imagine eating such a happy, crazy little creature like a turkey now. Funny how your views can change so radically in a relatively short space of time.
So this year it seemed only fitting to keep trying new things in light of our continuing vegan adventures. Inspired by one of my favourite Christmassy ingredients, chestnuts, I decided to make a mushroom and chestnut wellington for our Christmas dinner. I have lovingly tried and tested this recipe so it is absolutely perfect on Christmas day but am kinda wishing I had done this ages ago so it didn’t mean eating it three weeks in a row : ) hah! But don’t worry it’s so delicious it’s impossible to have too much!
On Christmas day we’ll be serving this up with all the classics, roasted veggies and potatoes, brussel sprouts, braised red cabbage and stuffing. And why not bring the whole thing together with a red wine and onion gravy!
I have to admit, I often find potatoes a bit heavy. So you could always go really out there and skip the roasted potatoes and swap them for some mashed swede like I have here. Mix it up however you like, I think I’ll also make some cranberry sauce. My boyfriend ate this with mint sauce and thought it was delicious but he is a bit condiment crazy… Basically you can have this delicious vegan wellington anyway you like, just be sure to have yourself a wonderful Christmas day!
Just a quick note to say that this is actually a super easy recipe! The hardest part will be peeling those chestnuts so do them in advance and you’ll have no trouble at all whipping this up on Christmas day!
Mushroom and Chestnut Wellington
200g Chestnut mushrooms
100g Shiitake mushrooms
300g Chestnuts, roasted and peeled
125g Cooked black-eyed beans,
1 Red onion
2 Cloves garlic
1 tsp Dried sage
1 tbsp Mushroom ketchup (optional)
1 tbsp Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Shortcrust Spelt Pastry
175g Spelt flour
75g Vegan margarine
3-4 tbsp water
2 tbsp non-dairy milk for brushing
- Begin by cooking your chestnuts, read how to do so here. (I normally roast up a big batch so I’ll have enough to make all my other chestnut christmas recipes like this pâté.)
- Whilst your chestnuts are roasting, finely chop the onion and gently fry in a frying pan until translucent and just starting to caramelise.
- Mince the garlic and slice the mushrooms and stir into the onion. Sweat on a medium heat until the most of after has been released from the mushrooms and they are just starting to brown. Then set the pan aside to cool.
- In a food processor, blend the beans and chestnuts until they start to resemble breadcrumbs. If you’ve like a little extra texture blend the chestnuts separately and leave a little coarser.
- Place the bean and chestnut mixer into a large mixing bowl.
- Blend the mushrooms in the food processor and add to the mixing bowl along with the sage, and mushroom ketchup if using.
- Mix together well and season to taste and set aside whilst you make the pastry.
- Measure out the flour and marg into a large mixing bowl and chop into the marg with a knife until cut into fairly small chunks. Then rub the mixture together with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the water a bit at a time until the mixture comes together in your hands to form a ball.
- Place the pastry covered in the fridge for 20 mins before rolling it out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle.
- Mould the mushroom mixture into a loaf shape in the centre of your pastry lengthways.
- Brush the pastry edges with milk and carefully roll the whole thing, leaving the seam underneath.
- Pinch the ends together and brush the whole thing with milk, make a few small cuts in the pastry for steam to escape then place onto a greased baking tray.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 35-40 mins until gold brown.
Have a Merry Vegan Christmas!