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Tempura Asparagus with Smokey Vegan Mayonnaise

Tempura batter is a delicious coating for seasonal vegetables and works beautifully with red peppers, courgettes and their flowers. Tempura was originally named after a Portuguese dish from the 17th century and in this recipe we are making the most of the end of the asparagus season by serving the asparagus simply with a vegan smoked mayonnaise.

Tempura Asparagus with Smokey Vegan Mayonnaise

Asparagus Tempura

Serves: 4 | Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes


  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 1 tbsp cornflour for dusting

Tempura Batter

  • 80g plain flour
  • 20g corn flour
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150ml chilled sparkling water
  • 1L vegetable oil for deep frying


  1. Trim the bottom white parts off the asparagus.
  2. Steam the asparagus for 1 minute, then plunge into cold water. Drain and dry off the asparagus with kitchen towel, dust the bottom ¾ of the asparagus with cornflour.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan or wok to 165C.
  4. To make the tempura batter, pour the chilled water into a large bowl. Sift in the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Mix roughly with a whisk.
  5. Dip the bottom ¾ of the asparagus into the batter, then into the oil, keeping hold of the tip of the asparagus with a pair of tongs. Fry for 30 seconds until the batter is golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
  6. Serve hot at once with the smoked mayonnaise.

Smokey Mayonnaise

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free | Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes | Cooling time: 1 hour


  • 225ml water
  • 50g gram flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 150ml sunflower oil


  1. Measure the water, gram flour, salt and smoked paprika into a small saucepan over a medium heat, and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and whisk for a few more minutes until the mix has thickened to a paste.
  2. Scrape the paste into a small dish and chill in the fridge till cold.
  3. To make the mayonnaise, place the cold paste into a blender or hand held blender jug, and add the lemon juice, mustard and garlic.
  4. Blend the mixture until smooth, then gradually add in the oil 1 tablespoon at a time until thick and creamy. Taste and season with more salt or lemon juice if needed.
  5. If the mix is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of boiling water and blend until smooth.

Plating suggestions

Choose a pale speckled coloured large plate, add a generous blob of mayonnaise to one side and sprinkle with smoked paprika and place three stems of tempura asparagus, criss-crossing each other.

Also featured in the July 2018 issue of Vegetarian Living Magazine.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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