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Feeling hot hot hot, Vegetarian Living, October 2017

The October 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living is now available and features my latest column of seasonal cooking ideas, tips, recipes and more. This month is all about sweet peppers and chillies, one of my favourite ways to add vibrant colour and tingly heat to my recipes. This articles covers a few of my favourite Mexican chillies, how to work with dried chillies, and how to roast peppers to perfection. Recipes include roasted chillies stuffed with cashew cheese, pozole, and pepperonata pizza.

Click on the link below to read the article in full:

Feeling hot hot hot, Vegetarian Living, October 2017

Our Best Tomato Recipes

Tomatoes are one of our most indispensable ingredients at the cookery school and seem to play a role in most of courses, spanning cultures and cuisines. For this reason we're making tomatoes the star of the show with these top tips and tasty recipes that make the most of this marvellous fruit (yes, tomatoes are a fruit, not a vegetable!). 

The British tomato season runs from June to October which is a great opportunity to stock up, try some new recipes, and store the glut as passata (tomato sauce) which can be frozen in batches or made into a tomato chutney. Out of season tomatoes tend to be tasteless so to get your tomato fix in the colder months, use passata, tinned or dried tomatoes, which have more flavour and natural sweetness as they were picked at peak ripeness. 

How to store tomatoes

Storing tomatoes in the fridge dulls their flavour and changes their texture. The problem is that unless you grow your own or buy locally, tomatoes will have been kept below 10C in transport and cold storage before they arrive at the store. Best to store them in a cool place or take them out of the fridge an hour before you plan to eat them in salads.

Our choice of fresh tomatoes

  • Heritage tomatoes (known as heirloom tomatoes in the USA) are traditional varieties that have not been hybridised with a wonderful array of different colours shapes and flavour.
  • Plum tomatoes either small or large have fewer seeds, more substantial flesh and an oval shape. They are good for pasta sauces. San Manzano is the king of Italian plum tomatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes are small and tasty and great for salads and roasting on the vine. Piccolo is the ultimate cherry tomato.
  • Green, unripe tomatoes are fantastic for chutney. Other green varieties are bred to be green when ripe, such as the Green Zebra which has a sharp tangy flavour and is great for salads. In Spain they make a great tapas with green tomatoes drenched in olive oil and topped with roasted salted almonds. Superb!

Our choice of preserved tomatoes:

  • Tinned tomatoes are an invaluable store cupboard ingredient. If you don’t use the whole tin, decant into a bowl, cover with cling film and store in the fridge for a few days. Don’t store in the metal can.
  • Passata, which is sieved tomatoes, is useful when you want to make a smooth sauce or soup.
  • Tomato paste can be used to boost under-ripe tomatoes, flavour up tinned tomatoes and excellent for thickening sauces and enriching dishes and adding depth of colour and umami flavour.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes in oil are another very useful store cupboard ingredient, use straight from the jar and add to pizza toppings and pasta sauces. Refrigerate after opening.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes require rehydrating before using. Soak in boiling water to rehydrate. The soaking juice is very tasty too.
  • Sun-kissed tomatoes are dried for less time than sun-dried and still moist and chewy, as they are not completely dried they perish easily so keep in the fridge and use up quickly.

Our Best Tomato Recipes

Experience tomatoes in all of their summer glory with these beautiful recipes: 

Tomato Panzanella

Tomato Panzanella


Heritage Tomato and Lemon Verbena Salad


Tomato Keftedes (Greek tomato and feta fritters)


Find even more inspiration for seasonal tomatoes in Rachel's September 2017 column in Vegetarian Living magazine.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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​Gözleme

Gözleme are paper-thin Turkish flatbreads stuffed with a variety of fillings and pan fried. They are traditionally served hot by street vendors. The fillings vary around Turkey and often include minced meat. We've created this vegetarian version using leeks, spring onions, spinach and feta cheese but you can use cooked vegetables such as potatoes and squash, anything mashable works well. You can also add different herbs and spices to your taste. We love to include a bit of aleppo pepper and sumac but feel free to mix it up with whatever you have to hand.

In Turkey, this pastry is deftly rolled out with a really long thin rolling pin. The dough is wrapped around the pins as it rolls out. If you want to give this a try, you can improvise with a long piece of clean wooden dowel. To see this in action visit Bristanbul Deli on the Gloucester Road, Bristol where a lady rolls Gözleme all day long in front of you!

Gözleme

Flatbreads with Spinach and Cheese Filling

Makes 6 stuffed breads

Ingredients:

Bread

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 120ml warm water
  • 30ml olive oil

Filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek, cut in half lengthways and sliced finely
  • 1 bunch spring onions, sliced finely
  • 250g spinach, washed
  • 100g feta cheese (or similar Turkish cheese such as Baynez Penir) crumbled
  • 100g haloumi, grated
  • A small handful of parsley, dill and mint, finely chopped
  • black pepper
  • Aleppo pepper and sumac 

Method

Bread

  1. Place the flour in a bowl and add the salt. Make a well in the centre and add the olive oil. 
  2. Stirring with one finger gradually add the water until you have dough that feels soft and pliable. 
  3. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until it is really soft and then divide into 6 balls. 
  4. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Filling

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. On a low heat gently soften the leek and the spring onions for 10 minutes.
  2. Wilt the spinach in a large pan, then drain, refresh under cold water, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. 
  3. Chop the spinach roughly, and add to the leek and spring onions and mix well to combine. 
  4. Add a generous pinch black pepper. You won't need to add salt as the cheese will be salty enough. 
  5. Divide into 6 portions, and set aside to cool.

Gözleme

  1. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface, and using a rolling pin, roll out a ball of dough until it is as thin as possible. The dough should form a circle with a diameter of about 20 cm. Make sure the dough has enough flour beneath it to prevent it sticking to the worktop.
  2. On one half of the circle of dough spread a portion of the vegetable mix, some of the fresh herbs, grated cheeses, and sprinkle with a little Aleppo pepper and sumac. 
  3. Fold the edges of the other half of circle over the dough so that it meets the other side of the circle to form a semi circle and press the edges firmly to seal.
  4. Heat a large frying pan over a low heat. 
  5. Increase the heat to medium to high. Carefully lift one Gözleme onto the palm of your hand, brush off any excess flour and lightly brush with olive oil. Turn it into your pan oil side down, and cook until the distinctive brown “eyes” appear. Brush the top with oil then turn over and cook the other side. Remove and serve immediately, or keep the cooked bread warm under a tea towel or in a warm oven until all the Gozleme are ready.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.

Tips

  • Serve the Gozleme while still hot with Ezme salad, garlic yoghurt sauce, and pickled chillies and olives.
  • Aleppo pepper is a Turkish dried and flaked chilli pepper, not very hot, similar to an ancho in heat levels with a sweet slightly smoky tomato-like flavour. Use instead of paprika and black pepper as it will add colour and a little kick of spicy heat.
  • Sumac is the dried red berries of a Middle Eastern Bush Rhus coriaria, has a sour flavour and is a flavour enhancer. Can be used as a substitute for lemon.
  • Try sheep feta if you have a problem with cow dairy products.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Elderberry: Sweet & Savoury Recipes

Guest post from our foraging guru Christopher Robbins!

Elderberries are all but totally ignored on this island, despite being the most versatile and most delicious of all wild fruits. Their colour is ravishing and they can be put to many valuable uses. The season usually runs from September to mid-October, depending on local geography and weather. This year elderberries are showing up a bit earlier than usual, so make sure the season doesn't pass you by! 

Sweet Elderberry Recipes

  • Use the berries as you would black currants or blackberries. You can combine them with apples in charlottes, pies, and crumbles. They add both luscious flavour and gorgeous colour. 
  • Fold elderberries into a bread dough. For a sweet treat, either add to a sweet dough or mix the berries with sugar before adding.
  • Swirl your elderberry syrup into ice cream or make a stunning elderberry sorbet
  • Substitute the syrup for expensive and over-rated cassis. It can also replace Angostura bitters in gin or vodka. 
  • Add a dash of syrup to champagne for a forager's kir. A bit of syrup also takes cider to the next level.
  • Brew up some of Andy Hamilton's elderberry liqueur! It's easy to make...but not easy to wait five months!
  • Go with tradition and try your syrup by the spoonful for cold or flu relief, or add to hot water for a comforting night-time drink. Foodie friend Carol commented on the blog that adding cloves and/or ginger to the syrup is great for winter coughs and colds!
     

Savoury Elderberry Recipes

  • Tuck away an excellent elderberry jelly to use on bread or as a relish with baked vegetables or cheese as you might cranberry or rose-hip jelly.
  • Make a rich chutney, which is best combined only with vine fruits and not too much spice other than a good garam masala, or just mace, cinnamon and a light touch of cardamom.
  • Go back in time with pontack sauce, a traditional elderberry ketchup. (We'd leave out the anchovies, of course.) [EatWeeds]
  • Try an elderberry balsamic vinegar [EatWeeds] and adorn your salad with Monica Shaw's elderberry vinaigrette. Monica's tip: try the balsamic vinegar on a pizza!

Oh, and best not to eat it raw as it is cathartic. Only a teaspoon of fruits may produce an...uncomfortable response. You have been warned!

Christopher Robbins 

Heritage Tomato and Lemon Verbena Salad

Make the most of tomato season with this gorgeous and colourful tomato salad, and it couldn't be easier to make. Heritage tomatoes (known as heirloom tomatoes in the USA) are traditional varieties that have not been hybridised and come in a wonderful array of different colours shapes and flavour. If you are unable to get lemon verbena, you could substitute with another lemon-scented herb such as lemon balm or lemon thyme.

Heritage Tomato and Lemon Verbena Salad

Dietary: Vegan | Gluten-free

Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo mixed heritage tomatoes
  • small handful fresh lemon verbena leaves
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt

Method

  1. Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl. Taste and add more olive oil if too sour.
  2. Chop the lemon verbena, stir into the dressing and allow to stand for a few minutes for the flavour to infuse.
  3. Slice the tomatoes horizontally to show their cross sections, and place attractively on a flat serving platter.
  4. Spoon the dressing over the tomatoes and serve straight away. This salad is best eaten on the same day.

Find more inspiration for seasonal tomatoes in Rachel's September 2017 column in Vegetarian Living magazine.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie and, if you like this post, please share it!

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Tomato Panzanella

This is our version of the Tuscan bread salad, where the bread is traditionally soaked in the salad. We find the result too soggy so instead serve the salad with sourdough croutons. Traditionally made with the ‘pane sciocco’ the famous unsalted Tuscan bread. Panzanella doesn't keep well as the croutons loose their crispness, so to enjoy crispy croutons, serve as soon as you have mixed the croutons into the salad.

Panzanella Salad 

Dietary: Vegan

Serves 4-6 as a side salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 800g ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium banana shallot, sliced thinly (or ½ red onion)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • pinch of salt

Croutons

  • 100g open textured bread such as sourdough or ciabatta, torn into rough bite sized chunks
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 8-10 Kalamata or black olives, pitted and cut in half
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, reserve a few for garnishing

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C° fan.
  2. Place the sliced shallot in a bowl with the tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a pinch of salt, and mix well to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes to slightly pickle.
  3. Place the bread pieces onto a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Using your hands, turn the bread over to evenly coat with the oil. You may need a little extra.
  4. Bake the croutons for 10-15 minutes until toasted but still soft and not completely dry.
  5. Allow the croutons to cool and then rub each crouton all over with the cut side of the garlic.
  6. Cut the tomatoes into irregular chunks and slices and place into a mixing bowl. A combination of shapes is more attractive than uniformly diced pieces.
  7. Make the dressing by mixing the vinegar, salt, pepper, olive oil, capers and olives together.
  8. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes, add in the croutons, and tear the basil leaves over. Mix gently to combine all the ingredients. It's easiest to use your hands to do this. Taste and season if necessary.
  9. Tip the salad into a serving dish and garnish with the reserved basil leaves.

Italian Tomato Panzanella Salad


Find more inspiration for seasonal tomatoes in Rachel's September 2017 column in Vegetarian Living magazine.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie and, if you like this post, please share it!

To keep up to date with events and goings on at the cookery school sign up for our newsletter.

Types of Tofu and How to Use Them

Do you know your silken from your smoked? The world of tofu can seem intimidating if you're not used to the lingo. (Extra firm, firm, silken?) And then you need to be able to choose the right type of tofu for your dish. Most recipes will specify the kind you'll need, but really understanding your options can spark creativity. Tofu isn't just for stir fries! From smoothies to burgers to pies, tofu isn't bland or boring when you know what you're doing. 

Here's how to use firm tofu, silken tofu, fried tofu, smoked tofu, and ready-marinated tofu, including top tips and tasty recipes to inspire you. 

How to Use Firm Tofu

The original tofu, and the type of tofu we use most in our recipes. Firm tofu is easy to cut into cubes and will keep its shape for stir frying and deep frying. To prepare firm tofu, drain off the liquid and pat dry with kitchen paper. Then slice or cube and marinate if you'd like. For extra firmness, you can squeeze out liquid from the tofu by wrapping the tofu in kitchen paper or a clean tea-towel, cover with a chopping board and adding a heavy weight on top. Leave for 1 hour and you will find that more liquid has seeped out and the tofu is drier and firmer and ideal for making kebabs.

Numerous brands now produce firm tofu - Clear SpotDragonfly and Cauldron to name just a few, and most major supermarkets stock it in the veggie-friendly refrigerator section.

Firm Tofu Recipes

How to Use Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is often used as a substitute for eggs or cream. Do NOT try to stir fry this stuff - you will be disappointed. You'll see "Soft Silken Tofu" and "Firm Silken Tofu". Soft silken tofu is, well, REALLY soft and will fall apart in your fingers, ideal for smoothies, custards, sauces and puddings - we like  Clearspring's Organic Soft Silken Tofu. Firm silken tofu holds its shape and can be cut into cubes (great for miso soup) but also works for dips and puddings. 

Silken Tofu Recipes

How to Use Fried Tofu

Puffed up spongy texture. Great to add to soups to soak up flavour and give texture. You can find it in Chinese supermarkets. Wai Yee Hong in Bristol sells it as Tofu Puff.

Fried Tofu Recipes

How to Use Smoked Tofu

A delightful smoky flavour and is delicious served cold in a salad. Smoked tofu is super handy - the  smoked tofu range from Taifun is delicious sliced up and eaten raw, or stuffed into sandwiches.

Smoked Tofu Recipes

How to Use Ready-marinated Tofu

Saves you having to marinate plain tofu and is ready to eat. Clear Spot makes an organic marinated tofu that's really handy for stir fries and scrambles. You can also find Cauldron marinated tofu in most major supermarkets nowadays.

Marinated Tofu Recipes 


For more tofu inspiration, check out our post on How to Cook with Tofu or sign up for one of our Far Eastern Cookery Courses.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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​Courgettes: Ideas for the Summer Glut

With home grown courgettes you turn your back and they have grown into marrows! The best way to enjoy your courgettes is to pick often and pick when they are small. Luckily courgettes are versatile enough that you shouldn't get too bored of them - you can:

  • Create ribbons for salads with a vegetable peeler.
  • Make long strands with a julienne peeler to accent a dish or stuff a spring roll.
  • Grate courgette and mix with grated raw beetroot for a delightful summer side.
  • Spiralize courgettes and other veg for vegetable spaghetti.
  • Use a mandolin for really thin slices.
  • Grow yellow courgettes for colour contrast! They're just as easy to grow but aren't as common in shops.
  • Skewer courgettes and rub with a tasty spice mix for delicious summery courgette kebabs

Courgette and Haloumi Kebabs

To slow down a courgette glut, eat the female flowers with the small courgettes attached. Courgette flowers are a beautiful seasonal treat! You need to pick them in the morning, let the dew dry off and use them as soon as possible as the flowers will close up. You can eat courgette flowers raw in salads or steam them or stuff them. The traditional filling is soft cheese, but I like filling them with a vegan cashew cheese, herb and roasted red pepper filling, dunking them in a tempura batter and shallow frying. Students on our Advanced Vegan Diploma Course did just this a few weeks ago.

Stuffed courgette flowers

For a summer barbecue I like to roast or barbecue courgettes mixed with haloumi, make a cold courgette soup or eat them raw in salads.

Here are some of my favourite courgette recipes:

Onion Squash and Courgette Coconut Curry

What are your favourite ways to make the most of courgette season? Let us know in the comments!


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie and, if you like this post, please share it!

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Tomato Keftedes

Santorini tomatoes grown on this hot dry island are ideal for making these fritters as they are thick-skinned and not very juicy, with our juicy tomatoes, it is important to squeeze out as much liquid as possible otherwise the fritter mix will be too wet. The fritters can be prepared ahead and chilled in the fridge for up to an hour before frying. If you keep them for too long however, they may become soggy as the tomato juice seeps out. They aren't suitable for freezing so enjoy them on the day!

Tomato Keftedes

Greek tomato and feta fritters from Santorini

Dietary: Vegan option | Gluten-free option

Makes approximately 12 small fritters

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 400g (approx 4 medium) tomatoes, finely diced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled (or 100g cannelini beans, mashed)
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 100g plain flour (or gluten free flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Sunflower oil for frying

Method

  1. Place the tomatoes in a sieve or colander and sprinkle with the salt, stirring through to distribute evenly, and leave to drain over a bowl for 30 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes with the onions and mix well, adding the feta cheese or cannellini beans and the herbs. Stir in most of the flour with the baking powder, turning the mixture gently with a metal spoon to combine but not to crush the tomatoes too much. Depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes, you may not need all the flour, or you may even need a little more if the mix is still quite wet.
  3. Take a spoonful of the mixture and form into a walnut sized ball. This is easily and less messily done with slightly wet hands. Flatten the ball into a flat fritter. It should stick together easily without feeling too sticky. If the mixture is too wet to form, add another spoonful of flour.
  4. Heat a little oil in a preferably non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, and fry a fritter until golden brown on both sides. Allow it to cool, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  5. Form the remaining mixture into approx 12 fritters and fry in batches, placing them onto kitchen towel once cooked to absorb excess oil.
  6. Serve the hot Keftedes with a yoghurt dip such as tzatziki, and some warm pitta or flatbread.


Find more inspiration for seasonal tomatoes in Rachel's September 2017 column in Vegetarian Living magazine.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie and, if you like this post, please share it!

To keep up to date with events and goings on at the cookery school sign up for our newsletter.

Demuths Vegan Diploma - My Vegan Journey

This is a guest post by Natasha Cutler from The View, Sicily If you're inspired by her experience, find out more about the Demuths Vegan Diploma here

Around this time two years ago, I dedicated two weeks to attend Demuths first Vegan Diploma course. I wasn’t vegan (and I’m still not) but an amazing trip earlier in the year to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Bali and the Philippines with the sole purpose of doing yoga and healthy eating (and visit my brother in HK) had led to my discovery of vegan food. And it was a revelation! I came back from the trip quite a few pounds lighter, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and full of energy. I also knew that I didn’t want my vegan ‘journey’ to stop there.

A residential Vegan Diploma course at Demuths ticked the boxes. A renowned vegetarian cookery school in Bath run by an award winning vegetarian chef and her experienced team. I love the West Country and it doesn’t get much better than being based in Bath for two weeks. Dog sitter? Tick. I was lucky that my sister-in-law’s parents live in Bristol and agreed to look after my beloved Westie, Dizzy Rascal. I think they also secretly hoped to share some vegan deliciousness at the end of each day!

I was apprehensive and excited but mainly curious at the start of the course. I didn’t know what to expect. Two weeks seemed quite a long time to learn to cook just plant based ingredients? I’m half Italian and a confident home cook, given I’ve been cooking from an early age but in no way, could I call myself a chef. Would I be out of my depth, I asked myself?

On arrival, we were all invited to sit in the cosy seating area above the kitchen and started to introduce ourselves over coffee, tea and delicious homemade vegan biscuits! A good start. After a warm welcome from Rachel, it was time to get our aprons on and wash our hands ready for the first demonstration! There were about eight of us on the course which felt like the right size to maintain a feeling of intimacy within the class. As students with varying degrees of experience and backgrounds, I think we all enjoyed meeting each other as well as swapping ideas and recommendations. Interestingly, some of the students had already attended a few Demuths courses and I now understand why!

Classes were a mix of demonstration and hands on preparation and cookery. Dishes were international and based on seasonal ingredients and availability. The course was broken up into four modules over two weeks. Module One ‘Pasta, Sauces, Soups and Stocks’, Module Two ‘Grains, Legumes and Vegetables’, Module Three ‘Bread’ and Module Four ‘Pastry and Desserts.’ As well as learning lots of recipes, we were also taught preparation methods, cooking techniques and safe, hygienic practices. Pretty much what you would expect in any professional kitchen.

The tutors were friendly and fabulous, so knowledgeable and patient! What I really appreciated were the extra tit-bits of info that they were willing to share about products and recipes. And we had A LOT of questions! Although we worked to a strict timetable each day, the atmosphere was relaxed and fun. Every lunchtime we sat down to eat the delicious food we had prepared and the same again in the afternoon. We were generously provided with leftover boxes to take food away with us at the end of each day.

I learnt so much from the course about ingredients, spices, techniques and flavours. There were so many ingredients I had not heard of before! Even learning to taste every time I added an ingredient to a dish, may sound like an obvious technique yet it taught me the importance of recognising flavour combinations, particularly with ingredients I had not used before. I went through so many teaspoons! The two weeks went by in a flash. Here are some of the highlights (there were a lot, these are just a few!):

  • The wonder of aguafaba. Chickpea water instead of egg whites to make meringues? Yup.
  • Making vegan cheese from rejuvelac and soaked cashew nuts. Never thought it possible. And so delicious!
  • I discovered tempeh. A sexier, meatier soy product than tofu.
  • Experienced tutors. These ladies really know their stuff. I was in awe.
  • Flax batter instead of egg? For making desserts and cakes.
  • A makeshift smoker made from a wok and a cake rack to smoke tofu. Genius!
  • Sauerkraut. I never thought fermented cabbage could taste so good!

Demuths Vegan Diploma course was thorough, professional, varied, interesting and fun. I loved the creativity of vegan cooking and as its plant based, I felt it was also doing me good.

I looked at the photos we took on the last day of the course and saw myself grinning like a Cheshire cat holding a plate of vegan deliciousness that I had made. Yes, the course is a commitment in terms of time however, it was a life changing experience that came at the right moment for me and I loved every minute of it. I would have moved in if I could!!!

I realised at that point that I had started a journey and shifted my diet to being plant-based. On returning to London alongside my corporate career, I volunteered at a vegan community kitchen and a vegan café. Two years on I have left the corporate world in London to dedicate myself to a MSc in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health at Bristol University with specific research interest on the Mediterranean Diet. I’ve qualified as a yoga teacher and taken over the villa that my father built to create The View, Sicily. A holiday home that offers yoga and vegan and vegetarian cookery classes based on the Mediterranean Diet i.e. local, seasonal produce. Fruit, wine and olive oil are produced on site. Now I’m plant- and solar-powered!

The Demuths Vegan Diploma is a 2-week course that runs throughout the year - more information can be found here. Head over to our Flickr page to see photos from our latest Vegan Diploma course. 

Black Sesame Tofu and Noodles

This sesame-crusted marinated tofu is very popular, even with people who thought they didn’t like tofu. Tofu is best marinated in shoyu and ginger, rolled in sesame seeds and fried crisp and crunchy. Serve it as a snack with the marinade as a dipping sauce or with stir-fried winter greens or with noodles. The black sesame seeds add a colour contrast, but don’t worry if you haven’t got any as the recipe works just fine with white sesame seeds. You can spice things up by adding  Chinese Five Spice Powder.

See how easy it is to make black sesame tofu in our bite-sized video below, then read on for the recipe!

Black Sesame Tofu and Noodles

Serves: 4 | Dietary: Vegan

Ingredients:

  • 280g plain tofu
  • 250g soba noodles
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 85g green beans, sliced lengthways
  • 2 tbsps hijiki or arame seaweed
  • small handful of fresh sprouts
  • sunflower oil for shallow frying

Marinade

  • 100ml apple juice
  • 4 tbsps shoyu
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • thumb size piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped

Tofu Crust

  • 25g cornflour
  • 3 tbsps black sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsps white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

Method:

  1. Slice the tofu horizontally, then cut diagonally into 8 triangles. Place the tofu in a shallow dish.
  2. Mix together the marinade and pour over the tofu. Leave the tofu to marinade for at least a hour, turn the tofu half way through so that it marinated evenly.
  3. Soak the hijiki or arame seaweed in a bowl of hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside
  4. Cook the noodles, according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and stir in the toasted sesame oil to prevent the noodles sticking. You may not need all the cooked noodles.
  5. Mix together the tofu crust ingredients. Take the tofu pieces one at a time and dip into the mix so that the crust sticks to all sides. Shallow fry the tofu, until crisp. Set aside.
  6. Strain the marinade and keep as a dipping sauce.
  7. In a wok, heat a teaspoon of sunflower oil and stir-fry the green beans. Add a few tablespoons of marinade and enough noodles for each person, the drained hijiki and stir fry to heat through.
  8. On each plate serve a mound of the noodle mix and top with two pieces of tofu. Sprinkle with sprouts and use the marinade as a dipping sauce.

Vegan Crispy Black Sesame Tofu and Noodles


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Vegetarian Barbecue Tips and Tricks

Everyone loves a summer barbecue and that goes for vegans and vegetarians as well as omnivores. We know that veggie fair isn't what most people think of when they think "barbecue" so today we bring you our vegetarian barbecue top tips and tasty recipes that will delight all lovers of great food.  

For vegetarian barbecue inspiration, we like to look around the world to places where cooking over fire is the traditional way of life, whether it's with fire pits and clay pots, ancient domed bread ovens, or tandoor ovens. For example, the Moroccan tagine is cooked over fire; Indian naan breads are cooked inside of a tandoor, Italians are famous for wood-fired pizza ovens. The street-food tradition of adding condiments from around the world to grilled foods takes barbecuing into an exciting flavour realm, enhancing vegetables with a range of chillies and spices.  

All this being said, here's how to create a vegetarian barbecue that will show off just how delicious vegetables are when cooked with fire. 

The best vegetables for cooking on a barbecue:

Grilled vegetables are a simple but great tasting choice for the barbecue. My little trick for easy barbecuing is to skewer the vegetables flat on a large metal skewer so you can easily flip them over all together and quickly remove the whole lot if the barbecue gets too hot. This is much quicker than removing each piece individually. This method works well with a huge variety of vegetables:

  • aubergine
  • sweet potatoes
  • red peppers
  • portobello mushrooms
  • onions
  • asparagus
  • courgettes

We love to flavour our veggies with  jerk spice rub or Moroccan chermoula marinade and serve with zesty salsas and chutneys. For example...

Salsas and chutneys for barbecue veg

Salsas

Mexican salsas are traditionally made in a pestle and mortar, and they can be raw or cooked.  Salsa Cruda is made with diced or pounded tomatoes or tomatillos and chillies. Salsa Asada is made with roasted tomatoes, chillies and garlic, the flavours balanced with lime juice, salt and sugar.

Chutneys

I like fresh Indian chutneys, which are easy to make. Try a  brilliant green chutney made with copious quantity of chopped coriander and mint, green chillies, cumin and lemon. For an unusual sweet and sour chutney, try tamarind chutney made with tamarind pulp, cooked dates, and flavoured with ginger and cayenne. Tamarind has a sour flavour with a sweet aftertaste and works like lemon juice to sour and enhance flavour. Buy tamarind in blocks, which look rather like squashed dates. To extract the pulp, break off a chunk from the block, pour on just enough hot water to cover, and leave to soak, then squeeze out the pulp and discard the fibre and seeds.Sauces

For a Far Eastern twist try a sharp  plum sauce, made with plums, which are now in season, cooked down with onion, rice wine vinegar and palm sugar. Palm sugar is made from the sap of the date palm and has a soft molasses flavour, buy it in cone form, which you grate to use. Or try satay sauce made with crushed peanuts or crunchy peanut butter, fresh root ginger and chillies.

Vegetarian meat alternatives

Halloumi is a great veggie barbecue choice as it doesn't fall apart or melt and cooks evenly. You can enhance your halloumi with spice rubs, for example in these  Jerk Haloumi Kebabs.

Jerk Haloumi Kebabs

For vegan eating, tempeh is the best halloumi alternatives for the barbecue as it stays together (it's much more robust than tofu) and soaks up marinades like a sponge. Just make sure you slice the tempeh thickly so it's easy to turn on the grill. A great option are these  Maple, Lime and Chipotle Tempeh Tacos.

Chipotle BBQ Tempeh

Bread on the barbecue

Have a go at  Australian damper bread. My partner is Australian and he showed me how easy and quick it is to make. Damper can be baked as a loaf in a tin or wrapped in silver foil in the oven, but it’s more fun to make a snake of dough coiled around a wooden stick and cooked over glowing coals. Out in the Australian bush there was no time for yeast leavening so either baking powder or a little wood ash was used to make the dough rise. Authentic damper has a similar chewiness and crisp crust to today’s best sourdoughs and a unique taste from the eucalyptus sticks burnt on the fire.

Even More Vegetarian Barbecue Recipes

Vegan Chipotle Tempeh Tacos


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Moudardara: Lebanese Rice and Lentils

Moudardara is a Lebanese rice and lentil dish that gets topped with caramelised onions and saffron. It's a mainstay of our Vegetarian Diploma course and for good reason. A few simple ingredients get transformed into the sort of dish that keeps people coming back for more, making it great dinner party. Our diploma student Rachel Kinchin aptly described Moudardara on her blog: "This dish is a magical middle-eastern delight and it’s easy – a simple showstopper. I made it as soon as I got home from the first week of the course."

The key with Moudardara is to cook the onions very slowly to caramelise them which takes up to 40 minutes, but its worth it for the unctuous sweet caramelised taste that contrasts with the earthy lentils and saffron rice. We like to serve this with stir-fried Cavolo nero and roasted onion squash.

For a quick demo of how to make this fabulous dish, check out our Moudardara how-to video

Moudardara: Lebanese Rice and Lentils

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten Free | Serves 2 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lightly crushed cumin seeds
  • 90g basmati rice
  • 160ml boiling water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 50g cooked brown lentils
  • 1 tsp dried barberries, soaked for 10 minutes (or use chopped unsweetened cranberries)
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped tarragon
  • chopped dill
  • 2 tbsps fried onions
  • 1 tbsp chopped pistachios

Method:

  1. Put the olive oil, cumin seeds and rice into a saucepan and fry gently for 1 minute, making sure the rice is coated in oil.
  2. Add the boiling water and salt. Put a lid on and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the rice to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, soak the saffron in 1 tablespoon of boiling water and set aside.
  4. When the rice is ready, pour the saffron water over the surface. Cover the pan immediately with the lid. Leave for 5 minutes.
  5. Fluff the rice up with a fork.
  6. Drain the barberries and stir them into the rice along with the herbs. Stir the lentils through and serve in a dish, topped with fried onions and pistachios.

Cooking the Lentils:

  1. Brown lentils do not need soaking, simple wash and drain them. 
  2. Place them in a pan with plenty of water, a bay leaf and an onion, copped in half. 
  3. Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Making the Fried Onions:

  1. Slice 2 large onions. 
  2. Heat 2 tbsp ghee and rapeseed oil. 
  3. Put one slice in if it sizzles then add the rest and add a pinch of salt, sugar and a good grating of pepper. 
  4. Make sure all the slices are separated and coated in oil. 
  5. Turn down the heat and leave it to cook slowly and become a very dark caramelised colour. This might take 30-40 minutes.

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8 of the Best Vegan and Vegetarian Barbecue Recipes

Summertime is the best time for barbecue so we wanted to share our favourite vegetarian and vegan barbecue recipes guaranteed to get you cooking with fire. These recipes prove that there's way more to barbecues beyond burgers (though we do sneak an outstanding veggie burger into the mix). These recipes are for everyone, not just vegetarians and vegans, full of flavour, spice, and beautiful summer colour that will excite all lovers of great food. Let us know which recipe is your favourite! And for more inspiration, read our post on Vegetarian Barbecue Tips and Tricks.


Maple, Lime and Chipotle Tempeh Tacos

If you're not sure how to cook with tempeh this is a great place to start. These vegan tempeh tacos are full of flavour and spice. We definitely recommend serving with guacamole! 


Beetroot Aduki Bean Burgers

Proof that a veggie burger needn't be boring or bland. These vegan burgers are made with beets, beans, oats, and loads of spices including smoky chipotle. Great with herby cucumber yoghurt and polenta chips!


Charred Pepper and Artichoke Spedini 

A kebab but not as you know it - we use rosemary stalks as the skewers! And the result is a delicious flavour bomb!


Tandoori Paneer Kebabs

Turn your barbecue into a makeshift tandoori with these Indian-spiced paneer kebabs. 


BBQ Sweetcorn with Chilli and Lime

The ultimate summer barbecue side dish, made all the more special with a chilli and lime kick. 


Garden Salad with Griddled Asparagus and Almonds

Grilled vegetables make a great addition to a salad. Asparagus are particularly well suited to the barbecue and can be turned into this fresh and filling salad that's perfect for summer. 


Chermoula Roasted Vegetables and Halloumi with Chickpea Fregola Salad

We use aubergine and sweet potato in this recipe but feel free to substitute whatever you have to hand. Chermoula is wonderful versatile!


Jerk Haloumi Kebabs

Jerk seasoning is classic and goes especially well with haloumi (top tip: make it vegan by using tofu instead of haloumi).  


What are your favourite vegan and vegetarian barbecue recipes? Let us know in the comments! 

For more inspiration, read our post on Vegetarian Barbecue Tips and Tricks.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Chermoula Roasted Vegetables and Halloumi with Chickpea Fregola Salad

Chermoula is one of our favourite spice rubs for vegetables, especially vegetables that get cooked on the grill. Here we've used it to season sweet potatoes, aubergines and halloumi. We like to serve this with a salad of giant couscous ("fregola") and chickpeas, seasoned with ras el hanout and harissa. 

To serve this tasty medley, start by piling the fregola salad onto individual plates or a serving platter and top with the barbecued vegetables and slices of Halloumi. Scatter over toasted almonds, drizzle with a little leftover Chermoula, and serve with Harissa Yoghurt Dressing (recipe below). 

Chermoula Roasted Vegetables and Halloumi

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium aubergine
  • 1 large orange sweet potato
  • 1 pack of Halloumi, sliced thickly into 4 slices

Chermoula Marinade

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 100ml olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Method

  1. Mix all the Chermoula marinade ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°fan.
  3. Slice the aubergine and unpeeled sweet potato into approx 3cm thick rounds. Brush the sweet potato slices on both sides with the Chermoula, and place onto a baking tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tip of a knife pierces the surface of the potato and it is slightly soft but not cooked through.
  4. Brush the aubergines on both sides with the Chermoula and set aside on a plate to marinate.
  5. Lay 3-4 alternate slices of sweet potato and aubergine on a board in a row and thread a large metal skewer through the whole row of slices so that they are lying flat side by side along the skewer. Brush all the vegetables with a little more Chermoula.
  6. Place the vegetable skewers on the barbecue grill, making sure that the flames have died down so that you get them cooked evenly. Flip the skewers over a couple of times until golden brown and crispy on both sides.
  7. Brush a little of the oil from the Chermoula mix onto the slices of Halloumi, and barbecue until golden and slightly charred. Take the vegetables off the skewers to serve.

Chickpea Fregola Salad

Ingredients

  • 250g Fregola giant cous cous
  • 1 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp ras el hanout spice blend
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 4 dried apricots, chopped finely
  • Small handful black olives, pitted and halved
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Small handful each of parsley, mint and coriander, chopped roughly
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add the Fregola.
  2. Stir and cook for 8 -10 minutes till just tender and al dente. It's easy to overcook Fregola, so slightly undercooking is best to avoid a mushy slimy texture.
  3. Drain the Fregola in a colander and rinse under cold water to prevent it sticking together. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil slowly until soft and golden. Add the garlic and ras el hanout spice blend, and cook for a further minute or two until fragrant.
  5. Add the chickpeas, and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. They need to become slightly toasted but not burnt.
  6. Add the cooked Fregola, harissa paste, preserved lemon, apricots, olives and lemon juice. Stir well and taste for seasoning. Add a pinch of salt if necessary, and plenty of ground pepper. Remove from the heat and add the chopped herbs.
  7. Serve straight away or serve cold.

Harissa Yoghurt Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds

Method

  1. Mix the harissa with the yoghurt and the mint.
  2. To serve, top with flaked almonds, toasted for a few minutes in a dry pan
Beetroot Aduki Bean Burgers with Rosemary Polenta Chips

These vegan beetroot and aduki bean burgers have become a favourite recipe of ours this summer. Most veggie burgers are held together egg, so to make ours vegan, we used whizzed up oats and mashed aduki beans to provide this binding effect. Roasted grated beetroot adds bold colour while paprika and chipotle give the burgers a spicy edge. To guarantee your burgers cook properly and don’t stick to the BBQ, we recommend pre-cooking the burgers in a frying pan and then finish them off on the BBQ. 

Vegan Beetroot Aduki Bean Burgers with Rosemary Polenta Chips

Serve with your favourite burger fixings! And if you have the time, do try the polenta chips. The polenta can be made ahead and stored for up to three days before slicing and frying. The fried chips reheat well too, so keep any leftovers and reheat in a hot oven for 10 minutes. Try adding different herbs such as parsley, chives or thyme and perhaps some paprika, chilli flakes or smoked chipotle powder.

Beetroot Aduki Bean Burgers with Rosemary Polenta Chips

Vegan | Gluten-free if made with gluten-free oats

Makes 4 large or 6 small

Prep Time: 2 hours to include roasting beetroots | Cook Time: 15- 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium raw beetroot
  • 1 tin Aduki beans
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground chipotle powder or smoked hot paprika
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped finely
  • 3-4 tbsp oats, whizzed to a coarse rough flour in a processor or blender
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sunflower or rapeseed oil for frying

Herby Cucumber Yoghurt

  • 6 tbsp thick natural yoghurt or strained soya yoghurt (leave overnight in a muslin lined sieve)
  • ¼ piece of cucumber, deseeded and grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • pinch of salt

To assemble

  • 4 large or 6 small burger buns
  • Rocket leaves
  • 1 beef tomato, sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • herby cucumber yoghurt
  • Pickled red cabbage or red sauerkraut (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Wrap the beetroot individually in foil and bake for 1-1 ½ hours until tender.
  2. Allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, gently fry the onion over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until soft and beginning to colour.
  4. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further minute until fragrant. Set aside to cool a little.
  5. Drain the tin of aduki beans and rinse under cold water.
  6. Tip into a mixing bowl and roughly crush with a fork leaving some beans just slightly broken rather than mashed to a paste.
  7. Remove the skin from the roasted beetroot and grate on the coarse side of a grater. Add to the crushed beans and mix through with the fork.
  8. Stir in the cooked spiced onions, the sun-dried tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of the oats, lemon juice, mint and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Mix well, then taste and check for seasoning.
  10. To make sure the mixture will hold together and tastes good when cooked it is a good idea to do a mini test burger. Test the mixture by frying 1 tablespoon in a teaspoon of oil. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and add more oats if the mixture is too moist.
  11. Divide the burger mix into 4 or 6 portions. Rub a little oil on the palms of your hands and scoop a portion into your hand and form into a patty. Place onto a lightly oiled plate or tray. Shape the remaining burgers and if possible, chill for an hour to firm up.
  12. To cook the burgers, heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower or rapeseed oil in a frying pan large enough to fit 3 burgers. Gently fry the burgers for a few minutes on each side over a medium heat till a crisp crust has formed but don’t let them blacken. Reduce the heat under the pan if any black spots appear. Alternatively place the burgers on an oiled baking tray and brush the tops with a little oil also. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a hot oven (200°fan) until crispy on the outside, turning them over halfway through baking.
  13. Once the burgers are cooked and cooled, you can pop them onto a hot barbecue to reheat- don't attempt to cook the raw burgers straight onto a BBQ as the mixture is likely to collapse and stick to the grill.
  14. To make the Herby Yoghurt, squeeze the grated cucumber through a couple of layers of kitchen towel to extract as much juice as possible. Add to the yoghurt with the chopped herbs, and a pinch of salt, and mix together till combined.
  15. To assemble the burgers, cut the buns in half and place some rocket leaves on the base. Place a burger on to the rocket and a spoonful of the Herby Yoghurt. Place a slice of tomato, red onion, and a spoonful of sauerkraut or pickled red cabbage on top of the yoghurt, and finally the bun top. Serve with some extra Herby Yoghurt on the side and Rosemary Polenta Chips.

Rosemary Polenta Chips

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free

Serves 4 as a side

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes plus setting 1 hour and frying 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250g quick ‘easy cook’ Polenta
  • 1 litre water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped finely
  • 4 tbsp Nutritional Yeast flakes
  • sunflower or rapeseed oil for frying
  • Sea salt flakes

Method

  1. Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the salt and olive oil, remove from the heat and slowly pour in the polenta, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or strong whisk.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and keep stirring until the polenta is thick and smooth. The polenta is cooked when it falls away from the sides of the pan and is no longer granular in texture. Stir in the rosemary and Nutritional Yeast flakes and mix well to ensure the flakes dissolve into the polenta. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
  4. Pour the cooked polenta into an oiled tray (approx 20x20cm or slightly smaller) so that the layer of polenta is approx 1-1.5cm deep. Smooth over with a wet or oiled spatula and leave until completely cold and solid.
  5. Turn the slab of solid polenta out onto a chopping board and slice into chips.
  6. Heat a couple of tablespoon of sunflower or rapeseed oil in a frying pan, add enough chips in one layer without overcrowding the pan and fry them for several minutes. Turn them regularly to ensure they are golden and crispy on all sides. Drain onto kitchen towel and fry the remaining polenta.
  7. Sprinkle the cooked chips with sea salt flakes and serve immediately.

For more vegan BBQ inspiration, check out Rachel'Light My Fire column in Vegetarian Living Magazine.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Ripe and Ready, Vegetarian Living, September 2017

The September 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living is now available and features my latest column of seasonal cooking ideas, tips, recipes and more.  This month is all about the wonderful and versatile tomato, with tips on how to choose, store and prepare them. Featured recipes include Heritage Tomato SaladPanzanella and Tomato Keftedes

Click on the link below to read the article in full:

Ripe and Ready, Vegetarian Living, September 2017

Light My Fire, Vegetarian Living, August 2017

The August 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living is now available and features my latest column of seasonal cooking ideas, tips, recipes and more.  We're particularly delighted that Lydia's veggie burgers made the cover (photographed by the ever talented Rob Wicks). This month is all about vegetarian BBQ, inspired by the bold flavours and global influences of the street-food revolution. Featured recipes include Beetroot Aduki Bean Burgers, Tempeh Tacos, and chermoula-roasted vegetables with haloumi.

Click on the link below to read the article in full:

Light My Fire, Vegetarian Living, August 2017

Maple, Lime and Chipotle Tempeh Tacos

Tempeh is marvellous on the BBQ and our chipotle-spiked marinade makes for super tasty protein-packed tempeh tacos.  Our marinade has a distinct Mexican influence, flavoured with lime and chipotle, plus maple syrup (tempeh works particularly well with sweet and sour flavours). We recommend serving with corn tortillas (make your own corn tortillas if you're feeling ambitious - we used blue corn masa in ours as shown in the photo above), frijoles negros refritos (refried black beans), and guacamole or sliced avocado. 

Make ahead tip: The uncooked tempeh can be kept in its marinade for up to 3 days in the fridge. The flavour improves the longer the tempeh is marinated, so it's a good idea to prepare a day in advance if you have time.

Maple, Lime and Chipotle Marinated Tempeh

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free option

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 200g block tempeh
  • 2 tbsp shoyu/soya sauce (or 1 tbsp tamari for gluten free)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove crushed and minced
  • 1 red chilli chopped finely (keep the seeds in if you like it spicy)
  • 1 tsp ground smoked chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp water

Garnish

  • 1 baby gem lettuce, shredded finely
  • Coriander leaves
  • Chopped red chilli
  • Zest of a lime
  • Sunflower or rapeseed oil for brushing/basting

Method

1. Cut the tempeh into 8 slices.

2. Mix all the marinade ingredients with 2 tablespoons of the water in a shallow dish and taste, adjusting the balance of sweet, spicy, citrusy, piquant and salty, adding more of any of the seasonings as necessary, and a little more water if it is too concentrated.

3. Place the tempeh slices into the marinade and turn to coat well in the mixture.

4. Chill in the fridge until needed, turning the slices occasionally to evenly marinade. Marinate for at least 1 hour.

5. When you are ready to cook the tempeh, take the tempeh out of the marinade and pat dry with kitchen paper, brush with sunflower or rapeseed oil and place on the barbecue. Cook until browned and crispy on both sides.

6. Alternatively fry the tempeh slices in a little oil in a frying pan. Remove onto a plate lined with kitchen towel.


Check out our collection of vegetarian Mexican recipes for more inspiration.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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​Socca Pizza

Socca, known in Italy as farinata, is a simple dish with so many wonderful variations. Here we've made it into a vegan and gluten-free pizza style dish that was popular on our recent Vegan Diploma course. The trick is to slice the vegetables very thinly so they cook quickly. We've included a few suggestions for toppings below but feel free to adapt it with your favourites. These toppings work great, on their own or in combination: artichokes, grilled aubergine, red peppers, olives, capers, fresh tomato, herby pesto, fresh herbs, and vegan cheese (or regular cheese!).

If you're interested in picking up more vegan recipes and techniques, do take a look at our upcoming classes. You needn't be vegan; these dishes are equally delicious for all!

Socca / Farinata Pizza

Makes 4-6

Ingredients

  • 100g gram flour
  • 300ml water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red or yellow pepper sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • A few black olives, pitted and halved

Method

  1. Sieve the gram flour with the salt and paprika into a mixing bowl, then whisk in the water and 1 tbsp olive oil to make a smooth lump free batter. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables for the filling.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the fennel and pepper slices gently until soft and beginning to caramelise. Alternatively, place in a roasting tin and drizzle with 1-2 tbsp olive oil and roast for 20-30 minutes till soft and caramelised at the edges.
  3. Place the tomato halves in a roasting tin cut side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of oregano or herbes de Provence. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the flesh looks juicy and skins are slightly shrivelled. They will dry out as they cool.
  4. To cook the Socca, heat 2 tsp oil in a frying or crepe pan. Pour a ladle of batter in and swirl as you would a regular pancake, but pour a little more batter into the pan than you might usually. Before the top is set, scatter over a few cooked vegetables, capers and olive halves. Instead of flipping the pancake over, pop the pan under a hot grill to cook the top, then slide out onto a serving plate or board.
  5. Serve with a sprinkle of torn basil leaves and chopped flat leaf parsley.

Tips: You can add chopped herbs and a pinch of chilli flakes to the gram batter for extra flavour. Try adding different cooked vegetables to the topping such as wilted and well drained spinach, shaved Asparagus spears, raw courgette ribbons or grilled sliced courgettes, grilled aubergine slices, chopped sun dried tomatoes, sliced artichoke hearts from a jar or tin.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Summer Syrups and Fruit Puddings

The summer fruits are ripe and they don't last long, so now is the time to gather fragrant flowers, fruits and herbs to make homemade syrups which you can turn into delicious beverages, cocktails, and of course, lush summer puddings. Read on for our favourite recipes for summer syrups and summer puddings, all of which are easy to make a delicious way to celebrate the fruits of summer! 

Summer Syrups

Herbs and flowers can be turned into beautiful and versatile sweet syrups.  At the cookery school we love trying out new flavour combinations such as elderflower, mint, lavender, lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon balm, rosewater and orange blossom. To make a syrup, the general approach is to infuse hot water with your chosen flower and/or herb, then add sugar. You'll need at least a 60% sugar solution, so for every litre of water you add 600g of sugar (with this quantity of sugar the cordial won’t ferment). Using this formula, you can either make a small amount for one dish or a larger amount to keep (recommended!). Syrups should be stored in sealable bottles, which have been sterilized before use.


Strawberries in mint and rosewater syrup 

For inspiration, try these favourite recipes for summer syrups: 


Lydia's Amazing Elderflower Cake

Summer Puddings

One of our favourite ways to make use of summer syrups is in seasonal puddings! Here are a few favourites, making use of the best of summer fruits, including gooseberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

http://demuths.co.uk/rachels-blog/article/vegan-vanilla-cashew-ice-cream-with-elderflower-berry-jelly
Vegan Elderflower Jelly with Vanilla Cashew Ice Cream


You can find more summer recipes in our recipe collection.

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Glamorgan Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs are usually made with sausage but we've made ours vegetarian by using our Glamorgan sausage mix for the coating.  The mix includes strong cheddar cheese, dijon mustard, and lots of fresh herbs. In my bakery days we used to make 50 Scotch eggs every day and the challenge was always to boil the eggs perfectly so that they peeled easily the yolk was soft inside. We recommend boiling for 6 minutes but you could increase that to 8-10 minutes for a firmer yolk. Serve with a spicy tomato relish or chutney, or a dab of whole grain mustard, for the ultimate lunchbox treat! And for more travel-friendly recipes, check out our top tips on vegetarian picnics and perfectly packed lunches.

Glamorgan Scotch Eggs

Makes 4

Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 medium organic free-range eggs
  • 200g wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 150g strong cheddar, grated
  • 1 small leek, finely sliced with the best of the green
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 egg yolks (keep the egg whites)
  • 1 pkt Panko or dry white breadcrumbs
  • Oil for deep-frying

Method

  1. Bring a saucepan of water (large enough to hold the eggs) to a boil.
  2. Carefully add the eggs and set a timer for 6 minutes for slightly runny yolks, or 8-10 minutes for a firmer yolk.
  3. When the time is up remove the eggs and place into a bowl of cold water to cool.
  4. Place all the remaining ingredients in a food processor and whizz a few times to combine to a soft sticky consistency. If your breadcrumbs are very dry to begin with you may need to add a tablespoon or two of water to help loosen the mixture. If it's too firm it will be tricky to form around the boiled eggs.
  5. If you don’t have a food processor you can mix by hand, but make sure the leek is sliced finely.
  6. Once the eggs are cold, carefully peel them and put to one side.
  7. To assemble, place a large piece of cling film on the worktop and spoon a quarter of the Glamorgan mix onto the centre of it, and form into a flat oval approximately twice the size of an egg.
  8. Place a boiled egg onto the mix, and using the cling film, bring up the sides, encasing and gently moulding the mixture into a round or oval shape around the egg. Twist the edges of the cling film together to seal the formed egg, and place on a plate whilst you repeat with the remaining eggs.
  9. Place the cling filmed eggs in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 30 minutes to firm up. (You can do this up to 2 days in advance)
  10. When you are ready to fry the eggs, pour enough oil into a high sided saucepan large enough to fry a couple of eggs at a time, and place over a low to medium heat.
  11. While the oil is heating, prepare your cooking area with a bowl containing the egg whites, another containing the Panko or breadcrumbs, two plates, one of them covered with a triple layer of kitchen towel for the fried Glamorgan eggs.
  12. Remove the eggs from the fridge and unwrap one. Check and seal up any cracks or gaps in the breadcrumb mix, then drop into the egg white bowl. Turn in the egg white to cover, then lift out into the breadcrumb bowl. Cover well in the crumbs and place on a plate. Repeat this process with the remaining eggs.
  13. To fry, increase the heat under the pan to medium and check it is hot enough by adding a small cube of bread to the oil. It should sizzle immediately, but not brown too fast. Adjust your heat accordingly. Remove the cube of bread before frying the eggs.
  14. Using a slotted spoon carefully lower a breadcrumbed egg into the oil. Add another egg, and fry until a deep golden brown for 4-5 minutes. Adding too many at once will lower the temperature of the oil, so it is best to cook a couple at a time. Once golden brown, carefully drain and place onto the kitchen towel lined plate. Fry the remaining eggs.
  15. Eat the Glamorgan Eggs straight away with a spicy tomato relish or Chutney, or a dab of whole grain mustard. Or store in the fridge for up to 5 days ready for packed lunches and picnics.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Let’s Cook at Demuths, Cook Vegan, July/August 2017

Demuths is delighted to be featured featured in the July / August 2017 issue of Cook Vegan Magazine. The article highlights some of our most popular classes and also includes an interview with Rachel and our recipe for Vegetable Ceviche. Here's a sneak peak:

Congratulations on the vegan courses you've started to teach– what's your mission statement in doing so?

At Demuths cookery school our aim is to make plant-based vegan food taste delicious and appeal to everyone. It’s good to go back to basics and cook with seasonal fresh vegetables. 

Click on the link below to read the article in full: 

Let's Cook at Demuths, Cook Vegan, July/August 2017

How to Pack the Perfect Picnic

As a child, picnics were a great treat. When traveling with my family by car, each day one of us girls - three sisters - chose the picnic spot. To the dismay of my father, who preferred to sit next to the car and smoke his pipe, my eldest sister would choose a remote spot to lug the picnic basket. My middle sister pleased him by choosing a lay by. I took the middle road and would choose a field just a short way from the car.

We had a big tartan rug, wicker basket, and sandwiches wrapped in grease-proof paper. They were always made with wholewheat bread, filled with a choice of cheddar, homemade chutney, egg mayonnaise from our free range chickens, home-grown cucumber, and tomato. To finish off we'd have apples and cake. My parents would sometimes have a glass of wine and we children would enjoy lime squash. Idyllic memories!

So, what's essential to recapturing the magic of a good picnic? Simplicity.

Pick your picnic location

First, don't overthink your picnic spot. Whether you're at the bottom of your garden, a park near your office, or the Greek islands, a picnic is always a treat. Truly, all you need is a bit of sunshine and something to eat. Hopefully your friends and family also enjoy the informality of sitting on the ground, eating with their fingers, and skipping a lot of washing up! I always like the rug rather than tables and chairs, fingers versus plates and cutlery.

My most memorable picnics seem to have been up mountains with cheddar and chutney sandwiches or on the Greek Islands, where everyday is picnic day up in the hills. Buying the ingredients first is part of the experience, choosing small Greek cucumbers, large irregular shaped beef tomato and a slab of local sheep’s cheese and then to the bakers on the way out of town for a warm loaf of bread. As one walks up an appetite, augumenting the picnic with freshly picked herbs, such as perfumed oregano and if lucky plucking sweet ripe figs. All eaten on a scenic wall, with a penknife to slice up the vegetables and curious cats to watch over you. 

The key to perfect picnic food

My criteria for a relaxed picnic is to choose food that you can make in advance, travels well and is delicious eaten cold. I’m a great fan of tarts as they look beautiful, can be eaten with your ngers and made individually and, most importantly, can be cooked in advance. Sandwiches need not be boring – choose a crusty baguette and layer it up with marinated tofu, chilli mayo and salad vegetables. And don’t forget fruit and vegetables that you can nibble on, such as cherry tomatoes, crunchy gem lettuce, radishes, bunches of grapes, punnets of berries and melon that you can cut on site – it tastes so much better when warm and the juices run! 

Stay hydrated! 

Don't forget to pack something to wash all your delicious food down with. Water is essential on a hot day, but pack something special, too.  Elderflower cordial or even a drop of elderflower champagne make for a perfect English Summer Picnic! 


Favourite Picnic Recipes

Make your picnic extra special with these delicious recipes:

Lemongrass Tofu Bahn Mi


Vegan Savoury Tarts


Turkish Fatayer


Spanish Tortilla


Lydia's Amazing Elderflower Cake


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Edible Flowers - Recipes and Tips

You might be surprised just how many of the flowers in our gardens are edible and now is the perfect time to harvest many of them.* Edible flowers make a fabulous addition to summer dishes and they look so pretty too! Plus, if you plant edible flowers in your garden you will be encouraging in all sorts of beneficial insects and helping our struggling bee population; it's a win win situation! Here are a few of our favourites.

If you have Chives growing in your garden be sure to use the flowers as well as the leaves in your salads, they add a lovely oniony flavour and a splash of subtle colour. This salad was made on our Advanced Vegetarian Diploma course - isn't it beautiful?

Summer Salad with Edible Flowers

Pansies, Violets and Violas are so pretty they usually end up crystallised to decorate cakes and desserts but they have a lovely, delicate flavour all of their own and really shine in a salad! Who could resist these beauties? They certainly inspire some fabulous gourmet cooking when a basket full turns up at the cookery school.

Cooking with Edible Flowers

Courgette Flowers are fabulous raw in salads or steamed as a side dish but they really come into their own when they are stuffed, dunked in tempura batter and shallow fried.

Courgette Flowers Recipes

Blue Borage is a classic addition to a glass of Pimm's and lemonade but why not marry it with cucumber in a light summer salad or pop it on top of a summery Gazpacho?

Wild chicory grows widely in Britain. Bright blue flowers signal its presence in dry meadows. It used to be a common foraged spring vegetable here, but is now enjoyed mainly by travellers to Italy or Greece where it is common in restaurants. The young leaves should be tender and pleasantly bitter but not unpleasantly so. A really useful addition to your summer flower repertoire!

Cooking with Wild Chicory

Lavender flowers are lovely in ice creams, added to summer drinks and homemade jams, baked into biscuits or made into lavender syrup and stirred into cream.

Nasturtiums are real givers - you can eat the leaves, flowers and seeds! The leaves make wonderful edible plates to serve a salad on but you can also whizz them up into a delicious peppery pesto. The flowers look amazing and taste delicious scattered on salads and added to savoury dishes. You can even make Poor Man's Capers using the seed buds once the flowers are over!

*A word of caution, as with all foraging do make sure that you only choose organically grown flowers, free of pesticides and that you are confident that you know what you are picking.

If you are keen to do a bit more foraging do keep an eye on our courses for one of our regular foraging outings! If you are inspired to further your cooking skills and deepen your knowledge why not sign up for one of our Diploma courses?

If you do something fabulous with edible flowers we'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment below or come and chat to us on social media!

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Lemongrass Tofu Bahn Mi

In Vietnam, Bahn Mi is a street food sandwich made with French baguettes and traditionally filled with liver pate. This is our healthy vegan version made with marinated tofu, salad and chilli lime mayo. For a picnic make them in advance and wrap in greaseproof paper, or take everything sliced and then everyone can personalise their sandwich by adding what they want.

Lemongrass Tofu Bahn Mi

Dietary: Vegan | Makes: 4

Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 280g firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil for frying

Tofu Marinade:

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, seeds removed and chopped
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp sugar

Filling

  • 1 large or 2 small carrots
  • ¼ cucumber
  • 1 gem lettuce
  • 4-6 radishes
  • 2-3 sprigs mint
  • Small handful coriander
  • 4 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Thai Sriracha chilli sauce or hot chilli sauce
  • 1 baguette

Method

  • Put all the marinade ingredients and half the lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Slice the tofu into 16 slices and lay in one layer in a dish.
  • Pour the marinade over and set aside for at least an hour.
  • Grate the carrot, place in a bowl and add the remaining lime juice. Mix and set aside.
  • Slice the cucumber, thinly slice the radishes, shred the lettuce and roughly chop the mint and coriander.
  • Mix the mayonnaise with the Sriracha chilli sauce and lime zest.
  • Heat the sunflower oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  • Remove the tofu slices from the marinade and blot gently on kitchen paper.
  • Fry the tofu until crisp on both sides and place on a plate.
  • To assemble the Bahn Mi, slice the baguette into 4 and then slice each piece in half and spread both sides with the chilli lime mayonnaise.
  • Place a layer of sliced cucumber, then some carrot, and some of the mint and coriander.
  • Lay 4 slices of Tofu on the top, then add the lettuce, radish and more herbs.
  • Serve straight away.

Alternatively, allow the Tofu to cool completely then assemble the Bahn Mi, wrap in a paper napkin to absorb any juice, and then in greaseproof paper. Tie up with string and pack for a picnic sandwich with a difference!

Tips:

You could substitute the tofu with tempeh for an equally delicious result. If your baguette is a crusty dense one, you may wish to hollow out the baguette by removing a little of the dough first before filling with the ingredients to ensure a generously 


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Vegan Vanilla Cashew Ice Cream
 with Elderflower Berry Jelly

Lydia's vegan cashew ice cream and elderflower berry fruit jelly is a perfect Summer treat and easy to make too.  The ice cream recipe below makes a good base for most flavours, so try experimenting by adding a shot or two of espresso coffee or a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder dissolved in hot water when blending the nuts and milk. Once the ice cream has churned or partially frozen, you can swirl through a fruit coulis such as raspberry or mango, or some caramel sauce and chocolate chips.

Vegan Vanilla Cashew Ice Cream


Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 100g cashews
  • 200g almond, coconut or soya milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract and seeds scraped from a vanilla pod
  • 200ml soya or coconut cream
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup or date syrup

Method

  1. In a small saucepan warm up the milk to about 50C.
  2. Stir in the cashews, vanilla seeds and extract, and leave to soak for an hour.
  3. Transfer into a blender and blend to a very smooth consistency.
  4. Add the soya or coconut cream and enough maple or date syrup to sweeten, bearing in mind that it needs to be sweeter than you think as the freezing process dulls the sweetness.
  5. Transfer into an ice cream machine and churn till frozen. Alternatively, transfer to a plastic container and freeze, beating well after 30 minutes to distribute ice particles, then freeze and repeat again after another 30 minutes.

Vegan Elderflower Berry Jelly

Makes 4 small glasses/bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp agar flakes 
  • 240ml cold water 
  • 40ml elderflower cordial
  • 50g each of raspberries and blueberries,

Method

  1. Put the water into a saucepan and sprinkle in the agar flakes, but don't stir. Allow it to come to a simmer, then stir to make sure the agar flakes are completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the elderflower cordial.
  2. Add the berries and stir gently to mix.
  3. Wet the glasses, serving bowls or moulds with cold water. 
  4. Carefully spoon equal amounts of berries into each, then pour the liquid over each one.
  5. Leave to set at room temperature for 10 minutes, then chill in the fridge till needed.

Tip

  • Alternatively, pour the agar mix into a shallow tin. Leave to set, then chill till needed. To serve, carefully turn out onto a board and use a knife or biscuit cutter to cut out decorative shapes. Use to ‘dress’ your dessert plate with ice cream or sorbet, more berries, coulis and edible flowers.

Berry Coulis

Ingredients

  • 100g mixed berries
  • 1-2 tbsp icing sugar or agave syrup
  • Optional: 1-2 tsp lemon juice

Method

  1. Blend berries with icing sugar or agave syrup to taste.
  2. Add lemon
  3. Sieve to remove any pips before serving.

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​Cashew Nectarine Cheesecake

This cheesecake is vegan, gluten free and sweetened with maple syrup or agave syrup. It's lovely made with either ripe nectarines or peaches.


Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free

Makes  1 x 22cm large tart

Base

100g whole un-skinned almonds

100g walnuts

100g soft dates

1/2 tbsp cocoa

1/2 tsp ground ginger

pinch salt

2.5 tbsp melted coconut oil

Filling

200g cashews

90ml coconut cream

5 nectarines (375g peeled and de-stoned weight)

4 tsp agar flakes 

75ml aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas)

50ml agave/maple syrup

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Topping

3 nectarines (225g peeled and de-stoned weight)

75g soft sulphured apricots (or soak first to soften)

75g sweetener (maple syrup/agave)

4 tsp agar flakes

250g raspberries

Method

To make the base:

1.Chop the nuts finely in a food processor, decant and place in a bowl.

2.Chop the dates in a food processor then mix with the nuts, cocoa, ginger and salt.

3.Melt the coconut oil and mix into the nut mixture.

4.Press the mixture into the bottom of the tart case.

5.Chill the base in the fridge while you make the filling.

To make the filling:

6.Blend the nectarines with the aquafaba, sweetener and vanilla extract until smooth.

7.Place the pureed nectarines in a saucepan and sprinkle the agar over the top. Gently heat the mixture to the boil, whisk quickly for a minute until smooth and the agar is well dissolved.

8.Blend the cashews with the coconut cream, then add the nectarine mixture, continue blending until really smooth.

9.Pour the mixture over the top of the base and return to the fridge to chill and set.

To make the topping:

10.Make the topping, blend the nectarines, apricots and sweetener until smooth.

11.Place in a saucepan and sprinkle the agar over the top.

12.Gently heat the mixture to the boil, whisk quickly for a minute until smooth and the agar is well dissolved. 

13.Pour over the top of the cheesecake mixture. 

14.Decorate the top with raspberries.

A Movable Feast, Vegetarian Living, July 2017

The July 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living is now available and features my latest column of seasonal cooking ideas, tips, recipes and more. This month is all about taking your food outdoors as summer is the perfect season for picnics! Featured recipes include Lemongrass Tofu Bánh Mì, Vegetable Picnic Tartlets, and Glamorgan Eggs.

Click on the link below to read the article in full:

A Movable Feast, Vegetarian Living, July 2017

Bite-sized video by Rob Wicks of eatpictures.com.

One of our long standing all time favourite recipes is Moudardara, a Lebanese rice and lentil dish that gets topped with caramelised onions and saffron. As one of our students once said, "this dish is a magical middle-eastern delight and it’s easy – a simple showstopper." Our bite-sized video shows just how easy it is. 

Get the full recipe here: Moudardara

Summer Beans and Peas: Tips and Recipes

Green beans and peas are a seasonal summer treat, starting with broad beans in April and continuing with peas, French and runner beans all through the summer until the first frosts in October.

You might be wondering why we’re calling these a summer treat when beans are available all year round in the supermarkets. If you look a little closer, you’ll see that most of our supermarket beans have been air freighted 3,600 miles from Kenya. Food miles aside, Kenyan beans are often grown with artificial fertilizers and pesticides and require plentiful water in a country where water is often scarce.

For these reasons and more we recommend you enjoy beans when they’re in season in your country so that you can buy locally and eat them at their freshest. Better still, grow them yourself. Here in Britain the summer climate is perfectly suited to growing beans and peas. The plants are beautiful, particularly runner beans with their bright red flowers. It’s enormously gratifying to pick fresh beans and peas when they are crisp and naturally sweet.

When buying beans at the shop, be sure to choose bright green pods. As soon as peas have been picked, the sugars start turning to starch, so if you want your peas sweet they must be freshly picked. Alternatively buy frozen peas that they say are frozen within 2 hours of picking!

So which beans to choose? Here's a guide to our favourite summer beans and peas…

Mangetout

In French ‘mangetout’ means to eat it all. They are one of the easiest pea varieties to grow, but do need to be supported with canes. Pick them just as the peas are beginning to develop and keep on picking - the more you pick the more they will produce. Lovely to eat raw in salads or lightly steamed.

Sugar snaps

Sugar snaps are a cross between a snow pea and a mutant shell pea. The size is between that of pea pods and mangetout and are eaten whole. As they are eaten whole make sure they are crisp and young. When cooking, remove the top and string if necessary. I like to treat them like asparagus, when the asparagus season is finished, and lightly steam them and dip them in home-made mayonnaise.

Broad beans

Broad beans are the traditional European bean. Prior to the conquest of the Americas broad beans were the only green beans grown in Europe.

Broad beans can be planted out in the autumn and are ready by April a good two months before runner and French beans. Alternatively, plant in March and crop in May.

Young broad beans can make a tasty and unusual tapas - serve pods of baby broad beans for your guests to pod themselves along with an aperitif. Fresh baby broad beans are so sweet and vibrantly green, but the season is short, so it’s not long before the broad beans become tough and starchy and you have to peel them. One kilo of fresh broad beans in the pod, when podded will end up at about 350g. If they need peeling, you are down to only 250g.

French beans

French beans come in different colours: green, yellow and purple (though the purple ones lose their colour in cooking and annoyingly turn green, too!). French beans are easy to grow - I like the bush varieties for small gardens. You will need a few plants for a generous crop and if you are organized with succession planting you can be picking up to the first frosts.

Runner beans

Runner beans were originally grown for their flowers. From the common red flowers to beautiful white flowers as pretty as sweet peas. Runner beans must be fresh enough to snap rather than bend, so pick them when they are small and then you can eat them raw or blanched with no need to string them. As they get older they need stringing, take the string out with a knife and top them, but no need to tail them. You can buy hand held bean slicers where you just pull the beans through. Runner bean chutney is surprisingly good!

Edamame

Popular in China, Japan and Korea, edamame are basically immature soya beans. In Japan, whole pods are boiled and then served with salt - you suck the beans out of the pods. Here you can buy frozen pods in Asian stores and supermarkets sell podded edamame. Edamame contain around 12% protein and provides all the amino acids so it’s a great protein source for vegetarians.

Either steam or boil edamame and use them in Asian recipes or treat them like peas.

Read on for our favourite recipes using beans and peas.

Favourite Beans and Peas Recipes

Japanese Bean Noodle Salad


Asian Green Beans with Peppers and Peanuts


Vegan Green Bean and Artichoke Niçoise Salad


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Vegan Savoury Tarts with Chickpea Flour and Vegetables

On our vegan cookery courses we are often asked how to make an eggless quiche. There are a few options but the one we like best is based on a batter made with gram flour (a.k.a. chickpea flour). The batter sets firm and has an ‘eggy’ consistency and a neutral taste so can take up what ever flavour you fancy. These tarts travel well so are perfect for picnics and packed lunches.

The gram flour batter we use here can also be made into a perfect vegan crepe style pancakes called Socca, popular in southern France. Cook exactly as you would a regular pancake, but pour a little more batter into a non-stick frying pan than you might usually. Before the top is set, scatter over a few cooked vegetables such as the ones in the tart recipe, or some chopped herbs like parsley and basil. Instead of flipping the pancake over, pop the frying pan under a hot grill to cook the top, then slide out onto a serving plate or board.

Vegan Savoury Tarts with Chickpea Flour and Vegetables

Makes: 6 individual 10cm tarts or a large 22cm tart

Dietary: Vegan | Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 150gplain white flour
  • 75g hard vegan margarine such as Tomor, chopped into small pieces
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4-6 tbsp very cold water

Filling

  • 100g gram flour
  • 300ml water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Pinch of caster sugar
  • Dried oregano or herbes de Provence
  • Mixed black and green olives, pitted and halved
  • 12 basil leaves
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Salt, pepper

Method

  1. To make the pastry, mix the flour with the salt in a mixing bowl, then rub the margarine into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, or pulse together in a food processor until crumbly.
  2. Add 4-6 tablespoons of very cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir through or pulse till it forms a dough. It should come together as a firm ball, so add enough water to just bring together.
  3. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. To make the filling, sieve the gram flour with the salt and paprika into a mixing bowl, then whisk in the water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to make a smooth lump free batter. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables for the filling.
  5. Pre-heat the oven 180CFan.
  6. Place the halved cherry tomatoes in a roasting tray cut side up. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of oregano or herbes de Provence. Roast for 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven, then remove from the oven and allow to cool. The tomatoes will shrivel and wrinkle a little as they cool.
  7. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Place the fennel slices in one layer, and cook gently for 15-20 minutes until soft and beginning to caramelise. Set aside to cool.
  8. Roll out the pastry and line 6 individual tart tins. The easiest way to do this is to divide the pastry into 6 equal portions, then roll each into a ball, flatten slightly then roll out into circles large enough to line the tins so that the pastry overhangs just a little. Place the tins onto a baking tray and prick the surface of the pastry a couple of times with a fork. Line each tart case with a square of parchment or foil and baking beans, place the tray of tarts in the pre-heated oven and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment or foil and the baking beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes to cook the pastry base.
  9. Divide the fennel between the tarts, then pour enough batter over to almost reach the top of the pastry. (There will be batter left over but see note below for tips to use it up)
  10. Top each tart with 5 tomato halves, a few olive halves and a couple of torn basil leaves.
  11. Place the tray back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the batter has set and feels firm when pressed.
  12. Serve straight away or leave to cool for your picnic.
  13. These tarts are lovely with a herby dressing such as salsa verde or mayonnaise. You could use any summer roasted vegetables such as courgettes and red peppers in place of the fennel and tomatoes.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie and, if you like this post, please share it!

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Food Photography Course with Rob Wicks

Demuths recently welcomed Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures to teach his Food Photography workshop. This course recap was written by the students who attended, and includes their favourite photographs from the day.

The standard of food photography is ever-increasing in “mouth-watering” content, and with help of social media, particularly Instagram, you have to have exceptionally high quality photos to stand out from the crowd.

Luckily we had Rob’s knowledge and expertise to help us do just that.

All equipped with DSLRs, laptops and smartphones, and varying levels of experience, we were ready to begin.

The day started with taking photographs of beautifully fresh produce including artichoke, rainbow chard, fennel and asparagus.

After climbing on the furniture and lying on the floor in search of the perfect picture, we took a break from snapping to review our photos, and discuss how they could be improved.

Next up was taking some cooking action shots of Rachel making kim-bap, which are Korean-style sushi, and a lovely spring vegetable frittata, before all sitting down to enjoy the lunch. We started with the kim-bap with a hot chilli sauce, then spring vegetable frittata with patasas bravas, basil pesto, roasted peppers, artichoke and fennel with a big asparagus salad. This was followed by local strawberries, with maple cocoa yoghurt, and we tried a very photogenic dragon fruit.

Rob then gave us some great insider tips on how to get those Instagram pictures looking their best.

We were all surprised by just how much improvement in our photography quality we saw as the day went on. With Rob’s help we were able to take some really fantastic shots.

Read on for feedback and favourite photographs from the students themselves...

Laetitia

“This course is an excellent introduction to food photography. A really useful and relaxed way to spend the day. Delicious food too!”

“I will use what I have learnt to photograph my cooking for daily uploads to Instagram for my catering business.”

Gareth

“A very enjoyable day – learnt a lot and plenty of good tips to put into practice. Plus the food was excellent!”

“I will use what I have learnt and take photos for my wife’s magazine, the Taster Magazine.”

Olivia

“Very useful, expanding a lot on the little knowledge I have of food photography. Not overcomplicated tips and tricks, but helpful facts that can be executed for me everyday. Really enjoyed it!”

“I will take more time photographing food, and use lighting to my advantage more. Also start using a camera more rather than just my phone.”

Sue

“Loved it! Learned loads, had fun and am feeling inspired to try at home.”

“I will use what I have learnt for my blogging & Instagram.”

Annabelle

“A very enjoyable and informative day.”

“I learnt a lot of tips that will be easy to put into practise.”

Georgia

“It was great to learn from someone as skilled and knowledgeable as Rob – the day was interesting and a lot of fun.”

“I just need to not be lazy and get my camera out instead of always reaching for my phone.”

For more images from the day, check out #demuthsphotoworkshop17 on Twitter or have a look at our photoset on Flickr. And if you're interested in learning food photography from Rob Wicks, keep an eye on our course calendar for more food photography courses coming soon.

Japanese Bean Noodle Salad

This recipe was inspired by Gemma one of our diploma students who made the most beautiful Japanese salad with the sugar snap peas sliced lengthways to show the immature peas inside. You could use rice vermicelli or buckwheat soba noodles instead of the mung bean noodles. Top with fried marinated Tofu or tempeh, or sautéed sliced shitake mushrooms for a more substantial meal.

Japanese Bean Noodle Salad

Serves 2-3 for a light lunch | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • I small packet dried mung bean Fun Se (Bean Thread) noodles
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 100g sugar snaps
  • 100g mangetout
  • 100g edamame beans, defrosted if frozen (green soya beans)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced thinly into long diagonal strips
  • 4 radishes, sliced thinly

Dressing:

  • 5cm piece ginger, grated coarsely
  • 1-2 tsp white miso paste
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions, sliced thinly into long diagonal strips
  • Nanami Togarashi Japanese chilli seasoning or sesame seeds and chilli flakes

Method

  1. Place the mung beans in a bowl, cover and soak in hot water from a kettle for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain then place in a bowl and mix in a drizzle of sesame oil to prevent them becoming sticky.
  2. Blanch the sugar snaps and mangetout in a pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes until bright green but still crunchy. Drain and refresh under cold water to retain the colour and crunch. Once cool, slice lengthways in half and place in a bowl.
  3. To make the dressing, squeeze the grated ginger over a bowl to extract as much juice as possible.
  4. Mix with the remaining dressing ingredients, then taste and adjust if necessary. You want a balance of salty, sweet and sharp, so add a little extra of soya sauce, mirin or miso until you are happy with the flavour.
  5. Mix half the dressing through the noodles and divide between 2 serving bowls.
  6. Mix the remaining dressing through the mangetout, sugar snaps and edamame beans and place in the bowl attractively with the noodles and finally the radishes.
  7. Serve garnished with the shredded spring onions and a sprinkle of Nanami Togarashi or sesame and chilli flakes.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Forager’s Nettle Pesto

Nettle has a unique and delicious flavour. Popular recipes include soups, risotto, and various flamiche recipes. We decided to bring nettles to the fore with this delicious forager's pesto. This recipe concentrates the taste of the dark green fleshy leaves with the rustic flavour of toasted hazelnuts, a bit of chilli heat, and the richness of good olive oil. You could use this forager’s nettle pesto as a base and build it up with flavours of your own, for example, basil, Kalamata olives, or pistachio nuts. This is excellent with feta cheese, on toast (or bruschetta), with roast vegetables (including jacket potato), or just mixed into hot pasta.

Forager’s Nettle Pesto

Ingredients

  • 100g young stinging-nettle leaves (top 4-6 leaves without stalk or petioles)
  • 100 ml good olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp mild red chilli, chopped finely (or dried chilli flakes)
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 50g hazel nuts (or sunflower kernels)
  • juice of 1 lemon

Method

  1. Put the nettle leaves into a bowl and cover with cling film and microwave on full power for 2 minutes. Take out of the microwave, leave the cling film on and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Alternatively, cover and steam the nettle leaves for 5 minutes until tender.
  2. Fry the chilli in 2 teaspoons of the olive oil until soft and the oil is coloured.
  3. In a food processor add the rest of olive oil, the fried chilli, and all the chopped garlic and blitz. Add the nettle leaves and combine to a smooth purée. Add black pepper and lemon juice to taste.
  4. Heat the hazel nuts in a dry frying pan over a moderate heat, stirring or tossing them, until they just start to colour. Careful or they will burn. Immediately tip into a bowl to cool. Coarsely crush in a mortar and pestle.
  5. With a spatula, remove the nettle purée from the food processor bowl into a serving bowl. Add the hazel nuts and gently mix in.

Storage: The pesto will keep in the fridge for a month, best to top the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil and store in a sterilized, lidded, and labelled jar. 


For more tips on foraging, read Christopher's foraging basis or come along on one of his foraging courses.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie - and foraging! We'd love to hear about the wild food you've found!

To keep up to date with events and goings on at the cookery school sign up for our newsletter.

Our favourite vegan cookbooks of 2017 (so far!)

We know it's only May but already there have been a wealth of great vegan cookbooks to hit the shelves. We thought we'd share our favourites. Here's our picks so far:

  1. The First Mess Cookbook: Vibrant Plant-Based Recipes to Eat Well Through the Seasons Laura Wright, March 2017. 125 vegan recipes from blogger Laura Wright that are seasonal, healthy and above all, delicious.
  2. On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen Jeremy Fox, April 2017. Jeremy Fox, the Californian chef, truly celebrates vegetables and redefines their very purpose in some exciting and inventive ways, putting them at centre stage of every dish.
  3. Saffron Soul: Healthy, Vegetarian Heritage Recipes from India Mira Manek, April 2017. A fresh new take on Indian food, challenging any misconceptions that this cuisine is indulgent and rich. Mira’s passion for food really shines through her traditionally inspired dishes.
  4. Green Kitchen at Home: Quick and healthy vegetarian food for every day David Frenkiel & Luise Vindhal, May 2017. Mouth-watering recipes and pictures a like, the latest release from the Stockholm couple shows that vegetarian cooking is easy, healthy and far from dull.
  5. Vegan: The Cookbook Jean-Christian Jury, May 2017. A truly comprehensive and diverse book of vegan delights. With over 400 recipes from all over the world, it is fair to say that this a real go-to book for those interest in a plant-based diet.
  6. Love Real Food: More than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favourites to Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body Kathryne Taylor, June 2017. Cookie & Kate is one of our go to blogs for whole foods inspiration. Now Kate has written her first cookbook, that looks like it is set to be packed full recipes designed to suit vegetarian, vegan and gluten free diets alike.
  7. This Cheese is Nuts!: Delicious Vegan Cheese at Home Julie Piatt, June 2017. Although not actually out yet, we cannot wait to get our hands on this and give some of the vegan nut cheese recipes a go! 

Have you discovered any great vegan cookbooks this year that we may have missed? Let us know in the comments!

Get Started Foraging With These 3 Easy-to-Forage Plants

One of the things we love about Bath is the myriad of foraging opportunities. You may not think a city such as ours would have much wild food to offer, but it just goes to show that wherever you live, be it countryside or city, there is plenty of wild food around. It's not only about the food, it's a chance to get outside and take a closer look at the natural world around us. All the more important if you live in an urban environment. If you haven't yet been foraging but are keen to try, here are three great plants to start with, curated by our expert forager Christopher Robbins. All of these are copious in the Bath and Bristol area, and everywhere in between. For more top tips, read Christopher's foraging basis or come along on one of his foraging courses.

Stinging nettle

Grows in meadows, edges of woods, and around houses, loving rich soil. Grows 50-100 cms, highly variable. Leaves heart- spearhead shapes, paired opposite, and next pair at 90 degrees. Coarsely toothed with stinging hairs on leaves and stems. Tiny, single sexed flowers in upper leaf axils, usually on separate plants. Neither has obvious petals. Male hang in catkins; female in tight clusters. Flowers June to August. Best foraged before flowering when leaves and stems toughen.

Harvest only upper 3-4 pairs of leaves. Avoid getting stung by gripping leaf tip firmly in thumb and index finger then cut with scissors. Spread out to wilt and sting disappears then handle like spinach. Many heavenly recipes. See our article on How to Pick and Eat Nettles.

Hairy Bittercress

Common all year on sunny/shaded, fertile bare or cultivated soil. Small leaves that eat like watercress. These are so common in gardens they usually not noticed. Rosettes to 10 cms diameter, leaves pinnate with up to 7 opposite pairs of angular, almost diamond shaped leaves. Flower stalk to 5-15 cms with small petalled, white flowers about 2mm diameter all year. Fruit 2-3 cms long and very thin pods that rupture easily when ripe. Pick whole plants wash soil off roots and take the leaves for sandwiches, salads or to sex up scrambled eggs or omelettes. Lovely tang of mustard. Many closely related plants also delicious.

Elderflower and Elderberries

Many myths and legends on this beautiful deciduous tree to 10m, with rough and warty bark, soft pith in young branches. Grows in fertile hedgerows, woodland, near streams, around farm buildings. Leaves pinnate with 5 oval to elliptical, toothed leaflets with a short petiole, and smell of marzipan before flowering. Flowers (May-June) with large, flat, umbel to 24cms dia. with many small cream/white flowers 2-4 mm with strong, pleasant scent. Fruits (July to Aug) as juicy berries, dark-crimson to black, and bunches hang down as ripen. Forage flowers for light fritters or cordial. Fruits make rich jellies or syrups to replace Cassis, and go so well with apple desserts. The Elder is known as the People’s Medicine Chest as all parts of the tree can be used to make home remedies.


This list was originally featured in the June 2017 issue of Crumbs Magazine.

For more tips on foraging, read Christopher's foraging basis or come along on one of his foraging courses.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie - and foraging! We'd love to hear about the wild food you've found!

To keep up to date with events and goings on at the cookery school sign up for our newsletter.

Asian Green Beans with Peppers and Peanuts

Enhance green beans with this sour, sweet and salty Thai sauce, garnished with peanuts and crispy onions for a crunchy topping. Serve with rice or noodles and for a protein boost add marinated tofu or tempeh. 

Asian Green Beans with Peppers and Peanuts

Dietary: Vegan | Serves 4 | Prep: 30 minutes | Cook: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 40g raw peanuts, skinned or un-skinned
  • 200g French beans
  • 200g runner beans, cut into long thin diagonal strips
  • 100g broad beans fresh or frozen
  • 100g peas fresh or frozen
  • 1 medium Romano red pepper, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced diagonally into long thin shreds- reserve a little for the final garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 small red chilli, sliced thinly
  • Optional: 2-3 tbsp dried crispy onions or shallots (available from Asian stores)
  • 1 tsp black or white sesame seeds
  • Small handful of coriander leaves

Sauce

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200C/180CFan.
  2. Place the peanuts on a baking tray and roast for 5-6 minutes or until the nuts are golden brown. Allow the peanuts to cool, if un-skinned rub off the skins, then crush lightly in a pestle and mortar or wrap in a tea towel and crush lightly with a rolling pin. They need to be broken into small bits, but not to a powder.
  3. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and blanch the French beans for 2-3 minutes until tender, then the runner beans for 4-5 minutes, as they tend to take slightly longer to cook. Have a large bowl of cold water ready beside your hob to plunge the cooked beans straight into, which cools them down quickly, preventing the beans from overcooking and helps retain the bright green colour.
  4. Blanch the fresh or frozen peas and broad beans, and also cool these in a bowl of cold water. Once cool enough to handle, double pod the broad beans.
  5. Drain all the green beans and peas in a colander once cool.
  6. To make the sauce, place all the ingredients in a mini blender and blend till smooth. Strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the coarse bits of lemongrass.
  7. Heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a wok or large frying pan over a medium to hot heat.
  8. Fry the red pepper for a few minutes till just beginning to colour on the edges but still crisp.
  9. Add the spring onions, garlic and red chilli, and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  10. Add in all the green beans, broad beans and peas. Stir fry to combine for a minute and then pour in the sauce.
  11. Turn the vegetables over in the sauce to coat them and add the dried crispy onions and half the crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. Taste and add a little more soya sauce if needed.
  12. Serve straight away on a large plate or dish, with the remaining peanuts, sesame seeds and a little extra dried crispy onion and coriander leaves scattered over.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Picky Eating, Crumbs Magazine, June 2017

Our expert forager Christopher Robbins who leads our foraging courses is featured in Issue 63 of Crumbs Magazine. The article offer's Christopher's handy guide to foraging, including top tips, all the right kit, and the best plants to get started with. Learn how to find and use nettles, bittercress, and elderflower, plus lots of other handy information for the intrepid wild food forager. 

Read the full article online (go to page 56) or read the unabridged version on our blog.

Foraging Basics

This is a guest post from our foraging expert Christopher Robbins and was originally featured in the June 2017 issue of Crumbs Magazine. If you'd like to join Christopher on a hands-on wild food walk, keep an eye on our upcoming foraging courses.


The perfect justification for owning a dog could be getting into foraging. Its not the only reason for foraging but what better excuse for taking the dog out.

Foraging is trending now. Any celeb chef on TV or social media must have wild garlic or stinging nettle in a recipe. Get invited to a party and there’ll be some wild plants in the nibbles. Wild foods are like a stigmata that says ‘These novel foods can’t be bought: they have to be foraged’.

To enjoy the fruits of foraging you have to get out and do it…The foraged foods are wild foods. They are not available in supermarkets or farmer’s markets. They are unique pleasures to the walkers with the wisdom…If you aren’t already at it, here is a simple guide to the basics.

Foraging is not new. It used to be done by every household to expand the range of kitchen greens and fruits. They also foraged their herbal home remedies. From around the 1950s it rapidly fell away until blackberrying on Sunday afternoons is all most people associate with foraging. As foraging was forgotten, so was the knowledge of wild plants; what to pick, what to avoid, what is ready in what season.

Know your plants

Confidence is the key to contented foragers. This means feeling safe in knowing you can identify what to eat and what to avoid. Very few plants are harmful but you need to know you know. This is easy. There is no need to brush up on wild plant identification (ID) to the level of a Degree in Botany. Start by making a list of plants you can forage and that are good to eat. This will be only about 15-20 plants. Experienced foragers may not harvest more than this in a year (they may like you to think they harvest and eat 100s, but that is only a myth, like the Holy Grail.) To start foraging, you need know the ID of only the plants you want to start with. That won’t get you a tenderfoot Botany Badge, but you will be a safe forager.

Start with a few, maybe only 3 or 5 plants, then add some more. Build up a regular list and your confidence.

Forage only plants that are good to eat

Too many foragers teach or write about umpteen plants they call ‘edible plants’. That means only they wont harm. Mow your lawn and the clippings are usually ‘edible’, but they will taste awful. Try it. You wont repeat it.

You should forage only those plants that are worth eating. The tasty ones. Those that are delicious. You’ll want to repeat foraging them.

Learn how to identify them

Before you go foraging, make a list of plants you expect to find and ones you would like to try (see our three easy to forage plants to get started with). Check their ID. There are good websites (see list at the bottom of the article), a few small ID books to carry, and one of two Apps for your mobile. For herbs, look at the leaf size, shape, and colour: at the flowers (shape and number of petals, not only colour): and any specifics like stings or soft fuzz on stems or leaves: and at the aroma (eg. mints or wild garlic). For trees and shrubs note the leaf shape and size, the flowers, and the fruits, but don’t forget the bark’s appearance.

Most of the good foraging plants are quite distinctive and not easy to confuse with anything. Look up Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica), Comfrey (Symphytum officinale), and Chickweed (Stellaria media). These are hard to confuse if you study their ID features.

Note the Latin names too. You don’t have to learn them but they are very useful. Bilberry and Whortelberry are two common names around Bath and Bristol but their single Latin name is constant (Vaccinium myrtillus). Also the same common name is often used for many different plants with different Latin names. Look up the different plants called Woundwort. They all have different Latin names. You can travel all over Europe where the same plant will have different common names in different languages, but the Latin name will be the same. Neat, ok! The Latin names are the same around the world. Latin is useful for a forager.

Any interesting plant you find that you don’t know, just photo it on a smart phone or digital camera. Make sure you get clear close-ups of leaves, flowers, and any fruits. These photos can be looked up in books or online back at home, or sent off to Ispot (http://www.ispotnature.org/) where experts will do the ID for you and then send the correct name back.

Where and when to forage

Good wildflower books and sites, or foraging sites will usually give details of what soil or landscape to find specific plants in and they will usually give the season they grow or flower/fruit in so you can plan your outings.

The Roger Phillips Wild Flower books are great. They are full of plant photographs, and are arranged by season with a date on each page the photos were taken. So you can look up the May or June pages, for example, and they will show all the plants that will be available in those months.

Clever foragers will notice plants growing when they are driving in the car, on their bike, or walking, even walking around towns and cities. They make a note of where and when they see interesting and accessible plants. They can come back at the right time or year or maybe just a convenient time to harvest.

Keep a foraging notebook

Forget your pride, become a geek and start a Foraging Notebook. Record the places where and when you find plants, the finds you enjoy eating, the ID info as well…Make sketches, put GPS waymarks or OS map grid-references where you spot exciting finds. Keep phone numbers of foraging friends to call when you just need one to help. 

Get your foraging kit ready

You wouldn’t go to war without your Swiss Army knife. Ditto with foraging. It is surprising how having a small kit handy makes it easy to do a little foraging when the call comes. Start with a Swiss Army knife, but keep it from view. (The blade must be less than 3 inches and you may have to justify carrying it. You need it to cut your sandwiches, eat apples, and cut plant parts to examine or to take home etc). Get a small rucksack to carry small waterproof, plastic bags, gardening gloves (nettles sting, damsons stain, blackberries prick), a worn kitchen dessert-spoon for digging, mini first-aid kit (3 elastoplasts, 30ml bottle Calendula 90% lotion, 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda to treat nettle stings (rubbing with Dock leaf doesn’t work), 1 m strong string, and small-bar best chocolate), small ID book, and your Foraging Notebook. Get yourself a Hazel thumb-stick for walking, holding down barbed wire to climb over, picking mushrooms from under brambles, and testing the depth of muddy puddles lest you lose the children. Always wear the right shoes or boots to avoid crying. You’re set.

Herbal home remedy kit

Remember that herbal remedies were mostly foraged too. Think what ailments your family has and choose wild remedies to suit. They can be very effective and safe.

Think Lime tree flowers for relaxing children; Lemon balm leaves for calming adults; Oak bark or galls, powdered to stop bleeding of small cuts and also disinfect them; Chamomile flowers to ease eczema or mild sunburn; Comfrey leaf or root to settle sprains or pulled muscles; Meadowsweet infusion to ease inflamed stomachs; wild Mint infusions to ease colic and indigestion. All of these can be collected, dried and stored until needed. Oh!.. To have a Forager’s Pharmacy is bliss.

The trick of wild crafting

Foraging doesn’t have to be at the mercy of nature. You can control when and where your favourite plants are there for you. That is wild crafting.

Stinging nettle naturally is available from March to July when it flowers and gets too tough to eat. However, if you cut it down to about 20 cms in June or July, it will reshoot, giving you lovely fresh young shoots. Repeat this every month until the frosts kill the tops. Nettle delight nearly all year. The garden weed, Ground Elder, responds to cutting back and reshooting until first frosts. It’s delicious when the leaves are still young and unfurled. Just like celery in salads.

You can also prune wild plants like Brambles, Damsons or Crab apples to make then easier to harvest. The wonderful Elder tree grows easily from cuttings of 1 year-old wood. Plant them in local lanes, hedgerows, or around the garden shed. In three years you will have elder flowers, and the black berries, where you want them.

And of course you can harvest seeds from wild plants and replant them in wild places or bring them home to plant in the garden. They are still the same as wild plants and can be nearer to your kitchen.

Use your imagination. There is potential to tailor your foraging.

A bit of legal stuff

There is a right to roam, but no simple right to pick plants. There are several laws and together they are complicated and not clear. But if you are not picking from the wild to sell, but only for your own uses, it is simpler.

The basic rule is always ask permission if you are picking from private land and never dig up or damage a whole plant. Even National Parks like the Mendips or the Brecons are covered and you should ask permission. There may be special bylaws that forbid foraging at all. Places like the National Trust, some special Nature Reserves etc may have passed these bylaws, but there should be displayed notices to this effect. You can still ask permission, which is likely to be granted. Don’t pick anything on protected sites like SSSI’s (Sites of Special Scientific Interest). Most roadside verges are owned or controlled by Local Authorities or the State. You can approach the Highways to ask permission but take special care foraging along roadside verges.

So to avoid hassle, check where you are thinking of foraging, try to find out who owns it then try to ask permission before you forage and you should be fine. 

Forage safely!

  • Always check the ID of plants before you attempt to eat them.
  • Never put anything in your mouth, even just to taste, unless you are completely sure of the ID.
  • Pick only what you need.
  • Always try to get permission before you trespass on private land and pick.
  • Take care of the environment.

Further reading: 

For more hands-on experience with wild food foraging, keep an eye on our upcoming foraging courses.

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Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding

Rachel's Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding has been one of our most talked-about recipes for years. It's a truly decadent dessert and makes a marvellous Christmas pudding

Watch this 15-second video to see how easy it is to make Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding, then read on for the recipe! 

Bite-sized video by Rob Wicks of eatpictures.com.

 

Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding

The quantities for the toffee sauce are large, but that’s the best part of a sticky toffee pudding! 

Dietary: Vegan | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Sponge

  • 250ml soya milk 
  • 100ml water 
  • 200g dates 
  • 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 
  • 115g vegan margarine 
  • 115g soft brown sugar 
  • 200g white self raising flour 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Toffee Sauce

  • 100g golden syrup 
  • 200g soft brown sugar 
  • 150g vegan margarine 
  • 100ml soya cream 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

To make the sponge:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/Gas5. 
  2. Line a 20cmx 20cm shallow cake tin with baking parchment. 
  3. Chop the dates in half and put them in a small saucepan and cover with the soya milk and water. Simmer until the dates are soft. 
  4. Take off the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda, which will froth as you add it to the date mixture. 
  5. Leave to cool. 
  6. Beat together the margarine and sugar until pale and creamy. 
  7. Add the date mixture and stir in.
  8. Mix the spices into the flour. 
  9. Sieve the flour and fold into the sponge mixture. Spoon the sponge mixture into the prepared tin. 
  10. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until cooked. The sponge will bounce back when pressed. 

To make the sauce: 

  1. Melt the syrup, margarine, sugar and vanilla essence in a small saucepan.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. 
  3. Leave to cool slightly and then stir in the soya cream. 
  4. Prick the pudding all over and pour half the hot toffee sauce over the pudding. 
  5. Serve the rest of the sauce with the pudding and, if you like, a scoop of vanilla soya ice cream.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie and, if you like this post, please share it! To keep up to date with events and goings on at the cookery school sign up for our newsletter.

Vegan Green Bean and Artichoke Niçoise Salad

In the style of Nice, Niçoise salad is a typical Provençal salad, usually made with anchovies. We use capers instead to give the salad a salty distinctive taste. Instead of the usual new potatoes, we've loaded ours with french beans, runner beans, and butter beans. 

Green bean and Artichoke Niçoise Salad

Serves 4 as a light lunch

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 250g runner beans, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 250g French beans, trimmed
  • 150g artichoke hearts from a jar or tin, drained and quartered
  • 2 tsp capers in brine, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 50g black olives

Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette

  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • Small handful basil leaves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Torn basil leaves for garnish

Method

  1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the runner beans and French beans till just tender. Drain in a colander and run under cold water to cool quickly.
  2. Make the tomato vinaigrette by blending the tomato with the vinegar till smooth. Strain the tomato mix through a sieve into a bowl.
  3. Blend the garlic, basil and olive oil until smooth and add to the tomato vinegar.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of sugar if it tastes too sharp.
  5. Pour the vinaigrette into a saucepan and heat gently. Add in the butter beans, artichokes and capers, and stir gently to warm through. Remove from the heat.
  6. Arrange the blanched green bean on a serving plate, and spoon the warm butter beans and artichokes over.
  7. Scatter over the cherry tomatoes and olives with torn basil leaves to garnish.
  8. Serve with warm crusty bread to mop up the vinaigrette.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Basil Pesto

This is our favourite pesto and is made with hazelnuts and pine nuts, but doesn't contain cheese so perfect for vegans. You can vary the herbs and make it with wild garlic,  watercress, rocket, baby spinach leaves or a mixture.

Basil Pesto

Dietary: Vegan

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

50g hazels

25g pinenuts 

1 garlic clove, peeled

100ml extra virgin olive oil

40g fresh basil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp apple juice concentrate

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Place the hazels on a baking tray, and roast in a hot oven (200C/180Fan/Gas6) for 5-8 minutes, being careful they don’t burn. Rub the skins off the hazelnuts.

2. Dry roast the pinenuts in a small frying pan until golden, decant into a bowl.

3. In a food processor or in a pestle and mortar crush the pinenuts and hazels roughly and then decant them into a bowl and set aside.

4. Puree the garlic with a pinch of salt in a little of the olive oil, then add the basil and the rest of the olive oil and puree just enough to break up the basil to a rough texture.

5. Add the lemon juice and apple juice concentrate and mix.

6. Pour the basil and garlic mixture into the crushed nuts and stir in.

7. Season to taste.

Tips: 

  • Serve as a pasta sauce, bruschetta topping or as a dip for crudités. 
  • Can be made with watercress, rocket, baby spinach leaves or a mixture.
  • The pesto will keep in the fridge for a week or two so long as the top is covered with a layer of olive oil. 
  • You can also freeze it. Freeze in small containers, so that you can take out a little at a time.
From pod to plate, Vegetarian Living, June 2017

The June 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living is now available and features my latest column of seasonal cooking ideas, tips, recipes and more. This month is all about homegrown peas and beans. Here's how to elevate these delicious vegetables from plain side veg to centre of the plate. Featured recipes include Asian green beans with peppers and peanuts, Green bean and artichoke Niçoise salad, and Japanese bean noodle salad.

Click on the link below to read the article in full:

From pod to plate, Vegetarian Living, June 2017

Kim-bap: Korean seaweed rolls

Kim-bap could be described as Korean Sushi, though they are more the equivalent of a sandwich to Koreans, being a popular snack, lunch or picnic food. The flavour is quite different to Japanese sushi rolls, as the rice is dressed with toasted sesame oil, and Kim-bap wouldn't be served with soy sauce or wasabi. We serve ours with a hot and sweet dipping sauce (recipe below). For more ideas, visit our post on Korean Cooking for Vegetarians or come along on one of our Korean Evening Courses.

Kim-bap

Makes 4 rolls (each slice into 8 pieces) | Prep Time: 1 hour | Assembly Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

Rice:

  • 200g brown sushi rice
  • 450 ml water
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Filling:

  • Sunflower oil or untoasted sesame oil for frying
  • Handful fresh spinach leaves
  • 100g firm tofu sliced and marinated in 2 tsp shoyu and 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 75g purple sweet potato
  • 75g yellow pickled daikon (mouli) radish
  • ¼ cucumber, deseeded
  • 4 sheets Nori seaweed sheets

Method

  1. Wash the rice well, then place in a saucepan with the measured amount of water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer with the lid on for approximately 30 minutes until most of the water has evaporated. Switch off the heat and leave undid turned with the lid on for another 15 minutes to allow the rice to steam.
  2. Spread the cooked rice onto a large plate, sprinkle with the salt and sesame oil, turning it over with a spoon to combine and cool down.
  3. To prepare the fillings, wilt the spinach quickly in a frying pan with a little oil. Remove onto a plate to cool.
  4. Coat the tofu slices in the cornflour and sesame seeds, then fry until golden and crisp. Remove to a plate and cut into long thin strips.
  5. Bring a saucepan half full of water to the boil for blanching.
  6. Cut the carrot and sweet potato into long thin strips and blanch till just tender. Remove to a plate and allow to cool.
  7. Slice the pickled radish and cucumber into same size long thin strips and place beside the carrot and sweet potato.
  8. To assemble the kimbap rolls, have a finger bowl of cold water to hand, and place a sheet of nori onto the sushi mat.
  9. Place a quarter of the rice onto the nori, and using slightly wet fingers, spread in an even layer over the sheet, leaving a 1 cm border along the bottom edge closest to you, and 2 cm border along the top edge of the sheet furthest away. Wet your fingers to prevent the rice sticking to them.
  10. Take 1-2 tsp of the spinach and place in a thin line horizontally along the rice, approximately one third up from the bottom.
  11. Lay strips of the vegetables neatly alongside the spinach, alternating the colours attractively.
  12. Roll the mat from the bottom edge closest to you, firmly encasing and tucking in the filling, gently pressing down to keep the roll tight and intact. Continue to roll up the kimbap, and as you reach the top, dab a little water along the bare edge of nori to seal the roll. Set aside whilst you make the remains rolls.
  13. To serve, slice the rolls into eight pieces with a very sharp knife. It helps to moisten the blade with a little water to slice through cleanly. Eat straight away with a dipping sauce, or pack into a plastic box to eat the next day.

Hot and Sweet Sesame Dipping Sauce

There are many soy based dipping sauce recipes, and this is one based on several that combines the classic Korean flavours of chilli, soy, vinegar and sesame oil

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp gochujang (or hot chilli sauce)
  • 1 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp white rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced finely

Method

  1. Toast the sesame seeds in a hot dry frying pan. Place in a small bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

For more hands on experience with dishes like this one, check out our Far Eastern course selection!

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie and, if you like this post, please share it!

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Korean Cooking for Vegetarians

Korean food is hearty, boldly flavoured and nutritious. However, it can be difficult for vegetarians to enjoy Korean cooking as many dishes include fish sauce or fermented anchovies for both flavor and protein. To make Korean cuisine more accessible to vegetarians and vegans, our inventive chef tutor Lydia Downey has been working on fish and meat-free alternatives to traditional Korean dishes such as kimchi which usually always contain fish.

To help you on your own discovery of Korean cuisine, we’ve put together our ultimate guide to Korean cooking, plus listed some of our favourite vegetarian Korean dishes below. (And for more hands-on fun with vegetarian Korean cuisine, check out our upcoming Korean Evening Courses.)

Korean Cooking Basics

Koreans are firm believers in eating for health. The idea of food as medicine is strong in Korea and they traditionally forage for wild medicinal herbs to add to their food.

Rice (bap) is central to the Korean meal. The word for rice is also the word for a meal. A bowl of steaming rice and a bowl of soup are always served to everyone at the meal, followed by varied shared side dishes. All dishes are served at the same time. There is no concept of separate courses.

Preserving food by pickling, salting and fermenting is a Korean passion with Kimchi being the most famous fermented cabbage side dish. It usually contains fish but you can make your own vegetarian kimchi at home.

Koreans also follow the oriental rule of 5 tastes: salt, sweet, sour, hot and bitter. Salt comes from soya sauce and bean paste; sweet comes from sugar and sweet potatoes; sour comes from vinegar; hot comes from chilli peppers and mustard; and bitter comes from ginger.

In addition to the 5 tastes, they follow an arrangement of 5 traditional colours of red, green, yellow, white and black, which will ensure a nutritious variety of ingredients. They also spend time beautifully arranging the food in different colours. Presentation is essential to Korean meals.

At mealtimes, respect is ingrained into Korean food culture, so everyone waits until the eldest picks up his chopsticks and you must always accept a drink of rice liquor ‘Soju’ or something stronger from an elder. This can lead to very drunken meals!

To cook Korean dishes at home you will need to buy some special ingredients easily available from Chinese stores or buy online.

Essential Korean Ingredients

Kimchi is essentially Korea's national dish and served with every meal made from fermented spicy cabbage. You can buy it ready made, but it will contain fermented fish unless you buy a vegetarian version from a wholefood store. It’s easy and fun to make at home with our recipe for Vegetarian Kimchi.

Gochugaru Korean chilli powder - either finely ground or coarse flakes and varies in levels of spiciness. It can be stored for months in the fridge or freezer. Used in cooking and essential ingredient for making kimchi.

Gochujang Korean chilli paste, usually sold in tubs. It is thick, sticky and slightly sweet, used in marinades, sauces and dips, and for adding richness and depth to stews and stirfries.

Doen-jang, fermented soya bean paste, similar to Japanese Miso, but more concentrated in flavour.

Daikon/Mooli is a long white Japanese radish called ‘danmuji’ in Korea and used for the filling for kimbap. It's crunchy, with a mild peppery flavour, similar to watercress.

Takaun is pickled mouli, which is yellow in colour traditionally from persimmon peels but more likely now to be yellow food colouring!

Soy sauce is used extensively in Korean cooking much in the same way as Chinese and Japanese cuisine. It adds the essential salty umami element to everything from stirfries to soups, stews, marinades and dipping sauces.

Toasted sesame oil, one of the main flavours used to season Korean dishes. It's strong nutty flavour and aroma has a delicious but distinctive taste, so needs to be added carefully to avoid overpowering the other flavours in the dishes.

Toasted sesame seeds. Many dishes are garnished with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, which give a delicious aromatic crunchy texture. They also work very well in many dipping sauces. Toast the seeds in a hot dry frying pan, and be careful as they will jump about in the pan when ready.

Rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar, a mildly acidic slightly sweet vinegar used in sauces, marinades and dips.

Rice. Shortgrain white rice (sticky or sushi) is the most commonly eaten in Korea. Koreans often cook a very nutritious blend known as 'Five Grain Rice, which can be a mix of white and brown rice with other grains such as millet with aduki and black beans.

Noodles. Sweet potato glass or cellophane noodles are a classic Korean variety used in soups and stews. Similar to Japan, Udon and Buckwheat Soba are also very popular as are regular thin wheat noodles.

Nori is seaweed dried as a flat sheet, make sure you buy toasted for making kimbap rolls.

Tofu is soya bean curd made from coagulated soya milk. The resulting soya curd is then pressed to give tofu. Tofu is sometimes known as soya cheese and is sold as blocks packaged in water. It can be bought as silken tofu, which is soft and creamy in texture, or as a denser, firmer version. The firmer kind may also be purchased smoked or marinated. Tofu tends to be fairly bland tasting and is best used in recipes where flavour is imparted by other ingredients. Firm tofu may be marinated, fried, stir-fried, deep-fried, sautéed, diced and added to salads or casseroles. Silken tofu can be used for dips, spreads, sauces and sweet dishes.

Favourite Vegetarian Korean Recipes

Vegetarian Bibimbap

Vegetarian Bibimbap


Vegetarian Kimchi Stew with Tofu and Vegetables

Kimchi Stew with Tofu and Vegetables


Vegetarian Kimchi

Vegetarian Kimchi


For more inspiration, check out our Korean Evening Courses which we run throughout the year.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Bibimbap

This is a popular Korean rice bowl dish usually made with short grain white rice and topped with an egg surrounded by colourful vegetables and meat or fish. Translated, Bibimbap means ‘mixed rice’. You could substitute the jasmine rice with short grain brown sushi rice to make the dish more nutritious. Slices of crispy marinated tofu are a great alternative to the egg. Use seasonal vegetables if you can and think about the colours to make this dish as attractive as possible.

Traditionally the bowl used for cooking and serving in is called a 'dolsot' made of granite which can be cooked directly on the stove and retains the heat.

Bibimbap

Serves 4

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 large carrot cut into thin matchstick strips (julienne)
  • 12 radishes (preferable long French ones) sliced thinly
  • ¼ cucumber, deseeded and cut into thin half moons
  • 125g bean sprouts
  • 100g fresh spinach
  • 100g broccoli small florets
  • 4-6 shiitake, oyster or chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 150g aubergine, quartered and sliced thinly

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp gochugang Korean chilli paste
  • 2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water

To serve:

  • 300g jasmine rice
  • 500ml water
  • 4 free range eggs (preferably organic)
  • Salad cress or watercress to garnish
  • Black or white sesame seeds
  • Optional: Small bowl of kimchi

Method

  1. Wash the rice then place in a saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer until the water level is at the same as the rice. Turn the heat to low, cover with a lid and set the timer for 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes is up, switch off the heat and without removing the lid, leave to steam for 10-15 minutes, by which time the rice will have absorbed all the water.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to the boil.
  3. Mix the sesame oil and shoyu in a jug. Have all the vegetables prepared in advance and in separate small bowls.
  4. Blanch the carrots for 2-3 minutes till just tender. Drain with a slotted spoon, and place back in their bowl. Drizzle 1 tsp of the oil/ shoyu mix over.
  5. Blanch the remaining vegetables in the same way, except for the mushrooms and aubergines, drizzling each with the oil/shoyu mix.
  6. Heat 1 tbsp in toasted sesame oil (or sunflower oil) in a frying pan, and fry the mushrooms quickly till just taking on a little colour. Remove to a bowl.
  7. Add a little more oil to the pan, then fry the aubergine slices till golden brown on each side. Remove to a plate or bowl.
  8. Wipe the pan clean and fry the eggs. Remove to a plate as each one is cooked.
  9. To assemble the Bibimbap, spoon some rice into each bowl and spread in an even layer.
  10. Place a fried egg in the centre of each rice bowl.
  11. Arrange the vegetables in separate piles around the egg, placing as neatly and prettily as you can. Finally, garnish with a little cress, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and gochugaru chili flakes.
  12. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and serve alongside the Bibimbap or drizzled on top. Eat with a side of kimchi.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

For more hands on experience with kimchi and dishes like this one, check out our Far Eastern course selection!

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie and, if you like this post, please share it!

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Kimchi Stew with Tofu and Vegetables

Kimchi Stew is a classic and vibrant Korean dish. It's spicy and deeply savoury, yet light and invigorating. You could serve this with some jasmine or brown rice, but it works just as well on its own if you prefer. Although you can easily buy kimchi in Asian supermarkets, be aware that it is often not vegetarian. With that in mind, this recipe uses our own vegetarian kimchi recipe

Kimchi Stew with Tofu and Vegetables

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4-5 tbsp untoasted sesame oil or sunflower oil
  • 125g shiitake, oyster or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small aubergine, quartered and cut into 1cm thick slices
  • 250g kimchi, chopped
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 6 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • ½ tsp gochugaru chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp gochujang chilli paste
  • 1-2 tbsp shoyu
  • 600 ml water
  • 250g firm tofu, cubed into 2cm pieces
  • 150g baby sweetcorn, sliced into thirds
  • Garnish: 2 Spring onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal and soaked in cold water to crisp up

Method

  1. Heat the 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan, and stir fry the mushrooms until just beginning to brown a little. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Heat the 2 tbsp remaining oil, and fry the aubergine slices until golden on both sides. You may need to add extra oil to the pan. Add to the cooked mushrooms and set aside.
  3. In a wok or large pan, heat 1 tbsp untoasted sesame or sunflower oil, and cook the chopped kimchi for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, the Spring onions, garlic, gochujang, gochugaru and shoyu. Stir to combine, then add in the water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the tofu and baby sweet corn and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Just before serving, add in the mushrooms and aubergine and stir to heat through for a couple of minutes further. Taste for seasoning and add a little extra shoyu or gochujang if necessary.
  7. Serve in deep bowls with the spring onions sprinkled on top.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

For more hands on experience with kimchi and dishes like this one, check out our Far Eastern course selection!

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie and, if you like this post, please share it!

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Peruvian Potato Stew

This is our vegan version of Carapulcra Chinchana, a traditional Peruvian Potato and Pork Stew made with roasted re-hydrated potatoes and peanut butter. To emulate that flavour, we use roasted new potatoes and beans in place of meat in our recipe. The chilli paste base is traditionally made with Ají Panca, a mild dried red pepper and Ají Mirasol a unique fruity flavoured yellow chilli. As these aren't easy to find here, we have substituted a roasted yellow (or you could use a red) pepper blended with a rehydrated dried Ancho chilli to create a similar paste. Serve alongside quinoa or rice for a hearty wholesome meal. 

If you love this recipe and are looking for more, check out our South American cookery courses

Peruvian Potato Stew

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free | Serves: 6

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
  • Rapeseed oil for roasting and frying
  • 1 yellow or red pepper, cut in half, seeds and stalk removed
  • 750g new potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half or left whole if very small
  • 1 large ancho or 2 small dried chipotle peppers
  • 1 tin black beans or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • ⅛ tsp ground allspice
  • ⅛ tsp chilli powder (omit if using hot dried chipotles)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 3-4 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 lime juiced
  • salt and black pepper
  • chopped fresh coriander to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180Fan.
  2. Put the dried ancho or chipotles in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to soak for 30 minutes.
  3. Put the potatoes in a roasting tin and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil. Roast for 30 minutes until golden. Shake the tin halfway through cooking to ensure even roasting.
  4. Place the pepper, cut side down in a small roasting tin and roast for 30 minutes or until soft and the skin is charred in places. Place the pepper in a bowl and cover with cling film. When the pepper has cooled you can easily peel the skin off the pepper.
  5. Remove the stalk and seeds from the soaked ancho or chipotles chillies and tear into small pieces.
  6. Put the skinned pepper and ancho or chipotle chillies in a blender, and blend together until they become a smooth paste.
  7. Heat a tablespoon of rapeseed oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and fry until soft and just beginning to turn golden. Stir in the garlic, and fry for a minute.
  8. Add the pepper paste, ground cloves, ground allspice and chilli powder. Cook the paste for a minute, stirring continuously to prevent it burning.
  9. Add the cinnamon stick, star anise, sugar, beans, potatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the stew has reduced and thickened a little.
  10. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and star anise.
  11. Add 3 tablespoons of peanut butter to the stew and gently stir to combine. Taste and add a little more if necessary. Add the juice of a lime and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Serve with quinoa or rice, garnished with coriander.


This recipe was featured in the May 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living. Visit our post on Perfect Potatoes for more tasty potato recipes!

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Perfect Potatoes: Why you should fall in love with the humble spud

We think of potatoes as a starchy filler, a pile of mash or chips on the side. It is difficult to think of our culinary heritage without potatoes. They only arrived in Britain in the 16th century, and that was two centuries before we ate with forks at the table. Potatoes are far more tantalising with all their different varieties, colours, differences in texture and taste.

At Demuths cookery school we love cooking dishes from around the world and potatoes are cooked in interesting ways in other countries.

Potato history

Peru is the birthplace of potatoes and has over 4000 different cultivars of potatoes, from yellow and red to purple. The difference in flavour and texture is so marked that restaurants will serve you three or more different types of potatoes at once. Up in the Andes potatoes are the staple and have to be stored to keep all year round. To achieve this, they dry them out in the first winter frosts and leave them outside. The frost breaks them down and then the liquid inside them is squeezed out and they are left to dry in the Andean winter sun (their winter is cold and dry and the summer warm and wet). The potatoes will then keep forever, and have even been found in Inca tombs.

Spain was the gateway to Europe for the potato when it arrived from the Americas. Potatoes came over in cargo holds in Spanish ships in the late 1500s. In Spain, potatoes are a staple and are known as “patatas a lo pore”, or “poor mans potatoes”. In Tapas bars, Spanish Tortilla and Patatas Bravas are the safe choice for vegetarians.

Patatas Bravas

The Canary Islands were on the route home for Spanish trading ships from South America. Potatoes are still a major part of the menu. There is an unusual potato dish called ‘papas arrugadas’, which is the famous dish of salty wrinkled potatoes served with red and green Mojo sauces. The variety of potato is Bonita, which is Andean in origin and is small with a thick skin that goes wrinkly when cooked in salty water. Originally they were cooked in sea water. They are boiled until tender then most of the water is poured away. Then, over a very low heat, the potatoes dry out and will end up with salty crinkly skins. English new potatoes don’t have the thick skins to protect them from the salt and end up as a salty mush, so we decided to put the canary sauces Mojo Rojo and Mojo Verde with Spanish Patatas Bravas (click here for the recipes).

The Portuguese brought the potato to India in the 17th century. In Indian cooking, potatoes are a wonderful foil for spices and chillies. Masala Dosas in the South are filled with coriander spiced potatoes. In the North, Bondas are balls of fiery chilli potatoes deep-fried and Aloo Chaat in one of the most popular street foods of cubed potatoes with a rich tamarind sauce.

In Britain, it is the new potatoes that go so well with Spring vegetables like asparagus, broad beans, and fresh herbs. The Queen of the new potatoes are the Jersey Royal with PDO status that are grown on the steep sunny sides of the hills of the Channel Islands. Their rich flavour comes from the seaweed fertiliser.

Potato Varieties

In Bath we have the most wonderful greengrocer, Eades which has been a family business for three generations. They have a large market garden on the hills overlooking Bath. For the photo shoot I called Mike Eades the day before to see if he could find us some unusual potato varieties. As always it was no problem for him and he went out that night to dig the potatoes. Next morning a large sack of freshly dug muddy potatoes arrived, only when we washed them did we discover a treasure trove of different heritage varieties and colours, including Shetland Black, Salad Blue, Purple Vitelotte, Red skinned Setanta, Pink Fir Apples, Red Emmanuelle and White La Ratte.

Potatoes are divided into Earlies and Main crop. Earlies have thin skins are waxy and are called new potatoes and don’t need peeling. Main crop have thicker skins will be more floury and need peeling, but remember the goodness is just below the skin so if you don’t need to peel, just give the potatoes a good scrub.

  • For Mash: King Edwards, Desiree or Maris Piper, Potatoes with a yellow flesh have a better flavour.
  • For Roast potatoes: We use small potatoes for Patas Bravas and use all purpose such as Red Mozart or Maris Piper.
  • For Baking: Choose a large floury potato, such as Melody and Golden Wonder is said to be the best.
  • For salads and boiled new potatoes: Jersey Royals, Charlottes, knobbly Pink Fir Apples or la Ratte.

Buying and Storing Potatoes

It's best to buy potatoes as you need them. Buy organic if you can as they wont have been have sprayed with fungicides, herbicides or sprayed to prevent them sprouting.

There is a debate about how to best store potatoes. 7 to 10C is the ideal temperature. At temperatures below 4C potatoes will start turning starch into sugar and this can result in the potatoes turning black when you cook them. The salad compartment in the fridge or a cool low-light storeroom is best.

Store in paper bags, don’t store potatoes in plastic as they sweat and can go bad more quickly.

The low-light and cool temperature stops the potatoes sprouting. Bright light and warm temperatures will quicken the sprouting process. If your potatoes begin to sprout you can rub off the sprouts and still eat the potatoes - don’t eat the sprouts as they contain a toxic alkaloid called Solanine. If you leave potatoes out in the light they go green. This is due to the formation of chlorophyll, but is also an indicator of the presence of Solanine, which is toxic. Definitely don’t eat green potatoes!

Tips for Cooking Potatoes

  • Choose the right potato for the right dish, from waxy for salads, that remain intact when cooked and for simple boiled new potatoes. Floury for mash and all purpose for roasting and chips.
  • Potatoes have a subtle taste and will happily take up rich flavours, such as butter, cheese and cream.
  • Spices that go well with potatoes are cumin, coriander, turmeric, saffron, chilli, paprika and smoked paprika.
  • We like to use rosemary, sage and thyme for roasting potatoes and parsley, mint, coriander, chives and dill to add to new potatoes and mash.
  • Add dressings to new potatoes when they are still hot as they will soak it up much better.
  • For mash cut the potatoes in half or into large pieces as small cubes will end up with a sloppy mash.
  • For crispy roast potatoes roast them in rapeseed oil. First boil them for 5 minutes, strain and return them to the dry saucepan and shake them so that they scuff up, then roast them in a metal baking tray that has been heated up with the oil in first.
  • For baking potatoes in their skins wash them and rub them with a little salt before baking to achieve a crisper skin.
  • Any left over potatoes make into comforting Bubble and Squeak.

Favourite Potato Recipes

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas


Aloo Chaat


Potato, Asparagus and Broad Bean Salad with Salsa Verde



Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Aloo Chaat

Aloo Chaat is a popular Northern Indian street food snack and a firm fixture of our Indian Street Food Class. Traditionally this dish is made with fried potatoes but we instead like to use boiled potatoes - it's a bit healthier and also simpler to make. For the ultimate touch, top with crispy Kara Sev (seasoned and deep fried gram flour noodles) or Bombay Mix, both of which you can find at Indian grocery stores. For more inspiration, browse our collection of vegetarian Indian recipes.

Aloo Chaat - Vegan and Gluten Free

Aloo Chaat

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free | Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 50g block tamarind
  • 500g new potatoes, boiled
  • 1 tin (400g) chickpeas, drained
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 barely ripe mango, chopped
  • 200g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1-2 tsp chaat masala or masala spice mix
  • 1 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder )
  • Handful of Kara Sev or Bombay Mix
  • 2 tbsp tamarind water
  • 2 tbsp soya or dairy yoghurt
  • handful of pomegranate seeds

Method

  1. Place the tamarind in a bowl and cover with boiling water and set aside for 30 minutes. Strain the tamarind through a sieve to remove the stones and fleshy pith and retain the tamarind ‘water’.
  2. Drain the cooked potatoes and chop them into small 1 cm cubes.Put them into a large mixing bowl and add the drained chickpeas.
  3. Add the sliced red onion, chopped mango, cherry tomatoes and coriander.
  4. Mix all together and then season to your taste with tamarind water, salt, chilli flakes, chaat masala and amchoor.
  5. Top with a handful of Kara Sev or Bombay Mix
  6. Drizzle with tamarind water and yoghurt and sprinkle on pomegranate seeds.

This recipe was featured in the May 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Patatas Bravas

New potatoes are a highlight of spring and we love to celebrate their arrival by making Patatas Bravas, a traditional Spanish potato dish often served with a spicy tomato sauce. We like to serve Patatas Bravas with the traditional Mojo sauces of the Canary Islands (recipes below). Alternatively you can serve with salmorejoromesco, or aioli sauces. 

Patatas Bravas are particularly welcome along side other tapas dishes such as Tortilla de Patatas and Empanadillas. For more inspiration, check out our upcoming vegetarian Spanish courses.

Patatas Bravas

Spicy Potatoes

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo new potatoes - halved
  • 2 stems of rosemary
  • 2 tbsp olive oil to roast
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and diced
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180Fan.
  2. In a large baking tin mix the potatoes with the rosemary, rapeseed oil, diced red chilli and smoked paprika.
  3. Roast in a hot oven for 30 – 40 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes, until they are crispy and golden. Shake the tin a couple of times during cooking, so that the potatoes roast evenly.
  4. When roasted, sprinkle with a little flaky salt

Mojo Rojo

Dietary: Vegan | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1-2 large red chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced in half
  • 1 large slice of good quality white bread, in cubes (50g)
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180Fan.
  2. Slice the peppers and chillies in half, remove the stalk and scoop out the seeds and membrane. Place the pepper and chillies cut sides down on the baking tray and place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until blackened and wrinkly. You will need to take the chillies out earlier. Transfer the cooked peppers and chillies to a heatproof bowl and cover with cling film. When they have cooled you can easily peel the skin off the peppers and chillies and chop.
  3. Heat half the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic until golden, be careful the garlic doesn’t burn. Remove the garlic and set aside.
  4. Add the bread cubes into the frying pan and fry until they are starting to brown on all sides.
  5. You can make this sauce in a blender or a large pestle and mortar, start by blending or grinding the garlic then add the peppers and chilli, bread, red wine vinegar, cumin and paprika and the rest of the olive oil. You may need to add a little more olive oil. Mix to a smooth thick sauce.
  6. Season to taste.

Mojo Verde

Dietary: Vegan | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced in half
  • 1 large slice of good quality white bread, in cubes (50g)
  • 1 large green chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 6 tbsp coriander leaves
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of salt

Method

  1. Heat 50ml of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic until golden, be careful the garlic doesn’t burn. Remove the garlic and set aside.
  2. Add the bread cubes into the frying pan and fry until they are starting to brown on all sides.
  3. You can make this sauce in a blender or a large pestle and mortar, start by blending or grinding the garlic then the chilli, bread, coriander leaves, white wine vinegar, cumin and the rest of the olive oil. You may need to add a little more olive oil. Mix to a smooth thick sauce.
  4. Season to taste.

This recipe was featured in the May 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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​Potato, Asparagus and Broad Beans with Salsa Verde

This colourful spring salad of potatoes, asparagus, and broad beans is fresh but filling! We made this salad with a mix of different coloured baby heritage potatoes, but any new potato such as Jersey Royals, Charlotte or Pink Fir Apples would be lovely. The salsa verde recipe makes more than enough for the potatoes but trust us, you'll want extra! And it keeps very well covered in the fridge. Feel free to change up the herbs - wild garlic, sorrel, rocket, baby spinach, and flat leaf parsley all work beautifully.

Potato, Asparagus and Broad beans with Salsa Verde

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free

Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Olive oil for cooking and dressing
  • 500g baby new potatoes, left whole or cut in half if larger
  • 200g fresh or frozen baby podded broad beans
  • 12 asparagus spears
  • 100g mix of watercress, rocket and pea shoots
  • 1 x quantity Salsa Verde recipe (see below)
  • salt and pepper
  • Garnish: Small handful flat leaf parsley and mint, chopped roughly

Method

  1. Boil or steam the potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Drain the potatoes and toss them in a large bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. If using fresh broad beans, simmer in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain and cool in a bowl of cold water. Otherwise blanch frozen beans briefly to defrost, and set aside to cool.
  4. Heat a cast iron griddle pan or heavy frying pan.
  5. Brush the Asparagus spears with a little olive oil, then griddle or fry till tender but still retaining some ‘bite’, and golden brown in places.
  6. To assemble the dish, arrange the watercress, rocket and pea shoots on a large platter or shallow bowl, and arrange the potatoes in amongst the leaves. Scatter over the broad beans and place the asparagus on the top.
  7. Drizzle over the Salsa Verde and lastly scatter over the chopped parsley and mint.

Salsa Verde with Capers

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free

Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 25g fresh mint, destalked
  • 25g fresh basil, destalked
  • 1 tsp apple juice concentrate
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Put everything in the food processor in the above order buzzing each time before adding next ingredient.
  2. The mix should be a dip consistency, add more olive oil if too thick.
  3. Serve cold as a dip, as a salad dressing, with asparagus, mix in with pasta, enliven rice dishes or drizzle over roasted vegetables


This recipe was featured in the May 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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You Say Potato, Vegetarian Living, May 2017

The May 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living is now available and features my latest column of seasonal cooking ideas, tips, recipes and more. This month is all about the humble spud, though not so humble after all with these top tips and recipes. This article features my guide to buying, storing, and cooking potatoes, plus recipes for aloo chaat, patatas braves, and Peruvian potato stew.

Click on the link below to read the article in full:

You Say Potato, Vegetarian Living, May 2017

Cooking with Turmeric

Fresh turmeric is one of this year's biggest food trends thanks to its health benefits and versatility in the kitchen. Here at the cookery school, we've always loved turmeric and for me it has surpassed ginger as one of my favourite ingredients. Turmeric is often thought of as the poor relative to expensive saffron, but other than colour, there is no comparison, I find the taste of turmeric richer and more complex than the verging on medicinal flavour of saffron. Inspired by the turmeric craze and our own fondness for this colourful ingredient, we bring you our turmeric top tips and tastiest recipes.

History of Turmeric

Turmeric originates from India and South East Asia. Historically turmeric was traded as a dye and was known as Golden Saffron, because of its rhizome colour and the association with saffron, which was also used as a dye. Tumeric was a far cheaper source of the yellow dye. Turmeric then gained value for its medicinal powers and exotic flavour.

Food coloured yellow is sacred for Hindus making turmeric a very important spice in India and turmeric is also the basis for curry powders.

Tumeric (Curcuma longa) is a relative of Ginger (Zingiber officinale), It is a knobbly rhizome, smaller than ginger, commonly dried and ground, but now far easier to buy fresh. It has an aromatic earthy taste and is best known for its brilliant orange colour.

Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric has been a recognised herbal medicine for more than 6,000 years. There is a long record of herbal use in Indian, Thai and Chinese medicine. It was first recorded as a Western herbal medicine about 600BC.

As a medicine turmeric contains Curcuminoids, of which Curcumin in the best known active ingredient.

In traditional medicines and Ayurvedic medicine turmeric is valued as anti-inflammatory, contains antioxidant qualities, is a liver tonic and stimulates bile production. It is also a digestive bitter and a carminative that aids digestion, reduces wind and bloating so no wonder it is an important spice in curry powders.

It is said that turmeric is more easily digested if either cooked in oil, added to milk or mixed with soya lecithin to improve absorption in our bodies. It is also suggested that black pepper that contains Piperine helps turmeric to be absorbed.

Topically turmeric helps heal wounds, grazes, soothes eczema and is rubbed on the skin before weddings to give a healthy orange glow.

Fresh or Dried Turmeric?

I like to use both, I have dried turmeric in the store cupboard and use it for curry powders and when ever I want to brighten up a dish. The fresh I buy whenever I see it and it is becoming much more popular. Fresh turmeric is now stocked in some supermarkets as well as Indian and Thai stores.

Fresh is not as intense as the dried so you need approx. 20g fresh to a teaspoon of dried. Fresh turmeric freezes well, I find it best to prepare it first, peel it and grate or mash so that it can go straight from the freezer into the dish you are cooking and do freeze in recipe quantities. I also like to use turmeric as a vegetable and slice it thinly and add to vegetable curries.

How to Store and Prepare Fresh Turmeric

Keep fresh turmeric in the fridge. The easiest way to peel turmeric is with a teaspoon. Then you can grate or pound the turmeric in a pestle and mortar.

Just remember it will turn everything it touches golden, so use gloves to protect your hands. It will come off your hands but it does dye chopping boards.

Favourite Turmeric Recipes

Turmeric is gaining popularity as a drink with golden tea or latte flavoured with turmeric, ginger, black pepper and milk on café menus. Golden tea or latte is easy to make at home for a nourishing pick me up. All you need is a thumb sized piece of turmeric and ginger, peeled and sliced with a few black peppercorns, add water or a nut milk, cover and gently simmer for an hour for the spices to infuse. Strain and either drink warm or chilled and sweeten to taste.

For something a little more involved, try one these beautiful turmeric recipes:

vegan kedgeree

Kedgeree: Vegan Kedgeree


broad bean and dill kookoo

Broad Bean and Dill Kookoo


Golden vegetable pasties

Golden Vegetable Pasties


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Golden Vegetable Pasties

Perfect for picnics and packed lunches, these golden pastries are our take on a Jamaican Patty, made with a light turmeric coloured flaky pastry and filled with a spicy mix of lentils, peppers and potato.If pastry making is not for you, use a 500g pack of ready made puff or short crust pastry. 

These pasties are a great template for getting creative! You could vary the vegetable filling by using any cooked seasonal vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, courgettes, peas, spinach or kale. Instead of the red lentils you could use a tin of any pulses you like. 

What are your favourite ingredients in vegetable pasties? Let us know in the comments! 

Golden Vegetable Pasties

Dietary: Vegan option | Makes 6

Prep Time for flaky pastry: 2 hours | Prep Time for filling: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

Flaky Pastry
  • 250g plain flour
  • 200g very cold unsalted butter or hard vegan margarine such as Tomor
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 125ml ice-cold water

Filling

  • 75g red lentils
  • 1 tsp turmeric or 20g fresh peeled and grated
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced into approx 1cm cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped or a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp ground allspice 
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 yellow peppers diced into 1cm chunks
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper


Method

  1. First make the flaky pastry. Measure the flour, spices and salt into a mixing bowl. Grate the butter or vegan margarine using the larger holes on the grater into the flour and distribute it with a knife through the flour.
  2. Mix the vinegar with the cold water and working quickly, pour into the flour using the knife to stir through and bring the mixture together into a ball. Add a tablespoon or two more water if the dough is not coming together easily. It is very important to work for as short a time as possible so that the butter or margarine stays as separate flakes through the dough. Shape into a flat disc, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes, whilst you make the vegetable filling.
  3. To make the filling: cook the lentils with half the turmeric until tender, drain and set aside.
  4. Boil the potato for 10 minutes till tender but not mushy, drain and set aside.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion till soft but not brown. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the remaining turmeric and spices and cook for a minute more before stirring in the yellow peppers, continue to cook until just soft.
  7. Add the lentils and potato to the onion mix and add 50 ml of water to loosen the mix. Simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes until the sauce is thick.
  8. Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the lemon juice if necessary. Remove from the heat and using a potato masher, lightly crush about half of the mix to break down some of the potato. Stir well, taste again to check the seasoning and allow to cool.
  9. To make the pasties, take the dough from the fridge and lightly flour your worktop.
  10. Roll the pastry in one direction to a rough rectangle approx 1 cm thick. Fold into thirds letter style so there are 3 layers, then wrap and chill in the fridge once more for 15 minutes.
  11. Take out the pastry and roll out as before, fold and wrap and chill for a further 15 minutes.
  12. Heat the oven to 200C.
  13. Roll out the pastry to approx ½ cm thick and use an upturned bowl or plate to cut out 6 circles of approx 15cm in diameter.
  14. Place a large spoon of filling on one half of each pastry circle. Brush the edges with a little water and fold the pastry over the filling to make a half moon crescent shape.
  15. Press the edges to seal using a fork to also create a pattern, and pierce the tops a few times to allow steam to escape during baking.
  16. Place the patties onto a parchment lined baking tray and brush each one with a little oil to glaze.
  17. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and crisp, checking the bases to ensure they are baked thoroughly.
  18. Best eaten warm with a spicy relish or salsa such as Avocado Salsa (recipe below).


Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander leaf
  • I tbsp lime juice
  • salt and black pepper

Method

  1. The salsa needs to be put together just before serving.
  2. Peel and de-stone the avocado, cut into bite size chunks and place in a serving dish.
  3. Mix in the spring onion, cherry tomatoes and coriander leaf and. Squeeze over lime juice and season to taste.

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Vegan Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are a staple of the Easter holiday season. This is the vegan version of our classic hot cross bun recipe which proves that you can make moist delicious hot cross buns without milk, eggs, or butter. We like to include dried apricots and mixed peel for added interest and distinctive flavour. Give them a try!

 

Vegan Hot Cross Buns

Makes 16 buns

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp dried active yeast
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 100ml warm water
  • 120ml warm Almond or soya milk
  • 120ml apple sauce
  • 60ml sunflower oil
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 100g strong wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps mixed spice
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 75g sultanas
  • 75g dried apricots, chopped
  • 75g mixed peel

Piping paste:

  • 4 tbsps unbleached white flour
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsps cold water

Sticky Sugar Glaze:

  • 2 tbsps sugar + 2 tbsps water

Method

  1. In a measuring jug combine the water, warm almond milk, yeast and sugar, mix well and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes for the yeast to start to bubble. 
  2. Pour the flours and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the milk and yeast, the applesauce and oil. Using one finger stir in the liquid until the dough is coming together, then use both hands and start to knead. 
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface and knead, using your fingers to stretch the dough up and then gently fold back. It will be sticky to begin with so don’t be tempted to add too much flour, use a bread plastic scraper if the dough sticks to the work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, usually about 10 minutes. 
  4. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours, until doubled in size.
  5. (Or you could leave the dough to prove overnight in the fridge and continue following the recipe instructions the next day, allowing extra time for the cold dough to prove once shaped into buns)
  6. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough. Roll the dough into a sausage and divide up into 16 equal pieces (you can use scales to be precise).
  7. Roll each piece into a round ball.
  8. Line two baking trays with baking parchment and arrange the balls in lines, not quite touching. Leave in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to an hour or until the buns have doubled in size.
  9. (If the dough has had an overnight proof in the fridge, the buns will take longer to double in size)
  10. While the dough is rising preheat the oven to 200°fan/220C and make the piping paste.
  11. To make the piping paste, mix the flour sugar and water together into a smooth paste.
  12. Put into a piping bag fitted with a small, plain nozzle.
  13. When the buns have risen, make an indent of a cross on each bun using a blunt knife and pipe a cross on each bun.
  14. Put the buns in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.
  15. While the buns are baking, make the sticky glaze. Dissolve the sugar in the water over a low heat.
  16. As soon as the buns come out brush them with the glaze. Transfer to a wire rack without pulling them apart and leave to cool.
  17. Best eaten whilst still warm, or store in an airtight container and serve warmed gently in the oven.

vegan hot cross buns


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Broad bean and dill kookoo

The word kookoo (also spelled kuku) describes a range of Iranian frittata-like dishes where egg is always the base, and the rest of the ingredients can vary. Loads of fresh green herbs are almost always included and you'll often find nuts and dried fruit added to the mix, too. We've made ours with fresh dill, barberries and pecans, plus broad beans and feta which really compliment the dill.  

In Iran, kookoo is typically eaten with yoghurt and pickles, but you could also enjoy it with bread and a green salad for light lunch or supper. 

Broadbean and Dill Kookoo (kuku)

Serves 4/6 | Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 400g broad beans (podded weight)
  • 20g dried barberries
  • 40g fresh turmeric, crushed (or 2 tsp dried turmeric)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 6 eggs
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g fresh dill, chopped
  • 25g pecans, broken
  • 100g feta, cubed
  • 1 tsp Aleppo chilli pepper
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. First you will need to double pod the broadbeans, heat a saucepan of water and when boiling add the broadbeans and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and cool down under cold running water. Then you can easily pop the beans out of their skins. You will end up with about 250g double podded beans.
  2. Soak the barberries in boiling water. After 30 minutes strain the barberries and rinse well.
  3. Peel the fresh turmeric rhizome with a teaspoon and then crush in a pestle and mortar or in a mini food processor. Remember the turmeric will turn everything yellow.
  4. In a large nonstick frying pan (28cm) fry the onion in the olive oil until translucent and then add the chopped garlic and the crushed fresh turmeric and cook for a few minutes. Then mix in the broadbeans and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and add the double cream, flour, baking powder, dill, Aleppo pepper and a good pinch of salt and black pepper. 
  6. Pour the egg mix into the frying pan and with a spatula fold the egg mix into the onion and broadbean mix.
  7. Top with the cubed feta, pecans and barberries.
  8. Cover the frying pan with a lid and cook the kookoo on a low heat as you don’t want to burn the bottom. Cook until just set with a wobble, which will take about 20 minutes. Turn off and leave for 5 minutes.
  9. Serve hot, warm or cold with yoghurt and pickles.


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How to Pick and Eat Nettles

Many thanks to super-forager Christopher Robbins for his advice on nettles. If you want to learn more about wild plants, check out our upcoming foraging courses.

As we move into spring, nettles are starting to appear. Sure they may sting, but they're also hugely versatile. And right now they're at their seasonal best: young, tender and ripe for picking. Nettles have a long history of numerous uses, and it's no wonder why. They are an excellent blood purifier, a mild laxative and extremely high in vitamin C. They're also delicious to eat and make a healthy relaxing herb tea.

Nettles ( Urtica dioica) are traditionally eaten in early spring as they are one of the first edible green shoots to appear, known as a “pot-herb”. In Scotland, Nettle Kail was a traditional Shrove Tuesday soup to welcome in the spring. Nettles were considered to be a tonic, useful for cleansing the body at the beginning of the new growing period. In addition to nettle soup you'll also find old recipes for nettle beer and nettle tea.

Nettle-Picking Tips

  • Nettles are best when very tender, so pick in the spring when the nettles are just coming up or later in the season. Pick the young leaves from the tips. 
  • Use rubber gloves or pinch the leaves hard, so you don’t get stung. Once picked, lay the nettles out on a tray to wilt. Once wilted they can no longer sting you. The sting relies on erect hairs to penetrate the skin and inject the stinging formic acid. When wilted strip the leaves off the stems. 
  • Like spinach, when cooked, nettles reduce to 1/4 the amount, so a supermarket bag full will be about 500g. 
  • Always cook nettles, which destroys the stinging formic acid. Nettles are not suitable for salads!

Favourite Nettle Recipes

Do you have tales of nettle foraging adventure and success?

Recipes you'd like to share?

Please do comment below or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter!

We love to chat about foraging!

Vedgeree: Vegan Kedgeree

Kedgeree is a colonial adaptation of the Indian dish ‘khichhari’, traditionally made with rice and smoked fish. This is our scrumptious vegan version and, as a rice dish, it's also gluten free. We recommend serving with poppadoms (also vegan and gluten free) and mango chutney (recipe below). 

There's a few steps to this recipe but it's well worth the efforts. Here's couple of top tips before you get started: 

  • The best way to cook poppadoms is to fry them in a little oil or grill them. To grill, brush them first with oil and be very careful they don’t burn. My favourite variety is black pepper. They also come in garlic, chilli and plain. 
  • Soaking the yellow peas or Chana dhal overnight will reduce the cooking time. Try substituting the yellow peas for chickpeas or any whole lentils. Note: red lentils are not suitable, as they would turn mushy.

Kedgeree: Vegan Kedgeree

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten Free | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  •  250g brown basmati
  • 150g yellow split peas or Chana dhal
  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil, ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 30g fresh turmeric root, peeled and finely minced or grated or 1 ½ tsp ground
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 600 ml vegetable stock or water
  • 150g peas, fresh or defrosted frozen
  • 250g fresh baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper
  • 30g flaked almonds, toasted
  • fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Rinse the rice well in a sieve and set aside to drain.
  2. Place the split peas and 10g of the fresh turmeric or ½ tsp ground turmeric in a small saucepan half filled with cold water, and bring to a boil on a high heat. Remove any frothy scum that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for approx 25-30 minutes until only just tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside.
  3. While the split peas are cooking, heat the oil or ghee in a saucepan and fry the onion till soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Gently crush open the cardamom pods with the back of a knife or in a pestle and mortar, then add to the onions with the cloves and cinnamon. Stir for a few seconds to release their aromas.
  5. Add in the remaining turmeric and the rice, and stir to ensure all the grains are coated in the oil, taking care not to let it catch and burn. You may need a little more oil at this stage.
  6. Pour in the stock or water, and increase the heat until the rice comes to a boil.
  7. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low to medium and allow the rice to simmer with a lid partially covering until the liquid is just covering the rice. At this point, place the lid fully covering the pan and turn the heat to its lowest. Cook for a further 10 minutes and then switch off the heat and leave the rice to continue steaming with the lid on for 10 minutes.
  8. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil or ghee, and add the spinach. When it is half wilted, add the rice, split peas and green peas. Fold the rice through the vegetables and peas, then season with the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves and the toasted almonds and serve with fresh Mango Chutney (see recipe below).

Mango Chutney

Ingredients

  • 1 mango, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp kalonji seeds (nigella)

Method

Mix the mango with the chilli and lime juice to taste and sprinkle on kalonji seeds. 


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Spice root, Vegetarian Living, April 2017

The April 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living is now available and features my latest column of seasonal cooking ideas, tips, recipes and more. This month is all about the versatility of fresh and dried turmeric, taking inspiration from Indian, Iran and Jamaica. This article features top tips on using fresh turmeric, plus recipes for vegetarian kedgeree, golden vegetable pasties, and broad bean and dill kookoo.

Click on the link below to read the article in full:

Spice root, Vegetarian Living, April 2017

Leek Tart with Green Olive Tapenade

Leek tarts are wonderful for starters and light spring lunches. Actually, you can make these with any seasonal vegetable and cheese you like. Feel free to experiment! But in April we like to focus on seasonal vegetables, leeks are often tossed into dishes for flavouring but rarely celebrated in their own right.

For the homemade tapenade, you can make a rough version by crushing the nuts and garlic in a pestle and mortar and finely chopping the olives. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well, seasoning to taste. Or get out the food processor for a quick whizz!   

Leek Tart with Green Olive Tapenade 

Serves: 6

Ingredients: 

  • 1 packet of ready rolled puff pastry
  • 4 to 5 leeks (if they are large you many need fewer) 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp chopped thyme 
  • salt and pepper 
  • 200ml white wine
  • olive tapenade (homemade or shop bought)
  • 250g cashew or curd cheese 

Method 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180Fan.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment
  3. Lay the pastry onto the parchment, score a boarder 1cm in from the edge and prick all over the central area with a fork.
  4. Bake the pastry for 15-20 minutes until golden. 
  5. Meanwhile, cut the roots and the greens off of the leeks. 
  6. Slice the white part in 1/4 inch rounds. 
  7. Steam the leeks over a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes until they are soft. 
  8. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add the leeks, thyme, and salt and pepper. 
  9. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  10. Add the wine and simmer just until the wine evaporates. 
  11. To construct the tart: spread the tapenade on the cooked pastry. Cover with the leeks and than evenly with the cheese. 
  12. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted slightly and started to brown on top.   

Tips:    

  • Tips: You can make tarts with any seasonal vegetable you like, change the tapenade to a pesto or keep it simple and just use vegetables and herbs. Some of our favourites are roasted squash and red pepper or wild mushroom in autumn, asparagus in the spring and cherry tomato and spinach in summer-feel free to experiment. Individual puff tartlets are great for starters and picnics. 
Green Olive and Almond Tapenade

Tapenades are a great store cupboard essential, spread on toast, stir into pasta, make into a salad dressing or spread on puff pastry and top with vegetables for a quick supper.

Green Olive and Almond Tapenade

Serves: 6

Dietary: Vegan

Ingredients:

  • 150g green olives, pitted 
  • 100g blanched almonds 
  • 60g capers, drained & rinsed 
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 small white onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp maple or agave syrup 
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper 
  • Flat leaf parsley for garnish

Method

  1. Place the almonds on a baking tray and roast or dry fry in a frying pan until just golden, making sure they don’t burn. 
  2. Place in a food processor and whizz until roughly ground, (not as smooth as ground almonds) put to one side. 
  3. In the food processor, put the olives, capers, garlic and onion. Blend to chunky consistency. 
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients and blend again. 
  5. Add the ground almonds to the olive mixture and mix well.
  6. The consistency should be easy to spread with little chunks of olive and caper remaining. 
  7. Check for seasoning. 
4 Wild Leaves to Pick Now

One of the most exciting things about Spring is the opportunities it brings for foraging wild food. After a dormant winter, Spring brings a bounty of edible forgeable foods. Whether you live in the countryside or in an urban environment, wild food is all around. If you're new to foraging, wild leaves are a great place to start. 

4 Great Reasons to Forage Wild Leaves

  • Colours, flavours, textures, and the special personal touch that supermarket excursions can't offer.
  • The specific and often brief seasonality of these edible treasures gives you new awareness of the natural world.
  • It's a delight to share recipes and creations with your friends. 
  • Once you are confident about recognising wild produce, you'll marvel that food so tasty and nutritious is absolutely free!

Are you ready to get out there? Here are 4 wild leaves that are readily available, and recipe suggestions for how to use them: 

Stinging Nettle 

Nettles are hugely versatile, and right now they're at their seasonal best: young, tender and ripe for picking. You won't want to add them raw to a salad as, yes, they do sting. But you can add a small handful of fresh nutritious nettles to smoothies without harm. Cooked nettles can replace spinach in many recipes, and they make a very good soup. To harvest your nettles, wear rubber gloves and only pick the tender new leaves. Like spinach, nettles reduce down dramatically when cooked so pick a carrier bag full for 4-6 servings. When you get them home, spread them out on a tray and as they wilt, they will lose their sting.

Add nettles to smoothies

Dandelion

These nutritious leaves have a bitter action that stimulates digestion and liver function. Sometimes they are blanched by covering with a flowerpot to reduce the bitterness. The leaves make excellent salad, and you can use them in place of chicory in many recipes including my  fave e cicoria. The petals are also delightful in jams, cookies, and sprinkled as decoration in spring dishes.

Wild Garlic

Wild garlic, also known as ramsons, grows in woods or damp shaded banks. There can be little risk of mistaking it as the leaves smell richly of garlic. Be sure to pick the garlic leaves when they are young and tender. Its flowers are white and star-like in clusters and make a striking addition to salads. The leaves are delicious in soups or folded into an omelette.

wild garlic soup

Sheep Sorrel

Sheep sorrel (on the right side of the hat!) is one of several wild sorrels you can find around the UK. They produce fresh leaves in the spring and in June/July send up a 30-45 cms high narrow flowering spike with tiny rust-coloured flowers above the grass meadow they inhabit. The leaves have a wonderful sharp acidic tang. Add sorrel to salads, frittatas, or sauces. 

Foraging sheep sorrel

NOTE: Most edible wild plants that are worth the trouble of harvesting are easy to identify and difficult to confuse with harmful plants. But be safe. NEVER pick a plant if you are unsure of its identity or which part is safe to eat. If you want to gain foraging confidence, do keep an eye out for our foraging classes with the ever-entertaining Christopher Robbins, check the website or sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date!

Urban foraging in Bath with Christopher Robbins

Do you have tales of foraging adventure and success?

Recipes you'd like to share?

Please do comment below or get in touch via  Facebook and Twitter!

We love to chat about foraging!

Spring Baking Collection, The Taster Magazine, March 2017

Demuths is featured in the March 2017 issue of The Taster Magazine in their Spring Baking Collection of healthy delicious baking ideas. We are number 7!

7. Vegetarian and vegan baking. Bake like a vegetarian. Demuths Cookery School in Bath runs courses in vegan baking, cakes & puddings; and vegetarian baking and breadmak- ing courses, throughout May. From £65 for a 21⁄2-hour course to £165 for a full day 

Click here to read the full list: 

Spring Baking Collection, The Taster Magazine, March 2017

Cookery courses for vegetarians, Olive Magazine, January 2017

Demuths was featured in this round-up of Top Five Cookery Courses for Vegetarians in Olive Magazine.

Arguably the best-known cookery course for vegetarians in the country, Demuths doesn’t rest on its laurels. From exploring the spice route to fast and delicious winter soups, they offer a wide variety of courses in different cuisines. Courses range from evening, half day or day depending on how long you want to spend learning the tricks of the vegetarian trade.

Click here to read the article in full: 

Cookery courses for vegetarians: best five, Olive Magazine, January 2017

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

"Cauliflower rice" is all the rage, a concept that uses blitzed up cauliflower to mimic the look and feel of rice. Of course, you can use the same trick to replace other grains, as we do in this Cauliflower Tabbouleh where cauliflower takes the place of bulgar wheat. Using cauliflower makes this dish gluten free, raw, vegan and very low in calories. Flecked with pistachios, pomegranate, and loads of green herbs, our cauliflower tabbouleh looks beautiful on the plate and is delicious alongside other middle eastern fair such as vegetarian koftasbeetroot muhammara, and zataar spiced pita bread.

Cauliflower Tabouleh

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten Free, Raw | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  •  ½ small cauliflower, remove stalk
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ red onion, finely diced
  • 4 tbsp chopped herbs - mint, parsley, dill
  • 2 tbsp pistachios or walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • pinch of sumac

Method:

  1. Put the cauliflower florets into a food processor and blitz to a couscous like texture.
  2. Combine cauliflower with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Season well, adding more flavourings to taste (depending on the size of the cauliflower).

Tips: 

  • Try with spring onion instead of red onion, toasted almonds or pinenuts, purple, yellow or green cauliflower.
  • You can soak the chopped red onion in warm water for 30 minutes which will remove some of the oniony taste.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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How to get 10 fruit and vegetable servings per day

We've long been told to get our "5 a day", but new studies show that 10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day is much much better. Eating 10 servings per day was associated with a 24% reduced risk of heart disease and a 33% reduced risk of strike (amongst numerous other benefits).

Fortunately, most of us plant-based eaters are probably getting our 10 a day as it is. But if you're looking for more ways to up your veg, here are 10 veg-packed recipes to give you some inspiration:

Vegan chickpea, squash, spelt and greens hot pot

Black chickpea, squash, spelt and greens hot pot


La ribollita

La ribollita


Vegetarian beetroot borscht

Beetroot borscht


Roasted romanesco and cauliflower with haloumi and sumac

Roasted romanesco and cauliflower with haloumi and sumac


Orecchiette with Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Orecchiette with purple sprouting broccoli


Turkish trull and freakeh with herbs - vegan and gluten free

Turkish turlu and freakeh with herbs


Sweet and Sour Marinated Leeks - Vegan and Gluten Free

Sweet and sour marinated leeks


Indonesian Tempeh Curry with Coconut Rice

Indonesian tempeh curry with coconut rice


Vegan Burmese Noodle Stir Fry

Burmese stir fry


Vegetarian Laksa Lemak

Laksa Lemak


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Roasted Romanesco and Cauliflower with Haloumi and Sumac

Cauliflower is a fantastic delivery device for middle eastern ingredients like sumac and tahini. If you can get a hold of romanesco cauliflower and other multicoloured varieties of cauliflower, then this is a great dish to show off their beautiful variety. Otherwise, try it with white cauliflower - it's just as good. If you love this recipe then you might also like our moorish roasted cauliflower as well as our tasty spiced cauliflower steaks with almond aioli.

multicoloured cauliflower varieties

Roasted Romanesco and Cauliflower with Haloumi and Sumac

Dietary: Gluten-free | Serves: 4 | Prep Time:10 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 romanesco cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 250g haloumi, cut into 2cm cubes

Marinade

  • ½ lemon, zest and juice
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • A small handful of mint leaves, chopped
  • large pinch of sumac
  • Serve with tahini sauce (see recipe below)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200Fan.
  2. Make the marinade, mix the lemon juice and zest with the olive oil, garlic, and half the mint.
  3. Mix the cauliflowers and haloumi into the marinade.
  4. Spoon the cauliflowers, haloumi and marinade into an ovenproof dish.
  5. Roast in the pre-heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the the cauliflower is tender and the haloumi is beginning to brown.
  6. Serve with a sprinkle of sumac and chopped mint with tahini sauce.


Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 100ml light tahini 
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice 
  • water to mix 
  • salt and pepper

Method 

  1. Mix the tahini and lemon juice together by hand into a thick paste. 
  2. Add water a little at a time until you have a smooth creamy mixture to your desired consistency. 
  3. Season to taste.

roasted romanesco and cauliflower with haloumi and sumac

Related posts: 


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Back to School, Veggie Magazine, March 2017

We are delighted to be featured in the March 2017 issue of Veggie Magazine in a feature about vegetarian cookery schools!

Both lifelong vegetarians and veggie-curious cooks are welcomed to this internationally recognised cookery school set in the heart of historic Bath. Founded by vegetarian chef, Rachel Demuth, who spent 25 years
at the helm of iconic vegetarian restaurant, Demuths, Rachel and her passionate team of tutors are on hand to inspire, encourage and excite students to get cooking with more vegetables. It’s an ethos that has turned
the school into a trendsetter of British vegetarian cuisine, with courses covering everything from how to challenge your bread skills and make the most of seasonal ingredients, to travelling the world from the comfort of your kitchen’s spice rack.
 

Click here to read the article in full.

Bindaetteok: Korean Mung Bean and Kimchi Pancakes

These Korean pancakes are made from ground soaked uncooked mung beans and are flavoured with kimchi (try our recipe for vegetarian kimchi). Typically Bindaetteok are fairly large, but we prefer to make small pancakes (around 6cm in diameter) which are easier to cook. They are perfect for a light snack, brunch or lunch served with a spicy dipping sauce, or can be served as a main dish with salad. Bindaetteok are also dairy, egg and wheat free, making them perfect for vegan and gluten-free diets. For more inspiration, check out Rachel's recent article on vegetarian Korean cuisine in Vegetarian Living.

Bindaetteok - Korean mung bean and kimchi pancakes - vegan and gluten free

Bindaetteok

Mung bean and Kimchi Pancakes

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 150g mung beans, soaked in plenty of cold water for 12 hours
  • 75-100 ml cold water
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 60g bean sprouts, chopped
  • 125g kimchi, chopped
  • 2 tbsp kimchi liquid from the jar
  • 3 spring onions, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • ½ tsp gochujang (optional if you prefer a less spicy mix)
  • 2 tsp shoyu
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp glutinous rice flour or cornflour
  • Sunflower oil for frying

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • Pinch gochugaru chilli flakes

Method

  1. Drain and rinse the mung beans, then purée in a food processor with 75 ml water until as smooth as possible. It should be a very thick porridge like batter, so add a little more water if the mixture isn't pureeing sufficiently.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sesame oil, bean sprouts, kimchi, kimchi liquid, spring onions, garlic, gochujang, shoyu and salt. Add enough rice flour or corn flour to mix so there is no visible separation of liquid in the batter. Taste and adjust the seasoning to suit, adding more shoyu or chilli if necessary.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan (preferably non-stick) and, working in batches of 3 pancakes at a time, drop in tablespoons of batter, spacing well apart to allow for spreading. Flip them over carefully after a minute or two. They need to be golden brown on both sides and firm when pressed to ensure they are cooked through. Place onto a tray lined with kitchen towel to drain excess oil, and keep warm in a low oven whilst you cooking the remaining pancakes.
  4. Stir the shoyu and rice vinegar together in a small bowl with the chilli flakes, and serve alongside the warm Bindaeteok. 

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Vegetarian Kimchi

Kimchi is traditionally made by families during late autumn to last them throughout the year, and stored in pots underground. Although Kimchi is easily found in Asian food stores, it's not usually vegetarian. So here's our recipe for a vegetarian kimchi, which you can easily make at home in a large Kilner jar.  

Kimchi is usually made with napa cabbage or Chinese leaf cabbage, but other vegetables such as kale, turnips, radishes and cucumbers can be used. As with many fermented foods, it is rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, as well as lactic acid bacteria, making kimchi a very beneficial nutritious addition to your diet. 

For more inspiration, check out our upcoming Fermentation Courses, or check out this insightful recap from our Fermentation Course with Lucie Cousins.

Vegetarian Kimchi

Makes 1 large Kilner jar (1 litre)

  • 1 large napa cabbage or Chinese leaf 
  • 3 tbsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 spring onions
  • 4 tbsp gochugaru chilli flakes

For the paste mix:

  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  1. Chop the cabbage into large 3cm squares, discarding the stem and core. Place into a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl, and massage in the salt, ensuring it is evenly distributed throughout the pieces. Set aside for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, blend the paste ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Tip the cabbage into a colander and rinse thoroughly. Drain well and allow to dry a little. It will feel quite limp and soft. Place back into the mixing bowl and add the onion, spring onion and gochugaru. Add the paste mix and, using clean hands, massage through the vegetables to combine thoroughly.
  4. Pack the vegetable mix into a sterilised jar, pushing down well to compact it and avoid air pockets. Leave several centimetres from the top of the jar to allow for expansion during the fermentation process.
  5. Swirl a couple of tablespoons of water around the mixing bowl to collect any paste remaining, and pour into the almost full jar. Seal the top and place in a cool area of your kitchen out of direct sunlight.
  6. Check the jar daily for 3 days, pushing the mix down to release any air pockets and to allow the accumulated liquid to come to the surface. The vegetables need to be submerged beneath the liquid. Seal the lid to cover each day, then refrigerate after 3 days, at which point the kimchi should smell sour but not unpleasant. Keep the kimchi in the fridge, and taste after a couple of days, using once you are satisfied with the flavour development. You may find the flavour needs a couple of weeks to develop enough to your liking. Once fully fermented, the kimchi will keep for up to 6 months (possibly longer) in the fridge. 

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

For more hands on experience with kimchi and other fermented foods, check out our upcoming Fermentation Courses!

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Fermentation for Beginners

Fermentation is the trend everybody is talking about, from sauerkraut to kombucha, people are starting to latch onto the benefits of fermented foods, as demonstrated by our sell-out fermentation courses with Lucie Cousins. However, fermentation is nothing new; it’s actually an ancient method to produce and preserve food and drinks. We’re currently rediscovering how tasty and healthy fermented cuisine can be; I think it’s a great addition to our diet! Fermentation is fascinating as it increases beneficial bacteria, antioxidants, vitamins and enzymes, which are all fantastic for healthy gut health. 

A popular fermented food is sourdough, but I’d seek out more unusual examples, such as kefir (a fermented milk drink), kombucha tea or fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut and kimchi. 

How does Fermentation work? 

Sauerkraut is where most people start with fermentation and it's a great example of how the process works. In a nutshell, you chop up a bunch of cabbage and mix it with a good amount of salt. The salt draws out moisture from the cabbage, and with the application of a heavy weight, you can actually submerge the cabbage in its own juices (aka brine). 

What happens next is a process called lacto-fermentation. Lactobacillus is one of the benefcial bacteria found naturally in raw veggies, fruits, yoghurt and other cultured foods, including cabbage. When the cabbage is submerged in brine, the bacteria converts the natural sugars into lactic acid, which, in turn, preserves as it inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Over time, the fermented cabbage develops its sour flavour that we know and love as sauerkraut.  

Our Top 5 Fermented Foods

  • Tempeh - fermented soybeans in a cake-like form factor which you can slice, marinate, and cook much like tofu. And like tofu, it's a great protein source for vegetarians! See our article on tempeh basics for more.
  • Sauerkraut - Fermented cabbage high in fiber, and vitamins A, C, K and B. Sauerkraut is delicious with everything! Try it on a sandwich or in an omelet!
  • Kimchi - a traditional fermented Korean dish made from Napa cabbage and other vegetables. A staple of Korean cuisine! Try our recipe for vegetarian kimchi.
  • Kefir - a fermented milk product that tastes much like a drinkable yoghurt. 
  • Kombucha - a fermented beverage made of tea and sugar. Once fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and full of probiotics, enzymes, and B-vitamins. It's also immensely refreshing and when consumed daily can help improve digestion. 

Fermentation Courses at Demuths

In response to the rise in demand for fermentation courses, we've added a few new classes to the calendar that we hope you'll love: 


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Spiced Cauliflower Steaks with Almond Alioli

These griddled cauliflower ‘steaks’ are spicy with a robust flavour and texture, great for a Spring Sunday lunch with alioli, flatbreads and salad. The cauliflower steaks reheat well so can be prepared and cooked in advance. We like to serve with vegan almond alioli (recipe below) but they're equally good with a minty yoghurt dressing or tahini. For more cauliflower recipes like this one, check out Rachel's write-up in Vegetarian Living.

Spiced Cauliflower Steaks

Serves: 4 | Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free | Prep: 45 minutes | Cook: 10 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1  garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

Spice Mix:

  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp back peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp allspice berries
  • 3 cardamom pods, use the seeds
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander for scattering

Serve with:

  • Vegan alioli
  • Pitta or flatbreads
  • Cucumber, tomato and onion salad
  • Wedges of lemon
  • Chopped coriander

Method

  1. Trim the outer leaves and stem of the cauliflower and place in a pan fitted with a steamer. Steam for 8-10 minutes with the lid on until the cauliflower is only just tender when pierced with a small knife.
  2. Remove onto a chopping board and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Toast the whole spices in a dry frying pan until they smell aromatic then place in an electric grinder or mortar and pestle.
  4. Grind till fine and mix with the remaining ground spices in a bowl. Add the olive oil and mix to a paste.
  5. When the cauliflower is cool enough to handle, turn it on its side and carefully slice four 'steaks' approx 2-3 cm thick. (The remaining bits of cauliflower can be broken into florets and tossed with remaining marinade and either sautéed in a pan or roasted briefly in a hot oven for another meal, or made into cauliflower tabouleh)
  6. Brush the cauliflower steaks with the spice paste on both sides, making sure that they are well covered, place them on a baking tray and set aside to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  7. To cook the cauliflower steaks, heat a grill and place them under the grill.
  8. Grill the cauliflower for a few minutes on each side, taking care when turning, and watching that the spices don't burn. You may want to brush a little extra  oil on the steaks as they grill. As soon as they become golden brown, remove to a warm plate for serving.
  9. To serve, spread a warm flatbread or pitta with alioli, top with some tomato, cucumber and onion salad, a wedge of lemon and a good scattering of chopped coriander.

Almond Alioli

Dietary: Vegan | Serves 4 to 6 | Prep time:15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 75ml water
  • 1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 finely minced garlic cloves
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Soak the breadcrumbs first by pouring on the water and vinegar and leave for a few minutes for the breadcrumbs to soak up the liquid.
  2. Crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar, adding a little salt and oil to make a smooth paste.
  3. Add the soaked bread and drizzle in the sunflower oil until you have used it all. Add water if needed to reach a hummus consistency.
  4. Stir in the ground almonds and olive oil, adding salt and lemon to taste.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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A Cauliflower Renaissance, Vegetarian Living, March 2017

The March 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living is now available and features my latest column of seasonal cooking ideas, tips, recipes and more. This month is all about cauliflower, the most fashionable member of the cabbage family. This article features top tips on buying and storing cauliflower, plus recipes for cauliflower tabbouleh, spiced cauliflower steaks, and roasted cauliflower with haloumi and sumac.

Click on the link below to read the article in full:

A Cauliflower Renaissance, Vegetarian Living, March 2017

12 Beautiful Vegetarian and Vegan Valentine’s Day Recipes

Valentine's Day is all about romantic together times and treating each other to something special. We say avoid the restaurant crowds and instead cook a delicious meal together at home! Here are our favourite sweet and savoury plant based recipes for Valentine's Day, all of which are colourful, tasty, seasonal, and look beautiful on the plate. Just add a few candles and some fresh flowers and you'll be very happy that you stayed in. Happy Valentine's Day to all you lovers out there!


Aubergine Involtini di Melanzane

Aubergine Involtini di Melanzane


Mexican Dark Chocolate Torte

Mexican Dark Chocolate Torte


Burmese Noodle Stir Fry

Burmese Noodle Stir-Fry


Roasted Rhubarb and Blood Orange Layered Fool

Roasted Rhubarb and Blood Orange Layered Fool


Thai Corn Cakes

Thai Corn Cakes


Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake

Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake


Winter Coleslaw with Barberries

Winter Coleslaw with Barberries


Chargrilled Asparagus with Herb Pappardelle and Vegan Cashew Cheese

Chargrilled Asparagus with Herb Pappardelle and Cashew ‘Cheese’


 

Vegan Steamed Chinese Buns

Steamed Chinese Buns


Turkish Gozleme

Gözleme


Squash and Chive Potsticker Dumplings

Squash and Chive Potsticker Dumplings


Orange Flower Meringues with Blackberries and Pistachios


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Bite-sized video by Rob Wicks of eatpictures.com.

For the ultimate vegan sweet treat, we love these vegan donuts filled with raspberry jam. They're fun to make, a real crowd pleaser, and absolutely delicious with a cup of tea or coffee. 

Get the recipe: Vegan Donuts with Raspberry Jam

Vegan Donuts with Raspberry Jam

For the ultimate vegan sweet treat, try our recipe for vegan donuts filled with raspberry jam (or any jam you'd like really, but raspberry is our favourite!). These donuts are guaranteed to please a crowd and go down a treat with a cup of tea or coffee. A great option to bring to a party or the office, where you will most certainly be the hero of everyone's coffee break.

Vegan donuts are easier to make than you may think. Just watch the video and read on for the recipe!

Vegan Donuts with Raspberry Jam

Makes: 400g (8 donuts)

Ingredients:

  • 150g white bread flour
  • 150g white spelt flour
  • 1/2 tbsp dried active yeast
  • 45g caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50ml water
  • 60ml warm almond milk
  • 60ml apple sauce
  • 30ml sunflower oil
  • oil for frying
  • white caster sugar for dipping
  • raspberry jam for piping

Method

  1. In a measuring jug combine the water, warm almond milk, yeast and sugar, mix well and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes for the yeast to start to bubble. Pour the flours and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the milk and yeast, the apple sauce and oil. Using one finger, stir in the liquid until the dough is coming together, then use both hands and start to knead.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface and knead, using your fingers to stretch the dough up and then gently fold back. It will be sticky to begin with so don’t be tempted to add too much flour, use a bread plastic scraper if the dough sticks to the work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, usually about 10 minutes.
  3. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave in the fridge to prove and double in size for 8 hours (overnight).
  4. Alternatively, use the dough the same day, leave to rise in a warm place for 1 – 1 ½ hours, until doubled in size. Knock back the dough and leave it in the fridge to chill down for 1 hour.
  5. Divide the dough into 16, 50g weight pieces. Shape into smooth even rounds. Lay onto oiled parchment and leave to prove for 30 minutes until doubled in size. Make sure you cover them on top with oiled cling film to stop them drying out.
  6. Deep fry at 190C for 5 minutes until pale golden. Remove from the fryer and drain well, dip into fine caster sugar and leave to cool on a wire wrack.
  7. When cool fill with the raspberry jam.

Vegan Donuts with Raspberry Jam


Bite-sized video by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Vegetable Stew with Mustard Herb Dumplings

What are your ultimate comfort foods? On cold winter days, we crave stews and slow cooked dishes. This vegan root vegetable stew includes herby dumplings to make it all the more comforting, filling, sustaining and hearty. The choice of vegetables can be altered to what you have in the kitchen. Try adding swede or turnips. Best enjoyed beside a roaring fire after a long walk on a crisp cold winter's day!

Root Vegetable Stew with Mustard Herb Dumplings

Serves: 4

Dietary: Vegan

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Vegetable Stew with Mustard Herb Dumplings

Ingredients

Stew

  • 6 shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 440ml dry cider
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few sage leaves
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp Marmite
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Dumplings

  • 110g self-raising white flour
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 50g vegetable suet or margarine
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • cold water to mix

Method

  1. In a large casserole dish fry the shallots in the rapeseed oil until they are golden.
  2. Add the garlic and the leeks. Fry for a couple more minutes, and then add the carrots, parsnip and potatoes and stir-fry.
  3. Add the cider and sherry and bring to the boil.
  4. Mix the Marmite into the vegetable stock and add to the stew along with the bay leaves and sage leaves.
  5. Season to taste and simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until all the vegetables are nearly cooked, before you add the dumplings.
  6. While the stew is simmering, make the dumplings. They need to be added 15 minutes before the stew is ready.
  7. Sieve the flour with the mustard powder into a large bowl then add the vegetable suet or margarine, salt and freshly ground black pepper and fresh herbs. Just before adding to the stew, mix in enough water, a little at a time, to make a firm but not sticky dough. With floured hands, break the dough into about 12 small pieces and roll them into round dumplings.
  8. Before adding the dumplings, check the stew for seasoning and add the chopped parsley. At this stage you may need to add some more liquid so that there is sufficient for the dumplings to cook through. Add the dumplings to the stew, push them down into the liquid and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the dumplings have doubled in size.
  9. Serve in large deep bowls in front of the fire.

Vegetable Stew with Mustard Herb Dumplings

Mouthwatering photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Seville Marmalade: a wake-up call in a jar

This is a guest post from Katie Rawlings who attended our recent Seville Marmalade Making Course. If you couldn't make the course but still want to have a go at making your own marmalade, check out Christopher's easy to follow recipe for Seville Orange Marmalade!

I have just attended the Seville Marmalade Course and I can’t think of a better way of bringing some Sicillian sunshine into a very rainy January day in Bath. The day started with an introduction from Rachel Demuth, coffee and homemade biscuits, set in the stunning Georgian townhouse that houses Demuths Cookery School. I met up with the other students and we happily chatted about how far we had travelled ( two sisters all the way from Adelaide!) and excitedly addressed what we hoped we would get out of the day.

We met Christopher Robbins, our course tutor, who shared his fantastic knowledge about the magic and science of making marmalade. He explained the alchemy that goes into the pan, a result of many different variables that must be understood if you want to produce that perfect jar. Whilst listening, freshly baked sourdough bread was passed around with taster pots containing thick cut seville marmalade containing different heavenly flavours. The ginger marmalade was just too good. Seville oranges were then eagerly passed around the class and we were told how to choose these fabulous fruits, making sure we picked out firm, heavy and thin skinned oranges. A top tip is that Seville oranges freeze well whole, they won’t be in the shops for much longer so buy up now. Sevilles have a unique combination of a strong orange-flavour and a wonderful bitterness which once married with the sugar makes a perfectly balanced, sweet but pleasantly bitter preserve. Sevilles are bursting with pectin which when combined with the acid in the juice forms a jelly.

Next we juiced and cut our fruit, carefully removing pips ( a few might have slipped in providing authencity and a rustic feel to our finished product). Then it was over to the stove where we added water and waited for a fruit to soften. The cookery school soon filled with the most glorious scent of orange. Sugar was added and the magic all began to happen whilst we watched and stirred and anticipated the results. Christopher was on hand to help us determine when our marmalade had reached its optimium consistency. Christopher explained that people often get a marmalade that either is set like heavy clay, or is too runny. To set into a soft gel, the jam requires acidity, sugar and pectin at the right temperature. Marmalade making is definitely an art and Christopher guided us through this testing process with ease. To quote one students feedback "Christopher's knowledge, expertise and obvious love of marmalade was infectious.”.

We all made the basic Thick Cut Seville Marmalade and then in our groups added different flavours. Jars of Cardamon Marmalade, Ginger Marmalade and Muscavado Marmalade soon lined the work bench.

The day was superbly relaxing and informative. Included in the course was lunch which was cooked and prepared by Rachel Demuth. It was a chance for all of us to sit down and enjoy Vegetable Frittata and a most glorious Lentil, Roasted Squash and Beetroot salad, scattered with pomegranate jewels.

We all got to take away our home-made treasure in jars to be lovingly shared with our families and friends and enjoyed throughout the rest of the year. It’s a wake-up call in a jar and next weekend we have guests staying, so I will be serving Seville sunshine on toast.

This will become a winter ritual for me and I am certain I will never buy another shop bought jar of marmalade again.

See also:

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Orecchiette with Purple Sprouting Broccoli

The pasta sauce for this recipe is outstanding in its own right, but the dish is even more spectacular when prepared with  homemade orecchiette pasta. You can use dry pasta, of course, which makes this dish the perfect option for a fast and delicious weeknight supper. On our Italian cooking holiday, we make this dish with broccoli raab (also known as rapini or locally as cime di rapa). Since this is not so easily found in the UK, we've substituted purple sprouting broccoli as an alternative. 

Vegan Sauce for Orecchiette

If you're interested in southern Italian cuisine, take a look at our upcoming vegetarian  Italian cookery classes. Or better yet, come on our cooking holiday in Apulia this October! 

Orecchiette with Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Dietary: Vegan

Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 35 minutes Ingredients

  • 400g fresh orecchiette pasta
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped, (optional)
  • 24 large cherry tomatoes, left whole
  • ½ lemon, zest and juice
  • 600g purple sprouting broccoli
  • 2 tbsp capers (optional)
  • salt and black pepper
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzlingMethod
  1. Fry the green pepper and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes, until softened. 
  2. Add the chilli and continue to sauté for a few more minutes. 
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes, lemon juice and zest and cook for 20 minutes with a lid on. Squash the cherry tomatoes lightly. 
  4. Continue to stir the sauce for a few minutes and, if it looks a little dry, add some of the boiling pasta water (see below) to loosen it up. Season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Remove the thick stems and any outer leaves from the purple sprouting broccoli and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and refresh in cold water.
  6. Add the purple sprouting broccoli to the sauce stir well and cook for a further 3 minutes. If you want, add capers at the same time as the purple sprouting broccoli.
  7. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, (retain some of the water to add to the sauce) and add it into the pan with the sauce. Mix everything together well. 
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil.

Vegan Orecchiette with Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Mouthwatering photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

For more vegan Italian cooking inspiration, take a look at our upcoming vegetarian Italian cookery classes. Or better yet, come on our cooking holiday in Apulia this October! 

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Chinese New Year Dumplings

We have a long tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year at Demuths, largely thanks to our chef tutor and Chinese cookery expert  Lydia Downey. Lydia has introduced us to a plethora of vegan and vegetarian Chinese dishes, including this collection of delicious dumplings, that are perfect celebratory food for Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year around the world is a colourful public celebration. It occurs between 21 January and 20 February, depending on the Chinese calendar, but in 2017 New Year’s Eve is on 28 January to welcome in the year of the rooster, so make a note in your diary to try something Chinese in honour of the day.

For Chinese families New Year is just as important as Christmas and the New Year meal is the most significant family event of the year. Everyone travels to be with family and people meet in the street to enjoy the dragon dance and loud fireworks. Just like Christmas, it is a time for special food that can be prepared and eaten together. Traditionally, the first day of the New Year is a meat-free day, to enable the body to be cleansed in preparation for the year ahead and to ensure a long life. Dishes eaten in the lead up to and during New Year also tend to be symbolic of good luck, health, wealth, longevity and prosperity. For instance, dumplings (symbolic of money and wealth) and noodles (for longevity) are always part of a Chinese New Year feast.

Dumplings in some form are eaten all over the world from Polish perogi to Italian ravioli and Japanese gyoza. Chinese dumplings are full of symbolism as well as delicious fillings and are essential for Chinese New Year, following a 2000-year-old tradition. Families in Northern China gather on New Year’s Eve and make them together. They are considered to bring wealth and prosperity, as their shapes resemble Chinese silver ingots. Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebrations, the more money you will make in the new year. The choice of fillings is important too: a cabbage stuffing will help you live until you are 100; a mushroom filling will bring you wealth and luck.

Different dumplings will have unique shapes and even the number of pleats in the pastry is important too, showing off the dexterity of the dumpling maker. But don’t worry, if you’re new to making dumplings, simple shapes taste just as good! They should be bite-sized and are either served in small steamer baskets or on small plates for everyone to share.

Dumplings are great fun to make and eat together, but to get into the true spirit and symbolism of Chinese New Year you should also clean your house and business before the New Year starts, to clear away bad luck and make room for good luck. It’s also considered auspicious to eat foods such as large mandarin oranges to ensure that you have luck and wealth in the New Year. Finally, make sure you wear new, brightly coloured clothing – preferably red – to scare away the evil spirits! 

Vegan Dumpling Recipes for Chinese New Year

Vegan Shitake Wontons in Green Jade Soup

Shitake Wontons in Green Jade Soup


Vegan Squash and Chive Potsticker Dumplings

Squash and Chive Potsticker Dumplings


 

Vegan Crystal Skin Dumplings

Crystal Skin Dumplings


Mouthwatering photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Crystal Skin Dumplings

Crystal Skin Dumplings are traditionally made with prawns and have a clear transparent appearance that allows you to see the filling through the wrapper. We have used a filling of tofu and spinach that works very well as a vegetarian alternative, and shows clearly through the ‘crystal skin’. The dough is a little tricky to handle, but with practice become easier to work with.

Crystal Skin Dumplings

Makes approx 20

Dietary: Vegan | Prep time: 1 hour | Cook Time:10 minutes

Ingredients

Dough

  • 200g wheat starch
  • 75g cornflour
  • 450ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

Filling

  • 100g firm tofu
  • 50g fresh spinach, wilted, squeezed dry and chopped finely
  • 25g water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chives, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing Chinese rice wine
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. To make the filling, crumble the tofu into a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix in the spinach, water chestnuts, minced spring onions, garlic and ginger. Add the Shaoxing Chinese rice wine, sesame oil and a large pinch of salt, and mix together thoroughly to combine. Taste and add more salt and sesame oil if necessary.
  3. To make the dough, weigh the wheat starch and cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Slowly add in the boiling water and then the oil, while stirring rapidly. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, until it turns into a smooth dough ball.
  4. Divide into 2 pieces and roll each into a long cylinder, and divide each into 10 equal pieces. Cover the dough pieces with a damp paper towel to prevent drying out.
  5. Take one piece of dough and roll it into a 6cm diameter circle. Add a spoonful of filling and carefully lift one half and pleat the edge before folding up the other half to meet the pleated edge, pressing to seal the dumpling. Otherwise, a simple way to shape the dumplings is just by folding in half to form a crescent, and press the edges neatly to seal.
  6. Continue assembling until all the dumplings are made.
  7. Line your steamer with a piece of parchment that fits neatly inside. Perforate several holes in the parchment to allow the steam through.
  8. Place your Dumplings inside the steamer, spacing apart slightly.
  9. Heat a pan half filled with water (the right size that your steamer can sit upon) and allow to come to the boil.
  10. Once your pan of water is boiling enough to begin steaming, place the steamer on top and cook the dumplings for 6 to 10 minutes using high heat, until the dough has turned from opaque to translucent, and serve hot with chilli oil or a soy based dipping sauce. 


Mouthwatering photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Squash and Chive Potsticker Dumplings

A ‘potsticker’ is Chinese wonton dumpling which is fried until brown on one side, then turned and simmered in a small amount of stock or water so it has a fried and steamed texture all in one and then dipped in salty, sour and sweet dipping sauce.

Squash and Chive ‘Potsticker' Dumplings

Makes: approx 20

Dietary: Vegan | Prep Time: 45 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of round wheat flour dumpling wrappers
  • 200g squash, diced into 1cm cubes and steamed or roasted till tender
  • 75g bamboo shoots, chopped finely
  • 6 Chinese garlic chives chopped finely or use 2 tbsp chopped regular chives
  • 2 spring onions, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing Chinese rice wine
  • 1 tsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch salt
  • Water for sticking and steaming

Method

  1. To make the filling, steam or roast the squash until tender, then mash the cooked squash with a fork, keeping some texture, but with no hard lumps.
  2. Mix in the bamboo shoots, garlic chives, spring onions, garlic and ginger.
  3. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil and salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
  4. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre of a dumpling wrapper. Lift one half of the wrapper up and pleat the edge. Fold the other half of the wrapper up to meet the pleated side, dampen with a wet finger and seal for an authentic shape.
  5. Alternatively, fold like a pasty, and crimp the edges to seal. Dampen the edges with a finger dipped in water, if the edges don't stick together.
  6. Repeat with the remaining wrappers until all the filling is used up.
  7. To cook the dumplings: Heat a little sunflower oil in a frying pan, and gently fry 5 or 6 dumplings at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Allow to cook until the bases are a crisp golden brown which will take about 5 minutes. Pour in approx 100ml water and place a lid on the pan. Steam the dumplings till the dough is cooked right through to the tops of the pleats, which will take about a further 5 minutes. Remove onto small plates and serve with a dipping sauce (recipe below).

Potsticker Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chopped

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, diluting with a little water if the taste is too strong.

Mouthwatering photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Shitake Wontons with Green Jade Soup

Wontons are traditionally served poached in a clear broth soup, but they can also be deep fried until crisp and golden.

Shitake Wontons

Serves: 4 (makes 20 wontons)

Dietary: Vegan | Prep: 45 minutes | Cook: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 20 (8cm) square wonton wrappers
  • 2 tbsp water

Filling

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 200g fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing Chinese rice wine
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp Chinese cabbage finely chopped

Method

  • Lightly fry the mushrooms with the spring onion, spice, ginger and garlic. Add rice wine and shoyu and cook until all the liquid is gone. Mix in the shredded cabbage.
  • Line up 20 wonton wrappers. Working quickly, place a teaspoon of filling on each wrapper.
  • Working on one wrapper at a time, turn the square diagonally so that there is a corner pointing downwards facing you. With a finger, use the water to dampen around the edge, fold the bottom corner up over to meet the top corner and seal to make a triangle.
  • Take both the side corners and bring forwards to meet each other just beneath the filling of the dumpling so that they mirror the top of the triangle, almost creating a diamond shape. Dab one corner with water and press the other on top to firmly seal. They should look like folded arms and be able to sit on their bases.
  • Alternatively, gather the edges together to make a balled wonton with a pinched bunch at the top.
  • To cook, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil.
  • To poach the wontons, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and drop the wontons in one by one. As they cook, they will rise up and float which takes a couple of minutes. Test one to ensure the wrapper is cooked enough, then scoop out and into serving bowls or a plate.
  • Ladle over hot soup broth, or serve plain with a dipping sauce.

Green Jade Soup with Lotus Root

Serves: 4

Dietary: Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 litre Chinese vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 100g fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 head of pak choi, sliced
  • 8 thin slices lotus root
  • small bunch watercress, chopped

Method

  1. Bring the stock to a gentle simmer in a large pan.
  2. Season to taste with the Shaoxing rice wine and light soy sauce.
  3. Add the spinach, pak choi and lotus root slices, and simmer for a few minutes until the spinach has softened but is still bright green.
  4. Season to taste.
  5. Add the watercress and serve as soon as it has wilted.

Chinese Vegetable Stock

Makes: approximately 2 litres

Ingredients

  • 2.5 litres cold water
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 5 cm piece ginger, unpeeled and sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 5 dried Chinese or Shitake mushrooms

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients except the dried mushrooms into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Add the dried mushrooms and gently simmer for a further 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Strain and pick out the mushrooms (to slice and use in cooking), but discard the remaining vegetables.
  4. Keep the stock in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze in a plastic container.

Mouthwatering photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Vegan Haggis

This vegan haggis is perfect comfort food for any cold winter night. It's especially festive for a Burns Night supper, celebrating the great poet Robert Burns annually on 25 January. Traditional foods include haggis, bowls of steaming "neeps and tatties," and, of course, a dram (or more) of Scotch whisky! This recipe was created by our always inventive chef tutor Lydia Downey and features in The Daily Express and The Bath Chronicle

Vegan Haggis

Serves: 4-6

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-Free Option

Ingredients

  • 100g lentils- puy, beluga, green or brown (not red or split)
  • 75g pearl barley or toasted buckwheat (gluten free option)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped finely
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 100g Shitake or chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • 100g rolled oats or cooked brown rice (gluten free option)
  • 75g cashews, chopped roughly
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 tbsp dark miso paste
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock

Method

  1. Generously oil a large pudding basin or individual ramekins or dariole moulds.
  2. Cook the Puy lentils and barley in separate pans till just tender, but still retaining some ‘bite’ for approximately 20 minutes. Drain and leave to one side.
  3. Heat the stock in a pan and keep on a low heat.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and on a medium to low heat, fry the onion for 5-10 minutes till soft and beginning to go translucent.
  5. Add the carrot and cook for a few minutes, till just beginning to soften and brown.
  6. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the mushrooms (you may need an extra tbsp or two of olive oil) and fry, adding the spices after a minute or so.Add the lentils and oats, stirring well to combine with the vegetables.
  7. Add the hot stock, the shoyu, and miso, and simmer until the mixture is very thick, adding a little water if necessary. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.Stir in the pearl barley, cashew nuts, and chopped thyme, and taste the mix for seasoning. Remove from the heat.
  8. Spoon into the basin, ramekins or moulds, cover with a piece of baking parchment, and a piece foil scrunched around the rim to seal, and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
  9. Turn out onto a serving plate and serve with mashed or roasted swede, sautéed greens and mashed potatoes.

Tips: 

  • Instead of baking in a pudding mould, make small patties, coat in breadcrumbs or oats, and fry or bake till crisp on both sides.

Recipe by Lydia Downey.

 

Steamed Chinese Buns

Bāozi are a popular type of Chinese stuffed dumpling made from yeasted wheat flour dough and then steamed in a bamboo steamer. They are usually found on dim sum menus. Lydia Downey, Chinese cookery expert and tutor on our  vegetarian Chinese cookery courses, introduced us to her family recipe for steamed buns with a vegetarian filling. It is now a firm favourite dish with which to celebrate Chinese New Year!

Vegetable Bāozi: Steamed Chinese Buns

Makes: approx 20 small buns

Dietary: Vegan

Prep Time: 2 hours, Cook Time: 10 minutes 

Ingredients

Dough

  • 450g strong white flour
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 275ml lukewarm water

Filling

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped finely
  • 5 cm piece of ginger, minced finely
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • 200 g chopped mixed vegetables, ex. Chinese leaf or green cabbage shredded finely, grated carrot, mushrooms, fresh or rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, black fungus, cashews
  • 30 g dried tofu skin, rehydrated, shredded and chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 tbsp Kecap Manis, Indonesian sweet soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp Chinese Shāoxing, made from glutinous sticky rice, or rice wine

Method

Dough

  1. Whisk the sugar and dried yeast into the water and leave to stand until frothy.
  2. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, and add the yeast liquid, stirring till combined.
  3. Knead by hand for roughly 10 minutes, or mix in the machine till the dough feels smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film, and leave to rest for an hour till doubled in size.

Filling

  1. Finely chop the spring onions, garlic and ginger either by hand or in a mini electric chopper or hand blender.
  2. Prepare all the vegetables.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan, and stir-fry the spring onions, garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables and sesame seeds, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the rehydrated tofu skin, shoyu, Kecap Manis, rice wine and sesame oil. Taste and check the seasoning, adding more shoyu if required. It is important to season the mixture really well, as Bāozi fillings tend to be strongly flavoured. Leave the filling mixture to cool.
  4. To make the buns:
  5. Lightly flour your worktop and knead the dough again. It should feel soft, smooth and elastic. Roll into a long sausage shape, and cut into 20 pieces roughly the size of a golf ball. Take a piece of dough, and flatten slightly in the palm of your hand into a small pancake.
  6. Put a heaped teaspoon of filling into the centre, and gather the edges of the dough to the centre, pleating and pinching them together at the top with a little twist. This creates a classic characteristic pattern and shape of the bun.
  7. Cut out 20 small squares of baking parchment, the size of the dumplings
  8. Heat a saucepan of water, for the steamer to fit on to.
  9. Place the Bāozi in the steamer, each sitting on a square of baking parchment allowing space in between each for expansion. Steam on high heat for 10 minutes. Serve hot with a shoyu dipping sauce, or a sweet chilli sauce would go well with the Bāozi.
  10. The cooked steamed buns can be frozen and re-steamed from frozen for 15-18 minutes. Pierce with a metal skewer for 10 seconds and check the heat of the tip of the skewer to test they are hot in the centre of the bun before serving.

Shoyu Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 tbsp Kecap Manis, Indonesian sweet soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine, made from glutinous sticky rice and has an amber colour and nutty flavour
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • water to mix

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and add enough water to make the consistency of a dipping sauce.

Mouthwatering photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Chinese New Year Feast

This course recap is written by Christopher Robbins who attended our Chinese New Year Feast hosted by Lydia Downey, Chinese cookery expert and all around star tutor. If you're inspired by his recap, then come along to one of Lydia's upcoming vegetarian Chinese cookery courses

Chinese cook-in beats Chinese carry-out.

The latest eating out survey results put the Chinese take-away as the most popular take-away meal in Britain (ahead of fish & chips and Indian) in 2015. Two facts spring immediately to mind. The first is that an average adult’s monthly spend of £110 per month on takeaways is about what I spend on cat food. The second is that take-away Chinese food tastes and looks so unlike the traditional home-cooked version that why bother with a carry-out when you can cook-in??? Chinese is one of my favourite ethnic foods. To be able to cook it at home would make me both happy and very popular amongst my friends.

Lydia Downey’s Chinese New Year Feast on Saturday 6th Feb was an inspiring introduction. For me, Chinese cooking is about the best vegetables, interesting and perfectly combined spices and other flavourings, and such simple and quick cooking techniques. I shudder to think how little of the take-away offerings resemble my experience of eating Chinese cooking.

We started with the basics, and they were simple basics. Most were new to us and even the familiar ones (soy sauce, sesame oil, Chinkiang vinegar, ginger root) now have a refreshed appreciation of (shall I say) what to throw out from my cupboard and what to replace them with. We were introduced to fresh lotus root (for crunch), Chinese chives, water chestnut, Chinese dried mushrooms, dried lily buds, rice wine and rice vinegar, and the magic symbolism within Chinese food, from the offering of oranges at the table, to the colour red, the number of crenellations in the seal of the dumplings, and the length of the ‘longevity’ noodles used in a simple vegetable stir-fry.

Highlights

  • The iconic Chinese dumplings were the first skill we learnt. The simple dough was rolled into 7-10 cm circles with a thicker centre to allow filling with julienne cut vegetables in the hand and deftly folding into half like a miniature calzone and then crimping into different shapes. These were steamed. 
  • Lydia showed a method of making Pot Stickers by frying the bases of dumplings in a pan then lidding the pan and steam cooking them. 
  • We made very thin spring rolls with special wrappers. These were lightly deep-fried. Lydia used a cut banana like a Prit-stick, to glue the spring roll sheets as they were rolled up, perfectly, a trick she had learnt from the wonderful Vietnamese chef Noya Pawlyn.
  • Three dishes were made in the must-have wok. Here the simple mastery of technique and perfectly cooked vegetables just shines out. An aubergine dish with lily buds; a three types of tofu with peppers, red and green peppers and black beans; and a perfectly simple Chinese variety of greens cooked whole with the ubiquitous ginger and garlic. Heavenly.
  • Desserts aren’t a feature of Chinese meals, but sweet treats are. Lydia demonstrated special festival Tangyuan rice flour balls, filled with ground, toasted sesame seeds and sweet ginger syrup. These small, smooth slightly chewy balls split onto the tongue a delicious sesame filling. They were not larger than a child’s marble but packed such pleasure.

I knew Lydia learned her cooking by her Chinese mother’s wok when she revealed several secret tips. First, was the peeling of the outer, thin skin from ginger root by drawing the side of a teaspoon across the skin (using it like a potato peeler). The thin skin fell away leaving the outer juicy layer intact. Cool.  And second, a pulverised mixture of spring onion, garlic, and chopped ginger root. Instant flavour enhancer. And you thought Branston Pickle as stock was clever! 

I may not be ready to cook for the Lydia’s family’s Chinese New Year, but I know what it should taste like when I get there.

Guest post by Christopher Robbins, Feb 9 2016

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The Best Vegan Soups, Stews and Hotpots for Winter

Winter food needs to be piping hot, comforting, filling, sustaining and hearty. It always baffles me that January is the month of detox. Rather than dieting, my usual craving is to cuddle up with a good book and a bowl of steaming hot stew. Here are my favourite winter soup ingredients, along with the recipes I turn to the most: hearty vegan soups, stews and hotpots to make this winter, guaranteed to satisfy the body, mind and soul.


6 Top Ingredients for Healthy Hearty Soups

  • BEETROOT has both a sweet and savoury taste which means it can complement strong flavours but is also tasty alone. It is rich in iron, fibre and calcium – including the green tops which can be cooked like spinach.
  • BUCKWHEAT is not related to wheat but to sorrel and rhubarb, and is gluten-free. You can buy raw buckwheat which is pale fawn, or roasted buckwheat known as kasha which is brown.
  • MUNG BEANS provide a complete protein when eaten with rice and are packed with minerals and B vitamins. Whole mung beans can be sprouted and are the same beansprouts we buy in packets.
  • BLACK CHICKPEAS are popular in Pakistan and Northern India and known as kala chana. They are smaller than normal chickpeas with a great fibre and protein content, plus a high concentration of iron.
  • SPELT is an ancient wheat grain that has not been hybridised and messed about with like modern wheat. It is high in fibre and some people on wheat-free diets can tolerate a little spelt, as it is easier to digest than wheat.
  • CAVOLO NERO is a dark, leafy Italian brassica similar to kale. Full of antioxidants, its nutrient-dense crinkly leaves are perfect to chop and add to soups and stews. 

The Best Vegan Soups, Stews and Hotpots for Winter

Vegetable Stew with Mustard Herb Dumplings

Vegetable Stew with Mustard Herb Dumplings


Vegan La Robillita

La Ribollita: Tuscan Soup with Beans and Greens


Borscht - Vegan Beetroot Soup

Borscht Beetroot Soup


Black chickpea, squash, spelt and greens hotpot

Black Chickpea, Squash, Spelt and Greens Hotpot


Vegan Congee with Mung Beans and Peanuts

Congee with mung beans and peanuts


Vegan Pho Soup

Vegetarian Pho


Laksa Lemak

Laksa Lemak


Roasted Celeriac and Caraway Soup with Herb and Caper Croutons

Roasted Celeriac and Caraway Soup with Herb and Caper Croutons


South American Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew

Bath Welcomes Refugees Benefit for Syria

Last Sunday 15th January we had the honour of cooking for A Taste of Syria in Bath, a benefit dinner hosted by Bath Welcomes Refugees in aid of the charity Citizens UK. With 80 people attending the event, we naturally needed a little help, and it was such a privildge to be joined by Asmaa and Foutoon from Syria, as well as Batool Rasheed, a Jordanian chef from London who also served as translator. Also joining us was Ali Vowles from BBC Points West and her cameraman Andy to capture the occasion. The story airs on Wednesday 18th Jan 2017 at 6.30pm.

Background: Bath Welcomes Refugees

Bath Welcomes Refugees is a group of friendly volunteers who are proactive in helping refugees find sanctuary in the UK, particularly in Bath and its surrounds. There are 5 Syrian families in Bath and BWR has helped make their transition as smooth as possible, practically and socially.

BWR was founded by Bath resident Bernadette Howley who witnessed an alarming episode in Calais involving refugees and lorries. Upset and disturbed, she decided to do something The first BWR meeting was just a handful of people, but after just a couple of weeks, a roomful of people assembled and BWR was well on its way. From small beginnings BWR has grown and grown. Says Bernadette:

“People continue to gather to give of their time, energy, ideas, skills and finance to help in the ongoing crisis. The goodwill of the people of Bath is heartwarming and humbling. But most importantly, I think that the refugees that have arrived so far are finding their feet and feeling comfortable here in Bath - which is pretty remarkable given all that they have been through.”

Taste of Freedom

Joining us in the kitchen was BWR volunteer Jenny Sowerby who we know well from our benefit in 2013. Jenny Sowerby is the author of Taste of Freedom, a collection of her Mum’s Syrian recipes which is being sold to raise money to help the Syrian refugees. Since first launching in 2012, the book has raised an amazing £8000, initially for the Red Cross and more recently for Doctors of the World, a charity delivering medical aid to refugees. The book recently won the Gourmand UK Charity Cookbook of the Year, and will now compete in May with other country winners for Best in the World, at an award ceremony in China.

Cooking together for Syria

What is fantastic about cooking together is you don’t need to share a language, you can work alongside each other and learn as you go along and then have the joy of sharing and appreciating the food at the end.

Rachel shared the cooking privileges with Asmaa and Foutoon from Syria, as well as Batool Rasheed, a Jordanian chef from London who also served as translator.

The day started at 9am with the BWR volunteers lugging boxes full of vegetables up the stairs into the kitchen: 36 aubergines, 30 gem lettuce, 15 cucumbers, 60 lemons, large bunches of parsley and mint, bags of bulgar, green lentils, rice, yoghurt, olive oil and tahini.

Ali Vowles from BBC Points West and her cameraman Andy spent the morning with us capturing the event which will be broadcast on Wednesday 18th Jan at 6.30pm.

We had 5 hours to prepare M’Jaddara, Mutabal, Fattoush and Rice for 80 people.

Asmaa and Foutoon arrived with their children, two toddlers and two under 5s who happily entertained themselves rearranging the kitchen!

Batool Rasheed and the BWR volunteers Amanda Stone, Jane Middleton, Kathy Pflaum, Jenny Sowerby and BWR founder Bernie Howley washed and prepped all the vegetables with precise guidance from Asmaa and Foutoun. Together we cooked dishes that offered a representation of Syrian cuisine:

Mutabal

We started by flaming the aubergines over the gas flames. Foutoon quickly taught me that I had to be much braver and make sure the skin was charred and the flesh soft. Thirty six aubergines later, I finally got the hang of it. It was very important to cover the flamed aubergines with foil so that they would steam and the skins would peel off easily. When the aubergines were cool, Asmaa peeled the aubergines, discarding the burnt blackened skin which had given the aubergine flesh a strong smoky flavour. The aubergine flesh was wizzed up in a food processor with garlic and olive oil and then mixed with thick yoghurt and tahini and seasoned to taste (they both liked to use copious quantities of salt).

Fattoush

We learnt how to chop parsley by taking a small bunch of parsley, neatly arranged, chopping off the rough stalks, and then finely chopping the bunched leaves. The cucumbers, tomatoes and gem lettuce were all very neatly chopped and piled into different bowls, to be mixed later with a garlic, lemon juice and olive oil dressing.

Batool sliced the pitta bread into small pieces that were deep fried until crunchy and then added to the salad at the last minute.

M’Jaddara

Foutoon made the M’Jaddara with bulgar wheat rather than rice and green lentils.

First she cooked the lentils. When they were just tender, she salted them and added the rinsed bulgar and continued cooking until the bulgar had absorbed all the liquid. Whilst the lentils were cooking I deep fried onion slices in olive oil until they were dark brown, again much browner than I would have dared to go. The oil was added to the lentil and bulgar mix and the browned onions to top the dish. As soon as the M’Jaddara was cooked we all tucked into plates of it and all the children including the toddlers happily sat under the prep table with their plates of M’Jaddara.

Asmaa cooked the rice and we had to go back to her house to collect the correct Anjoman rice as we had bought basmati which wasn’t the right rice. She cooked the rice in salted water with a cup of sunflower oil to a large saucepan (she would have preferred ghee but we were making these dishes vegan). Finally we added spices, cardamom pods, star anise, cinnamon and black pepper and cooked the rice until it was perfectly cooked.

By this time we were running out of time so it was a mad dash to transport everything to Oriel Hall ready for 5pm start.

I had to sit down with a cup of tea before starting on the mega clean up. It was worth it and such a joy to work with them.'

Tune in to BBC Points West on Wednesday 18th Jan 2017 at 6.30pm to watch the full story of A Taste of Syria in Bath. 

Click here to make a donation to Bath Welcomes Refugees.

Winter Greens: Top Tips and Favourite Recipes

Whether you’re on a health kick this January or are just craving hearty winter comfort foods, now is the time to get acquainted with your winter greens. For inspiration, we’re looking to Italy, a country that boasts an enviable variety of winter greens. We host a cookery holiday in Italy every year, where we bask not only in the sun, but also in the country's abundance of hearty wholesome greens. Fortunately, most of the greens grow here in the UK, so all of us can enjoy a taste of Italy, even in the winter, thanks to these nutritious green vegetables (and our easy to follow recipes that make use of them!).

Kale

Kale is from the brassica family, which includes some of our most familiar vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower. Kale comes in many varieties: green and purple, curly kale, crinkly Russian kale, and cavolo nero, a variety we especially love.

Cavolo nero hails from Italy but grows easily here. It’s also known as black cabbage, Tuscan cabbage and dinosaur kale (I rather like the latter description as it is an impressive statuesque plant, fine enough to grace an herbaceous border).

La Ribollita

When buying kale and cavolo nero, freshess is paramount. Avoid the chopped up stuff in plastic bag which combines leaves with tough stems. Instead, seek out whole leaves at your local green grocers, farm shop, or food market.

Kale stems are edible but a bit tough, so we recommend stripping the leaves off of the stem before cooking (your compost heap will love the stems!). Kale and cavolo nero work well lightly steamed, stir-fried and added to soups and stews. Try dehydrating for kale chips, add a handful of curly kale to a smoothie, or massage your kale with lemon and oil for a raw salad.

Try our kale recipes:

Cime di Rapa

Like cavolo nero, cime di rapa is another interesting Italian vegetable. It’s from the same family as turnips and brassicas. It grows only 30-40 centimetres high and has turnip-like leaves with a cluster of yellow flowers that resemble yellow rape.

Cime di rapa for sale at an Italian market

Cime di rapa has a mustard oil tang with a gentle bitterness. In Italy they eat the flower buds before they open. Unfortunately this winter green is difficult to find in supermarkets, but it’s easy to grow in your garden. If all else fails, purple sprouting broccoli is a good substitute.

If you’re lucky enough to get hold of cime di rama, try making orecchiette con cime di rapa.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Purple sprouting broccoli can be either purple or green, but there is little difference between the two colours taste-wise. The purple variety becomes green on cooking.

It’s best to buy purple sprouting broccoli loose so that you can check that it’s fresh and the flower buds are tight. When bought from supermarkets in plastic they tend to sweat and can smell and taste horrible - best avoided!

Orecchiette pasta with purple sprouting broccoli

Purple sprouting broccoli has been described as “Italian Asparagus” and can be treated in the same way, lightly steamed and served simply with aioli.

Never overcook sprouting broccoli as it becomes mushy, looses its colour and most of the peppery flavour.

Try our purple sprouting broccoli recipes:

Chicory

Chicory leaves have a characteristic bitterness that the Italians love. This bitterness varies greatly from a gentle hint in young leaves to a lovely, robust bitterness that enhances the flavour and enjoyment of dishes such as fave e ciboria.

The chicory family is an exciting and greatly varied family of leafy plants. In Italy, there are more than 600 different varieties. They grow right across the year and are available as green shoots in the spring and as puntarelle and big-hearted vegetables in the summer. Many chicory varieties happily grow into the winter, surviving even in the snow of the lower Alps. Wild chicory grows widely in Britain. Bright blue flowers signal its presence in meadows and is a foragers delight.

All of the chicories can be grown in your garden and grow through the winter, with varieties such as treviso and radicchio turning a beautiful deep crimson colour as the weather gets colder.

Narbonne market salad with chicory

Try our chicory recipes:

To learn more about these wonderful Italian greens, join us on our next Italian vegetarian cookery holiday in October 2017, or come along to one of our Italian classes.

Food photography by superstar Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Gourmet Vegan Guest Post

Guest post by Monica Shaw and Andrew Burtenshaw from SmarterFitter. If you're inspired by their experience, come along to one of our upcoming Gourmet Vegan Courses

We recently had the opportunity to attend the Vegan Gourmet course at Demuths Cookery School. No, we’re not vegan, nor do we plan to go vegan anytime soon. Even so, a course like this seemed a great opportunity to expand our vegetable horizons and get some new creative ideas for making interesting, totally plant-based meals. After all, we all know that everyone should be eating lots of vegetables so who wouldn’t benefit from a course like this, be they vegan, vegetarian, or your average omnivore?

A little disclaimer: I’ve been working with Demuths for several years. I also had my own paltry stint at vegetarianism for almost 20 years, so I’m not exactly new to cooking with vegetables, and they continue to form the mainstay of my diet. But it’s easy to get into a rut (for me that rut involves a lot of kale salads!). I’m grateful that Andrew loves vegetables as much as I do though he doesn’t have quite the same experience cooking with them. So a course like Vegan Gourmet offered him the chance to really explore the possibilities of vegetable cookery, and me the chance to learn new techniques with ingredients I already love.

Demuths varies the dishes they make based on season and availability, so the menu isn’t revealed until the day of the class. We were happy to discover it included a few ingredients we particularly enjoy: tempeh, fennel, and shallots!

The class was a mix of demonstration and hands on cookery, including some bonus tips on knife skills and food styling. Everything is very casual, and the tutors are extremely friendly and welcoming. It all ends up being a lot of good fun and great banter with the other students and chefs. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and thought each and every dish was delicious. It’s totally changed the way we make tempeh (thin and crisp!). We make the braised fennel and shallot recipe on an almost weekly basis (recipe below), often to go with fish, which just goes to show how useful a course like this can be in helping you learn to augment your otherwise excessively meaty meals!

But what’s been really amazing are the general skills Andrew has taken away with him. I’ll let him explain...

Having been an omnivore for as long as I could remember eating food, I’d had very little exposure to purely plant-based food and cooking until recently. There’s no doubt that all of my assumptions about food and cooking were very meat-centric (although I’ve always loved cooking with fish). But recently, I’d started to experience all of the joy of a newcomer when it came to cooking with ingredients like tempeh and fennel, and my mind was definitely beginning to open up. So, when Monica suggested we try the Demuths Vegan Gourmet course in Bath, it’s fair to say I was a lot more enthusiastic about it than I might have been a few short years ago. I’d started a food journey, and this seemed like a sure-fire way to develop my interest.

By the middle of the morning session, my mind was brimming with new ideas, and I couldn’t wait to start experimenting with them at home. Within an hour, I’d vastly improved my knife skills, and I was finding myself giving so much more thought to why I do certain things in the kitchen. Why do I use this oil with this dish? Why do I use this amount of heat to fry garlic cloves? What do I want the texture of this dish to be like, and how will I achieve what I want? I was starting to think from scratch about my food assumptions.

When Monica and I booked on the course, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Being interested in eating food from all kinds of sources other than plants, I wasn’t sure how much of what I would learn I’d find myself applying in our kitchen at home. When I got home, it became almost immediately clear that these new techniques and the new way of thinking was now a part of my repertoire, and it was rejuvenating all sorts of dishes. The course had a profound impact on the way I cook and think about food for one reason more than any other: I’m now so, so much more discerning about ingredients and technique. And, of course, I now can’t cook anything at all without putting all the ingredients in little ramekins first. I just can’t.

Vegan Gourmet is one of our most popular courses. Keep an eye on our course calendar for upcoming dates, or browse our full collection of vegan cookery courses to find the class that's perfect for your!

Vegan Congee with Mung Beans and Peanuts

Congee is a Chinese rice porridge made by cooking the rice with lots of water or stock until the grains almost dissolve into a smooth thick creamy mass. In its simplest form, it is made with just water and eaten plain as a healing restorative food for the young, elderly, ill and infirm. It is eaten at any time not just breakfast, and depending on your flavour and ingredient choices, can be a delicious and comforting nutritious meal in one. For more inspiration, check out our upcoming vegetarian Chinese courses.

Vegan Congee with Mung Beans and Peanuts

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free | Serves 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes +soaking mung beans overnight

Cook Time: 1 ½ hours

Ingredients

  • 100g Thai jasmine rice or plain long grain rice
  • 50g mung beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 ½ litres vegetable stock or water
  • 100g raw peanuts (unskinned is fine)
  • 4-6 dried shiitake mushrooms

To serve:

  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • Fresh shiitake or chestnut Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 heads of Pak Choi or 2-3 handfuls spinach
  • Sesame or chilli oil
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fresh coriander

Method

  1. Place the dried shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water from a kettle.
  2. Roast the peanuts in a hot oven for 6-10 minutes till aromatic, and if using unskinned nuts, place in a tea towel and rub to remove some of the skins.
  3. Wash and drain the rice and place in a large saucepan.
  4. Drain the soaked mung beans and add to the rice with the stock or water.
  5. Bring the rice and mung beans to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer, and partially cover with a lid. Cook gently for approximately an hour and a half, stirring from time to time.
  6. Check the congee after an hour and if the rice has collapsed and is a porridge consistency, and the beans are tender, then it it ready. You may need to add more water if it has become too thick. The consistency should be like a thick soupy porridge.
  7. Stir in the sliced soaked shiitake mushrooms and peanuts to the congee, taste and season with a little salt and keep on a low simmer until ready to serve. The congee will keep in the fridge like this for 2 days and can be reheated with a little extra water to loosen it.
  8. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings.
  9. Slice the spring onions thinly and set aside.
  10. Slice the chilli thinly, removing the seeds first if desired.
  11. Shred the ginger into long thin fine strips and briefly fry in a hot frying pan with a little oil. It should sizzle for a minute and become crispy without browning. Remove to a plate lined with a piece of kitchen towel.
  12. Sauté the mushrooms quickly in the same pan with a little more oil, then add the pak choy or spinach, and stir fry briefly until it wilts and becomes tender. Set aside, but keep warm.
  13. To serve, ladle the congee into deep bowls and top with some of the mushrooms and pak choi, a sprinkle of spring onions, crispy ginger, chilli, coriander and sesame seeds. Finally add a drizzle of sesame or chilli oil.

Vegan congee with mung beans and peanuts


Food photography by superstar Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

This recipe was featured in the January 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living.

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Black Chickpea, Squash, Spelt and Greens Hot Pot

This vegan winter stew is hugely nutritious, brimming with beans, grains, orange squash and a generous portion of dark green vegetables (we use cavolo nero here but feel free to use kale, chard, or other favourite green veg). The recipe calls for black chickpeas which you can find in asian supermarkets - we love the contrasting colour it gives to the finished dish. If you can find them, regular chickpeas will work perfectly well. 

Black Chickpea, Squash, Spelt and Greens Hot Pot

Serves: 4

Dietary: Vegan

Prep Time: 30 minutes + Soak pulses and grains overnight plus 1 hour cooking

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 75g black dried chickpeas 
  • 25g spelt
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 350g squash, cubed
  • 250g tomatoes, chopped
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 dried chilli
  • 250g cavolo nero
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Soak the chickpeas and spelt in separate bowls in plenty of water overnight. Next day cook the chickpeas in plenty of water for 1 hour until soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the spelt in plenty of water for 45 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Prepare the cavolo nero by removing the tough centre stem and chopping.
  4. Fry the onion in the olive oil until translucent, then add the garlic and fry for a minute.
  5. Add the squash, tomatoes, vegetable stock and tomato puree and dried chilli.
  6. Cover and gently cook for 15 minutes.
  7. Add the cooked chickpeas and cooked spelt and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  8. Lastly add the cavolo nero and cook for 5 minutes until tender.
  9. Season to taste. 
  10. Serve with sourdough bread.

Black chickpea, spelt, smash, and greens hot pot


Food photography by superstar Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

This recipe was featured in the January 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living

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Borscht Beetroot Soup

Borscht originates from Eastern Europe where each country, and even each household, will have their variation of this hearty slightly sour soup which usually (but not always!) contains beetroot. Ours combines beetroot with buckwheat for extra texture and nutrition. This also makes it a brilliant a brilliant one pot meal to warm up a winter's day! 

Borscht

Dietary: Vegan and Gluten free | Serves 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 500g raw beetroot, peeled and diced small
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 stick celery, diced small
  • 1 carrot, diced small (preferably purple for colour if possible)
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 100g toasted buckwheat (Kasha)
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Topping

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 250g Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • soya cream or soya yoghurt
  • Fresh dill chopped for decoration

Method

  1. Fry the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil until the onion is translucent, add the garlic and fry for a couple more minutes.
  2. Add the diced beetroot to the vegetables with the stock and lemon juice, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the buckwheat into a medium saucepan with 200ml cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat a little and simmer just until you can see the seeds pop open. Turn the heat to low, and cook with a lid on for 5 minutes. The buckwheat should have absorbed most of the water and be just tender. Drain any remaining water and stir into the borscht.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and gently sauté the shredded sprouts with the crushed garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  5. To serve, ladle the hot borscht into bowls and garnish with the sautéed sprouts, chopped dill and a spoon of soya cream or yoghurt if desired.


Food photography by superstar Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

This recipe was featured in the January 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living.

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La Ribollita: Tuscan Soup with Beans and Greens

This hearty Tuscan soup is one of our favourite winter comfort soups: hearty, healthy and warming and even better the next day. Loaded with cavolo nero and cannellini beans, it's immensely nutritious. Serve with sourdough bread and, if you'd like, a sprinkle of vegetarian Parmesan (we love Old Winchester). Fore more vegetarian Italian cooking inspiration, check out our upcoming  Italian cookery classes, or better still, join us on our Italian Cookery Holiday!

La Ribollita

Vegan | Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 85g dried cannellini beans soaked overnight, drained
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced large
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 150g cavolo nero, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin Italian tomatoes, strained
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • lots fresh ground black pepper

To serve

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley

Method

  1. In a large heavy based saucepan heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the onion and cook gently until softening. Then add the leeks, celery and carrots and sweat gently in the oil for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the cavolo nero and tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the beans, bay and thyme, stir and cover with water. Simmer, covered, for 1½ -2 hours until beans are cooked.
  4. Remove bay leaves and thyme stalks. Ladle a third of the soup into a blender or separate pan to liquidise or mash. Return the liquidised soup to the saucepan, add salt and pepper and stir well. 
  5. In a small frying pan heat the remaining oil and gently fry the garlic until just browning, add parsley, stir for 1 minute then add to the soup. Check seasoning.
  6. To serve, drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil and extra parsley.

Tips

  • Traditionally the soup is reheated and served the next day as the flavour improves, hence the name ‘reboiled’. It is served over a thick slice of country style bread. 
  • Cavolo nero can be substituted with the outer leaves of a savoy cabbage. Other vegetables that work well are potatoes, courgettes & celeriac. 
  • Fresh tomatoes are used when available, peeled cored and deseeded. 

Ribollita WebRes-8278


Food photography by superstar Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

What are you favourite winter comfort soups? We'd love to hear about them.

Share your ideas in the comments or on Twitter and Facebook!

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Chargrilled Asparagus with Herb Pappardelle and Cashew ‘Cheese’

This is a special occasion vegan dish and the recipe is made up of three parts and put together to serve. The cashew cheese needs to be started the day before and the pasta can be made in advance, so on the day all you need to do is chargrill the vegetables and cook the pasta.

Cashew ‘Cheese’

Serves: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes after soaking the cashews overnight

Chilling time: 30 minutes

Dietary: Vegan

Ingredients

  • 250g cashews – soaked in water for at least 5 hours or overnight
  • 1 garlic clove, pureed
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 15g chives, finely sliced

Method

  1. Drain the soaked cashews and combine them with the garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt into a blender and blend as smooth as possible.
  2. Roll up the cashew ‘cheese’ into a log shape using a sheet of clingfilm, wrapped around to create a firm log. Chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up. When firm, remove the clingflm and roll in finely sliced chives. Slice to serve.
  3. Any left over cashew ‘cheese’ can be rolled up loosely in baking parchment and kept in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Herb Pappardelle

Serves: 2

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 2 minutes

Dietary: Vegan

Ingredients

  • 100g 00 pasta flour
  • 50ml water
  • Semolina for rolling
  • 15g each of soft herbs – basil, dill, tarragon

Method

  1. Place the pasta flour in a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix the water into the flour and knead to make a firm dough.
  3. The dough will be firmer than bread dough but not so dry that it crumbles when you knead it.
  4. Knead for a few minutes until smooth and then wrap in clingfilm and chill for half an hour before rolling.
  5. Sprinkle the table with semolina. Work with half of the dough at a time to make 2 long strips of pasta. Roll out the dough into a thin sheet. You can use the rolling pin to begin, then finish by passing the dough through a pasta machine to get it super thin.
  6. Pick the herb leaves off the stems. Lay the leaves over one half of the pasta strip, leaving a little space between each leaf. Fold the other side of the pasta over and press gently with the rolling pin. Roll through the machine on a thin setting a couple of times so that the herb leaves are well pressed and spread out through the dough. Trim the edges then cut the sheets down into short lasagna lengths then in half again down the length to make wide pappardelle strips.

Chargrilled Asparagus

Serves 2

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Dietary: Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, remove the woody ends
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and gently crushed open
  • 4 basil leaves, finely sliced

Method

  1. Heat a chargrill pan until it is so hot it is smoking. Very lightly brush the asparagus with a drop of oil and a tiny pinch of salt. Place on the chargrill for a couple of minutes to create a few black lines, turning half way through cooking. Put to one side. Place the tomatoes skin side down on the chargrill and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Cook for a minute, just on the skin-side to create black lines, remove carefully from the chargrill pan.
  2. In a frying pan heat the olive oil gently and fry the garlic until pale gold. Remove from the heat and take the garlic out of the oil.

To serve:

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water for 2 minutes until tender. Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Stir the chargrilled asparagus through the pasta along with the garlic infused olive oil. Divide the pasta on to a couple of plates, arrange the tomatoes on top of the pasta along with a few slices of cashew cheese. Finish with finely sliced basil leaves.

Vegetarian Pies: Perfect Pastry and Favourite Fillings

Winter is the perfect time to make and enjoy eating pies as they are the ultimate comfort food. You can buy individual vegetarian pies, but it’s much more fun to create your own fillings and make your own pastry. This is precisely what we teach on our  Warming Winter Pies course, but for those of you who can't make it or simply can't wait to get stuck in, here's a quick guide to making amazing vegetarian and vegan pies.

The key to perfect pastry

At the cookery school, the most common question we get asked, is how to make pastry that doesn’t fall apart and crumble? Our secret to success is making pastry by hand in small quantities. If you’re new to pastry making, start with shortcrust pastry as it’s versatile and can be left plain for savoury pies or made sweet with the addition of sugar for dessert tarts. 

Pastry is all about cooling and resting! To rub the fat into the flour successfully, you need to make sure the butter doesn’t melt.

  • Use butter, unsalted is best, straight from the fridge.
  • Cut your butter into small cubes and refrigerate again.
  • Make sure your mixing bowl is cold; again pop it in the fridge.
  • Make sure your hands are as cool as possible, try running them under cold water before you start.
  • Work quickly as the longer it takes to rub the butter into the flour, the warmer the mix will become.
  • Mix in very cold water to form the pastry into a ball.
  • To rest the dough, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to relax the gluten. Gluten is the protein in the flour and gives the pastry its stretch. If you find your pastry always shrinks or is tough, that’s because the pastry wasn’t rested long enough.
  • Flour your work surface lightly and always flour your rolling pin, to stop the pastry sticking to it.
  • Roll the pastry out on a cold surface; marble is best, but granite or stainless steel work well.
  • Once you have rolled out the pastry and put it into the pie cases, chill again to help stop the pastry shrinking.

Don't have time to make your own pastry? Don't worry, you can always buy ready made shortcrust or even filo pastry.

The fun is in the filling

Once you have made or bought your pastry and prepared the cases, the fun part is deciding on the fillings. As always, it’s best to use whatever ingredients are in season at the time. We also recommend you either steam or roast your chosen vegetables until just cooked before using them to fill the pies.

In winter, robust flavours with strong tasting herbs and even some fiery chillies work really well. The seasonal vegetables that work best are celeriac, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes and white potatoes, leeks, squash and mushrooms. For texture and protein you can also add pulses such as puy lentils, butter beans and chickpeas. With roasted vegetables the filling will be quite dry, so add some liquid such as a white sauce, cream, alcohol or stock. Experiment with herbs and spices and make the pies with or without lids. You can also try different cheeses to add flavour such as feta, goats’ cheese, blue cheese, Brie and cheddar. The great thing about pies is that they freeze really well so make extra for quick meals, they just need to be defrosted before cooking.


Shortcrust pastry

Dietary: can be vegan if using dairy free margarine in place of butter and soya milk

Makes 1 large pie or 4 individual pies using large (100ml) ramekins, metal dariole moulds or 3-inch metal rings

  • 300g plain flour
  • 150g butter (or margarine if vegan)
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • A little water as needed
  • Milk to glaze
  • Olive oil to rub the pie tin

Pastry method

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200 C.
  2. Put the flour and butter into a bowl (or a food processor) and rub (or whiz) until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the mustard and stir in well, or whiz, until the mixture forms a ball.
  4. If the mixture is too dry add a little water until it comes together easily.
  5. Wrap the pastry in cling-film and leave in the fridge to chill for at least an half an hour, this can be left overnight and will keep for 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. It helps if you flatten the pastry into a disk before chilling.
  6. Split the pastry into the number of pies you want to make and then take about ¾ of each ball to make the pie case-the rest if for making the lid.
  7. Roll out the larger ball of pastry out to a thickness of 2mm with a rolling pin.
  8. Rub the inside of the ramekins or rings with olive oil and push the pastry gently into the dish so that it goes into all of the edges and hangs over the top.
  9. Trim off the overhang to 1cm below the top of the ramekin (the pastry will shrink when cooking).
  10. You will be left with extra pastry for topping the pies later-wrap this in cling-film so it doesn’t dry out.
  11. Bake the pasty blind (no filling) for 10 minutes, by lining the pastry cases with baking parchment and filling with baking beans, we use dried kidney beans, but you can buy baking beans. Doing this sets the pastry.
  12. Remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for 5 minutes-the pastry should look dry and pale golden, if it still looks uncooked return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  13. Fill the pie case to the top with your chosen filling. Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid and place this on top of the pie.
  14. Crimp around the edges by pressing with a fork or squeezing around the edge with your fingers to create a pinched edge.
  15. Using a sharp knife carefully trim off the excess pastry so that you seal the lid and tidy the pie’s edges.
  16. Brush the top of the pie lid with egg or milk (soya is fine) and add and decorations you fancy.
  17. Bake the pies on a baking tray for 15 minutes or until they are golden on the top.

Instead of making individual pies you could make one big family-sized pie to share: just use a larger ovenproof dish and blind bake the pastry as above. You may need to cook the larger pies for a little longer, until the pastry is cooked all over.

Here are recipes for our favourite fillings:


Roasted Squash, Spinach, Butterbean and Cumin

Serves: 4

Dietary: Vegan option

Ingredients

  • ½ a small butternut squash (approx 300g)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, whole-skin left on
  • 2 sprigs of sage
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed or vegetable/sunflower oil to roast
  • 50g spinach leaves-washed and roughly chopped
  • 100ml tomato passata (or boiling water with 1 tbsp tomato puree)
  • Juice of a lemon (use to taste)
  • 1 tin of butterbeans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds, dry fried and ground
  • A few sprigs of thyme, leaves pulled off the stalks
  • Optional: 100g feta cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200 C. 
  2. Chop the top and bottom from the squash and halve it through the middle. Remove the seeds with a spoon and then chop the flesh into 1 cm sized cubes-if you like you can peel the squash first but you don’t have to, as it is perfectly edible.
  3. Place the squash, garlic cloves and sage in a large roasting tin and drizzle with the oil.
  4. Place the squash in the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft.
  5. While the filling is roasting dry fry the cumin in a frying pan until it smells fragrant and there is a light smoke. Grind in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
  6. Remove the garlic and squeeze out it’s soft flesh and chop it finely. Add this back into the squash along with the spinach, butterbeans, thyme, cumin, lemon and nutmeg. Stir through the tomato passata.
  7. Return the dish to the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the spinach has wilted and the beans are warm Taste and add salt, pepper and lemon.
  8. Crumble in the feta if you are using it.

Tips:

Any leftovers of this dish will be lovely served as a warm or cold salad

You can turn this into a warming squash chilli by adding a tin of tomatoes and simmering for 10 minutes before serving with rice and flour tortillas, you may want to add extra spices such as chilli, paprika, and coriander to add a Mexican feel.


Leek, Potato and Parsley

Serves: 4

Dietary: Vegan Option

Ingredients

  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp butter or soya margarine
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 250ml milk or soya milk
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • A generous grating of nutmeg
  • Optional: 50g grated strong cheddar or Gruyere. A splash of cream or dairy free cream

Method

  1. Chop the potato into 1cm cubes (you can peel it or leave the skin on depending on your preference)
  1. Heat a large pan of water to boiling and then cook the potatoes for 5 minutes; they should be tender but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes in a colander.
  2. In a saucepan heat the oil and gently fry leeks and onions with a little onion until soft.
  3. Add the butter and allow it to melt and then add the mustard seeds and stir for a minute.
  4. Add the flour and stir until the flour has lightened and thickened-this will take a couple of minutes.
  5. Gradually add 200ml milk, allowing the sauce to thicken between each addition.
  6. Add the grated nutmeg and season well. Add any cheese you like at this point.
  7. Add the boiled potato and stir gently.
  8. Season to taste and add the chopped parsley.

Tips

  • This filling can easily be turned into a leek and potato soup by adding stock and a little cream if you like.


Sweet Potato, Puy Lentil, Chilli & Coriander

Serves Dietary: vegan

Ingredients

  • 50g puy lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ a small onion, halved
  • 1 medium sweet potato (approx 300g) peeled and chopped into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (mild, hot or smoked to your taste)
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 100-200ml stock or water
  • The juice and zest of a lemon
  • 50g a handful of chopped fresh coriander

Method

  1. Place the lentils in a small pan with the bay leaves and half an onion and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 25 minutes or until they are tender and then remove the bay and onion, rinse and set aside.
  1. Heat a large frying pan and add the oil. Fry the onions gently until they are really soft-this may take up to 15 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, paprika and chilli and stir well. Add the chopped sweet potato and fry for a couple of minutes before adding a squeeze of the lemon juice and its zest and 100ml of stock or water so that the sweet potato doesn’t dry out.
  3. Cook the sweet potato for 15 minutes; it should be soft and you may need to add a little more liquid while cooking.
  4. Stir in the Puy lentils and coriander.
  5. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper and lemon to taste.

Tips:

  • This filling would also make a great salad served warm or cold and could also be made into a soup if you add more stock-this could be pureed or left chunky.
  • You could also make this filling with squash instead of sweet potato and use tinned lentils or beans.
  • Try adding different spices such as cumin, coriander, ginger, mustard seeds or varying the herbs.

If you'd like hands-on help with making delicious vegetarian pies, join us on our Warming Winter Pies course! Or try these other delicious pie recipes: 


Food photography by superstar Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

What are you favourite pie fillings? We'd love to hear about them.

Share your ideas in the comments or on Twitter and Facebook!

And for more vegetarian and vegan recipe inspiration, sign up for our newsletter!

10 Healthy Vegan New Year Recipes

Happy new year to all of our friends and followers! No doubt many of you will have set some healthy eating intentions for the new year. To help you in your mission, we've rounded up some of our favourite healthy vegetarian and vegan recipes to get you off to the right start. 

We're also excited about the number of people taking on the Veganuary challenge this year. All ten of these recipes are vegan! No matter your normal dietary preferences, this is a fantastic way to get in touch with the exciting world of vegtables. Breaking out of our routine lets us discover so many new delicious and healthy recipes. We hope you enjoy these:  

10 Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes for a Healthy New Year

Burmese Vegan Aubergine Curry

Burmese Aubergine Curry

Turkish Turlu and Freekeh with Herbs - Vegan

Turkish Turlu and Freekeh with Herbs

Vegan Brazilian Squash and Black Bean Stew

Brazilian Squash and Black Bean Stew

Vegan Vietnamese Squash and Coconut Curry

Vietnamese Squash and Coconut Curry

Black Sesame Tofu and Noodles - Vegan

Black Sesame Tofu with Soba Noodles

Laksa Lemak

Laksa Lemak

Burmese Vegan Noodle Stir Fry

Burmese Noodle Stir Fry

Indonesian Tempeh Curry with Coconut Rice

Indonesian Tempeh Curry with Coconut Rice

Vietnamese Pho Soup - Vegan

Vietnamese Pho

Cherry Strawberry Quinoa Salad

Dark Cherry and Strawberry Quinoa Salad

Food photography by superstar Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures

What are you favourite healthy recipes? We'd love to hear about them. 

Share your ideas in the comments or on Twitter and Facebook!

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem artichokes are one of our favourite winter vegetables and as I've discovered through our friends on Twitter, many of you love them to! We've loved hearing about how you like to cook with Jerusalem Artichokes. Some favourites include:

  • "Jerusalem artichoke soup with a decadent drop of black truffle oil is my favourite. A hunk of buttered sourdough to dip in." - @foodwithmustard
  • "Roasted in rapeseed oil or thinly sliced and baked with garlic and cream!" - @LydiaDowney
  • "Crisps, purée, soup, roasted, confit, fondant, hassle back, in a dauphinoise, in pies & casseroles" - @restingchef

Inspired by your collective enthusiasm, I thought I'd post one of my favourite Jerusalem Artichokes recipes: soup! But before I get on to the recipe, here's a few more interesting facts about Jerusalem artichokes to whet your appetite:

  • Jerusalem artichokes are seasonal as they are only harvested from now until March, they are an ideal store vegetable as the tubers sit happily in the ground in mid winter. You can buy artichokes from farmers markets, farm shops or local greengrocers and occasionally in the supermarket
  • They are easy to grow in the garden. You do need space so ideal for the allotment. They are fine, large plants with small sunflower-like yellow flowers. The challenge is to stop them spreading as a new plant will grow from the smallest piece of artichoke left behind. They are totally frost hardy so are best left in the ground and dug up when needed.
  • Jerusalem artichokes come from North America (not Jerusalem) and were originally cultivated by native Americans, but they are a member of the sunflower family so the name may come from the Italian girasole (sunflower).
  • Modern varieties, such as Fusseau are much smoother and less knobbly making them easier to peel. The easiest way to peel them is to par-boil them first and then their skins slip off.
  • Then you can make them into a creamy white soup and are also excellent roasted or stove cooked with onion, garlic and tomato.
  • Some people like to eat them raw, as straight from the ground they are crisp and crunchy.
  • The flavour is nutty with a similarity to globe artichokes, which they are not related to.

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Serves: 4 | Dietary: vegan

Ingredients:

  • 500g Jerusalem artichokes
  • 1 small leek, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • 750mls stock made up of half milk, dairy or soya and half water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp thick dairy cream or soya cream
  • 4 tbsps pine nuts, lightly roasted
  • parsley to garnish

Method:

  1. Wash the artichokes, place them unpeeled in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until the skins easily slip off, depending on size about 15 minutes, the water will become green and scummy, but don’t worry as it will be discarded.
  2. Drain the artichokes, leave to cool a little and then peel off the skins, which should come off easily. Fry the leeks and garlic in the olive oil until softened. Roughly chop the artichokes and add to the leeks and garlic and fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable bouillon, milk and water, stir, bring to the boil and simmer until the artichokes are soft.
  4. Leave to cool a little and then liquidise in your blender (we use our Froothie Optimum 9200 Power Blender).
  5. Return the soup to the saucepan, reheat and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. To serve, add to the top of each bowl of soup a swirl of cream, a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts and a garnish of parsley.

Tips: 

  • The easiest way to toast pine nuts is in a small dry frying pan over a gentle heat, stir constantly as they burn very easily.
  • Jerusalem artichokes have a reputation for causing wind, however, and this is because they contain inulin, a sugar that when digested by the bacteria in the gut produces a lot of gas, but some people are affected more than others. I find that par-boiling them first and then discarding the water gets rid of most of the inulin.

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram where we are chatting about all things foodie and, if you like this post, please share it! To keep up to date with events and goings on at the cookery school sign up for our newsletter. And if you want to learn more about cooking with seasonal vegetables like this, check out our upcoming classes.

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