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Pickled Vegetables and Broad Bean Dip on Carta di Musica

This is a lovely colourful summer dish and looks beautiful plated up, but all the elements can also be served separately.

Pickled Vegetables, Broad Bean Dip and Carta di Musica

Pickled Vegetables

This is a quick pickle and you can vary the vegetables, but do choose colourful ones, different coloured carrots look beautiful and if you are using beetroot always keep it separate as it will stain all the other vegetables purple.

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free | Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour | Marinating time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1/4 small cauliflower, trimmed to small florets
  • 2 small carrots
  • 2 small beetroot
  • ½ fennel bulb
  • Handful of pea shoots and edible flowers
  • Pickling liqueur
  • 4tbsp white vinegar
  • 4tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest

Method

  1. To make the pickling liqueur, heat the vinegar, sugar and saltto a simmer, make sure to dissolve the sugar. Add the spices, herbs and lemon zest. Allow to cool and sit for 30 minutesforthe flavours to develop. Sieve out the spices. Add the lemon juice.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  3. Peel the carrots and beetroots.
  4. Wrap one of the carrots and one of the beetroot in individual silver foil pouches. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool down, then cut into wedged slices.
  5. Cut the other raw beetroot and carrot into thin slices and keep separate so that the beetroot doesn’t colour the carrot.
  6. Cut the cauliflower into small florets.
  7. Finely slice the fennel bulb.
  8. Place the cooked and raw carrot, cauliflower and fennel into a bowl. Place the cooked and raw beetroot into another bowl. Divide the marinade into the two bowls and mix well to coat the vegetables. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes before serving.
  9. To serve, place the pickled vegetables artistically on top of the Carta di Musica, or serve in a separate bowl with the broad bean dip in another and the Carta di Musica to scoop it up with.
  10. Decorate with pea shoots.

Broad Bean Dip

Fresh baby broad beans are so sweet and vibrantly green, but the season is very short, so it’s not long before the broad beans become tough and starchy and you have to peel them. 1 kilo of fresh broad beans in the pod when podded will end up at about 400g, and when double-podded you are down to 250g.

Serves 4 | Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 400g broad beans, podded weight
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs mint leaves, chopped
  • 30g pumpkin seeds, roasted

Method

  1. Cook the broad beans until just tender, drain and run under cold water and then double-pod the broad beans, you will find that the bright green beans will easily slip out of the outer skins.
  2. In a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic with the salt, until smooth. Mash in the broad beans with the garlic, add olive oil, lemon juice, chopped mint leaves and add most of the pumpkin seeds, leaving some to decorate the top of the dip.

Carta di Musica

The literal translation for Carta di Musica is ‘Music Paper’ and it is called this because the bread is so thin. Fora traditional bread, use white spelt flour in your dough.

Dietary: Vegan

Makes: approx. 12 flat breads

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 175g white spelt flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 90ml warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 240C or the hottest your oven will go up to.
  2. Place a pizza stone in the bottom shelf of the oven and heat up for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together, then add 1 tbsp olive oil and warm water. Mix by hand to a soft-ball consistency. The dough should be soft but not too sticky, so add more flour if it is too wet. If it’s too dry add a little more water.
  4. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. To knead the dough, use the heel of your hand to push the dough away from you, stretching it, folding it back up, and stretching it again. Continue kneading for 5 minutes.
  6. Roll 25g walnut sized balls of dough as thinly as possible, to look like parchment. Place directly on the baking stone.
  7. Bake for 2 minutes until bubbles have formed all over the surface and the bread is turning pale golden brown in places.
  8. As soon as they come out of the oven drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with flaky salt and chopped fresh rosemary.


Plating suggestions

Choose a colourful plate, we chose an earthenware plate with an abstract design in muted colours so that the colourful food stands out.

Place your pickled vegetables out on a plate, so that it’s easy to choose individual vegetables, rather like a paint palate.

The Carta di Musicaneeds to be topped and eaten straight away, otherwise it will go soggy.

Spread the Carta di Musica with broad bean dip, top with vegetables, curl the raw carrot into little rose shapes and decorate with pea shoots.

Serve the remaining Carta di Musica, pickled vegetables and broad bean dip on the side so that your guests can help themselves to seconds.

Summer Entertaining, Vegetarian Living, July 2018

The July 2018 issue of Vegetarian Living is now available and my feature this month is all about creating beautiful plates of seasonal food, perfect for summer entertaining. Everything from the choice of plate to using edible flowers can be really make your dish stand out and impress your guests. If you are hosting a dinner party this summer why not try our Pickled Vegetables and Broad Bean Dip on Carta di Musica, Tempura Asparagus with Smoked Vegan Mayonnaise or Beetroot Kibbeh with Charred Onions, Beetroot Liquorice Yoghurt and Feta? 

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

Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Crispy Jackfruit

This fresh zingy noodle salad topped with jackfruit, crispy shallots and peanuts is perfect for the summer. Young green jackfruit has become a very popular meat substitute, as when it is cooked it has a consistency similar to that of pulled pork. Tins of unripe jackfruit are available in Asian stores where you can also find the crispy fried shallots. We made this recipe using mung bean noodles but you could use rice noodles instead. 

Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Crispy Jackfruit

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free | Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 150g mung bean noodles
  • 10cm piece of mouli, peeled
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • ½ courgette
  • Handful of beansprouts
  • Large handful per person of Vietnamese mint/basil

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp shoyu dipping sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 small red chilli, sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced

Toppings

  • 2 tbsp crispy fried shallots
  • 50g peanuts, roasted and chopped

Method

  1. Soak the mung bean noodles in hot water for 10 minutes until tender, then drain.
  2. Julienne the mouli, carrots and courgette into long thin strips. Place the vegetables in a large bowl with the noodles and beansprouts.
  3. Mix the dressing together and pour over the vegetables, beansprouts and noodles, mix well and place in a serving bowl.
  4. Finely shred the herbs and scatter all over the noodles, be really generous with the herbs.
  5. Top with the crispy jackfruit, fried shallots and peanuts

Crispy Fried Jackfruit

Ingredients

  • 1 can green jackfruit
  • 1 tbsp untoasted sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 150ml shoyu dipping sauce (see recipe)
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced finely

Method

  1. Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Cut the jackfruit pieces into smaller slices. Heat a wide frying pan with the oil, add the jackfruit and garlic. Fry for a minute, then add the shoyu dipping sauce and palm sugar.
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer on medium heat and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and evaporated.
  3. Scatter in the onions slices and keep cooking and frying until the jackfruit is crispy and caramelized.

Shoyu Dipping Sauce

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free option | Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp water or fresh coconut juice
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp shoyu or 1 tbsp tamari

Method

  1. Mix the water or fresh coconut juice with the vinegar and sugar to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Add the lime juice, garlic and chilli and stir in the shoyu or tamari.
  3. Leave to sit for the flavours to infuse together.


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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Elderflower Fritters

The sweet perfume of elderflowers coated in a thin tempura batter makes for an ethereal delight. This treat can be enjoyed for only three or four weeks in any year, so don't let it pass you by! Some tips:

  • Harvest the elderflowers no less than an hour or so before you cook them.
  • The flower head should ideally be picked in with most florets opened and the remainder still in bud.
  • Don’t harvest on a rainy day as much of the nectar can be washed from the flowers. 

Make the most of the Elderflower season and make our Elderflower Cordial recipe and Elderflower Champagne.

If you're interested in foraged foods, do take a look at our Get started with foraging post. 

Elderflower Fritters

Serves: 4 

Ingredients

  • 12 Elderflower heads 

For the batter 

  • 80g plain flour
  • 20g corn flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150ml chilled sparkling water
  • 1tsp maple syrup
  •  sunflower oil for deep frying

Method 

To make the batter: 

  1. Pour the chilled water into a large bowl. 
  2. Sift in the flours and bicarbonate of soda. Add maple syrup. Mix roughly with a whisk. Don't worry if there are lumps. Use at once.

To prepare the elderflowers:

  1. Shake any insects and lose florets from the heads.  
  2. Cut heads into portions about 5cm across, leaving 2-3 cms of thin stalk to pick-up the fritters. 
  3. Don’t wash the flowers as the water will make the hot oil spit. 

To make the fritters:

  1. Heat the sunflower oil either in a wok or a deep frying pan with 5 cm of oil. The oil is ready when a drop of batter bubbles and turns golden in 5-10 seconds. Don’t heat the oil further until it smokes. 
  2. Holding the portions of flower heads by the stalk, gently wipe them through the batter so they are coated all over. Touch on the side of the bowl to remove excess. 
  3. Drop gently into the oil. Moving quickly, but calmly, place a few portions in the oil. Take care they don’t touch or they may stick in a mass. 
  4. Remove when golden and crisp. 
  5. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel. 
  6. Serve when still hot sprinkled with icing sugar.

Vietnamese Coconut Turmeric Curry with Lemongrass Fried Tofu

This delicious and easy Vietnamese curry gets its beautiful rich yellow colour from the fresh turmeric. 

Coconut Turmeric Curry with Lemongrass Fried Tofu

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free | Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes

Coconut Tumeric Curry 

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 fresh lemongrass
  • 5 small red chillies
  • 2 banana shallots
  • 5cm fresh turmeric root
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
  • 400ml water
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 large sweet potato
  • 150g oyster mushrooms
  • 200g baby corn
  • 6 spring onions
  • 100g baby spinach
  • A large handful of herbs: Vietnamese mint/Thai basil/perilla/coriander

Method

  1. Peel and slice the garlic, use the flat of the knife to crush slightly and release the juices.
  2. Cut the top half off the lemongrass and peel off any dry outer leaves. Gently bruise the bulbous end of the lemongrass with the handle of a knife or a rolling pin. You just need to open it up a little bit to help release the flavour, but don’t bash too hard as it should stay in one piece.
  3. Pierce a small hole in the chillies with the tip of the knife.
  4. Peel the shallots, cut in half and finely slice.
  5. Peel and finely chop the turmeric.
  6. Peel the carrots and sweet potato and cut into 2cm thick slices.
  7. Tear the oyster mushrooms into large pieces.
  8. Leave the baby sweetcorn whole.
  9. Slice the spring onions in half.
  10. Leave the spinach whole.
  11. In a large pan, heat the oil and fry the shallots, lemongrass and chillies for 5 minutes until the shallots are soft and translucent.
  12. Add the sliced garlic and crushed turmeric and fry for 2 minutes, then add the ground cumin and coriander and fry for another minute until fragrant.
  13. Add the coconut milk, water and tamari and bring to the boil.
  14. Add the carrot and sweet potato and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until they are tender.
  15. Add the oyster mushrooms and baby corn and simmer gently for a couple of minutes, then add the spinach, spring onions and herbs, stir them in and turn off the heat.
  16. Serve with lemongrass fried tofu and jasmine rice.
  17. Serve this lemongrass fried tofu with the coconut curry or serve as a snack with the shoyu dipping sauce.

Lemongrass Fried Tofu

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free | Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 350g plain firm tofu
  • 400ml sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • 2 fresh lemongrass
  • 2 small red chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2cm fresh turmeric root
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • 2 tsp water
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil for frying

Method

  1. Cut the tofu into 12 cubes, gently dry them off on kitchen towel. Heat the oil in a wok or deep saucepan to 170C and carefully drop the tofu cubes in. Fry for about 5 minutes until they are crisp and golden.
  2. Remove the tofu from the oil and drain well on kitchen roll to remove the excess oil.
  3. Cut the top half off the lemongrass and peel off any dry outer leaves. Gently bruise the bulbous end of the lemongrass with the handle of a knife or a rolling pin. Then finely slice the lemongrass.
  4. Deseed the chillies.
  5. Peel the garlic and turmeric.
  6. Either with a knife or in a small food processor finely chop the lemongrass, chillies, garlic and turmeric together.
  7. Heat a wok or frying pan with 1 tablespoon oil and fry the lemongrass, garlic, chilli and turmeric mix for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the tofu and mix well for 20 seconds to evenly coat.
  8. Mix the tamari, water, vinegar and palm sugar together, and drizzle over the tofu, quickly mix through the tofu and stir-fry for another 20 seconds.
  9. Serve with Coconut Turmeric Curry and jasmine rice.


Also featured in the June 2018 issue of 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.

Delicious Magazine, June 2018

Jess from Delicious Magazine came along to one of our Vegan Fast & Delicious courses - read about what she got up to here.  

Summer in Mexico - Vegan Food & Living

In the June issue of Vegan Food & Living, Rachel shows you how to make fresh corn tortillas - vegan, gluten-free and so easy to make. There's also some tips for making delicious fillings. 

Check out the article in full here

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

These striking rice paper rolls make a great dinner party starter - as impressive as they look, they are really simple to make so you could even get your guests to make their own! They are best eaten straight away. 

Rice Paper Rolls with tempeh, fruits and salad herbs

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free | Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 50g mungbeannoodles
  • 60g bean sprouts, washed
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 10cm piece of daikon (mooli), cut into matchsticks
  • ½ red pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • ¼ cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • ¼ mango, cut into slices
  • Handful of lettuce leaves
  • Handful of herbs: Vietnamese mint, Thai basil, Coriander, mint/basil leaves
  • 12 slices of crispy tempeh
  • 12 large round dried rice paperwrappers

Method

  1. Soak the mung beannoodles in hot water for 10 minutes until they are soft. Drain and chop them into 5cm lengths.
  2. Prepare the vegetables placing each variety in a separate bowl. Leave the lettuce leaves whole and don’t chop the herbs.
  3. To rehydrate the dried rice paperwrappers, fill a large bowl with cold water, approx 10cms deep.
  4. Dunk one rice paper at a time into the waterfora few seconds then carefully take it out and place on a plate or chopping board.
  5. Create a square of the leaves, herbs, matchstick vegetables, fruits and noodles in the middle of the rice paper, and top with a piece of crispy tempeh.
  6. Fold the sides in to meet in the middle and roll up tightly over the filling.
  7. Cut in two and serve with the cut side uppermost.
  8. Serve at once with shoyu dipping sauce.

Crispy Tempeh

Ingredients

  • 350g pack of tempeh
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil

Method

  1. Slice the tempeh into 12 thin slices.
  2. Mix the salt, black pepper and chilli flakes through the flour.
  3. Dip the tempeh in the flour to evenly coat.
  4. Heat the oil in a wide frying pan and fry both sides of the tempeh until crisp and golden.
  5. Drain well onto kitchen roll to remove any excess oil.

Shoyu Dipping Sauce

Fish sauce ‘nuoc mam’ is in all Vietnamese food so for vegetarians this has to be replaced. This is our vegetarian version to use instead of fish sauce.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp water or fresh coconut juice
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp shoyu or 1 tbsp tamari

Method

  1. Mix the water or fresh coconut juice with the vinegar and sugar to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Add the lime juice, garlic and chilli and stir in the shoyu or tamari.
  3. Leave to sit for the flavours to infuse together.
  4. Green jackfruit has become a very trendy ‘meat substitute’ as when its cooked it has the consistency of pulled pork. Buy tins of green jackfruit which is unripe and not sweet from Asian stores.


Also featured in the June 2018 issue of 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.

My Favourite Asparagus Recipes

Asparagus is, for me, the queen of vegetables, and it’s best eaten with the fingers as fresh as possible. The first UK asparagus crops are harvested in late March, but the best of the season is from April to mid-June. Traditionally, it would not be cut after the longest day of the year, so that the plants can replenish their crown reserves for the next year.

Asparagus grows as shoots (‘spears’) from a crown or rhizomes (underground stems) just beneath the soil. These crowns take three years to start growing harvestable shoots, which are cut early in the morning, as they develop each day. The thicker ‘spears’ usually grow on the older crowns of asparagus, and the thinner ones are from the younger crowns.

Tips for cooking asparagus

Shopping: To judge whether asparagus is fresh and good quality just look at the small bracts, or leaves, which grow just behind the tips. These should be well formed, lie flat along the stem, and not be shooting. The cut at the base of the spear should appear fresh and feel hard rather than spongy. This cut end is often tough and should be broken off before cooking. Just bend the spear near the cut end and it will snap off crisply leaving the tender spears for cooking. Don’t throw away the tougher ends. Add them to stocks and soups as they are full of flavour.

Preparing: Asparagus can be eaten as thin stalks, which are great for stir-fries and with pasta, or as chunky spears, which can be simply grilled or baked and served with a drizzle of olive oil. Either way, here are a few basic techniques for preparing asparagus:

  • Cook in the traditional way in an asparagus steamer.
  • Griddle them. Prepare and wash the asparagus and put straight on a very, very hot griddle. It’s essential that the griddle is smoking before putting on the asparagus. Griddle for 2 minutes on one side and then turn over to griddle for two more minutes. Serve at once. The asparagus should be a brilliant green with a touch of burnt.
  • Bake in a hot oven with the asparagus rolled in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with a little Malden sea salt.

My Favourite Asparagus Recipes

Asparagus Leek Puff Calzone


Vegetarian Paella with Samphire and Asparagus


Potato, Asparagus, and Broad Bean Salad with Salsa Verde


Chargrilled Asparagus with Herb Papardelle and Cashew 'Cheese'


Italian Garden Salad with Griddled Asparagus and Almonds (VIDEO)


Spring Asparagus Ceviche


Laksa Lemak with Baby Asparagus


You can find more asparagus recipes and tips in Rachel's 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.

Salsa Verde

The salsa verde recipe makes a good amount and it keeps very well covered in the fridge. Feel free to change  the herbs - wild garlic, nettle, sorrel, rocket, baby spinach, and flat leaf parsley all work beautifully.

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 leaves
  • 25g fresh basil leaves
  • 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.
Flavours of Vietnam, Vegetarian Living, June 2018

The June 2018 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 flavours of Vietnam. Packed with zingy flavours, fresh herbs and crispy veg, Vietnamese cuisine is perfect for the summer months. Get inspired with our recipes including a Coconut Lemongrass Curry with Fried Tofu, Rice Paper Rolls filled with Crunchy Veg and Tempeh, and a Noodle Salad with Crispy Jackfruit.

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

Making Vegan Pasta - Vegan Food & Living

In the May Issue of Vegan Food & Living we show you how easy it is to make your own vegan pasta at home, including how to shape the perfect tortellini. Check out the article in full here

Chef Magazine, April 2018

Recognising the ever-increasing popularity of plant-based diets, Chef Magazine spoke to our chef tutor Helen Lawrence about the demand for vegan options in restaurants and about the Demuths Advanced Vegan Diploma course. 

"Long gone, or at least it should be, is the one lonely uninspiring vegetarian option on a menu. Creative chefs can use vegetables in new and exciting ways, preparing and cooking them in modern styles, rebranding it in a way that appeals not only to vegetarians or vegans, but to anyone who is looking for a new and enjoyable eating experience."

Click here to read the article in full.

Beautiful Bowl Food Recipes

The whole idea of a one bowl meal is nothing new, but recent trends have seen "bowl food" elevated beyond mere convenience and nutrition. Bowl food can be endlessly varied and the presentation awe inspiring. It's also easy to make bowl foods highly nutritious by using a balance of grains, pulses and vegetables. A rainbow of colours makes bowl food feast a feast for eyes and, as is often the case, the fun is in the toppings.

We've taken ideas from around the world to create these three bowl food recipes that are all at once healthy, delicious, and undeniably beautiful. All are vegan and work well cold so a great option for packed lunches. They take a bit of time to prepare so it's worth making the components in bulk for yummy leftovers for days to come. 

Hawaiian Poke

Hawaiian Poke is the newest addition to the London ‘street food’ food culture. It ticks all the boxes for healthy, nutritious, quick and instantly instagrammable. Poke is a Hawaiian traditional native dish served in a bowl, made with hot white rice topped with raw fish, but is easily adapted to plant-based.

I had my first poke bowl off Carnaby Street and loved the zingy flavours and the contrast of hot rice and cold ceviche style vegetables with lots of toppings to choose from. We've gone for roasted vegetables with a pineapple yuzu salsa.

Recipe: Hawaiian Poke Bowl

Buddha Bowls

Why are they called Buddha Bowls? Traditionally in Japanese culture there is a meditative form of eating called Oryoki. One eats from special bowls, an Oryoki set, consisting of three nested bowls called Jihatsu. The largest is referred to as the Buddha Bowl, or Zuhatsu, and symbolizes the Buddhas head and his wisdom.

Buddhist monks go out everyday at dawn with a Buddha bowl to collect food from the locals. Whatever they can spare would be put in the bowl as a donation, often rice and vegetables.

Our Japanese bowl is inspired from the Okinawa diet, which is a very healthy diet from the Japanese Okinawa islands where there is one of the highest density of people over 100 in the world. Their diet is based on sushi rice, purple vegetables, tofu, miso, seaweed and pickles.

Recipe: Japanese Buddha Bowl

Mexican Bowl

Mexican food is perfect for one bowl meals! Our Mexican bowl includes a mix of quinoa and black beans for that ultra nutritious complete protein hit. Quinoa (pronounced ‘keenwa’) is a tiny golden seed from South America grown in the Andes. It has a higher protein content than rice. It’s gluten-free and is also rich in minerals, including calcium. Quinoa has a high amino-acid profile giving it a protein quality very like that of milk, hence it’s a valuable cereal for vegans. It's also got a fantastic texture that works beautiful alongside beans and salsa. 

Recipe: Mexican Bowl


Find more vegan bowl food inspiration from Rachel in the May 2018 issue of Vegetarian Living.

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.

Hawaiian Poke Bowl

Hawaiian Poke is the newest addition to the London ‘street food’ food culture. It ticks all the boxes for healthy, nutritious, quick and instantly instagrammable. Poke is a Hawaiian traditional native dish served in a bowl, made with hot white rice topped with raw fish, but is easily adapted to plant-based. We've made ours with raw baby spinach topped with cooked rice, roasted squash, beetroot and green beans. It's finished with char-grilled pineapple and spring onions, sticky pecans and pineapple yuzu salsa.

Hawaiian Poke Bowl

Serves: 2 | Dietary: Vegan and Gluten free

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 150g baby spinach
  • 150g butternut squash
  • 2 small beetroot
  • 100g green beans
  • sunflower oil for brushing

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180CFan.
  2. Wash the baby spinach and set aside in the fridge.
  3. Roast the squash and beetroot separately otherwise the beetroot will leach red into the squash.
  4. Peel and cut the squash into half moon slices, brush with sunflower oil and place on a baking tray. Cover with silver foil and roast for 30 minutes until tender.
  5. Peel and cut each beetroot in half, then each half into half moon slices.
  6. Brush with sunflower oil and place on a baking tray. Cover with silver foil and roast for 30 minutes until tender.
  7. Trim the tops off the green beans and lightly steam for a few minutes until tender. Refresh in cold water and set aside.

Rice

Ingredients

  • 150g black rice
  • 150g jasmine rice

Method

  1. Cook the black and white rice separately in plenty of boiling water until tender, then drain.
  2. The black rice will take about 25 minutes, the jasmine rice about 10 minutes.

Tips: If you don’t have black rice, use all white rice.

Pineapple and Spring Onions

Ingredients

  • ½ a pineapple
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 6 spring onions
  • ¼- ½ habanero chilli
  • 2 tbsp yuzu juice

Method

  1. Cut the skin off the pineapple, take the core out of the middle and cut into 4 round slices.
  2. Take 2 slices of pineapple and dust lightly with icing sugar and char-grill these pineapple slices on a hot griddle pan for a couple of minutes on each side.
  3. Cut the tops off the spring onions, brush with oil and lightly char-grill the spring onions for a minute on a hot griddle pan until scorched.
  4. Cut the remaining 2 slices of pineapple into small cubes, de-seed and finely chop the chilli and stir in with the pineapple along with the yuzu juice to make a salsa dressing.

Sticky Pecans

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp pecans
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • pinch of salt

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients in a frying pan, and heat up, stirring until the syrup has caramelized and the pumpkin seeds start popping. Turn out onto a sheet of baking parchment and leave to cool. 


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Mexican Bowl

This Mexican bowl has a very nutritious and traditional mix of herby quinoa with refried black beans, tomato jalapeño salsa and avocado mash, topped with mango salsa, coriander leaves, slices of jalapeño chilli and tortilla chips. Quinoa has a higher protein content than rice. It’s gluten-free and also rich in minerals, including calcium, making it a valuable cereal for vegans to eat.

Mexican Bowl

Serves: 2 | Dietary: Vegan and Gluten free

Prep Time: 45 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Herby quinoa (see recipe below)
  • Refried black beans (see recipe below)
  • Avocado mash (see recipe below)
  • Tomato salsa (see recipe below)
  • Mango salsa (see recipe below)
  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 Jalapeño chilli, sliced
  • Tortilla chips

Method

  1. Assemble your bowl, referring to the picture, starting with the quinoa and refried beans, adding the avocado mash, salsas and toppings. Serve with a handful of tortilla chips.

Herby Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 100g quinoa
  • 225ml water
  • ½ a lemon, zest and juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 20g cashews, roasted
  • 20g pumpkin seeds, roasted
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat parsley, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Rinse the quinoa.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a saucepan and add the quinoa, stir, coating the grains in oil and stir-fry for a minute.
  3. Add to the quinoa the water, lemon juice and zest plus a pinch of salt. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa grain has burst.
  4. Turn the heat off keeping the lid on for a few minutes. Then fluff up the quinoa with a fork.
  5. Stir in the roasted cashews and pumpkin seeds, cayenne, paprika and parsley. Check for seasoning.

Tips: Red or black quinoa has a stronger flavour. It is delicious, but takes longer to cook and requires more water.

Frijoles Negros Refritos

Re-fried Black Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 tin black beans, drained
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ orange, juiced
  • ½ tbsp lime juice
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. In a saucepan, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft.
  2. Add the garlic and chilli to the onion and fry until fragrant. Then add the paprika, coriander and cumin and quickly stir-fry.
  3. Add the drained black beans, orange and lime juice and cook gently until the beans begin to break down and the fruit juice has been absorbed. This will take about 30 minutes. Add a little water if the mix gets too thick and then taste. Add sugar and salt to taste.

Lime, Chilli, Coriander, Avocado Mash

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Handful coriander, chopped
  • 1 small green chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • ½ garlic clove
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Peel the garlic, chop it then crush it with a pinch of salt to make a puree.
  2. Chop the avocado flesh roughly and mix with the lime juice, coriander, chilli, garlic and season to taste.

Tomato Jalapeño Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp coriander, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeño chilli, sliced
  • ½ lime, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • pinch of salt

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.

Mango Salsa

Ingredients

  • ½ mango, peeled and sliced
  • ½ red chilli, finely sliced
  • ½ lime, juiced

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and season to taste.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Beetroot Burgers, Essentially Catering Magazine, April 2018

The April 2018 issue of Essentially Catering Magazine is all about the veg. The whole issues features tips on vegan and plant-based cooking for caterers, including our recipe for Beetroot Aduki Bean Burgers. Click here to read the full issue online and get the recipe.


The Vegetarian Society Magazine, Spring 2018

We are delighted to appear in the Spring 2018 issue of The Vegetarian Society Magazine in the food and drink guild section.  You can find us on page 53 (or click here to download a PDF of the full clipping).

Beautiful and bowl-some, Vegetarian Living, May 2018

The May 2018 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 "bowl food". Taking inspiration from Hawaii, Japan and Mexico, this column shows you how to assemble harmonious, balanced bowl-based dishes that are full of colour, flavour, and balanced nutrition. Get inspired with our recipes including Hawaiin poké bowl, Japanese noodle bowl with sesame-crusted tofu, and Mexican bowl with herby quinoa, refried beans and avocado mash.

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

​Demuths Indulgent Vegan Cookery Course Review, Veggielicious, March 2018

For a sneak peak at our Indulgent Vegan Cookery Course, check out this review by Mandy of the blog Veggielicious.

We started by making the brioche dough. Brioche is an enriched bread dough usually made with eggs and butter. Our teacher showed us how to make a vegan version using apple purée and olive oil instead. This dough was to be used for our burger buns and for the doughnuts and let me tell you that it was incredible. Even the non-vegans on the course thought that this was amazing bread.

You can read the rest of the review (and our delicious recipe for Beetroot Aduki Bean Burgers) on her website: Demuths Indulgent Vegan Cookery Course Review.

Japanese Noodle Bowl

Buckwheat noodles with steamed purple carrot and sweet potato with a sesame dressing and sesame crusted tofu topped with nori seaweed, arame, pickled pink ginger and pea shoots.

Japanese Noodle Bowl

Serves: 2 | Dietary: Vegan

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes

Buckwheat noodles

Ingredients

  • 160g buckwheat noodles
  • ½ tsp sesame oil

Method

  1. Boil the noodles in plenty of salted water until just tender, for about 4 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse briefly with cold water.
  3. Run a drop of sesame oil over them to stop them sticking.

Steamed Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 purple carrot (100g)
  • 1 small purple sweet potato (100g)

Method

  1. Peel and slice the vegetables into 1 ½ cm thick rings. Steam lightly for 5 minutes until tender.

Sesame Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp untoasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp brown or red miso
  • 1 tsp shoyu
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp water

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.

Sesame crusted Tofu

Ingredients

  • 250g firm tofu

Tofu Crust

  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sea vegetable flakes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp wasabi powder
  • 100ml sunflower oil

Method

  1. Cut the tofu into slices.
  2. Mix the tofu crust ingredients together and spread out on a plate.
  3. Dip the tofu slices into the tofu crust mix and press so that it is evenly coated.
  4. Heat the sunflower oil in a deep-sided frying pan. Shallow fry the tofu for a couple of minutes on each side until crisp and the sesame seeds are golden. Drain on kitchen paper.

Topping

  • 10 pieces of pink pickled ginger
  • ½ sheet of nori cut with scissors into little triangles
  • 1 tbsp arame, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes, then drained
  • a few pea shoots


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Having Fun Foraging, Vegan Food and Living, April 2018

The April 2018 issue of Vegan Food and Living features our top tips on foraging wild spring leaves such as nettles, wild garlic, and dandelion. You'll also find our recipe for our delicious and easy to make  Wild Garlic Soup.

Read the article in full: Having Fun Foraging, Vegan Food and Living, April 2018

Wild Garlic Soup

Wild garlic makes a fabulous vibrant green soup. Raw wild garlic is pungent, but when cooked it has a delicate flavour. That flavour can be lost easily, so be generous and add the garlic to the soup towards the end of the cooking. Wild garlic leaves are best when very young, so pick small tender leaves if possible. Wild garlic is one our favourite forageable leaves

Wild Garlic Soup

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

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 250g new potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
  • 125g wild garlic leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 litre vegetable stock or 1 litre water with 1 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • squirt of lemon
  • salt
  • mild chilli flakes

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in the rapeseed oil for about 10 minutes, until soft, add the cubed potatoes and quickly stir-fry. 
  2. Add the stock to the onion and potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are just soft, which will take 15 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes of potato.
  3. Add the wild garlic, cover and simmer for a couple of minutes until cooked, but are still a vibrant green colour. Either serve at once chunky or liquidise to a smooth consistency.
  4. Check for seasoning and add a squirt of lemon juice. Decorate with mild chilli flakes. Serve hot.

Read on for more Wild Garlic Recipes!

Vegetarian Wild Garlic Soup

Brilliant photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures

Wild Garlic Pesto

It's happy times at the cookery school as wild garlic is back in season. We've been making use of it as much as we can, delicious with freshly baked sourdough.

Read on for more wild garlic tips and recipes

Wild Garlic Pesto

Serves 4-6 

Dietary: Vegan

Ingredients

  • 25g pinenuts, toasted
  • 50g hazelnuts, roasted, and skins rubbed off
  • 100 - 175ml extra virgin olive oil
  • large handful fresh very young tender garlic leaves
  • 1  tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple juice concentrate
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. In a food processor or in a pestle and mortar crush the pinenuts and hazelnuts roughly and then decant them into a bowl and set aside.
  2. Puree the wild garlic leaves with the olive oil just enough to break up the wild garlic to a rough texture.
  3. Add the lemon juice and apple juice concentrate and mix.
  4. Pour the wild garlic mixture into the crushed nuts and stir in.
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Serve with sourdough bread, as a pasta sauce, or as a dip for crudités.

Tips

  • 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.
  • This pesto is also delicious made with rocket, young spinach leaves, watercress or of course basil.
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
  • 1 tsp 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
  • 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 or soya milk, yeast and sugar, mix well and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes for the yeast to start to bubble.  
  2.  In a large mixing bowl, sieve the flour and add the mixed spice, caster sugar, sultanas, dried apricots and mixed peel. 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. 
  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


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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3 Beautiful Vegetarian Spring Pie Recipes

The joy of a pie is the excitement of cutting it open to reveal the interior. It’s a surprisingly versatile dish, and portable too as all the filling is neatly encased inside. With Easter on the horizon, we’ve been baking three Italian-inspired spring pies that all have festive origins. Easter in Italy is the most sacred festival of the year and food is particularly relished after the austerity of Lent. Eggs are of particular importance because people would have abstained from eating them during Lent, but the chickens still keep on laying! Eggs, of course, also signify new life and pies made at this time of year traditionally contained eggs.

All three of these vegetarian pies are firm inside with no runny fillings, making them perfect for taking out and eating in the warm spring sunshine if you get the chance. We’ve used three pie-making methods – one is encased in filo, another in puff pastry and the third, more unusually, in rice. 

Torta Pasqualina

Torta pasqualina is an Easter pie from Liguria that has whole eggs added raw to the pie, so that when it is cooked you cut through to reveal a perfect hard-boiled egg. Traditionally, this Easter pie has 33 layers of pastry to signify the years of Christ’s life. It’s eaten for picnics on Easter Monday and made with Swiss chard, but it’s also delicious with spinach and foraged spring leaves, such as wild spinach and wild garlic. The traditional pastry is made with flour, water and olive oil and is rolled thin like filo. It was a badge of honour for a cook to be able to roll out all 33 layers of pastry thinly and layer up the pie perfectly. But ivycatfor simplicity for the modern cook, we have used ready-made filo pastry and used 12 layers of filo rather than 33! 

Italian Easter Calzone 

Our Italian Easter calzone is made using ready- rolled puff pastry rather than bread dough and is cut into the shape of an egg with pretty slashes in the top to show off the asparagus and baby leek filling. In spring, make the most of fresh green vegetables – in season now are Swiss chard, spinach, baby leeks and the first of the asparagus, all of which would work beautifully in this pie. 

Sartu di Rosso  

Sartu di riso is a risotto pie made all over southern Italy in Naples, Campania and Apulia. It’s a very unusual pie because the casing is made of rice rather than pastry and then it’s filled with vegetables and cheese. There are two varieties: one has a white rice casing and the other is red as the rice is flavoured with tomato sauce. This is not an everyday dish as the rice has to be made in advance and cooled, the filling made and the pie assembled, and it’s then served cold so that it’s easy to slice. It’s made for special occasions such as Easter and is ideal for feeding lots of people. At Demuths Cookery School we run an annual Italian cooking holiday in Apulia and our wonderful host Alessandro makes a very large sartu di riso for our first welcome dinner. 

You can read more about these Italians spring tarts in Rachel's April 2018 article in Vegetarian Living Magazine.

For more vegetarian pie inspiration, check out our post, Vegetarian Pies: Perfect Pastry and Favourite Fillings.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Torta Pasqualina: Chard and Spinach Pie

Torta Pasqualina is a traditional Ligurian Easter pie, often eaten for picnics on Easter Monday. It's typically made with Swiss chard and spinach, but it's also delicious with foraged leaves added such wild spinach or wild garlic. The pie includes eggs baked whole within the filling creating a beautiful effect when you slice into the pie.

The pastry for this pie is filo, which we've scored to create this beautiful pattern (directions below). While this certainly has the wow factor, it can be quite fiddly! So you can always leave the layers plain and just cut a cross in the middle of the pie through the pastry to release the steam, or loosely scrunch up the oiled sheets of lo for an attractive rough pie topping. 

Chard and Spinach Pie

Torta Pasqualina

Serves: 4 to 6

Prep Time:1 hour | Cooking time; 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 350g chard, washed
  • 400g spinach, washed
  • 4 banana shallots
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tin artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
  • ½ lemon, juice and zest
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • nutmeg to taste
  • 500g ricotta
  • 75g vegetarian hard cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 pack filo 480mm x 255mm with 7 sheets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for brushing

Method

  1. Line a 22cm spring bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Roughly chop the chard and spinach. Wilt down the greens together, then refresh them under cold water, drain and squeeze out the excess water.
  3. Peel and slice the shallots into half-moon slices. Fry in the butter with a pinch of salt until soft. Add sliced artichokes, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg and season to taste. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and mix with the wilted greens. Stir in the ricotta, vegetarian hard cheese and add check the seasoning.
  5. Using 6 sheets of filo cut 12 discs out of filo the same size as the cake tin. Cut the remaining sheet of filo into 4 long strips to use for the edges of the pie.
  6. Layer up 6 round sheets with olive oil brushed lightly between each sheet. Place them in the bottom of the lined tin.
  7. Oil the 4 long strips of filo and line the sides of the tin with them, making sure they are overlapping all around, to create the sides of the pie.
  8. Put 2/3 of the chard mixture into the tin, make 5 evenly spaced egg sized wells in the mix and crack an egg into each well. Layer the remaining mixture gently so you don’t break the egg yolks and evenly over the top of the eggs. Tuck the top edge of the filo sides in over the edge of the pie filling.
  9. On a board layer up the remaining 6 round sheets of filo with olive oil brushed lightly between each sheet and score through (not all the way through) in a diamond baklava style pattern. Place this filo layer on top of the pie and tuck in the edges. This cutting pattern can be quite fiddly to do, so you can leave the layers plain without a cut design, just cut a cross in the middle of the pie through the pastry once it’s in place to release the steam. Or you can just loosely scrunch up the oiled sheets of filo for an attractive rough pie topping.
  10. Bake at 200C/180C Fan for 1 hour (protect the top with foil if needed during the last 20 minutes.)


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Make Your Own Indian Spice Mixes

Homemade spice blends are so much better, fresher and fragrant than store-bought, and this is especially true of Indian spice mixes like Garam Masala and Curry Powder. We're constantly working with spices at Demuths, and have taken a deep dive into their history with our exploration of the spice route. Here is a taste of what we've learned, plus recipes for homemade garam masala and homemade curry powder that will take your Indian recipes to a whole new level.

Spices in food and medicine

Almost every manufactured food contains added spices. What’s a hot cross bun without a dash of cinnamon? a curry sauce without turmeric? a dollop of Branston pickle without – wait for it – mustard, coriander, garlic, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, nutmeg and cayenne! But we often take spices for granted and rarely think about why they are used or where they come from.

Whether you have a loaded rack with 20 or more jars, or a single out-of-date mixed spice packet bought for a long-forgotten recipe, everyone has a spice of some kind at home. Using tiny amounts can make dramatic changes to the flavour of food, but behind every kitchen spice is a medicinal history that goes back thousands of years.

The original uses of nearly all spices were for healing purposes. Pepper and saffron were important ingredients in Arabian medicine, while ginger was used in Chinese remedies. Famous ancient Greco-Roman herbalists like Dioscorides used coriander, anise, and pepper in their spice-based medicines.

Venice was the hub of the spice trade before the Portuguese sent Marco Polo to China to do trade deals with the Chinese and undercut the Venetians. In Europe, the importers and distributers of these medicinal treasures were the Apothecaries, who were known as Spicers. The spices were often used in the same powdered form as in the kitchen, but they were also used as whole spices (seeds, bark, dried fruits), extracted in alcohol to take as a medicine, or made into tablets, capsules, salves, compresses or distilled oils.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said: “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”. Aromatic spices such as fennel, coriander, and anise all help reduce indigestion and colic. Hot spices like chilli, pepper, ginger are warming and stimulate circulation. Ginger has been shown to prevent travel sickness as well as chilblains! So, next time you add spice to your cooking, think about how they can enhance your life, not only the enjoyment of your food.

Tips for Making Indian Spice Mixes

For Indian cooking you need a savoury and a sweet spice mix. The savoury spice mix is commonly known as curry powder, which is a British corruption of the Tamil word for sauce, “kari”, and is best used for empire-style dishes such as kedgeree. The sweet spice tends to be added at the end of cooking, and is known as Garam Masala in northern India and Bese Bel in the south.

To make Indian spice mixes, the three most important ingredients are coriander, cumin and mustard seeds. Always buy your spices whole, because the moment you grind a spice it begins to lose its pungency and aroma. To release the flavour, the whole spices need to be lightly dry-fried before crushing to a powder.

Place the seeds in a small frying pan over a medium heat and stir until the seeds begin to pop and give off their fragrant aroma. Take off the heat and immediately decant onto a plate, as they will continue to cook in a hot frying pan and will easily burn. Always dry fry coriander and cumin separately as cumin fries much quicker than coriander.

Mustard seeds will also go into your savoury spice mix and are added during tempering. This is when you add spices to hot oil and cook until the mustard seeds jump and pop, releasing their wonderful heat and flavour into the oil.


Homemade Curry Powder

An essential ingredient for vegetarian kedgeree and numerous other Indian recipes. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp whole brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
  • 3 hot dried red chillies, crumbled
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric

Method:

  1. Dry fry all the spices except the turmeric until fragrant, but don’t let them brown as it will ruin the flavour. 
  2. Add the turmeric and quickly stir. 
  3. Decant onto a plate and leave to cool.
  4. Grind in a spice grinder/coffee grinder as finely as possible. 
  5. Store in an airtight container.

Homemade Garam Masala Powder (Bese Bele)

This is an aromatic sweet blend of spices favoured by the Brahmins of Bangalore. Used in numerous Indian recipes, including our masala dosas and masala vada (split pea dumplings in masala gravy).

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 5cm stick of cinnamon
  • 1/3 of a nutmeg
  • a curl of mace
  • 1 small dried chilli
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp un-sweetened coconut flakes

Method:

  1. Dry-fry all the spices until fragrant, take off the heat and add the coconut flakes. 
  2. Grind in a spice grinder/coffee grinder as finely as possible. 
  3. Store in an airtight container.

Learn more about how to use spices at one of our  Indian cookery courses at Demuths Cookery School. Our traditional stainless steel Indian Spice boxes complete with spices also make great presents! As does our traditional Japanese Suribachi pestle and mortar.

Try your homemade Indian Spice mixes in these favourite recipes from Demuths...

Golden Curried Vegetable Pasties


Paneer Baigan


Curried Chickpea Flour Dosas


For even more inspiration, check out our collection of vegetarian Indian recipes or come along to one of our Indian courses!

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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Bella Fiesta, Vegetarian Living, April 2018

The April 2018 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 joy of pies, featuring three Italian-inspired spring pie recipes for Easter, including Torta Pasqualina: Chard and Spinach PieAsparagus & Leek Puff Calzone, and Sartu di Riso: Risotto Pie.

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

Wild Garlic Recipes

Wild garlic is one of my favourite seasonal ingredients. It’s a beautiful herb with delicious flavour and is incredibly easy to forage. March and April is the time to go picking, and wild garlic is hard to miss. It’s one of the first plants to carpet the woods and its pungency as you walk through is all pervading. However, when you cook wild garlic it has a delicate flavour. In the spirit of wild garlic season, I wanted to share a few of my favourite recipes for enjoying this delicate herb. But first a few tips...

Wild garlic growing

Tips for picking wild garlic

  • This time of year,  you will find the wild garlic poking up in low-lying places by streams and protected woods. Make sure you pick away from dogs and roads and don’t trespass: the wild garlic might be free, but the landowner may not appreciate your picking!
  • I take a carrier bag with me, fill it up and it will last perfectly in the fridge for a week.
  • Wild garlic leaves are best when very tender, so pick when the garlic is just coming up. Choose small tender leaves - the moment the garlic begins to flower, the leaves become too strong and brash in flavour. But the flowers do make a pretty addition to spring salads. 
  • To eat raw, find the youngest leaves and add to a salad mix.
  • Be adventurous and use wild garlic instead of spinach leaves, mix and match. It goes well with watercress. Add it to your favourite pasta sauces, or use wild garlic for a tangy pesto that makes a versatile addition dip, pasta sauce or filling for your favourite foods - especially mushrooms.
  •  Wash well before eating.

Wild garlic recipes from Demuths

Wild Garlic Pesto


Gluten-Free Wild Garlic and Cheese Cornbread 


Wild Garlic Soup


Wild Garlic Frittata


Spinach and Wild Garlic Malfatti


What are you making with Wild Garlic this season?

Let us know on  FacebookTwitter, or in the comments!

Asparagus & Leek Puff Calzone

Italian calzone is a folder over pizza made with bread dough - think of it like a flat filled pasty. We've modified things slightly with our calzone. To make things simple, we use ready rolled puff pastry for the dough. We've gone with asparagus, leeks, cheese and herbs for our filling - none of it needs pre-cooking making it easy to assemble and great for parties. We like to add pretty slashes to the the top of the pasty to show off the delicious filling inside.


Asparagus Leek Puff Calzone

Serves: 4 to 6 | Dietary: Vegan option

Prep Time: 40 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250g cream cheese (or cashew cheese)
  • 50g vegetarian hard cheese (or vegan ‘cheddar type’)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
  • big pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 packs ready rolled puff pastry
  • 4 baby leeks
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus
  • 2 tbsp pinenuts
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp beaten egg or olive oil for brushing

Method

  1. Mix the cream cheese and vegetarian hard cheese with the thyme, parsley, lemon juice and zest. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Wash the leeks and trim off the green tops and cut the leeks into quarters lengthways.
  3. Trim off the woody ends of the asparagus and peel the bottom half of each spear.
  4. Lay 2 sheets of puff on top of each other and trim around the edges to cut out an oval shape. Take the top puff oval off
  5. On the bottom puff oval spread the cream cheese mixture leaving a 2cm gap around the edge. Arrange the asparagus and leek strips in lines over the top. Sprinkle over the pinenuts and capers.
  6. Make an indent in the middle of the second puff oval with a small round pastry cutter, pressing gently so as not to cut through the pastry.
  7. Lay this puff oval over the top of the vegetables. Using a small sharp knife cut lines through the top piece of pastry radiating out from the middle to create a sunbeam pattern. Press the outer edges slightly to fix in place and brush lightly with beaten egg or olive oil.
  8. Bake at 220C/200C Fan for 20 minutes until golden and puffed up.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Sartu di Riso: Risotto Pie

Sartu di Riso is a risotto pie with the casing made of rice rather than pastry and then filled with vegetables and cheese. We’ve given two different sauce options for when you cook this risotto pie – one with rich tomatoes and the other with white wine, to create a choice of flavours. Both are equally delicious with the roasted vegetable filling!

Risotto Pie

Sartu di riso

Serves: 4 to 6 | Dietary: Gluten free

Prep Time:1 hour | Cooling Time: 1 hour | Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250g risotto rice
  • 2 litres water
  • sauce
  • 2x 400g tins chopped tomato or 300ml white wine
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 small shallots, peeled and halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g vegetarian hard cheese, finely grated
  • filling
  • 1 leek
  • 1 courgette
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 200g spinach
  • 50g pitted olives
  • 100g mozzarella
  • 100g smoked mozzarella
  • decoration
  • 1 tbsp pinenuts
  • handful of baby herbs

Method

  1. Line a 22cm spring bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. In a large saucepan cook the rice in plenty of water until tender for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the rice as soon as it is cooked and just as the water starts going cloudy. Set the rice aside and add to the sauce once it is made.
  3. While the rice is cooking, make the sauce, you can either make a tomato sauce for a red version or a wine sauce for a white version.
  4. For the sauce. Gently fry the shallots in the olive oil with a pinch of salt until soft, add the garlic and herbs and fry for one more minute. Add the tinned tomatoes OR the white wine. Simmer until the sauce is thick and reduced by half.
  5. Mix in the cooked rice and stir gently on a low heat for a few minutes. Add the vegetarian hard cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Leave to cool completely.
  6. Preheat oven to 200C/180C Fan.
  7. While the rice and sauce is cooking roast the vegetables for the filling.
  8. Slice the leek into 1cm discs, cut the courgette in half and then into 1/2cm wide slices down the length. Slice the yellow pepper into 2cm strips. Place the vegetables in a roasting tin and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt over the vegetables and roast for 20 minutes.
  9. Wash the spinach and wilt it down in a large saucepan, refresh under cold water, then drain and squeeze out the excess water.
  10. Brush the prepared cake tin with a little olive oil. Press 2/3 of the rice mixture into the bottom of the cake tin and 5cm up the sides of the tin to create a pie crust. Fill the pie with layers of the roasted vegetables, spinach, olives and mozzarella. Top with a layer of the remaining rice and press gently to smooth it down. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until the rice looks crispy around the edges.
  11. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run a small knife around the edge to release and remove from the tin.
  12. Serve decorated with fresh young herbs and pinenuts.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Asian Street Food Class Review, The Bathonian, February 2018

Head over to The Bathonian for a review of our Asian Street Food Class. Full of photos and colourful descriptions, this a great place to get an inside peak at one of our most popular courses. 

A Year On From Demuths Vegan Diploma, Edible Ethics, February 2018

Lucy of the blog Edible Ethics is one of our former Vegan Diploma students. She wrote a lovely piece reflecting on the Diploma course, one year later.

My own vegan business is still a dream, but it’s now that bit closer. I am not even sure what my business will be, as I have various interests in food: fine dining, development, food waste, etc. But whatever I end up doing, Demuths helped me to realise my goals and my abilities. I am exactly where I want to be and I am flourishing.

Read the article in full: A Year On From Demuths Vegan Diploma

Cooking with Pulses: Top Tips and Our Best Recipes

We love pulses here at Demuths. They feature constantly in our recipes, not just for their nutritional merit but also for their flavour and versatility. Pulses - which include beans, peas, and lentils - provide a complete protein when combined with grains or nuts, making them a great staple for vegans and vegetarians. But all lovers of great food can appreciate the power of the pulse: they're economical, healthy, easy to cook with, and endlessly adaptable to all kinds of cuisines, from Brazilian Black Bean Stew to Lebanese Rice & Lentils to Tuscan Chickpea Soup. They're also a great store cupboard staple during the Hungry Gap, that time of year when fresh seasonal vegetables are sparse. 

We want to encourage you to explore the exciting world of pulses, so bring to you this post full of top tips and our favourite vegetarian and vegan recipes using beans and lentils. 

How to cook beans

Large whole pulses need soaking overnight in plenty of water in a large bowl, as they will triple in size. Next day, drain and rinse and cook in plenty of water until tender, the time of cooking depends on the bean, but it should be a minimum of one hour. Never add salt when cooking pulses as this hardens the skins and lengthens the cooking time. You can use a pressure cooker to cook pulses and this will halve the cooking time.

It’s worth cooking up a large quantity of beans and then freezing in measured amounts for ready cooked beans for future recipes.

Tins of beans are a great store cupboard standby, but they do have less texture than home cooked pulses and cost over twice as much. Make sure you buy sugar and salt free varieties.

How to cook lentils

Lentils don’t need soaking, but I do soak whole lentils as this reduces cooking time. Whole lentils take the longest, while split de-husked red lentils cook the quickest. Rinse all varieties of lentils well and always check for stones before cooking.

Try tempering your lentils...

To enrich your pot of lentils (or dhal) and add depth to the flavour, fry spices such as mustard seeds, cumin seeds, whole chillies and curry leaves until they pop – but before they burn – in butter ghee for the richness or for a cleaner, vegan flavour in sunflower oil. Then pour over the hot dhal and serve at once.

Favourite Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes Featuring Pulses

Tarka Dhal

Tarka Dhal


Moudardara

Moudardara: Lebanese Rice and Lentils


Vegan Harira Moroccan Soup

Harira Moroccan Soup


Brazilian Squash and Black Bean Stew

Brazilian Squash and Black Bean Stew


Fava Bean Puree with Chicory

Fava Bean Puree with Chicory


La Ribollita

La Ribollita: Tuscan Soup with Beans and Greens


Vegan Pazole

Vegan Pazole


All images by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures except for header image and tarka dhal.

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Win a Class at Demuths, Vegetarian Living, March 2018

The March 2018 issue of Vegetarian Living magazine features a fantastic competition to win a place on our Fast and Delicious Vegan Cooking Course. Full details available here

Bridging the Gap, Vegetarian Living, March 2018

The March 2018 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 'hungry gap', that period of vegetable scarcity before spring arrives, and how to make use of winter produce and store cupboard ingredients. Recipes include jerusalem artichoke soupKeralan thoran with mung beans, and mushroom and seitan stew with crispy potatoes.

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

Bridge the ‘Hungry Gap’ with these 5 delicious recipes

The 'hungry gap' is named after the break between the end of the winter vegetables and the first of the first spring produce. This gap starts in March and is surprisingly long as, as homegrown spring veg are generally not ready to pick until May and June. Historically, the early spring months did not bring an overflowing bounty of fresh vegetables with might imagine, but rather a continuation of winter crops and foraged weeds. There is even a variety of kale called ‘hungry gap kale’ which was introduced during the war as a late winter variety.

The choice may be limited, but vegetables such as cabbages and Jerusalem artichokes are very versatile. I like to get creative and spice them up with some of my favourite store cupboard spices, including mustard seeds, curry leaves and Aleppo pepper. This is also a great time of year to make use of pulses, lentils and nuts to add texture, substance, and protein to your cooking. 

To help inspire you during this challenging time of year, here are our five top ingredients for bridging the hungry gap, plus recipes to go along with them:

Cabbage

Cabbages grow 52 weeks of the year in Britain and I feel sometimes get forgotten in the popularity of kale which are all part of the Brassica family.

At this time of year either choose the solid heavy cabbages or spring greens, which are picked before they heart up. To prep a large cabbage take the outer leaves off and cut the cabbage into quarters and then remove the hard central core which is lovely to eat raw! Finely slice the cabbage and sauté or add to a coleslaw. 

Try cabbage in this zesty recipe for Winter Coleslaw with Barberries:

Winter coleslaw with barberries

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes  have a delicious nutty flavour and make a lovely creamy white soup. They're also excellent roasted or cooked in a pan with onion, garlic and tomato. This vegetable does 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 the inulin, but other people say that eating them raw or adding a bay leaf to the cooking water also helps reduce the effects.

Try Jerusalem Artichokes in our recipe for Jerusalem Artichoke Soup:

Vegan Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Seitan

Seitan is flavoured wheat gluten, the protein portion of wheat that gives bread dough its elastic quality. It has been used as a meat substitute for centuries in China and Japan, where vegetarian Buddhist monks developed it. Seitan adds texture and protein. Seitan is vegan and very high in protein. The best tastiest seitan is a brand called' Yakso' and comes in a jar, marinated in flavoured tamari. It's only available in wholefood shops.

Seitan was a popular wholefood addition in the 80s, but has lost popularity as its diametrically opposite to the trend in Gluten free foods as it is pure gluten (and thus not suitable for anyone with a gluten intolerance). It is coming back into fashion and we are running course at Demuths cookery school on how to make your own seitan.

Try seitan in this undeniably comforting Mushroom and Seitan Stew with Crispy Potatoes:

Store Cupboard Spices

Curry leaves are one of my favourite additions to curries and they add a distinctly authentic taste. It’s best to buy fresh curry leaves, as dried loose their flavour. You can buy fresh from Indian supermarkets, a bunch is very cheap and they freeze well, just make sure you wrap them carefully, otherwise everything in your freezer will soon smell like curry leaves. Wash them well before cooking and don’t eat them raw – rather like bay leaves they give flavour to a dish and are then removed and discarded.

Mustard seeds are the hot and bitter brown seeds of the annual mustard plant which is part of the Brassica family. Make sure you buy the small brown mustard seeds, the larger black mustard seeds are for pickling. In Indian cooking they are used whole and fried in oil until they pop and release their hot mustardy flavour. Whole mustard seeds are brown on the outside and yellow inside, so when ground they turn yellow!

Put your Indian spices to use with our recipe for Indian Dosas with Sukha Aloo:

Mung beans

I’m a great fan of the dried small green mung beans, they cook quickly and don’t need soaking beforehand, they keep their shape and colour and make a stir fry into a far more substantial dish. Pulses – which include beans, peas and lentils – are a nutritious addition to a vegan diet and when combined with grains provide a complete protein.

Try mung beans in this exotic Keralan Mung Bean Thoran (which also includes cabbage, our other hungry gap favourite!):


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Simple Things Magazine January 2018

Rebecca from Simple Things Magazine came along to one of our Gourmet Vegan courses - read what she got up to here

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem artichokes are one of our favourite winter vegetables and well worth seeking out. If you've never cooked with them before, a good place to start is with Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, which has a delicious nutty flavour and is naturally thick and creamy. Jerusalem artichokes may look difficult to handle, but we find that if you par-boil them first, the skins easily slip off. This trick also helps deal with their unfortunate reputation for causing wind. This is because Jerusalem artichokes contain inulin, a sugar that when digested by the bacteria in the gut produces a lot of gas - we find that par-boiling them first and then discarding the water gets rid of most of the inulin. So no more excuses - give this soup a try! 

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Serves: 4 | Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-Free

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo Jerusalem artichokes
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • 750mls stock made up of 3/4 milk, dairy or soya and ¼ water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tbsp toasted pinenuts
  • shredded red chicory

Method:

  1. Wash the artichokes, place them in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until the skins easily slip off, depending on size about 10-15 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 leek and garlic in the olive oil until softened. Roughly chop the artichokes and add to the leek 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.
  5. Return the soup to the saucepan, reheat and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. To serve, add a sprinkling of Aleppo pepper, a few pinenuts and shredded red chicory.

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.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Mushroom and Seitan Stew with Crispy Potatoes

This is our take on a traditional French dark stew with firm chestnut mushrooms, seitan (wheat gluten) and bitter dark Ale.

The quantities look huge, but it cooks down by half and is even better the next day so make plenty and enjoy for longer.

Mushroom and Seitan Stew topped with Crispy Potatoes 

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free option | Serves: 4/6

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium onions, sliced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 350g jar ‘Yakso’ seitan
  • 1 tbsp plain white flour
  • 1 tsp Marmite or yeast extract
  • 2 tbsp shoyu or 1 tbsp tamari
  • 500ml vegetable stock or water
  • 500ml dark ale
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of sage
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Crispy potato topping
  • 2 large baking potatoes, par-boiled
  • olive oil

Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish. Add the sliced onions and fry until golden and beginning to caramelise. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute.
  2. Add the quartered mushrooms, turn up the heat and stir-fry until the mushrooms are beginning to brown.
  3. Cut the seitan into chunks keeping the liquid from the jar to add to the stock. Add the seitan to the mushrooms and stir-fry quickly.
  4. Take the casserole off the heat and stir in the flour.
  5. Make the stock with the Marmite, shoyu and the liquid from the seitan jar and make up to 500ml with vegetable stock or boiling water.
  6. Over a low heat stir the stock into the casserole, then add the beer, bay leaves and sugar and bring to the boil stirring all the time. Lower the heat and simmer very gently for about 30 minutes until the stew has reduced by a 1/3rd and is a lovely rich brown colour.
  7. Check for seasoning and add salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Remove the bay leaves and the sprig of sage.
  8. Slice the par-boiled potatoes and place the slices of par-boiled potatoes on top and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  9. Heat the grill and place the casserole under the grill and grill until the potato top is crisp and golden. Alternatively place in a hot oven 200C/180Fan and cook for 30 minutes.
  10. Serve with sautéed kale, cavolo nero or cabbage.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Keralan Mung Bean Thoran with Temple Rice and Spicy Yoghurt

Thoran is a traditional quick Keralan vegetable dish made with cabbage and greens and very lightly stir-fried. We have added carrot for colour and mung beans for a protein boost.

Keralan Thoran with mung beans

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free | Serves: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes to cook mung beans and 10 minutes to stir-fry.

Ingredients:

  • 100g dried mung beans
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 6 cm ginger, finely minced
  • 2 hot green chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 100g cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • salt
  • ½ lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Cook the dried mung beans in plenty of water until tender, but still keeping their shape which takes about 15 to 20 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a wok or large frying pan and when hot add the ginger, green chillies, garlic and curry leaves, fry for a minute.
  3. Then add the mustard seeds and when they pop add the cabbage, carrots, toasted cumin seeds and turmeric, stir frying until the cabbage begins to wilt, you may need to add a little water to help the cabbage steam.
  4. Add the spinach, cooked mung beans and desiccated coconut and heat through.
  5. Season to taste with jaggery, salt and lemon.
  6. Serve with Samba Sadam rice and Khadi (see recipes below)

Samba Sadam Rice

(Temple Rice with Cashews, Pepper and Cumin)

Serves 4 | Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 180g basmati rice
  • 360ml water
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 100g cashewnuts
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, roughly crushed
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed
  • ½ tsp salt

Method

  1. To cook the rice, wash the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Put the washed rice in a saucepan with the measured water, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave for 10 minutes with the lid on to finish cooking in the steam.
  2. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the sunflower oil and fry the cashews until golden, then add the pepper and cumin and fry for a few seconds, then add the rice and salt and mix well to evenly coat the rice in the spiced oil. Serve at once.

Khadi

(Spicy Yoghurt Dip)

Serves: 4 | Dietary: Vegan option, Gluten-free

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 3 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 500ml plain or soya yoghurt
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp kalongi/nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • a few curry leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp ghee or sunflower oil
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • pinch of salt

Method

  1. Spoon the yoghurt into a serving bowl.
  2. Heat the ghee or sunflower oil, add the chillies, kalonji, cumin and curry eaves. When the seeds start popping and smelling fragrant, but be careful they will burn easily, decant into the yoghurt and stir in.
  3. Add the lemon juice, season with salt to taste. 

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Roasted Root Vegetables with Smoked Tofu, Giant Couscous and Almonds

Smoked tofu is a great ingredient to keep on hand as a tasty source of vegan protein that can be used to perk up a multitude of dishes. Here's one that's perfect for winter, loaded with root vegetables and giant couscous for a delicious and satisfying one-tray meal. We use multi-coloured carrots and sweet potatoes to add colour to this dish, but it works just as well with the usual varieties if that's all you can find. We like the mild smokiness from the tofu, but you could also add smoked paprika for a more full-on flavour.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Smoked Tofu and Almonds

Roasted Root Vegetables with Smoked Tofu, Giant Couscous and Almonds

Serves: 4 | Dietary: Vegan | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 small carrots, cut into long wedges
  • 2 small sweet potato, cut into long wedges
  • 3 banana shallots, cut into long wedges
  • 8 garlic cloves, left whole in their skins
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 150g smoked tofu
  • 2 tbsp whole almonds
  • 100g giant couscous
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 300ml water
  • handful of flat parsley, chopped
  • a splash of sherry vinegar
  • a squeeze of lemon

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/180CFan.
  2. Mix the carrots, sweet potato, banana shallots, garlic, rosemary and thyme together in a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes until the vegetables are tender and caramelising on the edges.
  4. Slice the smoked tofu and add it to the dish and roast for another 10 minutes to heat through.
  5. While the vegetables are roasting cook the cous-cous. Fry the couscous in a the olive oil for a minute, cover with water and boil with a lid on for 15 minutes until the water is absorbed and the cous-cous is soft.
  6. In a frying pan dry-fry the almonds for a few minutes until they are turning brown, then roughly chop.
  7. Place the hot roasted vegetables and tofu in a serving dish.
  8. Mix the parsley in with the cous-cous and sprinkle over the vegetables. Scatter over the toasted almonds and splash a little sherry vinegar and a squeeze of lemon over the dish.
  9. Serve hot or at warm with a crisp chicory and orange salad.

Roasted Root Vegetables with Smoked Tofu and Almonds


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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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 or come along to one of our Italian classes.


Food photography by superstar Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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

Laksa Lemak is a Malay coconut and noodle soup from Malacca. It’s a meal in itself; very rich and spicy and best served in deep bowls with chopsticks and a spoon to slurp up the coconut broth.

Get the full recipe here: Laksa Lemak

A Beautiful Broth: Our Guide to Vegetable Stocks and Soups

In winter, soups are just so wholesome, simple and quick to prepare, plus they are frugal and great for using up leftovers. Soup is the perfect complete meal and the ultimate convenience food, as a bowl of soup can easily provide every nutritional requirement and component of a healthful and healing diet. Infinitely varied, no two batches need ever be the same, and it requires no fussy crockery or cutlery – in fact, it’s the original bowl food.

Soups feature in cuisines all around the world and show such a variety of ingredients, form, colour, consistency, temperature and accompanying garnishes. Every culture has its own take on this liquid dish, which is often prepared from basic foods like root vegetables, cereals and pulses. This reflects the long tradition of peasant-food soups and shows off the essential textures, colours and flavours of the plethora of plant-based foods available in our world marketplace.

Winter root vegetables are ideal for making soups, and you can add lentils and beans for a nutritious meal. You can choose your preferred texture too – silky smooth, thick and wholesome, or thin and brothy. While some soups taste far better than they look, they can be made into beautifully presented dishes with the addition of vibrant garnishes like fresh herbs, spring onions and chillies, accompaniments like chermoula or pesto, a drizzle of quality olive oil, roasted seeds, croutons, kale chips – or my favourite, cheese toasties.

However, the secret to a great soup always starts with a great stock, and the better your stock the better your broth will be. A broth is made with a clear stock, and the main difference between a stock and a broth is that a vegetable stock is unseasoned for cooking in a variety of dishes, whilst a broth is a seasoned stock that is ready to eat as it is. So essentially, a broth is a seasoned stock.

Stock making is quick and easy, and I recommend making basic stock, keeping it unsalted and using neutral flavours. This allows you to season it up to make your desired soup or stew. Homemade stock is so much better than shop-bought stock cubes or powder, which are over-salted and will give all your soups the same generic stock-cube flavour.


Basic Vegetable Stock

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 medium onion, quartered, skin left on
  • 2 carrots, cut in half
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in half1⁄4 fennel bulb
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 parsley stems
  • 8 whole black peppercorns

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 1 hour, until the vegetables are cooked and the stock has reduced by a quarter.
  2. Drain the stock into a colander over a heatproof bowl and discard the cooked vegetables. You should be left with golden clear stock which can be used immediately, will keep in the fridge for 3 days, or can be decanted into small plastic containers or freezer bags and frozen. 

Our Best Vegetarian Soup Recipes

Harira Moroccan Soup

Harira Moroccan Soup


West Country Broth with Cheddar and Mustard Toasts

West Country Broth with Cheddar and Mustard Toasts


Tom Yam with Shitake Mushrooms

Tom Yam Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms


Shitake Wontons with Green Jade Soup


Vegetable Stew with Mustard Herb Dumplings


For more inspiration, check out our Best Vegan Soups, Stews and Hotpots for Winter.

Mouthwatering photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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West Country Broth with Cheddar and Mustard Toast

This soup is our tribute to the wonderful ingredients you can find in England's West Country. We like to use local Sharpham Park Pearled Spelt, Midford Cider made in Bath and local cheddar: both Greens of Glastonbury and Godminster Vintage Cheddars are vegetarian and absolutely delicious. Of course, if you're not in the West Country, or even not in England, you can make this soup with ingredients that are local to you. 

The cheddar and mustard toasts aren't absolutely essential - the soup is delicious on its own - but they certainly make it all the more memorable!

West Country Broth with Cheddar and Mustard Toast

Serves 4

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 250g swede, peeled and chopped
  • Handful of kale or Cavolo Nero, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 400ml dry cider
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 75g pearled Spelt

For the toasts

  • 100g mature cheddar, grated
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp cider
  • 4 slices baguette or sourdough toasted

Method:

  1. Rinse the spelt, then place in a small saucepan with treble it’s volume of cold water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cook till only just tender which takes about 20 minutes. The spelt grain should retain some texture, as it will continue to swell once added to the vegetable broth.
  2. To make the soup: fry the onion in the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan until soft and just golden.
  3. Add the garlic and the leeks. Fry for a couple more minutes, and then add the carrots, and swede.
  4. Add the cider, bring to the boil then reduce the heat a little and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the vegetable stock with the bay leaves and simmer until the vegetables are tender for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Once the vegetables are nearly cooked, taste and season well with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the cooked spelt, kale or cavolo nero and chopped parsley and simmer for a further 5 minutes. You may want to add a little water if the broth is very thick.
  8. To make the toast: mix the grated cheddar with the mustard and enough cider to bind to a thick paste.
  9. Spread the slices of toast with the cheese mix and grill until bubbling and golden.
  10. Serve the soup as it is or topped with a Cheddar and Mustard Toast and parsley to garnish. 

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Harira Moroccan soup

Harira is a thick nourishing Moroccan soup with lentils and split chickpeas and is eaten as a warming snack. Hariria is served daily during Ramadan to break the fast, but you can enjoy this delicious vegan soup all throughout the year. We like to garnish ours with an herby chermoula paste. If you can’t find split chickpeas (available from Asian stores) use whole chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked for 1 hour in plenty of water. Drain and then add to the soup with the lentils. Or, easier still, use a tin of chickpeas and add them towards the end of the cooking.

Harira Moroccan Soup

Serves: 4 | Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 500g tomatoes, peeled and chopped (see how to peel tomatoes below, or use tinned tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of saffron, infused in 1 tablespoon of hot water
  • 100g red lentils
  • 100g chana dhal (split chickpeas)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (store bought or make your own - see recipe below)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Herb Chermoula

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1-2 tsp paprika
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander

Method:

  1. To make the soup, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a minute.
  2. Then add the tomatoes, tomato puree and all the spices and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the red lentils, chana dhal and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils and chana dhal are cooked, which takes about 30-45 minutes. You may need to add more water if the soup gets too thick.
  4. Add the lemon juice, lots of coriander and parsley and season to taste.
  5. To make the Chermoula, place the garlic and salt in a pestle and mortar and pound to a paste. Alternatively chop or grate the garlic as finely as possible, using the salt to help break it down into a paste.
  6. Mix in the rest of the ingredients adding enough olive oil to make a loose paste.
  7. Serve the soup with a generous teaspoon of Chermoula swirled through and more on the table for your guests to add extra.
     

Peeling tomatoes

Make a small slit in each tomato and place them in a heat proof bowl. Pour on boiling water and leave for 5 minutes. Take the tomatoes out of the water and peel off the skins.

Homemade stock is great for this soup but don’t be tempted to use any shop bought stock to cook pulses or beans, the salt in it will slow down their cooking.Homemade stock is great for this soup but don’t be tempted to use any shop bought stock to cook pulses or beans, the salt in it will slow down their cooking.

Basic Vegetable Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1.5litres water
  • 1 medium onion, quartered, skin left on
  • 2 carrots, cut in halves
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in halves
  • 1/4 of a fennel bulb
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 parsley stems
  • 8 whole black peppercorns

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan put in all the ingredients, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked & the stock has reduced by a quarter, which takes about 1 hour. Drain the stock into a heatproof bowl or another sauce pan through a colander and discard the cooked vegetables. You should be left with golden, clear stock which can be used immediately, will keep in the fridge for three days, or can be decanted into small Tupperware pots or freezer bags to use any time instead of processed stock.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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A Beautiful Broth, Vegetarian Living, February 2018

The February 2018 issue of Vegetarian Living is now available and features my latest column of seasonal cooking ideas, tips, recipes and more. This month is all that ultimate winter warmer: soups! Taking inspiration from Morocco, Thailand, and the West Country, this article features three flavour-packed, nourishing soups, including Tom yam with shiitake mushrooms. Plus top tips on making stock, the basis of the most flavourful soups and stews.

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

16 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. This is our update on our similar post from last year, with even more great recipes to make healthy eating deliciously easy.

We're also excited about the number of people taking on the Veganuary challenge this year. All 16 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:  

16 Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes for a Healthy New Year

Maple, Lime, and Chipotle Tempeh Tacos


Hot Pot Style Noodle Bowl


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


Peruvian Potato Stew


Spiced Cauliflower Steaks with Almond Aioli


Shitake Wontons with Green Jade Soup


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


Kimchi Stew with Tofu and Vegetables


Cauliflower Tabbouleh


Chickpea, Spelt, and Greens Hot Pot


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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Veganuary, Crumbs Magazine, January 2018

The January 2018 issue of Crumbs Magazine is entirely devoted to Veganuary, one of the biggest movements encouraging people to cut down on meat and boost their vegetable intake. Rachel Demuth served as guest editor of this issue, and also shares recipes and articles, including Hello Veganuary in which she discusses how the movement towards less meat and more veg is growing. 

Read the issue in full online: Veganuary, Crumbs Magazine, January 2018

Tom yam with shiitake mushrooms

Tom Yam is a hot and sour Thai soup. The base is Nam Prik, is chilli water and Phao means roasted. The base of the soup is called Nam Prik Phao (Nam Prik means 'chilli water' and Phao means 'roasted'). Traditional versions use shrimp paste but we've created a similar effect with roasted chillies, garlic, shallots, and tomato. The addition of tamarind adds that traditional sweet and sour flavour. Add to this lemon grass, lime leaves, galangal and chillies, and you have a soup that is all at once hot, sour, salty and sweet, essential flavours to Thai cooking.

Tom Yam with Shitake Mushrooms

Serves: 4 | Dietary: Vegan

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 litre Thai vegetable stock (see recipe below)
  • 1-2 tbsp Nam Prik Phao (see recipe below)
  • 1 tbsp lemon grass, finely sliced
  • 2 lime leaves, shredded
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 65g shitake mushrooms, shredded
  • 1 tomato, seeds removed and cut into strips
  • salt

Garnish

  • fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 spring onion sliced in rings
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to the boil, stir in enough Nam Prik Phao to your taste.
  2. Add all the other ingredients except the tomato and simmer gently until the mushrooms are just cooked for approx 6-8 minutes. Season to taste.
  3. Add the tomato strips just before serving. Serve in soup bowls, garnished with coriander leaves, spring onions and red chilli.

Thai Vegetable Stock

Dietary: Vegan

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, cut in halves
  • 2 celery stalks, cut in halves
  • 4 coriander stems
  • 4 dried shitake mushrooms
  • half a sheet of kombu seaweed
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 1 quill lemon grass, bruised
  • thumb sized piece of galangal
  • 8 whole black peppercorns

Method

  1. In a large saucepan put in all the ingredients, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked and the stock has reduced by a quarter, which takes about 1 hour.

Nam Prik Phao

Dietary: Vegan

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 small green chillies, de-stalked
  • 4 small red chillies, destalked
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp shoyu
  • 1 tsp palm sugar

Method

  1. Wrap the chillies, garlic, shallots and tomato in silver foil and place under a grill or in a hot oven and grill or roast until they soften.
  2. Soak the tamarind paste in a 100ml of boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Squeeze the pulp with your fingers to dissolve it, then strain, pressing the pulp through a strainer, retain the liquid and discard the fibrous bits and seeds.
  3. Unwrap the roasted chilli mix and place in a mortar and pound to a paste.
  4. Add the tamarind water, lime juice, shoyu and palm sugar and mix to a smooth sauce.

Tips: Tamarind has a sour flavour with a sweet aftertaste. In South East Asia and India it is used in the same way as lemon juice to sour and to bring out the flavour in food. Tamarind paste is extracted from the pods of the tropical tree Tamarindus indica. You can buy tamarind in blocks, which look rather like squashed dates. To extract the pulp, break off a chunk from the tamarind block, cover with just enough hot water and leave to soak, then squeeze out the pulp and discard the fibre and seeds.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Vegetarian and Vegan New Years Eve Party Ideas

We believe that New Year celebrations are all about trying new things. Let go of the old favourites, push the boundaries, and climb out of your cozy comfort zone. At the cookery school we've been having great fun coming up with new vegetarian and vegan recipes perfect for celebrations. (The office staff say that they enjoy our recipe testing days the best, and for good reason!)

Much of the fun with food surrounding New Year is in the good fortune traditions and special foods symbolizing good health, happiness and prosperity for the New Year. Fruit, vegetables, beans and grains feature strongly in these traditions:

  • In Greece a pomegranate is smashed on the ground in front of the front door, the redder the colour signifies a healthy heart and the more bountiful the seed represents prosperity. Turkey also welcomes in the New Year with pomegranates.
  • The Chinese and Japanese slurp on ‘long life’ noodles that are very long and mustn’t be broken when cooking and then are slurped up so that they don’t break when eating.
  • Italians eat lentils for wealth as the lentils’ shape resembles Roman coins and also as they cook they plump up symbolizing growing wealth.
  • In Southern United States black-eyed beans are eaten to remember frugality from the Civil war and to herald in an abundant year.
  • In Scotland a Black Bun is baked which is a very dark rich dried fruit and black treacle pudding incased in pastry.
  • The number "12" is also significant. One New Year my Spanish relatives had me standing on one foot and eating a grape for each stroke of Midnight, hoping every grape would be sweet, a bitter grape would forecast a bad month. It is surprisingly difficult to eat 12 grapes so quickly! (As an alternative observation, you could decorate your table with 12 oranges or 12 pomegranates.)

A New Year’s Eve party might be the last indulgence before setting off on some New Year good intentions, such as going vegan with Veganuary or staying off the alcohol for dry January.

New Year’s Eve small eats have to sparkle and be novel food, an antidote to heavy rich Christmas food. Choose food to enliven your palate, curiously tasting food with interesting flavours that you haven’t tried before, quirky ideas to tickle your sense of humour and they must of course taste delicious too.

They also have to be filling enough to soak up the alcohol especially if you are just serving small eats and nibbles throughout the evening.

Just as important as the small eats are the drinks so make sure that they are vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Sparkling wine will be on the menu for sure and it is fun to flavour it up, this year we have gone for our favourite Italian tipple Aperol or you could add liquor such as cassis or raspberry or make a Bellini with peach puree. In Scotland Pictish ale flavoured with heather that was drunk in Neolithic times has been revived to drink on Hogmanay.

Make sure you have non-alcoholic drinks too. Our choice is mulled apple juice.

This year we're featuring our favourite recipes for small eats. They are more substantial than canapés and would be best served on small plates, as they are bigger than a mouthful.

We’ve gone for unusual flavours with liquid smoke to mimic smoked salmon in our carrot gravalax. Truffle oil in the celeriac puree and iridescent pickled cauliflower and quirky mini baked potatoes filled with indulgent chanterelles and topped with shavings of truffles.

Try them out at your New Year's Eve feast and let us know how they go down! 

Our Top Vegetarian and Vegan New Years Eve Party Ideas

Celeriac Medallions with Truffled Puree, Roasted and Pickled Cauliflower


Vegan Gravlax with Smokey Carrots and Almond Cream Oatcakes


Roasted Small Potatoes with Chanterelles


Roasted Beetroot, Cream Cheese and Hazelnut Tartlets


Roasted Chillies Stuffed with Cashew Cheese


Indian Spiced Rostis with 3 Chutneys


Spicy Apricot Koftas


Mini Masala Dosas


Sweetcorn Fritters


Celeriac and Potato Rostis


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Our Best Christmas Recipes of 2017

Every year at Demuths we develop a new range of vegan and vegetarian Christmas recipes to teach on our festive courses. From festive canapés to showstopper main dishes to perfect puddings, we love developing Christmas recipes to help you and us celebrate the best time of the year. Here's our round-up of new festive recipes for 2017. We hope you'll give them a try! 

And for more inspiring ideas for your holiday menu, check out our huge archive of vegetarian and vegan Christmas recipes.

Vegetarian Canapés

Roasted Small Potatoes with Chanterelles


Vegan Gravlax with Smokey Carrots and Almond Cream Oatcakes


Celeriac Medallions with Truffled Puree, Roasted and Pickled Cauliflower


 Festive Vegetarian Starters

Sweet Potato, Chestnut and Sesame Balls with Cranberry Relish


Parsnip Fritters with Winter Slaw and Yoghurt Dressing


Roasted Beetroot, Cream Cheese and Hazelnut Tartlets


Vegetarian Christmas Main Dishes

Festive Filo Rotolo


Christmas Tofu Wreath


Vegetarian Christmas Terrine


Our Star Vegan Pudding

White Chocolate, Orange, Pistachio Vegan Puddings


What's on your Christmas menu? Let us know in the comments!

All food photography except for the pudding is by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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White Chocolate, Orange, Pistachio Vegan Puddings

This Christmas we enjoyed these lighter but equally sumptuous vegan alternative to traditional Christmas puddings. You can make them with dark chocolate instead of white chocolate. For advance preparation, these puddings can be frozen. Un-mould them when they are still warm and freeze them on a tray. Allow to defrost fully and warm through in the oven before serving.

White Chocolate, Orange, Pistachio Vegan Puddings

Dietary: Vegan

Serves 6 – makes 6 individual puddings

Ingredients:

  • 100g vegan margarine
  • 75g golden caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 150ml dairy free yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • Zest and juice of ½ an orange
  • 3 tbsp Cointreau/orange brandy
  • ½ tsp cider vinegar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Grating of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 80g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 50g unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g white chocolate, finely chopped
  • Extra maple syrup and pistachios for decoration

Method

  1. Grease 6 x150ml pudding bowls and place a circle of baking parchment in the bottom of each pudding bowl.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160CFan.
  3. Mix the dairy free yoghurt with the ground flax seeds, orange juice and zest, Cointreau and cider vinegar. Leave to sit for 10 minutes to allow the flax seeds to activate.
  4. Cream the margarine, sugar and maple syrup together for a minute until light.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, spices and pinch of salt.
  6. Whisk the yoghurt mixture in with the creamed margarine and sugar.
  7. Whisk in the sifted flour mixture until smooth, like a pancake batter.
  8. Fold in the breadcrumbs, ground pistachios and almonds and the white chocolate.
  9. Mix quickly until smooth, then spoon the mixture into the pudding bowls, until each is 3/4 full.
  10. Bake the small pudding bowls for 20-30 minutes until puffed up and firm to the touch. 
  11. Turn out and serve with a drizzle of maple syrup, orange cream and a sprinkling of pistachios.

Tips: To make orange cream mix dairy free yoghurt or cream with maple syrup and Cointreau to taste. 

​Roasted Small Potatoes with Chanterelles

These stuffed roasted small potatoes make a tasty canapé, but would also work well as a main course served in larger baked potatoes for an indulgent supper. Chanterelles aren’t the easiest mushrooms to find, so feel free to substitute with other flavoursome mushrooms such as oyster, shitake, or even chestnut mushrooms.

Roasted Small Potatoes with Chanterelles

Makes 12 | Dietary: Gluten-free, Vegan option

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 small potatoes, washed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 100g Chanterelle Mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 banana shallot, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 100ml Creme fraiche or soya cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives plus extra for garnishing
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional extra: black truffle shavings

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Put the clean potatoes into a roasting tray with the olive oil, and rub them well to coat. Sprinkle with the coarse sea salt and rosemary. Roast for 30-40 minutes until cooked through.
  3. Gently clean the mushrooms with a brush and remove any dirt. Trim the stalks leaving as much intact as possible. Tear into 2 or 3 pieces, keeping the mushroom shape.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, fry the shallot until golden, then add the garlic and quickly stir-fry.
  5. Stir in the mushrooms, season lightly, and cook over a high heat for 3 minutes. As they are cooking the mushrooms release their liquid content and then will turn golden and crispy. When the liquid has come out stir in the crème fraîche or soya cream.
  6. Stir in the chives and season to taste.
  7. To assemble, cut a nick in the top of each potato while it’s still hot. Squeeze gently to open and gently prise apart slightly. Scoop a teaspoon of the potato out to make room for the filling.
  8. Spoon a generous teaspoon of the mushroom mixture into the cavity, and sprinkle with a little extra chives.
  9. Fill all the potatoes then finish with a shaving of black truffle if using. Serve while hot.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Vegan Gravlax with Smokey Carrots and Almond Cream Oatcakes

This is Lydia’s vegan version of gravlax using carrots instead of salmon. The method of ‘curing’ very thinly sliced carrot gives an uncanny likeness to smoked salmon without the fish flavour. We’ve served ours with an almond cream but you could use a regular dairy cream cheese or soft goats cheese.

Tips: You could use pumpernickel or rye sourdough bread instead of the oatcakes. For gluten free buy gluten free oatcakes. This recipe would make fantastic vegan bagels for a special brunch or lunch. The smoky carrot would also be great served with scrambled tofu for a great vegan breakfast.

Vegan Gravlax with Smokey Carrots and Almond Cream Oatcakes

Makes approx 16 | Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free option

Prep time: 45 minutes plus soaking almonds overnight | Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

Smoky Marinade:

  • 2 tbsp shoyu
  • 1-2 tsp liquid smoke or sweet smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Small piece of kelp
  • 4 juniper berries crushed
  • 1 tsp sugar or maple syrup
  • 50 ml water
  • 2 large fat carrots
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 3 tbsp dill, chopped finely

Almond cream:

  • 100g skinned almonds, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp dried garlic powder or 1 small clove fresh garlic crushed to a smooth paste
  • ½ lemon zested and juiced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp chopped capers
  • Oat cakes for serving

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place all the marinade ingredients in a small pan and heat gently.
  3. Slice the carrots very thinly into fat ribbons with a sharp knife, mandolin or speed peeler.
  4. Place in a dish and pour over the hot marinade. Mix through thoroughly to coat the carrot well.
  5. Take a large sheet of foil and lay a sheet of baking parchment the same size on top.
  6. Tip out the carrots onto one half of the parchment with the marinade. Lay them as flat as possible so they aren’t folded or tangled.
  7. Fold over both the foil and parchment, and close all the edges by rolling inward and pinching to seal.
  8. Place the foil package onto a baking tray, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Set aside to cool.
  9. To make the almond cream, drain the soaked almonds and place in a blender with the other ingredients. Blend until very smooth, adding a little water if necessary. You are aiming for a thick smooth consistency similar to Greek yoghurt. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  10. Place the chopped dill onto a plate.
  11. Drizzle the carrot slices with the lemon juice then take a slice and dip both the long edges into the dill. Place onto a tray, and repeat with the remaining carrot slices.
  12. To serve: spread a teaspoon of almond cream onto an oatcake then drape or curl a carrot slice on top attractively. Add a few chopped capers and place onto your serving plate. Repeat with the remaining carrot slices.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Celeriac Medallions with Truffled Puree, Roasted and Pickled Cauliflower

These vegan and gluten free celeriac medallions are the perfect part canapé. They're a little fiddly to make but so delicious and attractive for a special occasion. We’ve made them as a canapé, but you could make larger sized medallions for a lovely dinner starter. Each step of the preparation can be done up to two days in advance, so can be heated and assembled last minute. Try to find prettily coloured cauliflowers if you can as they make all the difference to the appearance, but if not, you could add turmeric or beetroot to the pickle marinade to add colour. If you don’t have truffle oil you can use a fruity olive oil, a walnut or hazelnut oil. And for more inspiration, check out our post on Vegetarian Canapés and Party Nibbles

Celeriac Medallions with Truffled Puree, Roasted and Pickled Cauliflower

Makes 12 small biscuit sized canapés | Dietary: Vegan, Gluten free

Prep time: 45 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cauliflower weighing approx 400g (or for extra impact, use 2 or 3 coloured varieties such as orange, purple and green)
  • 1 large celeriac
  • 100ml water from steaming or veg stock
  • 1-2 tbsp truffle oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped pistachios or hazelnuts

Pickle marinade:

  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed lightly
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • ½ lemon, zest and juice
  • Optional: ⅛ tsp turmeric or beetroot powder

Method:

Prepare the pickle:

  1. Make the pickle marinade by placing the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and heating gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add in all the other ingredients and the turmeric if you want a marinade that turns the cauliflower yellow or beetroot powder for a purple marinade.

Prepare the cauliflower:

  1. Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Take one of the quarters, cut into florets and either slice thinly with a mandolin or very sharp knife. You will find that as you slice, there will be fragments that will break off that you can set aside to steam and purée later. Keep the better shaped slices for pickling.
  2. Place the slices into the pickle marinade and leave for a minimum of an hour. If you have time you can prepare this the day before.
  3. Place another quarter of uncooked cauliflower onto a roasting tray. Break it into small florets and then into smaller pea sized pieces, then drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil to lightly coat. Roast for 10 minutes in a hot oven (200°C) until golden and slightly charred in places. Set aside.
  4. Steam the rest of the cauliflower including any trimmings and stalk for 8-10 minutes until tender and set aside for making into the puree. Keep the water from the steaming pan.

Prepare the celeriac:

  1. Peel the celeriac and slice into 1.5 cm slices. Place in a steamer or colander sitting above a saucepan of simmering water with a lid, and steam for 8-10 minutes or until tender. You may need to do this in batches unless you have a large chinese two tiered bamboo steamer.
  2. Place the cooked celeriac on a board and cut out small rounds with a biscuit cutter or into triangles if you prefer a rustic look. Set aside to cool. Keep the trimmings for the purée.
  3. To make the purée, place the steamed celeriac trimmings and steamed cauliflower in a blender with 100ml of the cooking water.
  4. Blend till very smooth, adding more water if necessary, but keeping the purée thick.
  5. Add 1 tbsp of truffle oil and ¼ tsp salt. Blend again then taste and adjust the seasoning and truffle oil if needed. Transfer the puree to a small saucepan.
  6. When you are ready to serve the canapés, heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a frying pan.
  7. Fry the celeriac rounds until crisp and golden on both sides. Blot on kitchen towel.
  8. Heat the purée gently.

Assemble

  1. To assemble, place the celeriac rounds onto a serving plate.
  2. Top with a teaspoon of the purée, then a few pieces of roasted cauliflower.
  3. Carefully place a few slices of the pickled cauliflower on top followed by a sprinkle of chopped pistachio nuts. Serve immediately.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Christmas Tofu Wreath

For the ultimate Christmas showstopper you'd be hard pressed to find something more outstanding than this vegan pastry "wreath" filled with savoury tofu and brandied chestnuts. Our favourite vegan festive traditional centre piece is full of umami flavours, the perfect replacement to a turkey at Christmas, served with all the trimmings it has a real ‘wow’ factor and can be made well in advance.

Top tips

  • The wreath can be made a day or two in advance and baked off directly from the fridge. Once baked you can turn the oven down to 130C to keep it warm until ready to serve.
  • The wreath can be made without the pastry decoration for a gluten free variation, just use tamari instead of shoyu. Keeps for 4 days in the fridge once baked, fantastic thinly sliced in a sandwich or as part of a cold buffet.

And for more holiday cooking inspiration, check out our vegetarian Christmas recipe collection!

Christmas Tofu Wreath with Brandied Mushroom Chestnut Filling

Serves: 8 | Dietary: vegan, gluten free option

Prep time: 2 1/2 hours (including pressing and chilling time) | Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1200g tofu (3x400g cauldron packs)
  • (wrap the tofu blocks in a teatowel and press with a heavy weight overnight in the fridge to remove the excess liquid)
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (untoasted)
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 8 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 recipe of brandied mushroom chestnut filling
  • 1 recipe of shoyu glaze
  • 1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil if vegan for brushing onto pastry

Method

  1. Blend the garlic with the salt, black pepper, sesame oil, lemon juice and zest, add 1 pack of the tofu and the nutritional yeast to make a smooth paste. Mash this blend in with the rest of the tofu. Easiest to mash it all up really well with your hands, so the flavour is evenly dispersed and the mixture is not too lumpy.
  2. Line a 10 inch/25cm diameter ring mould with a large square of muslin, leaving plenty of overhang around the outside. Press the tofu into the mould and fold the muslin over the top. Weight it down by placing a heavy chopping board or large pan on top to compact the tofu, place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. While the tofu is being pressed make the mushroom filling.
  3. Scoop the middle out of the tofu ring, making a trough and fill it in with the mushroom filling. Press the scooped-out tofu back on top, which should be slightly domed up above the top of the ring mould, then press again with the weight and place the ring back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. While the tofu is being pressed make the shoyu glaze.
  5. Turn the tofu out onto a large tray lined with baking parchment and remove the muslin. Brush the shoyu glaze all over, it should be thick enough to adhere to the tofu without dripping. Chill the tofu again in the fridge again while you prepare the pastry.
  6. Unroll the puff pastry and cut 3/4 of it into long 1cm wide strips. Cut the remaining pastry with shaped cutters, we used holly leaf and star shapes, but you can use any shapes you’d like to give a Christmassy look.
  7. Keep the pastry chilled, taking each strip directly from the fridge as you go to make it easier to work with. You might not want to use the whole pack of pastry if you want a lighter look to the lattice effect, you can also try cutting different shaped strips and get creative with the pattern.
  8. Lay the pastry strips across the ring of tofu, criss-crossing to create a lattice affect, trimming the ends as needed. Twist a few strips and lay them along the top following the line of the ring and lay some around the base to line both the inner and outer edges of the ring. Finally decorate the wreath with the holly leaves and stars, placing them particularly over the joins of pastry.
  9. Brush the pastry with olive oil.
  10. Bake in the oven at 180CFan/200C/GasMark6 for 40 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and is a deep golden colour.
  11. Decorate with fresh bay leaves, fresh rosemary and frozen cranberries to give a festive look

Shoyu Glaze

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (untoasted)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp shoyu (1 tbsp tamari if gluten free)
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Method

Boil together for a few minutes to reduce and thicken. Allow to cool before brushing onto the wreath.

Brandied Mushroom and Chestnut filling

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, chopped very finely
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 125g cooked chestnuts, crumbled
  • 75ml white wine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brandy
  • 1/2 tbsp shoyu (1 tsp tamari if gluten free)
  • 1/4 tsp herb de provence
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Fry the onion in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for a minute, then add the mushrooms and fry until they have released their juices, add the wine and brandy and cook out of a minute
  3. Then add the chestnuts, shoyu, herbs and black pepper.
  4. Cook gently, until the liquid has been absorbed and the mixture is thick and not wet.
  5. Add the parsley and season with salt and plenty of black pepper to taste.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Party Favours, Vegetarian Living, January 2018

The January 2018 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 New Years Eve entertaining! Featured recipes include smoky carrot and almond cream oatcakes, roasted small potatoes with chanterelles, and celeriac medallions with truffled puree, roasted and pickled cauliflower. All designed to add a touch of sparkle to your New Year's Eve gathering. 

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

Vegetarian Christmas Terrine

Our Vegetarian Christmas Terrine is a great make-ahead option for the holidays and an absolutely stunning centrepiece. Layers of carrots, parsnip, red peppers, and cashews are augmented with fresh sage and strong cheddar. Serve it hot from the oven alongside stir-fried greens such as kale, cavolo nero, and purple sprouting broccoli.You can also serve it at room temperature or cold for a buffet or thinly sliced as a starter.

Better still, this terrine can be made up to 2 days in advance and warmed through on Christmas day. Details are given in the recipe below. 

And for more holiday cooking inspiration, check out our vegetarian Christmas recipe collection!

Vegetarian Christmas Terrine

Dietary: gluten free | Serves: 8

Prep time: 1 1/2 hours | Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 red peppers
  • 350g carrots, peeled, 1 cm dice
  • 350g parsnip, peeled, 1 cm dice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, left in their skins
  • 4 sprigs sage
  • 100g strong cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g cashew nuts, roasted and ground
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp mixture of flaked almonds and seeds: sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, flax
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns for decoration

Method:

  1. Cut the peppers in half and place skin side up under a hot grill until the skins blister and blacken a little. Place them in a bowl and cover in cling film, leave until cool, then peel off the skins.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 170CFan/190C/GasMark5.
  3. Place the carrots and parsnips in 2 separate roasting tins with a drizzle of olive oil, whole garlic cloves and sage. Cover loosely with foil and roast for 45 minutes until soft. Remove the sage and squeeze the garlic out of its skin.
  4. Place the parsnips in one bowl and the carrots in another bowl.
  5. Blend each vegetable with half of the Dijon mustard, cheese and egg yolks.
  6. The parsnip mixture will need 2 to 3 tbsp of water to achieve a soft enough texture to blend well. Once smooth stir the ground cashews and chopped parsley into each mixture.
  7. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
  8. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.
  9. Fold half the egg whites into each vegetable mixture.
  10. Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment and brush with olive oil.
  11. Cover the bottom with the seed mixture.
  12. Spread the carrot mixture into the tin and make level, then put in a layer of the red peppers, followed by the parsnip mixture.
  13. Bake in the oven at 170CFan/190C/GasMark5 for 40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and cover loosely with foil if the top is colouring too much.
  14. The terrine is ready when its firm to the touch, coming away from the sides slightly and golden on top.
  15. Leave the terrine to cool slightly to finish setting, then turn out and serve.
  16. Once turned out the terrine can be covered in foil and kept warm in a low oven at 130C until ready to serve.

This terrine can be made up to 2 days in advance and warmed through on the day. Or freeze the terrine once baked for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating through in the oven. Reheat for 40 minutes at 170C, covering with foil as needed.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Mulled Apple Juice

Mulled Apple Juice

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 litre quality apple juice (we like Bradley’s)

½ orange

½ lemon

4 cloves

2 sticks Cinnamon

¼ piece of nutmeg

Optional: 2-4 tbsp Maple syrup, honey or sugar

Method

Pour the apple juice into a saucepan and place over a medium heat.

Thinly peel the zest of both the orange and lemon and add to the saucepan with the spices. Simmer gently for 10 minutes to infuse the flavours.

Slice the orange and cut into halves or quarters.

Taste and sweeten if necessary with maple syrup.

Serve warm in glasses or cups with a slice of orange.

Sweet Potato, Chestnut and Sesame Balls with Cranberry Relish

Our sweet potato, chestnut and sesame balls are a fun and festive dish that take the humble sweet potato to a whole new level! Served with cranberry relish, these make for a wonderful starter or side dish, particularly alongside our festive filo rotolo. Better still, they're vegan and gluten free which means everyone at your holiday party can enjoy these with gusto!  

Sweet Potato, Chestnut and Sesame Balls

Serves: 8 (makes 24 balls) | Dietary: vegan, gluten-free

Prep time: 1 hour | Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500g sweet potato (approx. 2 medium)
  • 120g cooked chestnuts, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp tahini
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp gram flour (sifted)
  • 4 tbsp white sesame seeds for rolling
  • olive oil for roasting

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180CFan/200C/GasMark6.
  2. Roast the sweet potato whole in their skins in the oven for about 40 minutes until soft. Leave to cool then peel and mash, weigh out 450g of cooked mashed sweet potato.
  3. Chop the chestnuts well with a knife, leaving a few larger pieces for texture.
  4. Mix the chopped chestnuts with the sweet potato, chopped garlic, tahini, ground cumin and coriander, sage, parsley and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Mix in the gram flour.
  6. Shape into 24 small balls and roll each one in sesame seeds.
  7. Place on an oiled lined tray, drizzle more oil over the top and bake for 15 minutes until golden.
  8. Serve with cranberry relish.

Cranberry Relish

Serves: 8 | Dietary: vegan, gluten free

Prep time: 5 minutes| Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 225g fresh cranberries
  • 150ml water
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 100g caster sugar
  • ½ lemon, peel and juice

Method:

  1. Place the cranberries in a saucepan with 150ml water
  2. Add the spices and lemon peel and bring to the boil, simmer slowly until about half the berries have popped. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often until all the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Serve cold.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Vegetarian Canapés and Party Nibbles

Colourful canapés are a great way to start a party. We've been getting creative with  vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free canapés with a view towards creating irresistible party nibbles that are both beautiful and delicious. A great canapé should be as fun to look at as they are to eat. While the recipes below are guest-approved, we also encourage you to embrace seasonal veg and add your own little touches.


Parsnip Fritters

When it comes to crafting a beautiful dish purely out of winter vegetables, it really doesn't get better than these parsnip fritters with a colourful raw winter slaw and a yoghurt dill sauce. We use Panko breadcrumbs to achieve a lovely crisp coating on the parsnips. The same coating also works well with celeriac, carrot, and cauliflower. 

Parsnip Fritters with Winter Slaw and Yoghurt Dressing


Roasted Beetroot, Cream Cheese and Hazelnut Tartlets

These festive beetroot tartlets are perfect for a party. They're easy to put together, look beautiful on the plate, and most importantly, are undeniably delicious! Our recipe makes 8 tartlets, the perfect size for a starter, but you can also make them slightly smaller and serve as canapés.

Roasted Beetroot, Cream Cheese and Hazelnut Tartlets


Sweet Potato, Chestnut, and Sesame Balls

Our sweet potato, chestnut and sesame balls are a fun and festive dish that take the humble sweet potato to a whole new level! Served with cranberry relish, these make for a wonderful starter or side dish. Better still, they're vegan and gluten free which means everyone at your holiday party can enjoy these with gusto!

Sweet Potato, Chestnut, and Sesame Balls with Cranberry Relish


Indian Spiced Rostis (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Indian Spiced Rostis with 3 chutneys

We often like to make mini rostis as party canapés and this time we've added some Indian inspiration to the mix. Cumin seeds, curry powder, and turmeric combine to make an Indian spice version of our favourite rostis. Serve with a range of chutneys for the perfect party snack. 

Get the recipe: Indian Spiced Rostis


Spicy Apricot Koftas (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Vegetarian Apricot Koftas

These vegetarian Middle Eastern koftas are spicy with sweet undertones and finished with tahini and pomegranate. The little gem lettuce leaf boats make them easy to eat too!

Get the recipe: Spicy Apricot Koftas


Thai Tofu Balls (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Thai Tofu Balls

The idea for this recipe comes from traditional Thai fish balls, but made with tofu instead of fish. With the rice flour as our as a binder they hold together beautifully and look unique with lemongrass stalks as skewers. We’ve placed them on squares of banana leaf for that added Thai feel.

Get the recipe: Thai Tofu Balls


Mini Masala Dosas (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Mini Masala Dosas

A Masala Dosa is a pancake filled with spiced potatoes and often served with chutney. In India, dosas are often made at the front of cafes for breakfast; the chefs have a knack of making them thin, crisp and huge, then deftly wrapping them around a filling. This is our quick version made canapé style with the spiced potatoes rolled up with three chutneys.

Get the recipe: Mini Masala Dosas


Celeriac and Potato Rostis (Vegan and Gluten Free)

Celeriac and Potato Rostis

These celeriac and potato rostis make a superb vegetarian canapé for special occasions and dinner parties. We love to serve them as bite sized party food on top of griddled sourdough rounds and topped with caper berries and blue cheese.

Get the recipe: Celeriac and Potato Rostis


Tricolour Bread Swirls (Vegan)

Vegetarian Tricolour Pastry Swirls with Pesto and Tapenade

A pastry swirl rolled up with your filling of choice - we like watercress and walnut pesto, but olive tapenade also works a treat.

Get the recipe: Tricolour Bread Swirls


Homemade Labna Cheese (Gluten Free)

Homemade Labna Balls rolled in herbs

Labna is essentially cheese made out of strained yoghurt. Once strained, the thick yoghurt can be rolled into balls and coated with colourful herbs, dukkah, or paprika. Serve alongside crisp bread or with a drizzle of olive oil and sprigs of fresh herbs.  

Get the recipe: Homemade Labna Cheese


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Bath Christmas Foodie Gift Guide, Crumbs Magazine, November 2017

We're delighted to be featured in Crumbs Magazine's 2017 Bath Christmas Foodie Gift Guide alongside some of the best foodie destinations in Bath.

The best thing about buying someone a cookery course is that they’ll feel indebted to cook for you. Demuths vegetarian cookery school have anything from creative vegan courses to photography, with evening classes starting at £65. We recommend the vegan fast and delicious course!

Click here to read the full article online.

Catering For Vegans, Essentially Catering Magazine, November 2017

Demuths is delighted to be featured in the 2017 Christmas issue of Essentially Catering Magazine. The article includes Rachel's tips on catering for vegans and our winning recipe for vegan sticky toffee pudding.

Click here to read the article online.

Festive Filo Rotolo

Our festive filo rotolo is an adaption of an Italian dish, traditionally made with pasta (rotolo means "roll"). We've used filo in our recipe and stuffed it with a combination of winter squash, spinach, roasted walnuts, and artichokes, for a delicious vegetarian centrepiece for Christmas lunch. You can serve it as a main course alongside roast heritage carrots, or slice it thinly and serve as a starter. The rotolo can be cooked straight away and reheated on the day, or make up to a day in advance and bake off on the day. You can also make it in stages, make the fillings up a day or two in advance, then assemble it bake off on the day. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before cooking then bake off as per instructions.

The recipe consists of three sub recipes follow by steps for assembling the rotolo, plus decoration if you'd like (it is Christmas after all!). 

Festive Filo Rotolo

Serves: 8 | Dietary: Vegan option

Prep time: 1 1/2 hours | Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of jus roll filo pastry (7 sheets)
  • Melted butter (or olive oil if vegan) to brush the pastry
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

Roasted Squash filling

  • 1 medium squash (approx 700g weight when prepped)
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 6 stems of thyme
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ egg yolks (or 1 tbsp gram flour if vegan)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170CFan/190C/gas 5
  2. Chop the squash into cubes of approximately 1 cm, dress with the olive oil and the thyme. Halve the garlic through the middle and place, cut side down, on the baking tray with the squash. Grind the pink peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and stir into the squash. Roast for 30-40 minutes until the squash is soft and starting to caramelise at the edges, stir it a few times during cooking. While the squash is roasting prepare the spinach and the artichoke fillings.
  3. Once the squash is cooked, remove any thyme stalks and squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and roughly mash it into the squash. Taste and season with salt, then mix in the egg yolks.

Spinach with mustard seeds and feta

  • 250g bag of spinach
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • Grated nutmeg (to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 100g feta roughly crumbled (dairy or plant based)
  • ½ egg yolk (or ½ tbsp gram flour if vegan)

Method

  1. Wash the spinach in a colander and whilst still wet put in a saucepan with a lid. Heat gently, stirring often until the spinach starts to wilt, then put on the lid for a couple of minutes so the spinach is all wilted. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and squeeze out as much liquid as you can with the back of a spoon. Meanwhile heat the oil in the same saucepan which you wilted the spinach in and add the mustard seeds and nutmeg. When the seeds begin to pop add the squeezed spinach and stir well. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the feta and egg yolk or gram flour.

Roasted walnuts with artichokes

  • 50g walnut halves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp Maldon salt
  • 100g artichoke hearts
  • A small handful of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  • In a baking tray toss the walnut halves in the olive oil and add the smoked paprika and salt. Roast at 170CFan/190C/GasMark5 for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then break up the walnuts in a pestle and mortar.
  • Chop the artichokes and the flat leaf parsley finely and then stir them into the walnuts. Squeeze on the lemon and stir well. Add salt to taste.

Construct the rotolo

  1. Place a large piece of tin foil on a work surface
  2. On top of the foil place a sheet of filo placed in landscape position, brush with oil or butter. Lay a second sheet above the first with a 10cm overlap. Brush the second sheet with oil or butter. Sprinkle the sesame seeds all over the filo.
  3. Layer two more whole sheets of filo pastry on top in the same way, then another two. Make sure you brush oil or butter in between each layer. Place the last sheet of filo in the bottom position and brush with oil or butter.
  4. Spread the roasted squash over the central area of the bottom piece of filo into a rectangle sized 30cm long and 15cm wide.
  5. Spread the spinach evenly over the surface of the squash leaving a margin of 1cm of squash clear top and bottom.
  6. Place the artichoke mixture down the middle on top of the spinach mixture in a long sausage shape.
  7. Working carefully, and using the foil to help you roll, start to roll up the Rotolo. Make sure the artichoke stays as a central sausage shape and the squash mixture meets to create a round shape. Roll half way up the filo length. Gently and loosely tuck in both ends to seal in the fillings, folding the filo in by 5cm up the length of the filo, then continue to roll up the length. When you come to the end of the filo you should have a tidy round sausage shape.
  8. Position the rotolo using the foil to lift it onto a baking tray. Bake at 170CFan for 40 minutes until golden. Check after 20 and 30 minutes, you may need to cover parts of the filo loosely with the foil as it may brown unevenly depending on your oven. If its browning all over too quickly, turn the oven down by 10 degrees for the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.

For decoration

  • 8 pecans
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 12 large dried cranberries
  • a few sprigs of thyme, sage and rosemary

Method

  1. Place the pecans and maple syrup in a small saucepan, boil the maple syrup to reduce and thicken so the pecans are evenly coated, tip the pecans out onto parchment to cool down.
  2. Decorate the top of the filo roll once it comes out of the oven with the cranberries, pecans, fresh thyme, rosemary and sage leaves.


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Winter Squash Tips and Recipes

We just can't get enough of wonderful winter squash at the moment. We're lucky to have Mike Eades just up the road on the hills overlooking Bath who supplies us with the most beautiful variety of winter squash in all their marvellous shapes and sizes. Most supermarkets stock Butternut, but there's a whole world of winter squashes out there: Crown Prince, Kabocha, and Onion squash, just to name a few. It's hard to beat the beautiful glow of their flesh. And you'll find that many of these more exotic winter squashes have a deeper, nuttier, richer flavour than Butternut Squash. 

To help you take advantage of the world of winter squash, we've put together our top tips and tasty recipes for making the most of them. Read on!

What to look for when buying winter squash

For those lucky enough to have space to grow squash, they can rampage all over your garden and they like to grow in rich fertile ground with lots of compost. Pick the squash when the leaves have begun to die down, as then the squash will be fully ripe.

The best places to buy winter squash are in farmers markets, where in season there will be a great choice. Choose ones that are not too big and are firm to the touch. Supermarkets sell butternut squash all the year round and often a selection of squash in the Autumn.

Different varieties of winter squash and their different uses

Squashes and pumpkins are varieties of the Cucurbita family and divide into two types: summer and winter. The skin of summer varieties, such as courgettes, is thin and will not store, while winter squashes have a hard skin and will store for months in a cool dark place so they can be stored well into the New Year.

Among my select winter squashes are the onion squash, which is shaped liked a giant onion and has fluorescent orange skin with bright orange flesh. I also like the Crown Prince, which is pale blue/green and shaped like a flying saucer with paler orange flesh. There's also the Kabocha, which is smaller, knobbly, dark green with pale green stripes and dense sweet orange flesh. And of course, the Turks Turban (pictured below), the most exotic looking!

Tips on how to prepare winter squash

Hard skins mean winter squashes are not so easy to peel, so it’s easier to roast them with the skin on and then scoop out the soft flesh when cooked. Or simply cut into slices and roast with the skin on, as the roasted skin is surprisingly tender and delicious. One exception is butternut squash, which does have a thin enough skin to peel with a sharp peeler.

Be very careful when you slice squash as the skin can be very hard to cut through, use a large knife on a solid chopping board, first cut each squash in half and slice off the stem, scoop out the seeds and then cut crescent moon shaped slices.

Cooking methods and raw methods with winter squash

Roasting is by far better than boiling as it intensifies the flavour of the squash.

Add squash to stews and curries as it takes up the strong spices really well.

Squash is delicious raw too and with the craze for spiralising, it work a treat and look beautiful in salads.

Favourite Winter Squash Recipes

Fennel and Squash Salad with Pomegranate

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Christmas Celebrations, Vegetarian Living, December 2017

The December 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 Christmas! Featured recipes include our Roasted Beetroot and Hazelnut Tartlets, Sweet Potato Chestnut Sesame Balls, and our showstopper Christmas Wreath with Brandied Mushroom and Chestnut Filling, the latter of which made the cover! 

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

Mince Pie Christmas Trees, Vegan Food and Living, December 2017

Our festive Mince Pie Christmas Tree recipe is featured in the December 2017 issues of Vegan Food and Living magazine. The recipe is easy, fun, and festive, and made all the better when you make your own mincemeat!

Click on the link below for all the delicious details: 

Mince Pie Christmas Trees, Vegan Food and Living, December 2017

Polish Christmas Biscuits, PlantBased Magazine, December 2017

Our recipe for Polish Christmas Biscuits is featured in the December 2017 issue of PlantBased Magazine. This vegan recipe is featured alongside a superb collection of other festive plant-based recipes, making this issue a great resource for holiday cooking! 

Polish Christmas Cookies, PlantBased Magazine, December 2017

Parsnip Fritters with Winter Slaw and Yoghurt Dressing

When it comes to crafting a beautiful dish purely out of winter vegetables, it really doesn't get better than these parsnip fritters with a colourful raw winter slaw and a yoghurt dill sauce. We use Panko breadcrumbs to achieve a lovely crisp coating on the parsnips. The same coating also works well with celeriac, carrot, and cauliflower. 

Parsnip Fritters

Serves: 4 | Dietary: gluten free option

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 medium parsnips
  • 125g Panko breadcrumbs (or gluten free breadcrumbs)
  • 50g grated hard stronge cheese (parmesan style)
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • salt and black pepper
  • 50g plain flour (or gluten free flour)
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp cold water and a pinch of salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180CFan/200C/GasMark6.
  2. Peel the parsnips, cut down the length into 1cm slices.
  3. Plunge the parsnips into boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to soften them slightly, then run under cold water to cool down and drain well.
  4. Mix the Panko breadcrumbs with the grated cheese, generous pinch of salt and black pepper, chopped thyme and rosemary.
  5. Mix the flour with a pinch of salt and pepper. Dip each piece of parsnip into the flour, then the beaten eggs, then the Panko breadcrumbs to coat evenly.
  6. Spread out the coated parsnip onto a lined baking tray, brush with olive oil and then drizzle a little more olive oil over them.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes until they are golden and crispy.
  8. Serve with winter slaw and yoghurt and dill sauce.

Winter Slaw

Serves: 8 | Dietary: vegan, gluten free

Prep time: 20 minutes | Resting time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot
  • ¼ small celeriac
  • 1 small red beetroot
  • 2 large kale leaves
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ tsp caraway (lightly crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (lightly crushed)
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries,chopped

Method

  1. Peel all the vegetables. Then use a julienne peeler to create thin strips, or use a spiraliser. Strip the kale from the stem and tear into small pieces.
  2. Mix the lime juice and salt, caraway, coriander and black pepper in and massage the vegetables, scrunching with your hands until the vegetables have softened and released some juices.
  3. Stir in the parsley and dried cranberries,
  4. Leave to sit for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to develop.

Yoghurt and dill Sauce

Serves: 8 | Dietary: gluten free

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 150ml thick Greek style yogurt
  • handful of fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Method

  1. Crush the garlic to a smooth paste, stir into the yoghurt, add the dill, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Roasted Beetroot, Cream Cheese and Hazelnut Tartlets

These festive beetroot tartlets are perfect for a party. They're easy to put together, look beautiful on the plate, and most importantly, are undeniably delicious! Our recipe makes 8 tartlets, the perfect size for a starter, but you can also make them slightly smaller and serve as canapés. Try varying the toppings for a colourful twist. And if you're short on time, here's a few shortcuts we can suggest: 

  Prep Advice

  • Use ready roasted hazelnuts or to roast hazelnuts, place them in the oven for 8 minutes until the skins split. Allow to cool, then rub off the skins and roughly chop, ready for decoration.
  • Use ready cooked beetroot or you can cook your own in two different ways. Rub a whole beetroot keeping the skin on with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, wrapping in silver foil, roasting for 1 hour at 180CFan/200C/GasMark6 until soft. Alternatively boil the beetroots whole, with the skin on for 1 hour until soft. When the beetroots are cool, peel or rub off the skin. Keep in the fridge for up to 4 days until ready to use. The pastry cases can be made days in advance, just keep in an airtight tin, crisp up in the oven for a few minutes if they go soft. The beetroot can be cooked a few days in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to use. For a super short-cut you can buy ready-made pastry tarts.

Roasted Beetroot Cream Cheese Hazelnut Tartlets

Dietary: Vegan option | Prep time: 40 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4 (Makes 8 tartlets)

Ingredients

  • 1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk (or 1 tbsp olive oil if vegan) for brushing
  • 100g cream cheese, dairy or vegan
  • 3 tbsp chives finely sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium sized beetroot, cooked
  • 30g hazelnuts, roasted

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180CFan/200C/GasMark 6.
  2. Brush baking sheets with oil or line with baking parchment.
  3. Place the puff pastry on a floured surface. Use a large knife, cut out 8 squares that are 8x8cm.
  4. Use the smaller knife to score a 1cm margin to make an inner square, be careful that you do not cut all the way through the pastry.
  5. Brush the outer square edge lightly with egg yolk or olive oil.
  6. Place on the baking sheets and bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes until risen and golden.
  7. Allow to cool down. When cool run the tip of the knife along the scored square mark and remove the top layers of the inner piece of pastry. Now the pastries are ready to fill.
  8. Mix the cream cheese with the chives, salt and pepper. Leave out a teaspoon of chives to sprinkle on top.
  9. Divide the cream cheese between the 8 pastry cases.
  10. Cut one beetroot into 8 small wedges and the other into 8 slices.
  11. Place a beetroot wedge and a slice on top of each tart and sprinkle over the roasted hazelnuts and the saved chives for decoration.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Our 5 Best Cauliflower Recipes

Cauliflower has experienced a bit of a renaissance in the last couple of years. That long-standing tradition of overcooked boiled cauliflower, smothered in cheese sauce, has given way to a new way of thinking about this humble crucifer. The Spanish like their cauliflower deep-fried dunked in a coating of gram flour and paprika. In India they like cauliflower pakoras flavoured with chilli and turmeric. We like to roast cauilflower with ras al hanout and toasted almonds. Cauliflower even makes a lovely gluten free pizza base, a lighter alternative to potato mash and can be pickled in traditional Piccalilli and fermented in kimchi.

If you’re ready to take cauliflower to a new level, read on for our top tips on choosing and cooking with cauliflower, plus our favourite cauliflower recipes.

Choosing and Storing Cauliflower

Cauliflowers come in glorious colours: purple, orange, green and the wonderful fractal-like Romanesco. Choose cauliflowers with bright green leaves, white florets and check the base for the cut which should not be dried out. Cauliflowers can be stored very well in the fridge for up to two weeks. Keep the protective leaves on when storing, but don’t put them in a plastic bag as moisture will encourage the white florets to decay and become brown.

Cooking with Cauliflower

We’re not sure why boiled cauliflower got to be so popular when it’s probably the worst way to prepare cauliflower there is. Forget about boiling and steam instead: you have better control and the cauliflower doesn’t go soggy. In the spring buy baby cauliflowers and steam them whole.

We also like to roast cauliflower in the oven until the florets begin to char. You can also slice cauliflower into “steaks” and griddle for a robust finish.

Cauliflower is also delicious raw: blitz it in a food processor for cauliflower rice, or use instead of bulgar wheat in tabbouleh with lots of fresh herbs.

Our 5 Best Cauilflower Recipes

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

Cauliflower Tabbouleh


Spiced Cauliflower Steaks

Spiced Cauliflower Steaks with Almond Alioli


Roasted Romanesco and Cauliflower with Haloumi and Sumac

Roasted Romanesco and Cauliflower with Haloumi and Sumac


Moorish Roasted Cauliflower

Moorish Roasted Cauliflower


Tarkari

Tarkari: Cauliflower and Tomato Nepalese Curry


Any favourite cauliflower recipes we should know about? Let us know in the comments!

All images except for the Tarkari were taken by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Magical Spiced Christmas Cake, Vegan Living Magazine, December 2017

The December 2017 issue of Vegan Living Magazine is all about Christmas and we're delighted to be a part of it with our showstopper Magical Spiced Christmas Cake. Spices, nuts, fruits, brandy, marzipan, chocolate, and a dusting of gold: all the makings of the perfect Christmas cake without any dairy or eggs. Click here to get your copy.

Sichuan Cooking for Vegetarians

Although vegetarians are rare in China, the cuisine is undoubtedly veggie friendly. This particularly goes for Sichuan cooking where strong bold flavours are perfect foils for vegetables and tofu. And when you make it at home, the result is so unlike the gloopy MSG laden Chinese takeaways that we are habituated to. Here's a primer on cooking vegetarian Sichuan dishes at home, including essential ingredients and favourite recipes. 

Mapo Dou Fou

Vegetarians in China

Vegetarians are rare in China, but at home they tend to eat a vegetable dominated diet with pulses and grains. The Buddhist monasteries are strictly vegetarian and cook dishes that imitate meat and fish in their appearance, taste and texture. They are made from wheat gluten, mushrooms, tofu and yam.

The largest vegetarian group in China is Buddhist; some are only strict vegetarians twice a month on the first and fifteenth of each lunar month. When I was in China this meant that every city had a vegetarian restaurant to cater for these vegetarian days. Now as the Chinese are becoming more health conscious new vegetarian restaurants are springing up in the big cities.

Essential Sichuan Flavours

Sichuan cooking is all about a combination of flavours; hot from chillies, numbing from Sichuan peppers, salty, sour, sweet, bitter and smoky. One dish can contain all these disparate flavours. Each dish has its own style, they say in Sichuan a hundred dishes has a hundred different flavours. The two Sichuan taste concepts that we use in our recipes are ‘ma la wei’ and ‘yu xiang wei’.

‘Ma la wei’ combining Sichuan peppers (ma) with dried chillies (la) is the most famous flavour combination which produces a numbing tingling mouth sensation! Sichuan peppers are native to Sichuan, but red chillies didn’t arrive from South America until the 17C. Sichuan chillies are red and fat and are used dried for a deeper richer potency. They are rounded at the end and are known as facing heaven chillies and have a citrus flavor and are often fried whole in oil to infuse the oil before starting cooking.

Special Sichuan Ingredients

  • Sichuan pepper is a Chinese spice made from the berries of a native ash tree. It has a spicy, mouth-numbing taste & adds a kick to curries in a similar way as chillies. It is the most important ingredient in 5 spice mix.
  • Chinese dried mushrooms are similar to shitake and have a robust smoky taste. You only need a few to impart a distinctive flavour.
  • Fermented black beans are small black soya beans that have been preserved in salt and are very pungent so use sparingly. Available from Chinese stores and Chinese sections in supermarkets.
  • Shaoxing Chinese rice wine is made from glutinous sticky rice and has an amber colour and nutty flavour. Available from Chinese stores and Chinese sections in supermarkets.
  • Chinkiang vinegar is made from glutinous black rice and is a dark colour and robust flavour. Available from Chinese stores and Chinese sections in supermarkets.
  • Chilli bean paste tends to contain MSG and a long list of additives so we make our own (see recipe)

Favourite Vegetarian Sichuan Recipes

Mapo Dou Fou


Hot Pot Style Noodle Bowl


Fragrant Spicy Sichuan Aubergine


Find more of Rachel's vegetarian Sichuan recipes in the November 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living Magazine.

For a hands on introduction to Chinese cookery, check out Lydia's upcoming Chinese New Year Feast.

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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Fragrant Spicy Sichuan Aubergine

This is our version of a Sichuan classic dish “Fish Fragrant Aubergines”, which actually has little to do with fish despite the name. They call this flavour "fish fragrant" because it contains many of the seasonings used in Sichuan fish cookery. Here, aubergine is the star of the dish, using Sichuan flavours to augment the spicy sauce. We love how the soft melting aubergines are bathed in this rich, spicy and slightly sweet sauce.

Vegan Fragrant Spicy Sichuan Aubergine

Fragrant Spicy Aubergines 

Dietary: Vegan

Serves 4 as part of a large meal

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium aubergine, sliced into approx 4cm x 2cm lengths
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • 1-2 tbsp chilli bean paste
  • 2 spring onions, sliced thinly, white and green parts separated
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 2 cm piece fresh ginger, chopped finely

Sauce ingredients

  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornflour or potato starch
  • 90ml (6 tbsp) cold water

Garnish

  • Green part of the sliced spring onion
  • 1 small red chilli, sliced finely
  • fresh coriander leaves

Method

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan or wok till hot.
  2. Fry the aubergines in 2 or 3 batches till golden on both sides.
  3. Drain the aubergines on kitchen towel.
  4. Mix the sauce ingredients with the cold water in a small bowl ensuring the cornflour is completely dissolved.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the frying pan on a medium heat, and add the chilli bean paste, stirring until the oil turns red and separates from the paste.
  6. Add the white part of the sliced spring onions, the garlic, and ginger, and stir fry for a minute or two, taking care not to allow the garlic to burn.
  7. Add the sauce mixture and lower the heat a little to let it all simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Return the aubergine pieces to the pan and gently cook in the sauce for 2 minutes till soft.
  8. Spoon out onto a serving dish and sprinkle with the reserved green sliced spring onions, coriander leaves and chilli slices.
  9. Serve with plain steamed Jasmine rice.


Find more of Rachel's vegetarian Sichuan recipes in the November 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living Magazine.

For a hands on introduction to Chinese cookery, check out Lydia's upcoming Chinese New Year Feast.

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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Mapo Dou Fou

Mapo Dou Fou is a spicy Sichuan dish that reputedly gets its name from the small pox-scarred lady who originally made this dish in the late 19th Century. Dou Fu is the Chinese name for tofu, and Mapo translates as "Pock-marked Old Woman"! Whatever its origin, we love this spicy tofu dish, hallmarked by Sichuan peppercorns, chillies, and ginger. We've included recipes for chilli bean paste and Chinese vegetable stock - you can buy these at Chinese markets but they often contain preservatives and MSG, so we definitely recommend making your own if you have the time! 

Mapo Dou Fou

Serves 2

Dietary: Vegan

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g plain tofu
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • Sunflower or groundnut oil for frying
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean paste (recipe below) 
  • Pinch of chilli flakes: optional (you could use Korean Gochugaru which are milder)
  • 2 cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fermented black beans
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • 3 spring onions
  • 100ml vegetable stock or water (recipe below) 
  • 1 tbsp cornflour or potato flour mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil (optional)

Method

  1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add ¼ tsp of salt, reduce the heat to low, then add the Tofu cubes.Allow them to very gently simmer on this low heat for the few minutes it takes to make the sauce, but don't let the water get too hot or the tofu will toughen. You can skip this step, but this poaching process makes the tofu lovely and tender and enables it to absorb the sauce better.
  2. Heat a wok and quickly toast the Sichuan peppercorns till fragrant.
  3. Remove to a pestle and mortar and crush roughly. Set aside.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in the wok over a high heat.
  5. Add the chilli bean paste and stir in the oil until it turns red.
  6. Add the ginger, garlic, fermented black beans and chili flakes if you are using them. Stir fry for a couple of minutes or until they smell aromatic. Take care with the heat as you don't want to burn the mixture.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, lift the tofu cubes from the hot water, and add to the wok.
  8. Stir gently into the chilli sauce being careful not to break up the tofu.
  9. Pour in the stock or water, add a large pinch of white pepper, and bring to a simmer.
  10. Slowly pour in a little of the flour/water mixture, stirring continuously and adding more until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency. Stir in the spring onions and Sichuan pepper and drizzle with chilli oil, if you like it hotand serve at once with steamed rice.

Chilli Bean Paste

Most chilli bean pastes on the market contain a long list of ingredients, often including MSG. At the cookery school we make a substitute chilli paste, which though not totally authentic, gives a similar flavour.

Makes enough for the Mapo Dou Fou. 

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove, pounded to a paste with a large pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp gochujang (Korean Chilli paste: make sure it also contains no additives!)
  • 1 tsp brown miso paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp fermented black beans, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil: optional
  • 1 tbsp cold water

Method

  1. Mix everything together by hand or in a pestle and mortar. Use straight away, or make extra and keep for up to 3 days or freeze till needed.

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.

Find more of Rachel's vegetarian Sichuan recipes in the November 2017 issue of Vegetarian Living Magazine.

For a hands on introduction to Chinese cookery, check out Lydia's upcoming Chinese New Year Feast.

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.

Sichuan Style, Vegetarian Living, November 2017

The November 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 Sichuan cooking, a feast for the senses, offering wonderfully aromatic and delicious dishes abundant with chilli and spices.. This articles covers key Sichuan ingredients, from Sichuan peppers to fermented black beans to chilli bean paste. Recipes include our hot pot style noodle bowl, fragrant spicy aubergine, and mayo doufu.

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

Hot Pot Style Noodle Bowl

This is a warming Sichuan noodle dish in a spicy vegetable broth. The Chinese way to eat noodle soup is to hold your chopsticks in one hand and your soup spoon in the other, use your chopsticks to place your noodles in your soup spoon, then eat out of the spoon, with the bowl close to your face. Noisy slurping is considered a sign of enjoyment and appreciation of the food – and also cools the steaming hot broth! 

This soup very versatile - you can vary the vegetables to suit whatever you have to hand. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or pak choy can be added at the same time as the edamame beans and allowed to just wilt. Baby sweetcorn, mangetout, sugar snaps or regular frozen peas would also work well. Shredded crunchy vegetables such as carrots, radishes and even lettuce can also be added towards the end of cooking.

Hot Pot Style Noodle Bowl

Serves 4

Dietary: Vegan

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • Sunflower or groundnut oil for frying
  • 200g dried thin noodles (you could use any type you prefer)
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock or 2 tbsp red or brown miso dissolved in 1 litre hot water
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 3 spring onions, sliced thinly, white and green parts separated
  • 2 tbsp chilli bean paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 2 cm piece ginger, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp chinkiang black rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • Chilli oil or toasted sesame oil (optional)
  • 100g edamame beans (green soybeans)
  • 60g bean sprouts
  • 50g unsalted peanuts, roasted for 5-7 minutes in a hot oven till golden and chopped roughly
  • ½ tsp toasted ground Sichuan pepper
  • Handful of coriander leaves

Method

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon ofoil in a wok or large saucepan over a high heat, and quickly fry the mushrooms with the white part of the spring onions.
  2. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
  3. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the wok set over a medium heat, then add the chilli bean paste and stir fry for a minute until the oil turns red.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute, taking care not to let the garlic burn.
  5. Pour the stock into the wok and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the vinegar, Shaoxing wine and chilli oil if you like, then taste to adjust the seasoning. Depending on the stock you have used, you may need to add a pinch of salt.
  7. Turn the heat to low, while you cook your noodles according to the packet instructions.
  8. Add the edamame beans and bean sprouts to the simmering broth to heat through.
  9. Divide the cooked noodles between four deep serving bowls, or in one large serving bowl.
  10. Ladle over the broth and vegetables, then top with the fried mushrooms and spring onions.
  11. Sprinkle over the peanuts, sliced green spring onion and coriander and finish with a drizzle of chilli or sesame oil and the ground Sichuan pepper.

For a hands on introduction to Chinese cookery, check out Lydia's upcoming Chinese New Year Feast.

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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Italian Cooking Holiday 2017

Our vegetarian cooking holiday in Italy is a highlight of the year. We stay at the magnificent Palazzo Bacile di Castiglione with our wonderful hosts Allesandro and Sarah. Allesandro himself is a very keen cook and always cooks our first dinner to welcome us all with local traditional Salento cooking.

The 16th century palazzo has been inhabited by the Bacile di Castiglione family for nearly 5 centuries and Allesandro is the current Baron. It features an incredible hall that would probably sit a hundred people down the length of it. The scene at night, with candles lit, delicious food that we've made with our students, excellent local wines, and plenty of laughter, all makes for unforgettable evenings and memories to last a lifetime. 

Our team this year was myself, Lydia and Ottavia and we are delighted to share with you the highlights of our trip (and a few delicious recipes for you to try at home). 

Pasta Making

During the week we had two pasta making mornings. First we made the traditional southern Italian pasta with Guiseppina who lives locally, which is vegan and hand rolled. She taught us how to make orecchiette and maccheroni and gleefully told us their nicknames of mogli e mariti (wives and husbands) for orecchiette and maccheroni when they are combined together in the same dish! We served them with a fresh tomato sauce and the traditional cime di rapa which tastes rather like a slightly bitter tender stem broccoli.

Ottavia then taught us how to make Northern Italian egg pasta with locally milled durum wheat semolina using pasta machines and we made rich spinach and ricotta cannelloni using the fresh ricotta from the local caseificio (cheese making facility).

Visit to the local caseificio in Poggiardo

Giuseppe, who is continuing the family tradition of fresh cheese making, showed us how to make mozzarella, burrata and ricotta. He demonstrated how the curd is separated from the whey using a vegetarian rennet and then the curds are washed with boiling water, a process which both pasteurises and melts the curd, while imparting the necessary stringiness to the final mozzarella. 

He shaped the melted and stringy curd into mozzarella balls of different sizes, plats and knots, and showed us how a small bag of mozzarella is filled with delicious stracciatella, a mix of mozzarella and cream, to make the famous burrata. Burrata has to be enjoyed on the day that it’s made, possibly the most delicious treat one can wish for at lunch.

The Market

Poggiado, just 5 miles from the Palazzo, has an excellent market every Wednesday. A chance to stock up with vegetables for the week, we split up into groups with each team given the task of choosing vegetables, cheese and bread to make creative dishes for lunch. Their results were outstanding and it was lovely for us to be cooked for!

The Farmers Cooperative

We visited the local farmers cooperative vegetable market garden, 20 hectares in size and supporting 60 farmers and were shown how all the crops were rotated, how they have to irrigate from a bore hole as the Apulian summers are so hot and dry. We marvelled at the large quantities of beautiful vegetables, fantastic huge bulbs of fennel, acres of Cicoria Galatina, cabbages, courgettes, tomatoes, aubergines and peppers. We then enjoyed eating the produce for lunch at the coop.

Otrantro

After lunch we visited Otranto. Otranto is a lovely town on the coast with a stunning 8C “tree of life’ mosaic which covers the entire floor of the cathedral. We had time to swim in the sea, shop and enjoy coffees and icecreams.

Pizza Night

The large wood fire pizza oven was lit in the morning to be ready for 7pm, lit with cuttings from olive trees. It’s such a large oven we could have cooked pizzas for the whole village. Incredibly hot for the person with the peel putting the pizzas in and taking them out. Such a fun evening, everybody made their own pizzas and the Pizzas Bianca with boiled sliced potatoes, garlic, rosemary and mozzarella were a hit.


We're now taking bookings for our next cooking holiday in Italy is 30th Sept – 7th Oct 2018. If you can't wait that long to learn pasta making skills, don't despair, you can always take our Pasta Evening Workshop here in Bath. 

Or try our fresh pasta recipes: Fresh Orecchiette Pasta with Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Herb Pappardelle with Cashew 'Cheese'.

We took way more photos than we could hope to share in a single blog post so go check out our Italian Cookery Holiday 2018 photoset on Flickr.

And for more Italian cookery inspiration, check out our collection of vegetarian Italian recipes!

Culture Club, Crumbs Magazine, Autumn 2017

The Autumn 2017 issue of Crumbs Magazine features a fantastic write-up of our Fermentation Course with trained biologist Lucie Cousins who explains how fermentation works and how to make and cook with popular fermented foods such as tempeh, sauerkraut, and kimchi. The article also features our tutor Lydia Downey and her "corker" of a kimchi recipe

“I mainly make traditional kimchi, but also love to use more local veg, such as red cabbage with carrot. This results in a quite different style of kimchi, similar to sauerkraut, and is really good to eat as a condiment and mixed into salads. However, it can be made with any vegetables that are good eaten raw in salads; cucumber, radish (particularly white mooli or daikon), spring onion, and carrot are all good."

Read the full article online or click here to download a PDF.

Street Food, Vegan Food & Living, September 2017

Demuths Cookery School is featured in the September 2017 issue of Vegan Food and Living in an article all about street food. Check it out for Rachel's fabulous recipe for vegan paella and loads of other inspiring street food recipes from around the world. 

Click on the link below for a PDF of the recipe as seen in the magazine: 

Street Food, Vegan Food & Living, September 2017

Vegetarian Paella with Samphire

Our vegan paella recipe is the ultimate taste of Spain! In Spain you can tuck into paella on the streets, cooked in huge paella pans. Paella is traditionally made with seafood and / or meat. We've made ours vegan by adding samphire to give a fish-free salty sea breeze taste.

Vegan Paella with Samphire

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten Free | Serves: 4 (or more as a tapas)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 250g tomatoes, de-cored, deseeded and chopped
  • 300g fennel, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • A pinch of saffron, soaked in boiling water for at least ½ hour
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 100 ml Dry Sherry
  • 500ml hot home-made stock
  • 200g Paella rice
  • 100g French beans (topped and tailed)
  • A handful of samphire
  • 1 bunch Asparagus, tips
  • 100g peas and or broadbeans
  • 100g marinated artichokes (in a tin or in oil), sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil, chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and lemon wedges to serve

Method:

  1. In the widest frying pan you have, fry the onion in the olive oil until it is really soft, and then add the garlic, peppers, tomatoes and fennel. 
  2. Add the saffron (in its water), paprika, thyme and bay leaf and gently simmer until it cooks down to a sauce consistency. This is called “sofrito".
  3. Add the rice and fry gently for 5 minutes to absorb the flavours. 
  4. Add about half of the sherry and cook until this has been absorbed, then add nearly all of the stock and the rest of the sherry, keeping a little stock back in case the Paella is too dry later, and leave to simmer on a low heat until the rice has soaked up the liquid and is soft (you need to taste it) DO NOT STIR!
  5. About 10 minutes into the cooking add green beans and fold them into the paella without stirring too much. It should take about 20 minutes to completely cook.
  6. When the rice is almost cooked, sprinkle on the asparagus, artichokes, peas and samphire and a little more stock if needed, stir once and leave to cook for about 5 minutes until the rice is tender and the vegetables are cooked (but not soggy!) season to taste and serve with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil, freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley and lemon wedges

Tips:

  • Paella is traditionally made in a very wide Paella pan (like a wide frying pan with handles) and cooked over coals so the entire pan is heated at the same time. Presuming you don’t have a wide gas hob you will need to move the pan around often to distribute the heat
  • Over-stirring of the Paella makes the rice go sticky. Don’t worry if you get a crispy layer at the bottom. In Spain this is regarded as the best bit!
  • Don’t rinse the rice before cooking
  • Vary the vegetables to suit the season and your tastes use asparagus when in season and wild mushrooms-although mushrooms are best cooked separately and added towards the end of cooking.
  • Samphire is a great addition to Paella if you want a fish-free fishy taste! It is often available in supermarkets and fishmongers or can be foraged from the seaside!

Vegetarian Paella with Samphire


This recipe was featured in the September 2017 issue of Vegan Food & Living.

Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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Vegan Pozole

Pozole is a traditional Mexican spicy thick soup, containing hominy, which are the large kernels from white maize cobs used extensively in South American and Mexican cooking. Pozole has a spooky past that originates from the ancient Aztecs. We will spare you the gruesome and very un-vegetarian history as we have adapted the recipe to make a delicious and nutritious vegan dish to warm you up on a cool night.

Vegan Pazole Recipe

Vegan Pozole

Dietary: Vegan option, gluten free

Serves: 4/6

Prep Time: 45 minutes |Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • Chilli Sauce
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 large mild fresh red chillies
  • 2 dried Ancho chillies
  • 2 dried Pasilla chillies
  • 200ml hot water
  • 1 tin green jackfruit, drained and sliced
  • 1 tin pinto or black beans, drained
  • 1 800g tin Hominy maize, drained
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 cloves, ground to a powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Garnishes

  • 100g spring greens or white cabbage
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • small pot of sour cream or soya cream
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • small handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 red chilli, sliced

Method

  1. First make the chilli sauce. In a heavy frying or griddle pan, dry toast the dried chillies, turning as they crackle and puff and begin to smell aromatic. Remove onto a board or plate to cool. Do the same with the onion wedges, whole garlic cloves, and whole chillies, toasting on all sides till charred in places and beginning to soften. Set aside on a plate to cool.
  2. Remove the stalks and seeds from the toasted chillies, and tear or cut into smaller pieces. Place the toasted chillies in a bowl with the hot water, and soak for 10 to 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and reserve half of the water for later.
  3. Remove the stalk, seeds and skin if it comes away easily from the fresh charred chillies, and place in a blender. Remove the skin from the garlic and add to the blender with the onions and soaked dried chillies with half the soaking water, then blend to a smooth sauce.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan.
  5. Fry the jackfruit gently until golden in places.
  6. Add the spices, oregano and bay leaf and stir for 1 minute.
  7. Add the chilli sauce and stir well to coat jackfruit.
  8. Stir in the drained Hominy, and cook for a minute or two on a low heat.
  9. Add 600ml vegetable stock, increase the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  10. Add the pinto beans and simmer for a further 10 minutes. You may need to add extra liquid, either stock or water. (You could use the reserved soaking water from the toasted chillies).
  11. The dish should be thick but soupy.
  12. Add the juice of the lime and a teaspoon of sugar to balance the flavour. Season generously with salt and pepper then taste and adjust.
  13. Serve the Pozole in bowls, garnished with a spoonful of sour cream or soya cream, shredded cabbage, avocado slices, slices of radish, coriander leaves, lime wedges and a little red chilli.

Tips: 

  • We buy hominy maize from Otomi in Clifton Arcade in Bristol, a wonderfully quirky Mexican stockist of ingredients and home-ware. You can find cans of hominy available to buy online as well as the dried kernels which need soaking and boiling for several hours until tender. Using the dried kernels is very time consuming, so we recommend using the canned variety. Regular sweet-corn is a completely different flavour and texture, so wouldn't make a suitable substitute. If you prefer less spice, halve the quantity of chillies in this recipe, and instead, you could add a skinned roasted red pepper to the sauce, when blending. We buy our dried chillies online from The Cool Chilli Company, stockists of many Mexican ingredients including the dried hominy maize.
  • Jack fruit is the world’s largest tree borne fruit and each knobbly green fruit can weigh up to 35kilos each! They grow in the tropics. We buy green jack fruit in tins and for savoury dishes make sure you buy the sugar free version, it is sold as a tinned dessert too. Jack fruit soaks up flavours and is fibrous so it is said to mimic ‘pulled pork’.

Find more inspiration with sweet peppers and chillies, check out Rachel's October 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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Apples and Pears Everywhere

It's that time of year when apples and pears are wonderfully plentiful. Any of you who has an apple or pear tree (or a whole orchard!) knows this all too well, when you're practically giving apples away to keep up with the seemingly endless delicious supply. Let's face it, one can only have so many crumbles, so we've been amassing a list of ways you can make the most of the glut (and for those of you who can make it, we're even hosting a special apple day of our own towards the end of October!). 

Getting through a large quantity of apples

Here's a few ideas particularly for those of you who have an orchard:

  • One solution is to make juice. More communities are hosting apple pressing, apple identification and other related workshops as part of Apple Day, a series of October events celebrating the wonderful British apple. The official "day" is October 21st, but there are happenings going on all over the UK throughout October. You can search for an event or orchard near you.
  • What to do with all that apple juice? Monica from our social media team has had great success making homemade cider from her orchard apples with just a few tools. 
  • Make Apple Cider Vinegar (a particularly good use for bruised apples that have fallen from the tree). 
  • Make apple sauce (or pear sauce) which freezes well. 

Favourite Apple & Pear Recipes

Of course, one of the best ways to enjoy apples and pears is to eat them with complimentary foods and flavours! Here's a few of our favourite recipes: 

Vegan Beetroot and Apple Latkes


What are you doing with apples this season? Got a recipe to share? An event worth knowing about? More clever ideas for using up lots of apples? Please let us know in the comments!

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Best Cookery School, Crumbs Award 2017

We are delighted to have won Best Cookery School in the 2017 Crumbs Awards, an event which celebrates the best of the Bath and Bristol food scene. It's an honour to have our work recognised in this way.

“An inspirational longstanding cookery school, using fresh local ingredients and encouraging minimal food waste while creating delicious meals. A true pioneer.”

Many thanks to Crumbs Magazine and to all of our fans who have supported us over the years. We couldn't have done this without you all! 

Congratulations to all of the winners in the 2017 Crumbs Awards. We are in great company!

Roasted Chillies Stuffed with Cashew Cheese

We've been experimenting with vegan nut-based cheeses here at the cookery school and have discovered that this cashew cheese makes a terrific filling for stuffed chillies. These roasted stuffed chillies are lovely as an appetiser, or you could serve them alongside other small dishes as part of a Mexican tapas, or with tortillas and a green salad. If hot chillies are a little too much for you, feel free to substitute with baby bell peppers. Any leftover cashew cheese will keep for up to five days in the fridge (it's great with pasta!). For our non-vegan friends, you can substitute the cashew cheese with ricotta or soft goats cheese if you'd like. 

Roasted Chillies Stuffed with Cashew Cheese

Dietary: Vegan

Makes approximately 12

Prep Time: 30 minutes plus overnight soaking time and overnight setting time

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g cashew nuts, soaked in cold water overnight or a minimum of 4 hours
  • 50-75ml cold water for blending
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 12 mixed fat red and green chillies such as Jalapeños
  • olive oil for roasting and frying
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 3 tbsp chives, chopped finely
  • 3 tbsp parsley, chopped finely
  • pinch of Aleppo chilli flakes
  • black pepper

Method

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and place in a blender with half the water, the lemon juice, garlic powder, nutritional yeast and salt.
  2. Blend till very smooth, adding more water if necessary to help the nuts to process, then taste and adjust the flavour as you may want to add more of the seasonings.
  3. Scrape the cashew mixture into a muslin lined sieve over a bowl, twist the ends together, and place in the fridge overnight to drain and firm up.
  4. Heat the oven to 200C°.
  5. Place the whole chillies in a roasting tin and drizzle with a little olive oil.
  6. Roast for 10 -15 minutes or until they are just softening and the skin is blistered.
  7. Allow the chillies to cool enough to handle, then using a small sharp knife, carefully slit a chilli open from just below the stalk to almost the end tip.
  8. Carefully scoop out the seeds and discard. Repeat with the remaining chillies.
  9. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the breadcrumbs till golden and crisp.
  10. Add the garlic to the breadcrumbs and continue to cook until fragrant. Add half the lemon zest, 1 tablespoon each of the chopped herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and decant into a small bowl and set aside.
  11. Remove the cashew cheese from the muslin, and empty into a mixing bowl.
  12. Add the remaining chopped fresh herbs, remaining lemon zest, Aleppo chilli flakes and black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning to suit.
  13. Fill a piping bag with the cashew cheese mixture and pipe a little into the cavity of each chilli. Alternatively, using two teaspoons, carefully fill each cavity with the cashew cheese.
  14. Top each chilli with a spoonful of the breadcrumbs and then either serve at once or pop into a hot oven for a few minutes to warm through.


Find more inspiration with sweet peppers and chillies, check out Rachel's October 2017 column inVegetarian 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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Peperonata Pizza

Peperonata is a southern Italian stew of shallots, sweet peppers, garlic, and often tomatoes. It's wonderful and hugely versatile. You could serve it simply with toasted bread or with pasta but we like to make it into a pizza. In this recipe we've omitted the tomatoes for a drier peperonata and to really bring the sweet peppers to the fore. 

Vegan Peperonata Pizza

Pepperonata Pizza

Dietary: Vegan | Makes: 4 individual pizzas

Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500g white bread flour
  • 300ml lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp dried active yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 mixed red, orange and yellow peppers, sliced
  • 2 banana shallots, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100ml white wine
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed well
  • salt and black pepper
  • fresh oregano leaves for sprinkling

Method

  1. To make the pizza dough whisk together the yeast, sugar and water, and leave until frothy, which takes 5 -10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and olive oil together, stir in the frothy yeast mixture and mix by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook to a soft-ball consistency.
  3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with cling-film and leave to rise until double in size.
  5. To make the pizza topping heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
  6. Fry the sliced peppers for about 10 minutes, lower the heat and then add the shallots. Continue to cook slowly for 5 minutes, then add the sliced garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes until the shallot and peppers are soft and beginning to brown.
  7. Increase the heat a little, add the wine and allow to reduce down till syrupy.
  8. Add the capers and season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  9. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  10. To cook the pizzas, heat the oven to 225C°fan. Place a pizza stone or large heavy baking tray in the centre of the oven to heat up.
  11. When the dough has doubled in size, remove onto a floured work surface, and divide into 4 pieces. Roll each into a neat ball, and rest for 5 minutes.
  12. Take one ball of dough and roll out with a rolling pin until it is the size of a dinner plate. You may find it easier to gently pull and stretch the dough into shape.
  13. Carefully remove the now hot baking stone (take great care whilst doing this!) or baking tray, place the pizza on, and quickly cover with a quarter of the pepper mix. Bake for 6-8 minutes until the dough is crisp and golden.
  14. Repeat with the remaining dough and peppers.
  15. Serve straight away garnished with oregano leaves.

Vegan Peperonata Pizza

Vegan Peperonata Pizza


Find more inspiration with sweet peppers and chillies, check out Rachel's October 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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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.

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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​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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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


Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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