Almond Milk

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‘I realized very early the power of food to evoke memory, to bring people together, to transport you to other places, and I wanted to be a part of that’ Jose Andres Puerta

I recently spent some time in Puglia in the south of Italy, the birthplace of Mr. B’s parents. The Apulian people are even more obsessed with food than the rest of Italy (hard to believe, I know). The reason is that the area is bountiful due to the amazing terrain and climate and so you can basically grow anything. Everyone has fig, almond and fruit trees in their gardens and the area is full of vineyards and olive groves

The Apulian people therefore make everything from scratch including almond milk and having had a glass every morning as I watched the sun rise over the beautiful terrain I thought I would attempt to replicate the taste and provoke the memory once I got back to the USA

The method was taken from Thekitchn.com a collaborative website with a collection of cooks recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 2 cups water, plus more for soaking
  • Use organic sweetener to taste

Method

  • Soak the almonds in a bowl of water for up to 2 days
  • Drain and rinse the almonds
  • Combine the almonds and water in a blender
  • Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes
  • Strain the almonds using a cheese cloth, press as much of the almond milk out as possible
  • Sweeten to taste (I personally don’t)
  • Place in the fridge for up to 2 days
  • The leftover almond meal can be dried out in an oven for a few hours and used as almond flour

Guilt Free Bacon (Trumpet Mushrooms – Vegan)

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When people think about veganism they think lentils, grains and Birkenstocks but vegan cooking is really all about imagination and innovation. It’s about taking the humble healthy vegetable and creating something new that you would never logically associate with it, a new flavour profile – a new way of looking at something all together

‘Logic will take you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere’ – Einstein

This is the greatest invention since sliced bread or for those who are gluten free or Paleo, the greatest invention full stop. It is so good that it defies logic that it is not offered as an option in every café/diner

I welcome ridicule from die-hard meat eaters by saying this, but I actually prefer it to bacon. It tastes indulgent and fatty without any actual fat and the sweet, savoury combination adds my favorite umami twist. Mr B likes the smokiness from the paprika and I sometimes add red pepper for him too

Ingredients

  • 2 large trumpet mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. smoked salt
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet or use a silicon mat
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar, smoked salt, smoked paprika and black pepper
  • Place the sliced mushrooms in a large mixing bowl
  • Drizzle with oil and mix well to combine
  • Use hands to massage into the mushrooms and make sue they are well coated
  • Arrange the mushrooms on the baking tray/mat, leaving a little space between them
  • Bake for c. 15 minutes, flip using a spatula and let bake for another 15 minutes
  • Let cool for at least 10 minutes (this will also crisp the mushrooms)
  • Eat on its on or serve with…literally anything

 

Vegan Baked Oysters

Vegan Baked Oysters

‘The voice if the sea, speaks to my soul’…

I serve this in the summer, instead of real Oysters as Mr B isn’t so fond of the real things having been spoiled by spending so much of his childhood eating seafood in his parent home town in Italy

I do in fact love oysters, but am happy to save my feasting for when I am by the sea

It is a nice meaty substitute with the faux breadcrumbs providing a nice contrast in texture

I like to serve this with a dry white wine, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, works well and Kim Crawford is my favorite for choice

This is adapted from Fork and Beans.com, which has a whole faux seafood series

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. white wine (optional)
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. almond meal, or gluten free panko if you have a nut allergy
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 350f/250c
  • On a medium heat, sauté the shallots and garlic with the coconut oil
  • Add the mushrooms, white wine, stir until the liquid absorbs
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice, sprinkle the parsley and stir in the almond meal until well combined
  • Season well with salt and pepper
  • If you are baking in the shells, place a heaping tablespoon of the filling into each shell, top with extra almond meal and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are slightly brown
  • If you are placing these in spoons for serving, place into an oven safe dish, sprinkle extra almond meal and bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly browned. Take out of oven and once slightly cooled, place in spoons and serve

Summer Corn with green chilli cream

Corn Poblano

I love, love, love corn, it is so versatile, it can be creamy, spicy, salty, sweet, grilled, steamed, baked, fried. Whatever way you choose to prepare it, it is always the beaming color of sunshine and reminds you of a beautiful summers day.

The mind is so powerful, that they say if you think positive thoughts, you are more open to opportunities that come your way. If you can close your eyes and imagine a beautiful summers day where you are overlooking the water as you feel the sun on your back and a breeze on your face, your body will feel the affects of the relaxing image and your heart rate will slow down, so powerful are the effects of the mind. I love cooking with summer vegetables and bright colours for this reason, bringing something beautiful and bright into my life, whether it is through food, friends, travel or meditation.

‘You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realise this and you will find strength’.

This recipe is adapted from Verge, one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks. I love it for the beauty and Mr. B for the heat of the pablano contrasting with the slight sweetness gained from the charred corn.

Ingredients

  • 4 corn cobs
  • ½ cup finely chopped seeded poblano peppers
  • ½ cup finely chopped scallions/spring onions
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro/coriander

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350f
  • Shuck the corn kernels off the cobs, using a sharp knife (be careful doing this), place the cobs in a bowl and mix with the poblanos, onions, oil, salt and pepper
  • Transfer the mixture to a lined baking tray and bake until the mixture starts to char (10-25 minutes)
  • Return the mixture to the bowl, fold in the vegan mayonnaise and cilantro

Black eye beans and almost round chapatti

Black eye beans

‘I have been and still am a seeker, but have ceased to question stars and books, and  have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.’

This is one of those classic dishes that granny made for us growing up and was one of my favourites. It seemed so simple on the plate, but as ever it is a delicate dance of complex flavours and deep layers of spice. The dish is clearly steeped in generations of passed down wisdom with its multitude of beneficial ingredients including with turmeric, garlic and ginger.

‘You left us beautiful memories and your love is still my guide, in everything i do, I still feel you by my side.’

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried black eye beans, soaked for 1-2 hours
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-inch ginger, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cayenne (adjust to spice preference)
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups water

Method

  • Soak the black-eyed beans in water for 1-2 hours. Drain
  • Add the oil and cumin to a heavy set pot
  • Once the cumin seeds start to splutter, add the onion and bay leaf
  • After 7-8 minutes or when the onions begin to turn golden add the garlic, ginger and spices. Stir briefly and then add the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down
  • Add the drained black eyed beans to the pot, alongside 3 cups of water
  • Mix well and simmer, until the beans are soft. 45-60 mins

Processed with MOLDIV

Ingredients

  • 450g/1lb chapatti flour/wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 250ml cold water

Method

  • Set aside 200g of the flour and reserve for shaping the chapatti’s
  • Place the remaining flour and salt in a deep bowl. Fill another bowl with the cold water
  • Add the water to the bowl of flour, a little at a time, kneading as you go, until you have a soft elastic dough. The longer you knead the dough the softer the chapatti’s will be
  • Sprinkle a little of the reserved flour onto a flat surface or board. Divide the dough into 8 and shape each piece into a ball. Flatten the balls slightly, and then place one onto the floured board. Roll it out into a flat disc approximately 6 inches in diameter, flouring the board when necessary to make sure the chapatti doesn’t stick
  • Heat a shallow frying pan, lay the chapatti on the pan and cook for 20 seconds until the surface is bubbling, turn over and cook for another 10 seconds, as soon as brown spots appear on the underside the chapatti is done
  • Stack them up as they are cooked placing a sheet of kitchen towel in-between them if leaving them plain or adding butter/ghee if not

Family

Green Peas, Pink Grapefruit and White Almonds

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You are a work of art, not everyone will understand you…that’s okay…but those that do, will be in awe as they fall in love with you…

This is a beautiful summer dish, inspired by Alain Passard, my favourite Parisian chef. His cookbook, ‘The Art of Cooking with Vegetables’, is more like a book of art with no photo’s, just abstract pictures of what the dish could be. It is up to you to fulfil its potential.

I love this dish as it is light, fresh and delicate. A beautiful dish to serve at the table and it really lets the ingredients speak for themselves with the pop of the garden peas nicely complemented with the tart and textured grapefruit.

Ingredients

  • 350g fresh garden peas, shelled
  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 16-20 blanched almonds
  • 40g salted butter
  • 2 tbsp. virgin olive oil
  • 2 springs fresh thyme
  • Sea salt

Method

  • Peel the grapefruit, removing as much of the pith and core as possible
  • With a sharp knife free the grapefruit segments by cutting long the sections of membrane and letting the segments and juices fall away onto the plate
  • Cut the segments into bite size pieces and set them aside
  • In a pan, melt the butter and add the olive oil and gently heat
  • Stir in the fresh thyme and garden peas
  • Cover with c.1.1/2 inches of water, stirring until cooked, c. 10 minutes
  • Once the peas are cooked, drain the water, discard the thyme and divide between the bowls
  • Arrange the grapefruit segments on top and scatter the almonds over the top

Summer corn custard with blackberries, sage and roasted hazelnuts

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‘And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer’

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is an elegant vegan dessert bursting with summer flavours and combining the texture of silky corn custard, juicy tart blackberries and toasty crunchy hazelnuts

I am not one with a sweet tooth, like Mr. B. so this desert really suites me as it has a little salt in the custard base, making for a salty sweet combination that dances a tango on your tongue

The recipe is from Vedge, the exciting vegan cookbook out of Philadelphia using innovative techniques and flavour combinations to elevate the humble vegetable to its rightful place

Ingredients

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1/5 cups vegan cream (mayonnaise/aquafabba can be used)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. agave nectar or raw honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. agar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 2 sage leaves, cut into chiffonade (thin strips)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup shelled, skinned hazelnuts, chopped

Method

  • Shave the kernels off the cobs into a medium saucepan
  • Add the vegan cream, coconut milk, agave, vanilla, salt and the agar. Heat over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until it comes to a boil, about 10 minutes. Keep the mixture at a rolling boil for c. 5 minutes to allow the agar to fully dissolve, stirring occasionally.
  • Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender, add the cornstarch and blend for 30 seconds
  • Strain the contents through a sieve into a clean saucepan, bring just to a boil and immediately remove from the heat
  • Ladle the custard into six ramekins, or glasses if you don’t have any
  • Allow the custards to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator. Let them chill for at least 2 hours before serving
  • Toss the blackberries in a small bowl with the sage, lemon juice and remaining 1 tbsp. agave, cover and refrigerate until ready to use
  • Place the hazelnuts in a small sauté pan, sprinkle with the remaining ½ tsp. salt and dry roast over a medium heat until golden brown (the smell is amazing). Allow the nuts to cool
  • When the custards are ready to serve, toss the hazelnuts with the blackberries, then spoon some on top of the custard.
  • Serve immediately