Dear Friends of Tasha. Kitchen,
Happy New Year!
My wish for you is to Live Better, Strive Harder, Be Bolder, Dream Bigger, Climb Higher and Seek Greater.
These too are wishes for myself and in the pursuit of this at the end of the year I took some time out to self reflect on all I have learnt over the last year.
In 2018, I completed my certificate in Plant Based Nutrition with Cornell and have used this and some great books (e.g. how not to die – Gene Stone and Michel Greger), articles and blogs to learn more about the hard science behind food and disease. Many of you may have seen my blog evolve over that time, from broad based healthy food to more of a plant-based blog. This is a reflection of my learning and has caused me to sit back and think about what my own philosophy is and what the blog should centre around.
After much study, contemplation and a recommitment to both my followers, and myself I am pleased to announce a new blog coming soon. The blog will be dedicated to Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw recipes with a focus on Plants and Whole Foods to maximise the nutritional content. There will also be a new section where I will share scientific research, so you can learn with me.
The blog will be called PlantToTable.com and exists today but with a redirect to Tasha.Kitchen until it is ready for launch in early 2019. Tasha.Kitchen will resume this Saturday and an announcement will be made when the new blog is ready.
I hope that this news allows you to forgive my absence and I look forward to continuing our journey together.
A little advice from a mushroom;
- Be down to earth
- Sprout new ideas
- Keep a low profile
- Know when to show up
- Stay well-rounded
- Start from the ground up
- Be a fun-guy
This is a beautiful recipe for a BBQ. It is meaty and sticky and sweet and sumptuous.
Mushrooms are always said to be a great meat substitute but I don’t see it as a substitute but a star in it’s own right. I use a variety of mushrooms in my recipes due to the medicinal benefits; Trumpet versus the others is good for something you want to give more structure to, which is why it works so well on this recipe.
Be careful with the reduction, as it can get hot due to the melted sugar. If it toughens up just reheat.
- 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup mirin
- 1/3 cup sake
- 1/3 cup tamari
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- trumpet mushrooms
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- Soak 6-10 bamboo skewers for at least 15 minutes
- Prepare grill/BBQ for medium heat
- Thread the mushrooms onto the prepared skewers and brush with oil and salt
- Grill until golden brown
- Heat the mirin, sake, tamari and sugar until slightly reduced
- Brush on the mushrooms and grill again, flip and brush again
- Serve with spring onions on top
This is one of those desserts…. one bite and addictive!
‘I don’t often eat Baklava, but when I do, I eat the whole tray…’
Here is an easy, peasy, lemon squeezy recipe for you to try out at home. It is such a beautiful taste and the smell of toasted pistachios is an added bonus. I used creamed honey from the farmers market as it is a little mellower, but any high quality honey will work.
This is a little healthier than your normal Baklava as it doesn’t have multiple layers of syrup. It is also easy to serve with cocktails as a canapé. I’d suggest adding a little rose water to some prosecco would be a good pairing, bringing out the fragrance and smells of a souk in both.
- 15 mini tart shells
- 3 tbsp. vegan butter
- 1 cup raw unsalted pistachios
- 2 tbsp. honey
- ½ tsp. cardamom
- Pinch salt
- Bake the tart shells
- Melt the butter in a medium pan, add pistachios and stir for c. 2 minutes until they start to have a nutty aroma
- Add the honey, cardamom and salt
- Take off the heat and mix
- Use two spoons to scoop the filling into the shells
- Cool before serving and make sure you don’t get any sugar on your skin as it will be super hot (I may be talking from experience…)
Beetroot Poriyal (Vegan, DF, GF)
This is one of my favourite Indian stir-fries, it’s vibrant, tasty and spicy, everything you want from Indian food, but also healthy, full of vitamins and anti-oxidants, all you want from food in general!
It’s origins stem from southern India, where the use of coconut and mustard seeds is much more prevalent
I love to serve this as a little canapé in a vegan filo shell with a nice cold crisp glass of wine. I generally make a bigger batch and also have it with rice as a light mid week dinner
You can also use this recipe with another vegetable, e.g. cabbage that I have done and served like a taco with poppadum. I have served that at dinner parties topped with pomegranates for a hit of sweetness and acidity
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 cups cooked and grated beetroot
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- 10 curry leaves
- 1 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 tbsp. grated coconut
- In a pan heat the coconut oil, keep the heat low and add the mustard seeds
- When the mustard seeds begin to crackle, add the green chilli, curry leaves
- Add the beetroot, mix well
- Add salt to taste
- Add the coconut, mix well
- Serve with rice, roti or in a tart cup as a canapé
Chole Masala (Chickpea Curry) (GF, Vegan)
Food is love when words are inadequate
My grandma always made you feel like she had been waiting for you all day and when you arrived her day was now complete
The first thing I had to do after taking off my shoes and putting away my bag was to taste what ever my grandma had been creating all day in the kitchen
This is a dish that you can smell as soon as you walk into the house, as it is rich in spices. It is also low in calories but high in protein so it is a great staple
A lot of my grandma’s dishes took a long time to cook, but this one is a 30-minute meal. As with most Indian dishes however the longer you cook down the spices the more concentrated the dish and the longer you leave the dish the more intense it tastes, so remember to leave some for the next day
I used two chills for this as Mr B has a spicy palate, but you should adjust to your own taste
My grandma used to serve this with rice; I like it on its own. You can also serve this to your guests as a canapé in a Phyllo cup or on top of a chickpea pancake (see earlier recipe)
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 4 tsps. Finely chopped ginger
- 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 chilli’s
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tsp. garam masala
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 2 cans chickpeas
- ½ cup of water
- Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant
- Add the onions, ginger, garlic, chilli’s and season with salt
- Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent
- Add the garam masala, coriander powder, salt and turmeric, stir until well combined
- Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and water
- Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce slightly thickens
- Serve in a phyllo cup, with rice or on a chickpea pancake
Okra Pakora (GF, Vegan)
My grandma used to make Pakoras all the time. Here classics were potato, bread with chutney in the middle and chilli (which Mr B would eat till his eyes watered). She also used to make pakoras to use up the leftovers, as she hated waste, so we would get spinach or salad pakoras when the leaves were starting to wilt. Whatever she made them out of they were always delicious and addictive
I love Okra Masala but have always been intrigued by Okra Pakoras, so that is where I thought I would start. Okra is a scary vegetable for most cooks to use due to the slimy inside which appears the more you cook it. This is a great recipe as you use this as the moisture of the dish and the more the better!
A little known fact is that the inside is made of sugar and protein and similar to the inside of the Aloe Vera plant. It is also known for being high in vitamin c, vitamin k and folate. It is also known for harnessing a superior fiber, which helps with digestion and stabilises blood sugar. Who knew!
Serve this with any chutney you like, or organic ketchup for the kids!
- 10 Okra
- 2 green chilli’s
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 2 curry leaves, chopped
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- ½ tsp. Kashmiri red chilli powder
- ¼ tsp. hing
- ¾ cup chickpea/besan flour
- ½ cup rice flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- Oil for deep frying
- Firstly clean and wipe the okra then chop into small pieces
- Add chilli, ginger, curry leaves, turmeric, chilli powder and hing
- Add the chickpea flour, rice flour and salt
- Combine all the ingredients, use your hands to squeeze the moisture out of the okra and bind the pakoras together
- Add a little water if more moisture is needed to form a batter
- Take a tablespoon of the mixture into your palm and shape into a ball
- Drop into hot oil
- Fry until golden brown
- Serve with chutney
Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)
‘Here’s to the crazy one. The misfits, the rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. Some may see them as the crazy some genius. But it is only those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, that do’
Matthew Kenney was one such crazy person, who created a plant-based culinary nutrition education program. He is a true believer that food is our medicine and through his own personal experience has seen a plant based diet bring him back to life. His culinary school is dedicated to showing the world that healthy, plant-based foods can be delicious, sexy, vibrant, beautiful and can be consumed without compromise.
I am a true believer in this philosophy and whilst not 100% plant based, I am making my way down this path. My dream is that food is used to fuel our body, minds and souls and the more I learn about the nutrient content of our basic plant friends, the more I feel like our health care is easily accessible and available to all.
Of all the courses that the PlantLab Culinary school runs, the one I choose to start with was their raw desserts course. You can do it online over 6 months, so pacing it with your own schedule. Desserts have always been my weakest point; due to my body not reacting well to gluten and dairy, so this course is an eye and palate opener. Mr B who loves his desserts is super happy too as he can now eat dessert for breakfast.
This was the first recipe I used at my vegan dinner party and the guests where in love with it. The whole plate was dairy, gluten and nut free and they were super surprised that it was a possibility. I hope Chef Kenney is proud of the impact he is having, I believe this revolution and evolution has just begun!
- 10 medjool dates, pitted and soaked
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1/3. Cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp. mesquite or maca powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. Water
Pumpkin seed crunch/raspberries
- ½ cup, plus 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
- ½ vanilla pod, seeds
- Pinch of salt
- Freeze dried raspberries
- Using a melon baller, make apple balls, place in a bowl with some lemon water to make sure it doesn’t brown. Place to the side
- Blend all the caramel ingredients until smooth. Pour caramel to the side and move to the side
- Grind all the pumpkin seed ingredients together, place in a bowl and move to the side
- Crush the freeze dried raspberries, place in a bowl and move to the side
- Take one of the apple balls, dry off, place a toothpick through the center, roll in the caramel, roll in topping of choice
- Place in fridge to set (min 5 minutes)
- Serve once set