Raw Pistachio and Rose Avocado Cake (Raw, V, DF, GF)

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“Good food is all the sweeter, when shared with good friends”

This is a beautiful light dessert, with the sweet fragrance of a souk from the rose petals and pistachios. It is an easy blender recipe, with the base made mainly of dates and nuts and the topping 90% avocado. I served it at the end of my plant to table dinner and the guests loved the way it looked, the subtle sweetness and it’s delicate nature after a 3 course meal.

Ingredients

Crust

  • ½ cup raw pistachios
  • 6 soft Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt

Filling

  • 2 medium avocados, de-seeded and peeled
  • 6 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Place all the crust ingredients apart from the maple syrup into the blender and process to a crumble
  • Add the maple syrup and process again to a sticky crumble
  • Transfer the mixture to a 5-inch springform pan
  • Press the mixture into the bottom
  • Place in the freezer whilst you work on the filling
  • Blend all the filling ingredients apart from the pistachios, make sure the mixture is well combined
  • Add the pistachios and blend again, but not until fully blended, as you want to see visible specs in the mixture
  • Add to the base and smooth the top over
  • Add toppings, I used rose peals and more pistachios
  • Place in the freezer for at least 4-5 hours
  • If you have leftovers, keep them frozen otherwise the mix will oxidise and change color
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Mushroom Stroganoff (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘Winter is a season of recovery and preparation’.

Stroganoff is an old classic Russian recipe from the 18th century, that has become popular around the world. You can imagine people eating this dish on a cold snowy day, which is why it has become so popular as a warming winter dish in other places and the USA is no exception.

I took this particular recipe from Healthy Living James as featured in Vegan Food and Living. It is rich from the coconut milk, substituting for the cream and has deep flavors from the smoked paprika, dijon mustard and garlic. You can use it for canapés, eat it on toast for breakfast or with rice for dinner and it only takes 30 minutes to make.

Ingredients

  • 1kg mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 red onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tins of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Large handful of parsley
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  • Heat a large pot with oil, adding the garlic, onions and mushrooms with a large pinch of salt and pepper
  • Cook for 5 minutes, stirring as you go along
  • Once the mushrooms are soft, add the coconut milk, paprika, mustard and lemon juice and stir well
  • Cook on a high heat to allow the sauce to thicken, cook for 20-25 minutes of until thick and reduced, keeping stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick
  • Finally add freshly chopped parsley

Sweet and Sour Mixed Nuts (Vegan, DF, GF)

This recipe is from season by Nik Sharma, ‘I am an immigrant and I tell my story through food’.

This is a beautiful cookbook and a tail of a life and culinary journey through India and America. It is a book that tells the tale of the inherent tension between originality and origin. It is the familiar story of how food becomes a tool of acclimatization and acceptance and how on that journey it is a friend and teacher in times of discomfort and in finding yourself once again.

I love this cookbook not only for its beautiful pictures and recipes, but for the familiar story it tells, of getting to know yourself through food. For immigrants, food can represent heritage, home and your life journey. When you doing know where you are or who you are, your nostalgic dishes will give you back your pathway and identity. From the porridge you ate as a child with your grandma, or the celebratory dish that was always placed center stage at birthdays, food can take you back in time and give you comfort as you make your journey far away from the place you once started.

This recipe is a tantalizing combination of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. Make it to snack on or to serve to guests.

Nuts are a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acid and dietary fiber.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. unsalted vegan butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tsp. coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp. pomegranate powder
  • ½ tsp. sumac
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup raw shelled pistachios
  • ½ cup halved walnuts

Method

  • Preheat the oven to c. 300f
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter, pomegranate molasses, sugar, pomegranate powder, sumac, cayenne and salt to form a smooth paste
  • Fold in the nuts and stir to make sure there is an even coat
  • Transfer to the baking sheet and spread out
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool before serving
  • If not using immediately, cool and keep in an airtight glass jar

Marinated Tofu with Miso Jam & Edo Spice (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘The mind is like Tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in’.

This is a beautiful recipe and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Tofu. My beautiful cousin, Sabrina, bought me a selection of spices and it came with some suggested recipes.

The key here is to make sure you get as much water out of the tofu as possible. The resulting dish is a wonderful combination of the char from the tofu, the salty sweet umami from the miso jam and the acid and spice from the spice mix. I have given a suggestion for if you don’t have Edo spice, but you can just sprinkle anything you have or that suits your palate, making it your own recipe.

Mr. B doesn’t like Tofu or miso, so this is recipe is just for me.

Ingredients

  • 12oz block of firm tofu
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 tbsp. mirin
  • 2 tbsp. mushroom powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 batch miso jam
  • 2 spring onions/scallions (for garnish)

Miso Jam

  • 1 tbsp. mirin
  • 2 tbsp. sake
  • 6 tbsp. sweet white miso
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Method

  • Drain the tofu, then cut it like a loaf of bread into six, ¾ inch slabs
  • Arrange the tofu on a single layer on a cloth, lay more towels on top and weigh down to squeeze out as much water as possible
  • Let stand for at least 20 minutes
  • In the meantime, make the marinade by whisking oil, mirin, shitake powder, ginger and a pinch of salt. It will be spreadable but thick
  • Transfer the tofu slabs to a plate and arrange them in a single layer. Brush the tops with the marinade, then flip and cover the other side. Let stand for 30 minutes
  • During this time make the jam but whisking the ingredients together over a low heat, whisking until it is firm enough to hold a soft peak. Immediately take the jam off the heat and place in a bowl to make sure it doesn’t continue to cook
  • Heat a non-stick pan, add the remaining oil. Add the tofu slabs and pan fry under nicely browned on all sides
  • Transfer tofu to a serving plate
  • Spread a dollop of miso jam on top of each slab, sprinkle the mixed spice* on top and a few bits of scallion.

*If you don’t have Edo Spice – a mix of 7 spices from Japan, add sesame seeds, chili flakes and some lemon zest

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Mushroom Broth and friends (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘Nature alone is an antique, and the oldest art a mushroom’  – Thomas Carlyle

I love this dish so much that whilst I am writing this, I am making another batch

It made my life so much easier this week as I started to commute and needed a nourishing, light meal that took 10 minutes to make when I got home

The first day I ate the broth on its own, the second I added some soba noodles as I heated it up, the third I added some tofu, the fourth some pea shoots and the fifth some pre-cooked barley and some coconut milk.  The base itself has about 10 calories, a portion of soba noodles has 70 calories, so this is a low-calorie meal, whatever you do to it

Dried mushrooms can be much cheaper than real mushrooms but they retain the taste and nutrients including protein, enzymes, B vitamins (niacin) and vitamin D2

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried mushrooms
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 8 cups water

Method

  • Place all ingredients in a deep pot, bring to the boil and then down to a simmer for 30 minutes
  • You are looking for a deeply concentrated flavour, so if at 30 minutes you don’t have that keep going or adjust the seasoning
  • If you have an instant pop, you can do the same thing and it will take 10 minutes
  • Eat as a nourishing broth
  • Add soba noodles and make a ramen
  • Add tofu and vegetables and make a protein dense soup
  • Use it as your broth and make a risotto

Squash and Eggplant Gratin  (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let every new year find you a better man’  – Benjamin Franklin

Every year people makes lists of resolutions, drink less, eat less, do more exercise. These are really just generalities that you think will make your life better and in some circumstances relieve the guilt of the past season. We all do it and it seems to make sense at the time, but how long do we stick to our resolutions?

I have found, for me at least that making small changes on a day to day basis works better, with a little room for error, so that I don’t get into a guilt cycle and give up. Every day I start a fresh and think about what I can do better today.

For me like a lot of people, I have a deep and complex relationship with food. It has been my friend and enemy, it comforts me when I am far from home, it teaches me about my ancestry and it gives me a canvas for creativity. I am not going to give up eating and sometimes I am going to want something that does not serve me well, like a slice of pizza with my Italian husband or a truffle parmesan potato chip or two. So how do I balance the two.

I make it easy for myself to eat healthily 90% of the time and I don’t punish myself for the rest. I batch cook at the weekend and then my fast food is healthy food. I buy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and I prepare them in batches as grab and go, lining up the pairings, for example peeling carrots and setting them next to the hummus, or placing mixed cut fruits in little pots next to my almond yogurt as a quick grab and go in the morning.

This recipe is an easy batch recipe. You cut and bake the butternut squash and eggplant, which you can make it bulk and use for other things also. You then add it all together bake it, creating 6-8 portions to be eaten or frozen. It tastes wonderful as a side or main, lunch or dinner and each ingredient can be repurposed in many different ways.

Take a few hours at the weekend to make your week easier and your food healthier. Now thats a resolution that anyone can keep. Happy Healthy 2019.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 large jar passata/homemade or shop bought
  • 2 large eggplants/aubergines
  • 100g gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 50g vegan parmesan
  • salt, pepper, olive oil, chilli flakes

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350f
  • Peel the squash, remove the seeds and cut into 1 cm long segments
  • Toss the squash in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until soft
  • As the squash is roasting, half peel the eggplant (alternate stripes) and slice into 1cm discs
  • Cover in olive oil, salt and pepper and lightly fry to brown on each side. Set aside on kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil
  • Warm the passata and add any additional flavouring you might like. I used a garlic basil tomato sauce and added a few chilli flakes (this saves a lot of time). Reference the Rowley Leigh recipe for the original recipe.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan and set aside till ready to assemble
  • In an ovenproof dish, spoon a little sauce on the bottom and place half the squash segments down. Add some more sauce over the top and add half the eggplant segments, add more sauce and add the rest of the squash segments, more sauce, the other half of the eggplant segments and the rest of the sauce. Cover with the mixed breadcrumbs and cheese and bake for 30 minutes. I baked it covered with foil to make sure the breadcrumbs didn’t burn
  • Best eaten fresh and hot, but works well as leftovers too

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Happy New Year!

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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.

Yours faithfully,

Tasha x