Sesame Sweet Potatoes

Sesame Sweet Potatoes

Sesame Sweet Potatoes

Umami in Japanese means I will give you my right hand and first-born child for a bite of that!

There aren’t many vegan dishes at Zuma, the Japanese Peruvian restaurant in London and now New York, as we found out one Friday night, but the few they have are all delicious and I intend to blog them all for you before the end of the year.

This is one of my favorites due to my obvious obsession of all things Umami. They make it on the Robata grill, which adds an extra smokiness, but you can do it in the oven and it isn’t too far off

The sweet potato and marinade give a lovely sweet salty combination that can be used for other vegetables too. It is also a super quick preparation from kitchen to table, making it an easy weekday or weekend main or side

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350c
  • Wash the sweet potatoes and cut so as to create discs, approximately 1.5 inches wide
  • In a bowl mix together the ingredients and cover the discs well
  • Pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes, until beautifully caramelised.
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Vegan Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

Processed with MOLDIV

‘Do something today, that your future self will thank you for’

This is one of my brother’s favourite recipes, which says something from his discerning palate. My brother has gone from someone who used to eat mainly chicken, rice and potatoes to someone that introduced me to the best Peruvian ceviche in London town. I love exploring new places and cuisines with him, and he is a pretty good cook too!

As we grow older not only our palate but also our perceptions, learning and understanding change. We can therefore be more than a product of our childhoods, learning and habits; we can choose who we want to be.

You don’t have to commit to being a vegan, or cutting things out of your diet, but it is our responsibility to think about what we are putting into our bodies and where that food comes from. In the age of free and prevalent information, we no longer have the excuse, I didn’t know.

This recipe is adapted from ‘oh she glows’, a blog dedicated to plant based foods who overcame her eating disorder and managed to change her families diet from processed junk food to a fully plant based diet, embracing health, change and life! The butternut squash gives a beautifully creamy texture and the sage breadcrumbs add a create complexity to the flavor as well as an additional textural element.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. herbs de Provence or other dried herbs
  • 12 ounces dried gluten free pasta
  • 5 unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup gluten free breadcrumbs/almond meal
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped sage leaves

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Place cubed butternut squash and garlic cloves on a baking tray lined with foil, after tossing with the coconut oil, 1 tsp. sale and ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • Bake until tender, 45-60 mins
  • Cook the pasta, drain and put to the side
  • Once the squash is ready, allow to cool then place in the blender with the nutritional yeast, herbs de Provence, ¼ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper and almond milk and blend till smooth
  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and place in a baking dish
  • Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil, add the almond meal and chopped sage
  • Evenly top over the mac and cheese and heat until the topping is crisp
  • Serve hot

Raw Vegan Matcha Cheesecake

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Raw Vegan Matcha Cheesecake

‘Dessert is like a feel-good song, the best ones make you dance’.

This is one of those life-changing recipes. It tastes beautifully decadent due to the silky texture but is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. As you can see from the combination of ingredients, it is all natural and pretty similar to your granola, so you can eat cheesecake for breakfast and feel pretty good about it. Revolutionary.

I did a lot of taste testing with this recipe and no one could believe that the topping was made with cashews as the main ingredient and contained zero diary. I also did some live cooking to show how long it takes to make, my best time being 6 minutes 32 seconds!

If you don’t like Matcha, you can add raw cocoa and make a chocolate version or blueberries to make a fruity version. The options are endless.

Ingredients

Base

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 6 pitted dates

Filling

  • ¾ coconut milk/cream
  • ½ cup raw honey or maple syrup (vegan option)
  • 5 cups raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours minimum in water and then drained
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. matcha green tea powder

Method

  • Blend the hazelnuts, desiccated coconut and pitted dates until it reaches a crumb like consistency
  • Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a cake tin or if you want to make mini versions distribute evenly into 15 cup cake holders
  • In a clean blender add the coconut milk, honey, cashews and coconut oil until silky smooth
  • Add the matcha powder and blend again until fully combined
  • Pour on top of the base and leave in the fridge/freezer to set

Chocolate Raw cheesecake

Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake (substitute raw cocoa powder for the matcha)

Thai Red Lentil Soup

Red curry lentil soup

Thai Red Lentil Soup

‘Good soup is one of the primary ingredients of good living’

Given our sedentary lifestyle due to our choice of profession, Mr. B and I try and eat vegan at home during the week to make sure we are as kind to our bodies and digestive systems and also stay calorie light, so I am always looking for new and inventive lentil and vegetable dishes

This recipe is adapted from Plenty More and is a playful combination of Indian and Asian flavours. It is a little like a red curry without the bulk and is good with a little rice or on it’s own.

I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of flavour that is developed here, helped by the red curry paste in addition to the vibrancy that comes from the additional squeeze of lime!

Good hot or cold, in the summer or the winter, at home or on the go!

Ingredients

  • 20 sugar snap peas
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 tbsp. vegan Thai red curry paste
  • 250g/1.5 cups red lentils
  • 1 cup/250ml coconut oil
  • 5 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. tamari
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot and add the onion
  • Cook over low heat with lid on for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice until the onion is completely sweet and soft
  • Stir in red curry paste and cook for 1 minute
  • Add the red lentils and 3 cups of stock or water
  • Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft
  • Remove from the heat, once cooled, process the soup in a blender until completely smooth
  • Add back to the pot and heat with the coconut milk, lime juice, tamari and salt
  • Serve with diagonally cut sugar snap peas

Vegan Pulled Pork (Soul-Food)

Vegan Pulled Pork is soul food and food for the soul.

Vegan pulled pork

‘Food for the body is not enough, there must be food for the soul’

When I first came across this dish I was so excited. I don’t actually like pork enough to order it, but it always looks and smells so good, so what better than an alternative that isn’t pork but smells and tastes just as good and is good for your body and soul

The first version I tried was from the Herbivorous Butcher, a company founded by a sister-brother duo (Dev….we have some work to do here…) and ‘dedicated to creating 100% vegan, meat and cheese alternatives that capture flavour, texture and nutrients without an negative affects to the environment, animals or your health’. Their products were a real eye opener for me, trying the pulled pork, shredded chicken, meat loaf, smoked gouda and cheddar and Mr. B loved it all

I decided if I was going to integrate this into our diet, I needed to make our own version, adapted for our palate (a little more umami for me and a little more spice for Mr. B). I noticed that all the meat products where made with jackfruit and so I decided to find some (fresh or tinned can be found in your local Chinese supermarket and is $1.50 a can), so a super healthy and cheap alternative. I tried the recipe using fresh jackfruit also, but there is a lot of waste of both jackfruit and time and energy and for me personally it wasn’t worth the energy to product ratio

Ingredients

  • 2, 20oz cans jackfruit in brine, drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bottle vegan BBQ sauce or home made vegan BBQ sauce

Vegan BBQ sauce

  • 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder (adapt to your spice tolerance)
  • 1 tsp. dried basil or oregano

Method

  • Make the vegan BBQ sauce by mixing all the ingredients together and leaving to sit for 1 hour to allow the flavors to infuse. You can of course use store bought to save time, just make sure it is vegan and gluten free
  • Place the drained jackfruit in a slow cooker and turn to high heat
  • Pour the sauce over the jackfruit and add the water
  • Place the lid on and cook for 4 hours on high
  • Open the lid and mush the jackfruit a bit until it resembled the look of pulled pork
  • Cook on low until the sauce reduces down and the mixture becomes sticky
  • If you don’t have a slow cooker, just put all the ingredients in a large pot and cook down until you have the right texture, 6-8 hours stirring every few hours, similar to a classic Italian ragout
  • Allow to cool a little and serve with Chinese bao, taco shells, tortilla, mashed sweet potato or lettuce as the wrap

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