Cauliflower Steak (Vegan, DF, GF)

Cauliflower steak

Let’s break the myth that you need meat to build muscle. The gorilla can lift up to 10 times its body weight!

I made this dish on the request of my meat and potatoes concierge. As I would leave the building early in the morning I would go by the front desk and drop off a plant based treat, vegan cheesecake, vegan meatballs, vegan samosa, vegan chocolate truffles and after a few months I finally got a request for a cauliflower steak. This was a man who said that he had to eat meat with every meal.

You must learn a new way to think, before you can master a new way to live.

I love the humble cauliflower, the texture is meaty enough to satisfy and it takes well to assertive flavours. This is a basic version, but you could add a pesto, salsa or chimichurri. I served this with some Baba Ganoush underneath for a texture and flavour contrast.

Mr B was a little upset that I was cooking for another man, so I made him some vegan truffles and he forgot all about it…

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup oil

Method

  • Preheat the oven
  • Remove the outer green leaves from the head of cauliflower
  • Use a large knife and cut the cauliflower half lengthwise and into half again
  • In a bowl mix the oil and spices
  • Brush the cauliflower with the mixture on both sides
  • Bake covered with foil until steamed and starting to soften
  • Uncover and let brown for the remaining time
  • If you have a BBQ, sear for grill marks and a little char

 

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King Trumpet Yakitori (Vegan, DF, GF)

Yakatori

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.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • Salt

Method

  • 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

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Mini Pistachio Baklavas (Vegan)

Mini Baklava

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.

Ingredients

  • 15 mini tart shells
  • 3 tbsp. vegan butter
  • 1 cup raw unsalted pistachios
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. cardamom
  • Pinch salt

Method

  • 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…)

Cardamom Ice-cream (Vegan, DF, GF)

Cardamom Ice-cream (Vegan, DF, GF)

Cinnamon Icecream

I love the simplicity and pureness of this recipe, filled with amazing ingredients straight from Mother Nature’s door!

I adapted this recipe from my plant lab raw desserts classic, bringing a little Indian Flair with the cardamom. If you don’t like cardamom, cinnamon works well or vanilla if you’d prefer a less dominant flavour profile

Did you know Cardamom has impressive medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It has antioxidant and diuretic properties, which are said to stop the growth of tumours, lower blood pressure, prevent inflammation and act as an antibacterial.  Cinnamon has similar such properties, so you are good either way. Mr B doesn’t like Cardamom, so I tend to use cinnamon for him or during the holidays a little pumpkin spice (a US classic. I can not account for the medicinal properties I am afraid, just the smile invoked by the scent of the holidays)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup soaked cashews
  • ½ cup. Young coconut meat or coconut cream
  • ¼ cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp. crushed cardamom seeds or cardamom powder
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Blend all the ingredients together until smooth, except the coconut oil
  • Stream coconut oil in last
  • Process in an ice cream maker, or if you don’t have one (like me), place in a tub and freeze

Kale-Kopita  (Vegan)

Kale-Kopita  (Vegan)

Kale Kopita

This is a great recipe from the kitchen at Vedge in LA. It is a take on the classic spanakopita, (which means cheese filled) and uses tofu as the substitute.

As I talked to a few people about this recipe, it became clear that there is a version of this pie across the world including knishes, Bourikas, calzones, samosas and dim sum to name a few. This means I had some pretty tough tasters. The best comment I got back was from my Albanian taster who said this tasted like his mums back home. Score!! It was only then that I told him that there was no cheese only tofu. (I am not sure if he will mention that to his mum).

The key to a successful pie or layered pie isn’t whether you use tofu or cheese; it is about how you spice the filling. The onion, garlic, dill, salt and pepper all add to a delicious filling that you could stuff into anything, or quite frankly eat on its own. So make sure you are happy with the flavour and everything else will fall into place!

Mr B was a definite fan of this dish, given his love of all things Greek (apart from me, of course, he loves me despite of my non-Greekness)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing the Phyllo
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
  • 1 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 5 cups of tofu cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Half a pack of organic vegan Phyllo, thawed

Method

  • Preheat the oven
  • Brush a casserole dish with olive oil
  • Bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt
  • Blanch the kale for 5 minutes, drain
  • Heat the olive oil in a deep pot, add the onions, garlic and cook for a few minutes until brown
  • Add the crumbled tofu, salt and pepper. Stir until browned and the moisture is gone, c. 10 minutes
  • Combine the kale and tofu mixture in a large bowl. Add the tofu cream cheese, dill and lemon juice
  • Layer 3 sheets of Phyllo on the bottom of the dish. Add one third of the mixture, layer another 3 layers on top, add the next third, add Phyllo, the next third and finally top with the remaining Phyllo. Brush the top layer with olive oil and bake until golden brown, c. 15 minutes.
  • Cut the dish into portions before baking, this will make it easier to serve
  • Serve warm

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Sweet Potato Tikki (GF, Vegan)

Sweet Potato Tikki  (GF, Vegan)

Sweet Potato Tikki

One of my dreams is to write a book of recipes that reflect my grandma’s food and mine together. I did think of just writing her recipes down, as that would take up a whole book in itself but with some of the allergies and dietary requirements that have occurred in our family over the last few years, I thought my adaptations might have some added value

As I look through my photos of my gran, and me we are holding hands in most of them, like an old married couple. So I take that as a message from here that she liked to do things hand in hand

If you have someone in your life that you think it a kindred spirit, make sure you take all the time you can to spend with them as when they are gone it feels like a piece of you is too! My way of getting that connection back is to cook and this is where this recipe came from, hand in hand

I love the combination of ingredients that go in a Tikki, which is an Indian Potato cake that my grandma used to make as an appetizer. I decided to adapt it to use sweet potatoes for the healthy benefits and by also adding some pumpkin seeds for protein and crunch

I love sweet potatoes not only for the vibrant colour and sweet taste but also as they are high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps to keep the bodies defences up and is great for fighting off diseases like cancer. This means you are actually eating your medicine, cool, right. Garlic and Ginger are also great health foods, which my grandma knew and so added to near every single food we ate!

I’m lucky that Mr B likes food with strong flavours and so ate this up without hesitation!

Ingredients

  • 750g sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ chilli, chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 100g chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 10g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. sunflower seeds

Method

  • Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks. Boil for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain and mash roughly with a fork
  • Meanwhile grind the ginger, garlic, chilli and salt until smooth using a mortar and pestle
  • Heat up the oil and sauté the onion until softened, add the spice mix for a couple of minutes until fragrant
  • Add the mashed sweet potato, coriander, sunflower seeds and flour and combine well. Allow mixture to cool
  • Shape 10 round cakes with wet hands
  • Line the baking tray with parchment paper and brush with a little oil. Place the cakes on the tray, brush with more oil and bake in a preheated oven for c. 25 minutes
  • Serve with a blend of vegan mayonnaise, garlic and coriander

HandinhandBigmama

Beetroot Poriyal (Vegan, DF, GF)

Beetroot Poriyal (Vegan, DF, GF)

Beetroot Poiyal

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  • 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