Vegan Crab Cakes (GF, Vegan)

Vegan Crab Cakes (GF, Vegan)

Crab Cakes

What to cook for game day? Vegan crab cakes of course! These are a pretty tasty treat, with the heart of palm being the substitute for the crab. However in my opinion this is a case of when the understudy is better than the original actor.

I used old bay seasoning for this to replicate the authentic taste and vegan mayonnaise for the texture. I used gluten free breadcrumbs, which I seasoned with garlic, onion and paprika. Panko also works nicely if gluten is no concern.

Mr B loves jumbo crab cakes, like you get in the steak houses in New York City and so I’ll make him a larger sized, but it is easier to get them crispy with a smaller portion. I use an ice-cream scope to get an even portion size, but you could use the palm of your hand for a rough approximate.

Ingredients

  • 1 can, hearts of palm
  • ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. old bay seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ cup chives, finely chopped
  • 1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350f. Line a baking tray with parchment
  • Thinly slice the hearts of palm lengthwise, then crosswise
  • Transfer to a bowl and break up using your hands, add the vegannaise, bay, salt and pepper, chives
  • Sprinkle half the bread crumbs into the mixture and mix thoroughly
  • Form into 14 portions
  • Spread the remaining bread crumbs into a small dish and cover the cakes pressing down a little to make sure the crumb adheres
  • Paint the parchment paper with a little coconut oil
  • Place the cakes down with a little spacing inbetween
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
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Okra Pakora (GF, Vegan)

Okra Pakora (GF, Vegan)

Okra Pakora

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  • 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

Baby Eggplant Curry (GF, Vegan)

Baby Eggplant Curry (GF, Vegan)

Baby Eggplant Curry

This is a luxury curry. It is has a rich masala and is full of layers of spice and taste. Mr B and I tried it at our favourite Indian restaurant and he asked me to make it. This proves how far we have come, as Mr B was a firm ‘food is for fuel’ man before he met me and certainly didn’t ask me to cook savoury dishes, never mind Indian ones

The thing about Indian food that we like is that it can taste really bad for you, given the richness of the sauce, but when you make it from scratch and see the actual ingredients, you realise that they are all good for you and that the spices are actual medicinal in nature

Ingredients

For the curry paste

  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup grated coconut

For the dish

  • 8 baby eggplants
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp. blended garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp. blended ginger
  • 1 tsp. tamarind paste
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • ¼ tsp. mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp. cumin seeds
  • Pinch of hing
  • 1-2 tsp. chilli powder
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp. coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander leaves

Method

  • Wash the baby eggplants, slit across the top, leaving the stem in
  • Heat two tablespoons of oil and shallow fry the baby eggplants until tender and soft. Once done remove and keep aside
  • Dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds for a few minutes
  • Place in a blender with the coconut and blender to make a paste (add a little water if needed)
  • In the same pan as that which you fried the eggplant, add the last tablespoon of oil, add mustard seeds, cumin and hing. Add onions and fry till transparent
  • Add the ginger, garlic and mix well
  • Add the grounded paste, red chilli powder, coriander and turmeric powder
  • Add ¼ cup water and bring to the boil
  • Add the tamarind paste and salt
  • Mix in the eggplants
  • Mix it well with the masala and cover with a lid
  • Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes on a medium flame
  • Garnish with coriander and serve with rice or roti

Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)

Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)

Raw Toffee Apples

‘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!

Ingredients

Apples

  • 1 apple

Caramel

  • 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

Method

  • 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

 

Beetroot Chutney (Vegan, DF, GF)

Beetroot Chutney (Vegan, DF, GF)

Beetroot Chutney

‘A chef must think like a scientist, organize like an accountant, plate like an artist and cook like a grandma’

I am always looking for fun ways to add flavour and colour to my plate and this dish is really an expression of my soul, as it combines my core philosophies of what I want my food to be – Delicious, Nutritious and Beautiful

This chutney from Vineet Bhatia, a famous British Indian chef, he has an amazing way of combining new and old flavors and there are always many exciting elements to his stunning dishes. I tagged Chef Vineet on Instagram, with this dish and he replied asking about the taste – highlight of my year 🙂

I loved this so much I made two different versions, a yellow and a red to play off each other on the plate. You can serve it with anything you like as it is elegant and subtle, so won’t overpower the dish

Ingredients

  • 1 Beetroot
  • ¼ tsp. fennel
  • ½ tsp. ginger, chopped
  • ½ tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Place beetroot into a pot of boiling water and simmer for approximately 40 minutes, or until cooked through
  • Peel when cool enough, dice
  • Place the beetroot and all the other ingredients in a blender, blend until well combined
  • Sieve to form a smooth chutney

Nori Macadamia Nut Cheese (Vegan, DF, GF)

Nori Macadamia Nut Cheese (Vegan, DF, GF)

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What do you do when you can’t eat dairy anymore but you love cheese…make your own of course!

Some of you may think that this sounds a little extreme, but I used to eat so much cheese that my brother nicknamed me, cheese please! I therefore had to work out a way to reintegrate this into my diet and the best thing about making your own, is that you can make it to your own palate

You may think that making vegan cheese sounds difficult but it is really a blender recipe with just a few ingredients. I got this recipe from Plantlab, my favourite raw plant power recipe book, which just blows my mind with every recipe. I love learning the new techniques and intensity of flavours you can achieve through raw preparations. You’ll need a dehydrator for this, but an oven on low will work just as well.

Mr B couldn’t work out what this was at first glance, but once he decided to try it, he loved the smooth texture and tangy taste

Ingredients

For the cheese

  • 3 cups macadamia nuts, soaked
  • ½ cup of water (just enough to blend thoroughly)
  • 1 probiotic capsule
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice

For the nori powder

  • Pulse nori in blender until it becomes a powder, about 1 minute

Method

  • Blend the macadamia nuts, water and probiotic capsule in a high speed blender until smooth, about 3 minutes
  • Place the mixture in a shallow glass bowl and cover with cheesecloth. Let it sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours to culture
  • Mix in the sea salt, nutritional yeast and lemon juice
  • Roll the cheese into a cylinder by first placing a 12-inch piece of plastic warp on a flat surface
  • Place half a cup of cheese in the middle and flatten it out into a rectangular shape
  • Carefully roll the plastic wrap over the cheese and twist the sides to create a tight cylinder
  • Tie the ends securely, starting with one and then twisting the other carefully and tightly before tying
  • Place the cylinder in the freezer for 2 hours
  • Remove the plastic wrap, roll the cheese in the nori powder and dehydrate for 115f for 24 hours to develop the rind
  • Refrigerate until ready to use

Wild mushrooms on Kombu (Vegan, DF, GF)

Wild mushrooms on Kombu (Vegan, DF, GF)

Mushroom Kombu

The intensity of the smell as this is cooking will make you want to take it out every five minutes to eat it, but the longer you leave it, the more concentrated the flavor. The Kombu brings an extra savory tone to the dish giving it a smoky depth

I took this recipe from Matthew Kenney’s Plantlab, creating the future of food. I would say that this is definitely going to be a part of my future and am looking forward to try other vegetables in the same way. I will have to at least try this recipe again, as Mr B wasn’t home, so I ate it all myself. Shhh…..

Ingredients

  • 1lb of wild mushrooms (I used trumpet mushrooms)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. thyme
  • 2 tbsp. rosemary
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt/sea salt
  • Large pieces of Kombu, pre-soaked in water

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350f
  • Wash the mushrooms and cut into roughly equal slices/sizes
  • Toss in the oil, thyme, rosemary and salt
  • Place the kombu on a baking sheet
  • Spread the mushrooms on the kombu in an even layer
  • Cook mushrooms for 30 minutes in the oven