Green Peas, Pink Grapefruit and White Almonds

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You are a work of art, not everyone will understand you…that’s okay…but those that do, will be in awe as they fall in love with you…

This is a beautiful summer dish, inspired by Alain Passard, my favourite Parisian chef. His cookbook, ‘The Art of Cooking with Vegetables’, is more like a book of art with no photo’s, just abstract pictures of what the dish could be. It is up to you to fulfil its potential.

I love this dish as it is light, fresh and delicate. A beautiful dish to serve at the table and it really lets the ingredients speak for themselves with the pop of the garden peas nicely complemented with the tart and textured grapefruit.

Ingredients

  • 350g fresh garden peas, shelled
  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 16-20 blanched almonds
  • 40g salted butter
  • 2 tbsp. virgin olive oil
  • 2 springs fresh thyme
  • Sea salt

Method

  • Peel the grapefruit, removing as much of the pith and core as possible
  • With a sharp knife free the grapefruit segments by cutting long the sections of membrane and letting the segments and juices fall away onto the plate
  • Cut the segments into bite size pieces and set them aside
  • In a pan, melt the butter and add the olive oil and gently heat
  • Stir in the fresh thyme and garden peas
  • Cover with c.1.1/2 inches of water, stirring until cooked, c. 10 minutes
  • Once the peas are cooked, drain the water, discard the thyme and divide between the bowls
  • Arrange the grapefruit segments on top and scatter the almonds over the top

Summer corn custard with blackberries, sage and roasted hazelnuts

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‘And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer’

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is an elegant vegan dessert bursting with summer flavours and combining the texture of silky corn custard, juicy tart blackberries and toasty crunchy hazelnuts

I am not one with a sweet tooth, like Mr. B. so this desert really suites me as it has a little salt in the custard base, making for a salty sweet combination that dances a tango on your tongue

The recipe is from Vedge, the exciting vegan cookbook out of Philadelphia using innovative techniques and flavour combinations to elevate the humble vegetable to its rightful place

Ingredients

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1/5 cups vegan cream (mayonnaise/aquafabba can be used)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. agave nectar or raw honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. agar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 2 sage leaves, cut into chiffonade (thin strips)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup shelled, skinned hazelnuts, chopped

Method

  • Shave the kernels off the cobs into a medium saucepan
  • Add the vegan cream, coconut milk, agave, vanilla, salt and the agar. Heat over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until it comes to a boil, about 10 minutes. Keep the mixture at a rolling boil for c. 5 minutes to allow the agar to fully dissolve, stirring occasionally.
  • Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender, add the cornstarch and blend for 30 seconds
  • Strain the contents through a sieve into a clean saucepan, bring just to a boil and immediately remove from the heat
  • Ladle the custard into six ramekins, or glasses if you don’t have any
  • Allow the custards to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator. Let them chill for at least 2 hours before serving
  • Toss the blackberries in a small bowl with the sage, lemon juice and remaining 1 tbsp. agave, cover and refrigerate until ready to use
  • Place the hazelnuts in a small sauté pan, sprinkle with the remaining ½ tsp. salt and dry roast over a medium heat until golden brown (the smell is amazing). Allow the nuts to cool
  • When the custards are ready to serve, toss the hazelnuts with the blackberries, then spoon some on top of the custard.
  • Serve immediately

Quinoa Granola Bar (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Granola Bar

‘Each day is a gift, don’t send it back unopened’

I like to eat every two hours or so, little and often is my motto, so it’s important to have healthy easy snacks with me at work and when I travel. I like this recipe as it can be used as a snack or a homemade granola and is another recipe to add to my love affair with quinoa collection, as Mr. B calls it. It is relatively easy and can be adapted to whatever you have in the cupboard. This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from the ambitious kitchen, a beautiful healthy food blog from an inspiring author who used healthy food and blogging to overcome her eating disorder.

A slight detour…

As I was writing the first sentence of this blog, ‘I like to eat every two hours’ I was struck with gratitude for being able to say that.

Some people don’t have the luxury of eating once a day, not only in developing countries due to poverty levels and famine but also in our own back yard.

Two organisations that are dedicated to this cause are Mary’s Meals, which supplies food at school in developing countries, to help lift children out of the cycle of poverty, www.marysmealsusa.org and the Woman’s Lunch Place in Boston, www.womenslunchplace.org, which aims to supply at least one good meal per day as well as helping to restore dignity and hope to vulnerable woman. I support these two charities and would urge you to read about they work they do. They certainly help me to be more mindful when I sit down for a meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • ½ cup uncooked Quinoa
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ¼ cup vegan dark chocolate (can use non-vegan chocolate if preferred)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Add oats, Quinoa and pumpkin seeds to a large baking sheet, spreading evenly
  • Toast for 10 minutes
  • Once toasted pour into a glass bowl and add the chia seeds
  • Whilst baking, melt the almond butter in a shallow pan on a low heat, add the coconut oil, salt, honey and vanilla
  • Once melted, take off heat and allow to cool slightly
  • Add to the mixture and combine
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and pour the mixture in, spreading out
  • Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the top
  • Place mixture into the freezer for 10-20 minutes or until hardened
  • Remove from the freezer and cut into 8 bars, use any that has crumbled as granola

Beetroot Chocolate Pot (Vegetarian/Gluten Free/Nut Free)

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I am always trying out new and interesting dessert recipes to satisfy Mr. B’s sweet tooth and when I found this recipe in Verge, one of my favorite veggie cook books, it seemed the perfect balance between healthy yet indulgent

This is a rich and impressively heady desert and easy to make given the few ingredients and little process. The recipe serves, 2-4 people, but I would suggest it for 4-6 at least, due to the decadence

The beetroot can not be seen as the deep purple is swallowed by the chocolate (see picture below for the proof it is in the pudding…), so if you want your guests to know that there is beetroot, then you may want to sprinkle some crushed beet chips on top

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, use dairy free chips for the vegan option
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup red beetroot juice

Method

  • Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl
  • Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the cornstarch and salt, whisking to ensure that it is fully dissolved. The cornstarch will start to thicken the coconut milk after a few minutes, as soon as this happens, stir in the beet juice and then strain through a sieve over the chocolate chips
  • Whisk the chocolate mixture thoroughly until all of the chips are melted. Portion the mixture into serving dishes and chill for at least 1 hour to set

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Whole Roasted Spiced Cauliflower

Spiced Cauliflower

I was looking for something to serve as a vegan main course and found this beautiful dish from the English book, Hemsley and Hemsley, the art of healthy living.

It’s a whole cauliflower so when you serve it, you need to cut it like a steak. Your guests will be impressed, but more so when they taste the sumptuous spice mix that gives this dish layers of depth and takes you back to the last time you walked through a souk in the middle east, or more likely these days, the spice aisle in wholefoods.

If you’d like a cooling dish to compliment this, make a little yogurt and cucumber mix to go with it. Simplicity at its best.

I served this with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which is a Mr. B favourite, but also holds up nicely to this dish, given it’s own complexity of juicy acidity and fruity sweetness.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp. pistachios
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. sumac
  • 1 tsp. thyme and a few twigs to serve
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • virgin olive oil to finish
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper to serve

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180c/250f
  • Toast the pistachios in a dry pan for a minute, then crush them with a rolling pin or chop
  • In the same pan, gently melt 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Sit the cauliflower on the baking tray, pour over the melted oil, sprinkle on the sea salt and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes
  • Melt the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil and stir in the spices, herbs and garlic
  • Remove the cauliflower from the oven and pour over the flavoured oil
  • Roast the cauliflower for a further 10 minutes
  • Serve whole, drizzled with virgin olive oil, squeeze over the lemon, then scatter with parsley some extra salt and the pistachios

Quinoa Risotto, Arancini with a herbaceous dipping oil

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This recipe was adapted from Hemsley and Hemsley’s, the art of eating well and gives you a great main and canapé. It’s one that I won’t mention to Mr. B’s mum since she is Italian and would not approve of me calling something a risotto not made of rice.

The ‘risotto’ is made from Quinoa, a great protein dense substitute to rich with the added bonus that it cooks quicker also, so no standing about the stove stirring. The leftover risotto also gives you this neat little canapé, which is baked and therefore a healthier version of the authentic Italian Arancini, which is deep-fried and very addictive.

The recipe can be adapted to your taste. The broth can be vegetable or bone broth, the cheese can be taken out and replaced with vegan cream cheese, or bacon can be added, just make sure it is crispy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 250g white Quinoa (soaked overnight)
  • 1 tbsp. white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 700ml vegetable stock (or bone broth)
  • 50g Peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 125g blue cheese (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Sea salt and pepper

Method

  • Heat the coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion and celery for c. 8 minutes, until softened
  • Add the drained Quinoa to the pan, stir and leave for a minute until the Quinoa is almost sticking to the pan
  • Add the white wine or cider vinegar, stir to deglaze the pan of all the sticky bits
  • Pour in most of the broth, turn up the heat to bring t the boil and then turn down to a simmer
  • After 8-10 minutes of cooking the Quinoa should be cooked and tender, add in the peas, they will cook in a few minutes
  • Switch off the heat, stir in the blue cheese, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve half which should be enough for 2 portions and keep the rest to make Arancini

Arancini

Ingredients

  • 40-60g chickpea flour
  • 2 portions of the risotto
  • Mint and parsley oil (see recipe)
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180c/250f
  • Mix the chickpea flour into the leftover risotto and combine well
  • Take 1 tbsp. of risotto and roll into balls, place on the baking tray
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden. Serve with mint and parsley oil for dipping

Mint and Parsley Oil

Ingredients

  • 180ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 30g fresh parsley, chopped
  • 10g fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper

Method

  • Mix all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle and mull together
  • If you don’t have one, just make sure the herbs are chopped finely and mix together in a bowl
  • Ready to serve with the Arancini or use as a salsa verde

Beet tartare

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Life is your canvas…paint it with your dreams!

My dreams are normally full of food. If you know me well and see me staring off into the distance, you’ll know its because I am thinking about my next meal, the meal I just had or a recipe I am working on. It is therefore natural for me to combine food and art.

Beetroots have such amazing colors, my favourite is the deep ruby red because of the colour but also the antioxidant qualities you get with it.

This recipe is my healthy vegan version of beef tartar using those beautiful red beets to create a hearty, beet tartare. The dish has a lovely crunch and salinity from the capers and a smooth heat from the mustard.

I loved playing with this dish, as when you have finished you have a pink paint and a white cream cheese base to play with. It lets your inner artist (and child out) and what could be more fun than that!

This is a Tasha. Kitchen original, feel free to copy, creativity should be shared!

Ingredients

  • 2 small beets
  • 1 tsp. capers
  • 1½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 3 tbsp. vegan cream cheese (see prior recipe)
  • Chives, chopped (for garnish)

Method

  • Preheat an oven to 350c
  • Bake the beetroots in salt for 40 mins or until slightly tender
  • Remove from the oven and let cool
  • Once cooled chop into roughly 1cm x 1cm pieces
  • Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, and salt.
  • Transfer beets to a small bowl and mix with the dressing
  • Smear plate with the vegan cream cheese and place the beetroot on top using a cookie cutter or ramekin
  • Garnish with chopped chives