Hey and Happy New Year to you all! I hope your holidays were swell and that you’re ready to blast off into 2016?! In case you’ve been wondering where my kitchen creations have been the last few weeks… there’s a big clue in the picture below…
I’ve joined the team at Vx Bristol as a baker and vegan junk food maker! Vx Bristol is sister to the London store, and brings a unique brand of world-renowned delicious vegan treats, full junk food menu, a plethora of exclusive imported plant-based delicacies, range of extraordinarily-melty cheeses, and French patisserie to Bristol.
I’m so excited to be a part of this and have been spending my time at the store, planning recipes and getting know my new kitchen. Come say hello if you’re in Bristol, or check us out on Facebook. I’ve already cooked up kebabs, sweet berry burgers, brownies, hot dogs, nachos and more, all 100% plant-based!
During the winter months when drizzle and grey and bugs are a-plenty I always find myself craving a well-spiced hot toddy with a good bourbon and maple syrup. Although I would claim this to be a princess among desserts, I wanted to create something a little more satisfying, but still light and flavoursome, to see us through the winter months when we have far more time indoors to cook up something beautiful.
It’s the weekend and after a few chores on Saturday you look at your calendar and realise Sunday is mostly clear. You can have a sleep in under clean sheets, watch The Simpsons with your breakfast, and take an easy stroll. It’s also the day to make the most of the cosy indoors and treat yourself to a delicious, warming dessert.
First though: tamarindo candy! I’ve got to explain the magic of this stuff, it makes my mouth water just thinking about it… I first came across these little balls of fruity candy in Bristol’s Sweet Mart, and was blown away by the sweet, sour and hot taste of each tiny little ball! Turns out it’s a treat in most places where the tamarind tree is indigenous: countries in Africa and South Asia (and Mexico, though it was introduced there in the 16th century).
I figured there had to be a glut of unusual ingredients in there, but after a little research I realised all tat taste just required were three simple ingredients: tamarind paste, sugar and something spicy. If you want to buy tamarind candy you can. If you want to be a little healthier and use coconut sugar, you can. Play with the amount of spice too – that box of candies I got at the grocers must have had at least two tablespoons of cayenne pepper in it!
Beautifully cooked plants have been on the menu in this little building on North Parade, Bath for some time; the restaurant was formerly Rachel Demuth’s vegetarian place, and it was a dinner-time destination for vegans in the South West for years before now.
A couple of years ago Demuth’s head chef Richard, and his business partners, bought the restaurant and Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen grew from some solid principles: using local ingredients, serving mainly plant-based dishes and food ‘prepared with skill and served from the heart’.
Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?Homer Simpson
If you aren’t reading this with a donut or other delicious vegan patisserie treat in your hand and crumbs around your mouth, then what are you waiting for?! It’s World Vegan Day and it’s time to celebrate!
Get inspired and get salivating with my lovingly prepared compendium of the best vegan donuts I’ve made and coveted (oh the day when I get my hands on one of those Fudgegazi donuts from Donut Friend…)
P.S. If you didn’t know I started a food truck with my friend pretty much because we had an unsatisfied donut craving…
1. Rosemary Pastry Creme filled with White Chocolate Glaze
2. Chocolate Ganache Stuffed S’mores with Crushed Graham Crackers + Torched Marshmallows (The Cinnamon Snail)
I love making dishes with unusual flavour combinations, so when I read about Chiles on Nogada, a Mexican dish from Pueblo, my interest was piqued…. stuffed poblano peppers featuring lots of fruits and spices, bathed in a walnut sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds? Wow!
Supposedly the recipe was developed by nuns, who peeled and ground the walnuts for days, awaiting the arrival of Agustín de Iturbide! It’s served nowadays in Mexico when the pomegranates are in season, and often to celebrate Diez y Seis de Septiembr (Mexico’s Independence Day).
An old Ukrainian proverb warns, “A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil.” Well, autumnal soup lovers, I reckon that’s a risk we have to take, because I, for one, love a good beetroot soup!
Having heeded this warning from Tom Robbins’ book Jitterbug Perfume, you’ll be pleased to know that this particular kitchen tale begins with a beet (or two) and will end with a gorgeous vibrant soup for autumn, in which the devil is in the detail (or garnishes).
This comforting, thick soup has warmth from ginger, tang from orange zest and is topped with an aniseed swirl of cashew and tarragon cream and a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts.