Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Kale Apple and Walnut Salad

I found this recipe in the Booths supermarket "The Great Northern Christmas 2015" book, so I made it as a starter for our Christmas dinner and I am glad I did, it is a fantastic recipe.

2 large carrots cut into long batons
1 tsp onion seeds
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
50 g pumpkin seeds
50 g walnuts
350 g kale
2 apples cut into matchsticks
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 180ยบ.   Place the carrots in a bowl and toss with the onion seeds and rapeseed oil.   Spread on a baking tray and roast for 5 mins, then add the seeds and walnuts and roast for a further 2-3 mins until toasted and golden.

Add the kale to the tray and toss well with the carrot mixture, then cook for a further 10 mins until the kale is crispy, then remove from the oven and tip into a bowl and toss in the apple.   Whisk the cider vinegar and olive oil together, add to the bowl, season with plenty of salt and pepper and combine thoroughly.


Monday, 7 December 2015

Mac & Greens

This recipe is another one from Anna Jones who writes for the Sunday Times and I just left the Pecorino cheese out to veganise it.

100g gluten free fusilli (I use Doves Farm)
1 large bunch of basil
25 g oats
100 g kale
zest of ½ lemon
½ tsp of chilli flakes
3 tbsp olive oil
250 g cherry tomatoes
75 g toasted almonds

Serves 2

Heat the oven to 200°.   Cook the macaroni until it is very al dente, reserving a mug of the cooking water and return the pasta to the pan.   Put half the basil, oats, kale, lemon zest, chilli and 1½ tbsp oil into a blender and blitz to a rough paste.   Season to taste and mix thoroughly.


Rinse the processor and add the cherry tomatoes and almonds, remaining basil and oil and blitz to a smooth paste season and blitz again.


Add the tomato mixture to the pasta and stir well, add a little of the reserved pasta water little by little, you want a sauce the consistency of double cream.   Do not worry if it seems very runny, as the pasta will soak it all up in the oven.


Transfer the pasta to an ovenproof dish and spread the kale mixture evenly over the top.


Bake for 20-25 mins until the topping is crunchy, then remove from the oven and wait 10 mins before serving.


I served the mac and greens with a fennel and avocado salad and it was delicious, definitely one to make again.




Saturday, 5 December 2015

Leaf Bold Street Liverpool 4th December 2015

Leaf on Bold Street is another Liverpool institution, apparent by how busy it was on a Friday lunchtime, it was packed.


As with many of the eateries in the city, the building must have been a warehouse in previous times and has a chilled bohemian atmosphere, with tables and communal tables, arranged over two floors, with many features of its old self left in place, which an interior designer would struggle to re-create.   It was so busy, I sat upstairs and perused the menu and read all about Leaf.


All vegan options are highlighted with VV, so it was easy to decide which dishes were vegan friendly, although a few more would be an improvement, but at least there are some clearly marked.




I chose a lemon and coriander houmous salad toasted sandwich, with a bowl of red pepper and tomato soup.




I really could not think of one negative, the sandwich was as it should be, packed with loads of filling, delicious and fresh and the soup was a cracker, really tasty.

I have heard that their vegan breakfast is superb, so when next back in Liverpool, it will involve another trip to Leaf.

Delifonseca Stanley Street Liverpool 3rd December 2015

Delifonseca Stanley Street, is one of two restaurants, run by the same team, the other being at Dockside and the only reason we chose it, were the vegan options on the menu.  On the night we visited there was torrential rain, so a plus point was how near it was to the Premier Inn we were staying at.


There is a small, cool bar area downstairs, with old cinema seats to sit on, still with seat numbers in place, it had a really relaxed chilled atmosphere, with the restaurant on the second floor upstairs.   I must give top marks to the chap serving behind the bar (I really wish I had asked his name, so I could mention him).   When I asked about vegan options, he immediately came over with the menus and his Ipad with the specials, which were on the board upstairs and said any dishes that could be veganised, they would be happy to do so.






When we were ready to go upstairs, the chap rang the restaurant staff and the kitchen, to let them know I had a vegan dietary requirement, he made me feel that I would be well looked after, which I was.



I had olives to nibble on, you get good and bad olives and these were excellent.   On the specials board, the vegetarian option was griddled cauliflower "steak" with pine nuts, ricotta, cumin yoghurt and toasted sourdough.   I asked if it could be veganised suggesting houmous and aubergine pate instead of the dairy elements and with a side order of chips.   When it was served chef had decided to serve it with tahini sauce and he made the right decision, it was fantastic, I loved it, an absolutely spot on dish and not a crumb left on my plate.



Delifonseca has a great wine list, with many organic wines, which is unusual for a restaurant, so to accompany the meal, I chose a Gerard Bertrand organic Chardonnay, which was delicious and I love their ethos with their environmental credentials and low carbon footprint.



Service throughout from first stepping through the front door and the chap in the bar, to waitresses Jen and Carrie-Ann upstairs, was friendly and helpful, really could not fault it.   Will I return to Delifonseca, you bet I will.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Crispy Cauliflower Pasta

I was given this recipe by my friend Joe, who had seen it in the Sunday Times magazine, so thanks Joe its fantastic!

700 g cauliflower chopped
80 g pine nuts
60 ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp chilli  flakes
400 g gluten free fusilli (I used Doves Farm)
Salt and pepper

Serves 4

Put the cauliflower and pine nuts into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped.


Put the olive oil in a pan, add the cauliflower, lemon  zest, oregano, garlic and chilli flakes, season with plenty salt and pepper and cook until the cauliflower is golden brown.


Whilst the cauliflower is cooking, cook the pasta until al dente, drain and toss with the cauliflower mixture.


I served the pasta dish with some lightly fried broccoli, which worked really well, but you could serve it with some lightly fried greens or kale.   I love this recipe and the humble cauliflower really makes it, so I will definitely be making it again and again.


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Nishta Restaurant Prijeko bb Dubrovnik 28th September 2015

I had done some research, as to vegan options in Dubrovnik and Nishta was definitely the place to go, after reading reviews on both Happy Cow and Tripadvisor.   It is easy to find in the old town and I am glad we got there early for lunch, as it is a busy, busy place, with tables reserved for later diners.






The menu is vast with many vegan options, so it was hard to decide what to have, but I went for the Bar Bea seitan burger with naan bread and sweet potato sticks and it did not disappoint, it was fantastic.



I was far too full for a dessert, but if the main course was anything to go by, I do not doubt the desserts would be as good.   If in Dubrovnik, do not miss out on a visit to Nishta, or you will regret it and as for the price, well a meal for two with delicious local sparkling water was 182.00 kuna, which I worked out to be about £18.00.

Rosy's Bakery Paleologou Corfu Town 27th September 2015

I stumbled across Rosy Soussis's two bakeries on 37 & 71 Paleologou by chance, whilst visiting Corfu Town on a cruise.   I first of all saw the sign below and so had to go in and have a chat, as I could not believe I had found vegan baclava.



I was most impressed by Rosy's knowledge of the vegan diet, she explained her vegan baclava was made with olive oil and sugar syrup, to replace butter and honey.   I also enquired as to why she had begun making a vegan version in the first place and she just said "why not" explaining that she had been asked so many times by visitors and it was a big seller.

If you are ever in Corfu Town, you have to visit Rosy's Bakery and sample the baclava, it is awesome.


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Spicy Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

I have never eaten traditional "wings" but found this recipe courtesy of Peta and is an interesting and delicious way to serve cauliflower.

100 g chickpea flour
210 ml almond milk
1 garlic clove crushed (Peta's recipe used garlic powder which I did not have)
Salt and pepper
Pinch of hot chilli powder
1 cauliflower
100 ml hot chilli sauce
1 tbsp olive oil

Separate the cauliflower into florets of similar size.   Sieve the flour into a bowl with the chilli powder, garlic and a good grind of salt and pepper.


Add the milk to the bowl and whisk until you have a smooth batter, add the cauliflower florets and thoroughly coat them with the batter.


Put onto a baking tray and roast at 200° for 20-25 mins.  Mix the chilli sauce with the olive oil, take the cauliflower out of the oven, add the chilli sauce, mix well and return to the oven for 20 mins until browned and crisp.   I have no deep fat fryer and the wings are far superior if you fry them, but baking them still makes for an enjoyable dish.

Serve with your choice of dip, which in my case is more hot chilli sauce!