Sunday, 17 May 2020

Great Food Affairs SLAB Crisps & Bruschetta

Great Food Affairs are a Cheshire based family business owned by Keith and Beege Robinson, who make a great range of vegan snacks, with their core product being SLABS crisps.   Keith sent me a selection of their vegan range and I loved the colourful vibrant packaging, clearly marked vegan, so no confusion.

I tried the slightly sea salted SLABS first whilst preparing dinner, a glass of wine was a perfect match.   They are big bags weighing in at 80 g so much larger than normal and the first thing that struck me was how chunky SLABS are, with much more potato than your average crisp.   SLABS are exceptionally crunchy, with just enough salt and not oily or greasy, with a great texture.

I tried egg and chips crisps next, with Black Himalayan salt adding the eggy flavour and I absolutely loved them.   The egg taste was amazing and just how I remembered, but without the cruelty involved in the egg industry and highly recommended.

Steven tried the mellow sweet crisps, as I could not try them as they contained soya, which I am allergic to, pleasing Steven no end so he could demolish the whole bag.   Steven thought the crisps were full of flavour, with a spicy hit but not too hot, very crunchy and exceedingly moreish.

The Ardennes pate flavour is derived from yeast extract and were a lovely golden colour, very tasty and quickly demolished.

Bruschetta are a bread snack and great for munching as they are, make a delicious hot snack with grilled cheese on top, broken up to make croutons for salads, or scooping up a dip like houmous, guacamole or mayonnaise.   I tried the fried onion flavour first and a huge waft of delicious fried onion aroma hit me in the face, when I opened the bag. 

I tried tomato and oregano and garlic and parsley Bruschetta next and as with the fried onion were packed with the flavour as described on the packet, crisp, crunchy and very hard to stop eating.

Keith sent me a pot of Chovi vegan aioli, unavailable on the market as yet, due to issues of shipping it being a chilled product and work on an ambient product has been delayed due to the corona virus pandemic.

The aioli is smooth, creamy and great for dipping with bread, crisps, crudite or crackers, but I think it needs way more garlic.   I expected the garlic aroma to be strong and pungent when I took the lid off, maybe I am just a garlic fiend, however it is still delicious.

Until the end of June 2020 my followers can get a massive 45% discount off all orders using discount code veganolive.

Disclaimer:  I received free samples of these products and have not been paid for this review and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Mushroom, Onion & Guinness Pie

The idea for a pie originated as we had cans of Guinness and chestnut mushrooms in the fridge and dried porcini mushrooms in the cupboard.   I had no pastry, so improvised using gluten free tortillas as a replacement, but use pastry for the top if you have it.  The mushroom mixture itself serves four people, so I froze half and added the peas to the remainder to make a pie for two. 

400 g chestnut mushrooms
4 onions roughly chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
25 g dried porcini mushrooms
300 g cooked parched peas (or use beans of choice)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp vegan Worcester sauce
440 ml can Guinness
2 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
3 tortillas
Oat milk
Sesame seeds
Kalonji seeds

Serves 2

Preheat the oven to 180°.   Put the dried porcini mushrooms into a jug cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 20 mins, or as per the instructions on the packet.   Line a sieve with two layers of kitchen roll, drain the mushrooms through the paper, reserving the liquid and repeat again with fresh paper, to ensure any grit is removed, then chop the mushrooms.

Saute the mushrooms and onions in the oil for 10 mins, until soft and part cooked, add the porcini mushrooms and cook for another 10 mins.

Reserve two tablespoons of the mushroom liquid, adding the rest with the thyme, Worcester sauce and Guinness to the pan and cook until the liquid has reduced by half.

Mix the reserved mushroom liquid with the cornflour to make a thin paste, add to the pan with the ketchup and cook until the liquid thickens to a rich gravy.

Mix the parched peas or beans into the mushroom mixture and pour into an ovenproof dish, I used a Pyrex dish.

Cut the tortillas in half and gently tuck four halves down the side of the dish, as near to the bottom and as close together as possible, as in the photo below.

Place the remaining tortilla halves on top, brush with oat milk, then carefully fold the tortillas over and press down to gently seal and brush with oat milk.

Sprinkle the seeds on the pie and bake for 30-35 mins until the filling is bubbling and the tortillas are crisp, covering with tinfoil if the seeds and tortillas look like they may burn.

The mushroom mixture would make a great Shepherds pie filling with mashed potato on top and if the liquid is reduced down further would make great pasties.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Chocolate Flapjacks

This is an excellent Healthy Living James recipe which I tweaked slightly, as I had no cacao powder in stock, but it works fabulous with the choc shot.

4 ripe bananas
250 g gluten free oats
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Sweet Freedom choc shot
50 g chocolate of choice

Preheat the oven to 180°.   Mash the bananas thoroughly with a fork, add the maple syrup and choc shot and mix together.

Add the oats and chocolate (I used Beech's chopped chocolate gingers) and mix with a fork, until thoroughly combined.

Line a baking tray approx 260 cm x 190 cm with parchment paper and spread the mixture in the tray to roughly a centimetre deep.

Bake the flapjacks for 15-20 mins until golden brown, then leave to cook before cutting into as many pieces as you want, I made twelve.

The flapjacks freeze really well, although they may not make it as far as the freezer, as they are so scrumptious.