As a small restaurant, we have a short menu and we try to offer at least one vegan option in each section of the menu, including the new addition of vegan ice cream for dessert. As veganism is becoming more mainstream, we thought it would be a great idea to host a totally plant based evening to show how tasty vegan/plant based dishes can be and to try some substitutes for dishes that traditionally contain eggs or dairy.
It was both intriguing and rewarding to learn about and create the dishes we served at our event on 6th June and we had some very positive feedback from our guests. We have listed below the dishes and recipes we used so that you are able to re-create them at home.
Canape: Vegan ‘smoked salmon’ toasts
This dish was an addition to our proposed menu because we were fascinated by the possibility that tea and a carrot could create anything remotely resembling smoked salmon! The recipe is from a BBC Good Food magazine (Dec 18). Cut 2 large carrots into ribbons (using a veg peeler). Heat 500ml water with 1.5tbsp sea salt until boiling then add the carrot ribbons and 2 lapsang soushong teabags. Turn the heat off and leave to steep for 20 minutes until water is cold and carrot is soft. Once cold, remove the tea bags, strain and pat ribbons dry before serving. We have served ours on a crostini (sliced, toasted ciabatta with drizzle of olive oil) and a ‘cream cheese’ made from coconut cream and dill.
Starter: Mushroom soup with a homemade bread roll
There are many recipes around for mushroom soup, some already vegan but we have adapted one by Michael Caines. This recipe serves 4. Chop 60g shallots and sweat in a vegetable oil (we use rapeseed) with a pinch of salt, do not let them colour. Add a chopped selection of 400g mushrooms including some wild and sweat for a further 5 minutes. Pour in 1 pint water and ½ pint vegetable stock (check as some are not vegan), bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Season to taste and blend until smooth, we also put ours through a strainer for a smoother finish. Our bread rolls are all made in house using a basic bread recipe with the addition of olive oil for a tastier roll! Mix 500g strong flour with 10g salt and 10g yeast. Pour over a drizzle of olive oil then slowly add and mix in approx. 320ml cold water. Bring together and knead for approx. 5-8 minutes until the dough is smooth. Leave to double in size in a bowl covered with a tea towel for about an hour then knock the air out. Cut and shape into rolls, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and leave for another hour to again double in size. Bake at 200 degrees (fan) for around 12-15 minutes (depending on size) until they are golden and cooked through.
Salad: Slow roasted tomatoes, aubergine and rocket
Sliced aubergines and cherry tomatoes slow roasted in a low oven (with a little olive oil on the tomatoes), served with a rocket oil, vegan tapenade made from blitzed olives, sundried tomatoes and capers.
We wanted to create something similar to a cannelloni pasta dish and courgette was the best vegetable to use to wrap the mixture of butternut squash, chickpeas and garlic. We have served it with a butternut squash puree.
Lemon sorbet: palette cleanser
Heat 250ml water, 250g sugar and a piece of lemon peel until the sugar has dissolved, boil for 3 minutes then turn off the heat. Remove lemon peel and add 100ml lemon juice to the mixture. Pour into a freezer safe container and check hourly to break up the ice crystals until it has completely set. We decided to serve ours in a lemon shell.
Main course: Textures of cauliflower
We wanted to show how versatile the humble cauliflower is and our choices are by no means the only ways you can serve it, have you tried blitzing a cauliflower to make ‘rice’ or serve a large slice as a ‘steak’
Cauliflower samosa: heat 1 chopped onion and some garlic in a pan then add 1 chopped red chilli, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp ginger, 1tsp medium curry powder, 1tsp madras curry powder, a thumb size piece of grated fresh ginger and heat through. Finely chop a whole cauliflower and add to the pan, heat until the cauliflower is softened then add chopped coriander. Wrap in a sheet of filo pastry and fry until golden.
Cauliflower puree: we roasted some cauliflower until soft then blitzed with some garlic, lots of sieving gives it the smooth texture
Cauliflower and beetroot gratin: layer slices of cauliflower and raw beetroot in an oven proof dish then pour over vegetable stock. Bake until soft. We finished ours with a topping of Vio life ‘cheese’ to create the gratin.
Tempura battered cauliflower: Make a batter (whisk together 70g cornflour, 30g plain flour and 80ml soda water) then coat the cauliflower florets in the batter and deep fry.
Pickled Beetroot: Slice raw beetroot, place in an airtight jar and add pickling liquor (equal parts vinegar to water, heated with the addition of your choice of herbs and spices – thyme, dill or rosemary work well, as do ginger, mustard seeds, peppercorns and coriander seeds). Replace the lid and leave for at least 2 weeks before eating.
Beetroot crisp: Thinly sliced raw beetroot, sprinkled with thyme. Place on baking sheets in an oven at 200 degrees C for approx. 15 minutes until crisp
Dessert: Trio of puddings
Vanilla ice cream: combine 1tsp vanilla extract, 1 x 400g tin of coconut milk, 300ml unsweetened soya milk and 165g agave syrup, place in a freezer proof bowl and freeze until set, checking regularly and stirring to remove ice crystals
Pavlova: Whip aquafaba (the juice in a chickpea or butterbean can) with sugar and add a pinch of cream of tartar. Spoon out onto a baking sheet and bake at 100 degrees c for 2 hours then leave overnight. For the cream we have used coconut cream and added some forest fruits
Chocolate mousse: Aquafaba again… whipped to resemble egg white then add 20g sugar and 150g melted soya based dark chocolate. Spoon into glasses or bowls and leave to set.
We regularly update our menu – please see here for details. If you have specific queries about our vegan dishes or any of our other menu items, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.