My Vegan Travels
My Vegan Travels and Wine Lover’s kitchen, piqued my interest for entirely differing reasons. A vegan diet is increasingly popular and rather easier to follow than even the recent past. My Vegan Travels is Jackie Kearney’s second book and is as full of flavour packed recipes as her first. Fiona Beckett as wine columnist for The Guardian and the author of a number of cook books is ideally placed as a guide to cooking with wine in Wine Lover’s Kitchen.
In 2011 Jackie Kearney was one of the final four in BBC’s Masterchef. Quite an achievement for someone who almost solely cooked vegetarian food and highlights how full of flavour her food is. Using her favourite Asian spices and experience of street food, Jackie produced winning dish after winning dish.
In her second book My Vegan Travels, recipes begin at home, that’s not to say they are necessarily British, but influenced by chefs and food from the UK, such as My Big Fat Veggie Cottage Pie and Ital Stew With Cumin-Spiced Johnny Cakes (“a Caribbean punchy broth with vegetable dumplings”).
The book then journeys to Europe with Big Ass Bagnat – a crusty sourdough roll based on those found in Nice, stuffed with aubergine, courgette and garlic and drizzled enticingly with olive oil. Socca Pizza Using the classic mediterranean chickpea flour flatbread as a base for spinach, garlic, almond riccotta and chilli. Oozing flavour and with a lickable photo.
On to Asia where Punjabi Pie and Gravy- dal topped samosas, fragrant with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger rubs shoulders with Bombay Vegetable Sandwich an Iconic piece of Mumbai street food and Spinach And Nasturtium Kachori Chaat from Kathmandu.
Then as a complete contrast the My Vegan Travels takes you to America or rather Americana, but not as we know it with Tofino Trini Double, a Trinidadian street food Jackie discovered in Vancouver Island. And Sweetcorn Chowder with lime blackbean salsa and chilli-spiced arepa biscuits – thick delicious and spicy.
This is not a recipe book just for vegans but a revel in flavour for anyone who thrives on food from around the world, mixing up traditional recipes and creating new tastes.
- To make the topping
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
- 200 g/7 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted and drained (or 500 g/1 lb. 2 oz. fresh)
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- To make the base
- 250 g/2 ¾ cups chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (gram flour)
- 400 ml/scant 1 ¾ cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 scant teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1 tablespoon pomace or coconut oil
- To Serve
- 150 g/5 oz. almond ‘ricotta’ (optional)
- chilli/chile oil or olive oil, for drizzling
- 1–2 teaspoons vegan Italian-style hard cheese (optional)
- Start by making the topping. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan/ skillet, add the sliced onion and sauté over medium heat for 8 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further 3–4 minutes over high heat, so that the onion and garlic caramelize (but do not burn). Turn down the heat, add the spinach and mix well.
- Season with the salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, blend together the chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (gram flour) and water with a whisk to make a smooth pouring consistency. Season with the salt and add the nigella seeds.
- Place a frying pan/skillet over a moderate heat and add the pomace or coconut oil. Ladle the batter into the pan/skillet, enough to cover the bottom of the pan and aiming for 5 mm–1 cm/.–3⁄8 inch thickness. It’s preferable to make them a little thinner if you are making garlic bread or flatbread for a wrap. Prepare all the bases, and set aside. Preheat the grill/broiler to high.
- Cover the socca base with the spinach mixture and a few small blobs of vegan ‘ricotta’. Place under the hot grill/broiler for 5 minutes until a little charred at the edges. Serve immediately with a drizzle of chilli/chile oil (or olive oil if you prefer) and some vegan Italian-style hard cheese, if you like.
Almond Ricotta, vegan cheese
- 260 g/2 cups raw blanched almonds, soaked in filtered water overnight, drained and rinsed
- 250 ml/1 cup filtered water
- ⅓ teaspoon acidophilus (optional)
- Blend the drained almonds with the water and acidophilus, if using, until smooth. Place in muslin/ cheesecloth, twist and leave overnight in the fridge to drain. The liquid can be used as almond cream.
Spinach And Nasturtium Kachori Chaat
- 2 green chillies/chiles, finely chopped
- 2 plump garlic cloves
- 6.5-cm/2 ½ -inch thumb of ginger, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon ginger paste)
- 400 g/14 oz. fresh spinach, lightly wilted, or frozen spinach, defrosted and water squeezed out
- 200 g/7 oz. fresh nasturtium leaves or chard (or use extra spinach)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 generous teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon chilli/chili powder
- 1–2 teaspoons salt, to taste
- pinch of asafoetida (hing, optional)
- 1 tablespoon chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (gram flour)
- To make the pastry
- 300 g/2. cups plain/all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 175 ml/ ¾ cup warm water
- To make the toppings
- handful of sprouted beans or lentils (optional)
- chutney of choice, such as coriander ‘green’ chutney
- handful of thin sev (little fried gram sticks)
- handful of fresh pomegranate seeds
- ¼ red onion, finely sliced
- pinch of chaat powder (optional)
- drizzle of plain vegan yogurt
- drizzle of pomegranate molasses (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC (325ºF) Gas 3.
- Using a hand blender or a food processor, blitz the chillies/chiles, garlic and ginger to a paste. Set aside. In the same processor, blitz the spinach and nasturtium leaves.
- Heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan/skillet and fry the mustard seeds until they start to splutter, then add the chilli/chile, ginger and garlic paste and fry for a few minutes. Add the spinach mixture along with the cinnamon, garam masala, turmeric, chilli/chili powder, salt and asafoetida, and simmer on a low-medium heat for 15–20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and add the chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (gram flour). Mix well and set aside.
- To make the pastry, add the flour, salt and oil to a bowl and rub together with your fingers. Add the warm water so the dough comes together, and remains quite firm. Knead well for a few minutes.
- Pour a little oil into your hands and rub it all over the dough ball.
- Take a large pinch of the dough and roll it into a golf ball-sized ball. On a floured surface, roll out the ball into a 10-cm/4-inch circle. Place a spoonful of the filling in the middle, then bring up the edges over the filling to the centre and pinch to seal the top, removing any excess pastry if necessary. Using the palm of your hand, gently flatten the filled dough slightly to make a thick circular disc. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. (You can also roll them into ball shapes, but this is less effective for chaat-style serving.)
- The kachori can be fried, but I prefer to bake them for a slightly lighter snack. Using lightly oiled hands, coat the outside of the kachori a little with oil, or use an oil spray. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20–30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisped.
- To serve, lay the kachori onto a serving platter in a single layer, and using a knife, make a circular hole in the top of each one, about 2.5 cm/1 inch wide. Be sure to cut only the top layer of pastry. Next add some sprouted beans, if using, into the hole, along with a little blob or two of chutney.
- Then sprinkle the top of the pastries with strands of sev, pomegranate seeds, chopped red onion and chaat powder, if using. Drizzle with vegan yogurt and pomegranate molasses, if you like.
Recipes extracted from My Vegan Travels by Jackie Kearney. Published by Ryland Peters and Small on the 14th November. Available in all good book retailers and online.
Wine Lover’s Kitchen
Fiona Beckett is a leading food and wine writer in both print and online with more than 23 books under her belt and an award winning blog www.matchingfoodandwine.com With a pedigree like that you’d expect her book about cooking with wine to be a perfect pairing and it is.
I’m a great believer in the flavour value of cooking with wine but, according to these delicious recipes, I’ve apparantly missed so many opportunities to add the grape to my dishes. The book begins with a short introduction to cooking with wine and a top ten things you need to know, fabulous hacks and hints that make the whole ‘How do I do It?’ so much easier. I learnt things from this section that will make a difference to long standing family favourites. The book is then split into chapters by course including Sauces, Butters and Relishes and Sweet Things And Baking.
Red Chicory. Roquefort And Hazlenut salad With Moscatel Dressing is a lovely fresh recipe, sweet with pear, sharp with cheese and slightly bitter from the chicory all brought together with the moscatel dressing. Mushroom, Mustard And Madeira Soup is a rich delicious warming soup for this time of year and would make a perfect Christmas starter.
There is a photo for every recipe, beautifully and simply photographed by Mowie Kay. The Red Wine Spaghetti With Olives And Anchovies has a delicious depth of flavour with a tickle of chilli from the Turkish chilli flakes. A wonderful mid week dish. I’m a big fan of cooking fish ‘en papillote’ in paper, almost like cooking in a paper bag. The flavour is sealed in, the moisture steams the fish and the end result is light and delicious. In this recipe the vegetables are cooked with the fish, splashed with white wine and steamed to perfection.
Many of the recipes are Mediterranean influenced, but there a re lovely surprises such as the Red Wine, Onion, Blue Cheese And Pecan Muffins. A savoury delight, as a snack for lunch or to accompany a starter. Or the PX Tiramisu which has a hearty glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry in it which goes beautifully with the sweet coffee flavours.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 40 g/3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk/stick, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 50 g/2 oz. Parma ham/ prosciutto or other air-dried ham
- 400 g/14 oz. lean minced/ground meat (a combination of beef or veal and pork works best)
- 175 ml/3/4 cup white wine
- 300 g/101/2 oz. good quality artisanal passata/strained tomatoes
- 200 ml/1 scant cup chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons double/ heavy cream
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- buttered tagliatelle or fettuccine, to serve
- freshly grated Parmesan, to serve
- In a large heavy-based pan, heat the oil and add the butter. Add the finely chopped onion, carrot and celery, give it a good stir, put a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the Parma ham/prosciutto and minced/ground meat in two batches, turning it with a spoon until it is slightly coloured. Pour in the white wine and simmer until reduced by about one-third third. Add the passata/strained tomato, chicken stock and bay leaf. Season with salt and black pepper and leave uncovered on a very low heat to cook for about 2–21/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- After this time the sauce should be creamy but shouldn’t be too thick – add a bit of extra stock if it needs thinning down. Check the seasoning and stir in the cream. Serve with buttered tagliatelle or fettuccine and freshly grated Parmesan.
- What to drink
- You could drink the same white wine you’ve used to make this dish but I actually prefer a light red like a Rosso di Montalcino.
Recipe extracted from Wine Lover’s Kitchen. Delicious recipes for cooking with wine Fiona Beckett Published by Ryland Peters & Small, 10th October 2017, £16.99
The recipe I asked to share with you was the Ragu. Almost everyone has their own version of this and certainly there’s no shortage of wine in mine but that’s what made me try this. There is a restraint of wine and white at that, alongside parma ham with beef and veal or pork mince, stuffed full of flavour from the finely chopped veg. It’s delicious and well worth setting aside your family favourite for.
Each of the dishes has a suggested wine accompanyment, so you could really show off with different wines with each course, or just bask in the sheer pleasure of cooking with wine alongside an expert.
Both these cookbooks would make wonderful Christmas presents or just a treat for yourself. Why not enter the giveaway and choose one of these two titles as a prize. Enter by ……….. Open to Uk residents only.
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