The Mighty Food Fight

Food fightNow I am officially old I was invited to go for routine breast-screening. All the stories about it I had heard were right, it’s like pushing your boob into a sandwich maker. The efficacy of screening has been questioned but I tend to opt in rather than out of these things. Afterwards, I felt like I deserved a little reward so I headed round the corner from the health clinic to The Mighty Food Fight’s takeaway van. These two lovely ladies have just set up in Bristol with their stylish blue van selling tasty, fresh, colourful, vibrant, vegan food.

IMG_2654For lunched, they sell delicious tacos made with authentic corn tortillas – just £3.80 for two! You can choose from Quinoa Pizza balls (packed full of cheesy pizza like flavours, rich tomato, garlic and heaps of herbs with butter beans and crispy quinoa) or Chipotle Chile Balls with a warm kick! I tried both types – bloody lovely I have to say. The tacos each have two balls and a selections of salads. This is not your everyday watery lettuce and tomato-style salad! We are talking colour and flavour here! Classic slaw made with carrot and red cabbage, fruit salsa (with pineapple), vibrant potato salad with paprika and celery salt, and all of this loveliness topped with kale salad – the kale is rubbed or massaged (this food is made with love!) with a tahini-almond dressing. I was offered the choice of two beautiful sauces, one pink with chilli and the other pale green with avocado. I had both! Then just to be sure I wIMG_2664ouldn’t be hungry later, I ordered a cinnamon doughnut too.

This van is well worth a visit – it’s only a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Bristol. I’ll be back!

Posted in Eating out | Tagged | 1 Comment

Kirstie’s fundraiser cupcakes

My lovely, fun-loving, beautiful friend Kirstie died earlier this year – cancer is a bitch. She was defiant to the end, planning a holiday apparently! An extraordinary woman who led a varied life that was full of colourful experiences. She left behind two amazing children who have shown such dignity over the last year – they both clearly miss their mum terribly.

The funeral costs were a problem so Kirstie’s friends rallied and put on a fundraiser gig/party. There were three bands, a DJ, a raffle (great prizes) and or course I made cupcakes… Both types were based on recipes from the brilliant from book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Margarita cupcakes

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ½ tsp freshly grate lime zest
  • 1 cup soya milk
  • ¼ cup rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp tequila
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups plain flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ pack fondant icing and colouring
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and put 12 muffin cases into your cake tins.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the lime juice, zest, soya milk, oil, tequila, vanilla and sugar.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking soda and powder, and add the salt.
  4. Whisk until smooth then dived into the cupcake cases – they should be just over two-thirds full.
  5. Bake for 18-20 mins until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.
  6. Transfer to a cooling rack.

To ice, roll out fondant icing and cut skull shapes. Use a fork to indent teeth marks and paint with brush and black icing. Cut little circles in a different coloured icing (I used a pen lid as a cutter) and decorate with piped coloured icing as you like and use little silver balls for the eyes.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cakes

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • ¾ cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch chilli powder (be bold!)
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup rapeseed oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate frosting or ganache as desired!
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and put 12 muffin cases into your cake tins.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the coconut milk and flaxseeds and let sit for 10 mins.
  3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cornflour, cocoa, baking powder and soda, and add the salt, cinnamon, chilli powder and ground almonds.
  4. Into the coconut milk, whisk the sugar, oil and vanilla.
  5. Add in the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth then dived into the cupcake cases – they should be just over two-thirds full.
  6. Bake for 18-20 mins until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.
  7. Transfer to a cooling rack.
  8. Top with chocolate frosting or ganache. I made two-tone purple roses using a Wilton 2D piping tip and little green leaves dusted with green glitter.
Posted in Cakes and tarts | Leave a comment

Amy’s Kitchen Breakfast Sandwich

The box has been sitting in my freezer for over a week… this morning I finally got round to trying Amy’s Kitchen Breakfast Sandwich. You have to separate the meatless sausage patty and scrambled tofu layer and wrap them in foil and bake for 20 mins. Then bake the half-buns for an additional 20 mins. Then reassemble it and scoff the lot. It looked tiny when I got it out of the box. I wondered if on heating, it might magically expand, but no. However, I really liked it! It was surprisingly filling too. The tofu was pretty tasty as was the patty. I’m not sure I’d eat one regularly, it would be useful if staying in an apartment or cottage on holiday. I think £2.49 was a fair price – there’s a lot of thought gone into this little breakfast! Well done Amy’s Kitchen!

Posted in Meals and light bites | Tagged , | Leave a comment

222 Veggie Vegan

222 Veggie Vegan is one of London’s best-celebrated vegan restaurants. It opened in 2004 and is the brainchild of Ghanaian-born vegan chef extraordinaire, Ben Asamani. There is a wide choice of dishes and all are made to order using fresh ingredients. We did book but on a busy Saturday night and the three ladies eating before us took for eveeeeeeer to eat their desserts and pay! Luckily, there is a pub just down the road so we nipped in for an aperitif. We were finally seated and decided to go straight for the main course…

All the mains were priced between £9.50 and £12.00. The burger looked good – great looking chips with it! The oyster mushroom and spinach raclette (what is a raclette?!) looked dreamy creamy and the healthy salad looked like it should be singing. My lasagne looked a bit on the small side when it arrived, but it was very tasty and very filling; I practically had to force myself to order dessert…

I’ve never seen so many vegan desserts all on one menu! I went for the Spice Island Pie which is a raw dessert made from cashew and almond cream flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg on a crunchy nut and coconut base. Bloody lovely! We shared some lovely organic wine too. The bill was a little over £20 per head. I will certainly go back to try some more of Ben Asamani’s delicious food!

Posted in Eating out | 2 Comments

Butternut Squash Ravioli

IMG_2346

Pasta

  • 225 grams ‘00’ pasta flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp Olive oil
  • 125ml water
  1. Mix all the dry ingredients with the oil.
  2. Add water slowly and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is springy.
  3. Wrap in cling film and leave for 30 minutes.

Butternut Squash Filling

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 20 fresh basil leaves
  • 20 leaves of fresh sage
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
  • Margarine
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Cut the squash into thick wedges and de-seed.
  2. Put the squash wedges in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, pinch of salt, good grind of black pepper and a teaspoon of chilli flakes. Mix until all of the squash is coated.
  3. Roast in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for about 25 minutes until the squash is soft and browning.
  4. In a pestle and mortar grind the basil leaves, half of the sage leaves, the garlic, pine nuts and a grind of freshly ground black pepper into a thick paste.
  5. When the squash is roasted, scrape the flesh off the skin into a bowl and add the basil and sage paste and mash together.

Assembling and Cooking the Ravioli

  1. Divide the dough into 2 balls and pass through a pasta machine on the thickest setting.
  2. Fold the rolled pasta over and repeat the process at least 6 times until the dough becomes really elastic.
  3. After the last roll reduce the thickness on the pasta maker to a medium setting and roll out the pasta.
  4. Then reduce the thickness to a thin setting and roll out the pasta again, this time onto a floured surface.
  5. Put 2 teaspoons of the filling in 6 little piles evenly spaced along the middle of the pasta sheet (approximately 4cm apart).
  6. Fold the pasta sheet over long ways and press it together around the filling, being careful not to trap any air.
  7. Cut out the ravioli leaving with a knife or serrated cutter.
  8. Melt of knob of margarine in a saucepan and fry the remaining sage leaves until slightly crispy. Remove and put to one side.
  9. Heat a large pan of water and when boiling add the ravioli, and cook for about 3 minutes.

Serve with a knob of margarine and garnish with fried sage leaves.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Meals and light bites | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Green Tomato Chutney

Our tomato plant had a second wind and made another load of fruit! I think it was the warm September we had. Anyway, my fella was chuffed as nuts as he got to pick them and make green tomato chutney…

  • 3lbs green tomatoes, chopped
  • 1lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 9oz Demerara sugar
  • 8oz sultanas
  • 8oz onions, finely chopped
  • ¾ pint malt vinegar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ¾ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 inch piece of ginger peeled (but not chopped)

Put all the ingredients into a large pan and boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for around 2 hours until it reaches a thick consistency. Remove ginger and discard. Transfer into warmed sterilised jars. Leave for at least 2 months to mature before eating.

Posted in Articles, essays, letters and comments | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and sour chicken is an old favourite often served in Chinese restaurants in the 1970s. Traditionally made with chunks of chicken deep-fried in batter and served with sweet and sour sauce. It’s very easy to veganise using VBites Vegi Deli Chicken Style Nuggets. The recipe is very simple and the results are totally delicious. I would recommend cooking this for meat-eating friends – they will be amazed!

  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 dessert spoon of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of Chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoonful of toasted sesame oil
  • 125ml (more or less) water
  • Seasoned flour to coat the chicken
  • 1 box VBites Chicken Style Nuggets

Mix all the dry ingredients and add the oil. Then add the water slowly and whisk until you get to the consistently of thick cream. Then let it stand for 30 mins. Break the mock chicken up into pieces and coat in seasoned flour. Coat each piece in batter and deep fry in hot vegetable oil until golden brown – around 3-4 mins.

Posted in Meals and light bites | Tagged | Leave a comment