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!

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Butternut Squash Ravioli

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Chocomint Cupcakes for Kitty

MoFo 2014It’s my son’s girlfriend Kitty’s birthday tomorrow and she is one of my best cupcake fans always saying nice things about them and sometimes having two! I made her chocolate mint ones and here’s the recipe…

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  • 240ml soya milk
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 150g sugar
  • 80ml rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 110g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g dark mint chocolate, roughly chopped 

Preheat the oven to 180°C and put 12 muffin cases into your cake tins. Whisk up the soya milk with the vinegar and leave for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla and peppermint extract then whisk up until foamy. Sift in the dry ingredients bit by bit keeping the mixture light and airy. Fold in the chocolate chunks then spoon into the liners so that they are three-quarters full and bake for 18-20 mins until a toothpick inserted comes out dry. Transfer to a cooling rack. Ice with frosting made from vegan marg and icing sugar and cocoa… I used half green half chocolate brown. There’s loads of videos on YouTube showing how to do this.

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Vegfest London

I just spend the weekend at Olympia in London with Viva! for Vegfest, Europe’s biggest MoFo 2014celebration of all things veggie and vegan. Lovely people, lovely food and really good chocolate! The next ones will be in Brighton on March 29th-29th then Bristol on May 23rd-24th 2015.

I had some great food; a big fat hot dog from Vegusto and a healthy Tamales with a kale salad – yum! Vegfest lunchThe good news to was that we sold out of our new amazing cookbook! You can still buy it online though…

Vegfest cookbook (1)

 

 

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Scrambled Tofu

MoFo 2014

Scrambled tofu is the breakfast of kings. You can make it with herbs, chipotle, onions, mushrooms… I’ve got a friend who puts peas in his! I’ve had it done very fancy with wild garlic and garnished with the flowers. But I love it plain too… Here’s a simple recipe that you can jazz up if you like. IMG_2126

  • A small spray or splash of olive oil
  • 100g plain tofu, mashed roughly with a fork
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • A pinch of black salt
  • A sprinkle of oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a shallow frying pan then add the tofu, turmeric, salt, herbs and fry gently until it starts to brown. Season to taste and serve with beans, sausages, toast, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, hash browns, veggie bacon… Knock yourself out.

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