Vodka Martini and Backgammon

Vodka Martini

In the garden? On a Thursday? Well, why not?!

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Thai Green Tofu Curry

Thai Green CurrySunday night, it was a hot summer evening and I didn’t want a roast dinner. I had tofu, green beans (from the garden), ginger, garlic, chilli and coriander and a can of coconut milk lurking in the back of the cupboard. So, obviously we had a thai green curry based on the recipe here. It never fails – this recipe is pretty fool proof – does that sound like a challenge or a dare? Just try it!

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Hunkimori Summer Solstice 2014

Almond Cheese CrostiniWell, the Hunkimori gang cooked a wonderful meal for us again, this time on the longest day. It was a beautiful sunny evening and the place was full (sold out weeks ago!). We were sat in a sunny corner with lovely fresh flowers on the table.

Elderflower champagne and Almond Cheese Crostini and Dukkah was promptly served. Lovely almondy, cheesey slices of bread topped with dukkah; Egyptian aromatic seed and nut mix favoured by the likes of Ottolenghi – very tasty. They went really well with the aromatic, chilled Elderflower champagne – just lovely!

Veg Balls

 

Next we were served Vegetable Balls and Smoky Tomato Sauce with a Fennel, Orange and Watercress Salad. The Vegetable Balls were very rich and balanced perfectly with the smoky tomato sauce and the summery light salad. The fennel and orange went very well together.

Hunkimori pop-up nights are BYO, so I tucked into a chilled bottle of Mauricio Lorca Angel’s Reserve Torrontes that I had bought from Naked Wines. It went really well with this delicious starter.

Hunkimori main event

Then came the main event! Broad Bean, Asparagus and Pea Strudel, Sautéed New Pots with Lovage Cream, Griddled Red Gem Lettuce and Cucumber with a Minted Pea Velouté. Broad beans, asparagus and peas – what’s not to like?! Well thought out – all the flavours combined beautifully. This was a real gem of a meal for a sunny summer solstice supper! The lovage cream was just lovely with the sautéed new potatoes. A clever idea to griddle lettuce and cucumber, I will try that! The pea velouté was perfect with the strudel adding a real pea and mint kick!

Strawbs Hunkimori style

 

We were so sorry that Hunkimori devotee Stuart could not make the meal but we took lots of pictures to show him what he missed out on…

The dessert was next… Strawberries, Pink Peppercorn and White Chocolate Shortcake Stack (they were love hearts!) Strawberry Sorbet and Hazelnut and Chocolate Shard – Phwwwooooooaaar! I loved the pink peppercorn hit in the shortbread. This dessert was scandalous!

A really lovely meal again from the wonderful Hunkimori – thanks very much and see you next time x

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Whisky Raspberries with Chocolate Mousse and Pistachios

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I got the idea for this dessert from Masterchef. One of the contestants made it up and I veganised it! It’s made from fresh raspberries and whisky (soak them for a few hours in a bowl in the fridge). Top with chocolate mousse and toasted chopped pistachios and dark chocolate mini-buttons, decorate with a couple of leaves of blackcurrant sage or mint.

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Asparagus, Broadbean, Pea and Mint Risotto

This is a great recipe for risotto, it comes out smooth and creamy – not thick and stodgy like school dinner rice pudding!

Asparagus, Broadbean, Pea and Mint Risotto

  • 1 litres stock (you can use Marigold bouillon)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 400 g risotto rice
  • 1 large slug vermouth, sherry or dry white wine
  • 1 small bunch asparagus, chopped into 2” chunks
  • 1 large handful fresh broad beans
  • 1 handful fresh or frozen peas
  • Large sprig fresh mint, chopped (hold back a sprig or two for decoration)
  • A pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese

Method: Warm the stock in a small pan. In large pan (use a heavy casserole dish if you have one), heat the olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Fry slowly for about 10 minutes without colouring then turn up the heat. Add the rice and lightly fry for 2-3 mins, keep stirring it so the rice doesn’t stick. Add the vermouth, sherry or wine and keep stirring. When the booze has cooked into the rice, add a ladle of warm stock and gently stir. When the stock has been absorbed by the rice add more stock and keep stirring (if you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water). Turn down the heat and keep adding stock bit by bit, stirring all the time. When you think the rice is about 10 mins off being cooked, add the vegetables. Just before it is ready add the chopped fresh mint. When it’s ready, the rice should be soft but with a slight bite. Serve with a sprig of fresh mint and vegan parmesan.

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Toasted Coconut Chocolate Cake

I made this cake for my colleague and friend Ash, who is leaving Viva! for new pastures. He’s been great to work with and we will all miss him, but I am looking forward to his leaving do tonight – a vegan pizza fest at PepeNero!

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Cake

Here’s the recipe…

  • 120g white flour
  • 6g wholemeal flour
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 2 large tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 90ml rapeseed oil
  • 350ml coconut milk
  • 200g sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract

Coffee buttercream

  • 1 sachet instant coffee (they type you get in hotel rooms)
  • 1 medium slug of whisky
  • 1 large dessert spoon vegan margarine (Pure)
  • 100g (or so) of icing sugar

Chocolate Ganache

  • 50g good quality dark chocolate (coffee chocolate if you like)
  • 120ml soya cream

For decoration

  • Vegan Chocolate buttons
  • 100g desiccated coconut, toasted lightly

Method: Sift the flour, cocoa ,baking powder and salt into a bowl. If the wholemeal flour won’t all go through just chuck the last bits in – they add texture and fibre! In another bowl combine the oil, milk, sugar and vanilla. Give it a good whisking! Then add the wet mix into the flour, beating in it gently with a whisk until smooth. Then add the coconut. fold in in gently. Pour into two 8″ tins and cook at 180° for 20 mins. Test by poking a cocktail stick into them – if it comes out dry, they are done. Take out of the tins and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Make your buttercream. Tip the coffee granules into a bowl and add the whisky. Stir until it has all dissolved. Add the marg and icing sugar and beat into t a soft pale cream. Spread on each half of the cake and sandwich them together.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. When it has totally melted, pour in the cream and stir vigorously while adding it! Spread the ganache over the cake.

Transfer the cake onto some baking paper then carefully pat generous handfuls of coconut onto the side of the cake. Most of the coconut will fall off, but you should get a nice layer sticking all the way round. Decorate with chocolate buttons. I used Ombar Coco Mylk chocolate buttons.

I have no idea what it tasted like as I didn’t get to try it but as far as I know, no one was ill!

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Summer Salad

Every Falafeltime the sun comes out I pretend it’s a holiday and dash about making salads and cocktails – I desperately need some vitamin sea! (a trip to the seaside). But for now, this will have to do…

Beetroot falafel, olives, stuffed vine leaves, grated carrot, tomatoes, cucumber, watercress, and houmus.

 

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