Vegan Dublin

Early this year Guinness confirmed that their stout is now officially made using a filtration process that no longer includes isinglass. Draft Guinness is vegan! I’m not a massive fan, but I have to say the rumours that Guinness tastes better in Ireland are true. Grab a pint (or a half) at the Palace bar at 21 Fleet Street. Built in 1823, this pub is steeped in history. In the forties and fifties, journalists, poets, artists and novelists would gather here to right the wrongs of the world while having a drink! The Palace is still conducive to discussion, you’ll see older men sat around chewing the fat sipping their pints of Guinness.

Guiness

Dublin has a healthy scattering of vegan-friendly cafés and an exceptional vegan restaurant! For breakfast, it seems that veggie Dubliners favour avocado on toast – it was the standard vegan option in a number of cafés including Two Pups Coffee at 74 Francis St (opposite St Patrick’s Cathedral), where they offer avocados on toasted le levain sourdough bread with crispy garlic peanut butter and green chili and olive oil for 8 EU.

The Fumbally, around the corner at Fumbally Lane, offer avocado on rustic toast with pickled red cabbage, toasted seeds and popped amaranth for 6.50 EU. They also have falafel wraps and a range of vegan salads. It’s a large space with a laid back (slightly hipster) vibe and is a nice place to eat locally-sourced organic food.

A bit further down the main road from St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Thursday Café, at 37 Clanbrassil, street also offer avocado, on toasted tartine breads with fresh tomatoes and toasted seeds for 6.8 EU. They also offer beans on toast (7 EU) and a Mexican breakfast (9 EU) of tortilla, mixed beans, fresh tomatoes, coriander and wait for it… avocado!

Luckily, I like avocado! However, I do like a dirty fry-up too!! In town, you can get a more traditional vegan breakfast at the Cornucopia café at 19/20 Wicklow Street. For 9.95 EU you can select five options from the hot counter: homemade vegan sausages, oven roasted tomato, red onion with fresh herbs, homemade hash browns, roasted chilli mushrooms and homemade baked beans. Their website says they offer scrambled tofu too but it was not available the day I visited. Included in the price is toast and tea or coffee. Be warned, you select five options from the hot plate, they are then plated up and your plate is taken to the till where you order a hot drink. You food is then left to go cold while the make your toast and drinks… The system needs a little stream-lining!

HappyFood, at 27 Camden Place, offer a Happy Vibe vegan breakfast: chickpea scramble, sausages, tofu Bacon, beans in tomato, garlic and chilli sauce, with a leafy salad and nutty bread for 11.50 EU. Sadly I didn’t get to try this but reviews of the food here are fairly good.

I only ate out once in the evening, but what a meal that was! Sova Vegan Butcher, at 51 Pleasants St, Portobello, describe their food as tasty, healthy, happy and sexy! They are right. Purveyors of fine dining with vegan food prepared according to their own delicious and unique style. Fine dining it is, but without pretention, no amuse-bouche or foam in sight here!  Just really lovely, inventive vegan food. Scallops, chicken, steak… it’s a long time since I ordered anything like that!

The scallops were fantastic! You know that moment when you bite into supposedly vegan food and panic? It was safe. They were cleverly made out of Portabella mushroom stalks sitting on a potato cake and topped with kelp caviar. The black pudding crisp and pickled cauliflower were a real treat too. Everything was well-seasoned and tasted really good.

I had the seitan steak with peppercorn sauce – really tasty! The steak was hearty and tasted earthy and rich. The fondant potato, roasted tomatoes and slaw balanced the dish really well. The rich peppercorn sauce was made with soya cream, cooked down to a rich, dense, creamy and peppery sauce. Delicious!

My companions tried the Soya Schnitzels and Chia Cheeseburger. They were both happy with their choices. Four generous schnitzels came with duchess potatoes which looked like something from Dr Zeus! The broad beans with this dish were peeled truly a labour of love! The burger was a hit too, although it was hard to see where to start as it was so tall!

 

The starters and mains were the highlight. The desserts were very nice but not outstanding – maybe meringues made with aquafaba or a panna cotta would have added some panache in keeping with the other courses. All in all, good value (25 EU for three courses and BYO with a corkage charge of 6 EU for wine – as many bottles as you like). I would recommend going here for a great vegan meal with friends and would definitely go again given the chance.

Like most cities in Europe, and indeed around the world, vegan food is fast-becoming a standard option for all – we are taking over!

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Food with friends: Vegan spinach & walnut tart

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This month’s #MiniMoFo theme is food with friends. This tart is a bit fiddly to make but well worth it as it’s great for sharing with friends along with a few cold glasses on a warm evening in the garden. Now we just need the summer to finally arrive… 

Recipe adapted from: www.italianchips.com/spinach-pie

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 500 g of flour
  • 90 ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 ml of dry white wine
  • 2 tsp of salt

For the stuffing:

  • 350 g of steamed spinach chopped
  • ½ tub of Tofutti cream cheese
  • 100 g of grated vegan cheese
  • 1 handful of walnuts, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 slice wholemeal bread, toasted and blitzed to make breadcrumbs

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the pastry but avoid overmixing – you just need to combine it all together, then set aside in the fridge.
  2. Steam the spinach and roughly chop.
  3. Mix the spinach with the cream cheese, grated cheese, walnuts, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Divide the pastry in two.
  6. Make two circles (one around 30cm the other slightly bigger~35cm) using a rolling pin.
  7. Place the first circle on baking paper.
  8. Place one large handful of the stuffing in the centre of the circle, shape into a uniform mound.
  9. Arrange the remaining stuffing into a ring around the mound.
  10. Using a little soya milk or water, brush the borders of pastry around the edge and around the mound.
  11. Place the lager, second circle of pastry on top and gently press down around the mound and using a fork, gently squash the edges together around the entire circle.
  12. Place a small bowl over the central stuffing and punch with a fork all around to make a circle.
  13. Brush the whole top with soya milk or water.
  14. Then comes the exciting bit. Using a sharp knife cut the borders into 3cm slices (they will be slightly fanned in shape).
  15. Be bold now and turn each one firmly but gently onto its side to reveal the stuffing.
  16. Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven at 180°C.
  17. Serve at a party, to share with friends.

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Vegan Steak with Pink Peppercorns

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Vegan steak from the Bosh boys… (only a little adapted – I added the pink peppercorns)

  • ½ can chick peas
  • 4 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp.  tamari
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • 250g wheat gluten

Marinade:

  • 6 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 ½ tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns, mashed in a pestle and mortar
  1. Blend all the ingredients except the wheat gluten.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and add the gluten and mix well.
  3. Place on a work surface, knead for 2 mins and flatten.
  4. Cut into 6 pieces.
  5. Squash each piece down with a potato masher. Wrap each piece in foil and steam for 20 mins.
  6. Coat with marinade a fry.
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Lazy Sunday Mexican Tofu Scramble

IMG_5845The sun is out at last and I’m pretending I’m on holiday eating colourful scrambled tofu, made with peppers and herbs, in the garden…

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 a red pepper, chopped
  • 1 inch of fresh turmeric (or a large pinch of dried), finely chopped
  • 1/2 a jalapeño pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a block of Tofu (or smoked is good too)
  • 3 spring onions
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • Nigella seeds
  1. Splosh a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan and heat.
  2. Fry the pepper for a couple of minutes then throw in the turmeric, jalapeño pepper and tofu.
  3. Fry for 5 minutes or so until the tofu is starting to brown slightly (I like it a bit overdone and not to eggy).
  4. Add the spring onions and coriander and cook for one more minute.
  5. Serve, sprinkled with nigella seeds (not very Mexican but they look pretty) with hot toast, sliced avocado and cherry tomatoes.
  6. Eat in the sun then finish reading a good book…

 

 

 

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Vegan Aubergine Pathia

Pathia is an ancient Parsi curry from Persia, it is hot, sweet and sour. Chillies supply the heat, jaggery adds sweetness and tamarind, the savoury sourness. There are quite a lot of chillis in this recipe but the heat is offset by the tamarind and the sweetness of the sauce. The recipe is adapted from 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi. The directions are quite precise and a bit too fiddly I thought initially but if you go with it and follow it to the letter, it makes a really good, rich and tasty curry!

Serves 4 as a main or 6-8 with side dishes.

Ingredients:

  •  10 baby aubergines (~4-5 inches long)
  • 1½ teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 3-5 green chillies, chopped (depending on how hot you like it!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ¾ tsp coriander powder
  • ¾ tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • ½ tsp fresh turmeric, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery
  • 10 curry leaves
  • a small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Cut the aubergines in half, sprinkle with salt and set aside in a bowl for 30 mins.
  1. Rinse the salt off the aubergines, pat dry and griddle on a medium heat until soft and slightly charred with a criss-cross pattern, set aside.

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  1. Grind the green chillies, 2 of the garlic cloves and the cumin seeds into a paste (toast the cumin seeds first in a small pan if you want extra flavour). I used a Nutribullet and added a little water.
  1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan and fry the onions until they are soft. Add the ground paste and fry for 2 minutes, stirring well.

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  1. Add the cumin, coriander, red chilli, garam masala and turmeric. Stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  1. Add the tamarind, the jaggery, curry and coriander leaves and salt. Taste and adjust the sour, sweet, and salt flavours to your liking. Add 200ml of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  1. Lay the aubergines out flat in an oven dish and spoon the sauce over them. Leave some bits peeping out!
  1. Bake in a warm oven (150°C) for an hour until the sauce becomes sticky and starts to burn slightly at the edges.

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  1. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with naan bread or brown basmati rice.

 

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Vegan Farinata

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Farinata or socca is a sort of thin, unleavened pancake or crêpe of chickpea flour originating from Genoa and later a typical food of Liguria, from Nice to Elba Island. Traditionally it is cooked with fresh rosemary, pepper and sea salt then cut into triangular slices and served warm. I made a thicker version with onion, garlic, asparagus and French beans. It’s pretty cheap to make (especially if you used plain tofu) and it was very tasty! It makes great party food – thin slices served with a cold beer!

For the batter:

  • 200g Taifun Organic Tofu with Basil
  • 1½ cup gram (chickpea) flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp bouillon
  • 1½ cup soya milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Veggies:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp oregano or thyme
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, discard the end and chop each spear into three pieces
  • 1 handful of French beans, chop into the same length pieces as the asparagus
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halves

Heat the oven at 180°C and put a cast iron pan in to warm. Throw all the batter ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth (it should be a thick batter) then pour into a bowl. Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil with the celery salt and some oregano or thyme until just beginning to brown. Steam the asparagus and beans until just soft. Thrown the onions, garlic, asparagus and beans into the batter and mix. Pour it into the hot pan and gently push the tomato halves into the batter. Cook for 45 minutes. Serve warm with salad.

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Mushroom and Chestnut Wellington

Mushroom and Chestnut Wellington

I forgot to photograph it hot and covered in gravy – this was the last bit of leftovers!

This mushroom and chestnut wellington is adapted from the excellent people at BOSH! It looks complicated but it isn’t hard at all if you follow the simple instructions. It takes about an hour to put it together, I did it in the morning and left it standing for a couple of hours before cooking. The chestnuts and pecans make it really rich. It makes a great celebration lunch for Easter and no dead babies on the table!

Mushrooms

  • 4 Portobello mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 1 large pinch of salt
  • 1 large pinch of freshly ground pepper

Nut Roast

  • Splash of olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1 large pinch of salt
  • 1 large pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • ½ tbsp muscovado sugar
  • 2 cups of chestnuts
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 cup of cashew nuts
  • 2 slices wholemeal bread
  • ½ cup of vegetable stock (Marigold Bouillon)

Wellington Case

  • 1 large tbsp. cranberry sauce
  • 2 blocks Jus-Roll shortcrust pastry (you will have some left over)
  • ½ a cup of soya milk for brushing and sticking, add ½ tsp turmeric for colour

Method

  1. Put the Portobello mushrooms in a baking tray and sprinkle some olive oil over them.
  2. Sprinkle the herbs, salt, pepper and garlic over the mushrooms.
  3. Bake at 180℃ for 15 minutes then set them aside to cool.
  4. Take the pastry out of the fridge and set aside to warm to room temp.
  5. Put the red onion in a pan with olive oil and fry until it’s starting to brown.
  6. Add the herbs, salt, pepper and cook them together until they start sticking.
  7. Add a cup of red wine and simmer for 5 mins to cook the alcohol off.
  8. Add the sugar and mix until it caramelises, pour the mixture into a bowl.
  9. Put the nuts and bread in a food processor and whiz them up into crumbs.
  10. Add the crumbly mixture into the bowl with the onions pour in the vegetable stock.
  11. Stir the mixture round with a wooden spoon so it clumps up like sosmix.
  12. Lay one layer of pastry out on a lightly greased and floured baking tray.
  13. Divide the nut roast mix into two and layer half of the mixture onto the pastry.
  14. Mould the mixture with your hands into a wide, flat sausage shape, think of a thick flip flop!
  15. Put the cooked Portobello mushrooms on top, you make need to overlap them slightly.
  16. Encase the mushrooms with the rest of the nut roast mix and smooth it over with your hands so it looks like Ayer’s Rock!
  17. Heat the cranberry sauce in a pan and spoon over the nut roast mix and smooth over the whole roast with a spatula (this with help the pastry stick).
  18. Paint some soya milk one inch around the base of the pastry to help the top pastry layer stick.
  19. Carefully lay the second sheet of shortcrust pastry over the top of the nut roast and gently push it down with your fingers to remove any air pockets.
  20. Trim off the edges of the pastry (leaving around an inch all the way round) with a sharp knife (save the trimmed bits for decoration).
  21. Seal the edges with a fork – this makes it look pretty!
  22. Decorate your wellington with shapes cut out of the spare pastry.
  23. Bake at 180℃ for 30-40 minutes (be sure to check after 30 minutes, if it looks ready, take it out of the oven!)
  24. Use a sharp knife to carve the Wellington into slices.

Serve with roast potatoes, roast parsnips, maple syrup and orange glazed carrots, purple sprouting broccoli, cavolo nero and tons of gravy.

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