Reveiw: Leon Fast Vegan

When Leon brought out a vegan cookbook I ordered it straight away. I’ve been living with it for the past few months and it’s been in rotation ever since. The title implies that it’s all fast food but really it has a recipe for just about anything you could ask for. There are breakfast, desserts, 15-minute meals and ones that take hours. It’s an encyclopaedia of vegan food. And it’s pretty cool.

We’ll start with one of the quicker recipes. This Artichoke, Basil and Spinach Pasta. It’s a quick pesto recipe that has all the umami you could ever need coming from that artichoke. The recipes are more than just a token vegan option, they’re well-thought-out to give a full range of flavours.

Jackfruit Tikka Masala is one of the the recipes that puts the name fast vegan to shame, clocking in at just under 2 hours. However you will not regret a second of those two hours. This is the best vegan tikka masala you’ll ever have. And it’s a genuine tikka masala, you marinate and cook your jackfruit before tossing it in the curry sauce which just makes everything perfect.

One of the few misses we’ve had is this Spiced Moroccan Tofu. Overall it was just a little dry and the Moroccan flavours didn’t really work with tofu.

But let’s end on a happy, positive, chocolate-filled note. These chocolate brownie cakes are amazing! Really dense and they have chocolate and rich and they have chocolate.

There are some amazing recipes in this huge tome. And although I’ve become adept at translating recipes from American English into UK English it’s always great to have recipes written in my own culinary language. I would suggest you go out and buy this straight away and make the tikka masala because it’s amazing.

Recipe: Wild Garlic Bread

Wild garlic, allium ursinum, is currently in season here in sunny south Devon. The beautiful garlic-scented plant is everywhere right now and it’s delicious.

The leaves are my favourite part. I pick two or three from each plant so it can keep on growing. Patches here can get pretty large so you can get a decent harvest that way. This garlic bread ‘recipe’ is nice and easy. Great for after a hard day’s forage.

Wild Garlic Bread

 

1 demi baguette

About 6 leaves of wild garlic

About 4 tablespoons of vegan butter

Pre heat the oven to 200°c

Make cuts in the baguette. You want about nine cuts, on the diagonal, about three quarters of the way through.

Make the garlic butter: finely chop the garlic leaves and beat into the butter.

Spoon the garlic into the cuts, about a teaspoon in each one.

Wrap the baguette in foil and bake in the oven for twenty minutes.

Review: Wagamama

We’ve talked before about how we never get to try exciting new offerings from chains, so when we needed somewhere to eat on our last night in London I demanded we go get the vegatsu from Wagamama.

I’m going to say this up front: the atmosphere was awful. It was Friday night in a busy location and the music was loud and the wall to wall people were louder. But it’s pretty much what you expect in a busy location at a busy time.

The food was amazing though. The vegatsu is a vegan take on katsu curry. There is a large slab of katsu seitan served with white rice and coated in a delicious curry sauce. It’s so, so good. The seitan is crazy good! It’s meaty, genuinely meaty, with a great taste and texture. And then they put breadcrumbs on it. Then curry. It’s delicious.

I really want to get another one, but I might not go on a Friday night. That many people in one place scare me.

Review: HealthyWealthy (London)

The story of how we decided to go to HealthyWealthy is… not interesting. We were shopping across the road (at the fabulous Third Estate) and saw the word vegan on the window so we went in.

The food options are great. You pick your size of thali and then the friendly staff walk you through the choices. I went medium and Kate opted for a small. We loved everything! The chickpea curry I had was great, the french bean curry was a highlight. Kate found the soy chunk curry a little hot but the dhal was perfect.

As well at the thalis they also have a selection of fried foods, Indian sweets and vegan ice cream. We had a couple of scoops to go. A rosewater and a pistachio. These should come with a health warning because they are massively overwhelmingly sweet. If you’re used to the sweetness of traditional Indian sweets that’s what we’re talking about. The flavours are great though. Small portions is the key.

We recommend HealthyWealthy for a low cost, high quality meal. My advice would be to go all out on the curries and have small portions of the sweets.

Reveiw: Zizzi

By the time I’d rejoined Kate in London it was late so we threw ourselves on the mercy of a chain pizza place near our hotel. We went to try the vegan options of Zizzi.

Zizzi use mozzarisella which is totally my favourite vegan pizza cheese. One of the specials was a pizza combining four of their flavours: original, smoked, blue, and cheddar. It was great and you probably think that’s useless information considering it was a special but not so. Now you know to go out and try the all the flavours on pizza. Especially the blue. I’ve tried it before and it doesn’t really work as an eating cheese but I didn’t think to cook with it. Melted it’s amazing.

Kate ordered pizza that contained actual vegetables. She had the vegan zucca with roasted butternut squash and spinach. This is on the regular menu so you’ll be happy to know that it’s a good pizza too.

For desert we ordered the vegan cheesecake. It was on the winter special menu but it’s back on the menu for spring. I hope it stays forever. It’s delicious. The server raved about it when they brought it to the table, a huge recommendation for a vegan dessert in a non-vegan restaurant.

We were expecting a decent meal and the pizzas were good, solid pizzas. The cheese cake though? Amazing.

Recipe: Baked Black-eyed Beans

I work at the local vegan coffee shop, The Kind Grind, and for the past month we’ve been tinkering with our menu. We’re a coffee shop so we’re keeping it simple but bringing in more quality ingredients and home made touches.

These beans might just be my favourite part of the new menu. They appear in the ‘Big V’, our vegan cooked breakfast, or on a slice of sourdough for fancy beans on toast.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 400g can of tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 400g can of black eyed beans

And to serve:

  • Four slices of sourdough toast
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • About a tablespoon of chopped parsley

Put the chopped tomatoes in a blender along with all of the spices, liquid smoke and salt. Add 200ml of water and blend.

Add the beans and the tomato mix into a saucepan and cook on a low-medium heat for 45 minutes. Taste to check the seasoning. You might need a bit more salt, or smoke.

To serve, drizzle the olive oil over the toast and spoon on the beans. Sprinkle over the parsley and enjoy.

Review: Temple Of Seitan (London)

How long have I been wanting to go to Temple of Seitan? It’s been a while I have to admit. Childhood memories of KFC and Allen’s Fried Chicken made the prospects of a vegan chicken shop sound really good. Kate, however, was not convinced. She kept asking me when Chicken shops became a thing and anyway she was more of a McNuggets girl. So it’s taken a fair bit of persuading to get her there. We went to check out the Camden location.

I went for two piece, hot, and a snack box (half popcorn, half fries) and I had mixed feeling. I didn’t enjoy the hot chicken. The hot coating wasn’t incorporated into the batter so the mouth feel was a little dusty. I also wasn’t that keen on the seitan itself. I liked it in the popcorn but I didn’t enjoy it in the larger pieces. It just wasn’t very chicken-like. It had that slight spongy bounce that seitan can have. Honestly I prefer the fried chicken I’ve had at Samphire, in Plymouth, or V-Rev, in Manchester, for texture.

That being said the popcorn chicken is amazing. And the fries are pretty good too. I loved the popcorn chicken. The coating was amazing. Really crispy. It almost… pops. Kate, who only ordered the popcorn chicken, thought the colour and texture of the seitan was off-putting but loved the coating.

Temple of Seitan hasn’t quite made it to my must-eat list but I’d still be happy to go back. The trick, I think, is to order the popcorn chicken.