Archive | August, 2013

Summer Sunday BBQ

16 Aug
Glos Vegans cooking up some BBQ goodness

Glos Vegans cooking up some BBQ goodness

Gloucestershire Vegan Group’s latest get-together was a relaxing sunday afternoon BBQ in a beautiful garden in Woodchester. You can’t beat sharing vegan food with friends. Everyone brought something, and we ended up with an huge array of BBQ food – cutlets, sausages, and burgers. There were no less than two types of home-made burger: nut cutlets coated in herby breadcrumbs with added olives for a intensely savoury flavour, and a tasty green-lentil patty.  There were some gorgeous rainbow kebabs, with home-grown veg, fresh salads and an wonderfully creamy aubergine dip. There was such a selection, and as usual all of it was vegan. Rather than doing the thing that happens at omnivorous social occasions where most of the time is spent thinking “Now… what can I actually eat here?” there is a joyous moment of realisation that we can eat everything!

Yes! I can eat everything.

Yes! I can eat everything.

It was great to have several new people join us, and plenty of regulars. We’re a varied group of vegans of all ages and backgrounds, united by the fact we have made the choice to live more compassionately, or are interested in making the leap into veganism. I hope that, as a group, we’re open and welcoming to everyone – creating a friendly, inclusive and supportive space, free from judgement or discrimination.

One of the things we chatted about was raising funds for Evesham Farm Animal Sanctuary, and have started to make plans, so watch this space!

Last but not least, there was quite a fervor at Gina’s Peppermint & Chocolate Cheesecake, which went so fast we only managed to get a snap of the very last slice! Everyone implored me to get the recipe from her, which obligingly is below:

Peppermint & Chocolate Cheesecake

The last slice of the cheesecake - this photo just doesn't do justice to the taste sensation!

The last slice of the cheesecake – this photo just doesn’t do justice to the taste sensation!

• 7 and a half ounces (oz.) of any vegan margerine
• 12 ounces of vegan digestive biscuits crushed into crumbs. Varying sizes are OK but not much bigger than broad beans. Tip: Put the biscuits into a strong paper bag, hold the open end firmly closed and gently bash it with the rolling pin.
• 4 ounces of dark chocolate
• 1 and a half pints of Unsweetened soya milk – or sweetened!
• 1 and a half Tbsps malt vinegar (cider & wine vinegar work just as well)
• 1 and a half Tbsps lemon juice (bottled is OK)
• 3 oz. vegan margerine
• 2 oz. sugar
• 2 tsps peppermint essence (or more to taste. Extract or flavouring can also be used but the amount will need to be varied to take into account the differing strengths of essence, extract and flavouring.)
•  8 – 10 drops green colour (or several tsps, according to how green you want it!)
• More choc to grate over the top (if wanted)
To make the Base:
Melt the margarine and chocolate for base in a medium saucepan, then stir in the biscuit crumbs. When thoroughly mixed, press into base of a 9 inch greased flan tin and leave to cool (can be made in advance and frozen).
To make the Top:
Bring milk to boil, take off heat and stir in vinegar and lemon juice. Leave for 3-5 mins to separate into curds and whey. If it’s resistant to separating, give it another gentle stir, till the whey is clear. Strain through sieve or muslin till the curds are still quite damp but no actual liquid remains (too much whey left will cause sloppy tofu topping but too little and it will be difficult to blend). Place curds in a blender with margarine, sugar, peppermint and blend. Finally, gradually add the colouring – too much and you might have emerald green cheesecake! Could use a hand whisk but texture will not be so smooth.
Refrigerate for a few hours (can be made 2-3 days in advance but will need to be kept in covered container in the fridge. If it were frozen, it would change the texture, so not advised). When ready to use, spread topping over base and grate chocolate over the top.