It’s always a real pleasure to meet up with fellow vegans, and our recent bring-and-share supper was no exception.
We had a lively evening, full of chat about all things vegan and beyond, and our plates were laden with the scrumptious dishes we had brought along to share. In a distinctly non-vegan world it’s really such a boost to occasionally have a vegan-centered social event.
Some people were regulars at Gloucestershire Vegan Group get-togethers, but others had never even met with fellow vegans before. We hope their first experience of meeting like-minded people was a friendly and welcoming one.
There was as ever an amazing selection of food; samosas, sushi and sos-rolls, mousakka and cottage pie, jewish pastries and carrot cake. We’re united by, amongst other things, our passion for amazing vegan food and the spread we created demonstrated the diversity and deliciousness of vegan cooking. Our food may be free from the products of animal cruelty, but it’s certainly not free from flavour or imagination. For those of you who missed it, or who want to recreate the fantastic food we made, below are just a few of the recipes.
Sheila’s Wild Mushroom & Chestnut Cottage Pie
5 large sweet potatoes
2 x 250g of mushrooms
2 x 200g of chestnuts
2 x tins of tomatoes
Vegetable stock to taste
• Dry fry leeks, mushrooms separately adding water to the leeks when necessary.
• Mix with tinned tomatoes
• Add vegetable stock to taste
For the topping:
• Bake the sweet potatoes
• When cool enough to handle, skin the potatoes and blend with coconut oil and season to taste and spread over the tomato chestnut filling and bake to heat though.
Ingredients for the tomato sauce:
1 chopped up onion
1 chopped up glove of garlic
Some tomato puree
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of vegan mince
Couple of sliced carrots
1 sliced aubergine (medium to thin)
Bit of oil (for frying the onion), salt, mixed herbs, basil, some vegetable stock (bouillon)
Ingredients for the “cheese” sauce topping (from the Artisan Vegan Cheese book):
2 1/2 cups of water
1 cup raw cashews
¼ cup nutritional flakes
Bit of salt
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (1- 3 teaspoons)
Fry the chopped onion in a deep saucepan, add the salt and mixed herbs, add the garlic after about 5 minutes; fry some more until it starts browning (not long). Add a good dollop of pureed tomato, stir and fry for another minute, then add the tin of chopped tomatoes, ¾ fill the empty tin with some cold water to rinse it out and add to the pan (the pureed tomato and the protein mince would thicken the sauce too much otherwise), and add the protein mince straightaway, give it all a good stir and bring to the boil, stirring often, add the carrots, cook for a couple of minutes on low heat. Add the basil too, and the bouillon.
Oil/ grease a deep oven going dish, fill it with layers of the tomato sauce and the sliced aubergines till you’ve used everything. Put in the oven (180⁰) and bake for about 45 minutes or more until the aubergine feels soft (insert a skewer).
Meanwhile prepare the “cheese” sauce topping: Put the water and cashews in a blender and process till smooth and creamy. (You do not have to soak the cashews first and you do not need a super-fast blender either). It should take about a couple of minutes. Transfer into a saucepan and whisk in the nutritional flakes, salt and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice. Cook over medium yeast, stirring almost constantly with the whisk, until very thick, about 3- 4 minutes (do not boil). Taste and add more lemon juice if desired. It’s really magic: it does thicken and it tastes really nice!
You can prepare this topping before you will need it: it will keep in a covered container in the fridge for about 4 days.
I found this topping doesn’t like going in the oven: so I make sure it’s quite hot at the time when my moussaka is ready and pour it over the top of it before bringing to the table.
Mireia says: If you substitute lasagne sheets for the aubergine then you get lasagne instead! You can also fry some chopped peppers with the onion at the beginning, or add anything else you fancy to the mix, I never followed a recipe, I just made it up from the memory of what it looked like!
Sheila’s Carrot Cake with dreamy cream cheese frosting
Sheila made a huge cake, but said if she made it again, she’d try cupcakes as it was very fragile as a large cake.
Here is her amazing cream cheese frosting which compliments the fruity cake:
2 cups soaked cashews
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup agave/liquid sweetener
Blend all ingredients apart from water in high speed blender with as little water as possible. Spread on top of the cooled cakes with a spatula.
We also had a delicious poppyseed-paste filled Jewish pastry called Hamantaschen made following this excellent recipe from the inspiring Vegan Chef Isa Chandra