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Summer dessert delights

30 Jun

Gloucestershire Vegan Group members have been having adventures with aquafaba! Yes ‘aquafaba’ literally the juice that comes off of a tin of chickpeas or beans – something we’ve been discarding without a thought until recently. This unappealing sounding by-product has been hailed as a magic ingredient. The secret seems to lie in the protein content of the water, which some vegan chefs have discovered behaves in a similar manner to egg-white when whisked. At our latest bring-and-share meal, on a balmy summer afternoon, we were treated to meringues with strawberries and cream, brought along by members of the group. It was the perfect summer dessert, here is the recipe for you all to enjoy:

Meringues

Meringue-y goodness

Meringue-y goodness

INGREDIENTS

The water out of one 400g can of chickpeas, drained and strained (apparently the water from other beans works too!)

140g icing sugar

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

EQUIPMENT

1 large bowl (This must be very clean – any residue or oil could cause your meringues to deflate!)

1 medium or large bowl

Electric hand whisk or stand mixer

Piping bag with large nozzle of your choosing (mine was a star nozzle)

3 large baking trays

Greaseproof paper

DIRECTIONS

1. First, preheat your oven to 100 degrees Celsius, and line your baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2. Add the chickpea water to a large, clean bowl and beat on high speed with either an electric whisk or stand whisk. Do this for about 5 minutes. 

3. After 5 minutes, while continuing to beat, gradually add in the icing sugar, a bit at a time. Once all the sugar is incorporated, sprinkle in the cream of tartar and the lemon extract.

4. Keep beating until the meringue is glossy, with very stiff peaks.

5. Scoop the meringue into your piping bag, pushing it down gently with a spoon or spatula. If the mixture doesn’t all fit in one go, you can do the piping in batches.

6. Pipe nests of meringue onto your lined baking sheets. To do this you basically want to first make a small circle (about 3 inches across), then add a two or three spirals on top, around the outer edge.

7. Bake in your preheated oven for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Then, switch off the oven and leave the meringues in there for an extra hour or two. They should be completely dry when you remove them.

The recipe is on veganlass.com

Cream

Strawberries and cream

Strawberries and cream

INGREDIENTS

175g(6oz) tofu
50g(2oz) coconut melted oil, heated,
( used heat treated (Suma), as I don’t like coconut)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon coconut flower nectar

DIRECTIONS

Blend all ingredients together until completely smooth. Be careful when you add the liquid coconut oil as it can solidify on contact with the cold tofu
So it does need to be heated and not just liquid.

Its good on toast/scones with strawberry jam.

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Bring-and-share Vegan Supper

22 Mar

Join us for vegan get-togethers.

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.

RECIPES


Sheila’s Wild Mushroom & Chestnut Cottage Pie

Ingredients:

5 large sweet potatoes
5 leeks
2 x 250g of mushrooms
2 x 200g of chestnuts
2 x tins of tomatoes
Vegetable stock to taste
Coconut oil

Method:

• 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.


Mireia’s Moussaka

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)

Method:

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!

Tips:

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

IMG_20150314_210554~2

A creamy frosting you’ll dream of!

Sheila followed this carrot cake recipe from the comprehensive online vegan baking resource veganbaking.net

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:

Ingredients:

2 cups soaked cashews
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup agave/liquid sweetener
Water

Method:
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.


IMG_20150314_210605~2

A vegan Jewish Pastry: Hamantaschen

We also had a delicious poppyseed-paste filled Jewish pastry called Hamantaschen made following this excellent recipe from the inspiring Vegan Chef Isa Chandra

Beautiful bring-and-share!

20 Sep

IMG_20140914_101738

Gloucestershire Vegan Group had a fabulous bring-and-share in Gloucester on the 13th September 2014. Hosted by a couple from our group in their home near Gloucester, we especially enjoyed a trip around their beautiful wildlife-friendly garden – a meadow bursting with bee-friendly flowers and colours.

FLOWERS

IMG_20140913_230718

As usual there was a great selection of animal-free dishes brought along for sharing. We had some sumptuous summer salads, a tasty asparagus quiche, a spicy south-western style corn pudding and some moreish crispy tofu cubes coated in yeast flakes to make them extra-savoury.

RASPBERRY CHOCO

For puddings the summer-theme continued, with harvest fruits such as garden-grown raspberries and apples included wherever possible. There was some fantastic raspberry-chocolate combinations – chocolate and raspberry cake with a rich chocolate icing, raspberry jam-filled chocolate cupcakes with a rich chocolate ganache drizzled on top, a chocolate mousse cheesecake with a raspberry topping. There was also an extra-tasty apple crumble and a spiced dorset apple-cake to give us a refreshing break from the choco-raspberry overload.

Our get-togethers are a good chance to chat vegan stuff – from the usual sharing of tasty cooking ideas, to vegan perspectives on the Gloucestershire Badger Cull, which some of us are taking action against again this year by joining the Wounded Badger Patrol.

Thanks to our hosts for the evening for being so welcoming, and if you fancy coming along to our get-togethers we’d love you to join us – please join our email list for more details.


Recipes

IMG_20140913_230411

Savoury Tofu Cubes

Ingredients:

1 block firm tofu

4 Tablespoons yeast flakes

2 tablespoons soya sauce

Vegetable oil for frying

Little gem or similar lettuce leaves for serving

Method:

1.Cut the tofu into cubes

2.Pat the tofu dry with some kitchen paper or a clean tea towel

3. Roll the cubes in the yeast flakes on a shallow dish

4. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat (cast iron pans work well) and fry the cubes until crispy and golden

5. Remove from the cubes from the pan and set aside on a paper towel to absorb excess oil

6. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves, sprinkle with the tamari/soya sauce

 

Isobel’s Rice Salad

Ingredients:

1 mug cooked rice

Mung Bean Sprouts

Carrots

Peppers – red & yellow

Peas

Mushrooms

Marinade:

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup tamari or soya sauce

1 tablespoon of french mustard

Method:

1. Cook the rice and allow to cool

2. Dice the Vegetables

3. Mix with the marinade and serve

 

Sheila’s Dorset Apple Cake

Ingredients:

2 cooking apples – peeled and diced

4oz raisins

4oz coconut oil

4oz coconut nectar sugar

4oz spelt flour

4oz porridge oats

1 heaped tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tablespoon boiling water

Method:

1.Mix the coconut oil, coconut sugar, spelt flour, oats and spices, including the ginger.

2. Add the bicarb to the tablespoon of boiling water, mix this in to the dry ingredients

3. Stir in the chopped apple and raisins

4. Add to a pre-greased baking tray or cake tin and bake for 45mins at 180 degrees celcius.

Return of the Stroud Brewery

29 Jun
pizza...mmmm

pizza…mmmm

On a sunny Saturday in June Gloucestershire Vegan Group were lured back to the Brewery Bar at Stroud Brewery for round-two of their delicious vegan beer and pizza. We arrived early to beat the pizza-rush, armed with our own fave cheese substitute for Velo Bakery to sprinkle liberally over our selection of pizzas before cooking in their on-site wood-fired pizza oven. All of Stroud Brewery bottled beer is vegan (and organic), which provided a great range of choice for us to try. Since our last visit Stroud Brewery have added the Organic Lager and the Stroud Organic Ale to their range, both of which were great to drink on a warm evening on their wooden decked beer garden.

We’re also excited to learn about the special beer they’ve been brewing up in collaboration with Asparagasm – vegan and wheat free pale ale – we can’t wait to try it!

A big hit on the evening was Sheila’s home-made cheese – here’s the recipe:


 

Sheila’s vegan cheese

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of cashew nuts
1 handful of yeast flakes
Olive oil to mix
1 generous teaspoon yeast extract
1 mean teaspoon of turmeric
2-3 teaspoons tomato puree

 

Method:

Grind the cashew nuts in a blender
Add yeast flakes, add olive oil to give desired consistency.
Add Marmite, turmeric and tomato purree.
Adjust ingredients to taste.

Best used raw, shame to cook

Very simple cheap Vegan cheese
Soya flour, oil & yeast extract
Mix ingredients to taste

Can be made runny and spreadable
Or use a solid vegan margarine to make a sliceable cheese.
Fine for cooking.


 

Making your own vegan cheese is fun, not to mention cost-effective compared to buying shop-bought cheese substitutes. There are loads of different methods, and non-dariy cheese can be made from a variety of ingredients. If you’re interested in making your own, you can try recipes from the excellent ‘Artisan Vegan Cheese‘ by the inspiring vegan chef Miyoko Schinner.

Cooking with Tempeh, Tofu & Seitan

25 Mar

Our most recent Gloucestershire Vegan Group event was a vegan cooking skill-share, on the topic of cooking with tofu, tempeh & seitan.

We prepared a dish for each of the featured ingredients, following favourite recipes and chatted about the best ways to prepare these foods.

The recipes we followed were from two cookbooks; Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, and Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero. These are excellent cookbooks, Veganomicon has hundreds of tasty vegan recipes encompassing worldwide cuisines. Viva Vegan focuses on Mexican vegan recipes, and is great for those who love chilli and garlic in equal measure.


 

Tasty Tofu

Tofu comes in many forms, to name a few: silken tofu (used mainly in desserts or Japanese dishes), firm tofu (used in stir-frys, baked or scrambled) and yuba tofu (the rich skin of soya milk, bought as dried sheets and used in stews or Japanese dishes). A our skill share we were cooking with a plain firm tofu, which you can buy in blocks in health food shops and supermarkets. My favourite shop-bought kind made by Taifun, which is extra firm and chewy. But other makes such as Dragonfly and Cauldren work well in this recipe. Firm tofu cooks best after being sliced and patted dry with a sheet of kitchen towel or clean tea-towel. This absorbs some of the moisture and allows the outside to crisp up well.

The tofu recipe we followed was Chimichurri Baked Tofu from the excellent Latin-inspired cookbook Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero, this oven-baked tofu is coated in a rich, smoky, herby sauce and is intensely flavourful, with a wonderful chewy texture.

Chimichurri Baked tofu

Chimichurri Baked tofu

Recipe:
Serves 4, two slices each of tofu
Time: About 55 minutes

Ingredients
* 1 pound extra-firm tofu
* 2 Tb olive oil
* 1 Tb soy sauce
* Chimichurri Sauce with Smoked Paprika (See Below)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Slice the tofu into eight 1/2 inch thick slices and dab the slices dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. In a shallow glass 9×12 inch baking dish, combine the olive oil and soy sauce. Lay a tofu slice in the baking dish, pressing it into the sauce mixture. Repeat with the remaining slices and bake for 30 minutes, flipping once, until the slices are beginning to brown on the edges. Remove from the oven but don’t turn the oven off.

2. With a rubber spatula or large spoon, spread about a third of the chimichurri sauce evenly and completely over the tops of the tofu. Flip the slices and spread another third or slightly more on top of the tofu. If desired, use a fork to poke holes through the tofu, pressing a little bit of sauce into the center of the pieces. Bake for another 25 minutes, until the tofu is firm and the edges are golden brown. Bake longer if an even chewier texture is desired. Serve the tofu hot with remaining chimichurri sauce.

Chimichurri Sauce with Smoked Paprika
Makes about 1 1/2 cups sauce
Time : Less than 10 minutes

Ingredients
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped
* 2 large shallots, chopped
* 1 large bunch flat leaf ( Italian ) parsley, thick stems removed
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 3 Tb red wine vinegar
* 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
* 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
* 1 tsp dried basil
* 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
* 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions
1. Place the garlic, shallots and parsley into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Stream in the olive oil, red wine vinegar, paprika, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and sea salt, and pulse until creamy. Taste the sauce and adjust with more salt or red wine vinegar, if desired. Store in a tightly covered container and keep chilled until ready to use.

 


 

Tempting Tempeh

Tempeh is traditionally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds cooked soya beans into patty, much like a veggie burger. Tempeh is looks ugly but taste great if prepared well. It often has black patches from naturally occuring harmless moulds that are part of the culturing process. You can buy it frozen or refrigerated in health food shops, such as Sunshine Foods in Stroud or The Natural Grocery Store in Cheltenham. It’s also sold in jars. The brand most commonly available in the UK seems to be Impulse Foods Tempeh.

Most recipes advise steaming tempeh or boiling for ten minutes in salted water, to help release the bitterness. This process seems to be the key to cooking with Tempeh and keeping it tasty. Tempeh has a fantastic succulent texture, and readily absorbs marinades and sauces, which make it great to cook with.

The tempeh recipe we used was Hot-Sauce Glazed Tempeh from that vegan-bible of a cookbook Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Hot-sauce glazed tempeh

Hot-sauce glazed tempeh

Recipe:

Ingredients:
8 ounce package of tempeh
1/2 cup wine (whatever kind you’ve got on hand, just nothing sweet)
1/4 cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:
Bring a pot of water to boil.
Whisk all marinade ingredients together in a bowl large enough to fit the tempeh slices.
Cut the tempeh to form 8 triangles. When the water is boiling, add the tempeh, lower the heat and steam for 10 minutes.
Use tongs to remove the tempeh and then immediately place them in the marinade bowl for 1 hour, flipping them every now again to cover with the marinade.
Preheat a greased grill pan over medium high heat. Brush lightly with olive oil
Grill each side for 5 minutes. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.
:


Splendid Seitan

A ball of steamed seitan waiting to be marinaded.

A ball of steamed seitan waiting to be marinaded.

Seitan or wheat-meat is the insoluble protien in wheat, used historically in the cuisines of China, Japan and other East and Southeast Asian countries. The Natural Grocery Store in Cheltenham sells ready-made seitan. You can buy Gluten Powder online here amongst other places. It’s easy to make and flavour with whatever spices and herbs take your fancy. You can shape it into sausages, or make balls for slicing into sandwiches.

Seitan has a satisfying chewy texture, and works well in pasties, sandwiches, stews, stir-frys and mexican cooking.

We followed the Steamed White Seitan Recipe from Terry Hope Romero’s ‘Viva Vegan’ Cookbook, then marinaded and roasted it.

Recipe:

Steamed white seitan

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken flavoured broth)
4 garlic cloves (grated)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)

1. In a jug whisk together broth, garlic, olive oil. In a large bowl combine wheat gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, thyme, paprika, cumin, and salt. Form a well in centre of dry ingredients and stir well with rubber spatula until dough leaves side of the bowl.
2. Knead for 2-3 mins to develop gluten.
3. Leave dough to rest for 10 min, knead again for 30 seconds.
4. Place dough on cutting board and cut into 4 equal pieces.
5. Tear off 4 X12 inch pieces of foil and place piece of dough in centre of foil, fold the short sides of the foil over the loaf, the fold over the ends the foil should be secure but loose allowing for it to expand. Place in steamer basket and steam for 30 minutes Allow the dough to cool to the touch before chilling in fridge or overnight.
6. Store seitan in the fridge tightly sealed in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks or freeze, defrost before use.

For the marinade:
1 cup light-colored beer, preferably Mexican
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons chipotle adobo sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

2.    In a large bowl, whisk together beer, garlic, chipotles, adobo sauce, oregano, cumin, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. Add seitan strips, and marinate for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.   Roast in the oven until golden and crispy on the edges, adding the marinade when the seitan is browned and roasting for a further 10 mins.

 

Happy cooking!

Pizza party

17 Nov

It’s really refreshing when places are accommodating to vegan needs, and Stroud’s independent artisan Pizza take-away Fat Toni’s have have been vegan-friendly from the moment they opened their doors only a year ago. From day one they offered non-dairy cheese on their menus, or extra veggies as an option, this means that their pizzas can be enjoyed by vegans or those who are lactose-intolerent.

Perfect vegan pizza - 'Alice in Wonderland' made by Fat Toni's

Perfect vegan pizza – ‘Alice in Wonderland’ made by Fat Toni’s

This inspired us to organise a vegan pizza party – to allow us to try the full range of what they have to offer to hungry, pizza-loving vegans. So we arranged in advance to have the pizzas delivered to our door and piled into a Stroud household to eagerly await our pizza-fest.

We ordered 5 varieties – Sicilian Caponata (spiced aubergine caponata, toasted pine nuts and rocket), Vegesaurus (walnut & marinated artichokes), La Franca (artichokes, crushed garlic, olives and cherry tomatoes), Alice in Wonderland (wild mushroom & aspargus) and finally, a firey one – Dantes Inferno (heaps of red & green sliced chilli!). They offer a choice of two types of sourdough – San Franciso and Ischia, giving a variation in the sharpness in the base, we tried both.

The 20″ pizzas were huge and could easily feed 3 people (even hungry vegans!), especially is you make a salad to accompany. They were beautifully cooked – the bases are the perfect balance of chewy, sour dough, and crispy edges.  The toppings were imaginative and tasty, my personal favourite was the La Franca, because it was extra garlicky, but they were all supremely tasty. The vegan cheese melts well, and adds a good salty, gooey element, but it’s not entirely necessary, as Fat Toni’s pizzas are equally tasty with extra veggies instead of cheese.

After pizza we played games, and sampled the puddings we’d all brought along to share.

Vegan Lemon Meringue pie

Vegan Lemon Meringue pie

One pudding that created quite a stir was a vegan version of Lemon Meringue Pie, with an authentic crispy top, the recipe can be found online here.

It was a lovely, warming winter social event and great to catch up with fellow local vegans.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Pizza Dough Recipe

Vegan Pizza is easy to make at home too. Here is my favourite pizza dough recipe.

Ingredients:

1tsp dried active yeast

1tsp salt

2 cups warm water

4 cups strong white flour

Method:

• Dissolve the yeast in the warm water using a whisk

• Add 1 tsp salt and stir

• Add the strong white flour 1 cup at a time, whisking between each cupful until a thick dough is formed

• Cover with a tea-towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 4 hours or more (If you do this in the morning, you have a lovely risen dough waiting for you to make pizzas from at tea-time.)

• Turn out onto a large oiled baking pan and stretch the dough to fit the pan (This recipe can make two pizzas, if you want thin-and-crispy)

• Top with your favourite toppings and bake for 20mins until the dough is golden and crispy, and your non-dairy cheese is melty.

Wild Food

18 Mar

We’re so lucky in Gloucestershire to have many wildlife-rich and green areas close by. Spring is almost here, and bringing with it the first shoots of spring leaves. Wild Garlic and Nettles are two great ingredients which are easy to find growing in the woods and fields around this time of year, and can be made into yummy vegan dishes.

Wild Garlic

The distinctive green leaves and star shaped flowers of wild garlic

The distinctive green leaves and star shaped flowers of wild garlic

Also known as Ramsons –  Is a wild relative of chives with pungent bright green garlic-flavoured leaves. It grows vigorously in woodlands and other shaded areas and when walking in woods carpeted with Wild Garlic leaves in Spring, the garlicky aroma will fill the air. It has beautiful white star-shaped flowers which are also edible, as are the bulbs. Wild Garlic can be eaten raw, added to soups or stir-frys, and be made into pesto. Be aware that Wild garlic leaves can be easily mistaken for Lily of the Valley, which is poisonous, so always be careful and crush the leaves to check for the garlic smell.

Wild Garlic Pesto

hey pesto!

hey pesto!

3 large handfuls of Wild Garlic Leaves (washed and dried)

1/2 cup walnuts

1 shallot or small onion

juice of half a lemon

1 clove garlic

3 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil

1 tsp salt

Method:

Blend it all up until it’s a smooth-ish bright green paste. Taste and add a little more salt or lemon juice if required.

Serve with pasta or vegan gnocci, spread on bread with hummus or use as a dip. Keeps in a jar in the fridge for about a week. Good for keeping vampires at bay! 

Nettles

Just wear gloves when picking these prickly plants

Just wear gloves when picking these prickly plants

Stinging nettles seem to grow everywhere. They have a long history of culinary and medicinal uses, including being used as a remedy for arthritis. Nettles are rich in vitamin A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium.

They are also very tasty, having a flavour somewhat similar to spinach, with a little perfumed floral hint to them.

Don’t be put of by their spikes, pick them using rubber gloves. Luckily for us they do not sting after they’ve been cooked or soaked in water.

Velvety Nettle Soup

( a Rose Elliot Recipe)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 onion peeled and chopped

1 baking potato

4oz nettle tops

1L Vegetable Stock

Salt, pepper and nutmeg

Squeeze of lemon juice

vegan cream – optional

Method:

• Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and potatoes, stir, then cover and cook for 5 minutes.
• Add the nettles, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes, then add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
• Blend in a food processor or with a stick blender until completely smooth.
• Season with salt, pepper, grated nutmeg and a little squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavour – it needs strong seasoning.
• Delicious served either hot or chilled, with a swirl of vegan cream.