Modern Veganism: no more a trend but the new norm

Modern Veganism

I remember buying my first vegetarian cookbook at University in 1993.

Cookbooks weren’t what they are today, beautifully styled food pictures and easy to follow recipes. Instead this little book was all text and seemed to consist of nut loaves, cheese-laden sauces and mushrooms in everything. Mushrooms being the meat substitute of the day. Quite uninspiring!

Modern Vegan cuisine is no longer just a Trend but the new Norm! 

Veganism these days is exciting. Colour, texture, flavour, seasonality and simplicity apply to vegetables and staples just as much as ‘normal’ cooking. Whether you are a die hard meat eater or not, the Foodie in you will rejoice in it as much as any Vegan does.

Its popularity has risen by 350% in the last 10 years in the UK and 500% in the US since 2014.

Concerns over meat production, animal rights, food trends and access to more interesting products from far and wide have all affected the rise.

Progressors to follow are:

Ella Woodward
Matthew Kenney
Green Kitchen Stories’ Luise Vindahl and David Frenkiel
Anna Jones, the Modern Cook

I decided to follow a vegan diet for the month of January. The excesses of Christmas demand I take a step back, eat thoughtfully and cleanly but with energy and passion for the wonderful ingredients found in our markets. A positive spirit will encourage cooking creatively.

Here are some of my favourite vegan recipes:

Beetroot Burger (serves 2-4 depending on hunger)
Roughly blend
100g cooked beetroot
100g chickpeas
1 grated clove of garlic
2 tablespoons flour of your choice
A handful of dill, mint, coriander combined
Salt and pepper to seasonForm into patties. If the mixture is too wet, add a bit more flour. Fry the patties for 3-4 minutes on each side. Sandwich in a delicious bun with salad of your choice. Think spelt, grated carrot with caraway seeds, pickled cucumber, homemade slaw, a juicy tomato, jalapeños and drizzle with soya dressing. Mix lemon juice and sea salt with soya yoghurt and a pinch of sumac for a yummy dairy free dressing.
Roasted Vegetable Thai Green Curry (serves 4 with rice)

Blend the following to create a magical Thai paste:
4 lemongrass hearts, 4 Thai chillies, 3 cloves of garlic, 5cm peeled ginger, 2 peeled shallots, 4 tbsp fresh coriander, 1 tsp ground coriander and 1 cumin, 1 tsp lime zest, 1 tbsp lime juice, 1/2 peppercorns, a good pinch salt

Roast 800g vegetables of your choice. Think aubergine, cherry tomatoes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, leek, shallots, courgettes, mushrooms, mini corns. You can also add steamed vegetables like french beans or pak choi to the end product.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the paste and 8 lime leaves with 250ml coconut milk and 250ml vegan stock. Add freshly chopped basil and coriander. Mix in the roasted vegetables. Taste and season or add a squeeze of lime if needed.

Pea and Potato Samosas (Makes 20)
Cook 600g potatoes and roughly crush.

Fry 3 tbsp vegetable oil with ½ tsp mustard seeds. When the seeds start to pop, add 60g chopped onion and 1 tsp finely chopped ginger. Once browned add 60g frozen peas, 1 tbsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp red chilli powder, ½-¾ tsp garam masala, 1-2 tsp dried mango powder OR  juice of 1/2 a lemon and a good pinch of seasalt, the potatoes and a splash of water. Taste and re-season. Finally fold in 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves. Leave to cool.

Layer 3 sheets of filo on top of each other, spraying or brushing each layer with a good amount of olive oil. Ensure the whole area is covered. It should not be dripping but nicely covered. Make strips using a sharp knife. You should be able to make 6-8 strips per 3 sheets of filo. Place one rounded teaspoon of the filling mixture at one end of the strip. Take the right corner and fold diagonally to the left, enclosing the filling and forming a triangle. Fold again along the upper crease of the triangle. Keep folding in this way until you reach the end of the strip. Spray with a little more oil and sprinkle if desired with sesame seeds. Place onto a baking sheet and cover while you make the rest of the samosas. Repeat this process until you have 20 samosas or have used all your filling.

Freeze before cooking if you like and save for surprise guests or bake for 20-30 minutes at 200C. Timing will depend on your oven. They should be golden and crispy

Packed Giant Italian Tomato
Take 1 gorgeous tomato, take a lid off and scoop the fleshy inside out. Fill with your favourite veggies and carb and mix the flesh with the salad. I choose buckwheat, beetroot, tomato, avocado, fresh dill, mint and coriander and a yummy pomegranate molasses dressing of molasses and olive oil with seasoning. Simple, easy, filling and delicious.

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