So earlier this year one of my best friends got married in my home district and the night before her wedding she left her three girls with her Husband to be and spent her last night as a free woman with me.
I wanted to make the evening something special and one thing that makes me and the bride so close is, of course many things but, one thing that has been a long runner in our relationship is the love of sharing good food.
We have, throughout our friendship and still, had evenings where we have cooked for one another, enjoyed a take away and dessert for afters taking shit till late. We have spend wonderful evenings enjoying fine dining in Manchester, usually around the time before my next departure, where we find ourselves equally indulging in every bite, every minute, every word, every moment. We enjoy this process together fully!! A friendship built on many things and this being one.
So of course, the 'night before' dinner had to be something a little sweet & special.
With this in mind I created the Vegan Tapas board. We sat in the garden on a wooden swing chair, shared a joint in the English summer watching the sun set behind the backdrop of the Cheshire countryside and we dined and we enjoyed.
A simple selection of dishes, sides & addings for a perfect last evening with one of my closest.
Try and enjoy for yourself one or many of the dishes...
ROSEMARY COCONUT GRILLED SWEET POTATO W SEA SALT
• 2 Cups Sweet potato (diced)
• 1 Tbsp Fresh rosemary (chopped)
• 1 Tsp Coconut oil (melted)
• Generous pinch Sea salt
1. Keeping the skins on the sweet potatoes and chop into bite sized cubes. Place into boiling water and gently cook to slightly soften
2. Once gently cooked place the cubed potatoes into a mixing bowl and stir in coconut oil, salt and fresh rosemary
3. Pour the covered potatoes into a shallow tin (ensure that the tin isn't over crowded) and place under a high setting grill
3. Continue checking every 3 - 5 minutes while tossing the potatoes so they evenly cook. Grill until browned
4. Remove potatoes from the grill and allow to cool.
CHARRED BROCCOLI W PORCINI MUSHROOMS & BLACK PEPPER TRUFFLE OIL
• 2 Cups broccoli
• 1/2 Cup Dried Porcini mushrooms
• 1 Tsp Coconut oil
• Pinch Sea salt
• Generous Pinch Black pepper (crushed)
• Drizzle black truffle oil
1. Char the broccoli by placing and heating the coconut oil in a frying pan and adding the vegetables when the oil is generously heated, add salt and pepper
2. Soak the dried mushrooms for around ten minutes before use and drain (saving a little of the mushroom water). Add the drained mushrooms to the broccoli and continue to fry
3. Drizzle just a little of the remaining mushroom water into the pan and remove from heat
4. Place in serving dish and drizzle with a small amount of truffle oil.
GRILLED HERB CAULIFLOWER FLORETS W MAPLE LEMON DRIZZLE
• 2 Cups Cauliflower florets (bite sized)
• 1 Tbsp Olive oil
• 1/4 Tsp Cumin powder
• 1 Tbsp Maple syrup
• Juice of 1/2 Lemon
• Pinch salt
1. Place cauliflower into a large mixing bowl adding in the olive oil, cumin, maple syrup, lemon & salt. Mix well
2. Transfer the seasoned cauliflower florets into a shallow pan or heat proof dish and turn on the grill to high
3. Grill the cauliflower for around 20-30 minutes checking every five minutes and flipping the vegetables so they are evenly browned
ALMOND YOGURT W MAPLE, CINNAMON, FRESH FRUIT & CACAO NIBS
• 1 Cup blanched almonds (soaked for 6 hours and skinned)
• 1/2 Tsp non-dairy starter culture
• 1 Tsp Maple syrup
• 1/2 Cup fresh mango
• 1/4 Cup fresh strawberries
• Pinch cinnamon
• 2 Tsp cacao nibs
1. Place the blanched almonds into blender and blend until smooth
2. Add your starter to the blended almonds and store in warm dark place for around two - six hours depending on the culture used (the longer you leave the culture to ferment the tangier the result)
3. Once the plain yogurt is ready mix in the Maple syrup (adding more than directed for your personal desired sweetness)
4. Place in glass jar and store in fridge for 3-5 days
5. For serving, chop the fresh fruits, place chilled yogurt in serving bowl topping with the chopped fruit, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of maple syrup and the cacao nibs.
• 550g Fresh damsons
• 250g Granulated sugar
• 1 L Gin
1. Prick damsons and place into a few clean, sterilised glass containers that can be completely sealed
2. Add sugar to the damsons and shake each day until the sugar is a nice and very pink
3. At this point the gin is ready to be added. Add the gin, shake and store in a dark place. Throughout the next days ensure that you visit the jars and swirl them to encourage the sugar to dissolve
4. Once the sugar has dissolved leave the damsons to stew in the gin for around 3 months (Patience for result is key in this process - be patient)
5. After around 3 months strain the damsons and bottle.
Enjoy totally, fully, completely, with all of your being.