Cashew nut aioli

Cashew nut aioli

The other day I was craving something fresh and green to eat and I’d been thinking about a platter of clean, vegetable crudites and a dip. I thought I would have a try at vegan aioli – the name aioli means “garlic and oil” in Catalan and Provençal but it usually has egg yolk added as an emulsifer. I really wanted that Mediterranean flavour so decided to experiment with cashew nuts. This makes a great alternative to the ubiquitous hummus and I think has that summery , elegant flavour that will be perfect once the sun shines again.

Ingredients (makes enough for about 4 servings depending on how moreish you find it!)

135g of cashew nuts soaked for a least 5 hours, preferably overnight
150 ml of water
Juice of one lemon
3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp of onion granules
2 tsp of Djion mustard
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp oil
Pinch of turmeric
Chilli flakes

Recipe

I use my food processor to make this, and it’s simply a matter of adding everything and whizzing it up until you have a dip like consistency. Although I have given rough amounts in the ingredients list, it’s better to taste and add lemon or oil to your taste.

Sprinkle with some chili flakes and serve with veggies, bread sticks or crackers.

Although it will last ages in the fridge, it is way better served at room temperature.



Mushrooms on sourdough

Mushrooms on sourdough

At the moment, this is my go-to comfort food. Quick, light (-ish!) but luxurious and comforting. Perfect!

This isn’t really a recipe, it’s more an assemblage. I like to keep the mushrooms quite chunky to make the most of their robust flavours.

Ingredients (makes 2 servings)

Half a red onion finely chopped
Half a teaspoon of garlic (I swear by the pre-prepped jars which last forever)
Dash of oil
2 portobello mushrooms roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of Oatly creme fraiche
Basil
Salt and pepper
Sourdough bread
Chopped basil and chilli flakes to garnish

Recipe

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil slowly, until soft and caramelized
Add the chopped mushrooms and fry quickly at a high heat until soft (about 5 mins)
Take off the heat and add the creme fraiche and seasoning
Take a couple of slices of the sourdough and lightly toast
Drizzle the bread with oil and then pile the mushrooms on top
Sprinkle over the basil and chilli flakes

Voila!


Lovely Morsels

Lovely Morsels

Lovely Morsels is going to be occasional posts about lovely things found in unlovely places.  It is an homage to my mother. Whenever she tasted something that she particularly enjoyed, she would always call it a “lovely morsel”.  She was a wonderful mother; elegant, kind, curious, caring (and with a fierce temper!). She is now in a home with severe dementia and I miss her every day.  There are still occasional flashes of her old self but they are becoming more infrequent. Lovely Morsels is my little way of remembering how she was.

 

Pizza Express, Swindon

Pizza Express, Swindon

I work in Swindon.  It’s not the loveliest place but sometimes I want to have a quick bite to eat with a friend after work.  Pizza Express has always been quite a good option and definitely responds quickly to changing dining tastes, so they are often my go-to when I am somewhere that is more chain than independent.  I opted for the garlic baked mushroom followed by the pizza giardiniera. Both courses were excellent – interesting ingredients, well prepared and didn’t feel like add-ons to the main menu. I am particularly impressed that they also label the vegan drinks – something that is often overlooked.  Given there is more than one vegan option on the menu (I know!) I am definitely going back.

Image: I opted for the garlic baked mushroom followed by the pizza giardiniera. 

Carluccio, Bristol

Carluccio, Bristol

Sometimes, you just can’t avoid shopping and today I needed to visit Cribbs Causeway to pick up some bits and pieces.  Normally, I spend the minimum amount of time possible in The Mall but I am trying to slow my life down and be more present so I decided to stay for a coffee.  

Carluccios have been trailing their vegan croissant so I stopped off there.  The croissant was very good: soft, aerated pastry with a crunchy topping of sugar, it felt appropriately luxurious accompanied by the excellent soy cappuccino.  It definitely felt like a little respite in the middle of an unlovely environment. The Carluccios website has a convenient filter for vegan options and I’d like to try some of their other meals but will maybe find a branch with a better atmosphere for that!