I don’t know how it is for most vegans, but when it comes to a dinner party, I often feel a little challenged. I live with a non-vegan and most of our friends who live close enough to come to dinner are not vegan, though we do have one or two veggies around. So I feel under even more pressure to perform when cooking for people who think vegans live on brown rice and kale sandwiches. I know they anticipate the worst. As I live with a non-vegan there are often elements to the meal that are not vegan, but I usually plan the menu as a vegan one, which can then have other stuff added by other people should they so wish. Such is the case today. I am cooking dinner for two friends and for my partner. It’s a thank you dinner to one friend as a reward for hanging the kitchen door for us. This is the menu
Quinoa salad with fresh herbs
Stuffed flat mushrooms
Sautéed garlic potatoes
vegetable goulash with red beans.
And this is how I did it . . . .
First I stuffed the mushrooms. I took the stalks out of the middle of four flat mushrooms, and put them in the whizzy chopper with – two pieces of brown bread, 1 small onion, eight olives, eight pickled garlic cloves, some bouillon powder, and some nuts. I whizzed this up. Then I put a large dollop of soya cream cheese with garlic and herbs in the middle of each upturned mushroom, and packed the stuffing around and on top. These will bake in the oven for about 40 minutes at 180.
The potatoes are loved organic ones, so I will chop them into 1 inch cubes, with the skin on, and put in the Actifry and cook until starting to turn golden brown. At this point I will add about 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Before serving I will toss in some smoked sea salt.
The quinoa is cooked with water and a stock cube, until it achieves a nice consistency, then I chop the fresh herbs and mix half of them into the quinoa, before making quenellees. I finely slice peppers and layer them onto some salad leaves with some fresh basil, and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
The goulash is made as follows – chopped peppers, onion, mushrooms and celery, fried in oil with lots of chopped garlic and some fresh chopped basil. Add a carton of chopped tomatoes, water, red wine, paprika and some salt and pepper, and a tin of red kidney beans. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring well, and thicken if necessary with a little tomato puree or vegetable gravy granules.
The chocolate torte I made up today – thought its the evolution of another recipe.
Whizz up half a pack of vegan digestive biscuits in the chopper, with about 6 vegan bourbon biscuits. Take 2 thirds and mix with a little flour, a little oil, and water in a bowl, then press this mix into a silicone tart dish (like a pastry base). Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whizz up another 6 bourbon biscuits, add to the other biscuit crumb, and whizz up about 4 tablespoons dried mixed fruit. Mix well together with a tablespoon of golden syrup, and two tablespoons of cherry liqueur, then melt 2 bars of dark chocolate, and mix this in. Fill your tart with this mixture and press down firmly, allowing to cool. Serve with vegan soya cream OR with a mixed berry compote. I haven’t made the compote yet. There are some frozen mixed berries in the freezer so if I have enough time I will simply heat these, add sugar, spices and then bash them about it a bit. Lovely.
So. Dinner is at 7.30 and this time I will TRY to take some photos of the food. Look out for part two.