In interview as part of our IWD series we speak to Planted one of the UK's leading creators of healthy plant-based food about their journey and goals for the future.
In interview as part of our IWD series we speak to fashionista turned healthy food creator Leah from the Hardihood.
As part of our IWD series we speak to the founders of Vida Bakery, Dani + Vane.
If you are a major foodie then this article is for you! Being a foodie have you ever been in a restaurant or at home and before tucking into the scrumptious dish have you stopped to appreciate the meal fully - the colours, the smell, the texture, the sounds in your surroundings? Eating is a multi-sensory experience that excites and allows all your senses to take part in the activity.
In our modern and hectic society we are sometimes too busy to be present and take time out to be truly in the moment to allow our senses to engage with the food we eat. I know how it is - when you are busy at work and you just need to grab something quick to fuel you so you can tackle the rest of your day.
While all us foodies love taking photos of our breakfast, lunch and dinner for the benefit of our Instagram fellow-foodies this photo only satisfies one of your senses - sight. When you take these photos do you then satisfy the rest of your senses by smelling the amazing creations or touching the textural items? If you answered no don’t worry you’re not alone! Most people forget to indulge the other senses but it’s time we try be more mindful when we eat.
With vegan and plant-based foods we are already being mindful in removing cruelty from our plate which is fantastic! The next step is to be mindful during the eating process. If you are going to create a dish or are spending your hard earned cash on a dish then being in the present and savouring your meal will make it an activity that could bring excitement and pleasure. It will also allow your senses to explore and will bring that dish alive!
Now I’ve set the scene I will get to what this article is really about! Some of you may have had the pleasure of dining at Pride Kitchen in Neals Yard - if you haven’t you must go. The founder David Bez has created the most wonderfully colourful and flavoursome cafe with each dish being not only a treat to the taste buds but a treat to the eyes and nose. It made total sense when they created the multi-sensorial supper club The Secret Taste Of Bliss.
We were delighted to be invited to an event at Pride Kitchen in May and boy were we in for a treat. David and his team prepared 7 plant-based and gluten free courses that were inspired by synesthesia. For those of you who are new to the multi-sensory thing, synesthesia is is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway - meaning that some people are able to see sounds, hear colours and taste numbers - pretty cool right! I recently found out that Mark Constantine Founder of LUSH has synesthesia which makes total sense seeing as how all their products have such vibrant smells, colours, textures and shapes.
So now you have a little more understanding of what multi-sensorial is I’ll get back to the supper club. Not only was each course based on a colour and scent so that we could have the full synesthesia experience for the night, the course was also paired with the seven different chakra’s and came with an affirmation. For us this was a highlight of the night and made it stand out from all the other supper clubs - we love small attention to details like this.
Here is a description of each course that includes the food, drink, chakra, affirmation, music that was playing in the background & scent stick:
Are your minds already blown yet? If not perhaps this could seal the deal. If you haven’t been to Pride Kitchen then you’re in for a lovely treat as the restaurant is very intimate with only 10 places available to eat in where everyone is sat together on one table. This makes for a really lovely dining experience as you are sat next and around new people so you might just make a new friend! We were lucky to be sat opposite Nancy Morris aka Superfood Scrumptious and Ella Flintberg who made our evening even more entertaining with interesting chat.
The Secret Taste Of Bliss - A Multi Sensorial Supper Club will be back in early August so be sure to get your ticket when they are released as I mentioned space is really limited. There are also a bunch of other great supper clubs and workshops happening at Salad Pride so be sure to check their website out here: https://www.pride.kitchen/collections/events
I hope I’ve inspired you to explore the wonders of your senses and experiment with tasks you do everyday such as eating, listening to music, going for a walk etc and turn them all into a multi-sensorial experience!
With our first event of 2017, Vevolution Topics: Vegan Food Innovation happening tomorrow (7th February) we have asked vegan foodie blogger & chef Kind State Of Mind aka Ellie Phoebe Brown to be our guest blogger and talk about the hot topic of cheese!
Tickets are still available for our Food Innovation tomorrow at The Trampery. Ellie will be there giving out samples of her incredible food. To help get you in the mood for some food innovation inspiration we will leave you with Kind State Of Mind...over to you Ellie!
Everyone’s Talking About The C-Word!
By Ellie Phoebe Brown
Kind State Of Mind
“Oh but I could never give up cheese!" If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard that phrase in response to any mention of being vegan, well ... I’d be paying myself actually because even I’ve uttered those - now clichéd - words. I was a major cheese lover for years and although my reliance on dairy is over, it seems cheese is still a hot topic with both vegans and non-vegans alike.
Why is cheese such a big deal? You may remember the headlines a few years ago stating that cheese is as addictive as hard drugs. While the attention seeking articles were referencing genuine research into “addictive-like eating”, the actual journal (published in early 2015) unsurprisingly concluded that matters were in fact - as ever - far more complex than the simplistic, and awry conclusion spun by the media.
If it’s not purely biological, what else makes us crazy about cheese? I think there’s a compelling argument to be made for the role of psychological factors in our apparent cheese dependance. Cheese is, by and large, a comforting food. Its high fat and calorie content render it synonymous with special occasions, treats and well, really tasty things! Cheese on toast, macaroni cheese, pizza, the Christmas cheese board, it’s all about pleasure and indulgence (which helps somewhat in explaining why the cheese salad never caught on!) No wonder our brains tell us we love it. Cheese is also often a food we are brought up eating, so it additionally has positive associations from our childhood. Growing up as a vegetarian I ate a lot of cheese and therefore it’s linked to many of my happiest food-related memories from home. Bearing in mind the comfort and memory associations that people have with cheese, on top of possible biological reasons, we can begin to understand the hold it has over people’s eating habits.
So if you’re vegan you’re just supposed to give up all that good stuff then? Nope! You just have to make a few changes. There is a whole world of dairy free cheeses out there, and it’s growing at a fast pace! With availability increasing in response to growing demand it’s easier than ever to get your hands on some vegan cheese. Large retailers such as Ocado and Holland & Barrett sell vegan cheese products, and last year Sainsbury’s brought out their own range of vegan cheeses in collaboration with Vevolution's sponsor Bute Island Foods. The latter has proved so popular that it exceeded their sales expectations by 300% in its first month, a sign if there ever was one of how mainstream the desire to ditch dairy has become.
It’s not just large retailers either. There are now many smaller suppliers emerging too, selling their own tasty hand-crafted cheeses. Companies such as Mouse’s Favourite, a London-based company making artisan nut-based cheeses, and Nutcrafter Creamery from Glasgow, who make an impressive array of aged and organic vegan cheeses. International companies are also looking to get in on the UK’s booming vegan cheese market. The American company Follow Your Heart recently launched a small selection of their vegan cheeses over here, which I personally really love. I hope more companies follow suit, to increase the selection of products available to U.K. vegans as The States seem to be streets ahead of us in the product development stakes and this, in turn, will generate some healthy competition and innovation between brands.
For many people giving up cheese is the main barrier to becoming vegan. However, with more and more vegan cheeses coming on to the market all the time, with even better textures and flavours than before, this last hurdle to becoming vegan may soon be a thing of the past!
And lastly…. Of course, you can make your own vegan cheese! Here’s a cheap, simple and tasty way to make your own cashew cheese. With a bit of practice, you can adjust the flavours with different herbs and spices but garlic and chive are a great place to start!\
Garlic and Chive Cashew Cheese
By Ellie Phoebe Brown
Kind State Of Mind
Makes: One round cheese
Prep time: 30 minutes plus chilling time
100g raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp fine salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp water
Small bunch of chives (or other herb)
- In a food processor or blender place all ingredients except for the chives. Process until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy in texture. You'll need to keep stopping to scrape down the sides to ensure it all gets blended. Keep blending until it stops being lumpy and grainy and looks like a smooth soft cheese. This may take 5 - 10 minutes so keep going! You can add a little more water to get it moving in the blender if absolutely needed - but if you want to make a firm cheese try to avoid adding too much extra liquid.
- Finely chop the chives and stir into your smooth cheese mixture. If you add them to the blender to combine you will end up with a green cheese - so best to stir them in! Have a taste and add more salt if needed.
- If you want to make a soft cheese spread, like a cream cheese, then all you need to do is transfer the cheese to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours. You can eat it immediately - but it will set slightly if you leave it to chill, making a slightly thicker spread.
- If you want to make a firmer cheese, like the one pictured above, then you'll need to remove some of the moisture from the cheese. For this you'll need a square of double layer cheese cloth, or a thin, clean tea towel. Lay out the cloth and scrape all of the cheese mixture into the centre of the square and roughly shape it into a round shape. Gather the corners of the cloth, bring together the top and fasten with a rubber band to create a little parcel (see pics) I tie it above my sink to drain for a few hours (you could also put it in a sieve above a bowl) and then place it in a dish lined with kitchen towel in the fridge for a further 3-4 hours or overnight. (You can also put it straight into the fridge in a sieve or wrapped in kitchen towel but I've found the 2 step process removes the most water, resulting in the firmest cheese.)
- Once it's been in the fridge you can gently remove the cheese cloth and there will be your little cashew cheese!
- The cheese will keep for about 4-5 days in the fridge, in an airtight container - but it never lasts that long around me!
For a more detailed version of the recipe with photos go to my blog post here: https://kindstateofmind.com/2017/02/02/easy-garlic-and-chive-cashew-cheese/
Ellie will be at Vevolution Topics: Food Innovation tomorrow Tuesday 7th February and will be giving out samples of her yummy food creations so don't miss out and grab your ticket now: https://vevolution-topics-food.eventbrite.com/
With our first event of 2017, Vevolution Topics: Vegan Food Innovation is just under two weeks away (7th February). There are still limited £10 tickets available and we're getting excited. To help get you in the mood for some food innovation inspiration over the coming days we are going to be bringing you interviews, recipes and stories from some of our favourite vegan food innovators.
Today we're excited to share with you a recipe from Ava Szajna-Hopgood also known as Guac and Roll. Recipes from her blog have been featured on Debrief, The Metro, Munchies. And at Vevolution we think she does a fantastic job of showing how creative and delicious vegan food is.
To celebrate January being Veganuary Ava has just released her Guac Kitchen Recipes packs. They are filled with 31 amazing recipes to give you lot's of great ideas and recipes to try with friends throughout 2017.
A limited number of the recipe packs are left and available from the Guac and Roll Etsy store.
Vegan gluten free Bhel Puri Bowls
by Ava Szajna-Hopgood
Guac and Roll
When you’re in the mood for something spicy, but not quite feeling a hefty curry, these bhel puri bowls are just the ticket. Serve smaller portions of these as a light, colourful starter, or a larger bowl as a main course, with homemade onion bhajis or crushed pani puris if you can find them.
The mix of crunchy, salty sev, sweet mango and creamy chickpeas is like nothing else you’ll find in English cuisine, and I love how different each mouthful is, depending on if you hit a pocket of herb yoghurt, pomegranate seeds or sweet potatoes.
Look out for sev in the snack section at larger supermarkets. It’s like a smaller bombay mix, with puffed rice, little crisp shreds and peanuts. You can also crush mini poppadom crisps in for a similar effect.
Ingredients - Makes four portions
- For the bhel
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 tsp chaat masala or your favourite curry powder
Salt and pepper
400g tin chickpeas, rinsed
200g cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, cubed
2 carrots, shredded or grated
Handful of lettuce, shredded
1 ripe mango, peeled and finely chopped into cubes
¼ red cabbage, shredded
1 red onion, very finely chopped
100ml vegan yoghurt or vegan cream
100g sev mamra or Indian snack-style crisp
Seeds from 1 small pomegranate
Lime wedges and coriander and mint leaves for garnishing
- For the herb yoghurt
Large handful fresh mint leaves
Large handful fresh coriander leaves, plus extra to serve
Juice 1 lime
½ onion, peeled
1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground (see tips)
1 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp soft brown sugar
100ml vegan yoghurt or soy cream
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Prepare the sweet potatoes, then sprinkle the chaat masala or curry powder over an oven tray with a good dousing of sunflower oil, salt and pepper. Roast for around 20 minutes to 30 minutes, being careful not to let the chunks burn.
- Meanwhile, prepare the herb yoghurt. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Check for seasoning- you may need more sugar, lime juice, or a little more salt and pepper. You’re looking for a real tangy, zingy flavour to offset the salty roast sweet potatoes and chickpeas.
- Once the sweet potatoes are ready, and all your other fruit and vegetables are prepared, you can start layering up! Start with a handful of chickpeas, then add some sweet potatoes, mango, red cabbage, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, some of the herb yoghurt, sev mamra, pomegranate seeds, coriander or mint leaves, and a little more vegan cream or yoghurt. Serve straight away.