Thursday, 16 October 2014

PANTILES FOOD FESTIVAL 2014 (PICTURES)

Just in case you don't follow my social media, here is a picture update of what turned out to be a successful event. The two-day Pantiles Harvest Food Festival took place in Tunbridge Wells back in September (20th and 21st). It was successful for a number of reasons:

1. I learnt a lot about the vegan/health food market. (It's not enough to just be plant-based; there is a massive gap in the market for gluten-free and sugar-free options too)

2. I met some lovely, encouraging people who made me think that perhaps my passion for [vegan] food and cooking - and wanting to base a career around it - is not all that crazy.

3. On a more practical level, I nearly sold out and made a profit. The late nights and colossal shopping trip for baking ingredients paid off!

4. I got non-vegans to admit that vegan cakes are actually pretty awesome.











Sunday, 5 October 2014

BEANS AND PLANTAIN RAVIOLI

In the spirit of the last vegan recipe challenge, I put together this ravioli dish. Freshly made pasta filled with a lightly spiced mixture of beans and plantain, topped with sautéed red pepper and garlic. Another great idea would be to include sweetcorn in the topping - yum! It's easy to make this look fancy by garnishing with fresh herbs and small mounds of julienned cucumber. The only real effort is getting the pasta dough just right. 

I made the mistake of blending the filling for too long in the blender and I ended up with a filling that was smoother than I would have liked, so I've adjusted the instructions below. Enjoy!























Ingredients
For the pasta:
- 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil

For the filling:
- 1/2 cup cooked beans
- 1/2 boiled plantain
- pinch of chili powder
- pinch of paprika
- salt and pepper to taste

For the topping:
- 1/2 red bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (finely chopped)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

Start by making the filling. Place the cooked beans, boiled plantain and spices in a bowl and mash with a fork until you have a chunky mixture. Set aside.

To make the pasta, combine all the pasta ingredients in a large bowl using a fork to bring the mixture together. With floured hands, bring the mixture into a dough. If it feels too dry, add a little bit more water. If it's too wet, add a bit more flour. Knead for about 10 minutes on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and pliable. Leave the dough to rest for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your topping by sautéing the chopped red pepper, garlic and scotch bonnet in some olive oil (medium heat), until the pepper is nice and soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Back to the pasta. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and roll each one out into a square/rectangular shape, as flat you can get it. Both pasta sheets should be roughly the same size and shape.

Spoon the beans/plantain mixture in small mounds across one of the pasta sheets, making sure to leave enough space between each one and around the edges. Cover the whole thing with the second pasta sheet and press down lightly around the edges and between the mounds. Use a sharp knife to cut out your individual ravioli squares. Trim any irregular edges.

Fill a large pot with salted water and a drop of olive oil, and bring to a boil. Add your ravioli squares to the hot water in small batches and cook for no longer than 5 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon.

Place as many as you want on a plate, spoon over the pepper/garlic topping, and garnish with fresh herbs and julienned cucumber.

Phew!