Tuesday 29 May 2018

Bristol VegFest 2018 | Diversity, Food Heaven & Live Cooking

Hey folks,

My bank holiday weekend was brightened up by a trip to Bristol for this year's VegFest (26th/27th May). It was my first time visiting the city and I've come away with a pretty positive impression of the place. Granted, I was only there for a couple of days but still virtually every encounter was a friendly one, the vegan food scene is top-notch and it turned out to be a much-needed peaceful break away from busy ol' London.

On Sunday, I was billed to give a cookery demonstration and as with my demo at Brighton VegFest earlier this year, it was a wonderful experience. It gets easier each time I do it and gosh, it blows my mind how much I actually enjoy it - recovering shy kid that I am. I introduced the audience to a couple of Nigerian snacks - donkwa and plantain chips - both of which were well received.
Side note: if you're thinking of getting into cookery demos, be sure to check out my video where I share a few tips and tricks. 

The event itself was a success. A vegan's dream come true. Food, clothing, jewellery, art, beauty, entertainment, talks, literature - there was sheer abundance. I was struck by the diversity too. From Caribbean, Japanese and Indian food (to name a few) to black-owned vegan businesses to various cuisines represented on the cookery demo stage to talks by prominent black vegan activists such as Christopher Sebastian, it seems as though VegFest is making a conscious effort to be more inclusive. The way it should be. Vegans come in all shades, shapes and from different walks of life, and it is absolutely imperative that this is reflected in mainstream veganism. You'll see what I mean in this little video I put together.

Thank you to the organisers and to everyone who made the event what it was. I hope to be back again next year!

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Mango Shortbread Cookies

I suddenly had a hankering for some shortbread cookies the other day. As you can imagine, finding vegan shortbread is next to impossible, butter being the primary ingredient: all butter this, all butter that. So I decided to make my own. I also had some leftover mango puree that needed using up and so decided to incorporate it into this recipe. Mango puree is stupidly easy to make. Like jam, just boil the heck out of chopped mango, water and a touch of sugar until it reduces down to a thick consistency.

I hate to state the obvious, but this is not the healthiest snack in the world. I suppose replacing the white flour with wholemeal or spelt flour would be a step in the right direction, but on this occasion I'm embracing the shortbread cookie in all it's naughty, nutritionally-void glory ;)

(makes about 20)
- 1 cup vegan butter/margarine
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
- 2 cups plain flour
- 3/4 cup mango puree/jam

Cream the vegan butter and sugar until smooth. Add the salt, vanilla and plain flour. Mix with your fingers/hands to form a soft dough. Don't over-knead it.

Form into small, bite-size rounds and place on a lined baking tray. Flatten each cookie, forming a small well in the middle. Fill each cookie with about 1 teaspoon of the mango puree/jam.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, 160°C, for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes before devouring. The mango will set and meld into the cookie. Little slabs of sunshine.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Scarlet Mushroom Pasta

I was recently gifted some scarlet elf cap mushrooms by a colleague at work who loves wild foraging. Both beautiful and delicate, I wanted to make them the star of the dish and so I opted for this rather simple pasta creation. Not everyone is going to have access to scarlet mushrooms, of course, so go ahead and use whatever you have available. I think we can all agree that the combination of earthy mushroom and buttery pasta is a recipe for pure food comfort!

Tuesday 1 May 2018

How To Give A Cookery Demo

Just a few tips I've accumulated over the years! Hope this is helpful for anyone looking to get into cookery demonstrations. Not only are cookery demos a great way of stepping out of your comfort zone, but they allow you to share your message and passion with new audiences.

If you have any questions, be sure to drop them in the comment section below!