Month: August 2014

Today I went for my second visit to Raw at La Suite West!
La Suite West
41-51 Inverness Terrace
London
W2 3JN

The restaurant is part of the La Suite West, a boutique hotel with a minimalist design. What makes La Suite West different is it’s restaurant : RAW, a vegan, sometimes gluten-free and sometimes raw food experience. Glancing at the evening menu I’ll definitely be coming back here.

Both times I’ve visited RAW I’ve had the afternoon tea. There’s something infinitely appealing and charming about a vegan afternoon tea!

Afternoon tea menu, each course comes one after the other on separate plates

Darjeeling 2nd flush in a Jing teapot! 

You can choose from a selection of loose leaf teas or coffee prepared to your liking (ask for soya milk – today they automatically gave us cow milk…) I chose the Darjeeling 2nd flush. Beautiful tasting tea, very light and great to have black. The staff are more than happy to refill your pot with more hot water if asked.

On a side note – After the cow milk appeared on the table I took a look at the brunch menu of the restaurant and I was intrigued to see eggs and beef available. On my last visit to the restaurant I wasn’t aware they served any animal products at all. The brunch menu did not look very friendly to vegans (a porridge and a fruit salad), a bit bizarre considering the restaurant is called RAW.

The first thing to arrive is the selection of finger sandwiches:

I was not a fan of the tofu scramble sandwich or the aubergine. The tofu scramble lacked real flavour and ended up with a squishy bland consistency. The aubergine was slimy but chewy. Most of our party ended up leaving this sandwich. However, the butternut squash, hummus and the portbello (the best one in my opinion) were delicious. I’d have happily swapped the tofu scramble and aubergine for any of those three!

Next the scones with coconut whipped cream and strawberries!

The scones! Great scones, slight flavour of almond which I loved. The coconut cream was light and fluffy this visit, last time a little slimy and separated. There is also Tiptree strawberry jam! I very much enjoyed this portion of the tea.

Finally the trio of cakes

Mini Chocolate and Coconut cake, Mini Passionfruit Bavarois, Mini Orange and Date raw cheesecake

Passionfruit bavarois, massive thumbs up! Light and creamy, almost like a solid pana cotta. I was really interested to know how it could have been made. The little biscuit tasted of cinnamon, like a christmas biscuit. Very enjoyable. The raw cheesecake I also enjoyed immensely but I am a big fan of raw desserts in general. The chocolate cake I found a little bitter, I thought it could have done with something else a little sweeter to balance it out.

All in all, a very pleasant experience and a happy vegan belly. I’ll definitely be coming back to try the evening menu (Wild spinach gnocchi..um hello!!!)

You can follow La Suite West on Twitter here

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I’ve been craving soup all week. I don’t know if it’s the sudden drop in temperature (in August?! Come on now!) or that it’s getting darker earlier but anyway, SOUP! The creamy secret of this soup is not a soy cream or coconut milk but actually plain old boiled cauliflower. Seriously, it works!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (mine were fairly large because I am a garlic freak but you can use whatever size you like)
  • 3 small parsnips
  • 6-7 small carrots
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 1/4 of a medium sized cauliflower
  • 1 quart/2 litres vegetable stock or 1 vegetable stock cube mixed with boiling water
  • Olive oil 

  1. Start by heating a large saucepan on a low heat and adding a tablespoon of olive oil. Add your diced onions. Cook until almost soft and add the minced garlic. 
  2. Whilst the onions and garlic are softening, prepare the carrots and parsnips. Top and tail the carrots and peel them if necessary then cut into rounds. Set aside. Top and tail the parsnips, peel them and then split them into halves and then quarters. Remove the fibrous, woody part in the middle. Chop into small chunks.
  3. Prepare the cauliflower by cutting a wedge shape (approximately 1/4 of a medium sized cauliflower) and then removing the stalk and outside leaves. Break into florets. 
  4. Add the bay leaf, rosemary, carrots and parsnips to the saucepan. Cook on a low heat for approximately 10 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  5. Add your vegetable stock to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until all the vegetables have softened.
  6. Whilst your soup is cooking, add the cauliflower florets to another saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil until tender.
  7. Drain your cauliflower and – depending on your blender type either add it to the blender goblet or put it into the soup saucepan.
  8. Discard the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs.
  9. If using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. If using a regular blender like me, ladle the soup vegetables and broth into the blender goblet. Blend the mixture on high until smooth.
  10. Wipe out the saucepan and return the soup to the pan, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Sarah xxx

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The weather has suddenly turned to autumn here in the UK and obviously what first comes to mind is pie. Always pie. I’ve wanted to make my own mushy peas for ages so here they are! A match made in heaven. This recipe makes 2 people sized pies with a little extra for fun!

INGREDIENTS
For the filling

  • 1 small white onion cut finely
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, roundly chopped
  • 200g sweet potato and butternut squash, cut into small cubes
  • 1 can cooked green lentils, washed and drained
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 cloves of garlic, cut finely
  • 1 tsp dried pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil and veg oil for frying

For the pastry

Taken from my favourite man Paul Hollywood here but using dairy free butter instead of butter and vegetable shortening instead of lard. Obviously don’t use the egg as glaze!

For the mushy peas

  • 2 handfuls of frozen peas
  • Large knob of dairy free butter
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp ground black pepper

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 220degrees, gas 6.
Make your filling. In a frying pan heat with the olive and veg oil, then add the chopped onion. Cook for 5 mins on a low heat until slightly soft.
Add the butternut squash and sweet potato for another 10 mins still on a low heat just until colour forms.
Add the chopped cherry tomatoes and the drained lentils and mix. Add the garlic, pepper flakes, paprika, pepper and salt and cook for another 5 minutes. Remember the filling will cook in the oven further.
Transfer to a dish and set aside to cool.

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2. Make the pastry. Follow the recipe link and place the pastry in the fridge for 5 mins to cool slightly. Remove and begin to make your pie shapes. Depending on how you’d like your pie size, take a palm size chunk of dough and roughly press until flatter. You can use a rolling pin but I like this a little messy. Using the base of a suitable size glass you have, dust the base. Press your dough onto the end and shape roughly.
Delicately remove from the end keeping the rough shape.

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3.Now you’ve got a starter shape for your pie. Place on greaseproof paper and Play about with it, mould into the desired shape- don’t worry if it looks messy, the rougher the better!
Cut a strip of greaseproof paper and wrap around the shape. Tie with string- this helps support the shape.
4. Add the lentil filling and compact lightly down to ensure it is full.
5. Make a little pastry lid with a circular piece and place on top. seal the edges with your fingers and create a steam hole. If you don’t you’ll have an exploding pie!
6. Brush the top with melted butter and place in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.

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7. Make the mushy peas. These are easy! Boil your frozen peas for 5 minutes and strain. Add the butter, pepper and salt and mash until the desired mushyness. Done!

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7. Construct. Remove your pie from the oven when ready and plate up with the peas. I had this with chips and swimming in vegetable gravy.

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Becky xxx

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It’s been hot hasn’t it? Recently my mum found the popsicle molds that we used to use when I was a kid! The obviously solution was to make popsicles!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 125g/1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp date syrup or other vegan liquid sweetener
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350f/180c
  2. Lay the blueberries out on a baking tray and then bake them in the oven for 10 minutes until the blueberries are soft and blistered.
  3. Whilst the blueberries are roasting heat the coconut milk, coconut oil and date syrup in a pan on a low heat. Stir the mixture until all the coconut oil is combined.
  4. Pour the coconut milk mixture into a blender and add the roasted blueberries.
  5. Blend the mixture on high until smooth.
  6. Sprinkle a little desiccated coconut in the bottom of each popsicle mold.
  7. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and place in the freezer until frozen.

 

Sarah xxx

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