British Pub Grub Veganised! Pie and Mash + Cauliflower Steaks

With the bringing of the New Year I’m excited to start a new food project! I’ve recently agreed to do some volunteer work for a website called Veggie Guide. It is a practical guide to all things vegan, so if you’re embarking on Veganuary or just want some advice on solving the problems that changing your diet can bring, I’d definitely recommend you head on over to http://www.veggieguide.co.uk .

My work for Veggie Guide will involve me finding ways to ‘veganise’ traditional food across many different cuisines varying from Chinese all the way to American. So, I thought I’d start with British food. Typical British pub food usually consists of vegetables, potatoes of some kind usually mashed with milk and butter, and then meat. Whether this meat be a steak or in a pie or as sausages, meat is usually always there, so it’s my challenge to try and swap this for something not derived from animals.

I began with pie and mash, an absolute must have on any British menu, something I absolutely love and I found it so easy to make a vegan version!

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Starting with the potatoes, here I used maris piper potatoes because they’re so fluffy and delicious.

How to make vegan mash for one:

  • Peel about 4-5 medium maris piper potatoes and chop them in half
  • Boil for 15-20 minutes or until you can stick a knife right through them and they’re really soft
  • Drain the water and leave the potatoes in the pan with the lid off so all the steam evaporates and dries them out
  • Then add a splash of soya milk with a tablespoon or so of vegan butter and mash to your hearts content!
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper and herbs if you like, et voila!

If you like your mash extra creamy add more soya milk and butter until it is the consistency you desire. There are many vegan butters out there ranging from sunflower spreads to olive spreads, however if you are a vegan who is also avoiding palm oil there are many vegan recipes to make your own butter if you want. I am yet to find a ready made vegan butter that doesn’t contain palm oil, if you know of any I’d love to know.

Now onto the pie. The elements in a pie that are traditionally not vegan are the butter in the pastry, meat in the pie and egg or milk wash for the pie crust to make it go crispy. I found this pie recipe in a book called ‘The New Vegan’  which i received for Christmas. Here, the meat filling is replaced with button mushrooms, chickpeas, onions and spinach which create such a hearty, warming filling. For the pastry, I used Jus-Roll ready made puff pastry which is my new favourite discovery. Most of the Jus-Roll range is vegan which is amazing! Making pastry by hand is long and difficult and this versus buying it for £1.25 for 500g, I know which I’d rather. Brushing the pastry with a tiny amount of soya milk just before it goes in the oven, makes the crust go golden giving you one very tasty vegan pie!

After I’d made this recipe, I began thinking about how or if I could replace a steak on a menu. I started thinking of ingredients that have a similar texture to a steak and I came across these cauliflower steaks.

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Marinated in a combination of spices, garlic and ginger then steamed, roasted and seared in a frying pan, these little beauties were tender with a bit of crunch and tasted incredible. You can find the recipe here: http://www.meatfreemondays.com/recipes/jerk-style-cauliflower-steaks/. These are a great alternative to meat if you’re looking to try something different!

I am going to continue testing new ideas to veganise British classics, I hope you enjoyed these little tips from me.

Happy new year!

Laura

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If you want to try something new this year and know more about Veganuary, head to their website https://veganuary.com

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