A lot of my nearest and dearest have recently become vegan- my littlest sister made the change from straightforward veggie to dairy free a few weeks ago, and one of my good friends is also making the transition.
Personally, I’m thinking about creeping that way too. Almost a year ago I stopped drinking cow’s milk in favour of the almond variety, and I’m eating less and less dairy in other guises too. The meals I eat tend to be vegan- it’s just the baking that lets me down!
Last night my newly vegan friend and another friend came to dinner, so I cooked up a feast of all my favourite vegan dishes. My diet tends to be very based around salads- so these are also some of my personal favourite things to eat anyway!
I think vegan food can be as exciting and delicious as non-vegan, however there is still such a stigma around it that it’s boring or hard to cook or whatever. Well that, my friend, is completely wrong. Vegan food, when done well, is totally delicious- and really good for you!
This feast consisted of:
butterbean and pesto salad
sweet potato, lentil and mint salad
quinoa with roasted tomatoes and aubergine
and freshly baked baguettes…
As you may know, my new thing is bread, so I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to fire up my oven and bake a few loaves! Okay, so I admit- baguettes are not really good for you. But you’re of course allowed to have a little bit of slippage…
makes two good sized loaves
200g strong white flour
50g wholemeal flour
5g fast action yeast
30ml olive oil
Begin by weighing your flour and placing it into a large bowl. Add the salt, yeas, olive oil and most of the water and mix together to form a dough. You can do this in a machine or by hand.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, then cover and leave to rise for an hour to an hour and a half.
Once it has risen, tip the dough out only a lightly floured surface. Knock the air out of it, divide into two and roll each into a baguette shape. Put them onto a greased baking tray and leave to rise again until doubled in size- about 40 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Put a roasting tray full of water in the bottom of the oven- this will create steam which will give the baguette a nice crunchy crust. Right before you put them in, slash the top of each baguette three times at a slight diagonal to help it rise.
Bake the baguettes for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 200 degrees and cook for 10 more minutes. Enjoy straight from the oven with lashings of homemade houmous (coming tomorrow…)