Monday, 25 May 2015

30 minute Vegan Pho recipe

Pho is basically about the beef consommé so it's hard to understand what all the fuss is about this soup if you don't eat meat. Every single time I've had it at a Vietnamese restaurant, it tastes like dishwater, a watery bland broth with some noodles and a few veggies floating in it. So I set out to create a truly tasty vegan version.
Pho is one of those dishes that looks time consuming to make. Maybe it is if you are boiling up beef stock but the vegan version is a cinch to make, a half hour jobbie max.
To replace the umami richness of a meat stock, I used Chinese mushrooms, shitake to you, and star anise.
Another trick to enriching the flavour is to caramelise some of the stock vegetables, I grilled the onions and ginger on my Aga hob, but with an ordinary gas stove you could dry roast them on top or roast them quickly under the grill to get a similar effect.

Vegan mushroom and star anise pho recipe

Serves 4-6

40g of dried shitake mushrooms
2 litres of boiling water
1 tbsp veg stock (Marigold)
1 brown or red onion, halved and charred
1 thumb of fresh ginger, charred
1 or 2 carrots, finely sliced
4 or 5 star anise
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 stick cinnamon or cassia bark
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 or 2 black cardamom (the big black slightly medical smelling ones)
1 pinch of dried orange peel
A few black peppercorns
200g dried rice noodles, soaked in hot salty water for ten minutes
Sea salt
1 or 2 heads of bok choi, each head quartered lengthways
5 or 6 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, deseeded, thinly sliced
5 or 6 radishes or a 10cm segment of daikon, thinly sliced lengthways
200g soft tofu, cut into squares
2 tbsps soy sauce
2-3 tbsps Hoisin sauce
a handful of fresh coriander
a handful of mint
a handful of Holy Basil (if you can get it)
1 or 2 birds eye chillis, thinly sliced
1 or 2 limes, quartered

First select a large pan in which to make your soup. Put in the shitake mushrooms and the boiling water. Then while you are charring the onion and ginger on the flame or under the grill, add the carrots and the rest of the spices (star anise, coriander, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cardamom, orange peel, black peppercorns) to the hot water then add the charred onion and ginger.
In the meantime soak the noodles in boiling water with a teaspoon of sea salt for about ten minutes.
Choose the vegetables you want in your pho, prepare them.
After 20-25 minutes strain the stock, removing all the vegetables and spices, and add your prepared vegetables (bok choi, spring onions, pepper, radishes, tofu).  Add some soy sauce and some Hoisin sauce. Add the noodles. Continue to simmer then add the fresh coriander and other herbs, a little fresh bird's eye chilli and squeeze over the lime juice.
You could add more Hoisin sauce and sweet chilli sauce/Linghams sauce on top.

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Friday, 22 May 2015

Swedish Midsummer supper club

The midsummer feast is a tradition in Sweden, so I'm hooking up with Stockholm supper club host and chef Linn Soderstrom to put on a celebratory event in London at The Underground Restaurant. At midsummer, one eats herrings, cooks over a fire and eats strawberry cake. Doesn't that sound wonderful? This will take place in the garden, weather depending.

Home made aquavit

Pickled herring or Matjes herring (with sandal wood) with potatoes, chives, red onions and sour cream (gräddfil)

Egg halves with creamy yolks and topped with mayo and kalix roe

'Skagen röra' (shrimp, mayo, dill and a little horseradish) on toasted rye bread

Home-cured Gravad lax and mustard dill sauce

Potato and asparagus salad with fennel flowers and pollen

Home made butter
Crisp bread

Whipped cream wild strawberry cake

20th June, Kilburn, London. Tickets are £40 BYO Buy your tickets at this link here. Starts at 7.30pm till late.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Ten minute egg and cress spaghetti recipe

This recipe took mere minutes to make. In fact as long as the packet of spaghetti takes to cook. (I always recommend buying spaghetti with a lengthy cooking time, around 11 minutes.) It's a luxurious mid-week supper option.

Egg and Cress Spaghetti recipe

Serves 4-6

500g pack of good quality dried spaghetti (De Cecco for instance)
Sea salt
300ml tub of full fat creme fraiche
80g jar of red lumpfish roe or salmon roe
1 punnet of cress, snipped (Americans! a punnet is a small plastic tray)
100g of finely grated Vasterbottensost Swedish cheese (optional, makes this dish even richer)
Freshly ground pepper (white or black)

Prepare a large saucepan of boiling salty water over a high heat. Put the spaghetti in and cook for a minute less than the specified cooking time. Pasta continues to cook during the draining process.
As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain it, put in back in the still warm pan and tip in the full fat creme fraiche, mixing it (do this quickly while the pasta is very hot). Then add the roe, tossing the pasta in the sauce. Add the cheese if you desire.
Serve into bowls and sprinkle with the cress and the pepper.