I hope you’re staying safe 🙂
If you’ve been reading my previous blogs, you will know that I’m currently doing volunteer work in Tenerife. On Friday, we participated in a vegan workshop and I really enjoyed it. I think it’s really vital for the environment that people understand why people choose to go vegan and understand the benefits of eating vegan food as well.
Most people presume that vegans and vegetarians don’t eat meat because they don’t want to cause harm to animals. However, there are many other different reasons. For example, the meat and dairy industry uses a third of the Earth’s water, so switching to a plant-based diet reduces your water footprint by 55%! Also, livestock and their by-products are responsible for 51% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (which is more than all transport industries combined!).
Another reason people choose to go on a plant-based diet is that it’s great for your health! Many people worry about not getting the correct amount of nutrients from plant-based food, however, you can get plenty of nutrients, people just need to be aware of which foods to eat. Take a look at the photo below to see where you can get protein from!
At the vegan workshop, we made casarecce pasta, with cashew nut ricotta cheese, sauce, hummus and bread.
500g strong white bread flour
7g dried yeast
400g lukewarm water
40g olive oil
20g stoneless green or black olives cut into pieces
Sea salt for sprinkling
500g cooked chickpeas
1 garlic clove
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300g plain flour
Pinch of salt
2 medium aubergines
Red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp capers
A handful of basil
1⁄2 tbsp tomato puree
4 medium ripe tomatoes
50g cashew nuts previously soaked for 30 min in boiling water
1⁄2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt
In a large bowl, weigh the flour. With your fingers, rub in the salt at one edge of the bowl, and the yeast on the opposite side. Try to keep the yeast and salt apart, as the salt can stop the yeast working.
Add the water and the oil to the dry ingredients, then the chopped olives, and mix together using a spoon. This dough will be very, very wet – almost like cake mix.
Cover the dough with a damp tea towel or cling film and rest for 40 minutes somewhere warm.
Once the dough has risen a little, it’s time to get your hands in. Drizzle the fingertips of one hand with oil, and scoop them down between the dough and bowl, lifting the dough away from the side of the bowl. Then, fold the dough over itself, pressing down quite hard so it sticks. Turn the bowl a quarter turn, and repeat until you have a dough that feels like it can support itself a lot more than it could before. Cover your dough again and rest for another 50 minutes.
Once the dough has nearly doubled in size again, generously douse a baking tray with olive oil. Turn your risen dough out onto this tray. It will begin to sag and flatten, so using oiled hands, fold it in half, and then half again. Notice how it now holds its shape?
Now you want to flatten it out as much as you can. This can be quite tough, but try to get it right to the edge of the baking tray. Leave your dough to prove for a final 50 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 220°C/gas 7 about 20 minutes before you’re going to bake. Once your dough is proved, use your fingertips to press down hard into the dough to make little indentations. Don’t be scared, press really forcefully, right down to the baking tray. You won’t tear the dough. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and sea salt and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until golden.
Drain the chickpeas and wash them well.
Mix all the ingredients together in a thermomix or food processor.
Adjust cumin, lemon juice, olive oil and salt to your taste.
Casarecce pasta –
Put the flour and the salt into a bowl.
Add warm water, slowly mixing to make a soft, non-sticky dough.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil.
Use hands to knead for ten minutes on a clean surface.
Wrap the dough in a damp clean cloth or cling film.
Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes, divide the dough into 1g balls.
Roll the balls into 2 inch-long sausage shapes.
On a slightly floured surface, using a skewer, make an indentation in each sausage shape. The pasta will now look curved.
Put the pasta aside until you are ready to cook (5 minutes before serving). To cook, put the pasta in boiling water for 3 minutes with a pinch of salt.
Cut the aubergines into 1cm cubes. Salt them and leave them to drain for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Chop the garlic and basil stalks and a few leaves finely. Mixed them together with the capers. Put aside.
Chop the tomatoes into 1 cm cubes and put aside.
Wash the cut aubergines and put them in a baking tray with olive oil. Add oregano, salt and pepper. Mix all well and put it in the oven. Stir from time to time.
When the aubergine is golden brown, add the garlic, basil stalks, capers and puree. Mix it well and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and a dash of red wine vinegar. Mix it well and cook for 20 minutes at 160°C . Stir from time to time and add a bit more water, if needed. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
To serve, mix the casarecce with the sauce. Scatter ricotta and basil leaves on top, as well as a dash of extra virgin olive oil and black sesame seeds.
Put the cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and pinch of salt into a food processor.
Add water as you go until the texture is smooth, but not runny. Adjust nutritional yeast, lemon juice and salt to your liking.
Keep in the fridge until serving.
Here is the end result and it was delicious!
Thanks for reading.