It is 20 years since I became vegan! That means two things: I must be old, and everyone who thought it was ‘just a phase’ can suck it.
So of course I threw a wee dinner party. I was planning a big party thing but, y’know, working mum… winter nights… Anyway I’ve decided that I can keep celebrating throughout the year so stay tuned for some celebration/fundraiser gigs around the place.
Between the bad lighting, the many wines we blind-tasted and the frantic plating (how the hell do you keep the food warm without lamps?!), there is a distinct lack of good pictures of the evening but here is the menu: (Recipe Below.)
Mushroom & Hazelnut Pâté , Baguette, Pickled Slippery Jack Mushrooms
Tongue in Groove 2015 Little Stomper orange wine
White Bean & Garlic Soup with Garlic Oil
The Bone Line Barebone 2016 Chardonnay
Roasted Pumpkin, Fried Kale, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Sundried Tomatoes, Wild Parsley, Micro Coriander, Tahini & Pomegranate Dressing, Sumac
Campo De Gules 2013 Crianza
Whole Roasted Green Cauliflower, Purple Cauliflower Chips, White Cauliflower Puree, Roasted White Carrot, Carrot-Top Pesto, Fried Onion
Barbera – can’t remember which
Coffee, Pineapple sage tea, Pegasus Bay 1997 Finale dessert wine
Mushroom & Hazelnut Pâté
1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
1/2 large onion
2 cloves garlic
500-700g mixed mushrooms
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon good quality salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of cayenne pepper
150ml vegetarian chicken or mushroom stock
1/2 teaspoon agar agar
If you’re using whole hazelnuts, crack open in a mortar and pestle and discard shells. You want about 1/3-1/2 cup of shelled nuts. Spread on a tray and roast in an oven for 10 mins at 200 degrees celsius until dark brown. Cover in a clean tea towel and rub to remove skins. Set aside.
Peel and roughly chop onions and garlic. Cut mushrooms into cubes.
Heat margarine in a large frying pan, add onion. Fry for a few minutes until starting to soften, then add mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and cook down until mushrooms are soft and liquid has evaporated. Take out of the pan and leave to cool.
Blend toasted nuts while pouring olive oil in slowly. Blend until a smooth paste. Add cooled mushrooms and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Blend again.
(You can use this as it is – just transfer into a clean jar and spread on toast.)
Heat stock in a small pan until almost boiling. Add agar agar and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes to dissolve. Pour the liquid over your pate and mix until well incorporated.
Crush some whole peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until half-crushed – you want some chunks rather than smooth powder. Spoon pepper into molds and shake gently to coat the bottom. Gently spoon your pate into the molds, pressing and tapping to fill the space. Put into the fridge to set. Agar sets really quickly but the flavours develop with time so ideally prepare it 1-2 days before serving.
*(I used a blend of wild mushrooms – porcini, puffball and birch boletes. Wild mushroom will always give a stronger, more complex flavour but you can use button, shiitake – whatever edible mushrooms you can get your hands on).