Cuban Party Weekend

July 27, 2012

A (relatively) bland vegan Friday with a weekend full of awesome vegan food.

Sorry sorry, my fault completely – I’ve few apologies for not posting quickly enough. Well, aside from being shattered that is.

Last week (wow it really was a while ago) my day of dairy abstinence fell again on the Friday. It was pretty de rigueur to tell the truth. I think that’s a good thing since it means I’ve settled into a comfortable vegan diet at least once a week, and not only is it not difficult but it’s so easy to do it’s pretty unremarkable. So unremarkable in fact that I think I pretty much had exactly the same as I did the Friday before, only I also bagged myself a damn tasty houmous & roasted baguette from Pickard’s (no relation, honest, but if you’re ever in Leeds near the university you’d do well to pay them a visit). Anyway, anyway, anyway I don’t want to laden this piece with the boredom of repetition so instead let me rabble on about some of the amazing food I got to eat over the weekend (next week back to strict diary I promise).

On Saturday we had a party. This is why, even now on Thursday, I am still tired (partially getting old, partially that it was a good party)!

Aside from the game of baseball/ rounders and the faintly ridiculous amount of alcohol there was lots and lots of food, and due to the viewpoints of my lovely friends, most of it was at least vegetarian. However, in case you’re wavering on the vegetarian/ vegan tightrope I’ll try to help by skipping over the veggie dishes, sticking to the vegan-goodness that was everywhere.

There were lots and lots of veggie kebabs, in fact it’s no wonder @ClareLLinton was so slick on the rounders field considering the warming up she’d done carrying sackfuls of skewers over. Of particular note too were the Z-Dog skewers (yes good people that really is what he calls himself) where the aubergine had picked up so much of the vinegar, honey and herb dressing it was a complex layer of taste exploding in (and dripping out of) our drooling mouths like…well you know.

We had a few of the processed vegetarian/ vegan fake-meat products too. And, in fairness they’re good for any of those who have crossed to the dark side who still hanker for the glow of warmth that a burnt ember slathered in ketchup and bundled into a soft roll delivers (guilty as charged your honour).As really easy BBQ things go, the sweetest thing I ate was sweetcorn BBQd in its own skin (they’re just in season here now and are fantastic, sorry America, I won’t mention corn again I promise).

Enough of stealing the work of others, be it friends or nature: for my contribution I made an array of wet things that would go with other things. As bland as it sounds all of them had disappeared by the end of the day so I’m pretty happy with that.

I made 2 batches of houmous, a black bean spread and a tangy salsa. This all came about as my housemate recently managed to acquire a second-hand pressure cooker. So, black beans, chickpeas and some borlotti beans were soaked overnight and then pressure cooked for about 20-30 minutes. I tend to find once the chick peas are cooked enough for houmous, the other beans are cooked but still a bit hard with enough bite to make a good chunky paste. Then, once everything had cooled down I made the black bean paste from YO’s quesadillas (in fact I made this whole recipe link) and for the each of the houmous batches I used about a can’s worth of chick peas, two tablespoons of tahini, a few glugs of oil and the flavourings (lime juice and freshly chopped coriander in one and gunpowder sauce – chilli and garlic – in the other) and topped them off with seasoning. If they were having problems blending I added some of the starchy water they were cooked in rather than any more oil. More to make it look pretty than anything else, I added a few borlotti beans to the garlic & chilli houmous which at the end and just pulsed quickly to leave chunks which everyone seemed to think were nuts.

As well as a salsa very similar to that in the YO recipe (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/may/24/recipe.foodanddrink), we got lucky as my housemate made some of his fantastically zingy mango salsa. If you want to know the recipe go and bug him at (http://atlasembraced.blogspot.co.uk/) – I fear if I write it down anywhere I’ll commit it to memory and then forever be in a mango-induced debt!

We made a variety of quesadilla’s with various combinations of pastes, salsas and occasionally cheese which all went on the BBQ and proved really popular (I was sceptical how well people would take to them and how well they’d stay together but all worked out well and there was a run on the black bean paste). Also, the houmous got put into a big pot and was demolished with hunks of bread by our inebriated bunch in the front garden at around 2am.

Oh and finally, the theme of the party was Cuba and in honour of this I made black bean soup albeit to a Peruvian recipe…simply boil the black beans for about an hour (no pressure cooker this time) then add scallions, garlic, chilli and carrots and boil for about an hour more. Once the beans are soft add a considerable amount of salt and serve with freshly cut spring onions. It’s strangely delicious for how simple and healthy it is and I’ve been eating it cold during the mini-heatwave and it’s really refreshing.

Oh and really finally, as in absolutely last thing, my housemate made roasted almonds covered in cocoa, honey (golden syrup for vegan alternative) and sesame seeds which were dangerously addictive. I think my favourite bit about them was that once they’d been covered in cocoa the only way to tell whether they were done was to taste them, and you always need a second opinion for that sort of thing!

Sorry if that’s a bit of a long babble, back to the menu next week!Image

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