During Alex's most recent trip to visit me down here in old cold Melbourne, we invited Pip and Tim to come and eat at my home.
This invitation was partly an act of mischeif and deceit as we're actually quite terrible at ever picking a place that has things that everyone can eat and enjoy without spending too much money/ending up at Shanghai dumpling (the deceit within the invitation).
The mischeif lies within the following meals we presented to our dear friends,
1. Cocoa Shepherd's Pie. I believe that the revolution is somewhere in the following "recipe".
We used: two carrots, pealed & diced, one onion roughly chopped, two minced cloves of garlic, a healthy handful of sliced cup mushrooms, a tin of diced tomatoes, maybe 500g of potatoes, two cups of TVP, and the following process:
Soak TVP in 1.5 cups (veg) chicken stock (or whatever you've got), tamari, sesame oil, heeeaps of salt & pepper. Sautee Onion, mushrooms, carrots, whatever veg you're keen on in your pie till it makes you happy (the potatoes are for the top, yo.), and through in the (thoroughly drained, no soggy pies please!) TVP.
I use the following combination of herbs & spices: Rosemary, Thyme, Coriander, Cayenne Pepper, le the veggies absorb the flavours and then added the can of diced tomatoes, and let the whole lot brew for a few minutes. I then added 1 cup of instant gravy mix (1 cup produced through the instructions on the packet. not one cup of gravy powder. gross) and 2 teaspoons of apple cidervinegar. And then. Between one and two tables spoons of dark cocoa powder. It looks amazing going in, and smells completely awesome.
All the while we had the potaotes boiled and then mashed with some rice milk, agave syrup and nutritional yeast, s&p, whatever.. I am actually really really shit at making the kind of amazing potato mash that this pie deserves, but i'm working on it.
Slopped the filling into a pie dish (whether or not us use a pastry crust is up to you, i don't because i am lazy, gluten free etc etc but i'm sure puff pastry would work), sprinkled some cinnamon ontop of the 'meat' and dollopped the mash ontop.
Into the oven preheated at 200c for about 20 minutes and oh-boy.
2. Cashew Cheese stuffed Capsicum (with Shredded Broccoli and Gluten Free Risoni!).
Alex's dish is something that he and I endeavour to convert the world to. We first came across the recipe for "Cottage Cheese" in the Easy Vegan Cooking book by Leah Leneman that my father bought for me before I was a vegan (that's some good intuition, dad!). We were intrigued immediately dismissed the scoffing of raw-food type recipes due to the fact that both Alex and I have a great nostalgia for the treat. And I have to make the following disclaimer: THE CASHEW CHEESE RECIPE TASTES ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE COTTAGE CHEESE and if you don't do much to alter the flavour, smells like feet and tastes a little bit like haloumi. But, we actualyl fucking love this stuff. because you can transform it into a really nice stuffing for veggies or put it in salads and stuff. Just don't call it cottage cheese, because no Hungarian would talk to you if you fed this to them with that name.
The basics are: grab a handful (or however much you're game for) and let it soak in room-temperature water for about three or four days. It's ready for processing when you get the courage to eat one of the cashews and it tastes like haloumi. Smash the shit out of it using your food processor and add garlic, rosemary, lemon, mustard, nutritional yeast, whatever 'cheesey' or at least complimentary flavours you want. we mixed this in with shredded broccoli and some gluten free risoni (hoorah for Orgran!) and stuffed them into halves of the skinned char-grilled (stove top) capsicums that Alex so very much enjoys to make and show off. Into the oven after the pie for about 10 minutes and drizzled a bit of Balsamic Vinegar like the proto-gourmets we are.
And for drinks, Pip brought along an assortment of Phoenix's Juices. we split each small bottle four-ways throughout the meal, it was really cute, like we were taste testing each juice. Next time anybody does this, I reccomend the juices be served in shot glasses. Whee!
And I provided hot cocoa made with ginger and coffee bean essence, compound chocoalte and coconut cream.
I announced on the delivery of the cocoa that I would very much like to one day make a cocoa so fucking delicious that the Coco-Loco would cry his egyptian tears and immediately reduce his prices to something more happy. I stand by this argument, and challenge that I put to myself. Fuck working Vegans into a panicky sweat over prices. Fuck $8. Chocolate Alchemist. Whatever*.
*I should note that his cocoas are totally delicious and like, if you're a bit cashed up and in the area with a lovely eye-fancier, this place is totally cool to go on a date to but for someone who gets hot choclate cravings A LOT, I really really really can't justify $8 a pop on something i could have surpassed at home.