When you prepare food that is primarily gluten, refined sugar and dairy free, you use certain techniques in many of your dishes. For creamy sauces, use soaked cashew nuts. For natural sweetness in desserts, use medjool dates. For vegan ice-cream, use frozen bananas as a base. For smoothies, use nut milks instead of dairy yogurt. For delicious chocolate mousse, use avocado instead of dairy cream. For people who are used to preparing raw and vegan food, these are well know techniques and food preparation method. For people who aren't they are new and exciting and some may seem very strange. The great thing is that these once ultra alternative cooking tricks are becoming more mainstream.
I recently noticed a comment left on the twitter account of a very well know health food blogger accusing her of stealing other people's recipes just because she did her own take on a classic vegan dessert. Thankfully she was very graceful in her response. It's important to make the point that healthy eating chefs and bloggers are just like any other food chef or blogger. They take inspiration from others and many of their dishes are their 'take' or version of a classic or wellknown dish. Just like Jamie Oliver can do his own version of a roast beef dinner, a health food blogger can do their own version of a creamy pasta sauce.
My interest in food started with coming up with healthy versions of common dishes that are free from dairy, refined sugar and carbs and I started making these dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, taking inspiration from health food chefs and bloggers and also growing on my own experience of food preparation techniques and cooking to come up with my very own healthy versions of my favourite dishes. My blog grew out of a desire to share these recipes with others who are trying to transition to a plant based diet along with hints and tips to make this transition easier.
My blogging technique is usually to blog straight after I make a dish. So if I have something for dinner that I think readers will like I will write up a blog post straight away and publish it either immediately or within a day or two. Yesterday evening's dinner was pad thai vegetables with a creamy tamari and cashew sauce. It is a healthy version of a much loved classic thai dish and for me very much inspired by the raw food supper I attended in Alchemy Juice Company last week cooked by Doris Choi and Domini Kemp. I am constantly spiralising my vegetables and serving them tossed in different sauces such as pesto or arrabiata sauce. The creamy cashew and tamari sauce I have made on countless occasions as a dipping sauce for vegetables but I had never put it together with raw vegetables in a pad thai style dish. I loved the result and this dinner is definitely going to become a regular in my house.
1 red pepper
1/4 white cabbage
1/4 head of broccoli
1 cup of green beans
A handful of sprouts (e.g. radish, alfalfa, etc.)
For the sauce
1 cup of cashew nuts (soaked in hot water for an hour)
4 tablespoons of tamari
4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of water
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/3 red chilli
Small handful of cashew nuts.
Sprig of coriander
Cut the red pepper, courgette, white cabbage and carrots into long thin strips using either a spiraliser, a mandaolin, a grater attachment in the food proccer or a combination of all three.
Cut the broccoli into small florets. Top and tail the green beans and cut them into pieces about an inch long. Steam the broccoli and green beans for about four minutes.
Toss all of the vegetables together in a bowl.
To make the sauce, put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over the vegetables and toss well to cover the vegetables with the sauce.
Toast the handful of cashew nuts in a pan for a few minutes. To serve the dish, top with some toasted cashew nuts and a sprig of coriander leaf.