A Veritable Veganuary Feast – Happy new decade! Are you doing ‘Veganuary’? If so this week’s column is perfect for you. Hot on the heels of the success of his last book Dirty Vegan, MTV star, BBC Cymru Wales TV Chef, and strict vegan Matt Pritchard has just published a second cookbook: Dirty Vegan Another Bite. Matt has maintained his motto ‘Sleep when you’re dead’ and is now an endurance athlete who undergoes extreme challenges for charity. Breaking world records and tackling anything in his path, he credits much of his success to his change in diet – becoming 100 per cent vegan. His approach is to show people just how easy (and cheap) it can be to go vegan and how the right nutrition can really help you perform. You can find Matt’s Dirty Vegan TV series (which incidentally is the BBC’s leading vegan cookery programme) on BBC iplayer and this new book is bigger than the previous one. It’s chock full of great recipes and Matt’s wicked personality. The recipes are really interesting and even have vegan Christmas dinners (NB for next Christmas if entertaining vegan friends and family). Stop Press! Matt will be appearing as a guest chef at the Surrey Food Festival in April, so if you have a copy bring it along for him to sign.
Dirty Vegan Another Bite by Matt Pritchard is published by Mitchell Beazley, £20 hardback. Here are some yummy recipes to give you a taste of the sort of feasts in store…
Baked Squash Speltotto
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 1 ½ hour Serves: 4-6
Whizzed up with garlic cloves, the caramelized roast squash forms a deeply flavoured, creamy sauce for this baked spelt risotto. Unlike traditional risottos, there’s no standing and constant stirring needed with this recipe.
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm chunks (about 700g prepared weight)
4 garlic cloves
1/2 small bunch of thyme, woody stalks removed
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon brown miso
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
250g pearled spelt
125ml dry sherry or dry white wine
1-litre vegetable stock
150g kale, roughly chopped
50g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6). Toss the butternut squash in a deep roasting tin with the garlic, thyme and enough olive oil to coat. Season well. Place in the hot oven
for 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft throughout and beginning to catch at the edges. Leave the oven on.
Put three-quarters of the roasted squash into a food processor with the thyme. When the garlic cloves are cool enough to handle, squeeze them from their skins and add
them to the processor too, along with the mustard and miso. Blitz on high speed until smooth.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan (about 28cm) over medium heat. Cook the onion with a pinch of salt for about 8 minutes, or until soft and
translucent. Stir in the chilli and cinnamon and cook for a minute until the spices smell fragrant. Add the spelt and stir for a minute so the oil and spices coat every grain. Pour
in the sherry or wine and stir until it has been completely absorbed. Add the blitzed squash, stock and kale and bring to the boil. Stir through the roasted squash and hazelnuts and carefully place them on a shelf at the top of the oven.
Bake for 45 minutes, opening the oven door 2–3 times during the cooking time to release some steam and check that the top of the speltotto isn’t burning. If it looks as though it’s catching, cover it with foil until the timer pings.
Creamy Mushroom Pritchanoff
Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 30 minutes Serves: 2
“Mushrooms, mushrooms, mushrooms, I could eat them until I turned into one. I love them raw or cooked and chestnut mushrooms are my favourite. If you love the good ol’ mushroom too, then this dish is for you, as it’s packed full of the buggers.”
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (no worries if you haven’t got any, just leave it out)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
200ml soya or oat cream
rice, to serve
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat, add the onions and garlic and cook until softened but not browned.
Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes, then add the flour. Cook the flour out for a few minutes – you may find it sticks to the pan a bit, but don’t worry as next up is the veg stock. As soon as you add the veg stock, keep stirring to scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan and you’ll find the sauce is thickening.
Add the thyme sprigs (you can remove them later) most of the parsley, the vegan Worcestershire sauce (if you have any), cider vinegar and soya or oat cream, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs, if you want. Serve with rice.