1. Snickers with Macadamia Nougat

    Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar free.

    While driving along the east coast of Australia, we stopped off in a magical wonderland called Tropical Fruit World.

    I posted a recipe for snickers before, and though I loved them I thought that the recipe could do with a little tweaking. I thought the nougat would be better with a little less of a coconut kick and wanted to have individual bars rather than the messiness of slicing through a top layer of frozen chocolate. As such, they are decadent and delicious. The salt is still a fundamental part of the nougat recipe though, the quantity listed isn’t a mistake! Now excuse me while I go rub my belly; I may have eaten too much while “testing” each stage and then the final product!

    Update: I’ve served these to a huge array of friends and family: mostly non-vegans and certainly a variety of people with attitudes to health. One and all thoroughly enjoyed them. Of course, if you are serving them to children I would cut the salt out almost completely. These are definitely meant for grown-ups, but the grown-ups all think they’re savage.

    A good quality food processor is not needed for this. The cheap variety available in Argos or Debenhams for 30 euro will do the trick just perfectly. It is definitely worth owning one!

    - Makes about 25 fun-size bars, takes about an hour (though almost all the washing up will need to be done at the end!) -

    Base layer (Chocolate):
    60g dark chocolate
    1 tbs date water (the water in which you soaked the dates)
    Pinch of salt

    Second layer (Nougat):
    3 tbs coconut oil, melted
    3/4 cup oats (gluten-free if needed)
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp maple syrup
    30g macadamia, pulsed in the blender in a mealy texture
    1 tbs natural peanut butter
    1 tbs almond milk

    Third Layer (Caramel):
    250g pitted dates (don’t need to be Medjool)
    1.5 tbs natural peanut butter
    Pinch salt
    20g sultanas
    50g mixed nuts (I used macadamia, hazelnut and pecan: break them up a bit)

    Top layer (Chocolate):
    About 200g dark chocolate
    1 tbs date water
    Sprinkle of coarse pink Himalayan salt

    Before you begin) [2 hours - overnight] Put the pitted dates in a bowl and cover with warm water. Leave to soak, preferably overnight. Drain the dates, reserving the sweetened date water. Squeeze a little water from the dates but do keep a good bit of moisture trapped in them.

    Layer 1) [10 minutes] Make the base layer by melting the chocolate with the salt and date water using a water bath. This prevents it from burning and developing an acrid flavour. Sit a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water so that it fits snugly over it like a lid (I use a Christmas pudding bowl over a small pan. The pan does not need to be very full, just enough to hit the bottom of the bowl. Stir it quite often. When it is nearly melted, remove from the heat and stir until it is fully melted.

    While you are waiting for the chocolate to melt, line a 10 inch by 8 inch tin with baking parchment. I stick mine down with a little coconut oil between the tin and the paper to facilitate it holding the shape of the tin well. Pour the chocolate over the paper and spread it to cover the entire base evenly. Put in the freezer to set. While it sets, prepare the nougat.

    Layer 2) [15 minutes] In a food processor, pulse the macadamias until they form a moist crumble. Add the oats and pulse until they are combined and form texture like coarse sand. Add the coconut oil, salt, maple syrup and peanut butter. Pulse again to mix it well. Test the mixture by pressing it together with your fingers. It should stick together and be quite moist. If it isn’t, add the almond milk and pulse again. Remove the solidified chocolate from the freezer. Spoon over the mixture; I covered the base initially with six clumps that covered different parts of the tin. Starting at the corners, press the nougat down and out. It will form a thin (maybe 1 or 2 cm deep) layer, so be patient and continue to press it out. Return to the freezer while you prepare the caramel.

    Layer 3) [15 minutes] Add the dates to the food processor. Provided you use a spatula or something similar to ensure the bowl of the food processor is relatively emptied of the nougat I would see no need to wash it. Add the dates and pulse until they begin to turn into a thick caramel. Taste little clumps to ensure the skin has been well dissolved. Add the peanut butter, salt and a tiny bit of date water if needs be to form a thick, oozing caramel. Stir in the sultanas and nuts. (I add the sultanas as they form a wonderful honeycomb substitute when frozen, omit them if that doesn’t sound appealing but good god they’re yummy.) Spoon over the nougat and flatten again. Freeze.

    Layer 4) [20 minutes] Melt the chocolate and date water over the water bath again. Remove the base layers from the tin by pulling up the parchment paper. On a chopping board, slice into “fun-size” bars using a sharp knife. Pour the chocolate over the top of each bar (1-2tbs work per bar, use a tea spoon to spread it around the sides and down to the base chocolate layer if necessary). Leave to set on the counter. As they are beginning to solidify, crunch a little coarse pink salt very loosely over the tops so it is visible to the eye. Freeze in a tupperware container.

    I eat these straight from the freezer: the centre  layers will remain soft and chewy and the chocolate will give a satisfying bite.

    hummus and spuds

     
  2. Potato Flatbread (and a cheater’s mango chutney)

    This is like a crap version of a Punjabi puri. That said, it’s delicious in its own right: just nothing like an actual puri as it’s not deep fried!

    - makes two flatbreads -

    1 small potato (about 45g)
    45g wholegrain spelt flour (match the weight of the potato)
    Big handful of chopped coriander leaf
    Pinch of salt
    1 tsp vegetable oil 
    4 tsp coconut oil
    About 80ml warm water

    Prick the potato with a knife a few times. Wrap with kitchen paper and cook in the microwave until a butter knife will pierce it with relative ease (about 3 or 4 minutes). Peel and mash in a bowl with the flour, coriander and salt. Slowly begin adding the water and the vegetable oil, mixing it with your hands until it forms a happy, moist ball. Out on the counter and knead for about four minutes until you can see little parts of elastic-y gluten forming. This is very low in gluten so don’t expect a regular dough to form. Split the dough in half and roll into a disk that is about 2cm thick. Put a frying pan over a medium-high heat with a teaspoon of the coconut oil. When it is melted, soak off any pools with kitchen towel. Put a flatbread in the pan. You should see little bubbles poof up in the pancake from steam and the edges should turn golden. Remove from the pan. Melt another teaspoon of coconut oil and return the flatbread to cook on the other side. Repeat with the other flatbread. Enjoy with curries or a little chutney.

    So speaking of chutney… This is a terrible but delicious excuse for mago chutney. In a pan, combine a ripe mango in chunks, 2 teaspoons of tomato ketchup, about 2 teaspoons of vinegar (it will vary depending on how vinegary your ketchup is), huge pinches of salt, garam masala, garlic powder and chilli flakes and a couple of tablespoons of water. Heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently until a thick jelly-like substance is formed. It shouldn’t work. But it does. Oh the shame. THE SHAME.

    hummus and spuds

     
  3. Chana Masala - Chickpeas and Tomato

    Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free recipe.

    This is the classic Punjabi dish beloved by anyone and everyone who has ever eaten any amount of Indian food. Here I make it in its slightly drier form and heavily spiced. People often eat it in a lightly spiced gravy, of sorts, but I tend to think that eliminates the point of Chana Masala. It should be slightly sour and tangy, hot and laden with coriander, ginger, onion and garlic. That said, I do love me a good gravy so a recipe for that will find its way here at some stage in the future, I’m sure. It is very happy when greedily scooped up with a flatbread like puri or the potato flatbread I’ll post later in the week.

    - Serves four as part of a series of small dishes, or with rice. Takes about 15 minutes of prep with 45 minutes of cooking. -

    1 tbs cooking oil (I use rapeseed)
    100g onion, finely diced
    10g ginger, grated
    15g garlic, crushed
    10g each: chilli, coriander seeds, cumin, garam masala, curry powder, tumeric (all crushed)
    400g tomato (I used good quality mini ones from a tin that I slice, fresh peeled and diced tomatoes would work well too)
    100ml stock
    400g cooked chickpeas
    Heaps of chopped fresh coriander leaf

    I chop the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor because I’m lazy! In a deep pot, heat half the oil over a medium heat. Add the spices and let them toast. Remove them from the pan. Add the rest of the oil with onion, garlic and ginger. Soften for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices, mix and cook for another two or three minutes. Add the tomatoes. Mix, cover and allow to bubble away for about ten minutes. Add the stock, mix and cover before cooking for another fifteen minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook for another fifteen minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in the coriander. Leave to cool a little with the lid on the pot. Serve warm. It is delicious reheated, as most liquidy Indian dishes are. The extra time to marinade and take on the flavours will always help.

    hummus and spuds

     
  4. Gobi Pachadi - Buttermilk Marinated Cauliflower

    Vegan, gluten-free, low-carb.

    Apparently in other parts of India, pachadi is a pickle. In its Kerala form though, it is a mild dish made using a buttermilk marinade. It is tangy and a little salty though, which is the essence of a pickle I suppose! This recipe, of course, contains a veganised version of the classic buttermilk marinade. Though this dish contains mustard seeds, it is an absolutely soothing dish. It reminds me, somewhat, of the cauliflower and white sauce that my mother used to serve with roast dinners. I serve it with spicy and tomato heavy dished like dahl and chana masala. If you wish to make it even creamier and richer, you could use plain yogurt instead of the almond milk or add a couple of tablespoons of cashew cream. However, after a cashew cream heavy week previously, I was in the mood for something a little lighter!

    - Serves four as a side dish, takes about 30 minutes (plus 2 hours of marinading -

    350g cauliflower, in small-ish florets
    150ml unsweetened soy milk (better than other options as its higher protein content allows it to thicken more than other non-dairy milks)
    1 tbs lemon juice
    1 tbs white wine or apple cider vinegar
    1.5 tbs coconut oil
    2 small onions, thinly sliced
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    1 tbs ginger, peeled and grated
    1 tbs yellow mustard seeds
    1 tsp tumeric
    2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
    25g dessicated coconut
    150ml water
    handful shredded coriander leaves
    s+p

    In a plastic bag or large jar, vigorously shake the buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar and some salt. Add the cauliflower, seal and shake to cover. Leave to marinate for two hours, shaking occasionally to ensure the milk doesn’t separate and the cauliflower is well-coated.

    Melt the coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic (I whizz them all together in a food processor to save on chopping time). Cook for about ten minutes until they are turning gold. Add the mustard seeds, tumeric and cumin. Stir and cook for another few minutes. Add the cauliflower, its marinading liquid and the water. Turn up the heat, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Season.

    Serve warm as an accompaniment to spicy dishes.

    hummus and spuds

     
  5. An Easy Indian Feast (of Sorts)

    I was very lucky when I was in Melbourne to attend a pooja in the home of friends with whom I was staying. The prayer service itself was a beautiful series of rituals and chanting (and I got to wear a badass outfit), but it was of course the food that came afterwards that I’ll remember! We ate incredibly delicious dishes of Punjabi origin made from things like pumpkin and chickpeas, and of course we had my absolute favourite: puri with face-puckering mango chutney. No amount of a nagging hangover from touring the Yarra Valley the previous day could keep my appetite down!

    With influences from the Pujab, Kerala and, er, Ireland, the recipes that are coming up this week are spiced, warming, tempting and easy. They can be made together or served individually with rice. Here’s what’s coming up:

    Chana Masala - Spicy Tomato Chickpeas
    Cheater’s Spiced Mango Chutney
    Gobi Pachadi - Mild Buttermilk Marinated Cauliflower
    Potato Coriander Flatbread - A puri meets a potato farl

    A combination that should please just about everyone! As always, the recipes will be vegan, easy to follow and adaptable for gluten-free diets.

    - Deirdre

    hummus and spuds

     
  6. Drowned Butterfly Aubergine

    This has been a week of pearl couscous and Simon Hopkinson. It’s also been one of those weeks where (almost) everything I made was brilliant (if I do say so myself!). That said, I of course had one big clanger, but that’s inevitable. I’m just amazed that those recipes that have worked have worked so well. I’ve greatly enjoyed taking inspiration and techniques from Hopkinson, even if I greatly disagree with his opinions on peeling potatoes!

    Inspiration for this aubergine and couscous dish came from a recipe Hopkinson gives in Simon Hopkinson Cooks for aubergine simply dressed with olive oil, persilade and feta. I went with something a little more dramatic that took no more time, and was filling, pleasing and vegan. I greatly enjoyed it and hope you do too. That said, don’t attempt to put the white dish under the grill in a lazy attempt at avoiding washing up: I broke a lovely casserole dish because of it!

    Hopkinson described his style of cutting the aubergine as resembling a heart. Perhaps there is no romantic in me, but I thought more of how one butterflies a chicken before grilling it! And drowned? Well it’s drowning in couscous and herbs, as you can see!

    This recipe is given per serving and takes about thirty minutes to prepare.

    An aubergine
    50g pearl couscous
    170ml light stock (marigold!)
    5g fresh basil
    5g fresh parsley
    1 tbs cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil, and more to finish
    juice of half a large lemon
    2 tbs cashew sour cream - blended cashews thinned with a little unsweetened almond milk, a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt (plain yoghurt would substitute quite well here, I think)
    3 green olives
    2 preserved garlic cloves (mine were coated in a little crushed black olive, which was an added bonus!)
    salt and pepper

    Turn on the overhead grill in your oven to heat. About 1cm down from the stalk, cut the skin of the aubergine in a loop. Don’t dig into flesh! Then make four slices along the length of the aubergine at even divides. Again, be careful that you cut the skin but nothing else. The skin of the aubergine should now be sliced into four equal long sections.

    Put the aubergine on a baking tray and grill for 6 or 7 minutes. Turn it 4 times so each section is given a chance to char. The skin should become papery and the insides should begin to pull away from it.

    Meanwhile, cook the couscous. Let it boil rapidly, without a lid until the water is almost evaporated. Fluff the couscous, take it off the heat and cover. Stir it occasionally to keep it from sticking as it absorbs the last of the steam.

    Chop the basil, parsley, olives and garlic together into the chunky paste. Mix it into the couscous with the rapeseed oil and a big squeeze of lemon. Season. Leave aside to cool a little.

    When the aubergine has cooled a little, peel the skin. This is a very satisfying task, I must say. Cut the aubergine in half lengthways up to the stalk. Don’t slice through the stalk. You should now be able to pull it apart so that it resembles a flattened butterflied chicken (or a heart, for you romantics).

    Arrange on a dish and spoon the couscous around and over the aubergine. Scatter the cashew sour cream over the dish and finish with a little more lemon juice and rapeseed oil. Be sure to add plenty of black pepper!

    Enjoy when it is warm, but not too hot. The cashew cream should be cool.

    hummus and spuds

     
  7. Tahini Potato Gratin

    It is August. Yesterday I set about my hungover Sunday when I was presented with a kitchen counter covered in courgettes. Courgettes: a summery glut of summerness. Not so in the howling west of Ireland. It of course rained all day yesterday and is raining all day today. We turned on the stove. I am wearing a woolly jumper but my appendages are still decidedly chilly. So while the courgettes were a testament to the summer bounty still plaguing the garden, I needed something warm and oozing in my grey-skied, headache-hazed stupor. So with the fresh and springy courgettes, I threw these complex, creamy and comforting spuds. Hangover sorted. Grey skies embraced. I kicked back with the wine that was left and watched the BBC documentary on Kate Bush (it’s great, she’s great, oh Kate Bush you fantastic thing you).

    Incidentally, I then watched this pretty hilarious video of Delia Smith interviewing Kate on her vegetarianism in 1980. Certainly not a menu that would inspire many conversions, I suspect.

    Tahini, garlic and wine make for a tempting and complex flavour combination that allows for speedy gratin preparation, without any need for cashews. Though children may find it a little much, I loved it. I served it with baked herby courgettes, a herb paste and a few dashes of hot sauce to ensure we were truly warmed up! Who says vegans can’t have creamy garlic spuds!

    - Serves 3 as a side dish, though 2 with a simple green salad, takes about an hour -

    300g potatoes, washed, in very thin slices (I used a mandoline - so quick!)
    2 tbs light tahini
    50 ml dry white wine
    100 ml light stock
    3 cloves crushed garlic
    15 capers, rougly chopped
    s+p
    A little rapeseed oil for greasing

    Preheat the oven to 200 degress Celsius.

    In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk to form a creamy liquid. Add the potatoes and ensure they are thoroughly covered.

    Grease a small baking dish (I used a circular Le Creuset one that has, maybe, a 20cm diameter). In concentric circles, evenly lay out the potato.

    Cover with tinfoil and bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover and poke the potatoes with a butter knife to ensure that they are soft and give way to the knife quite easily. When this is the case (it may take longer without the superpower of those Le Creuset dishes), remove the tinfoil and return the dish to the oven. Check again in ten to fifteen minutes when it has become a gratin: that is, gloriously browned on top.

    hummus and spuds

     
  8. Herby Baked Courgettes

    Gawd bless the mandoline. My mother owns one (it was recently rediscovered after many years of languishing in the back of a cupboard) and it makes this recipe a very quick affair altogether. Any and all things that are basically just gadgety knives please me a great deal: mandolines, mezzalunas, lemon zesters, garlic presses, superduper powered food processors… They’re all great. Someday I will own all of them (and a Vitamix to boot). For now, I borrow from my mother. Though I do own a mezzaluna and a lemon zester so I’m getting there (though the mammy has about 7, so I suspect I just stole one from her!).

    As well as her glut of kitchen appliances, Mammo is also currently suffering from a courgette glut (why can’t the garden space out its bounty!) so this fresh and pleasing dish came about. I served it with a potato gratin for Sunday lunch.

    Serves 3 as a side dish - Takes about an hour (mostly oven time)

    500g courgette, in thin slices
    150ml dry white wine
    15g parsley
    5g each mint, dill
    10 chives (with 2 heads (purple flowers), if possible)
    3 garlic cloves, crushed (I used a lemon zester, being a rebel)
    s+p
    2 tbs pinenuts, sesame seeds
    2 tsp cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil

    Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.

    Using a mezzaluna, a food processor or a great deal of patience, finely chop the herbs together. In a bowl, combine the courgette slices, 3/4s of the herbs, and the garlic. Mix with your hands, massaging the herbs and garlic into the courgette. Season well.

    Lightly grease a baking dish (I use a small Le Creuset one (about 10cm x 20cm) that I adore). Layer in the courgette in overlapping spirals evenly throughout the dish. Pour over the wine. Cover with tinfoil.

    Bake for about 30 minutes. Poke with a butter knife. It should slide in but give some resistance. Remove the tinfoil and return to the oven for about 15 minutes, when the top should be browning nicely. Scatter over the nuts and seeds and return to the oven for about ten minutes. Be very careful at this stage as the pinenuts will go from golden to burnt very quickly. Meanwhile, mix the last of the herbs with the rapeseed oil.

    Remove from the oven. Sprinkle over the herb paste and dot with petals from the chive flowers.

    hummus and spuds

     
  9. Perli e Bisi (Pearls and Peas)

    There is an Italian dish called Risi e Bisi (Rice and Young Peas). It isn’t counted as a risotto as risotto is supposed to ooze like lava while Risi e Bisi is more like a thick soup. Well now, I am a great fan of Slow Club Cookery. On her Instagram a few months ago it became clear that the author, Kara, was going through a fanatical Israeli (pearl) couscous phase. She was eating it with radishes a great deal of the time and the images and descriptions awakened a strong desire for a food I hadn’t eaten in years.

    Oddly enough, I had only eaten it once before: In the Four Seasons Boston, for some bizarre reason. I have absolutely no idea why I was having dinner there as I was a lowly student at the time, but there yeh go. Anyway, being told that couscous is the vegetarian option normally sends shivers down my spine. That gritty excuse for food that one gets in little plastic tubs for too much money… yuck. But that which was placed in front of me, these bouncy, chewy pearls: well, they were a revelation. And now, five years later I have to say that their charm has remained.

    I had many great intention of valiantly making a simple salad tossed with cooled fried courgette shreds and lemon. However, the contents of my currently bountiful fridge got the better of me. As such, I was soon gleefully chopping asparagus and rumaging for peas. I flung them into the couscous, still assuming that I would valiantly drain the cooking liquid before fluffing and steaming to dryness. But then I tasted the water and knew that I couldn’t do it. As such, my salad became Perli e Bisi - not a risotto, but perhaps a relatively dry soup!

    This is enough for one generous portion, took 15 minutes from start to finish and is a joyful way to enjoy the magical grain. In a rare move for me, it is entirely oil free.

    65g pearl couscous
    4 asparagus spear, sliced into thin round with the tips reserved
    1 scallion, in thin rounds
    2 tbs peas (I use frozen)
    1/2 a large courgette, grated
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    500ml hot light stock (I used Marigold)
    1/2 lemon, zest and juice

    Set the couscous to cook in the stock, uncovered. Meanwhile, chop and grate the vegetables. Put the courgette and garlic in a pan. Shaking occasionally, let the water content of of the courgette cook off. Make sure it doesn’t stick to the base. When it is greatly reduced and beginning to colour, remove from the heat. When the couscous has been cooking for eight minutes add the peas and asparagus. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the cooking liquid is almost entirely absorbed. Taste the couscous - it should be springy and soft. Mix in the courgette and lemon juice. Serve with the asparagus tips on top and the zest sprinkled over.

    hummus and spuds

     
  10. Onion Soup (and a guide to Cashew Cream)

    This is the best soup I have ever eaten, by a long mile.

    It requires time. Hours, in fact. But I cannot begin to describe how much it is worth your time. If you have a very good blender or don’t mind the taste of that soy cream stuff you could certainly save a good deal of labour. I truly do think that the cashews add something very special to this soup though. And maybe I can even taste the hour of monotony (love) that went into it - ha!

    My father appeared with a plastic bag consisting mostly of dirt. Within it lay two beetroot and four onions from my Grandfather’s neighbours. I had been planning on making a cashew cream for an aubergine dish I was making so the sight of the onions sparked a memory of an ostensibly simple soup I had read about in Simon Hopkinson’s masterpiece (no, that’s not overstating it) Roast Chicken and Other Stories. Of course, the recipe itself isn’t vegan: but no matter.

    I have become a recent devotee of Lakeshore Donegal cold-pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil. It has a rich yellow colour that accurately portrays its rich taste. I cannot recommend it enough. Its richness, with a whack of salt added, is a great butter replacement (with a higher smoke point to boot!).

    In fact, owing to the simplicity of its ingredients, I would say good ingredients are necessary all-round here. I used the Lidl Acentino Bianco white wine vinegar and a good bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Contrary to most assertions that home-made stock is absolutely necessary (blah-blah-blah), I used the Marigold vegan stockcubes to great effect. Stickin’ it to the man. Ahem.

    Hopkinson describes his version of it as tasting “sweet, rich and intensely savoury”. That is absolutely accurate.

    Enough for three big bowls - Anticipate that one and all will want second helpings

    4 yellow onions (medium sized), sliced very thinly (I remembered too late that my mother has a mandoline slicer, but careful knifework is sufficient)
    2tbs Donegal cold-pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil
    50ml white wine vinegar
    250ml dry white wine
    600ml marigold stock
    4 tbs cashew cream (instructions to follow)
    salt and pepper

    In a heavy based pot, combine the rapeseed oil, some seasoning and onions. Cover and leave to stew over a very low heat for 60 to 90 minutes (mine took 90 minutes, but I may have had them on too low for a good while). Stir them occasionally. You want them to reduce, ooze juices, smell amazing and have almost turned completely to mush. They will have a rich yellow colour and be pleasingly sweet to the taste.

    While they slowly cook, begin the task of dealing with the cashew cream.

    Cashew Cream

    This recipe will make more than twice the amount you will need, but if you’re going to put yourself through making it, you might as well plan on a decadent week (or day!) of creamy things.

    200g cashews
    50ml + 50ml water

    If you have the good sense to be planning this meal in advance, soak the cashews overnight in plenty of cold water. Drain and rinse. (If you don’t have the good sense, cover them with boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse.) Overnight soaking is preferable as the cashews tend to puree with a great deal more ease if they are soaked. Pour them into a very good blender or food processor. I used a Magimix 900W beast that my mother owns. If you don’t have something very good, prepare for a very long process. Puree the cashews to the best extent you can without any liquid first, scraping down the sides with a spatula at times. Then add 50ml of water and process again. A thick paste should be formed. If it is still stubbornly dry, add the other 50ml, one tablespoon at a time. Using a fine metal mesh sieve (I really mean fine, not a glorified colander), smush (that’s the technical word for it - ha!) the cashew puree through it until a thick, smooth cream gathers in the bowl below. Any stubborn bits can be returned to the processor with a splash more water before again being sieved. The resultant cream will be a great deal thicker than regular cream. Reserve it in its thick form and add almond milk or water to attain the consistency desired for different dishes. For this soup, I didn’t use any dilute.

    Returning to the onions, when they are sufficently yellow and gooey, add the white wine vinegar. Raise the temperature to a medium heat and allow it to cook off. Then add the wine and allow it to reduce by two-thirds. Add the stock, cover and simmer for thirty minutes. Taste the broth and season more, if you wish. Remove from the heat. Add three tablespoons of the cream. Blend. Taste and add the fourth tablespoon, if you wish.

    I enjoyed it with rosemary tinged focaccia. Fiercely crispy garlic and rosemary tinged chickpeas would also be a treat to act as croutons.

    hummus and spuds