Vegan Cookery


Recently, I’ve had several requests for vegan recipes as the interest in a vegan life style gathers momentum. The increase in numbers continue to confound the sceptics. There are a variety of reasons why people decide to embrace a vegan diet. For many, it’s a combination of concern for the environmental impact of many of our food producing systems and animal welfare issues.

So what exactly is the definition of a vegan, some would say it’s an extreme form of vegetarianism. The Vegan Society define veganism as “a way of living which seeks to exclude as far as possible and practicable all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”.

Most vegans will also avoid the use of all personal household products tested on animals and avoid buying all animal derived products such has leather, fur and wool. So strict vegans will not only avoid fish and meat but also butter, honey, eggs and even some wines which may be cleared with egg white. Some vegan cheese contains casein which is not acceptable to vegans. So creating a balanced diet can be deeply challenging and I personally have a concern about ‘dairy delights’, faux franks’, ‘mock meats’ and many of the substitutes.

Vegans need to have a real understanding of nutrition to ensure a balanced diet and to avoid deficiencies such as B12 which is only found naturally in animal products.
Many new cookbooks are hitting the shelves – Aine Carlin from Derry in Northern Ireland. Her cookbooks, The New Vegan and Keep it Vegan published by Kyle Books are favourites of many.
A new book entitled Vegan Recipes from the Middle East, written by Parvin Razavi has just landed on my desk. It’s full of really appealing recipes from Iran, Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey and, as a dedicated carnivore friend once remarked about the food at Café Paradiso in Cork – “you wouldn’t miss the meat”. It was of course meant as a compliment but it may sound a bit offensive to vegans.

Parvin Razavi is a new name on the culinary scene but certainly one to watch. She was born in Iran and spent her early years by the Caspian Sea and in Teheran before her parents moved to Europe. Many of the Middle Eastern recipes she’s created and shared are super simple and can actually be prepared in less than half an hour. That’s worth checking out. Parvin also has a blog Thx4cooking. By the way Grub Street publishers have a whole range of vegan cookbooks, check them out

Garden Workshop:- Designing a Herbaceous Border. During this half day course Susan Turner, Head Gardener at the Cookery School and Ballymaloe House will discuss general layout, good plant choices for a long season of interest with vibrant colour combinations and contrasts in texture and form, combining structural plants, underplanting and extending the season with annuals, self-sowers and interplanting with bulbs, seasonal maintenance to include pruning, dividing the plants, weeding techniques and tools, staking and mulching…… Coffee on arrival and light lunch. Monday July 10th

Kilmore Quay Seafood Festival, 6th -9th July 2017. Harbour food stalls, singing, dancing, seafood platter competition, family fun events…..proceeds raised from the festival will support local projects in the area. 25 minutes from Wexford Town
The Garden Café Shack at the Ballymaloe Cookery School has reopened for the summer. Check out gardencafetruck. Short menu of fresh food from the farm and gardens and delicious homemade cakes and biscuits.

Harmony in Food and Farming, a two day conference organised by the Sustainable Food Trust from July 10th and 11th in Wales. Wide range of panel discussions on farming, food, ecological and environmental issues, eating as an agricultural act… Adele Jones – +44 (0) 7909588681

Parvin Razavi’s Caramelised Fennel with Fennel Seeds and Barberries

Preparation time: 20 minutes

5 tablespoons olive oil
2 bulbs of fennel, cut lengthways in ½ cm thick slices
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon barberries
1 tablespoon fresh mint
Pomegranate seeds to garnish

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Put the fennel in the hot oil, sprinkle with sugar, salt, pepper and fennel seeds and fry until golden brown.

Serve the fennel on a plate and grate lemon zest on top.

Serve garnished with barberries, pomegranate seeds and mint.

Taken from VEGAN Recipes from the Middle East, Parvin Razavi, published by Grub Street, London

Parvin Razavi’s Roasted Almonds

Preparation Time:- 10 minutes

250 g almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch of sugar
1 pinch of chilli
1 pinch of ras el hanout

Mix the almonds well with the other ingredients. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and spread the almonds on top. Carefully roast in a preheated oven at 180C/250F/gas mark 4 for 5 minutes.

Taken from VEGAN Recipes from the Middle East, Parvin Razavi, published by Grub Street, London

Parvin Razavi’s White Bean Hummus

Preparation Time:- 15 minutes

400 g tin white beans
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pinch of paprika
1 pinch of ras el hanout
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper
3-4 tablespoons water

Strain the beans and puree all the ingredients together in a blender.

Season well to taste.

Taken from VEGAN Recipes from the Middle East, Parvin Razavi, published by Grub Street, London

Parvin Razavi’s Tabouleh with Pomegranate Seeds and Apple

Preparation time: 15 minutes

1-2 tart eating apples, diced
2 spring onions, sliced into rings
1 pomegranate seeds removed from the fruit
1 teaspoon sumac
2 tablespoons roast pine nuts
50 g mint, chopped
50 g parsley, chopped
1½ level teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and season with the lemon juice and olive oil.

Steep for 30 minutes and then enjoy.

Taken from VEGAN Recipes from the Middle East, Parvin Razavi, published by Grub Street, London

Parvin Razavi’s Soya Yoghurt with Cucumber, Rose Petals and Sultanas

Preparation time:- 15 minutes

1 cucumber
500 ml soya yoghurt
5 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 handful of sultanas (approx. 25 g)
Rose petals to garnish

Coarsely grate the cucumber, season with salt and leave for 10 minutes. Then squeeze out well by hand and put in a bowl.

Mix the soya yoghurt, cucumber and mint in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish prettily with sultanas and rose petals.

Tip:- a small clove of crushed garlic can be added, according to taste.

Taken from VEGAN Recipes from the Middle East, Parvin Razavi, published by Grub Street, London

About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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