Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Vegan Feast

Well, actually, this is more of a semi vegan feast as there were some non-vegan options for those of us who desired! I recently had friends for dinner, one of whom is vegan. I had never cooked an entirely vegan meal before so decided I would challenge myself to do an entire dinner party of vegan food. It proved to be more challenging than I thought it would be so I succumbed to adding interest by including a little cheese and meat for those of us who enjoy meat and cheese! I went for a Morrocan 'mezze' style meal, lots of little plates of goodies, and plenty of yummy home made breads to eat it all with. I did make EVERYTHING from scratch so there was plenty of flavour and of course no nasty additives!! This turned out to be a really great option for entertaining as I was able to do a fair bit of it in the days before and it was nice to have lots of different options to pick and choose from and to pass around the table. I thought I had (as usual) overcatered when I saw all the things on the table, but there were 10 of us and it turned out there was only a little left over, so I got it about right.
On the table was:

Pizza bread with rosemary

Wholemeal bread
Pita pockets

Toasted ciabatta

Marinated feta
Morrocan spiced lamb cutlets
Tzatziki
Roasted mushrooms
Roasted red peppers
Slow roasted tomatoesCarrot, orange and poppy seed salad
Baby spinach with sunflower seeds
Onion jam
Hummus
Olives
Sauteed zucchini ribbons with garlic, lemon and flat leaf parsleyFor dessert I poached some pears in a white wine syrup, I used a muscat which I added sugar to and infused with saffron, cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans and cardamom pods. I made a pinenut and almond praline to go with it, along with my own homemade mascarpone to which I added orange zest and cointreau. It was an absolute triumph, gorgeous flavours and a very easy dessert as the poaching was done slowly in the oven - so easily done ahead. I think I liked this version more than the red wine version, it is more subtly flavoured and the pear shines more too.The praline was dead easy and very yummy. I used a recipe from the Destitute Gourmet again!

Praline
100g sugar
75 ml water
100g slivered almonds (I used extra pine nuts, about 70g almonds and 70g pinenuts- as those are the packet sizes!)

Toast almonds and pine nuts first. Then in a heavy pan dissolve sugar and water. without stirring for about 10 mins or until the syrup is golden brown. Scatter nuts on a large piece of parchment/baking paper. Pour syrup over nuts to get good coverage and leave to set for about 10 mins. When set, place in a sturdy plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin to crush praline into shards, chunks and crumbs.

Footnote:
This dessert was dreamed up after reading Laura's post "Wickedly Good", which had such lovely descriptions (and photos) that made me want to pull some of the flavours right out of the screen!!!!

7 comments:

Rigby said...

Very impressive! Everything looks delicious!

Coby said...

I am no vegan, not even a little bit vegetarian, but I would SO ho into that meal:) It all looks delicious and colourful - and I am with you on pears in white wine too:) Well done!

Deb said...

I am so coming to your house for dinner!!! Yum!

hot garlic said...

What a challenge, I think that is what I would be doing too, almost adding in something at the end like cheese, it would be hard to remember!

Everything looks absolutely delicious!

Deborah said...

What a feast! I'm not even vegan, but this has my mouth watering!

Anna said...

WOW! An absolute FEAST!

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

What a feast, it all sounds so delicious!