Smoky sweet potato rounds

A friend of mine recently accused me of potato snobbery. “You look down on the potato,” she told me, as I extolled the virtues of the sweet over that of the white. Later on, I reflected on my nutritional-ism of sorts, and then that weekend bought a bag of organic new potatoes. They tasted good, boiled and vegan-buttered with a little salt. But, nevertheless, I still hold its sweet cousin as the superior of the two.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with liquid smoke – a sauce flavoured with hickory, molasses, and vinegar. It’s very American-BBQ-esque, and bears both the range of meats it can accompany, and the emblem ‘Suitable for Vegans’. I love it in baked beans and in tofu marinades; here I’ve used it to season my sweet potato, cut into rounds for a more efficient cooking time.

 

 

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You’ll need:

  • one medium sweet potato
  • tbsp olive oil
  • tsp liquid smoke (I got mine from Tesco; a barbecue sauce could, potentially, be substituted)
  • tsp smoked paprika
  • tsp cayenne pepper
  • tsp onion powder / granules
  • pinch of brown sugar / agave syrup
  • salt and pepper

 

Preheat the oven to gas mark 7. Slice the sweet potato(es) into rounds, and place in a bowl. Drizzle / sprinkle / scatter over seasonings, and use your hands to coat well.

Transfer to a baking dish and roast for forty minutes. Serve with steamed veg and peas, and a veggie sausage or two. Delicious!

Mildred’s and Basil mayonnaise

A few weeks ago, my friend and I visited a vegetarian restaurant in London called Mildred’s. It’s a quirky little place with a brightly-lit dining space, a bar to sip cocktails in whilst you wait for a table, and a friendly team of staff.

I’m not a vegetarian, but I’m an advocate of reducing society’s meat consumption for a more sustainable way of living. If we all ate meat only two or three times a week, then fewer animals would be slaughtered; deforestation for land to both feed and graze cattle would reduce; and the production of CO2 and waste products would dramatically decline.

So, I was excited by the prospect of a veggie meal. My friend and I each ordered the classic burger, consisting of smoked tofu, lentils, pepper, red onion and rocket, and a choice of monterey jack or vegan cheese. These burgers were incredible – flavourful, filling, and just as satisfying as any form of meat. I chose sweet potato wedges as a side, which were crisped to perfection.

Veggie burger

Veggie burger

After popping to the loo down a veritable maze of stairs – and almost walking into the stock room – we left, extremely satisfied. In total I spent £8 on the burger and £4 on the fries, which for a London restaurant, was rather cheap – and well worth it.
Now, I haven’t yet mentioned the basil mayo which came with my fries. This mayo was so good that I just had to recreate it myself. Its creaminess and balancing flavours of basil and lemon make it the perfect dip for just about anything: I’ve also had it with cucumber and carrot batons. It is simply perfect.
I used this recipe as a guideline, but have adapted it to my own tastes.
You’ll need:
  • 65ml mayo (can be egg-free if you wish)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • two cloves of crushed garlic
  • juice of half a lemon
  • two handfuls of fresh basil
  • pinch of salt

Put everything into a food processor and blend for short intervals, making sure to scrape around the sides to mix everything together. Taste it as you go, and feel free to add a little more of any of the ingredients! It won’t take long to blend, but the smell and flavour released by the basil will be lovely.

There you have it. I do reccommend Mildred’s if you’re in and about London, although it’s a little tricky to find. If you can’t visit, this mayo is good enough to be enjoyed at home.