DIRTY VEGAN BOOK OF THE MONTH

 
 
rg55pk2g33821.jpg

For a couple of years now, my wife, Bernie, and I have talked about going veggie. We did a couple of weeks last year and found it ok. But ultimately it was quite hard to continue as we hadn’t really put much thought into what we were going to cook and were just kind of winging it from day to day. So we would be cooking lots of vegetables with a variety of carbs and that was dinner. The meals were fine but it usually seemed as though we had forgotten to put the meat or fish with it.

We had briefly spoken about veganism, for all of about 5 seconds, before completely dismissed as an impossibility. However after the first national lockdown we sat down and had an actual conversation about it and although it still seemed impossible, it was something that was floating around at the back of my mind. If we were going to do it, then we would have to be a hell of a lot more prepared and research some really nice, tasty dishes that wouldn’t make me want to cave in at the first sight of meat, fish and especially diary. Anyone who has worked with me over the years knows that I survive on a diet of cheese.

I decided to research a few vegan books, to see what was out there, if we were going to make the switch. I think it’s important to have this help, so that you can see what’s possible and to inspire you. It helps you become organised and plan your meals, which is especially important when you are making such a large change in your diet.

After a couple of days, I settled on Dirty Vegan, by Matt Pritchard. I mean, what a great name for a book!! Plus, it was what I always called vegans when they had the audacity to dine in one of my restaurants!! (sorry to all those vegans out there) If Matt could turn vegan then surely, Bernie and I could. I purchased the book and broke the good news to Bernie.

rg55pk2g33821.jpg
 
614MdEIwnWL._AC_.jpg
 

Matt is probably most famous for the crazy Jackass style TV show that he filmed with a couple of friends down in South Wales, called Dirty Sanchez for MTV,. Hence the exceptional name of the book. But not many people know that at school he wanted to grow up to be either a stuntman or a chef!! Two professions that do not share similar skill sets. although I have worked with some people that have shown a lack of care to what they do to their bodies!!

Matt has gained his love for food and cooking from watching his mum cooking fresh family meals in the kitchen. This was enough to persuaded him to pursue a career in catering at Colchester Avenue Catering College, Cardiff. Which sadly, is not there anymore. 

For two years, he was taught by army chefs (who shouted at everyone, a la Gordon Ramsey). Despite the tough environment found himself enjoying the fast paced, energy filled environment in the kitchen. He found that he had an aptitude for pastry and loved doing sugar work. He then found a job in a Persian restaurant, where he hoped he would start his culinary adventure to the top of his game. Unfortunately, what followed was Matt falling out of love with cooking due to constant bullying by the restaurant manager.

This has always been a blight on the industry I love, it is such a demanding trade, but people take it too far. I have been quite fortunate that I haven’t seen too much during my time, I have worked with some right knobs, who shall remain nameless, but I had always told myself that I needn’t put up with anything as part of work must always be an enjoyment of being there.

 
 

After his disastrous job at the Persian restaurant, Matt managed to get a job, through a friend working in a factory, cutting pipes. During his time working in a factory, Matt spent any free time skateboarding and would enter competitions around the UK. At one such competition in Northampton, he came first in his age group and was offered sponsorship by a skateboarding distribution company, this enabled him to turn pro, which meant he travelled the world competing. He would capture his skate antics and off-skateboard pranks on film with his mate Dainton. Eventually they had enough footage to release a video called, Pritchard vs Dainton.

This video grabbed the attention of MTV and Dirty Sanchez was born. Three series, a movie and several spin offs later, it all began to take its toll and Matt made the decision to start to get fit and look after his body. and entered the Cardiff half marathon. Then started completing more half marathons and then went down the Ironman route & double Ironman. He also got back in the kitchen and started to enjoy cooking again. . He was getting fit on the outside, but what about the inside? He started to look at what he was eating, trying to get enough nutrients for his training regimes and competitions. He researched some endurance athletes and was amazed to learn that they were vegan.

MG_52081-2.jpg
 
 
 
MV5BMTU5NzAyMzk1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODE3NjQyNTE@._V1_.jpg

After watching a film called Cowspiracy, which is available on Netflix, he decided to go vegan. 3 years later he is still finding the whole experience really interesting, exploring the replacements for eggs, milk, cheese and meat.

The book is laid out well, with all the meal and snack times full of interesting and intriguing recipes. Dishes that sound great, look great and actually taste great. I have found it fun to be cooking with foods that I had previously ignored, in ways that I hadn’t previously thought about. As a chef, it has been enjoyable and a great learning experience, with none of the dishes I tried being overly complicated.

MV5BMTU5NzAyMzk1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODE3NjQyNTE@._V1_.jpg

After watching a film called Cowspiracy, which is available on Netflix, he decided to go vegan. 3 years later he is still finding the whole experience really interesting, exploring the replacements for eggs, milk, cheese and meat.

The book is laid out well, with all the meal and snack times full of interesting and intriguing recipes. Dishes that sound great, look great and actually taste great. I have found it fun to be cooking with foods that I had previously ignored, in ways that I hadn’t previously thought about. As a chef, it has been enjoyable and a great learning experience, with none of the dishes I tried being overly complicated.

 
 

The book is laid out well, with all the meal and snack times full of interesting and intriguing recipes. Dishes that sound great, look great and actually taste great. I have found it fun to be cooking with foods that I had previously ignored, in ways that I hadn’t previously thought about. As a chef, it has been enjoyable and a great learning experience, with none of the dishes I tried being overly complicated.

68a4d83d-3842-4f58-8bdd-44a4927a4268.jpg

Chickpea Kickshaws with Coconut Sambal 

This was probably one of our favourite recipes. It’s essentially a spiced chickpea pasty, so what’s not to like!! The sambal is easy to make and complements the kickshaw nicely. Easy to make, we served it with some roasted veg.

68a4d83d-3842-4f58-8bdd-44a4927a4268.jpg

Chickpea Kickshaws with Coconut Sambal 

This was probably one of our favourite recipes. It’s essentially a spiced chickpea pasty, so what’s not to like!! The sambal is easy to make and complements the kickshaw nicely. Easy to make, we served it with some roasted veg.

 
PHOTO-2021-01-13-11-05-32-3.jpg

Tofu Scrambled Eggs 

This was a complete surprise, it was so nice, really simple to make and a great healthy, nutritious breakfast/brunch

PHOTO-2021-01-13-11-05-32-3.jpg

Tofu Scrambled Eggs 

This was a complete surprise, it was so nice, really simple to make and a great healthy, nutritious breakfast/brunch

 
PHOTO-2021-01-13-11-05-32-5.jpg

Beetroot Juice Pancakes 

Lovely bright, colourful, flavoursome pancakes. A bit akin to American pancakes, these went really well with maple syrup, oat cream & berries. The hardest thing about making them was trying to find the beetroot juice!! Amazon eventually came to the rescue.

The kids didn’t like them though!!

PHOTO-2021-01-13-11-05-32-5.jpg

Beetroot Juice Pancakes 

Lovely bright, colourful, flavoursome pancakes. A bit akin to American pancakes, these went really well with maple syrup, oat cream & berries. The hardest thing about making them was trying to find the beetroot juice!! Amazon eventually came to the rescue.

The kids didn’t like them though!!

 
PHOTO-2021-01-13-11-05-32.jpg

Crispy Bang Bang Tofu, Peanut & Chilli Stir-Fry

 A really nice, and surprising stir-fry. I’ve never been a massive fan of tofu, but it’s changed a lot since I first tried it and then was reluctant to retry it. The dish is very similar to a Pad Thai, there’s a little bit of prep involved, but that’s the same with most stir-fries. It’s very filling and enjoyable.

The kids didn’t mind the crispy tofu!!!

PHOTO-2021-01-13-11-05-32.jpg

Crispy Bang Bang Tofu, Peanut & Chilli Stir-Fry

A really nice, and surprising stir-fry. I’ve never been a massive fan of tofu, but it’s changed a lot since I first tried it and then was reluctant to retry it. The dish is very similar to a Pad Thai, there’s a little bit of prep involved, but that’s the same with most stir-fries. It’s very filling and enjoyable.

The kids didn’t mind the crispy tofu!!!

 
PHOTO-2021-01-13-11-05-32-4.jpg

Pritchard’s Dirty Vegan Burger 

It’s a really good burger, lots of flavour. The recipe calls for blending and then deep frying, but I prefer a bit of texture in my food, I’ve still got my own teeth!! I also prefer to avoid deep frying where I can, so I just pan fry the burgers and finish them off in the oven. You can personalise your own burger with whatever toppings float your boat. It has a kick to it, so maybe nothing too spicy. I actually made a slaw and that really complimented it.

PHOTO-2021-01-13-11-05-32-4.jpg

Pritchard’s Dirty Vegan Burger 

It’s a really good burger, lots of flavour. The recipe calls for blending and then deep frying, but I prefer a bit of texture in my food, I’ve still got my own teeth!! I also prefer to avoid deep frying where I can, so I just pan fry the burgers and finish them off in the oven. You can personalise your own burger with whatever toppings float your boat. It has a kick to it, so maybe nothing too spicy. I actually made a slaw and that really complimented it.

 
PHOTO-2021-01-13-11-05-32-2.jpg

Chocolate Cupcakes

Now, a cupcake without any butter? Surely that won’t taste nice. Well, the recipe is a little odd, but I made them with my son one afternoon and they were really good. I took a couple to work and managed to surprise a couple of people that they were vegan. A great recipe for when you want something sweet.

PHOTO-2021-01-13-11-05-32-2.jpg

Chocolate Cupcakes

Now, a cupcake without any butter? Surely that won’t taste nice. Well, the recipe is a little odd, but I made them with my son one afternoon and they were really good. I took a couple to work and managed to surprise a couple of people that they were vegan. A great recipe for when you want something sweet.

 

Vegan Chocolate Orange Cupcake

 

I was making these in place of a birthday cake and i need around 40 cakes so I have have slightly adapted the recipe to suit our own needs and added a little orange zest, the recipe and method are basically the same.

 

Ingredients

Cupcakes 

700ml unsweetened 

soya milk 

30ml cider vinegar

660g white sugar 

200g vegan margarine (stork works great) 

600g plain flour 

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 

160g cocoa powder 

1tsp of table salt 

1 tsp coffee 

Icing 

150g cocoa 

1kg icing sugar 

200g vegetable shortening 

250ml unsweetened soya milk

b0a41086-0b5c-47d1-bffd-8a1badb7fbd5.jpg
 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line cupcake tins with 12 paper cupcake cases.
  2. PrePut the soya milk and vinegar into a jug give the mixture a good whisk to combine.
  3. Combine the sugar and vegan margarine into a bowl and whisk until pale white with an electric hand whisk or until the mixture is soft and smooth. 
  4. In another bowl sift the flour, bicarb and cocoa. Add the salt and coffee. Use a spatula to mix really well and you need to ensure that there are no lump to ensure even cooking.
  5. Tip the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Pour in the soya milk mixture. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet using a figure of eight motion. The mixture will seem dry but will loosen quickly try not to over metric. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  6. Using a small spoon, put a rounded spoon of batter into each case, too much batter will cause the cake mix to rise over the top and spill out of the cases. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the cake is springs back when gently prodded leave to cool completely in the cases.
  7. To make the icing, sift the cocoa and sugar into a mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor and add the shortening. Combine the mixture gradually incorporating the soya milk under until your icing has the desired consistency pliable, but not sloppy. You can decorate your cupcakes with icing in any way you like just let your artistic side guide you. If you’re convinced you don’t have one follow the guidelines below to get you going.
  8. Transfer the icing into piping bag. For the whippy look, use a wide open plane round nozzle. Make a blob of icing in the middle of one cupcake. Then, start at the outside edge of the cake and working towards the centre, type a series of overlapping concentric circles. When you reach the centre, finish with a tiny push down, then lift up the nozzle.
  9. Alternatively, the rose finish use a 2D nozzle. Create a small blob in the middle of a cupcake, Then, working towards the edge of the cupcake, pipe a series of overlapping concentric circles and finish with a little flick.

 

Matt Prichard's "dirty vegan" is available from amazon for around £15, the sequel; "another bite" is also avaiable as a hard copy for around the same price but the kindle edition at the time of writing is 99p! Absolute bargin

 

Conclusion

I found the book essential in helping us turn to veganism, with plenty of little hacks and advise. all the recipes have clear instructions and easy to source ingredients almost all the recipes i tried were delisious and nutrious. the only recipe i had an issue with was the chorizo flavoured Seitan Sausages, they left an unpleasant and unusual taste in my mouth. So that all went in the bin!!

I would seriously recommend the book to anyone that wants to try veganism, or even if you just fancy giving up meat a couple of days a week. The recipes are varied, easy to follow and taste fantastic.