When my friend Lucy told me about a vegan food workshop that was taking place on a Sunday afternoon in January, I jumped at the chance! I have wanted to take part in a vegan cookery course for a long time now. But the idea of a one-day workshop in a local community centre made it even more appealing. This workshop was held at a clubhouse in Balham as part of sustainable streatham, a great group of people who are actively involved in making their community more sustainable and environmentally conscious.
There were about 12 of us at the workshop today - lead by two awesome vegan cooks. All around the clubhouse's kitchen were stations where we could choose however we wished to participate in preparing the many dishes on the menu.
First up was "breakfast". One corner of the kitchen prepared a green smoothie.
It may not look like a glass full of yum, but that's what it was. Lots of green goodness in the form of kale and cabbage, yet the bitterness of the leaves were offset by lots of berries and oranges. Added health came from some flaxseeds. So glad I bought a bag of kale at the farmers market yesterday!
I helped to prepare the chai hemp porridge:
Sooooo many ingredients in this great updated version of porridge - the first of which was buckwheat (rather than oats). I also learned how to make my own hemp milk (way easier than you might think) and that goji berries, while a superfood, are loaded with pesticides usually.
"Lunch" was next, and it was a smorgasbord of delights.
Mushroom and fennel soup:
Italian bean stew (with gluten-free pasta):
Pizza (with a homemade gluten-free crust):
And finally, a mushroom and leek pie (I made the mash):
If I had to pick a favorite from the above dishes (and I sampled a little bit of everything except the pizza), I'd say I preferred the bean stew. The mushroom soup had a bit too much pepper in it for my liking, and the mushroom and leek pie was a bit too stodgy. It was fun making the mash though! Nothing like taking out your aggression with a masher and a pot full of boiled potatoes. Hemp milk makes things easier though :)
The last part of the workshop was dessert. There were two stations again for this - I melted the dark chocolate mixed with hemp milk to create......
Raw chocolate brownie!
It may not look like much, but trust me, this was chocolatey amazingness. It was made with the help of a food processor using cashews, dates, and carob powder (which gave it the dark color) and the melted chocolate/hemp milk mixture was the "filling". It's extremely messy but quite decadent. You certainly won't miss the real thing if you give it a try. I'm so glad too, because Phil's brownie was looking pretty tempting this weekend.
We also made a pear pie:
No baking required! Just a bunch of nuts as the "pie crust" and some stewed pears for the filling. Yum!
I had a great day and met some wonderful people - wish I could do it all again tomorrow!
In the meantime, I've got a few new recipes to try out - including that green smoothie and hemp porridge (maybe for breakfast sometime this week?) - and a belly full of veganism. It's almost enough to make me want to convert fully. If it wasn't for those delicious fish...