Cool Beans

imageI had a special treat and a break from routine this Saturday morning as I attended a Cool Beans vegan cookery class run by Rachel Jamison from her home in Uplands.  So at 0930 I left the OH and the two small people and hot footed it to the class. Classes run from 0945 to 1300hrs – usually one Saturday a month.

I am sure you realise that I happily eat meat although I am quite serious about meat being free range and like to know the provenance of the animal I am about to devour.  But basically as long as the critter has had a happy life I am more than happy to eat it!  Having said that we do eat a lot of meat free dishes and I really do enjoy vegetarian cooking and food.  But vegan?  That really does stretch my brain a little!

The class was attended by six students and I was relieved that  I was not the only carnivore in the group.  We were welcomed by Rachel and handed a green smoothie which was really scrummy and welcome as I had missed breakfast (It didn’t seem appropriate to eat bacon and eggs before the course!).   The students were made up of a mother and daughter; two chaps; myself and another female who is a local artist.  Rachel was ably assisted by her friend Nazma who acted as sous chef and kitchen fairy!

You work in pairs and so the Artist and I teamed up.  Firstly we made a puy lentil, cashew and sun dried tomato pate; then chickpea and carrot burgers; followed by chocolate love pots and Rachel even had time to sneak in a vegan mayonnaise. It was such a pleasure working with someone I had never met before and we chatted about all sorts of things whilst making amazing vegan food together.  In fact we chatted so much it is fair to say we messed up a few instructions!!

Half way through the morning we had a break with a cup of tea / coffee with of course dairy  free milk and a snickers power ball which really did taste like a Marathon but was oh so much better for you! The group sat together and chatted – it was interesting to hear the lack of decent Vegan resturants and food that is available locally.  Also how different countries have embraced plant based diets whilst others are way behind.

The best bit for me of course was that we got to bring home what we made.  As I got home the small people were waiting and tugging at my bag to see what I had made.  So they ate matzo crackers with the pate whilst I cooked the burgers which I served with the mayo; peas; sweetcorn and chips; followed by a chocolate pot.  Our lunch time chat was about the course and how our meal didn’t contain any animal product at all and the importance of that. The small people demolished their lunch and Small Boy declared ‘that was the best chocolate pudding ever!’  Praise indeed!

I thought I would share the pate with you as it is so easy and scrumtious.

So basically you throw into a food processor 1 small bowl of cashew nuts (which have been soaked in water overnight); around 7 or 8 sun blushed tomatoes; half a pouch of puy lentils (the kind you microwave in the pouch – you could obviously use cooked puy lentils – but for ease these pouches are great); salt & pepper; a teaspoon of coconut oil; 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast.  Then you blend together, and decant into a dish and press down so it looks like a pate.  Voila!

My partner and I put in a tad of cayenne pepper and some dried oregano into ours also.  So as I always say – dont be shy of adding various bits and bobs for your own taste.

It was a really fun and laid back morning and interesting to hear more about life as a vegan.  As well as being a nutritionist, Rachel also makes plant based pates, cheeses, mayo and more; and her produce (and Rachel) can usually be found at the market held at Mosaic, St Helen’s Road.  Find her at her Facebook page – Cool Beans for all up to date information and dates of classes etc.  You wont be disappointed.

Apparently I should add that I havent been paid to write about Cool Beans; all the comments are my own along with the Chocolate Love Pots!