This recipe has its inspiration rooted in the most unlikely of places - The Toby Carvery. What does a vegan know about Toby Carvery I hear you ask?!!? Well, actually you may be surprised to learn that this "haven of meat" serves not one, but two specified vegan options! So, anyway, my boyfriend (vegan, loves junk food!!) loves their nut roast Wellington and set me the task of recreating it in someway. Since the actual Wellington is pastry, I can't eat that being gluten free, and it makes me very sad to make yummy dinners for us both that I can't eat (obviously!!) so I decided to stuff a mushroom with the most delectable and 'meaty' filling I could conjure up!
So I've eaten this about 5 times in the last two weeks. I invented it when I decided to cook something for my Mum, who wasn't feeling too well. She wanted something fresh, tasty, light and nutritious, so this was my creation. I've spent so long playing with Asian and Middle Eastern flavours that it was an exciting change for me to 'think' in Italian! It looks great, it tastes great and is super cost efficient as it works out to about £3 per head, if not less. I called it Italian Stack because that's the first name that came to my head, but I should have called it Rocky, as it's a stacked Italian!! (Bad joke over now!)
So I'm back. I had the best 9 weeks of my life in Asia (Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam. We meant to go to Laos but ran out of time!) and am aching to go back. Of all the places we went, it was Northern Thailand that was my very favourite. It felt like a spiritual home and I miss Chiang Mai with all my heart!! Before I went away I assumed that I would lose lots of weight and waste away into nothingness, being a gluten free vegan and all. As it happened that wasn't the case at all. We ate like KINGS there! Happy Cow was our best friend, and being that much of Asia is Buddhist, there were tons of vegan restaurants around, and not just for tourists/westerners. We found many local vegan restaurants, where there was no menu or English spoken, and it was a case of pointing and smiling at what you wanted piled onto your massive portion of rice. The food was really incredible and we didn't feel like we were going without at all, which was totally unexpected! I did two cooking classes while I was out there, one in Vietnam and one in Thailand, and now I am back and armed with some great new recipes to share with you! Here are a few to drool over. Apologies for the photography, my camera lens got a bit dirty out there!
It's so creamy you won't believe that there is actually no cream in it! Who needs cream when mushrooms make such a creamy texture all by themselves?! This soup is really one of the quickest things to make, and it serves 4 hungry people. Wham bam dinner is served! I use leeks in this recipe because they help to create the amazing creamy texture and they are packed with goodness. Did you know that leeks are a great source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimum health, including folic acid, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin, iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and selenium. Not to mention vitamins A,C,K and E. For real. You'll never look at leeks in the same way again!
Ooh la la! This is probably my very favourite meal when I want something filling, healthy and chock full of veg. I am a Ramen beast and I can nearly eat my own weight in it. Of course you can put whatever veggies you want in it, but seeing as I am a mushroom maniac I like to pack it with as many different types of mushroom as I can. We are obsessed with Shiitake mushrooms in my house (or shit-take mushrooms as my boyfriend's parents call them!)
They are so incredibly nutritious too, which makes stuffing my face with them all the better!
They are packed full of iron, are rich in B vitamins and are concentrated in minerals, which make them a great source of zinc, selenium, copper and manganese. They are also a good source of vitamin D (D2) and dietry fiber. Seriously, what is not to love? Well, unless you are my brother who honestly has a phobia of mushrooms, I can't think why you wouldn't want to eat as many of these mushroom kings as you can get your hands on!