This weekend, for the 7th year running, millions of people all across the UK, got together and enjoyed with their neighbors in the name of The Big Lunch! The awesome campaign (in which I am lucky enough to actually be the Communications Manager for…yes shameful plug!) simply encourages people to sit down on the first Sunday each June and get to know people who live nearby. Some do it to help create more sustainable communities and make new friends, others simply to have a good laugh over some good food.
Yesterday, I popped down to an awesome plant-based Big Lunch nearby which was a 100% vegan friendly party, and full of a lovely mix of like-minded people from all across Cornwall. The event, which was organised by the lovely Sam Grady – a member of the Cornwall Vegans group – enjoyed a great turnout of vegans and non vegans alike all enjoying the sun.
It was especially important to me, as (up until recently) I’ve been the only vegan in my group of friends, and actually don’t know many people in Cornwall. It was a pleasure to chat to others who enjoyed the same lifestyle, and be at a party where I could enjoy everything on the table without asking what was in it!
Everyone brought a dish to share, with everything from veggie Tagine, homemade dips, pulled vegan pork (jackfruit) sandwiches and raw salads, to vegan lemon cheesecakes and chocolate brownies. Heaven!
As usual, I was very disorganised the morning of The Big Lunch, and stayed at my boyfriends parents house the night before to be nearer to the venue; a beautiful village green in Chacewater. With a rushed tote bag dash from my fridge the night before, I found myself with little time to knock up a dish to contribute, and a handful of vaguely usable ingredients to cook with.
Luckily, my boyfriends mum, Sasha, is a whizz in the kitchen and within minutes was cracking on with making a selection of vegan apple and cinnamon muffins (see image below) and a pile of delightful pastry cases. With renewed inspiration and finally getting in the street party spirit, I decided to make these quick and moreish vegan Thai Veg tartlets to bring along for my new veggie friends!
The pastry was amazing, and quite versatile; I’m certainly going to nab the recipe for future experiments. The filling was whatever I had to hand but it could work with any veggies – sweet potato, mushroom, aubergine – whatever you like best. The Thai flavours suit my palate but adding Mexican, Indian or even Italian herbs and spices would be delicious too!
A Massive thanks to Sasha for your pastry expertise and the ability to stay calm and cool in the kitchen – this was certainly a joint invention!
Vegan Thai Vegetable Tartlets Recipe
Makes approx. 24
For the pastry
- 8oz plain flour
- 4oz dairy free spread , e.g. Pure
- Pinch of salt
- Approx. an ounce of mixed seeds: pumpkin, sunflower or sesame
- About 2 tablespoons of cold water to combine
For the filling
• 1 Courgette
• 1 Red onion roughly chopped
• 3 sprigs of spring onion
• 2 Red Chilli’s
• 1 inch of ginger
• 1 red pepper
• Thumb sized chunk of hard pressed coconut
• 2 tomatoes finely sliced and halved
• ½ cucumber finely sliced and halved
• Drizzle of sesame oil (optional)
1. Begin by making the pastry. Add the salt to the flour and gently rub the fat into the dry ingredients until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, for extra ease, whizz together in a food processor.
2. Add the water to combine (continuing to blend or rub together) until you have a ball of pastry.
3. Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling…
4. Add the courgette, red onion and pepper to a roasting tray with a drizzle of rapeseed oil, and a little salt. Roast on 200 degrees for 20 minutes.
5. While the veggies are roasting cooking the patty cases:
- Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to the thickness you require
- Cut out circles of pastry using a 3″ pastry cutter
- Press the pastry circles gently in the patty time, prick the bottom of the pastry cases to stop the pastry rising up when you cook it
- Bake blind in a hot oven (200 degrees c bit less for a fan oven) for about 12 – 15 minutes ( depending on how thin/thick your pastry is – thin less : thick more – they should look slightly brown and firm to the touch) put aside on a wire tray to cool
6. Once slightly brown, add the roasted veg to a food processor with the chilli, spring onion, coconut, ginger and sesame oil. Bliz until the mixture creates a smooth paste.
7. Leave the mixture to cool before spooning Tsp. sized dollops to the pastry cases.
8. Finish off with a slice of cucumber and tomato.