Here at Positive Life, we have long been huge fans of the renowned vegetarian restaurant, Cornucopia. So when we heard they were releasing a new entirely vegan cookbook called The Green Cookbook, we just had to feature them in our Winter 2019/20 magazine! The article below appears in our ever-popular Short and Sweet section.
Delicious Dairy-Free Strawberry Torte
Intro & Recipe by James Burke, Vegan Chef at Cornucopia.
While I am writing this, I have no idea of what the coming season holds. One fact I do know, is that even if the weather doesn’t live up to my hopes, the locally grown strawberries surely will. I can honestly say that I have tasted strawberries from all over the world and none have I experienced like the softly sweet and luxurious berries that are grown outdoors during the Irish summer season.
In the past, I preferred fresh strawberries rather than heated or cooked ones. Nowadays, I have changed my thinking and it is all because of the food dehydrator. These magic machines gently remove a large amount of the water content, but none of the flavour or nutrients. Using 300 grams of fresh berries will leave the following torte a little soggy, but I need that amount for the maximum flavour. That is where the idea for drying them came from. For those who don’t have access to a food dehydrator, I have also included instructions on how to dry them in a regular oven. Otherwise, you can use freeze-dried strawberries in this recipe and they are available in whole or powdered form.
Strawberries, white chocolate and vanilla are an obvious combination of course, but the twist here is that this dessert is completely dairy-free. Traditional white chocolate contains cocoa butter, dairy milk, and sweetener so we use cocoa butter, coconut cream and agave.
It’s like summer in the form of a torte!
Image by Emma Loughran
By James DeBurca, chef at Cornucopia Dublin.
Salsa verde translates as ‘green sauce’, a very literal and descriptive name and a hugely popular Italian sauce that has
many uses and adaptations. Even more variations of green sauce can be found in the cuisines of Europe and Latin America. The ingredients that I believe all Italian style salsa verdes have in common are the ones included in the recipe below. The green herbs provide fragrance, the capers and garlic the pungency and wine vinegar or lemon the sharp tang, all brought together with a little olive or rapeseed oil. In this recipe I’m using it to dress a chilled potato salad, but let your imagination inspire you to use it wherever you deem perfect!
The baby vegetables in the photo were grown on Iona Fruit Farm in North County Dublin. While they’re a lot more expensive than ‘regular vegetables’, they have an added charm in that they are grown here in Ireland and have allowed independent growers to diversify. Donnacha Donnelly from Iona Fruit Farm explained to me that it was becoming very difficult to supply vegetables to exact specifications. The specifications required by major retailers are often to the detriment of the farmer. Donnacha now grows a lot of baby vegetables and has noted the benefits, as they can be harvested to less specific shapes and sizes, have a shorter growing time and lessen the workers’ exposure to the winter elements. The downsides are the extra time spent packing the vegetables and that is often where cost can creep up. The benefit to us is that we get to buy locally grown vegetables and eat more in tune with our environment.
Baby Potatoes and Purple sprouting Broccoli Salad dressed in salsa Verde with steamed baby Beetroot and Carrot (4 portions)
Ingredients for the salad:
- 1kg (6 cups) baby potatoes
- 500g (2 bunches) purple sprouting broccoli
- Ingredients for the Salsa Verde
- 120g to 140g (2 cups) soft green herbs such as parsley, tarragon, mint
- and basil
- 20g (2 cloves) peeled garlic
- 100g (½ cup) capers, drained
- 90ml (6 tablespoons) white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1.5g (¼ teaspoon) sea salt
- 180ml (¾ cup) cold pressed olive or rapeseed oil
1. Prepare the baby potatoes by chopping them into bite-size pieces. Steam or boil for 20-25 minutes, until tender, then set aside to cool for a few minutes. As the potatoes are cooking, you can use the time to prepare the baby vegetables, broccoli and the salsa verde.
2. Remove and discard the thicker stems from the broccoli and retain the florets and thinnest stems for the salad. The broccoli will only need to be steamed or blanched for 2-3 minutes then set aside to cool down. It’s best not to overcook the broccoli!
3. To make the salsa verde it is easiest to use a food processor or stick blender. Place the herbs, garlic, capers, vinegar/lemon juice, and sea salt into your food processor and blend the mixture to a smooth, bright green puree.
4. Slowly pour in the olive or rapeseed oil and continue to puree the sauce until all the ingredients are combined, and set aside until needed.
Ingredients for the steamed baby vegetables:
- 250g (12) baby carrots
- 320g (8) baby beetroots
1. Wash the beetroots and carrots well then leave them whole for steaming. The beetroots take 20-25 minutes to steam, the carrots need only 7-10 minutes. As the beetroots and carrots are best served warm, you can time the cooking so they are ready as you serve the potato and broccoli salad.
To assemble the salad:
1. Place the cooked potatoes and broccoli into a bowl and pour in the salsa verde. Mix gently so the vegetables are fully coated in the green sauce.
Divide the salad onto 4 plates and assemble the steamed baby vegetables around it to serve.