How to make an edible sculpture in 5 minutes

Breakfast

Maple & pecan crisp cereal with soya milk

I really do eat this type of cereal far too often. It reflects an incurably sweet tooth, not a lack of readily available vegan cereals!

Lunch

Peanut butter and grape bagel, crisps, fruit

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Peanut butter is so versatile. As well as being a great filling in its own right, you can create very different effects by combining it with various types of fruit and veg:

-Grated carrot and peanut butter is a tasty combination

-Slices of tomato are a nice juicy addition to a peanut butter sandwich

-The peppery flavour of watercress contrasts nicely with the saltiness of peanut  butter

-Grapes add a combination of sweetness and juiciness to a peanut butter sandwich

Dinner

Mediterranean tagliatelle, banana and watercress salad. Dessert: Vegan jelly sculptures!

This is a quick pasta dish with a great Italian flavour. Nice to eat in the garden on a summer evening (although tonight was wet, windy and chilly). The peppers and courgettes are not the cheapest vegetables, but you can save a few pennies by opting for a ‘value’ range of tagliatelle (less likely to contain egg) and olives in a jar.

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Ingredients for Mediterranean tagliatelle (serves 3):

-250g tagliatelle

-1 onion

-A little vegetable oil

-2 peppers (but not green as they taste different)!

-2 courgettes

-1 clove of garlic (crushed)

-1 veggie stock cube

– Grated zest of 2 lemons (use the finer side of a cheese grater)

-1 jar black olives

-Fresh herbs if possible (e.g. basil or parsley), if not some dried herbs will do

Method:

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Meanwhile, chop the onion and dice the courgettes and peppers

2. Place the tagliatelle in the pan of boiling water, add a splash of oil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan and sautee the onion until it goes semi-transparent, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and veg and sautee for another few minutes, again stirring often.

4. Crumble the stock cube over the veg and add a good splash of water. Allow the veg to simmer until it becomes tender- (about 5-10 minutes). Stir frequently and add just enough water to keep it moist but not enough to create a lot of excess liquid.

5. While the veg is simmering, rinse the olives and add to the pan along with the herbs and lemon zest.

6. You may want to serve the veg and tagliatelle separately, as I find it’s quite hard to ensure that everyone gets the right balance of veg and pasta when the dish is served as a whole.

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Banana and watercress salad is something that just has to be tried! The combination of sweet banana and peppery watercress is hard to beat and it couldn’t really be any quicker. Simply add a chopped banana to a packet of watercress and it’s ready.

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Dessert is where the super-quick sculpture comes in. You can get all sorts of creative jelly moulds, and vegan jelly is now easy to find in shops like Holland & Barrett. It sets much quicker than gelatine-based jelly and is much lighter too. There are instructions on the packet but here’s a quick guide anyway:

1. Pour the jelly crystals into a measuring jug and make the mixture up to 1 pint (about 570 ml).

2. Stir until the crystals dissolve, then pour into your mould. Leave the jelly to cool slightly, then place in the fridge. I usually make jelly at lunch and leave it set during the afternoon, but I suspect that a couple of hours would actually be plenty.

3. Before attempting to turn out the sculpture, place the base of the mould in a bowl of hot water (without allowing the water to touch the jelly), then run a knife around the edge of the sculpture. Turn it upside down onto a flat surface and shake gently/squeeze the sides/tap the mould until the sculpture emerges safely. Beware though, the jelly has a tendency to melt so needs to be eaten fairly quickly 🙂

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Today’s effort is a cat and kitten, although I believe the ‘kitten’ mould was technically a mouse.  Maybe a useful recipe to impress young guests, or just a bit of animal-friendly fun for grown-ups!

 A close up of the cat!


A close up of the cat!

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