How to impress a guest with a shop dessert


Muesli with soya milk

Not a leisurely breakfast but a good, appetising dose of energy for the day.


Falafel and hummus tortilla wrap, mini chilli crackers, fruit bar, apple

A good vegan lunch courtesy of Tesco. Apparently they also do a hummus sandwich but I think the combination of going to small Tesco stores and often arriving late has prevented me from experiencing this yet.

Although I often go for crisps, I should probably point out that there are endless healthier sandwich accompaniments which are all perfectly animal-free. Mini chilli crackers are one of my favourites, but you can also buy rice coated peanuts (slightly addictive), wasabi peas and an infinite variety of dried fruits and nuts.


Gnocchi with sweet tomato and ginger sauce, summer vegetable salad, ginger ‘ice cream’

Gnocchi are an even quicker alternative to pasta. They’re essentially made from potatoes and flour, but they sometimes have egg in so it’s worth checking the packaging (the ‘allergy advice’ section gives you a clue). The ‘Trattoria Verdi’ brand in Tesco is definitely egg-free and I used a standard Italian sauce with an oriental twist.


Ingredients for gnocchi with sweet tomato and ginger sauce (serves 3):

– 1 pack of  gnocchi

– A splash of oil (e.g. rapeseed)

– 2 tins of tomatoes

– 1tbsp grated  root ginger

– 2 tbsp brown sugar

– A little mixed spice

– Fresh basil


1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a splash of oil.

2. Gently simmer the tinned tomatoes in a separate pan. Add the root ginger, sugar and a sprinkle of mixed spice.

3. When the  water has boiled, add the gnocchi and wait until they rise to the surface (this only takes a few minutes).

4. Drain the gnocchi but add the sauce to them. You may not need all the sauce and it’s best to avoid drowning the gnocchi. Add some fresh basil to garnish.

The summer vegetable salad could also make the base for a nice lunch, especially if served with some crusty bread. The courgettes could just be sauteed in a pan if you don’t have time for roasting.

Ingredients for summer vegetable salad (serves 3):

– 450 g courgettes

– A little olive oil

– 250 g peas

– 1 tbsp finely chopped mint


1. Preheat the oven to gas 6 (200 C)

2. Slice the courgettes, place on a baking tray, brush with a little oil  and roast for about 15 mins on either side.

3. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add the peas, bring back to the boil and simmer the peas until tender (only a few minutes). Drain and set aside.

4.  When the courgettes are ready, mix with the peas and mint.

It’s generally true that vegan food is cheap and easy to get hold of. Even vegan ice cream (the Swedish Glace brand)  is sold in supermarkets  at a normal price. That doesn’t mean that luxury products aren’t available though, and these don’t always make it to the supermarket. Once such product is Booja-Booja ice cream, made by the same people who do the delicious truffles (also at the upper end of the vegan chocolate market). The ice cream costs between £7-8 per tub, but this easily serves four and when you think of the price of four indifferent restaurant puddings…


The ginger flavour really is delicious; light, creamy and slightly firey. Not an everyday product but may be worth buying the occasional tub for impressing non-vegan dinner guests! You can buy it in some health food shops (not sure it’s a health food exactly) and on Ocado.






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