Market Tales No 2 – Let’s Go Vegan
Mushroom and Mouldy Goaty Bruschetta with a Land Cress and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
The Crystal Palace Food Market is full of amazing vegan produce and this has inspired me to write a very simple vegan recipe made with some of these truly standout ingredients.
I love all mushrooms, but the Shitake mushrooms from the Brambletye biodynamic farm stall are some of the best I have ever tasted. Ditto the vegan cheese from Palace Culture, it’s absolutely superb. Mirko is fast becoming one of this country’s outstanding vegan cheesemongers.
I discovered land cress last year at the Wild Country Organics stall and have been munching away at it ever since. It’s light, peppery and has a slightly more delicate flavour to watercress. Delicious.
The bread I’ve use for the Bruschetta itself is a brown sourdough from Bread Bread and it’s dense, chewy and absolutely packed full of flavour.
This is a dish of simple ingredients that make each other shine, and it makes the perfect post-market Saturday lunch.
- 4 cloves garlic Brockmans
- 1 50g bag of land cress – washed Wild Country Organics
- 1 mouldy goaty vegan cheese Palace Culture
- 6 tablespoons olive oil Elia Olive Oil/Mar de Olivos
- 1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice Brockmans
- 2-tablespoons of pumpkin seeds toasted Store Cupboard
- 2 big slices of brown sourdough Bread Bread
- 1 200g punnet Shitake mushrooms Brambletye Farm
- 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
- 1/4-teaspoon sea salt
- A few twists of black pepper
- A pinch of smoked sea salt
Pre heat your oven to 175⁰C/gas mark 4/350⁰F
The first job is to make the pesto; take 25g of the landcress, 2 cloves of garlic, the lemon juice, the smoked salt, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the toasted pumpkin seeds. Place them all together into a blender and pulse for a couple of minutes. If you don’t have access to a blender, a pestle and mortar will do the trick. If you like a ‘looser’ pesto, just add a bit more olive oil. These quantities will make a small jar that will keep in your fridge for up to 3 weeks. (It tastes great with lots of other things too.)
Now the pesto is made, finely chop the remaining 2 cloves of garlic and move onto the mushrooms. Your aim is to keep as many whole as possible, but you will need to chop the lager ones so that the mushrooms are all roughly the same size. This is so that they cook evenly. Combine the mushrooms with the garlic, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the salt and pepper and the balsamic vinegar and place them into a roasting dish in the middle of the preheated oven for 20 minutes at 175⁰C.
While the mushrooms are roasting; grill the slices of bread. I did this in a grill pan until the bread got those lovely bar marks. However, if you don’t have one, you can lightly toast them instead. When they’re ready, put each slice on a plate and drizzle with a little oil. Cut the vegan ‘goats cheese” in half, to make two portions, where a portion is half a cheese. Slice each of the halves into smaller slices and set to one side.
When the mushrooms are fully roasted, place half on each piece of toast, making sure to include the juices, as they are delicious. Now scatter the sliced cheese on top of the hot mushrooms, and notice how it starts to melt. Finish the dish by drizzling a big dollop of the pesto over the mushrooms and cheese, and using the remaining landcress as a final garnish.
Eat it all up. Yum.