A Late
Summertime
Menu

Summertime is ending, but the weather still calls for light meals to be enjoyed under a tree or on a terrace. As September enters the scene, we begin to sense autumn feelings in the air calling for healthy yet warm, nourishing food.

 

Here we propose a three course meal with just that in mind, the freshness of a ripened summer, showcasing the produce that is our best pick for this month: earthy beetroots, tender courgettes, spicy watercress, juicy stone fruits and aromatic edible flowers. This menu fits well for a nice weekend brunch to enjoy outdoors, with a light starter and main course followed by a fulfilling cake for dessert.

The help of a mandolin for these recipes is preferable but a very articulated hand and sharpened knife will do. Having a mandolin at home though helps explore creativity when chopping fruits and vegetables.

Our recipes are created with home-made vegan ingredients but easily adaptable for vegetarian options and/or ready-made ingredients.

Bon appétit!

Menu

Beetroot carpaccio with watercress and hazelnut cheese

Courgette rondelli with tofu ricotta, walnuts and oil-free béchamel

Walnut, apricot and lavender cake

Beetroot carpaccio with hazelnut cheese 

Ingredients

For the carpaccio
  • 1 Beetroot
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Coarse sea Salt
  • Baby watercress or mint, or both
  • Balsamic vinegar (or some other good vinegar, aged for example)
  • Olive oil

For the hazelnut cheese
  • 2 cups raw peeled hazelnuts
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 teaspoon probiotic powder or 1 tbsp soya yoghurt

Directions

For the hazelnut cheese

If you have the time and would like to have a cheese-like taste, start crafting the hazelnut cheese at least 2 days in advance, following the steps below. If you don’t have too much time, you can still enjoy a delicious hazelnut cream only following the first step. Alternatively, you can use ready made vegan or non-vegan cheese such as feta, goat or blue cheese.

 

  1. Start in advance soaking the hazelnuts for 6-8 hours. Alternatively, for a speed-up version, boil the hazelnut for about 20 minutes. Drain, give them a wash and blend with 1 cup of water, then add the probiotic powder or soya yoghurt in a high speed blender, adding a little more water if necessary to achieve a smooth, creamy texture. Try to add as little water as possible to create a firmer cheese.
  2. Line a small colander with cheesecloth and pour the cheese batter into it to drain the excess liquid.
  3. Fold the cheese and place in a warm place to ferment for about 2 hours with some weight on top, like a cup of grains, pressing out the excess liquid.
  4. Continue fermenting for a total of 8 to 12 hours or until the cheese reaches a pleasant “cheesy” flavour that suits your taste. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the carpaccio
  1. Wrap the whole beetroot washed and seasoned with a teaspoon of coarse salt, thyme and rosemary in an oven-proof paper (without removing the skin). Cook in the preheated oven at 180ºC oven for approx. 45 min.
  2. After cooling off, slice with a mandolin into very thin slices and place into a bowl. Season with olive oil and vinegar to taste. Let it marinate for an hour then spread the slices on a large plate.
  3. Pick the baby watercress leaves and mint leaves and spread on top, the more the better.
  4. Make balls of hazelnut cheese, throw over with more of the marinade liquid and finish with crunchy toasted hazelnuts.

Courgette rondelli with tofu ricotta, walnuts and oil-free béchamel 

Ingredients

For the cannelloni
  • 4 courgettes
  • Olive oil as needed
For the ricotta
  • 250g firm tofu
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tamari sauce
  • 30g spring onion
  • 30g parsley
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1⁄2 ground black pepper

For the béchamel
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 250ml water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1⁄2 onion
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

For the gratin
  • Melting vegan cheese and/or
  • Breadcrumbs seasoned with dried herbs, salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Start slicing the courgette lengthwise with the help of a mandolin (2mm thick). Brush with a little olive oil and set aside.
  2. Heat a grill or a frying pan and, once it is hot, cook the courgette slices one by one, turning them as soon as they brown on one side. Repeat on the other side and reserve.
  3. For the ricotta cheese, remove excess water from the tofu block, place in a large bowl and mash it with the help of a fork. Add the flax flour. Finely chop all fresh ingredients and add them to the tofu. Now just season with olive oil and lemon, tamari and spices and reserve.
  4. Heat the oven at medium-high temperature, 180-200ºC depending on the power. Put the nuts to toast in the oven for about 10 minutes. After toast, chop them and add the ricotta mixture.
  5. The last step is to perform the bechamel. Put the water and oats in a blender to make a milk, which will be the basis of our bechamel. In a saucepan, add this milk with half an onion for flavour and spices and let it simmer until you get a cream. Do not let it thicken too much as it will still reduce when put in the oven.
  6. Fill the slices of zucchini with the ricotta making small rolls and place them in the pan. Drizzle the bechamel on top, until it almost covers the rondelli, and cover with grated vegan cheese or spiced breadcrumbs.
  7. Place it in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, or until it’s bubbling and gratin on top. If you have a grill oven, you can turn it on at the end for a few minutes and let it slightly burn on top for extra flavour. Serve it with some more chopped walnuts on top.

 

 

Apricot, walnut and lavender cake

This recipe is a vegan adaptation from the book Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Ingredients

  • 12g ground flaxseeds
  • 160ml water
  • 185g unscented coconut oil or good quality vegan butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 220g superfine sugar
  • 120g ground almonds
  • 120g ground walnuts
  • 90g all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1½ teaspoon lavender flowers, fresh or dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 600g (about 15) apricots, halved and pitted

For the icing
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • For the caramelised walnuts
  • 50g whole walnuts
  • 1tbsp maple or agave syrup
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 170ºC. Line the base and sides of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and lightly butter the paper.
  2. Mix the ground flaxseeds with the water and reserve.
  3. In a bowl, mix vegan butter or coconut oil with the walnut oil, sugar and almonds and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flaxseeds mixture then fold in the walnuts, flour, vanilla, lemon zest, a teaspoon of lavender flowers and salt.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and arrange the apricot halves skin side down and slightly overlapping all over the top of the cake.
  5. Bake for 70-80 minutes, it takes a long time to cook the centre of this cake. Cover with foil if the top starts to brown too much but note that when you insert a skewer to test, it will come out a little sticky because of all the moisture in the apricots.
  6. For the icing, whisk icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a light, pourable texture. Let the cake cool then drizzle the icing over the top.
  7. With the oven still on, mix the whole walnuts with the syrup of your choice and sea salt. Toast in the over for about 10 minutes. Remove, wait until cool down and decorate the cake with them also sprinkling a few lavender flowers.

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