A VEGAN supper is required at short notice on a Friday that has turned surprisingly cold. The watercress and spinach will be welcome in a warming soup, and the avocados will also have to reappear in a different guise. The blueberries and strawberries are going to manifest themselves in a fruit brûlée.
To begin with, Potaje de garbanzos — which sounds more festive than “chick-pea soup” — for six people.
1 tin of chick peas
100g (4 oz) spinach or watercress
425ml (¾ pt) vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, crushed
paprika and salt
a handful of flaked almonds
a handful of dry bread, cubed
a few slivers of red pepper to garnish
Slice the onion finely, and fry it in olive oil. When the onion is tender, add the spinach or watercress, chopped finely, and add about ½ teaspoon paprika and salt to taste. Add the drained chick peas with about ¾ pint of vegetable stock, and the garlic, and allow them to simmer. Toast or fry the flaked almonds carefully. Cut the bread into croutons, and fry them till they are crisp, adding the red pepper at the last minute. Divide the soup into bowls, and just before serving toss in the almonds, peppers, and croutons.
Pasta with avocado sauce cannot be faulted as nutritious comfort-food. For six people:
500g (20 oz) uncooked pasta
2 cloves garlic, to taste
generous handful of fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons lemon juice and the zest
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
vegetables and garnish, for example, red and yellow peppers, black olives
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta. While it is cooking, peel the avocados, and assemble the vegetables that are to accompany the dish: roasted tomato halves with thyme and olive oil are very good with pasta, or chargrilled red and yellow peppers. Decide on something to add colour or texture as a garnish to your dish, such as toasted pine nuts, or sliced black Kalamata olives. When the pasta is nearly ready to serve, put all the sauce ingredients into a blender with a little water. Rinse and drain the pasta to reheat, and stir in the sauce to heat through without cooking it. Garnish, and serve straight away with your choice of vegetables.
Fruit brûlée can be made with any fruit you have available for a fruit salad, but have a tablespoon of pear or apple purée, and a tablespoon of brown sugar or coconut palm sugar ready for each person. Prepare the fruit in a bowl to allow the juices to run, and, just before you are ready to serve it, divide it between individual flame-proof ramekin dishes — with a dash of Cointreau or rum if you like. Heat the grill to maximum. Cover the fruit with the purée, and sprinkle the sugar on top. Put the ramekins on a baking sheet, and melt the sugar under the grill.