For many of us those that have worked in Soho over the past few decades Mildreds – which originally opened on Greek Street in 1988 but now has branches in Soho, King’s Cross, Camden and Dalston – has been an institution. A bustling café selling the most delicious vegetarian food that was, and is, just as popular with carnivores as their meat-free friends. A couple of years ago founder Jane Muir along with chefs Dan Acevedo and Sarah Wasserman brought out the brilliant Mildreds Cookbook but now the team is back with Mildreds Vegan Cookbook (£25, Mitchell Beazley; www.octopusbooks.co.uk) which is packed with colourful, enticing recipes that never compromise on bold flavours.
The book is divided into brunch ideas including filling and nutritious porridge waffles with Bramley apple sauce, starters and soups, mains and bar-b-que before delving into many of the café’s steadfast favourites – bowls and salads. There are fantastic colourful and crunchy slaws including a zingy, fresh Wasabi slaw that’s our new favourite winter side dish (recipe below) and there are plenty of clever new salad ideas too including tamarind-glazed beetroot with baby spinach, salted pistachio and soya lebneh. Warming, rich curries have always been a mainstay and the aubergine curry, which was a long-standing favourite, has been revived from the Mildreds archives. It’s aromatic, unctuous and utterly delicious. This feels like the food you want to eat at this time of year – clean but comforting, healthy but never feeling anything less than tasty and indulgent.
This recipe comes from one of our head chefs, Agnes Wala, who
has previously been in charge of our insanely busy salad bar at
our Soho branch. The lovely crunchy texture of the wasabi peas
and the kick of the wasabi mayo make for an interesting twist
on a traditional slaw. It’s great served as a barbecue side or with
Drunken Tempura-battered Silken Tofu (see page 88) or the
Kimchi Burger (see page 110).
As an alternative to Chinese cabbage, you could use a
mild-flavoured green cabbage such as Savoy or white.
½ fennel bulb, trimmed
200g (7oz) Chinese cabbage,
½ Hispi (pointed) cabbage,
2 carrots, peeled
50g (1¾oz) bean sprouts
2 tablespoons sesame oil
100–150ml (3½–5fl oz) Wasabi
Mayo (see page 181)
80g (3oz) wasabi peas
6 spring onions, finely chopped
1 small bunch of coriander,
1 Shred the fennel and cabbages very finely.
2 Grate the carrots on the large-holed side of a box grater.
3 Toss the fennel, cabbage, carrots and bean sprouts together in
a large bowl and add the sesame oil and enough of the mayo to
coat but not smother.
4 Crush the vegetables with your hands a little so that they break
5 Crush the wasabi peas coarsely using a pestle and mortar or by
placing in a bowl and crushing with the end of a rolling pin or
similar blunt instrument.
6 Add most of the wasabi peas, spring onions and coriander
to the bowl, reserving some for garnishing. Mix through the slaw.
7 Top the slaw with the remaining crushed wasabi peas, spring
onions and coriander.