When Nina Parker switched to a predominately vegan/vegetarian diet she found her dishes lacked flair. Scouring the world for the most delicious, punchy sauces led her to write a new cookbook, Saucy (published 18 November 2020). It’s just what we need to give us some fresh, healthy inspiration in the kitchen to see us through lockdown. Nina has kindly allowed us to share these three recipes, and you can buy the book here.
Noodle Salad, Greens, Teriyaki and Spicy Cashews
I encourage you to make a batch of the spicy cashews to sprinkle over salads. They really light things up and provide some good texture. Combined with the teriyaki, it all speaks for itself! (Vegan / GF) Serves 2.
200g cooked soba noodles/brown rice (these work well served cold)
160g silken tofu, sliced
3 handfuls of spinach, chopped
2 handfuls of coriander, chopped
80g edamame beans (I used frozen)
100g broccoli, blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes
For the teriyaki sauce:
9 tbsp soya sauce
9 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 level tsp sugar (you need this much to balance with all the salt and ginger)
2.5 level tbsp grated and finely chopped ginger
1 garlic clove, grated
For the spicy cashews:
5 tbsp sunflower oil
3 pinches of dried chilli
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Boil a kettle and add the edamame to a bowl. Then pour the boiled water over the bowl. Leave for a couple of minutes and then drain.
Prep the other vegetables.
Add the cashews to a frying pan and set onto a high heat. Let them colour on one side for 30 seconds or so and then add the sunflower oil, sesame seeds, salt and chilli. Turn down the heat a little and allow everything to mix and infuse together. Remove when the cashews are lightly golden and try not to do burn the sesame seeds. Roughly chop a few handfuls for the salad and store the rest in a jar for another day.
Put the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce in the same frying pan and bring to the boil and then simmer for 1 minute and. Then remove from the heat. It should be quite punchy.
Assemble the salad and drizzle over the teriyaki and chopped cashews on top.
Tiger Bite Fish
I first had this Thai sauce in a takeaway from one of my niece’s school teachers turned caterer, Miss Mimi. She served it with chicken and noodles and the sauce did the talking. This is a really easy dinner to prepare for a small crowd as you prep the sauce before and a whole roast fish is far more forgiving than a roast fillet. You could slather it over breakfast eggs or even spread it on an open baguette with more chilli like my brother, Christian. This sauce recipe makes enough for an extra meal or two. Serves 4.
2 whole sea bream
1 lime, sliced
Small bunch of coriander
3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
Salt and pepper
For the tiger bite sauce:
400g cherry tomatoes, halved
7 tbsp vegetable oil / neutral oil
1 Thai chilli
6 shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
2 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
Zest and juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
20g bunch of coriander including the stalks
Preheat the oven to 220 C degrees on the grill setting. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and add the cherry tomato halves. Drizzle over two spoons of vegetable oil, salt and pepper and put under the grill for 12 minutes. Then add the chilli and grill for another 5 minutes. They should have roasted and charred a bit. Remove from the oven and add tomatoes to a blender including half of the chilli.
While the tomatoes are cooking, you can finish the sauce. Set a frying pan to a medium to high heat and add three tablespoons of oil. Then add the shallots and turn the heat down to fry for ten minutes. Then add another two spoons of oil, the garlic and anchovies and allow the fish to melt into the oil. This will take two minutes. Scrape into the blender and add the fish, oyster sauce, lime zest, juice, vinegar and coriander. Blend to a smooth consistency and taste to check how spicy. Blend in the other chilli half if needed and then scrape into a bowl. Taste to check the seasoning add in salt and pepper if needed.
When the tomatoes are done, set oven to 200 C degrees fan. Using the same baking tray and paper add in the bream. Fill the fish’s cavity with lime and coriander. Drizzle over with sesame oil, salt and pepper and place into the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the skin has just started to blister. Fillet fish and serve a generous helping of tiger bite sauce on the side with extra lime, green salad and roast potatoes.
Dark Chocolate Vegan Cake
This base is very easy to get right as you don’t have to do any folding. You just throw it all together! I am seriously into my chocolate so you can rest assured that you will get a proper chocolate hit with every mouthful. Many vegan recipes suggest using vegan butter for the icing but I prefer the creamy texture that you get from soaked cashews and coconut cream. Vegan / GF. Serves 12.
300g sunflower spread
300g unrefined caster sugar
260g almond flour/ground almonds
70g gluten-free flour
1 level tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda powder
80g raw cacao powder/dark coco powder
200ml unsweetened soya yoghurt
6 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp almond extract
3 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
For the chocolate icing:
210g cashews, soaked overnight or in newly boiled water for 15 minutes
300ml tinned coconut cream, stored in the fridge for 1hr. (Make sure you weigh out the separated cream and discard the water.)
90g raw cacao powder or dark coco powder
250g unrefined icing sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp amaretto
50g freshly grated dark chocolate for garnish
Preheat oven to 180 degrees fan and grease two 9 inch cake tins lining with baking parchment.
Start by making the cake and add the sunflower spread and sugar into a mixing bowl and use a handheld whisk to cream together for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Weigh the almond flour into a large bowl and add the salt. Sieve in the gluten-free flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and cacao powder. Mix together! Then in a smaller bowl stir together the soya yogurt, almond milk, vanilla and almond extract. Carefully add a third of the dry mix to the whipped sunflower oil sugar until fully incorporated and continue adding a third at a time. Then pour in the yogurt mix and use a wooden spoon to hand mix this into the cake batter until just combined and you should have a smooth thick batter. Do not over mix! Divide between cake tins spreading the batter evenly over to the edges of the tin and bake in the middle of the oven for about 33-35 minutes. The cakes should have risen a little and should be coming away from the sides of the tin. A skewer inserted should come out nearly clean and they should be a little springy to touch. Leave to cool completely before turning out of the tins.
While the cakes cool you can begin with the icing. Drain the cashews from the water and weigh out to 250g. Place nuts into a blender mixing until they have blended into a paste. This will take about 2-3 minutes and you might need to scrape down the side of the machine once. Scoop out only the coconut cream from the tin to weigh and discard the leftover water. Add the cream to the nut paste along with the rest of the ingredients and blend until just combined. Store icing covered in a cool dry place until needed but not in the fridge as it will go too hard.
Remove the baking parchment from the cakes and ice both tops before carefully laying one on top of the other. Generously grate over with more chocolate and I also ran a sharpe knife over the chocolate to create a few larger flakes. This cake will keep for 2 days.
Saucy by Nina Parker, published 18 November 2020. £13 available to order here.