Grains are a wonderful addition to the diet, both in terms of nutrition and providing variety and taste, as Deirdre Breen discovered after the first week of the ‘Vegan Cooking for Everyone’ course at Cooks Academy. Here are her initial impressions.
With a different cooking theme each week, first on the agenda was 'All About Grains'. Over the next five weeks Cornucopia’s chef James de Burca, who is a friendly approachable guy, will share his favourite recipes, in a bid to make vegan cooking easily accessible.
The food is fabulous and I already I feel inspired to be more adventurous. So, after the first week I cooked his pot barley and spelt with roasted carrots and leeks, as well as his quinoa with roast sweet potato and red onion and avocado dressing recipes (see above).
I also tried out another dish (pictured right) of spiced mushroom tamales....delish!All About Grains.”
Helpful tips from James de Burca:
• Check out the Asian Market on Drury St and Fallon & Byrne on Exchequer St for those elusive ingredients.
• Don’t be shy about asking health food establishments to order ingredients for you...it takes a little bit of organisation and planning but well worth it.
• It is now possible to order ingredients online.
• When cooking grains it’s better to soak them overnight as it increases their nutritional value by the release of phytic acid.
• Barley and spelt need good cooking - they're tough as hell!
• When using sesame oil it’s better to use the toasted rather than blended type.
• Remember soy sauce is not gluten-free, it is important to use tamari sauce if you are gluten-sensitive.
• Rapeseed oil has a higher smoking point, making it quite good for cooking in general.
So, what a lovely week it has been, eating beautiful and nutritious food! With a different cooking theme each Monday evening, I look forward to further recipes to be dished out by James over the next few weeks!