I've just returned from a fabulous trip to Krakow with my brother David. It's such a cool city, beautiful buildings steeped in history, lovely friendly people with so many bars and restaurants and its so cheap!
Well worth a visit!
After spending the previous week at Trigonos in Wales at a Vegan Cooking Retreat stuffing myself with the most delicious vegan food, thanks Lee! I didn't have high hopes of finding any decent plant based food in Krakow, a big meat eating country!
But I'm very happy to say I was wrong!
After a bit of research I discovered quite a few vegan restaurants and a few offering a decent selection of vegan food.
Our favourite was Krowarzywa Vegan Burger Restaurant, so good we went twice! Such a simple concept, they only sold vegan burgers, five different types with a choice of two rolls, 5 different sauces, all served with pickles, sprouted seeds and crisp organic salad leaves!
The restaurant was really busy both times we went, not surprising since the burgers were absolutely delicious and only cost about £2.75!
Admittedly David and I were the oldest there, the clientele was mostly cool student types! Although I did tell everyone I met in Krakow to go there!
They also had the most delicious chocolatey, fudgy vegan brownie which I had to sample twice, just to make sure it was as good as I thought it was, it was!!
So on my return I decided to make my version of those wonderful burgers. This is rather a long post since I decided to go the whole hog and make my own rolls too and vegan mayonnaise to go along with them and I have to say they were damn good!
Forgot to mention I discovered I really like gherkins, which are small lightly pickled cucumbers with dill which are delicious and add another flavour dimension to the burgers. They are fairly high in sugar and sodium but since you only need a few slices, I reckon they are well worth it. They actually contain fibre, are a good source of Vitamin K and have small amounts of other vitamins and minerals so there are a few benefits. I also served homemade sauerkraut with my burgers which is a great source of probiotics and sweet potato is a great source of food for gut bacteria so its a great prebiotic. So that pretty much covers all the bases! Some caramelised red onions and some lovely relish or beetroot slices and coleslaw would also be great accompaniments.
Had my good friend Elaine and God daughter Chloe over for lunch on Sunday and they declared the burgers the best they'd ever had!
I hope you try them, you can cheat and just buy rolls but the vegan mayo is well worth making, its delicious and so easy!
Happy cooking and baking.....!
SWEET POTATO ROLLS
I've made these rolls a few times and they are just lovely, a beautiful colour, lovely texture with a hint of sweetness from the sweet potato.
Admittedly making bread and rolls can be a bit time consuming and a bit messy, with sticky dough and flour everywhere (well maybe that's just me, I am a bit messy in the kitchen!)
Anyway its well worth the effort to make these and impress your friends and family. You need to allow an hour for the dough to rise and 30 minutes to bake them so it's a good idea to make the rolls first, then you can get on with the burgers and the mayo!
The next time I make these I'm going to use Laura's Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook!
Spelt flour tends to make the dough a bit stickier so although I needed the dough for about 10 minutes it was still a bit sticky so I just added a bit more flour and left it to rise. I left mine in the oven on a low setting and it doubled in size in about 45 minutes.
A good tip for kneading dough is to put a tiny bit of oil on your hands to stop it sticking to you! ( thanks Lee for that very useful tip!)
So here is the recipe
SWEET POTATO ROLLS
Makes 12 small rolls or 8 bigger ones!
SWEET POTATO & BEAN BURGERS
I have a bit of an obsession with sweet potatoes, I just love them. I mean what's not to love?
They are delicious, they are on the Clean 15 List so low in pesticide residues, packed with fibre, a great food source for our gut bacteria, great for our skin due to the high levels of beta carotene and offer anti inflammatory benefits too. They are also so versatile and simple to cook. In fact one of my favourite meals is a baked sweet potato with hummous and caramelised red onions with a big green salad!
Anyway I digress, back to the burgers! You may have guessed that one of the main ingredients is sweet potatoes! Kidney beans and veggies are the other ingredients with flavour provided by tamari, tahini, tomato paste, paprika, garlic and sea salt! I have made these burgers for so many people, they are one of the dishes on my Back to Basics workshop and I have yet to come across someone who doesn't love them!
I generally steam the sweet potatoes which takes around 10 to 15 minutes depending on how small you cut them up. If you are making the rolls as well then you can just cook all the sweet potato at the same time.
You can either use breadcrumbs or polenta, for a gluten free option.
The burgers are baked in the oven so no faffing around at the last minute with hot oil and a frying pan (not a good combination in my opinion!)
You can make these in advance and just keep them in the fridge or alternatively you can cook them and then freeze them. I often serve them with oven roasted potatoes with a few salads or steamed greens. They also make a great filling for pitta breads or wraps.
Here is the recipe
SWEET POTATO & BEAN BURGERS
Makes 8 medium sized burgers
I'm all for reducing waste so this vegan mayo recipe uses the bean water, which otherwise would be thrown away. Its known as aquafaba and has similar properties to egg, I've used it to make deliciously light and airy chocolate mousse, recipe here.
This mayo just tastes like standard mayonnaise and is great for vegans or those with an egg allergy. I added crushed garlic and some mustard to mine which gave it a delicious flavour and it was so creamy. I used my hand blender and a jug and just gradually added the oil to slowly emulsify it, as you would do with normal mayonnaise. Don't be tempted to add all of the oil at once as it probably won't work and you'll be left with a thin oily dressing instead of thick, creamy mayonnaise!
Wee point to note, if you cook your own beans and chickpeas and use bicarbonate of soda in the water, that liquid won't work in this recipe.
Lee tried it on the retreat and it didn't thicken. Also sometimes the liquid from tinned beans can be a bit thin, you really want it the consistency of egg whites. All brands are different but I've tried beans from Lidl and Asda and they have been fine.
Here is the very simple recipe!
Makes about 3/4-1 Cup
Our lovely burgers from Krakow!
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