Eat Your Greens

greeenbunchWhen you’ve been cooking vegetables for as long as and as frequently as I have it’s refreshing to come across something new. I think I must have had Chrysanthamum greens before in an oriental mix but never new what they were so I was intrigued to find them on the list of available produce from Blaencamel Farm – a fixture at Riverside Markets and one of my favourite suppliers.

Used across South Asia in stir fries, soups and salads, and sometimes referred to as chop sue greens in the Western world, these attractive leaves have a fragrant, grassy, delicate flavour with a touch of bitterness. I’m going to serve them on top of wasabi & spinach cakes with a tomato & miso sauce. Full menu for this weekend here.

Flower Power

nasturtium

A versatile weapon in the Herbivore kitchen, the nasturtium. Keeps blazing strong into the autumn when so many other plants have fallen by the wayside and is useful in many ways. This weekend the leaves and flowers are going to garnish the white bean and chard cassoulet: the warm pepperiness providing a sharp contrast to the smoothing sweetness of the sauce. Meanwhile I’ll be pickling the seed pods to use as a British version of the caper – little blasts of salty heat to pep-up autumn and winter dishes. This weekend’s menu here.

Back to School

tomato bowl

Suddenly it feels like autumn is here and this is probably my penultimate pick of ripe tomatoes from the greenhouse. Luckily – and I know this is a culinary heresy – I actually prefer green tomatoes: the flavour is so much more interesting and complex and they still have a lovely, jammy sweetness once fried.

That said, there are no tomatoes on this week’s menu for Herbivore at the Embassy Cafe. But you will find blackberries, apples, cobnuts and corn to usher in the change of season. Menu here

Summer Sunday Lunch

Having just posted about Herbivore not opening at the Embassy on Sundays in August, I’m happy to a one-off Summer Sunday Lunch Supper Club on the 20th August. £17.50 gets you four courses of creative, vegan, seasonal cuisine and you can bring your own alcohol and book a table at the time of your choosing form 1pm. Full menu here.

August Opening

Seeing as Cathays becomes a bit of a ghost town in the summer months we’ve decided to close on Sundays throughout August. This Saturday’s menu see the first picking of wild blackberries, a new noodle dish, brought to you by the letter “C”, and a return of last week’s masala bubble and squeak cakes with spiced aubergines – one of my favourite recipes cribbed from a battered old Madhur Jaffrey book. Full menu here.

Summer time

…and the cooking gets easier. So much good produce to choose from. The last of the gooseberries and blackcurrants from my garden. Padron peppers from Blaencamel. Courgette flowers, rainbow chard and green tomatoes from Field Days Organic. Full menu for the Embassy Cafe this weekend here.

Also, we’re now listed on the Happy Cow website: the go-to listings for vegetarian and vegan eateries around the world. Not that I’m saying you should leave a review…

Business As Usual

I couldn’t help noticing that the world european football kicking championship cup is taking place in Cardiff this weekend. Some people have advised me to stay in my mountaintop lair with plenty of tinned food, hot water and towels and wait for it to pass. Others have suggested i get ready for hordes of happy continentals hungry for reasonably priced, fresh vegetarian delights.

I’m going to choose the middle path: business as usual for Herbivore at the Embassy Cafe this weekend.

Hand Picked Menu

Chef Manuel & I have been putting our heads together and wandering the fields, hedgerows and shoreline to come up with a menu for our collaborative supper club coming up at the Embassy Cafe on the 19th of April.

Once you start looking there are so many different green shoots out there just waiting to be picked so it’s been a process of narrowing down what we want to use and trying to predict what will be ready for harvest at the Amelia Trust Farm, Blaencamel and Riverside Market Garden.

It’s still a bit of a work in progress but you can see the prototype menu here. We only have a few spaces left for this one so act quickly if you want to come  – email me: simon@theherbivore.co.uk

Herbivore 038: Hand Picked

Herbivore back in town to team up with Chef Manuel for a unique collaborative supper club. We’re going to be scouring the hedgerows and sea shore and engage in a bit of “pick your own” at some of our favourite farms and gardens to bring a special six course menu, all vegan, to the Embassy Cafe on Wednesday 19th April. Full menu to come soon but in the meantime we’re already taking bookings. It’s £25 per person with a small corkage charge for alcohol on the night. simon@theherbivore.co.uk

Spring!

A cold and grey day today, but it still feels like spring is on it’s way.  We’re just about to confirm a date towards the end of April for a collaborative supper club with Chef Manners, a very talented, Cardiff-based vegan cook. We’re going to base the menu around what we can go out and pick for ourselves – could be in the wild or from cultivated spots: my garden, allotment or Field Days Organics. A reconnaissance mission this week came up trumps as we found plenty of wild goodies bursting into life and bagged some lovely looking puple sprouting broccoli and rhubarb from Field Days and armfuls of sea beet and wild garlic from the wild. Take a look here to see how it’s going to be used on this week’s menu at the Embassy.

There will be no Cardiff supper club in March as I’m taking the show on the road and heading to Bollington, Cheshire for a kind of “greatest hits” menu. Bit far to travel for South Walians and it sold out very quickly anyway.