I’m the first to admit to being a meat eater – I am an omnivore. I will eat, almost anything – or at least try it. I’ve always been adventurous, but as I get older, I’m delving more into vegetarian food and occasionally, into vegan.
The latter is difficult – it’s hard to find, or create vegan food for meat eaters. Our almost immediate mental response is to always compare it to a meat dish, or think ‘a little bit *insert meat/dairy option here* would make that perfect’.
However, there is one lady most definitely sweeping away those thoughts. Jackie Kearney, aka The Hungry Gecko, has travelled the world, and somehow manages to create vegan food that would satisfy even the pickiest meat eater. And she just happens to be a Manc.
She is now gifting those skills, those recipes to us. She’s written up some of her favourite recipes, along with the stories behind them and published her book Vegan Street Food – Foodie travels from India to Indonesia.
It’s here I must apologise to Jackie – I’ve had a copy of the book for months and still haven’t found the time to review it. So the review of this book WILL follow now I’ve a little more home kitchen time ahead of me. But just in case I (or indeed the rest of the Manchester foodie scene) wasn’t convinced, Jackie launched the book at Tampopo with a range of dishes that went to prove that vegan food can be incredible. The £20 price tag included a glass of lychee fizz on arrival, and a selection of her fabulous food.
From a soft buttery dal, with aubergine masala though to a spicy jackfruit rendang (it might look like pork and have a similar texture, but it’s totally vegan) that had a lovely lemongrass freshness to it, along with the heat.
Paired with the soft jasmine rice, it was totally addictive. (Side note, can someone please tell me where I can get some jackfruit in the city? I need it).
Textures abounded, Laos style lettuce cups offered a further fresh crunch, warm flaky roti bread too proved addictive as we dunked it in the Malaysian Dal, and occasionally into the earthy Vietnamese mushrooms.
In short, it was bloody delicious.
This evening was just a hint, a taste at what lies in the book, and I can’t wait to head back to the kitchen this weekend and cook up a storm.