Friday 30 August 2019

Richard Buckley's "Plants taste better": Vegan recipe book

Plants Taste Better by Richard Buckley

Chef Richard Buckley has released his second recipe book Plants Taste Better, a beautiful hard back book with sophisticated vegan recipes.

Richard was raised a vegetarian and, after graduating with a 1:1 degree in English Literature, he set about studying vegetable cookery whilst working in a series of top vegetarian restaurants.

He is also owner/chef of one of the UK's top vegetarian restaurants, Acorn, based in Bath.  Having opened in 2013, it was awarded a MICHELIN Guide recommended status in 2019 for the second year running and their first year as a fully vegan restaurant.

His delightful 3 course set lunch menu is priced at £39.90 and features mains such as "one whole cauliflower cooked in various ways" - roasted florets, truffled puree, molasses pickled core & sautéed leaf, all served with almond milk croquetta infused with fenugreek & onion, spelt grain in a smoked almond emulsion & a tarragon oil.

On whether Acorn is purely for vegans, Richard says, "It is certainly a restaurant vegans can eat at with ease and it does and will continue to serve vegan food, because it’s good.  But I want it to be so much more than that, I want it to be a good restaurant and vegan is just a tiny part of a much bigger picture."

The following is an excerpt from his book.

Burnt Peaches recipe by Chef Richard Buckley. Photography is by Kim Lightbody.

Burnt Peaches
with prosecco sorbet and almond biscotti

"Peaches and prosecco are at the heart of a Bellini cocktail. However, it is a little sickly sweet for my taste. This recipe burns the sugars in the peach to give a more complex experience and uses a touch of lemon thyme to add a herbaceous lemony tinge. You need four hours for the sorbet to set and at least four hours for the peaches to macerate." - Richard Buckley 

Serves: 4
4 yellow-fleshed peaches, ripe but firm, halved and stones removed
caster (superfine) sugar
4 sprigs of lemon thyme

225g (8oz/11/8 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
225ml (7½fl oz/scant 1 cup) water
300ml (10floz/1¼ cups) prosecco
90ml (3¼fl oz/generous 1/3 cup)
lemon juice

75g (2¾oz/½ cup) almonds
100g (3½oz/¾ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
100g (3½oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
2.5g (½ tsp) baking powder
twist of grated nutmeg
zest of ½ lemon
50ml (2fl oz/scant ¼ cup) cold water

4 sprigs of lemon thyme leaves, picked

Slice a little off the back of the peaches to give a flat surface. Weigh the peaches and measure 20 per cent of their weight in sugar (for 500g (1lb 2oz) of peaches weigh 100g (3½oz/½ cup) of sugar). Put the peaches and sugar into a bowl and mix well.
Leave for at least 4 hours, or overnight in the fridge.

Make the sorbet. Put the sugar and water into a small lidded saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves, ideally without boiling. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, then mix in the prosecco and lemon juice. If using an ice-cream maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions then store in the freezer.

Make the biscotti. Preheat the oven to (fan) 160°C/180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a large baking tray (sheet) with non-stick baking parchment. In a blender, process half the almonds until coarsely crushed then mix with the whole almonds and the rest of the ingredients except the water. Add the water and bring together into a dough. Roll the dough into a log 4cm (1½ inches) in diameter. Place the log on the baking tray (sheet) and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until light brown. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then slice into 1cm (½-inch) slices.

Re-line the baking tray (sheet) and lay the biscotti out. Turn the oven down to (fan) 140°C/160°C/310°F/gas mark 2½ and put the biscotti back into the oven for 10–15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely – they should be hard and crunchy once cool. Place 3 biscotti in a food processor and pulse to coarse crumbs.

Remove the peaches from their macerating liquid and pat dry with kitchen (paper) towel. Line a large frying pan (skillet) with non-stick baking parchment and heat until searing hot. Add the peaches, cut side down, along with the lemon thyme. Cook until completely caramelized and burnt in appearance. Flip over and repeat on the other side. Remove from the heat and place 2 slices, cut side up, on each of 4 dessert plates.

Add a little pile of biscotti to each plate, scoop a large ball of sorbet on top, and add 2 biscotti. Scatter the thyme leaves over the top and serve straight away.

Signed copies of Richard Buckley's "Plants taste better" are priced at £25 and can be bought here.
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