We are delighted to introduce our ‘Guest Vegan Bloke’. He is a PR consultant, writer and occasional university lecturer. Originally from Brighton, he lives in North London with his wife and four scarily grown-up kids.
There has definitely been a surge of interest in all things vegan. The number of vegan snacks, convenience foods, watering holes, and diet and lifestyle magazines that keep popping up proliferate. Greenwich Market now boasts a fully vegan food stall, and just across the street spa and juice bar My Detox Diet offers delicious vegan delicacies along with a range of natural health and wellbeing treatments. Pret A Manger has added a range of vegetarian and vegan options so it would seem that lots of normally cynical commuters who scoff on the hoof are demanding cruelty-free choices. Even Fabian, The F Club’s resident kitchen king, has plenty of vegan treat up his sleeves!
One of the biggest challenges for me has been making vegan cakes and desserts. That is, until I discovered aquafaba. There’s a backstory here, so cue the spooky dissolve and dramatic music. A couple of years ago, an American software engineer by the name of Goose Wohlt (seriously, the guy’s name is Goose) was experimenting with edible polymers. Now, I appreciate that that might not sound very enticing, but it does get better. Goose heard about a French chef who was using the liquid from cooked beans as an ingredient in a chocolate ganache recipe. Inspired to try it himself, Goose grabbed the first tin he could find in his cupboard, which turned out to be chickpeas. Instead of throwing out the liquid and eating the chickpeas, like most of us would, Goose saved the liquid, and began to whisk it with an electric beater. After four or five minutes, it began to form peaks. A few minutes more, and Goose had a bowl of stiff, white foam that looked exactly like the beaten whites of an egg. With a bit more experimentation, Goose got the foam to not just look, but act exactly like egg white in a range of desserts, from mousses to meringues.
The same effect, with slightly varying tastes, can be gained from the water in any type of tinned beans. Or simply take dried beans and chickpeas, soak them and cook them, and retain that water for the same use. It is incredibly cheap, extremely useful, and environmentally sustainable. What’s not to love