The joy of Vegan cooking

Journal & Recipes

Dr Brett Bard and chef Camilla Comins hosted a Vegan course for Cape Town based product developers. Our guests spent a half day sourcing and picking vegetables at Brett’s Tortoiseback Vegan Haven. A full day was spent in the kitchen creating wonderful vegan dishes, omitting sugar and gluten as well. This seemed like a challenge to the usual cooks but the chefs made it look so easy.


For lunch we served nachos with vegan ‘cheese’ sauce and faux gras (lentil paté), fennel, radicchio and grated celeriac and orange winter garden salad, spanish tortilla and crispy aubergine (bacon). The afternoon cooking session we prepared a root vegetable curry, Navratan Korma, apple and date chutney, coconut wraps and a Vegan panna cotta.


Vegan ‘Cheese’ Sauce


2 C potato
1 C carrot
1/2 C nutritional yeast
2 T lemon juice or 1T cider vinegar
1 t salt
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t mustard powder
1/8 t turmeric
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C water


Boil the vegetables for 20 minutes until soft
Add the other ingredients

Faux gras (lentil Paté)


2 T olive oil
1 shallot chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 pinch salt
2 C button mushrooms
2 t each of rosemary, thyme, sage
2 T cognac
2 C cooked brown lentils
1 C Walnuts toasted
2 T Tamari
2 T beetroot purée


Fry the garlic and shallot gently in olive oil.
Add the mushrooms and continue till cooked.
Add the herbs, salt, cognac, and cook for a further minute.
Remove from heat and mix with other ingredients (except beetroot) in a food processor.
Process till desired consistency is achieved then add the beetroot purée.
Place paté in a jar and top with vegan butter if desired. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.


During the course Brett guides you on the simple ways of following a vegan diet. He talks about different plant protein sources and how to incorporate this into your diet. He covers preparation tips, how to cook grains, with what to substitute eggs and how to ditch dairy.


Brett compiled great flavour tips to elegantly elevate the impact of ordinary food to marvelous mouthwatering morsels, restocking your pantry, using plant-based substitutes for all your cooking needs, and the secret to sensational salads.


“Strip away excess ingredients and you become aware of the true taste of what you are eating, and it is a simple and deeply pleasurable step to create delicious food by adding a hint of this taste or that to create amazing dishes.” Sybil Kapoor ‘Taste’


The secret to culinary success lies in juggling just five basic flavours. There are only five: sweet (as in sugar), sour (imagine vinegar), bitter (such as cocoa powder), salt and umami (the savoury taste in soy sauce). Umami is controversial, but it appears to increase our salivation and amplify our awareness of sweet and salty tastes.

SALT: salt, soy sauce, tamari, seaweeds

SOUR: lemon juice, verjuice, vinegars, sorrel, pomegranate molasses, tamarind

BITTER: radicchios, cocoa, coffee, mustard seeds and leaves

SWEET: dates, sugar, agave syrup, stevia, maple syrup, coconut blossom sugar

UMAMI: Savoury is the fifth ‘taste’ and one of the most important considerations in vegan cooking. To enhance savoury dishes add nutritional yeast flakes, miso, soy sauce, tamari, Bragg’s Aminos yeast extract (‘marmite’), red wine, liquid smoke, kala namak (black salt).

To learn more about Vegan cooking come and join our full or half day Anytime class or book a weekend  #cookandstay Vegan course.

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