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Vegan Fast Food: Saskia Sidey's 'Broke Vegan' Sequel

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Vegan Fast Food: Saskia Sidey's 'Broke Vegan' Sequel

Food stylist, recipe writer and Leiths alumna Saskia Sidey (Diploma class of 2018) wrote her first cookbook Broke Vegan during the 2020 lockdown with her newborn baby strapped to her chest, while her wife and co-creative Jo took care of photography. The follow-up Broke Vegan: Speedy is out now, providing heaps more plant-based, planet-friendly inspiration for dishes that can be on the table in under half an hour. We caught up with Saskia to find out more.

Why ‘Broke Vegan’?

“Vegan food gets conflated with wellness, with chia seeds, hemp hearts and worthy food. It really should be a lot more accessible than that. That’s why the book doesn’t contain any cheese or meat alternatives because they can end up racking up a hefty bill; the only alternatives are margarine and one dairy-free milk of your choice.”

What do you enjoy most about cooking vegan food?

“I like that it forces you to be a bit more creative. The old ‘meat and two veg’ is such a boring formula. It’s fun to be challenged by vegetables you haven’t seen before, think about flavour combinations and try to adapt traditional recipes to be vegan-friendly.”

What do you find most challenging about it?

“Baking. It’s always hard to replicate textures because of the lack of egg. And there are some chemical reactions with regular dairy ingredients that are hard to replicate, so it takes a bit more testing to get there. But when you do, it feels very satisfying.”

What would be your advice for those coming to plant-based cookery for the first time?

“Not to put too much pressure on it, and look to a cuisine that is naturally plant-based. It’s much easier to cook a meal from, say, South India or Thailand, as a lot of dishes are naturally vegan so you don’t feel like your compromising on a traditional dish. Don’t start off trying to make a vegan roast chicken because it’s going to end up being disappointing.”

What are your top three go-to ingredients?

“I use Marmite a lot for the depth of flavour that you would traditionally get with slow-cooked meat. I love white wine vinegar: a pop of acidity is always going to be the key to fixing a dish. And black beans. If you blitz them you can have an amazing texture for recreating meatballs; they’re lovely in chilli; you can do refried beans…They’re my favourite bean. It’s lovely if you can afford a few nice ingredients to stock your cupboards like miso or a good extra virgin oil but you can get so many amazing flavours with just the basics.”

Do you have a favourite recipe from Broke Vegan: Speedy?

“There’s a black bean meatball recipe which I make into a meatball sub. That’s exactly my kind of food: comforting, hearty, delicious.”

Broke Vegan: Speedy by Saskia Sidey is published by Aster (£12.99)

(www.octopusbooks.co.uk) Photography by Jo Sidey

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