I met my dear friend Emma for a walk and a coffee the other day. We stopped off at Bijou in Rathgar, Dublin. The place was buzzing with people and the atmosphere was great. We were only going to have a coffee but after a quick look at the menu I decided to ask if the vegetarian brunch option could be veganised. I cannot tell you how delighted I was when I was told that it could be. I was served up two champ potato cakes, grilled asparagus, tomato, mushroom and some steamed spinach. It didn’t look like a lot on the plate but it was more than substantial for my first meal of the day. It came with a side of toast too but I couldn’t fit it in. It’s very rare that I can walk into a restaurant or bistro and not have to order chips and a side salad. I was so chuffed. The total cost for the dish and a coffee was €12.50. I’d be more than happy to pay this again and I’m looking forward to returning.
In the meanwhile I’ve rustled up my own version of this dish. I kicked off 2016 with this tasty brunch that I shared with my Dad. A great start to the New Year. What makes it such a success is the light seasoning and gently sautéed veggies. The mushrooms are cooked whole but you should cut them in half to eat so that you can savour each juicy bite. You can easily make the potato cakes from left over mash. They’d work so well with left over Dijon Mustard Mash too.
What you’ll Need: (serves 2)
- 400grm of boiled potato (makes 6 cakes)
- 3-4 scallions, sliced on the diagonal. Crunchy parts only.
- 1 tablespoon of Pure Dairy Free Butter
- 6 large chestnut mushrooms
- 6 large asparagus spears
- 1 or 2 large tomatoes, halves
- 3 cups of baby leaf spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- a little oil for sautéing
- If you’re using left over mash you won’t need the butter, just mix in the scallions. If cooking from scratch click here for mash method.
- Add butter and scallion to the mash and season well. Mix together. Allow the mash to cool before shaping into patties and frying on a non-stick pan with a little oil.
- While you’re potatoes are boiling clean and trim the mushrooms if they are closed and wash the asparagus. Place the spinach in a bamboo steamer if you have one, otherwise steam it separately. Sprinkle with some salt.
- Heat a little oil in a pan and add the mushrooms and asparagus. The asparagus should be wet from washing so it will create a sizzle sound and some steam. Place the bamboo steamer over the pan and cover with its lid. Add a little water here and there to create some steam but be careful that it is only a splash. This will also help cook the asparagus.
- On a separate pan cook the tomatoes in a little oil until browned on one side and heated through. You want it to hold its shape so don’t over cook.
- Cook until the asparagus is tender and the spinach has wilted. Remove from pan and dry with some kitchen towel.
- Serve up with a side of Ballymaloe relish or ketchup.
Share and enjoy!