Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Flan of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

Food MenuA little birthday trip for Phil saw us heading east towards the currently watery world of Somerset and what trip would be complete without a visit to one of our favourite cafes? Through the rain storms and random displays of that rarely seen thing called sunshine we travelled to reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Rainbows End Cafe is conveniently nestled among the book stores and otherworldly alternative shopping outlets that make the high street of Glastonbury the special experience it is.  It's a testament to its great quality, good value, healthy food that this family business continues to serve the community 25 years on from being Glastonbury's first and original vegetarian cafe.

It never disappoints and this time one particular dish hit the spot so much so that we were driven to try and recreate it upon our return.  The Mezze had caught my attention on this particular day.  With this option you can choose one of several savoury delights plus four salads and a bread.  The mushroom flan was my choice of savoury and it was a sublime choice with its creamy mushroom filling perfectly improved by the addition of crunchy cashews.  The only disadvantage was that Phil, who had chosen another tasty choice off the menu, was also starstruck by the flan and so kept helping himself. 

Upon returning home we just had to try and recreate it. We might not have done quite as good a job as Rainbows End but regardless it was pretty tasty.  As ever, I'm afraid our culinary creativity got in the way of precise measurements but don't be afraid; be bold, be creative and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow will be there if you just make it up as you go along!!  But as a guide we offer this - 

Mushroom and Cashew Flan

Shortcrust pasty (homemade if being good but shop brought if being lazy like us!)
Our effort!
Black pepper
Dried Oregano
Veggie Worcester Sauce
Soya Sauce
Ground almonds
Cashew nuts
Plain flour
Nutritional yeast flakes
Soya milk
Balsamic vinegar

Fry up an onion with a bit of garlic until softened and then add a pile of mushrooms and a few grinds of black pepper.  Add some veggie Worcester sauce, and a dash of soya sauce.  Cook until nicely softened and browned.  Add ground almonds, dried oregano and cashews and mix.  

Meanwhile (or after if you are no good at multi-tasking!) in a separate pan  make a vegan cheesy roux sauce.  If you are not familiar with the process here are the basics - heat oil in a pan and when hot add a bit of flour and the nutritional yeast until it comes together in a dough like fashion.  Cook this for about a minute and then add soya milk a bit at a time and keep mixing until the desired thickness of sauce is achieved.  Add a dash of balsamic to just give it 'an edge'.  

Add the mushroom mix to the sauce mix (or vice versa if you are feeling like being alternative!).  Have a taste.  Not bad huh?  Well just wait until you pop it into the pastry and cook it up!  If you disagree at this point in the recipe, well good for you - just add that little extra that only you know it needs.  

Roll out the pastry (feeling very pleased if you made it yourself) to fit a flan dish and then fill it with the luscious mushroom mixture.  Cook at about 200 degrees C for approx 30 minutes until nicely brown on top.

Enjoy!......and thank you Rainbows End Cafe for the culinary creative inspiration!

Rainbows End Cafe, 17b High Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, UK.  01458 833896

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