MIX a pinch of Jamie Oliver’s enthusiasm, a spoonful of Joe Wicks’ social media savvy and a sprinkling of Ant & Dec’s double-act banter and what do you get?
Answer: Bosh! boys Ian Firth and Henry Theasby, who serve up delicious vegan meals to the masses.
With their take on classic meals — but made without meat — they have become the biggest names in plant-based food.
With three bestselling books and ITV’s Living On The Veg, the UK’s first fully vegan Sunday morning cooking show, Ian, 35, and Henry, 36, have helped make vegan food accessible.
And now we are in lockdown, they are hosting live cook-alongs to bring more inspiring recipes into our homes.
Every weeknight at 6pm the boys cook up a vegan meal from scratch while answering questions from anyone who tunes in to make dinner alongside them.
Ian says: “Food is such a sociable thing. Whether it’s eating out somewhere nice with friends, bonding over something delicious someone has cooked for you at a dinner party, or just sitting with the family and eating and talking together, it’s a bonding experience.
“Now, with so many of us isolating away from those we love and maybe struggling with the lack of social contact, food is something to celebrate.
It’s the centre of all the big events — Christmas dinner, birthday cakes, New Year buffets — so it holds lots of memories and comforts. That’s what made us want to start doing live cook-alongs.
“It’s one thing posting recipes, but if we can invite everyone into our kitchen, so we can cook together, eat together and enjoy food together, that can really mean a lot right now.”
The lads, who became internet sensations in 2017 after bursting on to the vegan scene, are isolating together at their house in Clapham, South London.
Henry says: “Lots of people say to us, ‘I really want to try vegan food but I don’t have time to start learning a whole new way of cooking.’
"But being in lockdown is a great chance to try some vegan dishes.” With their meals, the boys reinvent much-loved classics, leaving out any meat or dairy.
Ian says: “I think we all want home comforts like spag bol as well as guilty pleasures like takeaways.
"We’ve been focusing on these sorts of meals — food that makes you smile — and doing it in a vegan way.”
Henry adds: “People are thinking about their health a bit more right now, and wanting to get more nutrients through food, which is why plant-based diets are so great.
"Whatever your reasons, we hope you enjoy these exclusive recipes.” Here, we share some of the boys’ favourite dishes.
- Recipes From Bosh! and Bish Bash Bosh!, both by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby (HQ, Harper Collins).
Crispy chicken tofu
- 1 x 280g block firm tofu
- 150g cornflour
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 lemons
- 250ml orange juice
- 100g sweet chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp sriracha or other chilli sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 spring onion, to serve
- 1 tsp sesame seeds, to serve
METHOD: Press the tofu using a tofu press or by placing it between two clean tea towels, laying it on a plate and putting a weight on top.
Leave for at least half an hour to drain any liquid and firm up before you start cooking. Carefully slice the pressed tofu into 1cm-wide sticks and spread them out on a board.
Sift cornflour over the top, coating the pieces generously.
Use tongs or two forks to turn the pieces and sift over more cornflour until the tofu is covered on all sides – the thicker the better with the cornflour as this coating gives the cooked tofu its crunchy texture.
Pour enough oil into the pan to fully coat the bottom and heat until it makes the tip of a wooden spoon sizzle.
Carefully place the tofu pieces in the pan, with a bit of space around each one (you may need to cook them in batches).
TURN UNTIL GOLDEN BROWN
Cook for five minutes, turning the pieces every minute or so until they start to turn golden brown.
Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Tip away the excess oil in the pan and reduce the heat to medium-high.
Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the pan, catching any pips in your other hand (be careful as the pan may spit).
Add the orange juice, sweet chilli sauce, sriracha and soy sauce and bring to the boil.
Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Add the tofu strips back to the pan and stir until fully coated.
Continue to cook for five minutes (stirring regularly) then remove from the heat.
Finely slice the spring onion and sprinkle over the tofu along with the sesame seeds before serving.
Nice spice rice
- 100g kale
- 20g fresh coriander
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 5cm piece of ginger
- 1 large fresh red chilli
- 5 spring onions
- 1 red pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 25ml maple syrup
- 4 tbsp light soy sauce
- 80g baby corn
- 60g small asparagus shoots
- 80g sugar snap peas
- 80g sprouting broccoli
- 120g smooth peanut butter
- 30ml water
- 500g cooked basmati rice (shop-bought or pre-cooked)
- Sriracha sauce, to serve, optional
- Fresh lime, to serve, optional
METHOD: Place a wok on a medium heat. Chop the kale and coriander and set aside. Peel and finely slice the garlic and ginger.
Rip the stem from the chilli then cut it in half lengthways (remove the seeds if you prefer a milder flavour). Finely chop chilli and spring onions.
Cut the pepper in half and cut out the stem and seeds, then cut into bite-sized chunks along with the rest of the vegetables. Measure out the oils, syrup and soy sauce into saucers or small bowls ready to use.
Add the coconut oil to the wok and stir until melted. Add the toasted sesame oil and let it infuse into the coconut oil.
Add the garlic and ginger and stir them around for 1-2 minutes, until the ginger looks like it has begun to froth. Add the chopped chilli and spring onions and stir until the onions have softened.
TASTE & SEASON
Pour in the maple syrup and soy sauce and stir. Add the baby corn, asparagus and red pepper and stir for roughly a minute.
Throw in the sugar snap peas and broccoli and stir for another minute. Add the peanut butter and water to the pan and stir until all the vegetables are well covered.
Finally, add the kale and stir until it is slightly wilted. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Turn the heat down to low. Add the rice to the wok and fold it into the vegetables for two minutes.
Sprinkle over the coriander and briefly stir through. Serve immediately with wedges of fresh lime and sriracha sauce on the side, if using.
- 1 small red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 75ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 tsp salt
- 400g cherry tomatoes
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp red wine (or red wine vinegar)
- 1 litre boiling water
- 400g spaghetti
- Handful of black olives (we like Kalamata)
- Black pepper
- 20g fresh basil leaves
METHOD: Put a large saucepan with a lid on a medium heat and boil a kettle. To make the tomato sauce, peel and thinly slice the red onion and grate the garlic.
Pour the olive oil into the saucepan and add the sliced onion and salt, then fry for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for a further two minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir them around for two minutes, until the skins start to split.
Sprinkle over the chilli flakes and pour in the wine, stirring to coat the tomatoes. Pour the boiling water into the pan.
Add the spaghetti, let it soften and then move it around with tongs in the pan until it is well submerged. Put the lid on the pan, turn up the heat and bring to the boil.
Take off the lid and cook at a rolling boil for 10-12 minutes, moving the pasta in the water fairly often to ensure it cooks evenly (it’s easiest to do this with tongs).
When most of the starchy water has been absorbed by the pasta, taste to make sure it is cooked to your liking. Quickly slice the olives and stir them through the pasta.
Divide among bowls, drizzle with olive oil and grind over some black pepper. Garnish with the basil leaves and serve.
Loaded potato nachos
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tbsp garlic powder
- 1½ tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 700g Maris Piper potatoes
- For the toppings:
- 200g cherry tomatoes
- 100g pickled jalapenos
- 100g dairy-free pizza cheese
- 400g tin refried beans
- Green chilli guacamole, shop-bought
- Sour cream, shop-bought
- Salsa, shop-bought
- 10g fresh coriander leaves, optional
METHOD: Preheat oven to 180C. Put the olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix with a fork.
Cut the potatoes into 2.5mm-thick slices and add them to the bowl. Toss to coat evenly.
Spread the potato slices over baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown, swapping the sheets between the shelves halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature. For the toppings, finely chop the cherry tomatoes and jalapenos and grate the dairy-free cheese.
BAKE UNTIL GOLDEN BROWN
To layer up the nachos, cover the bottom of a lasagne dish with the potato slices. Spread over some refried beans, cherry tomatoes, jalapenos and dairy-free cheese.
Add another layer of potato slices and repeat. Keep going until you finish with a layer of nachos and a light sprinkling of cheese.
Cover with foil, then pierce it a few times with a fork. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, removing the foil halfway through, until the nachos around the edges of the dish are crisping up.
When the nachos are cooked, drizzle over the sour cream, spoon over the salsa and dollop over the guacamole. Sprinkle over the coriander leaves, if using, and serve immediately.
Chocolate chip cookies
- 250g dairy-free butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 85g dark vegan chocolate
METHOD: Preheat oven to 180C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put the dairy-free butter, sugar, vanilla extract and golden syrup into a food processor and whizz to a cream.
Pour in the flour, baking powder and salt and whizz everything together (you could also do all this in a big bowl with a wooden spoon).
Chop the dark chocolate into small chips then fold them through the mixture with a spatula until they are evenly spread.
Spoon walnut-sized pieces of the mixture on to the lined baking sheets, leaving 5cm between each ball of dough (you may need to cook them in batches).
Squash the balls to flatten them slightly (but don’t make them flat like pancakes).
Put the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes, swapping them over halfway through so they cook evenly.
When they are ready, the cookies should be golden around the edge but paler in the middle.
Take the baking sheets out of the oven but leave the cookies on them for 5-10 minutes to firm up a little, then transfer carefully to wire racks to cool.
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