We are always excited to meet food lovers in North Wales, and Lee Watson from the brilliant blog Beach House Kitchen is no exception.
Living most of the time in stunning Snowdonia, but often travelling and being influenced by cuisines the world-over, makes sure his food is always varied and vibrant. Being a committed vegan means his new book, Peace and Parsnips, uses fresh produce to create meat and dairy free dishes that are varied, nutritious and utterly delicious. As well as making top-notch food, he is also an all round top guy.
Here we chat breakfast and nutritional yeast flakes…
WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST THIS MORNING?
A pint of carrot, apple, ginger and turmeric juice followed by a panad.
WHERE DO YOU GO OUT TO EAT?
Being vegan can limit your eating out options a little! We tend to have date nights at home, get dressed up in our glad rags and cook up a veggie feast. Having said that, we had a great meal at Dylan’s new place at Criccieth this week. Amazing location and a top vegan pizza (with an array of mushrooms and asparagus instead of cheese). We also have lunch in the Kyffin Cafe in Bangor regularly, Jo does a brilliant mezze plate and daily specials, her monthly supper clubs are always a treat.
WHAT’RE YOUR THREE FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS?
Basil – probably my favourite herb and we have loads of it growing in the Trigonos poly-tunnels (the retreat centre were I cook). I even use it in desserts, like the ‘Mango and Basil Compote’ in Peace and Parsnips.
Nutritional Yeast Flakes – are a cheesy vegan friend. They do look a little like fish food, and cats love them, but they add an incredible savoury edge to dishes and are definitely something a bit different.
Asparagus – They are so precious at this time of year and a perfect expression of how important and sensational seasonal produce is.
WHAT DOES HALEN MôN GO BEST WITH?
It goes well with anything I’ve found! But I love the Vanilla Salt with anything Dark chocolaty, I also like the Chilli and Garlic or Organic Spices with fresh popcorn and a little rapeseed oil.
WHAT’S YOUR GUILTY FOOD PLEASURE?
I’m not a huge fan of guilt really but I have just scoffed two slices of Chocolate and Beetroot Brownie. I now feel quite excitable! I also like to eat vast amounts of roasted cashews.
WHERE DO YOU THINK IS AN EXCITING FOOD SCENE OR CITY?
London is always a good place to start, especially the pop up kitchens around Brixton. There is also loads of interesting street food markets at the moment. Pulled Jack Fruit tacos etc. I’m heading over to California and New York next year and that is a hugely exciting prospect for a vegan. I’m going to cook and eat, eat and cook, and generally get utterly inspired.
DESCRIBE WALES IN 5 WORDS
Friendly, Historic, Music, Poetry, Mountains……
WHAT’S THE MOST UNDERUSED INGREDIENT?
Parsnips For obvious reasons. Also, nettles, wild garlic, elderflowers, dandelion leaves, sorrel, rose hips……all the things that are free and grow everywhere are too often overlooked. Seaweed is surely the next big thing!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COOKBOOK?
Probably one of Denis Cotters, his flavour combos and techniques are always interesting. He’s also a good writer with loads of knowledge to share. The Happy Pear Cookbook is a great read and they are top guys. Promoting super healthy, wholesome, delicious veggie food. Vegan wise, over the pond you have many vegan superstars and there is so much vibrant creativity over there when it comes to plant-based food; Isa Moskowitz is a very cool cookie. I also just bought Jane, Aine Carlin’s ‘Keep it Vegan’, for her birthday. It’s packed full of easy to follow, super tasty vegan recipes.
Illustrations: J Lea-Wilson
Photo: taken from the brilliant Peace and Parsnips