Video: Keeping it Vegan with Dubai-based chef Athena Matheou
Going Vegan is becoming increasingly popular as a health trend
BBC Good Food Middle East and Miele UAE brought together a delightful little event to brighten up the end of the working week! The morning turned afternoon pleasantly preached VEGAN GOODNESS, showcasing the handy chef work of Athena Matheou, vegan chef at "Super Natural Kitchen" Galerie Lafayette Dubai Mall and an up and coming little celebrity in the hospitality vegan world.
Going Vegan is becoming increasingly popular not just as a health trend but subsequently through many of us seeing the dramatic health benefits of avoiding animal based products.
Although being vegan isn't exactly compatible with traditional cuisines that are prominent in Dubai, Athena gave a cooking demonstration that amplified the ease and importance of cooking vegan at home. Whilst paying focus to taste and flavor the menu really highlighted "vegan glory" and emphasised the values of eating and being vegan, that the Middle East hasn't quite grasped in its entirety as yet.
It was interesting to hear about her turn in life to veganism and the impact it had on transforming her life overall. From long term eye sight complications and a supposedly untreatable endometrioses, this gorgeous young lady now shines in front of us as she prepares a three course vegan taster menu for us all to try. It is almost hard to believe when she says "Six months as a vegan and I was completely cured, even though I was told that endometrioses was untreatable and I would just have to learn to cope with it. Going Vegan saved me"
Cheese seemed to be her biggest weakness when making the switch. Not to mention that supermarket brands of cheese style cheese were just almost inedible due to the foul flavour. A lover of "Macaroni and Cheese" from childhood is what drove Athena to make a sauce that really tasted like cheese but officially does not contain any dairy product. Using a head of cooked cauliflower, garlic cloves, steamed carrots, water, miso paste, natural yeast, salt and pepper, Athena found her longing desires back on the plate over Macaroni.
We were also served Ricotta cheese with figs and beetroot.. Ricotta is cheese you say? My thoughts exactly until I see blanched almonds blended with water, strained and then seasoned with salt, pepper and squeeze of lemon juice. and you know what? the consistency is exactly the same as Ricotta only just not as creamy. However deliciously satisfying.
Athena indirectly stated that "finding alternatives is the key to keeping the switch from your normal diet. We can cut things out but im sure like me though's certain cravings creep back in."
What's your craving? . could you find a vegan alternative for your favourite that tastes similar?