Learn how to cook vegan delights as plant based revolution comes to the Peaks

Over the last seven years, Hartington’s in Bakewell has earned a deserved reputation for putting on some of the best cookery courses in the region thanks in no small part to their devotion to getting the very best in the business to deliver them.

By Dan Hayes
Sunday, 16th June 2019, 6:35 pm

This is certainly the case with their newest course - a first foray into uber-trendy vegan or ‘plant-based’ cuisine - delivered with the help of self-styled ‘plant-pusher’ Gian Bohan of Sheffield restaurant, Shed.

Gian, formerly of Nonna’s on Ecclesall Road, says he came to plant-based cooking primarily through a desire to eat more healthily, and, after he went on a ‘really deep’ plant nutrition course, announced to his somewhat surprised wife he was now a vegan.

“There are lots of really confusing messages about food,” says Gian.

Carl Sooki and Gian Bohan from Shed.

“So I thought if I really want to go down this path I need to know more. The core of any healthy diet is plants, and we want to inspire people to eat more of them.”

Of the group of 10 people on the course, the majority were either totally or somewhat vegetarian, with only a few - including me - being totally vegan.

After Gian’s partner Carl Sooki demonstrates the blender and two smoothies, our first creation, ‘Overnight Oats’, is the first chance the group have to appreciate the duo’s guiding principle of using whole grains in cooking wherever possible.

This supremely simple dish - which includes oats, a plant milk, chia seeds and maple syrup - is designed to be left in the fridge overnight and provide an intense but healthy energy boost to keep you going all day.

Shed's 'Aztec bean pot'.

For lunch Carl demos a seriously delicious ‘Aztec bean pot’ with butter and black beans, sweet potato, sweetcorn, coconut milk and spinach. Presented on a bed of red rice, the stew is simple but stunning and something I’ll definitely make again.

In the afternoon we then make ‘Strawberry Fields’, a ‘cheesecake’ made with silken tofu that tastes like a really healthy Angel Delight, and a wholewheat couscous with broccoli, lime and coconut.

And to finish off the dish we will take away with us we create a zingy cannellini bean, fennel and orange salad, a kohlrabi and carrot slaw and a pea, mint and walnut pesto.

The final dish - which Gian and Carl presented to us in the kitchen and I devoured later that day - is comfortably the healthiest thing I have ever eaten and contained more ideas on how to prepare and eat vegetables that I would normally get through in a year.

Carl and Gian with their students.

To find out about Hartington’s cookery courses, visit www.hartingtons.com.

The finished meal.
Carl and Gian are self-styled 'plant-pushers'.