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Jane Easton

Jane Easton

Food & Cookery Coordinator of Viva!

Appearing on Sunday at 2pm in the Lifestyle / Campaign talks room along with Justin Kerswell

Jane is the Food & Cookery Coordinator of Viva!. She has been vegetarian for 17 years and vegan for 12. Being both poor and greedy was a great incentive to learn to cook early in life.


Since working for Viva! she has developed delicious vegan recipes for many of their publications, from Have a Heart to the The Soya Story, as well as thewww.veganrecipeclub.org.uk and the Viva! Catering Guide. She gives popular cookery demos around the UK and regularly contributes to radio and the press, as well as organising/cooking food for many events, large and small. Her mission is to turn the world vegan and two of her major weapons are Luscious Vanilla Vegan Sponge Cake and Tiramisu – both of which have just been published in the Viva! Cookbook, along with about 100 other of Jane’s delicious recipes.

Jane will be demonstrating the following recipes at VegfestUK Bristol:

 Easy Vegan Pesto: regular and low-fat versions

 Chilled Avocado Soup

 Tropical Rice Salad with Sesame Orange Dressing 


Pesto, regular

Serves: 4-6 | Time: 10 minutes 

50g/2oz fresh basil leaves 

25g/1oz pine kernels 

1 garlic clove 

Black pepper 

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp Parmesan or vegan ‘parmesan’ or nutritional yeast flakes


1. Put all ingredients together in a food processor and blend until the pesto becomes as smooth as you like.

2. Taste it, then add in more oil or seasoning if you wish.

3. Stir though warm pasta.

4. Make other varieties by adding different ingredients; sun-dried tomatoes, olives, nuts, different herbs.


Pesto, low-fat

1 large pack of fresh basil (or two regular packs)

1 garlic clove

1 x 440g tin of cannellini or white haricot beans 

1 tbsp water

4 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (Engevita brand, health food shops)

2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice, to taste

1/2-3/4 tsp sea salt


A drizzle of olive oil if you really want it 


1. Blend the garlic until it is smooth - or just pulverise in a garlic crusher first. Food process all the ingredients until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary. This will keep for up to three days in an air-tight container in the fridge but is nicest eaten as soon as possible.


Chilled Avocado Soup

2 large ripe avocados or 3 smaller ones – use ready to eat packs if possible

480ml cloudy apple juice (tarter and nicer than the amber-coloured variety)

Dash of white wine or dry cider

240-480ml water, depending on how thick  you want the soup – add a bit at a time

1 tsp lemon zest plus a bit for garnish

Juice of 1-2 lemons, depending on size and your personal taste. Again, add a little at a time

1-2 tsp vegan bouillon

Handful of chopped lovage if you can get it – or parsley. Keep some for garnish

Centre stalks of a head of celery, chopped fine before blending

Salt and black pepper to taste



1. Blend everything until smooth. Chill for at least an hour before serving. It needs to be cool but not so cold that the flavours don’t come through. 

2. Garnish with the lemon zest and parsley.


Tropical Rice with Sesame Orange Dressing

A truly superior version of rice salad. The dressing is particularly gorgeous. Top Tip: try varying the vegetables according to your budget and what needs using up in the fridge! Any of these work well:


grated carrot 


lightly steamed French beans 

shredded lettuce (eg cos) 

lightly steamed fresh soya beans (edamame) 


Serves: 4-6 | Time: 

15 minutes if using pre-cooked rice; 30 minutes plus cooling time if cooking brown rice from scratch. Gluten free 


Cooked rice: 450g/1lb brown long grain or brown basmati (or 2 pouches)

Uncooked rice: 200g/7oz long grain OR basmati brown rice simmered in water with 

added 1 tsp vegan bouillon powder (eg Marigold red tub or Kallo OR 1 Green Oxo)



1 thick slice of fresh ripe pineapple, cored and cut into medium cubes OR half a mango, peeled and cubed (unsweetened tinned pineapple will do at a pinch)

1 small, ripe avocado, peeled, stone removed and chopped into medium cubes

2 spring onions, chopped + 3 more left whole for decoration 

½ stalk celery, finely chopped 

½ pack bean sprouts, washed and drained 

1 tbsp raisins (omit these if you hate them – but try experimenting with chopped apricots) 

2 tbsp whole peanuts 

2 tbsp toasted cashew pieces 

1 tbsp sesame seeds 

½ a red pepper

½ a yellow or orange pepper



40ml/1 generous tbsp plain vegetable oil 

1½ tbsp toasted sesame oil 

60ml/4 tbsp fresh orange or pineapple juice 

1 small garlic clove, crushed 

1 tsp grated fresh ginger root

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes OR generous pinch of chilli powder

1 tbsp shoyu or tamari soya sauce 

Pinch of salt 

1 tbsp cider vinegar


1. If you have leftover rice or are using rice from a pouch, go to no. 2.  If cooking rice from scratch: put the rice in a pan, add enough water to cover and more (about 2cm/1 inch). Bring to the boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes. The rice should be tender but not sloppy. If it starts to dry up, add a little hot water as needed. To cool quickly, place in a colander and run cold water over it. Drain thoroughly then crumble in stock cube/bouillon and mix in well. 

2. Meanwhile, toast the cashews and sesame seeds in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, turning over continuously with a spatula. The nuts and seeds should be a light golden colour, not black. Remove from the pan and set aside until needed. 

3. Prepare the rest of the salad ingredients and set aside. Make the dressing in a screw top jar and give a good shake to ensure everything is well integrated. 

4. The cooled rice should be placed in a large serving bowl. Add all salad ingredients. Pour on dressing and mix in well. Garnish with the leftover spring onions.

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