Man cannot live on pre-drinks alone: vegan stop-over snacks


Sometimes pre-drinks on their own just don't quite cut it (I speak from experience), and maybe you need a little something to soak up some of that tequila. These three dishes make the perfect stop-over food- for friends to pick at en route to somewhere else, or while you're waiting patiently for the hair dryer.

The herb almond recipe is originally from Martha Stewart, who suggests teaming it with sherry and manchego cheese, but I went with white wine and processo, then gin with the figs, although vodka would also be a good match. These recipes are all really easy to prepare an hour before anyone arrives so there's basically no excuse to still be in your dressing gown/towel/the bath (ahem) when the doorbell goes.

Makes enough for 4

Herb toasted almonds
4 tbsp olive oil
200g whole blanched almonds
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Salt, pepper

Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a large pan and add the almonds and cook for about 12 minutes, until they turn golden and fragrant. Tip onto a baking tray to allow to cool.

With the other tablespoon of oil, drizzle over the serving dish you are using and add the herbs and seasoning, then pour in the almonds and mix until everything is thoroughly coated.

Coarse chopped bruschetta
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped and still in bite size chunks
Handful of basil leaves
Half a red onion, chopped small
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper
1 loaf of ciabatta, cut into chunks

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir. Allow to sit for an hour so the basil can mix in with the oil and tomatoes. In this time, toast the ciabatta chunks under the grill dry, as the oil from the almonds and the fig dressing will flavour the bread, whilst stopping it from being too rich.

Fig and leaf salad
Salad leaves, washed
4 figs, cut 2/3 of the way to the base into quarters, but so they still hold their shape
Fig vinegar- I used L' Olivier fig vinegar just to cut against the fig texture and the almonds, but if you can't get hold of this, a simple French dressing would work too.

Place the leaves on a serving plate, then arrange the figs on top, with enough per each guest. Drizzle the dressing over the figs, making sure the flesh of the fruit gets the flavour.