Sustainable rum distiller Diplomatico partnered with Alibi Bar, the plant-based eatery nestled within Woolloomooloo’s Ovolo Hotel, to host a series of eco-conscious dinners this past Earth Day (April 22). When we saw the mouth-watering, all vegan menu – think aged beetroot tartare, slow roasted heirloom carrots with a green cardamom custard, a fable mushroom pithivier, to name just a few drool-worthy dishes – we knew we had to press the makers for some tips on getting culinarily creative with just veggies. And because we go wild over a vegan dessert recipe here, we had to have the recipe for the bombe alaska that finished the night.
Lucky for us, Ian Curley, Group Creative Culinary Partner for Ovolo Australia, was happy to oblige. See Ian’s tips immediately below, or keep scrolling through to find the recipe for Alibi’s incredible vegan bombe alaska. And if we’ve made you seriously hungry, there’s still time to grab a ticket to the last Diplomatico X Alibi Bar Sustainable Dinner Series on May 18, 2022.
What’s trending at the moment in vegan dishes?
“I think veganism in and of itself is trending, all thanks to hospitality venues broadening their horizons and realising the expanse of consumers now dabbling in this diet and lifestyle for health, environmental or other individual influences. The main innovation or challenge we continue to face is finding tasty, textured, and protein filled replacements for traditional meat that haven’t just been plucked off the shelves and peeled out of plastic casing.
Right now, At Alibi Bar & Kitchen, we’re loving experimenting with dishes that hero the likes of mushroom meat. We have an incredibly flavoursome mushroom pithivier currently on our Sustainable Dinner Series menu for May which is in partnership with Diplomático.
What are some common mistakes people make when it comes to cooking vegan food?
“There’s a couple, for sure, but first and foremost it’s thinking in the first instance that plant-based cooking is far too hard. It’s not. Veggie filled pasta and risotto, or bean nachos for example, have got to be some of the simplest recipes to master at home.
The next would be falling into a sort of tunnel vision when the grocery shop rolls around. You can very quickly find yourself leaning on processed and packaged foods to form the base of your meal, but it’s quite scary to learn how much sugar and sodium can be hidden within these store bought substitutes. I encourage all plant-based beginners to try new things – jackfruit, tempeh, flaxseeds – keep yourself motivated and excited to eat in such a fresh and healthy way.
At Alibi, what’s a surprise herb or spice you turn to, to jazz up plant-based dishes?
We use a lot of common ingredients at Alibi Bar & Kitchen, but perhaps in a surprising way or unexpectedly paired. Again, a reminder that vegan diets don’t have to be basic or bland. One of my favourite dishes of late might be our slow roasted heirloom carrots atop a cardamom custard with roasted coffee crumbs. Two really rich flavours (being the cardamom and coffee) that bring out the sweetness and earthiness of heirloom carrots. This dish too is served as a part of the Sustainable Dinner Series we are hosting in partnership with Diplomático, the next event taking place on May 18, so Sydneysiders can purchase tickets to get a taste of this one.
Can you share a surprising vegan combo that works well?
They might not make whole dishes, but we’ve certainly stumbled across a few vegan combos that
surprise and delight: strawberries and balsamic, avocado and cacao, pickles and peanuts to name a few.
We change our menus with the seasons, and whatever produce is flourishing at the time, so weaving
these in where we can keeps the menu and offering exciting.
Alibi Bar’s Vegan Bombe Alaska
For the sponge cake
399g unsweetened soy milk, at room temperature
22g white vinegar
149gunsalted vegan butter, at room temperature, cubed
224g granulated sugar
10gpure vanilla extract
380g gluten free flour
10g baking powder
5g baking soda
Lightly grease two baking trays, line the bottom with a cut-out piece of parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
To a medium bowl or jar, add the milk and vinegar, and give it a mix. Set it aside for 5 minutes to curdle.
In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until creamy. You can either do this with an electric hand mixer or a fork. Next, add the vanilla extract and half of the milk-vinegar mixture. Mix again until combined.
Place a sieve over the bowl, sift in roughly half of the flour, and all of the cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined, but be careful not to overmix. Some streaks are okay.
Next, add the other half of the milk-vinegar mixture and then sift in the rest of the flour, and mix until
just combined. Careful not to overmix. Divide the batter between the two greased baking trays, level out the top as the mixture is a bit thick, and give the trays a gentle tap on the counter to release any air bubbles.
Bake the cakes on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 12-16 minutes, or until the edges are golden and a thin wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan, before transferring them to a wiring rack to cool off completely.
To make the ice-cream
500g pineapple puree
120g caster sugar
1g cinnamon powder
1g Cardamom powder
Mix all ingredients in a blender with granulated sugar and water until smooth, pour in a saucepot, boil.
Chill the pineapple mixture in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Freeze in your ice cream maker
according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
220g caster sugar
30ml Diplomático Exclusiva Reserva
Whip aquafaba and sugar in a mixer using whisk until stiff peaks form.
Pipe atop spoke cake. Gently pour Diplomático over assembled dessert, set alight to enhance flavour and bring some torched edges to the meringue piping.
With special thanks to Michael Miko Aspiras, Head Pastry Chef, Ovolo Wooloomooloo