Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Sexy Vegan's "Happy Hour at Home"

The Sexy Vegan's Happy Hour at Home Corn Dawggies, Okra Fries and Pomarita Cocktail
Corn Dawggies with the Most Wonderful Ketchup, Okra Fries with White Barbecue Sauce and a Pomarita Cocktail.

Well hello again!! Yes, I am back from my somewhat extended holiday :-) First, I should explain that we spent 4 weeks in Canada this summer, back to my hometown to visit my family. We had an absolutely fantastic time, it was my first time back in 6 years and it was SO good to be back. 

We returned late July but then unfortunately the old lupus decided to act up and I just haven't had the energy to blog. At all. So, that's why the break was a little longer than expected but I'm feeling OK now, it comes and goes but I'm happy to be back for the time being anyway! I would also like to apologise for all the late comment posting, responding to emails/twitter and book reviews....everything gets put on hold when I have a flare up.

Speaking of book reviews, I was contacted way back when, just before we left for Canada if I would mind reviewing Brian Patton's (aka - The Sexy Vegan) new cookbook "Happy Hour at Home - Small Plates, Big Flavours and Potent Cocktails" and I was only too happy to oblige. After all, I love cocktails and anything snacky - this sounded right up my alley! 

The Sexy Vegan's "Happy Hour at Home"

It's a great, fun book combining diverse cocktails with small bites, great for parties and small get-togethers. The book is divided into menu's like: "Little India" with samosa pizza, roasted chana and stuffed dates or "Really Little Italy" with rigatoni poppers, grilled asparagus and figs and grilled basil-mint watermelon skewers or "Satay-day Night Fever" with tempeh satay with peanut sauce, grilled baby bok choi and teriyaki almonds....just to give you an idea. Each menu also comes with a cocktail recommendation with all the drink recipes in the back. And of course the whole book oozes with Brian's fantastic sense of humour :-)

The Sexy Vegan's Corn Dawggies with The Most Wonderful Ketchup, Okra Fries and Pomarita

It's quite simply a great cookbook, I loved the sound of all the menus but when choosing which one I was going to test there was no contest - I went with the "State Fair Fare" menu: Corn Dawggies with the Most Wonderful Ketchup and Okra fries with White Barbecue Sauce. The reason is simple - I've actually never in my life had corn dogs (!) and have been wanting to try them for AGES now. Corn dogs being of course hot dogs dipped in a cornbread batter, deep fried and eaten on a stick, a common fair food in America. On top of that, brace yourselves, I've never had okra before (!!) So, how awesome was this menu for me??? 

Well, I'm glad to report that everything turned out beautifully, perfect first try and everything was so easy to do as it's clearly written and well explained. 

The Sexy Vegan's Corn Dawggies with The Most Wonderful Ketchup

The Sexy Vegan's Corn Dawggies with the Most Wonderful Ketchup

Now, as I mentioned above I have never actually had corn dogs before so I had nothing to compare these too, but they looked just like them, cooked up a charm, had perfect texture and most importantly, tasted incredible!! I will definitely be making these again...and I will give him this - that really is "The Most Wonderful Ketchup"! Soon to be a staple in this house :-)

Corn Dawggies:
Canola, vegetable, or any other high-heat oil, for deep-frying
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons unrefined granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
1/2 cup arrowroot
4 veggie dogs, cut into thirds
Yellow or whole-grain mustard, for serving
The Most Wonderful Ketchup (recipe follows), for serving

Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a pot, high-sided pan, or deep fryer. Line a plate with paper towels and set it next to the stove. Heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, chile powder, paprika, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Stir in the nondairy milk and keep stirring until you have a batter that is slightly thicker than pancake batter. Let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Spread out the arrowroot on a large plate. Working in batches, roll the veggie dogs in the arrowroot until completely coated, tapping the dogs to remove the excess, and immerse the dogs in the batter. Using a fork or chopsticks, take the dogs out of the batter and gently lower them into the oil. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden on all sides, making sure to turn them a few times for even cooking. Transfer the dogs to the paper towel–lined plate. When they’re cool enough to handle, cut them in half crosswise, and serve with toothpicks, mustard, and the Most Wonderful Ketchup.

The Most Wonderful Ketchup:
1 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons pomegranate concentrate
½ teaspoon agave nectar

Whisk all this stuff together in a bowl.

Excerpted with permission from The Sexy Vegan’s Happy Hour at Home ©2013 by Brian Patton.  Published with permission of New World Library

My Notes for the Corn Dawggies

• I used Fry's brand veggie dogs which come frozen so I defrosted them at room temperature first.
• I cut the dogs in half only as I wanted the more traditional looking corn dog on a stick here.
• I couldn't find ancho chile powder here so I just used a "hot chile powder".
• I used smoked sea salt in place of the salt.
• I fried them in vegetable oil.

My Notes for the Ketchup

• I used pomegranate molasses as it's called here. (Same diff).
• I used Sweet Freedom in place of the agave as it's my vegan syrup sweetener of choice :-)

The Sexy Vegan's Pomarita Cocktail
The Sexy Vegan's "Pomarita" Cocktail

This.Was.Gorgeous!!! Now, the drink recommendation for this menu was actually the lush sounding "Starburst" with citrus juices and strawberry vodka that Brian describes as tasting just like starburst candy (which I would LOVE!) but, I didn't have any strawberry vodka and that stuff is expensive, haha, SO I went with the Pomarita (think pomegranate margarita) as it called for some pomegranate concentrate which I already bought to make the ketchup and well, I liked having another recipe to use the stuff in! 
An amazing cocktail, another regular for sure, and while I would usually shake my margarita style cocktails with ice and pour into a martini glass, I quite like the rustic look of it in my mini beer stein... (which yes, IS a former mustard pot!)

The Sexy Vegan's Okra Fries with White Barbecue Sauce
The Sexy Vegan's Okra "Fries" with White Barbecue Sauce

Like corn dogs I also have never had okra before, I heard that they can be slimy and I think this has been putting me off trying them; but thankfully there was no slime whatsoever here, they had a nice crunchy cornmeal coating, were slightly chewy inside and went perfectly with the white barbecue sauce.

The Sexy Vegan's Okra Fries with White Barbecue Sauce

Altogether this was a great menu, fun to make and easy to do and I look forward to having some people over and trying the other menus in the book!

Disclaimer: While I was given this cookbook to review I was not paid to review it and all views expressed here are my own, as are all the photos.


  1. Deb's back! So nice to see a post from you but so sorry you haven't been at your best.
    I've seen some vids of Brian Patton and he's hilarious. This book probably isn't for me as I'm not really a drinker....I'll have to try pom molasses in ketchup though!

    1. Thanks! It's good to be back although my posting pace might be a little slower than usual...
      Brian is hilarious all right :-) As you know I love my drink but that being said there are 10 cocktail recipes in the book and 20 menus each with 2-3 recipes, so it's mostly non-alcoholic :-)And yes! you must try that ketchup - it's so good!!!

  2. Wow!! These dishes look fantastic. I want those okra fries so badly. So these fries weren't actually 'fried'? I can't use a deep fryer so I want to try these!

    1. They were great all right and not fried at all - just oven baked :-)

  3. Welcome back! I discovered your blog while you were "away" and I am really looking forward to more awesome posts from you! I worked my way through the archives and must say you have some fabulous recipes :)

    1. Thanks so much Natalie and welcome to the blog! :-)

  4. Welcome back! Like the previous poster, I found your blog over the summer and have been in love ever since. I've Pinned way too many of your recipes. ;)

    Glad you're feeling well enough to post!

    1. Thanks so much Kelly! Welcome to the blog too, glad you like it and thanks so much for pinning :-)

  5. So glad to have you back and these look incredible! Really missed your food diary! Hope you are feeling better!

    1. Thank you! I hope to start the food diary again soon, just have to get back in the swing of things again :-)

  6. Missed you. welcome back with a vengeance, sorry though to read you've not been feeling your best. I am liking the baked okra, a veg that is often overlooked. I am rather surprised to learn that you had not had them before, but a way to convert people is to cook it this way or fry it of course :) Fab pictures, review and recipe. I'll have to keep my beady out for the book, I don't have much dosh, so i'll be flicking through its pages at one of the book shops. PS I've never had corn dogs either, so want to try it now.

    1. Thanks so much Shaheen ♥ and yes, I'm looking forward to including okra in more of my dishes now! The corn dogs were a great "guilty pleasure" too :-)


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