Vegan Black Bean Burgers

New year, new you? We don’t think so. At Parsons, we refuse to succumb to over ambitious resolutions that we know we’ll never keep. While January is a wonderful time to look at life with a fresh perspective we want positivity from our new year, not a feeling of failure 2 months in when we haven’t turned 100% vegan, been to the gym every morning or given up sugar.

That’s why we’re thinking more of what we can increase this year, not restrict. And first on our list is to eat more consciously. Whether that be sitting down with your team for a proper lunch every Friday, choosing to eat more vegan meals and less meat or treating your clients to a catered breakfast with their morning meeting, rather than pastries from Pret, what and how we eat influences how we feel and by making better decisions about it, we can all feel a little bit better ourselves.

While we already do many of the above (we LOVE a team lunch) one way we’re trying to eat more consciously is to eat more vegan meals at home. Organic, ethically sourced meat will always have a place on our menus but in an ode to help the environment and embrace the seasons more, as a team, we’re making an effort to introduce more plant-based, vegan meals into our diets. One of our chef’s was given a wonderful cookbook for Christmas called Vegan Goodness, it’s bright and colourful imagery makes eating more plants a pleasure! We’ve been sharing many of the recipes from it and so, in ad ode to January and eating more consciously, we’re sharing one with you too. These vegan black bean burgers are a quick, low-cost weeknight meal, they’re super easy to make and taste delicious served with some tzatziki and roasted, minted new potatoes.


Makes 4 large or 6 medium patties

  • Olive Oil or avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large or 2 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 500g cooked black beans or 2 tins, drained
  • 45g quick oats or 65g buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • About 100g corn kernels, fresh or tinned, drained
  • A small handful of coriander, finely chopped

To build the burgers

  • 4-6 burger buns
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 large avocado
  • Coriander


  • Pour a little bit of oil in the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan and place this over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, onion and garlic and stir until the onion begins to go transparent.
  • Add most of but NOT ALL of the black beans (I like to save about a third). Stir for a few minutes until the beans are nice and soft and then remove from the heat and mash into a smooth paste.
  • Stir in the oats or flour, salt, paprika and some freshly ground black pepper into the blended bean mix. Add the remaining beans and the corn and coriander, then use your hands to combine everything. At this point, you should be able to form patties. If the mixture is still a little wet, add more oats or flour, a tablespoon at a time. If it is a little dry, add some water or oil.
  • Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan on a medium-high heat. Form your mixture into 4 large or 6 medium patties and cook in the hot pan until golden brown or lightly blackened, depending on your taste preferences.
  • Prepare the other burger ingredients while your patties cook – toast your buns or wash your lettuce leaves, slice the tomato, onion and avocado (or mash it into guacamole), pick the leaves of your coriander and make the Chipotle Mayo. Now you can build your burger from bottom to top as follows: bun (or lettuce leaf), avocado, patty, tomato, onion, coriander, mayo, lid. And then figure out how to get your mouth around it.

Click HERE to visit Wholey Goodness’s website for more vegan recipes.

Chocolate Candied Orange Peel

Our founder, Katie Tress, shares her favourite festive recipe for chocolate candied orange peel

In our household, as I’m sure with many others, oranges were always synonymous with Christmas, we would make dried orange garlands to decorate the fireplace, Satsuma’s studded with cloves to hang from the tree and, if we’d been good and managed to avoid the lump of coal we were always threatened with, a fresh juicy clementine could be found at the bottom of our stocking come Christmas morning.

I try to recreate many of these traditions still, and one in particular that I always make time for is candied chocolate orange peel, that Ma used to make! Candied chocolate orange peels are beautifully bright and delicate, they look wonderful piled in a bowl in the centre of the table and feel sophisticated, yet are delightfully sweet. Perfect to have in the house at Christmas, when sweet snacks should always be on offer.

Tip: Start making these candied chocolate oranges peels at least three days in advance, as elements of it need time to set.


  • 3 oranges
  • 700g caster sugar
  • 150g 70 or 80% dark chocolate, broken up


  1. Wash the oranges and remove the peel with a sharp vegetable peeler. Slice the peel into 4-5mm wide strips. Place the orange strips in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then drain off the water through a sieve. Put the peel back in the saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and drain. Repeat the process once more (so you’ve done it three times). Then set aside the peel.
  2. Place the sugar in the saucepan and add 650ml cold water. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar crystals, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the orange peel and simmer for 35 minutes. Take off the heat and leave the peel in the syrup overnight.
  3. The next day, drain the orange peel and carefully lay the candied shards of orange on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking parchment. Leave to dry out for 48 hours.
  4. Place the chocolate in a bowl and rest it over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. When the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat. Cool slightly, then dip the dried orange peel into the chocolate. Place on a wire rack and leave until set.

Tip: You can use the flesh and the cold cooking syrup for a fruit salad later. The same technique works for lemon and grapefruit too.

This recipe was adapted from House and Garden and the image was taken from their website.



Q&A with Parsons head chef, Carl

Carl joined Parsons as Head Chef this summer and he’s now a solid part of the team, bringing creative flair, a love for seasonal produce and a lot of passion and hard work to the team. Together we’ve created our Christmas menus, head to the menu section of the website to take a look at them. Here we chat to Carl and learn a little bit more about what makes him tick…

Were you interested in cooking as a child?

Yes, but originally not because of the food! In secondary school home economics was the most popular subject with the girls, so naturally I signed up as a way to meet them. Through doing so though I discovered a love for flavours and inventive cooking, I’d go home with so many ideas and take over the kitchen – which my mum loved because she was a terrible cook!

What’s your earliest food memory?

I’m dyslexic so had a tutor to help me with my school work when I was a child. When I was about 9 as a treat she took me to see 101 Dalmatians at the cinema and then to a restaurant afterwards. I’ll never forget it, it was the first time I’d ever been to a restaurant and it blew me away, I ate pan fried chicken breast with mushrooms and baby onions and totally fell in love with the whole experience.

How did you turn your passion for food into a career?

I originally trained as an Aston Martin mechanic, restoring DB5s and DB4s. I love cars but it wasn’t the same as being in the kitchen, nothing changes with car engines, once you know how they work they stay the same. So I left, but having no chef experience had to start from the bottom again. I got a job as a kitchen porter at acclaimed Restaurant 192; I left 5 years later as a Sous Chef and have been working with food ever since.

What do you love most about your job?

Cooking with fresh ingredients. I’ve met some amazing and interesting people over the years and it’s this, along with the buzz of the kitchen and the chance to learn something new everyday that keeps things exciting. Nothing is ever the same, there are always new flavours and new techniques to experiment with, I’m constantly learning things.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever cooked for?

Cooking at Clarence House was a huge honour and catering for Damien Hurst’s birthday parties was enormous fun.

What’s been your most memorable event to cater for?

For one of Damien Hurst’s themed birthday parties he requested for the whole room to be decorated in pigs heads. That was an experience.

What are your favourite kinds of ingredients to work with?

Fresh ones, always. Wild mushrooms, courgette flowers. Anything unusual and seasonal.

What’s the most challenging thing about working with food?

The hours and the stress level. You either love it or hate it.

Do you have a fail-safe dish that always works to please a crowd?

Wild mushrooms on brioche with truffle oil and poached duck egg.

What other hobbies do you have away from cooking?

I love bikes, so motorbike and pushbike riding are massive passions, my father and I used to go and watch 24 hours of Le Mans each year. I also grow my own vegetables and love gardening.

If you couldn’t have been a chef what career would you have chosen?

Diving instructor. I learnt when I was in Greece opening a restaurant. I used to dive and catch my own octopus to cook – you don’t get fresher than that!

Finally, what’s your absolutely favourite food?

A proper roast dinner. Pork in particular, with all the trimmings. But it has to be at home, I like to put everything on the table and for everyone to help themselves.

A Warm Salad of Roasted Kale, Coconut and Tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes are a joy to eat and in the Parsons kitchen we’re always looking for new ways to use them. Anna Jones’ first cookbook, ‘A Modern Way to Eat’ features simple, seasonal vegetarian dishes that highlight and celebrate ingredients such as tomatoes and other British seasonal fare wonderfully. Initially published in 2014 it’s not new to our radar and neither is Anna to cooking, having been trained at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, but it is one of those books we turn to time and time again. The recipes within are subtle, beautiful and delicate, with a focus on eating seasonally and ethically all are delicious on their own while many lend themselves perfectly as sides to meat and fish. At this time of year especially we love to use fresh produce, so much is in season and little beats the fruity taste of an organic British tomato. The recipe we’ve chosen to share in this month’s newsletter really celebrates their flavour, beautifully highlighting their sweetness with coconut, a bed of roasted kale and a delicious miso dressing. Scroll down to find it.

  • Warm Salad or Roasted Kale, Coconut and Tomatoes
    Warm Salad or Roasted Kale, Coconut and Tomatoes
  • Tomatoes
    Roasted tomatoes
  • Seasonal tomatoes recipes
    Kale, roasted tomatoes, coconut and miso dressing recipe
  • Kale, roasted tomatoes, coconut and miso dressing
    Kale, roasted tomatoes, coconut and miso dressing
  • Seasonal tomatoes recipes
    Anna Jones, A Modern Way to Eat



400g cherry tomatoes

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 unwaxed limes

1 head of green or purple kale (about 200g), stalks removed, leaves roughly torn into bite sized pieces

a handful of unsweetened shaved or desiccated coconut

1 tablespoon soy sauce

For The Dressing

a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon miso paste

1 tablespoon of tahini

1 tablespoon or coconut or olive oil

1 red chilli, finely chopped


Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 200°C/gas 7.

Halve the tomatoes and place them on a baking tray with some salt and pepper, a good drizzle of olive oil, the zest of both limes and the juice of 1. Roast for 20 minutes, until blistering and golden.

Next, pile the kale on to a baking tray with the coconut. Pour over the soy sauce and toss well until everything is coated. Roast in the oven with the tomatoes for the last 5-10 minutes of their cooking time, until crisp.

Meanwhile, mix all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl with the juice of the second lime. Taste and add a little more seasoning or lime juice if needed, letting your taste buds guide you – remember the dressing will be less punchy once it hits the salad. Pull the kale and tomatoes out from the oven and tumble them into a big bowl. Toss in the miso dressing, adding a little at a time and tasting as you go, and serve still warm.

Find a link to Anna Jones’s website, including more salads and seasonal vegetarian recipes here:

A Spanish tapas lunch in the heart of London

At the beginning of June, we were delighted to be asked to create a Spanish tapas and paella lunch to help launch 15 King Street, a new corporate office space in central London. Working alongside the prestigious private wine club, 67 Pall Mall, and the ever inventive and delicious cheesemongers, Paxton & Whitfield, we created a spread of Spanish tapas and Spanish inspired salads. We wanted to keep the tapas flavours traditional (no Spanish tapas lunch is complete without Patatas Bravas or plenty of chorizo), but being an afternoon event, and paired with paella, we were conscious they shouldn’t be too heavy. The results were a mixture of traditional Spanish tapas flavours – cue Patatas Bravas, smoky chicken skewers and anchovy butter – but with a focus on balancing these with lighter, smaller options, including refreshing gazpacho shots, crisp salads, and lightly char-grilled vegetables.

The day was warm and the sun shone in through the windows showing off the venue in all its glory, while a huge paella cooking inside the office gave off a delicious aroma of spices and saffron. 60 surveyors passed through the building stopping for lunch across the afternoon, we kept the salads topped up and the hot food coming as they mingled, ate and enjoyed the space. Themed events are always fun and it was a delight to work with everyone involved. Please do get in touch if you’d like more information about how we can help with private and corporate catering.

  • Spanish Tapas Chorizo Skewers
  • Spanish Tapas Gazpacho shots
  • Spanish Tapas Chorizo Skewers and Flowers
  • Spanish Tapas olives and salads
  • Spanish Paella
  • Spanish tapas pan con tomate
  • Parsons Creative Food waitress
  • Fresh salad
  • Scotch eggs
  • Spanish salad spread
  • Tables laid
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Parsons Creative Food waiter
  • Wine glasses
  • Red wine


Jerusalem Artichoke & Chard Mini Tarts

It’s a well-known fact that a Jerusalem Artichokes is not really an artichoke and has nothing to do with Jerusalem. It’s not however, a well know fact just how delicious they are. Or how amazing they taste in a tart mixed with chard. So, to prove it we’ve shared one of our favourite recipes with you. We love making these tarts for our clients in the spring and this recipe will make 15-20 mini ones, which are great as part of a buffet lunch. Alternatively, use a large fluted quiche tin to make one large tart.


500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled

Olive Oil


Salt and freshly ground black pepper

200g sautéd Swiss chard, chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

Knob of butter

Shortcrust pastry – click here to make your own. If time won’t allow though shop bought will work just as well.

1 egg, beaten and to be used as an egg wash for the pastry

3 egg yolks

1 whole egg

Half a pint of double cream

Parmesan (optional)


Set the oven to 180°.

Peel the Jerusalem artichokes, drizzle with oil and scatter with salt, pepper, and thyme. Wrap each one individually in foil and pierce the top of the foil to allow the steam to escape. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

While the Jerusalem artichokes are roasting wash and slice the chard. Sauté the cut up chard along with the knob of butter and finely chopped garlic for 2-4 minutes.

Chill the mixture once cooked.

Roll out your shortcrust pastry to half a centimeter thick. Line your tart case(s) and prick the base.

Turn the oven up to 200°. Cover the pastry with foil and baking beans and bake blind for 20 minutes. When the pastry is golden brown take it out the oven and remove the foil and baking beans. Return it to the oven for to cook for a further 3-5 minutes uncovered.

Once even in colour remove from the heat, brush with the egg wash and bake for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and chill.

Reduce the oven temperate to 175°.

Leave to chill for 5 minutes, meanwhile, mix your roasted Jerusalem artichokes with the chard mix. Cut up any larger artichokes into bite size pieces.

Fill the pastry case(s) with the combined Jerusalem artichoke/chard mix.

Mix the double cream, egg yolks and egg. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour on top of the Jerusalem artichoke/chard mix.

If using, grate the parmesan on top.

Bake at 175° for 30 minutes, or until set and cooked.


Restaurant Review: Ottolenghi

My most recent dining experience certainly has been a long time coming. Having been a fan of Yotam Ottolenghi ’s fresh and innovative style for years (and the proud owner of all of his cookbooks) I finally found the time for a candlelit soirée at Ottolenghi Spitalfields. Expectations were dangerously high. It was a busy Thursday evening and the restaurant was already bustling with action. Inside, the décor is modern and minimalist but with touches of originality; mismatching candlesticks on each table, a rustic feature wall. With bags and coats hung up for us, we sat down chatting away and were handed the menu.

We ordered a bottle each of craft beer, and were given freshly baked sour dough bread with a generous dish of Iliada extra virgin olive oil to nibble on, whilst we drooled over the menu. The food is all served on small plates so there isn’t a set starter or main course, but the opportunity to mix it up and try a little bit of everything. Ideal. We went for a zingy green and yellow bean salad with coriander seeds and capers, which was crunchy, fresh and full of flavour. Next up was hands down the best aubergine dish I have ever eaten (and that really is saying something as I am ardent about the aubergine!) It was roasted in thick slices, drizzled with lime yogurt, and served with a generous handful of chopped chilli and toasted almonds. The texture of the aubergine was so succulent, it was almost meaty, and the earthy flavour married perfectly with the heat from the chilli and the cooling lime yogurt. Divine.

A small pause to sip our beers, and take in the atmosphere, before we were on to the hot dishes; first up was the Urfa chilli lamb rump with sweet corn, feta and olives. Urfa is a dark crimson Turkish chilli pepper and has a sweet, spicy and smoky flavour. Used as a marinade for the seared lamb rump, the Urfa paired excellently with the saltiness of the feta and olives, and the sweetcorn chunks added the necessary crunch as well as a touch of colour to the plate. Finally, my favourite plate of the night: braised leeks with a smoked onion purée, goat’s cheese and sour cherries. The dish was packed full of flavour; a big punch from the smoky onion purée, the tartness of the goat’s cheese and the earthy flavour of the leeks. For me this dish defines Ottolenghi ’s cooking style: adventurous, packed full of interesting flavours yet exceptionally well-balanced.

For the finale, we were invited to go up to the dessert counter, to see what sweet treats the kitchen had prepared that day. It was a close call between a sumptuous looking apple cake with maple syrup butter cream and a lighter orange chiffon cake topped with coconut frosting. The orange cake won out after a tip from the waitress, who assured me that the sponge was as soft as it looked. Zesty, fruity and exceptionally light, it was a lovely dessert to satisfy any sweet tooth and the perfect way to end an outstanding dinner. Hats off to Ottolenghi and his team, I will certainly be going back for more.


Written by Chloë Riddle



Iliada Olive Oil


Graham Norton’s Book Launch

Last week, on Wednesday 14th October, we had the privilege of catering for a canapé reception party to celebrate Graham Norton’s book launch at Liberty’s on Regent Street. What an incredible venue it is! Founded in 1875, the department store is renowned for its vast collection of quality and luxury goods: from unique prints and fabric designs to beautiful and intricate jewellery. Liberty’s Tudor style façade is a well-known sight to Londoners and tourists alike, and we thought that its magnificent interior made the perfect setting for this exciting event. The bright atrium and sweeping staircases, dark wood panelling and ambient lighting created a nostalgic atmosphere in which guests enjoyed a glass or two of Invivo wine; a brand that is sponsored by Graham Norton himself.


Book Publisher Hodder & Stoughton hosted the launch of Mr Norton’s debut novel, ‘Holding’, which is a gripping tale of secrets and heartbreak set in his native Ireland. Parsons Creative Food provided a selection of canapés for the 100 guests, including our Walnut Goats Cheese Sable with Slow Roasted Tomato and Pesto, Fillet of Lamb on Mint Shortbread with Shallot Jam and Beetroot Cured Salmon on Dill Blini with Avruga Caviar. All of which were served on our modern black and white platters decorated with a selection of flowers from New Covent Garden Flower Market.


Mr Norton himself was charmingly dressed in a dark velvet jacket complete with pink handkerchief, and his charismatic personality buoyed the atmosphere. After a brilliant event, we are very much looking forward to reading our very own copy of ‘Holding’, and rumour has it that we can also look forward to a television series based on the book. A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for using Parsons Creative Food; we look forward to working with you again soon!


Graham Norton's debut novel 'Holdings' on display

Graham Norton’s debut novel ‘Holdings’ on display

Walnut Goat's Cheese Sable with Slow Roast Tomato and Pesto

Walnut Goat’s Cheese Sable with Slow Roast Tomato and Pesto

Our Floral Platters ready for service

Our Floral Platters ready for service

Anyone for a Lobster Bagel?

Anyone for a Lobster Bagel?

Hodder & Stoughton Books
Invivo Wines
Liberty London

Christmas Menus 2016 Announced!

It may be the last thing on your mind considering the fantastic weather recently, but our chefs have been working hard on our exciting new Christmas menus, which we are now ready to share with you. All of our menus are inspired by seasonal British produce paired with a fusion of flavours from around the world, and our Christmas menus are no different. From artichokes and clementines to chestnuts, pheasant and turkey, our menus reflect produce that is available in winter in the UK with a few exotic ingredients to modernise some British classics.


We love game meat, not just for their intense, earthy flavour but also because it is so widely available in the UK. Our venison is farmed responsibly in Berkshire and comes to us through our local butchers, Billfield’s of London We use it to make a delicious Daube of Venison for our Bowl Food menu as well as a luxurious main course for a Fine Dining Event. Try our new Pork and Pheasant Sausage Rolls with Cranberry and Juniper, or a Venison Loin Yorkshire Pudding with Red Currant Jelly for a tasty new twist on our favourites.


Thinking of hosting a Christmas Party to catch up with friends? Want to treat them to some sensational food? Then look no further than our Christmas Canapé Menu with must-try bites like Frito Misto Cones, Stilton Beignets and our home cured Beetroot Salmon. Treat yourself to a dessert of Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mini Tarts or ‘White Forest’ fudge. For something more spectacular, have a look at our Bowl Food or Fine Dining Menus, where our chefs will come and cook for you in person to ensure the highest quality and some creative plating.


Head to our Menus & Drinks page for more information. You can also keep up to date with all that goes on in our kitchen via our Instagram page @parsonscreative.

Thanks for stopping by!

A Local Food Experience in Paris

Paris: the gastronomic capital of the world. Famous for its world class chefs and Michelin starred restaurants. However, unless you have booked more than a month in advance, and have the spending power of a city banker, the world of haute cuisine is daunting for some and inaccessible to most. But as Parson’s Chef Chloë discovered recently, Paris’ food culture is everywhere and able to be enjoyed by everyone…

One of the best and worst things about being a chef is that you get used to waking up at the break of day, and this habit can be difficult to change even when you’re on holiday. I recently went away to Paris, and, unable to sleep in, I decided to head out for a morning stroll to the local food market. As I walked through the 12ème arrondissement to the Marché d’Aligre, I watched as Paris slowly came to life: a young Chinese girl helped her mother set up chairs on the street outside their restaurant, tourists piled out of a hostel in search of a quick caffeine fix after a late night and everywhere the hum and buzz of traffic flowing throughout the city.

As I turned onto Rue D’Aligre, the relative tranquillity of the main street melted away and I was bombarded by the sights, smells and sounds of a bustling Parisian food market. Stalls lined each side of the pavement, laden with a colourful array of fresh fruit and vegetables. Sellers called out to passers by, “Carrotes! Fraises! Abricots!” and bartered with frumpy old French dames over the price per kilo of borlotti beans.


One of many fruit and veg stalls, Aligre Market, Paris

Behind the stalls, the permanent shops had thrown open their doors, revealing trays of fish on ice beds, their scales shining in the sunlight, or wheels of aged cheese sat proudly on wooden crates, the air around them pungent. There was a different boulangerie at every turn, from the traditional French to a family-run Levantine bakery selling baklava and flatbreads. A coffee bar called Café Aouba opened up onto the street, and the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans permeated the air around it, beckoning me in. I bought a bag of coffee grounds from Costa Rica to take back to the team at Parsons, ordered ‘un café’ (an espresso in France) and knocked it back stood at the little wooden bar overlooking the street.

At the end of Rue D’Aligre there is a Marché Beauvau (covered market) with permanent stalls. Roast suckling pigs rotate slowly on spits next to one butchers stall and rows upon rows of French and Belgium beers line the crates of another. France is renowned for its sensational patisseries and this market does not fail to deliver; the dessert display at a little patisserie called Jojo & Co is a work of art in itself.


Jojo & Co Pastries, Aligre Market, Paris

I spent a wonderful hour wandering through the market, absorbing everything, imagining dishes to create, and tasting the odd apricot (they were in season when I visited in July and so abundant that every seller was trying to shift their stock). I left the market laden with enough French cheese, fresh vegetables and handmade pastries to feed a small army, and the feeling that I had experienced Paris’ affordable culinary culture from a local’s perspective. Think I’ll save that trip to Le Cinq for next time.


Jojo & Co Patisserie


Cafe Aouba on Timeout