The second instalment in DEDICATED — a column devoted to creating new recipes dedicated to famous people who are vegan or who seem to be considering a vegan lifestyle. Because we care!
On July 21 2017 Kate Nash tweeted that she’s “gone vegan. Tryin it on for size.” She also stated that she had been vegetarian for about eight years but watching the film Okja on Netflix gave her the push to go to “the next level.” Since then she has regularly talked about being vegan and even lists it in her bio. I consider myself a fan of Nash but somehow completely missed this detail until just now — possibly because I’m only a very recent vegan myself and such details would not have caught my eye so specifically before. These days I love finding out about vegan celebrities with the same enthusiasm that I apply to discovering who, for example, shares my star sign. Even though it has no bearing on either of our lives — especially not theirs — for just a moment this thing that unites us can both elevate me to their level and bring them relatably down to my level. Sure, I’m a grown woman, but times are tough and brief escapism is a precious commodity.
So, though it’s not brand new information to anyone but me, in honour of this delightful revelation that Kate Nash is vegan I’ve made a recipe dedicated to her. My immediate thought was: “I’m going to make a recipe that encompasses literally every single time Kate Nash mentions food in the lyrics of her entire discography!” Turns out this was a stupid idea; her mentions of food are more than any one recipe can handle, and much as I love a culinary challenge, I also know when to gracefully regroup. Instead, I’ve pared this concept back and chosen some key food mentions from her 2007 debut album Made of Bricks, combining them into one delicious vegan recipe — Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Spice Lemon Pistachio Cookies.
Made of Bricks means an awful lot to me, and it’s full of songs where Nash writes about everyday scenes with incredible poignancy and urgency. She’ll pull the rug out from underneath you while singing about oral hygiene but then crack you up while singing about declarations of love. I genuinely ration out listening to her song “We Get On,” limiting it to roughly once a year because it’s just too emotional for me to bear, with the bouncing upbeat sound belying its simple yet heartbreaking lyrics. Since this album Nash has gone on to release plenty more fantastic music as well as becoming well-known for her role on GLOW, the acclaimed Netflix series about women’s wrestling in the 1980s.
The thing with Kate Nash is that her frank lyrics and brave openness always made her feel relatable anyway — not just that we share something in common, but that she really wants you to know her for who she is. I love that about her songwriting and I love that about the way she presents herself to the public eye. And now I love that she’s vegan, too!
These cookies take their flavour inspiration specifically from the songs “Foundations” and “Pumpkin Soup,” and her poem “Pistachio Nut,” which was the b-side to the “Pumpkin Soup” single. And also this funny little skit that I found where she’s nattering about biscuits — or as you might say, cookies — over a beat. I couldn’t work out where it was from but I am grateful anyway since it gave my recipe clear direction.
This recipe is a lot easier than the title might sound — just a one-bowl affair that can be easily doubled if you want a bigger batch. The mellow warm spices and rich chocolate are quite sumptuous together, while the lemon zest adds bursts of citrus freshness, and pistachios provide a soft luxurious crunch. The cookies themselves are crisp and chewy, perfect with a cup of tea while Made of Bricks plays at high volume.
Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Spice Lemon Pistachio Cookies
Makes 12–14 cookies (I ate some of the dough as I was making them, if you’re strict with yourself you might get sixteen out of this batch.)
- One ½ cups plain flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- One teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- ½ cup golden syrup, light corn syrup, or agave nectar
- ¼ cup plain unflavoured oil
- The finely grated zest of one large lemon
- ⅓ cup shelled pistachios
- ½ cup dark chocolate
- Set your oven to 350F and line a cookie tray with a sheet of baking paper.
- Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices together in a mixing bowl, then add the salt, syrup and oil, and a pinch of the lemon zest, and mix thoroughly to make a soft, sticky dough.
- Using your hands, take a roughly heaped teaspoon of dough and flatten into a cookie shape, then place on the tray. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Bake the cookies for nine minutes, then remove from the oven and allow them to cool. At this point, roughly chop the pistachios and melt the dark chocolate in a small bowl. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate, then sprinkle with chopped pistachios and a little of the lemon zest. Set aside in a cool place till the chocolate has set.
- If your cupboards are a bit bare, you can leave out the cloves and nutmeg and still have a delicious cookie — they add a certain something, but the cinnamon and ginger are the real stars. Similarly, these cookies are great just on their own without any chocolate-dipping.
- This is quite a forgiving recipe, you can replace half the flour with whole wheat, or if you have a good gluten-free flour it works well with that too.