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Goji's Vegetarian Kitchen Blog

Posted by: goji on Jun 27, 2012

Category:Kitchen Blog 


Well the first weekend of the new birthday menu (it is our third birthday this month) got off to a flying start with a full house and having to turn tables away. Thanks to everyone who came and hope you all enjoyed it (I think the empty plates said as much!) This menu has provided me with quite a challenge as it involves quite a lot of extra prep to get all the dishes ready in time, so I was glad that I started ahead of time.

Here is a little run through of some of my favourites

First off, we have a barley risotto that has been cooked in a forest mushroom stock. It is really worth trying just to taste the flavours of forest mushrooms. It is finished off with crème fraiche and real shaved black truffles. Barley is remarkably creamy.

I really like the seaweed starter. Did you know that seaweed contains more calcium than milk and is naturally iron rich. As well as that it contains iodine, mainly found in seafood and dairy and  so important for the thyroid and for vegans and veggies who do not eat fish .The sauce we serve with this dish is made from miso and tahini. And it has a little surprise which is added last minute. Come and try!

A popular choice is wontons in ginger miso broth. The wontons (thanks to the Korean supermarket for them) contain a filling of aduki beans with spinach and dates. It is so delicious, and of course you can make any filling to go in them. In some places they slip a 5p piece in one of them , but hey, I do not want you to break your teeth!

For the egg roll I picked lots of fresh herbs from our garden and made a roulade which contains a tangy beetroot and goat cheese filling. Healthy or what? It looks so colourful.

Over to the mains , where you can enjoy what I think is known as a burger slider! It is like 3 different burger type creations. Well, I am making all the buns for you…in two different flavours, and then for the third we cook some polenta with herbs and cheese to make the base. Making a sweetcorn fritter with sundried tomatoes and feta cheese and then a chilli bean burger and then the goji mushroom and halloumi one that everyone just loves so much. Add to that some dips and sweet potato fries and you have got a great dish. What is really good is that it is easy to vary the type of burger or dip. I may play about with that a bit; experiment with the spices and themes.

Really popular is the quinoa lasagne. A surprise hit…it has layers of quinoa and a red wine and tomato sauce with courgettes and peppers, and cheese on top. Simple but elegant, with a rocket salad to set off the flavours . Gluten free too.

I think one of my fave desserts is the greek coffee yoghurt stack ; a layer of coffee flavoured greek yoghurt with chunky almond biscuits. I thought..yoghurt and coffee?? No way? So I was keen to try it. It is an idea that comes from the book ‘snog’. Whilst I am not a fan of many recipe ideas in this book, this one is a winner. It is delicious. Had to have a spoonful at the end of the night. Sadly though without the chocolate sauce that customers get with it.

But do not go without tasting the fresh fruit raw cheesecake. Actually it is not made from cheese but cashew nuts mainly. And different colour layers of fruit. But…it takes a while to make it. I have to start it on Thursday for the weekend. It sure looks worth it by the end though. Do try it! No sugar, but you will find it is not needed at all, so no need to feel guilty

Well do let us know what you think of the dishes. Unlike some restaurants we like to vary and change our menu. It is always more exciting to try new ideas and flavour combinations. Hope you like them

Look forward to seeing you

Wendy and kitchen team
Ps if you see my kitchen assistant in a white mask do not panic! She is Japanese and they all do that in Japan! It is hygienic after all. ….

Posted by: goji on Feb 29, 2012

Category:Kitchen Blog 

Kitchen blog February 2012

Well a lot of time has passed since we last spoke. So it is time to update the Goji blog and let you all know what is happening behind the scenes at Goji.

Out with the old
Say goodbye to the old wool carpet that has seen hundreds of your feet tramp up and down on it. We are getting a new carpet next week and yes, we do know, it is about time!

New kitchen help
Welcome to Ryumi! My new Japanese helper who writes everything down! As soon as she has learnt a task, she knows exactly what to do and gets on with it in superfast time! Look out for new photos of the food on our facebook page, taken by Ryumi.

The Evening Menu
Good news for gluten frees. This week all main courses contain gluten free ingredients. So lets have a look at them

Vegan Fish and chips: this has been more successful than I thought. First, thanks to the Asian supermarket at the bottom of Micklegate where we bought the organic tofu for this dish. They are wondering what magic we use to make tofu into fish! And so we have been told, it gives ‘real ‘ fish n chips a run for the money. There are quite a few processes but it is worth it: first press out the water from the tofu. Then cut it into the size you want. Marinate it , wrap in nori seaweed. Dip in (gluten free) flour and then into organic beer batter. Then into a crunchy quinoa crumb and shallow fry. Then drain and into the oven for 10 mins! Simple. Tasty and soooo good with homemade tartar sauce made with organic vodka and grated lemon zest. Chips and peas, tomato sauce and there you have it.

Spring pilaf: After a bit of working this dish turned out really good: cook the rice in a forest mushroom stock , sauté your favourite green vegetables , add the rice and work it through with more stock, butter , organic cheddar and fresh herbs, and then decorate it ….we are doing our rice pilaf garden Topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and with freshly sliced jerusalem artichoke and fresh dill and asparagus

Lentil Bake: not just any old lentil bake . I know it sounds boring but trust me you will not be bored with our version which comes with a red wine and tomato sauce, sautéed spring greens with sesame seeds, a herb puff triangle and aubergine and soft cheese rolls.

Hmmm! And also who wants to know about the avocado and chocolate sugar free mousse! A hint of fresh basil and some of Paul’s shortbread are all it needs to set it off

And finally let me tell you that the pineapple upside down cake should not be missed, Because it is what we devised to go with it that makes it beautiful  Namely a maple rum syrup with pomegranate molasses and whipped cream with notes of crystallised ginger. It is good. So good. The sponge soaks up that syrup and it melts so lightly in the mouth. Divine.

Well now I am getting hungry so that is enough of that!

So what is to come? Soon to be launched as soon as we can organise the logistics : Goji breakfast time. Yes! We cannot give too much away at this point but we shall be bringing back an old favourite from the first Goji days that we think you are going to LOVE. As well as lots of other tasty breakfasty healthy things we are making up for you.  And all made in house as always.

Did you know??? That we make just about all our products upstairs in our little kitchen? Apart from the samosas and pakora which are made by a local Indian lady and the bread made by Phil in Haxby bakery

Hope to see you soon. Do come and say hello and tell us what you like about Goji.

Posted by: goji on Jul 20, 2011

Category:Kitchen Blog 

Evening Menu

This weekend we are bringing back our popular spanakopita as one of the starters. This is a spinach , yoghurt, feta and pine nut filo layered dish which I am serving with a tomato scattered with onion seeds and oven baked. Everyone seems to love it

One of the dishes featured on the main courses is a buckwheat and cashew nut bake. This was served with a mushroom and organic red wine sauce which seemed to work well. Buckwheat is a seed , but it behaves like a grain. It is often overlooked but is highly nutritious and tasty.

I also want to tell you about the lasagne. It features organic lasagne and courgettes and swiss chard from our garden instead of spinach. Sundried tomatoes and fresh herbs  give it a summery flavour

On the dessert menu we are featuring a new one; chocolate and tofu cheesecake. It has a hint of ginger and coffee which gives it a very sophisticated taste. What is more it is gluten free as well as vegan.  We have to restrain ourselves despite it having no eggs , butter or flour …..


Finally …why not let us know what your favourite meal or dessert suggestions are that you would like to see on the menu. If we feature your suggestion we will give you that item for free if you are eating with us

Simply drop us a mail by following the contact on our website

Keep healthy!


Posted by: goji on Jul 20, 2011

Category:Kitchen Blog 

For the benefit of our customers, it may be a good idea to clarify our use of sugar in our products.

For example, if you are someone who normally drinks diet coke (which we do not sell as it contains chemical sweeteners) , did you know that we do sell , from Whole Earth, a cola which has no processed sugar in it and no artificial sweeteners. It contains agave syrup, which is a naturally sweet syrup derived from a cactus plant

We also sell sparkling elderflower and lemonade from whole Earth and these only contain fruit sugars

We also sell a 100% pure apple juice made from just Russet apples which is about the sweetest apple you can get as a juice…with no added sugars at all

We often make a vegan banana cake which has no added sugars apart from the fruit sugars derived from grapes , apples and carob. So none of the white stuff.

We can also on request make you a cake that is naturally sweet using this fruit syrup in place of the unrefined sugars that we use for other cakes….such as our vegan chocolate cake , or a cheesecake.

You can also ask for your milkshakes to be made with our fruit syrup in place of adding sugar, although there will be some sugar in the organic icecream that we use..or you can ask for some honey…..

The only white sugar that we use…and actually it is more of an off white…is our organic icing sugar that we sometimes use for icings

You will also find golden syrup in our traditional pecan pie; but we are looking at replacing that with a natural fruit sugar

So to sum up:

We do not use as far as we know any products containing aspartame or saccharin.

We do stock drinks that are 100% fruit and drinks that are only sweetened with a natural plant syrup….

We use unrefined sugars as far as possible

We do and can make some cakes without using crystalline sugar

Posted by: goji on Jul 12, 2011

Category:Kitchen Blog 

Beetroot and Carrot soup

The earthy flavours of carrot and beetroot combine beautifully whilst providing you with antioxidants and trace minerals for healthy thinking !



Equal amounts of carrots and beetroot eg 500 grams of each

Couple of red onions chopped

Vegetable stock

Red wine , one glass

Bayleaf, salt, pepper, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar 1 tabsp

Dill, sour cream



Cook the beetroot in their skins until tender

Peel under running water

Chop the beetroot

Saute the chopped red onion with the bayleaf , add the red wine and the beetroot and then the stock

Saute the carrots until tender and add to the beetroot mix

Simmer for 5 to 10 mins


Add salt and pepper and more stock or liquid if needed to give a thick but smooth consistency

Serve topped with sour cream and a scattering of dill

Posted by: goji on Mar 31, 2011

Category:Kitchen Blog 

Gales @ Shipton By Beningbrough [March 31st 2011]

Posted by: goji on Mar 18, 2011

Category:Kitchen Blog 

Our psychic supper on March 10th proved to be an interesting evening for all. Medium Leigh spent two hours in our upstairs and downstairs rooms giving messages from spirit to those present. As usual I was told to paint more and get those pictures out! So that will be my aim! Watch the walls of Goji for my paintings coming soon! If we manage to get a new daytime chef soon, I should be able to manage it somehow...

We have also been asked whether we can do any other vegan cakes other than the usual four varieties that we always try and offer: Lemon Poppyseed, Chocolate, Date Slice, and Banana Muffins. Well, also new is Vegan and Sugar freeVEGAN AND SUGAR FREE CARROT CAKE. Come in and try it (if there is any left) ....

Posted by: goji on Feb 17, 2011

Category:Kitchen Blog 

Valentines went especially well this year. A new dish which we called Baby Baby Baby was a customer favourite, and one which we all adored in the kitchen as well. It is quite easy to prepare; simply oven roast your favourite vegetables with garlic and spices and dress with a lovely tamarind and date syrup lemon sauce. I have decided to keep that on the menu for a while in the evening

Another hit was the Knickerbocker Glory. I just could not bring myself to download the song ‘Knickerbocker’ to go with it. However, it was much requested and no wonder. Layers of organic chocolate, vanilla and strawberry icecream and inbetween fruit jelly (yes, vegetarian) chopped nuts, banana, maple syrup, fresh fruit and whipped cream and topped with chocolate sauce. Not only the customers wanted it. The staff were insisting that they all have one too at the end of the shifts! So we all say down and ate this gigantic monster of an icecream pile up some time after midnight!

We hope to be offering this as well in the evening for a while…and all you vegans wont miss anything as we can do a vegan icecream version as well.

So this weekend it is back to the ‘normal ‘ menu. We are up to ‘F’ in our travels through the alphabet for the names of the courses now. What can you think of? (no swearing of course).

Don’t forget Psychic Evening on Thursday March 10th; a light supper and the chance to take part in an evening with our guest medium Audrey will set you back just £15. We are taking bookings for that now

Posted by: goji on Jan 3, 2011

Category:Kitchen Blog 

New Years Eve @ Goji Cafe York

Goji saw the New Year in for the first time in style with music from local lads Bryn and Frank; Bryn on ukelele and squeeze box and Frank on violin. Thanks to them and can you come back sometime? We hope so as you went down a storm. We even managed to spice up the evening with some circle dancing downstairs even though space was limited . But that was after all the main food was served of course as we were crammed with customers. Thanks for all the lovely compliments about the food, especially for comparisons to ‘that’ restaurant down in Brighton and for saying our risotto was better than in Italy! Hurrah! In any case we are happy everyone enjoyed themselves.

After the main course it was table fireworks which caused a lot of smoke (and laughter from the sound of it). We had then laid out a huge table buffet but as everyone was stuffed we could hardly eat! A few hungry ones from outside were still ready for it and it gradually went down. And then led by the boys we went round the corner to watch a firework display and cheer loudly.


We hope to see you all next year for another Goji hoedown!

Meanwhile plans for Valentines day are getting under way and we will let you know what is on the agenda as soon as we can.

Posted by: goji on Sep 8, 2010

Category:Kitchen Blog 

Wendy in Goji kitchen

So what is the difference between eating a meal at a vegetarian restaurant…like GOJI and eating a vegetarian meal at any restaurant? What do we do that is different?

I think it is best put like this. When you eat at Goji, you are eating a meal that is completely balanced. I am trying to give you all the components of a balanced meal, whatever dish you choose to have.

With vegetarian food, you have to include various food items from different kingdoms in order to get complete proteins and nutrients. I like to think that I am familiar with these items and  how to use them. You know, when I make up the menus, it is not just a tasty dish that I want to create for you. I am thinking about food combinations that will be healthy and satisfying, and I am putting herbs and spices in there to enhance that.

Sometimes as a vegetarian , you can leave a restaurant feeling …. you know something in that meal was missing…it was not a satisfying meal. And you get home and you fancy something else to eat!

A balanced meal; that means a pulse or a bean or their products, a grain, a vegetable or something from the dairy or nut kingdom.

For example we have a dish of spicy pancake rolls on the menu.

This is rolls made from rice, sweet potato, onion and spices, on a bed of black beans and miso with spinach and a coconut cream sauce. So there we have, a grain (rice), a bean (black beans and miso) and vegetables

The buckwheat bake that we have on the menu this week, contains a seed product (buckwheat) and vegetables such as organic carrot and beetroot, and this is topped with cheese or with nuts to make not just a tasty but a very nutritious meal. I like to make a wine and tomato reduction with this..not only for the deep flavour which complements the earthiness of the beetroot and the nuttiness of the buckwheat , but because I also put a few juniper into the sauce , Juniper is used as a digestive, a natural antibiotic, and as a natural anti inflammatory . It not only does the sauce good…but you as well!

Buckwheat may help control blood sugar levels , possibly helping to reduce the risk of diabetes  and also is a rich source of  magnesium

Usually we need around three main components to make up a complete meal. And there are some things it seems that just do not go well together, and will probably give you indigestion. Microwaving and food is one. So we don’t do it. Cooking food in aluminium is another so we don’t do it. But did you know eating something like kidney beans and cheese together can play havoc in your stomach! I don’t want that to happen to you after you leave, so I avoid things like that.  I generally do not cook with potatoes and pulses in one dish. Do you remember baked potatoes with baked beans? (as a student it is daily fare) In my opinion, that is sure to blow you up like a balloon because of the different stomach acids produced all at once to digest starch and the bean together

So at Goji, our food is not just about what we do. .but what we dont do.

Wendy, Head Chef at GOJI

Posted by: goji on Sep 2, 2010

Category:Kitchen Blog 

CONGRATULATIONS  to Liz and Miles who got married recently. We were very happy to have been asked to make their wedding cake, which was a Vegan one with white chocolate icing with white marzipan doves on the top. They loved it , which made us happy too.

If you want a cake for a special occasion just let us know. We can tailor it to your specific requirements.

Posted by: goji on Sep 2, 2010

Category:Kitchen Blog 

We would like to recommend Helen Flannagan, the first hairdresser using organic products who will come to your own home and cut your hair for you, and then finish it using organic products. We tried out her services last week and were very happy with them. It is about time that hairdressers used shampoos and conditioners and colours made from natural ingredients, rather than chemicals

Posted by: goji on Jun 25, 2010

Category:Kitchen Blog 

Last Monday night saw the first of several poetry explorations of the work of poets from around the world. Fynn Stirm, our local poet in residence, shared the work of Fernando Pessoa from Portugal . An informal group enjoyed to listen to his work and his unusual life story, and to share some wine and a small buffet laid on for the evening

Next Monday we will hear about Christy Brown from Ireland (played by Daniel Day Lewis in the acclaimed film ‘My Left Foot’) Why not come along…its free entrance….and a  glass of wine and some delicious food will cost you only £5

I was thinking whether to do some Irish recipes…what comes to mind/ Soda Bread, Irish stew…Boxty. Boxty?

At any rate we will have some Irish coffee on the go……you know; hot coffee served in a glass with some whiskey in the bottom and a thick layer of fresh cream floating on the top

Meanwhile in the kitchen Paul has made his first batch of Pavola’s and tomorrow we are going to fill them with cream and fresh strawberries. Paul says he likes his meringue to be hard all the way through, but I think it should be crisp on the outside and then slightly chewy inside.  They are drying out in the oven overnight, so let’s hope they are good and we will see .

They will really complement one of our Chase fruit liquors we have just added to the menu. Made with English potato vodka …..that’s unique…and their own hand picked organic fruit…...and apparently Chase just scooped a top world prize for their vodka in the Spirit’s championship held in San Fran.

And in the Goji garden the purple kohl rabi is ready. I think I have to put them on this weekend’s menu freshly sautéed with some butter and lemon. Our own strawberries have not yet made it to Goji…….they are just too irresistible. But more are on the way.

Posted by: goji on Mar 5, 2010

Category:Kitchen Blog 

Paul’s Pecan Pie is really getting noticed by our customers…..we have had yet another compliment for him today……..on the pastry this time. I am getting jealous!

Also made a trial batch of beanburgers which turned out well; with a view to putting them on the new menu. They are really nutritious because they have red kidney beans, rice and chopped vegetables in them, and they are Vegan too. Just one on its own is a tasty and wholesome balanced snack

Back again, was Buckwheat Bake; a favourite from last summer. We will be putting it on the specials tomorrow. It is not often that we eat buckwheat, but it is very versatile. Why not use it uncooked as a crunchy topping on rice or soups or in salad?

Mother’s Day coming up. I think we are going to put on a roast dinner and have some familiar and more unusual sweets for mum to choose from…how about rice pudding with maple syrup , a touch of rosewater and sultanas, hazelnuts and double cream? My mother used to cook rice pudding every Sunday and we would fight over who got the caramelised brown skin on top.  And for a more festive touch we are going to attempt a Neopolitan Cheesecake with three layers. Not going to take bookings , but hopefully everyone will get a table over the day. See you there! Bring a mum!

Posted by: goji on Feb 1, 2010

Category:Kitchen Blog 

Our first weekend of opening evenings went very well with Haggis Puffs by far the most popular item on our menu; they looked amazing perched on top of a bed of celeriac mash, surrounded by a rich mushroom and red wine gravy and scattered with freshly steamed greens and the intensely black ‘black pudding’. (well, it was Burn’s night) People said they tasted ‘meaty’, and although I haven’t tasted meat for over 35 years I know what they mean. It is a very warming, hearty meal and we are going to keep them on the menu for a little while.

Unsurprisingly for starters many customers chose the Pea and Halloumi fritters. Peas are totally underrated , but not only can we appreciate their fresh green colour, they also are delicious when fried with salty halloumi and mint . Goes so well with baked vine tomatoes and the lemon yoghurt; we know as we tasted quite a few to test the recipe!

Another popular item was the Vegetable Korma; vegetables sweated down in ghee, spices and coconut milk with just enough besan (chick pea flour) to thicken the sauce, and freshly squeezed grated ginger, with a touch of chilli to give it a mild kick. No onions or garlic for a change…just some asafoetida instead to give it that oniony background .It won’t blow your socks off so you can’t distinguish the flavours, so you should be able to taste quite a few different spices in there as well. We topped the dish with some paneer curd cheese, which gives the dish another texture as it is quite chewy. Paneer is quite easy to make. If you want to make your own paneer have a look at this:

Gita, our part time sous chef who is originally from Slovakia, had made a pumpkin chutney which complimented everything nicely.

For dessert, the poached pears were a hit, standing up on the plate draped in a dark warm chocolate sauce and served with a ball of organic icecream. They were ‘worth waiting for’. I put a touch of cognac in the sauce, but not too much because we still want to taste the anise, vanilla and cinnamon that the pears were poached in……well, see you next time…time to plan the menu for Valentine’s Day.

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