Nana Serwa-Marcell on Veghana: “Veghana’s aim is to bring a tropical paradise into your home. We are merging the worlds of healthy vegan food and aromatic West African cuisine, to provide a bespoke delivery and catering service. Our recipes are packed with nutritious plants and incredible superfoods to emulate the divine aromatic flavours of Ghana. Immerse yourself in delicious, heart-warming comfort food and fall in love with every morsel of it – whether you are vegan or not. We want you to experience mouth-watering vegan food in a way you never thought was possible. Veghana is not just about the food – we will nourish your lives and minds with music, art and conversation at our future Veghana Life events.”
Veghana is focussing on using healthy and nutritious ingredients in our desserts, we avoid white or refined sugar and replace this with agave syrup, and eggs are replaced with milled flaxseed which does a good job in all cakes. We have no need for eggs, milk or any dairy – this is also in line with traditional Ghanaian cuisine.
“Veghana is all about re-creating the traditional foods I grew up with for a plant-based life-style. For the mains, sides and starters, authenticity is key and we don’t stray far from traditional recipes, however I have to drop this when it comes to the desserts. The only dessert I can remember growing up is Fan Ice and in two flavours if we were lucky. Of course we have bofrot and Nkati cake, but Ghanaians and all nationalities are big-time on desserts, we need more variety, however we are all increasingly health conscious. I’m absolutely enjoying using the dessert space to be inventive. Why does a dessert need to be unhealthy? Why can’t it be good for you and also absolutely gorgeous?”
Veghana shares their signature vegan ice-cream recipe with us delights in the simple fact no eggs nor ice-cream machine is required.
“I like coconut but not intensely coconutty things, so the vanilla in this takes away that edge and puts the coconut a little more in the background. It takes very little time to make and lasts in the freezer for ever. Once in the freezer it needs to be churned with a wooden spoon a few times at four hour intervals to make it really creamy. It goes very well with a chocolate sauce or with a mango sorbet topping.”
Coconut and Vanilla Ice-Cream.
- READY IN: 8hr
- PREP TIME: 15min
- COOK TIME: 20min
- 2 vanilla beans
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 2 (13 ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk
- 4 table-spoons of vanilla essence (if you can get vanilla extract this is even better, use 2 table-spoons)
- 2 table-spoons of an alcoholic coffee liqueur such as Takai (this stops your ice-cream from freezing as well as giving it a popping taste)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- Use the edge of a sharp knife to scrape the soft middle of the vanilla bean into a pyrex style bowl; add agave nectar and and pod shells too..
- Place the bowl into a large pot where it can balance without sinking, fill the pot with water unit it is halfway up the sides of the bowl; bring water to a simmer and heat agave nectar and vanilla for 20 minutes.
- Use a remove and discard the vanilla pod halves. Allow agave nectar and vanilla to cool completely. You can sit the glass bowl in ice if you are in a hurry.
- Stir cooled agave nectar, coconut milk, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl, add the coffee liqueur and cinnamon; pour into a sealable container and seal.
- Cool ice cream in freezer, stirring every hour or so to break-up the ice crystals, for the first four hours until firm, stir again every four hours about two times.
Nana-Serwa Mancell, Veghana’s Ɔbaa Panyin.
Veghana was founded by Nana driven by her passionate belief that West African food deserves its place amongst the popular global cuisines, and that West African food has an enormous amount to offer anyone on a plant-based diet.
Nana was born and raised in Ghana eating the food she has re-created for the Veghana menu, though educated in the UK, where she first started to understand the importance of food as a way to express and explore her Ghanaian identity.
Before giving up a stable career to launch Veghana, Nana worked in various roles in corporate communications in both the UK and UAE, her last as the Communications Manager for the Emirates Literature Foundation (Nana is obsessed by contemporary literary fiction). Before leaving UK for the UAE, Nana worked as a Senior Press Officer for the Greater London Authority (office of the Mayor of London), the Royal Commonwealth Society and University of London. She has a Law degree from University of Kent, UK.
Between Veghana and keeping up with her three sons, Nana plays at being a DJ at events and parties, spreading her love for African dance music (she admits her music collection is far superior to her technical skills).