Tag Archives: Vegan

Healing Garlic, Ginger and Butterbean Soup

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It’s mid December! Which means it’s cold outside (cue cosy jumpers, hoodies and scarves), party season is upon us and Christmas is just around the corner. Plenty to get excited about!

But with that excitement usually comes extra strain on our bodies and minds; lack of sunlight, indulgence in naughty foods and alcohol and excess stress over pulling together the perfect Christmas can all take its toll on us physically.

So if you’re feeling a little under the weather, this nourishing soup is the perfect pick-me-up.

Garlic boasts amazing antibacterial and antiviral properties, while ginger stimulates immune function and helps fight infection, as well as reduces nausea. Together they pack a mighty nutritional punch, and combined with onion (also a natural antiviral decongestant) these benefits are boosted even further.

On top of that, butterbeans are a fabulous source of B-vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, fibre and protein. And along with cashews, which are packed with eye, heart and blood healthy vitamins and minerals, they help give the soup a warming, creamy consistency.

Even more to get excited about, this dish is so easy to make!

Ingredients:

1 head of garlic

3 carrots

1 tin butterbeans, rinsed and drained 

2 red onions

4-6 inches ginger

3 spring onions (plus extra to garnish)

Handful cashew nuts

1 1/2 tbsp dried oregano

Pinch of paprika

500ml vegetable stock

50ml almond milk

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°c.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a baking tray and add the carrot and whole garlic cloves. I left the skin on the garlic for added nutrients, but these can be removed before blending if you prefer. 

Coat well in oil, 1/2 tbsp oregano, paprika and a little salt and black pepper, then roast for 20-30 min until soft, shuffling and turning half way.

Meanwhile season the butterbeans with 1 tbsp dried oregano and black pepper. Roughly chop the red onion, ginger and spring onions. 

Sautée the red onions and ginger for 3-4 min, then add the butterbeans for another 5 mins. Finally add the spring onions, carrot and garlic for the last 2 min.

Stir in vegetable stock, bring to boil, cover and then reduce to simmer for about 5 mins.

Add to blender (I used an immersion blender) along with almond milk and pulse until soft and creamy.

Serve and garnish with chopped spring onion.

Enjoy, and embrace the healing feeling and delicious flavours, while those antibodies get hard at work fighting your physical corner!

Vegan Buckwheat Flour Pancakes with Blackberry Sauce

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Vegan Buckwheat Flour Pancakes with Blackberry Sauce

I couldn’t resist tucking in before I snapped the photo🙈

Hello Autumn. ‘Tis the season for juicy blackberries!

To celebrate I whipped up these buckwheat pancakes with warm blackberry sauce.

Best of all, I had them for breakfast, cos I can! Buckwheat flour is super healthy; not only gluten-free, it’s jammed with protein and fibre, an array of nutrients including magnesium, zinc and iron, it helps lower cholesterol, aids digestion and even has cancer fighting antioxidants. Win-win.

To make 3-4, all you need is:

120g buckwheat flour

200ml almond milk

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp ground flax seed (aka linseed)

2 handfuls blackberries

Handful blueberries to top (optional)

Maple syrup to top (or other optional sweetener)

For the sauce:

Add 50ml boiling water to a saucepan, with the blackberries. Heat for a few minutes until the blackberries soften, drain the water and add the fruit to a food processor.

Whiz until a sauce forms and set aside to cool.
For the pancakes:

Simply whisk together all the ingredients until a batter is formed (it shouldn’t be too thick, just similar to regular pancake batter).

Spread a little olive oil evenly around a frying pan. Then add a thin layer of batter and cook on either side for around 4 mins each, until the edges are nice and crispy.

Topped with blackberry sauce, blueberries, maple syrup and walnuts

I’m always full of energy and excited for the day after eating these babies!

You can top them with anything you like, but this blackberry sauce was certainly a sweet deal. I often mix it up with vegan chocolate spread, strawberries, raspberries, nuts, bananas and maple syrup. 

Enjoy!

12/11/16 UPDATE: Vegan pancakes 2.0.. stacked and layered with fruit is the way forward 👌

Crispy Cauliflower Bites

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I recently discovered these bad boys, the same time my best friend was giving birth to her first child- what a momentous day.
Believe me when I say, these are one of the tastiest vegan foods I’ve had the pleasure of consuming.

Having experimented with a few flavours, I’ve found that this ‘curried’ version came up top. But it can of course be amended to include any herbs and spices you like.

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower

120g buckwheat flour

220ml almond milk

3 tbsp coconut oil (measured solidified)

3 tsp paprika

4 tsp ground turmeric

4 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

3 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt (I use pink himalayan)

2 cloves garlic (crushed/finely diced)

1 inch finely diced ginger (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper and melt the coconut oil in the oven on the tray for a couple of minutes. Spread evenly.

Chop cauliflower into medium – small florets (it’s really up to you, I prefer them smaller as they go crispier).

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garlic, ginger,  salt and pepper. Ensure everything is combined nice and evenly.

Next, add the almond milk to a separate bowl and begin dunking a few florets of cauliflower. Once soaked, dip them into the flour until well coated and add to the baking tray.

Try double dipping some of them (milk-flour-milk-flour) which will create a batter – like consistency, giving a thicker, softer coating (the mix between crispy and soft is amazing).
Don’t leave out the tiny florets either- these are extra special as they work great for a super crispy coating.

Bake for 15 minutes before turning them over. Add more almond milk to any florets that might still have dry flour on them and bake for a further 15-20 minutes.

Serve up with your favourite vegan main and enjoy!

Big hit with the dog who lives off junk food

Fun, nutritous and delicious.. you can’t go wrong 🙂
P.S. I’d love to know if anybody has tried making a similar version of these? I’ve read great things about pan frying them..

Accompanying home made vegetable pattie with rocket

12/11/16 Update: just felt the need to add this – after I mentioned to my friend about making these the day she gave birth, she admitted she’d had total crispy cauliflower cravings throughout her pregnancy, and had visited the restaurant we first discovered it multiple times towards the end!

Needless to say I whipped her up a batch in a nice little food parcel with some houmous and salad, and she loved it!

Ahh, universe, how you continue to fascinate me so.💚

Rice Krispie & Oat Energy Bars

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Since going vegan, I actually can’t get enough of puffed brown rice. I use it for so much, like when I want that naughty sensation of eating cereal and cold milk covered with sugar, I fill a bowl with puffed brown rice, almond milk and xylitol (a plant based sugar subsititute which ironically even has oral health benefits)… snap, crackle and pop.
Or I make something like these Krispy, nutty oat bars. They’re packed full of fibre and protein, and the chia seeds give them an extra energy bursting nutritional kick – great for before or after a workout. Plus they take just a few minutes to whip up.

Ingredients:

140g almond butter (or any nut butter, though almond seems to taste best as it isn’t overpowering like peanut can be)

3-4 tbsp maple/date syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 banana

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup puffed brown rice

Method:

Melt the coconut oil, almond butter and syrup gently in a saucepan. Blend together with the banana, chia seeds and cinnamon. 

Mix oats and rice well until sticky. Transfer the lot to a baking tray lined with parchment and freeze for about an hour.

The beauty of these babies is that you can take them straight out of the freezer and they’ll be edible within a couple of minutes. Hope you’ll try and enjoy 🙂
You can also of course mix n match- try opting just for just rice krispies and setting them deeper in the pan- leaves them nice and chunky with lots of bite.

Move over s’mores…it’s BBQ Oreo time

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BBQ #6 this year and #6 being vegan… and aside from Linda McCartney sausages and veggie patties, this time I discovered a real gem; WARM OREOS.
That’s right, whack a bunch of Oreos on the BBQ for a few minutes, wait for the biscuit to warm (it smells like cake), the cream to melt and you have yourself a delicious, naughty vegan treat that gives s’mores a run for their money. Just wow.

They are so exciting and moreish, especially on a restricted diet. Just try not to eat the whole lot (we got through 3 packs).

For the second batch I got crazy and added some dark chocolate on top😍

No meat, no dairy, no sex

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So. I made the decision to practice celibacy about two or more years ago. Back then it was a loose insight in my mind, projected and ideal but not quite accepted. With a crazy sex life having basically come to a halt, I didn’t need to actively abstain.

Then over time it developed as an actual truth, and as much as I’ve resisted, I’ve also learned to accept it.

I had to make a mistake or two to learn some lessons, but recent occurrences seem to indicate I learned well. It’s been an extremely difficult.. should I say,  frustrating  week, and temptation has been rife. But I didn’t succumb and I know I’ve made the right decision(s).

I mean I’m sure I have, but as a replacement distraction I’m stuck with constant thoughts of food instead.. not necessarily a new struggle, but it is now far heightened by the need to fill some kind of comfort gap. Mostly by bourbon biscuits and Oreos since they’re some of the naughtiest treats I can have as a vegan.

Anyway, I believe the preservation of sexual energy far outweighs the wastage of it on something that isn’t an emotional connection. Saving it for a special person and moment, a sacred act shared between the two of you who understands one another is just perfect.

No need to jump straight into each others pants, as temporarily exciting as that can be. I’m no prude, in fact this decision is kind of killing me inside, but I know it’s the right one and has been there for a long time. It’s just been a while since I’ve been ready for the next test.

Now I’m taking another step along the path of self discovery. And I am genuinely excited to be on the way :)🙏

Don’t know whether to trust the weather.

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Wherever we go, as humans we always seem to discuss the weather in social situations. 

“Hot today init?”

“Yeah Nan, baking.”

“I prefer to be cold, me. Can’t be doing with the sweatiness.”

The reason we reference the weather so much is because it’s literally the pinnacle of our survival and existence on Earth.

How we utilise sunlight and fresh oxygen for example, is so important. So when in the UK we go from chilly and rainy to (years overdue) 34°c in the blink of an eye, our bodies respond as such.

We need more hydration, more calcium to absorb the extra vitamin D from the sun, more protein for us to replace the  fat shed while basting in the heat or sweating on the sofa. Just as examples.

Sunbeams creeping in

If one was raised in a relatively sunny climate (or spent enough time in one), the body would adapt to the heat, the skin would gradually build a healthy natural tan (instead of burning like a lobster as many Brits do), etc.
If one is raised in coldness such as in places like Iceland, again the body adapts to such temperatures and grows to its potential in that climate. Iceland interestingly happen to have one of the ‘healthiest’ population in the world.

Here in the UK we tend to jump from.one extreme to another, and I believe it takes quite a toll on many of us. With such rapid change, the body is constantly trying to adapt from one state to another. And with the poor western diet followed by many, it can cause havoc on our bodies and minds, and sometimes serious health issues.

Which is why it’s so important to follow a constant, healthy diet. And coincidentally why a simple vegan diet works so well (I won’t adapt here, I promise this one isn’t about the v word.!.vegan). Anyway. A diet that is part of your lifestyle, and not about losing weight (although there’s nothing wrong with getting trim; excess weight isn’t generally ‘healthy’).. one that becomes an easy routine, which you can rely on to get you through everyday. Then when the weather shifts from ice valley to dry earth with just a heartbeat in between, you’re always energised, strong and ready.

Butternut squash, chickpea and spinach curry w/ cumin rice and gram flour tortilla

Vegan pon road.

Mother nature (and the universe generally) never cease to amaze. And the way we use the sun to fuel us, growing each new cell and shedding old skin is just another part of that.
I suppose the point I’m making is that, depending where one is on Earth, we could potentially evolve into different kinds of humans. I could go to Costa Rica and become a bronze beauty, to Iceland to get lean and strong, to India and be a happily shrivelled yogi.

Endless possibilities for infinite consciousness. All influenced by the God that is the Sun…… I felt they both needed capitalising. 

Doris; she belongs to my housemate and thrives each year.

I’ll leave with thoughts of sweet, home grown strawberries. Peacee 

Finding ‘blog balance’ between my 2 favourite things

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Lately I’ve been wondering why I share more food moments than yoga moments on my blog.

Like both are my main loves in life, but I guess the balance of ‘want’ and ‘need’ between the two is quite rocky at times.

Most of my days lately have been spent in the kitchen. I mean literally, if I have just an hour free time I’m back in there, looking to throw something together that will help me to get me through another day.

Yoga is a deeper experience, executed mostly by, and with, myself, in a sacred space I have devoted to the practice.

Don’t get me wrong- I still practice every single day. And to a degree this is because it’s something I ‘need’.. but it is also merely a ‘want’, from my body and mind.

Whereas food is comparatively a huge ‘need’, as clearly it’s needed for survival. Even more so now being vegan, I need to make sure I’m always a step ahead of the eating game, and that meals and snacks are prepared and on hand as and when they’re needed.

I suppose with yoga being somewhat of a ‘private’ practice (aside from when I attend classes), I’m less inclined to ‘share’ my experiences on my blog.

But I love to inspire, and I want as many people as possible to experience this wonderful practice. So I will try to incorporate more yoga posts.

Cooking has been one of my main ‘exercises’ of late, and I do want to inspire healthy eating too. Yet again we return to that issue of balance… something I am also working on👌.

Peace and love yogis, chefs and fellow humans. I love you all, unconditionally.

Being Vegan Week 6: Is this level of excitement normal?

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For the past few weeks, I’ve literally been unable to stop thinking about food.

And it isn’t because I’m hungry… it’s because everything I’ve eaten has been so daym delicious, I’m always thinking about what’s coming next.

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Clearly I need to take some self control (yet again, even as a vegan it seems I can’t control my cravings for food… any food), but I just can’t help it.. and now more than ever, knowing that what I’m eating is not only helping preserve the planet (albeit it on a small scale), but is actually good me for, leaves me constantly searching for new recipes.

Since becoming vegan, literally most of my spare time has been devoted to the kitchen (or supermarket). And all the new tastes and flavours dancing over my tongue, and making me feel fantastic afterward (and not sluggish or ugh) are really making this an enjoyable feat.

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From sauces to ice creams to seasonings and dressings, I can’t get enough.

Today alone, I’ve enjoyed:

Banana, almond, coconut and chia smoothie for breakfast.

Almond butter rice krispie squares for mid morning snack.

Carob bar as an afternoon snack (first time trying, I’m not disappointed).

Brocolli with garlic, ginger and spring onion sauce and sesame brown rice for dinner.

Peanut butter cookies for dessert.

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And being unable to stop thinking about more food, despite my tummy already being satisfied, I couldn’t help but indulge in some blueberry and raspberry buckwheat pancakes. Now it’s safe to say I’m VERY full (2 tbps apple cider vinegar with warm water aiding my digestion).

Unfortunately I’ve not taken the time to photograph much of this, as it’s been more of a cook it – eat it style, trying to perfect recipes etc. Plus experimental cooking doesn’t usually make for very appealing food snaps (I’ll add recipes soon enough).

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But over the past few weeks I’ve also enjoyed some gorgeous meals and treats, such as pad tai noodles, courgetti noodles and sundried tomato pesto, roasted butternut squash and chickpea salad, turmeric quinoa coconut curry, falafal, chickpea flour wraps, mushroom burgers, black bean burgers, sweet oat and rice krispie squares, raw chocolate brownies, gooey black bean chocolate brownies, mixed berry crumble, mint choc chip ice cream… not to mention all the amazing stuff I tried in Amsterdam last week!

Yup, I actually made it through 3 days in Dam as a vegan… not one churro, waffle or piece of cheese passed my lips.

Instead, I got to enjoy vegan cheese sticks, samosas, rice wraps, blueberry cheese cake, chocolate cake and ice cream, raspberry and white chocolate cupcakes, houmous salad wraps… most of which I did photograph..

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Turns out Amsterdam is a hot bed of vegan eateries (compared to my small town in the UK anyway). And the food is AMAZING!!

I’m truly grateful to be vegan right now. Sure it takes some effort and preparation, but if you plan ahead and always make sure there’s at least one healthy snack on hand, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding.

Embracing new flavours and ingredients, reworking my taste buds and retraining my body to enjoy vegan alternatives, has left me lighter (I don’t weigh myself but I’ve definitely lost weight), more energetic and generally happier. I’m also creating a whole new self.. I’ve begun a journey that I just know will take me to places I never imagined before,  in whatever form that may be.

And I cannot wait! Nor can I wait for breakfast tomorrow!! I’m thinking hemp seed and fruit smoothie, and possibly more buckwheat pancakes.

Nommm blessings and goodnight!

Skewers are a BBQ-loving Vegan’s best friend

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My fourth BBQ in 3 weeks of turning vegan. And I’ve realised how much of a life saver 4 simple metal skewers have been.

Just simply marinating some chopped vegetables in the morning, transporting them in the same container, poking the skewer through them when you’re ready to cook, and whacking them on the grill, has proven deliciously helpful.

I went to a treetop climbing/zip line adventure in the woods today to celebrate my birthday with friends. We decided late the night before to have a BBQ, leaving me no time to prepare.. “F***, I’m vegan, cooking on a BBQ for dinner! ”

Then there’s always a nice side dish to go with whatever the main may be. My favourite veg so far has been courgette, red onion, pepper, mushrooms and baby plum tomatoes. They can be nice and crispy or just warm and tender, with a hint of smoky charred BBQy loveliness.

Because there’s nothing quite like cooking and eating outdoors, and the alluring smell of the coal heating up, drifting through the warm spring/summer air… and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue to be an enjoyable experience, whether vegan or vegetarian.

For these I have no recipe… I literally poured Nandos garlic sauce over and let it baste. Super quick, tasty and vegan.

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Adding some colour