Author Archives: leroy watson

About leroy watson

I am a vegan cook, writer, blogger, traveller and sometimes TV presenter. I like to pass time writing poetry, playing guitar, gardening, blogging, creating new vegan recipes, walking in the hills, practicing all forms of yoga and meditation, running, sitting by the fire, cooking elaborate feasts for my loved ones and finding elusive chess partners.

Spicy Ethiopian Vegetable and Peanut Butter Stew – Deliciously Simple, Seasonal and Vegan

 

Ethiopian lunches in the BHK are happy times!  

We love the bold flavours and vibrancy of Ethiopian dishes like this.  A creamy, rich, spicy sauce, slowly cooked with seasonal vegetables and flavourful fava beans.

 

This is my version of an Ethiopian Wat (stew/ curry), maybe somewhere between Shiro and a traditional Wat, if you know you’re Berbere from your Radhuni?!  Wat’s can take hours to cook, so I’ve cut the cooking time, without losing any of the flavours.

I’ve basically taken some local, seasonal, radiant Welsh veggies and treated them to an aromatic, creamy sauce, then served it on a warm chickpea flatbread with whole host of colourful trimmings.  It’s a simple dish that looks the part.

I’ve just returned from a little jaunt around the world, stepping out to Israel, Palestine, Rome and Vienna, with a Christmas spell in Murcia.  I’m taking it all in at the minute, having seen so many incredible sites and I’m happy to confirm that the world is still a miraculous place filled with warm hearted people.  I’ve also packed in loads and loads of foodie inspiration and cooking!!  I’ve eaten VERY well, a moveable feast of tasty surprises.

So I thought I’d cook Ethiopian!  A flavoursome curveball.  Recipes from these other fascinating countries will filter through, from notebook, to mind, to pan, to page, but at this time, I can’t forget the Ethiopian meal I had in Jerusalem.  It was the real deal.

Ethiopian Monks

One of my most memorable experiences of the trip was hanging out with the Ethiopian monks/ priest in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  A very powerful experience in a peaceful nook away from the hustle and bustle of old town Jerusalem.  Afterwards, me and my Lithuanian travelling buddies, happened upon a traditional Ethiopian restaurant and enjoyed a right old feast.

We ordered Bayenetu, huge platters of colourful dishes, presented on the traditional Injera flatbreads (tangy, fermented, light and fluffy, grey flatbreads, made with the gluten-free Teff flour), pan fried vegetables or gomen (collard green with spices), atkilt wat (normally spiced cabbage, carrots, potatoes in sauce), legume stews like terkik alitcha (a yellow split pea stew), shiro (a rich puree made with chickpea flour) and a mixture of salads.  Woah!

You eat it all with your hands, ripping off the injera and using it to scoop up the array of delights.  As you know, eating with your hands is great fun, dive in!  Just use your right. Always.  I’m told that eating like this is a communal experience in Ethiopia, everyone tucks in off one plate, sometimes even feeding each other, which is a mark of respect and love, although I realise this technique might take some time to catch on in the UK.

The restaurant was also banging out some Ethiopian pop music, with accompanying videos, which added to the atmosphere.  I love Ethiopian music.  The smiling owners were really happy to serve these vegetable platters and mentioned that not many tourists found there way to the restaurant, the place was reassuringly filled with Ethiopians.

Vegan Ethiopia!

I’ve been told that Ethiopians are big meat eaters, but they definitely know how to treat a vegan!  Many Ethiopians are Orthodox Christian, which means ‘fasting’ days, where vegan dishes are traditionally eaten.  I’ve noticed from travelling the world, that when the local religions have a ‘fasting’ day, it normally means some excellent food is coming my way.

As a plant munching traveller, the general set-up is like this; I go to many markets, I love them dearly, a buzzing core of the local scene.  I see all the local produce in big colourful piles and can’t wait to see what the local cooks are up to.  Then, a sinking feeling, I realise that non of the local restaurants are using anywhere near the full range of veggies in the market and this awesome opportunity to celebrate food has been overlooked.  These platters of Ethiopian food, and also those sensational Thali dishes of India, seem to have tapped into the joys of cooking with diverse ingredients.

How does that sound to you?  I’m not speaking from experience here, I’ve enjoyed loads of Ethiopian food over the years but have only spent 12 hours walking around Addis Ababa airport (it’s a long-ish story!) and never made it out into the country.  It looked nice from the plane window!!  Ethiopia is a country I’d dearly love to visit, diverse and rich in culture, this certainly comes across, piled all over Injera.

 

Vegan, Super Healthy and Spicy – Ethiopian Vegetable and Fava Bean Stew  

 

Recipe wise, fava beans can be an acquired taste, we’re talking about the dried ones here.  They are full flavoured and therefore ideal for stews and soups.  If you really, really, don’t like them, go for another red bean.  Kidney or aduki will suffice.  I’ve also added some chickpeas here for a little legume variety.

I’ll post my Berbere spice mix recipe next.  You can use shop bought mixes also.

Nitter kibbeh (clarified butter) is a popular ingredient in Ethiopian dishes.  I’ve gone for peanut butter here, you all know it and most love it.  You can’t go wrong adding a little nut butter to stews and curries, it adds that essential creamy, richness to this sauce.

 

I didn’t have any Teff flour at the minute, so I used Chickpea flour to make these flatbreads. You’ll find a recipe for these in Peace & Parsnips of search the blog. I love chickpea flatbreads/ pancakes, there are a few versions.

 

Recipe Notes

This will make a large panful (a big one).  I like to make more for the freezer or yum leftovers.  You could always half the recipe if you’re cooking for fewer people.

No berbere spice mix?  You can use other spice mixes like Ras El Hanout, Garam Masala, but to make it taste especially Ethiopian, you need the real stuff!  Try making your own?  It’s also widely available in shops/ supermarkets (in the UK that is).

Brown cane sugar, I used jaggery, an unrefined Indian sugar.  This has a lovely caramel flavour.  Use what you have.

Use whatever seasonal vegetables you have around.  What’s local and good?  In North Wales, right now, I’m loving these rampant roots!  I understand the golden beetroots are fairly rare, go for some nice squash, sweet potato or extra carrots instead.

I scrubbed the veg well, but didn’t peel it.  I believe there is more flavour there and there is definitely more nutrients when the skins are on.

I’d recommend cooking your Fava Beans from scratch.  Grab 275g dried fava beans, soak them over night until they are nice and plump.  Rinse well and place in a pan covered with cold water.  Add 1/2 teas bicarbonate of soda, this will speed up the cooking and soften the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer for 35-45 minutes.  Until the beans are soft.

Wat’s in Ethiopia are traditionally very spicy.  Feel free to add more chilli to your stew, but first taste what you have.  Some Berbere spice mixes will already be packing some incendiary heat.

 

Happy days! Ethiopian Vegan Wat for lunch….Beach House Kitchen favourite!

 

Spicy Ethiopian Vegetable and Bean Stew – Vegan and Gluten-free

 

The Bits – For 6-8 big portions for hungry ones

 

1 large white onion (very finely diced)

1 large/ 150g carrot (chopped into chunks)

3 medium/ 250g potatoes (chopped into chunks)

1 large/ 250g golden beetroot (chopped into chunks)

500g cooked fava/ broad beans (reserve the cooking broth)

1 tin chickpeas (drained)

1 tin chopped tomatoes (organic, good ones)

4 tbs berbere spice mix

2 teas ground ginger

4 tbs peanut butter

2 tbs brown cane sugar

700ml hot vegetable stock/ bean cooking stock

Sea salt

2 tbs cooking oil (I use cold-pressed rapeseed oil)

 

Do It 

In a large frying pan or sauce pan, warm your oil on medium high heat and add the onions.  Fry until nicely golden brown, for 8-10 minutes, a nice dark colour, this is a feature of all ‘Wat’s’.

Add the berbere and ginger, stir, cook for a minute.  Turn the heat up and add the chopped tomato and 1 teas salt.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring.  Intensify those glorious spices and flavours!

Stir in peanut butter and then gradually add your hot vegetable stock.  Bring this sauce to a boil and add the vegetables.  Leave this to bubble away for 20 mins, stirring often.  Add the beans and chickpeas to the pan and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until the beetroot is cooked.

Now add the sugar and season with salt, thinning out the sauce with a little hot water if you like, the potatoes and beans will thicken the sauce.

Serve with your favourite flatbread, injera if you’re keeping it traditionally Ethiopian.  Add to the plate a selection of vegetables and salads, pan fried cabbage/ greens, chutneys, pickles, fermented vegetables, yoghurt…a riot of colours and textures.  Make it beautiful!

Finish it all off with the nice Ethiopian coffee and your favourite Ethiopian tunes.

 

My Aromatic Vegan Ethiopian Stew, somewhere between Shahan Ful and Doro Wat….

 

Foodie Fact 

Fava beans are an ingredient we don’t use too often in the UK.  I’ve no idea why?  They’re delicious and packed with beneficial nutrients.  They have loads of fibre, protein, folate and minerals like copper, manganese, magnesium, iron and potassium.  Legumes in general are an excellent source of nutrition for all plant-based superheroes and have the benefit of filling us up for a long time.

 

We’re now on INSTAGRAM!  

 

Pop over and say hello, we’re posting regular recipes and updates from the Beach House Kitchen

 

 

Categories: Curries, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, vegan travel | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

A time to nourish, relax and indulge – YoVeg! Mediterranean Vegan Yoga Holiday – Spain May 2020

 

Lee will be bringing creative and vibrant twists to healthy plant-based dishes.  All new recipes for YoVeg! '20.  Superfoods for superbeings!!

Lee will be bringing creative and vibrant twists to healthy plant-based dishes. All new recipes for YoVeg! ’20. Superfoods for superbeings!!

 

Treat yourself to a delicious slice of blissful Spanish sunshine

 

Join us in our beachside eco villa this May for YoVeg! ’20, a relaxing week of empowering yoga and meditation, creative plant-based delights and inspiring workshops and activities. Plus, much more….

 

We NOW have a few places available.  Book soon!!

 

YoVeg! Yoga Holiday ’20 – View from our yoga terrace

 

You’ll meet like-minded people; learn, replenish and leave fully refreshed and nourished. This is a week to explore potential, re-energise and connect with your purpose in life and the joy of living!

 

All levels of yoga taught by Will and Malene, right beside the beach!

 

“I can’t recommend this retreat highly enough. I came home so brim-full of love and nourishment that I was raring to go again with a renewed vigour and passion for life. Rarely does a week seem enough on a holiday but this one felt like I’d had a full 3-month recharge!”

 

The Shining Lights! – Our Spanish Vegan and Yoga Cooking Holiday ’19

 

This is our third year hosting these transformative wellness holidays with the radiant Complete Unity Yoga.  Here are some of the pictures from last year in beautiful Murcia, with it’s protected coastlines, red mountains and sparkling blue ocean.  It is a peaceful, slice of paradise!

Hope to see you on the beach soon!

 

Enjoy picnics and walking in stunning locations.  YoVeg! '20

 

CLICK HERE

For more information and reservations 

 

“If you are looking for a beautiful, uplifting, happy, nutritious holiday to inspire your mind and body then this is the one to book … if you are lucky enough to get a place on it. 🙂 xx”
Also, please feel free to share this on your page or with friends who might be interested and comment below if you like what you see!!:)

 

You’ll also find more information and photos over on our

YoVeg! ’20 blog post, just click here

 

Time to chill and let us take the best care of you! Put your feet up on the sofa and just watch the palm trees sway:)

 

 

Categories: Cooking Holidays, Cooking Retreats, Cooking Workshops, Events, healthy, plant-based, Travel, Vegan, vegan holiday, vegan travel, yoga | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Coconut and Caulilflower Gigglebean Curry with Coriander and Lemon Chutney

Vegan Coconut and Cauliflower Chickpea Curry – Quick, healthy and delicious!

 

A one pan, seasonal curry.  All vegan and very easy to cook.

 

It doesn’t get much easier and nutritious than this to make a crowd pleasing curry.  This really feels like a bowl of spicy abundance, a staple bowl of sunshine.

This was lunch today as Storm Something-or-Other blows itself up outside.  The trees are rocking, the rain’s coming down sideways, even our blackbird has took shelter just outside the kitchen, not fancying getting mixed up in that raging wind.  But we loved this one, so I thought I’d quickly share it with you.  This is the kind of bowl that will fuel happy bellies in our house all the way through the depths of winter and beyond.

Taking this picture was a little tricky, but the colours are there for you, loads of nourishing ingredients meeting in a vibrant bowl of spicy winter comfort food.  The rain is lashing the house, the wind is whipping the world, but we’re cosying up to a curry.  Happy days!!

Chutney is generally a bit different in India to the British variety (fruity, sweet and sour, eaten with cheese etc).  Chutney can mean many things, a whole variety of pastes and sauce bases.  Here, we’re talking a creamy dip, which adds bags of herbs to any plate of Indian food.  This chutney is versatile and will accompany many dishes, add a twist to a noodle bowl, stirred into a soup, drizzle over salads or even add to an Asian-style sandwich.

What we’ll do here is make a nice thick spiced tomato sauce, then cream it up with coconut, chickpeas are radiant in so many ways, add seasonal veg, a fresh and zesty chutney, there’s a wholeness to this kind of eating.  A mild and satisfying curry with minimal fussin and frettin. Jane is not a fan of chilli, so this is a mellow curry.  Light, something non-curry fans (do they exist?!!!) can enjoy.

 

Enjoy this bowlful of home cooked happiness!

 

I hope you get to try this recipe out, let us know in the comments.  Feel free to say hello or sign up to our newsletter here.  There will be lots of new recipes, events and travel stories.  I’m heading to Israel, Spain, Italy and Austria soon.  I’ll be doing some cooking and always enjoying the ride!

Plus, I’ll be posting more about our experiences walking the Camino Portuguese from Porto to Santiago de Compostela.  

 

PS – I’m told that Gigglebeans is a nickname for Chickpeas in Germany, and we like it!!

 

Recipe Notes

Coconut cream is the thick cream on the top of many tins of coconut milk.  A fail safe way of getting a good, defined layer of coconut cream is placing the tin into a fridge for a few hours.  Flip it over and open.  Scoop out the coconut cream.  Reserve the rest for adding to soups, cakes or stews.

Use any mix of seasonal vegetables you like here.

This recipe does make a BIG panful.  It does freeze nicely.

Taking shelter from the storm – Wintery Vegan Chickpea Curry, full of creamy spiciness, loaded up with nutrition and big flavours, plus some spicy red cabbage ‘kraut

 

Coconut and Caulilflower Gigglebean Curry with Coriander and Lemon Chutney – Vegan, Gluten-free

 

The Bits – For 4-6

2 tbs cooking oil (cold-pressed is best)

1 tbs cumin seeds

3 large garlic cloves (finely sliced)

3 tbs fresh ginger (finely sliced)

2-3 teas garam masala

2 teas ground turmeric

150ml hot water

1 tin tomatoes (or equivalent fresh tomatoes)

 

1/2 small/ 400g cauliflower (chopped into chunks)

1 pepper (deseeded, chopped into chunks)

2 tins/480g cooked chickpeas

1 tin coconut milk

 

1 bok/ pak choi (sliced)

3 tbs fresh coriander (finely sliced)

Sea salt

 

Do It

In a large saucepan or frying pan, warm your oil on a high heat, add the cumin seeds.  Stir, then quickly add the ginger and garlic, continue stirring.  Cook for 2 minutes, then stir in your spices, followed by the tomatoes and hot water.  Add 1 teas sea salt and stir.  Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Now add your cauliflower and pepper to the mix, stir and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour in you coconut milk and chickpeas, bring to boil again and cook for 5 minutes, more. Check that the cauliflower is cooked, nibble a bit.

Stir in the bok choi and fresh coriander.  Cook for 2 minutes and check seasoning, adding a little more salt if your tastebuds agree.

Serve in a shallow bowl, drizzled with the coriander and lemon chutney.  We added some more freshly chopped coriander and desiccated coconut, along with warm paranthas.  Your favourite rice is also delicious, chopped chillies for spiciness.

All of your favourite curry accompaniments apply too.

 

Coconut and Lemon Chutney 

The Bits – For One Small Bowlful

35g desiccated coconut

60g fresh coriander (with stems)

4 teas lemon juice

4 tbs coconut cream (from the top of a tin of coconut milk)

100ml water

1/2 teas sea salt

 

Do It

Place all into a decent blender.  Blitz on high.  Scrape down the sides and blitz again.  Do this until a creamy chutney is formed.  Taste and add salt as needed.

 

Foodie Fact

Chickpeas are a staple for most of us, so versatile; hummus, stews/ curries, makes an awesome flour (gram), roast them, add them to a cake mix, they know no limitations!!

Maybe you’re not so aware of how amazing gigglebeans are for our dear old bodies.  They’re a good source of protein and fibre, a great start, this means that they’re filling.  They are low GI and are a good source of vitamins and minerals; there’s iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

What’s not to love!!

 

Categories: Chutney, Curries, gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Vegan Festive Flapjack – Cranberry, Walnuts and Oats (Gluten-free)

Vegan Cranberry and Walnut Flapjack – Sweet and super easy (Gluten-free)

Fruity and nutty.  Sweet and super easy.  Just the way we want them!  

 

This is my alter ego flapjack, with a festive twist and even healthy.  Lower in sugar and using cold-pressed oil, packed with seeds, nuts and cranberries.  Also gluten-free!  

 

Something sweet and simple for festive time!  The kitchen is a busy place at this time of year and we all need a quick flapjack recipe up our Xmas sleeves.  Last minute party call, these are a great go-to tray baker.  The ingredients are easy to find, you’ve probably got them tucked away in the kitchen already.  Two bowls, one tray, hot oven…job done.

Blending up the oats, nuts and seeds here makes for a rich and very nutritious flour.  The chia seeds help to bind things together nicely and add a little texture and crunch.  These flapjacks are nice with almonds, and a touch of almond extract, you can use any mix of nuts and seeds you like really.  Flapjacks forgive.

Gluten-free, vegan sweet treats for Christmas. Everyone can enjoy!

One thing we Brits know our way around is a flapjack.  Is that right?  My childhood was built around their sturdy sweet sustenance.  They seemed to be everywhere when I was a kid, every relative made their own brand/ ballast, every school fair would see tents filled with them, golden syrup sales were through the roof in the 80’s.  Sugar was on a high!  You needed a strong jaw and commitment back then to get through most baked goods.

I admit to being sick of the sight of them by age 12.  I find your average joe flapjacks way too sweet and regularly, boring (like a brick).  So I thought I’d revisit this sweet spot.  These are lighter.  I’ve added much less sugar than normal.  They get their sweetness from the cranberries and a touch of cranberry sauce, which gives them a little extra fruitiness.  They are rich, with the oat and nut flour and cold-pressed rapeseed oil.

Flying Flapjacks 

Wintertime in Wales is a precarious time for foodie photos.  It’s dark in mid-afternoon and there are some fiesty winds and driving rain outdoors.  What to do?!  These flapjacks nearly ended up in Dawn’s garden (neighbour), the wind whipped the bread board out of my hand.  I managed to get some decent light by the kitchen window.  I’ve also got this new I-phone thing that has some pretty cool settings, makes everything look good!!  It’s not easy being a caveman in a modern world.

I quite like them dusted with some more cinnamon, or a pumpkin pie style spice mix is ace too

Celebrate Cake

Let’s face the cake facts.  You can’t just have one at Christmas time, you need a long and healthy line of varieties, a cake for each time of day.  I’d tuck into this at ‘elevenses’ (or ‘merienda’, I was raised in the Philippines you see, it means a snack between meals.  It also means the same in Italy, Latin America and Croatia.  I love the world.  We all love cake.)

This would be an excellent kid diversion, when they’re needing something to keep from running wild.  You can’t really go wrong with them. Flapjacks are a bit of fun really!!  Served warm with custard or ice cream and it even ventures into the realm of dessert.

 

These are fill your boots flapjacks!  

I hope you enjoy them.  Leave us a comment below if you do and check out our upcoming events RIGHT HERE.  We may be cooking near you soon! 

 

Recipe Notes

Most of us have cranberry sauce kicking about the kitchen at this time of year, if not, use another jam or preserve.

Baking in a tin, as opposed to a tray, means that your flapjack gets a good bake and the top doesn’t burn (which happens).  If you’re using a tray, just keep your eye on it.

These flapjacks freeze very well.  Make a double batch.  Emergency ‘jacks!

Add 1 heaped teaspoon of orange zest to take these onto another level.

Festive Flapjacks – The ones that escaped the storm

 

Vegan Festive Flapjacks – Cranberry, Walnuts and Oats (Gluten-free)

 

The Bits – For 6 large slices, 12 small 

Dry

150g jumbo oats (gluten-free or normal is fine)

50g walnuts

50g sunflower seeds

25g chia seeds

1 teas ground cinnamon

 

Wet

75g brown sugar

50ml plant-based milk

100ml cold-pressed rapeseed oil (or other cold-pressed oil)

2 tbs cranberry sauce

 

75g dried cranberries

 

Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

In a bowl, mix together your dry bits, crushing the walnuts up in your hands, making smaller pieces.

Measure your wet bits in a measuring jug, mixing them together.

Place 75g of your dry mix into a blender and blitz until it’s broken down, looking like flour.  Add back to your bowl.

Mix the wet into the dry, until all is nicely combined.  Then add the dried cranberries.

Line a large loaf tin with baking parchment, scoop in your mix and pack it into the corners, smooth off the top.  Nice and neatly does it.

Place in the oven for 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the edges are nice and crispy.

Leave to cool a little in the tin.  Ideally served warm with custard or ice cream, also nice cool with a cuppa.

 

Packed with nuts and seeds. Hearty and healthy(er)

Foodie Fact

Chia seeds are outrageously healthy!  We add them to many dishes.  Part of the mint family, these little blockbuster seeds are packed with protein (good balance of amino acids), fibre, omega-3 fats and are loaded up with anti-oxidants and minerals.

They were celebrated by many ancient cultures, the Mayan word for strength is actually ‘chia’!!

 

We’ll have more vegan Christmas recipes coming soon, SIGN UP to our newsletter her and get all the BHK action, including new events, workshops and holidays.

 

 

 

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Desserts, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales, Winter | Tags: , | 2 Comments

The Luckiest Chef!! Vegan Cooking in the Mountains – Snowdonia, Wales

Letting off some steam! A brisk walk around the Nantlle Lake, Snowdonia

When I’m cooking at Trigonos, I take a stroll everyday after lunch. The air is so crisp at the minute, the scenery is always stunning, Snowdon is capped with ice and the the sunlight is rich and golden. The farm is prepared for winter, after another abundant growing season, the tomatoes, squashes, herbs and peppers were a real highlight! A cooks dream!!

The land is resting, re-energising and taking it easy until next growing season.  A veg farm with a view!  

Yesterday, the lake was so placid, like a magical mirror. Precious moments and a perfect way to relax and refresh when working in a busy, hot kitchen. I love it!

The Walled Garden, beautiful flowers and stream. Trigonos is lovely at this time of year.

I do feel like the luckiest cook ever, to be vegan cooking with a lot of local produce in a such a beautiful, positive place. Some of you have visited us up here in Snowdonia, it really is a secret garden, tucked away in the mountains. Tell all your special friends!!

Nantlle Lake like a mirror for the mountain. Snowdon being kissed by the clouds in the distance.  Join us here in August!

I’m just planning my Vibrant Vegan! Holiday, 24-28th August ’20. I’ll announce details soon with lots of new, empowering workshops and healthy, delicious recipes.
It is a time to relax, be inspired and re-energise!!

 

Check out this year’s Vibrant Vegan! right here

 

The lake is perfect for a dip. Very refreshing/ a bit chilly right now!

You can join our Vibrant Vegan! Healthy Plant-based Livin’ group on Facebook for more photos and like-minded folk.

 

The Wilderness, Trigonos. A secret garden of peace and beautiful nature

I already have a long waiting list and it will sell out, please email me on – hellobeachhousekitchen@gmail.com and I’ll add you to our list. You’ll get first refusal for bookings.

Down by the lake, a place to find peace.

I hope to see you sometime in Snowdonia! Have a cosy and comforting festive time filled with peace and prosperity:) Lee

PS – If you own a copy of Peace and Parsnips, this is where many of those pictures were taken:) 

 

Categories: Autumn, Cooking Holidays, Events, healthy, Healthy Eating, Peace and Parsnips, photography, plant-based, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Vegan on the Road – Walking the Portuguese Camino de Santiago, Spain (Pt. 1)

Just outside Porto Airport, the shells and yellow arrows began to appear. BHK on the Camino Portuguese ’19

“Camino!  Camino!!”  We made it!

Jane and I completed the Camino Portuguese this summer and would like to share with you our experience of being pilgrims; our pictures, the food we ate and the challenges we faced. There is way too much to say in one blog post, so there will be a few.  Looking back, they were precious times and well worth a few words.

Arriving in the main square of Santiago de Compostela is one hell of an experience!  The breath-taking cathedral complex, the general buzz and merriment of the joyful pilgrims, the sense of achievement and history that surrounds ‘El Camino’.  It’s intoxicating, even before the Estrella Galicia’s are cracked!  A fitting finale to the days, weeks, and sometimes, months of endurance and fortitude.  We’d all started at different points, for different reasons.  Pilgrims are attracted to these routes (or ‘caminos’) from all over the world; Japan, Peru, Slovenian, Cuba, USA, Korea, Mexico, are just a few of the nationalities we met.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims complete the minimum four days walking per year and all routes finish at this point, outside the ornate facade of the cathedral, built over the tombs of the apostle St James.  Pilgrims have been gathering here, celebrating and venerating, since the early middle ages.  Back then, being a pilgrim was fraught with dangers and was undertaken as an act of penance and religious devotion.  It’s a little different now.

A waymarker in the middle of a forest. You see a lot of scallop shells on the Camino, traditionally used as a small bowl for offerings, eating or drinking.  It is mainly used now as an unorthodox wine glass!

Pilgrims pour through the narrow streets of the cities old town, past the ancient churches and inns, to see their first glimpse of the cathedral towers in the clear blue skies, it’s an emotionally charged experience.  It’s a carnival of battered walking boots, lycra shorts and limps.  There are bagpipes whining (a Galician staple), Ecuadorian missionaries singing songs with guitars, dreadlocked dudes meditating, Spanish kids tearing into the square barefooted (many pilgrims choose to walk the last day barefooted).  Most pilgrims are strooned out in the sun like lizards, propped up on colourful backpacks, staring off into space, halfway between exhaustion and elation.  No beatific, blister induced epiphanies going on here, just mild forms of sunstroke/ dehydration.

This is July and the shadeless square is like a pizza oven, +30oC and counting.  Those medieval architects were not into parasols and pina coladas, they had the divine on their mind.  Mingling in this multitude are streams of tourists snapping selfies, looking well showered and shaven.  To the pilgrims, they seem like people who’ve got a free ticket to the best gig in the world (and have never heard of the band).

We’ve all followed many little yellow arrows over mountains, along coastlines, through vast plains and cities, all imagining what the end would look like.  How we’d feel when the walking is over, like a stylus leaving a well loved record.  Pilgrims leap, pilgrims sing and for most, there is a sense somewhere within that we’re glad it’s all over, but we can’t wait to do it all again!  Or was that just me!!

Jane still had some energy!  Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Being a pilgrim for a while is a way of life I’d recommend, if you’re looking for something, you might find it by walking the old pilgrim trails of Spain and France (some stretch all the way across Europe).  A good, old-fashioned long walk can make all the difference, a one-way ticket out of the daily grind.  There are sprinkles of magic out there, somewhere in-between the blisters, bunk beds and crescendos of snoring hikers, you’re sure to find some peace of mind and a good slice of soul.

Walking the Camino from Porto to Santiago de Compostela was a kaleidoscope of vivid and beautiful scenery, a glorious patchwork of people, from the quixotic to the capitalistic, the righteous to the rogue.  There were churches and challenges galore, not to mention many laughs, fragrant fields and feet.  We both had no expectations, we had just walked most of the demanding Rota Vicentina skirting the very South West of Portugal, with it’s precipitous coastlines, raging winds, mad surfers and quaint villages.  We felt fairly confident we could have a crack at the less arduous Camino and enjoy it.  We were in good fettle, could take it a little easier and just cruise.  We loved the pilgrim lifestyle, focused on walking and nature, exploring different terrains and trails.  There is a liberating rhythm to it.  It’s an empowering way to see the world, to arrive on your own steam, carrying all you need on your back.  It’s a little taste of freedom.

Pilgrim plate! We cooked most of our food on the Camino. We always carry herbs, spices, knives, a chopping board etc. It means the BHK is a mobile, moveable feast!!

I loved cooking in the hostels and the host of weird and wonderful kitchens we stumbled upon, generally basic, sometimes indoors, but with one constant, stunning local produce.  Vegan food is a little off-piste for most local restaurants, so we focused on hearty homemade dishes, heavy on the veg.  If you’re a vegan and you don’t want to eat bread and bananas 24/7, it’s worth planning a little before you set off.  Make sure you’re ready to do some cooking.  Pack a grater.  A peeler?

Portugal, and latterly Galicia, know how to garden and grow!  It’s a plant-based paradise down there.  The Camino is regularly flanked by family owned fields of various produce, poly-tunnels and little veg patches, most gardens in houses are filled with fruit and vegetables.  Large scale agriculture is rare.  Corn, grapes, nuts, berries, tomatoes, leeks, olives and lots of potatoes.  Official organic farms are rapidly growing in number.  In the South especially, we saw many idyllic, self-sustained places tucked away in the valleys.  It seems mainly elderly couples tend to the small plots, pulling old rickety carts filled with potatoes over cobbled streets, many driveways are covered with garlands of onions drying out in the sun.  I’ve rarely seen this before in my travels, a country so dedicated and skilled at growing their own.  It’s very exciting for a meandering vegan cook!  Whets the wandering appetite.

A rural garden beside the Camino Portuguese, filled with fruit and veg. Notice the ‘verde’ growing in the foreground. These are juvenile versions!

On your vegan ventures, you will find the ubiquitous Caldo Verde lifeline everywhere.  It’s more than a soup, it’s a national treasure in Portugal.  It’s a bowlful of vegan blessings (sometimes served with cornbread.)  A nourishing bowl of pureed potato and collards.  Light on the pocket and heavy in the belly, ideal pilgrim potage.  It’s easy to make at home, I’ll post a recipe soon.  Almost every garden is bordered by funny looking plant protrusions, like baldy broccoli on steroids.  This is the ‘verde’ in your ‘caldo’.  They are trained collard plants, leaves picked with precision, to grow tall, like kale palm trees swaying in the sunshine.  I still have no idea why they do this?  Any ideas?

VEGANS!  Always order your Caldo Verde without the sausage surprises.  You never know when they’ll rear their fatty heads.  The combination of potato (great fuel) and dark collards (loaded with vitamins and good stuff), a drizzle of olive oil and you’re looking at a decent lunch for a couple of euros.  It’s also served in Galicia.  We normally love a simple potato and leek soup in the Welsh wintertime, but this year, we’re adding some greenery.

A particularly good Caldo Verde, on the Camino Portuguese. CV, olives, bread, fruits and nuts. Perfect pilgrim fuel (tasty too;)

People walk the Camino for a variety of reasons, we had none.  Many of the best things I’ve done in my life have been without a reason.  It is a popular topic for conversation along the way, “Why are you walking?”  I just know that it felt right and Jane liked it too. With no reasons and few expectations, the door was open for us to just experience what was happening, step by step, until we got to shake hands with old St James.  He who brought Christianity to the Iberian Peninsula, a right hand man of Jesus.

We met many people going through big life changes and being on the camino, with a large group of generally disparate, yet supportive people, does seem to help and inspire.  Bringing objectivity and clarity.  Must be all that fresh air!  Even though sometimes you’re walking alone on the trail, it never really feels like you’re alone.  You’re part of something greater and there is a bubble of acceptance and kindness that is palpable.  You’re following in some pretty big and often saintly footsteps.  That alone is humbling and makes this no ordinary stroll in the countryside.  Walking everyday, with a shared purpose, means that your fellow pilgrims become a mobile community.  A gang of sweaty seekers.

The trail is flanked by historical niches, shrines and atmospheric churches, all immaculately maintained, with small candles flickering and a sense of piety in full flow.  Some roads are Roman by design, the worn rocks bearing the marks of millions of pilgrims through the ages.  Smiles are easily found and horns are peeped, “Buen Camino/ Bom Camino!!” is a phrase that echoes throughout the day as locals and passers by wish you the best.  Experiencing the reverence that many locals had for the whole pilgrim game changed something deep in my waters.  As it has no doubt changed many folks at levels unknowable, a shared spirit on the myriad routes that lead to Santiago.

Let the yellow arrows lead the way. The Portuguese Way is well ‘arrowed’ making it difficult to lose your way (unless you want to)

There are three main reasons for walking the camino, religious, spiritual or other.  At least they’re the options you have to tick on the check in cards at the government ran hostel (the cheap ones where you get the full Camino experience; a reasonable amount of snoring, sweaty boots, disposable bedding and an acceptable level of discomfort).  Pilgrimages are not meant to be 5 star!

Getting out of our comfort zones was something we were expecting and quite looking forward to. That comfort zone is a cold-blooded killer of zest, verve and vitality.  If life is one long camino, from ignorance to eventual enlightenment, surely, we’ve got to get off the couch!  Get out there into the world, start a journey, an adventure, embrace the unknowable outcome. These camino-style wanders seem like a ideal launch pad for such intentions.

Generally, when you travel like we have around the world, namely on a flimsy budget, off-piste and rough round the edges, most of the camino hostels were actually pretty comfy. Especially when you consider you’re paying 5-7 euros per night and are only there for a quick kip, shower and the joys of hand washing one’s smalls in outdoor sinks.  Al fresco, armed with underwear.  Actually, some hostels have washing machines.  Free of charge.  There are also more up-market options if sleep depravation and communal showers are not your bag.  But…

The coastal route of the Camino Portuguese begins with many small villages and then a long walk by the seaside!

The Camino Portuguese should be 260km, but we were wanton meanders, we took our time, we explored some nooks and crannies. Many pilgrims leave at 6am on the nose, we took it easier, it was a holiday after all!  Leisurely breakfast and we were happy to be out and on the trail by 9am.  Most days were flexible from a distance point of view, you could walk for a few hours or really push on for as long as you like.  The average day is probably about 20-25 kms.

We were lucky in the sense that we had no real time constraints, so we just wandered and picnic’d as we saw fit.  It was always nice to see fellow stragglers tucked away in the woods having a packed lunch, or having a dip in a stream, a beer at noon in a small cafe.  We gradually formed a group of strays with a shared pace on the camino, it might not have been with the traditional pilgrim zeal but it was about experiencing a distinct way of life and viewing the world at a relaxed rate of knots.  Going at our own pace, taking in a fuller experience of where we were, and why not!  Where we were was regularly beautiful.  I’m not one for routines as such, but the Camino did work it’s magic on me.  I got into a good groove.

Plant-based pilgrims!!  Jane and I taking a stroll in some old vineyards.

If you enjoyed this, there will be a Pt. 2 soon.  Probably less of a ramble, more details and how we nearly didn’t make it!!

It’s not all wide open spaces, there are lots of towns and cities to navigate along the way. Vigo, Portuguese Way (Caminho Portuguese)

PS – “Camino, camino!” was a song we made up on the way, you have a lot of time to come up with stuff when you’re walking all day.  Sang to the tune of “My hips don’t lie” by Shakira.  One of many hits we came up with.  “Hill! Oh hill” was the B-side and one we used regularly.  There are bumps out there.

 

Loads more BHK pictures and tall tales (plus recipes) on Instagram

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More Vegan on the Road here, our travels around the beautiful regions of Andalucia

 

 

 

 

Categories: Healthy Living, photography, plant-based, Travel, Vegan, vegan travel, vegan traveller | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cherry, Pistachio and Cacao Smoothie – Plus Smoothie Jedi Tip

Cherry, Pistachio and Cacao Smoothie

I’m gonna smoothie all the way through Autumn! Winter too! The flavours of chocolate and cherry were made for each other. This one’s got that black forest vibe to it, really simple to make and something a little different in your breakfast bowl.

Start the day with something beautiful, something that inspires your tastebuds, something that gives your body a nice healthy hug.

Today we find ourselves halfway up a mountain (where we live) eclipsed by grey mist, grey skies, with the slate grey ocean raging beneath us.  So, I popped out in a window of sun rays to get this shot of breakfast.  I don’t have anything against the colour grey, I have a grey sweatshirt, but in the foodie sphere, I can’t think of a decent grey food.  Nature did not want us eating grey it seems!

Colours!  Vibrancy!  That’s where were are on this hillside.  BHK bowls packed with things to make you purr.  In fact, we had a grey cat named Buster once (some of you will remember that legend).  He was the greatest dash of grey in this old world I tell you.  I miss him.

Smoothies are one way of fixing yourself up for superb things!  There is no way that a smoothie can be anything but awesome.  Vegan, gluten and sugar free, loaded up with everything the body needs, we even add coconut yoghurt here for a probiotic, gut-friendly, boost.  What is not to LOVE!

If this tickles your fancy, let us know below and let’s talk smoothie and vibrant things, beauty bowls, happy days.

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**Smoothie Jedi Tip**

Start slow, then build it up.  Start blending your smoothie on low and gradually build it up to full steam ahead.  This helps to incorporate all the lumps and chunks and means less scraping and shaking to get it blended properly.  A Jedi fact.

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Recipe Notes

We buy frozen cherries from the supermarkets.  Buying frozen fruits is a great way of preparing for a smoothie-fest.  It also works out cheaper and many of the fruits are frozen ripe, meaning good flavour and a higher nutritional profile.

Go wild with toppings!  We sometimes sprinkle other nuts, muesli/ granola, funky green healthy powders (spirulina, wheatgrass etc), dried berries like raspberry and strawberry are a knockout too!  Occasionally, I rock a drizzle of nut butter or tahini.

 

I’m on Instagram.  Yes, it’s taken me a while…..remember, I’m a mountain dweller, some would say a bit of a caveman in some ways.  But, I’m over there now and sharing my little heart out.  Come and join me, click here!  

 

I will be serving this at some of our upcoming cooking events soon.  It’s just so good!

 

Beauty bowl! Cherry, Pistachio and Cacao Smoothie – Sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free

 

Cherry, Pistachio and Cacao Smoothie

The Bits – For 2

2 handfuls frozen cherries

1 handful frozen banana

2 tbs vegan coconut yoghurt (cultured preferably)

2 tbs cacao or cocoa powder

Plant Milk (of choice, we used hemp milk)

 

Toppings

Chopped pistachios, goji berries, extra frozen cherries

 

Do It

In a large smoothie cup or blender (we use a Ninja), add all the ingredients and half fill with plant-milk.  Blitz on a low setting first, turning it up to high.  Jedi style!

Give it a shake or a scrape down if it’s not blending straight away.

Pour into a bowl, sprinkled with your toppings.

 

Serving suggestions – Sit somewhere sunny and quiet, take a moment, breathe deep (x5 times), enjoy the peace, grab that spoon…..:) 

 

Foodie Fact 

Cherries are wickedly high in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients!  Loaded up with vitamin C and fibre, they’re an ideal winter wonder food.  They can also be awesome for our heart and even help us get a restful sleep.

Cherries.  Yes!  More please.

See, grey can be beautiful!!  Here’s a view from the top of our hill/ mountain. I love this spot!  A great place for cavemen to play….Nantlle, Snowdonia

 

LIKE THIS ONE!  FOLLOW THE BLOG AND RECEIVE NOTIFICATIONS.  

DON’T MISS A BHK RECIPE:)

 

Categories: Breakfast, gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Smoothies, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Hot off the press! Our New Vegan Wine and Tapas Tasting Menu

 

Join us for award-winning wines, creative plant-based tapas dishes….

 

Hot off the press, a sample menu for all you lucky people heading over to our vegan wine extravaganza in Manchester in a few weeks!

BOOK NOW

 

Click here for bookings and details

 

 

VEGAN WINE AND TAPAS EVENING – MANCHESTER
9th November ‘19

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SAMPLE MENU
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ARRIVAL CHAMPAGNE
Nicholas Feuillate, Vintage 2009
A special treat with notes of brioche, baking apples and hazelnuts

Roasted Herb and Maple Nuts, Vegetable Crisps, Piri Piri Chickpeas

 

WHITES
Vinalba Torrontes
A refreshing wine with delicate flavours of lychees, white peaches and pears

Thai Ghost Pumpkin and Coconut Soup

Martin Codax Albarino
A fantastic expression of the coastal community of Rias Biaxas, tasting of white peaches, lime zest and salty sea-spray

Smoked Carrots, Dill, Labneh

Albana Secco Campodora
An exceedingly rare grape, not found outside of Romagna. It has delicate flavours of apricots, quinces and white flowers

Kichi Muri and Sage Farroto

Escarpment Chardonnay
A far cry from the clumsy, mug-you-in-an-alleyway Aussie Chardonnays that many people remember, this critically acclaimed wine has long and slow flavours of peaches, apricots, melons and toasted nuts

Roasted Cauliflower and Butter Bean Hummus, Confit Garlic

 

REDS
Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir
This offering from Burgundy tastes of cherries, bramble, strawberries and liquorice

Wild Mushroom Sausage, Red Cabbage and Apple Sauerkraut

Domaine Tourelles Pierre Brun
A Lebanese wine, it brings flavours of dried dark fruit against complex herbal notes of liquorice, black pepper and cardamom

Roasted Lebanese Vegetables, Pomegranate, Tahini Sauce

Springfield Thunderchild
Grown on the estate of the Herberg Children’s Home in South Africa, all the profits from this wine go straight back to that same orphanage. A complex wine full of dried mint and smoky forest fruit flavours

Glazed Umami Burgers, Pickled Ginger, Wasabi Mayo, Baechu Kimchi

Masi Costasera Amarone
A premium Italian wine that is full of indulgent flavours of baked plums and cherries, spices, coffee and dark chocolate

Porcini Ragu, Caramelised Artichoke, Smoky Parmesan Crumb, Black Kale Leaf

 

CHEESE BOARD
Roast Garlic Cream Cheese, Nettle Moxarella, Radish Bombs, Fermented Mushroom Pate – platters

 

DESSERT
Royal Tokaji
A Hungarian dessert wine, this is what emperors used to give as presents to one another. Have this in very small glasses because the delightful sweet flavours of orange zest, caramel, raisins, honey and exotic spices are a real treat to be savoured

Cacao and Hazelnut Brownies, Single Estate Chocolate, Lavender Oranges

 

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Vegetables supplied by Tyddyn Teg Organic Farm, Bethel, North Wales
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Categories: Events, plant-based, Vegan, vegan cheese | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

YoVeg! Mediterranean Vegan Yoga Holiday – Spain, May 2020

The Shining Lights! – Vegan and Yoga Cooking Holiday ’19

 

WITH LEE WATSON, COOKBOOK AUTHOR AND TV CHEF

AND COMPLETE UNITY YOGA

9th May – 16th May 2020

 

Join us in our stunning beach-side ECO-villa for this transformational, life-enriching Mediterranean Vegan Yoga Holiday in Spain.

This is your new home away from home, beachside eco-villa in plant-based paradise!

It is time to enjoy the feeling of the sun on your skin with the sound of the ocean and views of palm trees and the expansive blue sea with delicious vegan food and enlightening yoga and meditation. You’ll meet like-minded people, have fun and leave feeling nourished and inspired.

 

Limited Availability – this YoVeg! Vegan Yoga Holiday always sells out! Secure your space today with a £49 deposit. Book now!

 

Here’s the view from the Yoga Platform 👇

 

YoVeg! Yoga Holiday ’20 – Right on the beach!

 

What to Expect

A stunning beach-side villa for a transformational life-enriching yoga holiday. Set in the Costa Calida, the jewel of the Spanish coastline, we have arranged a carefully crafted program designed to fully nourish your mind, body and soul.

YoVeg! Mediterranean Vegan Yoga Holiday in Spain is bursting with inspirational workshops, delicious plant-based food, yoga, meditation and life-enriching experiences.

Wander along the stunning beach, unwind on the villa’s sunny terraces, go swimming in the blue sea or join excursions to explore the fascinating local area. This promises to be an unforgettable vegan yoga holiday in the Mediterranean.

Enjoy time, space, and guidance, to find inner peace and harmony, whilst learning new healthy habits to live a passionate and empowered life, full of joy and well-being.

 

 

What’s Included

✓ 7 nights in our modern villa 10 meters from the beach surrounded by empowering mountains and beautiful palm trees
✓ Jane’s delicious daily morning smoothies
✓ Plant-based food cooked by the cookbook author Lee Watson
✓ Bespoke recipe booklet by Lee Watson
✓ Daily yoga and meditation classes with Will Fisher and Malene Vedel (International Yoga Teachers)
✓ Evening transformational experiences with Will and Malene
✓ Specialised yoga workshops with Will and Malene
✓ Cooking demonstration/workshop with Lee
✓ Empowering herbal health workshop with Jane Legge
✓ Day trip to a local Sunday market
✓ Stand up paddle boarding in the bay
✓ 2 walks/treks to beautiful locations and viewpoints
✓ Optional daily massage treatments
✓ Lunch in one of the area’s best restaurants
✓ Optional airport transfers*

 

Picnics and walks in beautiful nature

The Food

YoVeg! Mediterranean Vegan Yoga Holiday in Spain will be full of delicious plant-based food cooked by our amazing chef Lee Watson (cookbook author) using super fresh ingredients sourced from the local markets in Costa Calida.

A true taste bud party 3 times a day every day! During the retreat, Lee will also share with you a cooking workshop where you have the opportunity to learn new techniques and get hands-on with the amazing fresh local produce from the Murcia region.

 

Lots of decadent, healthy desserts and sweet treats

 

Accommodation

Beautiful modern rooms with the option to book either twin rooms, double rooms, shared accommodation with en-suite or shared bathrooms.

This year we are also offering the option of camping, bring your own tent and enjoy the beautiful warm Spanish spring evenings and sleep to the sound of the sea.

 

Strolls down the paseo and time to chill on the beach or terrace

 

Prices

Single and Double Rooms (SOLD OUT)

Twin Room (2 people) – £939 per person (ONLY 1 LEFT)

Shared Accommodation – £819 per person (2 MORE)

Camping – £619 per person (ONLY 2 AVAILABLE)

 

BOOKINGS HERE

 

 

Reviews

“Once again, Malene, Will, Lee and Jane have surpassed themselves creating an outstanding week of nourishing yoga and food. As with last year, I came back so refreshed and renewed in both my yoga and vegan cooking practice. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but the food this year was even more amazing than last years. The Danish Picnic up in the hills was a real highlight. It is a wonderful treat to be cooked such incredible vegan food that is made with love and passion.
Malene’s yoga classes were once again, beautiful crafted and designed for us to get exactly what our bodies needed. The yoga and meditation sessions on the beach to the sound of the roaring waves was just beautiful. Thanks again to all of you for another very special retreat! Love and light. Xxx”

 

Will – Yoga teacher and ace cook, buying produce at the local market

 

“Wow, what a fantastic week this was!
I had been searching for the ‘right’ yoga holiday and this turned out to be exactly what I wanted, needed … and more!
I am just embracing a vegetarian lifestyle and was amazed by the gorgeous food Lee of ‘Beach House Kitchen’ demonstrated and created lovingly for us 3 x daily … plus snacks! and the chocolate fudge cake was the best I have tasted … ever!!”

“The food was wonderful Lee spent a lot of time in the kitchen creating delicious food for us all assisted by the wonderful Jane who’s smoothies are now legendary
If there is one retreat that to go on then this is it.
A truly amazing experience which I would recommend to everyone.”

 

Meditation practice on the beach

 

Categories: Cooking Holidays, Cooking Retreats, Events, healthy, photography, plant-based, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Baked Pea, Lemon & Mint Tortilla – Vegan and Gluten-free

Tortilla – One of my favourite tapas dishes can be vegan and delicious

I travel a lot in Spain, it’s one of my favourite places to get lost, eat well, experience sunshine and culture.  

As a vegan wanderer, the institution of the tapas bar can be a chastening experience.  Olives, bread, maybe the occasional mushroom is thrown your way.  Not much else.  While everyone feasts, I nibble.  I don’t mind really.  I never go hungry but I rarely get to sample the culinary adventure that’s happening all over Spain.  That is the way of things, but what it does stir up, is the desire to make tapas vegan.  In fact, make all of my favourite dishes purely plants!  I love the challenge.  At home, or at work, I get stuck into creating new recipes.

Many fail, some are decent, this one I like very much and make regularly.  I’ve been through hundreds of tortillas to make it here.  Trying out a variety of methods and ideas, making it with ingredients that are easy to source.   The tofu adds essential texture, both blended into the mix and roughly crumbled, the lemon elevates the flavours and the well cooked onion and garlic offer important depth.

Secret vegan weapon….

In fact, onions are an ingredient that is often overlooked in plant-based cooking.  They are the bedrock to so many dishes and how we cook them will make all the difference.  Vegan food can easily be bland, which is strange when you look at the list of ingredients in many dishes. Seasoning and well cooked onion will go a long way to making our plant-based dishes sing with flavour.

One thing I talk about at my cooking workshops is tasting food.  Taste, taste, taste.  Keep tasting, it’s the only way to develop a palate and with that palate, make your food taste awesome!  Just the way you like it, cook plenty and develop some skills that suit you.  Help you to prepare the food you want to eat.  It’s not important what the present Instagram craze is; blue smoothies, charcoal in stuff, at least it’s not to me.  It doesn’t have to be deep fried, covered in cheese, with a bucket of BBQ sauce to have flavour, to be exciting.  I aspire to live a simple foodie life, eating the food that is good for my soul.  It’s different for everyone, but surely, a tortilla is on the list right?!

Giant Tortillas  

When I was a vegetarian, a few moons ago, I used to visit a little tapas bar in the village where my parents own a property.  The woman in the kitchen was eccentric, around 80, with sparkling eyes and constant beaming smile.  Daily, a giant pea tortilla appeared from the kitchen.  A foot thick.  Only the eccentric can be this brilliant!  I’m exaggerating size wise but it wasn’t far off.

The pan she used was like something from an old-school foundry in Sheffield.  Some serious iron in that piece.  I was amazed she could lift the final pea studded behemoth which strained resplendent every mid-morning on the bar.  A slice would do four.  I was invited to the kitchen one day to witness the preparation, it was a exhibition of skill, grace and brute strength.  The son helped with the last bit.  Potato tortilla is good, but a pea tortilla just looks cooler, especially at that scale.  The food we make expresses who we are, that tortilla smiled from the bar every morning at me.

Not many ‘Guiris’ ventured into that place, the decor was a little past it, the TV barked like a rabid megaphone, the furniture was uniformly battered plastic, but, the food was hot!  Hot in a good and simple and humble and just damn tasty way. Using local produce and time honoured recipes, the tapas was a treat.

Being a local ‘Guiri’

I did get ripped off for a simple salad one day, 10 euros for a plate of lettuce and tomatoes.  I seldom returned.  I am a Guiri after all.  We’re not used to paying 10 euros for a plate of slices tomatoes and iceberg!  I also wear shorts 12 months a year and sometimes I like to eat dinner before 10 pm.  But otherwise, I think I’m chilling out and getting into the Spanish vibe pretty well.  I’ve also perfected a few Spanish phrases, in the gruff local Murcian dialect.  This means a certain level of (very minor) acceptance.

So, a medium-length story, slightly shorter, that’s why I’m posting this recipe.  I hope you enjoy it and cook it lots.  Please post below and say hello and let’s talk vegan cooking and Spain.  Two of my favourite subjects.  I love coming up with recipes and your feedback is really important in so many ways.

I’ve also finally, after around 7 years, got a new phone!  Meaning, I’m on Instagram, follow me over right here.

Baked Pea, Lemon & Mint Tortilla – Vegan and Gluten-free

Little green shoots

There are green shoots of veganity all over Spain now.  There are even a few vegan restaurants in Murica, a local vegan festival in our port town, plus a growing awareness in the media and populace about this vegan thing.  It’s wonderful to see.  Down at the local supermarkets, and we live in the sticks, plenty of vegan options and plenty of organic options.

For me to sit in a vegan restaurant in Spain and order a nicely cooked meal is a privilege.  In fact, it’s a privilege anywhere in the world.  Having ate many lifetimes worth of side dishes; chips, bread, uninspiring salads, olives, to be catered for in restaurants is something I’ll never take for granted.   Having worked in restaurants my whole life, I always appreciate what’s going on, how hard it is, how it takes over your life, how it’s driven by passion and hard work and also how easy it is to be overly critical.  Something I see regularly on social media, trip advisor etc.  I always try to be supportive of restaurants, it’s tough to run a good place and I have huge respect for people who do it well.   Especially if they’re making efforts to get vegan. Anyway, tortilla, here it is……

Full of flavours and a light texture, vegan tortilla is on the menu!

Recipe Notes

I decided that baking a tortilla is best here, giving a nice crisp, crust and it keeps things soft in the middle.  Every oven is different, check the middle of your tortilla is cooked using a skewer, like a cake.  Too long, it will be dry, too short and it will be uncooked in the middle.  Press the tortilla, in the middle, it should be springy and also the edges will leave the side of the baking dish.  It’s a fine-ish line.  The tortilla will firm up once it leaves the oven and cools, it’s worth remembering that.

No mint and dill.  Try other herb combinations, like thyme and rosemary.

I’ve added some raising agents.  On occasion, some gram flour, vegan tortillas can be quite heavy.  This helps lighten things.

 

Baked Pea, Lemon & Mint Tortilla – Vegan and Gluten-free

The Bits – For One Large Tortilla, 8-10 large slices

Batter

100g gram flour

175ml soya milk

75g firm tofu

1 teas salt

½ teas turmeric

½ teas bicarb of soda

½ teas baking powder

 

Filling


1 large onion (sliced)

2 large cloves garlic (sliced)

½ teas salt

125g firm tofu (broken into pieces with fingers)

2 tbs lemon juice (1 small lemon)

½ tbs lemon zest (½ small lemon)

2 tbs olive oil

150g frozen peas

1 teas dried mint

1 teas dried dill

¼ teas black pepper

 



Do It


Oil a 22cm/ 8.5 inch cake tin (a big one).  Line with baking parchment if it is not non-stick.

Press tofu between kitchen paper, remove excess moisture.

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

Add 1 tbs oil to a large frying pan, on medium heat, cook the garlic and onions for 7-9 minutes, adding 1/2 teas salt, until soft and golden.  Set aside to cool.

In a blender, add the tortilla batter ingredients and blitz until smooth.  

Add you dried herbs, black pepper, peas, 1 tbs olive oil and lemon juice to the frying pan.  Break the tofu into the pan using your fingers, large pieces are fine, this is to give the look and texture of egg white. Mix together, then stir in the batter until all is nicely combined. Pour this batter into your oiled cake tin and sprinkle with a little more sea salt.

Place in the oven for 25 minutes, drizzle over a little more oil at 20 minutes.  When it’s ready, the top will be nicely golden and the centre will be springy when pressed with your fingers.

Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before slicing and serving with a crisp salad, olives and all your other favourite Spanish tapas.  It’s great with vegan aioli, also nice with a scattering of freshly chopped herbs, mint and parsley especially.

Flamenco in Sevilla

Our recent travel post, Vegan on the road – Andalucia, has been one of our most popular ever!  Check it out here for more vegan Spanish travelling and foodie things. 

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Easy Vegan Indian Bowl – Roasted Vegetable and Coconut Curry, Black Kale Daal and Coconut Rice

Beach House Kitchen Bowl!

Better than takeaway! Wayyyy better!! Made with only fresh vegetables and spices, this Indian feast is delicious, rich and healthy too.  I’ve stripped down the preparation and ingredients, so this need not be a weekend treat.  It’s very mid-weekable!  Three recipes, served with our favourite condiments and we’re feasting vegan style!

I’m addicted to spice!  Can’t live without it for long.  When I travel around Italy or France, I’m always packing garam masala.  We really fancied a thali today, something colourful, filled with fragrant aromas, dishes to enliven the taste buds.  Plus, it’s my day off, what better way to celebrate!  We were missing India (see some of our India travels here) and felt like a light and seasonal curry. Lots of it….this is our Beach House Kitchen Thali Bowl!*

Curry in the BHK front garden, where the herb garden has gone a little feral.

It happens at this time of year.  The trees are all turning golden and crimson and I begin to ponder dark nights and BIG storms (we live on a mountain side).  I love the drama and peace of winter, but I need colours, spice and variety to get me through.  I like to get some rainbows cooking in the kitchen when the skies are grey.

We eat curries every week, sometimes even for breakfast (AM curry recipe here). I love giving local, seasonal veggies an Indian twist. I’ve used simple spices and ingredients here, like I said, this is a staple recipe, something I’d like you to find easy to cook. Add and subtract vegetables as you like, whatever is good or in your veg basket/ fridge.

Travelling India, especially in the South, is a moveable vegan’s feast. So many, coconut based options and up North, just ask to hold the ghee and you have a whole host of tantalising options, from street foods to wedding banquets, you’re gonna eat well in India as a plant-based wanderer.

Easy Vegan Curry Feast – 3 quick recipes

The essence of a good curry is fresh spices and a vibrant sauce (or gravy as they sometimes call it in India).  Got to be flavourful, it’s the base for soulful and spicy things to happen in your kitchen.  You’re creating something very special.

Here we make a simple tomato sauce, that can be used in a whole host of curries.  We mix in coconut cream, but it can be served as it is with vegetables.  We don’t blend it here, but that will make for a nice smooth sauce.

A portal to Pondicherry…..India we miss you (thanks for the spice!)

This was our lunch, so we ate it out in the garden.  I love the autumn up here in Snowdonia, the sunsets are regularly spectacular and there is plenty of sunshine with a nip in the air.  Ideal for walking in the mountains and along the beaches.  I’ll post some pictures soon.

We’ve been preparing for winter by refining our fermentation skills, Jane is on kombucha, I’m all over sourdough and sauerkraut etc.  Packing loads of colours and flavours into big jars and fermenting, it really is magic.  You can see some of our Radish Bombs here, with a nice hit of lime and spices.  Perfect on most things!  We are always inspired by our friend Janice from Nourished by Nature, see Spicy Radish Bomb recipe here.  A shining light!

These curry recipes will keep you going this autumn, straight through winter, filled with spicy, rainbow bowls.

Roasted Vegetable and Coconut Curry, all the trimmings…

Recipe Notes

The curry and daal will freeze well.  Make double if you fancy, portion it up into seperate containers and you’re well ahead.

The vegetables can be played with here. No squash, carrots or pumpkin is fine. No kale, use savoy cabbage or spinach.  No peppers, try courgettes or aubergines.  You get the idea!  Mix and match.  Play.  Enjoy!!

I’m not shy with oil here.  It adds richness, but using less will not adversely affect these dishes at all.  Stirring coconut oil into these dishes at the last minute is a nice way to finish things.

Add tofu to your roasted vegetables.  It’s delicious and adds even more protein to these dishes.

I roast and grind my own spices before cooking, especially the cumin and coriander.  You can’t beat the flavour.  Here’s a post about roasting and grinding your precious spices.

This is a mild, lightly spiced curry.  If you like spices add more!  If you like chillies, go crazy!!

Timing is everything right!  

Stage one – Start with your rice, then daal, then roast your vegetables and get the sauce cooking.

Stage two – Leave a lid on the rice (keep it warm), finish off the daal with the fried spices and garlic, add your roasted vegetables to your sauce.

There will be a lot going on here, you’ll need four pans and an oven working in harmony, but that’s the buzz and excitement of cooking like this, pots bubbling away, all action.  Once you’ve made these recipes a couple of times, you won’t even need the recipes.  You’ll be free-styling and expressing yourselves like true curry champions!!

Do let us know if you like this recipe, or even better, if you try it out.  

We love to hear from you below in the comments.  Say “hello!”  

I’ve also just started posting over on Instagram.  

Svaadisht!

 

Easy Vegan Indian Feast – Roasted Vegetable and Coconut Curry, Black Kale Daal and Coconut Rice

 

The Bits – For 4 big eaters or 6

Coconut Rice 

250ml brown basmati rice

500ml vegetable stock

1 1/2 teas cumin seeds

2/3 teas nigella/ kalongi seeds

1/2 teas mustard seeds

1/2 stick cinnamon

5 green cardamom pods (cracked)

4 tbs dessiccated coconut

1 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

1/2 teas sea salt

 

Black Kale Daal

250g red lentils

850ml vegetable stock

1/2 teas turmeric

 

125g black kale/ cavolo nero (finely sliced)

1/2 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

3 cloves garlic

2 heaped tbs chopped ginger

1 1/2 teas cumin seeds

1 teas mustard seeds

1/2-1 teas sea salt

 

Roasted Vegetable and Coconut Curry

2 peppers (chopped)

500g/ 1/2 large butternut squash

1 large onion

1/2-1 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

Sea salt and black pepper

 

Spicy Tomato Sauce 

1 large onion (chopped)

5 tomatoes (chopped)

5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

2 tbs ginger (finely chopped)

1-2 red chillies (sliced)

150g/ 2 handfuls white cabbage (sliced)

2 teas garam masala

2 teas ground cumin

1 1/2 teas ground turmeric

1 1/2 teas ground coriander

1-2 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

1 teas sea salt and black pepper

Easy to be vegan!

Do It

Rice

Wash and drain your rice.  Add the oil to a small saucepan, heat on medium, add the seeds, stir for a 30 seconds, add the coconut, cinnamon and cardamon, stir and cook for a few minutes, until the coconut is golden and fragrant.  Add the rice and stock.  Stir again and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a slow simmer and pop a lid on.  Leave to cook for 25-30 minutes.  It will depend on your rice.

Daal

Wash and drain your lentils.  Add them to a medium sauce pan.  Cover with the stock, add the turmeric and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a low simmer, pop a lid on and leave to cook for 25 minutes.  Stirring a few times.  Once the lentils are cooked, in a small frying pan, add the oil and heat on medium.  Fry the seeds, ginger and garlic together until the garlic is golden.  Add this mix to the lentils, season with salt and thin out the daal with hot water if needed.

Curry

Preheat oven to 200oc.  Toss you squash, peppers and onion on a baking tray with oil, salt and pepper.  Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, turning once.  Get some nice colour onto the vegetables, some charred edges are very welcome.

While that’s happening, in a large frying pan on high heat, add your oil and cook the onions for 7 minutes, until golden.  Add the garlic, chilli, ginger and spices, fry a minute, stirring.  Now add the tomatoes and salt.  Lower the heat and cover with a lid.  Leave to cook for 8 minutes.  Take the lid off, add the coconut milk and cabbage, leave to simmer for 10 minutes.  Check the seasoning and ensure the cabbage is cooked through.

Your roasted vegetables will now be ready, scrape them gently into the pan and combine well with the sauce.

You’re good to go!  On a preferably warm plate/ shallow bowl, add the rice, daal and curry.

Serve topped with sliced chillies, your favourite pickles, crispy onions, radish bombs and we had coconut yoghurt.

Vegan curries all the way!  Healthy and delicious, always possible!!

Foodie Fact

Every part of this curry sparkles with nutritional wonders.  Because we’re only using fresh vegetables, whole grains and spices, it really is a bowl of healthy happy.  Eating a balanced vegan diet, based around fresh fruit and veg is the healthiest way we can fuel ourselves, tasty too!  This bowl is filled with a huge range of vitamins, minerals, iron, protein, anti-oxidants, pro-biotic goodness, good energy, good fats, good vibes!   This bowl is good for your heart, your mind, your skin, your tastebuds!!

You could even add some steamed broccoli or kale for an ultimate healthy happy bowl.

 

Come cook and holiday with us.  All of our upcoming events are right here

 

 

*PS – A thali is a traditional plate, with loads of compartments for treats.  We don’t have one.  I’d like one, but I’m trying to minimise my kitchen equipment.  It’s amazing what you can do with a few spoons and a pan.  No gimmicks.  No gadgetry.  I’m getting back to the roots of cooking.  Except my blender.  I draw the old school line there.  How do you hand-make a smoothie?

Categories: Autumn, Curries, gluten-free, healthy, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Vegan Midwinter Workshop – An alternative festive feast and celebration

 

Sunday 24th November 2019

10am-5pm

 

With Gillian Monks ‘Merry Midwinter’ and Lee Watson ‘Peace and Parsnips’

 

Get back in touch with the true spirit of Christmas!

 

Join best-selling authors, Gillian Monks and Lee Watson at the beautifully situated Trigonos, to celebrate an alternative Festive season with a delicious, 3 course plant-based lunch and cooking demonstration.

 

Are you interested in a Christmas which doesn’t revolve around commercialism and consumerism?

 

Do you wish to return to celebrating this time of year in a more authentic way?

 

Gillian will be sharing her passion for this season and introducing you to an alternative festive approach, re-introducing ourselves to activities and customs which better reflect the nature of this time of year.

Prepare to be inspired!

Vegan chef Lee will be creating a plant-based festive menu, with lots of treats. A slap up three course Christmas lunch, using local produce, that everyone can enjoy! Vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free options are available, all decadent and delicious. Lee will also be demonstrating how to cook a full vegan Christmas dinner, step by step.

Learn to cook this Parsnip, Chestnut and Cranberry Roast

Gillian’s workshop will involved creating your own Christmas decorations from locally foraged evergreens. Design and make your own advent wreath or kissing ball, Welsh calennigs, Christmas woodland gnomes and eco-friendly gift-wrapping.

Gillian will also be sharing ideas for festive entertainment, games and gifts, which cost nothing except time, inspiration and care, as well as leading our stories and carols by the fire.

 

What’s included:

 

Three course plant-based festive lunch and welcome drink

 

Authentic Christmas decoration workshop with Gillian, using locally foraged evergreens

 

Cooking demonstration with Lee, learn how to make this Christmas plant-based and decadent

 

Storytelling and carols by the blazing fire,
with special hot chocolate

 

Full recipe booklet, especially designed for the day, try all the recipes out at home

 

Much knowledge and many practical tips of how you can re-connect with the Festive season, in new, old ways

 

A selection of Teas and Fresh Coffee

 

——–

 

Why we came together for Merry Vegan Midwinter:

 

“Celebrating midwinter is not about what you buy or how much you spend….Turn away from the frenetic consumerism of Christmas and rediscover the authentic and meaningful realities of this, the oldest and most precious celebration of the year.
The true significance of midwinter is not found in any individual spiritual or religious belief or practice. Instead, the winter solstice provides an opportunity to celebrate what we as humans share; to set aside our differences and come together with a sense of community and cheer.”

Gillian

 

“Many people are choosing to eat more plant-based foods, I want to make the festive season delicious for all! Taking into account vegans, gluten-free and even sugar-free options, I’ll be creating a Christmas lunch menu that everyone will enjoy. Full of flavours, textures and pleasant surprises along the way.”

Lee

 

 

Come along for an enjoyable, delicious and relaxing day, reconnecting with the true spirit of Christmas.

 

 

Tickets £79

 

TO BOOK

Call 01286882388 or email info@trigonos.org

 

Normal Day Ticket £79

 

Address:

Trigonos
Plas Baladeulyn
Nantlle
Caernarfon
Wales
LL54 6BW

 

*Early Bird Offer ends 19st October 2019

Categories: Cooking demos, Events, gluten-free, healthy, plant-based, Vegan, Wales, Winter | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Vegan Japanese Hambagu – Teriyaki Burger Bites with Flax Gomasio

Fancy a bite! Japanese Hambagus, vegan and gluten-free

This is my little, burger shaped homage to my favourite Japanese flavours; miso, ginger, wasabi, toasted sesame seeds. These crispy little burger bites are filled with flavour and when served with crisp vegetables and creamy mayonnaise, make for a delicious lunch.  We paired it with a Autumn stir-fry noodle salad with a creamy peanut and lime sauce.

Autumn Stir-Fry Salad with Peanut and Lime Sauce

The great thing about this salad is that you can use whatever is seasonal or in your fridge/ veg basket.  Filled with Asian flavours, lots of chilli, garlic and ginger for a base, then the dressing comes with toasted sesame oil, tamari and lots of lime.  We’ll be eating this right through the winter, so tasty and easy to get together.  Recipe coming soon……

I’m glad I got around to posting this recipe, I have piles of notebooks with tested recipes that don’t make it to the blog.  My motivation to get typing tonight was YOU!  Thanks so much for all the love you’ve shown over on Facebook and Twitter.  I shared a couple of pictures of these little Hambagus and the response was amazing.

I wanted to make some burgers with a BIG flavour and I also wanted to add an Asian lunch for our Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia event.  This is basically how this recipe came about, a lot of my favourite things in a mini burger.

These hambagus are crispy on the outside and have a good, firm texture.  They’ll go well on a grill or BBQ, but I like the control of a frying pan.  But, the next time I have a BBQ, these are hitting it! Most veggies burgers may seem a little soft when they first go into the pan, but will firm up nicely when flipped.

A Hambagu is basically a Japanese hamburger and generally when I make Japanese dishes, I whizz up some Gomasio.  The recipe is below.  Gomasio is normally made with sesame, I’ve added flax because I love it, you may like to add a little seaweed.  It is a brilliant way for adding flavour, umami-tastic, to dishes.  Keeps well in the fridge too.

If you like the look of this, or cook it, do let us know in the comments below.  It’s great to hear from you.  We love the idea our recipes being cooked and enjoyed.

 

Join our mailing list here and you won’t miss a recipe

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Flax Gomasio – One of my favourite savoury toppings

Recipe Notes

Buy the sticky, thick version of teriyaki sauce to use on these burgers, or seek out Hoisin (which is Chinese, but works well with this recipe).

When handling the burger mix, wet hands makes all the difference.  No sticky messes here.

For presentation sake, take some time in forming your mini patties, get them quite uniformed and they’ll look awesome!

I’m torn between what is better, basting them with teriyaki and giving each side a quick fry or just basting them after cooking.  I’ve gone with the later, but if you like intense flavours, maybe try frying them quickly once you’ve basted.

Don’t over bake these, or any veggie burger for that matter, they’ll go dry.  We just want to warm them in the middle and they’re best served just after cooking.

The mix will freeze well and can be defrosted for future burger missions.  This recipe does make lots!

If you are gluten-free, just check what your miso is made out of.

You can also make a big burger if you like, I’d serve it with a sticky, sushi rice bun if I were you, some roasted sweet potatoes on the side.  In fact, I’ll do that next time…..

Vegan Hambagu! – One is never enough…..

Vegan Japanese Hambagus – Teriyaki Burger Bites with Flax Gomasio

 

The Bits – For 24 burger bites

100g toasted sunflower seeds

1 tin aduki beans (drained, reserving the liquid)
75g gluten-free flour (I used gram flour)
1 tbs ground flaxseed (mixed with 3 tbs water)
1 ½ tbs brown miso
2 tbs tomato puree
2 tbs teriyaki or hoisin sauce

200g cooked quinoa (cooled)
½ red pepper (finely diced)
1 teas garlic powder
1 teas ground ginger
3 tbs gomasio
¼ teas ground pepper

Cold pressed coconut or rapeseed oil (for frying)

Basting
4-6 tbs teriyaki (the thick and sticky variety) or hoisin sauce

Flax Gomasio
2 tbs toasted sesame seeds
1 tbs flax seeds
⅔ teas sea salt

Serve
Wasabi Mayonnaise
Sliced Tomato, chopped daikon or radish
Pickled ginger
Gomasio or toasted sesame seeds

 

Do It
In a food processor, blitz your sunflower seeds to a rough crumb. Some chunks of seeds are preferable here. Set aside.

Add your beans, miso, tomato puree, hoisin sauce, gram flour, 2 tbs bean tin liquid and flaxseeds. Blend until smooth

In a large mixing bowl, add your cooked quinoa, sunflower seeds, ginger, garlic, red pepper, gomasio, black pepper.

Scrape out the bean mix into the mixing bowl and stir together until all is combined well. Cover the bowl and place in a fridge for 45 minutes to firm up and chill.

Preheat an oven to 180oC. Pour enough hoisin sauce into a small bowl, have a basting brush handy.

Using wet hands, form 1 heaped tablespoon of mix into fat discs, mini burger shapes. Place them onto a plate.

Warm a large, heavy bottomed, frying pan on medium heat. Add 2 tbs cooking oil and when hot, add your burger bites. Fry for 2 minutes each side, until nicely charred. Once done, place on a baking tray. Continue frying in batches until you’re all done for mix.

Brush the top of each burger generously with hoisin sauce and place in the oven to cook for 8 minutes. The burgers should be piping hot and cooked in the middle.

Serve with your favourite Japanese influenced toppings. I like wasabi mayo, toasted sesame seeds and pickled ginger.

Gomasio – Toast the sesame and flax seeds in a pan on medium heat. Allow them to take on some colour, a nice dark golden shade. Around 10 minutes will be enough, tossing them regularly.

Place in a blender and blitz them with your salt. A fine powder will form, use straightaway of store in an airtight container in the fridge.

View of Nantlle Valley and Snowdon from BHK hill, and yes, the sky is normally like this.

 

Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia, Plant-based Cooking and Yoga Holiday is now SOLD OUT!  We can’t wait to welcome the group this Saturday. 

 

If you couldn’t make it to Vibrant Vegan! maybe you’d like one of our upcoming events, ranging from Spanish Beach Holidays to Wine Tasting Evenings and Festive Vegan Cooking Workshops.  CLICK HERE

 

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Kombucha Time! Fermented foods in the Beach House Kitchen

Jane toasting you all with tonights Kombucha! Strawberry and Rose Spritz (with a tickled of mint and a twist lime)

It’s wild today in the Beach House, we sit at the top of a hill, overlooking the Irish Sea, we get some tasty weather!! We were in the garden last night, basically it’s a big chunk of mountain, taming it and wrestling with brambles mainly. Seeing how the newts and frogs were getting on in the pond. We also got a nice pile of windfall apples (bonus!) We got a thirst going…..kombucha time.

We’re taking the Vibrant Vegan! Challenge, no alcohol for a few weeks now. We’re feeling groovy! Kombucha is the perfect treat drink. It has that fermented quality, and sometimes even tastes a little alcoholic.

Jane loves making Kombucha and we’re trying out new flavour combos for our Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia – Plant-based Cooking & Yoga Holiday using mainly strawberry, raspberry and blackberry as bases. This is Jane toasting you all with last nights winner!!
We are truly blessed to have the magnificent Janice, aka Nourished by Nature, joining us for the holiday and hosting a fermentation masterclass. All of your Kombucha questions answered and much, much more!  Lots of tastings, pro-biotic chocolate anyone!!  How’s about some coffee Kombucha?

Sometimes I can’t believe we live here!! So beautiful. This is the view from the stone circle behind the BHK. 

Living right beside Snowdonia national park, it’s basically behind our back garden, means our local walks are pretty special!  You can nearly see Mount Snowdon in the photo above, tucked behing Mynydd Mawr (The Elephant Mountain, my local stomp).  We even have a little stone circle in our garden, which for many years we thought was all ancient and druidic etc, until we met the former owners and they said it was built in the late ’90’s.  Hari hum.  Still a great place to sit and watch sunset over Anglesey.

Several different sauerkrauts on the go…

I take charge of the sourdough and sauerkraut’s.  We both love making feremented foods, I always enjoy an edible hobby.  Here we have a few different types of ‘kraut, notice the German made Sauerkraut barrel, Jane get’s me the best Xmas pressies.  We experiment with all kinds of flavours and use many different veggies, herbs, spices etc.  Once you have the basic technique, the world of veg is your fermentable friend.  I’m keeping these a little secret, because they are especially for Vibrant Vegan!  Apologies.  One of them is Nepalese, the other, proudly German. One is with fennel, dill and lemon.  I love that combo.

You can’t make a sauerkraut, without covering your kitchen with cabbage. Them’s the rules!

Sauerkraut and fermented foods in general are a real gift, for good health and incredible flavours.  Most of our favourite foods are fermented; cheeses, coffee, wine and beer, yoghurt…the list goes on.  Fermenting foods is an ancient little trick that all cultures in the world have practiced.  It means your food is preserved, but unlike pickling for example, fermented foods come to life!  Their flavours are enhanced and their nutritional properties go through the roof.  They are also easier to digest.  Fermenting foods is also fun, and like I said, it’s and addictive hobby.  Our scobies (alien like creatures that live in jars and make kombucha) or our sourdough starter (named ‘funk face’ due to it’s fruity odour) are members of the BHK family.

Yesterdays sunset sourdough was Seeded Wholegrain

We have a new heating system in the Beach House, it’s uber energy efficient and we’re chuffed and cosy.  One thing it’s made so much better is our sourdough.  It’s actually warm enough for it to do it’s thing!  Before we tried heat pads and leaving near the fire, anything we could think of, but a consistent ambient temperature is working wonders for our little Funk Face.

Our windfall apples, let the wind do the work!

We’re not long back to the Beach House, after walking around Portugal for a while this summer and working in Spain.  The garden is now only semi-forested and we can now get down to the fun bits, like picking apples.  I feel another Kombucha flavour coming on!

What’s your favourite Kombucha flavour and what are your scobies called?  Do you love sourdough and yes, what is your sourdough called?  They have to have names, that’s more than half the fun of it…..

Breakfast Superfood Ice Cream – Vegan, Gluten and Sugar free

We also make our own yoghurt.  Just using the cultures that are already in the shop bought yoghurts.  Just add milk and leave….  It adds a pro-biotic punch to our morning bowls.  We’re loving superfood ice creams at the minute.  Lots of colours, textures and big flavours, just what I need to get me going in the mornings.

Fermentation is simple, with a little experience, anyone can do it and you don’t need any special equipment or fancy ingredients (although, like I said, a scobie is technically an alien lifeform living in your house.  You can buy them online!)

Please share your fermented food tales below in the comments and show some fermented love!!

There is loads more BHK chat, recipes and vegan cooking over on our Facebook page, click here.  

 


Here’s a recipe from a few years ago, KIMCHI, one of our favourties.  

Also, a Beetroot, Apple and Caraway Sauerkraut from the Beach House recipe library……


 

Our fermentation gurus are Janice from Nourished By Nature.  A ray of sunshine, wealth of knowledge and fermentista extraordinaire.

Plus Sandor Katz, his book ‘Wild Fermentation’ changed the way we look at food, packed with recipes and a huge amount of tips and knowledge.

 

Best to contact us via email, send a letter or leave a comment below, no phone signal up here in the hills;)

 

Categories: Baking, Cooking Holidays, Fermentation, fermented foods, healthy, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Vibrant Vegan! Cooking – Organic soul food in stunning Snowdonia

Dream cooking – picking tomatoes for the pot and platter)

Picking my own ingredients freshly is a dream.

All grown to organic standards just beside the kitchen.  This is surely every cooks idea of paradise!  I felt like sharing a few pictures of what I’ve been harvesting of late.  Good food comes from the earth, from rich soils, the very best vegetables are always local, seasonal and organic.

Cooking at Trigonos is always pleasure.  You may not have visited Trigonos, or Snowdonia, and I know may of your are scattered all over the world.  I’d like to bring this area to life a little, some of you are joining us for our Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia, Cooking Holiday.  We’ll be seeing you here soon.  Can’t wait!

A peaceful day by the lake, Trigonos

The Beach House Kitchen sits high in the hills in North Wales overlooking the Irish Sea, Anglesey and the Llyn Peninsula.  The views and sunsets are stunning.  We are right beside Snowdonia National Park, a place of wild beauty, stunning mountains, lakes and valleys.  We can jump over our back wall and walk up a mountain!  We love the lifestyle and one of the highlights for me, being a cook, is the local produce.

Radiant Welsh cherry tomatoes…

Yellow ones too…

I cook regularly at Trigonos, a retreat and learning centre, set in the spectacular Nantlle Valley.  It’s a hidden gem, no one goes there (don’t tell anyone about it;)  These pictures say it all really!  Trigonos sits on a little shelf of flat, arable land, beside a small lake, surrounded by old forests and a disused slate quarry.  Looking up the valley, we can see the mighty Snowdon which rises like a rocky crown above the other mountains.  Trigonos has been described as “heaven on earth” by many people who visit us and I tend to agree.  It’s one of the most beautiful spots in the UK and I feel very lucky to be able to play with veggies in their kitchens!

Trigonos has it’s own vegetable farm, a large field and a series of polytunnels, our resident horticulturalist was away in Canada, so us chefs were picking our own for a while and I loved every minute.  I visit the polytunnels regularly to see how things are sprouting and blooming, but to actually get to pick my own was a rare privilege.  I’ve been fortunate to be in this situation before, even picking my own fruits and veggies for the pot in Tamil Nadu, and it’s one of my favourite things to do.  Hand selecting the ripest and most appealing produce, to then take to the kitchen to prepare.  It doesn’t get any better!

Basil grows perfectly with the tomatoes. It’s very happy here!

 

I think autumn is my favourite time at Trigonos, the trees are all changing to a warmer shades and the mountains begin to take on burnt bronze and crimson hues

 

The peppers are coming….

But this behemoth (below) may well be the pinnacle for me, the giant and outrageously orange Crown Prince Squash.  Veggie royalty for certain.  The sweetest and most flavourful of the entire squash/ pumpkin collective.  You can see they’re massive already, and will hopefully sweeten up in the next few weeks and we’ll be preparing dishes with them for Vibrant Vegan!  A simple soup made with these squashes, home-made stock and a little onion, is a thing of rare beauty.  With produce like this, simplicity is the key, enhancing their nature fragrance, textures and sweetness.

Giant Crown Prince Squashes lurking under the leaves…

In these times of abundance from the land, we try our best to preserve the mountains of tomatoes, basil, cucumbers and other produce.  My favourite method is fermenting them into a variety or saeurkrauts and kimchis, or just fermenting things like cherry tomatoes whole (they’re then called Tomato Bombs!)  We also make lots of roasted tomato sauce for the freezer, as well as frozen berries and apples for crumbles and pies later in the year.

Chutneys, jams and pickling are of course another way of preserving autumn’s abundance and we have members of the team who love nothing more than making wine from everything!  Oak leaves, no problem.  But elderberries, blackberries and rhubarb are more palatable I reckon!!

This time of year can be a busy time in the kitchen, there is a buzz in autumn, a feeling that I’m getting ready for a long winter.  The more little gifts I can preserve for those times, the better.  I think we have to put effort and care into things to feel the true benefit, food is no different.  Popping open some homemade tomato sauce on a drizzly Tuesday in February makes me very happy….

A passion for cooking is a life-long joy!

Not forgetting the intense Ruby Chard corner

We love visiting Spain and have just returned from walking the Camino Portugese, post coming soon.  Here are some of our Spanish holiday snaps, Vegan on the Road – Andalucia.  The tomatoes in this polytunnel would be worshipped in Spain!  Such is the reverence tomatoes have there.

The Beef Steak tomato below would be thinly sliced in a restaurant, drizzle with olive oil and a little sea salt and served as a starter or tapas, for a pretty penny too!  Tomatoes are selected at markets with incredible care and cooked with sensitivity to the differing flavours and textures of the tomato in the basket.  It’s this kind of ‘feel’ I try to bring to my cooking and my mind and senses are focused even more when cooking with hand-picked produce.  How can it not be?  There is so much subtlety to be aware of in the kitchen, every action has a consequence, good cooking requires a relaxed focus, it is mindfulness in action! 

Giant Beefsteak tomatoes, Ive no idea how the thin stems support these. Some seem to weigh 1kg!

A natural groove…

Growing your own vegetables, cooking and eating them, seems like a perfect cycle.  Something so natural, grounding and fulfilling.  The ultimate healthy relationship, the happiest of marriages, with our food.  Even if it’s just some pots of herbs on a window ledge, or a little tomato plant, some spuds in the garden or plums from the neighbours trees, this is food for the soul.  We all feel that I believe.  How many of our happy memories and meals as children revolved around such produce?  I know I have loads, veggies coming from my Grandad’s gardens or allotments, pick your own strawberries and raspberries, pears from my aunties garden and of course, blackberry picking (we’re going to harvest our garden blackberries soon, it’s pretty intense out there at the minute, the brambles are taking over like rabid Triffids).

Growing our own food makes us more conscious of what and how we choose to consume and plugs us straight into our local environment, the seasons and a sense of wellbeing.

We always have a range of freshly picked salad leaves for lunch at Trigonos

When I was younger (I’m not that old now, but you know what I mean…) there were many more opportunities to see and pick our produce, get up close and personal with our muddy potatoes.  Many more people were growing things and sharing in the community and amongst families.  This approach is a gift for any community and I’m grateful to Trigonos and local farms like Tydynn Teg who provide us with produce grown with care and love.  Better for our environment, better for our health and better for our tastebuds (not to mention our souls!!)

If you’re growing your own or have memories you’d like to share about awesome produce, please leave a comment below.  

Happy cooking!:)   

I love these Purple Mangetout. Amazing colour and a vivid stock when cooked. They really brighten things up.

Trigonos has many options for B+B, just give them a ring, 01286882388 or email – info@trigonos.org, to check availability.  We cook with as much produce from the land throughout the year, if you head down there soon, you’ll be tasting these tomatoes yourself!

I’ll be doing more cooking workshops in Snowdonia and at Trigonos in the future.  Here’s the BHK cooking event page to keep up-to-date, or join our seasonal newsletter here.

Looking up the valley, across the lake, Snowdon in the distant. We’ll still have many bright, fresh days like this in autumn.

 

Just to finish things off nicely, a bonfire on a chilly autumn night….

 

We have a bonfire planned at Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia, under the stars, beneath the mountains, with lots of hot chocolate

Categories: Autumn, Cooking Workshops, healthy, Local food, Organic, photography, plant-based, sustainable, Vegan, Wales, Welsh produce | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Vibrant Vegan Challenge! Let’s get healthier and happier together

 

A healthy lifestyle promises a brighter future!

 

Do you want more energy? A greater sense of wellbeing?

 

Take the VIBRANT VEGAN! challenge.

 

Our Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia holiday is fast approaching and we have a challenge for our attendees, and you all, let’s get healthy together!!

We’ve been travelling a lot recently and feeling out of balance, our diet has been all over the place, it’s been an amazing adventure, but we’re so glad to be back in the Beach House after a few years.  We’re feeling grounded and at peace again, the Beach House energy is strong!!

What’s the idea?……

I’m back in my beloved kitchen, surrounded by glorious local produce, fresh mountain air and inspiration to bring you healthy and delicious recipes.  The Beach House lifestyle revolves around a sense of wellness and positivity in life and to tap back into that has been transformational for me.

But it’s not all about a healthy diet, exercise, especially yoga, and positive practices, like meditation, also play a major part in this.  Wellness is a fine balance, it touches and is influenced by everything I do.  It was this motivation and a desire for me to be better and brighter that resulted in the Vibrant Vegan!

 

Let’s get together, form a group of like-minded, open hearted folk who are seeking a exciting new adventure.

 

This challenge is open to anyone, you pick and choose what works with your lifestyle at the minute, just a little taste of vibrant vegan will be enough to get started.  After that…anything is possible!!

I was told by one of my favourite teachers that an ounce of practice is better than a tonne of theory so…..LET’S DO IT!

Vibrant Vegans!!

Here’s the guidelines:

 

– Eat a balanced vegan/ plant-based diet

– Make healthy eating choices, so no white sugar, white flour, alcohol, takeaways or heavily processed, deep fried food. Eat good fats, cold pressed oils and loads of fruit and veg. Eat the rainbow!

– Exercise daily or whenever possible. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, gently stretching or going to a yoga class. Raise our heart rate a little.

– Drink more water. Water is life! Drink water throughout the day.

– Go to bed early. Get 8 hours-ish sleep, your optimum sleep.

– Take deep breaths ofter, we’ll be posting links to videos about this on the group (see below). Breathing right, which may sound a little strange, is the foundation for a healthy, energised life.

 

———-

You can start the challenge NOW! Why not? We’ve already been doing it for a week and feeling the benefits.

I’ve set up this group especially for everyone who is looking to move towards a healthier and more energised way of being.

 

Click here – Vibrant Vegan! Healthy Plant-based Livin’ to join, there will be loads of support and information. All you need to start a new way of being right NOW!

 

The official start date will be a week before the holiday, 9am Saturday 14th September. This means you can build up to it slowly over the next couple of weeks and then GO FOR IT!

Lots of new, healthy plant-based recipes coming soon….

 

I’ll be posting more here soon.

 

Please leave a comment below if you’re interested, we love hearing from you.

 

Let’s get happier and healthier together!

 

Health is wealth….

 

Categories: Events, Healing foods, healthy, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, photography, plant-based, Superfoods, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Vegan Wine and Tapas Evening ~ Manchester, Saturday 9th November 2019

Vegan Wine Tasting and Tapas Evening, Manchester

For one night in November, the vegan chef, Lee Watson (author of ‘Peace & Parsnips’ cookbook), and professional wine geek, Robert Moore, are teaming up to bring you an entertaining and exclusive evening of delicious wine and food pairing.

 

Guests will be treated to ten fabulous wines* from around the world, each wine being specially paired with mouth-watering tapas from the same country.

 

Lee will be creating bespoke recipes especially for the evening, using local, seasonal produce, most of which will be organic. It promises to be a menu filled with plant-based surprises and bold, creative flavours that everyone will enjoy, vegan or otherwise.

Albariño grapes in Rías Baixas, Lee has just returned from Galicia in Spain. We will be sampling a crisp, citrus and floral Albariño soon….

As you try each of the wines and accompanying tapas, you’ll be learning not only how to properly taste wines, but more about the wine making process and regions where they grow.

 

Did we mention that all the wines and all the food are completely vegan? We did? Oh, good.

 

Rob has created a varied and dynamic vegan wine list, one which will take your tastebuds on a global adventure. He will be answering any questions you have about the wine, as well as imparting knowledge on how to best match wine and food, offering you skills to asses and buy quality vegan wines.

 

Lee will talk about the dishes and how they were prepared, sharing vegan cooking tips, plus you will leave with a recipe booklet containing a number of the tapas recipes so you can try them at home for yourself.

 

We are in the process of finalising the wine list and menu and will be let you know further details very soon.

 

Come and join us for a celebration of the best vegan wines and delicious plant-based flavours!

 

~

What’s included:

 

– Ten stunning wines from around the world; vintage champagne, red, white and a very special dessert wine, hand picked by Rob

 

– A variety of creative tapas, vegan cheese and canapes to compliment the wine

 

Knowledge and skills to taste wines with confidence, enhancing your wine drinking experience

 

– A guide to pairing wine and food collated by Rob

 

– An original recipe booklet by Lee

 

A fine selection of global Reds awaits!

 

Tickets for the evening:

 

£79 per person

 

CLICK HERE TO BOOK 

 

 

Address:

St. Clement’s Church, Edge Lane, Chorlton

M21 9AE

 

7.30pm – 10pm

 

 Contact us at wineandwaistcoats@gmail.com

 

Gluten-free options available

*All wines are kindly supplied by Majestic Wines

**Early Bird Offer ends 26/9/19

 

Categories: Events, gluten-free, plant-based, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Strawberry, Spinach and Walnut Salad – Simple Summer Special

View up the Nantlle Valley towards mighty Snowdon.

Is it summer or autumn?  I’m not sure anyone knows over here.  The weather is unsure, sleet one day, sizzling summer rays the next.  We’re back in the beautiful Beach House, after a summer walking around Spain and Portugal.  More of that to come soon, travel pictures and some tall tales.  Click here for a sneak preview.  We’re full of energy and new ideas.  It’s great to be back in Snowdonia, just look at these pictures……

Random flower pics. We love em!

We’re busy planning new events for later in the year, news of one coming later this week hopefully.  It involves wine, that’s all I’m saying.  It may be in the North West of England.  I can say no more.  But, it is very exciting.  Trust me.  Also, our Vibrant Vegan! – Cooking and Yoga Holiday is fast approaching.  Click here for more information.  We can’t wait to see some of you back up here by the mountains and sea for a vegan cooking extravaganza!!

It’s always salad season in my book and here’s a simple one which has nice textures and colours.  Salads are only boring if there is no inspiration involved.  Do people still feel salads are boring?  I think the UK might have evolved in that area.  Let me know…..  If you have someone in your life who is a salad naysayer, make them this.  They’ll soon change their salad spots.

This is on my summer menu and it’s a hit!  The flavour combos really work and I love adding basil to the leaf mix.  The recipe takes a short time to get together and is ideal as a colourful side salad or add some roasted squash or new potatoes to take it towards main course-ville.

We quickly press the red cabbage here, you can also use beetroot if you like, releasing more nutrients and flavours. This technique works with most vegetables and I Iove it.  Pressing elevates humble veggies to new levels and also lessens the funky ‘cabbaginess’ of the cabbage. Mellows it out nicely.

Welcome to Snowdonia! Home of the Beach House Kitchen

Do let us know if you try out this recipe.  How does it look to you?  Fancy trying it out?  Leave us a comment below.

Happy cooking:)

Strawberry, Spinach and Walnut Salad – A vegan late summer treat

Strawberry, Spinach and Walnut Salad – Simple Summer Special

 

The Bits – For 4 as a side salad

8 strawberries, cut into quarters lengthways

6 handfuls spinach leaves, washed and dried

1 small handful basil leaves

1/4 small red cabbage, finely sliced

Balsamic reduction

Sea salt

1 big handful toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

 

Do It

In a bowl, not a metal one please, rub 1-2 teas salt into your red cabbage, massage it lovingly, it will release some water. That’s good! Leave for 1-2 hours to soften. Now taste it, if it’s salty, rinse in cold water until you like the saltiness of it.

In a large bowl, gently toss together the strawberries, basil and spinach, drizzling in a dash of balsamic reduction and toss more.  Then serve straight away on a large plate, scattering the red cabbage and toasted walnuts on top.

Now for the final drizzle of balsamic reduction and you’re good to go.

Fresh basil from the polytunnels at Trigonos. Where I regularly cook, using a lot of produce from the land. It’s the best, cooking with freshly picked produce.

Foodie Fact
Strawberries are very, very, very high in vitamin C.  Strawberries are one of those things I eat and think, “I’m so happy this is good for me.”  Eat strawberries and be merry!

They’re also pretty good for fibre and our old friend, Manganese.

 

 

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Summer, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Vegan On The Road – Andalucia, Spain

Jane and the Happpy Restaurant:)  Cordoba

We’re on the road again!  Out and about around Spain, the fascinating region of Andalucia.  Fillled with history, diverse culture and loads of tasty treats.

We sampled a variety of vegan treats all over Andalucia. Here’s some delicious Smoked Lebanese Aubergines bound together with tahini.

We stayed in central Malaga and were really surprised by the place, loads to see, do and nibble.  We’d recommend a visit and you can even chill on the beach, it’s miles long!  The hill top fort was a real highlight, as well as the old town and Picasso Museum.

There are some great little vegan restaurants, we enjoyed delicious, innovative meals.  Plenty of chilled soups, gazpacho and salmorejo, were always an option for a quick and nourishing lunch or snack.  We tend to eat loads of fruit and fresh veg, or salads, on the road.

Overlooking Malaga, a vibrant place with plenty of historical sights, galleries and some awesome little vegan restaurants.

 

Loved this simple and tasty dish – Grilled Vegetables with Mojo Sauce, Sevilla

In Cordoba we stayed in a small village, 30 mins away from the centre, tucked away behind a hill overlooking the vast plains of Andalucia.  Our room was built into the thick walls of a medieval church/ fort.  The village was sleepy and the main form of transport seemed to be tractor, with the occasional donkey.  Cordoba is the hottest place in Europe and it averaged around 40oC for our stay.

Cordoba is heavily influenced by the Moors and has always been a centre of learning and culture, you can feel that.  It’s a beautiful, stylish place and the Mesquite is simply stunning.  A huge edifice, once a mosque (accomodating 20,000) now converted into a cathedral.  It’s mind boggling in an awe inspiring way.  We were blow away by the scale and complexity of the place.

There are not loads of vegan restaurants, but we found it easy to order a variety of tapas and plates in most joints.  We also bought local produce in the village in a large co-operative.  Mostly organic and our accomodation had a little kitchen.  It was a real pleasure to use the local olives, paprika, herbs, olive oil, wine and sherry in a variety of dishes.  The fruit and vegetables were all so fresh and flavourful.  Paella was definitely on the menu!  I found the food and produce in Andalucia to be some of the best in Spain.

We caught some fiestas (there are so many in Spain!!) Some women in traditional dress coming out of the Mesquite. A hot one for a stroll…40oC! Cordoba

 

Old time Spain. We love it!!

 

Us. Outside the spectacular Mesquite, one of the most amazing buildings we’ve ever seen.  Cordoba

 

Some awesome street art all over Spanish cities. The streets are galleries too.  Sevillla

In Sevillla we stayed in the outskirts, a friendly neighborhood with probably the best fruit seller we’ve ever encountered.  A real pleasure to sample a variety of local fruits that we knew would be fragrant and delicious.

Sevilla city is touristy, as are most of the cities in Andalucia, but it wears it well.  Again, it’s a stylish place with it’s own flavour.  We loved wandering the windy little streets of the old town and getting lost for a while.  The river has a wide promenade, a must for sunset when locals gather, some jogging, some with guitars, most just chilling and enjoying the cool air and ambience.

There are plenty of vegan options all over the city, with a few vegan restaurants.  Add to this loads of cool cafes/bars and the most amazing cathedral we’ve ever seen (and we’ve seen a few on our travels!!) and you’ve got a awesome place to visit.

Pumpkin, Walnut and Spinach Lasagna. Reminded us that we don’t eat anywhere near enough lasagna! Sevilla

 

IMG_20190618_101726

We’ve moved on to Portugal now and are walking the Rota Vincentina, mainly skirting the coastline of southern Portugal.  Our next post will be coming soon with pictures and plant-based pilgrim news……we’re heading all the way to Santiago Compostela in Spain.

 

Jane hanging out beside a Roman Amphitheatre. Malaga was a surprise, it has loads to offer a curious wanderer, plus beaches too.

 

 

Categories: healthy, Healthy Eating, photography, plant-based, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | 25 Comments

Delicious Vegan Cooking Highlights….Here’s what’s cookin’ in the BHK!!

Coconut Kulfi with Chargrilled Pineapple, Rose and Chocolate Sauce

Here’s a few highlights we’ve been cooking up this Spring time.  Lots of plant-based treats, we’ve been busy and loving cooking with the fruits, veg and leaves of Spring.

Onion Jam and Black Olive Rolls

We wanted to share something with you before we wander over to Spain, to cook on the beach at our Taste of Bliss ’19 Holiday, cannot wait!!  After that we’ll be walking around Spain and then heading up some old pilgrimage routes towards Santiago Compostela.  Lots of camping, nature, beaches and some awesome vegan food.

Polenta Pizza with loads of goodies....sunflower cream cheese, artichokes, grilled squash and fennel

Polenta Pizza with loads of goodies….sunflower cream cheese, artichokes, grilled squash and fennel

We’ll be back in mid-July and we’ve loads of cool cooking plans for later in the year, events coming up in Manchester, more in North Wales and maybe even a return to Hackney.  Plus lots of private cooking events, which we are loving.  A chance to get creative with unique menus.

Puglian Roast Potatoes with Vegan Parmesan, Garlic, Olives, Artichokes, Parsley from the garden plus lots of fruity olive oil

If you are liking these foodie pics, click like below or leave a comment.  We love hearing from you!

Faro and Nettle Superfood Salad with Pickled Red Cabbage

Come and cook with us, see below for pictures of beautiful Trigonos, the venue for our Vibrant Vegan! Cooking Holiday in September.  Lots of inspiring workshops, delicious plant-based food, walks in beautiful nature.  Celebrate the autumn equinox with us around a bonfire!

Keralan Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Coconut Curry

Being pilgrims for a while, exploring Portugal and Northern Spain means many amazing things to us, but we won’t have wifi!  The BHK will be quiet until later in the year.

Loads of organic produce from the Trigonos land, yellow chard, wild garlic, nettles, curly kale….a cooks dream come true! Get in the pan!!

Double Chocolate, Cherry and Pomegranate Cake

This cake will be served on the Murcian beach very soon!!  We love these flavour combinations and a touch of rose in the chocolate sauce make makes things extra special.

Asian Orange, Ginger and Carrot ‘Slaw – nice colourful salad for Spring

Black Kale, Courgette and Parmesan Frittata

Rainbow Vegetable Tempura with Wild Garlic and Pumpkin Seed Mole

Spring Roots Tart Tatin, served topped with Zaatar and Tahini and Lemon Sauce

Loads of walks in beautiful North Wales, this one is up in North Anglesey. Its been a beautiful Spring, lots and lots of sunshine.

So it’s a little goodbye for now, until later in the year.  We’ll be posting some things on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Happy cooking and enjoy the sunshine!!

Categories: Cooking Holidays, gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Organic, photography, plant-based, Spring, Travel, Vegan, veganism, Wales | 8 Comments

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