Healthy Eating

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

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

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.

 

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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 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

Quick Pickled Rhubarb and Ginger plus The Joys of Spring!

Rhubarb, fresh of the land, organically grown

Here’s a really quick and easy way to pickle rhubarb.  I’ve added some ginger, which gives even more intense and beautiful flavour to this pickle.  The method could not be much easier, and it’s a great technique for preserving delicious produce, enough to enliven any meal!

Rhubarb makes a great pickle, maybe you haven’t tried it?  I find it goes well with Middle Eastern salads, anything with a bit of spice.  I also like it with Japanese style salads. It has a real sweet and sour twang!

When this lovely bunch of rhubarb landed in the kitchen we wondered what to do with it?  How to make it shine!  No crumbles here.  I shouted “Pickle!”   Jane shouted “Ginger!”  And it was as easy as that really.

Nantlle Lake looking stunning in Spring (you can just about see Snowdon from here)

 

It has been a stunning week, Spring has been in full swing (and then it snowed/ hailed for a couple of days!)  A Snowdonian Spring!  It has been still and sunny, and this extra sunlight and warmth has meant some surprises in the poly tunnels.

We’ve had some beautiful and colourful, organically grown, produce coming off the land this week at Trigonos.  Owain (our resident Horticulturalist and Organic Superhero) has been appearing in the kitchen with arm loads of all kinds of goodies.

 

Not sure what you call this one? Golden Chard?  I’ll have to ask Owain

 

Most of these are seeds from last year, that have decided to make an appearance in the poly tunnels; ruby chard, swiss chard, purple rocket and some radiant rhubarb!!

 

You know I love this one. Curly Kale.

 

Along with a host of herbs and a scattering of salad leaves, and of course outside, the wild garlic is doing it’s thing.

 

Ruby Chard, love the vibrant colour!

 

I always feel like the luckiest cook alive to have access to this kind of produce.  Especially at this time of year.

 

Purple rocket. The flavour here is amazing! Very peppery and fruity even.

 

Produce picked in the morning and by lunchtime is being served (or pickled).  I love it!

 

Maybe you saw, we recently announced our:

Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia – Plant-based Cooking and Yoga Holiday, 21st-25th September 2019

This is a rare chance to come over here to beautiful Snowdonia; relax, rejuvenate and get inspired!  Plus, sample lots of dishes prepared by our awesome team of chefs with produce straight from the land, and even have a tour around the farm with Owain and myself.  A little bit of foraging and lots of chat about excellent produce and organic happiness.

For more info leave a comment below or email – info@trigonos.org

The holiday is booking up quickly. Exciting times!!

 

 

Recipe Note

Only use the pink rhubarb stalks, never the leaves.

Any excess pickling liquor can be used in dressings or to marinade tofu, for example.

 

Quick Rhubarb and Ginger Pickle

 

Quick Rhubarb and Ginger Pickle

 

The Bits – Makes 2 jars

500g rhubarb (finely sliced)

300ml apple cider vinegar

300ml water

4 tbs sugar

8 slices fresh ginger

2 bay leaves

 

Do It

You’ll need two clean glass jars with lids.

Gently pack the sliced rhubarb into your jars.  So it’s snug, with a little room left at the top.

Place the vinegar, water, bay leaves, ginger and sugar into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Pour this mixture over the rhubarb until it’s covered.   I add the bay leaves and ginger to the jars also.  Leave to cool.

That’s it!  Label and date the jars.

If your jars are clean, this will last a long time, one year or more when stored in a cool place.

 

Foodie Fact

Rhubarb is packed full of minerals and vitamins. It’s a source of vitamin C, protein, calcium, fibre and beta-carotene.  Plus a whole lot more.  Much more than just a crumble!

 

Categories: Cooking Holidays, Cooking Workshops, gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Organic, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Spring, Vegan, Wales | Tags: | 8 Comments

Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia – Plant-based Cooking and Yoga Holiday, 21st-25th September 2019

Our venue Trigonos, Nantlle Valley, Snowdonia. Photo by Ashley Duckerin

 

TIME TO NOURISH, RELAX AND GET INSPIRED!

 

This Vibrant Vegan! holiday offers a healthier approach to life and delicious plant-based food, space to rejuvenate, learn, develop and chill in beautiful surroundings, reconnect with nature and a sense of well-being.

 

This is a celebration of good living!

 

Your host is Lee Watson (vegan chef and traveller, author of cookbook ‘Peace and Parsnips’ and beachhousekitchen.com, co-host of ‘Meat vs Veg’ TV program) and his team of inspiring and talented teachers, will lead you through a varied program, designed for you, offering new skills, experiences and confidence.

 

Lee cooking at the Ludlow Food Festival last year

 

Vibrant Vegan! is all about energising, enjoying and learning, with an emphasis on vibrant and colourful, seasonal plant-based food. It’s about enjoying life, finding balance, healthy indulgence, finding peace and learning skills to promote well-being and compassion, for ourselves and others.

You’ll meet like-minded people and form new friendships, supported all the time by Lee and his team. Activities are all optional (see below), we’ll have workshops ranging from healthy vegan cooking, empowering mindful walks, a fermentation masterclass, creative crafts using locally foraged produce, bonfire storytelling and hot chocolate, candlelit meditations and more.  A time to feel grounded and nourished.

Our venue is Trigonos, a lakeside retreat centre, nestled in the stunning valleys of Snowdonia, famous for it’s seasonal and delicious food, comfortable surroundings and excellent hospitality. A location described as; ‘heaven on earth!’

 

Energy balls and healthy truffles, ideal fuel for yoga, long walks and swimming – many treats await!

 

Whether you’d like to learn how to prepare fresh and delicious plant-based meals, perfect your yoga, have an adventure in wild nature or just spend time curled up with a book in front of the fire, there is time and space during Vibrant Vegan! for all.

You will feel all the benefits of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.  Healthy and vibrant living is fun and accessible to everyone.

 

Morning lakeside walk – Trigonos

 

LOCATION

Trigonos is a retreat centre set in the picturesque Nantlle valley, just beneath Mount Snowdon, beside a peaceful lake and forests. A variety of comfortable rooms are available, many with beautiful views.

Lee is a chef at Trigonos and has hosted a number of holidays and retreats here. Trigonos is a ‘secret garden’, a place to get away from the outside world for a while and reconnect with nature, find peace and calm, engaging with new found friends and the breath-taking scenery of Snowdonia.

 

Trigonos sits below Mount Snowdon, spectacular views await!

 

FOOD

Being a vegan chef, healthy and delicious food is one of the main focuses. Lee has created menu’s, using local, seasonal and organic ingredients, some of which are even grown on-site.

From quick dishes you can try easily at home, to desserts and cakes, homemade breads, to curries and attractive salads, a wide range of skills and dishes will be covered. Vegan roast dinner, soups and stews. Prepare for the autumn, with tips on preserving and fermenting.

 

 

Autumn is a time of abundance, this is reflected in the meals, a huge range of flavours and textures, with lots of treats along the way. This is plant-based food that everyone will enjoy!

Lee will also be hosting two cooking demonstrations (see below), where you’ll see how to cook the dishes you are enjoying, plus pick up many new cooking tips.  Lee’s demonstrations are upbeat and fun, with opportunities for you to put an apron on and get involved.

All meals are prepared by the Trigonos team, with love and care, served buffet style in the dining room, overlooking the mountains and lake.

 

You’ll enjoy delicious plant-based treats cooked by Lee and the Trigonos chefs

 

ACTIVITIES

The progam for Vibrant Vegan is varied and involves a host of wonderful, experienced teachers and experts:

A cooking demonstration, One World Vegan Holiday 2017

 

Lee’s vegan cooking demonstrations

Lee will host two vegan cooking mornings where you’ll learn practical skills and knowledge to make creative, nourishing and delicious plant-based food at home. Meals everyone will enjoy, vegan or not!

Learn how to make an awesome Vegan Sunday Roast – simple and tasty gravy, perfect Yorkies, a show stopping centre-piece, Rainbow Tart Tatin, vegan cheese,
a knockout Indian feast with curry and avocado naan, decadent desserts and cake, beetroot and squash buns and sensational umami burgers and chorizo (which can even be bbq’d).

The food you want to cook and eat!

You’ll leave feeling inspired to get cooking at home, with a recipe booklet covering all the main recipes from Vibrant Vegan!

 

“Every meal is a celebration!  An opportunity to nourish ourselves and others and fall in love with food and life.” Lee

 

Laura’s blissful morning yoga

Yoga is an excellent practice to incorporate into our lives. It offers a chance to find balance, positive energy and peace. Laura will be our yoga teacher for Vibrant Vegan!, the classes will be found useful for all levels, absolute beginner to experienced yoga practitioner.

Laura’s yoga promises techniques to ease stress and tension, stretch and strengthen out bodies and connect in a positive way with ourselves.

 

Dinas Dinlle is such a stunning beach

 

Tom’s mindful beach walk**

Tom is an inspiring and experienced leader of groups into the wilderness with his company ‘Nomad – Journey with Purpose’, with a focus on re-establishing our relationship with nature and how that reflects within ourselves and others.

We are so lucky to have him join us to lead an afternoon beach walk along the stunning Dinas Dinlle (loads of pictures of this in Peace and Parsnips), a mini adventure and loads of fun, with breath-taking views of the Snowdon Range, Llyn Peninsula and Anglesey.

 This is no ordinary stroll. This is walking with purpose, walking to discover more about ourselves and our environment.

Tom will also be joining us around our Autumn equinox bonfire, where he and Lee will be telling stories and reading poems. You are invited to join us in sharing a story or poem, or just warm your hands by the fire and contemplate the trees, lake and stars.

This quote sums up Tom’s style:

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers…” Cecil Beaton

 

Down at the Trigonos farm, picking curly kale.  The abundance of autumn!

 

Janice’s Fantastic Fermentation Masterclass

We have never met anyone as passionate about fermented foods!  A real Fermentista!! Janice is a macrobiotic health coach and writes the wonderful blog ‘Nourished by Nature’, running regular fermentation classes in and around her Glasgow home.

We love Janice’s enthusiasm for healthy, seasonal and nutritious food, she is a real inspiration for us, and believes:

“We can all make a very positive difference to both our own lives/health, and also environmentally through minimising the negative impact we create from the foods we choose and how we source them.”

Janice will show us how delicious fermented foods, made with simple techniques, can heal ourselves on every level and taste amazing!  We’ll be sampling seasonal kraut, some fermented relishes/chutneys/dips and also some seasonal kombucha flavours!

 

Owain’s vegetable farm tour

Owain is our resident veg superhero! We’ll go for a short tour around the Trigonos farm, where all veg and fruit is grown using organic principles, taking in foraging spots. Owain is an experienced horticulturalist and has been growing veg at Trigonos for years. He will be able to answer questions and help us to appreciate the importance of amazing, fresh produce, with plenty of growing tips.

 

Gillian’s autumnal craft workshop

An afternoon making celebratory door wreaths with locally foraged and hand grown woodland produce and fruits like acorns, alder masts and tiny pine cones.

Gillian Monks is a local druid, quaker, friend and best selling author of last years ‘Merry Midwinter – How to re-discover the magic of Christmas time’.

We’ll spend the afternoon creating autumnal wreaths, broaches/ posies, pine cone gnomes, or anything your imagination conjures. An afternoon with Gillian will help us to learn new skills and celebrate the rhythms, abundance and beauty of nature.

“I have a deep reverence for all that is and a great compassion and love for life.” Gillian Monks

 

Jane leading a mountain walk at our One World Vegan Holiday, 2017

 

Jane’s candle-lit meditation

Jane is Lee’s partner and will be leading our evening meditation, bringing us closer to our breath and a sense of peace and well-being.  The perfect practice for helping to quieten the mind and get a blissful nights sleep.  Jane likes to keep things simple and believes that even a little  meditation can change our lives!

Jane is also famous for her awesome smoothies, which we’ll enjoy every morning at breakfast.

 

Our days are full of activities, all optional, time is given for you to do your own thing, explore the local area and countryside, or just curl up with a book in the library.

Evenings will be spent with drinks by the open fire, an ideal chance to talk, relax and reflect.

 

Other extra activities, that can be booked at your own cost, include:

A range of massage therapies

 

Sunset at Trigonos can be an incredible time

 

PRICE INCLUDES:

 

Four nights comfortable accommodation in tranquil surroundings

 

Jane’s epic morning smoothies

 

Full bespoke recipe booklet

 

Two morning yoga and meditation classes

 

Two creative vegan cooking workshops

 

‘Vibrant Vegan!’ healthy living talk and Q+A
The fundamentals of vibrant living and well-being in mind and body

 

Stunning mindful beach walk

 

Autumn equinox bonfire with storytelling

 

Trigonos vegetable farm tour

 

Wild swimming in the lake

(Swimming in the lake is entirely at your own risk)

 

Nutritious breakfast buffet with home-baked bread and preserves

 

2/3 course lunches and dinners with vegan cheese boards
Prepared by the Trigonos chefs using carefully sourced
local, seasonal and organic produce.

 

Afternoon sweet treats, cakes, and ‘special’ hot chocolate

 

Free-flowing fresh coffee, tea, herbal infusions and fruit bowl – very important!

 

Open log fire for cosy gatherings

 

Free wifi and access to library

 

Vegan chocolate tasting – now a legendary part of our retreats!

 

Plenty of time to just be, find peace, chill
and explore the stunning valley, forests, lakes and quarries

 

Gluten-free, sugar-free and other dietary requirements are catered for and welcomed.

 

Jane and Lee with another glorious Trigonos buffet

 

PRICES

Ensuite
Single, Double, Twin

£579 per person

 

Shared Bathroom
Single, Twin

£499 per person

 

Non-resident rates are also available on request.

 

BOOK NOW

 

Call Trigonos 01286882388 (9:30am – 5:30pm)
or email info@trigonos.org

 

You can also contact us at – hellobeachhousekitchen@gmail.com

 

———

 

Click HERE to find the ‘Vegan Cooking with Beach House Kitchen’ Facebook group where you can connect with other attendees, share photos and pick up new cooking tips.

 

Click HERE to find the ‘Vibrant Vegan Snowdonia’ Facebook page, with up-to-date information on the holiday.

 

Here is Lee’s food blog with lots of recipes to tantalise your tastebuds – beachhousekitchen.com

 

Vibrant Vegan! Down on Dinas Dinlle, the beach where we’ll have a mini-adventure

 

What a Vibrant Vegan! Day looks like (example):

8:00 – 9:30 – Relaxation Morning
Lie in, practice your own yoga in the studio, swim in or walk around the lake*

 

9:45 – 10:30 – Breakfast and Jane’s Smoothies

 

11:15 – 12:30 – Vegan Cooking Demonstration and Talk with Lee

 

12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch with Homemade Soup and Loaves

 

15:00 – 18:00 – Beach Walk with Tom and Lee

 

19:00 – 20:00 – Dinner with Vegan Cheese Board

 

20:30 – Bonfire and Storytelling with Tom and Lee

 

Come and join us!

 

WE LOOK FORWARD TO WELCOMING YOU!

 

———-

** Transport to the beach walk will be using the vehicles we have available.  If you are driving, and have a free seat, we may ask if another guest can take a ride with you.

 

Categories: Cooking demos, Cooking Holidays, Cooking Retreats, Cooking Workshops, Events, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, plant-based, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

Taste of Bliss 2019, Plant-based Cooking and Yoga Holiday – Spain

The villa’s terrace overlooks a stunning stretch of coastline and beach

4th May – 11th May 2019

Puerto Mazarron, Murcia

 

COME AND JOIN US SOON IN BEAUTIFUL SPAIN.

 

A MEMORABLE, LIFE-CHANGING WEEK AWAITS, FILLED WITH DELICIOUS VEGAN FOOD!

 

Dining and yoga take place outside, in the sunshine

 

Join us in a stunning beach-side villa for a transformational yoga and vegan cooking holiday.

 

Set in the Costa Calida, the jewel of the Spanish coastline, we have arranged a carefully crafted program designed to fully nourish mind and body.

 

A Taste of Bliss Yoga Holiday is bursting with inspirational workshops, delicious plant-based food and life-enriching experiences.

 

Our bright open plan kitchen, where all meals are prepared and our vegan cooking workshop and talks takes place

 

Wander along the stunning beach, unwind on the villa’s sunny terraces, go swimming in the deep blue sea or join excursions to explore the fascinating local area.

This promises to be an unforgettable week.

 

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

 

The beach and mountains, right outside the villa

The Retreat Includes:

✓ 7 nights in our modern villa 10 meters from the beach surrounded by empowering mountains

✓ 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

 

Our beach side eco-villa for Taste of Bliss ’19

✓ Cooking demonstration/workshop with Lee

✓ Mindfulness and Menstruation, empowering woman’s health workshop with Jane

✓ Day trip to a local Sunday market

✓ Boat trip to a secret beach for snorkelling and swimming

✓ 2 walks/treks to beautiful locations and viewpoints

✓ Optional daily massage treatments

✓ Closing the retreat lunch with an epic view in one of La Azohias best restaurants

✓ Optional airport transfers*

 

View from the villa

4th May – 11th May 2019 (7 nights)

 

Retreat Pricing:

Double Room (2 People) – £919 per person (ONLY 1 LEFT)

Twin Room (2 people) – £919 per person (ONLY 1 LEFT)

 

 

Double En-Suite (1 Person Private) – £1249 (SOLD OUT)

Double Room (1 Person Private) – £1149 (SOLD OUT)

Double En-Suite (2 People) – £949 per person (SOLD OUT)

Twin En-Suite (2 People) – £949 per person (SOLD OUT)

Triple Room (Shared) – £719 per person (SOLD OUT)

 

Book Now = £49 Deposit 

**CLICK HERE**

Time for a dip!  Swimming in picturesque coves, plus a picnic later

Payment of the non-refundable deposit will reserve your space

 

Retreat Leaders: Will Fisher and Malene Vedel senior teachers and founders at Complete Unity Yoga will host this amazing yoga holiday in Spain with Jane Legge and Lee Watson from the Beach House Kitchen.

 

Check out Lee’s cookbook “Peace and Parsnips: Vegan Cooking for Everyone” here!

 

 

 

Reviews of last years Taste of Bliss ’18

 

A wonderful week of Bliss!

“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!!
Lee is a lovely upbeat guy and such a creative and enthusiastic chef and Jane is his joyous assistant, who also lead us on some pleasant local beach walks, and delivered a very interesting, meaningful, moon cycle’ class.
Lovely Will and Malene from ‘Complete Unity’ are also a confident, happy, knowledgeable couple and gave us the most fabulous yoga classes and meditation sessions twice daily, usually on the terraces to enjoy the balmy sea air … so calming, uplifting and enlightening, appropriate for all levels of experience.
I also had a wonderful massage from splendid local therapist Carlos, kindly arranged as a last minute extra.
Everyone on the holiday were relaxed in each other’s company and all of us want to book again for next year!

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”

– Barb

 

Morning yoga on the terrace

 

If there is one retreat that to go on then this is it.

“What can I say about this experience. It was wonderful in so many levels. The people I met were all different and contributed to making this a fantastic experience.
Will and Malene are gold star Yoga and meditation leaders their youth and exuberance just fills you with joy and love.
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.”

– Sue

 

A Taste of Bliss ’18

 

It was definitely the best vegan food (actually any food) that I’d ever eaten

“This retreat absolutely lived up to its name in so many ways. The food was simply mouth-watering and wonderfully nourishing. It was definitely the best vegan food (actually any food) that I’d ever eaten; beautifully presented and made with so much love by Lee and the team. Lee Is passionate about plant-based food and was incredibly generous in sharing his wisdom and knowledge with us. The morning smoothies made by Jane were an absolute highlight too!

Will and Malene are an incredible team when it comes to teaching Yoga. They both totally embody their practice and their love and passion for yoga shines through in their teaching. They are so full of wisdom and knowledge and again, were so generous in their sharing of it. Will and Malene are very wise old heads on young bodies.

We had a wonderful variety of classes out on the terraces overlooking the sea. The sound of their rich voices, beautiful movement sequences and meditative practices combined with the warming sun and the sound of the ocean was indeed blissful.

The yoga was suitable for all levels – carefully crafted so that everyone got what they needed from a class. We were always encouraged to listen to our own bodies.

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! Thank you all! ❤ xx”

– Sandy

 

You will need a good appetite at A Taste of Bliss:)

Categories: Cooking Holidays, Cooking Retreats, Healthy Eating, photography, plant-based, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Thai Red Pepper and Coconut Soup – Vegan

Thai Red Pepper and Coconut Soup – Vegan

Something quick and easy to kick start 2019!

A simple, healthy and delicious soup with some of the Thai flavours I totally love.

This is how I’d like to kick off 2019, a steaming, bright and nourishing bowl of goodness.  Red peppers are packed full of vitamin C and after the festive season, I’m sure a lot of you fancy a pick me up, tasty dishes that are lighter and give our body a big hug.  Comfort food can be healthy and satisfying.  No probs.

This soup contains coconut, chickpeas, turmeric, ginger, loads of my favourite foods.  Bar the Kaffir lime leaves (see below) and lemongrass these are easy to find ingredients, that many of you might have in the kitchen already.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year………………

Of course, January is now officially Veganuary, they’ll be changing the calendars next year for sure!  If you’re trying out Veganuary, you’re not alone, record numbers have signed up worldwide this year.  I even saw it all over the TV around New Year’s, right there, bang in the middle of prime time programmes.  Just awesome to see a vegan lifestyle skyrocketing, being embraced and enjoyed!

The people over at Veganuary have always been lovely to us and we even have some recipes over on their website, check them out here.  Good luck to anyone giving it a go and long may your vegan-ness continue!  Let us know if you need a hand or some advice, we’re fully available for pats on back, big thumbs up and bags of encouragement.  GO FOR IT!!

Nourishing vegan Thai soup

What are Kaffir Limes?  Why are they so awesome!!

Dried kaffir lime leaves can be found in most supermarkets.  I buy them frozen in a local Chinese supermarket, these have been frozen fresh.  They are much better than the dried varieties, but you can use either in this recipe.

I’ve been lucky to travel around South East Asia and work and stay in some beautiful places, some even had kaffir lime trees.  The limes themselves are like big, nobbly limes, with thick piths, very fragrant.  The leaves can be used in all kinds of cooking, it’s essential oils are use in perfumery, and it’s really like a bay leaf with an Asian turbo charged twist.  Their flavour is unmistakable!  When I worked on an organic farm in India, I’d wake up, pick a few leaves and make a refreshing tea with them, watch the lizards and mongoose chase each other.

Eating peppers at this time of year means we have a great source of vitamin C.  Peppers are said to be three times higher in vitamin C than oranges, red peppers are best, but green peppers also contain good levels of vit C.

Beach House Kitchen bowl! Nourishing, light and satisfying. Red Thai Coconut Soup – Vegan

Jane and I have been spending time with family and friends over Christmas, we’ve been to North Yorkshire and Durham mainly and really love the time away with the people who rock our world!!

We’ve actually not stuffed ourselves too much!  We both feel like we’ve lost weight over Christmas, which is pretty unusual.  I go back to the fact that freshly cooked vegan food can be so, so healthy and tasty.  We’ve had many positive comments over Christmas, so many non-vegans digging the food.

I feel like 2019 will be the greatest year for vegans in the UK EVER!  We have some great plans, we’ll be hosting our vegan cooking week in Spain again (click here) and will be announcing new dates for events and holidays in Wales soon.  Exciting stuff and we hope to see you at one soon!  Keep up to date with all our news, recipes and other bits and pieces by signing up for our seasonal newsletter, right here.

One of the main things I’ll be working on in 2019 will be a new cookbook!  I have an idea and a group of recipes that I love, soooooooooooooooo, watch this space:)

Big thanks to all who cooked our recipes over Christmas and New Years and let us know, it was great to see pictures over on Twitter and Facebook, it makes our day!!  We love to see your kitchen creations, you really bring our recipes to life!!

Recipe Notes

You may like to pick the lime leaves out before you blend the soup, but I generally leave them in.

Use the softer, centre piece of your lemongrass.  Discard the tough outer leaves.  You’ll find lemongrass in most supermarkets.

 

Thai Red Pepper and Coconut Soup – Vegan

 

The Bits – For 4-6 large bowls

5 red peppers (deseeded and chopped)
3 medium carrots (chopped)

1 large onion (sliced)

3 heaped tbs fresh ginger (roughly chopped)

2 heaped tbs fresh lemongrass (peeled and chopped)

1 fresh chilli (sliced)

1 can chickpeas (drained)
1 can chopped tomato or passatta
1 can coconut milk

8 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 tbs turmeric
Sea salt

To Serve

Tamari or soya sauce
Lime wedges
Sliced chillies
Chopped coriander

 

Do It
In a large saucepan, add 1 tbs cooking oil, fry the onions and ginger with 1 teas salt until soft, 3 minutes will do.

Then add the carrots, chilli, lemongrass and peppers, fry for 5 minutes, then add the tinned tomatoes, chickpeas, kaffir lime leaves and turmeric, bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes more, until the carrots are soft.

Blend with a stick blender then season with salt, if needed, and adjust the consistency using hot water if it’s too thick.

Serve with chillies, coriander and lime wedges.  We also love it with sticky coconut rice balls.

Foodie Fact

Kaffir lime has many uses in Asia, not just for the pot!  The lime juice makes a great shampoo, the plant is a natural insect repellent, when used in aromatherapy kaffir lime is relaxing, can reduce stress and help with a good nights sleep, also many people chew the leaves, it is said to help with oral health.

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Soups, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

What a Year 2018! Great Memories and Big Thanks to YOU

We just wanted to say a huge thanks and best wishes for 2019!

 

But first up, 2018, what a year!!

 

It’s been a mega time, we’ve packed so much in, cooked in so many amazing places and met so many special people along the way.

 

You know that we’re all about tasty and healthy plant-based food, but it’s also, very much about YOU.  The kind and open hearted folk who make it all happen, give it all such a positive and creative feel.

2018 has been the most successful year for the Beach House Kitchen blog, in more ways than one, and the most enjoyable and rewarding part of the whole thing is connecting with and sharing recipes with you all.

You make this blog and our Facebook and Twitter pages a great place to be and inspire us to keep sharing and enjoying what we do.  Thanks to all for your amazing feedback over the festive season, seems a few of you enjoyed the Mushroom Wellington!!

BIG LOVE, BIG THANKS!!  

 

 

Wishing you all health, wealth and happiness in 2019, we’ll be here with healthy and delicious vegan recipes and plant-based updates, if you’d like to join us for one of our vegan cooking events, holidays, demonstrations or talks, CLICK HERE.  We’ve loads of cool plans for the new year.  

 

HERE’S TO A NEW YEAR FILLED WITH PEACE, VITALITY, GOOD HEALTH AND GOOD VIBES

 

 

What have we been up to in 2018?

 

From our Taste of Bliss Cooking and Yoga Holiday in stunning Spain, to our Cornish Vegan Getaway near Lands End, to the centre of London and the awesome Made in Hackney. We’ve had events all over North Wales and in Manchester, not to mention our annual cooking demos and talks at Ludlow Food Festival. In 2019, we’d like to visit new towns and cities, give us a shout if you know any good venues/ locations.

 

Here’s a quick list of people (in no order whatsoever) we’d like to thank for helping out this year, we could not do it without a team of magical folk, many who volunteer their time to help the BHK to keep on rockin’!:

Will (ace chef and proper dude), Clare (North Walian Yoga sensation), Complete Unity Yoga – Will and Malene (simply stunning yoga folk), Jenna (super talented angel), Mark and Food Sorcery (top venue in Manchester), Sue and Peter at Network News (ever the inspiration!), Andi and Made in Hackney (top venue in London), Thelma and Boswedden House (Cornwall), Janice (fermented genius and overall foodie angel)…..

The lovely Aine Carlin, Veganuary, Alice and the gang at Tyddyn Teg Organic Farm, Mandy (sensational vegan chef), Amy (superb kitchen elf), Nita and Steve (THE kitchen guys), Katie and Glynn (Wot’s Cooking), Mark (foraging genius and top cook), all at Ludlow Food Festival and Aadvark Books, all at Trigonos Retreat and Event Centre for letting me cook and enjoy the beauty of North Wales, Jonathan (my very patient book agent, new cookbook coming in 2019!!)…..

Melissa (Villa superstar), Gaynor (for the coolest Airstream imagineable), Clare (awesome kitchen angel),Miranda (lights up any kitchen!), Jane Eddie (for tastings and loads of support), Hagar (couldn’t have done it without you!!) and all those we’ve forgotten (you’re not forgotten!!), Neil and Nick (the London foodie dudes), Vegan Recipe Hour (over on Twitter), Chris, Dom and Fey (the sunshine Spanish connection) my family for always supporting me, and washing up, AND Jane (as ever, the heart and soul of the BHK and chief taster)

 

PLUS

 

all who have attended our events and cooked up some brilliant memories in 2018!

 

 

It’s already been said that 2019 will be the ‘Year of the Vegan’ and we’re here every step of the way to support and inspire you to cook more plant-based meals, always believing that vegan food can be delicious and accessible to everyone!  Recipes here.

 

 

 

PS – Last, but very much not least.  The WILL’s!….

 

The chefs hard at work;)

 

See you all in 2019 for more fun, cooking and celebrating the good life!

 

——————–

 

Fancy a blissful break with us in May 2019! 

 

We’ll be hosting a week long vegan cooking holiday with empowering yoga, a fully plant-based menu, cooking workshops, local excursions, lots of beach time and sunshine, plus much more.  More info here.   

 

The villa, a beautiful eco-designed kitchen made the week a joy (for the cooks;)

Categories: Cooking Workshops, Events, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Vegan, veganism, Wales | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Christmas Lunch Made Easy! – Full Planner and Top Tips

VEGAN CHRISTMAS LUNCH MADE EASY!

Or at least, a bit easier!!  I’ve been asked loads of times how to make cooking easier.  Of course, there’s no one answer, that would be way too easy.  But here are some guidelines and plenty of helpful tips I’ve learned from experience/ my mistakes.

I’d like to help to make your Christmas lunch 2018 really delicious and the most stress-free festive feast ever!

The only way to do this is with a little preparation and planning. It will mean that you’re comfortable and confident, ready to create a delicious meal for your loved ones and also have a chilled and enjoyable day yourself.

Here’s a few general tips I’ve learned over the years:

  • Try to keep it simple, but tasty. Know your limits and don’t try anything extravagant or totally untested. A main dish with a few side dishes is more than enough, we eat way too much on Christmas day!
  • If you are cooking for people with dietary requirements, like no sugar or gluten-free, get them ready in advance or make the whole menu gluten/ sugar free. There are simple ways of doing this and it will make your life much easier. The last thing you need is to be cooking many different dishes for people on the big day.
  • People expectations don’t matter. Cook the best meal you can with the skills and ingredients you have. Cook the food you love and I’m sure others will enjoy it too. Trying to cook like super chef once a year is just unrealistic!!
  • Chill! Take it as easy as possible on the day. Using this plan below, it will be plain sailing!! Try to keep calm and be focused. Have some trusted helpers around if you can, who are good in a kitchen. What you’re doing is not easy, especially if you do not cook meals like this regularly.
  • Things will, very probably, go wrong.  Take it all in your stride. You’re cooking for loved ones and it’s supposed to be fun!! Remember that professional chefs make mistakes and lose their cool all the time, but staying calm, taking some deep breaths if you need to, will ensure your meal is delicious.

 

Check out our recent Christmas recipes:

 

Portobello Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing

 

Festive Chocolate and Orange Brownie Cake with Mulled Berries – Vegan

 

Shallot and Red Wine Gravy – Vegan, Gluten-free

 

Some preparations tips:

The run up….

  • If you can do a dry run of the meal you have planned, invite some people over for a pre-Xmas feast.
  • Buy dry and frozen ingredients, things that will store well, don’t leave all your shopping to the last minute.
  • Cook dishes beforehand that can be easily frozen or jarred, like the Wellington, Cranberry Sauce, even the gravy.
  • Yorkshire puds can be made before and frozen. Just warm them in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
  • Oven space will probably be an issue on the day, plan your menu around this, make sure there is a balance between dishes prepared in the oven and on the hobs.
  • Equipment check, make sure you have big enough dishes, tins and pans. Especially if you don’t normally cook for lots of people.
  • Sizing up recipes. If you’re cooking for a full house, you may need to double or sometimes triple recipes, this can be a challenge. Recipes don’t always work out so well when multiplied up, it’s simply a case of using common sense, especially with things like flavourings, spices etc. Taste the dishes regularly. Always!
  • If you think the meal will be ready for 1pm, set a meal time for 2pm. Don’t feel pressured into getting a meal out bang on time, people are enjoying a drink and the Xmas vibe, take you time, hurry leads to mistakes.

The day before

  • Get a load of your cooking done on Xmas eve.  I know this is idealistic, it’s such a busy time of year, but if you have time, doing all, or some of this, will make Christmas day so much easier in the kitchen.
  • Re-read your recipes highlighting areas of confusion or difficult bits, small things you might miss when busy.
  • Plan a cooking list for the day (see below), noting times for cooking and if different from the recipe, quantities calculated.

On the day

  • Have a good breakfast. Sit down and look over what you have planned with a cuppa. Start calmly, as you mean to go on.
  • Get the kitchen organised, make sure you know where everything is and have all the ingredients and equipment to hand.
  • Have a washer uperer on standby all day. If they want to eat your lovely food, they’ve got to play ball and get the marigolds on! Ask them nicely and I’m sure someone will help
    Delegate jobs for success. You’re the cook, let other people set the table, peel the vegetables, tidy up. In an ideal world, surround yourself with helpful and competent people. That’s a secret to kitchen success!!
  • Have a festive tipple, but not too many!! Being tippled in the kitchen is a recipe for burnt bits.
  • Always best to start earlier than you think, time in the kitchen really flies.
  • It’s true what they say with a Roast Dinner, it’s all about timing. Cook your veg last, as this will not do well sitting around waiting to be served.
  • Warm your plates in the oven if you have time. This will ensure everything is hot for service.
  • Clear the kitchen down before serving, get as much surface space as possible. Serving up is one of the most important times of the process. Make sure everything is simmering or warm and you’ve thought a little about how you’re going to present the meal.

We’ll be cooking using this plan:

Cooking List/ Timetable – Example (with time added for plenty of chatting and sipping)

1 hour Wellington or Nut Roast
1 hour Brownie Cake (including decoration time)
30 minutes Shallot and Red Wine Gravy
45 minutes Soup
30 minutes Glazed Roots
30 minutes Creamy Mash
20 minutes Cranberry Sauce
20 minutes Yorkshire puds
20 minutes Brussels Sprouts (essential!!:)
30 minutes **For when things don’t necessarily go to plan or totally mess up:)**

 

I hope this helps, do let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.

 

Happy Cooking and Merry Christmas! Lee and Jane:)

 

Merry Vegan Christmas 2018!!!!!

Categories: Healthy Eating, plant-based, Special Occasion, Vegan, veganism, Winter | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Shallot and Red Wine Gravy – Vegan, Gluten-free

All you need now are some roast spuds and your favourite people!!

 

A rich, dark vegan gravy that everyone will enjoy.

 

Being a vegan, or just trying out more plant-based recipes, opens a doorway into new flavours and techniques.  Making this gravy is simple and really flavourful, it’s actually not that different from making other gravies really.

 

We all like our gravy in different ways, taste it at the end, add more balsamic, jam, salt or yeast extract (marmite), depending on the balance of flavours you prefer.  If you can’t get your hands on shallots, a white or red onion will also be fine.

Shallot and Red Wine Gravy – Vegan, Gluten-free, Low-fat

Proper gravy for a proper roast dinner

Making your own gravy is an essential part of any roast dinner, for me, it’s a ritual.  I love making gravy, packing all those big flavours into one little pot.

Gravy has always been one of my favourite things about a proper Sunday roast, I also like mashed swede (very important addition) and crispy roast potatoes.  Yorkshire puddings are also well up there.  In fact, let’s face it, is there a less than awesome part of a roast, when done well?

We’re having this gravy with our Portobello Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing, Christmas dinner 2018 sorted.

This deep and rich gravy will go perfectly with any Sunday roast.  There are so many vegan centrepieces nowadays for a Sunday roast style dinner, we don’t just have to toss a coin between nut roast or Wellington.  Sometimes I feel like experimenting with a roast dinner, playing with flavours, adding spices, getting a bit cheeky.   Other times, I’m a staunch traditionalist.  I’m happily contrary like that.

Such is my commitment to the Beach House Kitchen, I took these pictures out in the garden in fading winter light, in the rain and wind.  Wrapped in a poncho.  I’m actually surprised at how normal they look whilst trees were bending and the wind was howling.  Got away with it!   I just had to share this post before Crimbo, gravy is important!!

I’ve said it many times, there are absolutely no down-sides to going vegan, you can live deliciously, any time of year!

 

Recipe Notes

When I run cooking workshops, most people’s reaction to making a really tasty gravy like this is, “What do we do with all the leftover veg?!”  After the gravy has been passed through a sieve, the veg is all leftover.  I’ve suggested making a pastie or pie with it, but really, most of the flavour and texture has gone, it’s like a dark veg mash really.  Not that appetising, but if you want to, go for pasties!

Gravy is, of course, always best served piping hot, a tip is to pour boiling water from a kettle into your gravy boat/ jug before filling with gravy.

Taste your vegetable stock before adding to the soup, it’s  important it’s not too strong or too weak.  Just right!

If you feel that the gravy is lacking flavour, add a pinch of salt.  It’s amazing the difference one or two pinches of salt can make!

Gluten-free version – opt for gluten-free cornflour, yeast extract, wine, balsamic vinegar and vegetable stock.  Check the labels.

Tasty and Rich Vegan Gravy

Shallot and Red Wine Gravy – Vegan, Gluten-free

The Bits – For 4-6

3-4 large shallots or 1 large onions (sliced)
1 large carrot (sliced)
1 stick celery (sliced)
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
2 big bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme

100g chestnut mushroom or 1 big portobello mushroom (chopped)
175ml vegan red wine
1 ½ -2 tbs dark cherry jam, cranberry sauce or blackberry jam

2 teas yeast extract (known to some as Marmite)
2 tbs cornflour
1 tbs tomato puree
1 ½ tbs balsamic vinegar

700ml vegetable stock

Cooking oil (I use cold pressed rapeseed oil)

 

Do It
In a large saucepan, over a medium heat, add 1 tbs cooking oil, then the shallots, celery and carrot, plus the fresh herbs and bay leaves. Cook slowly for 20-25 minutes, until the shallots are golden, stirring regularly.

Mix your cornflour with a few tablespoons of water, until it becomes smooth.

Add the mushrooms, wine and jam to the pan, stir and cook for 3 minutes, making sure your scrape up all the caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan (great flavour there!!).

Then add the tomato puree, vinegar and yeast extract, cook and stir for a minute, then slowly add the vegetable stock.  Pour in the cornflour, whilst stirring, and bring to a boil.  No lower the heat, simmering gently for 20 minutes.

Pass it through a sieve into another pan or bowl, using a spoon to squeeze out all the precious flavours.

Taste and season with salt if needed. Serve hot with your favourite roast dinner of Christmas feast.

Loads of big flavours in one little boat, totally plant-based gravy!!

Foodie Fact

Shallots are long and slender members of the allium family, along with onions and garlic.  They generally have a lighter flavour than onions and I find them perfect for roasting in a tin.

They are more nutritious than onions, high in vitamin A and not bad for vitamin C.  Shallots contain good amounts of minerals like iron, calcium and copper.

They also contain a chemical called Allicin, which is basically anti-bacterial anit-viral and good for the heart and can even help prevent cancer.

 

Join our seasonal newsletter right HERE, we’ve got loads of tasty recipes and events planned for 2019. 

Plus special offers and news about our new Beach House Kitchen projects. 

 

 

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Sauces, Vegan, veganism, Winter | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Portobello Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing

Vegan Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing

The perfect Christmas or roast dinner centre piece!

 

This dish looks lovely, with succulent mushrooms tucked away inside a flavourful nut roast, wrapped in crisp pastry.

 

This is the kind of dish that everyone will enjoy, vegan or not.  It’s rich with loads of big flavours and textures.  This has been well trialed on meat eating friends and family and it always gets the thumbs up.

 

This is my variation of what is fast becoming a modern vegan classic. 

 

I’ve been testing the recipe for months now, it’s changed many times.  Sometimes a recipe arrives straight away, is bang on and I’m happy with it.  Yum!  Other times, it’s impossible to not tinker with, or make huge necessary changes that make it edible.  The joys of experimenting in the kitchen!

I love making this dish, so trying out new things has been a real pleasure.  I like the balance of flavours in the stuffing here and I much prefer the mushrooms pan fried, they’re more succulent and juicy.  Plus the garlic must be nice and golden, this adds wonderful flavour to the filling.

We recently hosted a cooking workshop in Manchester, guess what the main course was?!  Here’s some of the team Wellington’s offerings, made by Jeremy (thanks for the pic:), Nicola and Christine.  The one closest to the camera had problems in the oven, hence the funky pastry patterns.  Plenty of tips below on how to make them perfect and lovely, plus you probably won’t be using complicated new ovens with funny buttons and weird tendencies.

The Wellingtons of Manchester

A B.H.K CHRISTMAS

We’ve been busy cooking and travelling all over the UK in recent times, spending some cool times in Whistable down in Kent.  Great vegan breakfasts if you’re in the area!  Plus one of our favourite vegan cafes in the UK, The Wallflower Cafe.

Yeah.  It’s that hectic but fun time of the year, where everything seems to go unhinged, we all get high on mulled wine and mince pies, waking up covered with tinsel.  It does offer so many opportunities to eat like a hungry reindeer!

We’re spending the festive period with family in Harrogate and North Wales.  It’s great because we’ll be with young folks, they’re already so excited about the BIG day!  Plus, I get to play with lego.

We’ve both written long letters to Saint Nic.  I’ve asked Santa for a frying pan.  Jane is expecting a pink watch.

 

Why Wellington?

No one really knows why this dish is called a ‘Wellington’, it has nothing to do with the Duke of Wellington, although it may well have been created in Wellington, New Zealand. It is most probably a British name for a French classic ‘en croute’ dish.

 

I hope this makes your Christmas lunch table in a week, do let us know if you cook it in the comments below.  Also, let us know if there are any questions, leave a comment, it’s our 24/7 BHK Wellington helpline;)

This does look like lots of ingredients and instructions, but once you’ve tried this type of Wellington, it’s a really flexible dish that you can use all year with different seasonal vegetables.  It’s easier than it looks.

Here’s to a delicious 2018 Christmas lunch!  I’ll be posting a dessert and gravy recipe very soon.

 

 

Have an amazing Christmas!!

 

Big Festive Hugs and Merry Times from the BHK

 

An ideal Christmas centre piece, Vegan Mushroom Wellington. Notice the different style of folding the pastry.

 

Recipe Notes

I’ve added two sizes of Wellington below, one for a meal for 6+ people and one for 4.

This Wellington can be made the day before, and kept in the fridge. If you have the time, this is a great idea, making your Christmas day much simpler. This dish freezes well. Reheat in a low oven covered with foil.

Mushrooms – If you prefer, oyster or a selection of wild mushrooms, they also make a wonderful filling, just swap them for the Portobellos. If you like garlic, fry a clove or two more with the mushrooms. If you like things smoky, add ½ teas more smoked paprika.  As ever, this is your dish now, and it should ideally represent your tastes.

Pastry – I mention below, but I’ll say it again, the pastry is best used straight from the fridge, nicely chilled, in a cooler part of the kitchen, ideally on a cool surface.  This means the pastry is much easier to handle and fold.  If it seems too soft, pop it in the fridge again to chill for 20 minutes or so.

Cutting the pastry – I’ve tried folding the pastry many ways, the easiest is to cut it at a right angle away from the filling, see directly below.  You can cut it at an angle, like in the picture up top and below, it leaves a space between the pastry folds, which can make it easier to cut.  But I think I prefer the tucked in, right angle approach.  I hope that makes some sense!

You can use hazelnuts, pecans or almonds in the stuffing.  Just make sure they’re nicely toasted, in a low oven, to bring out all the rich and full flavours.

If you are really not a fan of yeast extract (there are many out there!) and cannot even have a jar in the house, go for a dark miso.  They both add a great umami depth to the stuffing/ roast.

Can’t get really big portobello mushrooms, that’s fine, go for field mushrooms, or just use more smaller mushrooms to add a nice centre for the Wellington.

Please don’t be tempted to use dried herbs here, fresh is best for a lighter flavour.

If you make the smaller Wellington, you’ll have a little pastry leftover.  I normally pop it in the freezer.

When blending the nuts and bread, chunks are fine, we don’t want the stuffing too smooth.  A rougher texture is best I’ve found.

Most puff pastries in the UK shops are vegan, but do have a little check.

I’ve found that Aldi is the best supermarket at the minute for vegan wines, many are labeled.

Gluten-free – To make this recipe gluten-free and still delicious, just use gluten-free pastry, breadcrumbs and dark miso (soya based) or tamari instead of yeast extract.  As ever, you are best to judge what is your level of gluten intolerance.

Festive Vegan Mushroom Wellington – ready to carve

Portobello Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing

The Bits – For a big one (x10-12 slices) or a medium one (x6 slices)

Mushrooms                                                                    Big           Medium
Large portobello or field mushrooms                               3 (250g)        2
Large cloves garlic (sliced)                                                3                   2
Tbs fresh rosemary (chopped)                                          1 ½               1
Tbs fresh thyme leaves (picked from the stem)                1                   1/2
Tbs cooking oil                                                                  2                    1
Sea salt and black pepper                                                        To taste

 

Nut Roast Filling
Onion (finely diced)                                                      1 large       1 medium
Large cloves garlic (crushed)                                            3                    2
Stick celery (sliced)                                                           1                1 small

The mushroom trimmings
Tbs fresh rosemary (finely chopped)                                1                    1/2
Tbs fresh thyme (finely chopped)                                     1 ½                   1
Teas smoked paprika                                                        ⅔                     ½
Teas sea salt                                                                      1                      ¾
Teas black pepper                                                             ½                     ⅓

Teas yeast extract                                                               1                      ¾
Vegan red wine (ml)                                                         150                  100
Teas maple syrup or sweetener                                          1                       ½

Grams cooked chestnuts                                                  180                   140
Grams toasted walnuts                                                     200                   140
Slices stale bread                                                                2                      1
Tbs water                                                                            2                      1

 

For brushing
1 tbs soya milk
½ teas maple syrup
½ teas cooking oil

 

Pastry
1 sheet pre-rolled puff pastry (or one block), 375g

 

Do It
Preheat an oven to 200oC.

Walnuts – On a baking tray, toast your walnuts for 5-8 minutes. You’ll get a lovely aroma when they’re ready and they will darken in colour slightly.

Mushrooms – Using a sharp knife, cut away the edges of your mushrooms and the end of the stem, so you’re left with a flat base.  This helps them to fry evenly.  Then finely chop the off cuttings, to be added to your nut roast filling later.

Warm a large frying pan on medium high heat, add 1-2 tbs of cooking oil, fry the mushrooms, top first. Sprinkle each mushroom with the fresh herbs and little salt and pepper. At the same time and In the same pan, fry you garlic until golden. Once the mushrooms are cooked, around 5 minutes each side, leave to cool with the garlic scattered on top.

Stuffing – In a food processor or blender, add the bread. Blitz until a rough crumb forms, not too fine. Pour into a large bowl. Also blitz the chestnuts and then walnuts. Placing all together into a large bowl.

In your large frying pan on medium high heat, add 2 tbs cooking oil and fry the onion, celery and garlic, adding 2 large pinches of sea salt. Cook for 5 minutes, add the mushrooms cuttings, fresh herbs, paprika and season with black pepper.

Cook for another 5 minutes, until all is nice and caramelised.  Then add the red wine, maple syrup and yeast extract, stir, heat through, cooking until the wine is cooked off, roughly 5-7 minutes.

Add the onion mix to the large bowl of bread and ground nuts, mix all together until a dough forms, adding 1-2 tbs water, if needed. It should stick together well when pressed between finger and thumb, but should not be too wet.

Taste the mix, season with salt if needed. Separate into two even balls, weigh them if you like, to be exact (and like a proper chef person).

It is easier to cut and fold over the pastry at a right angle, NOT like I’ve done here.
Mushrooms here trimmed and topped with golden garlic.

On a cold baking tray, lined with parchment, lay or roll out, a sheet of puff pastry that’s roughly 23cm x 29cm (large), 23cm x 24cm (smaller). Pastry is best used straight out of the fridge and handled minimally.

Form half your nut roast filling in a large fat sausage, place into the centre of your pastry, lengthways. Press it down to make a flat oblong shape (see above). This is the base layer for the stuffing filling. Top this with your mushrooms and garlic, face down, trim them if they stick out past the edges.  On the picture above, the mushrooms were too big, so I flipped over the middle one to fit it in.  Whatever works best, we want as much mushroom in there as possible!

Cover the mushrooms with the rest of the mix, moulding the mix and making it smooth with your hands. The mushrooms should be tucked in nice and tightly.

Cover and smooth the filling, tidy up any rough edges. This will mean the Wellington has a nice shape and it’s easy to fold the pastry.

Trim the pastry so it sticks out by 1/2cm at each end of the nut roast filling, then cut the pastry in 1cm strips, at a right angle to the stuffing. Not at an angle like in the photo;)

Lightly brush the soya milk mix around the edges of the pastry, this will help the pastry top to stick together. Make a lattice effect, by simply laying one strip of pastry over the filling, followed by the opposite strip, being as neat and gentle as you can.

Continue doing this, when you get to the end, just trim off the last couple of pastry strips so they fit nicely.  Now brush the whole Wellington with milk and tuck it all in and make it look tidy.

For best results, place in a fridge for 30 minutes or longer before cooking. Then brush again with your milk. At this stage, you can leave the wellington in the fridge overnight.

Bake the Wellington for 30-40 mins bake, turn after 20 minutes if your oven is hotter one side than the other. You know your oven.  The pastry will be golden brown and cooked right through.

Leave the Wellington to sit for 10 minutes before using a sharp knife, or bread knife, to carve the wellington.  Serve with your favourite Christmas trimmings.  Merry Christmas!!

 

Rich and Tasty Vegan Gravy and

Chocolate and Orange Brownie Cake with Mulled Berries 

Recipes coming very soon!

 

Foodie Fact 

Chestnuts are the only nut high in Vitamin C, which we of course need lots of at this time of year.  They’re also high in manganese, and a good source of copper and magnesium.

Remember to treat your chestnuts more like a vegetable than a nut, by that I mean they’re best stored in the fridge or somewhere cold.  Chestnuts should be plump when you buy them, give them a squeeze.  Toasted chestnuts are one of my favourite things about Christmas!  But if they’re not done well, or old, they can be a real let down.

 

Find more BHK Christmas centre pieces/ Sunday roast ideas here:

 

Parsnip, Cranberry and Chestnut Roast 

 

Maple Roast Parsnip and Mushroom Roulade with Cashew Cream Sauce 

 

 

Categories: Healthy Eating, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Special Occasion, Vegan, Winter | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Spaghetti Squash with Hazelnut and Cavolo Nero Pesto – Quick Wintertime Dinner

Spaghetti Squash with Hazelnut and Cavolo Nero Pesto – Vegan and Gluten-free

Here’s something quick and easy!  Exactly what I’m looking for at this busy time of year.  Light, delicious and nourishing.

You’re probably getting ready for Christmas and maybe planning your Xmas menu, but I think we still need to eat well throughout wintertime.  Home cooked happiness!

Christmas is a great opportunity to cook something amazing, to challenge ourselves, try something new, but we also need some simple recipes.  Quick and nourishing.  Let’s eat well all the time!!  Healthy home-cooked food is achievable, throughout the year.

This dish uses the delicious spaghetti squash, hazelnuts and cavolo nero (black kale).  These are some of my favourite wintertime ingredients. I wanted something warming and filling, full of delicious flavours, but not too rich.  We need a little break from all the mince pies and puds!

Just what I want at this time of year, light and nutritious food that’s easy to prepare

Spaghetti Squash 

Is a large, thick skinned squash.  They can be challenging to find in supermarkets, but I regularly see them in farm shops.  The squash can simply be chopped in half length ways, seeds scooped out, and then roasted until soft.  Then scrape out the flesh with a fork and you’ll see what the ‘spaghetti’ is all about.  It looks like spaghetti/ noodles and has a lovely light flavour and texture.  You can use your favourite pasta/ noodles with this pesto, but I’d urge you to seek out a spaghetti squash, they’re just loads of fun!

The festive season can be a full-on time, so eating healthy is important, in-between all the other indulgences!  I will be posting more festive vegan recipes very soon, we all need a show stopping Xmas dish, I’ve got a Mushroom Wellington on the way and a decadent dessert.

This dish would be lovely served with a few slices of our Moxarella – Vegan Mozzarella, recipe here.  Also some pan fried greens would be nice, or steamed broccoli.

Winter in the BHK

Winter hasn’t really taken hold yet in the Beach House Kitchen, we haven’t been back that long from Spain!  But it’s really mild and pleasant up in Snowdonia and we’ve been getting plenty of stunning sunsets.  I’ve decided to embrace winter this year, I’m normally a creature of the sun, but I seeing all the good in drizzle and mist and chilly morning and a dusting of frost and snow on the hills.

Winter is generally a dramatic time, fierce storms and giant waves, and at the minute, the stream in our back garden is almost bursting, but it’s cool.  I’m going to take the time to sit by the fire, do lots of reading and playing guitar, and take some refreshing/ semi-frozen walks in the hills.  Plus, I get to play around in the kitchen more, less distractions in the winter I find.  Things naturally slow down.  I love winter warmers like stews, soups and curries, lots of freshly baked things and soulful dishes.  I’d mull anything!

It’s a great time of year to be a cook and to create feasts for friends and loved ones.

 

Xmas Songs and Shirts

I’m not sure what it is, but I’m starting to like Xmas more and more as I get older.  I’m even attracted to buying a festive shirt?  This is a strange feeling that I can’t explain.

I’m also enjoying Christmas songs more than ever.  They were playing the other day in the kitchen at work and I was singing along, loving every minute of Slade, Band Aid, Nat, John Lennon, that one by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.  I forget they exist until this time of year.  Here’s my top, alternative, 17 (you know all the rest;)  PS – It started off as Top 5 but I got really into it!:

  1. River – Joni Mitchell
  2. Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes 
  3. Santa Claus – The Sonics
  4. Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC 
  5. O Come O Come Emmanuel – Sufjan Stevens
  6. Santa’s Got a Bag of Soul – The Souls Saints Orchestra
  7. Midnight Sleighride — Sauter – Finegan Orchestra
  8. Low – Just like Christmas
  9. Zat you Santa Claus – Louis Armstrong
  10. I Wish It Was Christmas Today – Julian Casablanca
  11. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
  12. Christmas was better in the 80’s – The Futureheads
  13. Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto – James Brown
  14. Kindle A Flame in Her Heart – Los Campesinos
  15. Hark the Herald Angels Sing – The Fall
  16. Everything is One Big Christmas Tree – The Magnetic Fields
  17. Baby It’s Cold Outside – Sharon Van Etten and Rufus Wainwright

I just want to say that Cliff Richard is a step too far for me.  Sorry to Dad and other Cliff fans, but I just can’t get down with ‘Mistletoe and Wine’, but I do like that Chris de Burgh one.

What do you plan on cooking this Festive Season?  What are your favourite dishes/ songs?  Have you got any new recipes you’d like to try?  Are you trying out a Vegan Christmas for the first time?  Let us know below in the comments and we’d be happy to answer any of you vegan Xmas questions.

Sunset up in North Wales. Winter is a beautiful time of year here.

Happy cooking!

 

Recipe Notes

Toasting nuts is always best done slowly, on a low heat, in an oven.  Check them every 5 minutes or so, turning them and noticing how their colour darkens.  Taste a couple to see how they’re doing (they will be hot!)

Nooch (aka Nutritional Yeast Flakes) can be found in most health food shops.  They bring the vegan cheesiness to the party.

 

I love Spaghetti Squash, a really interesting ingredient

 

Spaghetti Squash with Hazelnut and Cavolo Nero Pesto – Vegan and Gluten-free

 

The Bits – For 2 as a main course

Pesto

75 g toasted hazelnut

12g or 3 handfuls fresh basil

20g or 1 handful cavolo nero or other kale

2 medium garlic cloves (chopped)

4 tbs cold pressed rapeseed/ olive oil

4 tbs nooch (nutritional yeast flakes)

2/3 teas salt

1 medium-sized lemon (juice)

 

500g or 1/2 large spaghetti squash

 

Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 190oC.

Pull the root off your spaghetti squash and cut in half length ways.  Scoop out the seeds.  Rub with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place on a baking tray and cook for 35-45 minutes, until soft.  Set aside to cool a little.

While that’s going on, place all the pesto ingredients into a blender and blitz until a chunky pesto forms.  We don’t necessarily want a smooth paste here.

Scrape out the flesh of the squash, using a fork, and mix with the pesto until well combined.

Serve straight away, some vegan parmesan would be nice.

 

Foodie Fact

Nooch (aka Nutritional Yeast Flakes) are not only a way of adding a cheesy flavour to vegan dishes, they’re also packed with nutrients.  Loaded with B12, essential for vegans and everyone actually, high in other vitamin B’s, zinc.  They are well worth stocking and can be sprinkled on dishes, mixed into stews and soups for added savoury flavour.

I know that vegan cheese have become more accessible and better quality, which is great news, but I will always use Nooch in dishes.  Try frying or toasting it, it really intensifies the flavour., I now a guy in a Michelin star restaurant who uses it as a secret ingredient!!

We’ve started a BHK youtube channel! 

Check out some videos of our latest vegan cooking workshops and demonstrations here. 

The first of many!!  

I’ll be adding clips of my TV appearances, videos of me cooking at the Beach House Kitchen, food festival demonstrations, clips of me scooting about the Snowdonia mountains and loads more…

 

Subscribe to our Beach House Kitchen channel to not miss out on new videos

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales, Winter | Tags: , | 11 Comments

Malaysian Squash Laksa – Rainbow Noodle Bowl (Vegan, Gluten-free)

I could eat this all winter, no problem!  Creamy and Spicy Coconut and Squash Laksa

Creamy, spicy, fragrant, loads of colours and flavours, this is my kind of rainbow bowl.  Laksa is a stunning combination of very tasty things, the perfect re-vitalising, comfort food we need in the winter time.  We’ll cook with seasonal vegetables and giving them a exotic, Malaysian twist, this laksa bowl really lights up any table or meal time.

We’ve enjoyed Laksa, in so many different ways, all across South East Asia; Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, but the very best (and we both agree on this) was in Southern Thailand.  Which is strange, because I’ve called this a Malaysian Laksa, but it was just this one little place, on an island, beach side (in fact it was on the beach) restaurant.  One of those special meals, where everything is right, sunset, waves, swaying palm trees, a friendly family running the place.  The works!  A recipe for a memorable meal.  This Laksa, I think, resembles the one we had that night.  Big and bold, with a generous amount of coconut.  Truth is though, in South East Asia, you rarely get anything resembling a bad Laksa.

Laksa is basically a noodle soup with a creamy and spicy coconut sauce.  It normally has a sour element, known as ‘Asam’, here we add some fresh lime to give it that tickle and zing.  Laksa is a fusion dish, with influences from China (noodle soup) and Malay (coconut cream and spices).  Making Laksa vegan means no loss in flavour in the slightest, without the dominating meat or fish, the subtle and sensational flavours can work their magic much easier.

I’ve gone the whole enchilada here, we make our own spice paste.  This means lots of gorgeous ingredients, and a little time spent, but its SO worth it.  You can also buy vegan yellow Thai curry paste quite easily, for a quicker laksa fix.

I like a laksa with a chilli kick and lots of fragrant aromas, I use quite a bit of lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, fresh kaffir lime leaves (you can find them in the UK), all with the deeper background spices of cumin and coriander.  It’s just awesome, you have to try it!

Jane and I are in Spain at the minute soaking up the winter sun and the tasty tapas.  Life is so peaceful here, we live close to the beach and can hear the waves at night.  We’ve been doing some cooking out here and met some amazing new people, also spent some times re-energising and preparing for winter, lots of walks, swimming and enjoying the stunning scenery.  We’ve got loads planned this winter and I’ve been focusing on creating lots of new recipes.

We cooked this Laksa at our recent weekend of vegan cooking workshops in Hackney, see pictures here, and it was a big hit.  I’ve never served this to anyone who didn’t think it was yum, it’s rainbow soul food.  Could we ask for more?!

Our upcoming Cook Vegan! event in Manchester is almost fully booked, we’re cooking a full festive vegan lunch and then of course we have our blissful Spanish cooking holiday next year.  Come and join us on the beach!  Maybe we’ll have Laksa in the sun?

We hope you’re all enjoying cooking and feeling inspired to create and eat healthy, delicious and vibrant vegan food.  Do let us know below in the comments if you like the look of this recipe, or have any questions, or just want to say ‘Howdy!’  It’s wonderful to hear from you.  We love feedback, it helps us create and share the dishes YOU want to cook.

So many colours and flavours in one bowl, perfect winter food

Recipe Notes

Rice noodles will act as a thickener here for the soup.  I love this, but if you’d prefer a thinner broth, blanch the noodles in boiling water and drain before adding to the soup.  This will cook the noodles, so add them just before the end of cooking.

This Laksa can be made a main course or starter, depending on the amount of noodles added.  See below in the recipe.

An alternative for this curry paste is to use a shop bought yellow thai curry paste, but homemade is soooo much better!

Rainbow Vegan Laksa Bowl – Love it!

Malaysian Squash Laksa – Rainbow Noodle Bowl (Vegan, Gluten-free)

The Bits – For 4

 

Laksa Paste

2 tbs coriander seeds

1/2 tbs cumin seeds

 

1 medium or 150g onion (sliced)

7 garlic cloves

1 1/2 or 30g inch ginger (sliced)

6 kaffir lime leaves

2 sticks or 20g lemongrass (inner white stem only, sliced)

1 red chilli

3 tbs chopped coriander stems

1 1/2 tbs tamari/ soya sauce

1 tbs oil

 

Soup

1/2 tbs oil

1 1/2 teas ground turmeric

1/2 large squash or 550g (chopped into small cubes, skin on is fine with thin skinned squash like butternut)

1 red pepper (sliced)

1.25 ltr light vegetable stock or hot water (from a recently boiled kettle)

1 can full fat coconut milk

2 handfuls or 75g spinach/ kale

2 handfuls or 100g green beans/ mangetout (chopped at an angle)

125g-175g rice noodles

1/2 tbs brown sugar

1/2 teas salt

 

Garnish

Fresh coriander or mint leaves (or both)

A dash of tamari/ soya sauce

A scattering of crunchy peanuts or crispy onions

4 lime wedges

Chopped chillies

Salt or tamari/ soya sauce (to taste)

 

Do It

For the paste – Toast the coriander and fennel seeds for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add to a blender or spice grinder and grind to a coarse mixture.

Add the rest of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until a thick paste forms.  Add a tbsp or so water if needed. The paste can be refrigerated for up to a week and frozen for longer.  

For the soup – Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the spice paste and turmeric, cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly.  Check out those aromas!!

Now add the squash and peppers, the vegetable stock, 1/2 teas sea salt and coconut milk, bring to simmer and cook the vegetables for 8-10 minutes until the veg is soft.

Add in the rice noodles and green beans, let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring a little to make sure the noodles don’t stick together.

Mix in the spinach/ kale.  Taste and adjust salt, sugar and chilli, as you like it. I usually add a bit of salt or soy sauce, lime juice and some sugar at this point.

Serve straightaway, garnish with fresh coriander leaves, bean sprouts, chopped chillies, toasted peanuts. Finally, squeeze over you lime wedge and then throw it into the soup. Adds to the flavour!

Malaysian Squash Laksa – Rainbow Noodle Bowl (Vegan, Gluten-free)

 

Foodie Fact

Lemongrass not only adds wonderful fragrance to this Laksa, it is also high in iron, potassium and magnesium.

Categories: Curries, Dinner, gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Soups, Vegan | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Caramelised Banana and Oat Pancake Stack with Peanut Butter Sauce – American Diner Style, Gluten-free

Banana, Oat and Peanut Butter Pancake Stack – Gluten-free, Vegan

Light, fluffy and thick, just like the ones you get in a real diner.  U.S. style pancakes, made in Wales, with caramelised bananas, a peanut butter sauce, a touch of cinnamon and loads of maple syrup.  The batter is made in a blender, so these are super quick and fuss-free.

I’ve made these gluten-free, I cook for a lot of gluten-free people at the moment and I love making up recipes that everyone will enjoy.  Gluten-free, vegan, or whatever, you’ll enjoy these pancakes purely because they’re delicious!

I like a good stack of pancakes, layering the flavours and textures and they look great of course.  Piled high on a plate.  Pancakes are a weekend thing in the BHK, do you feel the same?  They always seem like a fun treat breakfast, especially on a chilly Saturday morning.  An ideal, hearty breakfast for autumn and winter.

Top it off!

I think the most important thing about a pancake is what’s on top.  The filling combos have got to be right and we all know how good peanut butter and banana can be.  You could also go for fresh berries and whipped coconut cream or toasted pecans, oranges and chocolate sauce (see our 2-Minute Chocolate Sauce recipe here) or mango, pomegranate and vegan creme fraiche (with a little mint on top).  These are a few of our favourite pancake toppings.  What’s yours?

I’ve already tried out various banana pancake recipes on the blog, I think it’s easy to see what’s my fav.

Disney Pancakes

The last time I was in a diner was a good few years ago, in sunny Florida, heading to somewhere Disney-fied or other.  I must have been around 11 years old.  As a young British guy, America seemed so exciting.  I basically just wanted to eat fast food and watch satellite TV, go on rollercoasters, and skateboard.  Things were simple back then!

I remember loving the atmosphere in a diner, it was a real buzz.  I was soon to be confronted with a stack of pancakes, enough to feed a family of five or more.  All dripping with maple syrup, it was a big wake up call!  What had I been missing out on!!  It was like a doorway into a new world of breakfast.  We had them most weekends after that when we returned to Glasgow, a proper treat.

Until our American holiday, I always thought pancakes were something we ate once a year with sugar and lemon juice and they always looked really difficult to make.  The flipping seemed impossible, with pancakes landing in various places around the kitchen.  Rarely back in the pan.  It’s true, they take a bit of practice, a few flips to warm up, but once you’re away, pancakes are such an easy and delicious breakfast option.

Are oats gluten-free?

Yes. Sort of.  Naturally, oats are gluten-free, but I’ve read that around 30% of people intolerant to gluten may be intolerant to oats.  Also, most oats are produced in non-gluten-free environments.  Many gluten-free people I know and cook for eat oats, they are so nutritious, packed with fibre and offer a nice variety in a gluten-free diet.  Gluten-free oats can be found in most supermarkets.

Give these pancakes a go, and let us know in the comments below.  They’re a treat, but filled with good nutrition too.  Best of both worlds!

 

Recipe Notes

Serve them straight from the pan, hot is best, although they’re still tasty when cooled.  The best way to keep them warm is to wrap them in a clean kitchen towel/ cloth on a plate.

If you like a cinnamon-y pancake, go for more cinnamon here, 1/2 teas to start.

Don’t worry about your first attempt with a pancake, they’re always weird.  You’ll get into your groove after a couple.

Try to keep the pan at a constant temperature, not too hot.  If the pan get’s too hot, simply set it aside to cool a little.

The more oil you add to the pan, the crispier the pancake.  I’ll leave that one with you…..

 

Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes – simple breakfast treat

 

Banana, Oat and Peanut Butter Pancakes – American Diner Style

Gluten-free and Vegan

 

The Bits – For 8 medium pancake

100g gram/ chickpea flour

100g white flour mix (gluten-free, or use plain white flour)

50g oats (gluten-free, or normal oats)

1 teas bicarb of soda

Large pinch of salt

1 tbs sugar

1 tbs oil

1/3 teas cinnamon

250ml water

 

Cooking oil (I use cold pressed rapeseed oil or coconut oil)

 

To serve

 

Banana, 1 per person (cut in half lengthways)

Maple syrup

4 tbs peanut butter

 

Lime Wedges (Jane likes this)

 

Do It 

Place all the pancake ingredients into a blender or food processor and blitz until well combined.

Mix your peanut butter with a few tablespoons of water and stir until it thins out, it may take around 5 tbs water and quite a bit of stirring, but it will form a nice creamy sauce.  Add a little maple syrup if you prefer it sweet.

Warm a medium sized frying pan on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and fry your bananas for 2 minutes, then flip them and cook for another minute.  They should be nice and caramelised.  Be careful with them, they are fragile and soft when cooked.  Set them aside.

Clean out the pan, and put back onto the heat.  Get the pan nice and hot, add a drizzle of oil, making sure the base of the pan is covered with a thin film of oil.   Pour or ladle in your batter, I like medium sized pancakes, see the photos.  But you can vary the size as you like.  Lots of small ones is also a nice idea.  Fry the pancake for 1-2 minutes, the pancake will bubble, making them really light (you’ll see what I mean).

Flip them using all your ace flipping skills.  Cook for one more minute on this side and either serve or keep warm.

Enjoy your pancakes with the caramelised bananas, peanut butter sauce, a drizzle of maple syrup and even a squeeze of fresh lime (Jane likes it with a little lime).  I sprinkled with a few oats.  Chocolate sauce is also a brilliant addition.

If you’d like a stack of pancakes, just add these toppings, then place another pancake on top and add more toppings.

 

Foodie Fact

Bananas are a good source of potassium and also vitamin C, plus fibre.  They are high in sugar, but when we eat them, the high fibre content makes bananas a healthy snack.  No sugar spikes and all.

They seem to be getting a bad rap recently, but bananas are really good for us, light on the stomach and an ideal, natural snack.  There are so many varities of snacks out there, boasting all kinds of things, but it’s difficult to beat bananas and fruit for a nutritious boost.

 

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

Smoky Beets, Red Pepper and Chipotle Soup

Just what we need in late Autumn! Soups with lots of colours and big flavours.

Get a little spicy, plus a little smoky this autumn!  This is a radiant soup filled with delicious flavours and fresh, seasonal produce.  Lots of beetroot and red peppers, this is exactly what I want to be eating right now.  It’s adding a vibrant slice of Mexico to your autumn and all you’ll need are staples most of us have in our cupboards and some chioptle chillies/ chilli paste.  More of that a little later…..

I wanted a soup that was hearty and sustaining, so we have lentils, colourful and healthy, so we have red peppers and beetroots, a little creamy, creme fraiche, a little crunchy, pepitas (or pumpkin seeds as we call them), finished with a sprinkle of fresh coriander and you’ve got a very tasty bowl indeed.  I’d happily eat soups like this all day, every day, until next May, when things thaw out.

Getting Frosty

We’ve been getting frosty over here in Snowdonia, the first glimpse of snow and ice on the mountain tops, washing freezing on the line, that beautiful early morning frost that makes all the plants look like their draped in jewels.  I love this time of year.  Lots of sunshine still, so soup in the garden is also doable.  I’m thinking winter BBQ’s are on this year!  Why not?  The first frosts always says to me, “Parsnips!”  They’re always bettter after the first frost, as well as sloes.

Smoky Beets, Red Pepper and Chipotle Soup (vegan, gluten-free)

Viva Mexico!

I’m lucky to have travelled Mexico extensively, I drove around it for a while with some friends, from the border with Texas right down to Guatemala.  It took about 6 months.  I was in my 20’s and, as you can probably imagine, I had a good time!  There is so much joy for living and eating in Mexico!!

I had no idea how good Mexican food was until my first few days wandering around Mexico City.  I’d been working in fine dining style restaurants and was really into that way of doing things, but my first few tacos in Mexico blew my mind.  I was hooked and a new way of approaching food dropped into my world.  Sensational food didn’t need white table clothes and weighty price tags, it could be fast and furious on a street corner, or served in the back of taxi mid-traffic jam.  Good food is everywhere in Mexico, it is hard to escape, and let’s face it, why would you want to escape it anyway!

I ate some INCREDIBLE soups in Mexico.  If a soup can be life changing (if your soup was changed by your life, or vica versa, please let us know, we’d like to hear that story!) I had many in Mexcio.  Things I’d never imangine, avocado is soups, soft cheeses in soups, garlic, nachos, smokiness, it really blew me away.  Mexcian food is so rich and diverse, lots and lots of new dishes to explore.

Having said all of that, this soup is not a traditional Mexican recipe at all, but Chipotle chillies make anything taste Mexican to me.  They were one of the many new flavours I discovered on my trip.  The cumin in many Mexican dishes originally came from Spanish immigrants, who picked it up from North Africa via the Moors.  I’m fascinated by the way that our food tells us a lot about our history, how our cultures developed over time.  It is Day of the Dead tomorrow, this soup would be a perfect addition to the feast!

Chipotle!

Chipotles are dried and smoked chillies, one of many varieities.  I remember buying smoked chillies in markets, so many types, big and small, different colours and shades, all with distinct flavours.  It was steep learning curve.

Chipotles start off as red jalapenos and are smoked and dried for days, coming out looking a little like the chilli version of a raisin.  You can buy them in many ways, powder, flakes, dried whole, in cans or in a potent paste, as we use here.  Chipotle’s are used in all kinds of marinades and stews, they give a subtle earthy, smokiness to dishes with a little kick of chilli.  Adding one chipotle to a stew or soup can really mix things up.  In the UK, they are normally found in paste-form, in little jars, that keep well in the fridge.  I like to mix it into mayonnaise, dressings and generally use it as often as possible.  I love the flavour.  It’s very unique.

I am off to Spain soon, where they do some nice things with smoked chillies, but honestly, no one smokes chillies like Mexicans.  Spanish chillies are very mild, they hardly tickle, Mexican chillies however, they can melt things, or just add a lovely spiciness to dishes.

We’re lucky to have loads of organic beetroot at the minute coming from the veg farm

Get Your Beet On!

So get your beet on, gather some lovely veggies and have fun with this soup.  Beetroots are the most outrageous roots and I think we underuse them in the UK.  The colours, flavours and awesome nutrition (see below) they bring to our table are always very welcome.

Please let us know if you like the recipe, enjoy Mexican food, or anything else really in the comments below.  If you try out the soup, why not share your kitchen creation with us all over on Facebook, our cooking group is here.  

Enjoy this beautiful time of year (in Australia it’s spring right!?!)

More soups and hearty, healthy, delicious vegan recipes for everyone coming soon…..

 

Here’s some Mexican inspired dishes we’ve cooked in the paste, from Loaded Nachos to a Cashew and Kale Mole, Pickle your own Jalapenos and Dark Chocolate and Chilli Bronwies.

 

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Recipe Notes

If you love your smokiness, add a little more chipotle, or add smoked paprika (same time as the cinnamon) for a smoky, but less spicy soup.

No red peppers, any pepper will work fine.

Same goes for the pumpkin seeds, any toasted seed or nut would be nice here, but pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are used quite a lot in Mexican cooking.

In you’re getting beetroots with their leaves on (congratulations!), you can cut them off, wash them and stir them in at the end of cooking, just before serving.  You may also like to do this with spinach, kale or any other greens.  Adding greens to dishes can never be a bad thing.

Beetroot, Red Pepper and Chipotle Soup

The Bits – For 4-6 bowls

550g beets, roughly 3 medium beetroots (diced)

1 red pepper (diced)

1 medium onion (diced)

200g red lentils (rinsed and drained)

2 teas cumin seeds

1 1/2 teas oregano

1/2 teas cinnamon

3 tbs tomato puree

1 ltr light vegetable stock/ hot water

3-5 teas chipotle puree

 

Topping

Toasted pumpkin seeds

Vegan creme fraiche

Freshly Chopped Coriander

Sliced chillies

 

Do It 

In a large saucepan, add 1/2 tbs cooking oil and warm on medium high heat.  Add the cumin seeds, stir and fry for a minute, then all the onions, peppers and 1 teas sea salt.  Fry until soft and slightly caramelised, 5 minutes will do.

Add the lentils, beetroots, oregano, ground cinnamon and tomato puree.   Then pour over the vegetable stock and bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and leave to cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Allow to cool slightly and blend using a stick blender or pour into a blender and blitz until smooth.  Taste and season with salt and pepper, adding more chipotle if you like.

Top with toasted pumpkin seeds, creme fraiche/ single vegan cream, chillies and coriander.

 

Foodie Fact 

Beetroot is a stunning root in more ways than one.  Besides the amazing flavours and colours, we’re talking about a contender for the healthiest veg ever!  It’s well up there.

Packed with anti-oxidants, plenty of fibre, it is very good for our digestion, and also contains plenty of minerals.  Beetroot juice is now drank by many atheletes to improve performance.  We love beetroots mixed into juices or smooties with things like apples and carrots.  What an amazing way to start the day!

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Would you like to come and cook with us? 

Learn how to prepare a delicious three course vegan Christmas Lunch? 

Our next cooking workshop is in Manchester soon, more details here.  

 

 

Categories: Autumn, gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Soups, Travel, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Italian Herb and Sun Dried Tomato Dumplings

 

Thanks for your patience everyone, I’ve finally got around to posting this recipe.  It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve had a few things on my plate (see below;).

These dumplings are perfect with pasta and a rich tomato sauce, but also ideal served in a wrap, as a canape/ starter.

This is a simple and versatile recipe that has recently become a staple in the BHK.  I have noticed that non-vegan really dig these, they taste like dumplings but are made with chickpeas and oats.  Easily made gluten-free and can be pan fried or baked.  That to me is the hallmark of a staple recipe, something that is not too fussy, that can be whipped up in a short window of time and most importantly, are very delicious.

Italian Herb and Sun Dried Tomato Dumplings – Just add pasta

MIX IT UP

The base of chickpeas and oats can be played around with, you can take the flavours wherever you’d like to lead them; add spices for Indian dumplings, served with a spicy curry sauce; add za’atar and make things more Lebanese, serve in a wrap with tahini; add some chilli, ginger and coriander, serve with noodles and Chinese sauce (sweet and sour, black bean, hoisin…..)  So, so many ways to make your dumplings shine!!

The autumnal beach – spectacular Snowdonia!

Jane and I are heading over to Spain very soon, can’t wait!  In one way, it’s a shame to leave Snowdonia right now, so much sunshine and last night the mountains got their first little cap of snow and frost.  Icy winds, sunny days, I love that about these wintery times.  In this climate, I flip into soup mode.  Just made a huge pan of veggie broth, old school, like my Nana’s did it.  Plus some quinoa bread, not quite the same as Nana-made bread, but I reckon they would have liked it.  Plenty of strawberry jam.

These dumplings have been discussed quite a bit over on our vegan cooking group on Facebook.  I’ve been meaning to post this and a huge stack of recent recipes, but life has been nice and full recently.  Lots of cooking, lots of cool new projects, lots of time hanging out in the mountains.  It’s been a stunning autumn.

A NEW COOKBOOK!

I’m posting much less at the minute because I’m cooking much more.  I’m very cool with this balance.  I love the blog and facebook and all, so many awesome people and connections made, an online community of plant-lovin’ foodies, but being in the kitchen is where I’m best suited.  If you’d seen me type, you’d know what I mean!!  I’m better with a pan than a kepboard.

I’ve been developing recipes, cooking at the beautiful Trigonos in North Wales, running cooking events and yes, working on a new cookbook.  It’s in the pipeline.

Thanks to all who have sent messages of support, many which say things like “Where’s your new book dude?”  It’s coming and the time is now right, I wanted to wait until I had and idea and a group of recipes that really rocked!!

These bookie type things can take a while, but fingers crossed, I’ll have some more news soon.  If you haven’t heard, here’s my last cookbook, Peace & Parsnips.

Any ideas about what you like in a cookbook?  Do let me know in the comments below.  I love to hear your feedback.  Really, I write recipes partly for me, but another big part is for you.  The readers of the BHK, I wonder a lot about what you’ll like and always listen to your comments.

Other news.  We sent out our autumn newsletter recently, if you missed it, just sign up here, it takes a few minutes.  We’ve got some cool interviews (are you interested in fermentation, we interview the Queen of Fermentation!  Janice Clyne), plus recipes, pictures, news, events, loads of nice things.  Sign up, we’ll send it across.

 

Recipe Notes

You can see that I like these dumplings with a little colour, from a hot pan.  You can cook them on a lower heat if you like, we’re just really warming them through.

You can make the dumpling mix well in advance, keep in the fridge and just roll up the dumplings when you need them.  They freeze well.

Another nice idea is to make a plain version of the mix, without the tomatoes and herbs, then flavour the dumplings as you like with different dishes.  This makes them super versatile.

If you are cooking your own chickpeas, not using tinned, make sure they’re not overcooked or mushy.  This will lead to a wet mix, which is not what we want.  If this happens, I’d recommend adding gram/ chickpea flour until the mix firms up a little.  Remember that once the mix cools, it will get thicker.

 

 

Italian Herb and Sun Dried Tomato Dumplings

 

The Bits – For 16 dumplings 

2 medium onions (sliced)

3 cloves garlic (chopped)

2 tins chickpeas (drained)

3 teas dried Italian herbs (a mix of dried oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, sage)

8 pieces sun dried toms, plus any oil (finely chopped)

125g oats (gluten-free oats are fine also)

1 1/2 teas salt

A few twists of black pepper

A sprinkle of chilli flakes (or more if you like your chilli)

Cooking oil

 

To serve

Fresh basil leaves

 

Do It

In a large frying pan, add 1 tbs cooking oil, warm on medium high heat, add the onions and garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes, until soft and golden.

 

Add the cooked onions and the rest of the ingredients to a blender, with any oil left on the board from chopping the sun dried tomatoes.  Blend until smooth-ish. Some chunks are fine. Taste and season if you like.

 

With slightly wet hands, roll around 2 heaped tablespoons of mix into balls.  Place on a plate.

 

Warm the frying pan again, add 2 tbs oil and warm on medium high heat, add some of your dumplings to the pan, don’t overcrowd.  Roll them in the oil and get them well covered, fry them for 6-8, minutes, until golden all over and warmed through. Set aside.  Fry in batches if needed.

 

Alternatively, preheat a fan oven to 180oC, lightly oil the dumplings and place onto a baking tray, then into the oven.  Cook for around 15-20 minutes, until they are warmed through.

 

Serve with a rich tomato sauce, freshly torn basil leaves and pasta of your choice.  

 

Foodie Fact

Chickpeas are a real nutritional powerhouse.  They are filled with protein and fibre, also lots of minerals like iron, magnesium and potassium and vitamins like Vitamin C.  Chickpeas are also a good source of calcium.  Overall, the more chickpeas we can get onto our plates and forks, the better!

Categories: Autumn, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Viva Vegan! Lee’s interview with Veganuary

I really enjoyed chatting with Veganuary at the weekend!  It was all about our Viva Vegan! Spain: Plant-based Cooking Holiday with Áine Carlin coming up soon!  I thought I’d post a little of the interview here.

Why did we pick Spain?  Why are Áine and I collaborating?  What will the Viva Vegan! experience be like?

We still have a couple of rooms left in you’d like to book up for our delicious weekend in the sun.  You’ll find all the information here.

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A vegan cooking retreat in Spain? Yes, that’s right! Lee Watson, author of Peace and Parsnips, and Áine Carlin, author of Keep it Vegan & The New Vegan, have partnered up to teach people how to master the art of vegan cuisine, in beautiful Spanish surroundings

 

Veganuary caught up with Lee Watson to find out more!

Main terrace, where all our meals are served and morning yoga practiced

Hi Lee! What’s the inspiration behind this exciting plant-based cooking holiday?

We just love cooking and sharing delicious vegan food.  We’re excited to be getting together and showcasing the diversity and potential of a plant-based diet and healthy lifestyle.  We also wanted to do it in a villa near the beach!  Why not!!  Viva Vegan offers up a weekend of relaxation, sensational food and a chance to learn new kitchen skills.  We want to share our passion for good living!

How did the idea come about?

Áine and I have been chatting for a while about collaborating on a cooking holiday.  I love Áine’s style of cooking and recipes.  I’ve organised holidays like this in the past and they’re just such fun and are an opportunity for everyone to learn and meet new, like-minded people.  Having Áine and I contributing to the weekend, also makes the food and workshops even better, a greater variety of styles and influences for everyone to enjoy.

Why did you pick Spain?

I’ve been going to this little village in Spain for over 12 years and it’s one of my favourite places in the world.  I guess I just wanted let people into the secret!  For me, its the most beautiful stretch of coastline in Spain, where the mountains meet the sea and there’s still that feel of ‘real’ Spain.  Murcia is also known as the ‘garden’ of Spain, the local produce is sensational, tomatoes, olives, lemons, peppers, aubergines, fruits and we even have some local vegan wines to sample.

What can people expect to experience on the holiday?

The Viva Vegan weekend is designed to let people experience they’re perfect weekend.  We have a beautiful location, our modern eco villa is right on a quiet stretch of beach, we have winter sun and amazing local produce.  Áine and I will be doing all of the cooking and hosting workshops, which range from a cheese making masterclass to top vegan kitchen hacks and tips.

There is even the option for us to go for a mini cruise on a vintage yacht down the stunning coast.  Maybe a picnic in a little cove?  The idea is we take care of everything, from soothing yoga classes and nourishing smoothies in the mornings, right through to mocktails at sunset.  We’re even having a vegan BBQ night.  It’s a time to enjoy peace, walks in nature, a swim in the Med, a visit to local cafes and villages.  The idea is you can transform the way you cook or just curl up in a hammock with a good book.  It’s all just a recipe for an inspiring and blissful weekend.

One of Aine’s amazing recipes

 

 

Read the full interview over on the Veganuary blog click here.

Reserve your place for Viva Vegan! Spain right now. 

Just click here

 

 

Categories: Autumn, Cooking Holidays, Events, healthy, Healthy Eating, plant-based, Travel, Vegan, veganism, Winter | Tags: | Leave a comment

The art of scrumping and the great British apple

Scrumping – a great way to make the most of our autumn abundance

Yes!  It’s that time of year.  Apples are falling from trees and we’re loving them.  But I find something very sad about piles of crushed and fermenting apples scattered around pavements and fields, left in piles to rot around trees.  What a waste.  I’ve been travelling quite a bit around the UK recently and seen many great apple trees, laden with fruits, fit and ready for a good scrumping!

There are over 2500 varities of apples growing in the UK, so I’m not talking about the handful of varieties we can pick up in the supermarkets, I’m talking about the real deal, heritage, local apples.  The ones which flourish in certain areas because of the specific climate, regional apples, that’s what gets me excited.  Most of these are growing wild and many may be falling right now, grab a bucket and get out there!

A neighbour kindly donated this bucket load to the BHK

When I travel, I love nibbling global dishes, exotic fruits and the like.  But there is one thing I miss, sensational UK apples!!  Best in the world.  No question.  (Although, they’re pretty good in France too.)

 

Wild Fruits, Great Names 

Most of the apples you’ll pick up in the supermarkets are pale imitations of a proper apple.  Something local, and in my opinion, the more bumps, the uglier the apple is, the better it tastes!  We have such a rich history of apple cultivation, which is still there, if we shop local and take advantage of the natural abundance at  this time of year.  Many of the best apples I find come from neighbours gardens (please don’t tell them;)

Jane’s Mum sent across a fascinating little article that prompted this post, I find the names of heritage apples so inspiring. They just sound fun! Here’s a selection, just a wee taster (by region).  Do you know some of these?:

 

Scotland – Coul Blush, Bloody Ploughman, Scotch Dumpling, Tower of Glanis, Dog’s Snout 

 

North England – Golden Spice, Cockpit, Carlise Codlin, Rilston Pippin, Lord Hindlip

 

South England – Newton Wonder, D’Arcy Spice, Crawley Beauty, Fearn’s Pippin, Pitmaston Pineapple, Oaken Pin, Tom Pitt, Cornish Gilliflower

 

Wales – Bardsey Island, Pig’s Snout, Cissy, Ten Commandments, Saint Cecilia, Croen Mochya

 

Ireland also has some great varities and names going on:

 

Ireland – Greasy Pippin, Lady’s Finger of Offaly, Kilkenny Pearmain, Irish Peach, Ross Nonpareil, Scarlet Crofton, Ecklinville Seedling   

 

Maybe you have some of these growing in your garden?  Or a local park?  I love these names, many are poetic, rustic, some amusing, but they all speak to me of a different time of food production.  When it wasn’t just about business and high yields.  I think it’s paramount to protect the heritage and diversity of locally grown food, in the UK and around the world.  Most of the varities are just about hanging in there (no pun intended), mainly growing wild or in gardens, but we can always ask for them in our local shops and supermarkets.  If we can get together, in enough numbers, and demand real, local, British apples, maybe we can see apples like the ‘Dog’s Snout’ back on the shop shelves where they belong.  These names really brighten up my day.

 

The Legend of the Bardsey Apple

There is a great story here in North Wales about a local fellow, Ian Sturrock, who discovered a single apple tree on a remote island off the Llyn Peninsula.  Bardsey Island.  When it was tested, it was the last of it’s kind in the world.  This variety has now been saved and it’s grown around the world, from Japan to the USA.  We have one in our garden.  Lovely golden, sweet apples.  There is also a variety of Snowdon Pear which is very rare, tastes like sweet fennel and has a light pink colour inside.  You just don’t get such variety and range of flavours in the most shops.  We are missing out big time!  This is one of our greatest British foodies assets.  Our amazing fruits.

 

Here’s our article from a few years ago all about our love for the Bardsey Apple.

 

The Art of Scrumping 

Scrumping!  It’s a doorway to the best of British apples and fruits.  Go find some nice looking trees, grab a bucket and go and fill your boots/ bucket.  I know people who only scrump at night, but we’re day light scrumpers.  Unabashed.  It’s loads of fun and leads to a bounty of fresh and delicious local apples.   A few basic guidelines for new scrumpers:

 

Just make sure that you’re picking edible apples.

Don’t climb and fall out of trees.

Don’t blatantly nick your neighbours apples, this can lead to bad vibes and unneighbourly jams.

If councils or land owners have put up signs saying ‘DO NOT PICK THESE APPLES’, best to leave them dangling.

 

Local apples, ready for cookies/ crumble

Scrump Away!

Picking fruit gets me in touch with nature again, you plug straight back into the natural world, it’s relaxing and a great excuse to get out in the fresh air.  One friend told me that the art of scrumping is to not get caught.  I think there has to be a slightly more moral approach than that.  Plus, scrumping is not illegal anyway, there’s nothing to feel guilty about if we’re following a few, common sense guide lines.

You don’t need to live halfway up a mountain like us to scrump well, urban scrumping is on the rise.  Inner city fruit foraging.  It may take a little research at first, trying to understand what apples are best for eating, which are best for cooking etc.  But once you’ve identified a local tree, that’s it.  Every year you can pick a crop of delicious local apples.

The benefits of scrumping are free food!  Plus, no packaging or plastic and the only food miles are the steps you take.  I just don’t understand why we don’t plant more fruit trees.  Local councils, lets get more orchards going, even if they’re beside motorways or near pavements etc.  We can organise groups of fruit pickers and jam makers, free neighborhood jams and chutneys all year!  Some local councils have done this in the past, after complaints from residents about being hit by falling fruit and apples impeding their driving.  They provided fruit pickers and yes, gave the chutney away for free!  This seems like a wonderful idea.  We know people who pick your apples for you if you’re too busy/ can’t be bothered and make them into a cider and sell it.  Their business is based on free or donated apples.

 

Apple Recipes

What to do with your new found apple bounty?  Chutneys, apple sauce, soups, add to stews and casseroles, make into jam….the list is almost endless.  Here are a few of our recipes to get your going :

 

Simple Apple and Oat Crumble

Jane’s Apple and Plum Chutney 

Apple and Beetroot Sauerkraut

Apple Mint Herbal Vinegar

 

We’ve even written a step by step post about How to plant your perfect apple tree.  We’ve got all the apple bases covered.

One of the best ways of using up LOTS of apples is to make your own cider.  You do need loads.  You will also need a cider press for this, but again, there will no doubt be someone in your local community who has one you can borrow or use.  Especially if you offer them a small cut of your cider.

Of course, we’re not just looking for apples when we’re in scrumping mode; sloe berries, rosehips, blackberries, damsons, mushrooms, bilberries (see our Bilberry and Spelt Scone recipe), pears, there is a bounty of fresh fruit growing on trees and bushes all around the UK.  We just need to get out there and have a look.

If you are really not fancying scrumping, you can still access local fruits.  Check out freecycle, there may well be someone in your area looking to offload some apples or other fruits.

 

If you do scrump, remember that it is illegal to profit from the fruit you harvest from common or council land.  On private land, you’ll need a ‘scrump pass’.   If you are not a comfortable single scrumper, it can make for a great family activity or form a small local group.  Scrumpers unite!  Some people feel scrumping is a bit cheeky, but that’s the fun bit!

If you’re a serial scrumper of have some scrumping tales or advice, please let us know in the comments below. 

National apple day in the UK is 21st October ’18.  Let’s celebrate local apples, fruits and produce!  Autumn is the perfect time of year to cook and shop local.

 

Look out from my next post if you’re an apple lover, we’ve got an Apple Crumble Cookies (Gluten-free) recipe coming your way very soon.

 


 

Come and join us in North Wales this month for our:

 

Abundant Autumn: Yoga and Vegan Cookery Day Retreat, 20th October ’18 

We’re teaming up with the wonderful Claire Mace from Inspiratrix Yoga for a relaxing and rejuventing day of yoga, a cooking workshop, nourishing smoothies, cakes, plus I’ll be preparing a plant-based Autumn feast using local organic ingredients.

 

You can book now right HERE.  We have a few places still available.    

 

Categories: Autumn, Foraging, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Local food, Organic, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Sustainability, Wales | Tags: , | 7 Comments

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