Healthy Eating

Summer Squash and Peanut Butter Sabji – Spicy, Rich and Healthy Vegan Curry

We love this kind of curry bowl! So many colours and textures, served with chilli pickle and warm flatbreads, it’s an Indian Thali feast and easy to prepare.

 

Are you missing your Indian takeaways?  Visiting your favourite local Indian restaurant?  Here’s a simple recipe to make your own homemade Indian feast.

 

A really simple, one pot curry (sabji) with a creamy, rich and spicy sauce

 

This is a quick vegan curry for beginners, but it has the flavours anyone will love.  Rich and creamy, without oil, this is a great way of making a delicious, healthy curry and bringing India spice and fragrance to your kitchen.  

If you’re not a fan of peanut butter, this may change your mind.  Once we’ve cooked it through, the peanut butter begins to melt into the sauce and mingle with the spices and tangy tomato, leaving a rich sauce.  It’s not overpoweringly peanut!

The masala sauce is always the key to any delicious curry treat and this one is as simple as popping it all in a pan and cooking. Super quick and easy, no oil and frying, just delicious, big flavours and colours.

In lockdown, I’m trying to make things as accessible as possible. I’ve posted a Wild Mushroom Lasagna and another Quarantine Curry recipe recently, but this one is a new favourite.  I was skeptical to try new ways of cooking curry sauces, I wasn’t sure if they’d lose something essential.  But this is the kind of recipe that may quickly become a weekly staple and when you add some deeply flavoured daal and fragrant rice, plus a little raita, pickle and some crunchy fresh vegetables, you have yourself a top Thali!

 

What’s Sabji?  Thali?  Masala?


Thali is not so well known in the UK, we don’t see it on many Indian restaurant menus for example. But in India, Thali is a daily staple, a rounded, set meal, served daily with a wide range of flavours, textures and nutrients.  Thali is basically the name of a metal plate with many shallow compartments which hold the delicious array of spicy and colourful daals, sabji (curries), flatbreads, pickles and more….. 

It’s my favourite staple meal from any country. Just the sheer diversity of flavours, seasonal vegetables and textures.  Sometimes, you’ll even get a little dessert on the plate. Thali’s are served in many restaurants and hole in the wall type places, some more lavish, some more basic. I find the basic Thali’s are normally my favourites, lighter and healthier.  

A good masala (spice mix) is key and spices are normally ground or bought freshly.  You just can’t substitute the flavour and intense fragrance of freshly ground spices.  You can do this easily at home, especially if you have a pestle and mortar.  There is something important about grinding spices by hand and not relying on technology.  It’s very grounding!  There’s something human about the whole process.  A pestle and mortar seems like we’re inviting the stone age into our modern kitchens.  And as a piece of equipment, it can never be bettered.  

This is not just about the food on the plate, but the techniques that are involved in producing it, techniques handed down from generation to generation.  Techniques that millions have used and honed to create delicious food.  In many ways, the act of cooking ties us all together.  Our shared quest for delicious, nourishing food.  

You might be wondering why we post so many curry recipes!  We love India dearly.  I’ve spent a lot of time travelling all over India and I can’t imagine a more fascinating place to be.  I’d love to go back someday, India filled me with so much inspiration, not just in the kitchen, but in life generally.  India changed my life!  If you’ve visited, you probably know what I’m feeling.  

Use any vegetables you like here, whatever is seasonal and looking top banana. I really enjoyed the squash, we have hardly been going out shopping, so this squash was really appreciated. I prefer it to carrot in a curry. Jane prefers carrot. We’ll agree to disagree there. I love the way squash just breaks down. I left the skin on here, I wanted to cook it well, but not for it to break down into the sauce too much. This whole meal was prepared with no oil, the good fats coming mainly from the peanut butter in the masala.

 

Better than takeaway!  Squash and Peanut Butter Masala – Simple, Healthy, Hearty Vegan Curry



I can’t think of many easier ways of making an Indian feast. Let me know if you’d like the rice and daal recipes. I can post them next, but here’s the curry recipe to get started.

Thanks to everyone who have requested recipes recently. It’s great to see all your cooking adventures over on Facebook (our group is here) and Instagram. It makes my day when I see people cooking recipes from our cooking classes and vegan holidays and there are still a steady stream of posts of recipes from Peace and Parsnips, which is amazing, it’s been over 5 years since our cookbook came out. I should celebrate that soon!!

 

      We loved this curry and will be making it again and again.  We hope you enjoy!!  

 

Let us know if you try this one out, follow our blog, there are more recipes coming soon. You may like our seasonal newsletter, here’s the link to sign up. Secret recipes and pictures of the BHK in full swing.

Mr Will, our fellow collaborator, yogi and cooking amigo from the sparkling Complete Unity Yoga, this one’s for you bro.



Keep it spicy!!


Sending much health and happiness to you from the BHK


 

Recipe Notes

I’ve made this lockdown friendly.  I hope you can all still get some fresh vegetable and have a decent stock of spices in the cupboard.  I’ve omitted fresh ginger, onion. chilli and garlic in favour of dried/ powdered.  It works!!  I’ve never been in a situation to try this out and I can see why my friend says that most Indian restaurants in the UK use dried ginger and garlic in recipes.  The flavours are intense!  A great lockdown sub.  

Use any seasonal vegetables you like here.  Bear in mind that different vegetables take different times to cook.  Hence, we add the courgettes in later.  We wanted them well cooked, soft, but not mushy. 

If you are short of spices, substitute the quantities with any spice mixes you have.  Curry Powder (good all rounder) is very handy, or Garam Masala (warming and fragrant).  

Smooth or chunky peanut butter is fine here.  If you are not a fan of peanuts, try cashew butter or any nut/ seed butter you enjoy.  The nut butter flavours calm when they are cooked.

Coriander would be nice to top this one off.  We didn’t have any, so we tried it with Lemon Balm instead.  Delicious!  Necessity regularly brings much inspiration. 

 

Healthy vegan curry can be rich and delicious!! The peanut butter masala sauce is the star here. No oil and still awsome!

 

Squash and Peanut Butter Sabji – Spicy, Rich and Healthy Vegan Curry

 

The Bits – For 4

1 tin chopped/ plum tomatoes or 400g tomato pasatta

3 heaped tbs tomato puree

2-3 heaped tbs peanut butter (unsweetened)

500ml hot water

 

1 small butternut squash (scrubbed and chopped, skin on)

1 large carrot (scrubbed and chopped)

1 small courgette (chopped)

 

Spices

1 1/2 teas ground turmeric

3 teas ground cumin

3 teas ground coriander

1/2 teas ground cinnamon

3 teas dried ginger

3 teas garlic powder

1/2 – 2 teas chilli powder (you know how hot you like it!)

1 1/2 teas sea salt

 

Optional

Fresh coriander (chopped)

 

Do It

Set aside the courgette and peanut butter.

Place a large sauce pan on medium heat and simply add all the other ingredients.  Starting with the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, vegetables and then spices.  Stir them until combined, pop a lid on and simmer for 15 minutes.

Now add the peanut butter and courgette.  Stir well and pop the lid back on.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Your sauce should be thick and shiny, with the peanut butter cooked through.  

Taste and add more sea salt and chilli as you like.  Find your ideal flavour!  

You may also like to add some hot water to thin the sauce, a little at a time.  Also, stirring a few handfuls of greens into the sabji is a nice idea now, sliced spinach, chard, kale, whatever you have.   

Serve topped with fresh coriander and all your favourite curry trimmings.   

 

Foodie Fact

We love peanut butter. We even make our own here sometimes.  It’s simple, just roast some peanuts and blend, maybe add a little salt, a touch of cold pressed oil to help it blend. 

But is peanut butter healthy?  I know some people avoid it, even when they enjoy the flavour.  Peanut butter is high in fat, but is a great source of good fats, fibre too.  It’s an excellent source of protein, anti-oxidants and vitamins like E, B3 and B6.  It’s also has a good amount of omega 6 and you’ll also find many minerals like magnesium, iron, selenium, zinc and potassium.

The peanut butter market is varied, some are more pure than others.  Give your jar a read, as usual, the less ingredients the better.  We want to avoid palm oil, refined oils and sugar.  Good peanut butter can cost a little more, but it’s well worth it.  So, peanut butter is healthy, as long as you’re not eating it 24/7.    

 

 

Categories: Curries, gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Summer, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

BHK Lockdown Diary – Sunshine, Cakes and Frogs

Welcome to lockdown BHK style.  I’ve lost count how long we’ve been hanging out around the garden and house, but we’re the very lucky ones, with a garden and loads of Snowdonian sunshine!  It’s been like Bermuda up here for the past couple of months which has made this whole time feel much brighter for us.  

We’ve been getting on with cooking new recipes, playing with new ideas in the kitchen and in the garden too.  The veg patch is up and running, we have modest ambitions and if we get a few Broccoli floret and a cabbage out of it, we’ll be very happy.  The slugs round here resemble ugly anacondas (I like snakes).  We’ve been really fortunate with all the foragables in the area, loads of sorrell, nettles, hawthorn and crab apple flowers, fresh hawthorn leaves, mints, dandelions, wild garlic, all the joys of spring and early summer.  All that makes for some pretty awesome salads!  

 

Slice of our White Pizza, Vegan Style! Middle-Eastern Flavours – Roasted Cauliflower and Red Onions, Za’atar and Roasted Garlic Puree, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Sumac

 

In these uncertain times (how many times are we reading those words of late!!) we feel blessed to have a local supply of organic veggies.  Our veg box is one of the highlights of the week and Tyddyn Teg are producing an amazing array of fresh local veg for us to base our vegan dreamin’ on.

People keep talking of a new world sprouting out of this, we’re ever hopeful that things will get better and we’ll start taking better care of each other, animals and the world.  One of the key factors for us is a vegan lifestyle, but also keeping food local.  Focusing more on local, sustainable, organic farming.  I don’t like the idea of massive corporations feeding us. I can’t trust those who put profit before health and wellbeing.  I can see from our groups and your emails that many of you are growing your own and from a produce point of view, it doesn’t get any better than that!  I don’t really have very green fingers, but I’m good at getting my hands muddy.  Does that count?        

 

Jane out by the pond, there are loads of frogs, newts and toads this year. We’re keeping it topped up and making shelters for them around the ponds.

 

Vegan Shish Kebab – Marinated Tempeh, Tofu and Oyster Mushrooms with Apricots, Tahini Sauce and Pilaff. Oh, there’s a Beetroot and Ajwain Flatbread too:)  Got to have big colours!!

 

We think we’ve noticed more birds and insects in the garden.  There’s definitely more newts and frogs this year, we’re being invaded!  They try and get into the house, which is very cute.  I was hanging the washing out the other day and a Peregrine Falcon leapt out of a bush.  What sight!  It was amazing to see such a bird of prey up close.  We get the buzzards overhead, but they rarely land near the garden.  We’ve also made friends with the local horses, see below.  Bob, Tanny and Hera are our names for them and they seem to be warming to us.  They’ve started to hang our beside our wall and even lie in the sun just outside our bathroom window.  It’s lovely to wake up to see horses chilling and rolling around.  Every sunset we get a crescendo of grunting horses, blackbirds twittering and the occasional croak from the pond.  

 

Meet Bob – One of the neighbourhood horses who keeps us company in the garden.  We raided there fields the other day and now have a mighty pyramid of horse poo.  For the garden next year. 

 

Pineapple and Pistachio Up-side Down Loaf with a Rose and Cacao Sauce.  Gluten-free.  I’ve had some extra time to experiment with new recipe ideas.  I cook something everyday and have realised I’ll never get through the backlog of recipes I’d like to share here.  Maybe you could give me an idea of what you’d like to see?  I’m sure I’ll have a recipe tucked away somewhere for yah!!  

 

Plenty of brews in the garden to wash down all the cake;) Apparently we’ve both got sun tans from being out in the garden, hanging out with frogs and cabbages.  

 

Sunsets!!!

[caption id="attachment_10516" align="aligncenter" width="470"] We’ve got Sorrel coming out of our ears. I love the zesty flavour in salads, stews/ soups

 

Summers really kicking in over here. We’re enjoying loads of salads, this one includes Korean Mint, an interesting member of the mint crew. It looks like marijuana, but tastes like mint crossed with liquorice. Apparently bees, butterflies and hummingbirds like it. So it must be cool.

 

We try to keep the BHK blog up-to-date, but there’s plenty more vegan cooking action and chat over on our Facebook cooking group

 

We’re loving our afternoon walks up the hills. Appreciating more than ever right now!  

 

This is part one, more BHK lockdown pics coming soon.  

 

We’re ever sending positive vibes and best wishes your way. 

 

 

Categories: healthy, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Peace and Parsnips, photography, plant-based, Summer, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Mediterranean Vegetable and Chickpea Bake with Za’atar and Vegan Labneh

Baste with pomegranate molasses, you get a nice crispy layer of melt in the mouth Med Veg, topped with a little Za’atar

A fragrant, rich and flavoursome bake, loaded up with zesty spices and the creaminess of vegan Labneh 

We baste the top layer of veggies with pomegranate molasses and olive oil, it makes them extra crispy!

This is the kind of centre piece that gets our appetites raving and the best thing, it’s easy to make and you might even have all these ingredients tucked away in your cupboards.

Vegan food for everyone, that’s what we’re talking about!!   

We wanted the flavours of the Med for dinner tonight!  It’s been ridiculously sunny up here in Snowdonia, perfect weather for a Med Veg bake in the garden.  I was fortunate to visit Palestine recently and brought back some extra special Za’atar from Bethlehem.  Palestine was an incredible place to visit, one of the most hospitable places I’ve been, and the food was outstanding.  I will do a post about it soon.  I must. 

Mediterranean Vegetable and Chickpea Bake with Za’atar and Vegan Labneh – Vegan, Gluten-free

You might also like our ‘Wild Mushroom Lockdown Lasagna’ recipe right here

Top Palestinian Za’atar, bought in Bethlehem

Za’atar

Beautifully aromatic herb mix!!  But not all Za’atar is created equal.  I realised this in Palestine.  There are some captivating spice shops and markets in Bethlehem and I was able to try different grades and types of Za’atar. The one we used here was my favourite, lots of toasted sesame, fragrant mountain thyme and a little twist of zesty sumac there too.

I think many Za’atars contain different quantities of herbs, dried sumac, salt and sometimes other spices.  Traditionally the mix revolves around lots of green herbs, like oregano, basil thyme, thyme, marjoram and savory.  Of course, the best herbs, are harvested wild!  Then dried in the sun.  You’ll find Za’atar used throughout the Middle Eastern part of the Mediterranean, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula and some North African countries.  The herbs will probably shift slightly as you move around and many of these mixtures are kept as family secrets.  Some Za’atar mixes even contain caraway, cumin or coriander. 

Za’atar is normally served as a condiment, if you haven’t had it sprinkled over warm flatbread with a drizzle of olive oil, QUICK, you must.  I’ve enjoyed this mainly in Lebanon, Man’ouche (Man’oushe…I think it’s spelled a few different ways) for breakfast.

I added it into the lentil and chickpea stew here, it worked really well.  Za’atar can also be used sprinkled over hummus, a seasoning on vegetables and salads.  

I like Za’atar because it has a distinct flavour and I enjoy the subtle changes in the mix, from Turkey to Palestine, you can taste the different herbs used and when homemade, it’s a reflection of the local environment and conditions.    

You can check out some of my Lebanese foodie travels here

Seeking falafel perfection!

Layers of flavour to enjoy in this bake, the spicy stew, topped with crispy pomegranate veggies, sprinkled with za’atar

Tasty bakes like this are ideal for sharing with loved ones and neighbours love leftovers too! Your whole house will be filled with delicious fragrance after cooking this. 

Good food shared is soul food!

This is a really comforting dish and loads of fun to prepare.

If you like the look of this, or even better, get to try the recipe out, please let us know below. You can also join us over on Instagram for more Beach House Kitchen news and photos. 

Also, don’t forget to follow us and subscribe here for our seasonal newsletters.

Happy cooking:)

Recipe Notes

Toasting some cumin seeds in a pan and then grinding them in a pestle and mortar or small blender, will really add another dimension to the flavours here.  Well worth the extra little bit of effort.   

No Za’atar? You can use dried thyme. marjoram or oregano, or a mix of the two.   If you don’t have Pomegranate Molasses, try a Balsamic Reduction instead, or something else that’s sweet and sticky.  It will help with the caramelisation. 

Mediterranean Vegetable and Chickpea Bake with Za’atar and Vegan Labneh

Vegan

The Bits – For 8-10

2 tomatoes 

1 large aubergine

1 large courgette

1 tbs cooking oil 

6 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)

1 large onion (diced)

1 pepper (diced)

1 large carrot (diced)

3 heaped tbs tomato puree

400g/1 tin tomato passata/ chopped tomatoes

240g/ 1 tin chickpeas (cooked)

225g red split lentils

1/2 tbs turmeric

2 tbs ground cumin

2 1/2 tbs za’atar

1 litre hot water

Sea salt and black pepper

Vegan labneh, thick yoghurt or cream cheese (something nice and creamy)

Topping

Extra Za’atar

1 tbs pomegranate molasses 

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Do It

Thinly slice your fresh tomatoes and 2/3 of your courgette and aubergine.  Get them nice and thin, especially the aubergine, it takes a little longer to cook.  Dice the rest of your courgette and aubergine.  

I organise the sliced veggies now, it makes it easier later.  Stack a slice of aubergine, tomato and courgette together, keep repeating until you’ve used all of your slices.  Set aside.   

In a large saucepan, add your oil and fry the garlic on a medium high heat for 1 minute.  Add the onion and 1 teas of sea salt.  Stir, cooking for 5 minutes.  Then add your courgette, aubergine, carrot, pepper and tomato puree.  Stir and cook for 3 minutes.  

Preheat a fan oven, 180oC.  Pop a large baking/ casserole dish into the oven to warm.  

Now for all your spices and a good few twists of freshly ground black pepper.  Add your red lentils, chickpeas, passata/ chopped tomatoes and water to the pan.  Stir, bring to a boil and cook for 12 minutes.  

Taste your stew and add more salt and pepper to your taste.  The flavours should be jumping, if not, time for a pinch more salt!   

Top your spicy chickpea stew with generous dollops of creamy vegan labneh or cheese

Remove your warm baking dish and pour in the spicy stew.  Top with generous dollops of labneh/ yoghurt.   Arrange your sliced vegetables on top of your stew, see the pictures.  A nice thin layer which snugly meets the edges of your dish.  

Mix together your pomegranate molasses and olive oil in a small bowl and brush on top of your bake.  Giving it all a full coating of the tangy mix.

Pop in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, until all is bubbling and your vegetables are looking golden and crispy.  

Serve sprinkled with more Za’atar and a crisp seasonal salad, warm flatbreads and your favourite glass of something special.  I also like a few chilli flakes sprinkled over mine.  

Enjoy!!  A vegan centrepiece fit for a sunny day 

Foodie Fact

Herbs are of course delicious!  But they also have a huge range of healthy giving properties. Thyme is a superstar ‘erb.  Very high in vitamin C, with loads of vitamin A, K, E and B6, plus LOTS of minerals, like iron, calcium, magnesium AND high in fibre.  Even a little protein in the mix too.  

“Give me just a little more thyme……!!”

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Summer, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Moroccan Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup with Yoghurt and Ras El Hanout – Fragrant, immune-boosting bowl of orange radiance

Roasted Sweet Potato, Carrots, Cauliflower and Lentil Soup with Yoghurt and Ras El Hanout – Vegan, Gluten-free

 

A delicious, radiant bowl of orange goodness

A little spicy with a whole lotta immune-boosting properties

 

I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying good health.  We’re ever sending out love and fortitude during these turbulent times.  We’re going to keep bringing the healthy, vibrant recipes to support and nourish our bodies.  Plus, for us, cooking is a great time to chill and find a slice of peace with pots and pans.     

I created this soup to hit the sweet spot, a fine balance between deliciousness and nutritiousness, with the flavours of the souks, the spice markets of Morocco in mind.  This soup is rich and sustaining, creamy and spicy in all the right places.   

I wanted to add some of my (maybe your?) favourite veggies that you may have right now; sweet potato, carrot (beta-carotene superheroes) and cauliflower.  Also adding warming spices in the Ras El Hanout spice mix (winter chills are still hanging onto Spring up here!), vivid turmeric and richly flavoured paprika.  Then a bit hit of fresh ginger for even more immune-boosting ZING!  We also roast the vegetables in this recipe to bring out their natural sweetness and flavour.  

 

IMMUNE BOOST!!

Every ingredient here is a superstar

 

This is immune-boosting from all angles.  The yoghurt is full of pro-biotics, helping our gut to stay well, 70% of our immune system is located in the gut.  Which also likes lots of fibre and pretty much all of the ingredients are good sources of fibre.  

This soup is just what we needed right now!  Our bodies crave this kind of sunshine food, which I seem to cook a lot of when we’re back in the Beach House Kitchen (located on top of a mountain in Snowdonia, Wales, for newbies).  Putting sunshine colours in our pans and on your plates really works.  Eating food this colour means it’s most probably loaded with anti-oxidants and loads of beta carotene too.  Edible rainbows of healthy happiness.  

 

Food to keep us shining!  

 

I used to eat thick, lentil soups, something like this one, in the Rif Mountains in Morocco.  I settled down for a little while up there a good few years ago.  The steaming pots of soup in the morning, with fresh bread and spices, was a great start to the day.  I love soup anytime and would dearly like to go back to Morocco when all this blows over.  The slow pace of life in the mountains of Morocco is inspiring me right now, patience and finding peace being key to riding this strange time out.  

I also stayed with some Berber musicians in a small village in the Atlas Mountains and we basically played music all day, ate together around one big pot and occasionally picked cactus fruits, or went out to play with the goats and kids.  It was a very (very) chilled life.  Jane and I are mainly playing music, cooking and going out to say hello to the local sheep, so there isn’t that much difference really!  Jane’s just remembered that she can play violin, which has opened whole new doorways in our jam sessions.  Good time to find that one out.

Back in the kitchen….this is not a traditional Moroccan soup of course, but it’s inspired by some of my favourite spices from Morocco, where they have some of the best spice markets I’ve been to.  Tucked away in souks, down tiny, winding alleys, they appear timeless.  Not quite the same when you buy them in the supermarket, but if you can, buy your spices whole, then toast and grind them yourself.  When I got back from Morocco, it took weeks for me to stop smelling like cumin.  The spices are potent in those parts!! 

Enjoy this soup and cooking it!  I love having more time in the kitchen nowadays at home to really focus on my cooking, every aspect, from buying and preparing the vegetables, to washing up at the end, the whole act of making healthy, homemade food is important to us. It seems like every aspect can affect my life in a positive way, especially when we’re doing it with a smile on our faces.

Be well and say “hello!” below in the comments or over on Instagram or Facebook.  We’d always love hearing from you.  What country are you in?  Cooking right now for us is like travelling without leaving the kitchen.  I have my favourite Moroccan tunes on when I cook this, wash it all down with some ‘Berber Whiskey’ aka fresh mint tea with a pinch of gunpowder green tea in there.  I haven’t worn my Djellaba in the kitchen yet, but it’s only a matter of time…..          

 

Moroccan Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup with Yoghurt and Ras El Hanout – Vegan, Gluten-free

Recipe Notes 

Left thick aka not thinning with hot water, this makes for a nice daal also.  I add a little fried garlic and more spices just before serving with rice or warm flatbreads.  

Basically, you can use similar quantities of other veggies here if you’re short of any of these.  I made this again today (the photos are from a few days ago) and I popped a roasted red pepper in there, which was delicious!  The lentils and spices make for a great soup base.

 

 

Moroccan Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup with Yoghurt and Ras El Hanout – Vegan, Gluten-free

 

The Bits – For 8-10 bowls


7 medium carrots 

3 medium sweet potatoes 

350g/1 small cauliflower

 

200g red lentils

3 heaped tbs fresh ginger (finely chopped)

1 large onion (diced)

2 tbs ground turmeric

1 1/2 tbs ras el hanout (or other spice mix like garam masala or baharat)

1 tbs sweet paprika

2.5 ltrs vegetable stock

200ml unsweetened soya yoghurt 

1-2 tbs cooking oil (I used cold pressed rapeseed oil)

Sea salt

 

To serve

Chopped parsley and chillies

Soya Yoghurt

Lemon Juice

 

Do It

Preheat an oven to 190oC.

Roughly chop your sweet potato, carrots and cauliflower.  Place the vegetables onto a large baking tray (or two), cover lightly with oil and a little salt.  Roast for 25-30 minutes, until soft and slightly caramelised, turning them once during cooking.    

In a very large saucepan, the very biggest one you have.  Warm your oil and then add the onions and ginger, fry for 4 minutes, before adding the turmeric, paprika and ras el hanout, stirring for a minute.  

Now add the lentils and stock, bring to a rolling simmer and leave to cook for 20 minutes. Until the lentils are soft.  Add the roasted vegetables and yoghurt, blending all together until smooth using a stick blender.  Thin the soup with hot water if needed, have a boiled kettle on standby, for the soup, or tea?

For serving – Stir a little lemon juice into some soya yoghurt.  Drizzle over the soup and swirl if you’d like it to look a bit fancy.  Scatter herbs and chillies.  

Enjoy warm, with a stack of flatbreads.

 

Foodie Fact 

Sweet potatoes bright orange colour comes from the beta carotene content, beta-carotene makes Vitamin A, which makes you see in the dark and through brick walls, like a superhero. It will also give you the ability to scale tall turnips and dodge banana bullets….  

Also, sweet potatoes are a good sources of vitamin C, fibre, anti-oxidants (which keep us from rusting), and loads of minerals like manganese, potassium and even copper sneaks in there.     

 

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We’ll be posting more pictures of the Beach House Kitchen soon; the mountains, garden and wild nature of the Snowdonia mountains.  The sun has been shining and the sunsets have been dramatic.  The atomic mandarin has done us proud.  What a peach!    

 

OUR TOP 5 IMMUNE-BOOSTING TIPS ARE COMING SOON!

 

 

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Soups, Vegan | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Sending Good Vibes! BHK news and how we’re keeping well

Nourishing, simple, vegan cooking skills and knowledge is so important at times like this, giving our bodies and minds the good fuel and flavours they need to be healthy.

    

All of our plans and work for the year are cancelled, which feels both expansive and daunting, sometimes at the same time.  We’re sitting, chilling and breathing it all in at the minute.  Seeing what arises and getting prepared for a lengthy spell of uncertainty and big changes in the way we live.  Most of all, we’re staying at home!  

 

Spanish Dreams

We were moving to Spain a month ago and were in the final stages of buying a olive/ fruit farm in rural Spain.  A little slice of paradise, tucked away in the mountains of Murcia, where we could grow Mediterranean crops and make our own olive oil and wine.  I would be cooking homegrown in an outside kitchen and it even had it’s own spring.  We were over the moon to have found such a place, but it turned out that this idea was affected by Brexit and then, BOOM, Coronavirus lands and the rest of our year is turned upside down, shaken, then plonked back down looking bewildered, exasperated and a little afraid.  I’m sure you know the feeling. 

We know that what is to come will be tough, for us all in a variety of ways, each of us will experience uncertainty, loss and fear in one way or another.  We realised we are in a very privileged position and feel deeply for those who are suffering globally from health issues, themselves or within families, friends and communities.  The poorest in the world are the first and worst to suffer.  Also, those who have pressing financial worries and are trying to run businesses and have uncertain work futures.  We especially feel and offer fortitude and support to healthcare and charity workers, as well as other essential, frontline workers. Keeping the systems going that support our societies and our most vulnerable.  We hope you are well protected, healthy and rewarded for your bravery and incredible efforts.   

 

Compassion, community and kindness will get us through.  

 

Support local 

Big shout to our local organic farm superheroes, Tyddyn Teg, who will be supplying ourselves and the local community with organic veg throughout the year. Re-focusing on local produce and small businesses, growing our own food, simplifying and living a more sustainable life is more relevant now than ever.  If you have the means, distributing and investing money locally and to small businesses is so important. 

 

We are well!

Jane and I are well.

I am sure many of you are being creative and flexible in the way you’re looking at the future. How can we adapt, stay safe and earn a living in these times?  We shall see, but good energy and positivity will go a long way.  

It would be awesome to communicate and we invite you to be part of our positive on-line communities:

Our Faceboook vegan cooking group is here

Let’s eat well!  Share good vibes and tasty treats!  Develop grounding rituals and healthy habits. We hope the BHK is somewhere you can escape to for a while, topping up on happiness and inspiring recipes.   

Looking out towards Ireland, across the Irish Sea. I love this rock formation, it looks like an ancient settlement (with a view!) and makes me feel connected to the land and my impermanence in this majestic landscape

Take good care

At this time, we feel it’s essential that we focus on self-care.  Understanding how we can find balance, peace and good health in our lives.  We ever wish to take you on that journey in a holistic way, feeling that good health isn’t just good eating, but good movement, good breath, good mentality, good connections with nature and others, good vibes from the heart and lots of love and positive energy.  

Self-care beginning with the heart, opening up to love.  We feel that having clarity and peace of mind will help us make good decisions, for us and those around us.  

The world may seem to be spinning out of control but nature tells us otherwise.  Beautiful weather and the sights and smells of early Spring are in the air.  

Good health does not need to be complicated, and even with extended self-isolation and uncertainty, we can still find peace.  Good health does not need to cost anything, we have our mind and bodies, these are the only tools necessary to unlock vitality and wellness.  With regular practice, discipline and good intentions, the techniques below can transform our lives! 

We can exercise well in a small space.  Check out our friends Complete Unity Yoga and their guide to starting a yoga practice at home:

Find Peace and Calm – Yoga at home

We also love these yoga sequences

Also, here are some relaxing and empowering breathing techniques with that dude, Mr Wim. Boost your immune system and find peace:

Life Changing Breathing techniques

Meditation is an excellent practice to calm the mind and boost the immune system.  Jane’s favourite is Tara Brach:

Meditation practice 

Breathe in, smile.  A beautiful meditation here

Fermentation is a delicious way of preparing and preserving food, as well as boosting our health and immune system in general.  We have fermenting recipes here and our favourite fermentation website is Nourished by Nature:

Fermenting Foods – Immune system support and health

You’ll find most of our recipes, except the most recent, right here.  Plenty to choose from:

Simple, healthy vegan recipes from the BHK

We can also put you in touch with excellent therapists and healers; herbal, homeopathic, nutritionists and much more.

 

Our plan

We don’t have one!  Things are changing too quickly at the minute.  We’re getting prepared and trying to be as proactive as we can.  Staying at home and educating ourselves about the situation at hand.  We’ll be regularly turning our thoughts inwards and reflecting, adapting, finding balance, allowing creativity to flow and embracing what we have and the opportunities presented.  Staying alert and aware, asking questions.  Taking regular breaks from phones, social media, news and the like.  Going outside, spending time in nature.       

We’re focusing, as I’m sure you are, on our local situation, supporting family, friends and the local community.  What we can control, we try our best in, what we cannot, we are aware of, but let go.    

 

So, how are you feeling? 

Can we help and support you at this time? 

What kind of foodie things would you like to see us doing? 

 

So much beauty, even in the smallest parts and details of nature.

 

We light a candle for peace after sunset each evening and you’ll all be in our thoughts and prayers.  This BHK community means a lot to us and you’ve all contributed in making our lives a brighter and more fulfilling place to be.  Thank you.  

Wishing you all good health, safety and fortitude!

 

Another storm is here, but they always pass. 

 

Peace and Love,  

Lee and JaneX          

 

We’ve a decent stash of foraged logs. When we get around to chainsawing, we’re looking forward to a summer filled with fires under the stars.

 

Join our MAILING LIST here for exclusive recipes and BHK news 

 

Email us now – hellobeachhousekitchen@gmail.com

 

 

 

Categories: healthy, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition, Organic, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Sustainability, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

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

 

Ethiopian lunches in the BHK are happy times!  

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

 

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

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

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

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

Ethiopian Monks

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

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

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

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

Vegan Ethiopia!

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1 large white onion (very finely diced)

1 large/ 150g carrot (chopped into chunks)

3 medium/ 250g potatoes (chopped into chunks)

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

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

1 tin chickpeas (drained)

1 tin chopped tomatoes (organic, good ones)

4 tbs berbere spice mix

2 teas ground ginger

4 tbs peanut butter

2 tbs brown cane sugar

700ml hot vegetable stock/ bean cooking stock

Sea salt

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

 

Do It 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Foodie Fact 

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

 

We’re now on INSTAGRAM!  

 

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

 

 

Categories: Curries, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, vegan travel | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Coconut and Caulilflower Gigglebean Curry with Coriander and Lemon Chutney

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Enjoy this bowlful of home cooked happiness!

 

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

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

 

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

Use any mix of seasonal vegetables you like here.

This recipe does make a BIG panful!

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

 

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

 

The Bits – For 4-6

2 tbs cooking oil (cold-pressed rapeseed we like)

1 tbs cumin seeds

3 large garlic cloves (finely sliced)

3 tbs fresh ginger (finely sliced)

2-3 teas garam masala

2 teas ground turmeric

150ml hot water

1 tin tomatoes (or equivalent fresh tomatoes)

 

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

1 pepper (deseeded, chopped into chunks)

2 tins/480g cooked chickpeas

1 tin coconut milk

 

1 bok/ pak choi (sliced)

3 tbs fresh coriander (finely sliced)

Sea salt

 

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

All of your favourite curry accompaniments apply too.

 

Coconut and Lemon Chutney 

The Bits – For One Small Bowlful

35g desiccated coconut

60g fresh coriander (with stems)

4 teas lemon juice

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

100ml water

1/2 teas sea salt

 

Do It

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

What’s not to love!!

 

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

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.

——-

**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.

——-

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!  

 

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!  

 

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

Vegan On The Road – Andalucia, Spain

Jane and the Happpy Restaurant:)  Cordoba

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Old time Spain. We love it!!

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

IMG_20190618_101726

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

 

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

 

 

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

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!

 

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 sterilised 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 making sure all is well covered.   I add the bay leaves and ginger to the jars also.  Leave to cool.

Enjoy! I’d keep this pickle for a week.

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

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.

Keep up to date with all our news, recipes and other bits and pieces by signing up for our seasonal newsletter, right here.

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 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 g.f. 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

Christmas Lunch Made Easy! – Full Planner and Top Tips

VEGAN CHRISTMAS LUNCH MADE EASY!

Or at least, a bit easier!!  I’ve been asked before 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 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 and hot 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!   There’s good light today. 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

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, and vegetable stock.  Always 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 g.f. yeast extract
2 tbs g.f. 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.

 

 

 

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Sauces, Vegan, veganism, Winter | Tags: , , | 4 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 even know of a guy in a Michelin star restaurant who uses it as a secret ingredient!!

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 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! Check that it’s all vegan and gluten-free.

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/ gluten-free 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/ g.f. soya sauce

A scattering of crunchy peanuts or crispy onions (g.f.)

4 lime wedges

Chopped chillies

Salt or tamari/ g.f. 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/ thick yoghurt (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?

Most oats are produced in non-gluten-free environments. Gluten-free oats can be found in most supermarkets. Many gluten-free people I know eat oats, they are so nutritious, packed with fibre and offer a nice variety in a gluten-free diet. 

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.

Normal oats and white flour will work well here if you are not gluten-free.

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)

50g oats (gluten-free)

1 teas bicarb of soda (g.f.)

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.

 

—————–

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.

If 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 yoghurt/ creme fraiche (g.f.)

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!

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. As they say.

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, with 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.

Thanks to all who have sent messages of support recently, some which say things like “Where’s your new book dude?”  It’s coming!

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, 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, for a longer time.

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.  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 gluten-free oats

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 we’ll 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 hot in the middle.

 

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

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.

 

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. .

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. 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

 

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.

 

 

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

Mushroom and Squash Rogan Josh – Traditional Kashmiri Curry

Mushroom and Squash Rogan Josh – How to make a proper vegan curry, from scratch (even the spices!)

Make a decadent, aromatic, rich curry from scratch and even make your own spice mix.  I’ve cooked this curry, and variations of it, loads recently, but think this version is the best.  It does take a little longer, but you just can’t compare the flavours.  I’ve given you options to make this a quick curry too, but I’d urge you to give the full version a try.  You’re gonna love it!!

The Real Deal 

Rogan Josh is a rich, classical style curry made with yoghurt as a sauce base, not onions.  It was brought to Kashmir by the Mughal’s as they swept across North India.  I’m captivated by Indian history and if you’re not a regular BHK reader, by way of background, I’m in love with India and have been there many times, travelling from the tip down south to the top, the Himalayas!  I am yet to visit anywhere that is as enchanting and mesmering and the FOOD, lets just say it will take me this lifetime at least to explore such a vast and tantalising cuisine.  This curry is a good start, a staple and as ever, this is vegan food everyone one will love!  How could you not?  We get all the full flavours of roasted veg and mushrooms and treat it to a very special sauce.

If you make this curry, please let me know, I’d be excited to hear about your spice adventures and how you found the flavour.  Once you try this, you’ll never go back to shop bought or jars (unless you were in a real rush!)  I love curries, but at this time of year, with it getting colder and darker, I think this style of warming, rich curry really comes into it’s own.  A radiant, colourful bowl of big flavours that’s perfectly suited as a winter/ autumn warmer.   I get quite passionate when talking about Indian cooking.  Does it show?!

Make your own spice mix. It’s quick, easy and totally, very much, better than shop bought spices

 

Roast your own!  Spices

Spices!  They bring everything to life.  I’ve written so much about spices over the years, not to mention a hefty spice intro (with nutritional benefits) in Peace and Parsnips. I talked a lot about spices in there, they’re so important to my cooking and dare I say, Indian is my favourite way of cooking.  No, I don’t!  It does depend on how the stars are aligned and what I fancy and all of that, but, we all know Indian food is utterly diverse, vibrant and totally brilliant.

I give you full instructions below about how to toast and grind your own spice mixes, this one is similar to a Garam Masala, a North India spice mix filled with warming spices like cinnamon and cloves, you can see the picture above and you can probably imagine the aroma when all that hits a warm pan.  Out of this world!!

 

Garam Masala – Hot Spice!

Dry toasting spices like this in a pan adds complexity and brings out all the incredible aromas.  There are many versions of Garam Masala (‘Garam’ – Hot, ‘Masala’ – Spice Mix).  You could add Mace or nutmeg for example.  But I think this is a good all rounder.  If you don’t please let me know below.  If you do, again, let’s talk in the comments.  I love chatting about spices and learning new things.

I’ve added smoked paprika and turmeric to this spice mix, they’re not classically ‘Garam Masala’, but I like them in this Rojan Gosh.

You can also use shop bought spices here.  See in the recipe below.  Keep your spices in a sealed container and use well within the use by date on the packet.  Smell them, if they don’t smell of much, they won’t add much to the curry.

 

Rojan Gosh – filled with influence from the Mughals andPersia, this dish has a fascinating history

 We’re going to Kashmir……

Kashmir is a stunning region in the very North West of India, and a very good song of course (click here for Led Zep’s version of Kashmir).  Apparently Robert Plant had never even been to Kashmir when he wrote it, just liked the sound of it.  Maybe he just loved a good Rojan Gosh? Which loosely translates as ‘Rojan’ – to stew, ‘Gosh’ – red.

The well used BHK Dhaba

 

Recipe Notes

I’ve gone for mushrooms and squash here because they’re seasonal and I love them.  But you can use similar vegetables, carrots, potatoes, peppers, whatever takes your fancy.  The key here is the sauce.  That’s where the magic is!

I mentioned that this was traditional, that was a small, white lie.  It is pretty traditional, but in Kashmir they may use something called Cockscomb Flower to give the curry a more reddish hue.  But I’m happy with this colour.

Kashmiri chillies are quite important here.  You’ll find them in most supermarkets and especially Indian/ Asian food shops.  They are milder than many chillies.  We want lots of chillies in the Rojan Gosh masala, but not loads of heat.

If you don’t have dried Kashmiri chillies, that’s cool, go for chilli powder or cayenne pepper, anything to add a little heat to the curry.

Saffron can also be added here, but I think it just gets lost with the other spices and is basically a waste of our precious, and not inexpensive, saffron.

When I mention coconut cream, I mean the cream off a tin of coconut milk.  That means, the thick bit.  Adds lovely creaminess.  Yoghurt is best, unsweetened soya yoghurt, now available in most supermarkets.

Spices, you will have too much here for just one curry, but if you’re going to make your own spice, you may as well make a decent batch I say.  Keep them in a sealed container or jar.  Label them up, with a date, or give them away as a gift.  In my experience, people love the gift of spice!

 

 

Mushroom and Squash Rogan Josh

 

The Bits – For 4-6

1 roasted medium squash, 650g (skin on, chop into chunks, seeds removed)

1 tin chickpeas (drained)

200g or 3 big handfuls mushrooms (chopped)

3 big handfuls or 75g greens (kale, spinach, chard)

5 tbs plain soya yoghurt/ coconut cream

 

Garam Masala – Spice Mix

½ teas green cardamom seeds (seeds from 10 cardamom pods)

½ stick cinnamon

2/3 teas cloves

1 teas black peppercorns

2 tbs cumin seeds

2 tbs coriander seeds

1 teas fennel seeds

3 bay leaves

1-2 dried red Kashmiri chilli

1 teas turmeric

1 ½ teas smoked paprika

 

Or use shop bought spice mix like garam masala plus 1 teas smoked paprika

 

Curry Paste

1 roasted red pepper (seeded, chopped into chunks)

3 garlic cloves

2-4 dried kashmiri chilli

1 inch fresh ginger (chopped)

3 tbs tomato puree

1 teas salt

3 tbs cold pressed rapeseed oil (or whatever oil you use)

 

3-4 tbs Spice Mix

 

Garnish
Fresh coriander and sliced chillies

 

Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 200oC.

On a baking tray lined with parchment, place the red pepper and squash.  Toss in a little salt and cooking oil.  Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until soft and slightly blackened in places.

For the spices – Place a pan on a medium heat, add all the whole spices and toast for 4-8 minutes or more, tossing them and making sure they’re all toasted and smelling fragrant.  They will take on a slightly darker colour and smell ‘toasty’.

Be sure not to burn them, the best way to check this is the smell and the look.  You don’t want any black bits at all.  Some people prefer darker spices, some prefer lightly toasted.  I’d start with lightly toasted.  Add the ground turmeric and paprika a minute before you finish toasting the spices.

Place all the spices in a small blender or spice grinder (coffee grinders are also good), and blitz until a powder forms.   Use some in the curry and store the rest in an airtight container.  Garam Masala is a versatile spice mix.

For the curry paste – Place the roasted red pepper in a blender with the other curry paste ingredients and blend to a smooth paste.

For the curry – In a large frying pan, warm 1 tbs cooking oil and fry your mushrooms for 5 minutes, until they’re soft.  Add the curry paste, thinning out with water or soya milk (creamier) as needed. Once the curry paste is bubbling away, spoon in the yoghurt and check seasoning.

Now add the roasted squash, chickpeas and greens. Warm through from 5-7 minutes, then serve scattered with freshly chopped coriander with naan, chutneys and rice.

This would be delicious with our Mango and Papaya Chutney or Cashew and Green Pepper Pulao or even Quick Carrot and Ginger Pickle.

 

Snowdonia looking stunning in the autumn sunshine.  Sometimes the mountains around here remind me of the Himalayas.

 

Foodie Fact

Squash is bang in season at the minute, there are so many varities.  If you’re reading from the US, were of course talking Winter Squashes here.  They are a rich source of vitamin C, A and plenty of fibre and minerals.  Also remember the seeds, you can clean and dry them and they are amazing roasted in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

 

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

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