healthy

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

Pea, Avocado and Kale Soup – Vibrantly Delicious and Vegan!

The combination of pea, kale and avocado works so well together. Really flavourful and nourishing.

 

So easy to prepare.  A warming, nourishing bowl of green goodness

 

Beautiful flavours combine with awesome nutrition to make a keeper of a recipe!

 

The avocado here gives a lovely plant-based creaminess.  This recipe is fuss-free and versatile. The soup is delicious as it is, but if you’d like to add spices or herbs, it’s a great base for many different flavour journeys.

We eat loads of pea soups, a myriad varieties, they are one of Jane’s favourites.  You might think avocado in a soup is a little weird.  It’s not.  It’s delicious.  The first time I had avocado in soups was in Mexico City and it works!  I love avocado in anything and kale is something I just worship.  

 

All Hail Kale!!!  

 

Sorrel sprouting in the Beach House Kitchen

 

I like sorrel too

 

It’s that time of year, the ‘hunger gap’ veg farmers call it, but we still have lots of edible ‘weeds’ on offer in Wales.  Nettles, sorrel, dandelions, chickweed, clover, wild garlic, burdock, even Japanese Knotweed is tasty!…. So much free food to forage!  Even on your one a day, government sanctioned stroll, you might see some of these edibles growing.  

We will be harvesting our first nettles and dandelions soon, they’ve been slow to grow this year.  But the sorrel is sprouting up all over the place, with it’s lovely, sharp flavour (like fresh green apple) it goes well in a salad of mixed leaves and makes a very punchy pesto! 

We spoke to our friends last night on Zoom, which is something we’re really enjoying.  We went to Sicily together last year (I will share the pictures for that trip one day!) and before we met, they stayed in a house with mushrooms growing from the floor!  That’s surely another level free food.  Foraging mushrooms indoors! 

 

There are loads of lovely Welsh poppies this year

 

We can’t believe all this sunshine we’re having!  It’s so beautiful sitting outside and eating.  I don’t think I’ve seen a Spring like this in the UK.  The plants are loving it, flowers blooming everywhere and our seedlings are doing well, almost ready to plant out.  I’ve got the veg patch prepared, using a no dig method this year, we’ll see how that goes.  The soil is looking and smelling great.  I’ve been using some compost I cooked 3 years ago.  Nice and mature!

We’ve also just planted some new trees in the back garden.  Elder, Field Maple, Silver Birch, Rowan, Hawthorn and Wild Cherry.  They seem to be settling in nicely.  With all this sunshine, the trees are filled with blossom (much of it being eaten by the sparrows, why do they do that?!) so we’re hoping for a bumper fruit harvest this autumn.  Finger and chopsticks crossed!     

I was just out in the garden checking on the new trees (we had some winds last night) and a Peregrine Falcon leaped out of one of the bushes!!  Which doesn’t happen very often. It seemed to be gathering twigs.  I’m noticing more bird life around here at the minute.  We have a couple of resident buzzards that float around us and stone chat is a new addition to the party.  I love watching the wrens ducking and diving in the dry stone walls.  But having said all that, that Peregrine experience was a bit special!  

 

Cooking is a refuge for me and at the end, WE EAT!  

 

We hope you’re all holding up out there in these strange and challenging times. Our diet can offer us much support and fortitude.  Soups like this are perking us up no end.  I think with this isolation thing, it’s making me more grounded and connected to where I am.  I sometimes have one eye on the next big travel overseas and projects for the future.  Now, with all my cooking gigs and retreats etc cancelled,  I can just chill here with nature and see it changing.  Beginning to notice more and appreciate everything I’ve got.  Both the small and big stuff.  Have you felt this too?  The important things in life have been brought into sharp perspective; good health, love, family, friends, freedom, SOUP!! 

 

We’re posting loads of our other cooking adventures over on

Instagram and our

Vegan Cooking Group on Facebook

 

 

If you like this one, please leave a comment below and follow the blog  

We always love reading your messages and feedback  

 

Recipe Notes

Frozen avocados is sold in many supermarkets and great to have on standby in the freezer for soups, smoothies, a quick guac! attack.  It’s also much cheaper bought frozen (for reasons unknown).  No frozen avocado?  Fresh is also fine, just add it at the end with the kale.

Use any greens you have, but kale is my favourite.   

 

Vibrantly Delicious, Healthy and Vegan Soup – Enjoyed in the front garden in all the Snowdonia sunshine and sorrell


Pea, Avocado and Kale Soup – Vegan 


The Bits – For 4 Bowls

2 small onions (sliced)
425g frozen green/garden peas
150g frozen avocado
1.25ltr warm vegetable stock
100g kale
1 tbs coconut oil

Sea salt

Topping
Fresh herbs like sorrel, basil, mint, parsley


Do It
In a large saucepan, warm the oil on medium high heat and add the onion. Cook for 10 minutes, until nicely golden. This gives a flavourful base for the soup.

Add the vegetable stock to the pan, bring to a boil and add the peas and avocado. Cook for 3 minutes.

Add the kale to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Until vibrantly green.

Take off the heat and blend with a stick blender until creamy.  Taste and season with salt. 

Top with fresh herbs, nuts and seeds.  Enjoy!! 

 

If you like this recipe HERE are loads more of our soup recipes

 

Jane’s arty shot. Last nights sunset from the BHK window.

 

Foodie Fact 

KALE.  Is the king, the queen, the jack and the joker all combined!  It’s nutritionally sound, probably the most nutritionally dense food on the planet.  Loaded with vitamin A, K, C, B1 (Thiamine), fibre and lots of minerals like iron and calcium.

It’s rich in anti-oxidants and could help lower cholesterol, cancer and is anti-inflammatory. Kale even has some Omega 3 fats tucked away it it’s gorgeous greenery. 

It’s actually a member of the cabbage family.  

 

 

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Soups, Spring, Vegan | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Lockdown Lasagna – Wild Mushroom, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto with Chickpea Bechamel (Gluten-free, Vegan)

Lockdown Lasagna – Making the best of what we’ve got! A simple lasagna filled with BIG flavours and creamy bechamel

 

This one’s for rockin’ the lockin’!

Lasagna is a celebration of a dish, it takes time and love to make well

 

Most of these ingredients are from the store cupboard or freezer, but it’s still packed with flavour and nutrition.  The sun-dried tomato pesto is a real highlight and adds a zing to the bechamel, making the top especially crispy and delicious.  You’ll get all your lasagna boxes ticked, a deeply flavoured sauce with creamy bechamel.  Many layers of happiness right here! 

I can’t think of a healthier way of making a traditional(ish) lasagna vegan and gluten-free than this one. It’s really tasty and satisfying, full of hearty lentils and mushrooms.  I like cooking food for everyone, something great that we can all enjoy, no matter what our dietary requirements.  It’s just good food right!  

Wild Mushroom, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto with Chickpea Bechamel (Gluten-free, Vegan)

 

Over one our Facebook Cooking Group we decided that chickpeas were the best ingredient ever. So versatile, tasty and nutritious.  Chickpea/Gram flour is an excellent flour to keep in your cupboards.  It makes delicious crepes and pancakes, can be used to make vegan omelettes or tortillas, add it to cakes.  It generally adds a lovely toasty, almost egg-like, flavour to whatever it touches.   I use it for breads also.  It’s my favourite flour right now.

Why is this a lockdown lasagna?  I’ve stripped some of my normal lasagna recipes right back but it’s still a real treat and we all need a bit of that.  The pesto is borderline, I took the pine nuts/ almonds I’d normally use out, but I’m still calling it a pesto!  I want to make this an inexpensive and accessible as possible, but still comforting and moreish.  The process of cooking a lasagna is a labour of love, lots of techniques and time needed to make a something that is such a classic feast.  

We love having a basil plant in the kitchen, the fragrance and colour, it’s a little nod towards the Med too.  Basil is the only fresh ingredient in this lasagna.  This goes against how I normally cook, but these are strange days for sure.  Now, more than ever, the kitchen seems like a refuge of sorts.  A place we can go to lose ourselves for a while and lasagna is the perfect dish for this, disappear into a world of bubbling pots and spinning spoons. 

It may not be fresh but frozen spinach, passata and mushrooms are still filled with great flavour and nutrition.  Fresh is best in the BHK, but cooking the cupboards can also give us diverse options for making delicious and tasty food.  One thing this situation has focused my mind on is how precious food is; tinned, dried, pickled, a bit shrivelled looking, we can do things with them.  Make the best of what we’ve got.     

Our Vegetable Peel and Crisps recipe from a while ago is getting loads of visits at the minute.  I think it’s down to cooks looking for new ways of using up supposed scraps.  Fermented foods are also ideal.  You can take a humble cabbage and make something sublime!  If you’re into sauerkraut that is.  Kimchi too.  Fermented foods store for an age, are inexpensive, require no special equipment and are packed with incredible nutritional properties. Fermenting enhances flavours (chocolate, coffee, cheese, vinegar, wine etcetc all fermented foods).  Our guts love sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha etc and they are great for supporting our immune-system and good health generally.  Here’s our Beetroot, Apple and Caraway Saeurkraut recipe from good ole’ 2014.  I hope to post some new fermented food recipes soon…..  

 

Vegan and Gluten-free Lasagna topped with that sun-dried tomato pesto (which makes all the difference!)

 

If you get the chance to try this recipe, please let us know below in the comments, it’s wonderful to hear from you.  Yesterday we had people stopping by on the blog from Surinam, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Poland, Cyprus, US Virgin Islands (where are they?), your emails of support and encouragement are amazing and keep this blog floating along.  Big thanks and shout out to Cyberella in Victoria, Australia!  Amazing to know that you’re loving Peace and Parsnips all the way down there.  

From our little cottage in Snowdonia, the BHK blog was started simply because we had a passion for healthy food, empowered cooking, good health and living.  How they’re intertwined.  How the way we cook can change our lives.  Cooking is a regular opportunity for me to be mindful and compassionate.  We wanted to share this with more than just our little village!  8 years later our main motivation for blogging is still, WE LOVE IT!!

The BHK is just taking it easy at the minute, we’re waiting to see how things pan out and when this blows over, we’ll be announcing new events, collaborations, holidays, demos and retreats. Thanks everyone for getting in touch and enquiring about what’s coming for later in ’20 and into ’21.  

Who knows where this is all going to go?  I just know that for me, cooking and eating good food makes life more bearable at times of crisis.  We’re appreciating, everyday, what we have and focusing on cooking up a life filled with love and peace, staying grounded, energised and vital for the challenges ahead.  

Sending you all best wishes, all over the world, from Surinam to Scarborough, hoping that you’ve got some dried mushrooms and gram flour in the cupboard ready for action!

 

Ciao Bella!!  Vegan lasagna fresh out of the oven, all crispy on top and bubbling with flavours

 

Recipe Notes

Lasagna takes a while to get together, you can start preparing well in advance, cook the lentils, make the bechamel and even finish the sauce.  This means that you’ll just need to assemble the lasagna and bake.  If you’re making it from scratch, put aside at least a couple of lasagna hours.  It’s always time well spent!

Not gluten-free?  That’s cool, just use your favourite lasagna pasta sheets.  I haven’t tried the bechamel with plain white flour instead of gram, but any bechamel recipe would be brightened up with this pesto.    

This recipe makes lots.  Plenty for the freezer.  Use fresh spinach or other greens if you would like to freeze the lasagna.  Otherwise, all neighbours love lasagna!  It’s one of those dishes that gets better with age.  Not too much age.  A few days in the fridge is enough ageing.  

If you haven’t made a bechamel before, it’s great.  You’re in for a treat.  Just keep on top of the lumps.  Sound advice there.  Stir, keep stirring and whisk if needed.  Turn the heat down if it’s all happening too fast.  Add you milk little by little, forming a thick paste, then keep adding milk until it thins out gradually.  Eventually you’ll have a lovely, silky sauce to enjoy.   

If you’re a full-blown pasta lover, you could add another layer of pasta to the lasagna.  Just use less tomato sauce and bechamel per layer.  

 

Follow us on Instagram, more pictures from the Beach House Kitchen

and vegan recipes

 

We’re locking down with lasagna!

 

Wild Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Chickpea Bechamel – Gluten-free, Vegan

 

The Bits – For one large lasagna, 10-12 portions

Sauce

350g dark green or puy lentils (rinsed)

750ml cold water

1 big bay leaf

 

6 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed)

2 tbs olive oil or whatever cooking oil you fancy

40g dried wild mushrooms (soaked in water)

3 tbs tomato puree

680ml tomato passata (one big jar)

2 teas dried oregano

275g frozen spinach (it normally comes in small or large blocks)

450ml hot vegetable stock

Sea salt and pepper


Chickpea Bechamel

100g chickpea/ gram flour

125ml olive oil

1 ltr plant milk (I used soya milk)

1 big bay leaf

1 – 1 1/2 teas sea salt

 

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

190g sun-dried tomatoes (one small jar, drained) 

1 tbs oil, from the sun dried-tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teas dried oregano

1 big handful fresh basil leaves

2 large pinches sea salt 

 

Gluten-free Lasagna Sheets (or your favourite pasta sheets) 

 

Do It 

First thing, get your frozen spinach out to defrost.  This can take a couple of hours.

Lentils – Start with the lentils.  In a medium sauce pan, add your bay leaf, lentils and water to the pan, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, until just cooked.  Take the lentils off the heat and remove the bay leaf.  Drain them, using any of the lentil cooking broth instead of stock if you like.  It’s full of flavour.  

 

Tomato Sauce – In a large saucepan, add the oil, on medium high heat, fry the garlic for 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste, continue to stir and cook for 3 minutes.  Now pour in the passata, sprinkle oregano, seasoning well with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  Stir, add the wild mushrooms, along with any soaking water (use a small, fine sieve, there may be some grit in the water).  Pop a lid on a simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.   

Towards the end of the sauce cooking, add your spinach and vegetable stock.  Warm through.

Taste your sauce.  It should be rich and flavoursome, if not, season more with salt and pepper.  Leave the lid on and take off the heat.  The sauce is best used hot.     

 

Pesto – Place all the pesto bits into a blender and pulse until a slightly chunky, pesto forms.  Set aside, the flavours will be mingling nicely.  

 

Chickpea Bechamel – In a medium saucepan on medium high heat, add the olive oil and chickpea flour.  Stir and cook through for 4 minutes to make a thick paste.  Add a splash of milk and quickly stir.  Continue adding splashes of milk and stirring well, add the bay leaf.  

It will eventually become smooth, a thick and creamy texture.  Keep stirring until you’ve used up the milk.  Continue to simmer the bechamel for 10-12 minutes.  Taste, season with salt.  Remove the bay leaf.  

If there are lumps in your bechamel (no probs, it happens!)  Blend.  Grab a stick blender and blend until it’s smooth.  Otherwise, to be honest, a few lumps are not the end of the world!!

 

Vegan Wild Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna, ready for the oven

 

Assemble and Bake – Preheat a fan oven to 190oC.

Stir half the pesto into the bechamel until well combined.

In a large, deep baking dish (ours is roughly 12″ long/8″wide/3″deep), ladle in half your warm tomato sauce. Spoon over roughly a third of your bechamel.   Top with lasagna sheets, until you have a snug covering, breaking up the sheets to fill the gaps.  

Ladle over the rest of your tomato sauce, top with lasagna sheets and spoon over the rest of your bechamel to form a neat layer which meets the edges of the baking dish.  

Now evenly spoon your pesto onto the bechamel, blobs are good (see picture).  Pressing the pesto down lightly with a spoon and muddling it a little.

Place your casserole dish on a large baking tray lined with baking parchment.  This stops drips and saves on washing up/ cleaning.  Jane’s idea!

Cook the lasagna for 35-40 minutes, until the top has a nice, dark golden, crust and all is bubbling begging to be eaten!

We like our lasagna served with a crisp, mixed green salad, using flavourful leaves like rocket or endive, raddichio would be delicious too.  A citrus, olive oil dressing pairs brilliantly with this dish.  

 

A lasagna anyone will enjoy!

 

Foodie Fact     

Most dried mushroom mixes have porcini in them.  Which is one of my favourite mushrooms. King boletus!  Also known as Cep, or in Germany, ‘Stone Mushroom’.   We’re moving into the age of the mushroom!!  The incredible health benefits of mushrooms are now being realised and promoted, plus, they’re just awesomely tasty.  Dried porcini are high in anti-oxidants, are good sources of protein and can help with weight loss, inflammation and digestive health.   

If you’re at all interested in the amazing fungi world, I’d recommend checking out Paul Stamets. 

 

 

 

 

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

Quarantine Curry – Quick Spicy Tomato Masala with Cauliflower, Mango and Spinach

Quarantine Curry – Quick Fragrant Tomato Masala with Cauliflower, Potatoes and Spinach – Vegan, Gluten-free

 

Quarantine cooking.  Means simply making the most of what we’ve got! 

This was last nights dinner in the BHK,

I can’t think of a much easier, less fuss-free way of preparing a curry.  

 

This was such a hit over on our vegan cooking group, we had to share it.  Thanks so much for all the continued support and enthusiasm.  Your kind wishes here and on Instagram etc are really inspiring.  It sounds like you’re mainly positive about this ‘new normal’ that we’re all finding ourselves in.  Most countries around the world are on ‘lockdown’, and most of you are finding time to get cooking at home, which is great.  Hang in there!!  Let’s eat healthy:)    

This is probably not the most enticing of recipe titles, but it’s pretty accurate!  What can we do?!  Cook with what’s at hand and hopefully this curry does just that, using only ground spices and a few simple ingredients and veg.  You can use any veg in fact, the sauce/ masala is the key.  Getting it well cooked, nicely spiced, with a nice hit of fruity sweetness to tickle the tastebuds.

 

We need less than we think to cook delicious food!

 

We’re loving our walks like never before.   Appreciating the awesome mountains where we live.  Last nights giant pink moon rising over Mount Snowdon. Spectacular!!

Making the most of what we’ve got

Really, the best way to cook is making the most of what we’ve got.  Always.  Not just now.  So this could be the time we get into some really good kitchen habits.  Learning new skills to take humble ingredients and give them a makeover.  Make them shine!  Good food is not fancy or expensive, it’s cooked with care, with passion and focus.  

We very rarely buy anything especially for a recipe, we just cook with what’s local, seasonal and in the cupboard/ spice rack.  It’s where I get my inspiration as a cook, a window to get creative and challenge myself.  Let’s see these restrictions as a chance to try new things, new flavour combos, new textures and techniques, and always minimising waste.  

We love cooking and buying food, partly because it is such a precious resource.  I’m lucky, because Jane is a storage expert!  An amazing stock rotator and tin stacker!!  Never a rubbery carrot wasted in the BHK.

Keep it spicy!

So here we’ve got dried spices, not fresh ginger, onions, chilli or garlic, which is normally where I start most curries.  Try to use as fresh spices as you can, but this is quarantine curry, swap and choose as you like.  If you’re short of cumin or coriander, sub with a little more curry powder.  If you don’t have fenugreek, no probs, just add a little more cumin or curry powder.  They’re really the base notes for the flavour and in time, you’ll get your favourite balance, you’re own perfect masala mix.  

Keep your spices in airtight containers, out of the way of damp and sunlight.  As fresh as you can.  Keeping them spicy!  If you have whole spices, toasting and grinding your own is the way to go.  I realise that’s a bit of a luxury, but you can’t beat those gorgeous flavours.        

We’ve been doing lots of chilling, digging and some planting in the garden. But mainly chilling.  It looks like all our trees survived the winter up here (which is not a given) and we’ll get a nice little crop of plums, apples, pears and maybe the odd cherry?  You never know.

Up on the hill

We’ve had a brilliant weather for the past few weeks and are feeling settled up here on Tiger Hill.  We live in a tiny village and people are in their gardens and taking daily walks more than ever, which is really nice to see.  Even though we can’t get close, it feels good to just exchange waves and smiles.  Bringing the village together.  It’s never been truer than now, we’re all in this together!!  

Somedays we’re feeling the sheer scale and global suffering relating to this situation, and on others, enjoying the newts and birds in the garden.  We’re basing our days around focusing on those we love what makes us feel grounded and inspired.  Cooking has always been a place where I can relax, retreat and focus my mind, a release at these times.  We will be sharing our wellness tips in a post very soon.  

We’re keeping healthy and in a positive frame of mind.  This feels like just the beginning of something, so we’re trying to chill, be open minded and ride it out.  Good food always helps!  

I hope you like these photos, we’ve been taking our walk around the hill at sunset and there’s been many a firework show!  Looking out across the Irish Sea towards Ireland.  We feel VERY lucky, everyday, to be together up here, with a garage full of lentils.

 

Sending you all the best of bestest wishes, good health and sensational spiceX      

 

Jane up with the stone circle (now a triangle?!) What a place to stretch your legs!!

Recipe Notes

Chilli!  How’d you like it?  I’ve gone for mild here, but add another 1/2-1 teas if you’d like to feel the fire.  

The same goes for the mango chutney.  Many people like a sweeter style curry, it’s one of the tricks in curry houses, making your curries slightly sweeter (and also richer) than at home.    

Vegetable wise, you can use any similar quantities of cooked vegetables.  Steamed, roasted, pan-fried, however they come.  This curry is an ideal home for leftover veg, a good meal for the day after a roast dinner.   A banging sauce, pre-made, then add your vegetables and maybe a few more spices and fried garlic or ginger, a little yoghurt/ coconut milk, a sprinkle of fresh coriander….  It’s such an easy way to approach making curry, and the foundation is always a tasty masala sauce.  Having a masala sauce ready for action in the fridge is a cooks dream!   

Frozen spinach is a great idea.  Frozen vegetables and fruits are still filled with nutrition and flavour.  We always keep a good stock of frozen fruits for smoothies (they even sell frozen avocado now!) and veg for stews and soups.  Fresh is best.  Most of the time.  But not always. Frozen does have benefits.  It’s right there, ready, and like I said, it’s normally picked ripe, so there is even more nutrients than lots of frozen produce.  

[caption id="attachment_10271" align="aligncenter" width="470"] Vegan Cauliflower and Potato Curry – Quick and easy using simple ingredients. Ideal for lockdown:)

 

Quarantine Curry – Quick Spicy Tomato Masala with Cauliflower, Potatoes and Spinach

Vegan, gluten-free, oil free option 


The Bits – For 4

Fragrant Tomato Masala
400g passatta or tinned chopped tomatoes
2 tbs tomato puree
1 tbs mango chutney
300ml vegetable stock

4 teas good quality curry powder
1 1/2 teas garlic powder
1 1/2 teas ground ginger
2 teas ground coriander
2 teas ground cumin
1/2-1 teas chilli powder
1/2 teas ground fenugreek
1 teas sea salt

Vegetables
300g frozen spinach leaves
300g cauliflower florets
400g boiled/ steamed new potatoes (cut in half)
2 tbs cooking oil (I use cold-pressed rapeseed oil)

Do It
In a sauce pan, add all of your masala ingredients, bring to a simmer and pop a lid on. Leave to cook gently for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  That easy!!

In a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan, add the oil on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add your cauliflower and potatoes and cook for 8 minutes. Turning the veggies occasionally, getting some nice caramelised edges. 

Add the spinach to the pan and pour the masala sauce over the vegetables, gently stir, careful not to break up the vegetables.  Pop a lid on and leave to bubble for a couple of minutes, cooking until your spinach is soft and vibrantly green.  Check seasoning, adding salt and chilli as you like.  

Ideally, serve with basmati rice, a simple raita, pickles and warm chapati’s.  It’s thali time!

If you’d like to make this recipe oil free, simply cook your vegetables without oil!  Steamed vegetables is a great option.  

 

Stunning sunsets, exploding sun. Wandering around Tiger Hill, looking over towards Ireland, Snowdonia (our extended back garden;)

 

Foodie Fact

Jane’s fav.  Potatoes!  Spuds are full of good stuff.  A sprinkling of good protein and fibre with nice minerals, like potassium, and plenty of vitamin C.  Leave the skins on and the nutritional value shoots up.  This goes for most vegetables. 

 

 

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Categories: Curries, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , , , | 7 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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flying Flapjacks 

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

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

Celebrate Cake

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

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

These are fill your boots flapjacks!

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

Festive Flapjacks – The ones that escaped the storm

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

The Bits – For 6 large slices, 12 small 

Dry

150g jumbo oats (gluten-free)

50g walnuts

50g sunflower seeds

25g chia seeds

1 teas ground cinnamon

Wet

75g brown sugar

50ml plant-based milk (g.f.)

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

2 tbs cranberry sauce

75g dried cranberries

Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

We’ll have more vegan Christmas recipes coming soon, SIGN UP to our newsletter her and get all the BHK action

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Desserts, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales, Winter | Tags: , | 3 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

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

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

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

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

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

Secret vegan weapon….

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

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

Giant Tortillas  

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

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

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

Being a local ‘Guiri’

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

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

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

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

Little green shoots

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

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

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

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

 

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

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

Batter

100g gram flour

175ml soya milk

75g firm tofu

1 teas salt

½ teas turmeric

½ teas g.f. bicarb of soda

½ teas g.f. baking powder

 

Filling

1 large onion (sliced)

2 large cloves garlic (sliced)

½ teas salt

125g firm tofu (broken into pieces with fingers)

2 tbs lemon juice (1 small lemon)

½ tbs lemon zest (½ small lemon)

2 tbs olive oil

150g frozen peas

1 teas dried mint

1 teas dried dill

¼ teas black pepper

 

Do It

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

Press tofu between kitchen paper, remove excess moisture.

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

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

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

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

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

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

Flamenco in Sevilla

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

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

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

Beach House Kitchen Bowl!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy Vegan Curry Feast – 3 quick recipes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roasted Vegetable and Coconut Curry, all the trimmings…

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

Timing is everything right!  

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve also just started posting over on Instagram.  

Svaadisht!

 

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

 

The Bits – For 4 big eaters or 6

Coconut Rice 

250ml brown basmati rice

500ml vegetable stock

1 1/2 teas cumin seeds

2/3 teas nigella/ kalongi seeds

1/2 teas mustard seeds

1/2 stick cinnamon

5 green cardamom pods (cracked)

4 tbs dessiccated coconut

1 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

1/2 teas sea salt

 

Black Kale Daal

250g red lentils

850ml vegetable stock

1/2 teas turmeric

 

125g black kale/ cavolo nero (finely sliced)

1/2 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

3 cloves garlic

2 heaped tbs chopped ginger

1 1/2 teas cumin seeds

1 teas mustard seeds

1/2-1 teas sea salt

 

Roasted Vegetable and Coconut Curry

2 peppers (chopped)

500g/ 1/2 large butternut squash

1 large onion

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

Sea salt and black pepper

 

Spicy Tomato Sauce 

1 large onion (chopped)

5 tomatoes (chopped)

5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

2 tbs ginger (finely chopped)

1-2 red chillies (sliced)

150g/ 2 handfuls white cabbage (sliced)

2 teas garam masala

2 teas ground cumin

1 1/2 teas ground turmeric

1 1/2 teas ground coriander

1-2 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

1 teas sea salt and black pepper

Easy to be vegan!

Do It

Rice

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

Daal

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

Curry

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

 

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

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

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

Quick and Delicious Plant-based Brunch! Middle-Eastern Mushrooms, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Smoky Chickpeas

Weekend Plant-based Brunch

A simple, colourful and delicious brunch that is ready in double quick time.

I wanted something fresh, tasty and healthy this morning.  It’s Sunday, a treat brunch is on the menu!  I love baked beans, but fancied something healthier with a spicy and smoky twist, also pan fried vegetables with some of my favourite flavours of the Middle East.

When this brunch is served with hummus/ tahini sauce and toasted pitta bread, it hit’s the spot; weekend, weekday, in fact any time of day.  Add bulghur wheat or cous cous to make it a hearty lunch or dinner.

Middle-Eastern Mushrooms, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Smoky Chickpeas – Vegan

I love the combination of delicious, fresh vegetables, warm breads, olives, herbs and something tahini-ish.  Its a tried and tested format for a tasty vegan meal.  Light and full of flavour and nutrition.

With that in mind, this is my version of things today, with what we’ve got locally (and in the cupboards/ veg basket).  That’s how my favourite recipes arise, out of necessity and a chunk of inspiration.  Bringing the best out of what you’ve got.  I only ever plan meals if I really have too.

In the pan

It’s that time of year when we’re all feeling the pinch as far as seasonal veggies are concerned.  I can’t wait for Spring, the wild garlic, dandelions, elderflowers, nettles etc all on the way soon.

Trigonos has been stunning this past month, this is where we have coffee/ lunch.  Not a bad view!  The beautiful Nantlle Valley.

At Trigonos, preparation is in full swing for the coming growing season.  The seeds are being sown and the soil prepared.  With all this uncertainty about our food, something to do with that Brexit thing that’s going on, it’s a great time to invest in and celebrate local farmers/ growers.  Having organic local produce available is a real blessing for any cook, but I think anyone can feel the benefits of eating with the seasons and celebrating what’s available in our area.

I’ve traveled all over the UK and there are so many passionate foodies, we’re looking forward to meeting more at this year’s food festivals. 

Hope to catch you there and get loads of new foodie inspiration.  Seems like every year, there is greater diversity at these festivals and plant-based options.

On the plate – quick and delicious weekend treat

Let us know in the comments below if you like the look of this dish, or get to try it out.  We hope you are all well and feeling inspired to cook some fresh and colourful plant-based dishes.  We’re always here to support you if you have any questions.

Happy cooking from the BHK!:)

 

Recipe Notes

Make sure you cook the vegetables on a high heat for a short time, something like a stir fry.  The tomatoes and broccoli will get slightly charred, bringing out the flavours.  Quick and hot will mean the vegetables cook, but don’t get too soft, we seal in the flavours and retain their vitality.

Use any olives you like, but I love the flavour and texture of Kalamata olives.  Make sure they’re de-stoned to avoid any unwanted brunch-based crunches.

This makes a great lunch or dinner, serve with cous cous or bulghur wheat to bulk it out and make the meal more substantial.

 

Middle-Eastern Mushrooms, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Smoky Chickpeas 

The Bits – For 2 as a brunch 

Middle-Eastern Mushrooms
2 large flat mushrooms, portobello or field (chopped in half)
100g/ 2 handfuls purple sprouting broccoli
85g/ 3 handfuls cherry tomatoes
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 heaped teas cumin seeds
16 kalamata olives (de-stoned)
2 tbs olive brine or water
Sea salt and black pepper

Smoky Chickpeas
1 tin chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 tbs tomato puree
1 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tbs maple syrup or other sweetener
2 teas smoked paprika
1 teas za’atar or dried thyme
½-1 teas chilli powder
4 tbs water
1/2 teas salt (to taste)

Olive oil (for cooking)

To serve
Hummus or tahini/ tarator sauce
Toasted Pitta Bread

To Do

For the Smoky Chickpeas – Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan.  Warm on a medium heat, cooking for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.  Taste and season with salt.

For the Mushrooms – Trim off the woody ends of your broccoli.  In a large frying pan, add 1-2 tbs olive oil, warm on high heat.  Add the cumin and fresh thyme, then the mushrooms.  Fry for 3 minutes, turning the mushrooms once.

Add the broccoli, tomatoes and olive brine/ water.  Stir and toss the vegetables and cook for 3 more minutes.  Add the olives to the pan and warm for 2 minutes.  Season with sea salt and pepper.

Serve straight away with hummus and toasted pitta bread.

 

In the Trigonos poly tunnels, not much to see yet, but give it a couple of months…..

Foodie Fact

Chickpeas, aka gigglebeans, aka garbanzos, aka the Egyptian pea, are probably the best named legume.  What do you reckon?

It’s a very good idea to eat lots of chickpeas, or at least, enjoy them regularly.  Full of protein and fibre, some calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron…..  Plus they just taste fine, I’ve been making cakes with them!!  There is no end how awesome and versatile the humble chickpea can be.

 

Categories: Breakfast, gluten-free, healthy, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Wholegrain Soda Bread Muffins – Vegan

Vegan Soda Bread Muffins, it’s all about the buttermilk!

Home-baked bread in no time at all!!

Perfect with a nice bowl of soup.

 

I’ve been busy away from the blog recently, so it’s great to be back! Thought I’d get started again with something simple and hearty.

I love soda bread, good bread doesn’t need to be fiddly or take ages to make.  These muffins are wholesome, have a great flavour and texture from ingredients you’ve probably got tucked away in your cupboards right now.

Soda bread is easy when you know how.  We don’t want to taste any soda (bicarbonate that is) so we balance it with the flavour of the buttermilk.  That’s the art of soda bread.  The acid in the buttermilk help the loaf to rise.  We use plain flour here to give the soda bread lighter texture.  Soda bread is unique!

WHY MUFFINS?

I do like a muffin!  We make fresh loaves everyday so it’s just changing things up a little.  These will be paired with a nice Winter Roots and Lentil Soup at the minute. 

I think with a muffin like this, it’s also about the crust.  It’s a wrap-around crust!  Crust all over.  This is a definite bonus when it comes to muffins or rolls.

You can add all kinds of herbs (rosemary and thyme), nuts or seeds and spices to this bread.  You can also bake it in a loaf shape, just add a little more time to the bake.

Simple Vegan Soda Bread – Ready in 45 minutes.

Making vegan buttermilk is very easy and ideal for baking.  I like to use vinegar as the acid, and soya milk.  But you can experiment with acid’s like lemon/ lime juice and other plant milks, like almond.  But other plant milks may not curdle as well.

We need loads of hearty and warming dishes at this time of year, I hope you like these muffins.  Do let us know if you make them and feel free to ask any questions or give feedback in the comments below.

Happy cooking!!

 

Recipe Notes

You can go wholegrain 100% here if you fancy.  Just replace wholegrain flour with the white flour. The texture will be a little more dense, but tasty.

Make sure you give the mix a good stir, this helps to create a nice texture.

 

Vegan Soda Bread – A simple and satisfying Beach House Kitchen favourite

Wholegrain Soda Bread Muffins – Vegan

The Bits – For 12

Dry

150g plain white flour

300g wholemeal bread/ strong flour

2 tbs brown sugar

2 tbs rapeseed or olive oil

1 teas bicarbonate of soda

1 teas salt

 

Oats (for sprinkle)

 

Vegan Buttermilk 

325ml soya milk

2 teas apple cider or white wine vinegar

 

Do It

Stir the vinegar into the soya milk and leave to sit for 10 minutes.  It will form a buttermilk texture.

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl then mix in the buttermilk.  Mix well for a few minutes, I like to use a wooden spoon.

Lightly oil a muffin tin and using two dessert spoons, this is the easiest way, spoon the dough into the tin.  Make the muffins roughly equal in size.

Sprinkle with oats or a little more flour and place in the oven.  Bake for 14 minutes.

Once baked, they’ll be nice and golden on top.  Leave the muffins to sit for a couple of minutes in the tin and then remove onto a wire cooling rack.

Best enjoyed warm with a nice bowl of soup.  Also nice with your favourite jam and vegan creme fraiche.

Beautiful views in wintery Snowdonia

Foodie Fact 

Wholegrain flours are less, or not, processed at all.  Wholegrain flour is much higher in fibre than white flour, fibre is essential in our diets for loads of reasons.  Good levels of fibre in our diets will help our digestion, can lower blood cholesterol and even help to lose weight.

Wholegrain flour has roughly six times more fibre per serving than white flour.  Wholegrains are low GI, meaning they’re great fuel for our bodies, releasing sugar slowly into our bloodstreams.  We’re also talking vitamins; some vitamin B’s, folate, riboflavin.

Go wholegrain!

Categories: Baking, Cooking Holidays, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales, Winter | Tags: , , | 3 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

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

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