Recipes

Walnut and Maple Cookies – Crispy & Chewy, Gluten-free & Vegan

Vegan Walnut Cookies, fresh out of the oven!

 

Warm cookies.  Cup of tea.  Happy days!  

(Or coffee.  Whatever’s your favourite cookie tipple.)  

 

We really enjoyed these crisp and chewy cookies, the flavours of toasted walnuts and maple syrup are a delicious pairing.  This is a recipe I created because I love to bake with oats, I love making things gluten-free where ever possible (I find it a fascinating corner of baking) and I just felt like a little sweetness in the BHK.  Riding a cookie raft down the rooibos river.  

 

Welcome to warm cookie world!

 

You know the combo of walnut and maple works, you know caramelised brown sugar and oats are going to be good, the gram flour is a curve ball for most, but trust me, they have a lovely soft and chewy texture.  No one will know chickpeas were involved.  

 

Everyone will gobble these cookies!

 

Is you’ve read this blog before, you know I love gram (chickpea/ garbanzo) flour.  Full of awesome nutrition and very versatile, it’s a great flour to keep as a staple.  Make quick flatbreads, use in vegan omelettes/ quiches, it makes a delicious tofu (called nofu!), use in baking cakes and breads, as well as being used in the cuisines of the Indian Subcontinent.  You’ll also find it being traditionally used in Europe, dishes like Farinata (Italy) and Socca (France) are delicious, it also pops up in North African and Spanish dishes occasionally.  It adds a slightly nutty flavour and is generally higher in fibre and protein than other flours.  Have you ever heard of other uses for gram flour?

You’ve probably made cookies before, so these will be as easy as apple pie.  You really just need to mix everything together and pop them onto a baking tray.  The neater the cookie balls, the less cracks in them, the neater the final cookies will be.  But it doesn’t really matter.  Do bake them until they get a nice deep, caramelised colour.  Then you know they’re ready.  

 

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If you try this recipe, please let us know below in the comments and feel free just to say ‘hello!’ It’s always awesome to hear from you.  

I hope you’re well today and you fancy these cookies.  You’re gonna love ’em!!

 

Happy cooking!!

 

Walnut and Maple Cookies – Crispy & Chewy, Gluten-free & Vegan

 

Recipe Notes

1 tablespoon of plant milk will make all the difference here.  Without the dash of plant milk, the cookies will be crunchy and rich, the little splash of plant milk brings the cookies to a softer, more chewy place.  Add just a small amount at a time, too much and you’ll have mini cakes, not cookies on your hands.  

Use any oats, except oat groats, which are really different.  I used nice big porridge oats.  

No gram flour?  Use a gluten-free flour mix or plain white wheat flour is also fine.

 

 

Walnut and Maple Cookies – Gluten-free, Vegan 

The Bits – For 12-14 cookies

 

Dry

125g oats (gluten-free or other)

150g gram/ chickpea flour

75g walnuts (roughly chopped)

1 teas baking powder

1/2 teas sea salt

1 teas ground cinnamon

 

Wet

140g light brown sugar

160ml lightly flavoured oil (cold-pressed)

4 tbs maple syrup

1 teas vanilla extract

1 tbs plant milk

 


Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

In a bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients.  

Mix together you sugar, oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract.

Stir your wet bits into your dry, combine all well.  Then add a magic dash of plant milk, to form a dough that holds together.  

With slightly wet hands (the dough won’t stick as much), roll your dough into small balls, the size of a large walnuts (the ones with shells on).  Press these balls onto a baking tray to form fat, neat discs, like chunky little ice hockey pucks.

Place in the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 12 -14 minutes.  Until the cookies turn a dark, golden colour all over.  They will firm up when cooled.

Remove from the oven and, using a spatula, place the cookies onto a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!  We loved these warm with vanilla ice cream!!   

 

Oats, maple syrup, walnuts = YUM:)

 

Foodie Fact

Oats are a real genius food.  Really beneficial for heart health and they’ve loads of iron, fibre and bags of minerals and anti-oxidants.  It’s a great idea to eat oats often, why not try sneaking them into cookies?  

 

 

 

Categories: Baking, gluten-free, Nutrition, photography, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Homemade Vegan Labneh Balls – Simple to make, delicious cream cheese

Vegan Labneh with Middle-Eastern flavours, enjoyed in Welsh garden with crusty sourdough

 

This is the easiest and most delicious way of making a tart and creamy vegan cheese

 

Have you tried making your own labneh?  You only need a few ingredients and a little time to make the best vegan cream cheese/ strained yoghurt.  Rolling it in herbs and spices takes it to the next level!

I’ve been meaning to post my vegan labneh recipe for ages, some of you have tried it at our events and vegan holidays.  I love this one and use it often!  It’s so versatile, inexpensive and fun to make.  

 

We love dipping into this pot! Labneh balls in a deliciously flavoured oil

 

Labneh (or labna, labni, lebni…) is a strained yoghurt from the Middle East region, something like cream cheese.  It can also be called Greek Yoghurt, Skyr (in Iceland), Chakka (Central Asia), Sheelanch (Balochistan) or even Sack Yoghurt.  In many cultures, strained yoghurt is a staple, enjoyed from Albania to Iran, Denmark to India.  I reckon this vegan version is good and creamy, a staple for a new way of living! 

We use unsweetened soya yoghurt here and only add a little sea salt, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.  The balance of tart, tanginess comes from both the lemon juice and vinegar.  I find they work in tandem to make a more authentic flavour.  

The yoghurt must contain the cultures, meaning it will ferment and flavours will develop as we’re straining the yoghurt.  I normally strain the yoghurt for 2-3 days.  Things will get more tangy the longer you leave it.  Making your own strained yoghurt at home means that it has no weird extra thickeners added into mass produced versions.    

Once the yoghurt is strained, you can enjoy the labneh as it is, or roll it into balls, coated in any herbs, spices, seeds, citrus zest, chilli flakes, whatever takes your fancy.  Sometime labneh is dried in the sun, a traditional way of preserving it used by bedouins, but I haven’t tried that.  Not enough sun in Wales you see!!  

It’s a nice idea to store your labneh balls in olive oil.  Labneh in oil or Labaneh bil zayit can be stored for more than a year, the flavour will mature the longer it’s stored, but I’ve never tried it for more than a couple of weeks.  They never hang around long enough!  This flavoured oil can then be used for salads, dipping or dressings.  No waste.  

 

Vegan Labneh rolled in Palestinian za’atar and sumac

 

I wrote more about this special Palestinian Za’atar in the last post:

 

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

 

I used my homemade labneh in that bake and those who’ve made it have mentioned that the labneh really stands out.  Labneh tends not to curdle when cooked due to its higher fat content and adds some creaminess to a spicy tomato and chickpea stew. 

Sumac is something we love adding to dishes.  It has a zesty flavour and comes from a deep red berry, which is dried and ground.  A condiment that really brings a pleasant tangy flavour, it looks vibrant and stores well.  Not to mention that it’s full of sparkling nutrition.  Sumac and Za’atar go together brilliantly, but a combination like mint/thyme and lemon zest would also work well.       

 

Strained vegan yoghurt rolled in Za’atar

 

We like labneh served simply with bread, salads, olives, pickles, in a sandwich with fresh herbs and green leaves, as a colourful mezze/ tapas.  Labneh is also delicious for breakfast, with warm flatbreads, olives, chopped vegetables like tomato and cucumber and a nice tea.  Spread it out on a plate and serve it as you would hummus, topped with olive oil, herbs, olives, spices. 

We eat yoghurt most days over here, not only is it delicious, but it’s a top source of friendly bacterias that are great for our digestion and wellbeing in general. 

 

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We hope you get to try out this recipe soon,

 

Happy cooking!!:) 

 

Middle-Eastern Cream Cheese Balls

 

Recipe Notes

I’d recommend doubling this quantity if you’re serious about your labneh.  As I mentioned, they don’t hang around long (too tasty) and it’s nice to taste the labneh developing with a little age.  

You may like to flavour the oil with fresh herbs.  This is a lovely way of adding more dimensions of flavour.  Thyme, oregano and rosemary are especially good. 

If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar will work well.  

I just made a batch with added fermented garlic, they’re knockout!  Labneh is an awesome base for flavour adventures. 

 

Easy to make and even easier to enjoy! Vegan Labneh

 

Homemade Vegan Labneh Balls rolled in Za’atar and Sumac

 

The Bits – For 8-10 balls

 

500g unsweetened soya yoghurt (with cultures) 

1/2-2/3 teas sea salt

 

Flavouring 

1 tbs lemon juice

1/2 teas apple cider vinegar

 

Extra virgin olive oil

 

Pressing your yoghurt, removing excess liquid. Use whatever is heavy and to hand.

 

Line a sturdy sieve or colander with muslin/ cheese cloth.  Place this over a bowl, which supports the edges of the sieve, raising it above the base of the bowl.  

Pour your yoghurt into the seive, gathering the edges of the muslin together to cover the yoghurt.  Now place something nice and heavy on top.  This will press the yoghurt, helping to drain excess liquid. 

Leave the yoghurt for 1-3 days.  Draining the bowl of liquid every now and again.

 

The yoghurt will be firm after a good pressing.  This is after 2 1/2 days, you can see how dry and crumbly it has become.

 

You can now flavour your yoghurt.  Scrape it out into a bowl and add the lemon juice, vinegar and salt.  Taste and find the balance that works best for you.  Go easy on the flavouring, you don’t want it to be overpowering and remember, the flavours will develop more when stored. 

You may roll into balls now, but I’d recommend popping it into a fridge for a few hours to chill and firm up even more.  

To roll, lightly oil your hands and form small balls, the size of fat olives.  

Add a flavourful crust by scattering herb or spices into a small bowl and toss the labneh balls in the bowl, covering them completely. 

 

Vegan labneh balls rolled in sumac

 

Place your labneh balls snugly into a sterilised/ very clean jar or sealable container.  Jars look cooler.  Cover with olive oil, until all labneh balls are fully immersed.      

They will keep well for a few weeks at room temperature.  Any longer is unknown territory for us.  If they last that long, without you eating them first, you deserve some kind of medal! 

 

I just want to dive in there! So many flavours, rich and delicious vegan cream cheese

 

Foodie Fact

All soya yoghurts will vary, but generally they’re a good source of protein, calcium, and minerals like iron and magnesium.  Many soya yoghurts are fortified with other vitamins and minerals too.  

 

 

Categories: Fermentation, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, vegan cheese | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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

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

 

A fragrant, rich and flavoursome bake, loaded up with zesty spices and the creaminess of vegan labneh (so easy to make at home!)  

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Top Palestinian Za’atar, bought in Bethlehem

Za’atar

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

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

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

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

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

 

You can check out some of my Lebanese foodie travels here

Seeking falafel perfection!

 

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

 

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

 

Good food shared is soul food!

 

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

 

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

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Happy cooking:)

 

Recipe Notes

I will post a vegan labneh recipe.  Basically, strain some unsweetened vegan yoghurt (with cultures) through muslin, leave for a day or two to ferment and develop extra cheesy tanginess.  So easy!  Flavour with herbs, a twist of lemon juice, spices.  We make it all the time here, and it’s better than any shop bought vegan cream cheese we’ve tried. 

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

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

 

 

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

Vegan, Gluten-free

 

The Bits – For 8-10

2 tomatoes 

1 large aubergine

1 large courgette

 

1 tbs cooking oil 

6 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)

1 large onion (diced)

1 pepper (diced)

1 large carrot (diced)

 

3 heaped tbs tomato puree

400g/1 tin tomato passata/ chopped tomatoes

240g/ 1 tin chickpeas (cooked)

225g red split lentils

1/2 tbs turmeric

2 tbs ground cumin

2 1/2 tbs za’atar

1 litre hot water

 

Sea salt and black pepper

 

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

 

Topping

Extra Za’atar

1 tbs pomegranate molasses 

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

 

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Enjoy!!  A vegan centrepiece fit for a sunny day 

 

Foodie Fact

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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  

 

The BHK events will return, who knows when, but for now, we feel blessed to have such an awesome online community of good vibe cooks and positive peeps.  Thanks for stopping by:)

 

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. 

 

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

Thai Coconut, Rainbow Chard and Chilli Noodle Bowl – Immune-Boosting Vegan Soup

A rainbow soul bowl!

 

Comforting, healthy and delicious

 

A light and quick way of cooking seasonal Spring vegetables, in a fragrant thai broth with wholesome noodles

 

This will be my quickest blog post ever. I’ve got a sunny garden waiting for me, filled with bees, blossom and buzzards.  I hope you’re all well and have some space and time to enjoy this sunny Easter weekend.  I’m trying to keep one window open to the world, the turbulence and trauma of what’s going on, but also another window open to nature and pockets of peace.  It can be overwhelming otherwise.       

We’re not traditional, you know this, so we’re eating Thai this lunchtime and will probably have a lasagna for lunch tomorrow (I’ve got a idea brewing, it involves beetroot, as many of the best ideas do.)

This recipe is quick to prepare and packed with a rainbow of immune-boosting goodness.   Wales has been beautiful for weeks now, which is a bit odd, but very welcomed, especially in these crazy days.  I hope you find these posts enjoyable right now, I fully realise there are much more important things going on than noodles.  

I have limited skills as a human.  I’m useless at DIY, although I have been trying of late, like many of you may have?  I’m a keen, but brilliantly average gardener (I do blame the violence of North Walian weather for that one).  I play guitar, I have a unique style, meaning only a limited audience like my songs (anyone seen Spinal Tap?)  But I can cook a bit.  And we’ve got to eat. My calling in life, in many ways, is crafting cookies and carpaccio.  Essential life skills! 

 

The weather has been ridiculous in Wales ever since this CV thing kicked off. Sun, sun, SUN:)  Equals, al fresco noodles.

I like noodles too.  Jane and I have been to Thailand many times over the years and love a good reminisce over a steaming bowl of something special.  We met in South East Asia, so it’s a corner of the world we hold close.  

There isn’t much to say about this one, lots of wholewheat noodles, seasonal vegetables and greens, cooked in a rich, coconut broth, lightly scented with kafir lime leaves. Top if off with chillies and spring onion. Add a little marinaded tofu also for extra yum. What’s not to like!

Enjoy the recipe, pop over to Instagram and say hello, if you try it out, please let us know below and also, happy cooking!!

I’m off…..this is happening….

 

Kind-of the view from the kitchen window (if you jump over a stone wall, climb up a hill, greet a sheep, then stand on a rock). Beach House Kitchen, Snowdonia


Sending healthy vibes your way!

 

A delicious rainbow bowl of immune-boosting goodness. Vegan Thai Coconut and Chilli Noodle Bowl

 

Thai Coconut, Rainbow Chard and Chilli Noodle Bowl – Immune-Boosting Vegan Soup


The Bits – For 2 bowls

5 dried kafir lime leaves

2 large cloves garlic (finely sliced)

1 1/2 heaped tbs ginger (finely sliced)

1 teas chilli (finely sliced)

1/2 tbs coconut oil


100g firm tofu (cut into small chunks)

1 teas tamari/ good soya sauce

1/2 teas toasted sesame oil

40g creamed coconut (the hard stuff, chopped)

1 big handful cauliflower (chopped, use the stems and leaves)

3 mushrooms (sliced)

1/2 bell pepper (sliced)

100g wholewheat or buckhwheat noodles

750ml vegetable stock

2 big handfuls greens (I used rainbow chard, seasonal and delicious, kale would be nice)

Extra tamari/ soya sauce for seasoning

 

Topping

Finely sliced spring onion and chilli


Do It

Fill and boil a kettle.

In a small bowl, gently toss your tofu in the sesame oil and tamari.  Leave to marinade.

In another small bowl, cover the kafir lime leaves with a splash of recently boiled water. Release the fragrance!

In a large saucepan, on high heat, add the oil. Followed by the ginger, chilli and garlic, fry for 3 minutes.

Pour in your stock and kafir lime leaves, adding your creamed coconut, cauliflower, mushroom, bell pepper and noodles. Pop a lid on and bring to a boil, cooking for 3 minutes. Quickly check your noodles are done.  Take off the heat, gently stir in your chard/greens.  Taste and season with more tamari if needed.

Ladle into warmed bowls, topped with fresh chilli and spring onion.  Eat with your favourite set of chopsticks and slurp the soup.  Very important to give noodle soups a good slurp. Slurping is good for the soul. 

Dried kafir lime leaves are not great eatin’, take them out if you like before serving.    

If you’d like it really soupy, add a little more hot vegetable stock.

*Gluten-free option, use your favourite gluten-free noodles.


Foodie Fact 

Coconut is high in good fats that can actually help us lose weight!  It’s a good source of carbs and is filled with essential minerals like selenium and iron, along with a Zeppelin’s-worth of anti-oxidants.    

 

 

 

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Soups, Spring, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , | 5 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.  

This is what the proper chefs do.  I remember when I was training to be a chef, one of the senior chefs (with a big funny hat on) would always stomp around and check our bins (our bins!!), and we’d get a very gentle, constructive word in the ear if we had more than a few scraps in there.  Don’t waste a thing.  The maximising profits mantra in commercial kitchens and just a really sound idea for home cooks.  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, the Llyn Peninsula (the sticky-out eyebrow of Wales) and beautiful Anglesey.  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!! Beautiful views over Snowdonia and the North Wales coastline

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.  I’ve cooked in loads of restaurants in India and this is quite normal.  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.  

Having said that, best to use fresh spinach if you’d like to freeze this curry again for future use.  

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
300g cauliflower florets
400g cooked 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 

This recipe makes a lot, by design, get that freezer stocked up or….

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 (plenty for the freezer)


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: , , , , | 1 Comment

Charred Piri-Piri Broccoli Steaks with Garlic, Pepitas and Lemon – Vegan

Charred Piri Piri Broccoli Steaks – Vegan

Rock the broc!  

You’re going to love this one, so simple and loaded with flavours; spicy piri piri, garlic, tamari, some toasted, crunchy pumpkin seeds, finished with a squeeze of lemon and mayo. 

So good! The kind of dish we want to just tear into with our fingers

This dish takes 10 minutes and brings out all the amazing flavours of broccoli, with that fiery piri piri and garlic oil and the smoky-ness you get from flash frying the broccoli and then quickly steaming, to get the perfect balance of crunch.  Broccoli is a bit like pasta really (kind of) in that you want that al dente-ness.  Basically, cooked right.   

What do you do with a whole crown of broccoli?  Here’s the answer.  

I know that it’s daunting for some, with memories of squidgy, water logged broccoli from days gone by.  But this will get anyone into broccoli in a big way.  

Add a salad and some nice wholegrains, maybe some warm flatbreads and this dish makes for a great lunch.  Also nice just as it is, a proper vegan tapas or starter. 

Piri-piri (peri-peri, peli-peli, it goes by many names…but means ‘pepper’) is actually a variety of chilli from West Africa. A bird’s eye chilli, I love that name, which packs a punch.  Piri-piri is the Portugese name for it, they went over to Mozambique and loved chillies so much, they started to produce their own.  The piri-piri craze in Europe was born.  So, piri-piri or peri-peri?  They both taste the same. They both work!     

 

Broccoli steaks in the pan, we char the flat edges, leaving the florets vibrantly green. Best of both worlds!!

 

You only need a few ingredients and a bit of know how to take veggies to the next level!

 

You’ll notice these are nicely charred in a very hot pan.  You don’t need to take it quite so far if you don’t want to.  Lightly charred is also cool.  Remember that when you flip the broccoli steaks over, they’re vibrant green, so there’s a great balance of the smoky charred side with the steamed, crisp green side.

This piri-piri and garlic oil with be amazing on any veggies really.  It will keep in the fridge covered for a few days, so make double the quantity and enjoy liberally, at leisure, loving those flavours.   

This one’s fun, an ideal weekender.  Squeeze your lemon on top and grab a pot of mayo, then tear into these with your hands, ripping bits off the steaks and dipping in the mayo.  We did!      

Piri Piri Broc Steaks – What to do with a head of broccoli? This takes 10 minutes and is filled with big flavours

Recipe Notes

When cutting the broccoli, take off the woody base, normally about an inch.  Then cut through the large florets, slicing them in half, this keeps the broccoli together and helps it keep shape in the pan.

Piri piri seasoning is not ground, it’s got bits of chilli and herbs in there.  Recipes for piri piri vary and we like it with a good kick of chilli, paprika and plenty of herbs like oregano, sometimes tarragon and bay leaves, maybe some lemon peel thrown in.  It’s a mighty mixed bag.  I normally make my own, that way you can control you’re favourite flavours and make them sing.  I’ve got a recipe kickin around somewhere……

Get all your prep ready, this dish cooks quickly.  Also, get nicely ventilated, the charred chillies in this dish are cheeky, tickling the lungs and nose.  

You can also cook these on a BBQ, it’s so sunny in Wales at the minute, we could probably crack the BBQ out.  

 


 

Charred Piri-Piri Broccoli Steaks with Garlic, Pepitas and Lemon – Vegan

 

The Bits – For 4 steaks

1 large head broccoli (trim base, but into quarters)

75ml water

 

Piri-piri and Garlic Oil 

1 1/2 – 2 tbs cold pressed rapeseed oil (or whatever you fry with)

1/2 tbs piri piri seasoning

3 large garlic cloves (crushed)

1/2 tbs tamari/ good soya sauce

 

To Serve

1/2 lemon 

Sea salt

2 tbs pumpkin seeds/ pepitas (chopped and toasted)

Mayonnaise

 

Do It 

Get a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan and lid (or something lid-like, a large plate, that covers the pan).  Put the pan over a high heat.  

Mix your oil ingredients together in a small bowl and cover the broccoli steaks with them.  Get them all nicely coated, rubbing the oil in with your hands.  

Once the pan is nicely hot, place the broccoli steaks in, one side at a time.  You should get a nice searing sound once they sit on the pan.  

Cook one flat side for 2-3 mins, with the lid on them, then flip onto the other side.  The lid will help to press them onto the pan, getting them nicely charred.

Once you’re happy with the charring, add the water to the pan and quickly pop the lid on.  Cook for a 2 minutes more, until when you squeeze the stems, there is a little give, slightly softened.  

Serve straight away, on a warm platter.  Sprinkled over the pumpkin seeds and a little sea salt, with lemon wedges and mayonnaise.  A pile/ stack is nice, height looks good in food!      

 

Foodie Fact

As we all know, Broccoli is a rock and roll star.  It also happens to be one of the healthiest things we could ever wish to eat.  Piled high with good stuff like loads of protein and fibre, also vitamin C, iron and a whole raft of anti-oxidants.

 

Eat Broccoli

Live long and prosper

 

We want to keep bringing you recipes in these strange days, something simple and tasty. What would you like to see?
 
Spending quality time in the kitchen is a great antidote to what’s going on in the outside world.  Pour yourself something nice and grab your pots!
 
 
Let us know what’s cooking at home, join our cooking group on Facebook right here Vegan Cooking with Beach House Kitchen.

 

Like this?  More recipes?

Here’s all our BHK recipes in one neat bundle

 

 

 

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

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

In the Beach House Kitchen garden, planning what to plant in the veg garden.  It’s all looking a bit wild at the minute.  Just the way we like it.  I feel like beetroots this year.

Here we are!  Last night’s sunset and scenery in the Beach House.  We’re feeling fortunate and settled, focused on making the best of what we’ve got.  As you’d expect, the garage is filled with lentils!  

 

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, events and other 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.  

 

We acquaint ourselves with the mountains every day. Tiger Mountain is waking up to Spring, overlooking Nantlle Valley and the mighty Snowdon

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.  We’ve both been ill with cold/ flu like symptoms, but are now on the mend.  We’ve been self-isolating for the required times.  I’m still getting back to full speed and when I’d ready, BHK activities will start popping up again, here and on social media. I have some time on my hands, in fact, it looks like I’m free for most of the year!  

If you’re looking for a vegan chef, let me know?:)

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.  

If you need any help with anything vegan cooking, let me know, I’m always open to collaborate or work and support with new ideas and projects.  

 

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

We’re also on Instagram 

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.   

 

We want to bring you wholesome and delicious vegan food and in the future, events, books and holidays that continue to support our paths towards a healthy lifestyle.  

 

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.  

Where’s Janie? Can you see her;) 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.  Beach House Kitchen, overlooking Llyn Peninsula and Anglesey. North Wales

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

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

Find Peace and Calm – Yoga at home

We also love these yoga sequences

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

Life Changing Breathing techniques

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

Meditation practice 

Breathe in, smile.  A beautiful meditation here

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

Fermenting Foods – Immune system support and health

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

Simple, healthy vegan recipes from the BHK

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

 

Our plan

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

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

 

So, how are you feeling? 

Can we help and support you at this time? 

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

 

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

 

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

Wishing you all good health, safety and fortitude!

 

Another storm is here, but they always pass. 

 

Peace and Love,  

Lee and JaneX          

 

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

 

Join our MAILING LIST here for exclusive recipes and BHK news 

 

Email us now – hellobeachhousekitchen@gmail.com

 

 

 

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

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

 

Ethiopian lunches in the BHK are happy times!  

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

 

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

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

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

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

Ethiopian Monks

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

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

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

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

Vegan Ethiopia!

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1 large white onion (very finely diced)

1 large/ 150g carrot (chopped into chunks)

3 medium/ 250g potatoes (chopped into chunks)

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

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

1 tin chickpeas (drained)

1 tin chopped tomatoes (organic, good ones)

4 tbs berbere spice mix

2 teas ground ginger

4 tbs peanut butter

2 tbs brown cane sugar

700ml hot vegetable stock/ bean cooking stock

Sea salt

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

 

Do It 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Foodie Fact 

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

 

We’re now on INSTAGRAM!  

 

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

 

 

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

Coconut and Caulilflower Gigglebean Curry with Coriander and Lemon Chutney

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Enjoy this bowlful of home cooked happiness!

 

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

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

 

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

Use any mix of seasonal vegetables you like here.

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

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

 

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

 

The Bits – For 4-6

2 tbs cooking oil (cold-pressed is best)

1 tbs cumin seeds

3 large garlic cloves (finely sliced)

3 tbs fresh ginger (finely sliced)

2-3 teas garam masala

2 teas ground turmeric

150ml hot water

1 tin tomatoes (or equivalent fresh tomatoes)

 

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

1 pepper (deseeded, chopped into chunks)

2 tins/480g cooked chickpeas

1 tin coconut milk

 

1 bok/ pak choi (sliced)

3 tbs fresh coriander (finely sliced)

Sea salt

 

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

All of your favourite curry accompaniments apply too.

 

Coconut and Lemon Chutney 

The Bits – For One Small Bowlful

35g desiccated coconut

60g fresh coriander (with stems)

4 teas lemon juice

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

100ml water

1/2 teas sea salt

 

Do It

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

What’s not to love!!

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Flying Flapjacks 

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

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

Celebrate Cake

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

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

 

These are fill your boots flapjacks!  

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

Festive Flapjacks – The ones that escaped the storm

 

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

 

The Bits – For 6 large slices, 12 small 

Dry

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

50g walnuts

50g sunflower seeds

25g chia seeds

1 teas ground cinnamon

 

Wet

75g brown sugar

50ml plant-based milk

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

2 tbs cranberry sauce

 

75g dried cranberries

 

Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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!  

 

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

 

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

 

Cherry, Pistachio and Cacao Smoothie

The Bits – For 2

2 handfuls frozen cherries

1 handful frozen banana

2 tbs vegan coconut yoghurt (cultured preferably)

2 tbs cacao or cocoa powder

Plant Milk (of choice, we used hemp milk)

 

Toppings

Chopped pistachios, goji berries, extra frozen cherries

 

Do It

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

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

Pour into a bowl, sprinkled with your toppings.

 

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

 

Foodie Fact 

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

Cherries.  Yes!  More please.

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

 

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

Giant Tortillas  

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

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

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

Being a local ‘Guiri’

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

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

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

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

Little green shoots

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

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

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

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

 

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

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

Batter

100g gram flour

175ml soya milk

75g firm tofu

1 teas salt

½ teas turmeric

½ teas bicarb of soda

½ teas baking powder

 

Filling


1 large onion (sliced)

2 large cloves garlic (sliced)

½ teas salt

125g firm tofu (broken into pieces with fingers)

2 tbs lemon juice (1 small lemon)

½ tbs lemon zest (½ small lemon)

2 tbs olive oil

150g frozen peas

1 teas dried mint

1 teas dried dill

¼ teas black pepper

 



Do It


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

Press tofu between kitchen paper, remove excess moisture.

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

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

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

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

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

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

Flamenco in Sevilla

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

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

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

Beach House Kitchen Bowl!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy Vegan Curry Feast – 3 quick recipes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roasted Vegetable and Coconut Curry, all the trimmings…

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Timing is everything right!  

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve also just started posting over on Instagram.  

Svaadisht!

 

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

 

The Bits – For 4 big eaters or 6

Coconut Rice 

250ml brown basmati rice

500ml vegetable stock

1 1/2 teas cumin seeds

2/3 teas nigella/ kalongi seeds

1/2 teas mustard seeds

1/2 stick cinnamon

5 green cardamom pods (cracked)

4 tbs dessiccated coconut

1 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

1/2 teas sea salt

 

Black Kale Daal

250g red lentils

850ml vegetable stock

1/2 teas turmeric

 

125g black kale/ cavolo nero (finely sliced)

1/2 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

3 cloves garlic

2 heaped tbs chopped ginger

1 1/2 teas cumin seeds

1 teas mustard seeds

1/2-1 teas sea salt

 

Roasted Vegetable and Coconut Curry

2 peppers (chopped)

500g/ 1/2 large butternut squash

1 large onion

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

Sea salt and black pepper

 

Spicy Tomato Sauce 

1 large onion (chopped)

5 tomatoes (chopped)

5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

2 tbs ginger (finely chopped)

1-2 red chillies (sliced)

150g/ 2 handfuls white cabbage (sliced)

2 teas garam masala

2 teas ground cumin

1 1/2 teas ground turmeric

1 1/2 teas ground coriander

1-2 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

1 teas sea salt and black pepper

Easy to be vegan!

Do It

Rice

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

Daal

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

Curry

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

Vegan Japanese Hambagu – Teriyaki Burger Bites with Flax Gomasio

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

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

Autumn Stir-Fry Salad with Peanut and Lime Sauce

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Flax Gomasio – One of my favourite savoury toppings

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vegan Hambagu! – One is never enough…..

Vegan Japanese Hambagus – Teriyaki Burger Bites with Flax Gomasio

 

The Bits – For 24 burger bites

100g toasted sunflower seeds

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

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

Cold pressed coconut or rapeseed oil (for frying)

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Kombucha Time! Fermented foods in the Beach House Kitchen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several different sauerkrauts on the go…

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

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

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

Yesterdays sunset sourdough was Seeded Wholegrain

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

Our windfall apples, let the wind do the work!

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

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

Breakfast Superfood Ice Cream – Vegan, Gluten and Sugar free

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

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

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

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

 


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

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


 

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

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

 

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

 

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

Strawberry, Spinach and Walnut Salad – Simple Summer Special

View up the Nantlle Valley towards mighty Snowdon.

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

Random flower pics. We love em!

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

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

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

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

Welcome to Snowdonia! Home of the Beach House Kitchen

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

Happy cooking:)

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

Strawberry, Spinach and Walnut Salad – Simple Summer Special

 

The Bits – For 4 as a side salad

8 strawberries, cut into quarters lengthways

6 handfuls spinach leaves, washed and dried

1 small handful basil leaves

1/4 small red cabbage, finely sliced

Balsamic reduction

Sea salt

1 big handful toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

 

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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