Snacks and Inbetweens

Simple Green Pea Hummus – Goodbye Chickpeas!

 

 

 

Green Pea Hummus – A delicious twist on chickpea hummus

Jane said,  “This is the best hummus you’ve ever made!”  So I had to share this recipe with you.  Jane is, after all, one of the leading hummus connoisseur in the North Wales area.

This hummus is creamy and rich and doesn’t taste overly pea-y, if that’s something that may concern you.  Cooking the split peas requires no soaking, so it’s quicker than making proper chickpea hummus, which I always make with dried chickpeas.  I think the flavour is better from dried pulses.

Not very green is it!  That’s because we’re using dried and split green beans.  I normally use them for soups and especially, delicious daals, there’s a green pea daal recipe in ‘Peace and Parsnips‘ – Matar Daal with Watercress, Braised Red Cabbage Sabji & Brown Rice Chapatti (pg 237;)

There was a rumour that the price of chickpeas was about to sky rocket.  I haven’t seen it yet, but the cost of food does seem to be going  up gradually and may continue.  These green split peas are grown in the UK and are a good, inexpensive option, plus they’re packed with nutrition.

My roots are in Durham, North East England, an area with lots of tasty traditional dishes.  Pease Pudding has to be one of my favourite.  Like Durham’s answer to hummus really.  Normally just cooked split peas, flavoured with meat, I love to make it flavoured with all kinds of cool herbs and spices, roasted veggies.  It’s normally served on stottie cake (big flat Durham buns) with pickled beetroot and ham. I can see this being veganize-able very easily.  Having said that and even though I am partisan to all things Durham, Pease Pudding doesn’t come close to this hummus.  Sorry Mum.

These lovely British organic split peas deserved a fitting topping, so I wanted to use local and seasonal veggies too.  You could opt for any topping, or none, but bar the chillies, the toppings reflect North Wales right now, just as Spring is getting into gear.  Toasted walnuts or hazelnuts would be a nice addition.

Maybe we won’t be saying goodbye to chickpeas for ever, but for the forseeable future, we’re all about split green peas in the Beach House.  Never thought I’d say that, but they make a fine hummus.

 

Thanks to Hodmedods for this very nice pea pic:)

Recipe Notes

Hummus can be eaten warm, why not!?  It’s lovely just don’t let the beans cool and blend and flavour as usual.  Makes a nice change.

This is the basic recipe, but we love adding blanched greens to the hummus and blending.  Also, spicing it up with a little ground cumin is very nice.

If you only have yellow split peas, they will be fine in this recipe.

I find hummus changes overnight.  The flavours mingle and come to life.  If you can resist, make it the day before and watch how those flavours shine.

A simple way to make homemade hummus, the split peas have a great texture and are really creamy

 

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Simple Green Pea Hummus

The Bits – For one medium bowlful, enough for 6 people as a dip

250g dried split green peas

1/2 lemon (juice)

5 tbs light tahini

5 tbs cold pressed rape seed oil – or olive oil

1 small clove garlic (peeled and crushed)

1/2-1 teas salt (to taste)

 

Topping

Red Cabbage (finely sliced)

Fresh thyme (picked leaves)

Radishes (finely sliced)

A dash of rapeseed oil

Green chillies (finely sliced)

Salt and pepper

 

Do It 

Cook your green peas, they won’t need soaking.  Give them a rinse, cover with plenty of water and bring to a boil, leave to simmer for 10 minutes, set aside for 1 hour.  Then cook on a low simmer for 30 – 45 minutes, until they’re nice and tender but not one big mush.  Add water as you need it.  Or alternatively, just follow the handy instructions on your packet.  Leave the peas to cool.

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blitz, checking the seasoning.  Blend for a while, until it’s really nice and smooth.  This is a thick hummus, you can add a drizzle of water if you like your hummus a little thinner and lighter.

Serve in a bowl, or spread it out over a plate, I prefer the latter.  Scatter over your toppings and serve as you love your hummus most.

A new dawn for hummus – green peas, no chickpeas

 

Foodie Fact

High in protein and low in fat, plus they are one of the highest sources of fibre.

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Fully Loaded Nachos with Columbian Frijoles Rojos

Fully Loaded Nachos (Vegan, Gluten-free)

Easter’s here!  Any reason to celebrate and feast right!  These nachos are maybe how they’d celebrate in Bogota or Cartagena?  Let us know in the comments if you’re in Columbia!

This is a celebration on a plate!  These nachos are fully loaded with all the goodies we know and love and the Frijoles Rojos (Red Beans) are such a simple way to make a spicy, tasty bean dish.  Years ago, I lived beside a few Columbian restaurants in Brixton.  I’ve loved the food ever since.

Everyone enjoys this dish!  All those colours, flavours and textures.  It’s a winner!  The rich and spicy beans, the crunch of the nachos, the creamy smoky dip, avocado, coriander, maybe a twist of lime.  Come on!  That’s something pretty special.

Fully Loaded Nachoes will brighten up any Easter feast and generally go down very well in the BHK, whenever we make nachos, they last approx 3 1/2 minutes.  Woof.  Gone.  It’s a communal dish that I love, as a cook, I can think of few things better than sharing food.  This is best served warm on a large plate or platter.

Columbian Frijoles Rojo (Vegan, Gluten-free, Low Fat)

If you are looking for something a little different and healthier, just sub the nachos/ tortilla chips with toasted soft tortillas (tostadas), cut into little triangles.  This is also a lovely way of serving these beans and traditional too (although the tortillas may be fried).

Usually, you might find things like beef and dairy cheese in this dish, we’ve ditched those of course, replaced with mega beans and creamy cashew cheeze.  Nacho cheese is generally a day-glo orange brick, something like vulcanized rubber meets food, totally overly processed and flavour-less if my memory is right.  Much better with the creamy cashews, Chipotle & Cashew Queso Dip recipe here.

This is one of those dishes which skirts between meal and snack.  I think most of us would be quite happy to live on nachos!!  I think it’s great party dish, something that can fill the belly, tickle the tastebuds, but really, you don’t need a lot of it to feel satisfied.  Maybe thats down to the sheer volume of flavours and the beans and toppings are all really nutritious, maybe the belly is satisfied because this dish is so dang tasty!?

When I was traveling around Mexico and Central America, I didn’t have many nachos.  Is there anyone here from Columbia?  How do you feel about nachos?  It seems more of a Northern Mexican/ Tex Mex dish that has probably caught on in many countries because it’s just an amazing combo.  Wikipedia says that the dish was created by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya in about 1943  in Northern Mexico.  There we are.   A very tasty piece of history.

Variations on the nacho theme, I’ve read that in America there are things called S’mores Nachos, graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows.  I’ve had S’mores in the past, they were built up like some kind of ‘food for the Gods’, they’re not.  In Hawaii, they put pineapple on nachos.  I am sure that surprises no one.  Sounds good though.

I like Hodemdod’s beans.  Most of their beans and bits are grown organically in the UK.  Their Red Haricot beans will be perfect for these Columbian Frijoles.  If you live on this here, fair island (Britain) check em out.  Plant based people thrive on good pulses!  They make all the difference.

Fully Loaded and ready to go!

Recipe Notes

Fully loaded is one thing, but just the nachos and beans makes for a lovely meal/ snack.  You can add what you like on top, pineapple (A Hawain twist), bbq or chilli sauce, guacamole, sour cream, more cheese, pickled jalapenos….

Corn Tortillas/ Nachos are what we use here, they’re normally gluten-free, but check the packet.

Not into tortilla chips, this dish can be made into a main course when served with rice, mashed sweet potato, roast potatoes (with a touch of cumin), a nice big, crispy salad.

Finish with a Quick Salsa and Chipotle & Cashew Queso Dip

 

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Columbian Frijoles Rojos – Vegan, Gluten-free, Low fat

The Bits – For 4-6

500g/ 2 tins cooked beans (red kidney, red haricot, pinto, rosecco/ borlotti)

1 medium onion (sliced)
1 pepper (sliced)
1 medium sweet potato (cut into cubes)
2 large mushrooms (sliced)
250g/ 1 jar or tin tomatoes

2 teas smoked paprika
2 teas ground cumin
2 teas dried oregano

1-3 teas chilli powder (to taste)
1.5 teas garlic powder
Good twist of black pepper

1 tbs cooking oil (I use cold pressed rapeseed oil)

 

Do It

In a large saucepan, add the cooking oil and fry the onion until soft, 5 minutes.  Add the other veggies fry for a minute then add the spices, garlic powder and oregano, fry for another minute, then add the tomatoes and beans.  Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, adding roughly 350ml water to form a nice, thick sauce.  Stir a few times.  Season with salt.

 

Quick Salsa

The Bits – For one small bowlful

8 ripe cherry tomatoes (finely chopped)

2 tbs onion (finely chopped)

2 tbs fresh coriander (finely chopped)

Lime juice (to taste)

Large pinch salt

 

Do It

Toss all together in a small bowl or blend together in a food processor, changes up the texture a little.

 

Fully Loaded Nachos 

The Bits – Serves 4-8 as a snack

Trimmings

300-400g corn nachos/ tortillas

1 avocado (smashed with a fork)
Chipotle paste (stir in or drizzle as needed)
Spring onions (chopped)
4 handfuls cos/ little gem lettuce (chopped)

Fresh Coriander (chopped)

Lime wedges

1 red chilli (finely sliced)

Do It

You can warm the nachos/ tortillas in the oven for 5-10 minutes.  This is nice.

Spread the nachos/ tortillas on a large plate/ platter, top with the beans, then scatter with salsa, queso and the rest of your toppings.

Normally I make enough for two plates, you’ll have enough beans for this.  One plate of nachos is never enough!!

 

Foodie Fact

Red kidney beans are originally from Central America/ Mexico and are quite an ingredient!  Not only do they have that lovely, deep flavour, they are one of the richest sources of plant-based protein.

They are filled with fibre, which helps the body detox and are high in carbs, good ones, slow-release, meaning they’re a great source of energy.  They’re also rich in folates, iron, copper, potassium and loads more vitamins and minerals.  They’re known to be a weight loss friendly food.  Not bad for a humble little bean!

Remember to soak, drain and wash your beans well before cooking, if using dried beans.

 

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Feel free to share this recipe and let us know your feedback in the comments below.  We love to hear from you!   

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Chipotle & Cashew Queso Dip

Vegan Cashew Queso – Get Dippin’!!

Treat your nachos/ tortilla/ enchilladas (anything you fancy really) to this creamy, smoky queso!  This is a classic tex mex style dip gone vegan, it has a lovely thick texture that clings to your nachos and it’s a load healthier too.

Chilli con Queso (basically cheese plus chillies) is the national dish of Texas (Texas is a nation isn’t it?!)  That’s what I’ve been told….. Either way, the lone star state is pretty obsessed with this creamy, dippy, lovely stuff.

We love it poured over spicy sweet potato fries, now your nibblin’.  I’ve also found it makes an interesting twist on Welsh Rarebit…Texas Titbit?  Serve with your favourite Mexican style bean dish, this queso takes yum wherever it goes.

There are loads of ways of making a comforting vegan queso, but I like this one because it’s simple and uses easy to find ingredients.  You can add to it what you like, I’ve heard people are making kimhci queso!  But let’s face it, Kimchi goes well in most things.

There’s nothing flashy here, but it tastes goooooodd!  In the realm of dips, this is way up there for me.  Like a Texan hummus, a sunshine guac, but calling these dishes ‘dips’ seems to belittle them.   What do you think?

Nachos have always been a thing with me, I think there just perfect party food, they’re fun (Jane disagrees) and a mountain of nachos is perfect for sharing and enjoying with drinks and a giggle.  Why is that?  I think it’s the sharing aspect.  Communal nibbles.  I’ve always preferred sharing food, when we go to restaurants, I’m that guy who wants to taste everyone else’s food.  Hah!  You have been warned…..

Stone cold Tex Mex Classic

Thing about ‘normal’ queso is that its made with processed, ultra orange, cheese.  Bahhh!  This queso recipe has cashews which are creamy and lovely and packed with healthy stuff, also tapioca flour, gluten-free and a good source of carbs, chillies (super high in vitamin C), turmeric (outrageously good for us), paprika (see chillies), garlic…..you get the idea, this is a super healthy dip.  But, it tastes creamy and delicious too.

I have limited queso experience but I have fortunately been to Mexico, from North to South, totally awesome country and such a diverse food culture.  I travelled up along the border with the US, which can be a pretty dicey and spicy place in some towns and for a clueless wanderer, it was an eye opener.  But the nachos were always sensational.

I’d only known nachos from the UK, as say Doritos, but never with all the add ons and embellishments.  Making this queso really got my tex mex hat twitching, I’m going to do my fully loaded nachos for you, watch this little ol’ space.  They’re coming…..

I use tapioca starch here, many use corn starch, but tapioca gives it a really nice stringy, thick texture.  I’ve made mozzarella style cheese with tapioca starch, Moxarella recipe here, it really is a genius ingredient.  You’ll find it in health food shops across the land for sure.  Of course, you can order it online, we get ours from Suma but they do a minimum order.  Check out the website here, get some friends together and put an order in.  Suma will also sort you out with all those tricky to get vegan products that you may be struggling with.  We’re not sponsored in anyway by Suma, we just think they’re great.  We’re not sponsored by anyone actually!  The BHK is free!!

If you like what you see here, let us know in the comments below.  Are you in Texas?  Are you in Mexico?  Are you in Wales?

Chipotle Queso – The smokiness and chilli kick of the chipotle gives this dip something a bit special

Recipe Notes

If you have a really good blender, you don’t even need to soak the cashews, although soaking nuts is good for your health.  See what we wrote about that here.

If you’re not a chilli/smoky fan, leave out the chipotle, it’s still really tasty.

This queso is quite thick, just stir in more milk or water when you’re cooking to make it thinner, like a pourable, double cream consistency is nice drizzled over nachos (Fully Loaded Nachos coming soon).

We want a nice kick of chilli here, go for it!

Chipotle chilli paste, you’ll find in most supermarkets.  Stir it into stews and soups for lovely smokiness with chilli-ish benefits.

Not into mountains of nachos, toast or grill some corn or wheat tortillas and cut them up into little triangles.  Or go for veggies, chop up some of your favs and dip away.

Cashew & Chipotle Queso – Vegan, Gluten-free, low in fat, high in yum!

Chipotle & Cashew Queso

The Bits – For one large bowlful 

375ml soya milk

125g cashews (soaked in water for 2 hours)

2/3 teas turmeric

1 teas paprika/ cayenne pepper (if you like it really hot!)

4 tbs nooch (nutritional yeast flakes)

2 tbs tapioca starch/ flour

1 small garlic clove (crushed)

1/2 – 1 teas salt

 

2 – 4+ teas chipotle paste (as you like your fiery-ness)

 

Topping

2 tbs jalapeno chillies

Fresh coriander

 

Do It

Add all the bits to a blender, except the chipotle paste.  Blend until smooth.

In a saucepan on medium heat, add the queso and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring.  Tastes the queso, if it tastes a little chalky due to the starch/ flour, keep stirring and cooking.  Taste again, add chipotle paste and more salt as needed.

You may like to top with jalapeno chillies, a light dusting of paprika/ cayenne pepper and fresh coriander.

Very nice when served warm with nachos/ tortillas.  I also like to serve the nachos warm, pop them in a low oven for 5-10 minutes.

You can also serve this dip alongside Mexican/ Tex mex style bean dishes, burritos, tacos, quesadillas etc.   All very tasty.  I love it especially served with a tangy salsa.

 

Foodie Fact 

Cashews are low in fat for a nut and are a good source of protein and iron.

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, vegan cheese | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Moxarella – Homemade Vegan Mozzarella

Moxarella (Gluten-free, low fat) – Good homemade vegan cheeze is easier than you might think

Here is our little offering to the coming of Spring.  A simple vegan cheese recipe which is so versatile and can be enjoyed on pizza and melts nicely.  As you may know, the way a vegan cheese melts can be quite an issue, we don’t want cheese like rubber on our pizzas!!  I also like this as it is, especially with these kinds of accompaniments, this is like a rainbow ploughman’s really!!  The texture of this cheeze is similar to Mozzarella and the flavour is light.

We enjoyed this in the garden, with bright sunshine and birds singing.  After the recent snow storms, it really feels like Spring is finally on the way in Snowdonia.  We’ll see….

Some vegan cheeses can go a little off piste.  Not much like their namesake, cheddar or blue cheese style, you’ve probably been there.  But this one delivers!  A cheese that is simple to make, pretty healthy actually and also similar in texture and taste to the original.  We’re using a handful of cashews here, so don’t expect over to top creaminess, but I love this and for an inexpensive, fuss-free, vegan cheese, I think this is top truckle!

ALL THE WAY FROM UTAH!

My friend Somer over at Vedged Out (coming straight outta Utah) calls this recipe ‘Foxy Moxy’.  Which I like, but when punched into Google, you get some pretty unappetizing results!!  So we’ll stick with Moxa.  This is basically Somer’s awesome recipe, given a slight tweak, but when a recipe is this good, simple and tasty, why mess with it?  Thanks for the inspiration Somer!!

Rainbow Platter!  Moxarella served with mango and chilli pickle, artichokes, olives, sun dried tomatoes, chopped veggies, salad leaves, hazelnut, German rye bread.

EXCITING CHEESE!

Moxarella is so simple to make at home and has the stretchy texture of Mozzarella, coming from the flour we use.  You’ll have to seek out some Tapioca Flour, found online or in your local health food shop.  You can use other starches/ flours to make cheeses, but this one is the very best for Mozzarella style cheese.  I’m going to be sharing one of my favourite Mexican-style Queso recipes soon, where we’ll use corn flour, the texture is subtly different, but perfect for a slightly thinner cheese.  It’s exciting playing with these cheese making techniques!

If you’ve bought a bag of tapioca flour, you can also use it a a thickener for soups, stews and the like or it adds a really interesting, springy texture to baked goods.  Ideal in bread I’ve found.   It may be known as ‘Tapioca Starch’ where you are.  Same thing.

FOOD FOR THE SOUL – VEGAN COOKING DAY RETREAT

The unusual snowy snap this Sunday forced us to cancel our ‘Food for the Soul – Vegan Cooking and Yoga Day Retreat’ in Mynydd Llandegai.  We woke up to a foot of snow outside, an unpleasant surprise.  We managed to make it up there, but the mountain roads were pretty frozen and slip slidy.  We’ve re-scheduled to the 19th August ’18, booking and info here.  A day of healthy soul food cooking, peaceful yoga and meditation and a nourishing lunch.  We have a few places available.  Contact Claire here to book directly.

But now the sun shines and spring is in the air, time to prepare ourselves for picnics and eating outside, what a joy!  We’re coming out of the dark winter and bright platters like this really help to wake us up; eyes, tastebuds all tantalised by the colours an textures and it only takes a few minutes to make special.

Please feel free to share this recipe and leave us a comment below if your like the look of it or try it out.   It’s always wonderful to hear from you!

Vegan Mozzarella – Our spring celebration platter

Recipe Notes

A little more salt and lemon will really bring the flavours out, experiment with your preferred quantities.

If you’re not using oil, that’s cool, leave it out, it will still be a hit!

Somer likes to add a little nooch (nutritional yeast flakes) to the recipe.  If you like them, go for it!!  They will add a little more savoury cheesiness.

 

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Moxarella – Vegan Mozzarella

The Bits – For One Small Bowlful

75g cashews (soaked for a few hours in water)

250ml/ 1 cup hot water

2 tbs tapioca flour

1 teas extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove (peeled and crushed)

½ tbs lemon juice

¾ teas salt

 

Do It

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.  

 

Pour into a saucepan, warm on a medium heat and stir constantly.  The mixture will thicken and become gradually more elastic in texture.  Keep stirring throughout to ensure the moxarella does not burn on the bottom.   

 

Stir and cook for 10-12 minutes until thick and the edges leave the pan.  Remember it will firm up even more when cooled.  

 

Line a small bowl or ramekins with cling film/ baking parchment, once the cheeze has cooled a little, spoon in the moxarella mix and tap on a surface to remove any air bubbles.  Smooth the top with the base of a spoon, once cooled enough, cover and pop in the fridge to set for an hour.

 

Keeps well in the fridge for a few days and can be used for pizza, cheese on toast or on your rainbow ploughmans…….you know how you like your mozza!

Homemade Vegan Mozzarella – Give it a try!

Foodie Fact

Tapioca flour may be a new one for some of you.  Tapioca is made from the root of the Cassava plant, its a big knobbly tuber basically.  Being a starch, this is high in carbs and has a smidge of calcium in there.  It’s low in calories and fat and is something that will become really popular in vegan/ gluten-free baking I reckon.

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, vegan cheese | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Aubergine & Fava Bean Fatteh, Tahini Yoghurt & Pine Nuts – Lebanese Party Food!

Fatteh (Fette) – Lebanese Aubergine & Fava Beans, Tahini Yoghurt and Pine Nuts   

I love this dish!  This is party food really, or the best snack you’ve ever encountered.  I can see this on a big platter being tucked in by curious guests soon to be tongue tied in a good way.  There are so many flavours and textures layered up here and they all work perfectly together.  I was lucky to eat Fatteh loads on my recent Lebanon trip.

We could easily call this ‘Fatteh Al-Betenjane’ – Aubergine Fatteh.  Fatteh (or fette) is named after the bread really, crushed or crumbled underneath or on top, but the highlight is the flavourful beans and all the accompaniments.

It has been said that this dish is like a Levantine Nachos, it’s not far off really, but with the sheer combination of delightful flavours and pine nuts, one of my favourites, Fatteh is way ahead of nachos in the BHK.  Apologies Mexico.

Pine nuts, a real treat

I ate this dish quite a bit last year in my Lebanon trip.  More of that (with pics):

Seeking falafel perfection in Lebanon and making the dream falafel wrap

I Ate Lebanon! – My experience of vegan Lebanese cuisine

Msabaha – Lebanese Chickpeas (A new twist on hummus)

Fatteh is a classic dish in Lebanon and is especially popular in the Northern City of Tripoli, which was probably the best place I ate in Lebanon (but it was very close in many respects).  Lebanon is one of the best countries for plant-based wandering.  Have you been?

Tripoli Old Town Souks, some amazing produce, wonderful fruit and veg plus little eateries

Tripoli is a city little visited by tourists, but if you’re ever in the area, try the Fatteh.  It is a dish that changes from region to region, country to country, so you’ll never grow tired of your Fatteh, although most variations contain meat unfortunately.

In Egypt it is eaten as a feast during Ramadan or to celebrate a woman’s first pregnancy.  Like I said, its party food, a celebration on plate.  Sometimes fatteh is even eaten as a breakfast, lucky people.  Wow!

Party food just got better:)

Fava beans you’ll find mainly dried, especially in World/ Asian food shops.  If you’re lucky to live near a Middle Eastern shop, you’re sorted.  You should be able to track things like Za’atar, Sumac, Tahini and Pomegranate Molasses down in supermarkets etc.

Fava beans are very popular in Middle Eastern cooking and you may have tried Ful or Ful Medames, which is a real staple.  I love the flavour of fava beans cooked like this, rich, deep and full flavoured.  We love cooking with Fava Beans, we’ve used Hodemdod’s Split Fava Beans to make this Yellow Thai Curry with Squash and also used Hodmedod’s dried fava beans here.  This what they look like.  Hodmedods are all organic and grown in the UK so we love ’em!

 

Recipe Notes

If you can’t track down fava beans, you could use chickpeas or red kidney beans.  Black beans may also be nice.

No za’atar in the house?  Go for dried mint or thyme, of both mixed together.

Short of sumac?  A drizzle of pomegranate molasses or lemon zest would be nice.

You can serve this dish cold, but I much prefer the beans and pitta warm.

I used carrots here, but for an extra special touch, sprinkle over some pomegranate arils.

Gluten-free option, just go for gf pittas.

 

Vegan Fatteh – One of my favourite dishes from my travels around Lebanon

Aubergine & Fava Bean Fatteh, Tahini Yoghurt & Pine Nuts – Lebanese Party Food!

The Bits – For 2 main course/ 4 starters

1 small onion (finely diced)

4 cloves garlic (peeled and finely sliced)

1 medium aubergine (cut into small cubes)

1 1/2 tbs cooking oil

500g fava beans (cooked)

1 teas salt

Black pepper

2 1/2 teas ground cumin

2 teas paprika

1/2 teas cinnamon

300ml bean cooking juices/ light vegetable stock

2 tbs pomegranate molasses

 

Tahini yoghurt

150g soya yoghurt (unsweetened)

4 tbs tahini

1-2 tbs pomegranate molasses

Large pinch salt (to taste)

 

Topping

2-3 pittas (cut into thin strips)

1/2 handful fresh mint (finely chopped)

1/2 handful grated carrot or pomegranate arils

 

3 tbs pine nuts (toasted)

Sprinkles of Sumac/ Za’atar

Do It 

Preheat an oven to 200oC, toss the pitta in a little oil, spread out onto a baking tray and pop in the oven for 10 minutes until they are crisp.  Set aside.  The pine nuts can also be cooked on the baking tray, in the oven, check them every 5 minutes, they will burn easily.

In a large frying pan, heat of medium high heat and add the oil.  Fry the onion for 1o minutes, until golden brown, add the aubergine and salt, cook for a further 8-10 minutes until the aubergine is slightly caramelised.

Add the garlic, fry for a minute before adding the spices, adding a good amount of black pepper, stir them in and let them cook for just 30 seconds.  Enjoy the spicy aroma!!  Now for the beans and bean cooking stock and pomegranate molasses, stir, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.  Check the seasoning.

For the yoghurt, mix all the bits together in a bowl.

Serve the beans on a small plate/ shallow bowl, top with tahini yoghurt, scatter with pine nuts and pitta slices, then fresh mint, grated carrot, topped with sprinkles of sumac and za’atar.

 

Foodie Fact

Fava beans are broad beans, normally bought dried.   They are low in fat and full of protein and fibre, with good levels of folate, thaimin and minerals like manganese, copper, phosphorous, iron and magnesium.

 

A Taste of Bliss – Vegan Cooking and Yoga Retreat, Spain ’18

We’ll be cooking all sorts of Mediterranean delights like this dish at our

Taste of Bliss Vegan Cooking and Yoga Holiday in Spain, 5-12th May ’18. 

Come and join us right by the beach, we’ll be doing cooking demonstrations and

using loads of local, Murcian produce. 

A slice of sunshine and pure relaxation!  

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Vegan Okonomiyaki – Japanese Savoury Pancake (Gluten-free)

How do you like to Okonomi?!

There are many ways of serving these Japanese Pancakes, so many delicious variations, I felt like sharing two of my favs, one very basic, one with a few more bells and whistles.  TWO RECIPES.  We love you that much!!

This is like Japanese soul food, you can add grated cabbage or carrot or tofu chunks to the pancake and toppings, there are so many; cheese, Okonomiyaki/ Tonkatsu sauce (like BBQ sauce), mayonnaise, pickled ginger, seaweed flakes…..  I was having it for breakfast, so I kept it relatively simple this morning.

I’ve made the classic wheat flour recipe gluten-free and kept it really basic so you can get creative and embellish with your favourite sauces and toppings.  Then I’ve gone and done a twist and shake on the traditional recipe, BHK style.

FOOD IS PLAY

The thing I like about the basic recipe is there are only a few ingredients and kids love it!  Like a pancake but better, cooler, a little exotic and a lot of tasty,  kids love scattering, leaves, snow, crumbs, torn up paper and also toppings, playing with their food like champions!!

I love seeing kids enjoying food and not taking it too seriously.  But then again, I don’t have kids.  I get to give them back at the end of the day/ 5 minute spell.  Maybe some parents will disagree when the food starts flying around the room.  It just makes me giggle and join in.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Okonomiyaki – Japanese Savoury Pancake

HOW YOU LIKE IT!

Okonomiyaki is more than just an awesome name!  Its a delicious snack served all over Japan, but is generally associated with the Kansai and Hiroshima regions.

It’s an easy going dish, loves trying on different flavours for size.  The name itself means okonomi, “how you like” and yaki meaning “grill”.   Basically, get creative and enjoy!

These recipes are a great base for this kind of tasty fun.  It’s that kind of dish, there are many restaurants with teppans tables around a grill, where you can grill your own Okonomiyaki.  I’ve never done it, but it sounds like a great dining experience.

Traditionally, spring onions are used in this recipe, but I love leeks.  At this time of year, I’m getting some beautiful organic leeks.  If you’re in Britain, and not a super traditionalist, I’d go for some nice leeks.  The first recipe is probably something like the simple Okonomiyaki that was popular in  World War II in Japan, when rice was in short supply and this, classically wheat pancake, was nutritious and filling.

Gram/ chickpea flour is of course a genius ingredient and a vegans best friend.  It adds a lovely flavour here which some have described as ‘slightly eggy’ (it was me earlier on).  We’ll be playing more with this recipe soon, expect more variations.

THE ‘GET LEE TO JAPAN’ FUND

I haven’t been to Japan and I’d like to officially open the ‘get Lee to Japan’ fund.   I am an expert at traveling on a frayed shoestring.  Feel free to donate many bucks and I promise to come back with a suitcase full of goodies, a belly full of happy and a brain packed with new, scorching recipes.  Is it a deal!?!!:)

Itadakimasu!!

Vegan Okonomiyaki with Tofu, Pickled Ginger, Sesame Seeds, Radish and Teriyaki Sauce, oh, and a swirl of mayo

Recipe Notes

You can omit the cornflour, but it does help bind the pancake together.

Use any type of gluten-free flour mix.  All the ones I’ve tried work well.

These pancakes are like every pancake in the world, best served ideally straight from the pan.  Although they are still tasty when served cool, just not straight from the fridge if possible.

If you’re not gluten-free you can just replace the other flours with wheat flour.  Unbleached white flour would be cool.

No seaweed flakes?  No problems.  Just grab a couple of sheets of nori and pop in a blender and blitz until they are a broken down into small flakes.

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Vegan Okonomiyaki – one of my all-time favourite names for a dish

Vegan Okonominyaki – Japanese Savoury Pancake (G/F)

The Bits – 1 pancake, 8 slices

100g spring onions/ leeks – roughly one medium leek (finely sliced)

10g cornflour

100g gram/ chickpea flour (or besan)

100g gluten-free flour mix

175ml water

1 tbs sesame oil

3 tbs teriyaki sauce/ tamari/ good quality soya sauce

 

Toppings (how you like….)

Chopped spring onions, toasted sesame seeds, pickled ginger, cheese, mayonnaise, Okonomiyaki sauce, sea weed flakes, kimchi (is awesome but a curve ball is the traditional thing) or try our Wasabi mayo recipe here.

 

Do It

In a mixing bowl, add the flours and then water, mix together until smooth, add the onions/ leeks, mix in.

In a medium sized frying pan, warm on medium high heat, add the oil, ensure the pan is well covered with oil, pour in the mixture, smooth out into a neat, chunky pancake.

Pop a lid on and cook for 5 minutes, flip over.  You can use a plate to make this easier.  Pop the pancake on a large plate, flip the pan over and place it on top.  Using a kitchen cloth (the pan is hot;) hold the pan over the plate and flip them both over.  Hope that makes sense!  Or just flip it using your A+ pancake tossing skills.

Pop lid back on and cook for 3 minutes more.

Transfer onto a chopping board, cut into 8 pieces.  Brush with the teriyaki sauce, top with chopped spring onions/ leeks and sesame seeds.  Or go wild!!

 

Okonomiyaki Vegan/ GF Style with Tofu, Sesame, Seaweed and Pickled Ginger

Okonominyaki with Tofu, Toasted Sesame, Seaweed and Pickled Ginger – Japanese Savoury Pancake (G/F)

The Bits – For 1 pancake, 8 slices

200ml water

10g cornflour

100g gram flour (chickpea flour)

100g gluten-free flour mix

 

125g / 2 small leeks (finely sliced – reserve 1/2 handful of sliced greens)

150g firm tofu (thinly sliced)

3 heaped tbs nooch (nutritional yeast flakes)

2 tbs sesame seeds

3 heaped tbs seaweed flakes

2 pinches salt

 

1 tbs sesame oil

 

Topping 

2-3 tbs teriyaki/ tamari sauce

3-4 tbs vegan mayonnaise

3 tbs pickled Japanese ginger

1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

1 radish (finely sliced)

1/2 handful spring onion/ leek greens (finely sliced)

 

Do It

In a mixing bowl, add the flours and then water, mix together until smooth, add the onions/ leeks, seaweed, nooch and salt, mix in.

In a medium sized frying pan, warm on medium high heat, add the oil, ensure the pan is well covered with oil, scatter with sesame seeds, then place the tofu on top. Making a layer of tofu on the base of the pan.  Pour over the mixture, smooth out into a neat, chunky pancake.

Pop a lid on and cook for 6 minutes, scatter the pancake with sesame seeds and then flip over.  You can use a plate to make this easier.  Pop the pancake on a large plate, flip the pan over and place it on top.  Using a kitchen cloth (the pan is hot;) hold the pan over the plate and flip them both over.  Hope that makes sense!  Or just flip it using your A+ pancake tossing skills.

Pop the lid back on and cook for 3 minutes more.

Transfer onto a chopping board, cut into 8 pieces.  Brush with the teriyaki sauce, then mayo and scatter on the other toppings until it looks beautiful.  Serve now!

 

If you try one of these recipes out, please let us know in the comments below.  We’d love to hear how it went!

 

Foodie Fact

Gram flour is a genius!!  It’s basically ground chickpeas.  We cook with it all the time, vegan tortillas/ fritattas, omelettes, nofu (recipe coming soon), g/f chapattis, dosas, farinata and loads of cakes, check out our ‘Spiced Orange and Almond Upside Down Cake‘ from just before Christmas.  So healthy, versatile and gluten-free too.

It’s got high levels of protein, iron, fibre, magnesium, potassium and vitamin B-6.

 

Keep up to date with all our upcoming events, we still have rooms for our vegan cooking holidays in Spain and Cornwall this summer, with many more plans for festivals, cooking demos, workshops and even healthy cooking retreats later in ’18. 

Our Vibrant Vegan tour hits Manchester next weekend, can’t wait!!

Categories: Breakfast, Budget, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Roast Carrot & Ginger Hummus

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Roast Carrot & Ginger Hummus – Get dippin’!

This is a lively one; zesty, colourful and filled with spice.  Ideal for a winter party, sure to brighten things up!  Playing with hummus flavours is something I believe all vegans enjoy, absolutely nothing wrong with the classic, but hummus is one of the tastiest vehicles imaginable for fabulous flavours!  Hummus is important!!  It’s one of those things that we can all cook, and we all have our own take on, some prefer a little more tahini, some more garlic…..

This hummus is not only a great combination of flavours, it’s also filled with all we need at this time of year to keep us shining, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, citrus and of course tahini (we love it!)  I have added a small amount of oil here and think its rich enough, but by all means, add more to make it a really rich treat.  Just sub the water for oil.

I’ll be sharing some more festive recipes soon…..

The Bits – One medium bowlful, For 4-6 for dipping

500g chickpeas (cooked, drained and rinsed)

2 large carrots (roasted and chopped)

1 1/2 teas turmeric

1 teas ground cumin

1/2 teas cinnamon

4 tbs light tahini

2 tbs heaped ginger (finely diced or grated)

2 limes (juice)

50ml olive oil

50ml water

Salt

 

Do It

Add carrots, chickpeas, spices, lime juice, ginger, 1/2 teas salt and tahini to a blender and blitz for a while.  As it’s going, pour in the water and oil.  It is fine a little chunky, but blend for longer if you like a really smooth hummus.  Taste and add salt if needed to really bring out those zingy flavours.

Foodie Fact

There is so many vibrant and healthy ingredients packed into this hummus, it’s difficult to know where to begin with this foodie fact.  Shall we talk about turmeric?  Why not!  Turmeric is a colourful root, that looks a lot like ginger in it’s raw state.  Most of us know that turmeric is an incredible ingredient from a nutritional point of view, here’s a quick low down.  It full of beneficial bits and pieces, loads of iron, vitamin C, magnesium and good amounts of protein and fibre.  I like to sneak turmeric into meals, smoothies etc whenever I can.  Turmeric is also known as an anti-inflammatory and has been said to cure a whole host of ailments.  It is also a very cool colour (which is important;)

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Superfoods, Vegan, Winter | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Seeking falafel perfection in Lebanon and making the dream falafel wrap

Welcome, to the land of falafel!  This was my favourite wrap, but it’s hard to tell.

I had a falafel recently in Newcastle which was less than incredible.  The falafel was only discernible from the bread by a shift in colour, in fact, it was actually drier than the thick, stale bread.  Both were only slightly more appetising than the rough paper they were wrapped in.  It had no sauce whatsoever.   Bit of iceberg lettuce.  ‘What’s going on!!’

A Turkish man made it for me, which made it even more hard to deal with.  But then the dawning came, there are no falafels in Turkey.  Why should he have known his way around this potential exquisite combination of simple deliciousness.  (I might add, this place does the best veg kofta and mezze’s in the North East.)   It’s like asking a Geordie to make the perfect momo…….  Sometimes, to truly understand something, we’ve got to go back to the source(ish).

Having not long returned from Lebanon, this entire experience was a taste bud trauma.  I decided to go home and look at my travel pictures, remind myself about the real deal, sate my hunger by the sheer tastiness of my memories of wandering around Lebanon, from falafel shop to falafel kiosk.  I got so excited, and into it, I wrote this.

Never short of a pickle in Tripoli. The perfect, salty and crunchy accompaniment to any wrap. I liked the violently pink cauliflower ones.

I had just over a week in Lebanon, it’s not a massive country, but it is well stuffed with chickpeas.  People love them, as do I.  Hummus, Mshbaha (creamy – recipe here), Fattet (stew) or even just a straight up bowl of warm chickpeas in their broth with a pile of flatbread and liberal sprinklings of intense cumin.

What I saw from my little Lebanese window was that no country worships the chickpea like Lebanon.  So mashing it up and deep frying it sounded like a great idea I’m sure.  I stand close to my assertion that anything deep fried, crispy and light, will taste great.  There is something primal when we bite into it and get the CRUNCH.  Even though, most of us now feel it naughty to munch on these deep fried globes of happiness, we still get a kick out of them.  You can bake them for slightly healthier results, but when in Beirut…..

Monster falafels taking over the city (a poster)

Falafels, bar the frying bit, are actually highly nutritious.  Packed with fibre, complex carbs and protein, they even have loads of minerals, high in iron for example and don’t get me started on the manganese content.  Through the roof!!  When you lather them in tahini, veggies, fresh herbs and a wholesome wrap, we doing alright there.  In so many ways.

A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF FALAFEL

Are you new to falafels?  Have you been living in very big, deep, dark cave?  If so, welcome.  They’re deep fried dough balls really.  Less exotic and sounding less appetising, but essentially, honest.   It is normally made with chickpea or fava bean (see my recipe for Egyptian falafels here) or sometimes both.  Add to that some herbs and spices and a normally healthy fistful of breadcrumbs and we’re getting there.  The best dishes, the ones we eat and enjoy most often, are always simple.  No falafel is an island, it needs it’s gang of accompaniments to shine (see below for the perfect crew).

Falafel Sayhoun wrap (action shot) – famous throughout Lebanon and it was nice.  Not number 1 though.

Strangely, falafel actually means ‘pepper’ (plural of) which somehow means ‘little balls’.  In Egyptian Arabic it means, ‘a little bit of food’.  It is popular across the Middle East, and now the world.  Originally (possibly) it was the Coptic Christians in Egypt who came up with falafels to keep them sated during Lent.  But this is a highly charged and sometimes political debate.  I’d just like to say that I live in Wales, halfway up a mountain and feel ill-equipped to deal with a full-on falafel debate.  I just know that they’re not from Wales.

I like a bit of this on my wrap, sprinkle of Sumac. Contentious I know, but gives it a nice citrus twang.

It has been said that the Pharoahs enjoyed nibbling falafels, but this is hard to prove, but nice to imagine.  Pyramids, falafel wrap stands……  In fact, you’ll find McFalafels in McDonalds all over Egypt.  Make of that what you will.

Some of the guys working in the falafel wrap joints are like an F1 pit crew.  Your falafel is ordered, with special requirements taken note of (almost everyone has  their own little wrap quirk) and wrapped in such a rush of energy and precision, sprinkle and roll.  It’s exhilarating.  These folk know their moves!  It goes; whack, whack, sprinkle, scatter, squirt, another scatter, roll, wrap, wrap, twist, launch at customer.  A fine art I’d say.  Not just the flavour going on here, its the buzz of watching a master at work.

FALAFEL GEEK CORNER

The current world record falafel wrap was 74.75 kgs, made in Amman, Jordan.  How they fried it, is interesting to think about.  When I checked out ‘world largest falafel ball’, here is what I got (350 lites of vegetable oil and fed 600 people!!):

You can eat falafels for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I’m not recommending it as a balanced diet, but if you’re in Beirut, it seems like a great idea.   As we can see, not all falafels are created equal, there are a few rules that I gleaned from friendly Lebanese cooks and falafel aficionados, here are their teachings,

The decor in Falafel Sayhoun, a Beirut institution. The falafel were heavy on the black pepper I thought.

THE DREAM FALAFEL WRAP (LEBANESE EDITION)

Is light on bread, a pitta cut in half thickness wise.  Some pickles (pink turnip is nice), some tarator (basic tahini sauce), a few squashed falafels, tomato and lettuce, fresh mint, sometimes parsley, served with some long green pickled chillies.  That’s basically it!  Simple as and normally quite small.  Generally costing around £1.

One of my favourite falafel was eaten beside Baalbek (see this ‘I Ate Lebanon’ post) and served by Ali, the ‘King of Falafels’.  A well named man.  He was a super star.  Baalbek is close to the border with Syria and my journey took a few minibuses, the last one filled with Lebanese army, to get there.  Zero tourists, I had the place to myself, the carvings of Cleopatra and the well preserved temple to Dionysus were real treats.  After walking around in the baking sun, this falafel was well needed.

What makes the perfect falafel wrap?

So a recap, in Lebanon, this is the low down on the perfect falafel wrap:

  • Thin flat bread, most are cut in half.
  • Not massive, 3-4 falafels, 12 inches long.  A snack.
  • Light and crisp falafels
  • Pickles.  Check out those intense pink turnip pickles!!
  • A little tomato and lettuce.
  • A good spoonful of creamy tahini sauce
  • Mint leaves, always fresh mint leaves.
  • Served with pickled green chillies (just a little spicy)

That’s it!  Simply amazing!!

BEST FALAFEL WRAP IN LEBANON….

Ali was pipped by, I’m not sure I should even mention this out loud.  Can you keep a secret?  (Whisper)…..There is a place, just up the road from Falafel Sayhoun, near the souks of Beirut……sorry…I’ve said enough.  Friends in Beirut would never forgive me, if you’re planning a visit, get in touch and I’ll give you the directions.  There is no sign or door, it’s that good! (Whisper over).

Meet Ali, the self-styled ‘King of Falafels’. A fitting name. Balbeek high street.

There is something perfectly balanced about it, a falafel wrap or mezze plate gives a sweep of nutritional boosts and most of all, it’s delicious and ticks all the boxes in and around our palate.

Some things will never get old and maybe just keep getting better!  As the world seems to get increasingly complex, simple pleasures are all the more important.  I felt so lucky to be able to enjoy one of my favourite street feasts with some awesome people in a country that is head over heels for food.

Souks of Tripoli, packed with potential falafel wrap ingredients. Maybe some roasted cauliflower would be nice in there?

Falafel lovers footnote:

Of course, Lebanon is not the only country where you can feast of falalels!  What’s your favourite place for falafels?……

 

Kathmandu’s finest – this was our Christmas lunch last year.  Not traditional, but tasty.  Addition of chips was appreciated.  All wrapped in a fresh naan.

Christmas lunch 2016, Nepal – just out of a ten day silent Vipassana meditation retreat.  What better way to celebrate!  Giant falafels!!

Categories: photography, plant-based, Snacks and Inbetweens, Travel, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pea and Mint Hummus

Pea and Mint Hummus

Pea and Mint Hummus

Now that one half (me) of the BHK is rocking Spain, things are going totally Med for a while.  Fresh, vital, packed with sun, light and easy. Tapas basically. Little plates of flavour explosions that tantalise and don’t make you feel like a stuffed courgette. Perfect summer fare.

This is a nice twist on your standard hummus, plenty of lemon to lift it and enliven and a good hit of mint. It looks so vibrant, everyone will want a dip!  The great thing about peas is they freeze brilliantly and a I used frozen peas here.  When frozen, they don’t lose much of their nutritional value or texture, so its all good.

A hummus twist

A hummus twist

In Spain, the hummus wave is really hitting.  We went out with out mate in Madrid, a cool area and all the bars were serving hummus.  It seems like all the cool kids were at the crudites.  I think hummus is such a staple now in the UK, its nice to give it a twist now and again, although there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a well made ‘normal’ hummus.  I like mine nice and thick and creamy, with plenty of tahini.  I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.

*Warning* – my posts from Spain may get a little erratic at times.  I’m normally tucked away in one of the the few local bars that have wifi.  There is a heady atmosphere of shouting and laughter and I’m no doubt sipping a ferocious black coffee.

Give peas a chance;)

2016-05-09 17.23.45

The Bits – Makes one big bowlful

480g chickpeas

275g peas

1 tbs dried mint

1 big handful fresh mint (finely sliced)

150ml olive oil

4 tbs tahini

1 1/2 medium lemons (juice)

2 big cloves garlic (crushed)

1 teas salt

50ml chickpea cooking broth

 

Do It

Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz until nicely smooth, drizzle in the chickpea broth (or water) until you get the consistency you like.  Remember that the hummus will thicken up in the fridge.  Check seasoning and served with a crazy array of chopped vegetables, flatbread slices, oat cakes, whatever tickles your fancy really.

View from one of the local interent hubs/ bars

View from one of the local interent hubs/ bars.  Life’s a long beach!

Categories: healthy, photography, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Summer, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Gooey Choco Nut Cookies (Gluten Free and Vegan)

 

Choco Nut Cookies (Gluten free)

 

Here’s my best attempt yet at gluten free cookies.  There are many gluten free folk attending retreats at Trigonos (where I cook).  The people attending last weeks mindfulness course loved these cookies and to be honest, there was very little difference in texture between the normal cookies that I made. Chewy and gooey in the middle, with plenty of chunks of melted chocolate.  Quite a treat!

I use trail mix in these cookies, but you can substitute any dried fruits and nuts you like.  Xantham gum is something that most gluten free cooks will have around, it really helps to bind GF baked goods together. I don’t normally use it in the BHK, as it is like gluten in being hard to digest.  The difference in texture though is pronounced.  I never thought I’d say this, but Xantham has changed the way I cookie!

Simple, crispy, gooey (gluten free) cookies, we salute you!!!

Based on the recipe ‘Brazil Nut and Chocolate Spelt Cookies’ taken from ‘Peace and Parsnips’.  I made these cookies for Steve Wright on BBC2 Radio and he loved ’em!  Hear my full interview with Steve here.

Brazil Nut and Chocolate Spelt Cookies (from Peace and Parsnips)

Brazil Nut and Chocolate Spelt Cookies (Original recipe from Peace and Parsnips)

The Bits – Makes 8 cookies

Dry

1oog gluten free white flour mix (Doves Farm do a good one)

30g brown rice flour

1/2 teas ground cinnamon

100g unrefined brown sugar

1/2 teas bicarb of soda

3/4 teas baking powder

Large pinch salt

2/3 teas xantham gum

 

Wet

90ml vegetable  oil

1/2 teas vanilla extract

30ml water (splash more if needed)

 

1 big handful vegan dark chocolate (roughly chopped into chunks)

1 big handful of trail mix (or mixed dried fruits and nuts of your choice)

 

Do It

Preheat an oven to 180oc/ Gas Mark 4.

Sift all the dry bits into a large bowl.  Mix all the wet together in a measuring jug, make a well in the centre of the dry bits and pour in the wet, stirring as you go.  Mix in the chocolate and trail mix.  Things should come together, but still be a touch powdery (nothing like a cake mix for example).  Add a splash more water if needed to bind things together.

Make small balls, smaller than a squash ball, in your hands.  Press in some of the goodies (choc and nut) and place on a lightly oiled baking tray.  Press them down a little with your fingers to form a fat disc, they’ll expand in the oven, bear this in mind when spacing them out.  Leave a 5cm gap around each cookie.

Pop in the oven and bake for 11-13 minutes.  Ovens vary, if its a fan oven, check after 11, otherwise 13 minutes is good.  A little overbaking will make them crispier, but I like them gooey in the middle.  Remember, cookies are done when they have a crisp coat around them, they will be soft, but firm up on the cooling rack.

Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes and them transfer carefully to a wire cooling rack.  Eat as soon as cool enough to scoff!

Serve 

Have you ever made a cookie ice cream sandwich?  Go for it, especially when they’re hot.  Place on cookie into a bowl, spoon over some ice cream and place the other cookie on top.  WOW!

Foodie Fact

Eating small quantities of dark chocolate daily can help the heart, assisting blood flow.  It also contains several compounds that make you feel good, even the chemical that is released when we fall in love!  Flavanoids are also present that help to regulate blood sugar and it is packed with anti oxidants.  These are just a scattering of the incredible benefits of our favourite sweet nibble.

Working on the land yesterday at Trigonos.  Planting some Crown Prince Squash, one of my favourite varities.

Working on the land yesterday at Trigonos. Planting some Crown Prince Squash, one of my favourite varities.

 

Categories: Baking, Desserts, gluten-free, photography, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Cashew, Dijon and Spinach Biscuits (Raw)

Cashew, Dijon and Spinach Biscuits (Raw)

Cashew, Dijon and Spinach Biscuits (Raw)

A bit of crunch to a Raw diet, you can’t beat it. Things like these biscuits add a much needed bite to the gorgeous raw salads and soups that we are munching at the moment. We love ’em!

Jane and I appreciate a good oatcake, but these biscuits are something else!  Fat and dense with loads of flavour they are something quite substantial and of course, you have all the nutrients and enzymes still there so they fill you up even more.

These Cashew Biscuits are also green which is my favourite colour. Do you find this attracts you to certain foods? I know I like purple things, there is an ice cream in the Philippines called ‘Ube’ which is one of the worlds most amazing foods. I believe this is known as a tangent…….

Ube Ice Cream – a worthy summer tangent

You will need a dehydrator for these, or some say that you can put an oven on low heat and leave the door open slightly, although I don’t like the sound of this practice.  Dehydrators are relatively cheap and if you’re into this kind of thing, are a worthy addition to your kitchen arsenal.  They are basically a small hair dryer with a big plastic box attached, you can change the temperature on them, our’s goes up to 700C but we keep it below 45oC.  Keep it raw!  They are also handy when foraging, dry excess herbs for future use.  We have been making alot of mint tea, using a glut of apple mint and storing it in jars for later.

Mustard is one of my favourite things to be found in a jar (horseradish also).   I will be making my own very shortly in the BHK such is my passion for the stuff.  Well made mustard also happens to be very good for you and has many health giving properties (see the Foodie Fact).

Biscuits, crunch, raw and YUM! Give them a whirl.

Makes 8 big biscuits:

The Bits

2 cups cashews (soaked overnight), 1 cup sunflower seeds, 2 cloves garlic (mashed up), 2 cups spinach leaves, 1/2 cup flax seeds (soaked), 1 celery stalk (chopped), 1/4 cup fruity olive oil, 2 teas dijon mustard, 1 teas salt, 2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but will make them nice and cheesy), 1 teas dried sage, 1 teas cracked black pepper

Do It

In a food processor, blend your cashews first to form a thick paste.  Reserve the oil and add all other ingredients, begin to blend and add the olive oil gradually until the paste is sticky but not wet.  You will need to scrape down the sides of your FP and blend again to make sure all is combined well.  If it’s too dry, add a little more water, if it’s too wet, add more flax seeds.

Ready for the dehydrator

Ready for the dehydrator

Dehydrators differ, but ours does not have a non stick shelf.  We cut greaseproof paper into suitably sized squares.

Grab a decent sized ball of your mix with oiled hands, shape it a gauge the size (ours were around 6 inch discs, nice and chunky), place on your greaseproof square and pat down until you are happy with the size.  Use a cupped hand to push in any untidy bits and form a nice edge.

Pop in a dehydrator for around 12 hours on 440C, we left our’s overnight and in the morning, we had crunchy biscuits.

Cashew. Dijon and Spinach Biscuits (Raw)

Cashew. Dijon and Spinach Biscuits (Raw)

We Love It!

We can see ourselves eating alot of these and even, on occasion, replacing our oatcake habit with these green wonders.  They are alot more than a biscuit and from a nutritional point of view, are real powerhouses disguised as a dried up looking disc.  What a pleasant surprise.

Foodie Fact

Mustard seeds are related to Broccoli, the cruciferous family and there are over 40 different varieties of the plant, but they are mainly grouped into black (the spiciest), white and brown.

Brown mustard seeds (which are actually dark yellow in colour) are the acrid ones used in making Dijon Mustard.

Mustard has been shown to battle cancer and has lots of selenium, which helps with asthma and arthritis.  It also boasts plenty of magnesium which helps with sleep patterns, migraines and also good levels of omega 3 fatty acids.

Categories: gluten-free, Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sprouted Buckwheat, Onion and Miso Crackers (Raw)

Sprouted Buckwheat, Onion and Miso Crackers (Raw)

Sprouted Buckwheat, Onion and Miso Crackers (Raw)

What a thing!  What a wonderful thing!  RAW CRACKERS have arrived with a crunch at the BHK!  We managed to pick up a dehydrator for half price which has inspired us to play with many ingredients in new ways, generally making them all crispy.

This crispiness is something you can miss when you go full-on raw (I believe it is known as mouth feel in some circles, but that sounds too technical for a humble cracker), the odd bit of toast, bread, crackers, oat cakes, you know the drill.  You fancy something to balance the crunch and zest of all the magic veggies and fruits you’re eating.  This is where the raw cracker comes into its own and this one boast not only dried onions (massive flavour here) but also brown miso for a cracker that tastes as stunning and moreish as anything dusted with chemicals and the like.

These buckwheat crackers were a real surprise, we had no idea they’d taste so dang good!  The only issue is not eating them all at once and they do take a good 12 hours to dehydrate.  Dehydrating is a great lesson in being prepared and most importantly patient.  You can’t rush the process, but the end result is normally more than worth the wait.  It’s best to dehydrate over night and then you just forget about whats going on until you wander down in the morning and find some crispy wonders awaiting you.

The dehydrator also makes soothing buzzing noise and warms a room quite nicely, just a couple of add- on benefits.  It actually sounds like your on a plane when you sit beside it, that gently humming and whistling, you can close your eyes and imagine your off to somewhere exotic to behave in wonderful ways.

Buckwheat is one of those things that we don’t eat enough of, we have to go to the health shop to get our hands on it.  When we have it around we love having a play with it using it as a substitute for grains in salads and stews.

Buckwheat is actually a berry (along the lines of quinoa) and has nothing to do with wheat etc, so its gluten free and great for the body/ digestion.  Buckwheat flour is also perfect for a full flavoured, dense pancake or flatbread.  We love wheat, but it generally doesn’t love us.  When you start giving things up on a raw diet, you really get to know your digestive system in a new way (promise not to get too graphic here!).  You also realise how much strain you have been putting it under and wheat/ gluten for us is a real drag on the belly and below.  Still, the smell of toast is something quite special and we’ll always nibble our way through a couple of slices.  It’s a pleasure-pain thing and the pleasure is well worth the gurgling insides.

There is something about miso that is quite special also, it’s got that healthy bacteria thing going on and just feels very, very right.  It is high in sodium, but it is used by the body in a different way to plain old salt.  Japanese people eat alot of it and Japanese people live for a long, long time and have significantly less disease than us Western varieties.   It could be the miso!?

We used slightly oiled baking parchment to dry these babies out, it works quite well, but in proper dehydrating circles, you’d use a special non-stick tray.  If you are gentle with a spatula, you should be able to get them off in one piece-ish.

Makes eight medium sized crackers.

The Bits

300g sprouted buckwheat, 1 1/2 tbsp brown miso (use more if you are using white or yellow miso), 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp fresh parsley (we didn’t have any), 1/4 onion (finely sliced), 2 tbsp boiling water, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes, 1 tbsp sunflower/ pumpkin seeds (optional)

Do It

Blend all together to a thick, spreadable paste.  You’ve got to love this raw food prep, its a blend-fest, but oh so simple.

Just add......avocado?

Just add……avocado?

Serve

We like ours with a crunchy salad, the contrast of textures is something to behold and its raw, and all the nutrients are there AND its superbly healthy.  How about lathered in avocado!!!!!  Its one of those raw/ vegan food no lose situations that we coming to love in the BHK.

We Love It!

Full of nutrition and raw crunch, we can’t wait to get started on a new batch.  Flax and sprouted oat next up….

Foodie Fact

Buckwheat is a berry related to rhubarb and sorrel, it helps to slow down the absorption of glucose after a meal making it good for diabetics.  It contains all of your amino acids, not produced by the body and also contains lysine and many minerals which are great for the immune system.

Categories: Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Raw Power Balls

Apricot Sesame and Tahini – Raw Power Balls

These are real super fuels, if you need power and energy, look no further.  These Raw Power Balls are like duracell batteries for the body.

We love a good raw bar.  Nutty or seedy.  Carob or crunch.  Nak’d and Nine Bar are just a couple on sale in the UK which are perfect when you fancy a treat but don’t want to eat a load of junk.  Making them yourself however is a lot more fun and allows your creative side to get busy.

These little balls pack a serious punch, tasty and like rocket fuel, your energy levels and vitality will leap when you try them.  We experiment with this recipe all the time and they are the perfect snack for a long day walking up steep hills (and then down again).  I eat them at work and they keep me rocking all day.  The measurements are rough here, they don’t need to be exact, handfuls are accurate enough.  This is a simple, quick snack that serves as a tasty last minute treat.

Packed with nuts and date, you need to take it easy with this type of snack.  They are very filling and packed full of sugar, hence the power.  Too many and you’ll negate any benefit gained from all that raw goodness (by getting fat!).

They don’t need any preparation, but the dates and nuts will be better for a soak.  They swell up and even taste better. They become softer and easier to blend.  Soaking will also release many of the useful enzymes and nutrients that are otherwise closed off to the body.  If you do decide to soak your bits, keep the juice, date juice is lovely and sweet and the nut juice is packed with nutrients.  We add it to juices, stews or soups.

You may also like to make these into a truffle.  Heat up some chocolate (in a bowl above a pan of steaming water) and roll you power balls in them until well coated.  Place on a tray, covered with baking parchment and stick them in the fridge.  Once the chocolate has hardened, they are ready to be enjoyed.  That’s surely a treat worthy of a special birthday walk or even a dessert in its own right (just make the balls slightly bigger).

On a wander, seeing some flowers.

Here are a few of our favourite Power Ball flavour combos:

The Bits

Makes six decent power balls

Basic recipe:

1 handful of good dates (we like medjool, soaked for 2 hours), 1 handful of almonds (soaked overnight), 1/2 handful of cashews (soaked overnight)

Dark Chocolate Orange

2 heaped teas cacao powder, 3 teas orange blossom water or 2 teas orange zest, 1/2 handful of raisin (soaked) 

Apricot, Sesame and Tahini

3 teas sesame seeds, 2 teas tahini, 1/2 handful of dried apricots (soaked and chopped)

Walnut Apple Pie

1 handful dried apples (soaked), 1 handful of walnuts (replace almonds), 1/2 teas cinnamon

Lemon Cardamom

2 teas lemon zest, 2 teas crushed cardamom seeds

Coco Choco Mint

1/2 handful of fresh coconut (blend first), 2 teas cacao powder, 2 teas finely chopped mint leaves

Vanilla Cashew

1 teas vanilla extract, use only cashew nuts

Very Berry 

1 handful of dried cranberry, 1/2 handful of dried blueberry, 1/2 handful dried cherries, 1 teas vanilla extract

Seedy Wonder

1/2 handful sunflower seeds, 1/2 handful pumpkin seeds, 1/4 handful sesame seeds, 1/4 handful poppy seeds

Ginger Bread

1/2 teas all spice, 1/2 teas dried ginger, 1 handful of pecans (replace almonds)

Maple Fig and Lavender (CAUTION – very sweet!)

1 teas maple syrup, 1/2 teas dried lavender, 1/2 handful dried figs (soaked and chopped)

Peanut Butter 

2 teas peanut butter, 1 handful of raw peanuts

The list goes on…………..like kids in a sweet shop……

Do It

The technique is always the same.  Put it all into a food processor, blitz until smooth (or chunky, you decide).  Get your hands in there and roll out a decent sized ball between your palms.  That’s it!

Place in the fridge for a while to make them firmer and a little less sticky.  They last for a long time in a sealed container in the fridge and can even be frozen and munched at a later date.

Chocolate Orange – Raw Power Balls

Serve

Preferably on top of a peak or in a forest somewhere far away from anywhere.

We Love Them!

Better than a biscuit and full of only raw goodness.

Foodie Fact

Dates give you a hefty dose of protein and fibre.  They are also high in calories, essential when wandering around the countryside (or city for that matter).  They are also a good source of Vitamin B and you’ll even get a splash of C thrown in as well.

Sun on flowers, taken on a walk in the woods

Categories: Desserts, Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Green Leanie Smoothie

“The green leanie, lives on its back, the green leanie, loves chimney stacks, he’s outrageous he screams and he bawls, the green leanie, let yourself go…..ohhhhhhhhhh”  I’m sure Bowie would approve of such a smoothie.  He’s looking good for an oldie.

Here is a smoothie that really gets you flying in the morning.  Leave the espresso on the side and quaff one of these green beauts, you’ll be zinging ’til lunch.

When its early in the day and our bodies are just waking up, the last thing the want is a mass in the belly to digest.   That’s the good thing about a smoothie, its basically pre-digested!  Sounds disgusting, but is true.  The blender does alot of the work your digestive system would have done, meaning the nutrients are there to be had with very little effort.  Smoothies are a gentle way to nourish yourself, your body will love you for it.

I know what you’re thinking, another green smoothie!  But this one has a very different flavour and green happens to be my favourite colour.  I remember a massive advertisement campaign when I was a nipper, ‘a Mars (insanely sweet and rubbish chocolate bar) a day helps you work, rest and play’.  That seemed to be the nutritional advice heeded by many folk when I was younger.  Well heres a new one, highlighting our evolution as a species, ‘a green leanie a day will help shine, smile and basically feel a heck of alot better about everything’.  Not as catchy, but true enough for us.

A green smoothie per day is brilliant for you, ‘green’ meaning containing green leaves (ie kale, spinach, spring greens etc).  A good blender really gets to work on the fibre, breaking it down into easily absorbed particles.  They act as a blood toxifier, are high in enzymes and minerals and are low in cholesterol.  They are also full of chlorophyll, which makes your skin glow and flushes out baddies, like disease and toxins.

Enzymes are an important part of our diet, our body over time does not produce enough to replenish our system.  We use enzymes when digesting food and without the adequate level, do not absorb nutrients efficiently.  When you drink a green smoothie, you’re getting a shot of pure enzymes.

Smoothies are ideal for packing nutrients in, we need as many as we can get.  Following you’re five a day is fine, but you could always make it ten!  Why not?  The more the merrier.   In one smoothie we can fit in the nutritional equivalent of three vegetable based meals.  These smoothies contain no milk, just water.  Jane and I prefer them like this, they taste cleaner.  This is also the ideal type of smoothie if you fancy a bit of  detox.

So smoothies are the way forward for us all, it will take a little change in culture, but I can see smoothie bars being more popular than your corner cafe in the future.  The French will be sitting on boulevards sipping shots of wheatgrass and kale smoothies from elegant glasses.  This is the future…….

This combo arose out of one of our fruit bowls (we need more than one at the minute, we are munching loads of fruit) and the veg drawer.  The combination of bits in a green smoothie is wide and wonderful.

We love to serve our smoothies in nice glassware, show them some love, so does our lovely friend freeflowfoodie, a blog with amazing energy and of course, smoothies in funky glasses!

Green Leanie Smoothie

This makes a large blender full.  Good enough for breakfast and lunch.

The Bits 

1 handful of spring greens, 1 handful of spinach, 1 apple, 1 pear, 1/2 handful of mint leaves, 1 stalk of celery, 1 inch cube of ginger (finely sliced), 1 handful of chopped canteloupe melon cubes (any sweet melon really), 1 cup of clean water

Optional – Add bananas if you like sweet smoothie, add strawberries if they are in season, add fennel if you want to try something new (great aniseed kick there).

Do It

Blitz in a blender until smooth.  The better the blender, the better the smoothie.  It will be better broken down.

Serve

Straight into nice glassware or pour over a fruit salad/ bowl of cereal.

We Love It! 

The best way to start a day.  That’s it really.

Foodie Fact

Spring greens are actually young, tender cabbage plants, without the tough stem in the middle.  Spring greens are great veg for lowering your cholesterol, which is actually more effective when steamed.  When eaten raw they also contains sinigrin, a great thing for fighting the big ‘C’.

Categories: Blogs, Breakfast, Detox, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Smoothies, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Raw Cream Cheese

Raw Cream Cheese

This is as good as cream cheese gets, raw wise. I have to say that calling it a cheese is a little off the mark. But it’s as good as the plant world can do and does have the gentle sweetness of the cashew nut.  It certainly boasts more health benefits than your average mozzarella.

We have found this buttery cashew cheese to be a very versatile little number, great to add richness to dressings and as a base for many different dips (the cashew hummus being a real star, watch this space for recipe)

By adding paprika here, you may be able to recreate something of the taste of cheddar cheese.  We have not tried this method out, but it sounds interesting.  You can also have a go with some probiotic powder and nutritional yeast flakes, but this seemed like a longer process.  Time is of the essence this busy summer time.  We have a garden to tend and a lazy cat to stroke!

This will make good sized bowl of lovely raw cheese to enjoy.

The Bits

2 cup of cashew nuts (soaked overnight), juice of a lemon, 1/2 teas good sea salt, 1 tbs good quality olive oil.

Do It 

Place all ingredients (not olive oil) in a food processor and blend until smooth, trickle in the olive oil gradually, it should take around 5 minutes.  You will need to stop and scape the mixture from the sides and start again, this ensures all is blended nicely.  This will keep well in the fridge.

Serve

As you would with any cheese.  We have just used it to make a raw caesar dressing.  It is dense and packed full of richness.  We have also mixed some honey into this cheese and served it spread on fruits.

We Love It!

This is another recipe that we will keep making, it as great base for greater adventures in the raw cooking world.

Cashew Nut Tree

Foodie Fact 

The cashew nut tree is native to the Amazon rainforest and was spread all over the world by Portugese explorers.  The cashew nut hangs of what are called ‘cashew apples’ or the fruit of the cashew tree.

Cashews are high in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants.  They also contain high levels of dietary fibre which will keep you ticking over…..(for our American readers, this is how we Brits spell ‘fibre’, you may notice other spelling changes during the course of this blog.  We call an Ax and Axe for example).

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Black Olive Tapenade with Beetroot and Red Onion Salad

Beetroot and Red Onion Salad with Black Olive Tapenade

Tapenade is one of those things that we don’t eat enough of.  Everytime we have it, we say the same thing, “Why are we not eating more tapenade!”  It is delicious and is one of those classic summer dishes that reminds me of holidays in Greece and France.

I ate alot of tapenade at break times whilst picking grapes in Beaujolais.  We’d have it spread over warm baguettes, with local cheese and lashings of whatever wine was in the bucket (purely medicinal, it helped to dull the back pain you see).  I believe that the intense satisfaction I got from munching the tapenade pulled me through those back breaking times.  The wine was certainly nothing to get excited about, unfortunately.

This is a wonderful concoction of flavours that I’ve had a little play with (of course) and omitted the use of capers due to a forgetful moment at the shops.  The unique caper-ness has been replaced by the gorgeous sun-dried tomato.  Not a bad substitute!  I have also added raisins to add a little sweetness, the black olives can be a little bitter in these parts, Wales not being high on the olive producing charts.   The rest is fairly classic tapenade, forming a delectable black paste that can be spread or dipped as you choose.  I love this type of food, which is greater than the sum of its bits.

I normally think of Tapenade as being a Greek dish, but it actually hales from Provencal in France.  Traditionally this puree contains caper, anchovies, black olives and olive oil.  The French would normally serve it as an hors d’oeurve or stuff it into a steak.

Tapenade is alot like pesto (see our ‘Hazelnut Pesto‘ post) in that it is a joy to behold sitting in the fridge door.  It just hangs around and marinates, getting better and better.  It goes well in so many things and mixed with some oil, makes for an instant wonder dressing.  The best part is that it has a gourmet flavour with very little needed in way of preparation.

The way you chop up your veg has a major effect on the presentation and texture of a salad.  Have a little think before you begin to chop about what type of effect you’d like to create.

If you spend a little more on good quality olives here, it is well worth it.  The black variety are normally a little cheaper and in their own way, just as good as some of their greener brothers and sisters.

The Bits

Tapenade – 1 cup black olive, 6 sun dried tomatoes, 2 cloves crunched garlic, 1/2 red onion, 1/4 cup raisins, juice of 1 lemon, handful of chopped parsley, sprig of rosemary, pinch of thyme and oregano, glug of olive oil, cracked black pepper and sea salt (to taste), glug of olive oil (if needed)

Salad – 1 nice red onion (thinly sliced), 4 small beetroots (cut into eighth’s), 2 cups of spinach (chopped), 3 carrots (grated), 2 stalks celery (chopped), 1 cupful of sprouts (we used green lentil sprouts)

Black Olive Tapenade in the mix…..

Do It

Tapenade – Add all ingredients to a food processor and begin to whizz.  As it becomes sticky, trickle in some remaining olive oil to create a beautiful, shiny puree.  Keep in a sealed container in the fridge overnight for maximum marination (new word for you there!).

Salad – We put the red onion and carrot into a food processor and grated, then chopped the celery, spinach and beetroot separately.

Serve

Thin out some tapenade by adding the same quantity of good olive oil and whisking well.  You can lower the amount of tapenade if you’d prefer a lighter dressing.  Pour the dressing over the salad and give a good mix in.

Place in your favourite salad bowl and top with a handful of green lentil sprouts (see our ‘sprout‘ post for how to sprout your own, its quite simple).  Then spoon on some tapenade.

We have also used it to flavour soups and stews and of course in post June days we’d have it lathered on some warm oat bread.

We Love It!

This tapenade has a great balance of bitter and sweet, with the beautiful silky texture of pureed olives.

Foodie Fact

Olives are one of the oldest foods known, dating back 7,000 years.  Black Olives are left to ripen for longer on the trees, green ones are picked earlier, they generally have a milder flavour.  Olives are a good source of iron (which helps to carry oxegen in our blood) and are low in calories with plenty of good fats.  They do however contain a decent amount of sodium and should be eaten in moderation if you’re keeping an eye on salt intake.

Twelve black olives provide 1.8mg of iron.  Interestingly women need 18mg of iron per day and men only 8mg.

Categories: Dinner, Dressings, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Lunch, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Raw Fruity Cereal

Sprouting Breakfast Salad

This mornings breakfast was very good looking (and tasting), I felt it deserved to be shared with the world.

Adding wheat sprouts to meals is great for us as it gives that sugary wheaty boast that we normally get from our muesli. The wheat sprouts are very easy to grow and have a nice soft, chewy texture.

Wheat has addictive qualities and the bread at work last night smelled amazing. This is probably why I opted for a sprouting breakfast.

I dislike using out of season produce, but it seems unavoidable at the moment.   Jane and I are always up for a bargain and visiting the shops, found some amazing berries from Spain on sale.  We love Spain, so we snaffled them up.  They were .30p a punnet!  Of course, they lack flavour and the magic of a seasonal berry (preferably ate straight off the bush), but we are not an island blessed with abundant fruit reserves.  I also thought that somewhere in the world, you may live in a land where the sun shines and fruit is always on the menu.  You may have a mango tree in your back garden! (We have a hawthorn and a couple of gnarled crab apple trees).

Raisins add a lovely sweet surprise to this awesome morning bowlful of happiness, you could used diced dates or figs.  Try soaking your raisins overnight, they become nice and plump and give off a nice raisin drink for slurping or using in cooking.

Wheat sprouts

The Bits

Enough for two decent sized bowls.

1 apple, 1 pear, 1 carrot, 1 kiwi, 1 large handful of wheat sprouts, 1 handful of blueberries, 1 handful of blackberries, 1 handful of raisins, soya milk.

Do It

Slice apple, pear, carrot and kiwi, we don’t peel anything (except kiwi).  Just wash or scrub them.  Use your creative flair and mix all nicely in your fanciest  bowl.  Mix some sprouts and raisins into the salad.

Serve

Use the rest of the sprouts for topping with the berries and some nice chilled soya milk (add as much as you would with your favourite cereal).  If I was having this for lunch and not watching my food combinations, I’d have some seeds with this.  Pumpkin and sunflower would be my choice.

Buster and I busy gardening

We Love It!

Its fruity cereal!  It is bursting with vitality and crunch and not as stodgy as our average muesli counterpart.  It also contains no fats, so the good nutrients can get straight into your system and get some morning work done.

Foodie Fact

Don’t throw the water away when you sprout wheat, it has many restorative powers.  You can even mix it with ground seeds and leave it for a day to make a sort of cheese.  It can also be used to make the drink Rejuvelac, which was created by Anne Wigmore of the Hippocrates Health Institute.

This mornings Beach House tune is by Panda Bear ‘Alsatian Darn’:

Categories: Breakfast, Healthy Eating, Music, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raw Carrot Dip

Raw Carrot Dip

It was time to wish Savannah goodbye and good luck for her trip to Spain, so we made her a beach house special raw lunch.  Over the last few days I have come to realise I LOVE preparing food raw.  It is a new found passion for me! It’s so quick, easy, the washing up takes two minutes, and I am learning about some amazing ingredients that make everything SO tasty.  Plus the herb garden herbs are becoming so bushy of late they are just perfect.

This makes a jam jar full 🙂
The Bits
3 large carrots, half an onion, chopped parsley, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp tamari, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 4 tbsp tahini, 2 tbsp water
Do It
Chop the carrot and onion (we used the grater blade in our blender which grated everything perfectly), put everything into the blender and blend for a couple of minutes and then have a little taste – YUM!
We Love It!
This adds a nice bit of richness to our salads and can be used for dipping or spreading on your favourite things.
Foodie Fact
Tahini has an incredibly high nutritional content, full of most of the vitamin B’s and calcium.  In most diets, calcium is taken in via cows milk which is not great for the digestive system, potentially leading to irritation and other difficulties.  Many people believe that tahini has the highest calcium content of any food.

Fresh coco and nut yogurt

We thought we’d add this little snack on, we made it as a fatty number to be eaten 3 hours after our sugary morning fruit salad and before dinner (see our Raw Food No No’s for why?)  We chopped up fresh coconut, a handful of mixed nuts (unroasted) and a good blob of soya yogurt.
Happy dippingX
Love, JaneXXXX

Sunshine lettuce

 

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Sauces, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Raw Hazelnut, Rosemary and Lentil Hummus

Day two of raw June and I’m feeling good. We have been eating quite a bit of raw food recently, so I wasn’t expecting wonders. Later in the month, who knows, maybe I’ll be sprouting!

I am working in a kitchen at the minute and its the middle of ‘silly season’, so its hard graft. I am finding no problems with the energy and when I eat healthy I find I need less sleep (which is a real help in the catering industry). It does have its advantages, I wont be missing cooking this month that’s for sure!  I am also surrounded by temptation, nice looking chips and slabs of cheesecake. It’s a good test. Most of my colleagues think I’m mad, but I’m used to this (for one reason or another). I am definitely eating less and not feeling hungry, I don’t even fancy a coffee anymore, which is rare behavior.

Many people comment that raw food sounds ‘boring’. This recipe is anything but and I find most raw food to be fascinating in its complexity and creativity alone; never mind the health benefits.

This is a real gourmet raw hummus. I thought I’d start as we mean to go on. It contains a lot of ingredients, but it is much more than a dip. This will be the main part of dinner tonight, with an orange, sweet potato and red cabbage salad.

It is rich with the nuts and oil, but does not have the smooth texture of a normal hummus. The flavour is a knockout though and like with alot of health foods, you have the piece of mind that it is doing your body good and providing you with some super nutrients.

We used sprouts here due to the fact that our sprout corner is going mad. At the minute we have a variety of receptacles holding all sorts of seeds and beans. We’ve mung bean, sunflower seed, buckwheat, wheat grains, quinoa and green lentil all in various states of soak and sprout. The mung beans are a staple here, but most of the other ones we’ve either tried and failed with or are completely new to. It’s a great little experiment and the right weather for sprouts. We found it difficult in the winter to get them going and our airing cupboard seemed too warm. Now we have the happy medium of summer (ish) temperatures in Wales.

Sprout Central

We have been soaking our nuts overnight, this helps to release the enzymes and nutrients.  They are also softer, better for blending.  Hazelnuts are one of the good nuts, peanuts, pistachios and brazil nuts are not goodies.  We will still be eating them though, just a little less than before.

It’s worth spending a little more on a good almond milk, the cheaper varieties are thinner and not as creamy.

So here’s our first attempt at a raw hummus:

The Bits
1 cup of hazelnuts, 1 cup sprouting green lentils, 1 cup sprouting chickpeas, 1 handful of dried rosemary, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (evoo), juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 tbs raw tahini, 1 tbs flax seeds, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, salt and pepper if you like (I used a dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos instead, it contains naturally occurring sodium and loads of good amino acids).


Do It

This is the easy part, put it all into a blender and blitz until smooth, roughly five minutes should do. If it is sticking or dry, add water as you are blending. This should loosen things up.

Serve

Great as a dip of course, or with a salad. We will be mixing it into chunky chopped vegetables tomorrow.

We Love It!

We Love sprouts!  So anything they are in, we are happy about.  This recipe is bursting with flavour, the hazelnuts and rosemary work together so well.  It has a nice creamy, richness to it, but is low if fat.  Hoorah!

Foodie Fact

Sprouting Chickpeas (Garbanzos/ Giggle beans to some) are packed full of protein.  They contain more protein than milk!  Many vegans and raw food types are asked about how they add protein to their diets, the truth is protein is available in many plant based foods.  Nuts and seeds mainly, but sprouts are also a good source.

Chickpeas are full of carbs, but low in fat.  A small serving of chickpeas contains around 50% of your daily Vitamin C requirement.

Raw Hazelnut, Rosemary and Lentil Hummus

Categories: Dinner, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Low G.I. (glycemic index), Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wild Garlic (Ramson) and Walnut Pesto

Ruth’s hand mid forage

Another hedgerow classic via our Beach House brother, Dan. This recipe was originally taken from the great book, ‘Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me’ by the brilliant Dennis Cotter. I haven’t read it, but will hopefully be acquiring it soon.

This is a cracking little recipe, nice and quick to get together and you gain the infinite pleasure of cropping your own bunches of wild garlic (or ‘Ramson’ in some parts of the world), that are free and absolutely delicious.

The amazing thing about pesto, like most good things, it gets better with age (to a point!). An overnight stay in the fridge and POW, the flavours leap out at you.

We will be trying it tonight with almonds (we have a walnut shortage) and mixing it into some wholewheat penne. Yum!

Thanks and hugs to Dan and Ruth for their constant inspiration.

The Bits

100g wild garlic leaves, 50g shelled walnuts, 200ml olive oil, 40g Parmesan, salt, pepper

Do It

Add all ingredients to a blender and give it a good blitz.  A small food processor is best here, like the ones you would use to grind coffee.

Wild garlic and walnut pesto

Serve

We have pesto spread thinly on toasted oatbread, or mixed in with wholewheat pasta.

Foodie Fact

Interestingly China in the largest producer of garlic in the world, at 13 million tonnes of the stuff, followed closely by India (800,000 tonnes), then comes Egypt and South Korea.  France is not even in the top ten!

Dennis Cotter is an Irish veggie chef who owns the ‘Cafe Paradiso’ in Cork. His cookbooks and approach to all things veggie cooking are always fresh and very delicious.

Heres a link to a great little garlic producer in Scotland, the really garlicky company.

Categories: Dressings, Foraging, Friends of B.H.K, Local food, Recipes, Sauces, Snacks and Inbetweens, Wales, Wild food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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