Vegan

Wholegrain Soda Bread Muffins – Vegan

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

Home-baked bread in no time at all!!

Perfect with a nice bowl of soup.

 

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

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

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

WHY MUFFINS?

At work I was asked, why are you always making things into muffins?  It’s a good question.  I do like a muffin!  We make fresh loaves everyday so it’s just changing things up a little.  These will be paired with a nice Winter Roots and Lentil Soup at the minute on my menus.  All hearty and satisfying, here’s why we need this (see below – view from near the kitchen over Nantlle Valley towards Mount Snowdon).

Nantlle Valley, home of Trigonos Retreat Centre and these muffins

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

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

Simple Vegan Soda Bread – Ready in 45 minutes.

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

View from the dining room, it’s been a chilly few weeks in North Wales

Relax, Recharge and Re-energise! 

Come and cook with us, learn new skills and meet like-minded people

 

I recently announced the dates for our autumn Vegan Cooking Holiday at Trigonos, see below.  21st-24th September!

We’ll be hosting you in beautiful Snowdonia, expect lots of delicious plant-based food, inspiring cooking workshops and talks, walks, yoga and lots more.  If you want to get away from it all, relax, recharge and energise, do let us know.  It promises to be a celebration of good livin’ and the abundance of autumn!  Lots and lots of amazing local produce.  I’ll be announcing the full details soon.

If you can’t wait until autumn:)  We have one room available for our annual and stunning Vegan and Yoga Retreat on the beach in Spain.  A Taste of Bliss – Click here for more information.  It’s a once in a lifetime experience and I’m getting the menus together this month.  Expect new and creative dishes for you to enjoy, and learn how to cook, in our beautiful beach side villa.  We’re very excited indeed!!

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

Happy cooking!!

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

 

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

Wholegrain Soda Bread Muffins – Vegan

The Bits – For 12

Dry

150g plain white flour

300g wholemeal bread/ strong flour

2 tbs brown sugar

2 tbs rapeseed or olive oil

1 teas bicarbonate of soda

1 teas salt

 

Oats (for sprinkle)

 

Vegan Buttermilk 

325ml soya milk

2 teas apple cider or white wine vinegar

 

Do It

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

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

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

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

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

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

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

Trigonos in Snowdonia – a pretty stunning place to cook.  You can come and join us here in September!

Foodie Fact 

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

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

Go wholegrain!

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

Apple, Orange and Bourbon Tart – Vegan

Apple, Orange and Bourbon Tart – Vegan

This is a really easy and great looking tart with flavours that just rock!! 

 

Bourbon, pecans, seasonal apples, warming spices.  It’s got lots of wintery flavours, but is quite light and crispy too.  The fruit in the tart can be changed, it’s a seasonal sweetie!

I’ve baked loads of variations of this tart, there’s on in my cookbook ‘Peace and Parnsips’.  It has been out for a few years now, I’m working on a follow up (promise!;)

I normally prefer experimenting in the kitchen, but some recipes I just go back to and this is one of them.  When I go travelling, here and there around the world, one of the things I miss is a proper British apple.  They really get us through the winters, especially when desserts are needed, so many amazing apple recipes.  Crumbles are, of course, very important.  But, this type of tart just changes things up a bit.

How has your 2019 started?  We’ve had a quiet one, some beautiful walks up in the snowy mountains around here.  They look stunning, much bigger, with a white dusting on top.  Down at Black Rock Sands beach today, it was fierce.  The waves were huge, roaring in, with bitter winds.  It is a beautiful sight!

A question for you?

 

What kind of recipes would you like us to post on the Beach House Kitchen this year?  We’d love to know.

 

Let us know if you get to get baking, we’ve also got over 200 recipes right here for you if you’re looking for vegan cooking inspiration. 

 

Recipe Notes

The tart in the picture is a smaller version, which I like, especially if you’re not cooking for lots of people.  Just cut the pastry in half, width ways.

This tart also works really well with pears instead of apples.

My friend loves Sailor Jerry’s rum, use rum here instead of bourbon, for that spiced rum thang!

Best to use quite a firm and acidic apple here if you can.  Something that won’t go mushy when you bake it.

The bourbon is not essential, if alcohol is not your thing.  The marmalade with the spices also makes for a top glaze.

Puff pastry can be bought frozen, and will just sit in the freezer until this tart comes calling.  It’s a great standby to have tucked away.

 

—————–

 

Apple, Orange and Bourbon Tart – Vegan

 

The Bits – For One Big Tart

1 sheet pre-rolled puff pastry (roughly 320g)

4-5 apples (cored, cut in half then thinly sliced, skins on)

70g unrefined brown sugar

1 tbs flour (unbleached white or a gluten-free mix)

1/3 teas ground cinnamon

Small pinch of sea salt

 

Orange Glaze

4 tbs marmalade

1-2 tbs bourbon whiskey

2 star anise

4 cloves

 

1 big handful toasted pecans

 

Do It

Roll out the pastry onto a baking tray, lined with baking parchment.  Carefully score a 1 1/2 cm border around the edge, using a sharp knife.  Do not cut all the way down to the bottom of the pastry.  Prick the rest of the tart base with a fork, to make sure it doesn’t rise too much.  Pop in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it.

Preheat an oven to 220oC and bake the pastry base for 10-12 minutes, until the base is lightly golden on top, but not fully baked.  It will puff up, set it aside, the pastry will deflate and settle down.

Toss your apples in the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Arrange in overlapping rows on your tart base, inside the border/ crust.  Try to make them neat and tidy and ensure the whole base is covered with apples.

Pop back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the apples are soft and the pastry is nicely cooked.

Put the orange glaze ingredients into a small saucepan, gently heat until the marmalade melts, forming a thick syrup.  Set aside, keep warm.

Once the apples are cooked, liberally brush the tart and edge with your warm orange glaze, pop back in the oven for 5-7 minutes-ish.  The glaze will mean a lovely caramelised finish on your tart crust.  Keep an eye on it, the glaze will caramelise quickly.

Decorate the tart with crushed pecans and I like to add some of the spices, star anise, cloves.  They look cool!

Serve warm with vegan ice cream or your favourite vegan cream.

 

Foodie Fact

I eat at least an apple a day, sometimes two if I’m feeling adventurous.  They contain good amounts of fibre, vitamin C and other anti-oxidants, and may well help lower blood sugar levels and keep our hearts healthy.

Always best to give you apples a good wash, but try to leave the peel on whenever possible.

 

————-

 

We’re heading to Spain this May for our annual Taste of Bliss Vegan Cooking and Yoga Holiday

 

Come and join us for relaxing times in a stunning eco villa right on the beach.

The week will be filled with delicious plant-based food (we’re cooking!), empowering yoga, coastal walks, a boat trip to a picturesque cove, food market visit, sunset drinks on the terrace, Jane’s morning smoothies and more.

A chance to totally unwind in a peaceful and beautiful environment.

 

Photos and details here

 

 

Categories: Baking, Desserts, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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

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

4th May – 11th May 2019

Puerto Mazarron, Murcia

 

COME AND JOIN US SOON IN BEAUTIFUL SPAIN.

 

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

 

Dining and yoga take place outside, in the sunshine

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

This promises to be an unforgettable week.

 

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

 

The beach and mountains, right outside the villa

The Retreat Includes:

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

✓ Jane’s delicious daily morning smoothies

✓ Plant-based food cooked by the cookbook author Lee Watson

✓ Bespoke recipe booklet by Lee Watson

✓ Daily yoga and meditation classes with Will Fisher and Malene Vedel (International Yoga Teachers)

✓ Evening transformational experiences with Will and Malene

✓ Specialised yoga workshops with Will and Malene

 

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

✓ Cooking demonstration/workshop with Lee

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

✓ Day trip to a local Sunday market

✓ Boat trip to a secret beach for snorkelling and swimming

✓ 2 walks/treks to beautiful locations and viewpoints

✓ Optional daily massage treatments

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

✓ Optional airport transfers*

 

View from the villa

4th May – 11th May 2019 (7 nights)

 

Retreat Pricing:

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Book Now = £49 Deposit 

**CLICK HERE**

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

Payment of the non-refundable deposit will reserve your space

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Reviews of last years Taste of Bliss ’18

 

A wonderful week of Bliss!

“Wow, what a fantastic week this was!
I had been searching for the ‘right’ yoga holiday and this turned out to be exactly what I wanted, needed … and more!
I am just embracing a vegetarian lifestyle and was amazed by the gorgeous food Lee of ‘Beach House Kitchen’ demonstrated and created lovingly for us 3 x daily … plus snacks! and the chocolate fudge cake was the best I have tasted … ever!!
Lee is a lovely upbeat guy and such a creative and enthusiastic chef and Jane is his joyous assistant, who also lead us on some pleasant local beach walks, and delivered a very interesting, meaningful, moon cycle’ class.
Lovely Will and Malene from ‘Complete Unity’ are also a confident, happy, knowledgeable couple and gave us the most fabulous yoga classes and meditation sessions twice daily, usually on the terraces to enjoy the balmy sea air … so calming, uplifting and enlightening, appropriate for all levels of experience.
I also had a wonderful massage from splendid local therapist Carlos, kindly arranged as a last minute extra.
Everyone on the holiday were relaxed in each other’s company and all of us want to book again for next year!

If you are looking for a beautiful, uplifting, happy, nutritious holiday to inspire your mind and body then this is the one to book … if you are lucky enough to get a place on it. 🙂 xx”

– Barb

 

Morning yoga on the terrace

 

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

“What can I say about this experience. It was wonderful in so many levels. The people I met were all different and contributed to making this a fantastic experience.
Will and Malene are gold star Yoga and meditation leaders their youth and exuberance just fills you with joy and love.
The food was wonderful Lee spent a lot of time in the kitchen creating delicious food for us all assisted by the wonderful Jane who’s smoothies are now legendary
If there is one retreat that to go on then this is it.
A truly amazing experience which I would recommend to everyone.”

– Sue

 

A Taste of Bliss ’18

 

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

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

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

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

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

I can’t recommend this retreat highly enough. I came home so brim-full of love and nourishment that I was raring to go again with a renewed vigour and passion for life. Rarely does a week seem enough on a holiday but this one felt like I’d had a full 3-month recharge! Thank you all! ❤ xx”

– Sandy

 

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

Categories: Cooking Holidays, Cooking Retreats, Healthy Eating, photography, plant-based, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Thai Red Pepper and Coconut Soup – Vegan

Thai Red Pepper and Coconut Soup – Vegan

Something quick and easy to kick start 2019!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nourishing vegan Thai soup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipe Notes

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

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

 

Thai Red Pepper and Coconut Soup – Vegan

 

The Bits – For 4-6 large bowls

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

1 large onion (sliced)

3 heaped tbs fresh ginger (roughly chopped)

2 heaped tbs fresh lemongrass (peeled and chopped)

1 fresh chilli (sliced)

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

8 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 tbs turmeric
Sea salt

To Serve

Tamari or soya sauce
Lime wedges
Sliced chillies
Chopped coriander

 

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

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

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

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

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

 

But first up, 2018, what a year!!

 

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

 

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

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

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

BIG LOVE, BIG THANKS!!  

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

What have we been up to in 2018?

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

PLUS

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

The chefs hard at work;)

 

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

 

——————–

 

Fancy a blissful break with us in May 2019! 

 

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

 

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

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

Christmas Lunch Made Easy! – Full Planner and Top Tips

VEGAN CHRISTMAS LUNCH MADE EASY!

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

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

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

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

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

 

Check out our recent Christmas recipes:

 

Portobello Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing

 

Festive Chocolate and Orange Brownie Cake with Mulled Berries – Vegan

 

Shallot and Red Wine Gravy – Vegan, Gluten-free

 

Some preparations tips:

The run up….

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

The day before

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

On the day

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

We’ll be cooking using this plan:

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

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

 

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

 

Happy Cooking and Merry Christmas! Lee and Jane:)

 

Merry Vegan Christmas 2018!!!!!

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

Shallot and Red Wine Gravy – Vegan, Gluten-free

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

 

A rich, dark vegan gravy that everyone will enjoy.

 

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

 

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

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

Proper gravy for a proper roast dinner

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

Tasty and Rich Vegan Gravy

Shallot and Red Wine Gravy – Vegan, Gluten-free

The Bits – For 4-6

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

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

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

700ml vegetable stock

Cooking oil (I use cold pressed rapeseed oil)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

Festive Chocolate and Orange Brownie Cake with Mulled Berries – Vegan

A very rich and chocolatey slice of happiness, perfect for Crimbo

I fancied something different this Christmas for dessert.  

 

I wanted the flavours, the spice, the mulled fruits, the richness, but all mingling together in a different way.  So I wrapped them up in a big brownie, with lots of chocolate.  It just seemed like the right thing to do!  

 

This is a decadent brownie cake, very rich, with lovely taste explosions coming from the mulled berries.  Best served warm with vanilla ice cream I’ve found, or whipped coconut cream is also very special.  Plus, it’s a big brownie, so it’s easy to make.  

You could use any dried fruit really in this recipe, but I prefer, and if you can get them, dried cherries, blueberries or the classic cranberry.  If you don’t drink alcohol, you can cook the berries in orange/ cranberry juice or non-alcoholic wine.

I have cooked the mulled berries with a few cloves, star anise and cinnamon.  But I found that it was a fiddle trying to pick out all the spices, they do add some flavour, but we’re just cooking the berries quickly and there is plenty of cinnamon in the cake.  But, by all means, add the spices.

I love the way cinnamon seems to blend and deepen the the flavour of the dark chocolate.  As a cook, I find myself naturally drawn to flavour combinations, sometimes I have to resist, in order to try something new.  Cinnamon, orange and dark chocolate is special trinity of good things in my eyes.

Festive Chocolate and Orange Brownie Cake with Mulled Berries – Vegan

I do like a Christmas pudding and I’ve always loved Christmas cake.  Mum used to bake it in early December and I remember the whole house filled with those beautiful, spicy cake aromas.  But they’ve very much like Christmas pop songs, I don’t mind them once or twice in a year, but anymore makes me feel a bit sickly (see my post on Alternative Christmas songs here ).  But this brownie cake, I’d happily tuck into in the roasting heart of August.  It also makes the house smell pretty damn good too.  

Jane was a big fan of Terry’s chocolate orange, so I have added a twist of orange here.  It’s a match made in lapland or maybe the Swiss Alps!?  Now Terry’s is off the menu, I go for a very dark chocolate flavoured with orange, there are some awesome bars out there.  If only they made them in little globes with segments.  That’s where all the fun is.  The idea as a kid that chocolate oranges could maybe grow on trees just made Christmas even better.

The thing about cooking at Christmas is preparation.  Cook things well in advance and have a plan.  I’ll be posting some Christmas cooking tips and a full cooking plan in the next couple of days.  However, I think this brownie is best served warm, recently taken from the oven.  Leave it to the day, along with your veggies.

I hope you love this recipe and it woo’s and yum’s the whole family, and all your friends and neighbours and people at work.  Who doesn’t love chocolate cake (actually, one of our bestest buds doesn’t like chocolate cake, but generally speaking, it’s a HIT!)  If Christmas is not your cup of tea, or it’s a hard time of year for you, cake is never a bad thing right!

We send you all our love and good vibes at this time of year, a time to eat, drink and snooze by a fire.

 

Have magical and delicious Festive Time 2018!  

Any questions or comments?  They are very welcome down the bottom there in the comments.  Drops us a chat or just say hello.

Sign up for our seasonal newsletter here (loads of cool stuff coming in 2019) or check us out over on Facebook.

 

If you’re looking for a delicious Christmas centre piece, here’s what we’re having this year (plus recipe):

 

Portobello Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing

 

Recipe Notes               

You might like to decorate it with dried orange slices, I’ve added the method below.   They also make for nice decorations. 

If you’d like to go very decadent (steady!!), I’ve also added a link to my quick chocolate sauce recipe below, which is ideal for a chocoholic, maybe a little brandy could sneak in there too.    

I do mention this below, but please don’t overbake this.

If you’re wondering where to get vegan cream or ice cream, you’ll find it in most supermarkets now, and supporting your local health food shop is a wonderful thing too.  They’ll have it.

I know what you may be thinking, that’s a lot of chocolate.  It’s Christmas!!!

Just add cream or ice cream….

Festive Chocolate & Orange Brownie Cake with Mulled Berries

The Bits – For 12-14 slices

175g plain flour

175g light brown sugar

1 ½ teas baking powder

20g or 3 heaped tbs cacao/ cocoa

1 ½ teas ground cinnamon

Large pinch sea salt

 

150g dark vegan chocolate 

100ml cold pressed rapeseed/ sunflower oil

1 ½ teas vanilla extract

1 medium orange (zest)

200ml plant milk, I used soya milk

 

Mulled Berries

150g dried fruits, I use cranberries, cherries or blueberries, or a mixture 

3 slices orange

60ml brandy/ whiskey

Optional Spices – 4 cloves, 1 star anise, 1/2 stick cinnamon

 

Decoration

Dried/ fresh orange slices

Icing sugar

Dried cranberries/ cherries or fresh berries like raspberries/ strawberries

Fresh rosemary sprigs

 

Do It

Boil a kettle.  Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.  Grease and line a large round cake tin (23cm) with oil and baking parchment.

 

Mulled Berries – Place your dried fruits into a small saucepan, pour over the brandy, squeeze the juice out of the orange slices and toss them in too.  Bring to a boil and leave to simmer for 3 minutes. The berries should absorb almost all of the brandy.  Set aside to cool.  Remove the orange slices and any orange pips. 

 

Break your chocolate into a bowl, pour the boiled kettle water into a small pan, place the bowl on top and gently warm the chocolate.  Stirring regularly until it’s melted. Don’t let the base of the bowl touch the boiling water when cooking. Set aside to cool a little.

 

Place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl, mix well together.  

 

In a bowl/ measuring jug, stir together the oil, soya milk and vanilla extract and then pour this into the bowl of dry ingredients, along with the cooled melted chocolate.  Finally add the mulled fruits (with any leftover brandy) and orange zest, fold into the mix.  Don’t over mix, just until it’s all combined.  Pour the mixture into the tin, fashion a level top, and place in the oven.

 

Bake for 18 – 25 minutes, depending on your oven.  Don’t over bake, it should still be a little gooey in the middle when you test it with a skewer.  Normally, if you think it’s a little undercooked, that’s fine.  Don’t trust your instincts on this one!  The brownie cake is ready when a light crust has formed over the whole cake.

 

Leave to cool in the tin, then decorate as you like. Nice and festive!

 

Best served warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.  

 

Orange slices – Place 6 orange slices onto a wire/ cooling rack and into a low oven (120oC).  Cook for 1 hour or more, until they have dried out nicely.

 

Can also be served with 2-minute Chocolate Sauce Recipe

 

Foodie Fact

It’s Christmas, I’m going to leave out the healthy Foodie Fact this time around.  But, I’ll just say this, cinnamon is very high in calcium!  Also a good source of iron.  And this, cinnamon has been used medicinally for thousand years, it is an AMAZING source of anti-oxidants.

Winter is the perfect time of year to get your cinnamon oooon!  We love cinnamon tea and it’s so versatile, add it to smoothies, soups and stews.  The next time you cook rice, pop a cinammon stick or some cinnamon bark into the pot.  Lovely sweet and warming flavours.

Festive Brownie Cake, a BIG part of our Christmas Lunch menu 2018 in the Beach House Kitchen

 

Categories: Cakes, Desserts, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Special Occasion, Vegan, veganism, Wales, Winter | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Portobello Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing

Vegan Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing

The perfect Christmas or roast dinner centre piece!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

The Wellingtons of Manchester

A B.H.K CHRISTMAS

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

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

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

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

 

Why Wellington?

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Have an amazing Christmas!!

 

Big Festive Hugs and Merry Times from the BHK

 

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Festive Vegan Mushroom Wellington – ready to carve

Portobello Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Do It
Preheat an oven to 200oC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Rich and Tasty Vegan Gravy and

Chocolate and Orange Brownie Cake with Mulled Berries 

Recipes coming very soon!

 

Foodie Fact 

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

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

 

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

 

Parsnip, Cranberry and Chestnut Roast 

 

Maple Roast Parsnip and Mushroom Roulade with Cashew Cream Sauce 

 

 

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

Highlights from our Vegan Christmas Cooking Workshop – 2/12/18 Manchester

A CHRISTMAS FEAST TO REMEMBER!

Our day started well before dawn in North Wales, then we all scooted down to our wonderful venue Food Sorcery in Manchester and got the ovens fired up….

Getting the Apple Mull rockin’ first thing

With a team of amazing people, we can do anything…..

The awesome Cook Vegan! team getting ready; Mandy, Amy, Nita, Claire and Steve

Vegan Christmas Cooking Workshop in full swing. High energy, loads of amazing dishes:)

The day was a mixture of cooking demonstrations and hands on cooking, working from our specially designed recipe booklets and loads of support from the team.

Still swinging! Groups worked in threes to cook a three course festive vegan menu, with all the trimmings. Menu below.

Amy being amazing (as usual!:)

Some of the Portobello Mushroom Wellingtons made by the teams, recipe coming soon on the blog….

You can imagine, the Wellingtons didn’t last long. All that cooking gives a good appetite right!!:)

 

Our menu for the day:

MENU

Welcome Drink
Hot Apple Mull

Starter
Roast Squash and Ginger Soup with Almond Bacon and Coriander

Main Course
Portobello Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing
Glazed Rainbow Roots
Pan fried Brussels Sprouts with Black Kale and Vegan Parmesan
Yorkshire Puddings
Cranberry, Orange and Prosecco Sauce
Rich Christmas Gravy
Creamy Mash

Dessert
Festive Chocolate and Orange Brownie Cake with Mulled Berries and Vanilla Ice Cream

 

Is this the best time of the day? Lunch! An early Christmas gathering, a great rehearsal for the big day. Everyone left with a bespoke recipe booklet, a full planner for Christmas lunch and confidence that 2018 will be the best vegan Christmas ever!!!

We hope to be doing more vegan cooking events in the new year, you’ll find all of our upcoming events right HERE.

 

You’ll find more pictures of the day and the food we cooked

on Jeremy’s blog, right HERE.

 

Extra special thanks to this pair. The super talented and sensational Mr Steve and NitaX

 

I’d just like to thank all who came to the workshop and contributed so positively, making it a special day.

 

Hope to see you again soon in Manchester, Spain or somewhere else in the UK!

 

MORE EVENTS RIGHT HERE

 

DON’T MISS ANY BEACH HOUSE KITCHEN UPDATES AND EVENT ANNOUNCEMENTS. 

SIGN UP FOR OUR SEASONAL NEWSLETTER, CLICK HERE.

ONLY TAKES 5-7 SECONDS:)

 

 

Categories: Cooking demos, Cooking Workshops, Events, healthy, photography, plant-based, Vegan | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Nourishing Tempeh and Miso Ramen Bowl – Steaming, Soul Soup

Quick Tempeh and Miso Ramen Bowl with Shiitake Mushrooms- Vegan and Gluten-free

This is one of my favourite all-time dishes.  We eat this all the time!  A warming, nourishing and revitalising bowl of perfect winter soul food.  A ramen rainbow!

Xmas is almost upon us, but this week I’m focusing on healthy, light and satisfying recipes to keep us full of energy for this busy time of year.

This is a really quick meal and is a technique that once you’ve tried it out, can be very flexible.  Swap veggies around and use tofu instead of tempeh, or some beans, for a protein pick me up.

This soup is BIG on flavour, with the fermented goodness of miso and tempeh, it’s packed with all the nutrition we need to face up to and thrive in winter time.

We love these noodles, brings back great memories of our trips East. Here’s a view from a village restaurant in Yunnan, South West China,

MISO!

Adds a lovely, umami filled flavour.  I use it in marinades, dressing, roasted vegetables and stews/ soups, it adds a totally new dimension and also has a load of health benefits, see the ‘Foodie Fact’ below.

You can get miso in all kinds of colours; yellow, white, brown, red…..it’s normally made with soya beans but is also made using barley, seaweed, millet, hemp seeds and rice.  There are hundreds of different types, many regional.

It’s a fermented food, so filled with probiotic goodness, excellent for our digestive system or our ‘gut’ as many call it.  A healthy gut has been linked with a sense of well-being, plus good mental and physical health.

Miso’s flavour really depends on how it’s made, best unpasteurised, it can vary from sweet to salty, savoury to fruity and fermentation time can be anything from five days to several years.

Miso is traditionally from China (named ‘Hishio’) and has been made since the Neolithic period!  Miso soup is a staple in Japan, eaten most days and with white rice, makes for a tasty breakfast which energises and stimulates digestion.

Tempeh may well be a new ingredient for you, it’s basically fermented soya beans, packed together.  It is a very healthy and delicious food, even better for us than tofu.  It traditionally comes from Indonesia and is packed with protein and adds a nice texture to a bowl of steaming noodles.  Tempeh is becoming more popular and you’ll find it in your local, friendly health food shop for certain.  Some supermarkets stock it too.

We ate a lot of noodles on our recent China trip. Here’s a bowl topped with fermented bamboo shoots (very funky indeed) and a fermented bean paste broth, something like miso.

XMAS IS COMING (PROMISE:)

I will post some more traditional vegan Christmas recipes soon, but we can’t live on Christmas pud and cream sherry alone, we need some quick and tasty food in winter.

I hope you like this hearty, healthy noodle broth, I’ve been cooking versions of it at Trigonos for years and it’s always a hit at our cooking events.  I think the most surprising thing is how easy and tasty it is.

Steaming bowls, good for the soul!

Loaded with chillies! Just what we need in the winter, very high in vitamin C

Recipe Notes

This is such a quick recipe to cook, make sure all your preparation and chopping is done before you get started.

Don’t overcook the veg or noodles, we’d like a bit of crunch on the veggies here.  This soup  is best served straight away.

Dried shiitakes can be found easily in Asian shops and Waitrose also do them.

To add even more flavour, you may like to pan fry the tempeh with a little oil until golden and crisp.  Then add to the noodles.

The balance of flavour in the stock is important, it should be nicely sweet and sour, a harmony between vinegar, miso and tamari (soya sauce) that tickles your taste buds.

We’re looking for big flavours here, so I’d recommend a darker brown miso, filled with umami.

Try not to boil the soup once you’ve added the miso, it will take away some of the sublte flavours and detract from the enzyme-rich properties of the miso (which are ace!!)

For gluten-free version, check that the miso is gluten-free, along with the noodles and tamari/ soya sauce.

One of my favourite pictures of recent times. A great band jammin in the street.

Nourishing Tempeh and Miso Ramen Bowl

The Bits For 4-6

100g ramen noodles or your favourite noodle
1 large carrot (finely sliced)
1 red pepper (finely sliced)
275g/ ½ small red cabbage (finely sliced)
50g dried shiitake/ wild mushrooms
2 big handfuls kale (sliced)

2 inch chunk fresh ginger (finely chopped)

200g tempeh (chopped into chunks)

2 ltrs light veg stock

Broth Flavouring
4-6 tbs brown miso
3 tbs rice vinegar
3 tbs tamari or soya sauce
(All to taste, adjust and enjoy!)

Toppings
1 handful spring onions (sliced)
Radish (finely sliced)
Red chillies (sliced)

 

Do It

Get everything ready beforehand, this soup comes together pretty quickly!

In a small bowl, mix together the tamari, miso and vinegar into a paste.

In a large saucepan, bring your stock to a boil, add the dried shiitakes, boil for 2 minutes, then add the ginger, tempeh and vegetables (except the kale). Pop a lid on and simmer for four minutes, then add the noodles, cook for a 1-4 minutes (depends on the noodle type) until soft.

Take off the heat and stir in miso mix and kale, add more miso if you like it stronger, add more tamari if you like it a bit saltier.

Ladle into warm bowls and scatter with your favourite toppings.

 

Foodie Fact

Miso is a good source of minerals like copper, manganese, iron and zinc plus vitamins like vitamin K also helps to keep our gut healthy.

The probiotics present in fermented foods like miso help with the absorption of nutrients and support the immune system.  Miso is high in salt, so enjoy in moderation!

We always go for organic miso, it will say somewhere on the label.

Keep your miso in the fridge, it keeps well and if it forms some light, white mould on top, this is natural.  In Japan, they just scrape it off and get on with the broth.

Categories: Fermentation, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Travel, Vegan, Winter | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spaghetti Squash 

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

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

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

Winter in the BHK

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

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

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

 

Xmas Songs and Shirts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy cooking!

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

 

I love Spaghetti Squash, a really interesting ingredient

 

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

 

The Bits – For 2 as a main course

Pesto

75 g toasted hazelnut

12g or 3 handfuls fresh basil

20g or 1 handful cavolo nero or other kale

2 medium garlic cloves (chopped)

4 tbs cold pressed rapeseed/ olive oil

4 tbs nooch (nutritional yeast flakes)

2/3 teas salt

1 medium-sized lemon (juice)

 

500g or 1/2 large spaghetti squash

 

Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 190oC.

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

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

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

Serve straight away, some vegan parmesan would be nice.

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

We’ve started a BHK youtube channel! 

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

The first of many!!  

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

 

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

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

Cook Vegan! Christmas Feast Menu, Manchester

 

Come and join us!

 

Cook Vegan!  Christmas Feast Cooking Workshop

Sunday 2nd December, Manchester

 

~Menu~

Welcome Drink

Hot Apple Mull

Starter

Roast Squash and Ginger Soup with Almond Bacon and Coriander

Main Course

Portobello Mushroom Wellington with Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Stuffing

Glazed Rainbow Roots

Pan fried Brussels Sprouts with Black Kale and Vegan Parmesan

Yorkshire Puddings

Cranberry, Orange and Prosecco Sauce

Rich Christmas Gravy

Creamy Mash

Dessert

Festive Chocolate and Orange Brownie Cake with Mulled Berries and Vanilla Ice Cream

 

Lee and Mark cooking at our last event at the awesome Food Sorcery in Didsbury, Manchester

 

Two tickets are now available!

Would you like to join us for a day of cooking, demonstrations and a festive lunch?

Learn to cook up a vegan Christmas and then feast!

 

Click here for more information and bookings 

 

 

Categories: Cooking demos, Cooking Workshops, Events, plant-based, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

Rainbow Vegan Laksa Bowl – Love it!

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

The Bits – For 4

 

Laksa Paste

2 tbs coriander seeds

1/2 tbs cumin seeds

 

1 medium or 150g onion (sliced)

7 garlic cloves

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

6 kaffir lime leaves

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

1 red chilli

3 tbs chopped coriander stems

1 1/2 tbs tamari/ soya sauce

1 tbs oil

 

Soup

1/2 tbs oil

1 1/2 teas ground turmeric

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

1 red pepper (sliced)

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

1 can full fat coconut milk

2 handfuls or 75g spinach/ kale

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

125g-175g rice noodles

1/2 tbs brown sugar

1/2 teas salt

 

Garnish

Fresh coriander or mint leaves (or both)

A dash of tamari/ soya sauce

A scattering of crunchy peanuts or crispy onions

4 lime wedges

Chopped chillies

Salt or tamari/ soya sauce (to taste)

 

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top it off!

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

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

Disney Pancakes

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

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

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

Are oats gluten-free?

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

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

 

Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes – simple breakfast treat

 

Banana, Oat and Peanut Butter Pancakes – American Diner Style

Gluten-free and Vegan

 

The Bits – For 8 medium pancake

100g gram/ chickpea flour

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

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

1 teas bicarb of soda

Large pinch of salt

1 tbs sugar

1 tbs oil

1/3 teas cinnamon

250ml water

 

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

 

To serve

 

Banana, 1 per person (cut in half lengthways)

Maple syrup

4 tbs peanut butter

 

Lime Wedges (Jane likes this)

 

Do It 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

 

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

Smoky Beets, Red Pepper and Chipotle Soup

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

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

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

Getting Frosty

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

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

Viva Mexico!

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

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

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

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

Chipotle!

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

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

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

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

Get Your Beet On!

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

—————–

Recipe Notes

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

No red peppers, any pepper will work fine.

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

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

Beetroot, Red Pepper and Chipotle Soup

The Bits – For 4-6 bowls

550g beets, roughly 3 medium beetroots (diced)

1 red pepper (diced)

1 medium onion (diced)

200g red lentils (rinsed and drained)

2 teas cumin seeds

1 1/2 teas oregano

1/2 teas cinnamon

3 tbs tomato puree

1 ltr light vegetable stock/ hot water

3-5 teas chipotle puree

 

Topping

Toasted pumpkin seeds

Vegan creme fraiche

Freshly Chopped Coriander

Sliced chillies

 

Do It 

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

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

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

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

 

Foodie Fact 

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

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

———-

Would you like to come and cook with us? 

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

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

 

 

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

Italian Herb and Sun Dried Tomato Dumplings

 

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

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

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

Italian Herb and Sun Dried Tomato Dumplings – Just add pasta

MIX IT UP

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

The autumnal beach – spectacular Snowdonia!

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

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

A NEW COOKBOOK!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

 

 

Italian Herb and Sun Dried Tomato Dumplings

 

The Bits – For 16 dumplings 

2 medium onions (sliced)

3 cloves garlic (chopped)

2 tins chickpeas (drained)

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

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

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

1 1/2 teas salt

A few twists of black pepper

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

Cooking oil

 

To serve

Fresh basil leaves

 

Do It

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

Viva Vegan! Lee’s interview with Veganuary

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

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

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

——————

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

 

Veganuary caught up with Lee Watson to find out more!

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

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

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

How did the idea come about?

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

Why did you pick Spain?

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

What can people expect to experience on the holiday?

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

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

One of Aine’s amazing recipes

 

 

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

Reserve your place for Viva Vegan! Spain right now. 

Just click here

 

 

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

Apple Crumble Cookies – Gluten-free, Vegan

Apple Crumble Cookies – Gluten-free, Vegan.  Yes please!

If you’re a fan of apple crumble, you’ll love these!  The cookie version.

I wanted to combine the best things about an apple crumble into a cookie, just to change things up a bit.  That lovely crunchy crumble and the sweet tartness of the apple sauce.

These cookies are crisp on the outside and very apple-y inside, with that lovely warming cinnamon and plenty of oats.  They’re even gluten-free, but you can make them with wholemeal flour and normal oats.  I’d just like to invite as many people as possible to the good food party!

These cookies are sweet!  But balanced with the tartness of a green apple, I’ve used russet style apples from our neighbours garden, donated, not scrumped (see all our scrumping talk on our last post).  I think an apple with good acidity and a bit of bite is what we’re looking for here.

The best things about a crumble, wrapped up in a cookie!

Please don’t worry about us, we’re still eating plenty of Apple Crumbles this autumn.  Jane loves ’em too much!  But these cookies were a big hit with everyone who’s tried one, even our neighbour Meirion, a man who dearly loves a good crumble, is a fan of the cookie variety.  That’s when I knew this was a winner, they got the nod from our Meirion.

We’re just fixing our fire at  the minute, autumn is giving us those signals, nice and crisp at mornings and at night.  The occasional dramatic storm.  I do love sunshine, but I admit that a roaring fire on a cold night is very tempting.  Just need to get a big pipe and stick it onto the back of the fire.  Some of you know all about my DIY skills, so I’ll probably get the fire man in.  I’m better off with the pots and pans!

The North Wales coastline is stunning in Autumn, awesome sunsets

Another bonus of autumn is all the produce, I’m just blown away at the minute.  I just got the list through from our local organic farm and it knocked my socks off.  As a cook, I almost don’t know where to begin with it all.  I feel very lucky to have such problems!!  We’ve got a couple of events coming up this month, check them out here, so we’ll be taking our amazing Snowdonia produce for a ride down to London and over to Anglesey.

I’m back cooking at Trigonos this week and I love to create new recipes like this.  There are many gluten-free visitors who need catering for, the Trigonos cooks come up with all kinds of gluten, sugar, oil, nightshade, salt etcetc free dishes.  I’ve always found it a great challenge, but having dishes which are gluten-free and vegan is a sound start to planning a menu.  These cookies can be enjoyed by loads of people!  Maybe you’re gluten-free, but I bet you know someone who is.  The mystery of gluten-free baking is disappearing as more and more people experiment with new ways of making cookies, cakes, scones and tray bakes.

Chop those apples nice and small

Chopping your apples up nice and small is one of the keys to success with these cookies.  Of course, take all the pips and core out, but I leave the skin on.  These apples had nice, thin skins and I reckon there’s some nice flavour there when baked.  You can see the apples turn a lovely golden brown in the oven, something like apple crisps.  They’re good these cookies!

These kind of cookies are going to make this autumn very sweet!  Hope you get to try one soon.

 

Recipe Notes

You can use flax seeds instead of chia seeds.  Pop the seeds into a blender and blitz until a fine powder is formed.  Then mix that with water until a gelatinous mix forms.  It only takes 5 minutes or so to get nice and thick, ready to bind our cookies together.  Ground flax and chia are ideal egg replacers in vegan baking.

You can also use light brown sugar in these cookies, although I prefer the texture using the golden caster sugar.

I used a Dove Farm white gluten-free flour mix here.  It works really nicely.  Gluten-free oats are available in most supermarkets.

I use cold pressed rapeseed oil here, but you can use most, neutral flavoured oils.  I prefer cold pressed oils.

Missing cookies? Has anyone seen these cookies. 15 minutes after leaving the oven, they were never seen again. Another batch coming soon:)

 

Apple Crumble Cookies – Gluten-free, Vegan

 

The Bits – For 10-11 small cookies

Dry

125g oats (or gluten-free oats)

100g whole wheat (or gluten-free flour mix)

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

⅛ teas salt

 

Wet

100ml cold pressed rapeseed oil

3 teas ground chia seeds (mixed with 7 teas cold water)

1 teas vanilla extract

125g golden caster sugar

 

175g or 2 small green apples (cored and finely diced)

 

Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  In another mixing bowl, mix together the sugar and the wet ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Don’t over do the stirring.  Fold in the apples.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment, form roughly two heaped tablespoons worth of cookie dough and apple in your hands, roll into balls.  Press the pieces of apple into the cookie ball as you go. The apple keeps the cookies nice and moist.  Press this ball down gently onto the baking tray, forming a rotund disc shape.  Continue until the mix is used up.

Bake for 17 – 20 mins on a middle shelf, until the apples are golden brown and the cookies form a nice crust.  Leave to cool for 20 minutes on the tray before enjoying.  Remember that the cookies will firm up as they cool, don’t worry if they are a little soft to the touch.

We had ours warm, dipped into vegan creme fraiche.  Yes!  It was very good.

These cookies will keep nicely in sealed container for a few days, they do get slightly softer.

Just before they hit the oven – Apple Crumble Cookies  This was an early attempt, these apple chunks are a wee bit too big.  Go for very small pieces. 

Foodie Fact

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.  Why?  Because my Nana told me that, what more proof do we need?!

Apples are a good source of fibre and vitamin C, plus potassium, which is good for the heart.

 

 

This recipe was voted for over on our Vegan Cooking Facebook group, you can join here.

I like to see what you think about recipes before I post them.

Plus there’s loads of vegan cooking chat and pictures over there.  Pop over, sign up and show us what you’re cooking?

 

 

Categories: Autumn, Baking, gluten-free, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Mushroom and Squash Rogan Josh – Traditional Kashmiri Curry

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

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

The Real Deal 

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

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

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

 

Roast your own!  Spices

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

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

 

Garam Masala – Hot Spice!

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

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

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

 

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

 

UK Curries

Most UK curries are different from those in India.  Generally that is.  In most of the Indian Restaurants in the UK, there is very tasty food, but it’s been modified to meet our Western palates.  There are of course some incredible, authentic Indian restaurants in the UK, but the curries I find that most people enjoy and associate with Indian cooking, are not what I eat in India.  We seem to prefer the big, rich flavours of Northern Indian cooking, much of which was influenced by the great Mughal Empire, who brought a lot of influences from Persia and surrounding areas.  For me, that’s what curries represent, a melting pot in so many ways.

I’m just not sure if there is the same approach with spices.  Many curries I eat in the UK seem to lack the vibrancy and fragrance of an curry in India.  I must investigate this further.  Where’s the magic gone?  I was born in Leicester, a town with a rich Indian restaurant heritage, so I know where to get a mighty fine curry.  But it’s not a standard.  So we’ve three choices, go to Leicester, jump on a plane to Delhi, or make your own?

 

We’re going to Kashmir……

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

Kashmir borders Pakistan and historically has seen many foreign invaders cross through it, down into the Gangetic Plain, from Alexander the Great to the Persians, although I don’t want this to sound like a history lesson, I’m just fascinated with a dish like Rogan Gosh (loosley translates as ‘Rojan’ – to stew, ‘Gosh’ – red).  A delicious plateful of history.

The well used BHK Dhaba

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Mushroom and Squash Rogan Josh

 

The Bits – For 4-6

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

1 tin chickpeas (drained)

200g or 3 big handfuls mushrooms (chopped)

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

5 tbs plain soya yoghurt/ coconut cream

 

Garam Masala – Spice Mix

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

½ stick cinnamon

2/3 teas cloves

1 teas black peppercorns

2 tbs cumin seeds

2 tbs coriander seeds

1 teas fennel seeds

3 bay leaves

1-2 dried red Kashmiri chilli

1 teas turmeric

1 ½ teas smoked paprika

 

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

 

Curry Paste

1 roasted red pepper (seeded, chopped into chunks)

3 garlic cloves

2-4 dried kashmiri chilli

1 inch fresh ginger (chopped)

3 tbs tomato puree

1 teas salt

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

 

3-4 tbs Spice Mix

 

Garnish
Fresh coriander and sliced chillies

 

Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 200oC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Look at where we live! Nice innit. Snowdonia looking stunning in the autumn sunshine.  Sometimes the mountains around here remind me of the Himalayas.

 

Foodie Fact

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

 

 

Come and join us for cooking workshops and holidays soon, check out our EVENTS page HERE.

 

Our new NEWSLETTER is out very soon, sign up HERE (it takes a few seconds).  Lots more recipes, news and interviews from Jane and I.

 

 

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: