Vegan

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

What’s Sabji?  Thali?  Masala?


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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



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

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

 

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

 

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

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



Keep it spicy!!


Sending much health and happiness to you from the BHK


 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Bits – For 4

1 tin chopped/ plum tomatoes or 400g tomato pasatta

3 heaped tbs tomato puree

2-3 heaped tbs peanut butter (unsweetened)

500ml hot water

 

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

1 large carrot (scrubbed and chopped)

1 small courgette (chopped)

 

Spices

1 1/2 teas ground turmeric

3 teas ground cumin

3 teas ground coriander

1/2 teas ground cinnamon

3 teas dried ginger

3 teas garlic powder

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

1 1/2 teas sea salt

 

Optional

Fresh coriander (chopped)

 

Do It

Set aside the courgette and peanut butter.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

 

 

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

BHK Lockdown Diary – Sunshine, Cakes and Frogs

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sunsets!!!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Palestinian Za’atar, bought in Bethlehem

Za’atar

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

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

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

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

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

You can check out some of my Lebanese foodie travels here

Seeking falafel perfection!

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

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

Good food shared is soul food!

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

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

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

Happy cooking:)

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

Vegan

The Bits – For 8-10

2 tomatoes 

1 large aubergine

1 large courgette

1 tbs cooking oil 

6 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)

1 large onion (diced)

1 pepper (diced)

1 large carrot (diced)

3 heaped tbs tomato puree

400g/1 tin tomato passata/ chopped tomatoes

240g/ 1 tin chickpeas (cooked)

225g red split lentils

1/2 tbs turmeric

2 tbs ground cumin

2 1/2 tbs za’atar

1 litre hot water

Sea salt and black pepper

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

Topping

Extra Za’atar

1 tbs pomegranate molasses 

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!!  A vegan centrepiece fit for a sunny day 

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

All Hail Kale!!!  

 

Sorrel sprouting in the Beach House Kitchen

 

I like sorrel too

 

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

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

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

 

There are loads of lovely Welsh poppies this year

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Instagram and our

Vegan Cooking Group on Facebook

 

 

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

We always love reading your messages and feedback  

 

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

 

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


Pea, Avocado and Kale Soup – Vegan 


The Bits – For 4 Bowls

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

Sea salt

Topping
Fresh herbs like sorrel, basil, mint, parsley


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Foodie Fact 

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

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

It’s actually a member of the cabbage family.  

 

 

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

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

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

 

This one’s for rockin’ the lockin’!

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Sauce

350g dark green or puy lentils (rinsed)

750ml cold water

1 big bay leaf

 

6 garlic cloves (peeled and crushed)

2 tbs olive oil or whatever cooking oil you fancy

40g dried wild mushrooms (soaked in water)

3 tbs tomato puree

680ml tomato passata (one big jar)

2 teas dried oregano

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

450ml hot vegetable stock

Sea salt and pepper


Chickpea Bechamel

100g chickpea/ gram flour

125ml olive oil

1 ltr plant milk (I used soya milk)

1 big bay leaf

1 – 1 1/2 teas sea salt

 

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

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

1 tbs oil, from the sun dried-tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teas dried oregano

1 big handful fresh basil leaves

2 large pinches sea salt 

 

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

 

Do It 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

Vegan Wild Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna, ready for the oven

 

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

Stir half the pesto into the bechamel until well combined.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A lasagna anyone will enjoy!

 

Foodie Fact     

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

This was last nights dinner in the BHK,

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

 

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

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

 

We need less than we think to cook delicious food!

 

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

Making the most of what we’ve got

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

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

This is what the proper chefs do.  I remember when I was training to be a chef, one of the senior chefs (with a big funny hat on) would always stomp around and check our bins (our bins!!), and we’d get a very gentle, constructive word in the ear if we had more than a few scraps in there.  Don’t waste a thing.  The maximising profits mantra in commercial kitchens and just a really sound idea for home cooks.  We love cooking and buying food, partly because it is such a precious resource.  I’m lucky, because Jane is a storage expert!  An amazing stock rotator and tin stacker!!  Never a rubbery carrot wasted in the BHK.

Keep it spicy!

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

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

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

Up on the hill

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Jane up with the stone circle (now a triangle?!) What a place to stretch your legs!! Beautiful views over Snowdonia and the North Wales coastline

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

Vegan Cauliflower and Potato Curry – Quick and easy using simple ingredients. Ideal for lockdown:)

 

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

Vegan, gluten-free, oil free option 


The Bits – For 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

A delicious, radiant bowl of orange goodness

A little spicy with a whole lotta immune-boosting properties

 

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

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

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

 

IMMUNE BOOST!!

Every ingredient here is a superstar

 

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

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

 

Food to keep us shining!  

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Recipe Notes 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

The Bits – For 8-10 bowls (plenty for the freezer)


7 medium carrots 

3 medium sweet potatoes 

350g/1 small cauliflower

 

200g red lentils

3 heaped tbs fresh ginger (finely chopped)

1 large onion (diced)

2 tbs ground turmeric

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

1 tbs sweet paprika

2.5 ltrs vegetable stock

200ml unsweetened soya yoghurt 

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

Sea salt

 

To serve

Chopped parsley and chillies

Soya Yoghurt

Lemon Juice

 

Do It

Preheat an oven to 190oC.

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

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

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

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

Enjoy warm, with a stack of flatbreads.

 

Foodie Fact 

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

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

 

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

 

OUR TOP 5 IMMUNE-BOOSTING TIPS ARE COMING SOON!

 

 

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

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

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

    

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

 

Spanish Dreams

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

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

 

Compassion, community and kindness will get us through.  

 

Support local 

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

 

We are well!

Jane and I are well.

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

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

Our Faceboook vegan cooking group is here

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

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

Take good care

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

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

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

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

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

Find Peace and Calm – Yoga at home

We also love these yoga sequences

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

Life Changing Breathing techniques

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

Meditation practice 

Breathe in, smile.  A beautiful meditation here

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

Fermenting Foods – Immune system support and health

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

Simple, healthy vegan recipes from the BHK

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

 

Our plan

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

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

 

So, how are you feeling? 

Can we help and support you at this time? 

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

 

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

 

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

Wishing you all good health, safety and fortitude!

 

Another storm is here, but they always pass. 

 

Peace and Love,  

Lee and JaneX          

 

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

 

Join our MAILING LIST here for exclusive recipes and BHK news 

 

Email us now – hellobeachhousekitchen@gmail.com

 

 

 

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

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

 

Ethiopian lunches in the BHK are happy times!  

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

 

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

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

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

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

Ethiopian Monks

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

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

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

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

Vegan Ethiopia!

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1 large white onion (very finely diced)

1 large/ 150g carrot (chopped into chunks)

3 medium/ 250g potatoes (chopped into chunks)

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

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

1 tin chickpeas (drained)

1 tin chopped tomatoes (organic, good ones)

4 tbs berbere spice mix

2 teas ground ginger

4 tbs peanut butter

2 tbs brown cane sugar

700ml hot vegetable stock/ bean cooking stock

Sea salt

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

 

Do It 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Foodie Fact 

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

 

We’re now on INSTAGRAM!  

 

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

 

 

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

Coconut and Caulilflower Gigglebean Curry with Coriander and Lemon Chutney

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Enjoy this bowlful of home cooked happiness!

 

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

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

 

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

Use any mix of seasonal vegetables you like here.

This recipe does make a BIG panful!

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

 

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

 

The Bits – For 4-6

2 tbs cooking oil (cold-pressed is best)

1 tbs cumin seeds

3 large garlic cloves (finely sliced)

3 tbs fresh ginger (finely sliced)

2-3 teas garam masala

2 teas ground turmeric

150ml hot water

1 tin tomatoes (or equivalent fresh tomatoes)

 

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

1 pepper (deseeded, chopped into chunks)

2 tins/480g cooked chickpeas

1 tin coconut milk

 

1 bok/ pak choi (sliced)

3 tbs fresh coriander (finely sliced)

Sea salt

 

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

All of your favourite curry accompaniments apply too.

 

Coconut and Lemon Chutney 

The Bits – For One Small Bowlful

35g desiccated coconut

60g fresh coriander (with stems)

4 teas lemon juice

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

100ml water

1/2 teas sea salt

 

Do It

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

What’s not to love!!

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Flying Flapjacks 

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

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

Celebrate Cake

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

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

 

These are fill your boots flapjacks!  

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

Festive Flapjacks – The ones that escaped the storm

 

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

 

The Bits – For 6 large slices, 12 small 

Dry

150g jumbo oats (gluten-free)

50g walnuts

50g sunflower seeds

25g chia seeds

1 teas ground cinnamon

 

Wet

75g brown sugar

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

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

2 tbs cranberry sauce

 

75g dried cranberries

 

Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

Vegan on the Road – Walking the Portuguese Camino de Santiago, Spain (Pt. 1)

Just outside Porto Airport, the shells and yellow arrows began to appear. BHK on the Camino Portuguese ’19

“Camino!  Camino!!”  We made it!

Jane and I completed the Camino Portuguese this summer and would like to share with you our experience of being pilgrims; our pictures, the food we ate and the challenges we faced. There is way too much to say in one blog post, so there will be a few.  Looking back, they were precious times and well worth a few words.

Arriving in the main square of Santiago de Compostela is one hell of an experience!  The breath-taking cathedral complex, the general buzz and merriment of the joyful pilgrims, the sense of achievement and history that surrounds ‘El Camino’.  It’s intoxicating, even before the Estrella Galicia’s are cracked!  A fitting finale to the days, weeks, and sometimes, months of endurance and fortitude.  We’d all started at different points, for different reasons.  Pilgrims are attracted to these routes (or ‘caminos’) from all over the world; Japan, Peru, Slovenian, Cuba, USA, Korea, Mexico, are just a few of the nationalities we met.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims complete the minimum four days walking per year and all routes finish at this point, outside the ornate facade of the cathedral, built over the tombs of the apostle St James.  Pilgrims have been gathering here, celebrating and venerating, since the early middle ages.  Back then, being a pilgrim was fraught with dangers and was undertaken as an act of penance and religious devotion.  It’s a little different now.

A waymarker in the middle of a forest. You see a lot of scallop shells on the Camino, traditionally used as a small bowl for offerings, eating or drinking.  It is mainly used now as an unorthodox wine glass!

Pilgrims pour through the narrow streets of the cities old town, past the ancient churches and inns, to see their first glimpse of the cathedral towers in the clear blue skies, it’s an emotionally charged experience.  It’s a carnival of battered walking boots, lycra shorts and limps.  There are bagpipes whining (a Galician staple), Ecuadorian missionaries singing songs with guitars, dreadlocked dudes meditating, Spanish kids tearing into the square barefooted (many pilgrims choose to walk the last day barefooted).  Most pilgrims are strooned out in the sun like lizards, propped up on colourful backpacks, staring off into space, halfway between exhaustion and elation.  No beatific, blister induced epiphanies going on here, just mild forms of sunstroke/ dehydration.

This is July and the shadeless square is like a pizza oven, +30oC and counting.  Those medieval architects were not into parasols and pina coladas, they had the divine on their mind.  Mingling in this multitude are streams of tourists snapping selfies, looking well showered and shaven.  To the pilgrims, they seem like people who’ve got a free ticket to the best gig in the world (and have never heard of the band).

We’ve all followed many little yellow arrows over mountains, along coastlines, through vast plains and cities, all imagining what the end would look like.  How we’d feel when the walking is over, like a stylus leaving a well loved record.  Pilgrims leap, pilgrims sing and for most, there is a sense somewhere within that we’re glad it’s all over, but we can’t wait to do it all again!  Or was that just me!!

Jane still had some energy!  Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

Being a pilgrim for a while is a way of life I’d recommend, if you’re looking for something, you might find it by walking the old pilgrim trails of Spain and France (some stretch all the way across Europe).  A good, old-fashioned long walk can make all the difference, a one-way ticket out of the daily grind.  There are sprinkles of magic out there, somewhere in-between the blisters, bunk beds and crescendos of snoring hikers, you’re sure to find some peace of mind and a good slice of soul.

Walking the Camino from Porto to Santiago de Compostela was a kaleidoscope of vivid and beautiful scenery, a glorious patchwork of people, from the quixotic to the capitalistic, the righteous to the rogue.  There were churches and challenges galore, not to mention many laughs, fragrant fields and feet.  We both had no expectations, we had just walked most of the demanding Rota Vicentina skirting the very South West of Portugal, with it’s precipitous coastlines, raging winds, mad surfers and quaint villages.  We felt fairly confident we could have a crack at the less arduous Camino and enjoy it.  We were in good fettle, could take it a little easier and just cruise.  We loved the pilgrim lifestyle, focused on walking and nature, exploring different terrains and trails.  There is a liberating rhythm to it.  It’s an empowering way to see the world, to arrive on your own steam, carrying all you need on your back.  It’s a little taste of freedom.

Pilgrim plate! We cooked most of our food on the Camino. We always carry herbs, spices, knives, a chopping board etc. It means the BHK is a mobile, moveable feast!!

I loved cooking in the hostels and the host of weird and wonderful kitchens we stumbled upon, generally basic, sometimes indoors, but with one constant, stunning local produce.  Vegan food is a little off-piste for most local restaurants, so we focused on hearty homemade dishes, heavy on the veg.  If you’re a vegan and you don’t want to eat bread and bananas 24/7, it’s worth planning a little before you set off.  Make sure you’re ready to do some cooking.  Pack a grater.  A peeler?

Portugal, and latterly Galicia, know how to garden and grow!  It’s a plant-based paradise down there.  The Camino is regularly flanked by family owned fields of various produce, poly-tunnels and little veg patches, most gardens in houses are filled with fruit and vegetables.  Large scale agriculture is rare.  Corn, grapes, nuts, berries, tomatoes, leeks, olives and lots of potatoes.  Official organic farms are rapidly growing in number.  In the South especially, we saw many idyllic, self-sustained places tucked away in the valleys.  It seems mainly elderly couples tend to the small plots, pulling old rickety carts filled with potatoes over cobbled streets, many driveways are covered with garlands of onions drying out in the sun.  I’ve rarely seen this before in my travels, a country so dedicated and skilled at growing their own.  It’s very exciting for a meandering vegan cook!  Whets the wandering appetite.

A rural garden beside the Camino Portuguese, filled with fruit and veg. Notice the ‘verde’ growing in the foreground. These are juvenile versions!

On your vegan ventures, you will find the ubiquitous Caldo Verde lifeline everywhere.  It’s more than a soup, it’s a national treasure in Portugal.  It’s a bowlful of vegan blessings (sometimes served with cornbread.)  A nourishing bowl of pureed potato and collards.  Light on the pocket and heavy in the belly, ideal pilgrim potage.  It’s easy to make at home, I’ll post a recipe soon.  Almost every garden is bordered by funny looking plant protrusions, like baldy broccoli on steroids.  This is the ‘verde’ in your ‘caldo’.  They are trained collard plants, leaves picked with precision, to grow tall, like kale palm trees swaying in the sunshine.  I still have no idea why they do this?  Any ideas?

VEGANS!  Always order your Caldo Verde without the sausage surprises.  You never know when they’ll rear their fatty heads.  The combination of potato (great fuel) and dark collards (loaded with vitamins and good stuff), a drizzle of olive oil and you’re looking at a decent lunch for a couple of euros.  It’s also served in Galicia.  We normally love a simple potato and leek soup in the Welsh wintertime, but this year, we’re adding some greenery.

A particularly good Caldo Verde, on the Camino Portuguese. CV, olives, bread, fruits and nuts. Perfect pilgrim fuel (tasty too;)

People walk the Camino for a variety of reasons, we had none.  Many of the best things I’ve done in my life have been without a reason.  It is a popular topic for conversation along the way, “Why are you walking?”  I just know that it felt right and Jane liked it too. With no reasons and few expectations, the door was open for us to just experience what was happening, step by step, until we got to shake hands with old St James.  He who brought Christianity to the Iberian Peninsula, a right hand man of Jesus.

We met many people going through big life changes and being on the camino, with a large group of generally disparate, yet supportive people, does seem to help and inspire.  Bringing objectivity and clarity.  Must be all that fresh air!  Even though sometimes you’re walking alone on the trail, it never really feels like you’re alone.  You’re part of something greater and there is a bubble of acceptance and kindness that is palpable.  You’re following in some pretty big and often saintly footsteps.  That alone is humbling and makes this no ordinary stroll in the countryside.  Walking everyday, with a shared purpose, means that your fellow pilgrims become a mobile community.  A gang of sweaty seekers.

The trail is flanked by historical niches, shrines and atmospheric churches, all immaculately maintained, with small candles flickering and a sense of piety in full flow.  Some roads are Roman by design, the worn rocks bearing the marks of millions of pilgrims through the ages.  Smiles are easily found and horns are peeped, “Buen Camino/ Bom Camino!!” is a phrase that echoes throughout the day as locals and passers by wish you the best.  Experiencing the reverence that many locals had for the whole pilgrim game changed something deep in my waters.  As it has no doubt changed many folks at levels unknowable, a shared spirit on the myriad routes that lead to Santiago.

Let the yellow arrows lead the way. The Portuguese Way is well ‘arrowed’ making it difficult to lose your way (unless you want to)

There are three main reasons for walking the camino, religious, spiritual or other.  At least they’re the options you have to tick on the check in cards at the government ran hostel (the cheap ones where you get the full Camino experience; a reasonable amount of snoring, sweaty boots, disposable bedding and an acceptable level of discomfort).  Pilgrimages are not meant to be 5 star!

Getting out of our comfort zones was something we were expecting and quite looking forward to. That comfort zone is a cold-blooded killer of zest, verve and vitality.  If life is one long camino, from ignorance to eventual enlightenment, surely, we’ve got to get off the couch!  Get out there into the world, start a journey, an adventure, embrace the unknowable outcome. These camino-style wanders seem like a ideal launch pad for such intentions.

Generally, when you travel like we have around the world, namely on a flimsy budget, off-piste and rough round the edges, most of the camino hostels were actually pretty comfy. Especially when you consider you’re paying 5-7 euros per night and are only there for a quick kip, shower and the joys of hand washing one’s smalls in outdoor sinks.  Al fresco, armed with underwear.  Actually, some hostels have washing machines.  Free of charge.  There are also more up-market options if sleep depravation and communal showers are not your bag.  But…

The coastal route of the Camino Portuguese begins with many small villages and then a long walk by the seaside!

The Camino Portuguese should be 260km, but we were wanton meanders, we took our time, we explored some nooks and crannies. Many pilgrims leave at 6am on the nose, we took it easier, it was a holiday after all!  Leisurely breakfast and we were happy to be out and on the trail by 9am.  Most days were flexible from a distance point of view, you could walk for a few hours or really push on for as long as you like.  The average day is probably about 20-25 kms.

We were lucky in the sense that we had no real time constraints, so we just wandered and picnic’d as we saw fit.  It was always nice to see fellow stragglers tucked away in the woods having a packed lunch, or having a dip in a stream, a beer at noon in a small cafe.  We gradually formed a group of strays with a shared pace on the camino, it might not have been with the traditional pilgrim zeal but it was about experiencing a distinct way of life and viewing the world at a relaxed rate of knots.  Going at our own pace, taking in a fuller experience of where we were, and why not!  Where we were was regularly beautiful.  I’m not one for routines as such, but the Camino did work it’s magic on me.  I got into a good groove.

Plant-based pilgrims!!  Jane and I taking a stroll in some old vineyards.

If you enjoyed this, there will be a Pt. 2 soon.  Probably less of a ramble, more details and how we nearly didn’t make it!!

It’s not all wide open spaces, there are lots of towns and cities to navigate along the way. Vigo, Portuguese Way (Caminho Portuguese)

PS – “Camino, camino!” was a song we made up on the way, you have a lot of time to come up with stuff when you’re walking all day.  Sang to the tune of “My hips don’t lie” by Shakira.  One of many hits we came up with.  “Hill! Oh hill” was the B-side and one we used regularly.  There are bumps out there.

 

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More Vegan on the Road here, our travels around the beautiful regions of Andalucia

 

 

 

 

Categories: Healthy Living, photography, plant-based, Travel, Vegan, vegan travel, vegan traveller | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Cherry, Pistachio and Cacao Smoothie – Plus Smoothie Jedi Tip

Cherry, Pistachio and Cacao Smoothie

I’m gonna smoothie all the way through Autumn! Winter too! The flavours of chocolate and cherry were made for each other. This one’s got that black forest vibe to it, really simple to make and something a little different in your breakfast bowl.

Start the day with something beautiful, something that inspires your tastebuds, something that gives your body a nice healthy hug.

Today we find ourselves halfway up a mountain (where we live) eclipsed by grey mist, grey skies, with the slate grey ocean raging beneath us.  So, I popped out in a window of sun rays to get this shot of breakfast.  I don’t have anything against the colour grey, I have a grey sweatshirt, but in the foodie sphere, I can’t think of a decent grey food.  Nature did not want us eating grey it seems!

Colours!  Vibrancy!  That’s where were are on this hillside.  BHK bowls packed with things to make you purr.  In fact, we had a grey cat named Buster once (some of you will remember that legend).  He was the greatest dash of grey in this old world I tell you.  I miss him.

Smoothies are one way of fixing yourself up for superb things!  There is no way that a smoothie can be anything but awesome.  Vegan, gluten and sugar free, loaded up with everything the body needs, we even add coconut yoghurt here for a probiotic, gut-friendly, boost.  What is not to LOVE!

If this tickles your fancy, let us know below and let’s talk smoothie and vibrant things, beauty bowls, happy days.

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**Smoothie Jedi Tip**

Start slow, then build it up.  Start blending your smoothie on low and gradually build it up to full steam ahead.  This helps to incorporate all the lumps and chunks and means less scraping and shaking to get it blended properly.  A Jedi fact.

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Recipe Notes

We buy frozen cherries from the supermarkets.  Buying frozen fruits is a great way of preparing for a smoothie-fest.  It also works out cheaper and many of the fruits are frozen ripe, meaning good flavour and a higher nutritional profile.

Go wild with toppings!  We sometimes sprinkle other nuts, muesli/ granola, funky green healthy powders (spirulina, wheatgrass etc), dried berries like raspberry and strawberry are a knockout too!  Occasionally, I rock a drizzle of nut butter or tahini.

 

I’m on Instagram.  Yes, it’s taken me a while…..remember, I’m a mountain dweller, some would say a bit of a caveman in some ways.  But, I’m over there now and sharing my little heart out.  Come and join me, click here!  

 

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

 

Cherry, Pistachio and Cacao Smoothie

The Bits – For 2

2 handfuls frozen cherries

1 handful frozen banana

2 tbs vegan coconut yoghurt (cultured preferably)

2 tbs cacao or cocoa powder

Plant Milk (of choice, we used hemp milk)

 

Toppings

Chopped pistachios, goji berries, extra frozen cherries

 

Do It

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

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

Pour into a bowl, sprinkled with your toppings.

 

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

 

Foodie Fact 

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

Cherries.  Yes!  More please.

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

 

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DON’T MISS A BHK RECIPE:)

 

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

YoVeg! Mediterranean Vegan Yoga Holiday – Spain, May 2020

The Shining Lights! – Vegan and Yoga Cooking Holiday ’19

 

WITH LEE WATSON, COOKBOOK AUTHOR AND TV CHEF

AND COMPLETE UNITY YOGA

9th May – 16th May 2020

 

Join us in our stunning beach-side ECO-villa for this transformational, life-enriching Mediterranean Vegan Yoga Holiday in Spain.

This is your new home away from home, beachside eco-villa in plant-based paradise!

It is time to enjoy the feeling of the sun on your skin with the sound of the ocean and views of palm trees and the expansive blue sea with delicious vegan food and enlightening yoga and meditation. You’ll meet like-minded people, have fun and leave feeling nourished and inspired.

 

Limited Availability – this YoVeg! Vegan Yoga Holiday always sells out! Secure your space today with a £49 deposit. Book now!

 

Here’s the view from the Yoga Platform 👇

 

YoVeg! Yoga Holiday ’20 – Right on the beach!

 

What to Expect

A stunning beach-side villa for a transformational life-enriching yoga holiday. Set in the Costa Calida, the jewel of the Spanish coastline, we have arranged a carefully crafted program designed to fully nourish your mind, body and soul.

YoVeg! Mediterranean Vegan Yoga Holiday in Spain is bursting with inspirational workshops, delicious plant-based food, yoga, meditation and life-enriching experiences.

Wander along the stunning beach, unwind on the villa’s sunny terraces, go swimming in the blue sea or join excursions to explore the fascinating local area. This promises to be an unforgettable vegan yoga holiday in the Mediterranean.

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

 

 

What’s Included

✓ 7 nights in our modern villa 10 meters from the beach surrounded by empowering mountains and beautiful palm trees
✓ 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
✓ Cooking demonstration/workshop with Lee
✓ Empowering herbal health workshop with Jane Legge
✓ Day trip to a local Sunday market
✓ Stand up paddle boarding in the bay
✓ 2 walks/treks to beautiful locations and viewpoints
✓ Optional daily massage treatments
✓ Lunch in one of the area’s best restaurants
✓ Optional airport transfers*

 

Picnics and walks in beautiful nature

The Food

YoVeg! Mediterranean Vegan Yoga Holiday in Spain will be full of delicious plant-based food cooked by our amazing chef Lee Watson (cookbook author) using super fresh ingredients sourced from the local markets in Costa Calida.

A true taste bud party 3 times a day every day! During the retreat, Lee will also share with you a cooking workshop where you have the opportunity to learn new techniques and get hands-on with the amazing fresh local produce from the Murcia region.

 

Lots of decadent, healthy desserts and sweet treats

 

Accommodation

Beautiful modern rooms with the option to book either twin rooms, double rooms, shared accommodation with en-suite or shared bathrooms.

This year we are also offering the option of camping, bring your own tent and enjoy the beautiful warm Spanish spring evenings and sleep to the sound of the sea.

 

Strolls down the paseo and time to chill on the beach or terrace

 

Prices

Single and Double Rooms (SOLD OUT)

Twin Room (2 people) – £939 per person (ONLY 1 LEFT)

Shared Accommodation – £819 per person (2 MORE)

Camping – £619 per person (ONLY 2 AVAILABLE)

 

BOOKINGS HERE

 

 

Reviews

“Once again, Malene, Will, Lee and Jane have surpassed themselves creating an outstanding week of nourishing yoga and food. As with last year, I came back so refreshed and renewed in both my yoga and vegan cooking practice. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but the food this year was even more amazing than last years. The Danish Picnic up in the hills was a real highlight. It is a wonderful treat to be cooked such incredible vegan food that is made with love and passion.
Malene’s yoga classes were once again, beautiful crafted and designed for us to get exactly what our bodies needed. The yoga and meditation sessions on the beach to the sound of the roaring waves was just beautiful. Thanks again to all of you for another very special retreat! Love and light. Xxx”

 

Will – Yoga teacher and ace cook, buying produce at the local market

 

“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!!”

“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.”

 

Meditation practice on the beach

 

Categories: Cooking Holidays, Cooking Retreats, Events, healthy, photography, plant-based, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

Secret vegan weapon….

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

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

Giant Tortillas  

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

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

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

Being a local ‘Guiri’

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

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

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

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

Little green shoots

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

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

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

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

 

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

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

Batter

100g gram flour

175ml soya milk

75g firm tofu

1 teas salt

½ teas turmeric

½ teas g.f. bicarb of soda

½ teas g.f. baking powder

 

Filling

1 large onion (sliced)

2 large cloves garlic (sliced)

½ teas salt

125g firm tofu (broken into pieces with fingers)

2 tbs lemon juice (1 small lemon)

½ tbs lemon zest (½ small lemon)

2 tbs olive oil

150g frozen peas

1 teas dried mint

1 teas dried dill

¼ teas black pepper

 

Do It

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

Press tofu between kitchen paper, remove excess moisture.

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

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

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

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

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

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

Flamenco in Sevilla

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

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

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

Beach House Kitchen Bowl!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easy Vegan Curry Feast – 3 quick recipes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roasted Vegetable and Coconut Curry, all the trimmings…

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

Timing is everything right!  

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve also just started posting over on Instagram.  

Svaadisht!

 

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

 

The Bits – For 4 big eaters or 6

Coconut Rice 

250ml brown basmati rice

500ml vegetable stock

1 1/2 teas cumin seeds

2/3 teas nigella/ kalongi seeds

1/2 teas mustard seeds

1/2 stick cinnamon

5 green cardamom pods (cracked)

4 tbs dessiccated coconut

1 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

1/2 teas sea salt

 

Black Kale Daal

250g red lentils

850ml vegetable stock

1/2 teas turmeric

 

125g black kale/ cavolo nero (finely sliced)

1/2 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

3 cloves garlic

2 heaped tbs chopped ginger

1 1/2 teas cumin seeds

1 teas mustard seeds

1/2-1 teas sea salt

 

Roasted Vegetable and Coconut Curry

2 peppers (chopped)

500g/ 1/2 large butternut squash

1 large onion

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

Sea salt and black pepper

 

Spicy Tomato Sauce 

1 large onion (chopped)

5 tomatoes (chopped)

5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

2 tbs ginger (finely chopped)

1-2 red chillies (sliced)

150g/ 2 handfuls white cabbage (sliced)

2 teas garam masala

2 teas ground cumin

1 1/2 teas ground turmeric

1 1/2 teas ground coriander

1-2 tbs cold pressed oil/ coconut oil

1 teas sea salt and black pepper

Easy to be vegan!

Do It

Rice

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

Daal

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

Curry

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foodie Fact

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

Vegan On The Road – Andalucia, Spain

Jane and the Happpy Restaurant:)  Cordoba

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Old time Spain. We love it!!

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

IMG_20190618_101726

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

 

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

 

 

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

Super exciting news!! New Fantastic Fermentation Masterclass

Super EXCITING news!!😄🌞 Brand NEW fermentation workshop announcement.

The amazing Janice from Nourished by Nature will be joining us for our Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia – Plant-based Cooking & Yoga Holiday

Are you interested in fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, kimchi, sourdough, sauerkraut etc? Very healthy and very delicious. You’re in for a real treat!! Here’s all the details:

 

Janice – Nourished by Nature

 

Janice’s Fantastic Fermentation Masterclass

We have never met anyone as passionate about fermented foods! A real Fermentista!! Janice is a macrobiotic health coach and writes the wonderful blog ‘Nourished by Nature’, running regular fermentation classes in and around her Glasgow home.
We love Janice’s enthusiasm for healthy, seasonal and nutritious food, she is a real inspiration for us, and believes:

“We can all make a very positive difference to both our own lives/health, and also environmentally through minimising the negative impact we create from the foods we choose and how we source them.”

Janice will show us how delicious fermented foods, made with simple techniques, can heal ourselves on every level and taste amazing! We’ll be sampling seasonal kraut, some fermented relishes/chutneys/dips and also some seasonal kombucha flavours!

 

Full info for our awesome Vibrant Vegan! Plant-based cooking and yoga holiday is HERE.

 

Trigonos, our venue – a pretty stunning place to cook and be!  Lots of snow recently;)

 

We’ve already sold over half the rooms in the first week!!
If you have a booking form, please return it asap, we can only guarantee bookings once we have the forms. Otherwise…..

 

😄🌞BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW😄🌞
By emailing info@trigonos.org
or calling 01286 882 388:)

 

Fermented food, delicious and very healthy!

 

To get a flavour of things, you’ll find lots of delicious fermented food recipes over on Janice’s blog HERE. 

We love the radish bombs, fermented tomato salsa and mushroom pate and coffee kombucha rocks!!  Plus, Janice makes the most incredible sourdough loves.

 

Categories: Cooking Holidays, Events, Fermentation, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Vegan, veganism, Wales | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Quick Pickled Rhubarb and Ginger plus The Joys of Spring!

Rhubarb, fresh of the land, organically grown

Here’s a really quick and easy way to pickle rhubarb.  I’ve added some ginger, which gives even more intense and beautiful flavour to this pickle.  The method could not be much easier, and it’s a great technique for preserving delicious produce, enough to enliven any meal!

Rhubarb makes a great pickle, maybe you haven’t tried it?  I find it goes well with Middle Eastern salads, anything with a bit of spice.  I also like it with Japanese style salads. It has a real sweet and sour twang!

When this lovely bunch of rhubarb landed in the kitchen we wondered what to do with it?  How to make it shine!  No crumbles here.  I shouted “Pickle!”   Jane shouted “Ginger!”  And it was as easy as that really.

Nantlle Lake looking stunning in Spring (you can just about see Snowdon from here)

 

It has been a stunning week, Spring has been in full swing (and then it snowed/ hailed for a couple of days!)  A Snowdonian Spring!  It has been still and sunny, and this extra sunlight and warmth has meant some surprises in the poly tunnels.

We’ve had some beautiful and colourful, organically grown, produce coming off the land this week at Trigonos.  Owain (our resident Horticulturalist and Organic Superhero) has been appearing in the kitchen with arm loads of all kinds of goodies.

 

Not sure what you call this one? Golden Chard?  I’ll have to ask Owain

 

Most of these are seeds from last year, that have decided to make an appearance in the poly tunnels; ruby chard, swiss chard, purple rocket and some radiant rhubarb!!

 

You know I love this one. Curly Kale.

 

Along with a host of herbs and a scattering of salad leaves, and of course outside, the wild garlic is doing it’s thing.

 

Ruby Chard, love the vibrant colour!

 

I always feel like the luckiest cook alive to have access to this kind of produce.  Especially at this time of year.

 

Purple rocket. The flavour here is amazing! Very peppery and fruity even.

 

Produce picked in the morning and by lunchtime is being served (or pickled).  I love it!

 

Maybe you saw, we recently announced our:

Vibrant Vegan! Snowdonia – Plant-based Cooking and Yoga Holiday, 21st-25th September 2019

This is a rare chance to come over here to beautiful Snowdonia; relax, rejuvenate and get inspired!  Plus, sample lots of dishes prepared by our awesome team of chefs with produce straight from the land, and even have a tour around the farm with Owain and myself.  A little bit of foraging and lots of chat about excellent produce and organic happiness.

For more info leave a comment below or email – info@trigonos.org

The holiday is booking up quickly. Exciting times!!

 

 

Recipe Note

Only use the pink rhubarb stalks, never the leaves.

Any excess pickling liquor can be used in dressings or to marinade tofu, for example.

 

Quick Rhubarb and Ginger Pickle

 

Quick Rhubarb and Ginger Pickle

 

The Bits – Makes 2 jars

500g rhubarb (finely sliced)

300ml apple cider vinegar

300ml water

4 tbs sugar

8 slices fresh ginger

2 bay leaves

 

Do It

You’ll need two sterilised glass jars with lids.

Gently pack the sliced rhubarb into your jars.  So it’s snug, with a little room left at the top.

Place the vinegar, water, bay leaves, ginger and sugar into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Pour this mixture over the rhubarb until it’s all well covered.   I add the bay leaves and ginger to the jars also.  Leave to cool.

Enjoy! I’d keep this pickle for fortnight.

Foodie Fact

Rhubarb is packed full of minerals and vitamins. It’s a source of vitamin C, protein, calcium, fibre and beta-carotene.  Plus a whole lot more.  Much more than just a crumble!

 

Categories: Cooking Holidays, Cooking Workshops, gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Organic, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Spring, Vegan, Wales | Tags: | 8 Comments

Vegetable Peel and Herb Crisps – Don’t throw them away!!

Celeriac, Brussel’s Sprouts, Swede, Squash and Potato Crisps – Food waste made tasty!!

These just make perfect sense.  Transforming, what for many, is food waste into something delicious.

Why throw all those vegetable peels away?  Especially when you can make these delicious, light crisps.  They’re very tasty and they crisp up beautifully and are so easy and quick to prepare.

Veg peels are also packed with vitamins, fibre and minerals.  We normally throw away by far the most nutrient-rich part of the vegetable!   See below for more, ‘Foodie Fact‘.

I used some of my favourite winter vegetables; celeriac, squash, potato, swede, Brussel’s sprout leaves and parsnip.  I think these crisp are ideal when you’re making a big dinner, when your food waste bowl fills up, it’s time to get excited.  Peel crisps are on the menu!

I’ve been making a vegetable and potato broth for a while now and needed a crisp topping, something that would be light and packed with flavour, with that very crisp texture.  Here they are!  They arrived by chance the other day, I was frying off some rostis and had a large bowl of vegetable peels……It just fell nicely into place.  I was blown away by the results, you’ve got to try these out!

FLAVOUR IDEAS

You can flavour these crisps with anything you fancy, some smoked paprika is nice, I fried some fresh herbs, which gave a earthy, full flavour to the crisps, plus, you can eat the herbs as well.  A sprinkle of sea salt is essential.  Try seaweed flakes, nutritional yeast flakes (NOOCH!), mushroom powder, za’atar and sumac (especially yum), citrus zest, garlic powder and chilli, mixed spices, you can even make peelings like sweet potato and carrot into a sweet snack, with cinnamon and sugar.

I’ve given you two options for cooking, roasted in an oven or fried in oil.  As you would expect, the fried in oil option is a crispier way of doing things.

So crispy, these are the best!

HOW BEST TO PEEL – HARD LEARNED LESSONS

There are many ways, this is mine, hard learned from years of peeling piles of vegetables in kitchens.  Here we go.  Use a sharp, French peeler, they’re by far the best and most efficient.  A blunt peeler is a recipe for grunts and straining.  A sharp peeler will glide, most of the time, through the veg peel.

Have a food waste bowl handy, it keeps your kitchen surfaces clean and tidy and ensures your chopping board is kept clean.  Working in a clean and efficient way in the kitchen is essential.

The easiest way to peel anything is to not pick it up.  Leave it on the board, hold it down and peel away.  You’ll find that holding a vegetable in your hand, especially large, heavier veg like squash or big potatoes, lead to exertion and strain.  Let the board and the sharp peeler do most of the work for you.  Because the veg is stable, you’ll also notice you’ll get longer and better peels to make crisps out of.  I hope that makes sense, it took years for me to figure this one out!!

A good peeler is sharp, be careful when peeling.  I rarely cut myself in the kitchen, but when I do, it’s normally when peeling things.  I get a bit carried away sometimes!!

 

Recipe Notes

Try out any veg peels, but make sure they’re dry.  Pat them with kitchen paper or a clean kitchen towel.

Make sure you wash your vegetables thoroughly and give them a good scrub if needed.

Use any veg peelings, beetroot, sweet potato, carrot, for example, are also delicious.

I use a French Peeler when peeling vegetables, they’re the best.  If your peeler is nice and sharp, you’ll get nice thin, uniform peels.  That’s what we’re looking for.  The longer the better.

These veg peels are best cooked fresh, not too long after you peel them.

It’s always a good idea to use organic veggies when you can, especially with these crisps.

You know your oven, these crisps will burn quickly if you have hot spots, make sure you turn them and move them around on the tray to get even cooking.

If you’re going to fry them, and in fact generally with cooking, use an oil with a high smoking point.  Cold pressed rapeseed oil works very nicely for me.

Vegetable Peel Crisps – My new favourite snack

Vegetable Peel and Herb Crisp 

The Bits – For One Small Bowlful 

4 big handfuls vegetable peels – I used celeriac, squash, potato, parnsip, swede, outer leaves of Brussel’s Sprouts

1 large sprig fresh rosemary

1 large sprig fresh thyme

Cold pressed rapeseed oil

Sea salt

 

Do It

Frying

In a small saucepan, add an inch or so of oil.  Warm on a high heat.

Pat your vegetable peelings dry with kitchen paper.

Test the oil is hot by dipping a single veg peel into the pan, if it sizzles frantically, it’s ready.

Add your peelings and herbs to the pan, stir a little so they don’t stick.  Don’t overload the pan. Fry into batches if needed.

Fry until crisp and golden.  Remove using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with two layers of kitchen paper, leave the crisps to drain off excess oil.

Serve straight away, season and flavour as you like.

 

Baking

Preheat an oven to 190oC.

Toss the peelings and herbs in a bowl with 2 tbs cooking oil until well coated.  Add spices or flavourings now if you’re using them.

Spread them out, without overcrowding, on a large baking tray.

Pop in the oven, bake for 5-7 minutes.  Turn the crisps and bake for another few minutes.  Check them at this stage, this is the burn zone, when they may well go from perfect to a burnt crisp in a minute.  Keep your eye on them!

 

Foodie Fact

Most of the nutrients of vegetables is found just below the skin, so basically, we normally throw the best bit away!  This varies from veg to veg but generally, veg peels contain considerably more vitamins, fibre and minerals than the rest of the vegetable.  The same can be said for many vegetable leaves.

Here’s a quick example; it’s said by some that non peeled apples contain over 100% more vitamin C and A than peeled apples.  Plus over 300% more vitamin K.  Pretty impressive!!  A non-peeled potato contains over 100% more potassium, vitamin C, folate, magnesium and phosphorous, than a peeled one.

The research on this, like with most things nutrients and health, varies.  But from what I’ve read, everyone agrees that veg skins contain good amounts of the right stuff.

The skin also contains loads of anti-oxidants and fibre.  So if you feel like being healthier, leave your skins on!

Categories: gluten-free, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Uncategorized, Vegan | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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