Posts Tagged With: vegan recipes

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!  

 

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

 

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

 

Cherry, Pistachio and Cacao Smoothie

The Bits – For 2

2 handfuls frozen cherries

1 handful frozen banana

2 tbs vegan coconut yoghurt (cultured preferably)

2 tbs cacao or cocoa powder

Plant Milk (of choice, we used hemp milk)

 

Toppings

Chopped pistachios, goji berries, extra frozen cherries

 

Do It

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

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

Pour into a bowl, sprinkled with your toppings.

 

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

 

Foodie Fact 

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

Cherries.  Yes!  More please.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secret vegan weapon….

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

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

Giant Tortillas  

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

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

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

Being a local ‘Guiri’

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

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

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

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

Little green shoots

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

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

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

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

 

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

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

Batter

100g gram flour

175ml soya milk

75g firm tofu

1 teas salt

½ teas turmeric

½ teas bicarb of soda

½ teas baking powder

 

Filling


1 large onion (sliced)

2 large cloves garlic (sliced)

½ teas salt

125g firm tofu (broken into pieces with fingers)

2 tbs lemon juice (1 small lemon)

½ tbs lemon zest (½ small lemon)

2 tbs olive oil

150g frozen peas

1 teas dried mint

1 teas dried dill

¼ teas black pepper

 



Do It


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

Press tofu between kitchen paper, remove excess moisture.

Preheat a fan oven to 180oC.

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

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

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

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

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

Flamenco in Sevilla

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top it off!

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

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

Disney Pancakes

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

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

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

Are oats gluten-free?

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

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

 

Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes – simple breakfast treat

 

Banana, Oat and Peanut Butter Pancakes – American Diner Style

Gluten-free and Vegan

 

The Bits – For 8 medium pancake

100g gram/ chickpea flour

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

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

1 teas bicarb of soda

Large pinch of salt

1 tbs sugar

1 tbs oil

1/3 teas cinnamon

250ml water

 

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

 

To serve

 

Banana, 1 per person (cut in half lengthways)

Maple syrup

4 tbs peanut butter

 

Lime Wedges (Jane likes this)

 

Do It 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

 

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

Smoky Beets, Red Pepper and Chipotle Soup

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

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

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

Getting Frosty

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

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

Viva Mexico!

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

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

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

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

Chipotle!

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

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

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

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

Get Your Beet On!

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Recipe Notes

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

No red peppers, any pepper will work fine.

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

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

Beetroot, Red Pepper and Chipotle Soup

The Bits – For 4-6 bowls

550g beets, roughly 3 medium beetroots (diced)

1 red pepper (diced)

1 medium onion (diced)

200g red lentils (rinsed and drained)

2 teas cumin seeds

1 1/2 teas oregano

1/2 teas cinnamon

3 tbs tomato puree

1 ltr light vegetable stock/ hot water

3-5 teas chipotle puree

 

Topping

Toasted pumpkin seeds

Vegan creme fraiche

Freshly Chopped Coriander

Sliced chillies

 

Do It 

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

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

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

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

 

Foodie Fact 

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

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

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Would you like to come and cook with us? 

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

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

 

 

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

Fully Loaded Nachos with Columbian Frijoles Rojos

Fully Loaded Nachos (Vegan, Gluten-free)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fully Loaded and ready to go!

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

Finish with a Quick Salsa and Chipotle & Cashew Queso Dip

 

—————

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

The Bits – For 4-6

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

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

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

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

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

 

Do It

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

 

Quick Salsa

The Bits – For one small bowlful

8 ripe cherry tomatoes (finely chopped)

2 tbs onion (finely chopped)

2 tbs fresh coriander (finely chopped)

Lime juice (to taste)

Large pinch salt

 

Do It

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

 

Fully Loaded Nachos 

The Bits – Serves 4-8 as a snack

Trimmings

300-400g corn nachos/ tortillas

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

Fresh Coriander (chopped)

Lime wedges

1 red chilli (finely sliced)

Do It

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

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

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

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

 

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

Chipotle & Cashew Queso Dip

Vegan Cashew Queso – Get Dippin’!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stone cold Tex Mex Classic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chipotle & Cashew Queso

The Bits – For one large bowlful 

375ml soya milk

125g cashews (soaked in water for 2 hours)

2/3 teas turmeric

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

4 tbs nooch (nutritional yeast flakes)

2 tbs tapioca starch/ flour

1 small garlic clove (crushed)

1/2 – 1 teas salt

 

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

 

Topping

2 tbs jalapeno chillies

Fresh coriander

 

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

 

Foodie Fact 

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

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

Goan Jackfruit Curry – Totally Tropical!

Goan Jackfruit Curry – Vegan

This curry is totally over the top in all the right ways!!  Flavours, intensity, creaminess, coconut!  India cooking rocks my world, how about you?

Making things like this masala paste at home brings any kitchen to life with incredible colour’s and fragrance.  Apparently it’s spring, but looking out the window here in Wales, we’re in serious need of some rainbow food!  Some zest and zing, brightness on our plates.  This Goan curry is perfect for that!

This type of curry takes me right back to Goa, sitting in my favourite little place, right under many jackfruit trees, and eating homemade curries with fresh mango juices.  Not a bad life!!  It wasn’t jackfruit season, but they were hanging off the trees like strange bright green, spiky alien space craft.  If you’ve seen one, you’ll now what I mean.

This recipe is based on a selection of curries I ate almost every day for lunch.  They were always homemade and you can really taste the difference, the ingredients taste real!!  The cooks loved to use coriander seeds, giving their slightly citrus flavour to the curry. I’m not sure if this is classically Goan, but it is how the lovely families cooked.  The cuisine of Goa is so diverse, see my post here, ‘A Taste of Goan Cuisine’ for more Goan food tales.

All the flavours of one of my favourite South Indian curries

JACKFRUIT?

Is still a new ingredient for most of us.  It doesn’t get much more exotic, it’s a very strange fruit.  I love it!

Here we use the unripe jackfruit, which many say is a good meat sub, you can also eat the ripe jackfruit which is more like a yellow flower.  Both are available in the UK in tins.  The ripe jackfruit is better suited to desserts, makes an incredible ice cream and is delicious eaten raw.

You will find many street vendours around the world, in Thailand, India etc experty dissecting the giant fruits (the can get massive) and serving the yellow, slightly rubbery flowers on small trays.  For a few pennies you can enjoy the totally unique flavour of jackfruits, some say it has a hint of juicy fruit bubblegum in there.  I get that.

But we’re all about the unripe version here, the one many people are using to replicate pulled pork.  It works a treat and meat eaters are easily fooled by it.  They certainly enjoy it!

Some people have said that we should not eat such an exotic ingredient regularly in the UK.  I understand that, but we all love bananas and pineapples and jackfruit I think will always be a treat ingredient for me.  Something we use seldomly, a very tasty kitchen curve ball.

There is a slight sourness to some Goan curries, it seems to be a legacy of the Portugese, who like adding vinegar to dishes.  The sourness here comes in the form of the tamarind, but you can also add a little lemon juice to the curry at the end to give it that extra little twang!

 

Recipe Notes
Tamarind can be found in world or Indian food stores in its dried state, with the seeds still present.  I like it like that.  You can also buy the paste in supermarkets.

Chillies are up to you.  Jane is not a huge fan of chilli, so I really tone things down. I would go for the green chillies and around 4 red dried chillies in this curry. Remember, that many dried red chillies are milder.  If you use the equivalent in chilli flakes for example, you may have an incendiary curry on your hands.

If you don’t have jackfruit, you can substitute it with any vegetable you like or even a tin of black eyed beans.  I really loved the Goan curries made with black eyed beans.  Tofu or tempeh would of course be sensational here.

I left the jackfruit pieces whole here, but you can chop off the stem if you like and break the jackfruit up into smaller chunks.  Like the BBQ Pulled Jackfruit recipe we did a while ago, see here. 

Who loves jackfruit?

Goan Jackfruit Curry 

The Bits – For 4

350g squash – 1/2 medium-sized butternut squash, or carrots/ sweet potatoes
280g jackfruit (1 tin, well drained)
1/2 small onion (finely chopped)
2 tbs curry leaves
2 large pieces of cinnamon bark or 2 inch cinnamon stick
1 tbs coconut oil
2 teas sea salt

Masala Paste
70g grated/ dessicated coconut
5 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
1/2 small onion (finely chopped)
3 teas tamarind paste or 1/2 small lemon (juice)
2 heaped tbs fresh ginger (chopped)
2 1/2 teas coriander seeds
1 1/2 teas cumin seeds
12 peppercorns
2-6 dried red chillies (mild)
1 teas turmeric

1 tin coconut milk
100ml water

2 green chillies (optional)

1 tbs coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, sweetener of your choice.

Garnish
Toasted coconut
Coriander leaves

Goan cuisine is so interesting, filled with unique flavours and tropical twists!

Do It

Press the jackfruit between kitchen paper to draw out some of the water.  This leaves more room for flavours to infuse and get in.

Put all masala ingredients into a blender, I use a small blender (I have one that attaches to a stick blender), I find it easier to do this in a smaller blender.

Blitz up and gradually add roughly 125 ml coconut milk to the masala as you blitz and scrape down the sides of the blender until all is combined. You should have a smooth sauce, the better and more powerful your blender, the smoother the paste.  Don’t worry about a few chunks, in Goa, the chunks of coconut are a nice surprise!

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the onions, cinnamon, salt and curry leaves, saute for 4 minutes.  Then add the squash, jackfruit and masala paste, plus the leftover coconut milk from the tin and 150ml water.  The green chillies can go in now if you’re using them.

Stir and bring to a simmer, cover and cook gently for 40 minutes.  Until the squash and jackfruit are nice and tender, adding more hot water to thin out the sauce as needed.

Stir in your sweetener and check that you’re happy with the seasoning.

Serve topped with coriander and toasted coconut, with your favourite Indian rice and salad combo.  Here’s some ideas that we’ve cooked in the past:

Cooling Watermelon, Tofu & Mint Salad

Toasted Cashew & Green Pepper Pulao

Quick Carrot & Ginger Pickle

Goodbye Goa! Anjuna Beach

Foodie Fact

Jackfruit is high in fibre, helping us to detox which in turn makes us glow!  It also contains a good amount of carbohydrates, keeping us fully charged with energy and is loaded up with vitamin C and some potassium.  Jackfruit seeds are a good source of protein and vitamin A.

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

Dark Chocolate & Chilli Brownies – Vegan & Gluten-free

Chocolate & Chilli Brownies – Gluten-free and Vegan

An interesting twist on a classic chocolate brownie, made with black beans and given a lift with a little chilli and coffee kick!

Please don’t be put off by the whole bean thing, give them a go.  You would never be able to tell and these brownies have a lovely rich texture and all the benefits of black beans, meaning that they’re healthy and gluten-free.

They’re also pretty fuss-free creations, pop all the bits in your trusty blender, blitz, bake, enjoy!  Dessert sorted!!  I don’t know who originally started to make cakes with beans, but I hope you’re very proud of your genius.

Rich and very chocolaty, they’re a real favourite of ours at the minute.  We normally served them with our Dulce de Leche, it compliments the dark chocolate perfectly with its sweet caramel.  If the Dulce de Leche is warmed, even better, then, a nice bit of vanilla ice cream.  That’s some kind of perfection right there disguised as a gorgeous dessert!

Mexican Style Chocolate Brownies – Quick, healthy and very chocolaty

I feel these brownies have a hint of Mexico about them, with the cinnamon and chilli.  I just like a little chilli tickle, but I know some of you are chilli heads, so add as much as you fancy.  A friend recently tried these with chipotle chilli flakes and enjoyed them, a little smokiness that could be interesting, but I’m not convinced.  I’m going to try it soon, but smokiness in desserts seems like a taste bud twister to me.

There is a lot of cocoa/ cacao in these brownies, which gives them a lovely deep and rich chocolate flavour, with a nice bitterness.  We prefer dark chocolate, this is definitely one for the dark chocolate lovers and when served with dulce de leche, you’ve got the whole sweet and bitter chocolate combo going on, which is a sensation! (So good, I mentioned it twice;)

The best black beans yet! Straight from Mexico City.

Black beans are one of the most incredible plant based foods based nutrition wise, and they taste mighty fine too.  Some people call them ‘turtle beans’ because of their hard shells.

I talk about their nutrition properties below in the ‘Foodie Fact’ bit, but they trample all over beef for example in almost every conceivable nutritional way.  All we need are beans!   We use a load of black beans in the Beach House, you can see by the recipes at the bottom of the page.

Chocolate & Chilli Blender Brownies

What’s your favourite bean?  That’s a tough one I know.  I’m definitely going through a black bean phase, with occasional butter bean relapses and a week rarely goes by when I don’t fall for a kidney bean.  The world of beans are diverse and, in my eyes, there is no downside to beans.

I was once on BBC Radio Wales with Eleri Sion, how lucky am I!  One of the first questions about us vegans was if we fart all the time!!  Due to the bean thing.  I don’t really get windy with beans, but I think the presenter was a little sensitive to pulses.  I wasn’t expecting this question on national radio, it was a laugh and led to a chuckle of an interview.

Some of you will recognise these brownies, we’ve been making them at some of our recent events in Manchester and London.  Check out all of our upcoming events and retreats in Spain, Cornwall and Wales here.

Recipe Notes

These brownies are delicious without the chilli, if you’re not a big fan.  The nuts and chocolate are luxury touches really, again, without them, the brownies still rock!

I think pecans are my favourite nuts for these brownies, but really, most nuts would love this brownie.

Because they’re just made of beans, you can dare to slightly under bake these brownies.  Much better that than over baking them.

EAT ME

Dark Chocolate & Chilli Brownies – Vegan & Gluten-Free

 

The Bits – Makes 12 Brownies

235g or 1 tin black beans (rinsed and drained)

2 tbs ground flax (mixed with 5 tbs water)

3 tbs coconut oil or vegan spread

75g dark brown sugar

75g cocoa/ cacao powder

¼ teas sea salt

1 teas vanilla extract

2 teas instant coffee

1 teas cinnamon

1/6-1 teas chilli powder

1 teas baking powder

½ teas bicarb soda

35g dark chocolate (chopped into small chunks)

35g chopped pecans/ cashews/ peanuts 

 

Do It

Preheat fan oven to 180°C. Oil and line a small oven tray with baking parchment.

Mix your flax seeds with the water and leave for 5 minutes to thicken.  

Add all the ingredients to a food processor (except chocolate and peanuts), blitz for a minute. Scrape the sides of the blender down and repeat blending until a smoothish mix is formed.   

Now add the chocolate and nuts, pulsing a few times to combine. Pour/ scrape the batter into your lined tray and press down flat, around 2/3 inch thick.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops and edges are just crisping up. Test with a toothpick or skewer; the insides should be a little sticky still. That’s what brownies are all about!  Leave to cool in the tray and they will firm up. 

Serve topped with dulce de leche, vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of nuts.  Or as they are with a nice cuppa or if you fancy, serve with some whipped coconut cream for a real treat.  

 

Foodie Fact

This is the low down and figures on the super charged hero that is the humble black bean.  They’re full of healthy surprises!

Black beans contain calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc and can help to maintain strong bones and lower blood pressure.  They are very high in fibre and protein, with much more protein and iron than beef, and they also contain selenium which is a quite rare in the plant world and very, very good for us.    Eat beans, be merry!!

 

 

Categories: Baking, Cakes, Desserts, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Superfoods, Vegan, Wales | Tags: | 4 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

Pine nuts, a real treat

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

Seeking falafel perfection in Lebanon and making the dream falafel wrap

I Ate Lebanon! – My experience of vegan Lebanese cuisine

Msabaha – Lebanese Chickpeas (A new twist on hummus)

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

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

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

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

Party food just got better:)

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

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

 

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

Gluten-free option, just go for gf pittas.

 

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

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

The Bits – For 2 main course/ 4 starters

1 small onion (finely diced)

4 cloves garlic (peeled and finely sliced)

1 medium aubergine (cut into small cubes)

1 1/2 tbs cooking oil

500g fava beans (cooked)

1 teas salt

Black pepper

2 1/2 teas ground cumin

2 teas paprika

1/2 teas cinnamon

300ml bean cooking juices/ light vegetable stock

2 tbs pomegranate molasses

 

Tahini yoghurt

150g soya yoghurt (unsweetened)

4 tbs tahini

1-2 tbs pomegranate molasses

Large pinch salt (to taste)

 

Topping

2-3 pittas (cut into thin strips)

1/2 handful fresh mint (finely chopped)

1/2 handful grated carrot or pomegranate arils

 

3 tbs pine nuts (toasted)

Sprinkles of Sumac/ Za’atar

Do It 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

 

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

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

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

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

using loads of local, Murcian produce. 

A slice of sunshine and pure relaxation!  

Categories: gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

Vegan Okonomiyaki – Japanese Savoury Pancake (Gluten-free)

How do you like to Okonomi?!

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

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

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

FOOD IS PLAY

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

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

Vegan and Gluten-Free Okonomiyaki – Japanese Savoury Pancake

HOW YOU LIKE IT!

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

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

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

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

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

THE ‘GET LEE TO JAPAN’ FUND

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

Itadakimasu!!

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

Recipe Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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P1350448

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

Vegan Okonominyaki – Japanese Savoury Pancake (G/F)

The Bits – 1 pancake, 8 slices

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

10g cornflour

100g gram/ chickpea flour (or besan)

100g gluten-free flour mix

175ml water

1 tbs sesame oil

3 tbs teriyaki sauce/ tamari/ good quality soya sauce

 

Toppings (how you like….)

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

 

Do It

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

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

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

Pop lid back on and cook for 3 minutes more.

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

 

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

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

The Bits – For 1 pancake, 8 slices

200ml water

10g cornflour

100g gram flour (chickpea flour)

100g gluten-free flour mix

 

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

150g firm tofu (thinly sliced)

3 heaped tbs nooch (nutritional yeast flakes)

2 tbs sesame seeds

3 heaped tbs seaweed flakes

2 pinches salt

 

1 tbs sesame oil

 

Topping 

2-3 tbs teriyaki/ tamari sauce

3-4 tbs vegan mayonnaise

3 tbs pickled Japanese ginger

1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

1 radish (finely sliced)

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

 

Do It

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Foodie Fact

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

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

 

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

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

Categories: Breakfast, Budget, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

2-Minute Vegan Chocolate Sauce – Only 3 ingredients!

Quick and easy vegan chocolate sauce – good on anything!

We love this one!  3 words, easy, rich and delicious, plus 3 ingredients (and a wee twist of salt).  On our fantasy dessert island, this sauce would be the ocean.

We make this all the time and put it on most things really.  Sometimes though, if you’re going wild, the only accompaniment needed is a big ol’ spoon.  Of course, there is officially over a million ways to make chocolate sauce (no, more!!) but this is the easiest, apart from opening a packetbottlejar-thing.

February seems to be one of those months.  Most people are feeling the winter pinch right now, we’re bang in the middle of Feb (sort of) and I think we all need as much sweetness as possible to get by at this time of year.  This is not food, this is survival!!  Cacao is really high in anti-oxidants so you could kind of say that this is a flu remedy.

RETRO MAGIC

This sauce will also solidify when poured over cold things like ice cream, or those ice cream sandwiches made out of cookies which are just awesome.  Pouring over very cold things will result in a really nice crack and crunch, like the retro chocolate sauce we both had as kids (although Jane is querying the brand here).  I think it was called Birds Ice Magic (see below).  The mint flavour was my favourite, Jane’s was chocolate flavour.  Which is no surprise.  Ice Magic was some kind of revolution.  Anyone remember it?

Ideas for this sauce are of course, ice cream, drizzle over your favourite biscuit/ cake/ pancake/ toast/ fruit/ you get the idea.  This sauce rocks on anything!!

The great thing here is that with three ingredients, you can balance the chocolate sauce how you like it.  Some like it really dark (more cacao/ cocoa), some are sweeties (more sweetener).  You may also like to flavour this sauce with things like ginger, cinnamon, mint, orange, vanilla, butterscotch, brandy (just a dash;) this list goes on.   Let us know if you try it out.

Cacao is unprocessed, well, cacao, which eventually makes chocolate.  Cacao powder is a little more expensive but has loads more nutrients and we think the taste is better.

 

Recipe Notes

We prefer to use coconut oil in this sauce, you can get coconut oil that is low on coconut flavour, if you’re not into that.  At a push, you can use other lightly flavoured oils, but we haven’t tried this extensively.

Maple syrup is our favourite but any liquid sweetener, like brown rice syrup, agave etc will work nicely.

This sauce will keep nicely in the fridge, but its so easy to make and eat, there will be little need for leftovers;)

The coconut oil should be melted, liquid, but not really hot.  Let it chill a bit.

 

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2-Minute Vegan Chocolate Sauce

The Bits – One small bowlful 

2 tbs cacao / cocoa powder

2 tbs coconut oil (melted and cooled a little)

1 tbs sweetener (maple syrup, brown rice syrup etc)

Pinch sea salt

 

Do It

Stir together the ingredients in a bowl until a smooth sauce forms.  That’s it!!

 

Foodie Fact 

You may know how much we love chocolate, we’ve written about it loads before, we’ve also hosted chocolate tastings.  Here’s what we’ve said about the incredible health benefits of cacao (aka chocolate, unprocessed, just the cacao bean really…)

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF REAL CACAO
Cacao has been known as the ‘Food of the Gods’ for centuries in the Americas and it’s easy to see why. The cacao tree produces big pods, where the cacao beans hide and grow. Inside each cacao bean there is a cacao nib (for chocolate) and cacao butter (for chocolate, cosmetics etc). Most chocolates are made with extra cacao butter, or things like soya lecithin, added to make the bar smooth.

Cacao is very high in antioxidants and essential nutrients although many of these can be lost when processed into chocolate or cocoa. Some of the apparent health benefits of eating cacao are lowering high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, asthma, diarrhea, preventing wrinkles, liver, bladder and kidney disorders and many more.

The cacao bean is packed full of antioxidants, good fats, carbohydrates, protein, minerals like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, iron, zinc and potassium. They also contain oleic acid which is a heart-healthy essential monounsaturated fat, fiber and vitamins E, B2, B1, B5, B3 and B9 as well as small quantities of vitamin A and C. We think it’s incredible that something as decadent as chocolate, especially raw chocolate, is so wonderfully healthy.

 

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Categories: Desserts, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, plant-based, Recipes, Sauces, Superfoods, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Hello Germany! Peace and Parsnips released in Germany tomorrow

Peace and Parsnips aka Food and Harmony (in Germany only) hits the shops tomorrow in Germany!!

HELLO GERMANY!! “Kreative vegane Küche”

Peace and Parsnips is out in German tomorrow. Under the title ‘Food and Harmony’, but it here.  Danke schön + Guten Appetit!

We’re made up and so grateful about this news. Jane speaks a bit of German, but me, not a word. It’s incredible to see Peace & Parsnips in a new language, one that I can’t even read!!

We’re a bit excited over here in Wales!

If you’re in Germany, let us know if you see ‘Food & Harmony’ or even get yourself a copy. 

If you’re in the UK and have our cookbook, feel free to help us spread the word of tasty, healthy, happy vegan food by leaving feedback or reviews online i.e. on Amazon (the biggest of course), Waterstones, Good Reads etcetc. It’s massive!!:)

Happy cooking to you all, Lee and Jane:)

PS – I’d love to write another cookbook one day, I’ve a load of new recipes to share, maybe soon;)

 

Categories: cookbook, healthy, Peace and Parsnips, photography, plant-based, Vegan, veganism, Wales | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Vegan Carbonara – Classic meal in minutes!

Jen’s Creamy Vegan Carbonara

A classic meal that can be ready in minutes.  Vegan Carbonara can be made loads of ways, but here we make it with tofu, so it’s creamy and rich, but light at the same time.  We all need staple recipes like this!?  Something quick and satisfying that everyone enjoys.

Some of you have been asking about this recipe for a while now, I used to cook it at Trigonos quite a bit, so I’m pleased to finally get around to it (with a little help from our friends;).

We’d like to thank Jen at Veganuary for sharing this recipe, this is Jen’s photo, over on Instagram.  We’ve been massive fans of Veganuary for years now, so to see it blossom in such a way is incredible.  We even saw Matthem being interviewed on the BBC!

As you probably know, we cook all over the UK at events and this recipe was from a cooking and yoga weekend at Trigonos in December.

It’s true, we are not Instagramers but maybe one day we’ll make it over there.  What do you think?  Shall we venture into Insta-land?  It does looks awesome!   Some incredible vegan cooks over there doing amazing things.

VEGANUARY 2018 – HOW DID IT GO?

Did you try out Veganuary this year?  How was your experience?  You weren’t alone, over 150,000 people were joining you.   We know a load of people who gave it a go and some have stayed full-time vegans and many are just eating loads more plant-based meals.

Everyone we have talked to feels the benefit of a vegan diet, especially when tried out for a whole month, sometimes it can be hard at first with cravings for our favourites foods and the body adjusting, but then, PING!  Plant power takes over and we feel lighter, more energy, better digestion, brighter eyes and skin and the list goes on.   How cool is that/ this!

STONKING STAPLE

This recipe is a real staple for us, we love to change up the pasta and make it with a full range, from wholewheat to pea, corn to buckwheat, there are so many choices out there now and many are really good quality.  There was a time when gluten-free pasta would be quite soggy and have a dodgy texture.  Not any more.

This sauce can be taken in so many directions, but we like it as it is, a nice touch of garlic and the freshness of the parsley.  We love to green it up too, because we put greens in everything!

BIG THANKS TO ALL FACEBOOKERS:)

We just hit the 2000 mark over on our Facebook page, 2000 happy cooks with healthy outlooks, good vibe vegans, it’s quite a landmark for us.  Thank you to you all for your amazing support over the years, feel free to share the BHK blog with all your friends, fans, followers and families.  We couldn’t and wouldn’t do this without you.

I’m in the BHK today, recipe testing and coming up with new things.  More recipes coming soon right here, I’m really feeling quite Japanese at the minute…….but until then, carbonara!

 

Recipe Notes

Jen used slices of vegan sausage in this picture and left out the greens.

We love it with Mushroom Bacon.  Yum!  Our version coming soon.

If you can’t find silken tofu, firm tofu also works just fine.

If you or the people you’re cooking for are still a little freaked out by tofu, this is a good dish to cook for them.  Just don’t show them the nutritional yeast flakes just yet!!  Maybe after dinner.  We’ve all heard the stunning ‘looks like fish food’ jokes a zillion times before.  But they taste awesome!

Gluten-free option, just use gluten-free pasta.  We are digging pea pasta at the minute.  Great colour!!

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Classic Vegan Carbonara

The Bits – For 4

Carbonara Sauce

300g silken tofu (drain off excess liquid)

125ml soya / almond milk

½ lemon (juice)

3 tbs nutritional yeast flakes

3 large cloves garlic (crushed)

2 tbs olive oil

1-2 teas salt

 

Pasta

Pasta of choice – roughly 80g per person

 

2 handfuls watercress/ spinach leaves

2 handfuls smoked sun-dried tomatoes

 

1 handful fresh parsley (chopped)

 

Do It

In a small frying pan, warm the olive oil on medium heat, add the garlic and gently fry for 1-2 minutes until nicely golden.  Allow to cool a little.

Place all the bits for the carbonara sauce, including the cooked garlic oil, into a blender.  Blend until smooth. Taste, adjust salt. How creamy is that!!!?

Cook your pasta, drain and stir in the carbonara sauce.  Now stir in the watercress and leave with a lid on for a minute or so.  If the carbonara gets thick or sticky, this might happen if you don’t serve it straight away, pour a splash of plant milk in and gently stir.  

Serve in shallow bowls, topped with sun dried tomatoes/ mushroom bacon and parsley.  Best with black pepper, vegan parmesan and a nice crisp salad.

 

Foodie Fact

Tofu is a real genius food for so many reasons.  We can all get our hands on it really easy now in the UK, you’ll find it in most supermarkets.  Not only is it a versatile  ingredient, bringing a unique texture and flavour to dishes, its also completely packed with nutritional properties to make you shine.  It’s full of protein to start with, also minerals like manganese, phosphorous and selenium.  It even contains all of the amino acids and good levels of iron and calcium.

 

Categories: Budget, Dinner, gluten-free, healthy, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Sauces, Vegan, veganism | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Zen Bowl – Teriyaki Sweet Potatoes with Wasabi Mayo

Zen Bowl – Teriyaki Sweet Potatoes with Wasabi Mayo

A super healthy bowl with many of my favourite things all given a Japanese twist.  I was thinking about winter warmers and just didn’t fancy another stew or soup.  I felt like bright colours, crunch, some big textures and flavours.  This is an exciting way to eat!

When it snows like this, these pictures were taken in the snow, my mind regularly thinks of Japan.  I love the images of rural Japan in winter, especially when it’s covered with snow.  It’s magical!  Snow seems to do that, brings a sprinkle of something special to landscapes, Snowdonia is stunning today, the mountains have a whole new feel, even more majestic.

Caramelised sweet potatoes, green leaves with a zesty dressing, fresh crunchy veg and a creamy wasabi mayo.  This is a warming bowl of goodness, bound to satisfy everyone.  This is a gathering of the things I think we need in the depths of winter.

NEW TWIST ON COMFORT FOOD

I do love all the classic comfort food thing, I’ve just posted three soup recipes in a row, but lets re-vamp the concept of comfort food a little.  Add some bright colours and new flavours.  Broccoli and pak choi, radish, turnip and carrots, may all be growing at this time of year.  Polytunnels are genius!!  They should be easy to get hold of anyway.  I am on a one man mission to get Britain eating turnips/ swedes again, but thats for another post.

Sweet potato is a treat (and maybe a little more glamorous to most) that I crack out when I feel like something a bit different, the way it takes on the flavours of the teriyaki sauce is something special.  A great pairing right there.  It is also packed with beta carotene which is very much welcomed at this time of year.

A winter sunshine bowl!  But good anytime of year too.  This is how we like to do things in the BHK for sure.  Delicious food that happens to be healthy, thats a serious sweet spot right there!!

Zen Bowl

GET CREATIVE!

Improvise with the veg, the main highlights for me are the sweet potatoes, along with the wasabi mayo and the zesty dressing.  Quinoa can be substituted for millet, cous cous, freekeh etc.  The broccoli here is a bit special, purple sprouting, any blanched greens would be awesome green beans, mangetout etc, pak choi is easily subbed with chard, bok choi, kale and spring greens.

I hope to visit Japan soon, I doubt I’ll eat anything like this, but the flavours of miso and wasabi are two of my all-time, hall of fame, foodie favourites.

Teriyaki sauce is something I’ve loved since I was a kid.  I spent some years in the Philippines as a child and had Japanese friends.  I remember going over to their houses for dinner and being blown away by how different things were.  It was crash course in chopsticks and new flavours.  I loved them from the start and could see the huge difference in the way that Japanese people approach, cooked and ate food.  One of my favoruites dishes was teriyaki kebabs cooked on mini BBQ’s.   Teriyaki is basically a sweet soya sauce, normally including mirin and Teriyaki dishes are normally grilled.

If you’d like to make your own Teriyaki Sauce, there is a recipe in Peace & Parsnips.

Teriyaki sweet potatoes – a twist on comfort food

WHY ZEN?

I normally steer clear-ish of calling dishes Buddha bowls etc, although I imagine he would not have minded.  Today is so peaceful though and the garden has taken on a zen quality, it seems deeply still, perfectly silent.  It was the perfect backdrop to this lunch, appreciating being out in the icy cold, with the mountains.  Feeling lucky to live in this beautiful area, but as we’re in Zen mode, there is no such thing as luck.

This Moment Is Full of Wonders: The Zen Calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh

Maybe you’d like to try this dish out and cook it in a more mindful way?  Take it easy and enjoy.  It worked for me!  As we know, food is much more than just the eating, we can get some joy, find some peace, in every part of the process.  Jane likes washing up because it keeps her hands warm (it gets a bit chilly in our house!)  There is a way to find enjoyment in any situation, or at the very least, to find a way to do things well, with awareness.  Making a dish called a ‘Zen Bowl’ must be a good place to practice this, with the added benefit of a delicious, nourishing meal at the end.

Zen Bowl – A bowl of winter goodness

Recipe Notes

To make this gluten-free, just check your Teriyaki Sauce or make your own.  Its really easy.

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Zen Bowl – Teriyaki Sweet Potato with Wasabi Mayo

The Bits – For 2

1 large sweet potatoes (peeled and chopped into wedges)

1-2 tbs teriyaki sauce

1 big handful radishes (cut in half)

1 big handful broccoli florets (blanched)

 

1 turnip (sliced finely)

1/2 medium carrot (finely sliced)

1/2 red pepper (finely sliced)

 

1 small bok choi (washed, leaves picked separately)

1/2 avocado (sliced)

2 tbs toasted sesame seeds

1 cup cooked quinoa

 

Miso & Lime Dressing

1 tbs lime juice

1 teas light brown miso

1 teas fresh ginger (finely diced)

 

Wasabi Mayo

3 tbs vegan mayo

1 teas wasabi

1 teas lime (juice)

 

Do It

Preheat a fan oven to 200oC, line a baking tray with parchment.  Toss the sweet potato and radish in a little oil and salt, cook in the oven for 20 minutes.  The radish should now be nicely cooked.  Turn the sweet potatoes, carefully, and drizzle over the teriyaki sauce, making sure the potatoes are well covered.  Bake for another 10 minutes.  If they are nicely caramelised, take them out.  If not, drizzle over more teryiyaki sauce and bake for 5 minutes more.  If you repeat this process, you are guarenteed very caramelised, delicious, Teriyaki potatoes.

While the potatoes are baking, cook your quinoa, follow the packet instructions.  Boil a kettle and place your brocolli in a bowl.  Pour over the boiling water and leave them for a minute, drain and refresh with cold water.  This makes them nice and green.  Mix your wasabi mayo ingredients together (see here for our homemade vegan mayo recipe).  Mix together the dressing bits and toss the pak choi leaves in it, until they are well coated.

Toast your sesame seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat or on a baking tray in the oven.  It will normally take between 5-10 minutes,  until the sesame seeds turn a darker brown and you get that lovely toasty smell.  Scatter them over your sweet potatoes.

While the ingredients are still warm, arrange everything in a shallow bowl, including the finely sliced vegetables and avocado.  Serve the wasabi mayo on the side, I firmly recommend, the first thing you do, is to dip a sweet potato in the mayo and enjoy!

Foodie Fact

Wasabi is a close relative of horseradish and cabbage, commonly known as ‘Japanese Horseradish’.  It’s loaded with anti-oxidants, helping the body detox and boosting the immune system.  It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and is good for the heart.   If you’re looking for the true wasabi experience, you may need to spend a little more money, cheaper, imitation wasabi can be made using horseradish and mustard.  Wasabi is hard to grow, meaning that it is sought after.

This Moment Is Full of Wonders: The Zen Calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh

If you’re interested in vibrant vegan cooking and learning more about yoga, meditation and a healthy, more peaceful lifestyle, why not join us in two beautiful locations for one of our BHK retreats in ’18:

A Taste of Bliss – Yoga and Vegan Cooking Holiday, 5th-12th May ’18 – Murcia, Spain

Vibrant Vegan Cornwall! – Healthy Vegan Cooking and Yoga Holiday, 13th – 16th July ’18 – Lands End, Cornwall

 

Cook vegan, get healthy, be happy!

Categories: Cooking Retreats, gluten-free, healthy, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, photography, plant-based, Recipes, Salads, Vegan, Wales | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

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