Homemade Baked Beans & Hash Browns with Wilted Chard

vegan brunch

I feel like I never get a chance to enjoy breakfast. I see all these pictures over on IG, mainly full of neatly stacked pancakes, perfectly positioned smoothie bowls and tasty looking porridge. I know this may sound slightly odd if you follow our account on Instagram, you’re likely to find images matching that description. Full disclosure, it is Amy who mainly takes the photos you see over on our feed, yep she lives an Instagrammable life, well she doesn’t really, I’ve seen her flat, do such lives actually exist? 

Let’s talk real. The reality of my breakfasts in the week are throwing some oats in a bowl with some water, (I don’t like my porridge with milk – non dairy obvs) chucking it in the microwave at work and hoping it will turn into some form of porridge that’s not too lumpy, and maybe I’ll chuck a banana on it or some granola, nothing worth taking a well lit photo of.

When it comes to the weekend that’s when the pancakes could be happening, but they don’t – I have to get out to walk the dog or I’ve got to get my porridge down me quickly so I can get out for my long training run so the whole day doesn’t disappear. But, this weekend I made time for breakfast. A proper breakfast. One to take my time over, to enjoy properly.

hash-browns-and-baked-beans
Homemade Baked Beans & Hash Browns with Wilted Chard 

For the hash browns:
2 potatoes
1 onion
1 tspn turmeric
1 tspn cumin seeds
Salt and pepper
Coconut oil

For the baked beans:
1 tin of haricot beans
1 tins of borlotti beans
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 onion
1 clover of garlic
1 tspn cumin
1 tspn paprika
A couple of dashes of tabasco
1 tspn chilli powder 
Salt and pepper

  • Grate the potatoes and squeeze all the water out of them.
  • Thinly slice the onion and mix together with the grated potato.
  • Stir through the turmeric, cumin seeds and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a frying pan, melt the coconut oil on quite a high heat and place heaped spoonfuls of the potato mix into the pan (you can probably cook about 3 or 4 at a time). Flatten them out into patties using a spatula.
  • Once they have cooked on one side turn the hash browns over, the cooked side should stick together. Once they are done, put them on a dish and keep them warm under the grill as you cook the rest of the mixture.
  • Thinly slice the onion, melt the coconut oil in a saucepan and slowly cook the onions. Add the beans and spices to the pan along with the tomatoes.
  • Slowly bring them to the boil and then simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Add the tabasco and some chilli powder.
  • In another pan, add the chard and cover with boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes until wilted, then drain any excess water.

Weekends aren’t always those lazy, foodies filled ones we see. But, I’m definitely going to try and slow them down somewhat and make them more enjoyable.

Happy brunching!

Veronica x

Kohlrabi, Kale & Black Rice Salad

Raw kohlrabi salad

January is a funny old month. We’re trying to break old habits and exercise more, eat better, sleep longer… But it’s a cold, dark month and maybe sleeping more is really the best suited resolution for January!!!

Last week I wrote not about a new year’s resolution as such but about setting a positive intension for the year which included to nourish myself. Cue healthy salad recipe… ha! But I don’t just mean with food, obviously that’s part of it. But also to nourish my mind and body, maybe by spending less time on social media and more time meditating. More time strengthening and practising yoga. More time traveling and experiencing new things. Those kind of nourishing things.

We’re one month into the new year and it’s been going fairly well so far. I’ve been receiving treatment for an ongoing bad back and a niggling knee injury that brought any of last years cycling ambitions to a complete end. I’m doing daily strengthening exercise to rebalance and realign my posture which has been the cause of both injuries. I’ve practised mindfulness daily and I’m still struggling with the social media bit…. but I’m not going to be too hard on myself : )

Food-wise I’ve been eating pretty well for the last year or so. I’ve cut down heavily on refined sugar, wheat, alcohol and any processed foods. I eat a balanced diet, jam-packed with local, seasonal vegetables! What’s more I really feel the difference. The feeling after eating a fresh, flavour-packed, filling meal to a processed meal or snack laden with sugar of wheat is unbelievable. Light and energised or heavy and sluggish, this is what has helped me easily sustain a healthy balanced diet.

The great thing about having transitioned to a healthy, nourishing diet is that I don’t feel guilty about having the odd, not-so-nourishing meal or snack. I know that for 80-90% of the week my body is thanking me for eating well with energy and concentration levels to suit. So if time gets the best of my healthy, advanced food preparation or I’m in a situation where being vegan means my only option is chips, its ok and I don’t have to feel bad, I can just move on knowing the next thing I eat will probably be much more nourishing. 

We got there in the end… cue healthy salad recipe, for the 80-90% of the week when you want something fresh, flavour-packed and filling to leave you feeling light and energised. This salad will definitely not disappoint!
Kohlrabi kale and black rice saladvegan winter salad

Kohlrabi-and-kale-salad copy

Kohlrabi was one of those strange vegetables I have never encountered until I signed up for a weekly, local and organic veg bag. I was like, kohl-you-what-now!? So I did the usual thing I do with unknown vegetables, roast them and hope for the best… and it was ok. It wasn’t until I discovered this recipe using raw kohlrabi from Love and Lemons that I realised kohlrabi is totally amazing! 

I have made many a meal inspired by the spicy kohlrabi noodles from Love and Lemons, depending on what other vegetables are to hand. I wanted to share this version (my new favourite) before the kohlrabi season comes to an end. They should be back by around mid-late summer, so not too long to wait if you do miss this season.

Kohlrabi, Kale & Black Rice Salad
Serves 2-3

100g Black rice
1/2 Large kohlrabi
Large handful of cavolo nero or kale
1 Carrot
Handful of tender stem broccoli 
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1tbsp rapeseed oil
Red chilli to taste
Handful of fresh coriander 
2 tsp sesame seeds

For the kohlrabi marinade:
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp rice mirin
Juice of 1 lime
A few slices of red chilli, to taste
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1cm piece of ginger, grated

  • Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in a large mixing bowl. Peel and finely slice the kohlrabi into thin match sticks and add it to the marinade, and mix thoroughly. Place in the fridge whilst you prepare the rest of the dish.
  • Place the rice in a saucepan and pour over roughly double the amount of boiling water. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 40 minutes until tender. (Check the rice now and then to make sure it doesn’t boil dry, adding a little water when necessary.)
  • Wash the cavolo nero or kale and slice down wither side of the tough stem and discard. Roughly chop the remaining leaves and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the rice vinegar and rapeseed oil and massage into the leaves until they start to soften then set aside.
  • Wash the broccoli and steam over the rice or over a pan of boiling water for 10-15 minutes until just tender. Rinse immediately under cold water to stop it cooking any further.
  • Wash and peel the carrot then, peel into ribbons.
  • Once the rice is cooked, rinse through cold water to cool. 
  • Remove the kohlrabi from the fridge and add the kale, carrot, chopped coriander and rice, and mix together. Spoon into a large serving bowl. Arrange the broccoli pieces on top, pour over the remaining marinade, sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced chilli and serve.

Amy x

Black Bean Chocolate Orange Mousse

Black-bean-chocolate-mousse

Today I want to share a delicious, nourishing dessert with you. I also want to share a little more of myself. We began blogging here over two years ago to share our story of how rescuing four little hens turned us from omnivores to vegans in a matter on months. As time has gone on, we’ve focused more and more on the food than ourselves. I guess we’re a little bit shy. But with a new year upon us we thought it would be nice to share more of ourselves with you; our struggles and challenges, our ambitions and dreams. So here it goes…

My new year has gotten off to a pretty good start and I know it’s down to setting a positive intension for the new year; to look after, nourish and heal myself.

Often, after the fun and time-off over Christmas, my new year starts with a sense of dread. Three more months of cold, dark, bleak days. Another year has passed by and I’m still thinking where am I going, what am I achieving. But not this year. This year, I’m excited for the year ahead. For the adventures I will take, the food each season will bring, the people I will meet, the friends I will visit, the recipes I will create, the sunrises I will see. I have a sense of anticipation about all of the things to come.

I’m thinking it myself… what has sparked this sense of optimism within my cynical, pessimistic self? The answer, self-care. It started when I was diagnosed with mild depression (although it didn’t and has never felt very mild to me) which was also around two years ago. It was then I realised I couldn’t take myself for granted. It was when I took a permaculture course last summer that someone first taught me that before we can do anything we must look after ourselves. It was when I was ill in the autumn that a film told me happiness was in my own hands. It was at the beginning of this winter that a podcast prodded me to take meditation and mindfulness more seriously. And it has been small self-care rituals I have practised everyday of this new year that has revived my outlook on life.

It’s not ground breaking, it’s not a miracle, it’s just little things, everyday. Gratitude, meditation, visualisation, exercise, mindfulness. Not all at once, not all everyday but at least one everyday. And then there’s slightly bigger things, things this year I hope to do, hope to be. To be brave, to be happy, to travel, to accept myself. These are just kinda out there, floating around in my consciousness. I hope that through my little things I’ll be able to tackle those bigger things. But all of these things are grounded in my intension for the year; to look after, nourish and heal myself. And obviously nourishing myself includes eating delicious, indulgent but always mildly healthy dessert. Oh and I’ve done it, we’re back to food. Wohoo!

Vegan-chocolate-orange-mousse

The new year has finally brought some cold winter weather to us (see, no sense of dread for cold days!). But not before some daffodils have bloomed and some trees have blossomed. The plants are confused and it could well mean a bad season ahead for our fruits.

For now, there are still plenty of apples knocking about at markets but we’ve shared a fair few apple recipes since autumn so I won’t share another one today. I eyed up some Spanish blood oranges at Borough Market this week and knew exactly what to make with them the moment I saw them… chocolate mousse!

Black-bean-chocolate-orange-mousse

Vegan-black-bean-mousse

Veronica made this heavenly mocha and black bean mousse cake from Green Kitchen Stories over Christmas. So I was inspired to ditch my tried and tested vegan mousse bases (cashews or avocados) and try out black beans. And it was a totally awesome decision! This mousse is mega rich and super delicious. No trace of a bean-y taste left, just a smooth and creamy texture and a filing, protein packed treat. It does have a fair amount of syrup in it to make it totally indulgent but you could easily leave a few tablespoons out and still have yourself a yummy treat!

Black Bean Chocolate Orange Mousse
Serves 5-6

1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed
50g pitted dates (soaked if using dried dates)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
8 tbsp brown rice or maple syrup
5 tbsp raw cacao powder
4 tbsp plant milk
zest of 1 organic orange
1 tsp raw cacao nibs (optional)

  • Put the black beans and dates in a food processor and blend on high for a minute.
  • Add the coconut oil, brown rice syrup, cacao powder and milk, and blend again for another minute.
  • Finally stir in the orange zest.
  • Spoon the mixture into 5-6 espresso cups, sprinkle with cacao nibs and a little extra orange zest.
  • Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

So here’s to a truly, happy, new year.

Amy x

Winter Vegetable Stir-fry

Cabbage-stir-fry

Happy new year! I’m sure most of us are currently knee deep in resolutions, detoxes and all things puritanical or have you given in already? After all the Christmas indulging and the hope of a new year it’s understandable why we feel the need to start afresh and try to be the best us we can be, even if we know our good intentions will only last for a few weeks. So in the spirit of the new year, new you thing, let’s try to think of some things that aren’t too restrictive and are small changes that make a positive impact on not only your life but others too.

Stir-fry

Have you heard of Veganuary? It’s when you go vegan for the month of January. We think it’s a great idea and fully support people that sign up for it (it’s not too late to sign up)! But, maybe you’re not ready to go vegan for a whole month and it all seems a little too daunting. Why not try one day a week, then two, then three….you get the idea? Or try cutting down on your cheese intake, maybe replace your dairy milk with a dairy-free alternative…baby steps.

Sign up for a local veg box scheme, we’re always banging on about how great they are, so maybe now is the time to get some awesome seasonal organic veggies into your life? 

Do you struggle to cook from scratch and know you’re eating too much processed rubbish? Set a day aside a week, where you make a meal from scratch, where you know exactly what has gone into it, no hidden sugars, not full of salt and way more tasty. We’ve got loads of ideas for you in our recipe section and I’ve got a super yummy stir-fry for you this week, that you can make in 15 minutes flat.

stir-fry

Winter Vegetable Stir-fry
Serves 2

1 tbsp coconut oil
6 leaves of savoy cabbage
1 onion
1 leek
2 cloves of garlic
1 chilli (chopped)
1 thumb piece of ginger (grated)
1/2 lime juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Dried chilli flakes
Drizzle of sesame oil
2 x bundles buckwheat soba noodles

I find the key to a great stir fry is the prep – get all your vegetables chopped and ready to go, because then we can cook quickly!

  • In a pan melt the coconut oil over a medium heat, in a seperate pan bring some water to the boil (for your noodles). Once the water is boiled cook the noodles for as long as the instructions say (mine take about 6 minutes).
  • Once the coconut oil is melted, add the onions and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat up and add the cabbage and leek, making sure to stir frequently. Add the ginger, soy sauce, lime juice and chilli and cook and stir thoroughly. If your heat is high, you should only need to cook for a maximum of 5 minutes.
  • When your noodles are cooked serve in a dish alongside the cabbage stir fry, drizzle with sesame oil, some more sesame seeds and dried chilli flakes.

Super simple, super tasty.

Here’s to an awesome, healthy 2016!

Veronica x

Sage & Chestnut Patties with Parsnip Bacon

Sage-&-Chestnut-Patties-with-Parnsip-Bacon

Parsnip-Bacon

We’ve been having a pretty relaxing few days, even cooking two Christmas dinners we’ve managed to stay calm (apart from when Mum poured cashew cheese over the Christmas pudding instead of cashew cream!). Whilst we’ve been enjoying lots of delicious festive food like these cheese and crackers, these brussels and this Christmas cake, we haven’t really been over indulging.

Veronica is still struggling with her Candida and is trying to stay as sugar-free as she can manage over the festive period. She’s also started her marathon training. I on the other hand have been out of action with a bad knee for weeks and have only just started being able to do yoga again. I’m itching to get back on my bike and am gutted not to be able to go out running with Veronica whilst I’m back home. So I’ve been trying not to over indulge so I don’t make myself feel anymore sluggish than I already do. 

So how to indulge without over indulging? For me that means making delicious food that I wouldn’t normally go to the trouble of making or trying out new and exciting recipes. This recipe is exactly that. You’ve probably seen coconut bacon floating round pintrest and blogs over the past year. I’ve been dreaming about topping my Christmas dinner with parsnip crisps in the way we used to put streaky bacon on the turkey before we were vegan. So when I saw this coconut bacon over on Top with Cinnamon with the extra addition of miso paste, I knew what had to be done… parsnip bacon! And what to top with parsnip bacon, sage and chestnut patties.

These patties make the perfect festive inspired meal without leaving you in a festive food coma. Served with the crispy parsnip bacon they remind me of deconstructed pigs in blankets, sans cruelty of course! The cauliflower mash is creamy and delicious without the heaviness of potatoes. Serve with some steamed greens and some chutney or gravy and you’ve got yourself one delicious dinner!

Sage-&-Chestnut-Patties 

Sage & Chestnut Patties with Parsnip Bacon and Cauliflower Mash

Serves 4

For the patties:
420g Whole chestnuts
150g Puy lentils
2 tbsp Dried sage
1 tbsp Flax seeds + 3 tbsp water
1 tbsp Vegan bouillon + 100ml water
Pinch of cumin
Polenta for coating

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170C, cut a cross in the shell of each chestnut and roast them for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse the lentils, bring them to a boil in a saucepan of water and simmer for 20 mins until tender then drain.
  • Grind the flax seeds and mix them together with the water and set aside to thicken.
  • Once the chestnuts are roasted, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool before shelling them.
  • Put the chestnuts into a blender and blitz until roughly chopped. Add the cooked lentils, flax mixture and remaking ingredients and blitz together. Season with salt and pepper and shape into 8 patties.
  • Sprinkle a plate with polenta and coat the patties. Leave them on the plate and chill them in the fridge for at leaf 30 minute before cooking.
  • Fry in a little coconut oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat for 10 minutes on each side until browned and hot through.

For the parsnip bacon:
Recipe adapted from Izy Hossack.

1 tbsp Miso paste
2 tbsp Rice syrup
1 tsp Smoked paprika
1 tsp Sweet paprika
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Coconut oil (melted)
2-3 Parsnips

  • Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together well, set aside.
  • Wash and peel the parsnips and trim the ends. 
  • Then peel the parsnip into thin strips using a peeler.
  • Add the parsnips to the bowl and mix together to ensure they are all well coated.
  • Lay the parsnip strips out onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake at 170C for 20mins, checking and turning every 5 minutes to ensure they don’t burn.
  • Remove from the oven and they should crisp slightly more as they cool.

For the cauliflower mash:
1 Cauliflower (approx. 650g)
50ml Non-dairy milk
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Nutritional yeast

  • Boil the cauliflower for approx. 12 minutes on a medium heat until tender but not overcooked, remove from the heat and drain.
  • Place back in the saucepan with the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Using a stick blender, blitz the cauliflower until you get a silky, smooth mash. Serve immediately.

Enjoy the remaining festivities and we’ll see you in the new year!

Amy x

Gingerbread Granola Bars

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It’s nearly Christmas!!!! Woohoo! I’m mainly excited about the time off work – not having a routine, going for dog walks and watching loads of films. I know my motto most Christmasses has been to eat, drink and be merry, but that does nothing for my tummy and I end up in agony and feeling pretty unmerry. I’m running the London marathon again next year so I’ll be starting my training over the festive period, which will mean I won’t just be feasting in front of the telly. 

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve started a 5k to Couch training programme at my work, in the hope of raising a bit of money to go towards my fundraising target and to help get people moving. After all, anyone can run you just need to start and it’s always a bit more fun in a group! I think it will definitely get a bit more popular in the new year, but there is no reason to put it off until then especially when you’re loafing around the house over Christmas. These tasty gingerbread granola bars are perfect to fuel your runs, and I’ll be eating them at work to fuel my 5k to couch sessions.

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IMG_5186 IMG_5195

Gingerbread Granola Bars

100g Rolled oats
20g Pumpkin seeds
20g Sunflower seeds
50g Almonds
2 tsp Ground ginger
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground cloves
1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
150g Almond butter
1 tbsp Ground flax seeds
3tbsp Water
2 tbsp Coconut oil
2 tbsp Maple syrup

  • Whilst the ground flax seeds and water together in a cup and set aside.
  • Roughly chop the almonds and mix together with the rest of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Gently heat the almond butter, maple syrup and coconut oil together in a saucepan on a low heat until well combined.
  • Remover from the heat and stir in the flax seed mixture.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together well.
  • Spoon the mixture out onto a lined baking tray and press down firmly.
  • Bake for 20 mins in a pre-heated oven at 180C.
  • Remove from the oven, cut into bars whilst still warm and leave in the tray to cool.  

Enjoy a fabulous Christmas!

Veronica x

Chestnut Stuffed Squash

Squash-stuffed-with-chestnut

It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of all the things you need to do in the lead up to Christmas. Making gifts, buying gifts, wrapping gifts. Attending numerous Christmas parties, planning festive recipes, making, buying and wrapping even more gifts. So two weeks back, before Christmas-mode got into full swing, I escaped city life for a few days in the New Forest.

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Cue hats, gloves, scarves and walking boots. Jumping over streams, walking on fallen trees. Long lunches. Dark afternoons spent in cosy pubs lit by candles and heated by open fires. Yep you get it, the perfect winter break. Perfect that is, if you aren’t vegan.

IMG_4863new forest

I finally got it. This is why my boyfriend, and no doubt countless others don’t want to make the commitment to veganism. It’s not because they don’t agree with the environmental and ethical view points. It’s not because they don’t enjoy delicious and satisfying vegan food. It’s because it’s unbelievably frustrating going out for food and paying good money for completely uninspiring and sometimes frankly, tasteless food. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had great experiences eating out, even in places that aren’t particularly vegetarian friendly, let alone vegan friendly. It’s just that that weekend I had a string of awful meals, one after another, after another. One of the main problems was that the vegetarian options on offer were cheese based and because they were pre-made could not be adapted and made vegan. The problem with the vegetarian options that could be adapted was that they completely lacked the thought and attention that the meat and fish options had clearly been given. And I suspected that the chefs making them would never eat those dishes themselves.

Ok rant over. But my point being, that if I wasn’t as passionately committed to my vegan lifestyle choice as I am, I wouldn’t want to pay to eat a half arsed, tasteless meal whilst everyone around me is tucking into a carefully prepared, deliciously balanced, flavour-packed meals. 

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So maybe the restaurant sector still has a way to go to offer and tempt people (ie. my boyfriend) to choose to pay for a vegan meal. And whilst it can seem like a massive commitment to alter your diet and have to start explaining to waiters or your friends that no you don’t eat fish or cheese or honey, it is easier to start at home. 

Buying fresh, whole ingredients and making yourself delicious flavour packed vegan meals is so easy. And at this festive time of year when we’re being bombarded with pictures of giant joints of roast meat, there are super tasty alternatives that capture the spirit and flavours of the season without harming animals, contributing to climate change and whilst benefitting your health.

This chestnut stuffed squash is exactly that.

Stuffed-SquashChestnut-Stuffed-SquashRoast-squash

Chestnut Stuffed Squash

Serves 4

2 small squash (eg. acorn, red kuri, harlequin)
200g cooked chestnuts
75g puy lentils
Rapeseed oil
1 red onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried sage

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Cut both the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place on a baking tray. Drizzle over a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile prepare the chestnut filling. Rinse the lentils in a sieve then bring them to a boil in a saucepan before reducing the heat and simmering for approximately 20 minutes. They should be soft but still have a little bite to them.
  • Whilst the lentils are cooking chop the onion and fry in a little oil on a medium heat in a frying pan until they start to caramelise.
  • Roughly chop the cooked chestnuts into small chances. Add the dried herbs and garlic to the onions and stir through before adding the cooked lentils and chopped chestnuts. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Take the squash out the oven and spoon the chestnut filling equally between the squash halves. Cover with foil and the squash back in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven. Serve with a side of steamed greens or as the centre piece of your festive feast.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Christmas Cake

Vegan-Christmas-Cake

Christmas is coming and the goose won’t be getting fat in our house (well Turkey, we always used to have Turkey). This will be our third vegan Christmas and we’re slowly starting to plan what we’ll be serving up on the big day, Amy’s Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate Salad will definitely be going down a treat, and I’m sure we’ll have some other tasty recipes to share with you before the 25th!

Christmas-cake

I feel like Christmas has definitely creeped in earlier this year, in fact we made this cake a few months ago, we were really excited to be asked to contribute to Gluten-free Heaven magazine so we got our festive on a little earlier than planned.

The cake is refined sugar free, so I will definitely be making this at Christmas, but the icing is far from sugar free, and has plenty of icing sugar, plus some delicate sugar coated cranberries, so feel free to eat your yearly intake of sugar in one sitting! Or you could always cut down the sugar or leave it un-iced – it is tasty enough not to need icing, but then you wouldn’t get to try the wonder of aquafaba. Yep – aquafaba is the juice in the tin of chick peas…who knew?! This wonder ingredient is making shockwaves through vegan baking….royal icing…meringue….macarons, there appears to be an eggless revolution happening!

Cranberry Christmas Cake
200g chopped dates
250ml water
150g raisins
150g sultanas
75g chopped walnuts
75g cranberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
150g ground almonds
150g rice flour
1 tbsp + 2 tsp gluten free baking powder
150ml orange juice

For the icing and decorations
The water from 1 tin of chick peas (aquafaba)
500g icing sugar (sifted)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vegetarian glycerine
1 tsp vanilla extract
60ml water
100g caster sugar
cranberries
3 tbsp granulated sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • In a saucepan, bring the dates to the boil with the water and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the raisins, sultanas, walnuts, cranberries and mix through all the spices. Stir through the ground almonds, rice flour and baking powder.
  • Once the dates have softened down, add them to the mixing bowl along with the orange juice, and combine until everything is mixed together.
  • Grease the cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Pour in the cake mixture and spread evenly. Wrap the tin with newspaper so the edges don’t burn and bake in the oven for 1 hour until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning it out onto a wire rack.

For the icing:

  • In a bowl, whisk the aquafaba until frothy, add the icing sugar a tablespoon at a time until it has a meringue like consistency.
  • Add the lemon juice, glycerine and vanilla extract and stir through. Spread a crumb coating over the cake, and ensure it is even.
  • Leave to set for an hour before covering with a thick layer. Leave to set overnight.

For the sugar glazed cranberries:

  • In a saucepan, melt the caster sugar in the water over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
  • In a bowl, cover the cranberries in the sugar syrup, drain the excess sugar syrup and leave until tacky, sprinkle over half of the granulated sugar and leave to set in the fridge for a couple of hours, turn them over and sprinkle with the rest of the granulated sugar. Leave overnight.
  • The next day, the icing will be firm enough to allow you to decorate with the sugar coated cranberries.

If there is a time to feast on a sugar laden cake then Christmas is definitely that time. I’ll be enjoying this cake just when I think there isn’t another morsel of food that I can possibly eat, but come 7pm I’ll be on the hunt for some more food!

Enjoy the festivities December brings!

Veronica x

Warm Brussels Sprout & Pomegranate Salad

Brussel-Sprout-Salad

Two things, brussels sprouts and pomegranates. First the sprouts. Yes, that’s right, sprout season is here which means of course, it’s f-ing Christmas! Which I’m actually really excited about and am totally ready to embrace, even though it’s only November… but I need something, anything to get me through these cold dark, days!! Secondly, pomegranates. Yep, not so seasonal. Well not to aforementioned cold, dark Britain. But it’s like having a clementine in your Christmas stocking, sometimes you just need something exotic to brighten up your lump of coal…

(Actually there is a third thing… I did not know they are called brussels sprouts. I thought it was brussel sprouts and now I’m totally freaking out…)

Pomegranate

Anyway, no, I’m not saying that brussels sprouts are like coal. I love them! Just not how my Mum used to cook them, sorry Mum! November, for me, is a tough month. It’s dark, like all the time. If I don’t go out at lunch time I’ll pretty much never see the light of day. The beautiful colours of Autumn have all been blown off the trees and everything has turned kinda grey-brown. And unless some snow comes our way, things are gonna be grey-brown for a long time!

WarmBrussel&PomegranateSalad

So I need a little sparkle in my salad. A little festive cheer to get me through the day. And what better than a pomegranate! If you check the label you should be able to find some in the shops from the not-so-far-away Egypt or Turkey… I know, but it’s better than Peru or China!

Brussel-&-Pomegranate-Salad

And yes, now that Veronica and I have taken over Christmas dinner duties, we no longer serve our brussels boiled. (Again, sorry Mum! She’s literally going to kill me, or at the very least give me an evil stare which is possibly worse.) Frying them or roasting them is the way to go. Plus, now we both get seasonal veg boxes every week, sprouts are no longer just a thing for Christmas day. Oh no, the sprout season in the UK can run from September to February. That’s a whole lotta sprouts!

This simple recipe works great as a side for a roast, or yes Christmas dinner. Or cook up a little quinoa and stir it through to make it a delicious meal all on its own. (British grown quinoa of course!)

Warm Brussels Sprouts & Pomegranate Salad

350g Brussels Sprouts
1 Onion or 1/2 a Leek
1 Small Garlic Clove
Half a Pomegranate 
3 tbsp Chopped Walnuts
1/2 tbsp Rapeseed Oil

For the dressing

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup 
Pinch of all spice
Pinch of cinnamon

  • Trim the base of the brussels and peel off the outer layers, wash and half them.
  • Heat a frying pan to a high heat and toast the walnuts for a few minutes, remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl. 
  • Add the brussels to the pan, turn down the heat slightly and add a few tablespoons of water to the pan to slightly steam them. Meanwhile slice the onion or leek. Once the water has boiled, add the onions and turn up the heat again. Keep stirring whilst you fry on a high heat until the onions and brussels begin to brown.
  • Add the garlic and stir through for a minute. Transfer the brussels into a serving bowl along with the toasted walnuts and leave to cool slightly.
  • In a small bowl or cup mix together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the brussels.
  • Cut the pomegranate in half across the middle. Hold half the pomegranate cut side down over a large bowl. Bash the skin like crazy with a spoon until all the seeds fall out into the bowl.
  • Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the brussels and serve warm.

So get out your frying pan out and tell November to do one, we want Christmas!

Amy x

Vegetable Crisps

Vegetable-crisps

This past week I’ve been grumpy. Pretty darn grumpy. I’ve been sugar detoxing. I cut it out. All of it out. I’m talking refined sugar AND natural sugar. It’s been tough, but I have made it through the other side.

I don’t know if you’re new around these parts, or if you remember me writing this post about when I was told I had Candida and then gave up sugar for months. Well, I’ve been suffering pretty badly with my tummy troubles again and after we spoke at the Vegan Futures festival a couple of weekends ago people were really interested in the sugar-free aspect of what we had to say. I knew it was time to take a step back, look at how sugar had crept back into my diet again and take control of what I was feeding my body.

Vegetable crisps

The diet I’m currently following is pretty strict, I’m talking no caffeine, no wheat, no potatoes, no fruit and no alcohol. Although, I did let three margaritas pass my lips the other Friday (but we’ll just pretend that didn’t happen)! Planning interesting meals and snacks can be tricky especially when there is just no time! I’ve come to realise when I reach for a snack (which is often) I’ve got into a habit of heading straight for something sweet, whether that’s a banana, jam on toast, or a couple of biscuits.

I’ve been snacking A LOT on almonds and seeds but after a while they become pretty boring. So, I thought I’d make my own crisps because I LOVE crisps.

veg-chips

Vegetable Crisps

1 tbsp coconut oil
6 stalks of kale or cavolo nero
Half a parsnip
Half a carrot
Half a beetroot
2 garlic cloves
Half a lemon
Salt and pepper

  • De-stalk the kale or cavolo nero and cut into pieces. Peel the carrot, parsnip and beetroot and then, using the peeler, slice the vegetables thinly.
  • Meanwhile heat the oven to 160C and melt the coconut oil in a baking tray.
  • Place the vegetables onto the baking tray and coat in the oil, add the cloves of garlic and drizzle with the lemon juice.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until crispy.
  • Once out of the oven season with salt and pepper. I added a little more lemon juice afterwards too.
  • Leave to cool before you eat them. 

This is a great alternative to grabbing a packet of crisps or going for that sweet snack, and they’re so easy to make. You don’t need a fancy gadget to get super thinly sliced pieces just use your vegetable peeler. You can always make a double batch if you want to make enough for two or three people (or just more for you)!

Happy snacking!

Veronica x