Category: Autumn

Creamy Mushroom Carbonara – Compassionate Kitchen Crew – cooking class review

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

Apologies for my long time absence on here. I am still alive, but I’ve not been too well and as a result I’m probably not going to be as regular updating this little space as I’d like to be. 

A couple of week’s ago, I was invited along to attend the Compassionate Kitchen Crew’s cookery class and what a great evening it was! The Compassionate Kitchen Crew are made up of Becky and Sarah, two beautiful ladies who are doing a great job of making plant-based cooking accessible to those who are either looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into their lives or who are thinking of making the transition to a fully vegan lifestyle.

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

As I drove up the road, I was on the look out for a village hall, but Sarah hosts the class in her beautiful home in Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire. With her family around her, and gorgeous spaniel, you’re soon made to feel very at welcome gathered around their kitchen island. Becky does a great job taking you through the process of cooking a couple of dishes, based around one ingredient. The class I went to focused on cashew nuts, and we were treated to a delicious Creamy Mushroom Carbonara (see recipe below) made with a cashew creamy sauce, and a beautiful Blueberry Cheesecake. Ingredients that might be a bit unusual are explained, and questions are totally encouraged! Class sizes are limited to six, so there is no hiding at the back, and you’ll come away having had a lovely evening, having spent it with some wonderful people, having eaten some delicious food – and got some new recipes up your sleeves to try out in your own kitchen! And a total winner was we were given an extra slice of cheesecake to take home!

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

If plant-based eating is all a bit new to you then this is perfect for you! Make sure you book early because classes get full quickly. October classes are looking at Chickpeas, November – Tofu and December – Cranberries. And I’m sure there will be plans for classes in 2018!

Here’s the recipe for the delicious mushroom carbonara. 

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

Creamy Mushroom Carbonara
Serves 4 

Mushroom marinade:
1/3 cup tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tspn liquid smoke
4 large flat mushrooms (sliced)

Cream sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 cup cashews (soaked)
1 cup plant milk
1 cup silken tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 cup of frozen peas
400g pasta
Rocket
Vegan parmesan

  • Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and coat the sliced mushrooms
  • Tip bowl contents into a wok and fry (no need for oil)
  • Take out and set aside for later
  • Blend soaked cashews, milk, tofu and nutritional yeast in a food processor
  • Heat the oil in the wok and add the crushed garlic, fry gently so as not to burn the garlic
  • Add the creamy mixture and stir in with the garlic oil
  • Add the cooked pasta and stir in well in coat the pasta in the sauce
  • Add in the peas and mushrooms and stir for 3-4 minutes until peas are cooked through
  • Serve with rocket leaves and grated vegan parmesan.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

 

Apple Cinnamon Scones [vegan]

I’ve out done myself! These Apple Cinnamon Scones are too good not to share. I’m a big fan of a scone….and yes, I say scone as in s-cone not s-con, that may make me a bit posh, but it’s how it’s said..alright?!

I have mixed feelings about the recent clocks going back. I love the extra hour to catch up on some serious zzzzs….I mean, I’m not going to complain about that! I also love the cosy dark nights, curling up under a blanket on the sofa and Netflixing my way through autumn/winter (currently obsessing over Bloodline). But, I don’t like coming home from work in the dark, or battling the low light to take photos of recipes, such like the one below at 2pm!

I served these with some delicious strawberry jam and some coconut yoghurt – a perfect vegan alternative to cream. These also are so full of cinnamon apple flavours they taste pretty darn good on their own too!

apple cinnamon scones

apple cinnamon scones

Apple Cinnamon Scones
Makes about 9

50g dairy free margarine
100g self raising flour
150g spelt flour
25g caster sugar
1 tspn cinnamon
100g stewed apples (I used normal eating apples, so they held their shape once cooked)
150ml oat milk (alternative plant based milk)

  • In a mixing bowl, rub the margarine into the flours using your fingertips, until breadcrumb-like
  • Add the sugar and cinnamon and stir through
  • Add the stewed apples, along with the milk
  • Combine until a dough has formed (you may need to add a little more four of the mixture is quite wet, depending on your apples)
  • On a floured surface, gently work the dough so you can cut out the scones using a cutter (the trick here is not to handle the dough too much and to keep it quite thick so you have nice sizeable scones)
  • Cut out the scones, and place on a greased baking tray, brush with milk and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top
  • Place in the oven for 15 minutes at 210C
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack

Enjoy

Veronica x

Pumpkin Risotto [vegan]

I’ve got another delicious pumpkin recipe this week. I still had half a pumpkin leftover from last week and hadn’t quite got round to using it up, but I don’t think you can ever get too much pumpkin at this time of year!

vegan-pumpkin-risotto

Pumpkin Risotto
Serves 4

300g risotto rice
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
300g pumpkin
5 or 6 stalks of cavolo nero 
1 litre vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

  • Peel and cube the pumpkin and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan on a medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Chop the onion and garlic and cook in the pan until softened.
  • Add the risotto rice to the pan and coat with the oil and onion.
  • Add a little of the vegetable stock, and stir continuously until the stock as soaked up, keep adding the stock a little at a time and repeat until nearly all the stock has gone.
  • Chop and wash the cavolo nero and add to the risotto, along with the roasted pumpkin.
  • Continue stirring and add the remaining stock. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Super tasty and warming autumnal dinner.

Enjoy

Veronica x

Spicy Pumpkin and Parsnip Soup [vegan]

Yes, now I can make soups for lunches! In the summer I’m all about salads, but now I’m all about staying warm, and soup is what I’m craving on these chillier autumnal days.

I’ve massively got into pumpkins and squashes over the last few years, especially with the different varieties you can now get in the shops and in your veg boxes. The one thing that I can simply not deal with is how difficult they are to cut up! I’ve got a good knife, and still I nearly give myself a hernia dealing with this nemesis veg! If you’ve not got a sharp knife, you seriously need to invest in one, because squash prepping life was definitely MUCH harder with a blunter cutting implement.

This is soup is filled with flavour; the perfect amount of sweetness and spiciness to warm your cockles.

Pumpkin

 

Pumpkin-and-parsnip-soup

 

400g pumpkin
2 parsnips
2 onions
1 leek
vegetable stock
1 tspn cumin
1 tspn dried chilli flakes
A bunch of fresh coriander

  • Cut the pumpkin and parsnip into smallish cubes. Pop into a roasting dish with a drizzle of olive oil, roast in the oven for 25 minutes at 180C.
  • In a large saucepan, gently soften the onions and leek. Add the roasted pumpkin and squash. 
  • Sprinkle the cumin and chilli flakes and coat the vegetables.
  • Add the vegetable stock. 
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the coriander, and then blend until smooth using a stick blender.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

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

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

One minute it was July, and then I blinked and woke up in November…..what the actual f? I am starting to believe time is speeding up, is it just me? And now the dark, cold evenings are here all I want is a little cinnamonny sweet treat, and sometimes you’ve just got to have what you want.

Cinnamon-rolls

Since we’ve agreed time is obviously speeding up, we don’t want to miss the tasty pumpkins or squashes that are in abundance at the moment, they’re not just to enjoy at Halloween after all! I’ve often seen sweet recipes using pumpkins and not really understood how or why that would work. That was, until I made these pumpkin cinnamon rolls. It is perfect to puree and makes the perfect addition to these delicious doughy rolls. I’ve made them so they’re not so sugar laden, but they’re definitely a treat and they are totally best when you eat them still warm.  

Vegan-cinnamon-rolls

vegan-squash-cinnamon-rolls

Pumpkin cinnamon rolls

For the rolls:
60ml of warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 sachet of dried yeast
200g wholemeal flour
150g spelt flour
100g self-raising flour
80g xylitol
100ml vegetable oil
140ml oat milk (or dairy free alternative)

For the filling:
400g pumpkin or squash
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 apples
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp xylitol

For the icing:
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp oat milk (or dairy free alternative)

In a small bowl, add the yeast, warm water and sugar and mix together, set aside for 5 minutes. 
In a large bowl, add the flours, xylitol, vegetable oil, milk and yeast mixture. Mix together until the dough has come together and then knead on a oiled surface for ten minutes. (If the dough is to wet add some more flour.)
Pop in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave in a warm place and allow it to rise for an hour.

Meanwhile, peel and cube the squash or pumpkin. Steam for 20 minutes until soft.
Peel and slice two apples and add two tablespoons of water, cook in a saucepan on a medium heat for 20 minutes until it has cooked down and is apple puree.
Either mash up the pumpkin, along with the apple puree either using a fork or blitz in a food processor. 
Add the maple syrup, stir through and set aside.

Once the dough has risen, heat the oven to 170C, roll it out to a rectangle and spread the pumpkin mixture all over it. Sprinkle with xylitol and plenty of cinnamon.
Roll the dough from the short side, and then slice up and place in a baking dish. I managed to get about 12 rolls from the dough.
Pop in the oven for 30 minutes.

For the icing:
Once the rolls are out of the oven, mix together the icing sugar and milk. Drizzle over the icing once the rolls have cooled a little.

Enjoy these straight away, or as an 11am snack, for breakfast or even desert.

These have converted the way I use pumpkin, no longer just a savoury vegetable, now new doors have opened. And whilst time is running away, it’ll slow down just a little whilst you tuck into one of these.

Enjoy
Veronica x

Spiced Apple Porridge with Grilled Pears

I don’t know about you but as soon as it’s cold enough to need to wear a coat outside I can’t be doing with a cold breakfast in the morning! I need something to warm me up before I’m even going to think about stepping out the front door.

spiced-grilled-pearsspiced-apple-porridge

This porridge is the perfect, warming autumn breakfast. It brings together the bounty of autumn fruit with delicious spices for an awesome breakfast treat! I would definitely say it’s a weekend breakfast… my weekday porridge consists of throw oats and milk in a pan with some frozen berries and leave it to cook whilst I dry my hair. But maybe it’s just me who’s always rushing in the morning…

vegan-porridge

Spiced Apple Porridge with Grilled Pears

For the grilled pears:
2 pears
Coconut sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground nutmeg

For the porridge:
80g porridge oats
300ml your favourite non dairy milk
approx. 50ml water
1 apple
1/2tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of ground nutmeg

For topping:
1 tbsp hazelnuts
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

  • Pre-heat the grill on a medium-high setting. Wash the pears, slice in half lengthways and scoop out the core. Place on a baking tray and sprinkle with the sugar and spices. Grill the pears for around 20-25 minutes whilst you prepare the porridge.
  • Place a saucepan on a low-medium heat and add the oats, spices and milk.
  • Wash the apple and grate it before adding it to the saucepan straight away before it browns. Stir the porridge well whilst it cooks to ensure you get a nice creamy porridge.
  • Whilst the porridge cooks, heat a frying pan on a high heat and add the hazelnuts. Shake occasionally to prevent burning until the skins start to peel away. Transfer onto some kitchen towel and leave to cool slightly before rubbing in the towel to remove the skins. Meanwhile toast the pumpkin seeds in the frying pan, shaking the pan until they start to pop then transfer into a bowl to cool.
  • When the porridge starts to thicken you may need to add some water, up to 50ml to get your preferred consistency. (I always find how much liquid you require can vary quite dramatically depending on what oats you use). After 15-20 minutes you should have perfect creamy porridge ready to serve.
  • Chop the toasted hazelnuts and sprinkle over along with the pumpkin seeds. Finally top with the grilled pears.

Get yourself ready for a crisp autumn morning with this warming spiced porridge.  

Enjoy!

A x

Creamy Leek & Potato Soup with Polenta & Walnut Croutons

There’s nothing like soup on these chilly autumn days to warm you up and it only takes a little bit of effort to go from a basic soup to amazingly delicious, this is the best soup ever, soup.

Leek-&-Potato-Soup

This summer I went on an amazing and inspiring vegan permaculture course. I met some really amazing people and got introduced to some great, practical and positive ideas to create a regenerative, cruelty-free landscape and abundant future. (If you’re intrigued to know more next years course is now open for bookings.) One of the other amazing things about the course was the food, especially the soups. I had previously thought I made pretty tasty soups but these put mine to shame. So I decided it was time I upped my soup game!

Creamy-Leek-&-potato-soup

Recently I’ve been getting tonnes of leeks in my veg bag and having helped myself to a field of left over potatoes that were “too small” for the farmer to harvest, leek and potato soup was just calling out to be made.

But how to up my soup game? Creamy cashew goodness complemented by crispy polenta croutons of course!

Leek-and-potato-soup

Creamy Leek & Potato Soup with Polenta & Walnut Croutons

For the cashew cream
75g cashews, soaked for 4 hours, preferably overnight
100ml water
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the polenta croutons
60g dried polenta
375ml water
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1tsp dill

For the soup
3 leeks
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots
2-3 potatoes (approx 250g)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2tsp dill
1 1/2 tbsp bouillon stock
1 litre water
1tbsp olive oil

  • Start by cooking the polenta in the water, according to the packet instructions. When the polenta is almost ready, stir in the walnuts and dill. Pour the thickened mixture onto a parchment lined baking tray and spread to about 1/2cm thick and set aside to cool.
  • Roughly chop all the veg for the soup. Add the onions to a large saucepan with a little oil and cook on a medium heat until they start to soften.
  • Then add the garlic, leek, carrot and potato and half cover the pan with a lid for about 5-10 minutes before adding the cumin and garlic.
  • Stir for a few minutes then boil the water and add to the pan along with the stock. Leave to simmer for around 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
  • Whilst the soup is cooking, prepare the cashew cream. Drain the cashews from the water the have been soaking in and rinse. Blend with 100ml of water and the lemon juice until completely smooth, this may take a few minutes. Set aside or make in advance and put in the fridge until your ready to use it.
  • Return to the cooled polenta and chop into crouton sized chunks. Cook under the grill on a high heat for around 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally until the croutons are evenly crisp on all sides.
  • When the soup is ready add in half the cashew cream. Then blend the soup until smooth, either in the pan using a stick blender or pouring it into a food processor.
  • Serve in warm bowls, spooning over more cashew cream into each bowl and topping with the croutons.

The subtle hint of cumin and dill really bring the flavour of this simple soup to life and the easy to make, cashew cream makes it rich and delicious. Add to this a bit of exciting crunch from the walnut and polenta croutons and you’ll never think soup as dull and boring again!

Enjoy!

Amy x

Squash Gnocchi

Squash

Autumn is all about those golden tones. Browning leaves, warm golden afternoon sunlight and a host of yellows and oranges that equals squash season. Yes, October is here and it’s time to think of a million and one uses for all the squash that is coming our way.

Squash-gnocchi

Squash gnocchiHang on a minute, October?? Is it just me that is freaking out at how quickly this year is going? It seems like everytime I sit down to write a post I’m like ‘Oh my god, where the hell is the year going!’ Well I’m doing it again…. argh!!

Keeping focused on the exciting things that October brings rather than the fact that it will be Christmas the next time you blink, this recipe is awesome! It has simple, subtle flavours and brings those golden colours of the season right onto your table.gnocchi recipe

Over the years of squash inundation that comes with getting a seasonal veg box, we’ve made stews, burgers and tagines. This recipe however, is one of my favourites. It’s not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of squash but it’s oh so delicious. Especially as I’m a massive gnocchi fan! This recipe has all the comforting goodness of gnocchi but with extra flavour and without the stodge.

It’s a simple recipe to make, although rolling out and shaping the gnocchi is a bit of a faff. However, it can easily be made in advance, simply store the uncooked pieces in the fridge for a few hours or even freeze them for a few months.gnocci

Squash Gnocchi

Serves 3

450g Squash (Harlequin, Crown Prince or any that you can find)
175g Brown Rice Flour
1 tbsp Flax Seeds
3 tbsp Water
1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
10 Cherry Tomatoes
2 Large Handfuls of Spinach
1 Clove of Garlic
Olive Oil

  • Begin by chopping the squash into smallish chunks and cutting or peeling off the skin.
  • Place the squash on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season. Roast for around 30mins at 180C until soft when you cut with a knife.
  • Set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile make the flax egg by grinding the flax seeds in a spice grinder or food processor and whisk together in a cup with the water. Leave for around 5 minutes until it becomes gelatinous.
  • Put the squash into a large mixing bowl and mash until only a few lumps remain.
    Add in the flax egg and combine, the slowly add in the flour and bring together.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed gently adding a little more flour if necessary to form a smooth dough that isn’t too sticky.
  • Divide into 4 and roll each piece out with your hands to a form long, thin sausage.
  • Cut into 2cm pieces. Pinch the ends together with your fingers to create a slight crescent shape and imprint with the back of a fork.
  • Bring a large saucepan of water to boil, add in the gnocchi and simmer for 2-3 mins. When they rise to the top and float, they are done.
  • Whilst the gnocchi is cooking, wash and chop the spinach and tomatoes. Gently cook together in a frying pan with the garlic until the spinach wilts.
  • Spoon the gnocchi onto a warm serving dish using a slotted spoon and gently mix in the spinach and tomatoes.

Enjoy the changing colours of Autumn and all the delicious produce the season has to offer. No doubt we’ll be bringing you at least one more squash recipe between now and spring! : )

Amy x

Spiced Plum Muffins

Well we’re currently basking in the glory of being crowned the winners of Peta’s Great Vegan Bake-Off, which is all very exciting, and slightly overwhelming. Thank you to everyone that voted for us – we’re proper chuffed.

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than with another seasonal cakey, tasty treat! Soft fruits can be a bit of a pain, because no sooner have you bought them, they’re going off. So why not put your slightly squishy plums to good use with these spiced plum muffins, which are ideal for an 11 o’clock snack or make a tasty pud (especially while still warm from the oven). They’re also super easy.

DSC_0056DSC_0106DSC_0080dsc_0177

Spiced Plum Muffins

150g Spelt flour
150g Ground almonds
2 tsps Ground ginger
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
50g Xylitol
50g Agave syrup
115g Vegetable oil
250ml Soya yoghurt (preferably organic)
150g Plums (stoned and chopped into small pieces)
A sprinkle of toasted chopped almonds

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C. In a mixing bowl, add the flour, ground almonds, ginger, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda  and xylitol and stir through.
  • Add the agave syrup, vegetable oil and soya yoghurt and mix – but not to thoroughly because you don’t want to overwork the mixture. Stir through the chopped plums.
  • In a muffin tray, place 12 muffin cases and spoon the mixture to evenly fill the cases.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Pop a skewer through one of the muffins and if it comes out clean, they’re cooked.

We really are grateful to everyone who voted for us and we absolutely LOVE seeing you make our recipes.

I hope you enjoy these tasty muffins – do share your pictures with us on all the social medias!

Veronica x