Category: Featured

Vegan, Gluten-free Brownies

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Have you ever made brownies then felt great disappointment when you taste them and they are dry and cakey, not dense and gooey as a good brownie should be? Never fear, I can guarantee chocolatey gooeyness with these guys.

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Not only are these absolutely delicious, they are really easy to make and a healthier alternative to your regular sugar laden brownie plus they’re gluten free too! Seriously what more do you want from us!

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I’m not one to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend but if you are…..these would be the perfect choice! Go on indulge yourselves!

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Vegan & gluten-free chocolate brownies
Makes 15 brownies

1 cup of dates
1 cup of raw almonds
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 cup ground almonds
45g chopped dark chocolate (sugar free)
1/2 cup of raw walnuts
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp milled chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water (or use flax seeds)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray (i used an 11″x 7″ one) with greaseproof paper.
2. In a saucepan add the dates and cover with water, cook down for 10-15 minutes on a medium heat until soft and gooey.
3. Into the blender add the whole almonds and blitz for 30 seconds. Add the cocoa power, ground almonds, dark chocolate and walnuts and blitz together until the walnuts are chopped up.
4. In a small bowl mix together the milled chia seeds and mix with water. Add to the blender along with the maple syrup.
5. Once the dates have boiled down add to the blender and mix everything together.
6. Spread the mixture evenly in the baking tin and bake for 15 minutes.
7. Leave to cool in the tray and once cooled cut into squares. Keep in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Maple Cinnamon Granola

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I know it’s a bit late to wish you all a happy new year but I’m a little late in publishing this post. I hope you all had a great break over Christmas and now we have got the worst week of the year out of the way things are seeming a little more promising. I hate that first week of January; the depression of going back to work after a long break, the fact we still have months of winter to go and no sign of a holiday anywhere on the horizon….sad times. But, now we’re about to begin a second week and i’m turning (forcing) my mood around, after all those days are getting a little longer…..

My main focus in life right now is the London Marathon and despite being struck down with a cold last week (to add to my low mood) training has begun in earnest. I’ve joined my local running club, i’ve started going to the local Parkrun, I’m strengthening my core with Yoga…..and I’ve given up the booze (eek!). With all this going on I need to ensure I’m feeding my body well and this delicious granola is perfect to top my porridge with and to stay away from sugar, that’s right I’m back to strictly no sugar except natural sugars.

vegan granola

granola

Maple cinnamon granola

3 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup of almonds (roughly chopped)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 sunflower seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp almond butter
3 tbsp maple syrup

1. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (oats, chopped almonds, seeds and cinnamon.
2. In a saucepan, over a low heat, melt the maple syrup and almond butter.
3. Add the melted syrup and butter to the oat mix and stir through thoroughly.
4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and pour in the mixture and pack roughly down.
5. Cook for 20 minutes at 180C. Leave to cool in the tray and then store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

 

Vegan Chocolate Beetroot Cake

I love beetroot! Whether it’s roasted, shredded up raw in a salad or squished up in a burger, it’s blimmin’ delicious AND it’s in season for most of the year! Win, win, win you might say? Well not always…

beetroot-varieties

If we take asparagus as a contrasting example, it’s in season for such a short amount of time that it’s like, quick, quick cook something delicious before the season is over! But with beetroot, it’s just there month after month and it’s like, more beetroot but I already had it fives ways last week, what can I do with it now?

Well I have the answer, chocolate beetroot cake!!!

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This isn’t as super healthy as some of our recent recipes but it’s not too far off so lets not worry about it too much : )

Vegan Chocolate Beetroot Cake

2 Medium sized beetroots, peeled and finely grated
115 g Spelt flour
70 g Brown rice flour
50 g Coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp Cacao powder (or 5 tbsp cocoa powder)
2 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt
60 ml Maple syrup
50 g Dark chocolate (80% or more)
150 ml Rapeseed oil
50 ml Non-dairy milk

For the topping:

50 g Dark chocolate (80% or more)
3-5 tbsp water
50 g Pistachios

  • Over a low heat, melt the chocolate and maple syrup in a saucepan.
  • Once melted, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly whilst you measure all the dry ingredients into a separate mixing bowl.
  • Stir in the oil and almond milk into the melted chocolate before adding the grated beetroot.
  • Mix well before stirring in the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the mixture into a well greased 18cm cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 25 minutes of until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Turn out the cake onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
  • Over a low heat, melt the chocolate. Slowly add in a tablespoon of water at a time, stirring continuously. Keep stirring and adding a little more water until you get a nice smooth consistency that has a lighter colour, resembling milk chocolate.
  • Pour the chocolate over the cake and spread evenly.
  • Roughly chop the pistachios and sprinkle over the cake.

Amy x

Sprouting lentils and a sprouted lentil stir-fry

I love growing my own food and I’ve never let the fact that I live in a flat with no garden or balcony hold me back. In fact, normally my growing season goes something like this:

Dream up a list of extravagant things I can grow on my window sill.
Make my boyfriend lug a huge bag of organic compost across town to our flat.
Fill every surface in my flat with pots, troughs and window sill boxes.
Tend to my seedlings lovingly.
Get an invasion of tiny flies and or aphids.
Resist getting rid of my crops and live with an infestation of insects akin to a biblical plague.
End up with a handful of cherry tomatoes, half a salads worth of salad leaves and not enough basil to make pesto.
Sit back in the autumn and admire my success and resourcefulness…

Yeah, not so great.

So this year I’ve decided to start off at a slower pace and sprout some lentils.

what you need to sprout lentils

I had never really considered sprouting lentils as growing my own food. I guess theres no soil involved which, on the plus side means no flies! But sprouting lentils at home is cheap and easy, requires very little equipment and even littler space. It’s definitely the easiest place to start when it comes to growing your own food.

Sprouted lentils are also really good for for you, having a higher vitamin content when sprouted and they are also more easily digestible. All you will need to sprout your own lentils is a glass jar, a piece of muslin, string or an elastic band, a sieve or fine colander and of course some lentils.

sprouting green lentils

How to sprout lentils

I like to sprout 100g at a time as they should be eaten within a few days once they’re sprouted. I find that this gives me enough to make a main meal and have some left over to throw into a salad.

100g green lentils

  • Thoroughly rinse the lentils through a sieve and pick out any stones.
  • Place the lentils in a clean glass jar and cover with water (preferably filtered) by a least double.
  • Cover with a piece of muslin, leave for around 24 hours out of direct sunlight, then drain off the water and rinse them again. Place them back in the jar and cover.
  • Rinse them twice daily for around 2-3 days until tender pale shoots appear.
  • Once the shoots are 1cm or so long, place the jar into the fridge and use within a few days. Remember to keep rinsing the lentils daily once stored in the fridge.

sprouting lentils

soaked lentils

sprouted green lentils

Its amazing how such a small amount increases to a full jar of sprouted lentils in just a few days. You can see mine have just started to go green at the ends which probably means I should have got them into the fridge about half a day earlier than I did. Not to worry as they will still taste great either cooked or raw.

I think they make a great addition to a salad when raw, packing a tasty, crunchy protein rich punch. They are also great when cooked and one of my favourite ways to use them is a stir-fry.

Sprouted lentil stir-fry

Serves 2

100g brown rice (or you could use noodles if you prefer)
100g sprouted lentils (roughly half of the jar you sprouted)
4-6 chestnut mushrooms
50g cashews
A mixture of seasonal veg. I used:

  • 1 medium carrot
  • Half a leek
  • Spring greens

2cm piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic
Small bunch of coriander
Juice of half a lime
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice mirin
1 tsp coconut oil

  • Cook the brown rice as per your packet’s instructions, usually for around 40mins.
  • Whilst your rice is cooking prepare your seasonal veg. I like my carrots thinly sliced, my leeks roughly chopped and my spring greens finely shredded.
  • Crush your garlic and finely chop up your garlic.
  • About 15 mins before your rice is ready, heat up a wok or large frying pan to a high heat. Add your cashews to the pan and dry fry them until they start to brown, stirring regularly to make sure they don’t burn.
  • Whilst toasting the cashews, in a separate pan start to fry the mushrooms in a little oil on a medium-high heat until the water has reduced away and they begin to brown.
  • Once the cashews are nicely toasted, place in a bowl and set aside.
  • Add the coconut oil to the wok and add in the carrot and leek.
  • Stir vigorously to prevent sticking for 2-3mins, adding the mirin and 1 tbsp soy sauce. If the vegetables are starting to catch on the bottom of the pan just add a few splashes of water and this will create some nice steam to help them cook whilst preventing burning.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, spring greens, and sprouted lentils to the wok, mix through and then add another 1 tbsp soy sauce.
  • You only want the vegetables just cooked so once I’ve added everything in I serve up the rice and then return to the wok adding the lime juice, cashews and roughly chopped coriander.
  • Stir everything together once more and pour onto the rice immediately and spoon over the fried mushrooms.
  • Serve with an extra slice of lime and a drizzle of sesame oil if you fancy.

sprouted lentil stir-fry

Amy x

Cheese, pâté and crackers

The one thing that people say to me time and time again when they find out I’m vegan is; “I just couldn’t live without cheese!” Well I probably would have said something along those lines not that long ago. But when I turned vegan I didn’t think about missing cheese, I thought about animal cruelty and environmental issues.

In my first year as a vegan I hadn’t really given cheese much thought, I’d had a pizza with some questionable vegan cheese and thought I’m better off without any weird cheese resembling products. It wasn’t until I went to SAF restaurant in November and had their cashew cheese that I realised you could have delicious and healthy vegan cheese. No, its not quite the same as a slice of cheddar but its deliciously creamy and has a lovely cheesy flavour.

Over Christmas we would normally have delicious lunches of cheese, pâté, crackers, pickled onions and bits of left overs and I’m determined not to feel like I’m missing out on anything for my first vegan Christmas. So behold my vegan cheese, pâté and cracker feast, not only is it delicious and cruelty free, it’s a whole lot healthier for you than actual cheese and pâté.

vegan pate, cheese and cracker

Individually these recipes are pretty simple and easy but it is a bit of work making them all. However, I find there’s plenty of time around Christmas to spend a few hours in the kitchen and these recipes will make enough to keep you and your family going over the festive period.

Cashew Nut Cheese

280g Cashew nuts
250ml Water
2 tbsp Lemon juice
2 tbsp Nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Onion granules
1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg

1. Place the cashews in a glass bowl and cover with water, leave them to soak for at least 2 hours or leave them overnight.
2. Drain the cashews, blend them with 250ml water, the nutritional yeast, salt and lemon juice. If your nutritional yeast flakes are quite large you might want to put them in the blender first to break them down so they are nice and small. Keep blending the mix until you get a nice creamy paste.
3. Stir in the onion granules and nutmeg.
4. Pour the mixture into a tin or bowl and leave it at room temperature, covered for 12 hours.
5. Put the mixture into the fridge and leave to chill for at least 2 hours.

vegan cheese recipe

vegan cheese

cashew nut cheese

vegan cheese

Mushroom and Chestnut Pâté

500g Mushrooms (I used chestnut mushrooms)
100g Chestnuts
250g Firm tofu
2 Shallots
3 Cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp Nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Chopped or dried herbs such as sage or thyme

3 tbsp Mushroom Ketchup (optional)
1 tbsp Lemon juice

1. Cut a cross in the shell of each chestnut and roast them on a baking tray for 30 minutes at 170C.
2. Place your block of tofu on a flat surface between two folded sheets of kitchen paper and place something heavy on top to press out the water.
3. Whilst the chestnuts are roasting, sauté the onion and garlic in a large frying pan until soft. Roughly chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan, cooking them for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated.
4.  Stir in the crushed peppercorns, salt, herbs and mushroom ketchup. Cook for another few minutes until the ketchup has reduced down, then set aside to cool.
5. Once the chestnuts are roasted, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool before shelling them.
6. Put the chestnuts into a blender and blitz until roughly chopped. Add the cooled mushroom mixture, tofu, nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Blend to a fairly smooth paste.
7. Spoon the mixture into a springform tin or lined loaf tin and press down firmly. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

mushroom and chestnut pate

vegan pate recipe

mushroom and chestnut pate

Flax Seed Crackers

This recipe makes about 30 crackers, 15 plain and 15 flavoured. I used cavolo nero but you can use any leafy greens or even sun-dried tomatoes, or whatever you fancy to flavour them.

300g Flax seeds (you can used half golden and half brown if you have them)
30g Sunflower Seeds
200ml Water
1/2 tsp Salt
A small bunch of cavolo nero

1. Grind half the flax seeds with the sunflower seeds in a blender or spice grinder.
2. Mix together the ground seeds with the whole flax seeds, salt and water.
3. Put half this mixture into a blender with the cavolo nero.
4. Line two baking trays with baking paper and spoon out the two mixtures on the trays and press down firmly with the back of a spoon.
5. Score the mixture into small squares and bake at 170C for 30 mins or until the begin to crisp slightly and aren’t too chewy inside. (If you have a dehydrator, even better!)
6. Lift the baking paper and crackers out of the trays and place on a wire rack, serve once cooled.

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flax seed crackers recipe

flax seed crackers

flax seed crackers

With all this to feast on over the shortest days of the year I certainly won’t feel that my cruelty free lifestyle is meaning I miss out. I can have my cheesy fix this Christmas along with delicious, healthy crackers and pâté.

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I hope you’ve all enjoyed our 12 days of Christmas series and found some useful festive tips and recipes. We’ve really enjoyed testing out our ideas and veganising our favourite traditional Christmas foods. From all of us here at Wrapped in Newspaper, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Amy x