Category: Spring

Pasta alla Trapanese [vegan]

Pasata alla Trapanese

A couple of years ago my boyfriend and I went on holiday travelling around Italy for a couple of weeks – it was pretty awesome. We went to Rome, Naples, Sorrento and then took a night ferry over to Sicily. I ate A LOT of pizza and serious amounts of tomato pasta, there wasn’t too many vegan options, but it didn’t matter because pizza and pasta are fine by me! When we got to Sicily, their speciality took a seriously good turn – Pasta alla Trapanese. It’s basically tomato almond pesto and tastes so good.

Occasionally I buy the expensive pasta in the supermarket, because it reminds me of that holiday. 

Pasta alla Trapanese

Pasta alla Trapanese [vegan]
Serves 2

140g pasta
50g almonds
250g cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Handful of basil

  • Blanche the almonds in boiling water for a few minutes. Cool and peel as much of the skin off as you can.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, blitz the almonds, along with the garlic. Add the cherry tomatoes and blitz together for a few seconds, you don’t want it to go to watery. Stir through the olive oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and add the tomato almond pesto and make sure the pasta is coated.
  • Serve with the basil leaves.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Vegan Pad Thai with Asparagus

Vegan Pad Thai with Asparagus

This Vegan Pad Thai is so quick and easy, you’ll definitely want to add this one to your weekday evening meal repertoire – trust me! In fact, I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe, this was just my Saturday night dinner creation. I took a few snaps for my Insta account, but it was too good not to share! Vegan Pad Thai, I think, is up there as my favourite meal at the moment (disclaimer, this changes A LOT!)

Asparagus has such a short season which if you’re a big time fan like me will crush your heart as it does mine, but if you’re quick there is still time to make the most of this awesome veg. If Asparagus is no longer in season when you’re reading this, don’t despair, some green beans, or purple sprouting broccoli will work just as well, just check what is in season!

Here are some more recipes for you to make the most of the Asparagus that comes your way:
Asparagus & Pea Soup
Vietnamese Vegan Pho with Grilled Asparagus

Lemon Artichoke Hearts and Asparagus

Vegan Pad Thai Vegan Pad Thai

Vegan Pad Thai with Asparagus
Serves two

1 tbsp sesame oil
Bunch of asparagus
1 carrot
1 bell pepper 
1/2 courgette
2 x bundles of noodles
Thumb sized piece of ginger
2 x cloves of garlic (crushed)
1 red chilli
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
Handful of coriander (chopped)
2 x limes
1 tbsp pistachios or peanuts (chopped)

  • Heat the sesame oil in a wok or a large saucepan on a medium to high heat. Chop the carrot, pepper and courgette and add to the pan along with the asparagus and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
  • Boil the kettle, and start cooking the noodles as per your packet instructions (mine took 10 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, thinly slice the ginger and chilli, add to the wok along with the garlic and stir through the vegetables.
  • In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup and the juice of one of the limes, add a tablespoon of water and stir until smooth.
  • Once the noodles are cooked, drain using a colander and add to the wok. Pour in the peanut sauce and coriander, stir until everything is coated in the sauce.
  • Serve sprinkled with pistachios and a wedge of lime.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Lemon Artichoke Hearts and Asparagus

I love artichokes. Artichoke Globes that is, not those pesky Jerusalem ones, they’re gross and they make you pass a serious amount of gas…true story! I’ve never actually cooked the Globe ones from scratch before, I have just bought them covered in oil in a jar. Don’t get me wrong, jar ones absolutely have their place, but now Globe Artichokes are in season I came across them at my local market, they looked so pretty and were so cheap, I just had to grab myself a load and figured I would figure it out! Turns out they’re not too difficult to prepare, fiddly sure, but not so hard. I also grabbed a bunch of Asparagus because hello Asparagus is in season too…man Spring is the best!

This would make a great side dish, perhaps to a risotto or a pie of some sort, your side veggies definitely don’t just have to be boiled!


Artichoke Hearts and Asparagus
Serves 2

5-6 baby globe artichokes (or regular sized ones)
Bunch of asparagus
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves 
Olive oil

  • Rinse the artichokes in cold water.
  • Peel off the outer leaves until you reach the paler leaves. Trim the tops and the stem.
  • Slice them into quarters, and then place them in a bowl of cold water with 1/2 of the lemon juice, whilst you prepare the rest of them. If you’re using regular sized artichokes you need to make sure you scoop out the furry middle, you don’t need to worry about this with the baby ones, they’re just babies.
  • Steam the artichokes using the lemon water for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus by snapping off the lower part of the stalk and discard.
  • In a baking tray, place the asparagus along with the steamed artichokes. 
  • Drizzle with olive oil, the remaining lemon juice and the garlic cloves, I threw in the juiced lemon too.
  • Place under the grill for 10 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Season with salt and pepper. 

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Cashew and Sesame Purple Sprouting Broccoli [vegan]

There is more to vegetables than simply boiling them! Don’t get me wrong, boiled veg has it’s place on a plate sometimes, but this Cashew and Sesame Purple Sprouting Broccoli is one of those dishes that showcases just how an ordinary vegetable can become the star of the show. This makes an ideal side dish or serve with noodles and eat as a main meal. 

Cashew Sesame Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Serves 2

1 tbsp sesame oil
1 leek
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
50g cashew nuts
120g broccoli
Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated)
1 tbsp tamari
1 chilli
1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • In a wok or frying pan, heat the sesame oil on a medium heat.
  • Chop the leek and add to the pan along with the garlic and cashew nuts, and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the broccoli, grated ginger, tamari and chilli and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and stir through.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Aubergine Pomegranate and Kale Salad [vegan]

Aubergine and Pomegranate are up there with my favourite ingredient combinations, and this salad pairs the two particularly well, even if I do say so myself! 

When aubergine is roasted to perfection, it melts in your mouth, not cooked enough and we all know the rubbery crunchy texture you have to endure, thinking if only we’d been a little more patient! Throw in some pomegranate to a mouthful of well-cooked aubergine and you’ve got yourself a pretty darn good mouthful of food!

This looks like one of those dishes that is far too faffy to make, but this middle-eastern inspired salad really is so simple to make and you’ll impress people with this dish fo sho!

Aubergine and Pomegranate Salad
Serves 2

1 aubergine (cut in half)
Half a pomegranate
1 tspn smoked paprika
1/4 tspn ground cinnamon
1/4 tspn cumin
1 tspn maple syrup
50g kale
100g couscous
Juice of 1 lemon 
Handful of parsley
Handful of coriander
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil

  • Cut the aubergine in half and score the flesh diagonally with a sharp knife. Pop on a baking tray and drizzle with half the olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt.
  • Place in a pre-heated oven at 180C and roast for half an hour.
  • Meanwhile, cook the couscous; cover with boiling water, add the juice of half a lemon and leave the couscous to soak up the water, fluff with a fork after a few minutes. Massage the kale with with your fingertips using half a tablespoon of olive oil (this softens the leaves and makes it easier to eat raw).
  • Chop the parsley and coriander and add to the couscous, along with the kale, and the pomegranate seeds (save some to sprinkle on top when serving).
  • In a small bowl, add the smoked paprika, cinnamon, cumin and maple syrup and stir until it makes a paste. Once the aubergine has cooked for half an hour, remove from the oven and brush the flesh of the aubergine with the paprika paste and return to the oven for another fifteen minutes.
  • In a mug, add the tahini, apple cider vinegar, the other half of the lemon juice and four tablespoons of water and mix until smooth. (Stirring thoroughly is the key with a good tahini dressing and you’ll go through a range of textures until it is ready!)
  • Serve the aubergine on top of the couscous kale salad, along with the tahini dressing and extra pomegranate seeds.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Lemon and Blueberry Drizzle Cake [vegan]

Hands up, who would put lemon drizzle cake up there as their all time favourite cake!? Yep, me too! I would say it’s a definite crowd pleaser, and you’ll have people scraping around for the last cake crumb when you make this.

I made this for my Mum’s birthday a couple of week’s ago, it went down a storm! Mother’s Day is on the horizon (in the UK) and if you’re looking for a cake to treat your frickin’ awesome Mum, then this’ll do the job nicely! 

I’ve used maple syrup, but feel free to use normal caster sugar if you’re not worried about that, and you could totally sub the spelt flour for all self-raising. The poppy seeds give it an additional flavour and crunch, but leave them out if you want. 

Vegan Lemon and Blueberry Drizzle Cake

175g spelt flour
100g self-raising flour
1 tspn baking powder
Zest of two lemons
1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
100ml vegetable oil
160ml water
80ml maple syrup
Juice of two lemons
200g blueberries

For the drizzle and icing:
1 tbsp maple syrup 
Juice of 2 lemons
80g icing sugar

  • Grease and line a medium sized loaf tin. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flours, baking powder, lemon zest, baking powder, poppy seeds (if using) and stir together.
  • Add the vegetable oil, water and maple syrup into the dry ingredients, and mix throughly, add the lemon juice and blueberries and stir through.
  • Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. 
  • Mix together the juice of one lemon and a tablespoon of maple syrup. Using a skewer or a fork, pierce some holes in the cake and pour it over the top of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin.
  • In a bowl, sieve the icing sugar and mix together with the lemon juice until smooth, drizzle over the cake once it has cooled.
  • Keep stored in an air tight tin.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Vegan Lentil Lasagna

For as long as I can remember Lasagna has been my favourite dish. I love a good vegetable lasagna packed full of whatever the season has to offer, but lentils provide this beaut more of a meaty texture. This dish is packed full of flavour, and a tofu topping means you don’t need to faff about with a bechamel and worry about lumpy sauce = win! 


Vegan Lasagna with lentils and kale
Serves 4-6

1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
200g puy lentils (soaked overnight if possible)
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp thyme
1 tspn ground cinnamon
2 tbsp tomato puree
400ml vegetable stock
80g kale
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
6 – 8 lasagne sheets (depending on the size of your dish)

For the topping:
1 block of firm tofu (drained)
3 tbsp pine nuts (keep an extra few to sprinkle on top)
80g spinach (washed and dried)
Salt and pepper
A few cherry tomatoes
A few basil leaves

  • In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil on a medium heat.
  • Chop the onion and garlic and add to the pan and cook for five minutes.
  • Rinse the lentils and add to the pan, along with the chopped tomatoes, oregano, thyme, cinnamon and tomato puree. Cook for five minutes.
  • Gradually add the vegetable stock, along with the kale, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Cook for about 25 minutes until the lentils are cooks. Season with plenty of pepper and a little salt.
  • Meanwhile in food processor, add the drained block of tofu, the pine nuts and spinach and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large oven-proof dish add half of the lentil and kale filling and spread evenly. Lay the lasagne sheets covering the filling.
  • Spoon half the tofu mixture and spread evenly across the pasta sheet. 
  • Spread the remaining lentil mix over and top with more pasta sheets and the rest of the tofu mixture.
  • Top with sliced cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and a few basil leaves.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for thirty minutes.
  • Serve with some tasty salad leaves.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

 

Nettle & Wild Garlic Quiche

The weather might be all over the place but the budding leaves and green shoots aren’t fooled, Spring is most definitely here. I get pretty excited when everything starts bursting into life during Spring. The first leaves of Spring always seems extra green and vivid especially after the long grey months of winter. 

Nettle and wild garlic are an amazing Spring green combination. Last year I paired them together in these savoury Buckwheat Crepes which are just so delicious! This year I was inspired by a vegan flan I had whilst on holiday and decided to recreate something similar at home. I opted for creamy cashews and a wholewheat spelt flour topped with crunchy toasted seeds.

Nettles have to be one of the easiest wild foods to forage, they can be found pretty much everywhere and are easily recognised by most of us. Wild garlic is a little trickier to find but is also common. I always get wild garlic in my veg bag during Spring and you would probably find it at your local farmers market if you can’t find any near where you live.

Nettle-&-Cashew-QuicheVegan-Cashew-Quiche

Nettle & Wild Garlic Quiche

Nettle tips: Harvest the nettles when young and pick only the top few leaves. Wash throughly in a bowl of cold water and don’t forget to use rubber gloves when handling!

For the pastry:
175 g Wholemeal Spelt Flour
75 g Coconut Oil + Extra for Greasing
2-3 tbsp Cold Water
Pinch of Salt

For the filling:
350g Cashews 
3 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
250g Nettles
Small bunch of Wild Garlic
1 Small Onion
1 tsp Caraway Seeds
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
3 tbsp Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
3 tbsp Toasted Sunflower Seeds
3 tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds

  • Soak the cashews in water (preferably filtered) overnight.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C and grease a flan dish with coconut oil. Measure the spelt flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. If your coconut oil is melted at room temperature, place it in the fridge for half an hour first. Add the coconut oil and use you finger tips to rub together the flour and coconut oil until you get a breadcrumb consistency. 
  • Add in a tablespoon of water at a time and use you hand to bring together the mixture until it forms into a ball.
  • Roll out on a floured surface and line the flan dish with the pastry. Press the pastry down, trim off the edges and prick a few holes in the pastry with a fork. If you have them, cover the pastry with baking paper and hold down with ceramic baking beans.
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • Whilst the pastry is cooking fry the onion on a little coconut oil for 10 minutes until it starts to caramelise. Add the caraway and fennel seeds, fry for a few more minutes then add in the nettles and stir until they begin to wilt down. Roughly chop the wild garlic and add to the frying pan, stirring until both the nettles and wild garlic have wilted. Then remove form the heat and set aside to cool.
  • Drain and rinse the cashews and add to a food processor with the nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Blitz for a few minutes until you get a smooth and creamy consistency. 
  • Stir the cashew mixture together with the nettle and wild garlic and over the pastry and spread out evenly. Top with the toasted seeds and gently press them down into the cashew mix.
  • Place in the fridge to set for 2 hours. Serve chilled with salad.

Enjoy! Amy x

 

Vegan Rhubarb & Ginger Cheesecake

Tis the season for rhubarb. Yes, rhubarb is starting to sprout it’s beautiful pink stalks from the ground and we can now enjoy, what I believe, is one of our most underestimated fruits. Let’s celebrate all things rhubarb!

It’s only in recent years that I have come to appreciate this delicious fruit, it was one of those things that I turned my nose up at all my childhood and avoided at all costs. That is until I actually tried it.

We had to move our rhubarb plant when we got our chickens, it now resides in our front garden and has taken a couple of years to reestablish itself, but this year it looks like we may have a bumper crop. I love the sharpness of rhubarb, and the contrast it brings to a sweet dessert.

I don’t know if you’ve seen Amy’s delicious Elderflower cheesecake? I didn’t get a chance to taste her creation, but I have adapted it and it is easily versatile to whatever works seasonally. So here is my rhubarb version and what goes perfectly with rhubarb? Ginger – obvs!

Rhubarb-&-Ginger-Cheesecake

Rhubarb-Vegan-Cheesecake

Rhubarb-Ginger-Cheesecake

Rhubarb & Ginger Cheesecake

For the crust:
50g almonds (soaked for 30 mins)
150g hazelnuts
150g dates
2 tspn ground ginger

For the filling:
350g cashews (soaked overnight, or for at least 4 hours)
85 ml coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tspn vanilla extract
Juice of half a lemon

For the topping:
5 stalks of rhubarb
A thumb sized piece of ginger (grated)
2 tbsp xylitol
3 tbsp water

  • Begin by making the base. In a large, dry frying pan gently toast the hazelnuts on a medium-high heat, for around 5-10mins until the skins begin to darken and peel away. Shake the pan from time to time to prevent burning.
  • Wrap the hazelnuts in a clean cloth and rub vigorously to remove most of the skins.
  • Rinse the soaked almonds in fresh water and combine in a blender with the hazelnuts, dates and ginger. The mixture should start to come together in firm, sticky clumps.
  • Press the base mixture firmly down into a non-stick 20cm springform cake tin.
  • Set in the fridge whilst you prepare the topping.
  • Melt the coconut oil in a pan. Rinse the cashews and put in a high-speed blender along with the coconut oil and remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  • Spoon the mixture onto the base and spread out evenly.
  • Set in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  • Gently release the springform pan and ease the cheesecake away from the base.
  • Rinse the rhubarb stalks and chop into pieces, add to a pan along with the xylitol, water and grated ginger. Cook on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes until very soft. Stir thoroughly and leave to cool. Once cooled spread evenly over the cheesecake.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Vietnamese Vegan Pho with Grilled Asparagus

pho with grilled asparagus

Hallelujah! Asparagus is finally here!

spring asparagus

When you eat in tune with the seasons and something that you haven’t eaten in nearly a year comes back into season, it’s defiantly reason to celebrate! I choose to do so by making something extra-specially delicious. Last year Veronica shared this asparagus soup for the illusive two month asparagus window that runs from the end of April to June here in the UK. I have chosen to share one of my all time favourite dishes, a Vietnamese Pho with the addition of some grilled asparagus which is my favourite way to cook it!!

A traditional Pho is all about a slow cooked broth, normally made with beef. However, the main star of the show is really the aromatic spices not the meat so it easily adapts to create a super tasty vegan meal and this version uses a bit of vegetable stock to speed up the process. But of course if you have time, the longer you cook it for the better it’s going to taste!

Vegan pho broth

The broth makes enough to serve four which is great if there’s just two of you, as it means tomorrow’s dinner is going to super quick to make! Add more veggies and noodles if you’re making it for 4 first time round.

vegan pho vietnamese vegan pho

Vietnamese Vegan Phở with Grilled Asparagus

For the broth:

2 onions
5cm chunk of ginger
3 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
4 cloves
4 cardomon pods
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 litres of vegetable stock made with 1 1/2 tbsp vegan bouillon
1 1/2 tbsp good quality soy sauce (such as kikkoman)
3 carrots
5cm piece young garlic

To serve:

200g brown rice noodles
8 asparagus spears
Seasonal leafy greens, such as kale, chard, pak choi, wild garlic
Large handful of bean sprouts
Fresh herbs such as thai basil, coriander and mint
1 lime, quartered
1 red chilli, sliced

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C, quarter the onions, leaving the skin on, chop the ginger into a few large chunks and bake for about 15 minutes, using a dash of oil until the edges start to brown.
  • In a large, heavy bottomed pan, dry fry the whole spices until they become aromatic.
  • Roughly chop the carrots and garlic into large chunks and add to the spices with the onion, ginger and stock.
  • Simmer for at least half an hour, when ready strain through a fine sieve or muslin and reheat.
  • Cook your noodles according to the packet instrucitons which should take about 5-10 minutes, then rinse the noodles.
  • Place the asparagus on a baking tray, season and drizzle with olive oil and grill for 5 minutes.
  • You can either lightly steam your greens or just let the broth cook them in the bowl when serving, it really depends on what you’re using. For example I would steam spring greens but not spinach.
  • To serve, divide the noodles between bowls, then pour over the stock. Arrange your raw or lightly steamed greens, bean sprouts, herbs, chilli and lime around the bowl, placing the grilled asparagus on top. Then dig in!

Happy asparagus season!

Amy x