Category: Summer

Watermelon and Lime Ice Lollies [vegan]

You may have noticed some changes over these sides – if anyone does read these ramblings! Amy has taken a step back from the blog, she is no longer fully vegan (due to some health reasons) and felt the time was right to step away. You can read more about it here. So, now you’ve just got me and I hope we can get to know each other a bit better! 

When I made these ice lollies we were in the midst of a sunny spell. These sunny spells don’t last long in good old Blighty and it’s definitely not the weather for these refreshing ice lollies.

I bought myself some the ice lolly moulds for the summertime and then they took about two months to arrive, just in time for Autumn, that’ll teach me for resorting to Amazon! Anyway, if the warmer weather does make a reappearance get your melons out and try these bad boys! 

Watermelon and lime lolliesWatermelon and lime ice lollies

Watermelon and Lime Ice Lollies

800g watermelon
1 lime juice
1 tbsp agave syrup

  • Slice and de-skin the watermelon, then in a food processor blitz until smooth.
  • Add the lime juice and agave syrup and blend together.
  • In your ice lolly moulds pour the liquid and freeze overnight.
  • Makes 6 ice lollies.

Veronica x

Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Houmous

A super speedy recipe to liven up your houmous. You can’t beet some roasted beetroot AND garlic, and this makes a really sweet flavour combination. Forget your pickled beetroot THIS is where you can truly appreciate the awesomeness of beetroot. 

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Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Houmous
240g (1 tin) chickpeas
2 tbsp tahini
2 beetroots
3 cloves garlic
1/2 juice of lemon
Handful of fresh coriander
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 tbsp water

  • Peel the beetroot and chop into small chunks. In a baking tray, roast the beetroot and garlic cloves in the oven for 35 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Meanwhile, blend the chickpeas in a food processor along with the tahini. Add the lemon juice. 
  • Once the beetroot is cooked, add it to the chickpea mix. Peel the skin of the garlic cloves and pop in the mixture, and drain any excess olive oil into the processor too.
  • Blend until smooth, this may take awhile depending on the power of your blender.
  • Add the coriander and season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy

Veronica x

Blueberry and Nectarine Upside Down Cake [vegan]

I’m not sure if this is best described as a cake, it is probably more of a pudding. Whether you’ve got peaches or nectarines to hand, this tasty upside down cake is so fruity, plus the lemon zest gives the sponge an extra zing! I think it is definitely best eaten whilst warm from the oven, but you can always add some custard to warm a cold slice up.

We are in the midst of the british blueberry season, so make sure you grab a couple of punnets and stock up your freezers.

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Blueberry and Nectarine Upside Down Cake
120g spelt flour
120g self-raising flour
60g caster sugar
1 tspn baking powder
200ml oat milk
70ml vegetable oil
2 x nectarines
2 x handful blueberries
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • Line the bottom of a 7 inch cake tin with greaseproof paper and oil the sides of the tin. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • Slice the nectarines and lay them and a handful of blueberries in the bottom of the tin.
  • In a mixing bowl – add the flours, sugar and baking powder. Stir in the oat milk and oil and add the juice and zest of the lemon, plus another handful of blueberries. Once mixed together pour over the nectarine and blueberries.
  • Bake for 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

🙂

Veronica x

Courgette Fritters with Thai Peanut Sauce [vegan and gluten-free]

I promise I’m not lying when I say these courgette fritters may just be my best creation so far! When I had my allotment my kitchen was overrun with courgettes. It turned out planting five courgette plants meant you had about 50 courgettes to consume, and if you didn’t tend to your plants regularly they would look more like marrows. So, 50 marrow sized courgettes meant we were eating a heck of a lot of the vegetable! We had to get inventive with our mealtimes. I made this delightful courgette loaf that used some up. We used to have these fritters at least once a week, but now i’ve upped the fritter game with this peanut sauce AND it’s definitely a game changer. So if you’ve found yourself in a courgette predicament right now, or you’re wondering what else can you do with courgette other than slicing them and boiling them, THIS recipe has definitely got your name on!

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Courgette Fritters with Thai Peanut Sauce
750g courgettes
1 red onion
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
100g rice flour (or alternate flour)
1 tspn ground coriander
1 tspn cumin
1 chilli (finely chopped)
180ml oat milk
1 tbsp flax seed
Handful of fresh coriander (chopped)
1 juice of lime
Salt and pepper

For the peanut sauce:
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tspn dried chilli flakes (or fresh chilli)
1/2 lime juice
1 spring onion
40ml water

  • Grate the courgette and onion. Leave to drain for 10 minutes in a sieve and then squeeze and remaining water out of the mixture -the drier the better.
  • In a pan, melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil and sautĂ© the courgette, onion and garlic cloves for 5 – 10 minutes,
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, ground coriander and cumin and stir the spices through.
  • Once the courgette mix has cooled slightly, add to the flour mix, along with the chilli, milk, flax seed, lime juice and coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the other tablespoon of coconut oil and spoon the mixture into patties and cook on a medium high heat. Turn over once they have crisped up on the bottom. They will take about 10 – 15 minutes to cook through.
  • Meanwhile, to make the peanut sauce – add the peanut butter to a bowl, along with the soy sauce, sesame oil and maple sauce – stir until creamy and smooth.
  • Add the dried chilli flakes, lime juice and finely chopped spring onion, along with the water to make a runnier sauce, add more or less water depending on how thick you prefer the sauce.
  • I served it with courgette ribbons and the peanut sauce drizzled all over them – super tasty!

Peace and love
Veronica x

Raspberry Cheesecake [vegan and gluten free]

What’s going on with this heat? Last week we were moaning that it felt like winter, now we’re in the midst of a bloomin’ heatwave! I’m definitely NOT complaining. I love the heat. I love having all the doors and windows open. Love the amazing sunsets. And love actually wearing my summery clothes. When the weather reaches these dizzy heights I cling onto my childhood memories, when I’m sure summer holidays were definitely sunnier than they appear to be these days. Perhaps I have a rose tinted view of those idealistic days, when the only care was what time the ice cream van was rocking up, or which tree we’d be climbing. But, summer memories definitely involve summer berries that’s for sure. And what better way to enjoy the raspberries you’ll be a picking than in this super tasty Raspberry Cheesecake. 

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Raspberry Cheesecake
For the base:
150g medjool dates
100g almonds
60g oats
50g coconut oil (melted)

For the filling:
1 block firm tofu
225g raspberries
50g coconut oil
1 tbsp rice/fruit/agave syrup

  • In a food processor, blend the dates, almonds and oats until thoroughly chopped. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan on a low heat and blend with the nut mixture, it should combine slightly.  
  • Add to your tin (I used mini tart tins), press down firmly using your hands and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours to set.
  • Drain the tofu, and blend in the processor until smooth. Add the raspberries, and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Melt the coconut oil and add along with the syrup and blend once more until combined.
  • Spread evenly over the base and leave in the fridge for another few hours until firm.
  • Top with fresh fruit.

Get picking those raspberries 🙂

Veronica x

Basil Pesto Carrot Gnocchi [vegan and gluten-free]

This basil pesto carrot gnocchi may just be my favourite thing EVER! I mean, I’m not going to lie, this is not a weekday dinner – making your own gnocchi is a faff that’s for sure. This is definitely more of a weekend meal, one to take your time and not stress over. I promise, it is worth the effort though, for sure!

But, this delicious pesto you could make any day of the week. Mix it through some pasta for a quick simple weekday dinner, or stir it through some courgette ribbons and add it to your lunchtime salad. You’ll never want to buy another jar of pesto once you’ve made your own!

Vegan pesto gnocchi

Vegan pesto gnocchi

Basil Pesto Carrot Gnocchi
Serves 4

For the pesto:
120g pine nuts
1 1/2 tubs of basil (the pots you can buy in the supermarket)
70ml olive oil
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper

  • On a medium heat, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan for five minutes.
  • In a food processor, blitz the garlic clove and basil. Add the toasted pine nuts and olive oil and blend together until it’s as fine as you want it to be. 
  • Season with salt and pepper.

For the gnocchi:
6 medium carrots
400g potatoes
180g rice flour
Salt and pepper

  • Peel and boil the potatoes until cooked. In a separate saucepan, peel and boil the carrots until cooked.
  • Once they are both cooked, in a food processor, blend the cooked carrot until smooth, add the potatoes and mix until both are combined and no longer lumpy (use a potato masher if you don’t have a food processor).
  • Add the rice flour and season with plenty of salt and pepper and blend together until a doughy consistency is formed.
  • Shape into small balls using extra flour (this bit gets quite messy) and lay out on greaseproof. I used a fork to flatten them out a little and to give them an even shape.
  • In a pan of salted boiling water, lower to a simmer, then place the gnocchi into the water (you may need to cook half at a time so it doesn’t clump together).
  • The gnocchi will take two – four minutes to cook, once it has risen to the surface it is ready. Using a slotted spoon strain the excess water and place on a plate.
  • Heat the pesto in a pan on a medium heat, and add the cooked, strained gnocchi. Stir the pesto thoroughly through the gnocchi. Serve straight away.

Happy gnocchi days 🙂

Veronica x

Strawberry Ice Cream

Despite the weather being a bit very crappy during June it looks like Summer has started to arrive. Wimbledon marks the start of Strawberry season for me, and hopefully all the rain won’t ruin crops this year, because we’ve got A LOT of strawberries to eat!

This creamy strawberry ice cream is the perfect dessert to cool down on a hot summer’s evening especially with some more strawberries PLUS it’s so easy to make. I always thought of ice cream as being a pain in the butt to make, but this is super simple. Just make sure you’re not rushing out so you can keep going back to the freezer for the first few hours to whip it up and ensure you have a creamy ice cream.

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Strawberry ice cream
600g strawberries
800ml (2 tins) coconut milk
100g xylitol
2 tbsp agave syrup
1 tspn vanilla extract

  • Wash and de-stalk the strawberries.
  • In a food processor, empty the coconut cream and mix until smooth.
  • Add the strawberries and mix together with the coconut cream until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the xylitol, agave syrup and vanilla extract and blend through.
  • Empty into a suitable tub/tin that will survive in the freezer and pop in the freezer.
  • Every 30 minutes, stir through to stop large crystals forming, you’ll need to do this four or five times, basically the more times the better – you’ll get a smoother creamier texture and thank yourself when eating it.

Happy summertime 🙂

Veronica x

Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad

I don’t know about you but I find it hard to come up with inspiring lunches to get me through my work days. All too often I reach for a tub of houmous and some oatcakes or a boring salad with some greenery, cucumber and tomatoes, nothing that exciting to look forward to (although I do love a tub of houmous). But I’ve really been working on livening up my salads. I work in the middle of nowhere and the nearest shops are a five minute drive away, and I’m reluctant to head to M&S for an expensive lunch. I’ve been working on a new evening routine that means I spend a little time preparing a tasty lunch, yes, it does mean taking time out of your evening, but trust me you’ll be thanking yourself at lunch time the following day! I encourage you to join me and try this salad it’ll have you counting down the hours until your lunch break. In fact, this recipe will make enough for three or four days, so if you’re happy with eating the same thing for a few days you’re laughing!

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Sweet potato & quinoa salad with lemon tahini dressing
Makes 3-4 servings

80g quinoa
280ml water
50g almonds
20g sunflower seeds
1 sweet potato
3 garlic cloves
Olive oil
2 tsp tahini
1/2 juice of lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 romaine lettuce
A handful of cherry tomatoes
Quarter of cucumber
Handful of coriander

  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a baking tray in an 180C oven. Chop the sweet potato into cubes and along with the garlic cloves, throw in the baking tray. This takes about half an hour to cook.
  • Meanwhile, bring the water to boil in a saucepan and add the quinoa, simmer for 15 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. 
  • In a frying pan, lightly toast the almonds and sunflower seeds for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
  • Chop the lettuce, coriander, tomatoes and cucumber and put in a large bowl.
  • In a mug, mix together the tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and olive oil until smooth, season with salt and pepper.
  • Mix the quinoa in with the salad. Once the sweet potato is cooked add that to the bowl and then stir through the dressing and the almonds and sunflower seeds. Keep refrigerated.

Happy salad days!

Veronica x

Elderberry & Echinacea Tincture

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September has arrived, drawing Summer to a close. Things are slowly starting to change, the temperature is getting that bit cooler, the evenings are drawing in. It’s time to think ahead to those even colder, shorter, darker days when flu rears its head.

Why, you might ask…

… because the elderberries are out and they are well known to help prevent and ease symptoms of colds and flu. So although Summer has barely had a chance to say goodbye, it’s time to prepare for Winter!

Elderberries

At the first sign of a cold or flu many of us run to the pharmacy to buy some concoction of paracetamol and caffeine. But never mind those nonsense chemical lemon sachets, elderberries are readily available (more than likely not very far from your doorstep) and with only a little bit of effort, they make the perfect, natural cold and flu prevention tonic.

Last year I made an elderberry syrup which I froze in ice-cubes but this year I have a new found skill that I want to put to the test, tinctures!

Elderberry-&-Echinacea-Tincture

Tinctures are a way of preserving plants and berries in a way that is longer lasting and more portable than syrups and teas. They are essentially concentrated, alcohol-based extracts or in other words, a natural medicine.

The key with tinctures is to be prepared as although they are incredibly quick and easy to make they take a long time to mature, so bear in mind your medicine won’t be ready for weeks or even months.

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Elderberry & Echinacea Tincture

50g elderberries
20g dried echinacea root
200ml good quality vodka (or to fill jar)

  • Pick the elderberries off the stalk, ensuring all the stalk is completely removed.
  • Place the elderberries into a sterilised jam jar (I place a clean jam jar in an oven for 5 minutes before leaving to cool) with the echinacea root and pour over the vodka. Fill the jar completely with vodka so that no air will remain when you put the lid on as this may cause it to go off, better to over fill and spill a little than ruin your tincture.
  • Shake the jar and top up if necessary on a daily basis to remove any pockets of air.
  • After three weeks, strain the liquid through some muslin and pour into a glass amber bottle. (Amber bottles look pretty but they also help preserve the tincture longer by blocking out light.)
  • Take one teaspoon daily when cold and flu season is rife.

There are so many plants and “weeds” growing in hedgerows, along canal towpaths or around the edges of parks that have been used for hundreds if not thousands of years as natural medicines. With just a little know how we can make use of these plants and lessen our dependancy on pharmaceutical products. Tincture’s are just one easy way we can put these plants to use. I promise it’s super easy, give it a try!

Amy x

Mallorcan Tumbet

We seem to be racing through August, yes it is August… You may have indeed forgotten it is actually Summer with all these cloudy grey days and rain. But luckily for us the crops are still managing to realise what season we’re in!

So yes, hello August, hello Mediterranean vegetables!

Summer-vegetables

There’s tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, aubergine galore. If you get a seasonal veg bag no doubt you’ve already had plenty of British grown med veg : ) If you don’t, get yourself down to your local farmers market and taste the delights, it’s a world away from the stuff you buy in a supermarket in the middle of winter imported from who knows where!

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Now the Mediterranean isn’t normally associated with vegan cuisine but I discovered a traditional vegan dish in Mallorca when on holiday there earlier in the year.

With all these wonderful Medeterrean vegetables in season in the UK, I can now finally recreate it at home. Wohoo!

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This dish is wonderfully simple but oh so delicious!!

Mallorcan Tumbet

1 aubergine
2 courgettes
1 onion
2 potatoes
6 medium sized tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
3 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
Olive oil
Good quality salt
Black pepper to taste

  • Begin by making the tomato sauce. Crush the garlic and gently fry in a large saucepan with a little olive oil for a minute or two.
  • Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pan, also add the bay leaves and tomato puree. Stir and leave on a low/medium heat with a lid askew. Leave to cook gently whilst you prepare the vegetables, checking and stirring occasionally.
  • Heat a large frying pan to a medium/high heat. Thinly slice the potatoes and fry them off until cooked and starting to brown.
  • Layer the potatoes in the base of an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with a little salt. Thinly slice the remaining vegetables.
  • Add a little more love oil to the frying pan before frying the onions until soft and starting to brown. Then layer on top of the potatoes and sprinkle with a little salt.
  • Repeat with the courgettes and then the aubergine, layering each in turn.
  • Return to the tomato sauce, season and pour over the layered vegetables. Press down with the back of a spoon to ensure the sauce soaks through all the layers.
  • Bake at 180C in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes and serve with a side of wilted chard.

It’s pretty easy to forget that produce like courgettes and tomatoes only grow in a fairly narrow window in this country when we can buy them all year round in supermarkets. By eating locally grown food we can connect with our own region and climate, and truly value the variety and seasonality of local produce. Not only does home grown, local produce taste better, it makes you value the ingredients all the more and can inspire you to make something that extra special : )

Amy x