Banana and Chocolate Bread [vegan]

Pretty much everyday I get hungry around 11am, depending on what I’ve had for breakfast. I always need some kind of mid-morning snack that’s going to keep me going until lunchtime and this banana and chocolate bread has currently won me over in the snackosphere.

I’ve not been shy on the chocolate chunks, if something is going to have chocolate in the title then I’m going to want to get a massive hit of chocolateyness, and this doesn’t disappoint. I even took a little jar of nut butter into work and smothered it on a slice – I was winning in life at that point. Later in the day I definitely wasn’t. It turned out I’d not put the lid back on that blommin’ jar properly and got home to discover I was half a jar down and one tote bag was totally ruined. I would definitely put this catastrophe into a middle class problem type meme.

Banana and Chocolate Bread

3 ripe bananas
1tbsp maple syrup
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed, 3 tbsp water mixed together)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tspn vanilla extract
100ml plant based milk
200g spelt flour
50g self-raising flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
125g dark chocolate 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C, grease and line an 2lb loaf tin (mediumish size).
  • In a glass, mix together the flax seed and water and set aside for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, mash up the bananas. Add all the wet ingredients – maple syrup, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, plant milk and the flax seed egg. Stir together.
  • Add the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and stir until all mixed together.
  • Chop the chocolate – I like mine quite chunky so don’t over chop, stir into the mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, and pop in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when you insert it.
  • Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. I like to cut a slice and eat it whilst it is still warm, after all that’s when the chocolate is at its best!

If there is one thing we’ve learnt from this….screw those lids on people!

Veronica x

Carrot and Swede Soup with Smoky Pumpkin Seed Croutons [vegan]

I’ve got the February blues and I feel grumpy. I’m in desperate need of Spring, but it’s grey, cold and miserable, and the promise of warmer days seem still too distant for my liking. This carrot and swede soup definitely brings a little sunshine to my bowl, so until Spring finally springs I’ll be staring into this bowl of goodness.

Carrot and Swede Soup with Smoky Pumpkin Seed Croutons
Makes 4 servings

For the soup:
1 tspn coconut oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
4 medium carrots
1/2 medium swede
1 litre of vegetable stock
1 tspn smoked paprika
1/2 tspn cinnamon
A handful of fresh coriander

For the pumpkin seeds:
25g pumpkin seeds
1 tspn smoked paprika
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
Salt and pepper

  • In a large saucepan melt the coconut oil.
  • Finely chop the onions and add to the pan and cook for a few minutes until they’ve softened.
  • Peel the garlic cloves and finely chop and add to the pan.
  • Peel and dice the carrots and swede and add to the pan along with the vegetable stock.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for thirty minutes on a low heat.
  • Add the paprika and cinnamon and stir through.
  • Remove from the heat, and using a stick blender blitz until the soup is smooth.

For the pumpkin seed croutons:

  • Line a baking tray with some greaseproof paper, spread the pumpkin seeds across the tray.
  • Sprinkle the seeds with the smoked paprika, chilli flakes, pinch of salt and pepper and make sure they’re coated well.
  • Toast in the oven for five to ten minutes until they start splitting and puffing up.
  • Sprinkle on top of the soup and serve with the fresh coriander and a little more smoked paprika.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Tofu scramble with cavolo nero [vegan]

I’ve definitely become a breakfast convert. Don’t get me wrong, I never skipped it, I can’t miss meals….I mean, food, hello!! I just wasn’t ever that adventurous. Back in the day, I used to just eat very sugary cereal or a couple of slices of toast and jam. Pretty standard, pretty dull. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes do just eat toast and jam, and have a pretty standard weekday breakfast of porridge, dang good porridge, but at the weekend I try to create a delicious more complex breakfast, after all it’s the most important meal of the day, right?

I used to really enjoy eggs for breakfast, so if you’re new to veganism or looking for alternative and are missing that eggy texture to go with your breakfast then you really need to try tofu scramble. Tofu is pretty bland on it’s own but once you’ve added some spices you’ve got yourself a flavoursome dish.

 

Tofu scramble with cavolo nero
Serves 2

1 block of firm tofu
4 stalks of cavolo nero
1 tbps coconut oil
1 small onion
1 tspn turmeric
1/2 tspn cumin
A pinch of ground coriander
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
Salt and pepper

  • Empty the tofu out of the pack and drain any liquid. Pop the tofu block on a plate, and place another plate and a heavy object on top of it and leave for half an hour to drain any excess liquid. 
  • Melt the coconut oil on a medium heat in a frying pan.
  • Finely chop the onion and add to the frying pan, fry for five minutes until softened.
  • Add the tofu and using a wooden spoon gently break it up.
  • Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli flakes and stir into the tofu.
  • De-stalk the cavolo nero and finely chop, add to the tofu. 
  • Leave to cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Pistachio and Cacao Bliss Balls

I’ve been following with interest the backlash on the ‘clean eating’ and wellness industry. I for one am guilty of using the term ‘clean’ in past blog posts and labelling ‘healthier’ cake recipes as ‘guilt-free’. We absolutely shouldn’t be feeling guilty if we’re eating a doughnut or some cake. I mean, who am I to tell you what you should feel guilty about. (I mean, hello, the Co-op have vegan doughnuts that scream my name, I can easily demolish a pack of Oreos, and I’ll happily grab a sandwich from M&S – woohoo, they’ve got a new vegan range). For me, I know that my tummy doesn’t take kindly to me feeding it too much of this type of food and when I gave up sugar completely I felt amazing. For me, it’s not about losing weight, it’s about enjoying my life and I can’t if I feel bloated and crappy. But, I also can’t quite turn down a glass or three of wine, or some oreos because that’s another way I enjoy life, and I’ll not be feeling guilty about it.

I know if I don’t feed myself foods that are packed full of ingredients I can’t pronounce then I won’t be writhing around in pain. But, I also know that I can’t quite say no to that doughnut and that is absolutely okay. After all, the best people to tell us what to eat are ourselves, we know our bodies the best. 

So, here’s to these bliss balls that are naturally sweet and won’t make my belly feel bad, but let’s stop feeling guilty over food choices and listen to our own bodies.

Pistachio and Cacao Bliss Balls
Makes 10

200g medjool dates (or soaked dried dates)
60g pistachios
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp cacao powder

  • Remove the pistachios from their shells and place in a food processor. 
  • Blitz the pistachios until they’re finely chopped.
  • Add the dates and blend with the nuts.
  • Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan and add to the food processor along with the cacao powder.
  • Blend for ten seconds and then take small spoonfuls of the mixture rolling them into balls in your hand.
  • The mixture should make about ten balls.
  • Keep in the refrigerator.

Veronica x

Miso noodle soup with fried tofu

I’m having a miso revelation. I love the stuff and this miso noodle soup is not only super quick to make but also really tasty, and it’s really good for your tummy too. 

Miso is from Japan and is made from fermented soybeans, sounds a bit weird, but honestly it’s good. Fermented foods are a great natural probiotic. I’ve been doing a bit more reading into how to look after my gut and keep it happy, making sure I’m getting plenty of probiotics into my system, and eating more fermented foods is where I’m heading.

Miso noodle soup with fried tofu
Serves two

For the tofu:
1/2 block of firm tofu
1 tspn coconut oil
2 tbsp tamiri (soy sauce)

For the soup:
800 ml vegetable stock (I used vegan boullion)
2 garlic cloves (sliced)
1 red pepper (sliced)
1 carrot (sliced)
1/2 white cabbage (shredded)
2 bundles of rice noodles
2 tspn miso paste
1 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • First, drain the liquid off the tofu, using a sieve. Pop the tofu block on a plate and then pop another plate on top and leave for half an hour, with a heavy object of some sort on top.
  • Once the liquid has drained, slice half the tofu into centimetre slices. Keep the other half in a container in the fridge and use for another dish.
  • In a frying pan, melt the coconut oil and add the sliced tofu and sprinkle the tamari on the tofu, keep it on quite a high heat and it’ll start to crisp up, turning over every now and then.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable stock on a medium heat, add the carrot, pepper, garlic and cabbage and bring to the boil.
  • Once boiling, bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes, add the miso paste, tamari and rice noodles.
  • Cook as per your rice noodle instructions. 
  • Once cooked, serve in bowls.
  • Top with the tofu and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Enjoy!
Veronica x

Earl Grey Granola [vegan]

Happy 2017! I’ve been trying to perfect my granola game for a while now, and I think I’ve done it! This Earl Grey Granola is super tasty and also low in sugar, shop bought granolas definitely aren’t. Make a batch at the weekend and you’ll be sorted for the week. Sprinkle it on top of your porridge, or cook some apples and dollop some coconut yoghurt on top – breakfast game changer! 

1 cup oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tspn cinnamon
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1 earl grey tea bag
1/4 cup of water
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tspn nut butter (I used cashew)
1 tbsp coconut oil

  • Mix the oats, coconut, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl along with the cinnamon. 
  • In a food processor, add the hazelnuts and pecans and blitz for a couple of seconds until roughly chopped or just use a sharp knife!
  • Add the nuts to the oat mix and stir through.
  • In a small saucepan, add the teabag, water, nut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil.
  • Melt on a medium heat and then add to the oat mixture and mix thoroughly.
  • On a lined baking tray pour the mixture and spread out evenly.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 180C.
  • Once cooked, leave to cool and then store in an airtight container.

Veronica x

Chocolate Brownies {vegan and gluten-free}

Tis the season of indulgence and all that. I’m trying not to give in too much to my sugar cravings but I’ve succumbed to temptation and it is mainly in chocolate form. These brownies are so good. I like my brownies to be the perfect amount of gooey with a crisp/crunchy top, and these deliver my requirements. If you prefer more of a cakey texture keep these in for twenty minutes, if not, fifteen minutes and you’ll have your brownie of dreams. If you’re looking to give edible gifts this Christmas, these will make an ideal gift, wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string or a ribbon.

vegan chocolate browniesvegan chocolate brownies

Chocolate Brownies
Makes 12
100g rice flour
100g buckwheat flour
1 tspn xantham gum
1 tspn baking powder
180g dark chocolate
50g cocoa
150ml sunflower oil
100g caster sugar
1 tbsp cashew/almond butter
275ml oat milk
50g pecans

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C and grease a line a 20cm baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  • In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt half of the chocolate along with all of the cashew butter.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the flours, xanthum gum, baking powder, cocoa and sugar.
  • Add the oil, oat milk, melted chocolate and cashew butter and stir until all is thoroughly mixed together.
  • Chop the remaining chocolate into pieces and add to the mixture along with the pecans, and stir through.
  • Spread evenly into the lined baking tin and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cut into even squares whilst warm, and once they’ve cooled a little turn them out onto a wire rack (although these are best eaten straight from the oven in my humble opinion!).

Enjoy! x

 

Cranberry Maple Pecan Pancakes [vegan and gluten free]

Pancakes have become one of my favourite things about weekends. As I’ve been making more I think I’ve perfected their density and fluffiness, and this flavour combo is definitely a winner. These are pretty thick american styleee and the batter makes about four but you could probably make six at a push. The maple syrup takes the edge off the sharpness of the cranberries, and you’ve basically got Christmas morning done and dusted. Thank me later. 😉

Cranberry Pancakes veganCranberry Pancakes vegan

Cranberry Maple Pecan Pancakes
Makes 4-6 pancakes

For the pancakes:
50g Rice flour
50g Buckwheat flour
1 tspn Xantham gum
1 tspn Baking Powder
1/2 tspn Ground cinnamon
250ml Oat milk
1 tbsp Coconut oil

For the topping:
100g Cranberries
50g Pecans (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp Maple syrup
1 tbsp Water

  • In a mixing bowl, add the flours, baking powder, xantham gum and cinnamon. Whisk in the milk, until a batter has formed.
  • In a frying pan, melt the coconut oil on a medium heat. 
  • Once melted, add spoonfuls of the batter and allow to cook for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the cranberries to a saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Bring to the boil, and then allow to gently soften. Add the pecans, along with the maple syrup. It will become quite sticky, add a little more water if desired.
  • Turn the pancakes over to allow them to cook on the other side. They will take about ten minutes in total.
  • Serve the pancakes along with the cranberries and pecans along with a little extra maple syrup. I often add some cashew butter or almond butter for some added yum.

Perfect for Christmas morning! x

Christmas Cranberry and Orange Loaf [vegan]

Is it me or is Christmas getting earlier each year? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, but just not in November. I’m about to contradict myself majorly because this loaf cake is PERFECT for Christmas, and technically we’re not quite in December territory yet…my bad!

I’m not a massive fan of dense fruit cakes, although I’ve got a great Christmas cake recipe if that’s what you’re looking for, but I think this is perfect if you’re looking for a lighter alternative! This recipe is pretty low in sugar, just using dates, a little maple syrup and a tad of caster sugar for your orange drizzle. That’s right, it’s got an orange drizzle running through it to make it super (apologies for using this word) moist! 

cranberry_orange_loaf_veganvegan_cranberry_orange_loaf

Cranberry and Orange Loaf

100g rice flour
100g buckwheat flour
50g spelt flour
150g fresh cranberries
Zest of two oranges
1 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
100g dates
125ml vegetable oil
300ml oat milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
50g caster sugar
Juice of two oranges

  • Grease a 2lb loaf tin with margarine or oil
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flours along with the xantham gum and baking powder
  • Add the fresh cranberries and coat in the flour, along with the zest of the oranges
  • Finely chop the dates and stir through. Gradually add the vegetable oil, oat milk and maple syrup and mix thoroughly until everything is mixed together
  • Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and spread evenly
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
  • Pierce with a skewer all over 
  • In a bowl mix the caster sugar with the juice of the oranges, pour over the cake and leave to cool in the tin
  • Once cooled, store in an air tight container

Enjoy

Veronica x

 

Pumpkin and Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing [vegan]

Just because we’re well and truly into soup weather doesn’t mean we have to totally give up on salad, plus I’m totally not lying when I say this is the pumpkin and kale salad is nothing but delicious…it’s ALL about the dressing!

I’ve been swamped with work recently and just when I needed to be on my A game, BAM along comes a cold to laugh in my face, and one that I’m still battling the remnants of. So, I’m loading on vitamin packed foods and this will definitely ensure you’re packing in the nutrients needed to fight any germs that are always lurking at this time of year.

Squash and kale saladSquash and kale salad

Squash and Kale Salad
Serves 2 people

5 stalks of red kale (de-stalk)
1/2 medium pumpkin/squash 
1 red onion
8 cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
Handful of coriander

For the dressing:
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tspn peanut butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tspn dried chilli flakes

  • Halve and de-seed the pumpkin or squash and roast in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil for half an hour or until soft.
  • Wash and de-stalk the kale and chop into fairly small pieces. In a large mixing bowl drizzle the kale with the olive oil and massage the oil into the leaves with your fingertips. Leave to soften for 15 minutes.
  • Toast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan on a medium heat for 5 minutes until slightly browned.
  • Slice the red onion and add to the bowl, along with the cherry tomatoes, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  • Finely chop the coriander leaves and stir through.
  • In a small bowl, add the sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter and maple syrup along with the chilli flakes and stir until smooth.
  • Once the pumpkin is soft, add it into the salad and pour the dressing all over it and stir to coat it all.

Enjoy and keep well!

Veronica x