Tag: 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

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. 

Raspberry vegan cheesecakevegan cheesecakevegan raspberry cheesecake

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.

Strawberry_ice_creamVegan_ice_cream vegan_ice_cream

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

Elderberry & Echinacea Tincture

Elder

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.

Elderberry-stalks Elderberry-tincture

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

Apple & Blackberry Cobbler

I was a little eager with my blackberries this year. I spotted a few on the way to the car park at work and declared to my work buddies that we, “MUST go blackberry picking during our lunch break the next day!” (I work in the countryside). We walked to the field where we had picked them last year, and were bitterly disappointed with the lack of blackberries ripe for picking. We managed to gather a few and I declared a cobbler was in order. It is around now that you should start to find plenty to forage and use to make this delicious apple and blackberry cobbler.

vegan fruit cobbler

There is something much more satisfying about eating your pud when you have picked your own berries, got scratched by the brambles, stung by a couple of nettles and have washed any potential creepy crawlies away! I promise I’m not lying!

I’ve not made a cobbler before and didn’t really know the difference compared to a crumble. My version probably isn’t a traditional cobbler, from what I gather they usually are a bit more scone-like, but I think I prefer this to crumble!

cobbler

vegan apple and blackberry cobbler

Apple & Blackberry Cobbler
400g blackberries
2 apples (I used granny smiths)
A splash of water
1 tbsp xylitol

For the topping
170g spelt flour
60g rice flour
60g oats
115g vegan margarine
60g xylitol
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
70ml oat milk (or any other non dairy milk)
A drizzle of maple syrup

1) In a saucepan stew the apples and blackberries with a splash of water and the xylitol – this will take about 10-15 minutes (until soft). I drained a lot of the liquid to use as juice once served.
2) Whilst the fruit is stewing, in a mixing bowl add the flours, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, xylitol and mix the margarine in (I used my fingers). Add the milk and stir in to create a scone like mixture.
3) In an oven proof dish spoon the stewed fruit and evenly distribute it. Add the cobbler topping and ensure all the fruit is covered. I drizzled a little maple syrup over the top of the cobbler but that is totally optional.
4) Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 180C until golden brown. Serve with the extra juice from the stewed fruit and some vegan ice cream.

So, keep your eyes peeled and some tupperware handy because you never know where you might find an abundance of blackberries.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Summer Green Juice

Fennel-juice

I have to confess, I’m a bit of a green juice addict. They’re so refreshing and nourishing, it’s like drinking a glass of pure health. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that juicers are an absolute pain in the arse to clean, I would genuinely be an addict!

summer juice

With all this said, I have just one particular favourite juice that I pretty much make all the time! The only trouble being is that it has apple in it and right now, in the height of summer, we are all out of last seasons apple stores and a few months away from this years season – so I’m having to come up with summer juice alternatives!

FENNEL

This one is made with refreshing fennel and cucumber, giving you the perfect taste of summer! It is a pure green juice as it contains only vegetables with only a tiny piece of sneaky lime. It’s not too sweet but it’s crisp and fresh, perfect for a hot August day!

green-juice

Summer Green Juice

1/2 small fennel bulb
1/4 cucumber
3 stalks celery
2 large handfuls of spinach
1/4 lime, flesh only
A few mint leaves
1/4 tsp spirulina

  • Wash the ingredients and chop them into large chunks.
  • Process everything through your juicer apart from the spirulina.
  • Put the spirulina into a glass and pour over a small amount of the juice. Whisk together until smooth.
  • Pour the rest of the juice into the glass, stir and enjoy.

Amy x

Super Easy Summer Curry

I’ve been asked several times, well actually about a thousand times what I actually eat and I often find it hard to answer without sounding like I eat nothing but nuts and dust! I eat lots of exciting different things, but put me on the spot and all I can think of is oatcakes and almonds, sounds pretty dry! This doesn’t look boring though does it?

vegan curry

I eat lots of yummy things – honestly! One of my favourite things that I eat for dinner is curry. It REALLY is simple to make and you just let it cook away with whatever is in season and in your fridge. To be fair though I didn’t know how to start making a curry from scratch until a couple of years ago, I just thought you opened the jar or called the local takeaway! I mean it all seemed a little complicated, when the list of ingredients is super long, and talk of making a curry paste and you know you have quite a few ingredients missing! No wonder it seems simpler to reach for the “oh hello takeaway menu” option! Fear not this one is for you!

So, here is a simple curry that gets you started on your making your own curry adventure. In my humble opinion when making one there are a few key spices that you need, one being Cumin and  the other Ground Coriander. I like to always add Turmeric because it is super good for you and makes the dish an awesome colour, but be warned it stains! So, those are the three spices you need here, no long list required!

With these perfect Petty Pan summer squashes and still a shed load of courgettes to get through, a summery squash curry fits perfectly on a chilly August evening!

Patty pan squash

I’m being deliberately vague with how many extra vegetables to add in, as it depends firstly on what you have to hand  – I had mushrooms and some broccoli, and secondly how many there are of you eating. You can use any vegetables!

Summer curry

Summer curry

A spoonful of coconut oil or regular oil
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric
A thumb size piece of grated ginger
2 spring onions
1 chilli (unless you don’t like heat)
1 tin of coconut milk
2-3 courgettes
3 petty pan squash
A handful of mushrooms
Broccoli
Salt and pepper
A bunch of fresh coriander

1) In a large pan melt your coconut oil and add your cumin, ground coriander and turmeric to cook for a minute. The trick here is to not let them burn, so it is best to not be on too high a heat.
2) Add the onions, ginger and chilli and coat in the spices.
3) Add in the rest of the vegetables and stir.
4) Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Turn it down to simmer gently for half an hour or so.
5) I cooked up some brown rice so it is good to get that on at the beginning because it takes about 30 minutes to cook.
6) When ready to serve mix through some chopped coriander and plate up!

You will be licking the plates with this one!

Don’t be intimidated by cooking from scratch it just takes a little planning and then gradually you will get the confidence to start adding some more spices and experimenting.

Happy cooking!

Veronica x