Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand here it is: part 3 of my triptych of Indian delights to feast your face on. I usually eat this as a side dish along with the Saag Aloo Gobi and the Okra Tomato curry, however it is just as tasty if eaten for the 'main event!' Packed with protein (approx 22g per 1/2 cup) this tasty dish is really filling and energising, and it's super low in fat to boot. This would be great as a side dish for EVERY meal (but probably not as let's face it, nobody wants to eat the same thing every day, that's just dullsville!) Another great thing about this dish is that it is seriously yummy eaten either hot or cold, so you could have some with your dinner, then have the rest the next day for lunch with some salad or whatever else you happen to fancy for lunch that day. Flexibility is the name of the game here!
This recipe has its inspiration rooted in the most unlikely of places - The Toby Carvery. What does a vegan know about Toby Carvery I hear you ask?!!? Well, actually you may be surprised to learn that this "haven of meat" serves not one, but two specified vegan options! So, anyway, my boyfriend (vegan, loves junk food!!) loves their nut roast Wellington and set me the task of recreating it in someway. Since the actual Wellington is pastry, I can't eat that being gluten free, and it makes me very sad to make yummy dinners for us both that I can't eat (obviously!!) so I decided to stuff a mushroom with the most delectable and 'meaty' filling I could conjure up!
This thick, creamy and filling soup not only tastes great, but is a great immune booster to help ward off those winter sniffles that are just around the corner, kindly provided by the inconsiderate sod who sneezed ON YOU on the bus (thanks dude!) Luckily for me I have THIS anti-sniffles-guard, so I'm just fine thanks! This garlic, onions, leeks and turmeric in this soup make it an anti-inflammatory super-force to be reckoned with. Interesting (or not) fact, I have not had a single cold since being vegan, so bang goes the theory of pale and sickly vegans withering away in a corner!! I'm sure there are many pale sickly vegans, (as there are many pale and sickly omnivores) and that's because they probably just eat bread and chips, and, well... who is going to be strong and healthy on that?!
Here is a deliciously simple one to brighten up your mornings! A light, tasty yet very filling breakfast bowl of overnight oats, made lovingly with lucuma and cinnamon to sweeten your world up a little. Packed with health, Lucuma powder is made from the subtropical fruit of the Pouteria lucuma tree, which is native to Peru, Chile and Equador, and provides 14 essential trace elements, including a considerable amount of potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It has a caramel-like flavour and is a great healthy way to naturally sweeten and flavour your dishes without raising your blood sugar levels. Added to the dish are chia seeds which will keep you full and hydrated. They contain calcium and phosphorous which promote bone health, fibre which promotes digestive health, omega 3 to reduce inflammation. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. They are high in protein and regulate insulin levels. So..... can you imagine a better way to start your day?!
So autumn is here but we are lucky that it seems to be a rather balmy one. Good news for me since I am almost allergic to the cold (take me back to the tropics of Thailand, please!!) It's not quite ready for hearty plates of steaming hot comfort food yet, so today I decided to skip the 'winter warmer' and instead go light and energising instead. This is what I created, a satisfying plate of decadently delicious salad with a creamy and tangy dressing. Yum. I give it a big thumbs up so I thought I'd share my creation with you, in an optimistic wish that this warm weather continues!!
Olives. I love them. Always have. I know there are many people out there who shudder at the mere thought of them. My boyfriend was one of those people when we first met, he had an almost passionate hatred towards them, but tastes change you know!! Now he is his happiest when piling olives into his mouth. He even hi-fived his best mate about Kalamata olives on a drunken night out. Now the implications are deeper with this, as it means he is now so passionate about olives that he drunkenly and excitedly talks about them on a night out. Ridiculous? Probably. A drunken buffoon? Maybe. A passionate olive zealot? Most definitely!! See? Tastes do change!
Some days I just wake up hungry. You know, really hungry. Eat the contents of the fridge and still be hungry, hungry. You know the sort, when you start to think you may have worms or something. Chances are you don't have worms, just need an extra boost of energy that sustains you instead of quick sugary fixes that leave you in more of a mess than when you started. When I get this hungry it usually lasts a good couple of days, so chances are I already know I'm going to be hungry in the morning. For breakfast I usually have a smoothie, packed with with at least 2 bananas (sometimes 3 or 4) with some superfood powders (wheatgrass, spirulina, raw cacao, chlorella, lucuma, baobab, maca, chia seeds.....take your pick!) and iced green tea for a little boost of caffeine. There are some days though when just a smoothie doesn't quite cut it, so that's when overnight oats come in.
***TREAT ALERT***TREAT ALERT***TREAT ALERT***TREAT ALERT***TREAT ALERT***TREAT ALERT***TREAT ALERT***
Oh yes, you'd better believe it. To me these are the definition of a treat. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so usually my treats are of the crunchy savoury variety, and what better than a savoury snack that packs a punch of protein?! Nothing is better. These are the real deal and I've already cooked them twice this week.......well......y'know, it's cold now, a girl's gotta treat herself!! These are based on a recipe by Bryant Terry, however I've changed them around a bit and added in new flavours. I was particularly excited with these as it is a completely new way for me to cook beans, and considering my boyfriend and I smashed through the first lot I made in about 5 minutes, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Well, it's in the fritter!
I bloody love sushi! It's been one of my very favourite foods since I first tasted it years and years ago. There is something about stuffing my face with little savoury bite sized chunks of loveliness that I can just never resist. Another great thing about it is that it is so easy to veganize it. Most people think that sushi means raw fish, however I believe it actually means 'with rice,' so really in some respects this isn't really sushi. That's because I made this lot with quinoa!
Bring on the mezze!! It's summer, it's sunny, time for a picnic! My very favourite way of eating is being able to pick at lots of different dishes of salads, dips, bites etc, so I bring you this: The ultimate summer mezze - healthy style! If you are going to a BBQ and want to bring something, try these simple recipes that really create the 'wow factor' when it comes to taste.
So next time you go to a picnic or BBQ and people ask what the hell a gluten free vegan eats, stuff your face with this lot and see everyone else's mouths water!
Oh no she didn't! OH YES I DID!!! These are so decadent my mum called them borderline pornographic! You know those times when you want something sweet and naughty tasting, but still want to be healthy? Yeah....these are for you then. They are super easy to make and you don't need any special equipment to do so (apart from a freezer, you'll need one of those.)
Yum. Take one...no go on...help yourself. Take a handful. I insist! If you, like me have a borderline obsession with salty crunchy savoury snacks then you'll dig these. Chickpeas are so versatile, they're great. From salads to dips to crunchy snacks, I urge you to embrace chickpeas in all their glory! They pack a protein punch, 1 cup of chickpeas contain a whopping 12g of protein, which will quieten down those sceptics who quiz you on how you possible get enough protein on a vegan diet (we've all met them.) You can make these with just salt, or any seasoning you want. I chose Middle-Eastern style because I found some Za'atar in the cupboard (Za'atar is a mix of herbs from the eastern Mediterranean usually made from thyme, oregano and marjoram, with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and salt.)
Are you sick of buying ridiculously expensive granola that is laden with sugar and odd chemicals, and only has about 6 portions per box? Yeah... I was too. That's why I made THIS! It is super easy to make, super filling, super energising and most importantly: It's really, really yummy!! The first batch I made lasted less than two days due to the yumminess.
Once you try this I promise you won't go back to the shop bought type. I urge you, give it a go, you WILL love it!
So I've eaten this about 5 times in the last two weeks. I invented it when I decided to cook something for my Mum, who wasn't feeling too well. She wanted something fresh, tasty, light and nutritious, so this was my creation. I've spent so long playing with Asian and Middle Eastern flavours that it was an exciting change for me to 'think' in Italian! It looks great, it tastes great and is super cost efficient as it works out to about £3 per head, if not less. I called it Italian Stack because that's the first name that came to my head, but I should have called it Rocky, as it's a stacked Italian!! (Bad joke over now!)
This weekend was great! It was the Hen Do (Bachelorette party) for one of my very dearest friends Natalie. We hired a boat in the day and braved the freak rainstorm with smiles on our faces and Bollywood music playing! There was food-a-plenty provided, however knowing that there would be nothing I could eat, and not wanting to be a pain in the arse to anyone involved, I decided to bring my own gluten free vegan feast. I whipped up about six or seven dishes and brought them along with me. As always with vegan food, people are very interested in what you are eating and keen to sample it. I had made loads so was very happy for people to help themselves. The next morning Natalie texted me to ask me to put a couple of the recipes on this blog, as people were raving about the food. Thanks ravers!! My secrets are revealed here, the biggest secret being that it is SO EASY to cook amazing, tasty, filling vegan food that is low fat and super healthy to boot! So here you go....
So I'm back. I had the best 9 weeks of my life in Asia (Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam. We meant to go to Laos but ran out of time!) and am aching to go back. Of all the places we went, it was Northern Thailand that was my very favourite. It felt like a spiritual home and I miss Chiang Mai with all my heart!! Before I went away I assumed that I would lose lots of weight and waste away into nothingness, being a gluten free vegan and all. As it happened that wasn't the case at all. We ate like KINGS there! Happy Cow was our best friend, and being that much of Asia is Buddhist, there were tons of vegan restaurants around, and not just for tourists/westerners. We found many local vegan restaurants, where there was no menu or English spoken, and it was a case of pointing and smiling at what you wanted piled onto your massive portion of rice. The food was really incredible and we didn't feel like we were going without at all, which was totally unexpected! I did two cooking classes while I was out there, one in Vietnam and one in Thailand, and now I am back and armed with some great new recipes to share with you! Here are a few to drool over. Apologies for the photography, my camera lens got a bit dirty out there!
The sun is out!!! Finally! It's been a looooooooooong winter, and even though it's still not that warm (this is England after all) at least there is some sun. Plus, I've just booked my flights to spend two whole months travelling around SE Asia, starting in Thailand, then Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. So I'll getting LOTS more sunshine!! So here is my sunshine inspired salad with a tahini-mustard dressing
So this is what I had for lunch. Since the coconut and cinnamon muffins, I have still not been shopping, so am in the lazy process of creating meals from whatever I can find in my cupboards or at the back of the fridge. One thing I do always have a full stock of however, is a large collection of spices, herbs and seasonings. I really have everything, from Chinese and Thai spices, to every Indian spice you can think of. Inbetween all of those, I have Jamaican seasonings, Japanese, French, Italian....you get the picture. I also have a separate section for sweeter spices such as the obligatory cinnamon, nutmet, allspice, cloves etc. Then in the other cupboard I have the health boosting goodies, so the wheatgrass, spirulina, hemp protein, maca, chia seeds, lucuma, raw cacao powder, cacao nibs, milled flaxseed, seeds and nuts etc. What is the point in me telling you all of this? Well, it's to show that as long as you have all the right seasonings, herbs, spices and whatnot, you can create lush vegan feasts with very few ingredients. This is what I have been doing for the last couple of lazy days, as I gradually run out of food in the house. As you can see, I have not gone hungry in the slightest!! With a bit of imagination and a store cupboard full of herbs and spices, I have created this Moroccan inspired chickpea and lentil stew, and it's mighty good!
I just made these. Like, literally just now. You can tell that because the chocolate drizzle hasn't even set properly which you can see from the photo. I couldn't wait for it to set. The reason I couldn't wait for it to set is because I have now scoffed 4 of them, and I didn't want to have to wait any longer before I stuffed my face!! I usually have far more patience than that. Bad Leah. Anyway, the reason I have just eaten 4 in a row is because they are REALLY GOOD!!
I had a hankering for something sweet. Thought about what ingredients I had in the house (not an awful lot at the moment, I've been far too lazy to go shopping) and conjured up a coconut based dream in my head!! Being gluten free, I used a mixture of coconut flour and brown rice flour for these, and what did I bind them with? That's right! My old trusty friend the banana!! Well, two bananas to be more exact. I had no idea how they were going to turn out, but from the smells coming from the oven, I knew something magical was happening.
I'm always trying to make my meals healthier. If I can, I will. For example I will try to grill or bake things instead of frying. Or if I have a sweet craving I will try to satisfy it with fruit (medjool dates are AMAZING for satisfying a sweet tooth) instead of reaching for the (vegan) chocolate. I'm also quite good to live with (some may dispute this!) and here is my reasoning: I try to compensate for my ridiculous untidiness by cooking awesome feasts for my loved ones on a regular basis. That is a lot easier for me to do than becoming a tidy person although I am trying to be more tidy (that's a lie, I'm not at all!!! Mwahh hahaaaaa!) Anyway...... my point is that if I can make something even healthier whilst keeping the tastiness then I will. So this is why it occured to me a while back when I was creating an Indian feast to make Pilau Quinoa instead of rice.
I am so excited about this one. This one changes EVERYTHING!! Ok, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but still, I was well happy about it!
So the star of the day is....... cauliflower! I've always like cauliflower since childhood, when my Nan used to serve us raw cauliflower with dip before meals. I've also LOVED sushi since the first ever taste. So this.....this is a lovechild of the two. The idea started when I was trying to make a cauliflower crust pizza. It failed. I'm still in the process of trying to find a gluten free vegan pizza. I shall not be defeated. Anyway, I digress, part of the process is to is bung a cauliflower into a food processor and chop the living hell out of it. It was at this point that I thought the cauliflower had a very similar texture to rice, and would probably make much nicer sushi than pizza crust. I was right, however that night I hadn't listened to my heart. I went with the pizza and (because it was a failure) ended up eating sliced mushrooms and carrots for dinner. Not my best attempt to change the perception of vegans just eating carrot sticks eh? Well, this should change all that. This is a taste sensation!!!
You know when you get the hankering for something sweet? You want it to fill a hunger hole and keep yourself going until lunch or dinner? Sweets just don't cut it. They give you that instant rush and then you slump further than you were originally! An apple is great but doesn't always fill you up enough. You're in the mood for a biscuit/cookie type snack, but you don't want to feel guilty afterwards? Well, this is right up your street then!
One of the (many) great things about these is that they don't require any special equipment to make them, which makes them super easy and fuss free to whip up. As long as you have bananas and oats then you can pretty much throw in anything else you like, and 20 minutes later you have a batch of the most deliciously chewy energy boosting bites EVER!
Ooooooh yeeeeaaaah!! I don't know about you, but once I start eating dips I just can't stop. There are the every day hummus', the tangy salsas.....and then there is the Queen of all dips - the smoky, creamy, ridiculously addictive Baba Ganoush. Man it's good, whether with chips, bread or raw crudites, once it's made it's unlikely that it will last longer than 20 minutes. Especially with me around!!
So there I was the other day, had 2 beautiful aubergines (eggplants) in the fridge and the thought struck me - BABA GANOUSH!!!! I love Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food so knew the exact flavour and texture that I wanted, so here it is! My version of Baba Ganoush (it's awesome by the way!)