Something fruity, Something sweet

Rum raisin ice cream

Rum

This is delicious and super easy to make with only four ingredients. There’s no churning needed and it makes a creamy, soft-scoop ice cream. It’s based on Nigela Lawson’s no-churn ice cream recipes. It’s certainly not very healthy, but makes a nice treat.

Start by soaking 150g raisin in 150ml of spiced rum for a couple hours. Then put a can of condensed milk (about 380g) and 600ml of whipping cream in a large bowl or a stand mixer and whip them together until they become fluffy and begin to stiffen. This makes the ice cream light which means it does not need churning as it freezes. Then gently fold in the raisins and rum and put in an airtight container and freeze. The rum will prevent the ice cream freezing too hard so it can be scooped straight from the freezer. Enjoy!

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Baking, Edible gifts, Something sweet

Double choc & beetroot cookies

cookies

These are inspired by the healthy chocolate beetroot and cake so I guess that they are healthy too. I used coconut oil rather than olive oil in the cookies. They make a really rich, soft cookie. This will make about a dozen large cookies.

So what do you need?

  • 120ml coconut oil
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 120-150g soft brown sugar (depending on how sweet your tooth is)
  • 150g raw beetroot
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 150g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4tsp. sea salt
  • 50g dark chocolate chips

So what do you do?

Start by heating your oven to 175 degrees C (350 F). First peel and grate the beetroot. Then in a bowl, or a food mixer, mix together the oil egg and sugar, add the beetroot and mix it in then add all the dry ingredients. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips. This will make a thick sticky dough.

Then line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and use a spoon to form balls of the dough and place them on the baking sheet leaving a space between them. Slightly press the balls down with the back of the spoon. Put them in the oven for 12 -15 minutes until they have set. It’s okay if they are still a bit soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet then move onto a wire rack to cool completely.

 

 

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Snacks

Beetroot & bean spread

Beet spread

This is a yummy, vibrant spread / dip that’s quick to make. It’s has an earthy flavor and is nice and healthy.

Start by dry roasting 1 tsp. cumin seeds in a frying pan, then put them aside.  Chop a small onion and a stalk of celery and fry them in a couple of tbsp. olive oil, as they begin cooking add 3-4 clove of garlic. While they are all softening peel and grate a large beetroot (about 350 – 400g) then grate it coarsely. Add the beetroot to the frying pan and 1/2 tsp. salt. Fry for a couple of minutes until the beetroot begins to soften.

Meanwhile strain and rinse a can of beans (red kidney or mixed beans). Then add 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika and half the cumin seeds to the veggies and turn off the heat.  Put the veggies and the beans in a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth paste. Scoop out into a bowl and allow to coo. To serve drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining cumin seeds and a little smoked paprika.

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Baking, Brunch, The Basics

Granola

Granola

I’m trying to eat more fruit and healthier breakfasts so have started making batches of granola to eat with fresh fruit and homemade yoghurt in the mornings. Granola isn’t as healthy as muesli as it has some oil and sweetener in it but I do like the crunch and if you make your own you can control how sweet it is and add whatever healthy extras you like.

I start by preheating the oven to about 175 degrees C or 350F. Then I put 500g rolled oats and 200g – 250g of mixed nuts and seeds into a large roasting tin, here I used cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. I start these off first in the oven and bake them for about 10 minutes. Then to this I add about 50ml of coconut oil, 120ml of honey (if you want a sweeter version add some a bit more honey) a pinch of salt and a few grating of nutmeg (you can use cinnamon if you prefer) and mix everything together and put it back in the oven. After about 10 mins. I take it out and stir it and add about 150g of dried fruit, here I used dried mango and sultanas. I put it back for about 10 minutes checking and stirring it after 5 mins. The oats should be golden brown. Take it out of the oven and allow to cool and then store in an airtight container.

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Soups

Roasted cauliflower and carrot soup

soup

This is a hearty and creamy vegan soup using seasonal cauliflowers. This will make 4 servings.

So what do you need?

  • a medium-sized cauliflower
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • an onion
  • 4 / 5 cloves of garlic
  • a tsp. cumin seeds
  • a tsp. coriander seeds
  • a tsp. turmeric
  • a tsp. salt
  • 2 / 3 dried chillies
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 700ml – 1 liter of vegetable stock
  • 150ml coconut milk
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander

So what do you do?

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C / 400 F. Peel and chop the carrots into chunks and put them in a baking tray, add the cauliflower broken into florets and chop the onion into quarters and add it along with the garlic cloves, still in their skins. Grind the coriander seeds and add them along with the other spices, the oil, and half the salt. Mix everything together and then roast in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, turn them a couple of times, until the veggies are cooked and start to brown. Then allow to cool a bit and squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins and remove the chillies (you can keep some of them in if you want it spicy).

Then either put all the veggies along with about 700ml of stock, the coconut milk and a small handful of fresh coriander in a liquidizer and blend until smooth, or put everything in a saucepan and use a hand-held blender. The soup should be nice and thick, you can add more stock to get the consistency you prefer. taste and add more salt if necessary. Heat through and serve garnished with coriander leaves and the chillies.

 

 

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Baking, Veggie mains

Chestnut, pumpkin and leek stuffing

stuffing

This is a festive stuffing that can easily be made vegan a great option for veggies at Christmas or Thanksgiving. Just make sure the meat eaters don’t eat it all before you get a look in! This will make 1 large baking dish approximately 30 x 20 cms.

So what do you need?

  • 1 baguette (a day old one is great)
  • 400g pre-cooked chestnuts
  • 400g pumpkin fesh
  • 200g leeks
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • about 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 250-300 ml veggie stock
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • a few springs of thyme
  • a few sage leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • butter (optional)

So what do you do?

Start by heating your oven to 175 degrees C / 350F. Peel and deseed your pumpkin and chop 400g of the flesh into cubes about 2 cms in size. crush a couple of cloves of garlic and then put the pumpkin, garlic a tbsp. of olive oil an a pinch of salt an a good grind of pepper into a baking and give it a mix and roast the pumpkin for about 15 mins in the oven until it starts to soften. Meanwhile chop the bread into cubes about 2cms and put in a large mixing bowl. Slice the leek and lightly steam it for a few minutes then add to the bowl. Break the chestnuts roughly into halves and add to the bowl. Crush the remaining garlic with about 1/2 tsp. salt and add this to the bowl with some ground pepper and a good grating of nutmeg, about a third of a nut, and the chopped herbs then add in the roasted pumpkin and pour over a good amount of olive oil and mix everything together. The add the stock, with the marmite dissolved in it, which will be absorbed by the break and make the stuffing soft. Then spread the stuffing in a greased baking dish and grate a little more nutmeg on the top and either drizzle over a bit more olive oil or put small bits of butter over the top. Put back in the oven and bake for about half an hour until the top turn crisp and golden.

 

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Thai Food, Veggie sides

Yam Tua Plu wing bean salad

yam tua plu

This ‘Yam’, or Thai spicy salad, is very similar to the banana flower salad the eggs are optional and obviously not for vegans. I really enjoy these yams made with chilli paste and coconut milk as they are less Next make the dressing, for this in a saucepan mix together about 1tbsp of palm sugar, 1 -2 tbsp of vegetarian Thai chilli paste, 2-3tbsp of light soy sauce about 5-6 tbsp of coconut milk and warm these up until they all combine. than the standard yams that are made with fresh chillis.

So what do you need?

  • 200g wing beans
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 -3 dried chillies
  • vegetable oil
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • a lime
  • 2-3 tbsp. peanuts
  • 75ml coconut milk
  • light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. veggie chilli paste
  • some lettuce leaves
  • some coriander

So what do you do?

First steam the wing beans for a few minutes and then put them in a bowl of iced water. While they are steaming dry roast the peanuts in a pan and then leave them to cool. Next peel and finely slice half of the shallots and heat some vegetable oil in a wok and fry them until brown and crisp and put to one side, quickly fry the chillis too.

To make the dressing heat up the coconut milk in a saucepan and then mix in about 1tbsp of palm sugar, 1 -2 tbsp of vegetarian Thai chilli paste, 1-2 tbsp of light soy mix until they all combine and turn of the heat and squeeze in a coupe of tbsp. of lime juice. Taste the sauce it should be a balance between sweet, spicy and sour. You can adjust it to your taste. Crush the peanuts in a pestle and mortar and add them to the sauce.

Then drain the wing beans and slice them into  slices about 3-5 mm thick, they will resemble stars, and put them in a bowl, add the carrot and slice the remaining shallots and cut the tomatoes into quarters and add them. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix everything together. To get any remaining dressing out of the saucepan add a little water and then pour this into the bowl too, you want to make sure you have enough sauce / dressing on the salad.

To assemble the salad put some lettuce leaves on a plate and then spoon the salad over them pouring on any extra dressing. You can add the hard boiled eggs to the plate if you are using them. Then sprinkle over the fried shallots and garnish with some coriander leaves and the fried chillis.  Anyone who likes extra spice can crumble some of the chilli over their salad.

 

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