Category: How To

I’ve had an entire jar of sesame seeds since well, forever. The other day one of my good friends asked me if I had ever tried sesame milk…when someone asks me something like that I definitely have to try it (providing it’s vegan of course!).

So this one is for you my nut-free friends! I’m a bit of a freak for vanilla so I’ve used quite a bit of vanilla powder here – feel free to reduce it if you’re not so much of a fan!

The beautiful cups in the photos are made by Jono Smart.

INGREDIENTS

For the milk

  • 1 cup sesame seeds, soaked for 2-4 hours
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the latte

  • 1 shot espresso (I used this blend by Squaremile Coffee Roasters)
  • Sweetener to taste

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked sesame seeds. Add them to the blender.
  2. Add the 3 cups of water. Blend on high until smooth.
  3. Strain the milk through a nut milk bag into a large jug. Discard the sesame pulp. Rinse the blender.
  4. Pour the sesame milk back into the blender, add the vanilla powder, salt and maple syrup.
  5. Blend on high until everything is incorporated.
  6. Pour into a sealed container and store in the fridge.
  7. To make the latte, brew your espresso in your normal fashion. I use an Aeropress.
  8. If you do not own a milk steamer, add the milk to a saucepan and heat on medium until hot. You can either whisk or add the hot milk to a blender and blend for 30 seconds until frothy.
  9. Add the frothed milk to the espresso. Sweeten to taste!

 

 

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Recently I had my first taste of cold brew coffee. It was love at first sip. I don’t know why but cold brew doesn’t effect me the same way as normal coffee does – usually I get super anxious and have general feelings of death but with cold brew I feel like a slightly more caffeinated normal person! Which makes no sense because it supposedly has more caffeine. Whatever body, you do what you want.
The other good thing about cold brew is that it isn’t one of those watery iced coffees. You know when you go to a coffee shop and ask for an iced latte…then you see the barista chuck a bunch of ice on top of your hot coffee…all that water. No thanks.

I ended up searching all over the damn place for someone who sold bottled cold brew because I really needed to try it again to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. I managed to find it in a lovely little coffee place near where I work.

But a girl can’t be spending all her money on cold brew so I decided to make my own. I’m using a french press to make mine but you can just do it by straining it straight from your brewing container. Just make sure you strain it a couple of times!

Walnut eating spoon is from the talented Sophie of Grain and Knot

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup ground good quality coffee (I used this)
  • 36 oz cold water
  • French press
  • Nut milk bag or  sieve lined with coffee filters

  1. In your french press add the coffee and pour over the water. Stir with a spoon to make sure all the grounds are moistened.
  2. Put the french press lid on but don’t press down the plunger. Leave the cold brew at room temperature for 8-12 hours.
  3. When you are ready to strain, push down the plunger on your french press. Line a large jug with a nut milk bag or with a sieve lined with coffee filters. Slowly pour the cold brew into the jug.
  4. If your brew is clear and free of coffee grains, you can bottle it and store it in the fridge. If it is murky, repeat step 3 until it is clear.
  5. Serve cold with nut milk or add boiling water for a hot brew!

 

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I’ve wanted to make my own yogurt for a long, long time. Most of the vegan yogurts you see online are made from Thai young coconut meat – but I’m scared of trying to crack one of those babies open and I’ve never actually seen one in the shops…



I recommend using the Megaflora brand of probiotics for this. After you blend the cashews you MUST use glass and wood utensils and bowls! No more metal!  Metal will kill the nice friendly bacteria that are going to make the yogurt.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups of cashews, soaked for at least 8 hours
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Powder from 2 probiotic capsules
  • 2-3 tbsp Grade B maple syrup




  1. Soak the cashews in warm water for 8 hours overnight. If you are in a pinch, soak them in boiling water for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews. Add to the blender with the water and the maple syrup.
  3. Add the blended cashews to a glass bowl. Sprinkle the probiotic powder on top of the cashew mixture then stir in with a wooden spoon.
  4. Cover the bowl with muslin and leave it in a warm, dark place for 24 to 48 hours.
  5. After 24 hours try the yogurt, it should have a foamy texture and taste slightly tart. You can leave for another 24 hours if you like your yogurt a little tarter. At 48 hours the yogurt will have a strong sour taste.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.



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At the moment the fruit and veg man at my local tube station has a box of 2kg of cherries for £7. Obviously I couldn’t resist. But then came the problem of what to do with them all. I thought about dehydrating them but I couldn’t face the idea of how many trays I’d need to rotate.



So I decided to use 1kg to make jam! I set up my pitting station in front of Orange is the New Black and got to work. Whilst you are pitting the cherries, reserve the kernels from about two dozen – you will need the pectin in them later. I ended up with 3 large jars and one small jar.

INGREDIENTS
Adapted from Taste.com.au

  • 1kg of cherries, pitted
  • Two dozen cherry kernels wrapped in a muslin bundle
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 vanilla bean pods, split
  • 1kg sugar

  1. Preheat your oven to 200f. Wash your jars in hot soapy water then place them side down inside the oven. Heat in the oven for 10 minutes then turn off the heat and leave them inside until needed.
  2. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan add your cherries, using a fork or potato masher mash the fruit to break it up. Turn the heat to a medium low and add the lemon juice and vanilla.
  3. Cook for about 3 minutes then add the kernel bundle, turning the heat up to medium. Cook the fruit for 15 minutes until soft. Remove and discard the kernels and the vanilla.
  4. Add the sugar slowly, stirring all the time. Cook the jam for about 10 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved then bring it to a boil.
  5. Boil the jam for up to 25 minutes, checking to see whether it is set every 5 minutes. Place a saucer in the fridge. Spoon a little jam onto the saucer, return it to the fridge for a few minutes. Using your finger, drag it across the jam, if the jam puckers and wrinkles it is ready.
  6. Remove the jam from the heat. Using a metal spoon carefully scrape the white scum from the surface. This will stop your jam from becoming cloudy.
  7. Remove your jars from the oven and carefully ladle in the hot jam. Immediately seal with the lids and leave to cool completely. Store in a dark, cool place.



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It’s finally getting a little bit warmer here! I actually took off my jacket today. So it’s coming up to prime elderflower cordial weather. I recently noticed that our neighbour had an elderflower bush and the majority of the blooms were hanging over into our garden….so out came the telescopic hedge trimmer.



If you’re harvesting elderflowers in urban areas, make sure they haven’t been sprayed by any nasties. If you aren’t sure – leave them!

INGREDIENTS
Adapted from River Cottage

  • 10-15 elderflower heads
  • Peel of half of a grapefruit
  • Peel of half of a lemon
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 1.5 litres of boiling water
  • 1kg granulated sugar

  1. After you’ve havested your elderflowers, give them a very good rinse under running water to dislodge any bugs. Pick over the flowers to remove any dead or dry blooms.
  2. In a big pot add the flower heads, grapefruit peel and lemon peel. Pour over the boiling water, cover and leave to infuse for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
  3. The next morning, drain the infused liquid through a nut milk bag or double muslin and discard the elderflowers and peel.
  4. Pour the liquid back into the pan and add the lemon juice and sugar. Heat the pan on a low heat whilst the sugar dissolves then bring the heat up to medium to simmer the liquid.
  5. Cook for about 10 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Pour into sterilized glass bottles or jars, allow to cool then store in the fridge.



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If you’d told me last week I’d be blogging about making vegan meringue I would have told you to shut up. But lo! the impossible is possible.

And how is it possible? Because of CHICKPEAS! That’s right. This recipe is based on that slimey chickpea brine that you pour down the sink when you open a can of chickpeas. Insane, right? The whole vegan meringue party started when  someone on the aptly named What Fat Vegans Eat Facebook group posted about their recipe testing with chickpea water. This is a band wagon I wasn’t about to miss.

Science wise I have no idea how this works but I’m just happy it does. Some people have reported that their meringue tastes a little too “beany” using chickpeas so feel free to sub for any white bean if you prefer. The bean taste disappeared in baking for me.

I’ll probably be blogging a few more recipes using this technique in the near future.

In regards to chickpea meringue and all its wonders you can check out https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganMeringue/ or http://aquafaba.com to find out what other people are making!!!

INGREDIENTS

For the vegan chickpea meringue

  • 1 can of chickpeas, liquid drained off – my liquid came to just shy of 1 cup
  • 1 cup of icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 vanilla beans, scraped
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

For the coconut whip

  • 1  250ml carton coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  1. Preheat your oven to 200f/100c. Prepare your baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer or using a handheld mixer (beating by hand will NOT work here) (using the balloon whisk attachment) begin to beat the chickpea brine.
  3. Beat on medium until the mixture starts to resemble a white foam – my mixer took about 5 minutes but it all depends on the strength of your machine. Add in the cream of tartar.
  4. The meringue will start to form soft peaks. Next, add the sugar gradually.
  5. Once the sugar is incorporated add in the vanilla bean paste.
  6. Keep beating for an extra 5 minutes or until stiff peaks have formed in the meringue.
  7. Either spoon the meringue straight onto the parchment paper or pipe using a bag into a circle shape – making sure the edges are slightly higher. Form an indentation in the middle of each meringue using a spoon.
  8. Bake the meringues in the oven for 2 hours. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR BEFORE THE FIRST HOUR IS UP.
  9. Once the 2 hours are up, turn off the oven and leave the meringues to cool for half an hour.
  10. Whilst the meringue is cooling, prepare the coconut whip. In a mixer using the beater attachment whip the coconut cream and maple syrup until it forms soft peaks. Set aside.
  11. Remove from the oven and then peel them carefully away from the parchment paper. They should be fully dry and make a hollow sound when tapped.
  12. To assemble the pavlovas, spoon a little of the coconut whip into each indentation and top with raspberries.

The meringue should keep for a couple of days but will begin to become sticky to the touch after the first 24 hours or so.
Only add the coconut whip just before serving – any moisture coming into contact with the meringue will cause it to eventually collapse.

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Carrying on from my blueberry extravaganza (thanks 3lbs of blueberries) I have a juice for you! Antioxidants abound! I’m also going to show you how to make juice without a juicer. If you’re like me, you definitely don’t have enough space on the counter for another gadget and honestly who has the energy to lug it out of the cupboard every day?

I’m aware that this time of year everyone is feeling a little under the weather so I’ve packed as much vitamins into this juice as possible – vitamin B1, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, potassium and antioxidants!

All you need to make juicerless juice is a blender and a nut milk bag.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 2 clementines, peeled
  • 1 apple, cored and cut into chunks
  • A handful of green grapes
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Nut milk bag

  1. Rinse your blueberries and apple and peel the clementine. Core and chop the apple.
  2. Add all the fruit to the blender and squeeze in the lemon.
  3. Run the blender on high until all the fruit is combined. It will probably look like a thin speckley smoothie.
  4. Get a fairly big bowl, and line it with your nut milk bag. Pour in the juice mixture.
  5. Squeeze the liquid out into the bowl until only the pulp is left in the bag.
  6. Pour the now pulp-free juice into a glass and enjoy!

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If you follow along on Twitter you’ll know that my amazing fiance gifted me with a dehydrator this Christmas.  You’re also probably painfully aware that I’m now obsessed with dehydrating things. I’ve done brussel sprout leaves, parsnips, carrots, smoked garlic, elephant garlic, apples and blueberries since Christmas Day. It’s getting a bit serious.

I’ve also been experimenting with almonds. In my previous post for Roasted Almond Chocolate Milk I soaked and then roasted them. The soaking process is very important when consuming nuts as it helps to remove enzymes that make digestion difficult. The next step in improving digestion is to sprout your nuts. Luckily it’s an incredibly easy process.  I’ll detail that down below. However, if you don’t like the taste of raw nuts feel free to roast them here as well.

Two other things I feel I should mention before we get into the maple cinnamon goodness. I’ve recently taken the steps to give the blog a proper web address! So you can now find the blog at soydivisonblog.com

The other thing is sad! Becky spoke to me a little while before Christmas and has decided to take a back seat on the blog. She’s handing the reins over to me due to her busy work schedule. I can totally sympathise with her predicament, no one wants to get home at pm and then try to think of a blog post. Blogging is hard work and it takes a lot of time and energy. I’m hoping that she might be able to come back and do a couple of guest posts in the future but for now this is a one woman show!

INGREDIENTS

For the granola

  • 2 cups oats
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

For the sprouted almonds

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds – soaked 8 hours and then sprouted 8 hours.
  • Warm water
  • Salt

For the dehydrated fruit

  • 4 apples sliced into rings, with core removed, dipped in lemon juice – dehydrated for 4-6 hours at 65c
  • 200g blueberries, skin pierced – dehydrated for 8-12 hours at 65c

Note: If you don’t own a dehydrator you can use store bought dried fruit or dry your own in the oven using this handy guide. Sub the blueberries for raisins or sultanas if you can’t find them. Alternatively you can leave out the fruit and add fresh fruit!

  1. Start with the almonds. Add the almonds to a bowl, cover with  warm water and add a pinch of salt. Leave for at least 8 hours or overnight. The almonds will double in size.
  2. Rinse the almonds and return them to the bowl. Cover with a damp dish cloth and leave for another 8-12 hours. Each almond will form a little white spot at one end – this is the sprout!
  3. When ready to use, rinse the almonds once more and set aside.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350f. In a bowl mix the oats, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until combined. Spread the mixture out onto a baking tray.
  5. Bake the granola for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven once golden and leave to cool.
  7. Meanwhile, cut the apple rings into little chunks and combine with the blueberries in a large bowl. I chose to split my soaked almonds in half but you can leave them whole if you wish.
  8. Once the granola has cooled, stir together with the fruit and almonds.
  9. Serve with cold nut milk or yogurt.

 

 

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I used to hate anything sweet and sour, but out of nowhere woke up with new taste buds? That was sweet and sour addict week.
This is a great more natural take on that sticky Chinese takeaway favourite, no E numbers in sight! And it’s sneakily gluten free too.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb amount of fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons gluten free flour
  • 400ml pineapple juice
  • 200ml water (more or less depending on thickness preference)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 block of firm tofu, pressed for apprx 2 hours
  • Cornflower
  • Veg oil and butter for frying

METHOD

    1. Make the sauce. Cut the onion and red pepper into large rough chunks and add to a heated pan with 1 1/2 tablespoons of veg oil and a tablespoon of butter. Cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes until the veg has softened.
    Chop the red chilli finely and press the garlic and ginger into a press and add to the cooked veg. Cook on a low heat for a further 3 minutes.

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    Add 3 tablespoons of flower to the cooked mixture and mix to coat fully. This is the base to create sauce thickness.
    Pour in the pineapple juice and mix thoroughly, the juices will thicken. Keep on a low simmer for 3 minutes. Add the teaspoon of salt. Add the 200ml of water gradually over 3 more minutes whenever the sauce gets too thick. Add more or less depending on how you like the consistency. Check the flavour and add more salt etc if you feel it needs it. Sauce is done! Take off the heat.

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    2. Make your crispy tofu. Cut the pressed tofu into strips and coat fully in cornflower. In a pan add 4 tablespoons of veg oil and heat. Add the tofu and cook without touching for 3 minutes until crispy and coloured on one side. Flip and do the same for the other side.

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    3. Construct! Add whatever you like as a side- rice, noodles etc. I went for my favourite broccoli side.

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Becky xxx

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Back when I first went vegan I bought a tonne of random weird ingredients that I thought I might need…unshelled hemp hearts…nope. Still in the jar.

So in the spirit of my newbie vegan self  here’s my guide to my favourite vegan staples!

Nutritional Yeast aka Nooch

Nooch is  yellow, dry yeast flakes that taste CHEESY! It’s a god send to vegans. You can get nooch that is fortified with vitamin B12 (very helpful for vegans!)
Dump it on your pasta, make mac n cheese with it, it’s awesome.

Raw Cashews

Big fan of cashews. Sour cream? Use cashews. Nut milk? Use cashews. Alfredo sauce? Cashews.
Cashew cheese – yes. There’s not much cashews can’t do.  Just make sure before you use them you soak them to make them more digestible and make your tummy happy!

Peanut Butter

All praise the peanut gods. I recently only got into PB, I’m also a big fan of almond, cashew and hazelnut. PBJ sandwiches! Peanut satay sauce! It’s well known that Becky, my co-blogger in crime is a peanut butter obsessive and will put it on anything. If anyone ever asks you that stupid question “but where do you get your protein from?” tell them it’s from peanut butter.

Black Beans

I LOVE BLACK BEANS. They are the best beans in my opinion. Get your protein. I’m lazy however and all my beans are in cans.

Chickpeas

My other favourite. My diet is 20% hummus. You can also make Becky’s chickpea croutons with them or chickpea nuggets.

Miso

The Japanese fermented soy bean paste can add a distinctive umami flavour to any dish. It also makes a super quick soup snack!

Chia Seeds

You know those weird chia pet things? You could grow hair on a little clay sculpture of a man’s face? Those were chia seeds. Super food seeds! Add them to smoothies or use them as an egg replacer. Make our Matcha chia pudding!

Cacao Nibs

Cacao nibs are the unprocessed cacao. They have a bitter chocolate taste and a satisfying crunchy texture. They’re also considered a super food. I like mine sprinkled on top of granola or smoothies!

Maca Powder

Maca powder is  the powdered form of  a root from South America, known for its health benefits. I found it helped to boost my energy when included in my morning smoothie. This is a massive bonus for me because I am extremely caffeine sensitive! Some other benefits of maca can be read here.  It has a strong malt like flavour.

Spirulina Powder

Another super food for your smoothie! Spirulina is a blue-green algae and a complete protein with all the essential amino acids. It’s also rich in many other vitamins and minerals. It has a dark green colour and tastes and smells quite a bit like iron. However, once it’s blended into a smoothie it’s hard to detect.

Vital Wheat Gluten

Vital Wheat Gluten makes seitan! I like to try to keep some around for making chickpea nuggets and other magical things. It has the most “meat like” texture of any plant-based protein in my opinion.

 There are many more obvious ones that I’m not going to go into detail about such as oats, quinoa, brown rice and lentils.

I hope my small list has been somewhat helpful to some people exploring the world of veganism and all the weird products there are out there.

Sarah xxx

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