Month: May 2015

Yesterday I was doing a clear out of one of our food cupboards and I found about seven jars of nut butters. Shameful.

I also found a tub of cold pressed cacao butter and as a chocolate addict you can probably guess what happened next. You can of course use regular chocolate if you don’t want to make your own – just melt it on a double boiler and pour that into the muffin cases.



You can obviously sub any kind of nut butter for almond – I think cashew would be delicious! Feel free to top them with anything you like as well – shredded coconut, goji berries, all the magical stuff like that.

I’m using regular sized muffin cases but I think mini versions of these would be so cute!

Just a warning – because of the cacao butter and coconut oil these melt incredibly fast – so shove them into your mouth quick. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 100g cacao butter
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 4 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 2-4 tbsp maple syrup or liquid sweetener, depending on how sweet you like it
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 40g nut butter of your choice – I used almond
  • Hemp seeds, to top
  • Cacao nibs, to top

  1. Melt the cacao butter. Place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water and add the cacao. Stir until melted. Add the cacao powder and stir until combined.
  2. Add the maple syrup, maca, vanilla and salt. Taste, adding more maple syrup if desired.
  3. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases and spoon 1 tbsp of chocolate into each one.
  4. Set in the fridge to harden, about 20 minutes.
  5. Once hardened, using a teaspoon measure add 1 tsp of almond butter on top of the chocolate and smooth it out.
  6. Spoon more chocolate over the top of the almond butter, sprinkle on the hemp seeds or cacao nibs.
  7. Put the almond butter cups into the fridge to harden. Once hardened, remove them from the muffin tray and store in an airtight container to keep fresh.



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This is my 100th blog post! How crazy is that? I had planned to make something special but sometimes you just need dinner…

This recipe is inspired by my good friend Eleeshia who sent me a burger link on Pinterest last week and said I should make some burgers for the blog. She was right. No self respecting food blogger doesn’t have a burger recipe. How did I go 100 posts without one?

Coincidentally today is also Vegan Burger Day!



For all you aquafaba freaks out there this is a great way to use up your chickpeas, I used the ones leftover from making my Bakewell tart ice cream in this recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can of chickpeas (about 240g drained)
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 140g butternut squash, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 350f. Heat a pan of water on a high heat until boiling and add the butternut squash. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until a knife slides in easily. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add the millet to a saucepan, cover with 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil, cover and turn off the heat. Leave for 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
  3. In a food processor, add the chickpeas, garlic, lemon and salt. Pulse on high until the chickpeas are broken down but not completely smooth.
  4. Add the butternut squash and pulse again until incorporated.
  5. In a bowl add the cooked millet, oats, chickpea squash mixture, paprika, dill and olive oil. Using a spoon stir thoroughly until everything is well mixed.
  6. Using your hands, scoop up the mixture and form patties. Place each patty on a lined baking tray. Repeat with the remaining mixture. I ended up with 7 patties.
  7. Bake the patties for 15-20 minutes or until crispy. If you wish them to be crispier, you can lightly fry them in olive oil for 3-4 minutes each side.
  8. Serve with your favourite vegan toppings and a good bowl of fries!



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Bakewell Tart is the queen of  the dessert world. The best kind comes from the village of Bakewell in Derbyshire. If you’re not familiar with the Bakewell Tart, it’s a shortcrust pastry filled with jam (jelly to the Americans!) and covered in an almond sponge. It’s absolutely delicious.

Since the success of my Mint Choc chip no churn ice cream I was daydreaming all about new ice cream flavours and came up with this one. An almond rich ice cream base, dotted with roasted cherries and cookie dough pieces. H-E-A-V-E-N.



Grab a spoon and let’s go!

INGREDIENTS

For the almond ice cream base

  • 250ml coconut cream
  • 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 can of chickpeas, liquid drained off (just shy of 1 cup)
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

For the roasted cherries

  • 250g cherries, pitted and cut into halves

For the cookie dough

  • 50g vegan butter, softened
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350f. Halve and pit the cherries. Spread on a baking tray and roast for 15-20 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.
  2. Next make the cookie dough, in a bowl beat together the butter and sugar. Sift in the flour and salt.  Stir until fully combined. Set aside.
  3. Make the cashew cream. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews then add them to the blender. Add 1 cup water and blend on high until completely smooth. Set aside.
  4. Make the almond coconut whip. Beat the coconut cream in a stand mixer then add the almond  extract. Pour in the cashew cream and beat again until fully incorporated. Pour into a container and set aside.
  5. Make the vegan meringue. Clean the mixer bowl. Pour the chickpea brine into a saucepan and reduce on a medium heat for 5 minutes. You should end up with just shy of 3/4 of a cup of liquid. Add chickpea brine to the mixer bowl. Beat on high with the balloon whisk attachment for 5-8 minutes.
  6. Once the soft peaks appear, add the cream of tartar. Beat for another 5 minutes, then slowly start adding the sugar bit by bit.
  7. Whilst the meringue is whipping, using your hands break off finger nail sizes of the cookie dough and set aside.
  8. Once the meringue has formed stiff peaks, immediately fold in the cashew coconut cream mixture. It will deflate by almost half. Stir in the roasted cherries and cookie dough.
  9. Pour the ice cream mixture into a container and place in the freezer for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Remove from the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving.



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Last week I won a pair of tickets to Foodies Festival in Syon Park from the lovely people at Miso Tasty.

My friend Makeda who is a freelance photographer kindly offered to drive down there so on Sunday we set off for Brentford! It was really sunny and the festival was outside so that made for a really pleasant day.



I was obviously on the lookout for vegan goodies but was also aware that unlike my previous festival experiences there would be a lot I would have to decline or just not even look at. There was a lot of alcohol available – I don’t drink at all but if you were into beer, wine, gin and pimms it would definitely be a good event to go to! Even so I was pleasantly surprised and I’ll detail some of the goodies I found below as well as some general photographs I took! I’ll try to provide website or social media info for each company below the photos.


Makeda sampling some Cidre elderflower flavour.

Little Pimms teapot which I thought was so cute!

Vita CoCo
On Twitter @vitacoco
I’ve been on the search for a coconut water that I actually like. In the past I tried a flavoured version and just couldn’t get on with it. I tried the natural version and it was pretty good! They were also sampling their new coconut oil.

Me enjoying my coconut by Makeda!

After VitaCoCo we found a stand selling coconut water fresh from the coconut so Makeda bought one for us to share! I’m now a big fan of fresh coconut water. Later we brought our coconut back and had it split open so we could eat the flesh inside.

This next part was probably the most exciting part of the day for me. We stopped by Cocoa Feliz, a chocolate stall. Makeda asked the man if anything was “vegan proof” and we were told “EVERYTHING!”. So naturally I was like “whaaaaaaaaat?” and the man explained that they were both vegan! We had a lovely little chat and I bought a box of 12 chocolates. I was totally digging on their vegan milk chocolate Millennium Falcons too.

Cocoa Feliz are on Twitter @cocoafeliz

 I confess that I have no idea what this stall was called. I was just too excited to spot the vegan cake! I bought the vegan layer cake and Makeda got some Jamaican rum cake. Trying the cake later on…I can see why it was the only vegan cake. I only ate the buttercream in the end. Disappointing!

Truly Simple Foods
More vegan friendly food! Truly Simple Foods were selling a bunch of jarred sauces, spice rubs and concentrates. I tried their Coconut Curry and Spinach on a cracker and it tasted great. I will definitely be looking out for them in the future.

We obviously had to stop by Miso Tasty and say hello and thank you for our tickets! Makeda tried some miso soup and liked it so much she ended up buying a couple of boxes. Miso Tasty is a staple of my work lunches at the moment so it was nice to share how delicious they are with someone else!



You can find Miso Tasty on Twitter: @misotasty

Next we hit up Supernatural for some vegan juice and smoothie goodness. I went for the Fibre Boost, a smoothie of avocado, apple, lemon and spinach which was delicious. Green smoothies can sometimes be grainy or lumpy but this was beautifully smooth.

You can find Supernatural on Twitter: @sprntrlUK and in Canary Wharf underground station.

After lunch we decided to call it a day and head back home! We both really enjoyed our day in the sun.

 


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You may notice the blog looks slightly different! That’s because I am now the proud owner of a self hosted blog. I decided to migrate away from a wordpress.com based site to a wordpress.org site as it will give me much more freedom of creativity. I’ve already added in a few things I wasn’t able to before.

Since it was so technical and coding really isn’t my forte there may be some typos or broken links or the like. It would be a great help to me if you would let me know if you find any.

Because of the migration, most of my subscribers are now missing so I implore you if you were subscribed, please resubscribe.

That’s all for now. I have a really great ice cream recipe in the works for next week which I think you’ll love!

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It’s been a really long time since I wrote a restaurant review. Probably way back during Vegan MoFo! I think its mostly because I’ve been going to the same old favourites recently.

My friend and I decided to try out Grainstore in Kings Cross last night. Their menu has a few things for vegans that are marked but I was encouraged by their Twitter staff to enquire about more options with our server on the night.

We arrived at Grainstore fairly early around 5:20 and were told that dinner service didn’t start until 6pm but we were welcome to sit in the bar until it began. A fresh mint tea and a bit of a chat later, it was 6pm and we were seated almost instantly. Everyone was very friendly and smiley! As someone who works in front facing customer service, I appreciate smiles so much!

Our server was absolutely lovely. As someone who is slightly socially awkward, I find it hard to bring attention to the fact that I am vegan as it puts me in the spot light. However, asking our server about the vegan options was a breeze – she pointed out all the things that were suitable and explained what they would sub or take away.

The menu. Some vegan options are clearly marked.

Focaccia with Olive oil and Dukkah
Our starter. The bread was light and airy, the olive oil had a great flavour and paired really well with the dukkah. You can’t really go wrong with bread and oil!

Sprouting seeds & beans, miso aubergine & potato wafer
This dish was made vegan for me by removing the crispy chicken skin. The miso aubergine was salty and smokey and I loved the crunch of the mixed sprouted seeds! I also thought this dish looked really beautiful.

Garlic Wilted Spinach
This was one of the vegan marked dishes on the menu. I absolutely love spinach and I could have eaten double the amount I had here. Just the right amount of garlic, so delicious!

Chips
I can’t bear a soggy chip! These were super crunchy, hot and tasty.

Coconut & Kaffir lime green tapioca, sweet potato, banana crisp
This was the marked vegan dessert on the menu so I obviously had to try it. I think it’s part of the vegan covenant that when there’s a vegan dessert you have to order it. Our server also informed me that I could eat the sorbets – I was very tempted by the peach and passion fruit flavours! This tapioca is very light and refreshing, the taste of the lime leaves comes through well but not in an overpowering chemical way. The banana crisp I admit I left behind. I still haven’t quite gotten to grips with eating bananas!

One thing that I found slightly confusing about the Grainstore was their drinks menu. I don’t drink alcohol at all so I’m always looking for soft drinks. I couldn’t really find them on the menu and ended up having to ask if they had any. We both ended up with really delicious tasting apple juices so I’m glad I asked!

The final icing on the cake of our experience of the wonderful customer service at the Grainstore was when we came to pay the bill. Earlier on in the meal I had asked for my sprouted beans to come as a main but it had arrived much earlier than my friend’s food…so I ended up waiting for hers to arrive. This wasn’t even remotely a problem because it was a salad but our server decided to take both desserts off our bill as an apology for bringing out my food too early! I thought that was incredibly generous!

I’ll definitely be back at Grainstore in the near future, there’s plenty more vegan things to try on the menu!

You can find Grainstore at

Granary Square
1-3 Stable Street
King’s Cross
London N1C 4AB

020 7324 4466

Online @ Grainstore.com

On Twitter and Instagram @GrainstoreKX
and on Facebook here

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A little treat I made on a Sunday afternoon.



INGREDIENTS
Adapted and veganised from Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard

  • 250g wholewheat spelt flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 40g vegan butter, softened
  • 25g strawberries cut into bite size pieces
  • 25g blueberries
  • 50g sultanas
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water)
  • 75ml almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 425f. First, prepare the flax egg. Mix the flax seed with the water in a small bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to thicken.
  2. Prepare the vegan buttermilk mixture, in a jug combine the almond milk and vinegar then set aside.
  3. In a bowl sift together the spelt flour, baking soda and sugar. Add in the softened butter. Using your hands, rub the mixture between your fingers until it resembles a fine soil.
  4. Add the flax egg to the almond milk mixture and beat with a fork until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Pour into the flour mixture and mix with a spoon until it comes together.
  5. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly for about 20 seconds. Using a rolling pin, roll out to about 5 cm thick. Cut out approximately 4-5 cm rounds using a pastry cutter or upside down glass.
  6. Place on a non-stick or parchment lined baking tray making sure the scones are touching each other. Brush with a little vegan butter.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, rotating the tray once at 7 minutes. Serve warm with butter or a good jam. Yield: approximately 10 scones.



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Not owning an ice cream maker is the bane of my existence. There’s about 11 billion vegan ice cream pins and bookmarks I’ve saved. Unfortunately space is a premium in our house and I just can’t justify buying one. Recently, the brilliant collective that is “Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses!” on Facebook have been sharing their adventures in aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)  ice cream…so yesterday at work I was daydreaming all day about mixing whipped coconut cream with meringue. The result is pretty fantastic!



Let’s make some delicious creamy vegan ice cream! You don’t need an ice cream maker but you will need a stand mixer to whip it.

Note: I’ve been informed that the peppermint flavour is too strong so I recommend you start with 1/4 tsp and then increase if you want a mintier taste. I use the Sainsburys Coconut Cream that comes in a cardboard container – I can’t vouch for the whipping abilities of any other brand. If you find any that don’t work I’ll make a note of them here. 

INGREDIENTS

For the coconut whip

  • 250ml coconut cream (make sure its cream and not creamed coconut)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 3-5 drops green gel food colouring (or you can use a natural dye like spinach juice)

For the aquafaba meringue

  • 1 can of chickpeas, liquid drained off (about 1 cup of liquid)
  • 1 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

To assemble

  • 200g dark chocolate chips

  1. First make the mint coconut whip. In a stand mixer add the coconut cream and peppermint extract, 1/4 tsp at a time. Add another 1/4 tsp if you feel it’s too minty. Beat on high for about 5 minutes using the balloon whisk attachment.
  2. Once the coconut cream begins to whip add the food colouring. Whip again for another 3 minutes or until soft peaks appear. Scrape out into a container and set aside. Wipe out the mixer bowl.
  3. Next prepare the meringue, pour the chickpea brine into the bowl of the mixer and beat on high with the balloon whisk for 5-8 minutes.
  4. Once the soft peaks start to appear, add the cream of tartar. Keep whipping for another 5 minutes, adding the icing sugar in small amounts.
  5. Once the meringue has formed stiff peaks, fold in the mint coconut whip using a spatula. Carefully fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the ice cream into a container and immediately place in the freezer for minimum 8 hours, preferably overnight. Remove from the freezer 5 minutes before serving.

Note: I used chickpea brine that I had frozen and then defrosted in this recipe with great results. Remember to save your brine!


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Since the dawn of aquafaba and the vegan meringue bandwagon I’ve been using a lot of cans of chickpeas. Usually, I’m more bothered about the liquid than the chickpeas themselves. This weekend, I was doing some recipe testing using aquafaba as an egg replacer and ended up with a can of chickpeas that I had no use for.



Normally I would make Isa’s chickpea of the sea faux tuna salad but I had been thinking about protein rich work snacks and so the spiced roasted chickpea was born. You can use these as a salad topping (hello, protein crouton) or just eat them as a snack!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 350f. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, add the chickpeas and spices. Pour over the coconut oil and stir thoroughly until the chickpeas are well coated in spices and oil.
  3. Bake on a non-stick baking tray for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy, turning half way.
  4. Once cooled, store in an airtight container in the fridge.



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Last week I came across How Sweet Eat’s homemade condensed coconut milk and my mind was blown. I’ve adapted the recipe a little here, swapping out the regular sugar for light brown soft sugar which adds a lovely caramel note to to the milk. I’ve also added in 2 vanilla beans because I’m a total vanilla freak.

Afterwards I fancied a treat so I’ve whipped up a Superfood version of one of my favourites – hot chocolate!



I find with the condensed milk you don’t need any other sweetener but if you have a sweet tooth feel free to add in some extra maple syrup to the hot chocolate!

INGREDIENTS

For the vanilla condensed coconut milk
(Slightly adapted from How Sweet Eats)

  • 600ml full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp light soft brown sugar
  • 2 vanilla bean pods, split

For the Superfood hot chocolate

  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla condensed coconut milk
  • 2 tsps raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp maca root powder (I use Organic Burst)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

To make the condensed milk

  1. In a medium saucepan add the coconut milk, sugar and vanilla bean pods. Whisk together. Bring to the boil, boil for 3 minutes and then reduce to a simmer. (The milk will be a brown colour from the sugar, if you want a white milk, sub the brown for white sugar – however, you will lose the caramel notes.)
  2. Simmer the mixture for up to one hour, whisking every 5-7 minutes or whenever a skin forms on top. The milk is ready when it thickens or reduces by half. Mine only took around 30 minutes but I have an oven that runs very hot.
  3. Discard the vanilla bean pods. Transfer the condensed milk to a container and store in the fridge to cool.

To make the Superfood hot chocolate (makes 1 serving)

  1. Add the almond milk, vanilla condensed coconut milk, raw cacao, maca, cinnamon and salt to a saucepan. Whisk together.
  2. Bring to the boil, whisking constantly for 3 minutes or until all the cacao is incorporated.
  3. Remove from the heat and pour into your mug! Enjoy!



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