What can I say, where have the last two months gone? I have been neglecting my blog and I do apologise!
But I have been having so much fun fermenting stuff and working on my workshops, which are going from strength to strength! This is seriously addictive, I have been researching, buying books, joining Facebook Groups and experimenting like a mad scientist, in the kitchen! Well I actually am a scientist and some folks would say I am mad, especially my family, who have to live with me and all my weird concoctions!
My fridge is full of jars of ferments, sourdough starters, kefir, kefir cheese, whey and coconut kefir and numerous bottles of kombucha!
I have a scoby hotel with spare kombucha scobies ( you will have to come to a workshop to find out more about these amazing cultures, they look a bit like slimy aliens but they create the most delicious, probiotic, health affirming drink!
Kefir grains are similar microbial and bacterial cultures but they look like wee mini cauliflowers and magically convert organic milk into one of the most probiotic foods on the planet. Home made is way superior to anything you can buy and its so much cheaper, once you have the cultures, they just keep on growing!
So I think I am justified in calling myself a Fermentista..., someone who ferments things! I rather like that!
So for my first blog post in quite some time, and since we are in BBQ season I thought I'd share a really simple recipe for Sweetcorn Relish but this isn't standard run of the mill, full of refined sugar relish you buy from the shops! Oh no this is totally different and actually has no added sugar at all and its fermented so its packed with beneficial probiotics too!
You can use frozen or fresh sweetcorn but if you are using fresh try and use the freshest you can. The longer corn sits on the shelves after harvesting the more the natural sugar turns to starch and the big appeal of sweetcorn for most of us is the delicious natural sweetness!
Frozen sweetcorn is generally frozen directly after harvesting, as are peas, so the majority of the vitamins are preserved and the sugars should be relatively intact!
Aldi and Lidl stock delicious supersweet frozen corn, which is a great price too. I always have a bag in the freezer! There is less waste since you just use what you need, rather than opening a tin and only using half of it.
Anyway back to this delicious summer relish! It incorporates a rainbow of colours from red onion, red pepper, courgette and fresh green coriander as well as vibrant yellow corn!
Every colour contains different phytochemicals all with amazing power to heal us and keep us well.
The process of fermenting harnesses the power of the natural lactobacillus bacteria (LAB for short), present on all fresh fruit and vegetables and these guys are among the toughest bacteria out there! Given the right conditions they will destroy any pathogenic or harmful bacteria leaving a fantastically powerful ferment full of these health affirming wee guys!
Magic happens when you ferment foods, problem compounds are broken down, vitamins are made more bio available meaning they are easier to digest, vitamins are formed especially B vitamins and Vitamin K essential for strong bones!
These probiotic foods are so powerful, we should all be including them in our diets.
The main thing to remember with fermenting veggies is to keep the veggies submerged in the brine solution. This creates the perfect environment for the lactobaccillus bacteria to work their magic and keeps moulds and yeast at bay! So wee mantra to remember when fermenting veggies
Under the brine and all is fine!!
The easiest way to do this is to use a small ziplock bag, press it down onto the top of your ferment then fill it with water or brine solution (2tsp salt per 500ml water) to act as a weight to keep the veggies under the brine. If you use brine solution, if your bag leaks, the salinity of your ferment won't be compromised! Remember to put a plate or bowl under your ferment to catch any leaking brine. As the fermentation progresses, carbon dioxide is produced which can build up if not released, so don't tightly screw the lid on your jar. Just seal the ziplock bag and cover loosely with the lid. Also its important to leave a bit of headspace in your jar so don't fill it right to the top. You need room for the ziplock bag! All the supermarkets, Aldi, Lidl, Home Bargains sell Kilner jars which are perfect for fermenting but any large glass jar will do. We save all our jars, especially large ones, olives and coconut oil are our favourites for fermenting. Once your relish is ready, you can transfer it to smaller jars where it will keep in the fridge for around a month.
So go have some fun and impress everyone at your next BBQ with your homemade, refined sugar free, probiotic relish!!
So here is the simple recipe..
Fermented Sweetcorn Relish
So, after much procrastination, I have finally put together an awesome new workshop on all things fermented!
For those of you who are not familiar with the terms microbiome, probiotics, prebiotics or fermentation, let me enlighten you!!
The microbiome could just be the most important indicator of our health on every level. It's so important that it is being classed as an independent organ, as important as the heart, liver, and kidneys!
For those of you not familiar with the term, it refers to our gut bacteria, the trillions of beneficial bacteria that live in our colon. We tend to group bacteria together as bad and something to be destroyed, hence the huge focus on antibacterial sprays, hand washes and of course antibiotics. Now while antibiotics are essential and can be lifesaving, they tend to be over prescribed, for simple infections our immune systems can deal with. A side effect of antibiotics is that they tend to kill off both good and bad bacteria so our immune system is compromised.
Our immune system largely exists in our gut and is massively affected by the foods we choose to eat, drugs we take, environmental toxins, chemicals, stress and alcohol. We are all familiar with the term "gut feeling" The majority of our happy hormone serotonin is produced in the gut, along with numerous other hormones.
Our gut bacteria are responsible for breaking down starches to simple sugars, proteins to amino acids, they produce B vitamins, folic acid and vitamin K, break down phytic acid which can bind with iron and zinc and make them unavailable. So the microbiome has a massive effect on the digestive system. Optimising gut bacteria can alleviate many symptoms of IBS, crohns disease, colitis and leaky gut.
There are literally no health issues that fermented foods can't help with,
autoimmune disease, asthma and allergies, skin problems, kidney problems, depression, the list is endless.
Fermented foods and drinks have been around for hundreds of years, every traditional culture has their own version. Fermentation was used to preserve food, long before the days of refrigeration and freezers. The interesting thing is that traditional processes result in a food with higher nutritional value, increased vitamins, beneficial bacteria and a lot of problem compounds, like phytic acid and gluten broken down.
In our so called modern culture we have introduced pasteurisation to kill off any pathogenic bacteria but at the same time destroying all the good bacteria which could benefit our health, along with countless other beneficial enzymes, which help us to digest and utilise the nutrients in the food. So in effect we end up with a food or product of lesser nutritional value than the one we started with. Add countless preservatives, mostly chemicals and you have another problem, these chemicals adversely affect our beneficial gut bacteria too!
So you can see how easily our gut bacteria can be destroyed and we suffer the consequences. Another important fact to consider is that these beneficial bacteria, if you are fortunate enough to have any, need to be fed and they need fibre, lots of it which comes from plants, fruits, veggies and wholefoods. So if your diet is lacking in fibre, which it will be if you eat a standard western diet, heavy on processed foods, meat and dairy, then your gut bacteria will be unbalanced in favour of the bad guys, which thrive on sugar!
So let me rewind and simplify this. We need to eat a diet with adequate amounts of fibre to support good gut bacteria. Stress, sugar, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, alcohol, antibiotics, environmental toxins all adversely affect the balance of bacteria in our gut.
So what can we do about it?
It's all very well to feed the existing strains of bacteria but what is more exciting and impacting is to eat foods containing lots of these beneficial microbes. It doesn't take long to recolonise the gut and the more fermented foods and drinks you consume, the stronger and more diverse your gut bacteria will be.
Just think of it as having your own wee army, fighting off foreign invaders, pre digesting food, reducing inflammation, increasing your energy, strengthening your immune system, boosting metabolism and creating vibrant great health for you!
Probiotic yoghurt type drinks like Actimel and Yakult, widely advertised as promoting gut health are not terribly effective and contain only a few strains of bacteria, which are mostly destroyed in the acid of our stomach and don't make it to the colon where they need to be to do their job. A much better idea is to learn to make your own much more potent and effective fermented foods and drinks at home!
The TV programme, Trust me I'm a Doctor a few weeks ago set up an interesting comparison of Yoghurt Drinks, Home made kefir and a diet high in prebiotics, on gut bacteria. Not surprisingly, the home made kefir group came out on top, followed by the diet group. The yoghurt drinks had the least impact on bacterial diversity. Home made kefir can contain up to 40 different beneficial strains of bacteria compared to yoghurt type drinks which contain 3 or 4. These drinks also contain added sugar which we don't need!
So this brings me back to my new Introduction to Fermentation Workshop, which covers fermented veggies, including sauerkraut and its spicy cousin Kimchi, Kombucha, a deliciously refreshing drink made from sweetened fermented green tea and Switchel, made from already fermented apple cider vinegar, ginger, lemon and maple syrup.
Kefir, both coconut kefir and dairy which can be easily made into a probiotic rich cream cheese. Coconut kefir makes delicious smoothies, ice cream and salad dressings.
Sourdough, the most delicious, nutritious bread on the planet, which lots of folks with gluten intolerance can eat without digestive upset. The gluten is broken down during the long fermentation process. Sourdough has only three ingredients, flour, water and salt. Compare that to commercially produced bread with all sorts of flour improvers, preservatives and chemicals added. It's no wonder people have problems digesting it!!
The point of the workshop is to introduce all the different types of fermented foods and drinks, along with equipment needed, cultures, recipes, with clear instructions and plenty of opportunity to taste all the foods and drinks, so you can make an informed decision about which foods and drinks best suit your tastebuds and lifestyle.
I can't lie and say that fermenting your own foods and drinks is a breeze, but I have been fermenting for years and have learned from experience so now I want to pass on my quite extensive knowledge, in the hope that it will inspire you to introduce these amazing superfoods and drinks into your diet. I have simplified and adapted methods to be as straightforward as possible. For example Switchel can be made overnight, using already fermented apple cider vinegar, into a delicious drink flavoured with lemon, ginger and maple syrup, with benefits similar to kombucha, which can take a few weeks to brew and requires a culture called a Scoby, which needs looking after and feeding, much like a wee pet!
Kefir can be made in less than 24 hours with live kefir grains and organic milk, its just a matter of getting the conditions right and knowing what the finished product is supposed to taste like and what to do if it goes wrong. Sometimes we can be put off before we get started so I hope you can learn from my mistakes!
I will be running regular Fermentation Workshops over the next few months so please contact me if you are interested.
It could just be the best decision you make for your health!
Dates for April are Saturday 8th and Saturday 22nd, from 11am till 3pm.
The cost is £65 and includes lots of delicious food, book recommendations, instructions, recipes, equipment costs and plenty of support and guidance to start your own Fermented Food Journey!
You can contact me here to book a place. Maximum of 6 people per workshop .
I look forward to seeing you...
...your health in your hands....
So this week I was inspired by these very colourful beetroot and spinach wraps from Marks and Spencer.
I just love colourful food and try to eat the rainbow every day, and no I don't mean a bag of multicoloured skittles or smarties! I mean naturally brightly coloured food, which translates to lots of my favourite food, vegetables!
Orange sweet potatoes, yellow sweetcorn, purple kidney beans, red onions, green spinach and coriander, red tomatoes and red pepper.
Add a delicious avocado dressing and you have all the colours of the rainbow!
These wraps are just fantastic and so vibrant. I have to say the beetroot ones are my favourite, they are soft and slightly earthy and sweet which is just delicious! The spinach ones tasted a bit too vegetably so I wasn't quite so keen on them!
White tortilla wraps are perfect for this recipe too, I just fancied making something eye catching to post on my Instagram account!
So the filling for these delicious enchiladas are simply mashed sweet potato and spicy mexican flavoured beans, a perfect combination!
A tomato based sauce and a creamy avocado and coriander sauce finish these off rather nicely, although they would still be delicious with just the bean filling, if you don't have time to make the sauces!
So although there are a few different elements to this recipe, none of them are difficult and they can be prepared in advance, making these perfect for a weekend crowd pleasing dinner, which is also extremely healthy!!
So first of all you need to cook some sweet potato, then mash it! Then you need to prepare the beans, easy just open a tin and stir fry a few veggies with some seasoning. Next you need to make the tomato sauce, see recipe, or you can use salsa, mild, spicy, shop bought or home made! It's always good to have options!
We are a divided family when it comes to spicy food, so just adjust the amount of chilli powder accordingly!
I prefer to keep the mashed sweet potato as a separate layer but you can easily just mix the beans and mashed sweet potato together, which will incorporate all the lovely flavours!
So here are the ingredients you will need to make these awesome enchiladas!
Ingredients - makes 6 large enchiladas
For the Filling
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and add all spices. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about a minute. Add onions, a couple pinches of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another couple minutes. If the pot gets dry at any point, add a little of the tomato juice from the can.
2. Pour can of tomatoes into the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste.
3. Carefully transfer the tomato mixture to a blender. Add pitted dates, tahini, lime juice and a couple tablespoons of the water. Blend on high, adding water to thin as needed, until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste.
4. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to one week.
Avocado Coriander Cream Sauce
Simply add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until smooth and creamy. Add more water for a thinner consistency.
So although there are a few different elements to this recipe, you have options, and can buy shop bought salsa or spicy tomato sauce but do be aware of added sugar!
Just make the filling up, then you are good to go! The Avocado Sauce is optional but it is really delicious and simple to make. I really hope you give these a go, I have high hopes these will become a family favourite...!
......your health in your hands......
I've been running a series of Healthy Eating Workshops with North Glasgow Homes in Springburn.
The focus is on healthy, cheap, tasty food, made with ingredients that can be bought locally.
All of my workshops are plant based with a heavy reliance on lentils, beans and pulses which are cheap, versatile and extremely healthy. Add in loads of seasonal veggies and you have an extremely climate friendly, healthy, inexpensive way of eating.
This week the theme was Indian so we made lots of delicious rice, lentil and bean dishes. The favourite dish was this Coconut Lentil Dhal so I thought I'd reshare the recipe! I posted this one last year, it really is one of our go to family favourites.
It's perfect comfort food, like a big warm coconutty hug! Richly flavoured with spices, this lentil dish is good enough to impress your friends, your husband/wife and kids!
It's made with orange split lentils, the easiest to digest and fastest to cook so its a perfect dish for the weekend. You can rustle it up in no time!
All lentils are high in protein, fibre, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and literally support every system in the body. They are also incredibly cheap, versatile and you can store them for ages and they won't go off ( less waste!) so they do tick a lot of boxes!
Delicious, nutritious and super healthy; with superstars turmeric, garlic, ginger and coconut providing bags of anti inflammatory, pain relieving, circulation boosting, energy boosting, immune boosting benefits.
You can up the nutritional benefits even more by serving with brown rice and steamed greens! Dinner, in my opinion, is just incomplete without some kind of greens. My favourites at the moment are kale, cavolo nero, pointed cabbage and spring greens, all highly alkalising, and packed with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fibre.
Food is medicine right enough and what a delicious way to improve your health! I hope you give this a go and consider at least having one or two meat free days a week, your body and the planet will thank you!! All the recipes I share are plant based so you won't be short of ideas and inspiration! If you haven't already then consider subscribing to the blog so you won't miss any posts! They will all be sent directly to your inbox, the power of technology!! And its free so go ahead and fill in your details, it could be the best decision you make for your health! Well you'd have to actually make and eat some of the food before it would benefit your health! Just reading the posts won't do a thing so follow up with action steps! Go out and buy some healthy staples including lentils and beans and no I don't mean Heinz baked beans, they are high in sugar and salt! I've just had an idea for another post, Healthy Shopping List..., coming soon....!
Here is my recipe...
COCONUT LENTIL DHAL WITH TOASTED ALMONDS
Wee point to note, I added a spoonful of Coriander Detox Pesto to mine instead of fresh coriander. This adds bags more flavour! I just dolloped a spoonful on each portion before serving, then topped with toasted almonds. Delicious!
.......your health in your hands......
Happy Pancake Day everyone! I've been busy recently running healthy eating sessions and Big Cook Little Cook sessions with parents and kids at St Bartholomews in Castlemilk.
It's so rewarding seeing kids excited about cooking classes and to be honest kids are far more likely to eat something if they have made it themselves!
I've been trying out lots of new fast, simple, kid friendly recipe ideas. The limitations are we only have an hour to prepare, cook, eat and clear up, the school have very limited cooking equipment and we have 7 kids with a parent at each session, all keen to do some hands on cooking!
A big saving grace was a couple of mini ovens I bought from Aldi for £10 each, they are so good and perfect for wee mini pizzas!
I have to do a fair bit of the old Blue Peter, here is one I made earlier!!
So far we have made Lentil Soup, Soda Bread, Mini Face Pizzas and Berry Smoothies!
Next session is tomorrow and I'm contemplating either mini filo pastries with apple and cinnamon and veggie fillings or these rather awesome pancakes!
I did an earlier banana pancake post using only banana and egg but for most kids its a bit too eggy, so when I came across this recipe I was immediately excited to try it!
This one has the addition of oats and the eggs are separated, the whites are whisked which makes these light and fluffy.
Anything which avoids added sugar and white refined flour gets my vote, as do these lovely pancakes!
These would be fun to make with your kids at the weekend when time allows for a more leisurely breakfast! Added sliced fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey adds a lovely natural sweetness. These would also be lovely served with some ice cream! These are also a great way to use up over ripe bananas!!
So without further ado, here is the recipe!
BANANA OATY PANCAKES
Ingredients - makes 8 pancakes
....your health in your hands....
So Jenna and I have been busy developing a few recipes for Susie at Dollop and Scoff, who makes a lovely range of jams, chutneys and relishes, all from her kitchen, using locally sourced ingredients where possible. She uses an open pan method and makes small batches for superior flavour. She makes some very interesting flavour combinations! Our favourite was Raspberry, Basil and Black Pepper Jam, which we made a delicious dressing from and spread liberally on our sourdough toast and coconut scones!
You can order from Dollop and Scoff direct on this link
So our remit was to come up with a range of vegan recipes, using jams, chutneys and relishes. Most of the range is vegan, apart from a few containing honey so we came up with five winning recipes, of which I'm sharing one of my favourites,
Spiced Carrot, Lentil and Oat Burgers.
I just love making burgers, the options are endless and often I just use up leftover rice, quinoa or veggies and add beans, seeds, nuts, flavourings and cram in as many veggies as I can, either grated or cooked.
The trick to making great burgers is to taste your mixture before you shape them into burgers. Sometimes a bit of extra seasoning, herbs, spices or chutney can really make the difference. If your burger mix doesn't taste great before you cook them, they won't taste any better cooked!
Another tip is to make sure the mixture is firm enough to shape. You can add extra breadcrumbs, oats, flour or polenta to get the right consistency.
Chilling them for an hour or so in the fridge will also firm them up.
So back to these lovely burgers. the main ingredients are three popular Scottish ingredients, carrots, red lentils and oats. I always have these ingredients and use them constantly, they are cheap, nutritious, quick to cook and delicious so tick a lot of boxes for me!
I really detest frying burgers and to be honest find they break up and and are never that good but on the other hand I have made loads of delicious veggie burgers in the oven so no faffing about with hot oil and a frying pan for me!
I have used mango chutney in this batch, since we had no Carrot, Orange & Coriander Chutney left, to give these a delicious sweetness, sunflower and pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch, baby spinach for colour and turmeric, cumin, and smoked paprika for flavour.
These are delicious served with potato wedges and a big salad or in a wrap or pitta bread for lunch, smeared with some extra chutney or relish. These are most definitely on my favourite burger list and I hope they are soon on yours too!
They also freeze well, if you have any extra leftover!
So here is the recipe....
Spiced Carrot, Lentil & Oat Burgers
Makes 10-12 burgers
....your health in your hands....
So I've had a lovely time lately! Alastair and I had a great few days away in Northumberland, at a fabulous 5 star Gastro Pub, called The Joiners Arms! Its well worth a visit, the rooms are gorgeous and the food was delicious!
We were also blessed with lovely weather, blue skies and sunshine so we had lots of lovely beach walks and fresh air!
We have all managed to avoid coughs, colds and viruses this year and long may that continue! However we don't put our good health down to luck, we eat really well and include lots of immune boosting foods in our diet!
Which brings me to this totally awesome and delicious immune boosting broth, which supports health on every level.
Alastair came across the recipe by the brilliant Anna Jones in The Guardian and immediately wanted to make it! I'm really glad he did, it is the most delicious, nourishing and bright green thai broth I have ever eaten.
Do yourself a favour and make this, your body and your taste buds will thank you, as will anyone you share it with!
In this season of detoxing, the buzz is all about depriving yourself of comfort food, but this soup has it all, its nourishing, healing, restorative, immune boosting and it just tastes amazing!
This is comfort food you can truly eat without feeling guilty, bloated or sluggish!
Its packed with the most health giving ingredients including coconut oil, ginger, garlic, chillies, coriander, turmeric and spinach.
There are so many benefits to this soup and its also really filling due to the rice noodles and chunks of butternut squash.
Some recipes have lots of ingredients and are a bit complicated and faffy and the end result really isn't worth the bother but not this one! Massive thanks to the awesome Anna Jones for this recipe.
I have both of her books A Modern Way to Eat and A Modern Way to Cook
and highly recommend both of them. She just talks so much sense and her passion for great flavours shines through.
I would seriously give this soup 10 out of 10 so here is the recipe so you can try it for yourself! Please leave a comment if you do!
BEST EVER THAI BROTH
4 tablespoons coconut oil
a thumb of ginger (50g) peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves peeled
1 or 2 small green chillies
4 spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
a bunch of fresh coriander leaves and stalks
a few sprigs of mint
1 heaped teaspoon turmeric
15 green peppercorns, fresh or brined
2 x 400ml tins of coconut milk
1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder or 1/2 stock cube
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
a stalk of lemongrass
1/2 butternut squash, peeled
handful of spinach or spring greens
100g brown rice noodles
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
I hope everyone had a lovely break over the holidays and are now back to normality!
Our normal is rather odd, I am pretty much under the radar when it comes to work, I suit myself and weeks go past when I just chill and enjoy life and I have to admit I rather enjoy this way of being! Alastair, my husband has been self employed for 20 years so doesn't have a set work routine either, he works overseas and does a lot of voluntary work so we have lots of time to spend together enjoying ourselves! Jenna my daughter is also at home at the moment and is an awesome vegan cook so we just generally try out lots of lovely recipes, spend time outdoors, go for walks and read lots of books!
Looking back over the last year I can't say I achieved a lot but I did start an Instagram account and have almost 500 followers so thats an achievement for me!
I have kept up with my blog and still really enjoy sharing recipes and I'm thinking of sharing more factual and health posts so I have a bit of thinking to do as to how to move forwards and do what I feel is my life purpose, which is to help people to live a healthier life!
I have joined the commitee of Slow Food Glasgow and I'll be involved with a new government initiative called Peas Please, which you may have guessed is to promote the eating of more vegetables, which is right up my street!
I ran various workshops for community groups and schools, which were very well received and will continue to spread the word this year on how important and how simple it is to eat real food, and give veggies the starring role!
So on that note, there are no sermons on New Year New You, from me, I will simply say that the most important advice I can give anyone is to eat more veggies and that is very much the focus of this blog!
I'll say that again, your No 1 resolution should simply be to
............EAT MORE VEGGIES.....!
Nothing will impact your health more than eating lots of seasonal veggies, add wholegrains, lentils, beans and pulses and you have the basis for the healthiest way to eat. Not to mention the massive and positive impact on the environment of reducing your consumption of meat and dairy and not contributing to animal suffering. So there are many reasons to make veggies the starring role on your plate!
Its veganuary and 50,000 people have signed up to go vegan for the whole month of January! The vegan movement is steadily growing and Glasgow is a great hub of vegan restaurants and businesses, which I am delighted about!
So back to eating more veggies! Soup is one of the easiest ways of sneaking more veggies into your diet and the possibilities are endless so I've decided to share a new soup recipe as my first post of 2017.
This one is based on a recipe by Dana Shcultz over at the minimalist baker. She writes an awesome blog with the most delicious vegan recipes.
So this soup has some of my favourite and most healthy ingredients, sweet potatoes, lentils, kale, garlic, ginger, turmeric and leeks.
The thing I love about soup is how versatile it is, its a great way of using up whatever veggies you have hanging out in the fridge. The addition of either lentils or beans adds loads of fibre and protein and will take your soup to another level of nourishment and filling power.
Using nature's superfoods garlic and turmeric will add flavour and loads of health benefits so you really end up with a pot of amazing nutrition and flavour. Oh I forgot to mention that soup is great for detoxing and its really easy to digest too so its a great food to include in your diet, especially after all the festive excesses!
We always have at least one pot of soup on the go athough it doesn't last long in our house!
There are loads of delicious and healthy soup recipes on my blog. Just click on the soup category for lots of ideas and please consider subscribing to the blog so you don't miss any posts. All the recipes I share are nutritious, plant based, seasonal and mostly really simple and suitable for everyone.
It doesn't cost anything to subscribe and it could just be the best decision you make, to start the year with access to loads of delicious, healthy, plant based recipes, for yourself and your family!
So a very happy and healthy New Year and remember to eat more veggies!
So here is the recipe for this amazing soup....enjoy!
CURRIED LENTIL, POTATO & KALE SOUP
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 leek or medium onion, washed and sliced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped or grated ginger
500g of potato and sweet potato (I used 2 of each), washed and diced
1 cup of green or puy lentils (200g) washed and rinsed
2 good handfuls of chopped kale, cavolo nero or dark green cabbage, finely shredded
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 heaped teaspoon turmeric
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.5 litres veggie stock (I use Marigold Bouillon or Kallo Organic Stock cubes)
.....your health in your hands....
I've been meaning to post this recipe all week since its a fab vegan alternative to that old Scottish staple, steak pie, traditionally served on New Years Day!
Note to self, stop procrastinating!!
As you will be aware, we are plant based and don't eat animals so steak pie has been off the menu for us for a number of years. However we are all very partial to a nice crispy pastry filled with veggies, which brings me nicely back to this lovely roulade!
I first tried this last year at the awesome Lee Watsons vegan cooking retreat, which was filled with the most delicious, flavoursome vegan food and it just looked amazing and most definitely good enough for a celebration dinner.
I tweaked the filling and my version has 3 layers, sauted leeks with thyme, oven roasted butternut squash and sauteed mushrooms with spinach and balsamic or tamari for extra flavour.
You can be inventive here and use whatever veggie combination you fancy, you can add beans or feta or goats cheese as an extra layer for non vegans.
Olives and sun dried tomatoes are a great addition too.
We are having two of these roulades on New Years Day, Jenna is making vegan haggis from scratch and will be filling her roulade with this and a layer of greens and will be serving a whisky sauce with it, she is an awesome vegan cook!
Jenna is also making vegan cranachan, that old traditional Scottish dessert, made with oats, double cream, whisky, honey and raspberries.
Her version will use coconut cream and maple syrup and will probably have a selection of healthy seeds and nuts through it too! Sadly she hasn't made it yet so I can't share her recipe or show you a photo. I will post it in the New Year.
So back to the roulade! Its actually really easy but does involve a few different steps since all the veggies for the filling are precooked and cooled before filling the pastry. I just use standard shop bought puff pastry, which is surprisingly vegan!
I used to think that puff pastry was made with butter but its actually made with vegetable oils now so perfect for anyone avoiding dairy!
A wee important point to note, any filling needs to be fairly dry so drain any liquid off or you will end up with soggy pastry, which is not what you want!
Take your pastry out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature to make it more supple and less likely to crack and break. I always buy the pre rolled puff pastry sheets, rather than the block of pastry, which you have to roll out yourself.
I'm all for making life easier and just prefer the pre rolled version. Jus Roll do a good one and its widely available, all the supermarkets stock it!
This roulade will make 10 slices and looks lovely with all the colourful layers!
So have a wonderful Hogmanay and New Year, count your blessings, and enjoy precious time with your loved ones!
1 pack of shop bought puff pastry
2 medium leeks, washed and thinly sliced
few tablespoons fresh herbs, thyme, sage or rosemary, or a teaspoon dried herbs
1 250g pack of mushrooms, chestnut, or any mixture you like
good few handfuls of spinach, washed and chopped
250 - 300g butternut squash, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 teaspoon tamari or balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
soya or other plant based milk
.........your health in your hands.....
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.