So its been a while since I posted anything on my blog! I've been very busy with Fermenting Workshops and just generally fermenting everything and having lots of fun experimenting and trying out new recipes and techniques.
I was sent a bag of organic tiger nuts recently from the awesome Tiger Nut Company so I've added that to the heady mix! I've made tiger nut milk, tiger nut kefir, spiced raisin tiger nut scones and wee Beetroot Bliss Bites using the dehydrated tiger nut pulp!
I have also acquired some water kefir grains so I now have the full gamut of ferments!
I can honestly say that ferments are taking over my life and my kitchen!
But of all the things to be addicted to, its a good one!! So many amazing health benefits and a whole new world of flavour!
I posted a photo of my rather delicious fermented dinner a few weeks ago on UK Fermenting Friends and 200 people liked it and I had lots of requests for recipes! These are all people who already know about fermented foods and drinks but I think the foodie side of me is taking simple ferments to new levels!!
I've certainly had a lot of interest in my workshops recently, mostly thanks to my wonderful friend Katrina of the awesome Body Toolkit Juicing Retreat, who shared my post with her juicing group with a glowing recommendation! My April workshop is fully booked and I only have one place left on 19th May, so I will add a few extra dates!
Contact me if you are interested in learning how to make all sorts of amazing fermented goodies and would like to add your name to my waiting list!
So off the topic of fermenting and back to this brilliant recipe!
I ran a series of healthy eating workshops this week at St Pauls Youth Forum Community Group in Provanmill, which was great fun, with lots of healthy food made and scoffed!
Our last session was Indian themed and I came across this great recipe for flatbreads on cafedelites cool website.
I normally make sourdough flatbreads, which are great but these ones are so soft and pliable and easy to roll, perfect for a fun workshop with kids and adults. Everyone loved them so I thought I'd share the recipe!
I'm off to Berlin next week and I'm most excited, its the best city for vegan food, and although I'm not exclusively vegan, its my favourite food and what I eat most of the time!
These flatbreads could easily be made vegan by substituting Soya yoghurt for the Greek yoghurt. Aldi sell delicious thick and creamy Greek Yogurt, which is what I used for these along with unsweetened soya milk.
So I hope this recipe becomes your favourite flatbread recipe, its definitely a keeper!
I made them last night and we had them for dinner with coconut spiced potatoes and mango chutney, simple and delicious!!
The addition of garlic powder gives these a lovely flavour. A teaspoon of cumin seeds would also work well!
The combination of greek yoghurt and olive oil make these flatbreads so soft and pliable and easy to roll out and also if you use a non stick pan, they hardly need any oil and its so easy to flip them over!
Please leave me a comment if you try these!!
So here is the recipe....
Easy Garlic Flatbreads
Ingredients makes 8 flatbreads
......your health in your hands........
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, well it is in our house, apart from the fact that we all have a sore throat, so we've not been singing festive songs as much as usual!
I've been having sea salt baths with lavender and tea tree, downing shots of turmeric, ginger and lemon and eating loads of Immune boosting soup and fermented garlic!
I always use drugs as a last resort once I've given all my natural remedies a chance to work! I'm feeling better but now Kathryn and Laura have a sore throat!! Its always the same at this time of year!
Anyway I'm still in full on festive food mood and have a few more brilliant recipes to share before Christmas!
I came across this recipe on the awesome Kellie Andersons excellent blog food to glow
she has some incredible recipes, mostly plantbased and all delicious and healthy.
Her blog is well worth a look, I love her style of cooking and the flavour she manages to pack into her recipes is amazing!
So back to this great recipe...
These wee crackers would make a great gift, presented in a wee bag and tied with twine or ribbon. You can be creative and cut out all sorts of shapes. That's the brilliant thing about making your own stuff, you know exactly what the ingredients are and you can personalise most recipes to suit your own tastes and preferences.
Kids would also love making these and they make a nice change from sweet biscuits covered in icing! These crackers actually taste a little sweet and have a lovely crunch and festive flavour. They would be perfect with a Christmas cheese board (lots of dairyfree vegan cheeses around too) or as an accompaniment to dips or just plain as a wee snack!
The recipe makes lots of crackers so I have frozen half the dough and will make more crackers next week when we've eaten all this batch!
I used avocado oil in mine but olive oil or any mild tasting oil would work. Kellie's original recipe added 50 ml orange juice and the zest of a small orange but I didn't have any so I added a bit more water instead and used 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice instead of ginger.
The trick is to try and roll the dough out fairly thinly for nice crisp crackers. Just be sure to flour your work surface well or use 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and roll the dough on the paper with one sheet on top. You can then put the greaseproof paper directly onto an oven tray.
I just lightly greased and floured 2 baking trays and the crackers crisped up nicely and didn't stick at all!
So here is the slightly adapted recipe..
CRANBERRY & HAZELNUT CRACKERS
.....your health in your hands.....
Well I can't believe that the summer holidays are over and the kids are all back at school! It's not been much of a summer, although we have made the most of it! We are now the proud owners of an old classic VW Camper Van called Bruce and I just love him. Its so much fun, its like camping but all nice and cosy with a pull out cooker, a really comfy bed, an excellent cool box and loads of storage for all our stuff.
I have decided to extend my holidays until October to make the most of Bruce before the weather changes and the nights are shorter! I'm so good to myself!
We are going to a 3 day Festival in Inveraray at the beginning of September which I'm most excited about!
I'm also heading back to Wales to another Vegan Cooking Retreat run by my cool dude buddy Lee Watson of Peace & Parsnips fame, my favourite vegan cookery book!
So lots to look forward to and enjoy, lucky me!!
I have a blessed life indeed.
So back to sharing some healthy recipes with you lovely people!
Another of my healthy obsessions is cookery books and the latest addition to my collection is;
Veggie Desserts and Cakes by Kate Hackworthy
so for my first blog post in a while I thought I'd share a really simple recipe from her book.
I love veggies and eat shed loads of them so this book appealed to me big time!
I think we are all familiar with Carrot Cake, but this book takes the use of veggies in cakes to new levels! Parsnips, beetroot, cauliflower, kale, peas, sweet potatoes, aubergine, spinach, swede, and sweetcorn all get a mention!
I'm all for using sweet veggies in cakes but I'm yet to be convinced by cauliflower and kale!!
I once made a chocolate and cauliflower cake for the BBC Kitchen Cafe Programme which I was a guest on. The very smell of it was awful and was not improved by the most luscious chocolate frosting. I couldn't even try it, the cauliflower smell was so strong and off putting! Maybe I just used a particularly strong cauliflower but I thought at the time that some things are just wrong and cauliflower and cake is one of them!! So needless to say I won't be trying that again!
On the plus side, there are many lovely recipes to try, so I thought I'd start with these Beetroot Seedy Squares! I'm a big fan of beetroot and always have a few vacuum packs in the fridge.
I adapted the recipe a bit, I used half the amount of beetroot and rolled them into balls instead of cutting them into squares. Beetroot although sweet has a strong earthy taste which can be overpowering and I didn't want to make a whole batch then discover that no one liked them! I can't stand waste so I played it safe and I'm delighted with the results. These wee bites are a lovely colour so I decided not to roll them in seeds or coconut. I like them bare!! The beetroot flavour is very subtle and perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the dates. Mixed seeds, ( I used sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and linseeds ) add texture, loads of good fats, protein and minerals, oats contain soluble fibre and dates are just packed with everything a body needs!
So these wee nutrient dense power bites make a delicious healthy snack at any time of day or when you feel in need of an energy boost!
Also great for packed lunches and hungry kids!!
So overall verdict for these wee bites is a big thumbs up! Next on my list are Pea and Mint Cupcakes, Sweet Potato and Pecan Blondies and Cucumber and Lemon Cake with Gin Icing!! I was sold at the Gin icing!!
Kate also has a blog which is well worth checking out.
So here is her recipe, slightly adapted...
BEETROOT BLISS BITES
Makes 25 wee bites
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....
Mince pies are odd things. You wouldnt be alone if you believed they actually had mince in them! The mincemeat is actually diced dried fruits and peels mixed with spices and often some brandy.
This a lighter take on the classic. Why add sugar to dried fruit when it is already very sweet?! The filling is very simple and tastes like christmas in a bowl! I chose to make a gluten free oat crust which is very lightly sweetened with maple syrup. Its a bit fiddly but has a lovely crisp texture and doesnt feel like a stodgy lump as many pastries do!
If the pastry is a bit too faffy you can easily use ready made shortcrust pastry or follow this recipe for a simpler non-gluten free option.
makes 12 tarts with a bit of filling to spare. Keep in a jar in the fridge and try as a decadent festive porridge topping!
200g dried fruits (I used apricot, fig and cranberries but really any dried fruit would work)
50g nuts (almond, apricot, brazil, pecans, walnuts etc.)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 small pear, chopped very finely or grated
1 small apple, chopped very finely or grated
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
optional: 2 tbsp chcoclate chips
note: pastry is rather crumbly but very nice and crispy!
180g jumbo oats (certified gluten free if necessary)
20g dessicated coconut
4 tbsp oil (rapeseed, sunflower or neutral tasting olive oil)
4 tbsp cold water, more as needed
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
Place a heaped tbsp of filling into each case then top with a star. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool in the muffin trays before carefully loosening each pie with a knife and sliding out on to a plate or into your mouth. Up to you. Heat them up in the oven again before serving if you like, for extra crunch. Dust with icing sugar for extra festive cheer.
...your health in your hands...
Gingerbread biscuits just remind me of Christmas! When the girls were young, they all loved baking and biscuits are just the best fun to make. From mixing and rolling the dough to choosing what shape to cut, we always had a huge selection of cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes which we have collected over the years, and still use.
The brilliant thing about home made biscuits is they just taste better and you can have fun decorating them with icing and faces and patterns.
This recipe makes a small army of delicious festive figures, probably around 50 but they will keep very well and make lovely gifts- everyone loves home made biscuits!
You can easily halve the recipe if you would like to make less.
The dough is very soft and its way easier to work with if you chill it overnight in the fridge, although a few hours will suffice, if you are short of time!
The biscuits are lovely and crisp with a nice gingery flavour so go and get your festive pinny on and have some fun in the kitchen!
Here is the recipe....
I'm very honoured that Laura, my 15 year old daughter and awesome vegan baker, is allowing me to share her recipe for the most delicious carrot cake ever!
She made this one for her dad for Fathers Day, at his request, its his favourite cake!
I've always been a fan of carrot cake but sometimes its just dry and unappetising, but not this one!
Its deliciously moist, sweet, flavoursome, packed full of nuts and seeds for a bit of crunch and oodles of minerals, good fats, vitamins and antioxidants.
The wholemeal flour provides fibre and minerals. The carrots also provide fibre and lots of vitamins.
The flavour is enhanced by mixed spice and cinnamon, which helps insulin do its job of mopping up sugar from your bloodstream so you don't end up with a sugar rush. The fibre and protein from all the nuts, seeds and carrots also slows the rate at which the sugar hits your bloodstream.
So all in all this cake has a lot going for it!!
I do think that putting veggies in cakes is a genious idea, courgette and lime, beetroot brownies, sweet potato and chocolate cake! These are all great but I did make a cauliflower and chocolate cake a few months ago for the BBC Radio Scotland Kitchen Cafe and that was just wrong on every level! Cauliflower is just bitter tasting and totally overpowers any other ingredient. It also smelled awful, just like cooked cauliflower! Why anyone thought it was a good idea is beyond me!
Anyway back to the totally right on every level carrot cake!
Admittedly it is a special treat cake and not one we have regularly and yes it does contain sugar but in my opinion that is balanced out by all the good stuff!
The recipe makes a large cake which you can cut into 10 slices but we are greedy so usually cut it into rather big slices, 8 is our normal!
I do hope you give it a go the next time you have a celebration coming up or just fancy treating yourself or impressing your friends!
I'm convinced it will become a family favourite!
Please let me know what you think, if you try it, by leaving me a comment! It's lovely to know that folks are trying out my recipes and I value any feedback!
Here is the recipe..
BEST EVER VEGAN CARROT CAKE
2 cups (300g) of plain wholemeal flour
1 cup (150g) of brown sugar
3 cups of grated carrots, about 4 large ones
1/2 cup (50g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (75g)raisins or sultanas
1/4 cup (35g) of pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup (35g)of sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of nuts (35g), chopped, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts all work well
1 teaspoon cinammon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup of sunflower or olive oil
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g icing sugar
100g vegan spread
zest of an orange
1/2 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
.....your health in your hands.....
There is nothing nicer in my opinion than a nice slice of delicious home made cake with your afternoon tea and this one fits the bill perfectly!
It's another recipe from the awesome Lee Watson of TheBeachHouseKitchen and one of the many delicious cakes we sampled on the Vegan Retreat!
Gluten free cakes tend to be more dense and flatter than cakes made with wheat flour, especially when they are also egg free, but with so many folks sensitive to gluten then this cake is a perfect treat without the associated digestive issues!
This cake is Almond and orange but I'm just not a big fan of almond flavour and I detest marzipan! I used to be horrified by those wee baskets of marzipan fruits when I was a kid, just uugh...
However I do love almonds for their texture, flavour, versatility and health benefits, of which there are many so I'm not averse to using flaked almonds as decoration on my cake! If you love almond flavour then go ahead and add almond extract to the cake as well. Seems to be another love it or hate it flavour!
On the other hand, I love oranges and orangey flavour so I added a whole big orange AND some orange extract. On our recent holiday to Portugal there were orange groves everywhere with the most delicious, sweet and largely seedless oranges falling by the roadside! The photo in this post was one of our morning haul of oranges and wild flowers for the table. Foraging for food just makes me happy, delicious food for free and no pesky plastic packaging to dispose of!
Laura made the most delicious wee sponge cakes on holiday with foraged oranges and local honey and eggs. They were neither gluten free nor vegan but they were moist, delicious and just yummy!
I love using local and seasonal ingredients, its so much fun. We also had loads of fresh rosemary growing in our garden and Lee did suggest that dried rosemary would be an interesting flavour to add to this cake, so if anyone tries it could they let me know. 1 teaspoon was the suggested amount!
A few interesting ingredients in this cake you may not have used before in baking. If you are gluten intolerant or coeliac then you may have used gluten free flour, Doves Farm do a good selection but they are quite expensive, in comparison to.......
Gram flour which is made from chickpeas, one of my favourite foods and packed with all sorts of nutritional goodies! Its also known as Besan.
Its really cheap, I bought a 2kg bag from Asda for £2 and its really versatile.
Apart from being gluten free, its extremely high in protein and fibre. 1/2 cup contains 10g protein and 5g fibre.
It has all the associated health benefits of chickpeas, contains calcium and magnesium in perfect ratio, high in folate, essential for healthy pregnancy, loads of B vitamins, iron and selenium along with a good array of other vitamins & minerals, so its definitely worth using!
Here is another way to use it in a Savoury Pancake
The other unusual ingredient in this cake is Polenta which is made from corn and a lovely yellow colour. Its also gluten free and contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals. I also use it instead of breadcrumbs as a crunchy coating on veggie burgers.
Again most supermarkets sell it, mine is from Lidl. make sure you buy the quickcook polenta, not the readymade one which is sold in a block!
The glaze is optional but gives the cake a lovely sheen and makes the flaked almonds stick so fairly essential in my opinion!
This cake has a fairly dense texture so you can serve it with some soya cream or whipped coconut cream to lighten it up!
So here is the recipe Enjoy......
ORANGE & ALMOND POLENTA CAKE
Ingredients - makes 8 to 10 slices
60 g polenta
130g gram flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
large pinch salt
100g light brown sugar
50 ml olive oil (or other mild tasting oil like sunflower)
90 ml non - dairy milk (soya is good)
1 large orange (peeled and blended to a liquid)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or honey
1 tablespoon orange juice plus some zest
......your health in your hands.....
I love bread fresh from the oven and this bread is delicious. It's so simple and doesn't involve any hanging around for hours waiting for the dough to prove and its yeast free, so all good!
I made this for lunch at the weekend. I had just made some lovely watercress and pea soup and wanted some bread to go along with it, so this fitted the bill perfectly.
It's all mixed in the bowl and only requires 5 minutes of kneading and 35 to 45 minutes in the oven. I just slashed the top of the loaf into rough quarters which I then served in big rustic chunks! You can just shape the loaf into a round shape, then serve it in slices if you prefer!
I buy all my flour from Locavore and I used a mixture of organic rye flour and strong white flour and the bread turned out perfectly, with a wonderful texture.
Wheat is heavily sprayed with pesticides so its most definitely worth buying organic flour for your home baking. See organic blog post for more details here
This bread was one of the many we tried at the Vegan Cooking Retreat so again big thanks to Lee Watson at the beach house kitchen for the recipe.
The recipe is vegan and uses soya milk but you can use organic dairy milk if you do dairy.
I'm off to Portugal for a wee family holiday tomorrow, with hopefully lots of sunshine, great food and moderate amounts of exercise! We have our own pool although I don't think its heated so not sure how much swimming I'll be doing. but I'll be doing some yoga and possibly running!
I will return feeling wonderfully relaxed and raring to go with new workshops and lots of new ideas for the blog! That's positive thinking right there!!
If you haven't made bread before then this recipe is a great place to start. I hope it becomes a regular part of your repertoire!
So here is the recipe
SIMPLE SODA BREAD
500g strong wholewheat flour (use 200g strong white flour and 300g wholewheat flour for a lighter loaf)
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
150 ml plant based milk ( soya is good)
2 teaspoons vinegar
200ml warm water
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
I love Easter, its a time of new beginnings, lighter nights, gardening, wee lambs, snowdrops, crocuses, and of course lots of yummy food!
What's not to love....?
Easter is a great time to get together with family and friends. Most folks have some time off work and students return from Uni for a wee rest and some decent food ( well most of them do! )
Personally I love any excuse to spend time with family and friends and as anyone who knows me, knows that good food is a big part of any gathering at our house!
I'm sharing the recipe for the most delicious, decadent, chocolatey, gooey, fudgey, chocolate cake and its vegan, so egg and dairy free!
We had this cake, along with countless other delicious sweet treats at the Vegan Retreat and I will get around to sharing more of the recipes, as I try them out!
I can't pretend its healthy but hey we all need a treat every now and then and this cake fits the bill brilliantly and it is a celebration cake after all!
A perfect way to impress your family and friends this Easter with a fabulous home made cake, which I'm sure if you try it, will become your go to recipe for a celebration cake!
This recipe makes a large cake and it's very rich, and will keep for around 5 days in a covered tin, though I seriously doubt anyone would have the willpower to resist a second slice of this so be warned, it's seriously moreish!!
I would have decorated my cake with edible flowers if I had any but sadly I only have one pansy at the moment! On second thoughts I will put it in the middle of the cake and put mini eggs around the edges, though feel free to decorate yours whatever way you want! Grated chocolate, chopped nuts, orange zest would all work well.
So to recap this cake is sooo good we could hardly wait for it to cool so we could devour it! That's why the mini eggs are a bit skew-wif, the icing was still a bit warm!
It's moist, chocolately, gooey, fudgey, intense, moreish, and did I say chocolately, yes very chocolatey.........
Yum, yum, yum.........! Please give this a go, its seriously the best chocolate cake I have ever tried, vegan or not.
Happy Easter everyone and big thanks to my twitter buddy Lee Watson over at TheBeachhousekitchen for this fantastic recipe! In my haste to make this cake, I read the directions wrong and added the chickpea flour to the dry ingredients, instead of the wet ingredients. Luckily it didn't seem to make any difference and the cake was absolutely delicious, so don't fret if you do the same.
Note to self, read the recipe before you start!!
Here it is.
DECADENT CHOCOLATE CAKE
Ingredients makes 1 large cake (10 to 12 slices)
225g white flour
2 tablespoons chickpea flour (gram flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
80g cocoa powder
300g dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
375ml hot water
75g non dairy spread or coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
150g dark chocolate
75g coconut oil
50g light brown sugar
60 ml cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
....your health in your hands....
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.