So this week before all the true frantic madness of Christmas begins, I am sharing a few new recipes which are all worthy of a place at your Festive table, whether you are catering for meat lovers, vegetarians or vegans.
This mushroom, walnut and lentil pate is absolutely delicious and actually tastes quite meaty so I'm sure everyone will love it.
I am a massive fan of mushrooms, lentils and nuts so this is my idea of an ideal starter. Served with some thinly sliced sourdough or delicious crackers (recipe coming soon!)
this will surely impress your guests! It can be made a few days in advance and will happily sit in the fridge until you need it. This also works well stirred into a mushroom risotto or as a topping for a baked potato or a pizza!
I've made this a few times and played around with the recipe a bit. The original recipe from the wonderful Dearbhla Reynolds book The Cultured Club uses fermented mushrooms, which adds another layer of flavour and nutrition but since most folks won't have time to ferment the mushrooms first then this adapted recipe is equally delicious and the addition of seaweed flakes adds that unique umami flavour.
There are also lots of fresh herbs in this, all of which I have growing in the garden, so rosemary, sage and thyme and flat leaf parsley all feature in this delicious pate.
Garlic, onion, tamari and lemon juice add more flavour and nutrition and the addition of flaxseed and breadcrumbs firm it up so that you have the option of setting the pate in a small loaf tin, which looks rather wonderful and can then be served in slices.
Other options are to set the pate in small individual ramekin dishes or just put it into a serving dish and serve dollops rather than slices! It's whatever suits your needs best and makes life easier! If you are catering for gluten free then you would need to leave the breadcrumbs out or use gluten free ones. I always have a supply of breadcrumbs in the freezer, which are very handy and a great way to use up any slightly stale bread.
So back to the ingredients, any mushrooms will do but I always purchase organic mushrooms. Mushrooms absorb and concentrate whatever they are grown in, good or bad. I'd rather not have a side of pesticide residues or heavy metals with my food, thank you very much! It's always safer to buy organic and most of the supermarkets sell organic mushrooms these days at a reasonable price. Button mushrooms, portabello, chestnut or shitake mushrooms will all work well or indeed a mixture!
I will be making the version with fermented mushrooms for our Christmas dinner! Jenna is home from Cornwall for Christmas and is missing her mamas sourdough, kimchi, krauts and condiments so I'll have to get her gut microbiome restocked while she is here.
I have festive kombucha and lots of lovely fermenty things on the go!
So without further ado, here is the recipe....
Decadent Mushroom & Lentil Pate
....your health in your hands.....
I sometimes think that onions are overlooked when it comes to soup, but a good bowl of well made onion soup is an absolute joy and extremely nutritious!
Onions are great infection fighters and immune boosters and this is exactly the time of year that we need a wee boost, with all the stress of Christmas preparations, the cold and damp weather and for most of us too much alcohol, chocolate, and junk food. Add to that too many late nights and an never ending to do list, all of which depletes our immune system leaving us vulnerable to whatever bugs are doing the rounds!
But not to worry, onions to the rescue!
I came across this soup recipe in a Sunday magazine and loved the simplicity of it. The onions are simply oven roasted with some herbs, until they are deliciously sweet and tender and then blended with some good quality veggie stock! I use Kallo organic stock cubes or Marigold Bouillon Powder.
Voila, soup done!
The trick is to let the onions roast until they are really soft and deep gold in colour
There are so many varieties of onions! I recently bought some rather lovely pink onions so I used a mixture of pink, red and white onions in my soup but any combination would work.
Onion soup is traditionally served with a slice of toasted bread and cheese on the top but I would rather have a nice slice of sourdough on the side!
I am a big fan of simple recipes that pack a punch in the flavour and nutrition stakes and that's exactly what this soup does. Onions are a staple in most folks kitchen so this soup can be thrown together anytime!
It is absolutely delicious and is a definite contender for Festive entertaining, it's that good!
So without further rambling, here is the simple recipe!
Luxurious Onion Soup
....your health in your hands......
I came across this recipe a few weeks ago over at Jessicainthekitchen.com a great blog promoting real wholesome plant based food. Jessica is American, hence the original name Cauliflower Buffalo Wings! Americans are big on chicken wings and eat loads of them, usually deep fried, and extremely unhealthy and produced under terrible conditions. There is nothing healthy about the way these chickens are raised, and cheap food is produced at a real cost to the poor suffering animals and ultimately to our health, if we choose to eat them.
So my plea is to please try these cauliflower ones instead and leave the chicken wings off your plate!
Someone commented on Twitter about Cauliflower having wings, when I shared my photo a few days ago. It made me laugh when they suggested that perhaps you needed to buy GM cauliflower for the wings! Made me think Crispy Cauliflower Wings is a bit of a stupid name so I am renaming them Crispy Cauliflower Bites!
These are just the most delicious, crispy, flavoursome and healthy finger foods on the planet! Perfect food for sharing and you can dip them in whatever dip or sauce you fancy!
These are perfect for movie night or a wee pre dinner snack, they are so nutritious you could eat the lot yourself! I genuinely think you could persuade a few vegetable haters to try these or even fussy kids !
Please leave me a comment if you manage it!!
I love cauliflower and it has a long season in the UK so readily available and locally grown for quite a few months of the year. I should just add that cauliflower is a bit of a superstar in the health stakes. Its a great source of vit C, vit K, B vitamins, omega 3 fats, magnesium, antioxidants and phytonutrients which protect against cancer. It contains choline for brain health, its anti inflammatory,supports the digestive system and detoxification.
So quite a few reasons to eat it! I do think that cauliflower tends to get overlooked for its brighter cousin broccoli, but to be honest it has almost as many health benefits! I guess you could make these with broccoli or romanesco too!
These are miles away from soggy cauliflower florets dripping in artery clogging cheese sauce and are so simple yet so nutritious and healthy!
They do have a cheesy flavour but it comes from Nutritional Yeast Flakes, which are a godsend for vegans who like cheesy flavour without the dairy!
I would advise everyone to go and buy some, they are packed with all the B vitamins, iron, zinc and protein, and cost around £3.75 from any health food store. In my opinion these are way better than a B vitamin supplement. B vitamins are crucial for energy production and dealing with stress so we could all benefit from them!
I also use them to make the most delicious Vegan Almond Parmesan, which is packed with flavour and nutrition, from seaweed flakes, garlic, lemon rind, sea salt and ground almonds! Very handy and versatile and way better than old smelly socks parmesan!
So back to the recipe, you need a medium to large cauliflower, broken into bite sized florets. The trick with these is to dip the florets in batter then into breadcrumbs for a fantastic crunchy coating that sticks! They are then simply baked in a hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes so no faffing about with hot oil. I really detest deep frying anything, I just hate the smell of hot oil and it seems to cling to my clothes so I smell all greasy and horrible!!
Oven baking is far healthier too so that's always my preferred cooking method for anything crunchy.
The batter is just flour and plant based milk, with seasoning. I added cumin, smoked paprika, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to mine but you could add any herbs or spices you like! Top tip from Jessica, if your cauliflower florets are wet, the batter won't stick, so I didn't wash mine I just wiped it with damp kitchen roll!
I always have a bag of breadcrumbs in the freezer. I just blitz any leftover bread in my food processor for instant breadcrumbs. At Nourished by Nature nothing is wasted and since I am always baking lots of sourdough, I generally have spare! And mine is all organic which is even better! I also cut spare sourdough into cubes, freeze them, then oven bake them with some oil and herbs for excellent crunchy croutons!
So to recap these are simply cauliflower florets, dipped in a flour/milk batter, seasoned anyway you like, coated in breadcrumbs, then baked in a hot oven!
You can make a gluten free version using gluten free flour and breadcrumbs. Chickpea flour is naturally gluten free. Doves farm produce decent gluten free flour too.
Serve with any dipping sauce, chilli sauce, guacamole, tomato salsa or even good old tomato ketchup! I served mine with fermented tomato ketchup, sweetened with maple syrup and naturally fermented for a probiotic hit and fantastic flavour!
I will share the recipe soon!
I also made a tamari/maple/tomato dip which tasted great, it just didn't look good in the photo, it was brown!! If you want to make it, just use equal amounts of tamari/maple syrup and tomato puree. Loosen it up with some oil and add crushed garlic and sea salt!
So here is the very simple recipe....
CRISPY CAULIFLOWER BITES
.......your health in your hands........
Well since the vegan cooking retreat in Wales, I have discovered a love of smoky flavoured food!
Smoky flavours are big in Mexican food and we had a whole spread of chilli, bean, dishes to eat our way through! It wasn't difficult, the food was all delicious!
The main ingredient to impart a smoky flavour is smoked paprika, quite different to sweet paprika or normal paprika. It generally comes in a wee square tin and is a lovely deep red colour. A little goes a long way! This is a store cupboard essential in our house.
Jenna spent a few months in Mexico last year and just loved all the vibrant food. Chillies are a big part of the cuisine and there are so many varieties, some of them extremely hot! I am a total chilli wimp and really can't handle hot food, unless I have some cooling yoghurt or a big jug of cold water!
Anyway, back to these delicious and so simple big portobello mushrooms with a lovely smoky marinade.
These literally take 5 minutes to prepare, then they are cooked in the oven, no faffing about with hot frying pans! I like to make life as simple as possible and will always choose to oven bake rather than fry foods in oil. Oven baked is healthier too so another reason to use this method.
I love mushrooms of all varieties but the big portobello mushrooms are fabulous sliced and marinated, they almost taste meaty so make a great alternative to animal protein.
Mushrooms are a great source of protein, fibre, iron, zinc, selenium, folate, B vitamins and are low in carbohydrates so are always a healthy choice.
So back to this extremely simple recipe! I kind of made it up and it worked so well I've made it a few times! Great when you need a meal in a hurry and this tastes and looks good enough to serve up at a dinner party!
I have served them on a bed of sweet potato mash and also on a pea & mint puree, both delicious drizzled with any extra marinade.
You can use a mixture of mushrooms, you will need around 500g or around 6 big portobello mushrooms for 4 people. They do tend to shrink a bit when cooked!
I really hope you give this a go, its so easy and tastes delicious! You can impress your friends and family with a healthy meat free main!
So here is the very simple recipe.....
Smoky Portobello Mushrooms
......your health in your hands.....
I've just returned from a fab vegan cooking retreat in the beautiful Welsh countryside, run by my awesome cool dude pal Lee Watson of The Beach House Kitchen and author of my favourite vegan cookbook Peace & Parsnips!
The theme was recipes from around the world, focusing on Lees favourite places, and believe me he has been everywhere, cooking with locals and picking up tips, spices and recipes on his travels.
I am planning to share my favourites from the retreat but I'm heading off to The Lake District with Jenna today, sadly she is going to work in a beautiful vegetarian B & B, so I'll have to do all my own cooking!!
So since I came home I have made this delicious soup from Indonesia since I had all the ingredients to hand so I'm sharing this first!
This soup is packed with flavour from coconut, turmeric, ginger and basil and full of the most health giving ingredients quinoa, kale, squash and lentils! Its literally a meal in a bowl, packed with fibre, protein, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and good fats!
Everything a body needs to stay healthy and it tastes amazing!!
This is definitely comfort food at its best, warming, nourishing and delicious! Just what we need more of as the weather changes and we head into autumn.
Although to be honest our weather is so bad that I make soups all year round!!
Soup is also very easy to digest and simple to make so another two reasons to make it! This one is also gluten free!
Anyway without further ado, here is the recipe....
SULAWESI QUINOA & SQUASH SOUP
.......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......
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....
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.