I have been having the best summer, enjoying all the lovely sunshine, going for lots of adventures with Bruce our old Vw Camper Van and generally fermenting everything!!
To say it has become an obsession is a bit of an understatement! I now dream about fermenting stuff!!
My fridge is full of all sorts of jars of starters, milk kefir grains, water kefir grains, seasonal ferments and my cupboard is full of various ferments bubbling away!
Now much as I would love to say I grow all my own veggies, that would be far from the truth! However I am a fan of seasonal eating and in the summer we have so much incredible produce to choose from!
Think juicy tomatoes, crisp green courgettes, shiny peppers, lush green herbs, colourful edible flowers, rosy pink radishes, rainbow coloured salad leaves! I could go on but you get my drift!
I do however grow lots of herbs and I have courgettes and tomatoes this year but none are ready yet! So I'm experimenting with all sorts of flavoured kombuchas, water kefir and fruit Kvass and making use of all my abundant herbs, mint, basil, lemon balm, lemon verbena, thyme, oregano, fennel, borage and nasturtiums!
I ran a workshop last week with my awesome friend Sonnda Catto, a Cordon bleu trained chef, pattisserie expert, nutritionist with the most developed palate I have ever come across! She creates the most amazing freefrom foods I have ever tasted! They may be glutenfree, sugarfree, grainfree, dairyfree but they are most definitely not flavour free!
Sonnda has a restricted diet because of her ME but she certainly makes the the most incredible food from the best quality ingredients! We will be collaborating again and running regular workshops so watch this space for details.
And I will be launching a new programme of workshops, covering all things fermented, details coming soon!
Anyway as usual I digress, I have so much to share with all you lovely people that I simply become overwhelmed and don't know what to share first, so end up sharing nothing!!
So I have decided to focus on tomatoes and give you two new recipes, both fermented, for awesome flavour and health benefits!
These are both really simple and all you need are your ingredients and a glass jar! No cultures or special fermenting equipment required!
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which after fermentation becomes more bioavailable, which means your body can use it more efficiently! All sorts of magical stuff happens when you ferment food and its all good!! Lycopene has been associated with reduced risk of several cancers and it can also protect your skin from sun damage! Tomatoes are also rich in potassium which regulates fluid balance and are an excellent source of vitamin C, which also increases during fermentation!
So there you have it! Tomatoes, like all fruits and veggies, are extremely good for you, but fermenting them takes the health benefits to another level, as well as adding lots of gut healing lactobacillus bacteria, which just support every system in your body!
So no excuses, go and ferment some tomatoes!!
These are very aptly named and are indeed wee bombs of flavour with a delicate fizz on the tongue, that only fermentation can provide!
The recipe is so simple, you can hardly call it a recipe!!
So gather together some wee organic cherry or wee plum tomatoes, or better still use homegrown ones, about 500g.
Find yourself a large glass jar and give it a wash in hot soapy water then rinse it well. I used a large olive jar from Lidl but any glass jar will do.
Make a wee hole in each tomato using a wooden cocktail stick or skewer, pop them in your jar, add 3 or 4 bashed garlic cloves, a few sprigs of basil, any other herbs you have like flat leaf parsley, rosemary, oregano or thyme. Make a brine by dissolving a tablespoon sea salt in 1 litre filtered water then pour it over the tomatoes. Leave an inch or so headspace to stop the brine overflowing. I covered mine with a big grape leaf from my garden but nasturtium leaves also work well or a large lettuce leaf or cabbage leaf. The idea is to keep the tomatoes submerged in the brine. You can also use a ziplock bag then fill it with water to keep everything weighed down.
Put the lid on loosely and leave it to ferment for 4 or 5 days, at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. You should see bubbles after a few days indicating that fermentation is proceeding normally.
After 4 or 5 days you should have delicious probiotic flavoursome tomatoes with a gentle fizz when you eat them.
Transfer to the fridge and enjoy!
So at my workshop last week, we sampled all sorts of delicious fermented summer treats and this awesome fermented salsa was a big hit! Although so was everything else, but I'm focusing on tomatoes today, so here is the recipe!
(Makes 1 litre jar)
This salsa just tastes alive, so delicious and the fermentation adds a lovely sour tang. This is a great way of using up tomatoes and who doesn’t love salsa with tortilla chips! Or on a slice of sourdough with avocado as a probiotic bruschetta! To be honest this tastes amazing as it is, so if you don’t have time to ferment it then you can still enjoy all the amazing flavours, you just won’t have any probiotics! It’s a fast ferment, only 3 to 5 days so not that long to wait!! Alternatively, just add a clove of fermented garlic, job done!
Oh and keep any remaining brine in a wee jar in the fridge, you can add a tablespoon to some mashed avocado for fermented guacamole or pour it over your salad with some of your favourite oil! My current favourite is avocado and walnut oil!!
This is so easy. Simply mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, then pack into a clean 1 litre jar, leaving 2.5cm headspace at the top. Pack it in tightly to expel any air and bring juices to the surface. You can omit the chilli or add more depending on how hot you like it! I'm a chilli wimp so only add a wee pinch of chilli flakes.
Close the lid and allow to ferment at room temp for 3 to 5 days. Taste it after 3 days, it should have a wee fermenty fizz and zing. You can leave it for another day or so, if the flavour isn't to your liking, but don't leave it much longer or you can end up with an alcoholic tasting salsa, which isn't very nice!!
Put a bowl underneath it to catch any escaping juices. Transfer to the fridge, it will keep for around 6 months but it will be long gone by then!
......your health in your hands......
I hope everyone survived the last week of snow! It was becoming ridiculous and quite scary how food supplies in the shops dwindled so fast. It's always bread and milk that go first and thankfully I bake my own delicious sourdough bread and had just stocked up on lots of organic flour from Waitrose, at 25% off! I can't resist a good bargain! It did make me very grateful that I can bake my own nutritious bread from only three ingredients and I actually consider it a life skill!!
Wee plug for my upcoming workshops, where I share all my knowledge and tips on how to make sourdough, kefir, kombucha and fermented veggies so you can go away and make your own fermented goodies! It could be a life saver the next time there is a food shortage!!
I only have one place left on Sat 17th March and one place on Sunday 25th March so contact me asap if you want to join the fun!
Here is the link
Anyway we could survive for at least a month. Our cupboards are well stocked with every type of pulses, grains and beans and I have a massive jar of fermented garlic in the fridge along with dried mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and loads of onions! I also have lots of fermented veggies, packed full of probiotic goodness!
My freezer is full of kale, spinach, frozen fruit and Alastair has a fish drawer full of fish!
I only buy dairy milk for my kefir grains and can easily make milk from almonds, oats, cashews or rice, all of which I have lots of.
It does make you think though how fragile our food system is and how long it would take for us to run out of food completely?
Anyway I'm so glad the snow has gone and the sun is actually shining today and the sky is blue! Hurrah spring is coming! My favourite season!
So I've been meaning to share this recipe for a while. I posted a photo on Instagram a few weeks ago and lots of people commented on it.
It's one of those recipes that you can vary endlessly according to what veggies, lentils or beans you have available.
I have made a few variations myself. The star of the recipe is good old Linda McCartney Veggie Sausages, a staple in our house, and only £1 per pack at Home Bargains! I always have a few packs in the freezer for weekend breakfasts and brunches!
However they work really well in this hotpot/casserole and make a really delicious and healthy dinner!
I love using up whatever veggies I have in the fridge, which I did a lot of last week, when we were snowed in, and I had a great time looking through my many cookery books for new ideas!
Anyway this recipe I just made up so its simple but rather versatile and works great with a big pile of creamy mashed potatoes and steamed greens or with pasta, rice or couscous. Any leftovers can be eaten cold for lunch.
You essentially cook the sausages in the oven for 15 minutes while you get on with making the sauce. Its a tomato based sauce with onions, carrots, peppers, mangetout, frozen peas or green beans with flavour from cumin, smoked paprika, mustard, and some tomato ketchup for a bit of added sweetness.
I have made this with the addition of puy lentils, which I cooked separately then added to the sauce with the cooked sausages and also with kidney beans and I had a bag of cooked quinoa and bulghur wheat to use up so just added that too. You can essentially just use frozen peas, carrots and onions and a tin of kidney beans and tomatoes but be adventurous and add whatever veggies you have. Celery and mushrooms would work well too and any cooked grains, lentils or beans. Also spinach stirred in at the end is always a good addition and a great way of boosting your greens for the day!
So here is my basic recipe..
SMOKY SAUSAGE & BEAN CASSEROLE
Ingredients for 6 people
.....your health in your hands....
I've been experimenting a bit with options for our Christmas dinner and I've decided on this rather delicious dish!
I came across the idea on the rather fabulous plant based blog mygoodnesskitchen and the simplicity of this appealled massively!
My criteria for any recipe really, festive or not, is flavour, simplicity and nutrition and this one ticks all the boxes!
Plus it looks great too and is sure to impress your guests!
We stick with vegan options for Christmas although Kathryn always requests a veggie lasagna which isn't festive at all but it's her favourite so we make a separate one for her.
We tend to have lots of options and a table full to overflowing with festive fare but we all love cooking and have the time to spare but food is a priority in our house.
The saying there are those who live to eat and those who eat to live and we definitely fall into the first category!!
We love food!!
So back to this really simple but elegant dish. The most difficult part is cutting holes in the butternut squash! I have a really good plain round cookie cutter which worked really well. I also tried a fluted option which although more difficult to cut through, left a lovely flower shaped hole, although the hole is filled with stuffing mix so just go with the plain option!
Cut slices about an inch thick and buy a butternut squash with a long neck end so you can cut a good few slices out!
I decided also to try the stuffing mix with portabello mushrooms and it worked really well and was simpler and quicker since the mushrooms don't need pre cooking prior to adding the stuffing and you don't have to cut a hole in them! You just give them a wipe with a damp cloth, put them on a lightly greased baking tray and spoon generous amount of stuffing mix and a wee drizzle of oil then bake them for around 20 minutes or so!
Doesn't get much easier than that!
Okay so the stuffing has a lovely festive flavour from the cranberries, chestnuts and herbs. If you can't find chestnuts then you can replace them with walnuts or hazelnuts. I used Merchant Gourmet vacuum packed cooked chestnuts from Waitrose.
Another time saving tip is to use a can of cooked lentils! Then its simply a matter of frying an onion, garlic, herbs then adding the other ingredients and heating it through.
I am going to make up my stuffing mix and freeze it so I'll be good to go on Christmas day.
If you have fresh sage, rosemary or thyme in the garden then add a good chopped spoonful of all of them. Alternatively you can use dried herbs.
I served a slice of squash and a big mushroom with a delicious gluten free, extremely healthy mushroom gravy, which is made with cooked brown rice, mushrooms, stock, herbs, garlic, tamari or balsamic vinegar and optional nutritional yeast flakes!
All you do is simmer the mushrooms, stock and cooked rice for 10 minutes then add herbs, garlic and seasoning and blend the lot into a delicious vegan gravy. No faffing around with lumpy flour and butter for me!! The recipe is included at the end of this post.
On a health note, cooked and cooled rice, potatoes and pasta have way more benefits for our gut bacteria, due to increased amounts of resistant starch, and everyone knows how much I go on about these wee critters! Its a symbiotic relationship on a massive level, with huge benefits for us, their hosts!
So do yourself a favour and provide your gut microbes with a festive feast this year and they will repay you with enhanced health on every level!
A feast to these wee guys is fibre, lots of it from different sources, so veggies, fruit, wholegrains, lentils, seeds, nuts, beans and pulses is the way to go!
If you decide to make this delicious dish your festive choice then you will be doing your health, your taste buds and your gut microbes a huge favour!
Whatever graces your festive table this year, enjoy it and have a wonderful Christmas...
Here are the simple recipes..
FESTIVE STUFFED SQUASH
Ingredients to serve 6
VEGAN MUSHROOM GRAVY
....your health in your hands....
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........
Okay this week I'm hanging onto the remnants of summer and sharing another fabulous recipe from the One World Vegan Retreat.
This is just summer in a pan and reminds me of warm sunny days!
I think we are all aware that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest and this dish originates from sunny Spain so join the ranks of the healthy and make this fantastic dish a regular part of your repertoire!
It is a real crowd pleaser, it's so colourful and tastes amazing!
Fiesta relates to the wonderful colours of all the veggies. Eat the rainbow for vibrant good health and this paella has all the colours, as you can see from my vibrant photo!
We have made it twice since the retreat and it is delicious. You can vary the veggies according to what you have available and your personal tastes. We have used cubed aubergine instead of fennel, mushrooms could easily replace artichokes, since they are a bit of an acquired taste but I rather like them!
Most supermarkets sell artichokes in a jar, usually beside the antipasti, sun dried tomatoes and olives, I bought mine from Aldi and they are a great price and perfect for this dish.
You can add frozen peas or sweetcorn instead of the beans and/or fennel and just leave the artichokes out if you don't like them.
Flavour is provided by smoked and sweet paprika, two of my favourite spices! Oh and turmeric for amazing health benefits and colour and garlic just because it adds amazing flavour and is natures antibiotic! Great to include loads of it as we move into colder weather, and who wants to succumb to colds and flu, most definitely not me!
It is essential when making paella to use the right kind of rice! You need short grain white rice or paella rice, most supermarkets stock it. It's different to risotto rice which is stickier and not what you want. Gloopy paella is not great!
A top tip from Lee, don't stir your paella, its not like risotto! This is a good thing which makes this a perfect dinner party dish! No standing over a hot stove while your guests are knocking back the wine! There is actually wine in this so a great reason to crack open a bottle and have a wee glass while you are prepping all your veggies!
This is a wonderful dish to take straight to the table, it has a real wow factor and can easily be served at the table. Some delicious artisan bread is a lovely accompaniment and of course a nice big glass of wine!
I served mine with a 3 day fermented delicously tangy freshly baked spelt sourdough!
Yum and extra brownie points for me! I also used my homegrown wee yellow tomatoes, my other tomatoes are all still green! I will be making some green tomato chutney and fermented green tomatoes, I have loads of them! Maybe my next blog post....
Here is the recipe.....
Ingredients - Serves 4 to 6
.....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.....
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
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