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.....
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! I'm so glad the weather has improved, we were all going stir crazy!
We're now on a mad cleaning and tidying spree before the new year but as always, food still takes centre stage at our house!
There are so many parsnips and brussel sprouts in the shops just now for next to nothing! I bought two bags of parsnips yesterday for 5p each!
I can't resist a bargain, especially a foodie bargain and I detest food waste so I had to buy some!
I thought I'd share this lovely recipe for parsnip soup, which is a great way to use them up!
We've been eating a lot of roast parsnips recently which we love but I have to admit I'm generally not a fan of parsnip soup. The classic parsnip and potato has a texture like wallpaper paste which I find most unappealing!
I came across this lovely recipe in The River Cottage Veg Everyday book by the lovely Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, which I adapted to make it vegan and I have to say it was rather delicious and not like wallpaper paste at all!
I am a big fan of adding lots of flavour to my dishes and am especially fond of ginger, garlic and turmeric, all great immune boosters at this time of year!
All of these superfoods are in this lovely soup, along with cayenne & cardamom, imparting a lovely warming, subtle flavour.
I topped it off with some toasted flaked almonds and a swirl of soya cream and I have to say it looked lovely and could happily grace a dinner table!
So if you have a few parsnips leftover from Christmas, please give this lovely soup a go, I'm sure you will enjoy it!
On a last note, I detest food waste and making soup is a fantastic way to use up leftover veggies, even ones which you think are past their best, they still have benefits for your health so please don't throw them away!
So here is the recipe....
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4-5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
500g parsnips, peeled and sliced
750 ml of vegetable stock
250 ml plant based milk, I used soya
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 tablespoons flaked almonds, lightly toasted
1 or 2 tablespoons of soya cream
.....your health in your hands....
Christmas is almost upon us so I thought I'd do a wee round up post of recipes to see you through the festive season. Almost all the recipes are vegan and some are also gluten free which means you can cater for most dietary needs!
It goes without saying that all of these recipes are tried and tested, simple, nutritious and extremely delicious!
A lot of the recipes can be made or assembled in advance so you don't have to spend too much time in the kitchen, leaving you free to enjoy yourself!
At Nourished by Nature this year, we will be well fed, as always, without any animals being harmed.
We are still trying to decide between a puy lentil and mushroom pie with sweet potato topping or a puff pastry roulade, filled with leeks, mushrooms, butternut squash and spinach. We may well end up with both!
As always there will be lots of veggies to accompany our dinner, oven roast parsnips and carrots are always delicious, especially drizzled with some maple syrup and himayan sea salt.
Brussel sprouts are also delicious oven roasted with some garlic and red onions!
I will be baking some delicious sourdough bread to accompany our soup, which we haven't decided but will probably be based on leeks, which we all love but not boring Leek & Potato! See below for my two favourite leek soup recipes!
As well as lots of new delicious ideas to try out this festive season, here is a collection of recipes from last year as well as a few others that are great for entertaining.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas!
leek chickpea soup
leek oat coconut soup
oven roasted veggie puff pastries
carrot seed loaf with mushroom gravy
super festive burgers
Snacks and nibbles
oven baked falafel bites
quinoa broccoli bites
best ever kale crisps
festive chocolate truffles
delicious decadent chocolate cake
magical chocolate mousse
apricot fig mini tarts
christmas chocolate crunch
chocolate ganache pot
...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...
I'm sharing another sweet recipe this week but I promise to move on to healthy savoury dishes and main courses suitable for a plant based Christmas next week!
Who doesn't love a chocolate truffle...? We love healthy, delicious chocolates but not so much the dairy and refined sugar kind! Last year I shared this recipe for festive chocolate truffles which are nut free and lovely too, but these ones
are a bit fancier and more festive in flavour.
The base for these delicious truffles are dates and nuts, two of my favourite ingredients and packed with fibre, protein, minerals and good fats so as well as tasting great these truffles do your body good as well!
These also make a lovely gift, packaged up in a nice box or a wee bag. I just think there is something special about a home made gift and just love to receive them!
I am very lucky that my daughter Jenna always makes special gifts for the whole family, she is a very talented and creative young lady! Handmade chocolates, chutneys, jewellery, lip balms, body scrubs and lotions, hats, place mats and beautiful natural floral arrangements have all been given and received with love. One year Laura, my youngest daughter, gave everyone a voucher for home made cakes, to be redeemed throughout the year! She is an ace vegan baker so her cakes are a real treat!! Kathryn writes lovely poems and puts such thought into them and that only leaves Emma, my oldest daughter who although she says she isn't good at making stuff, made delicious sloe gin last year with a handmade label!
It's just so nice when someone takes the time to make something.
We are fortunate in that we spend a lot of time trying out recipes and having lots of fun in the kitchen, one of the great things about writing this blog actually! So I hope that the recipes and stories I share are of interest and inspire someone out there to try something new!
So back to these very simple and delicious Festive Truffles, Chocolate Mint and Ginger, two flavours which I love, especially chocolate and mint which is a winning combination!
The method for making both flavours is the same so here are the ingredients you will need!
Gingerbread Truffles - makes 12
1 cup of soft pitted dates
pinch sea salt
1 cup of almonds, walnuts, brazil or pecan nuts or a mixture
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger or 1 inch piece of freshly grated ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg and cloves
coconut or finely chopped nuts for rolling
Chocolate Mint - makes 12
1 cup of soft pitted dates
1 cup of almonds, walnuts, pecans or brazil nuts
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons of raw cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (taste and add accordingly)
cocoa or raw cacao for rolling
1. In your food processor, pulse the nuts until they are finely chopped. Put into a bowl.
2. Add the dates and sea salt and process on high until a smooth paste forms.
3. Add the processed nuts and the remainder of the ingredients. Process until thouroughly mixed.
4. Roll the mixture into balls ( makes 12 truffles) and coat in chopped nuts/coconut/cocoa.
5. Store in a covered container in the fridge or the freezer.
...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....
Since Christmas is looming closer I thought I'd share a few ideas for home made Christmas gifts.
In my opinion, a home made gift is worth way more than a bought one. Time and effort have gone into it and a bit of love and care and that counts for a lot!
Even if you aren't creative or arty, these wee spice blends are so easy to make, and a great wee gift for a foodie friend!
Spices have been used for hundreds of years in cooking, they of course, add great flavour to food, but can also have lots of health benefits. A sprinkle of any of the following blends can really lift a simple meal and provide an extra treat for your tastebuds. We always add some kind of extra flavouring ingredient to our food and keep a wee selection of ready made spice blends.
Here are three of my favourites;
4 tbsp sesame seeds
4 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp dried thyme
4 tsp dried orgenao
2 tbsp sumac
(optional but nutritious- 1 tsp seaweed flakes)
Toast sesame seeds and cumin seeds until browned and fragrant; grind roughly in mortar and pestle then add the other and ingredients and grind again until satisfied. Chunky is good, or not so chunky, whatever you prefer. Sprinkle on anything-hummus, soups, pizza etc. It goes great with Middle Eastern flavours. Store in a glass jar.
from A modern way to eat-Anna Jones
a handful of hazelnuts
4 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon sea salt
Roast hazelnuts in the oven until golden, allow to cool before removing the bitter skins.
Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until the hazlenuts and peppercorns have broken down into small pieces. You can leave it here or continue grinding to a fine powder. You could also add a teaspoon of seaweed flakes or hemp seeds for an extra nutrition boost.
Store in a glass jar and sprinkle over everything from salads to soups to roasted veggies- it packs a real flavour punch!
This isn't really a spice blend, its more of a condiment, but its delicious nonetheless! I've been using this since my macrobiotic days, and its simply a mixture of sea salt and sesame seeds, dry toasted and finely ground in a pestle and mortar. Sesame seeds are a great source of calcium and magnesium and great for bone health. I use it in place of salt and sprinkle it on soups, salads, steamed greens and sushi! It amazingly tastes quite salty but with only a teaspoon of salt, a little goes a long way! My favourite salt is Himalyan Sea Salt, known as the king of salts for its purity and high mineral content!
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup of sesame seeds (white, black or a mixture)
Simply dry toast the sea salt in a small pan for a few minutes then tip into pestle and mortar. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and toast over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the sesame seeds start to colour, turn the heat off. They sometimes start popping so stop then!
Add the sesame seeds to the pestle and mortar and grind to a powder. Its ok to leave the mixture with some whole seeds. Transfer to a glass jar and use liberally!
All spice blends will last for a good few months, though spices do lose their potency so i suggest filling small jars that are easier to use up quickly.
....your health in your hands...
I haven't shared a beetroot recipe recently so thought I'd share this humdinger of a beetroot casserole with sweet potatoes, herbs and mushrooms with a good glug of red wine to lift the flavour to dinner party fancy!! I assure you, its that good! If you love beetroot and hearty casseroles then you will absolutely love this recipe!
Beetroot ticks a lot of boxes for me, its cheap, readily available, delicious, a fabulous colour and has lots of health benefits! It can lower blood pressure, improve memory and brain function by basically improving blood flow and relaxing the arteries, all down to nitric acid which beetroot has lots of! Its also a very effective internal cleanser, due to the powerful antioxidant betacyanin and supports kidney, liver and gallbladder function. Its also a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and easily digestible carbohydrates for a wee energy boost!
It's also extremely versatile and lends itself well to juicing, cakes, dips, soups, salads and casseroles!
I really do love the humble beetroot, whats not to love?
Anyway back to this fabulous recipe, the idea came from the awesome Anna Jones cookbook A Modern Way to Eat. I love Anna Jones, she makes the most delicious vegetarian food, wholesome, flavoursome and nutritious. A fabulous book if you want to transition to a more plant based way of eating, full of family favourites, lovely photos and simple, easy to follow recipes.
So back to this one...
I used vacuum packed beetroot, instead of fresh beetroot. I always have packs of beetroot in the fridge for dips, houmous, salads and soups and it's already cooked so can just be added for the last 10 to 15 minutes. Fresh beetroot can take up to an hour to cook, so if you are using fresh then cut into smallish chunks, to speed up the cooking time.
Puy or dark green lentils are another favourite ingredient of mine. They are packed with fibre, protein, minerals and vitamins and support health on every level. They are really filling and make a great substitute for meat. They don't require soaking prior to cooking and cook in around 20 minutes. All the supermarkets sell puy type lentils now, they hold their shape well and don't go mushy, which the more common red lentils do! I always have a selection of lentils in my cupboards, they are so versatile and delicious and great for adding fibre and protein to a meatless meal.
Sweet potatoes add lots of beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A and supports skin and digestive health. They contain a wonderful sugar called fructo-oligo-saccaride which acts as a food source for good bacteria in the gut, producing a chemical called butyric acid that can repair and strengthen the gut wall and rejuvenate the digestive tract! We should all be feeding our good gut bacteria and sweet potatoes are just so delicious this is just another excellent reason to eat loads of them. Even though they are naturally sweet, they contain blood sugar regulating properties and improve the cells responsiveness to insulin, so won't spike your blood sugar!
So all in all a very healthy dish to make for dinner, its just full of beneficial veggies, lentils, herbs and lots of garlic to boost the immune system and add lots of flavour!
We had this served with a big pile of creamy mashed potatoes and steamed green beans and Jenna used the leftovers by adding more mushrooms, stock and potato and blending it to a smooth velvety pink delicious soup!
We never waste food at Nourished by Nature!!
So here is the recipe, please leave a comment if you try it!
Ingredients Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
4 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
8 to 10 small cooked beets, quartered or fresh beetroot peeled and diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into dice
4 bay leaves
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
250 ml red wine
1 litre vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 cup (200g) small dark lentils, rinsed and drained
handful of mushrooms, halved (optional)
....your health in your hands.....
It's been so cold recently but I'm loving the crisp, frosty days! I've had to bring Grace my wee chicken into the house since the temperature has been -7C the past two nights! I'd never forgive myself if she froze to death!! She has been happily eating porridge for breakfast with coconut oil, raisins, sweetcorn and sunflower seeds and washing it down with a good glug of kombucha, which she loves! She is a discerning chicken for sure!
Anyway I thought I'd share another of my favourite soup recipes, which is just the job for lunch on a freezing cold day! This one is adapted from a macrobiotic recipe, acquired during my studies to become a macrobiotic health coach, which I am, but I find the macrobiotic way too bland and restrictive for my liking, so I adapt the recipes to suit my taste!
So mung beans are very small dark green beans, mostly eaten as beansprouts here but they are also delicious cooked! Like all beans, mungbeans are packed with fibre, protein and minerals with major benefits for our health. They lend themselves very well to soup and make a pleasing change to the more common lentils, which most of us are familiar with.
I do think its wise to introduce new foods, most of us have a limited repertoire of recipes and sometimes get stuck in a boring food rut, which is where Nourished by Nature comes in!
I never cook or eat boring or bland food, life is too short for that, I embrace all the wonderful natural flavours and enjoy vibrant good health as a result!
Soup is one of the easiest things to make, and the varieties are endless! It's just such a brilliant way of sneaking more veggies and wholegrains into the diet.
One of my favourite things is a big bowl of steaming hot soup, served with a slice of home made sourdough bread!
The simple things are sometimes the best...
Most supermarkets and natural food stores stock mungbeans and they keep for ages.
So this soup is thick, nourishing, tomatoey, flavoursome and stick to your ribs delicious!
Here is my recipe
MIGHTY MUNGBEAN & TOMATO SOUP
1 cup of mungbeans (approx 200g)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 glug of rapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, finely diced
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
1 courgette, diced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 litre vegetable stock (Marigold or Kallo are good)
freshly ground black pepper
....your health in your hands......
My daughter Jenna made this chocolatey fruit and nut concoction a few weeks ago and I can't tell you how deliciously moreish it was!!
So I obviously had to make a batch myself!
We chocolate lovers can delight in the knowledge that good quality high cocoa solids chocolate is incredibly good for us! It contains antioxidants with heart protective qualities, phenylethylamine, an amphetamine like compound which acts as a natural mood enhancer along with magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and B vitamins.
All of that considered, dark chocolate just doesn't have the same creamy mouthfeel as milk chocolate, even though most of us are aware that milk chocolate doesn't have any of the benefits of dark chocolate and has lots of refined sugar!
So this recipe, adapted from The New Vegan by Aine Carlin, one of my favourite vegan authors actually manages to combine all the health benefits of dark chocolate with a lovely texture and creamy mouthfeel, due to one of my favourite ingredients....tahini!
Tahini is made from sesame seeds, its packed with calcium and magnesium and its alkaline so easy for the body to absorb. It's so versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.
We literally use it every day!!
The other healthy ingredients in this delightful sweet are hazelnuts, goji berries and apricots, coconut oil and a good pinch of Himalyan sea salt.
With thoughts turning to Christmas, this could be made quite festive with the addition of cranberries and a teaspoon of mixed spice or cinnamon and maybe some orange zest! It really is good enough to give as a gift.
I will most definitely be making this again before Christmas.
It is perfect with an after dinner coffee or in fact any time you happen to pass the fridge!
It will keep happily for a fortnight in aforementioned fridge but not in our house! It's literally gone in a few days max!!
So here is the recipe.....
CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE SLICE
100g bar of dark chocolate
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup or brown rice syrup
large pinch of himalyan sea salt
30 g hazelnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
30g apricots, raisins or cranberries
1 tablespoon goji berries(optional)
cocoa powder for dusting
A healthy lifestyle blog with green living tips, plant-based recipes and natural health magic.