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....
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 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.....
I have started a block of healthy cooking workshops with a lovely group of ladies from Clydebank and we are using herbs and veggies from the community gardens, which is just great! You don't get any fresher than just picked from the garden, no pesticide residues to contend with and loads of nutrition to boot!
So this week we had rainbow chard, cavolo nero, beetroot, spring onions, tomatoes and loads of flat leaf parsley!
It was soup, snacks and smoothies week so we ended up with a few bunches of rainbow chard leftover which I gladly brought home since no one else knew what to do with it! That's part of the point of the workshops, to introduce new ways of cooking and introduce new ingredients!
We are doing meat free mains next week and I'll be demonstrating how easy it is to add greens to your diet. Finely shredded and steamed or lightly stir fried is a great way to use greens, they retain most of their incredible nutrients cooked this way and the addition of some good quality oil helps with the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins! I always add a delicious garlicky, turmeric, balsamic vinegar dressing too to add heaps more health benefits and incredible flavour!
There are no boring boiled plain veggies at Nourished by Nature!
We did add a lot of greens to our various soups but rainbow chard has quite an earthy taste, its from the beetroot family and so it can be a bit of an acquired taste!
I didn't think the green smoothies would go down so well packed with chard so we made do with spinach, avocado and frozen peas! We did however add kiwi, orange,pineapple and banana and some coconut soya yoghurt and everyone loved them! There is always a way to sneak more veggies into your diet!
So I made this rather easy, nutritious and delicious curry recipe to use up the lovely rainbow chard
I can't abide waste and its shocking the amount of perfectly good food that is thrown away, I can feel a rant coming on!!
I'll save it for another post and get on with the recipe.
I've demonstrated this recipe at various healthy eating workshops and it's always a favourite.
Part of the appeal of this recipe is that it uses few ingredients, just Thai Green or Red (if you like spicy!) Curry paste, some peanut butter and coconut milk. A lot of curries need lots of different spices which most of us don't have, unless we are curry fanatics, which I am not.
Red onions, garlic and ginger make up the other flavour components, adding a fair amount of anti inflammatory action to this dish!
So you can literally have this cooked in 30 to 40 minutes. You can cheat by using the jars of ready chopped ginger and garlic but I always prefer the fresh option!
Spinach is a good alternative to the rainbow chard and you can add a whole bag since it wilts down so much and is packed with all sorts of nutritional goodies!
On that note, I'm off to prepare a vegan lunch for tomorrow for the volunteers at the most successful Lets Eat Glasgow event last weekend, which I was a part of!
It's great to see so much quality Scottish food being promoted and even better to be a part of it all!
It's Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight so please support local producers!!
Here is the recipe, it's perfect for the weekend....
Chickpea, Squash & Rainbow Chard Curry
Ingredients - Serves 4
🍃 Health educator🍃