I’m back after a very stressful placement in Intensive Care and a lovely family Christmas and I had some Christmas money to spend, as I always do, on my new cooking endeavours. And behold my latest creation made with my latest gadget!
Its vegan, vegetarian, low carb, low fat and gluten free. Any health nuts dream! I’m not usually one for airy fairy messing about in the kitchen but this new year I have noticed I’ve started resembling Buddha over Christmas. Great mind…not exactly a bikini body to shoot for. Now considering my sickening aversion to anything remotely cardiovascular (I refuse to believe feeling like your dying is good for you) the main focus is my food intake. I think any vegan with a busy life can’t deny a particular lean towards starchy carbs to keep us going. I kept seeing this done on various food sites and couldn’t help feeling it was genius.
It’s so easy to do and the yield shown above was actually from only half a courgette so financially it’s considerably cheaper than a lot of low carb pasta alternatives and is far superior in terms of calories.
I was concerned as I am NOT a fan of courgette (or zucchini if you’re a yank) but when lightly stir fried it tastes very similar to rice noodles. I prepared it with sweet chilli sauce, onions and garlic and didn’t miss noodles at all. It seems it has a similar effect as tofu, the ‘pasta’ seems to take on the flavour of the flavours you cook with it.
You can pick a spiralizer up on eBay for about a tenner and I’d definitely recommend the investment. It’s made a significant difference to the calorie content of my meals and its really delicious. So here is my gift to you to help you through the difficult mid January hump if you too are a passionate foodie currently on the miserable weight loss band wagon, lets club together to make it a fun foodie adventure!
Big news this week, your very own foodie is a FINALIST in the Great British Vegan Bake Off through the PETA website! I entered my vegan chocolate and peanut butter fudge brownies in the online competition and have been selected! It is such a huge thrill to be recognised in this way and here’s the link to vote.
Even if its not for me, there are some delicious entries, please take the time to vote if for no other reason than to raise awareness of just how good vegan baking can be. In the wake of the amazing news I decided to do some more baking but of the savoury variety. I spotted this recipe through Pinterest and decided to change it up a little. It seems really daunting from the recipe but honestly it really isn’t that bad, it’s more a lot of faffing about than anything difficult. So should you wish to fart around in the pursuit of an impressive party dish here’s the list of all the things that could go wrong
What you need:
For the crust:
- 40g Rolled Oats
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds (toast these and the oats under the grill before you start until…they look toasted I guess)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 100ml Almond Milk (milked from real almonds by midgets, their tiny hand are perfect for the tiny almond nipples)
- 50ml Olive oil
- 120g of Plain Flour (Wholemeal is the best)
For the Filling:
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- An onion size onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 pack of spinach
- 450g firm tofu (don’t be alarmed at how gelatinous it is believe it or not that actually IS firm tofu, I’ve never bought non-firm I dread to think what it looks like)
- 120ml Almond milk
- 1 jar of artichoke hearts in oil (canned in water will do but are much less flavoursome I find)
Once you’ve gathered all the ingredients and payed the midgets for their services. Put the oven on the 200 degrees, or forget and wait till everything’s ready, realise you’ve forgotten swear and stand there waiting or the oven to heat up at the end. Either’s good. Then it’s time to make the pastry. This pastry is brilliant because it’s very crispy and doesn’t need to be blind baked so in that sense it actually cuts down on the faffing about.
1.) Put all the pastry ingredients apart from the oil and almond milk into a processor and blend until finely ground.
2.) Put in a bowl and add the milk and oil. Get your hands all sticky by kneading it into a ball.
3.) Press the pastry into an oiled quiche tin, you can try and roll it out but it is very difficult as its not the usual doughy consistency and can break apart. Then stick it in the fridge.
4.) Cook the onion and garlic until oniony and garlic-like and add the spinach until soft and slimed.
5.) Put in the blender with the tofu, milk, seasoning and basil. Add the artichokes and blend gently so the mixture is still slightly chunky.
6.) Pout the purée into the crust and bake for 25-35 minutes.
7.) Don’t panic it probably won’t be set when it comes out as it needs to cool down so leave to stand for 10 – 15 minutes.
And there we have it a tasty quiche like tart with wonderful flavours. It really is one of the more accomplished things I’ve attempted on this blog and it works really well
Even the meat eaters liked it but did proclaim it was a perfect ‘starter’… I guess to some people it’s not a meal without meat and you know what I used to be one of them so no judgement here.
So enjoy wether it’s a starter, your lunch or part of a festive feast, just spare a thought for all those hard working milking midgets!
Old El Paso eat your heart out! This recipe was adapted from a black bean beef enchilada recipe that I’ve been using for years and I have to admit it really gave a good go at rivalling them. I decided to use vegan cheese from vbites for this recipe as I hadn’t tried it and they sell it in my local Morrisons. The first time I tried it I took a bite and thought about writing a letter (for those across the pond this is a British way of say we’re furious) but I stuck with it and once melted or cooked into dishes it was actually really pleasant and did kill the cheese craving. Luckily it’s not absolutely delicious enough to be a permanent fixture so my waistline will thank me. But in the case of these cheeky enchiladas, I d think you could do it without the cheese but I personally fancied something a bit naughty.
What you need: For the sauce
- 700ml vegetable stock
- 50g tomato purée
- 30g flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp cumin
- an onion sized onion cut up into smaller pieces of onion
- 1 tbsp chilli powder (I like mine hot hot hot but if you and your mouth skin get on the recipe says medium)
For the good bit (Enchiladas):
- 6 diced spring onions
- 500g black beans (canned are better in terms of faffing)
- 1 can of sweet corn
- 1 bag of spinach
- A big handful of fresh coriander
- 2 tsp Cumin
- 100g vegan cheese
- 8 Wheat flour tortilla wraps
What to do:
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Make the sauce. This is literally all the instruction I got with the recipe…but I think I might help you out a bit more. Heat the oil over a medium heat, add the tomato paste, flour, cumin, garlic, onion, and chilli powder.
- Whisk into the stock, reduce to simmer and cook until thickened.
- While it’s bubbling away and reducing get cracking with the rest.
- Sauté the spinach in olive oil over a medium heat until it looks sad and slimed.
- In a large bowl mix the beans, the cheese, spinach, corn, spring onions, cumin and coriander.
- Coat the bottom of the dish in some of the sauce.
- Generously fill the wraps with the mixture and roll up messily trying to push the ends in and end up in a wrestling match with an enchilada….but you win eventually.
- Lay the enchiladas onto the dish seam side down.
- Repeat until you have enough to stuff your face.
- Pour the remaining sauce over the top, it seems like a lot but it is quite a dry dish so as long as you reduce it properly the dish really needs it!
- Grate some more fake devil cheese over the top to taste.
- Bake at 200 degrees for twenty minutes.
- Serve with what ever you fancy and enjoy!
It does take time to make your own sauce and to be honest it’s not really necessary as there are lots of vegan pasta sauces that would be a fine substitute, but the accomplishment is a lovely feeling and one of the main reasons I’m so in love with cooking.
So yeah the perfect party dish and a great way to get the all important protein rich legumes into your diet on a daily basis.
Plus they taste really good
I know what you’re thinking and NO I did not scrape out the inside of a squirrel and put it in a bowl!
In the days before I started caring about what I put in my body I used to make a gooey goats cheese and pea risotto containing an entire packet of cream cheese, and goats cheese, even thinking of the calorie count makes my thighs jiggle! But it was, as most sinful things are, fiendishly delightful! And boy did I miss it.
So I decided to try and make a vegan risotto. Now as you may have noticed I’m not a huge fan of using substitutes such as vegan butter or cheese as I find if you don’t substitute things you eat much cleaner, in fact other than my pasta there are very few processed foods in my diet and I like to keep it that way wherever possible. So that meant creating a vegan risotto with no butter and no cheese that didn’t taste like gruel….hmmm.
So I researched and um-ed and ah-ed a bit before settling for a Beetroot risotto. Now I’ve never been a fan of the traditional pickled Beetroot, I have childhood memories of happily eating a salad and suddenly feeling like my face was going to turn inside out. I have never cooked with traditional Beetroot and thought ‘why not add to the challenge’.
What you need:
- Beetroot, two bulbs (obviously, and for those budget conscious like me fresh Beetroot is ALARMINGLY cheap about one fifty for a big bunch in your local Morrisons)
- 1 litre of vegetable stock (I’ll skimp on almost anything but stock is NOT one of them, I recommend Knorr stock pots)
- an onion sized onion
- 125ml of white wine (plus the rest of the bottle to swig from and spill down your front while cooking and singing)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin is good because the olives aren’t even felt up a little bit…maybe a bit but only above the waist)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 250g of arborio rice
What to do:
- Open the wine and have a glass, it makes the whole process much more enjoyable.
- Grate the Beetroot. WEAR GLOVES. I saw that in the recipe and thought ‘well that’s a bit over hygienic’ and as a consequence my hands were bright pink for three days, it may have been the wine but it was an epic logic-to-brain-malfunction!
- Heat the oil until more oily and fry the garlic and onion until soft and smelly….yum!
- Add the rice and stir for two minutes until glistening and sexy.
- Slowly add the wine….to your mouth and then add the bit you measured (oh yeah don’t forget to measure it out BEFORE getting sloshed) slowly to the rice stirring until dissolved.
- Add the shredded Beetroot and immediately wash the bowl it’s been in. I now have one pink cereal bowl to match my hands.
- Add the stock slowly ladle full by ladle full allowing the rice to drink it all up before adding more, do this until its gone and the risotto looks like risotto.
- Season clumsily, as you’ll probably be quite drunk by then.
- Eat the whole pan instead of ordering a drunken kebab.
And it really is so easy a hammered northern student who can’t spell can manage it.
This really opened my eyes to how unnecessary so much of the dairy we use is. Risotto rice with the stock creates a base that is really creamy with out needing to use any cheese or butter…then again if your a veggie and not held in the shackles of not being allowed any thing awesome chuck some cheese in it.
I hope you find this entertaining and delicious after all we really do not eat enough purple food!
Those of weak disposition (or sense of humour) look away now! Those who remain BEHOLD the Bristol Stool Tart!
It was my best friend Heather’s birthday a couple of months ago and I decided to make her the ultimate fart and poo joke cake to suit her sense of humour. In nursing we have something called the Bristol Stool Chart which is a measurement system for your poo. Wether they look like rabbit droppings or a mud slick there is a number on the chart for us to keep up to date with your arse, I know…what a glamorous life one does lead. (We aim for a three or four if your worried about your daily/hourly/weekly/whenever-it-happens poo)
So I combined the pooey system, which really is a good chuckle to read, with delicious cakey goodness to create this tasty repulsive treat. Many a friend said they wouldn’t eat it, which is a shame as it was actually really tasty, but the nurses of the group couldn’t get enough of it. So much so that the, probably fairly normal, people NOT wanting to eat a shit cake were rendered the weirdos of the
party. Nothing like sticking together.
Unfortunately it’s not vegan but it was healthy, as it had no butter or oil and half the sugar of a normal cake….but then I covered it in chocolate…so yeah probably not THAT healthy either.
So give it a go if you think you’re hard enough, or your friends stomach is strong enough.
I call this cake an education into cake and poo…and after all they really do make the world go round.
Happy Birthday Heppa bear.
I am a savoury person till the end, cheese was by far the hardest thing to give up but during one of my rare sweet craving frenzies (imagine Godzilla with a chocolate moustache) I raided the cupboard and created a variation of the old favourite. If you’re not a fan of nuts this is not the recipe for you as there is quite a strong nutty taste to these chocolate bites, however the dark cocoa means they have an intense chocolate hit too.
They are incredibly rich which is good for the waistline as you really can’t eat too many of them.
What you need:
- 1 can of coconut milk, chilled (you only need the creamy top so it’s best to make these when you need the rest for something else)
- 1 Large dollop of peanut butter (I like to use crunchy for texture and less stuck-to- the-top-of-your-mouth-ness)
- 50g of cocoa powder
- 5 tsp icing sugar
What to do:
- Open the coconut milk and scoop off the top creamy gooey lovely layer, be sure to scrape it off the lid of the tin too….that’s the best bit. (But don’t lick it cause I hear from people you CAN cut your tongue…not that I did that….)
- Mix everything together in a saucepan over a low heat until the first bubbles start to appear.
- Cover a baking tray with plastic film, pour in and freeze for a couple of hours or until less liquid.
Minor tongue injuries aside it’s really THAT easy to enjoy a vegan chocolate binge.
Or you could just buy the vegan chocolate that tastes like an Easter egg you found in November.
So I have dropped off the map for seemingly forever. There seems to be a pattern of no posting when an exam is due, but I thought I’d break that this time as I may not have been posting but bloody hell I’ve been cooking.
I’m now attempting the full transition into Vegan, no cheating, no turning a blind eye to things and it’s going well. I’m on day eleven without any real feeling that I’m going to crack, I’ve even been for a meal out which was lovely but certainly a very difficult step.
I attempted a few weeks ago to quell some cravings by making vegan burgers. I wish I hadn’t bothered lol.
They were really delicious but such a faff on! The chickpeas just wouldn’t stick together so I ended up adding more and more peanut butter until I essentially had peanut butter burgers…not entirely unpleasant but didn’t hit the savoury spot I was aiming for. I decided to include this recipe anyway, as it did get the boyfriend stamp of approval which is very hard to get so their must be something in it.
I’m going to include the full recipe as I’ve had requests that I start including them more…
What you need:
- An onion sized onion
- Three garlic cloves (I like four but my boyfriend travels for work so be considerate)
- Two cans of chickpeas (drained)
- A bag of spinach (for the Popeye effect)
- A carrot, grated
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce (blue dragon is vegan)
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 2 Tbsp of peanut butter (In the original recipe, I must have used the whole f-ing jar, so prey for wet chickpeas)
- 200g rice, cooked.
- Tabasco to taste (in other words LOTS)
What to do:
- Fry the onion until onion-like, add the garlic and cook until the house smells.
- Add the chickpeas, spinach and carrot and cook until spinach looks slimed and gross, but apparently tastes better.
- Dump the whole lot into a mixing bowl, add the cumin, peanut butter, Tabasco, rice and seasoning.
- Mix until messy.
- Allow to cool then pull your hair out for an hour and a half trying to get the lot to stick together and form patties.
- Swear curse and cry. Attempt to blend it, add more peanut butter.
- When eventually in some pattie-like shape lightly fry until they fall apart in the pan.
- Put on a plate to cool then using your hands smush them back into a pattie shape with the brute force of your bare hands.
In all seriousness they do taste nice, but I cook a lot and find it frustrating when you follow a recipe and it doesn’t work…because I’m human.
Still I wish you the best of luck and hope your endeavours don’t leave you sobbing with peanut butter smeared in your eyebrows.