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Garlic Asparagus with Plentiful Mushrooms on Toast

It’s a beautifully warm rainy Sunday morning.

Sunday is my favorite day of the week, because it’s peaceful and always feels like it gives me permission to be lazy and restful.

In fact we all seem to live a crazy existence, yet Sunday helps us to unwind and reflect on what we’ve done over the past week and eases us into the next.

Do you agree?

Plus it’s raining today, which means a day in my pj’s cooking, eating, reading and resting.

Did someone say ‘cooking?’ and ‘eating?’

MEEEEEE!

Sooooo….. yesterday I went to my local market and bought a bunch of asparagus and mushrooms, with no real intention of what to actually use them for.  Yet this morning I’m thinking ‘Breakfast!’

Yey!

So with the help of this ‘vegetarian recipe‘ from Sweet Remedy I came up with this tasty vegan version 🙂

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Here’s what you’ll need (the recipe is for one, so just double up for 2 and so on….)

4 asparagus stalks
1 Tablespoons coconut oil
1  garlic cloves, finely cut
1 cup  mushrooms, sliced
2 slices of home made wholemeal bread
a sprinkle of home grown parsley

What you’ll need to do:

Lay the asparagus stalks onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and garlic on top, coating everything evenly and place into the oven (should take around 5-10 minutes). Then melt the coconut oil in a pan and toss in your sliced mushrooms. Cook until browned on both sides. Whilst doing that toast the bread and once the asparagus is cooked top the bread with the oven roasted garlic asparagus. Add the cooked mushrooms and sprinkle with the parsley.

Now EAT!!!

What do you think?  If you find the bread too hard, moisten it with a layer of coconut oil top.

Ooooooooh delicious 🙂

Enjoy

 

Paula x

 

 

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Vegan Chocolate Cake with a dash of Balsamic Vinegar!

I’m not really a chocolate person, yet when it comes to a certain time of the month (yep sorry if that’s too much info) I absolutely crave it!

I don’t think it’s the chocolate so much; I think it’s more the sugar or ‘lack of it’ during that time the rest of the month it’s savory every single time.

So I search for an easy recipe, because I like easy and something I had all the ingredients for and hey prestoall recipes came up trumps!

Being vegan doesn’t mean you do without treats, in fact being vegan means you get more and feel good about it afterwards!

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Now that’s how it should be 🙂

p.s  there is a slight change to the recipe above, as I’d seen somewhere that if you substitute the vinegar for balsamic vinegar it gives it a much nicer taste – which I have to say is spot on!

This cake is moist, light and very yummy!

What you’ll need:

200g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
4 table spoons of cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
5 tablespoons of oil (I used rapeseed)
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 dessert spoon of balsamic vinegar
250ml of water

What you’ll need to do:

Preheat oven to 180 degree’s, gas 4 and lightly grease a loaf tin or line it with parchment paper.

Then mix the flours, caster sugar and cocoa together in a bowl. Add the oil, vanilla essence and vinegar and water and mix until it’s a nice smooth paste.

Pour the mixture into the tin and then bake for around 45 minutes.  You’ll know it’s ready when the knife you stick in is clean and it smells delicious!

Enjoy 🙂

Px

 

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Stupidly Easy Cashew Nut ‘Cheese’

Cheese used to be one of the only foods that I would eat almost every single day.

I remember once saying that I could never go vegan because of my love of cheese.

Then I saw that the production of cheese caused pain and suffering to animals all around the world; I had to stop.

It doesn’t matter how much you think you ‘love’ something, when it comes to other’s suffering because of it then there is no choice other than to stop contributing to that suffering – whether I think I love it or no.

Being vegan means you taste so many other foods that you never thought you’d ever try, or had ever even considered eating before.   My sense’s are heightened immensely since making this change, but also knowing that what goes into my body doesn’t have to harm another living thing. Ever. Well that feeling is like nothing else.

So hereby lies my new ‘cheese’ creation made from cashew nuts!  Thanks to the  ‘Clean Food Dirty Girl’ blog, I found a very easy recipe with only a few simple ingredients

What you’ll need:

130 g of cashews soaked in 709 ml of water for at least an hour
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 turns fresh black pepper
1/4 cup water

What you’ll need to do:

This is soooo simple!

Soak, drain and rinse cashews. Then place them into a food processor, along with lemon juice, salt and black pepper.  Then pulse for about 1 minute to combine ingredients.  You’ll then need to add water and process until completely smooth, about 2 -4 minutes.

That is it!

I know so simple right!

Tell me what you think…..i adore it 🙂

 

Px

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Breakfast Scrambled ‘egg’ Tofu with Leek in Pitta Bread

I used to love eggs….

I used to love egg and soldiers (if you don’t know what that is google it, as obviously I don’t have a picture – being vegan now and all that).

That was before I realised and learnt about the horrific conditions that lay (no pun intended) before a hen whilst producing egg after egg after egg.  Or the fact that male chicks are killed just because they don’t have the reproductive organs to give us what we want for breakfast (or dinner if that’s what you prefer or preferred).

This isn’t about making something taste the same as egg

No, far from it.

But it’s about creating a tasty, cruelty and life giving free alternative to what we all know and love as breakfast.

So I made this today and was pretty proud of the outcome (smiling inwardly because it didn’t cost a life)

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So do you want to give it a go?

Here’s what you’ll need:

(serves: Serves 2-3)
  • 15 oz. tofu, firm (about 415 grams)
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable stock
  • 1 Leek
  • coconut oil
  • Organic Pitta Bread
  • plus a can of plum tomato’s and kidney beans) optional on the side

What you’ll need to do

Drain the tofu from the water and place to one side.   Now heat a nonstick pan (I used a wok) or if you don’t have nonstick make sure you use enough oil to stop it from sticking.  Then place it over a medium heat.  Plop a knob of coconut oil into the pan and add the tofu (breaking it up by hand so it resembles scramble egg) and toss it together with all the spices.

Then slice a leek and drop that in with it.  Using a spatula mix all the ingredients together so it turns a lovely yellow colour and start cooking.  Now add the veg stock a tablespoon at a time, bring it to the boil so it absorbs the tofu each time you add it.

Whilst this is cooking, in a separate pot just heat your can of tinned tomato’s and kidney beans adding a dash of paprika if you wish!

Once both are cooked thoroughly (i.e the leek has softened and the tofu absorbed all the stock) serve in your pitta bread and enjoy!

Oh don’t forget to salt and pepper the tofu for extra taste!
Soooo what do you think?

Let me know

 

Px

p.s thanks to Fork & Beans for this amazing recipe which I used to create this 🙂

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Bread baking with semolina!

Nothing beats watching your own crops grow….

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’ve got an allotment plot.   I’ve wanted to grow my own vegetables and live off the land for  a wee while now, and it looks like it’s working out. Not only am I growing veg at the allotment, I’m also growing more varied veg in my own back yard!

Excuse the washing and the dog!

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I’m growing crops such as chick peas, soya beans, courgettes, peppers and so much more.  I wanted to grow food that I’d actually eat, and being a vegan these kinds of crops will go down very nicely!

So what’s this got to do with bread?

Not much to be fair.  Other than the fact that I want to live more by my own hand, via the land and using up food that I’d never normally have used, until now.   I mean, to live well you’ve got to make do with what you’ve got right?  And since I had a few bags of semolina, I did the old google thang and hey-presto I’ve got Semolina bread!

Since starting this journey I’ve cooked things I’d never thought I’d every cook/create.  I mean, making my own soya milk was brilliant in itself but to create my own beautiful loaf would be even better – in my eyes anyway!

I’ve got this dream.  I want to live completely free of supermarkets, money (well a lot less), live off the land whilst looking after animals who might otherwise have gone to their death for the meat industry.   It’s a dream that I intend to fulfill one day, so whilst I’m working towards that I’m learning to make food from scratch from what I have.  I even want to grow my own wheat – but that’s another story!

So here’s my very first loaf of semolina bread – what do you think?

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I am absolutely proud of it to be fair and what’s more it’s really easy to make and ever so light!

So do you fancy making your own with your fair hand?  

Good – let’s do it then!

What you’ll need:

284 ml water, lukewarm
1 /14 teaspoons of active dry yeast
210 g semolina
1/2 tablespoon of salt
140 g white bread flour
Olive oil for while the bread rises

What you’ll need to do (bear with me, it may seem a lot but really it is easy!):

Start by adding your water and yeast to a large mixing bowl. Stir this together and let it sit for a few minutes until the yeast dissolves completely.  Then add your salt and semolina flour to the mix. I did it by hand, just because I wanted to do it for real 🙂

When you stir in your semolina flour, it’ll look like scrambled eggs.  Next, add about 140 g of bread flour to the dough and stir it until it forms a rough ball. If it’s really dry, add a bit more water and if it’s really sticky then sprinkle on some more flour.

Roll this out onto a lightly floured surface. It should be pretty firm at this point.

Let the semolina relax and absorb some of the water before working with it. So, let the dough rest for about 5-10 minutes before trying to knead it. It makes it a lot easier to work with – believe me :).

Then knead this dough for about 10 minutes until it’s very elastic and really smooth and soft. If the dough gets sticky at any point, sprinkle with more flour.  Then after a few minutes though you should have a very smooth dough ball.

Add this to a large bowl and coat it well with olive oil. Cover it with a towel and let it rise until it triples in size it will probably take a few hours (about 3 approx)

After the 3 hours, take the dough out of the bowl, punch it down, knead it for another minute or so, then return it to the bowl and drizzle it with more olive oil. Let it rise a second time until it doubles in size. It’ll rise a lot faster the second time. It’ll probably take only 45 minutes to an hour to get there.

Making the loaf

I decided to give it a rustic look. So I punched down the dough and then rolled it into a rectangle.  I then folded one site over 2/3rds of the way over. Then i did the same the other side and tucked in both ends to make my loaf shape.   I then scored it across the top with a sharp knife to make it look a bit more authentic.

Now preheat your oven to about 250 degree’s and lay your loaf onto a baking sheet. It will rise again so give it about 30 minutes.  Then slide your loaf into the oven leaving it at temp 200 (fan assisted oven) and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and hollow when you hit it.

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Safe to say you’ll love this loaf, it’s ever so nice and brilliant toasted or used to dip into soup!

Enjoy creating your own food.

 

Px

Big thanks to Macheesmo.com for their fab recipe

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Spicy Leek & Cheesy-ish Tomato Pasta

So these little beauties came from my allotment. They’d been planted early last year (prior to me taking over the plot) which means I am lucky enough to reap the rewards!

This meant I had to have one of them at least for dinner that night

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There is nothing more satisfying than growing from the land and then coming up with a recipe which, not only makes it delicious, but enhances it’s earthy beautiful flavors.

So I came up with this recipe.   I wanted to make it spicy, because leek (in my book) was not a vegetable you’d be able to spice up!

But, it seems I was wrong!  It’s actually a great combination and you are going to love it! (don’t I always say that?!!)

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This is a recipe for one, because it was just me at home – but I’m sure you’ll know how to do more if there’s more needed.

What you’ll need:

A tablespoon of olive oil
1 large garlic clove
A shake of chili flakes
A shake of fennel seeds
One large leek (your own home grown if you can!)
200g tin of chopped tomato’s
2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast (plus a little bit more to garnish)
2 handfuls of spiral pasta (or any pasta you fancy)

What you’ll need to do:

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, or just do what I do: boil the kettle, add the boiled water to the pasta in a sauce pan and then heat until the pasta is cooked (not too soft though).

Whilst the pasta is cooking, chop the garlic very finely and add that to the olive oil. Cook but do not burn.  Then add the shake of chili flakes, the fennel seeds and then the sliced leek.   Cook so the leek is soft and combined with the other flavors.   Then add the tomato’s and bring to the boil, add the 2 teaspoons of nutritional yeast to make it a little bit creamer and less tart.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and place into a bowl.   Now add the leek sauce to the pasta and sprinkle some of that lovely nutritional yeast on top!

Now tell me you don’t love this 🙂

Enjoy

 

Px

 

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Vegan (Tinned) Asparagus Risotto…tastier than you think!

Ever wondered what you’d do with a tin of green asaparagus in brine?

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No me either!

Not really one for eating asparagus. Not because I don’t like them, I’ve just never been brought up on them so they’ve never been a veg I’ve hankered after.  Saying that, I’ve got a few friends who love their food and these are at the top of their list of good and tasty veg – the natural version though; not tinned!

Luckily, after a bit of googling (got to love the internet!) I found a rather simple recipe on Cafe JohnSonia to use these in.

I love an easy recipe and this one suited me down to the ground, a good old risotto!

So if you’ve got a tin of asparagus lolloping about in your cupboard then try this……you will love it. That my friend is a promise 🙂

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What you’ll need: (makes enough for 2)

Tin of asparagus (200g or thereabouts)
1 Teaspoon of oil
1 Shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound (16 ounces) arborio rice
150 ml white wine
juice of one lemon or a squirt of ready made lemon juice (yup that’s what I had)
800 ml veg stock
salt & pepper to taste

What you’ll need to do:

Pour your stock into a pan and bring just to a simmer.  Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the oil and heat for 30-60 seconds until simmering. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a bit longer.

Now you’ll need to add the rice. Cook and stir constantly for about a minute and then add the white wine.   It’ll sizzle a bit, that’s OK, just keep stirring and let the rice absorb it. Once that’s done add the lemon juice.

Next, ladle a bit of the stock into the pan. Cook, stirring constantly and letting the liquid be completely absorbed. The heat should be on medium to medium-low – just as long as it’s not too hot, because you’ll not be wanting to burn the bottom of your saucepan or the rice! Keep cooking and adding another ladle of stock.   Repeat until rice is creamy and all cooked through, you’ll want it to have a bit of a bite to it (so not mushy).

Lastly remove from heat and then stir in the asparagus. Because it’s canned it will heat up quickly within the risotto, add a bit of salt and pepper and serve (oh and add a wee bit of lemon to the dish to make it look swish!)

Recipe Note:  

I recently bought some of this:

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So I’ll be adding a touch of this over the top of risotto’s in future!

Let me know what you think.

 

Enjoy

 

Px

 

Thanks to Cafe Johnsonia for the recipe…

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Home-made Soya Milk

I recently received a bag of organic soya beans and didn’t know what to do with them.   I’d considered making soya milk a few times, but never quite followed through because I thought it would be too difficult or I’d need more than a bag full of beans!

Then I stumbled upon this blog, all about making soy milk from soya beans and I just couldn’t resist giving it a try!

Guess what? It’s only blooming easy!!

It’s that easy I’ve even started to grow soya beans in my ‘garden allotment’ at home because I want to be more self sufficient, and if I can do it for myself then you can do it too! (I’ll write a post my allotment later on, because I love it!)

So here’s the recipe, give it a go.

What you’ll need:

80 grams of organic (if you can) soyabeans
1 Litre of water
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)

What you’ll need to do:

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Soak the soyabeans in water overnight for a minimum of 12 hours.  Then drain the soyabeans and remove the outer skins – this will take you about 20 minutes, I found it easier to squeeze the soyabean and watch the skin slip off.

Once you’ve taken all the skins off, blend the soyabeans with 750 milliliters of water until well blended and almost smooth.  You’ll then need to strain the blended mixture using a cheesecloth, a napkin or a strainer.

Pour the mixture in a saucepan, add 250 milliliters of water. Place the saucepan on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir and skim foam.  Then cook the milk over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or so.

Once completed let it cool down. Once cooled add the vanilla essence – this will make it taste a little bit sweeter.

Then store it in an old jam jar or something similar and pop it into your fridge. It lasted around 5 days for me, but you’ll know if it’s not right by giving it a sniff!

On the plus side, it’s even good in tea! I was very pleased about that!

Px

 

Thanks to Simple Vegan Blog 

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Beautiful Spicy-ish Bok Choy Mushroom & Tomato Stir-fry

These day’s, since becoming a Vegan, I hardly go a day without making something new from the food I intercept or save before it’s about to get binned!

Personally I think becoming vegan has given me a whole lease of life when it comes to cooking because you can’t just grab any old thing from the freezer or cupboards.  It has to be well thought out beforehand!   To be fair, I find it a bit hard, especially when my staple diet used to be jacket potato’s with cheese, cheese on toast, cheesy pasta or a pizza!

Can you see the re-occurring theme here?

I loved cheese.  Yet since deciding that my diet shouldn’t include harming any other living thing, cheese is now not so important and no longer figures in my cooking repertoire anymore!

Instead i get to sample the delights of new foods such as the wonderfully tasty and nutritious Bok Choy! (collected just today in fact!)

I’ll not bore you with it’s beauty other than the fact it’s highly ranked as one of the best vegetables to eat, it’s got 21 good nutrients and rich in Omega 3, zinc and so much more. Oh and the fact that it’s absolutely to die for and so is this stir-fry!

Don’t believe me? Well, try it for yourself and see!

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What you’ll need:

1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 medium bok choy
2 tomatoes
5 mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes (or a good old shake!)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon white cooking wine

What you’ll need to do:

Firstly chop the bok choy into thin, small slices. Chop the tomato into quarters. Slice the mushrooms in even, thin pieces. Peel the garlic and dice it in small pieces.

Now place all the chopped vegetables in the frying pan with the extra light olive oil, sesame oil and salt. Turning the heat to high-medium high. Once heated add the soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Stir and cook the vegetables 6-8 minutes.

After the vegetables have been cooking for 6-8 minutes dd the cooking wine, stir and cook for another 2 minutes and turn the heat off.

Serve in a bowl and consume to your hearts desire!

Yum yum!

 

Px

p.s thanks to Devine Healthy Food for this lovely recipe 🙂

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Thai Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, Lemon Grass, Spinach & Coconut Curry

Yes, before you ask ALL of the above ingredients I intercepted before going into bins!

Having never in my life even seen lemon grass, let along received it in the palm of my hands I was overjoyed – yet rather perplexed – to have the opportunity to see what I could do with this treat.

My first thought had to be a Thai dish because that was the only thing I’d ever associated lemon grass with….I could be wrong of course, but as I’d never cooked a Thai dish before I was more than up for it!

Then I came upon this beautiful post by Chilli & Mint and hey presto this beautiful dish was born!

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So what do you think? Up for it?  You can omit a few of the ingredients if you don’t have them, I tend to add a few bits here and there and adjust to whatever I have in my cupboards or that I’ve saved so don’t stick to it 100% if you don’t have the stuff!

What you’ll need:

Serves around 4-6 people (hopefully!)

3 tbsp of oil
3 shallots
1 tbsp of salt
2 lemon grass (both ends removed and then crushed a little)
1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2 small chilli’s (I chose red)
1 tsp ground turmeric
200g tin of chopped tomato’s
bag of chopped butternut squash & sweet potato (about 350g)
500 ml of vegetable stock
1 x can of 400 ml coconut milk (or the fresh stuff in cartons, works just as well!)
1 tbsp of soy sauce
200 tin of sweetcorn
200g tin of spinach (or fresh whatever you have)
fresh coriander and mint to serve (if you have it)

What you’ll need to do:

Firstly, slice the shallots and then heat them in the oil in a deep pan, not too hot mind. Add the salt and then fry on a low heat until they soften.

Add the garlic and ground ginger. Add the chillies, lemon grass and turmeric.   Then add the chopped tomato’s, then the butternut squash and sweet potato chunks.

Now add the stock, soy sauce and the coconut milk and bring it to a gentle simmer for around 20 mins or so, the vegetables should then have soften by the end of the 20 minutes.  Don’t over cook the vegetables as you won’t want it to end up all mushy, then add the sweetcorn.

Lastly turn off the heat and add the spinach so it all mixes up nicely.

Stand back and enjoy the beautifully colourful dish you’ve just created!

As  last bit of colour and flavor, chuck in any parsley or coriander that you have moping about the kitchen.

And serve 🙂

Mmmm mmmmm

Let me know what you think!

Px