Category Archives: Vegan

Gold Granola

LOOK I’VE MADE AN OLYMPIC-THEMED DISH. I love the Olympics. It took quite a few days for the Olympic mood to kick in, but now I’m in love. It’s ironic. We’re watching athletes throw up and rip their muscles apart (well, except for shooting and archery-WHAT NON-SPORTS), claiming that we love sport…yet we do all this while sitting on the sofa and doing nothing all day. I have managed to keep a good balance, I do a good run/swim/gym as soon as I get up and, being slightly employed/unemployed, I can just sit on the sofa and knit all day with whoever wishes to join me. It’s a shame, I guess, that I didn’t get tickets, but I’m living in the goddamn city. You can definitely feel something in London which I doubt you can get elsewhere in the country. Maybe it’s because I live at the bottom of Ally Pally, where the Dutch team are located, so every night when I look out my window I see this bright orange-illuminated building. Or maybe it’s because everytime you step outside EVERYONE is sporting some sort of national sports jersey. It seems everyone also has a union jack flag just sticking out from their rucsacks. Hmmm, who needs tickets?

I have seen many a granola recipe in my time. I have EATEN many a granola recipe in my time. But MAKE granola? Mehhh, it was never very high on my to-make list. But granola is so pretty when it’s made and just sitting in a jar. It then also looks really nice as a present.

I was always quite turned off it because of the high sugar content, because it’s made of maple syrup, most of the time. However, I (my parents) purchased some agave nectar because I wanted to try and do some healthy baking. That is what made me want to make my own granola. Turns out it is probably the easiest thing in the entire world. And my mum EATS IT (my mum rarely eats anything). I’ve made two batches in the space of 1 week! It’s getting hoovered up. So a healthy granola that is ridiculously healthy? I give it the GOLD MEDAL.

Ingredients-Yield is about 1.25 litres (adapted from this)

-3 cups of porridge oats

-1/2 cup of agave nectar

-1/2 cup of almonds

-1/2 chopped walnuts

-1/2 cup of dried apricots

-1/2 cup raisins/sultanas

-1 scant tsp of salt

Method

-Preheat oven to 300 f, or around gas mark 5. Line a large baking tray with grease proof paper.

-Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Make sure it is very well combined.

-Spread out onto the paper, making sure it is as spread out as possible.

-Put in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. Be careful not burn.

-Take out from oven when it looks like most of the porridge is browned.

-Leave to cool, and then put an airtight container.

 

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Filed under Healthy Sweets, Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian

CHIPS.

 

Soooo chips.  As a child, it was all about chips. At a restaurant, I would always have chips. I was that annoying child at a very reputable restaurant…getting just a plate of chips.

Now I have to admit now, that these were not for me. These were for my dad.  My overdosing on chips as a child has meant that I don’t really eat them these days (it’s the same with crisps and juice). I also see little point in having white potato, when you could have sweet potato, whose complex carbohydrates are much more preferable. But my dad doesn’t like sweet potato.

But of course I had a try of these potatoes, as I do with all my dad’s veggie friendly accompaniments, and they were delish.ous.

 

What I love the most about them is that they’re just SO  FRICKEN EASY.

Ingredients-serves 2

-4 large king edward potatoes, around 600g

-2 tbsp oil

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp dried oregano

Method

-Pre heat oven to gas mark 7, 220 c.

-Chop your potatoes in to chip shapes. This involves chopping potatoes in half lengthways, and then halving each half. And then chopping each sigment into thirds. If that doesn’t make sense, just use your initiative.

-Place potatoes on a baking dish, pour over oil, salt and oregano and stir together thoroughly to make sure all potatoes are covered.

-Place in the oven, for about 50 minutes, or until the potatoes are brown on the outside, and when you poke a fork through a chip it is soft.

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Filed under Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian

Summer Greens Salad.


YEAHHH, it’s soooo hottt!! It was about 28 degrees today here in London, which is terrific because I love the heat. Bake bake bake. I would make some sort joke about Olympics and me being BRONZE, but I’m just a bit too overheated to think of something witty enough. I just came back last week from 2 weeks in Bordeaux with my family, it was lovely. The weather was intermittent, but I guess that is what happens when you go at the beginning of July (my dad’s choice, it was evidently cheaper and he didn’t wanna miss the Olympics). Because of the less than great weather, this hot spell in England is SO welcome. It’s that type of heat that really hits you when you leave the house. Stifling I think is the word.

SO, because of the sudden upsurge in temperature, I really wanted something all fresh and healthy and themed. ‘Themed’ as in green.

Gorgeous and green! Just add a bit of french dressing and there you have a suitable, filling lunch or dinner.

Ingredients-serves 4

-1 cup of frozen peas

-1 cup of soya  beans

-1 cup bulgar wheat

-2 courgettes, sliced into medallions

-1 stick of celery, chopped

-about 4 inches of cucumber, chopped

-Mixed herbs

-salt and pepper

-2-3 tbsp olive oil

Dressing

-3/4 cup of olive oil

-1/2 cup of white wine vinegar

-2 tsp honey

-1 tsp french grain mustard

Method

-Put all your raw ingredients into a salad bowl.

-Cook your soya beans and peas in the same sauce pan in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and put in the salad bowl.

-Cook your bulgar wheat according to packet instructions, and add to the salad bowl when cooked.

-Whilst your bulgar is cooking, fry your courgette medallions in the olive oil and mixed herbs. About 7 minutes on one side, and then 4 minutes on the other side should do. Make sure they’re browned off and add to the salad bowl.

-I saved the frying oil and used some of it to make the dressing, but you don’t have to. To make the dressing, simply mix all the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.

-DONE!

Note, this would be delicious with feta.

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Filed under Grains, Vegan, Vegetarian

Cooking Up My Bookmarks: Sun-blushed tomatoes

Lots of tomatoes. Beautiful beautiful tomatoes. We’ve had this enormous surplus of cherry tomatoes. On the online shop each week (not my choice, I love supermarkets), we always order more cherry tomatoes, so when the new shop arrives no one wants to eat tomatoes that are more than a week old. Fair enough. But we literally had about 3 punnets not in use. THUS we had 4 punnets of cherry tomatoes that needed eating. I happily eat them in a salad, and these cherry toms are very nice raw. But comon, everyone loves tomatoes (more?) when they’re cooked.

So while using tomatoes liberally in all types of salad, I’ve been doing various ‘roasting’ recipes. I did these Super Saver Roast Tomatoes, but I also saw this recipe from Culinary Travels and added it to my bookmarks. So when we were inundated with these cherry tomatoes, I decided to cook another bookmark.

(Halfway through cooking)

Ingredients

-500g cherry tomatoes

-2 tbsp olive oil

-1 tsp sugar

-1 tsp salt

-A few sprigs of fresh thyme and a small handful of basil leaves

Method

-Preheat oven to 140 c. and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

-Chop each tomato in half, and put in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix together.

-Take the tomatoes and place them sliced side up on the baking paper. Pour the oil etc. from the bowl over the tomatoes.

– Put in the oven for 2-3 hours, until started to shrivel but still quite plump. Leave to cool, and store in a jar. Submerge with oil.


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Filed under Italian, Mediterranean, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: CARROTHUMMUS.

Any ‘cat sick’ comparisons are discarded now. Personally I think this looks delicious, but there are those of you who might say ‘this looks like s**t’. Well you’re wrong. So flavourful, so salty, and also quite sweet. This is just delicious. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for AGES, and I finally got round to it today. That is what happens when you work very few shifts, most of which are at night. You have a lot of time. But I love being on holiday, after having studied a lot this year, I’m loving having some down time just chilling at home and seeing friends. Doing some yoga as well.

So this is carrot hummus that uses carrots instead of chickpeas. It means it’s slightly healthier in that carrots are amazingly healthy, but calorie-wise (who’s counting?), there isn’t a great difference. There’s just a lot more goodness in this dip.

 

Ingredients

-500g carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks.

-2 tbsp olive oil

-Mixed herbs

-4-5 garlic cloves (I used about 7, but I love garlic and I’m not kissing anyone anytime soon)

-3 tbsp tahini

-Juice of 1 lemon/3 tbsp lemon juice

-100ml water

-Salt and Pepper

Method

-Preheat oven to gas mark 8, and put the carrots, garlic cloves (whole, unpeeled), a generous shake of mixed herbs and oil into a baking tray. Stir around to make sure everything is covered and combined. Roast for 40-50 minutes, or until the middle of carrots are reasonably soft when prodded with a fork.

-Once cooked, add the carrots into a food processor. Squeeze the insides of the garlic out of their skins, and then add the leftover oil from the baking tray.

-Add the remaining ingredients, and process in the food processor. Breaking from time to time to make sure the processor doesn’t over heat. You might want to add more water to make it creamier.

-It all depends on what texture you want, but once you think the dip is ready for your liking, put into a tupperware dish and enjoy like hummus. Hot OR cold (one of the joys of this recipe).#

 

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian

Cooking Up My Bookmarks: Really Good, Really Healthy Brownies

Shockingly good actually, but I didn’t want to make that the title. It seemed a bit presumptuous.

These are part of my ‘Cooking Up My Bookmarks’ mission. It’s going well so far.

These are date brownies. They aren’t called date brownies because eating a lot of them will get you a date (they wont, I’ve tried) , but because they have lots of dates in them. AND WE ALL KNOW, dates really rule when it comes to sweet things #datesquares #stickytoffeepudding.

I love brownies. They have to be really fudgy and sickly. And chocolately. My mum makes amazing brownies, and I always swore that she did. But then my friend made these even more amazing brownies with melted chocolate. They were nice.

They reinstated a love of brownies in me, and so, to make brownies REALLY EXCITING, I wanted to make a healthy recipe for them…party at my house.

How are these made healthy? Well, they don’t have butter, sugar, eggs or flour in them. DAT’S RIGHT. They have pearl barley flour in them, this is made by grinding pearl barley. This did mean that there were bits of pearl barley in the brownies, but they were edible and I’m fine 12 hours later. So hey, it’s okay! By the way, a food processor is necessary.

So what do they actually taste like? OMIGOD, they taste so good. I was so dubious, but these are rich, and gooey and very chocolately. The texture is very dense, and the flavour is nutty and chocolatey, a bit like a Kinder Bueno.

Just taking this opportunity to plug my twitter account again, @jes_sca (or see the side bar).

Ingredients- Cooking THIS but with a lot of variation

-1 cup of dates

-3/4 boiling water

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1/4 cup of pearl barley flour (process barley)

-1/4 mix of hazlenuts and almonds

-1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

-1/2 cup cocoa powder

-1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted

-1/4 dessicated coconut (optional)

-1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

-1/4 cup peanut butter

Method

-Preheat oven to gas mark 5/370f/190 c. Grease a rounded cake tin, or a 5″ x 5″ tin, or any sort of tin you have.

-In a bowl, pour the hot water and vanilla essence over the dates and set aside.

-In a food processor, process the pearl barley and nuts for as long as possible. It should be very finely processed,  but there will be some bits of pearl barley that don’t get processed. Seive the mixture into another bowl, you basically want to get rid of all the whole bits of barley, and set aside.

-To this mixture add the cocoa powder, coconut oil, dessicated coconut and baking powder.

-Get your date mixture, and put into the food processor. Process for about 1 minute until the mixture is paste-like .

-Add the cocoa mixture and the peanut butter to the paste-mixture and process until everything is well-combined.

-Pour the batter into cake tin and cook for an 45 mins-hour. They are ready when the top of the brownies is very firm and when you poke a knife through it, it comes out clean.

-Leave to cool before cutting. And eating.

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Filed under Desserts, Healthy Sweets, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Motivation Beans

FIRST. A big thank you to The Healthy Foodie for mentioning me in her amazing blog. I check this woman’s blog everyday for inspiration. She makes good pizza, and thus she can’t do any wrong. I recommend you take a lot. But first…

It is so hard to find motivation to cook an amazing, overwhelmingly good meal.

I’m only human. I’m only a student (at one of the top 100 best universities in the world). I’m only a ‘NO-MEAT ATHLETE’.

This last one means that more than ever I have to cook proper food. Personally, I cannot afford (physically) to eat foods that are lacking in things. I am currently undergoing a cross-training regime, where I lower my mileage a bit in the week and replace it with swims. I have also started cycling to uni. Cross training, according to my osteopath, is vital to avoid injury. And I’m doing anything to avoid that beast.

BUT I DIGRESS. This post is about motivation. Motivation is SO hard to fathom. In my opinion, we’re all lazy. It’s just how well you’re able to overcome the laziness, doing sport makes you a lot more productive with your time. But even I’ll come back from about 5 to 7 (to occasionally 9!)  hours in the library, and then I might have been swimming or running in the day and the last thing I want to do is cook. I can’t be bothered to wait around. I’M HUNGRY and TIRED. GIVE ME FOOD AND LET ME WATCH SOME SCANDINAVIAN THRILLERS AND READ MY KINDLE. But as I said, I can’t afford to put ready meals in the oven, what nutrition will they provide?

Celebrity chefs are constantly releasing ‘easy’ and ‘quick’ recipes to draw you in. But I have no financial incentive like them, I’m giving you these recipes out of the goodness of my heart .

So what are these motivation beans? Ha, they’re just beans. But they’re so fricken cheap and easy to make. Why have a fried egg on toast when this bean recipe takes quicker, tastes better and is not made of a chicken’s period? hehe.

I call them motivation beans because they motivate you to do a bit of cooking, be healthy and end your day on a high.

The psychological effect of these beans is GOOD, cos they take two secs, but when you’ve made them you’re all smug like ‘Look what I just made, Jamie’s 30 minute meals can SUCK IT’.

ANYWAY, here you are. Enjoy. Be motivated.

Ingredients (serves 2)

-Half a red onion, chopped

-Two cloves garlic

-1 salt

-2 tsp of dried herbs

-1 tsp chilli powder (optional)

-1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

-1x 400g can of butter beans, drained and rinsed

-6 olives  chopped (optional)

-100ml of water

-1 massive handful of spinach

Method

-Fry the onion and garlic in some olive oil and add the salt so that it doesn’t stick to the surface of the pan.

-Once softened, add the the remaining ingredients BAR the spinach.

-Once the beans exterior have started to brown off, and the mixture is very hot, add the spinach.

-When the spinach has wilted, the beans are ready. If it is all a bit dry, add a bit more water! Enjoy

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Pulses, Store Cupboard, Vegan, Vegetarian

LOOK WHAT I MADE

Making bread is one of my weaknesses, but so is falafel. I’m sure I am not the only one who attempts falafel, only for it to fall into nothingness in the frying pan. I’ve seen many falafel recipes in my time which call for egg as a binding ingredient, which could help me avoid this problem. I SAY NO EFFING WAY. Traditional falafel recipes do not use egg. And JESSICA don’t use egg. I will avoid egg at all opportunities. No to egg.

If any of you know Paris, you know that Le Marais is home to THE BEST falafel stores in the world. This is evidently an exaggeration on my part because I have ventured little outside France and Italy, however judging by the extremely long queues, you would think that these falafel stores are selling substances other than Mediterranean snacks….

Anyway, it’s therefore always been a shame that I love falafel and have tasted some of the best falafel that can be offered, yet I can’t (couldn’t) seem to make my own. Until I realised I was making a stupid error. I was ignoring flour and baking powder. You wouldn’t think they were so important for binding, well, they are.

To sum up, falafel is great and now I can make it and wont have to go to Paris or wherever in order to have it. Basically, I love falafel, what better food could you possibly have? I’m not even sure what makes it so good, it’s chickpeas…fried…

I was also extremely happy to omit a lot of fresh things from this recipe, which makes it easy on the wallet. Yay. However, you WILL need a food processor. Enjoy.

Ingredients

-1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained.

-1 onion, chopped roughly

-2 cloves of garlic

-1 tbsp of lemon juice

-2 tbsp of flour

-1 tsp of baking powder

-1 large handful of spinach (optional)

-2 tsp of dried flat leaf parsley

-2 tsp of chilli powder (I used one, cos my mum is a wimp)

-2 tsp dried coriander

-2 tsp ground cumin

-1 tsp salt

-5-6 tbsp olive or sunflower oil (I used a mix).

Method

-Process the chickpeas until broken apart, but do not process for too long.

-Add the remaining ingredients and continue to process until the mixture comes together to resemble mashed potato almost. You will need to stop the processor from time to time in order to move the ingredients about in the container. Do not over-process, it still needs to be slightly chunky. 

-Take a teaspoon amount of the mixture, and then using your hands roll into balls. Place on a plate ready to fry, you will probably need to do it in batches.

-In a large frying pan, ideally a wok-like one, heat up the oil.

-Add about four to five balls to the oil, ideally the oil should come halfway up a ball.

-Leave the balls to cook for about 3 minutes or until dark brown, and then turn the balls over. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and then drain on kitchen towel.

-Do not overcrowd the frying pan! Enjoy warm, with hummus, salad, pitta or ANYTHING, FALAFEL GOES GREAT WITH ANYTHING!

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Filed under Mediterranean, Pulses, Quick, Snacks and Starters, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Italian Dressing Tofu Stew

Sorry for the over-exposed and saturated photos, I was having an off day and the lighting in my bedroom is extremely bad so my editing of photos can be distorted.

So I said I would try roasting tofu, but I wanted to make a stew instead, because I’m only human and I change my mind. I’m still not so sure about tofu. I think (and let me stress that this is just an opinion) that tofu is eaten by vegetarians/pescetarians/flexitarians(those who limit meat) as a meat substitute. It certainly has that meat-like appearance and texture, and that is not what I want. I gave up meat for a reason, and the resemblance tofu has to it is slightly off-putting. Sure it acts as a good flavour enhancer, but if I had to choose between a tofu or butter bean stew? I would choose butter beans, because not only does it absorb the flavour like tofu, but has a greater distinguishable flavour and it is not detrimental to the environment. That is the the fundamental reason I don’t eat meat, so why should I eat a soy-based product which is equally as bad as meat environmentally just because it is health-giving? There are better/healthier/cheaper alternatives. It’s not that the tofu didn’t TASTE nice, it was just that it is not for me and this would have tasted just as nice with something other than tofu.

My journey with tofu has at least taught me how to use the ingredient, and more importantly made me realise that I love being a pescetarian and in no way do I miss white or red meat.

Anyway, I loves me a stew. What we have here is a stew, with the tofu, carrots, red onions and garlic cooked in a sort of Italian dressing like mixture, and then the mixture is covered with plum tomatoes and left to simmer for about an hour until the tofu is soft. I think it took about an hour? In the time it took I had a shower, put on my lenses, did my face, got changed, went to Sainsbury’s, mopped the floor, got it dirty, mopped it again and emptied the bins. HELLO MULTI-TASKER. Enjoy the recipe, because I don’t think there will be much tofu on this site again if I can help it.

Ingredient

200 g tofu

-1 red onion

-1 carrot

-1 mushroom (optional, I just had loads leftover)

-2 cloves of garlic

-2 tbsp oil

-2 tbsp vinegar

-1 tsp french mustard

-1 tbsp of lemon juice

-1 tsp of dried herbs, cumin, coriander and paprika

-1 tin of plum tomatoes

-60 ml water

Method

– Wash tofu and wrap in clean towel, put a heavy weight on top of it such as a couple of plates or heavy cookbooks. This squeezes out all of the moisture.

-Whilst you are draining your tofu, chop all your vegetables and fry in the olive oil in a saucepan on a medium heat. Add some salt so that they don’t stick to the surface. Cook and simmer until brown and soft.

-After ten minutes of soaking, unwrap the tofu and chop into cubes. Add to the vegetables.

-Add all the ingredients BAR the tinned tomatoes AND water. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring from time to time.

-Add the chopped tomatoes and cover and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes. You might need to add the water to stop the mixture from drying out. So keep on checking and stirring the mixture to check

-Serve with some rice or some bread!

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Italian, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to be Healthy: Making Salad on a Budget

I am salad addict. I love it. Or I love them. I used to HATE salad, I would physically retch when eating it. It wasn’t a neurotic thing, I didn’t like the earthy taste or the dry texture that kind of clung to my throat, and I don’t really like the taste of the rocket that formed the basis of my mum’s salads. My mum was/is also awful at making dressings (well, she likes her dressings, but they still make me feel sick, she just adds too much mustard), when I found out how to make dressings my experiences with salad greatly improved.

I want to continue the mission of this man, Salad Pride, and transform the way people feel about salads. People think salads are comprised of lettuce and tomatoes, and placed on the side of your plate to fill up space. Not for me. I’m not gonna list the various things you can put in a salad, but I want to state that my salads are actually FILLING. People say salads can’t sustain you. THEY EFFING SUSTAIN ME. If you add the correct ingredients that provide the suitable nutrients, there’s no reason to not let salads be the centre of your life. I’m not sure if it’s me being feeble-stomached, but I can honestly say that salads FILL ME UP. Just look at Salad Pride to see how you can add grains, pulses, cheese etc to makes salads filling.

SO why salads? WHY THE HYPE? Salads are extremely healthy, the fact that the bulk of salad is made from fresh, raw vegetables (and fruit) means you’re receiving the nutrients at their optimum condition. I’m not condoning a raw diet, but eating a lot of raw food is extremely beneficial to your health. AND I KNOW people think that people who think/eat like this are weird and obsessive. And there is a common assumption that salads lovers are tired and gaunt, but I always feel great, full of energy and I never get ill.

Salad can be an expensive habit, but I stress ‘CAN’. I live on a small budget but have salads almost everyday, I always have produce that is easily grown in Britain (onions, spinach, lettuce, carrots). But recently I went to a restaurant and they introduced me to the wonders of red cabbage.

Previously I didn’t like red cabbage, it has a taste doesn’t it? It’s a bit bitter, or something. But the salad in this place was SO good, I realised that if you give cabbage a good dressing to let it soften and take away its acidity, it can taste amazing. So here is a red cabbage, apple, rocket and carrot salad. Perfect for lunch. The apple takes away the harshness of the cabbage, and the sweet carrot also counteracts this. I added the rocket to add a bit of greenage, but it’s not necessary, maybe add some lettuce, spinach, or just cut down the ingredients to cabbage, apple and carrot salad. Top with a dressing, I’ve chosen a red wine vinegar one, and it’s done! Red cabbage is very filling, something to do with its genetic make-up means it takes longer to digest, and thus it’s a low fat way to  keep you feeling fuller for longer.

AND IT’S SO CHEAP.

Ingredients- Serves 1 (the plate in this picture is MASSIVE) 

For the salad

-150 g red cabbage

-1 small braeburn apple.

-1 carrot, peeled

-1 handful of rocket

For the dressing

-3 tbsp of  red wine or balsamic vinegar

-1 tbsp of olive oil

-1/4 tsp salt

-2 tsp of lemon juice

Method

-For the salad, chop the cabbage into ribbons, and with the carrot use the peeler to create ribbons as well.  Chop the apple to whatever formation you wish. Mix in a bowl with the rocket.

-Mix together all the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad.

-Leave to sit for about 5-10 minutes so the cabbage has time to soften up.

-Eat. This would be great as a make ahead lunch however the apple will turn brown, but that doesn’t mean the salad will be ruined. In fact,   the flavours of the dressing will have a longer time to be absorbed by the cabbage.

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Filed under How to be Healthy, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian