Recipe of the Month – July

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Ice lollies are one of my all-time favorite summer treats and making your own is a brilliant way to use up fruit and juices that may otherwise go to waste.  It is an activity that can be fun for kids to take part in and a fab way to get more fruit into your day to day diet too.

Equipment

  • Ice lolly molds.  You can buy these from many supermarkets now, Asda and Tesco both stock them instore, Amazon has many different ones available too.  I bought mine from my local Lidl store.
  • Blender or liquidizer.
  • Fork, spoon.
  • Measuring jug.
  • Freezer.

Ingredients

  • Soft fruits such as peaches, nectarines, berries, melon, mango, kiwi, banana…
  • Alternatively, you could use frozen smoothie mix.
  • Fruit juice such as orange or apple, or lemonade.

Method

  • Work out the capacity of the molds by filling with water and then emptying into a measuring jug.  Mine hold around 250mls of liquid.
  • Clean and prepare the fruit, or if using frozen smoothie mix, remove from the freezer for around 20 mins to soften before using.
  • You can choose to either use the fruits in small chunks or blend with a little bit of juice or lemonade.
  • If using chunks of fruit, add to the molds and fill with your choice of liquid before placing the sticks into the mold.
  • If using liquidized fruits, carefully spoon the mixture into the molds and place the sticks in.
  • Place in the freezer for a few hours to solidify.
  • When removing, it may be easier to run the molds under a hot tap to ease the lollies out.
  • Sit back and enjoy your cooling creations.

In the picture, above, I used raspberries and lemonade for the clear lollies, and frozen smoothie mix and orange juice for the orange lolly.

Ideas to try…

  • Milkshakes.
  • Mint, strawberry, and lemonade.
  • Kiwi and pineapple chunks.
  • Grape and melon with apple juice.
  • Mashed banana and milk.
  • Tropical fruit smoothie and apple juice.

What sort of lollies would you make?  let me know in the comments!!!

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Recipe of the Month – June

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Summer is upon us and with that comes a ready supply of fresh fruit, vegetables, and salad.  Today’s recipe for a vegan pea, tomato, and courgette quiche is perfect for a light lunch accompanied by your favorite salad and followed by a fresh fruit salad.

Ingredients

  • Ready rolled pastry
  • 150g Peas frozen or fresh
  • 225g Violife Spreadable Cheese
  • 100g Plain Tofu
  • 125ml unsweetened soya milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large courgette thinly sliced
  • 1 onion cut into thin rings
  • 6 salad tomatoes cut into small pieces
  • Herbs and garlic to season

Method

  • Follow the directions for the ready rolled pastry, lining a flan tray and blind baking in the oven according to the instructions given on the packet.
  • Blanch the peas in boiling water for a few minutes to soften and then drain and put to one side.
  • Soften the onion rings in a pan with a little water to soften.
  • Add the courgette to the pan, let that soften for a few minutes.
  • In a separate bowl mix vegan cream cheese, herbs, garlic, tofu, soya milk, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined before adding the peas and folding them into the mixture gently.
  • Once the quiche base has been blind baked remove from the oven and place the courgette, onion, and tomato evenly across the base.
  • Carefully add the tofu mixture over the vegetables and flatten evenly with a spatula.
  • Bake for around 35 minutes before checking that the center is firm, if needed return to the oven and check every few minutes.

Once cooked you can either eat it warm or wait until it is cooled and serve with salad.

Recipe of the Month – May

Today’s Recipe of the Month is a tried and tested favourite of mine, Rice Salad, which is perfect to eat hot or cold, can be made using leftovers and is a super handy meal to make for lunch.

Firstly you will need to cook some rice, I really like using wild rice but Basmati rice or any other rice will do.  I usually cook enough for 2 servings.

You can choose all kinds of different veg to go with your rice, here’s a list of a few that works really well

  •     Peas
  •     Carrots
  •     Celery
  •     Courgette
  •     Mushrooms
  •     Tomatoes
  •     Sweetcorn
  •     Chickpeas
  •     Peppers
  •     Olives
  •     Beetroot
  •     Onions

I try to add a few different coloured options as I like my plate to be as colourful as possible!  Not only that but you are getting nutrition, vitamins and minerals from a wide array of foodstuffs!

If I have any leftover soy mince or quorn pieces from my previous meal I will add them to the mix and have also added pineapple chunks, peanuts, sultanas and other nuts, seeds and fruit to add a bit of texture and flavour interest as well!

I use about 1 portion of each of my selected vegetables, prepare and cook if necessary before adding to the rice and stirring it all in.

I enjoy this hot in a bowl or cold with a salad at lunch in work!

Recipe of the Month – April

I love this recipe for a Mediterranean Wild Mushroom Pie, not only is it lovely hot with vegetables but it is perfect to have cold with a salad or as part of a picnic or lunchbox feast!

The original recipe can be found on the Vegan Recipe Club website.

Ingredients:

1 (500g) block of vegan shortcrust pastry ( I have used JusRoll which is available in most supermarkets or Genius brand pastry)
1 large onion
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
200g squash or pumpkin, in small pieces (though I have used aubergine in place of squash)
2 small courgettes, cut in thin slices
250g wild mushrooms, halved or sliced  (Or mixed mushrooms – I have used chestnut and white button mushrooms)
15g fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
100ml dairy-free cream (e.g. Oatly)
2 tbsp sundried tomato paste (or basic tomato puree)

Method:

1. Roll out the pastry and line a flan tray with a loose bottom with the pastry. Remove any excess pastry around the rim of the tray and blind bake (* see below) for 15 minutes at 200˚C.

2. Remove the pastry from the oven and leave to cool while making the filling.

3. Cut and slice the onion finely before sauté it in a pan with vegetable oil for a few minutes. Crush the garlic and add to the pan.  Cut and cube the squash and add in with the onions and garlic. Stir over heat until the squash begins to soften.  Once the squash has softened you can then add in thinly sliced courgettes, mushrooms and roughly chopped parsley. Stir together and add any salt, pepper or other seasoning you may require.
4. Add the cream and tomato puree into the pan and stir through until all ingredients are combined.  Taste and add further seasoning if needed.

5. Add the filling to the flan dish and then bake in the oven for around 20 mins at 200˚C until the pastry is golden.  Keep checking so that the pastry doesn’t burn.

 

* To blind bake, place pastry in baking tray and cover with a piece of baking paper. Weigh it down with ceramic baking beans or regular dried beans. Any excess pastry can be made into decorations or kept in the fridge for a couple of days.

Recipe of the Month – March

Today’s recipe is really simple and tasty, doesn’t take much to prepare and is really filling!  I love serving this with oven warmed crusty rolls and vegan margarine.

This recipe is taken from The Vegan Recipe Club and you can find many more lovely vegan recipes on their site!

Creamy, Vegan, Mushroom Tagliatelle

Ingredients: 

  • 100g of any (vegan/egg-free) tagliatelle pasta
  • 4 medium-sized mushrooms (sliced), though I tend to use button mushrooms, and a lot more (I love mushrooms!)
  • 50ml soya cream (I use the Alpro soya cream which you can find in the vegan and veggie chilled section of most supermarkets)
  • 1 tsp vegan margarine (I use Vitalite Dairy Free)
  • ½ onion (diced) (I tend to use the whole onion but opt for a small one!)
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed)
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Parsley as a garnish

Hint, if you use more mushrooms and double the amount of soya cream, add in about 2 pints of soya milk then this makes a lovely soup!

Method: 

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan and add the onion and garlic, you can cook these with a bit of water rather than oil if you prefer, just add a similar amount of water as you would oil and the same frying method.
  2. Fry the onion and garlic until golden brown adding in the mushrooms once the onion and garlic have cooked
  3. Put a cover over the mix, and leave on a medium heat for 5 mins or so. Once the 5 mins are up, take the cover off and stir, then leave to cook for another few mins.
  4. Add the margarine and soya cream to the mushroom and onion mix, stir and heat through for around 3 more minutes before removing from the heat.
  5. Blend the sauce using either a jug blender or a hand blender (I prefer using a hand blender for this bit as I have greater control over whether I want a chunky or smooth sauce)
  6. Cook the tagliatelle according to the packet instructions.
  7. Drain the pasta saving some of the water to add to the sauce shortly.
  8. Place the tagliatelle into the empty pan and add the sauce mix, return to the heat for a few mins, stirring as you go.  If the sauce is too thick, this is the time to add the saved pasta water to thin the sauce down.
  9. Once steaming, heated through and the sauce is fully combined with the pasta, place pasta in bowls, garnish with parsley and serve with warm crusty rolls.

Recipe of the Month – February

Last month I gave you a vegan recipe for Tomato and Bean soup from the Vegan Recipe Club, this month I am sharing a really easy vegan chocolate cake recipe that I found on the Tesco website.  Tesco has some really lovely recipes and the great thing about their website and recipes is that there are handy “shop ingredients” and “add to shopping list” buttons which let you add the items you need to your basket rather than traipsing around the shop looking for what you need.  This function also shows you how much it will cost for you to make the recipe from scratch.

This is one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes and is really versatile in that you can add things like cherries, vegan chocolate chips, vegan fudge pieces to the cake mix before cooking.  I like to use a smaller cake tin and make 2 separate cakes and fill with the icing and a bit of marmalade just to make it a bit different!

Here’s the recipe….

For the cake….

  • 40g (1 1/2oz) cocoa powder
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 225g (7 1/2oz) caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 75ml (3fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar

For the icing

  • 30g (1oz) cocoa powder
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 150g (5oz) Pure sunflower butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

This amount of icing will cover the top of the cake but if you want to cover the sides too I tend to triple the amounts used.

Method…

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line a 20cm (8in) round cake tin with baking paper.
  2. In a bowl mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the oil, 230ml (8fl oz) water, vanilla and vinegar, then pour into the flour mixture. Mix together very well until smooth.
  3. Pour into the cake tin and place in the centre of a preheated oven. Bake for about 30 mins until risen and firm to the touch. A skewer should come out clean. Leave to cool in its tin for 10 mins then turn out onto a wire rack.
  4. While the cake is cooking make the icing. Sieve the cocoa powder and icing sugar into a large bowl. Add in the dairy-free margarine and vanilla extract and use an electric whisk to combine everything together until smooth and fully incorporated.
  5. It will look very dry, but don’t add any liquid as it will come together after a minute or two of whisking. Refrigerate for 30 mins before using.
  6. When the cake is completely cool, spread the chocolate icing liberally over the top and serve.

You can find this recipe at https://realfood.tesco.com/recipes/dairy-and-egg-free-chocolate-cake.html

 

Recipe of the Month – January

In my opinion there is nothing better, at this time of the year, than settling down with some toast and a lovely, hot bowl of soup while your favorite programme plays on the tv.  Today I am sharing my favorite Vegan Tomato and Bean Soup recipe that is easy to make, nutritious and filling.  The recipe was found on http://www.veganrecipeclub.org.uk and they have some really wonderful recipes on there to cover almost every type of meal imaginable!  It’s such a fab resource of recipes and would be super helpful to any of you attempting Veganuary this year!

Heres the recipe…

 

  • 900g/2lb plum tomatoes (Or you can cheat and use two tins of chopped! If so, start at no. 4) *
  • 30ml/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 275g/10oz onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 900ml/1½ pts/3¾ cups vegetable stock
  • 30ml/2 tbsp sun dried tomato paste (or just blitz about 3-4 whole SDT with water)
  • 10ml/2 tsp paprika
  • 15ml/1 tbsp cornflour or ½ tbsp arrowroot (arrowroot is GF) – mix to a paste with a little cold water
  • 425g/15oz tin cannellini or other small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 30ml/2tbsp chopped fresh basil**
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

* I always use tinned tomatoes just because fresh tomatoes seem to get eaten as soon as they are purchased…

** I don’t always have fresh basil to hand and have used dried basil in its place, but please check the date when you opened the dried herbs as they can lose their potency once opened.

Additional things I sometimes add are oregano, thyme or vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Method…

  1. If using fresh tomatoes you will want to prepare them first.  To prepare them we need to peel them and then chop them.  To peel them it is easiest to place them in a bowl of hot (just boiled) water, then plunge them into cold water after around 10-20 seconds, then peel with a sharp knife.  Then cut into quarters.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan, I use the pan that I am going to make the soup in because I hate washing up!
  3. Add the onions and garlic and lightly fry before adding the tomatoes and the tomato paste into the mix.  I usually add the tomatoes once the onions have softened and become transparent.
  4. Add stock and season with salt, pepper and paprika.
  5. Bring the mix to the boil then leave to simmer for 10mins
  6. Add the cornflour (this will thicken the soup slightly)
  7. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the mix, stir through
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning, add basil then serve!

This recipe will serve 2 people easily!

 

Christmas Dinner Menu Ideas

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Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

 

Christmas dinner is usually one of the highlights of the day, family and friends gathered around the table and enjoying a lovingly cooked meal together.  This year I’m spending Christmas with my family at my parents house so I won’t need to plan a menu so, as it is something I really like doing (especially the starter and dessert) I’m going to share some suggestions with you!

Starters

Starters should be light and small and not take too long to consume.  They, for me should not be overly complicated or take to long to prepare and, fo me, not cause too much mess and clean up time!  Here are a few suggestions…

Prawn Cocktail – You can make the Marie-Rose sauce in advance and stir in the prawns and assemble the cocktail just before serving.

Wild Mushroom Tartlet – I have tried this recipe here in the past, its pretty quick and easy to prepare and cook!

Smoked Salmon Terrines – These can be made in advance (maybe the day before) and store them in the fridge until its time to plate up.

Vegan Quiches – another thing you can make in advance and just serve on the day.

Main Course

The main course is usually a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings – think roast root veg and potatoes, peas, carrots, mashed potato, meat of some description (usually turkey), I always make a cauliflower cheese and yorkshire puds as well as lashings of gravy.  I don’t eat meat so have used a veggie option instead (like a Quorn roast), but if you fancy something a bit different to the traditional Christmas Dinner how about serving the following…

Spiced Roast Side of Salmon you could serve it with spiced roast potatoes and green veg

Spiced Nut Roast

Vegan Wellington

Vegetarian Nutty Pithivier

The last 3 suggestions can be served with the traditional veg that you would cook normally for your Christmas main.

Dessert

After eating so much food I always like to finish with a dessert that isn’t too heavy on the stomach…heres a few ideas for you to try…

Lemon Mousse – this is really fluffy and light and the citrus zing really wakes the taste buds.

Vegan Chilli Chocolate Raspberry Cups

Toffee Pecan Roulade

Winter Fruit Salad

What is on your Christmas Menu this year?