Thursday, 28 August 2014

Gooey Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Over the bank holiday weekend in England, I went along to Reading Festival with my friends and camped out for 4 nights of crazy fun. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were packed full of amazing bands and it was truly a fantastic time. However being a gluten free vegan I was a little concerned about food, so I made myself some yummy snacks to take along. These granola bars are so gooey and peanut buttery, all my friends absolutely loved them! They're a tasty and wholesome snack that travels well and won't get squashed or broken in your bag and everyone will want a piece!

Makes 10 bars

You will need:

1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup each pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raisins
optional 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Put the peanut butter, coconut oil and golden syrup in a small glass bowl and place into a saucepan partly filled with hot water. Mix well until it is fully liquid. Meanwhile, combine the oats, nuts/seeds and the raisins in a large bowl and mix well, then pour in the liquid mixture. Mix until well combined. Line a 10x10 inch metal baking tin with tin foil and pour in the granola mixture, smoothing out until flat. Place in the fridge overnight and then cut into 10 bars. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Buckwheat and Oat Blackberry Crumble


Blackberry crumble was a pretty significant part of my childhood. Late Summer and Autumn in England means there are blackberries growing absolutely everywhere and it is a rite of passage to go out there and pick them! Blackberries are both sweet and tart at the same time and have a gorgeous rich purple juice when heated. The soft texture and sharpness is a delicious contrast to the sweet crumble mixture and caramelised banana slices on top.

This makes a perfect single serve breakfast for one, or scale it up and make it as a comforting winters dessert. I love mine with a little soy/coconut yoghurt.

Serves 1

You will need:

25g oats
30g buckwheat flour
1 1/2 tbsps (15g) solid coconut oil or vegan butter
1 banana
1 cup blackberries

Preheat your oven to 180C. Using your fingers, rub the buckwheat flour and coconut oil/vegan butter together so it forms a breadcrumby texture. Stir in the oats. Cut the banana in half, mashing one half and cutting the other into slices for decoration on top. Stir the mashed banana into the crumble mixture, adding a tbsp of sugar for extra sweetness if you are making it for a dessert.

Pour the blackberries into the bottom of a baking dish and spread out evenly. Using a spoon, spread the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the berries, smoothing it down with a spoon. Press the banana slices on top and bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with soy/coconut yoghurt

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Chickpea Flour and Veggie Fritters

Anyone who has eaten Asian takeaway food before knows how delicious battered vegetables are. Whether it be onion bhajis, veggie pakoras or tempura vegetables, it's delicious. That combination of that crunchy batter and the soft veggies inside is just amazing. But it's hard to find them without wheat flour and if you're like me and prefer your food not to be super greasy, making your own is a fantastic alternative to deep frying.

These make a wonderful starter for noodle or stirfry dish and they're just delicious on their own too!

Makes 6 fritters or 12 bite sized tempura veggies

You will need:

2/3 cup chickpea (besan) flour
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp tumeric

2 cups mixed vegetables chopped into small chunks
1/2 onion, cut into thick slices

Whisk the chickpea flour, water and salt together until it makes a smooth batter. Add in the vegetables and mix well until they are well coated in the batter. Heat a large frying pan with 1 tbsp of coconut oil and let the oil get hot, then using a spoon, evenly drop the batter onto the pan. Let them cook for about 3 minutes, swirling the oil around the pan to ensure the base gets crispy. Using a spatula, flip the fritters and allow to brown on the other side. Repeat until all the mixture has been used up, adding more oil to the pan between batches

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Raspberry Jam Tart

Using the same pastry recipe as the tomato and mustard tart (yes there is mashed potato in this one too!) I created a jam tart. With crisp pastry and a raspberry jam centre that is both tart and sweet, this recipe is a winner for sure. It makes a delicious afternoon tea treat or dessert with a little soy or coconut yoghurt too!

Makes 1 medium sized tart

You will need:

30g brown rice flour
20g cornmeal powder (you can put polenta in the food processor for this)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
100g of cold white potato, mashed until smooth
80g vegan 'butter' such as Trex vegetable oil spread (it needs to be a solid fat for making pastry)

1/3 cup gelatine free natural raspberry jam
1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Add the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and cornmeal powder into a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the vegan butter into the flour mixture until it makes a breadcrumby consistency. Mix in the mashed potato using your hands, roll into a ball and chill wrapped in cling wrap for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge, knead a little and place in the fridge to cool uncovered on a plate for another 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180C. Flour your bench top and rolling pin well and gently roll out the pastry out so it is flat but still quite thick. Don't worry about making it neat or the exact size of the tin, as you can press the pastry into the tart tin to make it fit perfectly and have a nice crust. Using your fingers, ensure the pastry fits the tin perfectly and form a crust by pulling the pastry up the sides of the tin with your fingers.

Place the raspberry jam and frozen raspberries in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer until it makes a thick raspberry sauce. Allow to cool slightly, then pour into the tart base and spread over evenly. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, turning midway through cooking to ensure it browns evenly. 



Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Tomato and Dijon Mustard Tart


My Mum first made this delicious summer dish back in about 2009 when we were visiting my aunt in France. I loved the combination of the creaminess and the spiciness of the mustard combined with the juicy tomato. It's so simple and tasty and with a little manipulation of the pastry recipe, very easily gluten free and vegan!

Gluten free pastry is a nightmare and I have never been able to make a decent one. That is until my mother and I discovered a recipe in an Irish cookbook for an apple pie where you put mashed potato in the pastry. Sounds bizarre, right? Some internet research later we discovered that this genuinely is used by people and it yields fantastic results! The mashed potato makes it a lot more moist and easy to roll out, so you get a perfect result. Plus the pastry gets lovely and brown and crispy too!

Makes 1 medium sized tart

You will need:

30g brown rice flour
20g cornmeal powder (you can put polenta in the food processor for this)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
100g of cold white potato, mashed until smooth
80g vegan 'butter' such as Trex vegetable oil spread (it needs to be a solid fat for making pastry)

2 large tomatoes, sliced thinly
1 1/2-2 tbsps dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Add the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and cornmeal powder into a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the vegan butter into the flour mixture until it makes a breadcrumby consistency. Mix in the mashed potato using your hands, roll into a ball and chill wrapped in cling wrap for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge, knead a little and place in the fridge to cool uncovered on a plate for another 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180C. Flour your bench top and rolling pin well and gently roll out the pastry out so it is flat but still quite thick. Don't worry about making it neat or the exact size of the tin, as you can press the pastry into the tart tin to make it fit perfectly and have a nice crust.

Spread the dijon mustard over the base, then layer your slices of tomato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 30 minutes, turning the tin around halfway to ensure it bakes evenly.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Vegan Potato Salad


This summer I am on a mission to recreate all my childhood favourites in a gluten free and vegan way. I've done coleslaw, now it's time for the potato salad. Growing up with an Irish dad, potatoes were always part of life. We'd have them all the time! Potato salad was a delicious way to enjoy new potatoes in summer and it's something I've missed recently. This recipe is cool and refreshing and packed full of flavour

You will need:

6 small-medium new potatoes
1/3 cup soy yoghurt
3 tbsps tahini
3 tbsps white vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
celery salt
salt and pepper

Clean the new potatoes but leave the skins on, then boil until soft. Leave to cool. Combine the tahini and vinegar to make a thick and creamy paste and slowly add the soy yoghurt until well combined. Mix the mustard into the dressing also. Chop the cool potatoes into bite sized pieces and put into a large bowl. Add the creamy dressing, chopped onion, celery salt and the salt and pepper and mix well. Leave to chill in the fridge until ready to eat

Monday, 21 July 2014

Vegan Coleslaw

If you go waaay wayy back, back to when I was about 14/15, coleslaw was a large part of my life. Every weekend after going to the supermarket we'd have fresh bread rolls with hot deli chicken and homemade coleslaw. Now whilst I don't miss the chicken, I do miss the coleslaw! But how can you create something so creamy without mayonnaise? The secret is tahini and soy yoghurt. 

Coleslaw is a delicious addition to any salad meal- whether you have it in a sandwich or with crusty fresh bread, with some boiled new potatoes, sweet potato fries or some falafel. It's crunchy and creamy and packed full of flavour.

Serves 4

You will need:

1/2 white cabbage, shredded finely
1/2 onion, chopped finely
2 grated carrots
3 tbsps tahini
3 tbsps white vinegar
1/3 cup soy yoghurt
salt and pepper
pinch of chilli

Combine the tahini and white vinegar until it makes a thick and creamy paste. Add the soy yoghurt and mix well. Put the chopped vegetables into a large bowl and add the sauce, salt, pepper and a little chilli for a bit of spice. Mix well, ensuring all the vegetables are well coated. Enjoy!
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