Saturday, 22 November 2014

Making a Plant Based Diet Affordable

Many people comment on my Instagram posts with things like "How you afford to eat so healthy?" "Isn't being vegan expensive?" "I wish I could afford food like this" etc etc.

Whilst I do like to treat myself with raw chocolate and coconut yoghurt, these aren't at all necessary. Living on a plant based diet doesn't mean eating every superfood in the health food store, it just means buying basics like rice, oats, potatoes, fruits and vegetables and using them as your meal base.

Buy in bulk and not for convenience
This is probably the most important tip. Don't buy little pre portioned packets of rice or oats or carrot sticks already cut up for you. Save money and buy big kg bags of rice that'll feed for you months and buy your veggies whole, not prepared for you. You'll save a lot of money by cooking your food from scratch.

Shop in season
If it is winter where you live, don't buy tropical fruit imported from the other side of the world. Shop local and shop seasonal. In winter eat lots of broccoli and cauliflower, in summer eat lots of salad. Stick away from imported foods as much as possible like baby sweetcorn from Asia or green beans from Africa and eat what grows in your country. Learn to love the staple foods of where you live!

Buy frozen
Frozen food isn't so bad! Stock up on frozen raspberries and blueberries for breakfast, frozen mixed stirfry veggies and frozen mixed veggies for soups. They're cheap, last for ages and are a good standby if you have nothing fresh.

Be prepared
Always take a lunchbox and snacks with you. And a bottle of water. Don't rely on expensive cafes or tuck shops, bring your food to classes with you. Bring your own snacks to the movies, use a reusable water bottle. All that eating out adds up!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Gluten Free and Vegan Apple Pie


This is such exciting news for me.

I haven't been able to eat apple pie for years due to my gluten intolerance and being English, it's something I had a lot as a child and miss dearly. The combination of the crisp, flaky pastry and the warm gooey and sweet apple inside is incredible, especially with a dollop of coconut yoghurt or soy yoghurt.

This recipe is a perfect weekend dessert now the weather is getting cold, it's a gluten free and vegan take on a traditional recipe and the whole family will love it.

Makes one 9" pie

You will need:

200g cooled mashed potato
60g brown rice flour
40 cornmeal powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xantham gum
150g solid vegetable fat/vegan butter

3 large cooking apples (I use Bramleys)
3 tbsps sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

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. I recommend rolling the pastry between sheets of baking paper so they don't stick to the bench top. 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.

Peel and core the apple, then cut it into quarters. Cut each quarter into slices about 1cm thick. Lay the slices flat inside the pasty casing. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar. Roll out pastry for the top of the pie and lay it over the pie. Using your fingers and thumb press the edges together to ensure it fits the pie and use a knife to trim off excess pastry, You can use the excess to decorate if you like. Using a sharp knife, cut 4-5 small slits in the middle of the pie to let the steam out.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with your choice of dairy free yoghurt and enjoy!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Creamy avocado pasta sauce

This sauce is so easy you wouldn't believe it. It's creamy like a carbonara sauce but garlicy and a little bit spicy and packed full of goodness. Don't let the bright green colour put you off, this sauce is nothing but amazing!



Serves 2-3

You will need:

1 large ripe avocado
1/2 small clove of garlic
2 tbsps lemon juice
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper

Simply combine the ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth. Then enjoy with your favourite pasta!

GF and Vegan Pumpkin Pie

It's been a long time since I have posted a new recipe, I've been very busy studying! But don't worry, lots of exciting new recipes will be heading your way soon.

This pumpkin pie was a serious success. The crust was light and crisp and the filling was moist, sweet and delicately spiced. It's the perfect autumnal dessert.



Makes one pie, roughly 9 inches diameter

You will need:

For the crust

30g brown rice flour
25g cornmeal powder (you can put polenta in the food processor for this)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
120g 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)

For the filling

1 can (400g) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice

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. Stab the pastry bottom a few times with a fork, then line the bottom with baking paper and pour in baking beans to bake the pastry blind for about 20 minutes.

For the filling, simply mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Pour into the baked pie crust and bake for another 30 minutes at 180C. 

Enjoy with whipped coconut cream 

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

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