HEART HEALTHY BEANS ON TOAST

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Baked beans on toast 2

Preparation & cooking time: 20 Minutes
Makes: 2 large portions/4 medium portions

Beans on toast was always one of my favourite go-to meals when I was growing up. It was so quick to make and there was something so great about a tin of Heinz baked beans!! Now that I am older and have realised that the baked beans from the tin are not the healthiest option for you, I have decided to make my very own healthy baked beans; trust me, they will blow you away and you will never want to have the beans from a tin ever again! They are really easy to put together and the flavour that you get is really amazing. I have used healthy ingredients to make this dish so that you can enjoy them and be guilt free. I hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tins of beans (cannellini beans, kidney beans, borlotti beans etc.), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Black pepper
  • Thick slices of brown or granary bread
  • 1 avocado
  • Mixed seeds

Method:

1. Place a large pan over a medium heat and add in the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes to soften them up. After 5 minutes, add the tomato puree, agave syrup, soy sauce and mixed herbs to the pan and mix together and cook for a further 5 minutes.

2. Add the beans and the tomatoes to the pan. Bring the beans to the boil and leave to simmer for 10 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

3. Whilst the beans are simmering, toast the bread. There is a few ways of serving this meal; you can either put the beans in a bowl and have the toast on the side with cubes of avocado on the top of the beans; you can put mashed avocados onto the toast and then top it with beans; and my personal favourite is to have a mountain of beans on the toast topped with the avocados and seeds!

4. After the beans have finished cooking, season generously with black pepper and then serve the dish in the way that you prefer from point 3.

VEGETABLE BIRYANI

#MeatfreeMonday, asian, biryani, curry, dairy free, exercise, fitness, food, foodshare, free from, go vegam, go vegan, health, Healthy, healthy food, Herbs, plant power, quick food, Vegan, vegan food, Vegetarian, what vegans eat, whole food, wholefoods

VEG BIRYANI

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour
Makes: 6 large bowlfuls 

I made this meal over the weekend because it is one of my girlfriends all time favourites! She absolutely loves biryani so I though I would treat her and make a big bowlful. The flavours that you get from this dish are great; it all starts by making your own curry paste, this really makes a difference and it is so easy to make! You can use different vegetables as well but I have just gone for our favourites; I especially love the cauliflower with the curry spices.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • 3 large handfuls of frozen peas
  • A large handful of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 litre of water
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons of white mustard seeds
  • 500g basmati rice
  • 1/2 lemon
  • A handful of coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of mixed seeds

For the curry paste (makes three large tablespoons of paste): 

  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • A small bunch of coriander
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • A green chilli

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 220C. Place the oil in a large roasting tray and place the tray in the oven and get the oil nice and hot. Once the oil is nice and hot, place the cauliflower, onion and potatoes in the tray along with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix together so that all of the vegetables are coated in oil. Place the tray into the oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until the veg starts to get a nice colour to it.

2. Whilst the vegetables are in the oven, you can make your curry paste. Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add the seeds and toast them for a couple of minutes until they are starting to turn golden brown. Put the toasted seeds into a blender along with the rest of the ingredients and blitz until you have a nice smooth paste.

3. Boil the water in a kettle. In a large jug, mix together the boiling water, chilli, mustard seeds and curry paste.

4. After the vegetables have been in the oven for 15 minutes, take the tray out of the oven and add the basmati rice, peas and asparagus to the tray. Pour over the water-curry paste mixture and combine everything together. Cover the tray tightly with tin foil. Turn the oven heat down to 190C and put the tray in the oven for 30 minutes.

5. After 30 minutes the rice should be nice and fluffy and all of the liquid should have been absorbed. To serve the biryani, squeeze over the juice of the lemon and scatter the coriander leaves and seeds over the top. Delicious!

VEGGIE SKEWERS, SUPER QUINOA SALAD & PEANUT SAUCE

#MeatfreeMonday, dairy free, exercise, fitness, food, free from, fun, Gluten Free, go vegam, health, Healthy, healthy food, Herbs, Information, lunch, main, meat free, meat free monday, nutrition, plant based, plant power, plant strong, plants, quick, quick food, quinoa, recipes, salad, Vegan, vegan food, Vegetables, Vegetarian, what vegans eat, whole food, wholefoods

DSC_0035

Preparation & cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 4 portions

This is a really tasty and really nutritious meal. I had this over the weekend for a post workout meal and I enjoyed it so much! All of the ingredients in this meal will do you a world of good and make you feel energised and help you prepare for your next workout. In my meals I really enjoy having a wide variety of flavours coming from a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, grains and so on. I like my meals to be packed full of flavour and I think this one really delivers on that front.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • ½ a cup of pre-cooked quinoa
  • ½ a cucumber, cut into cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into cubes
  • A handful of ripe cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • A large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • A large handful of frozen peas, thawed out in boiling hot water
  • A teaspoon of cumin
  • A teaspoon of ground coriander
  • A pinch of chilli powder
  • Sea salt and pepper

For the skewers:

  • 2 courgettes, cut in half lengthways and into inch thick chunks
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms
  • A das of olive oil
  • A pinch of cumin
  • A pinch of ground coriander
  • A pinch of chilli powder
  • Salt and Pepper

For the peanut sauce:

  • 3 heaped teaspoons of peanut butter (I use meridian peanut butter because it uses only blended peanuts without any added salt, sugar or oil)
  • 6 tablespoon of water
  • The juice of half a lime
  • A small handful of coriander
  • ½ a spring onion
  • A dash of soy sauce

Skewer collage

Method:

1.   Preheat your grill on the highest heat setting and boil a kettle full of water.

2.   Put the skewer vegetables into a large bowl followed by the oil, cumin, coriander, chilli powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using your hands toss all of the vegetable together and make sure that they are all coated in the spices. Once coated, evenly distribute the vegetables onto 10 to 12 skewers and place on a large baking tray. Place the skewers under the grill until they have got some nice colour to them; this should take between 5-10 minutes.

3.   Now you can make the salad. Follow the cooking instructions on the pack for the precooked quinoa. The usual instruction is to use a ratio of 2:1 boiling water to quinoa and leave to soak for 3 -5 minutes until the quinoa has absorbed the water. Once the quinoa has been cooked through, add it to a large bowl followed by the remaining salad ingredients and mix together well.

4.   Finally, you can make the peanut sauce. Simply put all of the ingredients into a blender and blitz until you have a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needs be.

Now you can serve up the skewers, salad and sauce. I like to put the skewers on a board in the middle of the table with the salad and the sauce and left everybody dig in.

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Quinoa: Quinoa is a great source of protein for vegans. It consists of around 20% protein; it is also a good source of lysine and is a good source of iron and potassium. High levels of B vitamins, in part responsible for the conversion of carbohydrate into energy, are also found in quinoa. Quinoa is commonly referred to as a grain, but it is actually a pseudograin. Pseudograins are actually seeds and they don’t contain gluten, which makes them easily digestible.

Cucumber: Cucumbers are made up of around 90% water and are a moderate source of vitamin K.

Bell Pepper: Bell peppers are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C. Red bell peppers have a higher vitamin C content in comparison to green bell peppers. They are also a moderate source of vitamin B6.

CorianderI love putting coriander in literally everything, luckily for me it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Coriander is also a moderate source of vitamin B2, vitamin B9 and vitamin E as well as ironmanganese and potassium.

Dates: Dates are high in glucose and are sometimes referred to as ‘Nature’s fuel’. Upon consumption glucose is rapidly converted into glycogen in the liver. It is a great ingredient to eat before, during or immediately after a workout.

Peas: Peas are starchy, but high in fibre, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc.

Courgettes: Courgettes are a moderate source of folate, potassium and vitamin A.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins, an excellent source of the essential minerals, selenium and copper, and a good source of phosphorus and potassium.

Peanuts: Peanuts are rich in essential and are an excellent source of several B vitamins, vitamin E, several dietary minerals, such as manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, and dietary fibre. They also contain about 25 g protein per 100 g serving, a higher proportion than in many tree nuts.

Lime: Limes, like with other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

ASIAN NOODLE SOUP

#MeatfreeMonday, asian, exercise, fitness, food, free from, Gluten Free, Healthy, healthy food, Herbs, main, noodles, plant based, Vegan, vegan food, Vegetables, Vegetarian, what vegans eat, whole food, wholefoods

Noodles soup main

Preparation & cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 2 large/4 medium portions

Recently, both me and my girlfriend have felt under the weather with colds etc. so I wanted to make something that would really blow the cobwebs away and make us feel better; this recipe did not disappoint! The dish is full of green vegetables, garlic, chilli, ginger and lime which are all things that make me feel refreshed and healthy. There is nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of noodles and broth; and you have to be really noisy when you eat it! I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • A thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, sliced (seeds removed if you aren’t keen on spice)
  • 1 green chilli, sliced (for garnish)
  • 1 large bunch of coriander, stalks finely sliced and leaves set aside for garnish
  • 1 stick of lemongrass, bruised with the heel of your knife
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock 
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus extra wedges for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 200g thick rice noodles
  • 2 large handfuls of tender-stem broccoli, cut in half
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 carrots, spiralised (or grated if you don’t have a spiraliser) 
  • 1 pak choi, chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • A handful of beansprouts, for garnish

Noodles soup second

Method:

1.   Bring a large pot of water to the boil and then throw the noodles into the water. Cook the noodles a couple of minutes under the instructed amount on the packaging as you want the noodles to keep a nice texture when added to the broth. Drain the noodles in a colander an run cold water over them to cool them down; leave them to one side.

2.   Whilst the noodles are boiling you can prepare the broth. Place a large pot over a high heat and add the oil. Once hot, add in the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, lemongrass and coriander stalks and fry for five minutes, or until the onions are soft. Once the ingredients are soft, pour in the litre of vegetable stock, dark & light soy sauce and lime juice and bring to the boil.

3.   Let the broth simmer for 10 minutes allowing the flavours to really come together. After 10 minutes, remove the stick of lemongrass from the broth and put the asparagus and broccoli into the broth to cook for a few minutes until they have softened slightly but have kept a nice bite to them.

4.   Evenly portion the noodles, carrots and pak choi into 2 or 4 bowls and pour the hot broth and vegetables over the top of them (this will warm them through). The carrots will keep a really nice crunch. Put a small handful of beansprouts on top of the noodles with some coriander leaves and sliced green chilli. Place some lime wedges on the side of the bowl and enjoy!!

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Red onion: Onions are made up of around 90% water and hold low amounts of essential nutrients e.g. vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese.

Garlic: Garlic contains several nutrients, but due to the low quantity that is eaten it won’t play a huge factor in terms of getting all of your essential vitamins and minerals. In large quantities, garlic holds a lot of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and phosphorus.

Ginger: Ginger contains a lot of manganese and iron with moderate amounts of vitamin B3 and B6.

Chilli: Red chillies contain a large amount of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron. They are also a good source of most B vitamins, especially B6.

Coriander: Coriander is particularly rich in vitamin A, C and K as well as a good source of manganese, iron and potassium.

Lime: Limes, like with other citrus fruits, are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fibre.

Broccoli: Broccoli is an amazing source of vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibre.

Asparagus: Asparagus is an excellent source of dietary fibre, protein, vitamin C, vitamin E and especially vitamin K. It is also a good source of iron.

Carrots: Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin K and vitamin B6.

Pak choi: Pak choi is an excellent source of both vitamin A and vitamin C.

Spicy Tomato Zoodles!

#MeatfreeMonday, exercise, fitness, food, free from, Gluten Free, Healthy, Herbs, Italian, plant based, quick, raw, recipes, salad

zoodles

Preparation & cooking time: 25 minutes
Makes: 2 large portions

First off I will tell you what a zoodle is! The other week I bought a spiralizer, which has completely changed the way I have been eating at home and has really increased the amount of vegetables that I eat. They are pretty cheap to buy as well; I got mine from Amazon for around £25. They are so fun to use! The word zoodle comes from zucchini and noodle (also called courgetti (courgette spaghetti)). The spiralizer is a great tool to make amazing colourful salads full of lots of different vegetables. For this recipe I made a spicy tomato sauce to top the raw zoodles! Zoodles are a great healthy alternative to spaghetti. I definitely recommend buying a spiralizer, they are easy to use and would also be a great way of getting kids to eat a lot more vegetables. Alternatively, if you do not have a spiralizer you can get julienne graters for very cheap which will do the job perfectly as well. I hope you like it. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly sliced
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped (leaves and stalks separated)

Method:

1.   Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and parsley stalks and fry for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, sugar, chilli powder, cumin, paprika, a pinch of salt and pepper and tomato puree and cook together for a few minutes. Then add the tin of tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to low and leave the sauce to simmer and thicken for 10 minutes.

2.   Whilst the sauce is reducing you can prepare your zoodles. Using the spiralizer or julienne peeler create your zoodles and place one courgette worth of zoodles into each bowl. So easy and quick!!!!

3.   The recipe is now done! All you have to do is top the zoodles with the lovely sauce. You can blend the sauce to make it smooth before you do this (like I have in the photo) but you don’t have to at all. Once you have poured on the sauce, sprinkle some of the parsley leaves on top and enjoy!

 

Healthy Herb & Avocado Salad

#MeatfreeMonday, exercise, fitness, Fruits, Gluten Free, Healthy, Herbs, plant based, raw, recipes, salad, Sauces, Side Dishes, Snack, summer, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Herb & Avcado Salad

Preparation & cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes: 2 large portions or 4 portions as a side dish

 This is my second raw recipe in a row! It is definitely a way of eating that I am really enjoying and increasingly using it within my everyday diet. The good thing about eating raw food is that there is so little preparation time to actually make the food. Eating more raw food in your diet is great because you will be getting all of the nutrients and goodness from the fruits and vegetables without losing or damaging them (which is a side effect from cooking food). If you are interested in learning more about this way of eating there are lots of books out there and current eating plans such as raw til 4 which embraces a raw diet until 4pm (also let me know and I will write some posts expanding on this). A lot of people have had great success in terms of health, energy and wellbeing following a raw plant based diet.

Salad was a meal that I didn’t really understand (or appreciate) growing up and I generally associated it with a big bowl of iceberg lettuce and not much else, which really doesn’t do a proper salad any justice! The first time that my mind was changed to understand that a salad could be the focal point of a meal instead of an afterthought side element was when my parents made a delicious Jamie Oliver recipe. The salad had everything! It was a salad filled with grilled peaches, nuts, rocket, herbs, crumbly cheese, parma ham and a honey dressing. This was a really big point in my food life and how I perceived salads! For obvious dietary reasons, I now would not eat the salad that I had back then but there are elements that I take and use in every salad that I make. I realised that adding fruit to salads could brighten up everything along with herbs and with the added crunch of seeds and vegetables you can create a dish that covers all flavours and textures! The next time you are going to make a salad, be as experimental and creative as you possibly can and I am sure that you will be so happy and also have a new way of thinking towards a bowl of salad!

Ingredients:

  • 4 large handfuls of spinach (roughly 250g), washed
  • 1/2 a cucumber, thinly sliced
  • A hanful of ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • A large bunch of basil
  • A large bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • A hanful of mixed seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc.)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1.   Firstly, make your dressing. There is a general rule of thumb that I follow when I make a salad dressing and that is to always keep the ratio of 3:1 of oil and an acid (e.g. for this recipe I used 3 tablespoons of oil to one tablespoon of lemon juice). This ratio generally gives you the perfect balance of subtlety and zinginess for the dressing. Once you have the base sorted you can add all of the herbs and spices that you would like to the dressing. Now add in the garlic, cumin seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning if necessary and leave to the side until the salad has been made.

2.   Now you can put together your salad. In a large bowl toss together  the spinach, herbs, cucumber and tomatoes. Once all of the ingredients are nicely combined, neatly place the avocado on top of the greens. Then scatter the seeds and spring onion over the top of the salad. Give your dressing a good stir and then take out the clove of garlic. The garlic will leave a really nice subtle flavour to the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

I really hope you like this recipe and that you are excited to be creative with your salads.

Veggie Chilli

#MeatfreeMonday, Healthy, Herbs, Mexican, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Veggie Chilli

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour
Makes: 4-6 portions

Chilli has always been one of my favourite meals; the depth of flavour that you can get with this dish is amazing and the best thing is that the more you make the better it will taste over the following days! I always make some tortilla chips to go with mine, but you could always have it with rice or pitta breads. It also goes really well with some guacamole! This has always gone down really well when I have cooked it for people and is great for a party or sporting event. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly sliced
  • 2 red peppers (or yellow), deseeded and roughly diced
  • A large bunch of coriander, stalks chopped and leaves set aside
  • 2 fresh green chillies, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tins of beans, of your preference (chick peas, kidney beans, borlotti beans etc.)
  • 4-5 mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes or butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 wholemeal tortillas, cut into rough triangles

Method:

1.   Preheat the oven to 200 C. Place the cubed potato or squash onto a large roasting tray. Sprinkle a little smoked paprika and cumin onto the potatoes along with some salt and pepper and a glug of olive oil. Using a spoon or your hands, get the potatoes covered in the spices and oil and put the tray into the oven for 40 mins or until they are nice and golden and cooked through.

2.   In a large, heavy based pot add a few tablespoons of olive oil and place it over a medium to high heat. Add the onion, garlic, peppers, chillies and coriander stalks to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onions and garlic are nice and soft.

3.   Add the cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cumin and smoked paprika to the pan and fry for a further 10 minutes to really get the flavours going!

4.   Add the beans and tomatoes to the pan, bring to the boil and let it simmer for 30 minutes. The sauce will thicken nicely, but if you feel it is getting too thick then you can always add a dash of water to loosen it. Add in most of the coriander leaves, leaving some aside for garnish, and also throw in the mushrooms.

5.   Once the potato/squash cubes are finished, add them to the pot of chilli. Now it is time to make the tortilla chips. Place the tortilla triangles onto a roasting tray and brush with a tiny amount of oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Put the tray in the oven for a few minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure that they do not get too much colour. Once they have turned a nice golden brown you know they are ready. Take them out of the oven and leave them to one side to cool whilst you are finishing the chilli.

6.   By now your chilli should be ready. Taste it and add some salt and pepper if it is needed.

Place the pot and tortilla chips in the middle of the table and let everybody help themselves to it all. I love eating this watching sports or whenever I have friends coming over! I hope you like it 🙂   

Bhindi Bhaji

#MeatfreeMonday, Gluten Free, Healthy, Herbs, Side Dishes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

BHINDI BHAJI

Preparation & cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes: 2-4 portions

Bhindi bhaji is one of my favourite Indian dishes (along with saag aloo!) and it is always a feature of my meal when I eat out at an Indian restaurant. As the way with all food though (in my opinion), making it at home is the way to do it if you can get hold of the delicious okra (also known as ladies fingers, bhindi or gumbo depending where you are from) so when I saw them in the shop the other day I knew I had to take them home and share this recipe with you. Okra is absolutely delicious and very good for you indeed with its high level of fibre, vitamin C, high level of antioxidants, calcium and potassium. It is a very quick and easy dish to make and it goes really well served with rice or spicy potatoes.

Bhindi Bhaji Collage

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 200g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 450g okra, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1.   Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium – high heat. Add in the onions and the spices and fry until the onions have softened (5 minutes or so). Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for a further two minutes. 

2.   Add the okra to the pan and cook for 10 minutes or until the okra is cooked through. You can add a splash of water if the mixture looks a little dry.

3.   Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!

THE BEST EVER CARROT AND CORIANDER SOUP! (BUT DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT…)

Gluten Free, Healthy, Herbs, Specials, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

carrot and coriander

Preparation & cooking time: 45 minutes
Makes: 6-8 portions

Soup is one of, if not, the most satisfying and comforting foods going and it is one of the easiest and cheapest things to make as well. Soup has endless options for flavours and ingredients, which is why I love making them so much! I have never made a soup exactly the same twice in a row, I tend to make use of the ingredients that I have in the fridge. Now that the temperature is getting much colder, soup will definitely be a regular for me. This recipe in particular was a saviour for my girlfriend and I when we were at University in Aberdeen. The weather was so cold up there but this soup always hit the right spot and warmed us up; soups are amazing for students as they are so cheap to make and they can give you a meal everyday for a week (plus there is only one pot to wash up)! 

Ingredients:

  • 1kg carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 big bunch coriander, roughly chopped (stalks included)
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Water

Method:

1.   Put a good few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a large heavy based pan and put it over a medium heat. When the oil is nice and hot add the onions, half of the coriander, the ginger and the garlic and fry for 5 – 10 minutes. The onions should be nice and soft by now and starting to get a bit of colour. At this point add in a good pinch of salt and pepper along with the cumin and ground coriander and fry for a further 5 minutes.

2.   Turn the heat up to high and add the carrots to the pan. Fry the carrots with the delicious onion mixture for 5 – 10 minutes. Fill up and boil your kettle. Once boiled pour enough water into your pan to completely cover the carrots. Add the remaining coriander to the pot (leaving a tiny bit for garnish at the end) and leave the soup to simmer until the carrots are nice and tender, this should take around 10 – 15 minutes. 

3.   Once the carrots are nice and tender, use a hand blender to blitz the soup until it has a smooth and creamy consistency. If you feel the soup is too thick, keep adding boiling water until you have your desired thickness. Place the blended soup back onto the hob and keep it hot and ready to serve. At this point taste to see if the seasoning is correct and adjust it accordingly. The soup is now ready to eat! Pour it into a nice bowl and garnish with some coriander leaves and a drizzle of spicy extra virgin olive oil!

I hope you like this recipe, let me know what your favourite soup is 🙂

 

Aubergine Burgers, Roast Potato Chips & Homemade Barbecue Sauce!

#MeatfreeMonday, Healthy, Herbs, Roasted, Sandwich, Sauces, Side Dishes, Specials, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Vini's Sandwiches

DSC_0004Preparation & cooking time: 1 hr 20 mins
Makes: 2 big burgers and a good portion of chips

Ingredients:

For the Burgers:

  • 1 large aubergine, slice two 1 inch thick rounds from this
  • 2 Nice burger buns
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • A handful of spinach 
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
  • A small handful of coriander leaves

For the chips:

  • 2 large potatoes (Maris Piper potatoes are great for roasting), peeled and cut into thick chip shapes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • A handful of thyme sprigs
  • A dash of cider vinegar
  • A  few good glugs of olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

For the barbecue sauce:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 40g olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons English mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 250ml tomato ketchup
  • 120ml red wine vinegar
  • 50ml of really good espresso

Method:

1.   Preheat your oven to 200 C. Put the potatoes into a large pan of cold water (add a good pinch of sea salt to the water) and bring to the boil. Once boiling, cook the potatoes for a further 10 minutes and then drain in a colander and leave to steam dry for 10 minutes. Add a good couple of glugs of olive oil to a large roasting tray and place the tray into the oven to get the oil nice and hot. Give the potatoes a toss in the colander to give them a nice ‘frosted’ effect, this will help the chips become really nice and crispy when roasted. Take the tray out of the oven and carefully put the chips into the oil and put the tray back in the oven.

2.   Now you can prepare the barbecue sauce. In a large frying pan (over a medium to high heat) fry the onion and garlic in the oil until they are nice and soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the sauce has become nice and thick. Once the sauce has thickened you can blend it to make it nice and smooth or you can be old school & rustic and leave it with the slices of onion and garlic in it. Pour the sauce into a sterilized jar/container. This sauce will keep for up to a month in a fridge, but trust me it will never last that long as (if you like it like I do) you will want to put it on every meal you have!

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3.   Place the slices of aubergine in another roasting tray and spoon over a few generous tablespoons of the amazing barbecue sauce that you have just made and make sure you coat both side of the aubergine with the sauce.

4.   After the chips have had half an hour in the oven, take the tray out and add a good pinch of salt and pepper, a dash of of cider vinegar (it may seem strange to do this, but trust me it really makes a difference!), the garlic cloves and the thyme sprigs to the tray and gently stir to get the chips coated in all of the goodness. Place the tray of chips and the tray with the aubergine burgers into the oven for half an hour. After 15 minutes, using a pair of tongs, flip the aubergine slices so that both sides get cooked evenly.

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I hope you have enjoyed this recipe! It is a great way to get involved with #meatfreemonday and help you and your family have a healthier diet. Honestly, this recipe is so tasty (and tried and tested on meat eaters) that you will not miss eating meat if you try it. Let me know what you have cooked for #meatfreemonday as I would love to hear about all of your different recipes. 🙂 

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