CHIA SEED PUDDING

#MeatfreeMonday, Breakfast, brunch, chia seed pudding, dairy free, Desserts, exercise, fitness, food, free from, fruit, Fruits, fun, General, Gluten Free, go vegam, health, Healthy, healthy food, meat free, meat free monday, nutrition, Snack

Chia seed pudding

Preparation & cooking time: 5 minutes (plus soaking overnight)
Makes: 1 portion

I had never tried chia seed pudding before, but I have noticed that it is becoming increasingly popular in health food stores and healthy cafes, so I decided to give it a go and see what all the fuss was all about. It was so easy and quick to put together, I guess the only drawback is that you have to leave it to soak overnight until you can eat it. It was really, really tasty and it was a new experience for me as the texture is a little unusual because the chia seeds swell and jellify. It reminds me a little bit of rice pudding but there is no downside of feeling guilty about eating it, which is always good. Chia seed pudding is great as a breakfast and it is a great way to start the day but it is also great as a snack.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 250ml of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • A dash of vanilla extract
  • Berries (e.g. strawberries, blackberries or any berry in season/that you like)
  • A mango, cut into small cubes

Method:

1.   In a jar or bowl mix together the chia seeds, coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract.

2.   Cover the bowl/jar with cling film and place in the fridge over night or for around 6-8 hours.

3.   The chia seeds will swell and will jellify leaving a thick textured pudding.

4.   Put the berries and mango over the top of the pudding.

There you have it! So quick, easy, tasty and healthy. I really hope you like it guys!

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

Coconut milk: Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance. It is a popular choice with vegans and makes a great base for smoothies, milkshakes or as a dairy alternative in baking.

Maple syrup: Maple syrup is high in manganese and zinc.

Strawberries: Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C and a good source of manganese.

Blackberries: Blackberries are a really good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K.

Mango: This is a really delicious stone fruit that is native to South and Southeast Asia (it is definitely one of my favourite fruits). Mangoes provide a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and folate.

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.

The Best Guacamole!

#MeatfreeMonday, Healthy, Mexican, Sandwich, Sauces, Side Dishes, Snack, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Great Guac

Preparation & cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 big bowlful

I am very proud of this recipe; I have been making it for so long and I have adapted the recipe to the way I like it and, I know I am biased but, to this day I haven’t tried a better guacamole! I like there to be loads going on when you eat guacamole, it should give your taste buds a good wallop! There should be that initial zing and freshness from the lime, coriander, avocado and tomatoes which is then rounded off with a bit of a hit from the chilli and the garlic with the onion and cumin lingering in the background. This is definitely my type of cooking, it is very rustic, quick to make and can make so many different dishes that much better and more fresh! You can also adapt this recipe to the way that you like it, if you like it more chunky, whether you like more or less of the ingredients included, there is literally no set way to make this and it is purely down to personal preference. One thing I do know is that life would be so much worse without a good bowl of Guac!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 medium very ripe avocados 
  • A large handful of coriander, leaves picked and stalks chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped 
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • A handful of ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 limes (depending on their juiciness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1.   The first part of this recipe is the real key to unleashing all of the delicious flavours of the guacamole. In a pestle and mortar throw in the chopped coriander stalks, garlic, chilli, the white part of the spring onions, the cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pound this mixture into a paste using the cumin, salt and pepper as an abrasive. This doesn’t take long but it is so worth it because the flavour you get from doing this is just amazing!

2.   Once you have a paste, squeeze in the juice of the lime and combine this into it. Pit the avocados and scoop the flesh into the paste and break this up to the texture that you like your guacamole. I like mine quite chunky so for me it doesn’t take long at all. Add in the coriander leaves, tomatoes and the green part of the spring onions and mix through. That is it, your guacamole is made!

I could eat guacamole with literally anything at any point of the day but generally I love it with fajitas, with tortilla chips, spread on toast, with patatas bravas etc. This is also my favourite food to have watching sport! I hope you like it 🙂

PITTAS TO DIE FOR!

Baking, Bread, Healthy, Sandwich, Side Dishes, Snack, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian, Vini's Sandwiches

pitta bread main

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour 30 mins (includes proving time)
Makes: 4 large or 6 regular pitta breads

If, like me, you love a good old sandwich and you especially love having a stuffed pitta bread, then look no further! This recipe is so awesome! It is easy to make and it tastes so, so good. Making homemade bread is so enjoyable and it really will make your sandwiches and meals taste so much better (and it is also a good way to show off to friends and family a little!). Pitta breads may sound difficult to make, but it is quite the opposite; once you have the dough made and proved, cooking them only takes 5 minutes. You cook the breads on a really high heat which gives them the amazing hollow effect as they puff up! You can flavour the dough with anything you want; in the recipe below I have used chia seeds in them which gives a lovely crunch, but putting toasted spices into the dough is a great way of getting extra flavour into your pittas.

Ingredients:

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 160ml water
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g chia seeds (or any seed or spice of your choice)

Pitta CollageIn the picture above, I filled the pittas with stir fried vegetables, baba ganoush and a generous serving of coriander. It was AMAZING!

Method:

1.   In a large bowl put all of the dry ingredients. Put the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other side of the bowl. You need to make sure the salt and yeast aren’t combined as the salt will kill the yeast. Add 120ml of the water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil to the bowl and mix together using your fingers. Whilst mixing, slowly add the rest of the water (you may not need it all) and the olive oil until you have a soft dough and all of the flour has come off of the side of the bowl.

2.   Pour a little oil onto a clean work surface and place your dough on top of the oil. Knead the bread for 5-10 minutes. The dough may seem a little wet to start with but keep working at it and you will get a lovely smooth dough. Once you have a smooth dough, place it in a clean, oiled bowl and cover it with cling film. Put the bowl in a nice warm place; this will help the help the dough to rise. Leave the dough to prove for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

3.   Preheat the oven to 250 C and place a clean baking tray on the middle shelf to get nice and hot.

4.   Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a flour dusted surface. Knock the dough back (all this means is to push all of the air out of the dough) by folding the dough in on itself and pushing the dough down over and over again until you have knocked all of the air out. This won’t take long to do, maybe a minute or so.

5.   Split the dough into 4 or 6 equal balls and roll out each ball, with a dusted rolling pin, until they are 5mm thick. Dust each pitta with a little flour just to make sure that they do not stick to the baking tray. Take the baking tray out of the oven and place as many pitta breads as you can on the tray (you may have to cook them in batches). Put the tray in the oven and cook the pittas for 5 – 8 minutes or until they start to get some colour. Don’t be tempted to leave them in the oven to go completely brown as you will end up with a brittle pitta bread that will break up as soon as you try to cut into it. Once the pitta breads are cooked, place them onto a chopping board and cover them with a clean cloth until they have cooled down. Once they have cooled the pitta breads should be soft and easy to open and ready to be filled with amazing ingredients!

I made these last weekend for my girlfriends family and they went down amazingly. I served them with a potato curry and a nice salad. The thing I love about these breads is that you can have them with so many different fillings!

I hope you like the recipe. Let me know if you try them out 🙂 

 

TEMPURA VEGETABLES WITH AN ASIAN DIPPING SAUCE!

Sauces, Side Dishes, Snack, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

TempuraVeg Main

Preparation & cooking time: 30 mins
Makes: As much as you want

This is awesome! Plain and simple! Well, it is simple but definitely not plain. This recipe makes you feel a bit naughty but the crunchy veggies make it an excellent alternative for chips! 🙂 It is the perfect movie snack, the perfect side dish……. it’s just perfect to be honest! The dipping sauce really makes this dish, it is tangy, sweet, spicy… mmm…. I also used it on a noodle salad and it worked amazingly! Give it a try and be creative with its use 🙂

Ingredients:

For the Batter:

  • 110g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 200ml ice cold sparkling water
  • A few ice cubes

For the asian dipping sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon hot chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • Juice of 1 1/2 limes
  • 80ml soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Plus:

  • An assortment of your favourite firm veggies (my favourites are broccoli and cauliflower)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

asian dip

Method:

1.   Sift the plain flour, cornflour and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in the sparkling water and add in the ice cubes. Don’t over beat the mixture though as you want to keep as much air in the batter as possible to make it amazingly crispy!

2.  Pour plenty of oil into a deep pot and put over a high heat. You are going to be deep frying the vegetables so be careful and make sure you have enough oil to cover the vegetables.

3.   Prepare your vegetables into nice big chunks and put them into the batter and make sure that they are all nice and coated.

4.   Once the oil is nice and hot, gently place the vegetables one at a time into the pot. Don’t over fill the pot as they will all stick together – cook them in batches. You want to cook them until they are golden and crisp.

5.   For the asian dipping sauce, simply throw the ingredients into a bowl and mix it together until the sugar has dissolved. 

That’s it! The vegetables are best eaten immediately, and trust me they are so scrumptious that they won’t last long around friends and family anyway!

Tweet me or post a picture on Instagram if you try it 🙂

In other news, what do you think of the new look?

Apple & Cinnamon Granola

Baking, Breakfast, Fruits, Gluten Free, Healthy, Snack, Specials, Vegan, Vegetarian

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Makes: 6 (generous) portions
Preparation & cooking time: 2 hours (including cooling time)

My girlfriend has an absolute obsession with anything that is flavoured with apple and cinnamon! So one day, she decided that she was going to make up a recipe (her style of cooking is just try it out and make it up as you go) for apple and cinnamon granola. I was so excited as granola with cold milk has to be one of my favourite breakfasts ever and (crazily) I had never had homemade granola! Due to my girlfriends kitchen philosophy I didn’t (and she didn’t) know how it was going to turn out, but it came out so amazing that I am dedicating a blog post to her granola recipe. This recipe can either be chopped into granola bars or broken up and used as a cereal (as I have done). Trust me, if you like the combination of apple and cinnamon then you definitely want to give this recipe a go. I love a good old apple and blackberry pie so (as you can see in the photo) I have added some blackberries to my bowl of granola but you could use any berries or fruit that you would like. I hope you like it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes
  • 40g hazelnuts (or nut of your choice)
  • 60g rice puffs
  • 250g jumbo oats
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 2 heaped tablespoons apple spread/sauce
  • 95g maple syrup
  • 100g coconut oil 
  • A handful of blackberries (optional)

Method:

1.   Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a large roasting tray with grease proof paper.

2.   Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together until all of the ingredients are combined really well and you have a really sticky mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared roasting tray and, with a wooden spoon, press the granola down until you have a really compact mixture. Place the roasting tray into the oven for around 30-45 minutes. The cooking time really depends on how thick your mixture is, so keep an eye on it whilst it is in the oven. You will know that the granola is done when it has coloured a little, do not worry if the mixture is still a little soft as it will firm up once it is out of the oven and it is cooling.

3.   Once the granola is cooked, take it out of the oven and leave on the side to cool completely before you cut it or break it up! It must be left to cool completely otherwise it will still be a little ‘cakey’ and remain soft which isn’t the most pleasant thing to eat. Once cooled you can either break up the granola in chunks or cut it into bars. I love having the granola chunks with almond milk and a handful of blackberries.

I hope you like the recipe everyone; let me know what flavour granola you like and what you like to have it with, thanks 🙂

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