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!

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH, SPINACH & CHICKPEA CURRY WITH LEMON COUSCOUS

#MeatfreeMonday, curry, dairy free, exercise, fitness, food, free from, go vegan, health, Healthy, healthy food, lunch, meat free, meat free monday, nutrition, plant based, plant power, plant strong, plants, quick food, recipes, Vegan, vegan food, Vegetables, Vegetarian, what vegans eat, whole food, wholefoods

Butternut squash curry

Preparation & cooking time: 1 hour
Makes: 4 portions

I thought I would give you a curry recipe today seeing as the last curry recipe on my blog was posted ages ago! There is nothing really that beats a good curry and yesterday I had a major cravings for one, so I decided to make my girlfriend and myself this dish which is packed full of amazing ingredients and served with a really light and fragrant couscous. I would usually have rice with this dish but I fancied trying something new and it turned out really well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, deseeded and chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 4 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • A 2 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • A bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 large green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 150g spinach
  • 3 large handfuls of couscous
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 a lemon, cut into 4
  • A handful of basil leaves

Cous cous

Method: 

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put all of the butternut squash chunks onto a large baking tray followed by two teaspoons of curry powder, the ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli flakes, a pinch of salt and pepper and the two tablespoons of oil. Using your hands, toss the squash and the spices together to make sure that all of the pieces are coated. Put the roasting tray into the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the squash is golden and caramelised.

2. Whilst the squash is in the oven, you can get the curry base on the go. Put a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a glug of oil to the pan to heat up. Put the onions, garlic, ginger, coriander stalks and green chilli into the saucepan and fry for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add in the remaining two teaspoons of curry powder, stir and fry for a further 5 minutes until all of the ingredients are nice and soft.

3. Put the tomatoes and chickpeas into the pan and bring the ingredients to the boil. Once it is boiling place a lid on the pan and leave to cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes all of the ingredients will have combined nicely and the tomatoes will have cooked down.

4. Once the squash has cooked, add it to the saucepan along with the coriander leaves and spinach. Stir all of the ingredients together and leave to cook for a further 5-10 minutes to allow the spinach to wilt down.

5. Whilst the curry is in it’s final stages, it is time to get the couscous ready. This is really simple and quick to do. Boil your kettle and place the couscous into a large bowl with the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, a pinch of salt and pepper, the turmeric, a glug of oil and the lemon. Once the water has boiled, put enough water in the bowl to cover the couscous and then place cling film over the bowl to allow the couscous to absorb the water.

6. Now all of the elements of the meal are ready, it is just time to enjoy it! Sprinkle some chopped basil leaves over the curry and couscous and dig in!

Nutrition:

(see Know Your Food Page)

Butternut squash: Butternut squash is a great source of vitamin A, C and E. It is also a good source of dietary fibre, manganese, magnesium and potassium.

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.

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

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.

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

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

Tomato: Tomatoes are not significantly rich in any particular vitamin or mineral, but they are a moderate source of vitamin C.

Chickpea: Chickpeas are a nutrient dense food; they are a rich source of protein, dietary fibre, folate, iron and phosphorus. They also provide moderate levels of vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc.

Spinach: Spinach is another ingredient that is delicious but it is also so good for you and will do a lot of good when it is incorporated into your diet. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin Cvitamin K, magnesium, manganese and iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin Ecalcium, potassium and dietary fibre.

PINEAPPLE RICE WITH MANGO SALAD

#MeatfreeMonday, asian, exercise, fitness, food, Fruits, health, Healthy, healthy food, nutrition, salad, Vegan, vegan food, Vegetables, Vegetarian, what vegans eat

Pineapple rice

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

I was never a fan of including fruit in savoury food until about three years ago when my girlfriend made me some pineapple rice. I wasn’t optimistic when she said she was going to make it, but I was so surprised as to how much I enjoyed it and by the fact that my perception of having fruit in a savoury dish changed almost instantaneously. Since then I have been experimenting with adding fruit into different dishes and I have loved it. This recipe is a take on what my girlfriend made me three years ago along with the addition of the mango salad with a delicious Asian dressing. When you make a fried rice dish, it is always better to use rice that has been cooked and left to cool as you will get a much better consistency of rice. I always like to cook the rice the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients:

For the rice:

  • 3 large handfuls of brown rice, cooked and cooled 
  • 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • A thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch of coriander, roughly chopped (stalks and all)
  • 1 medium-sized pineapple, peeled, core cut out and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 handfuls of broccoli florets, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 handfuls of cauliflower florets, chopped into small chunks
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

For the salad:

  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 3 ripe mangoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 a red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a clove of garlic, crushed into a paste
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • A pinch of sugar
  • A dash of toasted sesame oil

Pineapple rice 2

Method:

1.   Put a very large frying pan or wok over a high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add in the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, coriander (leaving a little to the side for garnish at the end) and pineapple chunks. Fry the ingredients for five minutes and be sure to keep stirring as you do not want any of the ingredients to burn.

2.   After 5 minutes, add the light and dark soy sauce to the wok followed by the broccoli and cauliflower chunks. Again, constantly stirring, incorporate all of the ingredients in the wok and make sure that all of the ingredients are covered by the soy sauce. Add the cold brown rice to the pan and fry and stir to get all of the ingredients combined together. Fry the rice for a further five minutes to get it nice and hot.

3.   When the rice is piping hot, turn the heat off and leave in the pan. You can now quickly make your salad. Firstly, put the spinach, lettuce and mango into a large bowl. Secondly, you can make the dressing; put the light and dark soy, chilli, garlic, lime, sugar, and sesame oil into a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Taste the dressing and check the seasoning to see whether it is well balanced. If it is too salty, add in a little more lime juice and if it is too spicy add in a little more sugar (just adjust it to your taste). Pour the dressing over the salad and using your hands toss all of the ingredients together.

4.   Tightly pack some rice into a small bowl in order to make a rice mound. Turn the rice bowl over onto a plate and carefully lift the bowl off (fingers crossed it will come off nicely and leave you a nice mound of rice). Then put a load of the mango salad around the rice and top with coriander.

There you have it guys, a delicious meal that will blow your socks off! There are so many amazing flavours going on in this dish. Adding the fruit to this meal really turns it up to a new level and it just wouldn’t be the same without it! 

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.

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 🙂

 

Apple & Cinnamon Granola

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

DSC_0051
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 🙂

DSC_0048