Food Blog

Healthy plant-based recipes full of good stuff whilst being free from refined sugars and wheat. The food blog is a space to kickstart your inner creativity!

Vegan 'salmon' cream cheese bagels

I saw this recipe on my friend Lisa's nutrition focussed Instagram account recently (well actually quite a few weeks ago now as it's taken me a little while to publish this post!)

Vegan salmon cream cheese bagels

It looked delicious and I was intrigued as to how she'd made it. When she said it was simply marinaded carrot ribbons I was hooked and invited her to share the recipe here on my blog. It's just the kind of quirky recipe creation I love :-)

You can keep it simple by using pre-made ingredients as suggested below. Or go all the way and make your own 'cashew cheese' or try a savoury version this cheese style spread I made using yoghurt and coconut flour. The bagels could also be homemade and gluten-free if needed. Or simply use lettuce cups for a light bite.

Now, take it away Lisa!

Recipe: vegan 'salmon' cream cheese bagels

Makes 2 bagels

Ingredients:

  • Bagels – I bought classic bagels from The Natural Bagel company (found in Sainsbury's) – worth checking labels to ensure no milk these had soya only.
  • Cream cheese – Again I went for convenience and bought the vegan original cream cheese from Sainsbury's free from range.  It’s a coconut base and a lot of my clients really like it as a dairy-free alternative. (There are also lots of recipes on-line for homemade cashew cheese or similar)
  • Salad – one of my staples is a bag of mixed watercress, rocket and spinach as these bitter greens are AMAZING for your digestion.

For the ‘Smoked salmon’

  • Liquid smoke (available on Ebay/Amazon and probably other places) quantity is personal preference but I put a good dessert spoonful in.
  • Carrots – I used two wide carrots.  Peeled the skin first and discard and then keep peeling.  I found a wide head peeler works best.  Peel the carrot so that it forms long ribbons.
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt
  • Some recipes add apple cider vinegar and/or tamari but I like to keep it as simple as possible!

Method:

‘Peel’ the carrots into long ribbons into a bowl. Add a twist or two of the salt. Add the liquid smoke. Mix everything together (see note below for marinading).

Transfer to a foil-lined baking tray – you need to be able to fully cover the carrot mix with the foil and seal it.

Bake in the oven 200˚C for about 20mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool.  

Lisa's note: when I made these I couldn’t wait and basically toasted the bagels, slapped the cream cheese on and put the carrot on and garnished with the salad – and they tasted amazing.   I left the remainder of the carrot with my vegan pal and she reported that left overnight and chilled the flavours were even better!

Vegan salmon cream cheese bagels
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Want to know more about Lisa?

Lisa is 'The Nutritional Realist and has a holistic method of working, looking at every aspect of you and how it impacts your goal. Ultimately it's all about you. She’s the resource to enable you to get to your health goals and stay there! She’ll coach you to throw the pebble that will create positive ripples throughout your life.

Find more about Lisa and her work via her website, her Facebook page or on Instagram.


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15 Carrot themed recipes in time for Easter!

I notice I have shared a few recipe round-ups recently. I promise I do have other new recipes waiting in the wings... I have just been busy with my coaching work and researching content for a new book I'm writing focussing on 'creativity' that I haven't had as much kitchen time for cooking and photography. 

I'm actually spending Easter in Vietnam with my mum, visiting my sister who lives overseas. In the meantime before I leave on Wednesday, I have Easter on my mind and the one food (other than chocolate) I associate with Easter is... carrots!

So here you have it, a few of the popular carrot themed recipes from my archives to tempt your creations over the holiday period and beyond!

There are plenty to choose from but if you are intrigued to know my personal favourites, they would be:

1) Carrot Cake Brownies

2) Carrot Apple and Ginger Cake

3) Carrot Burgers  (and oldie but goodie!!)

Enjoy... let me know if you make any of these recipes or come up with your own carrot themes Easter dish! Best place to catch me is Instagram

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Pancake Day... 15+ Recipe Roundup!

It's less than a week until Shrove Tuesday.... yay Pancake Day!! 

I haven't made pancakes for ages but will definitely be doing so next week. In the meantime, I am re-sharing the classic British Pancake recipe (more like a crepe than a fat American style pancake) and a roundup of all my blog favourites.

I would love to hear your favourite recipes or flavour combinations you'd love to see me create?

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Recipe: classic pancakes

Makes 3 medium pancakes (serves 1 if you are anything like me!)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup white spelt flour
  • 1 tsp ground flax or chia seed
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • tiny pinch salt
  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk (reduce to ½ cup if you prefer a thicker pancake)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs melted coconut oil

Method

Mix dry ingredients and then add wet ingredients. Mix well until you have a smooth batter with no lumps.

Meanwhile, heat a medium-sized frying pan with very light covering of oil (I used rapeseed oil lightly rubbed over the surface with kitchen roll). Once the pan is hot add a large spoonful of batter to the pan and move the pan in circular motions to spread the batter into a larger circle. Cook for approx. 2 minutes and then carefully flip to cook the reverse for approx. 1 minute until both sides are lightly brown. Run a little more oil over the surface of the pan and then repeat for two more pancakes.

Serve hot with toppings of your choice.


Want more inspiration... here is a recipe round-up of pancake ideas, with a savoury option too!

AND, since pancake day is just the day before Valentines Day.. why not join forces and create a two-in-one dessert with wow factor... 

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Peanut Butter Roundup... 15 recipes for #nationalpeanutbutterday

Do you know what day it is today?

January 24th 2018 = National Peanut Butter Day!

I almost missed it - again! It was brought to my attention in the nick of time by the peanut overload as I scrolled through Instagram. So yep, I am now adding to the noise by giving you a round up of top peanutty recipes from my archives to try! Plenty of sweet and savoury options to inspire you. Or maybe you've come up with a recipe combo of your own?

If nothing else... I hope you celebrate today by grabbing a spoon and dipping it in the peanut butter jar!

Mmmm, if you want to know my top two favorites out of ALL of these recipes, it would have to be...

1) Nutty Chocolate Truffles

2) Sweet Potato Rostis

If you make any of these recipes please tag @johodson on Instagram so I can see too! :-)

Enjoy...


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Mushroom Bourgingnon (almost alcohol free!) for your festive table!

Last weekend I co-hosted a wonderful festive vegan feast and sound bath with my good friend and incredible opera singer Laura of Namuami  Healing Through Music.

It was a wonderful gathering and an opportunity for self-care, to reflect and connect within during the Christmas rush. I have been feeling very reflective lately as the end of the year hurtles closer... looking back and looking forward at the same time can feel overwhelming!

I was planning lots of recipes in the lead up to the event, looking for ideas that could easily cater for larger numbers, that would be simple to prepare (the kitchen facilities at the venue are basic) and that would taste festive and sumptuous (haven't used that word in a while!)

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I settled for a roasted parsnip soup (I will post that recipe another time), a roasted brussel sprout, quinoa, cranberry and almond salad (I used this recipe as a guide) AND a mushroom bourguignon... oh it was good, a rich, smooth and silky 'gravy' just like the photos imply! It all went down a treat and got rave reviews with lots of requests for the recipe! 

The recipes I found were all based on using red wine but I was keen to avoid this in a communal wellbeing setting and so instead of the bottle of red wine I replaced this with a carton of red grape juice and a 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar (yes that does contain a little alcohol but much less overall). It worked a treat!

I used chestnut mushrooms for the slightly nuttier flavour, I also recommend using baby chantenay carrots- the bonus is these don't need peeling either, just a good scrub! Any other veg is up to you. I added green beans, but red peppers or peas would be great too. This recipe from The Veg Space was my original inspiration but there are lots of similar variations. 

This would may a wonderful dish as part of your festive dining experience, or served as a meal on its own with a pile of creamy mashed potato (or mashed root veg combo!) would also be amazing.

I'd love to hear what dishes will be adorning your Christmas table?

if you haven't yet tried it... I highly recommend my mini Christmas pudding porridge. It's a winner- promise! :-)
 

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Recipe: Mushroom Bourgingnon

serves approx 6-8 (half the recipe I orginally made- feel free to halve again)

Ingredients:

  • 5 shallots - coarsley chopped
  • a bag of baby carrots- approx 10-12 - sliced
  • a pack of green beans- approx 2 handfuls
  • 3 garlic cloves - crushed
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms
  • 400ml red grape juice
  • approx 2 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 250ml veg stock
  • 3 tbs tomato puree
  • 1 heaped tbs vegan gravy powder (or cornflower, as the Bisto powder I used was mainly cornflower)
  • a handful of fresh herbs- I used rosemary, sage and thyme.

Method:

And the garlic, carrots and shallots to a large pan with 2 teaspoons of oil of choice and cook for approx. 3 minutes. Cut the mushrooms into quarters, add to the pan along with the green ebans (and any other veg) and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile mix the gravy powder/cornflower in a small bowl with a little of the grape juice to form a thick smooth paste. Add this to the pan along with the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil and then cook until it looks thickened and 'glossy'- approx 10 minutes. Add some finely chopped fresh herbs in the final five minutes of cook time- reserve some to sprinkle to serve if desired.

Serve immediately with mashed potato or alongside other dishes. A wedge of crusty bread would be great too!

Note: I ate leftovers the next day and it tasted amazing, the flavours seemed even richer. Therefore, I think this would also be a great prep-the-day-before dish! 

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These were the other savoury delights from the event... I also created a new flavour of 'bliss ball' for the after sound bath treat along with some warmed spiced apple juice.
 

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These were ginger, orange, goji and turmeric bliss balls. Deliciously festive! I will get this on the bog soon... but if you want to give them a go, use any basic bliss ball recipe (dates and ground nuts) and add a few goji berries, ground ginger ground turmeric and orange zest to taste. 


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Mini Christmas Pudding Porridge... takes just 3 mins all in!!

This was my epic breakfast last weekend. It looks like dessert, to be honest it is totally worthy of 'bressert' status. For dessert use the juice as noted and sprinkle the coconut sugar. Job done!

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You could prepare the mix ahead of time too and just let it sit for an hour or so, possibly overnight, I haven't tried it that way but I don't see why it wouldn't work. 'Overnight Oats Christmas Pudding Porridge', ha ha! The best thing ever to wake up to on Christmas morning... with absolute minimal prep!

It literally takes three mins to make from start to finish! (if you use a microwave- see my notes below).

I make servings like this using a silicone egg poacher - so handy, the perfect size and they are flexible so the contents come out so easily. I highly recommend investing in one for you single serve cakes and such like (not eggs!) ;-)

What will you be making on Christmas day morning?

Are you more sweet or savoury?

I'm such a sweet porridge girl so that's been my go-to to make for my family these last few years. If you haven't already, I highly recommend trying these too- the bakewell pie and the classic festive baked oatmeal that kicked it all off!

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Recipe: Mini Christmas Pudding Porridge!

Serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 2 tbs ground nuts of any kind
  • 1/4 cup apple puree
  • 1/4 cup mixed dried fruit (a mix of some of these: raisins/sultanas/currants/cranberries/gojis)
  • 1/2 tsp spice or more to taste (I used a little of mixed spice & cinnamon)
  • 1 heaped tbs flax
  • 1/4 cup water (or juice for extra sweetness)

Method:

Mix everything together well in a small bowl.

Spoon into a small circular microwaveable domed dish- I use an egg poacher (so great for mini cakes!!) Press firmly and smooth the top.

Microwave for 90 seconds on high power. Carefully loosen and tip out onto serving plate and dress with vegan yoghurt or cream plus any extra fruits and spices, I used gojis, but a cranberry compote or some festive jam would be amazing! If you prefer an even sweeter porridge sprinkle a touch of coconut sugar, it was fine for me without.

*Notes: I rarely use a microwave these days but I didn't want to turn on the oven on for this tiny dish, I also find it crisps/dries up more in the oven and this works best when the moistness is maintained. By all means try the oven but don't overcook- cover loosely in foil and make sure middle is still very moist!

If you try the microwave option but are making multiple puddings- cook one at a time or increase the timing- I have only tried cooking one.

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BEST EVER chocolate brownie round up!

Yesterday, the 8th December was #nationalbrownieday.... waahh, another day I missed. Any chance to celebrate chocolate and cake, right! 

So I am a day late to the party, but who cares. I figured this was a good excuse to share a brownie round-up with all the best brownie recipes I've created over the years. There are quite a few, and all very different too. Plenty to try out and inspire you to put you own twist on things.

This is the description taken from 'National Day Calendar (I can't guarantee how accurate this info is!)

"Brownies were created in the United States at the end of the 19th century.  A cross between a cookie and cake, they soon became very popular across the country. There was a request for a dessert for a group of ladies that would be attending a fair in the late 1800s.  They wanted a small cake-like dessert that could be eaten from a boxed lunch.  A Chicago chef, working at the Palmer House Hotel, created the first brownie for the ladies, which featured an apricot glaze and walnuts.  The Palmer House Hotel still serves their original recipe for brownies on their menu."

Brownies are the perfect platform for veganizing, healthanising, de-gluten-ing and hiding veggies and beans in. I love the fact that brownies are by their nature quite dense and a little gooey - this makes it easy to hide sight 'mistakes' too (a light airy cake is typically much harder to achieve when keeping the above objectives in mind!)

I consider brownies to be the perfect beginner cake when transitioning to alternative baking!

Click the text links below to for the original recipes and have a scroll through my gallery to tickle your fancy. 

One of my all time favourite recipes for ease, flavour and versatility is my award-winning Chocolate Banana Brownie Bread, so I have included a free downloadable recipe card for it below- scroll down and click the pic to download.

Enjoy the round-up and please do tag me on Facebook or Instagram if you make any of the recipes... i'd love to see them! :-)

1) Pumpkin brownies are a great way of packing veg in cakes (sweet potato works well as a swap as does courgette and carrot or even parsnip!)

2) A bit this year late for advent- but these festive advent calendar brownie bites were a very early recipe on my blog! (you could use any recipe and apply the same ideas as brownies freeze so well)

3) The carrot cake brownies follow a similar theme to the pumpkin brownies, served in cake-like wedges!

4) These raw chocolate brownies are packed with nuts for a rich an filling treat! A little goes a long way.

5) Raspberry ripple brownie slices... packed with tofu and black beans for a fat-free brownie variation!

6) For a non-chocolate version, you can try these double banana blondies.

7) This raw black bean fudge brownie is a spin on my 'worlds healthiest fudge' with added chunky nuts and dried fruits for a brownie vibe!

8) Last but not least... the chocolate banana brownie bread (great as a loaf, slice or muffins) scroll down for the recipe card.

There final two pics shown in my gallery were created for other publications/brands beyond this site... but you could replicate the same kind of thing with any of the recipes above.

For the protein brownies, swap in some of your favourite plant-based protein for some of the flour in any brownie recipe. Make the 'deconstructed brownie trifle' but slicing the brownie into small cubes and tossing with berries and yoghurt or coconut cream- makes an amazing super simple dessert!

Download the Choc Banana Brownie bread that was a 2016 PETA 'Bake Off' Finalist below...

 
 

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The healthiest ever... carrot, apricot & ginger cake!

It's been a while since I posted a new recipe... I've been busy working on the blog, but more behind the scenes- trying to sort my recipe index out (slow progress!) and also creating a book based on my mindset posts. I have also been coaching a lot more in recent months too and that hs been a priority.

That said I've missed creating sweet things and photography! Last weekend I was feeling in the mood to bake something... and put a post on my personal Facebook page asking what things people wanted 'healthanizing' ... billionaires shortbread got a mention (I'll try and get onto that before xmas) and so did carrot cake.

carrot ginger apricot cake.jpg

Well, it just so happens that a few weeks ago I did make a fantastic carrot cake, and the comment prompted me to get it up on the blog!  This is a blend of carrot, ginger and apricot for an indulgent twist on the classic.  It's super healthy- packed with fruit and veg, minimal processed ingredients and made with oats, I'm pretty sure it could be made entitely gluten free very easily. 

The carrot cake may not be particularly festive, but it's still great for a party of a gathering or bookmark it for a springtime treat :-)  If you love carrot cake BUT also love chocolate... you should definitely try this chocolate brownie carrot cake!

Final top tip before you go ahead and make it - this cake keeps well for a few days in the fridge, in fact I think it tastes even better the day after it's made- richer and cakier!

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Recipe: Carrot, Apricot & Ginger Cake!!

Ingredients:

  • 2tbs flax and 1/4 cup water- mixed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil- melted
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 medium apple- cored
  • 1 tps baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 heaped tsp ginger powder
  • 1 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1 cup fine oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (you could probably sub a GF flour blend)
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

Method:

Blend the flax mix with the melted coconut oil, non-dairy milk and the apple until fully pureed. In a sperate large bowl mix together the dry ingredients then add all wet ingredients plus any remaining ingredients to it, stir through until well mixed.

Spoon batter into two 8" cake pans- the layers will be fairly thin. Bake for approx 30 mins at 180C, loosely cover with foil if tops are browning too quickly. Allow to fully cool before frosting.

Meanwhile, make the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbs mild syrup

Method: Mix together and then allow to thicken in the fridge.

To decorate (optional), make the balls on top:

  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 tbs ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup almond or cashew butter

Method: Blitz together all ingredients in a food processor and then make into balls. If the mix is a little too wet, allow to chill in fridge to firm up before forming.

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For some festive foodie vibes... I have a few treats planned for the coming weeks, feel free t leave me your ideas too!

In the meantime, I would love to share with you my top five festive recipes last year, I put them together in a mini book you can find here. 

 
 

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