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!

Summer Berry Crumble Bars

I made this oat crumble as a surprise 'bressert' for my boyfriend last weekend. His favourite fruit is rhubarb and I had a few stalks in the garden that I wanted to use up.  I wanted a super healthy breakfast crumble that was indulgent enough for dessert (hence bressert).

I had planned for this to be enoigh to last us for breakfast ABD dessert late in the day.... but we ate it all for breakfast ;-)

vegan berry oat crumble .jpg

I first made this oat crumble recipe for my 'Not Just For Goldilocks' book, so I won't share it in full right here, BUT I will share with you a great spin-off in the form of these bars. I made the bars in the photos below initially for Real Food Source last year and using the same principle as the crumble I made them again.

These bars are quite soft and cakey with a crisp top, which is how I love them. I used a combination of oats, ground almonds and tiger nut flour for the topping, but other flours in place of tiger nuts and almonds would also work.

They also have a great nutritional boost by way of chia seeds which are also used here to thicken and bind the base and fruit layer.

These are perfect served hot with some vegan for a little indulgence or with a dollop of plain vegan yoghurt for a breakfast option.

tiger nut crumble bars 3a.jpg

Recipe: Summer Berry Crumble Bars

Makes approx 12 squares

Ingredients:

Crumble:

  • 1 ½ cup oats
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup tiger nut flour (or other flour such as wholemeal, spelt or a gluten-free blend)
  • ½ cup coconut oil– melted
  • approx. 2 tbs coconut syrup (to taste)
  • 2 tbs chia seeds and 3 tbs warm water (mixed to gel)

Berry Layer:

  • 1 heaped cup stewed fruit (I used a combination of apple, rhubarb and raspberries)*
  • approx. 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • ½ cup rough chopped nuts of choice for topping (optional)

*I used approx 2 small/medium apples, 2 medium stalks or rhubarb and a large handful of raspberries (I didn't measure precisely but it equated to a good cup of fruit once cooked down)

Method:

Mix the oats, ground almond and tiger nut flour dried with the melted coconut oil and syrup. Set aside approx. 1/4 of this mixture for the topping (or more for a thicker topping).

To the remaining mix, add the chia ‘gel’ to help bind. Press the crumble mix firmly into an 8” square pan- it should be approx 1cm deep.  Bake for approx 15 minutes at 180C until just golden.

Meahwhile stew the fruit in a saucepan, adding a little syrup to taste as the rhubarb and raspberries are tart. No extra liquid is required as the fruit will release it's own. Add the chia seeds during the last few minutes to help thicken.

Remove the base crumble from the oven and spread the fruit layer evenly over the top. Add the reserved crumble mix, plus extra chunky nuts if desired.

Bake for another 5 minutes or so until the topping is golden and the fruit bubbling.

Serve hot or cool (note: the bars slice better when cool)

 

tiger nut crumble bars 1a.jpg

Chocolate Crispy Cake 'Bliss Bars'

So here's a super simple recipe that I first made a month or two ago and I think I have now made at least 4 times since! It's a great one to make with or for kids too.

They are soooooo moreish it's unreal.... a soft and chewy 'bliss ball' texture with loads of crispy flakes mixed through.

The added bonus with the high proportion of flakes mixed in is that it helps lighten up an otherwise dense snack... that's the only problem with bliss balls/energy balls- they are very dense for their size and if like me you have a tendency to 'eat with your eyes' - it's very easy to overdo it!

crispy cake raw bars 1a.jpg

Guilty admission- as I sit here writing this post, I have a box of these bites beside to take on a road trip with a friend this afternoon, BUT I have already munched through the about four of them! Oooops.... ;-)

This most recent batch I made had protein powder added instead of the coconut flakes. This really helps bump up the protein count, if that's your thing for for it. One tip- I found they flavour was so much better the following day- on day 1 I could slightly taste the protein powder but by the second day onwards it had pretty much disappeared as the flavours had time to meld.

You can use any type of crispy flaked cereal you like, but for extra nutritional value I used these amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat cornflakes by RealFoodSource (amaranth is shown in the photos here) 

You can press the mix into a square pan and cut into squares/bars or roll into balls, both work great. They freeze well too, and can even be munch o straight from the feeezer (mind your teeth- you may prefer to defrost a little!)

Add any 'mix-ins' you fancy, some other dried fruits, nutty chunks or an extract such as peppermint, orange or almond always go down well. If using an extract- about 1/2 tsp should do mixed in at the start, with other ingredients pulse through at theed for a chunky texture.

crispy cake raw bars 3a.jpg

Recipe: Chocolate Crispy Cake 'Bliss Bars'

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (or raw cacao)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax (optional but I like the hidden nutritional boost)
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or any ground nut)*
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup flakes cereal

handful chocolate chips or cacoa nibs- optional for extra crunch and chocolateyness

* for the protein version I swapped the ground nuts for defatted almond protein powder- you favorite neutral protein blend would also work here.

Method:

Place the dates, cocoa, flax, nuts and salt in a food processor. process until you have a soft-ish, sticky and clumpy mix- you will likely need to add 2-3 tbs water to create the right consistency.

Add the cereal flakes and choc chips (if using) and pulse through to mix in evenly.

Press firmly into a tin or roll into balls, Chill for an hour until firm.

Will keep for a week or two in the fridge or you can freeze them.

crispy cake raw bars 2a.jpg
crispy cake raw bars 4a.jpg

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Pear Porridge...with 'super boost' options!

This wasn't a planned post... so I apologise in advance that all the photos are shot on my iphone, not my pro dSLR I usually use for recipe posts!

I enjoyed this breakfast two days running this week with variations on each, so I spontaneously decided to share with you too.

Pear + Courgette + Ginger is always a winner for me! 

How about you- are you a fan of adding veggies to your porridge?

My favourites are courgette, carrot or sweet potato very finely grated and cooked in with the oats. There are loads (56 in total) porridge recipes and spin-offs in this recipe book I created in case you are interested!

On top of the pic below are my Wholeplus Toppers (relaunching with new eco packaging soon!), but you could use any topings you like... nuts, seeds, dried fruits, granola, a drizzle of nut butter... or nothing at all :-)

recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options

These photos also give a shout out to the book 'Thresholds' that I was featured in and have just had the hard copy delivered. Holding it in my hands was such a wondrous feeling. I contributed my story which tells of the most significant time of my life to date, I would love you to read it (it's in Kindle for only £1.49)... you can find more info here!

Recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats (GF if desired)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated courgette
  • up to 1/2 cup boost options listed below* or more oats
  • 1 pear- half cut into tiny chunks and half sliced thinly (for top)
  • Large handful of small dried fruit pieces- such as chopped dates, raisins, cranberries, mulberries or my Wholeplus Toppers (see note above).
  • 1 tbs chia seeds or flax seed
  • 1 scant tsp grated ginger and/or ground turmeric (if using turmeric add a pinch of black pepper too to maximise nutrient absorption)
  • approx 1.5 cups non-dairy milk of choice - more or less for desired thickness as it cooks.
  • 1 tsp maca powder (optional)
  • Handful of sunflower or pumpkin seeds (optional)

*up to 1/2 cup of a mix of the following: vegan protein blend, almond flour, cooked quinoa, quinoa flakes, teff flour, shelled hemp seeds (less of the hemp) 

Method:

Finely grate the courgette and add along with all ingredients (other than toppings) to a medium pan on the stove top. Bring to a simmer and cook for approx 5 minutes, adding extra liquid as required for desired consistency.

Serve, decorate, eat!

Notes:

  1. In the first two photos I added cooked quinoa to the oats and handful of pumpkin seeds, then topped with Wholeplus Toppers (Gingerbread, Super Seedy or Lemon Pie would be fab!)

  2. In the second two photos I added turmeric and black pepper then added 1/4 cup almond flour and 1/4 cup teff flour with a dusting of cinnamon on top.
     

recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options
recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options
recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options
recipe: Pear Porridge- with 'super boost' options

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Bean & Beat Burger with Portabello Buns

I actually first made this recipe many months ago... 2nd November 2016 to be exact (I can tell by my camera data!) and it's been sitting in my recipe archive folder waiting to be released to the world- amongst countless other recipes. Crazy, really how they all pile up! 

One of my missions this year is to get back into a regular blog posting schedule. To think when I began this blog in 2011 I was posting around three times a week- sometimes more, and that was when I still had my full time career as an architect. So there is really no excuse! ;-) 

portabello burger bun.JPG

I was reminded of this recipe a recently, as I was coming down from a week-long juice fast and I wanted to make a meal, to celebrate with my boyfriend, the return to normal food. I wanted it to be reasonably light, made mostly with veggies and no wheat or refined ingredients (though there was a little oil on the mushrooms caps). The result was this epic burger platter! (ok it was a little larger than I'd anticipated) ;-)

Portabello mushroom caps make amazing burger buns if you want to avoid bread, and you can really use any veggie burger mix inside. In the iphone photo above is the recipe featured below, but in the other 'pro shots' taken in 2016 I used this vegan meatball mix formed into burger patties instead of balls (both would freeze well too so you can make extra).

Then simply layer the burger up with avocado, hummus, relish, chutney, salad leaves, sprouts as tall as you like!

portabello burger bun.jpg

Recipe: Bean & Beat Burger with Portabello Buns

Serves two (makes approx 4 medium burgers)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans - drained and mashed with a fork
  • 1/2 small beetroot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa or rice
  • 1 cup gram flour (other flours would probably work)
  • 1/2 cup ground walnut (or other ground nuts)
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 heaped tbs chopped herbs (I used parsley and rosemary as I had them to hand)
  • 4 large portabello mushroom caps.
  • a little olive oil.

Method:

Finely chop the beetroot garlic and onion (I used a food processor for a quick blitz) and then saute for a few minutes in a medium sauce pan until softening. Meanwhile gather all remaining ingredients (other than mushrooms/oil) and then add to the pan. Turn off the heat and stir through in the pan until well mixed and the mix holds together.

Form burger patties with your hands and place on a lined baking sheet. I didn't oil them but you could if desired. Bake at 180 for approx 30 mins ensuring they don't burn.

Meanwhile, wash and pat dry the mushroom caps. Chop the stalk out (you could do this in advance and add to the burger mix to void waste). Lightly brush will oil on both sides then sprinkle with salt and paper.

Once the burgers have been baking for 15-20 mins. Place the mushrooms under a hot grill for approx 5 mins on each side until quite 'sweaty' looking.

Prepare any other toppings and a side salad. (For the 'coleslaw' style salad in the top photo I just used slightly water down hummus to coat)

Assemble the burgers in any way you wish! Enjoy immediately.

portabello burger bun.jpg
portabello burger bun.jpg

 

 

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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
lisa.jpg

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?

classic pancake.jpeg

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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