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!

Veggie pesto pine nut squares

This veggie pesto bake is a wonderful summer recipe, especially using fresh basil from the garden!

I wanted to make this recipe for my family at the weekend. I found the photos in my archives from when I first shot the recipe last year for realfoodsource using their new ingredient range, but I couldn't find the actual recipe anywhere!

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I have made variations on it - these sweet potato rostis in particular, so I knew the rough idea. I figured I'd have to wing it and hope for the best.... it turned out really well!

Instead of making it as squares as per the original photos, I cooked it in a square oven dish and served it up hot with a huge salad. The squares are still amazing though.

This is best made with spiralized veggies for a pretty ‘curly whirly’ effect but you could use a julienne peeler or a coarse grater. I used a mix of carrot, courgette and a little onion but you could use fewer or different ingredients such a sweet potato or parsnip if you prefer. You could also bake this mix into pre-portioned muffin cups.

To save time I used bought free-from pesto in a jar, but you could make your own, or use hummus with herbs added to it.

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Recipe: Veggie pesto pine nut squares

Makes approx 12 squares (a brownie sized pan)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups spiralized vegetables  (I courgette, 2 medium carrots and 1 red onion)
  • ¼ cup almond or cashew paste (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vegan pesto (or regular pesto or hummus and fresh basil)
  • approx. ½ tsp salt (this may depend on the pesto etc used)
  • approx. 3 tbs water
  • A handful of extra fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chickpea (gram) flour
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (up to ½ cup more if preferred)

Method:

Spiralize or julienne the veggies, chop a little to avoid very long ribbons.  Set aside.

Mix together the wet ingredients and add to the coat the veggies (taste test and add salt and pepper as desired). Add the gram flour last and mix to coat well. Add an extra splash of water if the mix doesn’t appear quite wet enough to coat evenly. Mix through the pine nuts now or set aside to press into the top if preferred.

Press the mix firmly into a lightly greased brownie sized tin- the mix should be approx 2cm thick. Smooth the top and press in the pine nuts.  Bake at 180C for approx 25-30 mins until golden. Serve hot or allow to cool and cut into squares- great for lunchboxes or picnics when served cold. Will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

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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! ;-) 

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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!

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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.

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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! 

vegan parsnip soup
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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 blog 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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50 Vegan Curries Recipe Round-up for National Curry Week!

Earlier this week a friend reminded me that as well as being National Porridge Day... it was also National Curry Week! Oh gosh... I couldn't let that one sail by- I love a good curry! Actually, it was one of the first dishes I made on this blog and that recipe is still a firm favourite with everyone who had tried it since, and it has starred in many of my retreats!

I conjured up a super simple '5-minute curry' creation as shared below, but also decided to reach out to the wonderful community of Finding Vegan bloggers so see if they'd like to share with me their own favourite curry recipes and curry relates side dishes. I've added a couple of mine in the mix too. 

Ooooh it's turned into a big juicy round-up with plenty of inspiration to see you right through the winter and beyond. Bookmark this page (or save it to Evernote which is what I usually do)  and give them a go... let me know what you make! :-)

>>> Make sure you scroll down to below my '5-minute curry' recipe to check out the round-up recipe collection! <<<

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Recipe: 5-Minute Coconut Curry

(cos' it literally only takes 5 mins - or 7 at tops!) ;-)
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbs curry powder (or paste of choice)
1/2 cup grated courgette
1/2 cup grated carrot (or sweet potato)
1/4 cup coconut cream flakes*
1 1/2 cup boiling water*
1 heaped tsp veg stock (or 1 stock cube)
1 can of chickpeas
2 handfuls spinach (or other green leafy veg)

(*or sub 1 can coconut milk and a little extra water at the end to reach desired consistency)

Method:

Finely chop the onion, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes by hand or in a mini chopper, transfer to a lightly oiled medium sauce-pan and fry for 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile grate the courgette and carrot, once grated add to the pan along with the remaining ingredients and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.

Serve into bowls and optionally decorate with fresh coriander on top (if you have it- I didn't at the time!) Serve with quinoa, rice or naan as desired.

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There are 50 epic recipes in this round up... there were many more to choose from but we would have been here all day if I'd included them all, so I chose a delicious selection to offer the biggest variety!

Enjoy...

(Pics run Left-Right, Top-Bottom)

Enjoyed this round-up? ...please share!

Also, let me know what other round-ups you'd like to see in the future!

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Chocolate, Carrot & Mushroom (yep!) Porridge... for World Porridge Day!

It's World Porridge Day today... and in order to celebrate, I am sharing a porridge recipe with a chocolatey theme for some extra celebratory indulgence!

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What's World Porridge Day all about?

Taken from Mary's Meals website, "In Malawi and Liberia, where we have our largest school feeding programmes, the children receive vitamin-enriched maize porridge every school day. World Porridge Day celebrates the huge difference this daily mug of porridge makes to the lives of chronically hungry children." 

Head over to their website to find out how you can help support the project and share your #PorridgeSmiles (see my entry down below!)

I'm also sharing the love for RealFoodSource who have just launched a new range of amazing porridge blends full of chunky goodness and free from refined sugars. I was sent some samples last week for recipe testing and I am seriously so impressed, I will be sharing the results with you soon!

Back to my recipe! This ticks all my boxes- oats, veg and a 'booster' this time in the form of medicinal mushroom powder... my new best friend!

Adding medicinal mushrooms to anything chocolatey is great as it compliments the earthy flavour. It also works fantastically in a latte style drink with chai spices or of course a hot chocolate. I made a chocolate pudding with it here. 

I use a blend of organic chaga, reishi and cordyceps (I buy as separate small packs and mix them together in a tub ready to use as it was cheaper to do it that way) but any medicinal mushroom powder would work.

Porridge is not just perfect for breakfast, on this occasion I think it was lunch (or maybe brunch) whilst I was working (yep I went for the in-situ shot for a change) and I topped it with some dark choc chunks and a few small bliss balls I'd made that were left over from an event. 

In this recipe, I used finely grated carrot, but I could have used courgette or sweet potato for equally great results.

If that wasn't enough, for even more porridge recipes... click here for my porridge ebook (or scroll down and click the front cover pic) and for the rest of this month as a tribute to #Worldporridgeday grab yourself a 20% discount when you buy the book and quote PORRIDGEDAY20 at the checkout!

Enjoy getting all porridged up! :-)

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 Recipe: Chocolate, Carrot & Mushroom Porridge

Serves 1 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup porridge oats 
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice 
  • 1 small carrot- finely grated 
  • 1 heaped tsp medicinal mushroom powder  
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder/paste
  • approx 1 tbs syrup of choice or coconut sugar to taste
  • 2 tbs raw cacao
  • for optional decoration- dark chocolate chunks, bliss balls, turmeric dusted coconut.

Method: 

Add all ingredients except the medicinal mushroom powder to a small pan on the stove. Simmer for about five minutes, until cooked. Take off the head and add a little extra liquid if desired to achieve desired texture and stir through the medicinal mushroom powder just before serving to retain the maximum nutritional benefit. Add any toppings of choice or a drizzle of extra sweetness and serve.

Grab my ebook here... for the rest of October I am offering 20% discount when you buy the book and quote PORRIDGEDAY20 at the checkout!

P.s do you like my carrot cake tabby cat I made for breakfast this morning for my Mary's Meals #PorridgeSmiles...

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Jackfruit inspiration... 15+ versatile vegan recipes!

Jackfruit has been a player on the vegan scene for a while now... in my excitement late last year I bought a can from the Asian market near me but and until last month it has sat in the cupboard- forgotten! Oops..

A few weeks ago I came across that lonesome can and figured it was time for some experimentation. After a little research and realising the true versatility of jackfruit, I then put a call out for some other wonderful vegan bloggers to contribute their delicious recipes too. 

Since jackfruit in this context is often used a meat substitute but as it's a fruit has a low protein count in itself, I would typical advise teaming it with beans/nuts/tofu to create a nicely balanced dish.

So here you have it, my own jackfruit 'buddha bowl' recipe creation and lots more ideas from some vegan friends. If this doesn't inspire you to go buy a can and have a play then I don't know what will! :-)

Recipe: BBQ Jackfruit Buddha Bowl

Perfect for the summer months, it famously makes a great 'pulled pork' style topping/filling. I have also tried freezing it once marinaded and part cooked, it worked really well- simply defrost enough to 'flake up' then grill or bake for a few minutes until the edges are a little crispy and serve.  In the future I will definitely be making up a big batch this way!

Final top tip- make sure you buy the young jackfruit in brine (not syrup!) this also works much better using canned jackfruit not fresh (which is handy as fresh is harder to come buy in Europe and it can weigh up to 100 pounds!) Many of the recipes online call for chopping out the centre 'core' of the jackfruit pieces, but I didn't both as I felt it would mean discarding quite a lot of the fruit and the core seemed quite soft and so I simply chopped it up well- but feel free to discard if you prefer.

 This is a photo of a jackfruit tree that I took in Chaing Mai Thailand last year!

This is a photo of a jackfruit tree that I took in Chaing Mai Thailand last year!

Recipe: BBQ Jackfruit Buddha Bowl

(from Jo!)

Serves 3-4

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can young jackfruit in brine or water (not syrup) - approx 1 1/2 cups
  • 3 sun dried tomatoes- chopped (optional)
  • 1 small onion- finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves- crushed
  • 1 tbs coconut oil (or other oil of choice)

BBQ sauce:

  • 1 can tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs molasses
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 tbs liquid smoke*

For building the 'buddha bowl' (or use whatever you have to hand)

  • 1 can black beans- cooked
  • 2-3 large handfuls fresh coriander
  • 2 avocados- sliced
  • A big bunch of sautéed greens of choice- I used chard (use lots as green wilt so much!)
  • Sprinkling of pine nuts (optional- I just fancied some!)

Note: when I first made this I did not have any liquid smoke, I left it out and it still tasted great. It juts adds some extra BBQ-ey depth of flavour ;-)

Method:

Sauté the sun dried tomatoes, the onion and garlic in a medium pan until softened. Meanwhile prepare the jackfruit (cut out core if desired) by 'flaking it up' a little. Add all BBQ sauce ingredients and jackfruit to the sauce pan and simmer for 15 mins. 

Remove from the heat and allow jackfruit mix to sit and marinade for an hour. (You could also marinade for longer or overnight by allowing to cool, covering and placing in the fridge). This would also be the point at which you freeze any extra portions. 

Lay the jackfruit mix in a thin even layer on a lined oven tray (or two) and bake at approx. 160C for approx 20 mins until slightly crispy at the edges.

Meanwhile prepare the remaining components of the buddha bowl ready to serve along with the BBQ jackfruit.

Recipe: BBQ Jackfruit Buddha Bowl.jpg

 

Jackfruit recipe creations from the vegan community! Thank you to all those who contributed ;-) (click the pics to jump to the original recipes)

Jackfruit Vegan Pozole Rojo

Doras Kitchen

Vegan Enchiladas with Jackfruit and Black Beans

Well Vegan

Buffalo Jackfruit Sandwiches with Hemp Ranch

Simply Overjoyed

Jackfruit Fried Chick’n

Soy Division

Jackfruit Carnitas

Yup...It's Vegan

Teriaki Jackfruit Bowl

The Veg Life

Jackfruit Taquitos with Southwest Dipping Sauce

The Mostly Vegan

Jackfruit Crabless Cakes

Healthy Slow Cooking

Jackfruit Tacos

One Hungry Bunny

Pulled Jackfruit Enchiladas

May I have that Recipe?

Jackfruit Chile Relleno Pot Pie

Spabettie

Vegan gyros with jackfruit and creamy tzatziki

Zena N Zaatar

Teriyaki Jackfruit Sushi Bowl

Elephantastic Vegan

Jackfruit Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Vegan Heaven

Slow Cooker Pulled Jackfruit 

Yummy Mummy Kitchen

 

Here are a few other jackfruit recipe/cooking technique inspirations from around the web that provided me with inspiration when I began my experiments:

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches - Minimalist Baker

How to make the Ultimate BBQ Jackfruit - Organic Authority

How to cut, open, prepare and eat fresh jackfruit - video (if you don't want to use canned!)

Have you tried jackfruit or a you a newbie? If these recipes have inspired you... let me know in the comments what you try! 


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Baked Falafel Pie... an easy meal to feed a crowd!

Wow... you're getting two recipes within a week.... it's like the days when I first started my blog when I often used to get three recipes up here per week! That's when I had a full time job as an architect too.... crazy days, how did I find time to do it all!

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie

These days I develop so many recipes for destinations beyond this blog itself... such as for Real Food Source, my own ebooks and other publications that sometimes this space loses the battle of priorities. I am looking to charge all that again- with one new recipe per week from the New Year onwards- an early resolution of sorts?

Anyway, back to this recipe!

This came about a couple of week ago as I was developing new recipes for my Lanzarote retreat.... I wanted something that was delicious, filling and easy to cook for 8-10 people (though the recipe below is halved to feed about four). This is a total winner and a lovely spin on the more traditional falafel balls.

It's not my brainchild- there are loads of similar creations across blog land- I got the idea from a general Pinterest search looking for meal image ideas rather than any one recipe in particular. I imagine you could tweak this to add in other herbs or spices to suit. You could also add a chunky salsa, guacamole or other topping instead of hummus if you preferred.

I realised this recipe would be also very similar to my classic nut roast (still a go-to favourite and great to have on standby in the freezer) and so I used that as the base and made a few ingredient tweaks.

Let me know what you think.... I'll let you know how it goes down with the guests on my retreat ;-)

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie

Serves 3 portions with salad or 4-5 if serving as part of a larger dinner

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup chopped nuts of choice
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • One onion diced
  • One large garlic clove minced
  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes (optional for extra depth of flavour)
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • 1 medium courgette grated
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1 cup oats (or cooked rice or quinoa or dry wholemeal breadcrumbs- GF if needed)
  • 2 heaped tbs flax (or tapioca or potato flour)
  • ¼ cup fresh coriander
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 2 tbs soy sauce (GF if needed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Topping:

  • 1 tub hummus (or homemade if possible)
  • 2 sliced avocados
  • a sprinkle of salt and pepper

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180C. coarsely grind the nuts and set aside. Finely chop and sauté vegetables in olive oil for 5 mins until soft. Mix all remaining ingredients in large bowl and add vegetables and nuts to it.

Mix and mash together well. Add more oats (or another dry ingredient) if mixture is too wet or a little water or stick if too dry.

Press mixture firmly into a greased and lined medium baking dish (it should be around a generous inch thick). Bake for approx. 45 mins until golden on top, the inside will still be moist. Add hummus and avocado slices to serve with salad or cooked greens.

Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie
Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie
Recipe: Baked Falafel Pie
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