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The Festive Recipe Bundle!

A ‘Bliss’full Christmas?

With the festive season fast approaching… I had a slightly spontaneous idea to create a festive recipe bundle including a new version of my ‘top 5 recipes’ with some new favourites I have created since the first edition.

I coupled the Christmas Recipe Guides with my favourite Bliss Ball Guide (featuring loads of recipes that haven’t appeared on the blog) because, for me, Bliss Balls are the perfect Christmas homemade gift… so many of my customers and friends will likely attest to that, ha ha!

‘Printables’

The fun bonus with these ebooks is that they are designed such that you can print them (ideally on card), cut them along the dotted lines to keep on hand in the kitchen OR even better, use the recipe card as a gift tag when you present your homemade gift… that way your ‘giftee’ can make the recipe again for themselves. Fun, right? ;-)

All the recipes are vegan (of course) gluten free (some use oats so opt for GF versions) and refined-sugar free… so you have an indulgent Christmas without compromise.

*Note… I don’t want to imply that there should be any ‘food guilt’ I aim to inspire your creativity with food NOT make you feel bad about food! So go full out and eat sugar and refined foods if you want to, I just know many of us feel so much better in mind and body when sticking to mostly whole foods and unrefined ingredients if there is the option, and so if that’s you thing… I’ve totally got you covered!

The whole bundle is just £5…

You can buy it HERE (or click the pic below!)

P.s I’d love you to tag me on social media in any recipes you make - Instagram is my favourite hangout- I’m @johodson over there :-)

If you don’t fancy getting the guides right now, you can still get lots of recipe ideas right here on my blog… Here are a few to get you going!


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Spicy Carrot Pickle

I want to start by saying I love this stuff!!

I've been eating it dolloped on top of soups..... mixed through a sty fry..... to jazz up a plain tomato sauce.... as a cracker topping with hummus....  the list really could go on and on!!

Before I go any further I give full credit for this recipe inspiration to Paul's Pickles as I originally bought a jar of his version from a craft market some weeks back and then when i ran out I went through the ingredients list and recreated my own, it tastes almost identical and so now i'm curious to go along the shelves of the supermarket checking out ingredients lists and making more of my own intriguing flavours :-)

Here is the original... if you are ever in the area and see Paul's stall he has loads of yummy things to offer- apparently this pickle in his best seller!

carrot pickle 5a.jpg

The pickle is packed full of strong flavours and Indian spices, it's powerful stuff eaten straight off the spoon, and tastes best mixed with another 'milder' flavour, veggies and sauces.  It also tastes better over time (three days onwards) so don't worry if the vinegar flavours stands out a little when freshly made as this mellows right back. I have used cider vinegar but you could use an alternative vinegar.

It's so so easy to make, once you've got the various ingredients to hand,  and would make the perfect gift by making a few jars in a batch... I originally made a coupe of jars but then made four more jars at the weekend. I am not too sure how long this stores for but since it's a pickle I would imagine a good few weeks minimum in the fridge. 

Let me know what you think of you do make it, and what your favourite way to serve it is!

A couple of my own serving suggestions are below.

carrot pickle 2a.jpg

Recipe: Spicy carrot pickle

Makes approx. two jars

Ingredients

  • 4 medium grated carrots (use a coarse grater or mandolin slice or both)
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar (or mild light coloured vinegar of choice)
  • 2 tbs oil (I used olive)

Spices:

  • ¼ cup fresh coriander- chopped
  • 1 tbs crushed chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked garlic
  • 2 tbs turmeric
  • 1 tbs galangal paste (or grated ginger)
  • 1 tbs garam masala
  • 1 scant tsp salt
  • 1 tbs mustard seeds
  • 1 tbs fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbs cumin seeds

Method

Mix the top three ingredients together and then add the spices- you could add them directly to the carrot mix or mix them together first and then add- it doesn't matter as long as the resulting pickle is well mixed.

Pack into a jar or two, store in the fridge or a cool place.

Simple mixed through plain quinoa and endamame

Simple mixed through plain quinoa and endamame

Dolloped on top of soup....(recipe for soup to come!)

Dolloped on top of soup....(recipe for soup to come!)

More quinoa.....

More quinoa.....

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Potato coleslaw

It’s all ‘red white and blue’ everywhere you look! Any one would think there was a celebration coming up…!

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is a pretty big deal, it’s not every day that comes around, plus we all get an extra days bank holiday! That said, I have been a little slow on the uptake and my patriotic baking creativity hasn’t really happened…but I may have a little something up my sleeve for Tuesday (the day of the Jubilee itself) but you’ll have to wait for it. Plus I will have another reason to celebrate on Tuesday…you’ll have to wait for that too.

In the mean time I thought I’d share some patriotic baking of another kind….these cakes were baked and decorated by the kids my mum looks after (she’s a childminder), I think the iced tops were supposed to resemble Union Jacks….not so much, but still pretty cute!

Yesterday's dinner time was a good opportunity to see what the garden had to offer. My mum wanted to dig up some of the potatoes she’d planted to see if they were ready. 

Um, that will be a no then....

I posted this photo via Instagram on twitter yesterday, so some of you may have seen it there.  I have recently joined Instagram, and the link to my profile is now added to the top of the page so please come and find me!

I had originally planned a potato salad with homemade mayonnaise, but due to the potatoes being less plentiful than hoped for, I made a potato coleslaw of sorts which was pretty good with great texture. I had no cabbage to hand so once i’d cooked the baby potatoes and coated them with the mayonnaise, I grated some raw carrot and courgette over the top and mixed it through.

A lovely simple side dish. This would be great served up with these burgers!

Whether you are celebrating or not, I hope you have a great weekend…I hope the Queen does too!

Recipe: Vegan Mayonnaise

Makes ¾ cup

Ingredients

  • ½ raw cashews (or 1/3 cup cashew butter)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup soy milk (I imagine water would also suffice)
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch ground cayenne or parika
  • 2 tbs olive oil

Method

Grind the cashews along with the garlic to a paste (or use cashew butter). Add the remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth and creamy.

Stores in the fridge in a covered container for up to 3 days.

For potato coleslaw, coat boiled new potatoes with the mayonnaise and stir through raw grated carrot and courgette. Sprinkle with fresh herbs or seasonings if desired and serve immediately.

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Tomato ketchup

So, you remember this post from a couple of days ago…

Black bean beet burgers!

Well just peeking through in the corner of that photo is a little pot of tomato sauce. Homemade tomato ketchup, with a sweet  kick just like regular tomato ketchup but without all the sugar!  What provides the sweetness…plums! Helped out with a little agave syrup (you could omit this is you liked), the plums are a perfect complement to the fresh tomatoes.  I also added some ground chia seed stirred through right at the end to give a health boost and to act as a thickener. If you don’t have chia I would advise experimenting with some other form of thickener to achieve the right consistency for your sauce.

This will store in the fridge for a good for weeks and is the perfect companion for summer time. I can already picture the burgers on the BBQ now! It’s best to store this sauce for a couple of weeks before consuming as it will allow the flavour to mature…nut feel free to dip in of you can’t wait that long!

This sauce would also work well as a basic pasta sauce or base for my super- speedy GF pizza crust.

Recipe: Healthy Tomato ketchup

Makes approx. 500ml

Ingredients

  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 400g ripe vine tomatoes
  • 120g ripe plums
  • 2tbs tomato puree
  • 20g agave
  • 1tsp molasses- optional (gives a slightly deeper richness)
  • 50g white wine vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 small chilli pepper with seeds removed
  • Salt to taste (I added approx. ¼ tsp)
  • 3-4 tbs ground chia seed

Method

Roughly chop the garlic and add to a food processor along with the tomatoes and plums, pulse to achieve a coarse even ‘paste’.

I used my Thermomix for the entire cooking process, but for those without, transfer the tomato mixture to a medium pan, add the remaining ingredients (except chia) and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring as required to avoid sticking. Add the ground chia in the last  minute.

Remove the cloves and bay leaf (if you can find them) and then transfer the mixture to a blender (or use a stick blender in the pan) and blend until you have a smooth mixture.

Pour into a sterilised bottle or jar and store in the fridge. The flavour matures over a couple of weeks.

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Homemade vegetable stock paste

If you came looking for a little something sweet today…you’re out of luck. (Try back tomorrow!!)

But don’t despair, I have a really useful recipe, and useful is always a good thing- useful makes our lives that little bit easier!

Vegetable stock (or ‘broth’) is a staple in pretty much all vegan cooking (and for cooking in general). It provides so much of the important flavour within a dish, and the difference between a good stock and a bad one can make a huge difference to the outcome. Vegan cooking is often so very reliant on the subtleties of flavours without the strength and textures of meat and dairy to carry a dish.

So, why risk it? Make your own!

I use this stock paste in everything where I list ‘vegetable stock’ in my ingredients, I also find the fact that it is a paste really useful, as it mixes with water so much more readily than a hard cube. You can also use precisely the amount you want instead of having to break off half a cube for a small single portion.

This recipe originally came from the cookbook that came with my Thermomix, I have followed it almost identically other than reducing the amount of salt specified (the original recipe stated 300g which I didn’t feel was necessary by the second time I made it), you can add a little extra salt back in if you prefer.

Believe me, it’s so much more satisfying making your own stock with real vegetables, and it really is so simple…so no excuses! Right?

Recipe: Homemade Veggie stock paste

Makes the equivalent of 40 stock cubes

Ingredients

  • 200g celery
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 onion- quartered
  • 1 courgette- cut into chunks
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 50g fresh mushrooms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5g each of basil, sage, rosemary
  • 20g parsley
  • 30g dry white wine
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 150g sea salt or unrefined rock salt

Method

In a food processor place all veg and chop until quite fine. Place the chopped veg in a large pan then add the herbs, wine, oil and salt. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf (if you can find it, don’t worry if not) and blend either in the pan using a hand blender, or pour into a blender, to achieve ensure a fine smooth paste.

The paste can be store in the fridge for up to 6 months.

To use, dilute each teaspoon with 300-400g water or milk substitute.

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peanut butter and lentil dip

I love this dip so much I haven’t really had much need for exploring other dip or hummous type recipe in recent weeks…and that is very unlike me! I’m actually surprised I haven’t got it up on here before now.

vegan Peanut Butter & Lentil Dip

So simple. I use my freezing method and whip up a big batch (often doubling the recipe) and then freeze dollops ready for when I need a dip or sandwich filler at short notice.

This dip is deliciously smooth and creamy and with a lovely warming amount of spice. Not overly spicy (well that’s up to you!) but just super tasty and also smoky if you use smoky chipotle sauce (I really recommend you do!) I love the peanutty taste, if you make your own PB make sure you roast the peanuts first to give it a great depth of flavour. You could of course use other nut butters if you fancy, although I find peanut butter has a strength of flavour that works really well with the lentils.

I nearly always serve this dip warm with a load of raw veggie sticks, as that’s my personal preference, but if you prefer it cold….go right ahead.  If serving from frozen, defrost a ‘dollop’ and then mix through with a spoon, adding a splash of oil or milk alternative as necessary to get a good cream texture. Warm through in the microwave for a few seconds…and there you have it..

So, how would you dress this dip up? When I’m not simply ‘dipping it’, I use it as a base for a sandwich or a wrap, I have also used it to fill a jacket potato…now that was yummy! With a little more liquid it would probably make a great pasta sauce too.

Get creative…have fun!

Recipe: Peanut Butter & Lentil Dip

Makes approx. 3 cups worth

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs oil

  • 1 onion- chopped

  • 1 cup red lentils

  • 2 cups veg stock

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)

  • ½ tsp each garlic powder, cumin powder, chilli or smoky chipotle sauce

Method:

Cook the onion in oil for approx. 5 minutes to soften. Add the lentils and veg stock and cook for 20 minutes. Drain the lentil mixture and return to a food processor/blender. Add the remaining ingredients and puree all together to get a thick smooth dippy paste.

Store in the fridge (eat within 2-3 days) or spoon serving sized dollops on a baking sheet and freeze individually on the sheets before removing and storing together in the freezer.  Simply defrost to serve. Also created warmed through as a hot drip, dressing or sauce.

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Pesto

I know what you’re thinking…. pesto is all about the cheese.

Well not this version and I guarantee you won’t miss it.

What’s more I’ve included a few cost saving and tips and healthanizing (hmmm that’s really not a word!) tips to reduce the oil content if you are that way inclined (personally I am not since pesto is used in such relatively small quantities).

I first made this batch up a few months back and had almost forgotten about it since I had portioned it in to an ice-cream tray and frozen it. It’s a great way to ensure you have fresh pesto on hand at all times as it can be used in so many ways…. one great option will be coming up in tomorrow's post…but for now let’s just talk pesto!

This recipe is so simple (as you know I’m not generally a fan of over complicated instructions),  it’s another one of my ‘whack it all in a food processor and go’ type recipes, so there’s no excuse for not giving it a go if you have the ingredients to hand!

It’s also a pretty flexible recipe, and as you can see from the list of ingredients, spinach can used to sub part of the basil if necessary without compromising the flavour, similarly in the past I have used both walnuts and cashews instead of pine nuts as they are so expensive, but feel to use either, or even almonds…go a little crazy with your combos! Obviously some nuts have more of a dominant taste than others, so go with your preference. 

The nutritional yeast and miso paste are what gives the pesto the deep mellow cheesy nutty touch so don’t leave these out if you want to achieve a pesto that is more reminiscent of the real thing. As with many vegan foods, don’t expect it to be an exact replacement for it’s traditional counterpart . Embrace the (healthy) differences and enjoy it in it’s own right and appreciate the unique but equally satisfying flavours and textures.

Recipe: Vegan Pesto

Makes one jar

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh basil (or 1 ½ cups and omit the spinach)
  • ½ cup spinach plus ½ tsp dried basil)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbs soy milk or silken tofu
  • 1 cup walnuts/cashews/almonds (cheaper than the traditionally used pine nuts)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup
  • nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Note: You could sub half the oil for silken tofu (not tested)

Preparation:

Grind nuts and garlic in a food processor until nuts are coarsely ground. Combine with remaining ingredients and grind until you have a medium grained paste- it should not be to smooth!. Add more salt and pepper if preferred.

Store in the fridge for a few days or freeze in batches- I used an ice cube tray.

 (here's your little teaser....pesto polenta bruschetta)

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Cashew Cream

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

This sure is a simple thing...

...Cashew cream!

I first tasted cashew cream in the style of a thick cashew yoghurt served  with fruit as part of a buffet lunch at a recent ‘healthy Living’ Thermomix event. It was really good and a lovely change from my regular soy yoghurt. Once home, I was eager to whip up a batch for myself.

This recipe (if you can even call it that) is so simple and just requires a little bit of planning ahead to soak the cashews. It can be blended to various different thicknesses simply by varying the amount of water you use…yoghurt, thick cream, pouring cream or cashew milk (see note below).  I have served mine here as a dessert with fruit but by changing up the spices you could make this into a sweet or savoury white sauce, serve thick on porridge or as a side to a slice of cake. How about topping it with granola ! (In case you are wondering I do still have the granola obsession- more flavour trials were going on in the kitchen this afternoon)

The steps below make a thick cream (think the thickness of regular double cream) and I served this in a glass (no small bowls to hand at the time!) with some chunks of fresh pear and pomegranate seeds sprinkled with cinnamon. The perfect creamy, light and fruity breakfast or dessert.

Recipe: Cashew Cream

Makes 600 to 650 g thick cashew cream.

Ingredients

  • 250 g cashews (soaked in water for min. 4 hours, then drained well)
  • 250 g water for blending
  • ½ to 1 tsp real vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste or 1 cm fresh or dried vanilla pod
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 to 2 tsp agave syrup
  • ¼ cinnamon or other spice- optional

Method

Drain cashews and discard the soaking water. Blend cashews with remaining ingredients in a powerful blender (I used my Thermomix) for approx.. 1 minute until smooth.

Taste and add more flavourings if desired then blend again for a few seconds.

Note: For a really thick Cashew 'Yoghurt' add between 50-100g water. For a  pouring Cashew Cream similar to single cream use 500g water for blending. For Cashew Milk, use 750 g water for blending. Adjust flavourings as necessary.  If making a milk you may want to strain the liquid through a nut bag so that it is absolutely smooth.

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