Posts in recipe
Pumpkin ideas for Halloween and beyond...

Looking for ways to use up your pumpkin?

Halloween celebrations may almost be over - but if you are lucky you may still find some super cheap pumpkin in the supermarket… or may simply be wondering what to make with this seasonal autumnal veggie.

Sweet or savoury, pumpkin has you covered!

Here are some ideas as a round-up from my blog archives, and with many of these recipes (such as the oat loaf) I have tried using both the blended scooped out flesh of fresh pumpkin and pumpkin puree from a can- both work well so use whatever suits you.

Squash or sweet potato would also likely be a good substitute… but don’t hold me to this as I haven’t tried in these recipes specifically.

What’s your favourite pumpkin recipe?

Looking for a sweet potato recipe? (or maybe more pumpkin!)

I recently made this yummy recipe for Real Food Source… check out their recipe here.

This sweet potato cake recipe makes quite a dense almost gooey cake, like a cross between a cake and a pie! I used sweet potato in this cake, but you could also try with other sweet root veg such as beetroot, pumpkin or parsnips. It is especially great served warm with cashew cream or yoghurt and a drizzle of light agave syrup. For added indulgence, throw some dark chocolate chunks into the mix! 

Try not to eat it all at once though, I thought the flavour and texture of this cake was even better the next day. 

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Easy Matcha Nice-Cream

Summer is in full swing! Yay...

I have been spending as much time outside as possible, walking to the gym with an audio book in headphones, making big dreamcatchers in the garden (I have a commission to make a collection of big ones for Soul Circus festival!)... and eating refreshing summer snacks.

Matcha tea came to mind recently, as I have just introduced a friend to it and he's become something of a little obsessed with matcha lattes. But for summer time it's nice to have something of the chilled variety on hand!

If you haven’t tried matcha. It’s a form of green tea that super high in antioxidants as the whole leave is ground and consumed (rather than just an infusion as per regular green tea bags). It is reported that just one serving of matcha tea has 137 times more antioxidants than 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea (source).

I love that is also has a milder, smoother flavour than regular green tea and a lot of people love it as it provides a caffeine boost of steady energy and focus but without the crash. Winner!

On the the recipe…

I love this twist on the classic vegan 'nice' cream. You could also make this into a creamy chilled thick shake by blending half and half with a plant-based milk of choice. It’s a two-way recipe :-)

Enjoy!

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Recipe: Easy Matcha Nice-Cream

Ingredients - serves 2 (ish)

  • equivalent of three frozen bananas cut into chunks (I pre-freeze big batches to have to hand at all times)

  • 1 teaspoon matcha tea powder

  • pinch of vanilla bean*

*this is optional, another option would be a few drops of peppermint with some choc chunks or cacao nibs mixed through (matcha mint chic chip!!)

Other optional toppings: nuts, cacao nibs or dried fruit sprinkled on top. Go crazy ;-)

Method:

Simply blend in a powerful blender that can handle frozen banana chunks for about 30-40 seconds until super smooth. Dollop into bowls (or tall glasses with a long spoon for special effect) and sprinkle with toppings of choice. This can also be frozen if not serving immediately.

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SPECIAL OFFER…

I mentioned above I am making dreamcatchers for a festival. Well, I have a super special offer to share with you for Soul Circus Yoga and Wellness Festival from 16-18th August 2019 near Gloucestershire. I would absolutely love to meet and hang out with you at the festival and if you book a ticket directly through me you get a nice discount. I can offer you full weekend tickets for £150 (instead of the standard price of £199).

Special bonus - when you book your ticket I am offering you a personalised 1-1 coaching session with me!

Email me to enquire and book your ticket!




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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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My Rawgust Experience... and Raw Avo & Tomato 'Toast'

'Rawgust' is over and we are rolling swiftly into September!

I thought I'd take a moment on this sunny Sunday morning to reflect on a few thoughts of my 'raw food' experience. As I mentioned in my previous post I didn't maintain a 100% raw diet, it was more like 85% as my view was to see it as an exploration and open my mind to new recipes and ideas, rather than a restriction which I may have felt had I been super strict.

>>> NOTE: see my previous post for tips and meal inspiration

This decision to go 'high raw' rather than fully raw was partly based on the fact I had a few family commitments and events I knew I would be attending which would have made life difficult. I decided that a 'high raw diet' would allow me to appreciate most of the benefits and enable me to broaden my raw food repertoire without it feeling pressured or frustrated.

Overall I really enjoyed the month, initially I did miss big hot bowls of porridge (yes, I still eat porridge in the summertime!) and I really missed beans and lentils- such a staple in my everyday diet.

That being said, I really threw myself into creating some amazing salads and lots of raw dressings and dips to go with them. For me, a good dressing can turn any salad from average to amazing :-) 

This is definitely something I'll be continuing, as I'd like to aim for at least 50% raw ongoing- basically, i'll be incorporating a smoothie and a big salad every day- pretty easy, right!

I'll post a recipe round up of loads of sauces, dressing and dips from my vegan community in a separate post- hopefully, there'll be lots to inspire you too!

My boyfriend, who took the challenge along with me- who also reminded me that it was his idea in the first place (credit where it's due!!) has, for the time being, decided to maintain a 75-80% raw diet, so we'll still be eating a lot of raw meals together. 

My downfall (if anything) was eating too many Bliss Balls, ha ha. I often get carried away anyway when I make them, but during Rawgust I fell into the trap of having even more excuse to indulge.

Bliss balls... soooo tempting!!

Bliss balls... soooo tempting!!

Many people I know who eat raw, typically follow a high-fruit diet. This is something I have never felt really suits me. When I've experimented with an 801010 (80% carbs, 10% fat 10% protein) style diet in the past I ended up feeling incredibly bloated with the ratio of fruit. I feel I need to incorporate more fats. Maybe that was why one of my favourite meals last month was avocado and tomato on dehydrated flax crackers.

That said, my digestion was, for the most part, really great this last month, even though I have had some tough personal challenges to content with (stress usually impacts my bowels- sorry TMI!) My tummy felt flat and I have lost a little weight. Maybe that's down to the lack of legumes and/or grains... who knows? It will be interesting to see what happens as I add them back.

I'm also not convinced that a fully raw diet is particularly suited to our UK climate during the colder winter months. I know the idea of a nourishing warm meal really soothes me and the abundance root vegetables help ground me. I wouldn't want to forgo soups and stews indefinitely regardless of any nutritional science. 

I know there are ways to create 'warmth' in the body whilst consuming raw foods by using ginger and other warming spices to 'fire up' the body, but nothing compares to a big bowl of soup in my opinion! :-) 

I also query the environmental angle. I like the idea of aiming to eat more seasonally and locally, (although i'll make it clear I'm not perfect at this by any means), so feasting on tropical fruits shipped from far overseas during our cold winter months, doesn't quite sit right with me. I want to enjoy our abundance of winter vegetable roots and brassicas from the ground during this time.

One final point of interest... I was scanning through all my old health and wellness magazines, as part of my declutter ahead of moving house in a couple of weeks and I found various articles on Ayurveda. I am definitely a Vata Dosha and interestingly one of the things it advised 'Vata's' against was to consume raw foods... how interesting!

I have not looked deeply into the reasoning behind this (but now I am curious to know more), but it did remind me that there is never a 'one size fits all approach' when it comes to food, and that we all need to be intuitive eaters when it comes to what we feel our bodies need.  

As an example, I would never directly advise others to eat animal products BUT I do appreciate that we each need to find out own way and tune into what really works for us away from societies expectation and the pressure from the media and those around us.

Most of all, I believe we need to become more curious, more self-aware, more confident and relaxed around food.

Short terms 'Detoxes' and Challenges' (such as Rawgust) create the perfect opportunity for shaking things up, trying new things, re-setting our bodies systems, checking in with any symptoms that might be showing up and reflecting on what we really need deep down.

To break the pattern of the autopilot mode that so many of us function on day to day when it comes to food and lifestyle.

So on that note, I am going to leave you with the recipe for my favourite avocado and tomato salad on raw flax crackers.... ridiculously simple, and definitely one I'll keep on weekly repeat.

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I'd love to continue this conversation...

Have you tried a raw diet? Maybe you loosely follow a raw-till-4 approach? Or something else... I'd love to hear your own thoughts, experiences and results. 


Recipe: Raw Avo & Tomato 'Toast'

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado

  • A large handful of cherry tomatoes

  • Dehydrated flax crackers (quantity to suit appetite!)

  • Fresh basil

  • Salt and pepper

  • Sprinkle of nutritional yeast (optional)

  • Salad leaves (optional)

Flax Cracker Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup ground flaxseeds

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight

  • 1 cup walnuts, soaked overnight

  • 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped

  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (including the oil)

  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt

  • 1-2 tsp mixed dried herbs (or other herbs/spices to suit)

  • a few tbs water to create the right consistency (add gradually)

Method for the flax crackers:

Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor, until thick and sticky, adding a little water add needed (I used approx 1/3 of a cup)

Spread the mix to a 0.5 cm thickness over teflex dehydrator sheets. 

Dehydrate at 45C for approx 10 hours, turn over and place onto mesh sheets and return to the dehydrator for another 4 hours. 

Cut into any desired slices. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. 

Method for the avo 'toast':

There is no real method.... just assemble everything on top of the crackers!

You can slice your flax bread/crackers into larger 'bread style' squares but because I make mine in a large batch I had pre-cut them into small squares for versatility. Either is fine.

NOTE: I originally made a version of this style of raw bread/cracker HERE. At that time I also tried a second batch and spread it out on a lined baking sheet at 'baked' it for approximately two hours on my lowest oven temperature (approx. 80ºC). I covered it loosely with foil after 1 hour to ensure the most even cook. It worked well so it's an option to try if you don't have access to a dehydrator.

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My top #Rawgust meal ideas & raw banana bread recipe!

It's coming up to the end of the month. The end of August.... and therefore the end of #Rawgust

I didn't announce it directly on my blog (kept that to social media) but I made the decision on the last day of their life to give Raugust a go - that's raw vegan for the month of August. My boyfriend was also up for playing along which helped!

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I felt very unprepared and aware that it may not run perfectly or smoothly but that's ok. It was the spontaneity that spoke to me in the moment when I saw a post by the Ethcs crew that I really resonated with.

Having spent time at Raw Fest on the last weekend of July, and more recently exploring the connection between a plant-based diet and our innate sense of creativity for my forthcoming book, I am learning that a raw vegan diet has the potential to bring you even closer to that connection with self, with source, with nature.

My good friend Rhiannon Van Der Griffin recently shared her raw journey with me a part of my book research and I was inspired more than ever to try it for myself. 

In moments like this I come back to this quote by Matt Cutts. It's simply about getting curious to explore what becoming the very best version of you could look like. For 30 days.

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So how did the month play out for me?

NOTE: more in depth update in this post!

Well, I admit I wasn't perfect. I wasn't 100% raw. Probably about 85% in reality. 

One of the biggest reasons for wanting to do it, was to increase my repertoire of raw meal ideas for the future, and that I did for sure. In particular, raw sauces, dips and dressings for salads can REALLY make a salad.... it doesn't often matter what veggies you have in the bowl if you have an incredible sauce to smoother them in, right? ;-) Make enough for the week and you have easy meals lunches you can make in moments. 

I am going to put together a separate post sharing a big roundup of raw recipes from a vegan community I am part of, but for now I'd like to share a few of my favourite discoveries and tips.

I'd also love to hear about your own 'raw' adventures...

Whether that might simply be incorporating a green smoothie each day, or a raw lunch Monday to Friday, or more raw snacks. It's not about hitting 100% perfect, what works for you?

Have you felt any benefits going more 'raw'? Or what are you currently struggling with?

My favourite things to make...

  • Raw sauces etc (as noted above) - make a weeks worth.

  • Deyhdrated flax crackers which are great as a snack in the go, as cracker as a 'bread substitute' and also as croutons in a salad when sliced into tiny squares- recipe here

  • Bliss Balls are also an obvious go-to, BUT I did have a tendency to eat a lot of them and then be too full for a massive salad- ooops!

  • Courgetti- spiralised courrgette and carrot for a fun pretty bowl. Also great with the chunky bolognaise- see pic above - recipe to come.

  • Smoothies of all kinds - green, berry or banana and raw cacao for a chocolate hit!

  • Overnight oats - this one is a little contentious as to whether it's actually raw, since rolled porridge oats are technically heated in the rolling process. But this was often nice to wake up to instead of smoothie or fruit bowl in the morning, or as lunch on the go.

  • Mushroom curry - so easy and so good (see pic above) based on this recipe using cashews.

  • Lettuce wraps with a peanut satay dipping sauce (technical the peanut butter component wasn't raw) note: gem lettuce leaves work best- those in the picture were from my veggie patch.

Still a few more days of #Rawgust to go, so I will see what creations catch my eye- I will be back with more raw recipes here soon!

For now, I'll leave you with this recipe for a raw banana bread... I totally made this up as I went along, but it worked so well as a spin-off on a bliss ball style creation.

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Recipe: Raw Banana Bread Slice

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas

  • 2 tbs flax seed

  • 1 cup dates

  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup nuts- chopped (I used macadamias*)

  • 1/2 cup nuts- ground (I used pecans*)

  • pinch salt

* I loved the flavour and texture of the chunky macadamia pieces, but I imagine cashews or almond would also work well. Any ground nut could be used.

If you want a more intense 'double banana' flavour, try using dried banana pieces (not banana chips) instead of dates - or half and half.

Method:

Blend the banana with the flax, cinnamon and dates until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well to form a stiff slightly sticky 'dough'. (I pulsed the mix together in a food processor but you could do it by hand). 

Form into a log on a liner and chill for at least an hour to firm up. Once firm slice into pieces and serve. Store in the fridge for up to a week. This freezes well too.

NOTE: It makes about three times the amount shown, but I gifted most of it to my boyfriend before I had a chance to shoot it ;-)

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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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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 enough to last us for breakfast ABD dessert late in the day.... but we ate it all for breakfast ;-)

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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.

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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)

 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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