Posts tagged snacks & light meals 1
Super Simple Gluten-Free Flatbread

One morning last week I was cosied up on the sofa with a big mug of spiced apple and camomile tea (I’m really into spiced herbal teas at the moment) and a warm snuggly blanket, whilst flicking through cookbooks for soup inspiration for the coming weeks.

I happened to come across a ridiculously simple recipe for flatbread.  So simply I could barely believe it could actually work and to top it off, it was also gluten free.  I was intrigued and hurried off to make a small batch straight away. The original recipe comes from BBC Good Food: 101 Soups and Sides, I made a few modifications (primarily substituting the natural yoghurt in the recipe for soy yoghurt so that it is vegan- but feel free to use natural yoghurt if that’s more your thing).

I am not very experienced with typical GF breads, so it is difficult to compare, but for me I would not have questioned this bread as being anything other than made with regular ingredients. I'd be interested to hear from others who have more experience in this area if you do try this recipe out! I have since made another batch to go with my spicy lentil and chickpea soup that i'll be posting shortly, this time I used wholemeal spelt flour to get a comparison. The spelt made for a slightly lighter, fluffier bread, but im not sure if that was in part due to the ratio of baking powder used since the GF flour in the original recipe was self-raising so I did not add baking powder separately.

The original recipe states that the bread should be served straight away whilst still warm.  I would emphasize that this is important since the GF bread did become tougher after a few hours once cooled and less fresh, though you could by all means freshen up in the oven. Since the flatbread is so simple to make- 15 minutes tops, there is no reason why you wouldn’t make these fresh whilst you are preparing the rest of the meal. 

When freshly grilled, the flatbread has a lovely crisp outer crust and a soft and quite dense inside…perfect for ripping and dipping into a hearty warming soup. Also, feel free to jazz up the seasonings however you wish.

The flatbreads would also make a great base for mini grilled toasties, hummous or nut butter open sandwich creations. 

Recipe: Gluten free flatbread

Makes 4 small saucer sized flatbread

Ingredients

  • 200g gluten free self-raising flour mix (I used Doves Farm mix which contains rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat flours)*
  • 1-2  tsp toasted cumin seeds
  • 150g soy yoghurt (or natural yoghurt)
  • 50ml water
  • ½ tsp salt to taste
  • 1 tbs nutritional yeast (optional- I added this but it was not in the original recipe)

* you could alternatively substitute the GF flour for spelt flour plus 3tsp baking powder.

Method

Heat the grill to medium and dust a baking sheet with a little flour. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan for a minute or so to release a better aroma. Mix the flour, cumin seeds and salt in a bowl then add the yoghurt and water and stir through, using your hands at the end as necessary. This should result in a lovely soft dough.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and form circular patties with your hands approx. 5mm thick. Dust lightly with a little more flour if they are quite sticky to touch. Lay on the floured baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.

Grill for approx. 3-5 minutes on each side (depending on the strength of your grill) until lightly golden and puffed up.

Note: for a future batch, once laid on the baking sheet I may brush the top surface with a little soy milk before sprinkling with salt and pepper to achieve more of a golden glazed finish. This hasn’t yet been tested so feel free to experiment.


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‘Leftover’ Nut Roast Pasties

Boxing Day was a pretty quiet and relaxed day. These are the two days of the year when I can actually enjoy just lounging around…any other time I would get fidgety and feel the need to be doing something more!

In the morning we went for a walk through the park and the fields for a bit of fresh air, where myself and my brother and sister decided to take to the swings… if you can’t be a kid at Christmas… then when can you?  

The weather was actually quiet warm and sunny, very unusal for this time of year, so it felt a bit 

overkill to be dressed up in scarf and hat (the hat soon came off)!

Once back home I made lunch for everyone….my ‘leftovers’ pasties. 

The recipe is so quick and simple and was briefly mentioned here, but I’ll reiterate it again for quick reference. I just love the simplicity of the recipe and the fact that it could be so easily adapted for any ‘leftover roast’ combo. I haven’t included meat here, but obviously this could be included also if you wished. My family added some of the meat into their pasties.

Recipe: ‘leftover’ Nut Roast Pasties

Makes 6-10 pasties depending on size

Ingredients:

(these measurements are all approximates and easily interchangeable for other similar ingredients)

  • 1 ½ cup mixed veggies (I used brussel sprouts, roast potatoes and parsnips, carrots and mashed potato)
  • ½  cup nut roast or stuffing
  • A few tablespoons of sauce (cranberry sauce, bread sauce, gravy etc)
  • Approx. 1 tsp mixed herb seasoning (optional)
  • Approx. 30x50cm rolled ready-made or homemade shortcrust pastry (I cheated this time and used ready-made!)

Method:

Cut out approx. 6 large saucer sized rolled ready-made or homemade shortcrust pastry (shop bought shortcrust pastry in the UK is usually vegan anyway but check the label). Or you could cut smaller circles and make mini pasties.

In a medium bowl add all ingredients and mush together a little so well mixed. Spoon approx. ¼ cup of the mixture in to the centre of each pastry round leaving at least 2cm of pastry round the edge. Wet the edges a little and lift up and seal the edges together making a semi-circle with the seam at the top. Crimp the seam with your fingers.

Place the pasties on a greased or lined baking sheet, brush with soy milk and bake at 180C for approx. 25 mins until golden. Serve warm or cold.

Note: the dollop of filling I have shown there is too much in relation to the circle size- after this photo was take I had to reduce it a little to be able to seal the egdes!


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‘Peanutty’ soup

I was a late starter with my ‘love for peanut butter’, actually make that a very late starter since it is only really in these last few months that I’ve begun to get on board with what all the fuss is about!

Growing up I just didn’t like the stuff. The ‘smoothness’ was too intense for me and the way it stuck to the roof of your mouth as you ate it – nope not for me! My perception of PB was also very limited…. a sandwich spread was all I knew… oh how wrong I was!

Moving to a largely vegan diet opened my eyes to the world of nuts and seeds in all forms and the idea of nut butters in all their many varieties came into view.  

Nuts have so much to offer, not just in terms of huge health benefits which I just hadn’t fully appreciated before, but in terms of their recipe potential. This revelation was kick started in part by the arrival of my Thermomix which made making your own nut butters a piece of cake (note- many other food processors can also be used!).  Strangely until these last few weeks I’d still not attempted to make my own PB even though I use PB in so many recipes. Along with cashew butter and coconut butter it is probably one of my key ingredients in many recipes… so I had to give it a go.

Not wanting to simply slather it on toast, I decided upon a recipe where it could take centre stage. This is based on a recipe by The Covent Garden Soup Co.

So here you have it… my little tribute to the good old faithful peanut butter.

Recipe: Peanut (and vegetable) soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion- finely chopped
  • 100g crunchy peanut butter (or smooth PB but throw in extra nuts if you want some texture)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 900ml vegetable stock
  • 170g potatoes- peeled and chopped
  • 1 red pepper           
  • 175g carrots- chopped
  • Small handful of chopped jalapenos (to taste!)
  • 75ml soy milk
  • ½ - 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½  - 1 tsp parika
  • Fresh coriander- to garnish (optional)

Method

Fry the onion with the peanut butter and 1 tbs of water in a large saucepan (or TM) for 5 minutes until soft. Add remaining ingredients except the soy milk and spices. Bring to the boil and simmer for approx. 20 mins until vegetables are tender. Stir in the soy milk and spices. Blend (to break down larger chunks) if preferred or leave chunky. Serve with a sprinkling of coriander.

I also ate a second portion or this soup the next day and to change it up a little topped it with some chickpeas and sliced kale- plus some homemade potato wedges on the side!


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Speedy Seedy Gluten-Free Crackers

I love to have something on hand to pick at… whether it be my home made ‘nakd’ bars or a bowl of chocolate frosting hiding away in the fridge waiting for a spoon to come a-dipping! But, sometimes  I just fancy a savoury kick to keep me going till tea time (particularly if I know there is dessert not far away). 

These crackers are perfect…. on their own, with this dipor a dollop of nut butter. The inspiration came from this post on Oh She Glows, so simple and quick to make and so many possible variations of flours, seeds and herbs to investigate now I know how good these crackers are.

The essence of the recipe also inspired an alternative twist that I just couldn’t wait to test out…but more on that tomorrow!

Recipe: Speedy seedy crackers

Makes approx. 20 crackers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds (if making your own do not over process so that oils are released)
  • 2 tbs tapioca flour
  • 2 tbs polenta (this just gives it extra crunchiness)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp Italian herbs
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Method

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Knead dough with hands until it comes together. Place ball of dough on parchment paper or a non-stick mat. Roll out dough until it’s about 1/8th inch thick, or as thin as you can get it without ripping. With a  sharp knife slice into squares.

Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with parchment. Bake for 18-20 minutes until slightly golden in colour. Cool on baking sheet, then store in air-tight container once fully cool.


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A quick dip... pea and black bean

Hummus is great, and I eat a lot of it… I mean a lot!!

A dip for raw veggies, a quick and easy base for my roasted vegetable tarta simple spread for sandwiches or tortilla wraps… the list goes on. It’s strange as I never used to like raw carrot but since discovering hummous I can devour carrot stick after carrot stick and not get bored, it’s just something about the combination of those favours that really gets me going.

But, sometimes I fancy something slightly different.

This quick and simple dip takes literally a couple of minutes to put together and is super cheap and healthy. Great as a basic dip or spread, but also as a sauce for pasta- it makes a great alternative to tomato based sauces!  If you do use it as a sauce be sure to thin it out slightly with some soy milk (or any other non dairy milk or water ) as it coats the pasta so much better and the texture is much nicer.  The first time I used it this way I didn’t thin it out and it just didn’t do it for me, the ‘sauce’ was too thick and lost the silky coating I was after.

I have included jalapeno peppers to add a bit of a kick as I like a bit of heat, but feel free to omit these or adjust the amount to taste.

Recipe: pea and black bean dip

Makes one small bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves (or 1tsp garlic paste)
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1 cup cooked/canned black beans
  • A few green jalapeno pepper slices
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground garamasala spice (or ground cumin)
  • ½ red onion chopped
  • Small handful fresh coriander (dried if no fresh available)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth.

Store in the fridge. Best used within two days.


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Spiced Coconut Roasted Cashews

Three meals a day… it's not for me, I function best on the ‘little and often’ philosophy, always needing a good snack to hand. Often it’s a good old bowl of oats, or some veg sticks and hummus, or sometimes I just crave the sweet kick of these babies!

Today I fancied a savoury snack, a few little nibbles to pick at, and what better than nuts. 

Not any old nuts, these are my coconut roasted spiced nuts… oh yeah! 

What- coconut?  Don’t worry, they don’t taste of coconut, this is simple the ‘oily’ medium I’ve used to help the spices stick to the cashews and as a bonus the coconut flesh in the butter gives a delightful (haven’t said that word in a while!) crumbly powdery coating to the nuts. Coconut is a ‘superfood’ and so it’s a pretty healthy snack too! I’ve used coconut butter over coconut oil as it has more body and I also really wanted to achieve that slightly ‘powdery’ coating which you wouldn’t get to the same degree with regular oil containing no flesh. You can make your own coconut butter here.

So simple to make and endlessly variable, I made three flavours as I just couldn’t decide…..

Recipe: Spiced coconut roast cashews

Makes one smallish bowl.

Ingredients

  • 100g plain cashews (organic if possible)
  • 1tsp melted coconut butter
  • Spices to taste- see below
  • Option 1- ground sea salt and black pepper
  • Option 2- garlic puree or granulesand ground mixed Italian herbs
  • Option 3- Tabasco chipotle sauce (a few drops!), paprika and cayenne pepper
  • (as a rough guide use a total of 1 tsp of combined spices per 100g of cashews)

Method

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and swirl with a spoon or hands until well coated. Lay out on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the oven at 180C for approx. 8-10 mins until beginning to go golden. Keep a close eye on these and they have a tendency to go from ‘done’ to ‘overdone’ very quickly!


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Pumpkin scones

I keep my promises…

…and as promised here is my pumpkin scone recipe to share with you all. It's late at night and my bed is calling but I was determined to post this recipe on Halloween itself- and I made it with 5 minutes to spare!

I took the entire batch of scones to work today to share with my colleagues as an afternoon snack. Everyone had a taste and there were many ‘noises’ of approval around the room. Maybe they were just being nice… well, why not find out for yourself! 

I’ll save you the guess work- they were very yummy indeed! Warming and delicately spicy just the way you would imagine a thick cut wedge of moist ochre coloured tea bread.

If autumn were a food she would definitely be a pumpkin scone!

We ate the scones warmed from the oven split open and spread with butter and drizzled with a little syrup (well, they did and I had a dollop of soy yoghurt). They are perfectly moist and moreish all on their on but a topping always finishes it off nicely- nut butter could also work well!

I have to admit I feel as though I somewhat cheated a little. I had planned on buying a pumpkin and preparing the puree from scratch, but all the ones I saw in the shops were huge pumpkins ready to be carved. Then I remembered I had a bottle of pure organic pumpkin puree already tucked away in my baking box. Teamed up with some pumpkin seeds sprinkled across the top and you have your perfect recipe for all year round. I imagine the pumpkin could just as easily be substituted for squash or even sweet potato!

Recipe: pumpkin scones

Makes approx. 12 wedges (in a large circle)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup rapadura plus ¼ tsp stevia
  • 3 ½ cups mix of white and wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup coconut butter
  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds

Method

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Mix through partially melted coconut butter to achieve a crumb consistency to the mixture. Add pureed pumpkin and combine well until a dough is formed.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough a few times, pushing it into a large circle a (generous) inch thick. Sprinkle the top with pumpkin seeds and press lightly into surface.

Place dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and score the dough into 12 (or 8 larger) triangular pieces. It is easiest to do this once the dough is on the baking sheets ready to go straight into the oven as it may be hard to transfer to the baking sheet once cut. Don’t worry if the dough is sticky and difficult to cut all the way through, the segments should just serves as a guide and can be cut fully once cooked.

Bake at 200C degrees for approx. 15 minutes until golden. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.


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Thai green noodle soup

Soups can tick all the boxes....

A hearty substantial meal or a light midday snack

A thick warming meal when it’s cold outside or a light refreshing dish when it’s too hot for comfort!

Either way, it’s easy to cater for all options and with a rich dish full of spices and veggies it's always going to be a winner!

Today was a lovely warm and sunny October day (hang on a minute didn't this happen the last time I made soup!) Perfect autumn day for this soup which has the light creamy base of coconut milk but with a hot and spicy kick, so it’s a bit of a contradiction (a bit like today's weather for this time of year!) The addition of the noodles makes it a more substantial meal- but you could use more or less noodles depending on your preference.

­Feel free to vary the veg in this soup, just make sure you cut the chunks into small similar sized pieces. I haven’t yet tried freezing it, if I was to do so I’d cook it up without adding the noodles and then cook those in a wok separately before adding to the soup once it has been defrosted and warmed through.

Recipe: Thai green noodle soup

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp vegetable or coconut oil (not coconut butter)
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbs thai green curry paste
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped
  • 300g vegetable stock
  • 300ml coconut milk
  • 150g mix of chopped veg suitable for stir frying (I used beansprouts, carrot, soy beans, and kale)
  • 150g sachet rice noodles

Method

Heat oil in a pan and cook the onion for 5 minutes until soft. Stir through the curry paste and half the chilli and fry for another minute. Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil.  Stir through the vegetables and rice noodles and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with the remaining chilli.


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