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23 July 2017

Vegan Broccoli & Stilton Soup


I mentioned a few weeks ago, when I tried the new Violife Blu that it would be great in a broccoli and stilton style soup, though at the time, the weather was beautiful and it was hardly soup weather. Now that England has decided summer is officially over, it feels like the perfect weather for a bowl of creamy, warming soup as you snuggle up in your duvet and watch the rain outside your window. 


I absolutely love creamy soups, the blu cheese and potato provide creaminess in this soup, with the traditional sour tang the cheese brings, this soup could easily pass for it's dairy counterpart. The blu cheese is obviously dairy free, but it is also free from gluten, wheat & soya, making it also a great option for allergy sufferers.


This soup is so rich and creamy, it warms you through and is truly comfort food, perfect with some crusty bread dipped in. You might think that such an indulgent soup wouldn't be healthy, but this soup is also really nutritious; rich in fibre, vitamin E, A, manganese, vitamin B1, potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, copper and so many other vitamins and minerals. The Violife Blu also has the addition of vitamin B12, so I blended the cheese in at the last minute, as to not cook the cheese and maintain the B12 content. B12 is such an important nutrient in our diets, for energy and nerve regulation and whilst some foods are fortified, to ensure you definitely get enough, and do not become deficient, a daily supplement is recommended. 




Vegan Broccoli & Stilton Soup | Serves: 4-6 | Time: 30 mins

You'll need

  • Large Saucepan
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large potato
  • 1.25L (5 cups) boiling water
  • 4 tsp vegan bouillon
  • 1 large head broccoli
  • 100g Violife Blu 
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Dice an onion and fry on a medium heat for a few minutes. Crush in 2 cloves garlic, then slice the celery and also add this in. Peel and dice a large potato, and stir this in to the pan, with 1 tsp dried thyme and 2 bay leaves and 4 tsp vegan bouillon, cover with hot water and boil for 10 minutes. 
  2. Prep the broccoli, by chopping up the florets and placing to one side. Carefully remove the outer parts of the stalk, then slice up the tender middle. Add the broccoli and stalks to the pan and simmer for a further 10 minutes. then remove the bay leaves and blend up the soup. Crumble in the blue cheese and blend again, then season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and a good amount of black pepper and enjoy! 
Cassidy xx


16 July 2017

Cherry Bakewell Bliss Balls


Something I've learnt since I started my new job is that snacks are essential to getting through the day. Without them you get hungry, can't concentrate fully and then aren't nearly as productive. I have been relying on nakd bars and similar snacks - so whilst these don't have any added sugar and have protein, good fats, fibre and carbohydrates, they can be a little expensive to keep buying. So, I thought I'd make some myself - for this you'll need a food processor.


Quite often fruit and nut bars can just taste sweet, from the dates, but here I added dried cherries, for a sour note which really enhance the flavour of these energy balls. I combined the dried cherries with dates for some sweetness and ground almonds, for a cherry bakewell inspired flavour, I also rolled them in coconut, which I know, isn't traditional for a cherry bakewell, but it tastes delicious and makes them less sticky too!

12 July 2017

Mexican Rice & Grilled Corn Mango Salsa


I recently started my first, post-uni job as a Nutritionist Marketeer, which is pretty exciting and why I've been a little quiet on here. This is also my first post since I had my university results, so now I'm officially a Nutritionist with a BSc (Hons)! I've just moved from Bournemouth where I was at uni to a new town, which I'm pleased to say is already starting to feel like home. Along with starting a new job, the last couple of weeks have entailed packing & unpacking along with a lot of trips up and down stairs with it all! So it's safe to say, after my first official full week of work I was definitely ready for the weekend, to fully unpack and actually do some cooking.


As a tradition of sorts, my mum helped me unpack Tuesday evening and we got Chinese food to help us along with this. On Wednesday I then had the left overs for dinner; this was a bit of a delayed process, as it took me 25 minutes to work out how to turn on my touch-operated electric hob and in the mean time I ate some cold Chinese chips to keep me going (I was so hungry by this point they didn't taste half as bad as I know they should have!). Once I managed to turn it on (more of a happy accident), I could then only figure out how to operate one ring, to the highest heat and had to switch it off at the wall afterwards. You'll be pleased to hear I managed to work it successfully for this recipe today and it's really not as complicated as it first seemed, but perhaps I was just too tired and hungry for my brain to work it out! The hot water also decided to cut out a few times, luckily it's summer and pretty warm, so the freezing cold showers didn't make the start of the day too bad! But the main thing is, I'm all moved in, everything's figured out and I'm absolutely thrilled with my new place & my new job.

26 June 2017

Portobello Mushroom & Blu Cheese Burgers


This past week has been relaxing, exciting and also the hottest week in June for years - which makes this next recipe perfect now that BBQ season is in full swing!  I've been to the beach, sunbathed a lot, celebrated my birthday and shopped for clothes and packed, ready to start my new job next week! It was lovely to have some time to celebrate with my friends and family and just enjoy the sunshine and good food was really part of that.


For my birthday, it being the hottest June day since 1976 and hottest summer solstice ever, the only logical thing was to relax at a local lake, we relaxed, swam and ate our picnic of Greek/ Mediterranean food - vegan Greek salad (slight variation on this salad), olives, hummus, pita, falafel, dolma, grapes and watermelon. The interesting thing is, the Violife Mediterranean style cheese actually tastes like feta when it's cold - so it's definitely a win for this cheese!

15 June 2017

Grilled Mediterranean Veg Salad



When it comes to summer, vegetables are so vibrant that we just have to make the most of them - here I grilled up courgette and aubergine slices, then layered up with beautiful mixed variety tomatoes and topped with fragrant basil oil and the new 'Mediterranean Style' Cheese from Violife (i.e halloumi), which I grilled. This salad really makes the most of summer produce and makes a perfect side dish for a BBQ!


I was sent this new Mediterranean Style Violife variety to try out and it will be available in UK shops shortly. The pack comes with two slices, which seem pretty fragile whilst cold, so I grilled it in slices and then chopped afterwards, if you were planning on making veggie kebabs I might recommend grilling a bit first before skewering, just to tenderise it a little. The blocks themselves now come with the addition of  vitamin B12, which is great to see, as B12 can only be obtained through fortified sources in a vegan diet - so the more 'daily' products which utilise this, the better! I used a griddle pan for my cheese, though I'm sure a BBQ or even a electronic sandwich grill would work well too and would press it at the same time. Ensure your surface is searing hot before adding the cheese and then allow a good amount of char to form before attempting to turn, or it may stick to the grill. The cheese itself has a delicious, salty, halloumi-like flavour and holds its shape whilst heating, it goes crispy on the outside and softer on the inside, without being too sticky like many other varieties. It can definitely be used as a halloumi substitute without any complaints and I found myself just wanting to eat grilled pieces on its own, though it's not quite as chewy as I remember it's dairy counterpart being. I will definitely be buying this in the future and I can imagine it being a valuable asset to vegan BBQs this summer!