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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!


This salad is so delicate, yet incredibly flavourful, with the grilled, seasoned veg and those incredible mixed variety tomatoes, not to mention the basil oil and the warm chewy chunks of violife, all finished off with a pop of heat from the red chili and black pepper. This dish is sure to wow at a BBQ and is packed with vitamin A, C, E, K and many others too! 


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Grilled Mediterranean Veg Salad | Serves: 2-4 | Time: 20 mins

You'll need

  • BBQ/ 2x Griddle pans
  • Tongs
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Blender/food processor
  • Serving dish

Ingredients

  • 1 Pack Violife Mediterranean Style (halloumi)
  • 1 Courgette
  • 1 Aubergine
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 red chili
  • 200g mixed variety tomatoes
  • Handful kalamata olives
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Add the basil, garlic clove, a pinch of salt and plenty of extra virgin olive oil to a blender, blitz until smooth and place to one side.
  2. Slice the courgette and aubergine length ways into 1/2 cm slices then grill until charred and slightly translucent. Arrange onto a serving dish and season with a splash of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Chop the tomatoes and arrange on top of the grilled veg, along with the olives. Thinly slice the chili and scatter over the salad.
  3. Slice each block of Violife into 3 and grill until charred and warmed through. Then chop each slice into 1cm cubes. Arrange on top of the salad.
  4. Drizzle the basil oil over the salad and season with black pepper, serve up and enjoy! 
Cassidy xx



7 June 2017

Quinoa & Tofu Buddha Bowl



There's something wonderfully simple about this next recipe, thinly sliced veggies on a seasoned quinoa base and the most incredibly sticky tofu. It's nutritious, delicious and is great for lunch (or even dinner too!).


I fried the tofu in a splash of sesame oil until it was crisp and golden, then coated in a mix of tamarind, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chili - it's fragrant, sticky, a little sweet and spicy too and it might just be my favourite tofu marinade yet! The tofu is delicious both hot and cold, which is perfect for lunch on the go.

29 May 2017

Green Goddess Salad


Now that I've finished uni I've been working a lot more, which means I need to prep for lunch in advance. With the weather a bit warmer I've really been enjoying salads for lunch and whilst I've been happily eating a marinated chickpea salad for the past week, I thought it was about time for a change! 


In Slovenia we went on a day trip around the Trivoli National park, we saw some incredible sights, including many waterfalls, lakes and mountains and I'll post more about that on my full recap of the holiday later on. Anyway, the driver of the trip loved to cook and said his favourite ingredient was pumpkin seed oil - it's native to a few countries in Europe, including Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Romania. The oil itself has a very strong flavour that is quite nutty, it beautifully compliments fresh vegetables and is really delicious mixed with a little apple cider vinegar. 

17 May 2017

Vegan in Slovenia: Ljubljana & Bled


Travelling as a vegan is certainly becoming easier and makes it that much more enjoyable to explore new places. Part of the joy of travelling to me is trying new foods, which is made easier by how vegan friendly both Ljubljana and Bled are! I'm going to do two posts about my week trip to Slovenia; one on food and one on all the amazing things we saw and did. I would highly recommend Ljubljana and Bled to anyone and I hope that some day I get to see more of this amazing country! What's best is almost everyone we encountered speaks English, which means you can ask for a cheese-less pizza etc if you wish, without worrying about misunderstandings, though there are plenty of places that serve vegan food so you shouldn't ever be stuck for options!

Ljubljana 



Barbarella Arkade Bistro

We visited this vegan bistro for breakfast on our third day in Ljubljana and were so impressed that we just had to go back for lunch. The restaurant is located along the river bank by the central market, it has a small inside seating area with more room for tables outside. The Barbarella Arkade Bistro was one of my favourite places in Ljubljana and possibly ever - the food was so fresh and it was clear that a great deal of thought and creativity has gone into the menu.

1 May 2017

Pani Puri


This next dish is my take on a Indian street food called Pani Puri - pani is the spiced 'water' and puri are the crisp shells, which I filled with spiced chickpeas, potatoes and red onion. This dish varies from region to region and goes by several names including Phuchhka, Golgappa, GupChup and of course Pani Puri, the fillings and flavours also vary, but this is my take on this delightful snack!




I first tried Pani Puri last summer when I was at home after returning from Budapest - we were in a Indian Street Food restaurant in reading and this was certainly a memorable dish! We had them with chickpeas, onion and potato with a very spicy coriander water and a tangy chutney. For the water in this dish I toned down the spice and made it a little sweet and tangy with the addition of tamarind paste and a medjool date - combing both the dressings that we first experienced. Since then, I've been back to the restaurant once again and I enjoyed it just as much the second time around - although I knew to go easy on the coriander water this time!