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15 October 2017

Caramelised Fig & Tenderstem Broccoli Salad

Gooey, warm, caramelised figs - sweet, tangy and a little salty - with tenderstem broccoli, garlic and black pepper croutons, toasted almonds and crumbly vegan cheese on a bed of watercress and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar based dressing. Warm salads are perfect for enjoying in Autumn, where it's slightly colder, but the chill of winter hasn't yet set in; this one is layered with the most incredible flavours and textures that can serve 4-5 as a starter, or 2-3 as a main.

The figs were roasted in a mix of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, date syrup, thyme and a pinch of salt, they come out perfectly jammy and delicious and the liquid used for roasting doubles as a salad dressing. I made the croutons from some slightly stale sourdough, coated in garlic powder, plenty of black pepper, salt and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil - they are so deliciously savoury and satisfyingly crunchy, a perfect addition to this dish.

30 September 2017

Sausage & Bean Sweet Potato Stew

Comforting, warming, smoky (vegan) sausage and bean sweet potato stew, for the colder days when you just want to be warmed from within. I called this a stew as I cooked it on the hob, but if you want to bake it in the oven for about an hour, then technically, it would be a casserole. I've filled the stew with flavours of red onion, rosemary, tomatoes and a couple of secret ingredients too...

I used one of my (not so secret) ingredients, BBQ sauce in this recipe, I just find that it gives the dish the extra depth of flavour it needs, to go from something just ok, to something that you want more and more of. Baked beans in tomato sauce are also something that my mum always puts in dishes that require beans and I'm following suit, the rich tomato sauce of baked beans add that depth of flavour you need, without cooking for hours.

17 September 2017

Pumpkin Rösti w/ Chanterelle Mushrooms & Spinach

Sometimes, or perhaps most of the time we cook because we need to eat, but there are also those special times where you cook for the love of it, for the art of the food and the delicious flavours, you enjoy the proceess and relax into your task.

This next recipe is one of the latter, where a few more steps may be involved, but it's more than worth it. Autumn pumpkin & waxy potatoes, with sauteed onion and smoked garlic, combine into a twist on a classic Swiss dish, served up with a side of vegan crème fraîche, chantarelle mushrooms, wilted spinach and more of that earthy, woody smoked garlic, reminding you of cold nights around an open fire. I first had rösti in Switzerland almost 10 years ago now, inside a cozy little pub near the ski slope on our first night, sheltering from the cold, the fire roaring, tucking into the most perfectly cooked rösti, creamy all the way through and all crisp on the outside.

9 September 2017

Smoky Chili Butternut Mac 'n' Greens

Creamy, smoky, slightly spicy macaroni with green veg...inspired by the classic mac n cheese, with a healthier twist to make it a perfect every day meal. If you're looking for a more traditional mac n cheese - you'll find the recipe for my ultimate vegan cheese sauce here, but this is an everyday version of the comfort food...easy to prepare at the end of a long day and full of warming comfort, perfect for the damp autumn weather.

It may look like a lot of spices and if you don't already have most of these on hand, you can swap it for a couple of tsp of a mixed spiced blend that contains chili and smoked paprika..such as fajita or jerk seasoning. I love the combination of the slightly sweet butternut squash with the deeply savoury miso paste and tanginess of the vinegar and lemon juice, paired with those smokey, spicy notes....this is just so warming and feels like a hug in a bowl.

2 September 2017

Vegan White Chocolate Matcha Blondies

The lovely people at Pure Chimp sent me some of their matcha to try out, I thought long and hard about what to test it out on and I just loved the sound of white chocolate matcha blondies. Whilst there's no way to make blondies completely healthy, true to my blog, I found a way to sneak some extra nutrition in there. I researched loads of recipes and I couldn't find one blondie recipe that included both matcha and avocado, but there were plenty of smoothies, so the flavour combination obviously does work, though it's definitely an acquired taste. White chocolate and matcha are also a match made in heaven, as well as vanilla, the matcha just intensifies the creamy white chocolate, whilst adding it's own unique flavour and charm and vanilla just makes everything taste better, it's a fact! I also added a single raspberry to each blondie, any more would make them soggy, but I just love the pop of fresh tart raspberry flavour in the mix of earthy, creamy notes. 

I adapted from this recipe, swapping out the butter for avocado, the vanilla soy yogurt for eggs, using free from white chocolate and I also reduced the amount of sugar, as the white chocolate and yogurt are already very sweet. With all the swaps, you might wonder why I still used white sugar; nutritionally sugar and syrups like maple or agave are very similar and they will all raise your blood sugar... the only true 'no added sugar' recipes are those made with sweeteners, but personally I would rather just eat sugar and have less of it. Fibre, protein and fat can also help you blood sugar not to spike - avocados are high in fibre and contain good fats, whilst the soy yogurt contains some protein, helping to control your blood sugar. Avocado is also high in vitamin E, B vitamins, potassium, copper and vitamin C.