All posts filed under: Vegan

Chocolate Bark with Bite

  If you manage to make this sweet treat last a week, you did better than me. It’s unbelievably satisfying to eat and easy to make. Plus I think  it’s probably the healthiest chocolate bar(k) you’ll ever find, which makes it even harder to resist gobbling up?! So what gives this bark its ‘bite’? No it’s not the crunchy nuts or tangy cranberries trapped in the pool of chocolate like a welly caught in quick sand (terrible analogy). It is in fact ginger. You could add finely chopped crystallised ginger to this recipe which was my original plan. However I didn’t need a lot so I opted for Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate (60% cocoa) with ginger. It’s awesome all by itself even before I started melting and shaping it. This should take you no more than 30 minutes to prepare and that includes cooling time: I simply chucked it in the freezer which speeds up the hardening effect. Then once you’ve slipped it off the baking sheet, either with a knife or preferably by hand, …

10 second Fig Ice-cream

I can’t remember when I first tasted a fresh fig, but I know that since that day there has been no going back. I grew up eating a lot of dried fruit: dates, bananas, and figs. Bananas soon got banished and picked out of every cereal bowl it showed up in. Frozen bananas on the other hand was just genius lurking in the pews: gone are the days of blackened fruit spoiling your fruit  bowl or attracting fruit flies or bread recipes. Now I can have ‘fresh’ bananas whenever I want them. Frozen bananas or any fruit make amazing fruit smoothies, but also desserts as this recipe demonstrates: you don’t have to use the dates, but because I love the caramel swirls like taste of figs in the dairy version of fig ice-cream, I needed something to substitute that. I love the rich pink colour the figs give to this ice-cream, half of eating is with the eyes as they say. Quick, healthy, raw and ready in minutes!

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Soup

So this is how you make effortless, tasty and satisfying soup in minutes. Soup doesn’t have to be complicated nor does it need a whole bunch of ingredients to leave your mouth watering for more. I grew up using yellow or red split peas as a base for thick soups. But as the split peas release no flavour of their own, I found myself adding tons of ingredients, and root vegetables which meant more time in the kitchen and less time doing the other things I enjoyed doing. This soup however is complete in 3 easy steps: roast, blend, boil. And if you have any left over, it could work as a good based for a pasta dish or stew. The dense sweet nutty flavour of this variety of pumpkin (normally sold in caribbean markets) when roasted needs very little to enhance its flavour more. You can add more or less water to achieve the consistency you want. I think you’re going to really like this one…;-)

Spiced Walnut Butter

      If your anything like me, walnuts haven’t rated too highly on my ‘nut list’ either. But did you know that walnuts have the highest amount of omega 3- fatty acid of any nut? In other words it’s the all round hair, skin and nail food. Now does it sound a bit more appealing? Ok well I tried. I still believe the walnut has the right to be released from the prison of banana breads and festive nut trail mixes; it has a hugely bold even bitter flavour, I agree, but when combined with sweet cinnamon and nutmeg, it seems to mellow down to a smooth pecan like taste. I say make the most of that trail mix and create the most irresistible butter you would have ever tasted. I’ve been enjoying it all week and feeling good! This recipe can keep for up to 2 weeks if stored in an air tight glass jar in the fridge. This recipe makes just over a cup of walnut butter. Enjoy!  

Roasted Chickpea Salad

    I’ve been talking about making this recipe for so long and now I’ve finally made it. It was certainly worth the prep talk! Salads can be boring at times, especially if you have made it your main meal (usually at lunchtime) and you don’t have that bottle of dressing or sachet of mayonnaise to hand. These spicy chickpeas gives this salad the kick that it needs; it not only appeals to me visually, but it also gives an interesting crunchy texture to the salad. Obviously you can try any salad combination that you want, and maybe throw in some humus somewhere in between. All I know is that these chickpeas will be on repeat for a few more months!

{Cheaters} Pilau Rice

  The good thing about using short grain brown rice in this recipe, besides its huge health benefits, is that unlike regular brown rice, short grain rice tends to retain its form and shape and can soak up a lot of flavour. It’s best for ‘one pot’ recipes like this where the rice takes quite a few knocks before being served; I find it it very difficult to over cook this rice surprisingly (see my pumpkin rice recipe as another example). To be really honest, I am not the greatest fan of brown rice unless its well seasoned; But when I have shared this dish with friends, no one really notices the substitute of brown rice – which is great! A great way to sneak in good food to you health-phobe mates! The great cheat in this is the Pilau seasoning. Looking at the ingredients on the bottle, I could probably replicate it, but sometimes you just want good food without the effort! And this seasoning tastes pretty authentic to me. For more information on the health benefits …

Crispy Sweet Potato Chips…Every time!

I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy crispy sweet potato chips until now. Sweet Potato has a very high water content which is why it can’t naturally achieve the crispy status of a regular chip…without some help from its little friend corn starch. The key to achieving ultimate crispiness is to eliminate moisture, so make sure you pat the potato sticks dry before adding the corn starch and seasoning and more or less toss them straight into the oven soon after that with only a drizzle of oil.

Grilled Onions w/ Pomegranate Molasses

  Pomegranate molasses (also called grenadine molasses) is a staple in the countries of the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. I recently discovered this syrup whilst trying to replicate this roasted red onion side dish which often accompanies meals in Turkish Restaurants here in London. I was surprised at how sour and tangy the molasses was given the sweet dry taste of a pomegranate. I would only recommend buying a small bottle at first (which can be purchased from most Middle Eastern shops). Once you get use to its flavour, I think it will become a stable in your pantry. You can use it as a substitute to honey for glazing meat, poultry or roasted root vegetables like carrots. But traditionally it’s used as a dressing in salads or relishes. To achieve the sweet and sour taste here, I added fresh pomegranate juice to take the edge off the molasses.      

One Pot Series: Guyanese Metemgee

  The One Pot Series: If you want to spend less time washing dishes and more time enjoying tasty food and company, then read on! Coming from a family of six hungry bellies with large appetites, The One Pot was essential for our survival. I really don’t know how my parents managed without it. From Cook-up Rice to Metemgee, it just made economic sense; It settled many an argument, it brought order out of chaos, it quieted the storm. “You don’t like Cassava? Well there’s sweet potato..” The way Mum would organise the provision before my brother could stab me in the hand with his fork, his true target being the last piece of dumpling, was genius.  And then there’s the sauce…my word. My word. It can only be compared to liquid gold: the pot would be clean and gleaming when we were done. Metemgee  is a Guyanese Creole stew of sorts made with dumplings, cassava, yam, plantains, okra and a hot peppery coconut milk sauce. It’s normally served with salt fish or crispy fried fish of your choice. The immense …

Virgin Passion Strawberry Daiquiri

Another wonderfully hot day in London. I woke up with a bright clear blue sky before me. As the days are getting longer, the sense of urgency and frantic busy-ness which comes with city life is slowly being replaced with a casual, ‘we-still-got-time-ness’. Summer is finally here and with it comes my favourite part of the day: warm summers’ nights.  I love it with a passion: I enjoy being outside with friends and family watching the sun take the slow roll down the western sky, leaving a warm breeze in its path. It’s a reflective time of the day. Yes warm summers’ nights: it almost feels like the day will never end which is why this sunset coloured drink is a perfect accompaniment. The fresh tangy taste of the passion fruit will revive anyone trying to hang on to the last few hours of the night to finish some good conversation or activity. It takes minutes to create, you can even prepare the ingredients before hand to save you time. As an alternative to water, you can use coconut or sparkling water. Angostura Bitters, …

Street Food Series: Churros w/ Chocolate Ginger Fudge Sauce

  Churros are proof, if you ever needed it, that Pretzels are best served hot! Most of us have done this: you spot Mr Pretzel man with his red uniform 50 yards away, standing like an awkwardly enticing Butler (because Butler’s aren’t generally enticing), holding a silver platter filled with freshly baked warm Pretzels tossed in cinnamon sugar and roughly chopped into pieces. And like a Magpie, you swoop in to take the biggest piece of bread you can find, scooping up as much sugary dust as you can. I love their warm fluffy texture and the gritty sweet feel of the sugar and cinnamon against my teeth. But at £4 a piece, I knew I had to find a cheaper snack which gave me the same satisfaction. So in walks Ms Churros – a Spanish ‘pretzel stick’ if you will, which is popular on the streets of Latin America, France and Portugal,  and has finally made its way across the English Channel to the cobbled streets of London. Unlike Pretzels, which tend to be a lot bigger and denser, Churros are a lot crisper and lighter. They are …

Street Food Series: Watermelon Brain Freeze

This week marks the beginning of my Street Food Series. It just seems like a timely topic to explore as the temperature in London has been rising steadily. I’m already a huge fan of markets whether they be food, flower or bric-a-brac. Food Markets in London tend to be located off back streets and down narrow alleyways or ironically behind corporate buildings and High Street shops; this is quite telling as Food Markets in general are counter this culture – there is no uniformity, no two markets are the same. You can go to an Indian Food Festival and not one stall will sell the exact same dish, in exactly the same way…I find heaps of inspiration from these places. I also love the hustle and bustle of it all, you can strike up a conversation with just about anyone as you wait in the queue for a Mango and Almond Lassi. And there is no shame in asking a complete stranger: “What’s that your eating?” To start the proceedings, I thought I would just share with you a very …

Bulgur Wheat Pilaf

  I’ve been trying to incorporate different grains into my diet given the bad press white rice has been getting of late for having no real nutritional content. Out of all the grains that I’ve tried, this is the one that has stuck: Bulgur Wheat has bundles more nutritional value than white rice, which virtually has no fibre in it. It also takes half the cooking time to prepare. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked away from a pot of rice and come back to a bowl of porridge or where the grains are jellied together so much, I would have to either scoop or slice may way through it. Bulgur wheat however, does not need as much TLC, it can be left to stand alone in a bowl of hot water and unlike rice I find works well hot or cold (e.g Tabbouleh). Living in North London, just off the infamous Green Lanes, your eyes will catch Bulgur Wheat Pilaf flashing you a smile practically out of every Turkish Restaurant window, of which there are plenty. …

Mint Infused Baba Ganoush

When I stumble upon tasty food like this, I often wonder who came up with this recipe? Who decided that burning a whole ripe plump Aubergine over a naked flame until it resembles a deflated balloon, would make a gorgeously smooth creamy dip? Or was it discovered by accident as I like to think most popular dishes are; it gives a recipe instant legendary status when a trail of unlikely events are attached to its discovery. I’m not satisfied with the vague tale that Royalty had something to do with its invention, especially as the same dish is enjoyed in a variety of ways from Lebanon to Bangladesh, nevertheless it certainly has high status in my regard. One of the translations for Baba Ganoush is “pampered or spoiled father“, well I definitely felt like somebody’s favourite after eating this with some roasted sweet potatoes and chicken kebabs I’d made. The process of roasting the Aubergine is just fun to do: the smell the sweet skin burning brings back memories of roasting potatoes on Bonfires in November; watching the wafer thin ash pieces float into the midnight sky. You know the …

Soursop Punch

  There use to be a time in my life when I was conscious that I was beginning to sound like my Mum. Last week was definitely one of them. “No Soursop today?” I said in deep frustration to the man at the stall in Ridley Market. “No sorry darlin’ none today; nothing came off the ship from St Lucia or Jamaica…” In that split second my imagination took me to the shores of St Lucia, picturing Mr Market Stall man waiting at the beach front with his trolly waiting for this precious fruit to come in. I smiled at myself and walked away, a little disheartened. Last month there was no Soursop either, this time it was because it was being sold for the “price of Gold” his friend had told me. The way I hounded these guys, week after week watching, lingering, pretending to only pass by, hoping to see a pile of fresh prickly green skinned fruit smiling back at me…it was beyond an obsession, I was a evolving into my mother. Why I bothered to …

Moist Vegan Cornbread

  This recipe makes a really dense, crumbly vegan cornbread that is quite moist and really easy to make. What I love the most about this recipe is that it combines a bunch of nutritious ingredients without spoiling the traditional taste and texture you expect from cornbread. I first made this recipe at a friend’s house and was surprised at how quickly it baked in the oven; try to let it cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and removing it from the dish, to avoid it crumbling too much. I thought I should leave you with some useful insights into the health benefits of some the ingredients 5 Facts About Coconut Oil: Very high in lauric acid (bacteria destroyer!) Rich in anti-oxidants (strengthen ability to fight disease and infection) Contains natural microbial and anti-bacterial agents Improves metabolism and prevents fatigue Improves cholesterol levels 5 Facts About Maple Syrup: Contains manganese and zinc (strengthens bones) Contains 54 different antioxidants Helps with inflammation 1/4 cup contains more calcium than the same amount of milk 1/4 cup contains more …

Sushi & Tofu

You might find it hard to believe, but I am not someone who is very adventurous when it comes to trying new foods: I like to stick to what I know. I’ve come a bit further down the line then where I was a few years a go. I never thought the day would come when I would actually enjoy snacking on cold rice which is essentially what I summed up sushi to be. I was first introduced to sushi whilst at university about 12 years ago. My housemate’s girlfriend at the time is Japanese and she would often prepare sushi at the weekend with him. She must have cornered me or something because I went from going in the kitchen to wash dishes to clapping down a ‘scrambled egg mayo’ sushi she had made. I wouldn’t say it was like fireworks in my mouth (sorry it does get better believe me), but my interest was peaked. The second occasion was probably another 10 years after that, this time it was salmon. But again the …

Pumpkin Rice

This rich and creamy pumpkin rice was inspired by Chris De La Rosa of Caribbean Pot – big shout out to Chris for creating this dish and for being my inspiration behind this blog! (this is the first time he is hearing this). Pumpkin has to be one of my favourite vegetables, it is so versatile as you will see from many other recipes I have created. Your going to see it crop up a few more times on my food journey in the form of soups and pies and maybe fritters. Interestingly enough pumpkin rice wasn’t a dish made in my household from what I can recall, unlike many other forms of ‘cook-up rices’ that I have enjoyed. Stuffing it into grilled sweet peppers simply intensifies the colour and texture if anything else. I enjoyed this dish on its own, but I think it could go well with any fish or meat dish of your choice.

Pistachio Baklava

I live in a culturally rich part of London where the streets are essentially a tapestry of Turkish and Greek restaurants and bakeries. The Baklava’s are usually quite deliberately perched in long trays and pans in these shop windows, which also happen to be located behind a bus stop of some kind, leaving me drooling…for the 29 bus. Most of us are familiar with this very sweet delicacy, and only the brave or those with dentures can manage more than one maybe two squares. There is no healthy alternative to this, you can’t skip or substitute any ingredients it is what it is: yummy! Now off for my 5k run.