Category Archives: Vegan

Low Sugar Healthy Banana Bread

Standard

Fast, delicious, nutritious – what’s not to love?kamut-banana-bread

If you’ve not discovered Khorasan KAMUT® flour yet, I encourage you to give it a try.

A recently rediscovered whole grain flour that produces a delicate golden loaf, it is sure to become a favourite. This recipe is so healthy that I don’t even feel guilty about slathering it in butter!  Bonus: it’s DELICIOUS!

Time: Lightening fast!  (From start to in your tummy in just over an hour.)

Yield: makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs (or two flax or chia eggs for vegan version+)
  • ½ cup avocado oil, melted coconut oil, or olive oil
  • ¼ cup organic agave syrup
  • ¼ cup milk (for vegan version use oat, almond, rice or soya milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1¾ cups organic khorasan (KAMUT®) flour (I buy in bulk and freeze this gorgeous flour  Doves Farm Organic Wholegrain Kamut Khorasan Flour 1 kg (Pack of 5)Doves Farm Organic Wholegrain Kamut Khorasan Flour 1 kg (Pack of 5)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, raisins or dried apricots, optional

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160C (325F).
  2. Generously butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs (or flax eggs), oil, agave syrup, milk and vanilla for 2 minutes. Stir in the bananas, flour mixture and optional add-ins if using.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool.

==========================================================================

==========================================================================

+ Click here for quick guidance on how to make a flax or chai egg

** About KAMUT khorasan flour:

KAMUT® Khorasan Grain is a trademarked type of khorasan grain or triticum turgidum, from Montana in North America. This type of wheat originated in an area called the Fertile Crescent, a region of land which spans from the present-day Jerusalem, through Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. It was in this lush valley that agriculture was thought to be first developed, and the khorasan grain was grown. The grain passed out of common knowledge until being rediscovered and a closed growing programme began.

KAMUT® is a protected species grown exclusively with organic farming methods and under tightly controlled conditions. The KAMUT® International Licensing agreement stipulates that the grain:

• Is the ancient khorasan variety of wheat
• Is grown only as a certified organic grain
• Has a protein range of 12 -18%
• Is 99% free of all contaminating varieties of modern wheat
• Is 98% free of all signs of diseases
• Contains between 400 and 1000 of ppb of selenium

The grain is a summer wheat which is not suited to the UK soil and climate conditions and grows in North America. The crop grows fairly tall and the kernel is large and bold. It has a very large, hump backed kernel.

KAMUT® khorasan flour is light gold in colour and is high in protein, making it perfect for use in pasta, bread and biscuits.

Doves Farm is the licensed UK supplier of KAMUT® khorasan brand grain.

Above information taken from Doves website

Vegucated

Standard

I just finished watching Vegucated – a film by Marisa Miller Wolfson.  I’ve always made a lot of vegetarian choices, lately have been making more and more, and after seeing the film today I have decided that I need to start making a lot more vegan choices.

I loved the film – and I greatly appreciated a lot of what the participants said – one poignant statement that stuck in my mind was “Veganism is not a religion.” – I think that’s where I fell done before – I was so “religious” in my veganism that any “slip” – intentional or unintentional – would send me sprawling with guilt. And it resulted in a crash and burn. The film brought home the reality that veganism is not a religion – or really that we shouldn’t allow it to be a religion. I’ve taken that on board. I can’t go at it with the mindset of “It’s all or nothing”. I need to start with accepting that any changes I make, make a difference – and the more changes I make the bigger difference I will make. I mustn’t allow the self-sabotaging “purist” attitude to emerge again. Rather, my new outlook must be one of conscious eating, mindful eating – and above all, of ownership: owning my choices in life, not least of which are my food choices.

We all want to make the world a better place – for ourselves, for our fellow human beings and for the other creatures that we share the planet with. I realised after seeing the film that choosing “ethically raised” meat and dairy products still ends in tragedy for the animal – in commercial farming businesses, when an animal’s days of giving milk or eggs is over, they are still brutally slaughtered. So I have to rethink my dairy and egg consumption. We all know Red Tractor standards are a complete joke. Freedom Food animals may have a better life – but how horrific is their death?

I have to find some good vegan cheeses – who knows, maybe I will transition to no cheese at all, but right now I am rather addicted. I like soya milk (and can get good non-GMO organic soya milk easily) and I can buy (and have successfully made) delicious soya yoghurt. I’ve cut out butter already and eat coconut oil or olive oil instead. Eggs in baking are occasionally a challenge depending on the recipe – I’ve tried egg substitutes (chia seeds, flax) with varying success – maybe I could get some rescue chickens, allow them to lay as many or as few eggs as they wish, give them a loving environment to end out their days, and when they pass on, bury their little bodies with respect?

Oh the thoughts they are a swirling 😉

Delicious Raw Fruit and Nut Bars

Standard

The other day I bought one of these.

Image

It was quite tasty. It has two ingredients, in pretty much 50-50 proportions: cashews and dates. That’s it. I paid 75p for it – that’s about $1.38 CAD ($1.10 US). For a 35 gram bar.

Looking at the ingredients, I thought, “I can make this myself. And it won’t cost even a fraction of that. So I did. I modified the recipe to what I had in the house already: a bag of organic brazil* nuts, a cranberry-raisin-date mixture, and some chia seeds. I threw everything into the food processor, shaped them, rolled them in unsweetened coconut and guess what? They taste even better than name branded raw cookie bars. Scrummy.

90 grams of dates (or mixed dried fruit)
130 grams brazil nuts
30 grams chia seeds
Unsweetened coconut (optional)
Whir in food processor until finely ground, sticking together and able to be shaped. (Depending on how moist the fruit is you may need to add a few drops of water.

Measure them out (about 35 grams per serving)
Shape into little logs. Optional – roll in unsweetened coconut. Keep covered in refrigerator.

Image

Those of you with a cat will be thinking what I’m thinking, but hey, they taste fabulous!

Do you make your own raw cookies or bars? Please share!

* Brazil nuts (like all nuts) are high in calories, but they are also high in a lot of trace minerals (in particular, selenium). And nut oils are good for you. So enjoy these treats in moderation.

The Best Ratatouille Recipe

Standard

Method

START COOKING

Halve the courgettes lengthways, slice the aubergine into 1cm thick rounds and place both on the griddle pan, turning when charred. Don’t be shy – the more charred the better the flavour!

Meanwhile, head the oil gently in a deep pot.  Throw in the red onion (peeled and roughly chopped), chopped peppers, crushed garlic, harissa, anchovies and 1 teaspoon of their oil. After about 5 minutes add the passata and tomatoes. Simmer, stirring occasionally.

Remove the charred courgettes and aubergine from the griddle pan as they are finished grilling and set aside onto a plate. When all grilled to perfection , roughly chop into big chunks and add them to the main pot. Stir and simmer for a few minutes, then add the balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt. Nice with regular steamed or saffron rice.

*Omit for vegan recipe. Vegetarians that eat yeast may substitute vegetarian umami for the anchovies.

Drink your lettuce!

Standard

We just got back from camping in the beautiful Lake District (more on that later, including camping recipes!) to find that the garden has gone crazy!

Suddenly the peas are profuse, the lettuce is huge Image

and the rainbow Swiss Chard is, well, stunning to say the least. Image

Of course fruits and vegetables are best eaten fresh, but when you have a glut in the garden, you have to preserve…. peas can be frozen, as can Swiss Chard, but lettuce? Erm, no. So.

What to do with all these lovely lush green lettuces? Even I can only eat so many salads! Answer? Juice it!

Romaine (aka Cos) lettuce is one of the most nutritious of lettuces and the type I grew (Parris Island) is one of the most nutritious of all. High in beta carotene, folate, lutein (an anti-oxidant), potassium  and Vitamin K, picked fresh and juiced immediately, it is a powerhouse of nutrition and very tasty as well! I juiced two heads, two apples and threw that into the smoothie machine with some red maca powder and golden flax seed. Delicious. I didn’t get a photo of it but it looks just like my spinach juice:

The Green Stuff

Lemon Balm Pesto

Standard
pesto-bowl

Blend it as rough or as smooth as you like.

Gone are the days when pesto* is made strictly with basil, pine nuts and olive oil. Nowadays savvy cooks are experimenting with a plethora of flavours and ingredients: coriander, parsley, cashews, almonds, various oils, etc. I have copious amounts of lemon balm growing wild in my garden and thus the following pesto recipe is a favourite of mine that I whip up when the lemon balm springs up and I am in the mood for a delicious light fragrant delight!

Lemon Balm Pesto is delicious on pasta (particularly if you are serving it with shrimp, chicken or fish), vegetables, green beans, fish, etc. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week – or freeze it in ice cube trays to use as required.

Lemon Balm Pesto

Ingredients

  • 60 grams (2 cups) fresh lemon balm leaves**

    Pesto on the way!

    Throw everything into the food processor.

  • 60 grams (about 3/4 cup grated) Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 60 grams pine nuts, cashews or almonds (or a combo)
  • 1/2 tsp (3 grams) sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Chuck all of the above into your food processor.

The next item you need is:

  • 1/2 to 1 cup good quality olive oil

Method:

Whir the pesto ingredients in the food processor, slowly dripping in the olive oil, until the mixture reaches the consistency you prefer. You can use anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil, depending on your preference.

Note: I like my pesto quite garlicky and also a bit “rougher” than usual, so I use the 6 cloves of garlic and process it minimally. There is no right or wrong and as long as you get the ingredient measurements more or less correct, it is going to be absolutely delicious!

Re: All that Olive oil:
I suspect (although I have never tried) that if you were trying to make a lower fat version, you could also use 1/4 cup oil and thin it the rest of the way with water. Having said that, my philosophy is that you only live once , so treat yourself to the heart healthy olive oil and go for a walk after dinner if you are concerned about the calories.

pesto-icecube

Spoon into ice cube tray and freeze.

It freezes well – just spoon it into an ice cube tray and freeze it!

===========================================================

*Pesto (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpesto], Genoese: [ˈpestu]) is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto genovese) and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese), and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk).  The name is the contracted past participle of the Genoese word pestâ (Italian: pestare), which means to pound, to crush, in reference to the original method of preparation, with marble mortar and wooden pestle. The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. This same Latin root through Old French also gave rise to the English word “pestle”.  Thus sayeth wikipedia  😉

** Weigh lemon balm after you have stripped the leaves from the stems, and BEFORE washing. Spin it well dry in your salad spinner or tap it dry with a clean cloth. You may well be able to use tender stems as well – I never have, so cannot say with certainty.

No Time for Breakfast? Not hungry in the morning? Try a Smoothie!

Standard

I’m not a breakfast eater. I don’t wake up ravenous and could easily live on tea and coffee until lunch time. But that’s not healthy. Over the years I have tried various breakfasts, but none were particularly exciting. Then I got a blender. Now each morning I start the day with a fresh healthy fruit smoothie. I throw a bunch of ingredients into the blender, give it a whir and voilà! A quick healthy start to the day!

Orange blueberry flax banana smoothie.

Orange blueberry flax banana smoothie.

If you struggle with breakfast as well, this may work for you. I won’t give exact measurements – making a smoothie is an art, not science – so experiment!

If you’ve never made one before, you may want to watch my video on how to do so: Video Part 1 and (after the doorbell rang!) Part 2.

How to Make a Smoothie
To begin I use either soya, almond or coconut milk, about a cup (250ml). You could use regular milk or even yogurt if you prefer.

Next, I always throw in a whole orange (minus peel and seeds).

Next in: 2 Tbsp (30ml) freshly ground organic flaxseed*, and then:

Two or more of any of the following: strawberries, blueberries, melon, banana, mango, etc. in other words, whatever fresh (or frozen) fruit I have on hand.

Be careful if using banana – 1/2 of one is sufficient. More can make the smoothie too thick, and a bit “gluey”.

Enjoy!