Pea & Dulse Salad

On occasion I will allow myself some type of mock meat, mainly because it’s damn tasty and adds a different type of texture to food. The mock chicken or as I like to call it: chikyn, is Asda’s own brand and can be found in the frozen vegetarian food section.

Ingredients:

½ a courgette chopped into half moons

¼ of a bag of frozen chikyn

A handful of fresh peas

A handful of popped amaranth

A few strips of dulse, chopped.

A handful of fresh baby leaf spinach

Dressing Ingredients:

Sea salt

1tbsp Balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp Hemp oil

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200c.
  • Place the chopped courgette and chikyn into a baking tray and drizzle with some sunflower oil. Then place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, mix the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  • When courgettes and chikyn are cooked, allow to cool slightly before mixing in the salad.
  • To make the dressing: Mix dressing ingredients in a small glass and then drizzle over the salad.

This is filling enough to be a main meal or a large lunch. You know what they say: a large green salad a day keeps the doctor away. Well this one should because it is full of vitamin C, protein, B12, calcium and iron.

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Raw Banana Ice Cream

Since Swedish Glace was brought out by Unilever last year, I’ve been searching for another ultimate treat. In case you don’t know, Unilever still tests chemicals and cosmetics on animals so I won’t support them, which is a shame because SG is delicious and available everywhere. Of course there is always the Booja Booja raw ice cream which is super tasty, but mega expensive. You can pay up to £8 a tub for that stuff and I’m not a wealthy person so I needed to come up with an alternative.

So here’s what I did: I got a whole bunch of bananas, peeled and chopped them and froze them for 24 hours. In the meantime I stewed a whole punnet of plums in water with cinnamon. This created a 100% fruit jam with no added sugar.

Then I threw the bananas into my food processor and pulse blended them, (turn the blades high and then off in bursts) until they looked like this:

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Then you know, I munched my amazing new ice cream creation with the plum jam.

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Do it and do it now. You won’t regret it and it tastes like soft scoop ice cream. 🙂

Green Goddess Smoothie

This is a very simple smoothie recipe that I eat on an almost daily basis. It is full of protein, b12, iron, vitamin c and potassium. I use it as a pre and post workout food. You can also add and subtract ingredients as you see fit without altering the flavour too much. (Be careful about nutrition though.)

Ingredients:

2 bananas

A handful of fresh baby leaf spinach

A sprinkle of spirulina

A sprinkle of barley grass powder

A scoop of raw hemp protein powder

A large glass of non-dairy milk such as hazelnut milk or you can use water.

(When I’m skint, I make it with just bananas, hemp protein and water.)

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Method:

Blend until smooth.

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The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t need a high powered, super expensive blender. I have a five year old Kenwood and it does just fine. It’s approximately 300 calories a serving so you can also have it as a full meal and I often do that too.

 

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Szechuan Tofu Stir Fry with Peanut Butter Beansprouts

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Ingredients:

Szechuan Sauce

  • 10 fresh chillies chopped and de-seeded.
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. salt

Stir Fry

  • 2 carrots chopped into matchsticks
  • 5 mushrooms
  • Half a block of firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 white onions
  • ¼ of a savoy cabbage
  • Half a large bag of beansprouts
  • 2 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter (The no added sugar variety.)
  • 10 slices of water chestnuts

Method:

For the sauce:

Blend all of the ingredients together in a high powered food processor and leave to infuse whilst you make the stir fry.

For the stir fry:

Lightly oil a wok with some olive oil or sesame oil and allow to heat.

Chop the mushrooms, onions and tofu and allow to cook on a high heat for about 5 minutes.

Add all the rest of the ingredients, except the peanut butter and beansprouts.

Mix well and turn heat down to the lowest setting.

In the meantime, heat a small quantity of oil in another pan and add the beansprouts and peanut butter. If the peanut butter does not melt, increase the heat whilst stirring for an additional few minutes.

Mix the Szechuan sauce in with the stir fry and turn up the heat again to warm through for 2 minutes.

Plate up the stir fry and sprinkle the peanut butter beansprouts over the top.

This dish contains lots of calcium, protein and iron.

(N.B store brought Szechuan can be just as good, but sometimes contains a lot of refined white sugar.)

My lifestyle change story

When I was six years old, I was struck down by phenomena. It was caught late and I was really sick. I had a good couple of months off of school. It was so bad that it significantly reduced my lung capacity and left me suffering chronic chest infections every year around the beginning of autumn. As I grew older, I slowed my metabolism significantly with the introduction of alcohol from about the age of 15. By the time I was 24 my diet was mainly ready meals, fake meats and pasta based dishes and I was a good 4 stone over weight. Yet now at 27 I am running 5k races, lifting more weight than ever before and I’ve reached an optimal BMI, if you believe in such things.

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So how did I do it? Let’s rewind to January 2010. I had just started a relationship with the person who would become my ex-partner in 2012. She made me very happy, but I was still suffering from some pretty nasty depression. After taking anti-depressants for a while and not seeing any notable improvement, I decided that my diet needed to be looked at. I brought Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Diet book and followed it to the letter. I found that I was losing weight, I was less anxious and all the digestive stress that I had been experiencing dissipated. The Thrive Diet puts emphasis on vegan whole foods, raw foods and non-processed foods. It focuses on creating an alkaline environment in your blood, so that your body can function at it’s optimum state.

 

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So the diet started to make me feel better about myself, but it didn’t solve all of my problems. I’d still get really low in the evenings and in the mornings. I was working between 60 and 80 hours a week at the time, so didn’t think I could fit any exercise in. It seems however, that if you want it badly enough, you can fit anything into your daily routine. I started to go to the gym every other day for about 2 hours in the evening. I lost a lot more weight and got up to a reasonable standard of fitness, but what did I do? I let it all slip in the autumn of 2011 when I got one of my horrendous chest infections. I started eating rubbish food and exercising maybe once a week. Why? Well because my depression and anxiety took over every function of my life. I had a lot of time off sick from work and my friends suffered from me being in a state nearly all of the time. Now I look back on that time, perhaps subconsciously I knew that my partner was falling out of love with me and I couldn’t cope with it.

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I managed to get a grip again sometime around March 2012 and started to eat properly and go to the gym a few times a week. Then in May my partner left and my whole life turned to shit….again. I spent two months drunk every day. My depression literally ate me alive. I’m not really sure what clicked in me because I certainly wasn’t over it, but in August I picked myself up off of the floor. Those of you who came to Vegan Camp will remember me getting up at 6am every day and working out in the mud. That was the start of my journey.

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When I got back from camp, I decided things needed to change. I went back to following Thrive religiously. I started working out every single weekday morning and going to a class every single weekday evening. The weight started to fall off of me and the muscle started to become more defined. My personal trainer, Dave really helped me during this time. He had suffered a personal tragedy himself, but he was always there to listen to me and filter my anger and aggression into hitting personal best upon personal best.

 

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So here I am at 70.6kg and 25% body fat. I still have a little more body fat to lose to get the definition I truly desire, but I did it and you know what? In my adult life, this is one of two things that I’m extremely proud of. (The first being, buying my first flat at 23 and my 2nd flat at 25.)

I know you think you can’t do it, but you really can. I over came reduced lung capacity, depression and a rather serious breakup. I didn’t even have a chest infection in 2012 for the first time since I was 6. Here’s something to make you think: my fitness regime only takes up 8% of my day and I achieved this.

 

pROGRESS

Review Of Anusia Cafe In Tring.

Anusia Cafe in Tring formerly know as The Green House, is a place of culinary delights.

Mykey and I were greeted by the chap who owns the place and seated in a little alcove not far from a fire place. It was quite, private and intimate. A lady joined us presently and recommended us some of her favourite wine. How could we refuse? We had a glass of the house bottle each. An organic red which was full bodied and had a subtle hint of berries. I’m not sure I’ve ever had better tasting wine.

The starter was with us very quickly. It was soup of the day: A creamy beetroot and parsnip soup with home made whole meal bread. Every mouthful was heaven. I’ve had borscht before, but this was like the executive version.

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We had a little wait for our main course, but this was well received. The starter had been quite large so it needed time to digest, or as my Dad used to say, “allow my stomach to make room for more.”

For the main we ordered the Black Bean Chilli: A winter warming traditional chilli poured over a coriander polenta cake, topped with sweet potato crisps and served with locally sourced organic salad, chipotle dressing, sour cream and guacamole. Mykey had never had polenta cake before so it was an absolute pleasure for him, especially in this dish. It was spicy and it was sweet. It was crunchy and it was smooth. A dish so full of flavour that there was not one tiny scrap left on either of our plates.

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I’m not really sure how, but we managed to convince ourselves we had enough space for dessert. I’d had their cheesecake before and there was no way I was missing out on any raw desserts made by whatever genius works in the kitchen. (I want to meet them one day and get tips!) So here it is: David’s Apple Pie with sultana and cinnamon, served with vanilla cashew ice kream.

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The whole three course meal including two rather exquisite glasses of wine was £63. Now this is expensive, but considering Anusia Cafe is only open once a month in the evening (it’s open in the day time normally) and the food is better than anything that I could ever cook, I’ll let them off. 10/10.

 

http://anusiacafe.co.uk/

 

Vegan Low Calorie, Low Fat Pancakes

Most people are under the impression that you can’t have pancakes that aren’t laden with eggs, milk and white processed flour. One of the first things I did when I went vegan in 2006, was to make pancakes. The floury and stodgy 900 calorie delights, smothered with golden syrup. If that’s what you want, I can give you the recipe right now:

Flour

Soya milk

Oil

That’s it. Whisk it up and fry in some olive oil. Then you can cover it in any sugary delight you like.

Personally I like my food to be full of nutrients and low in fat. If you’re like me, the below recipe adapted from Brendan Brazier’s Thrive book will be right up your street.

  1. 2 dates
  2. 128g blueberries
  3. 340ml non-dairy milk
  4. 240ml water
  5. 68g buckwheat flour
  6. 43g quinoa (cooked or sprouted)
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. 1 tsp baking soda

Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor and either fry in olive oil for a couple of minutes on each side, or bake in a warm oven for 20 minutes.

For 2 pancakes that’s a total of 227 calories and 4 grams of fat. Enjoy!