Creamy Chic Pea Salad

This is a leaner version of a creamy chicken salad, especially if you can get reduced fat vegan mayonnaise. I used to really enjoy creamy foods before I went vegan, so it was great news to me that this can be achieved with lower fat, high protein and by not harming any animals. What a result ay?

Ingredients:

* Two romaine lettuces.

* Fresh or tinned pineapple cut into triangles.

* Half a jar of reduced fat, egg free mayonnaise. (If you can get garlic mayo, even better.)

* Fresh or dried parsley, chopped finely.

* A large handful of walnuts

* A can of chic peas or 300g of sprouted chic peas.

Method:

Rinse the chic peas under the cold tap

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Add the mayonniase

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Combine together with a spoon or a fork and add in the parsley.

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Leave to stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to mix. In the meantime chop your romaine lettuce using scissors if possible to trim the leaves down to a reasonable size.

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Place the lettuce on a plate, then spoon the creamy mixture on top. Now grab your pineapple and walnuts and sprinkle over the top. How easy was that? Dig in!

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Chorizo “carbonara” with catalan market salad

I’ve placed the word carbonara in speech marks because on the Jamie Oliver page there is a massive argument about it not really being a carbonara because it doesn’t conform with the traditional Italian perception of that dish. Personally I don’t care what conforms to what norms. I didn’t event this recipe, but what I can tell you is that it was bloody delicious and nutritious.

I fed this to my fussy eating vegan parents, brother, grandmother and little sister and they all very much enjoyed it. It however took me 20 minutes because I had to double the quantity of pasta due to the amount of people I was serving. The recipe below is the quantities for 4 people.

 Ingredients

  • For the salad

  • 25 g pine nuts
  • 2 green chicory
  • 2 clementines
  • 100 g baby spinach
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 45 g vegan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • For the pasta

  • 320 g wholemeal dried penne
  • 70 g vegan chorizo (My parents live in the middle of nowhere so I had to improvise and use Redwoods sausages with lots of chilli.)
  • ½–1 fresh red chilli
  • 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary
  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 heaped tablespoons vegan soya yoghurt
  • juice of ½ a lemon

Method

Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Large frying pan, medium heat • Large lidded pan, high heat

START COOKING

Toast the pine nuts in the frying pan for a few minutes, tossing often

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Put the pasta into the lidded pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook according to packet instructions

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• Finely slice the stalk ends of the chicory and click apart the upper leaves into a serving bowl. Peel and finely slice the clementines, add to the bowl with the baby spinach, then pick over the mint leaves. Shave over a tiny bit of vegan cheese and scatter with the hot nuts.

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In a cup, make your dressing with the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and agave nectar, then season to taste and put aside.

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Finely slice the sausages or chorizo, chilli and rosemary and put into the frying pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of pepper, then squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher and move everything around until lightly golden.

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Place the lemon juice, soya yoghurt and remaining finely grated vegan cheese together in a food processor and blend until it looks like the below image. I also added some nutritional yeast for extra cheeseyness.

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Drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of the starchy cooking water. Toss the pasta into the chorizo pan, remove from the heat and mix well with the creamy sauce, loosening with a splash of cooking water, if needed, then season to taste

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Dress and toss the salad, then serve with the pasta

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Then me and my Mummy went out for a walk to burn off the extra calories! (Approx 600 per serving which is fine if you are training or if you are not trying to lose weight. Otherwise do what I did and have loads of salad and only a little bit of the pasta.)

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Sausage gnocchi with warm spring greens & bean salad

I started this on Facebook, but I wanted all you guys here to see it too.

I was off sick from work for a little while so I sat and watched Jamie’s 15 minute meals because his recipes are often easy to veganise. I then set myself a challenge to veganise every recipe in the book that goes along with the series and do it all in under 15 minutes.

This particular recipe was what I made the very first time that Mykey came over for dinner. I had to modify the recipe slightly because he is allergic to hazelnuts and soya yoghurt and I didn’t have any kale. It was also the first time he tried gnocchi so I took a bit of a risk and it went down an absolute treat. I’d even be tempted to say it was exquisitely delicious….. oh whoops! I just did! 🙂

Ingredients:

* 4 vegan sausages. (I used Fry’s because I think they are the best and hold their shape very well.)

* 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds.

* 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary.

* 125 ml of red wine (I used a merlot from Co-Op.)

* 200 g tenderstem broccoli

* 700 g passata

* 400 g gnocchi

* pack of vegan bacon. ( I used Redwoods.)

* olive oil

* 40 g walnuts

* 1 teaspoon of maple syrup

* 200 g fine green beans

* 300 g spring greens

* 1 1/2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar

Ingredients out • Kettle boiled • Large casserole pan, high heat • Small frying pan, high heat • Large lidded pan, high heat

START COOKING
Cut the sausage into chunks and place in the casserole pan with the fennel seeds and rosemary.

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Finely slice the bacon, put into the small frying pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the walnuts and cook until golden, then add the maple syrup and remove from the heat.

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Line the beans up and cut off the stalks, then put them into the large pan, cover with boiling salted water and the lid.

Cook for 4 minutes, then add the greens, tearing up any larger leaves.

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Pour the wine into the sausage pan and let it bubble away while you check on the beans and greens.

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If done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a colander to drain, leaving the pan of water on the heat.

Tear the broccoli tips into the sausage pan, then slice and add the stalks, along with the passata.

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Add the gnocchi to the pan of water the greens were cooked in and pop the lid on.

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Mix the olive oil, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper in a serving bowl, tip in the drained greens and toss to coat, then scatter over the crispy nuts and bacon.

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When the gnocchi have been floating for a couple of minutes, drain them and toss with the sauce.

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Season to taste and serve in the pan, or on a nice platter if you have such things. I had a plate. Haha!

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…..and that was what won his heart. 😉

Thai Green Curry

Thai green curry is a favourite in our household. It’s full of flavour, protein, greens and it can be served with rice or a salad depending on the time of day. (I try and get most of my carbohydrates in before lunch so I can burn them off at the gym in the evening.)

There are three elements to this dish. The curry itself, the sides and the paste. This recipe uses a paste which has been created from scratch. If you choose to buy a jar of ready-made green paste, be careful because some brands contain lots of extras like refined white sugar and even shellfish.

Paste Ingredients:

1 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced, OR 3 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass

1/4 can coconut milk

1-3 Thai green chilies OR jalapeno

1 large bunch chopped coriander leaves & stems

1 shallot, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic

1 thumb-size piece ginger, sliced

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (available in most supermarket spice aisles)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Side Ingredients:

A handful of alfalfa/radish sprouts

1 carrot

1 courgette

White rice

A sprinkle of fresh or dried coriander

Curry Ingredients:

1 + 1/2 cups medium-firm tofu, cubed, OR canned chickpeas (your choice)

1 green bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces

1 packet of chopped green beans

3/4 can coconut milk

250ml vegetable stock

A generous sprinkle of basil

Method:

1)      Place all ‘paste’ ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz to create a fragrant green curry paste.

2)      Place a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil and swirl around, then add all the green curry paste you just made. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.

3)      Add the tofu or chickpeas. Stir-fry until well saturated with sauce.

4)      Add the stock. Stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Gently simmer 5 minutes.

5)      Add the coconut milk, plus vegetables and continue simmering 5-7 minutes, or until softened. Then turn the heat to the lowest setting and allow the flavours to infuse.

6)      In the meantime, place your preferred amount of white rice into a pan of boiling water and follow the cooking instructions on the back of the pack. Drain and mix with some chopped coriander.

7)      Place your sprouts on the plate.

8)      Grate the carrot and courgette into strips. (I used the blender grater function for this to save time.)

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9)      To get them into nice balls, place them into a small bowl and place upside down on the plate. Remove and they will stay in place. The same applies to the rice if you wish.

10)   Now it’s time to plate up the curry and enjoy!

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Everyday Chickpea & Quinoa Salad

The British summer is finally upon us and what do you need on a hot summer’s lunchtime or evening? A light, refreshing but filling and healthy salad. I got this recipe from, “Appetite for Reduction.” It is written by the guys who wrote Veganomicon and all the recipes contain less than 450 calories each. So it’s a great book if you’re working on a calorie deficit which you should be if you’re trying to lose weight and body fat.

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Ingredients: Salad

2 big handfuls of quinoa that you have already pre-cooked in boiling water for 20 minutes, drained and allowed to cool. (To make this raw you could use sprouted quinoa.)

1 small red onion, sliced thinly.

1/2 a romaine lettuce, chopped however you like.

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed. (To make this raw you could use sprouted chick peas.)

Ingredients: Dressing

A large handful of cashew nuts. (The non-flavoured or salted kind.)

A large shallot, chopped finely.

A dash of balsamic vinegar.

2 teaspoons of dijon mustard.

1 teaspoon agave nectar

A pinch of sea salt.

Method:

In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the salad ingredients together and leave to one side.

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Then place the cashews and shallot into a food processor and pulse on and off  to get them chopped up quite finely.

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Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and pulse on and off for a couple of minutes until you have a type of paste to pour on top.

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Then eat your delicious salad which is only 375 calories and has 17g of protein. Get in!

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Let’s talk about fats baby! Let’s talk about you & me!

Fat gets a really bad rep in the media. Low fat this and low fat that. A  healthy vegan diet is naturally low in fat. We must strive to remember however that fats help in the transportation of certain vitamins around the body, improve skin and hair, insulate and protect your internal organs and especially the fatty acids, help with nervous function and therefore brain power.

If you eat junk food that is laden with fat and do very little exercise, of course you’re going to put on weight. You can also be at risk of heart disease and cancer. However if you eat a small amount of healthy fat each day, you can improve your health, lose/maintain weight and look great.

So what are the fats to avoid?

Chinese takeways or any takeaways for that matter are often deep fried in vegetable oils or lard. An average takeaway can have up to 20 grams of fat. That’s a woman’s entirely RDA. Having a takeaway isn’t forbidden, but it’s probably better to make it more of a rare thing than a regular thing.

Travel Pictures Ltd

100 grams of crisps (a couple of bags)  contains over 30 grams of fat. Don’t even think about going for the low fat versions either. Cut them out altogether. They are nutritionally void, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or stay fit.

Crisps

Fast food burgers and chips are again absolutely full of fat and especially trans and saturated fat which are really bad for your heart and circulatory system.

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Cakes and sweets are also loaded with unnecessary fat that you don’t need.

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What are good sources of fat then?

Linseed and flaxseed. I put half a teaspoon in a smoothie or on porridge everyday and it doesn’t taste of anything.

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Now this might surprise you, but leafy green vegetables. They don’t provide huge amounts, but they do have enough Omega 3’s to keep you going. I love kale and spinach and I’ll eat it for both lunch and dinner if I can.

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Avocados are quite calorific and that’s because they are full of good fats. As long as you don’t eat like 5 a day, you’ll be fine. I generally have about 3 a week and normally in salad, although I do like making guacamole out of them.

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Nuts and especially almonds and hazelnuts. They are at their best when they are unsalted and eaten as a snack instead of a bag of crisps.   hazelnutsimages

Good luck guys and make healthy choices.

 

 

 

Saf – Kensington

Mykey and I do occasionally like to splash out on an exquisite meal and our visit to Saf in Kensington ticked all of the boxes. Now situated on the first floor of Wholefoods on Kensington High Street, it’s about 200 metres from the tube station.

For an aperitif we had a bourbon cocktail which is described in there menu like this:

Kentucky On My Mind

For those who love to try something different. A very delicate taste of Heaven Hill bourbon mixed with triple sec, fresh apple juice, fresh lemon juice and orange bitters. Served with a slice of dehydrated apple

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It was absolutely delicious and bourbon was of a very high quality and this is coming from someone who normally refuses to drink it because they are a total whiskey snob. (That’ll be me!)

We also had some raw guacamole and crackers whilst we waited for our starters.

Raw Nachos with Guacamole

Hand cut raw potato and courgette nachos served with freshly made guacamole

The guacamole had a very bold feel. You could taste all the individual ingredients. Smooth avocado, crisp lime and a hint of chilli. The nachos were also delicious and they were available to buy from Saf in boxes.

When our starters came we also ordered two large glasses of red wine. It was thick and juicy, just how a red should be.

Malbec, Tizac

Catamarca, Argentina
Cigar box fruit, blackberries with just the right level of tannins are what to expect here.

Mykey had some gyoza and I had some dolmades. (Quite funny seeing as my favourite food is Japanese and his is Italian.)

Spinach & Sorrel Gyoza

Grilled rice pastry dumplings filled with spinach, sorrel and courgettes served with a tamari-sesame vinaigrette

Cheese & Cauliflower Dolmades

£6

Vine leaves stuffed with our signature tarragon cashew cheese, cauliflower rice and fresh herbs, served with lemon-aioli dip and herb oil

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The cashew cheese was to die for. I really need to learn how to make it because they were the best dolmades I have ever eaten. Mykey’s gyozas were smothered in a spiced vinaigrette which gave them a great kick. (Of course I stole a bite. Who wouldn’t?)

For our main courses I went for a raw lasagne and Mykey went for a noodle and tofu dish. Again we both tried each other’s food. The vegetables in Mykey’s dish were cooked to perfection. Not too hard and not too soft and the tofu was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, just the way it should be. The walnut, almond and sun dried tomato sauce on my lasagne totally blew me away. It really made the whole dish, but didn’t overwhelm the other flavours.

Lo Han Chai

An energizing bowl of rice noodles with tamari marinated shiitake mushroom, sautéed baby spinach, mange tout and courgettes, grilled baby corn, grilled organic Saf brand tofu and water chestnuts

Lasagna Verde

Layers of courgette, marinated spinach, walnut almond and sun-dried tomato bolognese and a cashew and yellow pepper béchamel sauce served with a green herb pesto and side salad

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Dessert is quite often off of the menu for us at normal restaurants, so when we go to a vegan place we have to indulge. We shared ice cream and sorbet and also a Victoria sponge trifle. We spent the whole time we were eating the ice cream and sorbet guessing what the flavours were and we were totally wrong when we asked the server what they were. Haha! I still can’t remember what they were, but they were delicious and very unusual combinations. The Victoria sponge trifle is something that I need to go away and learn how to make. That would win Come Dine With Me it was so good. I sat there making mmmmm noises with each mouthful.

Ice Cream & Sorbet

Three scoops of our signature ice cream and sorbet served with crispy rhubarb biscuits. Please ask your server for daily specials

Victoria Sponge Trifle

Traditional and indulgent British pudding done Saf style, with raw vanilla cream, forest berry coulis, and soft sponge cake pieces

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When we had finished our meal, we had to dash because we had spent too much time getting involved with our food that we were running late for our gig that evening. Luckily eating a majority raw and wholefood meal kept us full of energy the whole night and we didn’t feel sluggish at all as we often do after heavy cooked meals.

At £84 it wasn’t cheap, but we did have absolutely everything on the menu including alcohol. I’ll give Saf a 9/10 only because it was so expensive.The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. Well and truly recommended.

http://www.safrestaurant.co.uk

Marinated Italian Tofu

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Flicking through the great book that is Veganomicon, I found a recipe called Marinated Italian Tofu. I decided to make it, even though it was slightly time consuming and the results were fantastic. This was a lovely weekend dinner and for an extra treat I made some garlic bread and I had a rocket salad on the side. Mykey’s favourite food is Italian so you can imagine he was over the moon helping me cook and prepare this meal.

Ingredients

Pack of tofu

Marinade

250ml    white wine (make sure the brand you use is vegan.)

2              tbsp. olive oil

2              tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2              tbsp. tamari

2              tbsp. lemon juice

2              cloves garlic

A handful of fresh basil

1              tsp. marjoram

1              tsp. thyme

Directions

Prepare marinade. Combine all ingredients.

Preheat oven to 400. Cut tofu into eight equal pieces. Marinate for an hour. Flip after 30 minutes.

Place tofu on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for 10 minutes. Place in broiler for 3 minutes. (I didn’t do this. I left the tofu in the marinade and baked for 15 minutes each side in a really hot oven.)

Garlic bread

Ingredients

  • A small loaf of sour dough bread sliced into four. (Mykey and I munched the end pieces he he.)
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Three garlic cloves
  • Margarine (Various vegan brands available.)

Method

 

  • Place all ingredients except bread into a pestle and mortar and grind into a paste.
  • Spread on sour dough and bake for 8 minutes.

Salad

  • A pack of rocket leaves
  • A handful of sun dried tomatoes chopped
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing (mix the two together.)

Then all you have to do is mix all ingredients together and sprinkle some nuts and seeds on top.

Low cholesterol

Low in sugar

Very high in calcium

High in phosphorus

Very high in vitamin A

Very high in vitamin B12

Very high in vitamin E

Approx nutritional values: 450 calories, 10 g fat, 38g carbohydrates and 14g protein.

Abokado

I was having a rough time one evening so I decided to go and stay with Mykey in Catford and drop him off to work the next day in Farringdon. Of course as always he was a great help in lifting my mood and keeping me company.

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When I went to drop him off at work the next day, I was left with an hour to burn before I could catch the train home and decided to have a look around for somewhere to eat. I stumbled across a small Japanese café that appeared to have a few things I could eat. I was amazed when I walked through the door to find a treasure trove of not only vegan but seriously healthy options for me to have for breakfast. I stood there for a good ten minutes before I finally decided on a falafel wrap (not very Japanese I know), sea weed salad and a soya latte. All of this cost me under a fiver! What a result!?

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I told Mykey about Abokado and every day that week he sent me pictures of all the yummy food he was having whilst I was at work. Nice of him wasn’t it?

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I have since discovered that Abokado have 13 establishments throughout London and have a dedication to providing healthy food for all. Most vegan meals tend to be less than 400 calories and are certainly filling. The website also has extensive nutritional information and everything which is vegan is marked with a VE.

Pros

  • Healthy
  • Cheap
  • Friendly and knowledgeable staff

Cons

  • Only available in London currently
  • Not an entirely vegan chain
  • Not really any bagel or cake options for vegans

Check them out! 8/10

http://abokado.com/

abokado

 

Simple Quinoa Salad

This is often a staple for me when I am out on the road driving all over the country, or if I have a busy day at work. As you can see from the picture below, I am eating this at my desk.

Ingredients:

A handful of quinoa

½ Courgette

A few strips of dulse

¼ Cucumber

A handful of sprouted beans

Basil

Soy Sauce

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
  • Chop the courgette into half-moon shapes and place in a baking tray with a drizzle of coconut oil. Then sprinkle with sea salt. Place in the oven for 20 minutes and then leave to cool on the side before mixing with other ingredients.
  • Heat up a small pan of water and cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions. (You can set this up whilst the courgette is baking.)
  • Chop up the cucumber and tomato and place in a bowl.
  • Mixed in cooled and drained quinoa and courgettes.
  • Sprinkle with dulse strips, basil, soy sauce, sea salt and black pepper.
  • Mix with a spoon to give the ingredients good distribution throughout the dish.

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