Make Ahead Monday (MOFO) – English Onion Soup

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My theme for this year’s Vegan MOFO is using recipes from old cookbooks that you owned before your vegan days. Therefore it’s only fitting for me to start with my first favourite book!

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Can we just take a second to appreciate how well loved this book looks? My favourite Jamie Oliver book has seen plenty of splashes! I remember making an incredibly cheesy pasta dish from this book with purple sprouting broccoli. It was one of the first meals I cooked for a group of people and I was very proud. I’d find it very difficult to part with this book which is good because there is no need! The book includes some vegan/gluten free recipes and a number which can be adapted.

For my first Make-Ahead Monday post I’ve adapted a beautiful soup which focusses on English onions and herbs and is topped with some devilish cheesy bread. It makes around 8 bowls and can be happily frozen and defrosted. This is my adaptation of English Onion Soup with Sage and Cheddar.

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At first glance this recipe is a minefield. It contains knobs of butter, gluten filled bread, gooey cheese and anchovy filled worcestershire sauce.

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There are a number of butter substitutes in the supermarkets now and Pure is one of my favourites. I started the soup of with a spoonful of their olive margarine and the onions were sizzling away in no time.

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The recipe calls for red onions, white onions, shallots and leeks. These are cooked for almost an hour so that they slowly soften and almost caramelise. I replaced the sage for tarragon as it gives a gorgeous earthy flavour which matches so well with the sweet onions.

The recipe suggests “2 litres of good quality beef, chicken or vegetable stock”. It’s easy enough to find a vegan vegetable stock cube but if you are coeliac like me then it also needs to be gluten free. My favourite brand for this is Kallo who I’ll be discussing this in tomorrow’s Tuesday Tips so remember to come back!

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Jamie then cooks his soup for 15 minutes while he prepares his cheese on toast. There are a multitude of cheese substitutes out there which would do this dish justice but I decided to go in a different direction and make some garlic bread to top my soup with. Here you can see I have used Dietary Specials (DS) white ciabattas which are my favourite go-to bread replacer. They also work really well here as they don’t fall apart in the soup.

I topped the ciabattas with a thick layer of Pure Olive spread and sprinkled powdered garlic and mixed herbs over them before putting them under the grill until browned. I then added them to the top of my bowl of soup and put them back under to finish. Don’t forget to add a liberal sprinkling of vegan worcestershire sauce for a nice spicy edge! I use Biona but there are a few different brands. I also added a sprinkling of nutritional yeast on the top for some added cheesiness.

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And here is my finished product! I put the leftovers into freezer bags and they lasted a couple of weeks. They would have lasted longer but I couldn’t resist!

For the full original recipe please look in the Jamie at Home book.

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Have you had any luck in veganising any recipes from Jamie Oliver’s books?

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Categories: Cookbooks, Vegan MOFO 2014 | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

Apple Pie Smoothie (Vegan/GF)

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Last week something marvellous happened. We got a break from the horrible hot weather and had a couple of days that were reminiscent of autumn! I will admit that I’m probably the only person in the country to be happy when I opened my curtains and found it was raining and a bit chilly. What can I say? As much as I love wearing floaty skirts and eating picnics in the sun, Autumn is my natural time of the year. The rain immediately had me craving cinnamon and I headed into the kitchen to see what I could rustle up.

I named this the apple pie smoothie because it contained the spices that I love sprinkling over apples before cooking them. I added some frozen bananas, a sweet red apple and a splash of coconut milk and had a gorgeous mid morning smoothie!

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Apple Pie Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 frozen bananas

1 red apple

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

a splash of coconut milk (the carton kind – I use Koko brand)

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Method:

Put all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth!

Feel free to change the amounts of the above ingredients depending on how you like your smoothies. The more banana and less milk you use, the thicker your drink will be. You can also adapt the spices to your own taste buds.

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Do you miss your autumn treats in the summer?

Categories: My Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vegan Four Seasons Pizza with a Sweet Potato Crust (GF)

 

For my birthday last year I was given a copy of the Flying Apron Cookbook by my boyfriend. I had never before heard of Flying Apron but was delighted to find out that it was a gluten free and vegan bakery which can be found in Seattle and Redmond, America. Their book includes a beautiful recipe for gluten free and vegan sweet potato bread which I have used a few times now to make loaves. This week I decided to try out the other suggestion in the book which was to use the dough to make pizza bases instead.

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All I had to decide on then were the toppings! Whenever I used to go out for pizzas I was always intrigued by the four seasons, a pizza which is divided into quarters and topped with mushrooms, pepperoni, anchovies and capers. This meaty, cheesy and gluten containing pizza is obviously not suitable for me! I decided to create a take on this classic pizza using fresh vegetables to replace the meat and as you can see, the result is a colourful and healthy alternative. It almost certainly tastes a lot better too.

Ingredients – Makes 2 pizzas

1 recipe – Flying Apron Bakery House Bread

1 tin of tomato puree

4 types of vegetable (I used tomatoes, peppers, spinach and mushrooms)

mixed herbs

garlic granules

nutritional yeast

salt and pepper

Method

1) Follow the directions in the recipe to make the dough for your pizza bases.

2) Split the dough into two halves and roll each one out to your desired thickness

3) Rub olive oil into both sides of each base and lay onto 2 baking trays.

4) Cut off the excess dough to make the bases into long rectangles (note – I used the off trimmings to make breadsticks to dip in hummus!)

5) Spread the tomato puree onto the bases and then top with your desired toppings, ensuring the layers do not overlap.

6) Sprinkle with the herbs, garlic, nutritional yeast and salt/pepper.

7) Bake at 180 for around 15-20 minutes

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Who says vegans can’t have good pizza? What are your favourite toppings?

Categories: Cookbooks, My Recipes, Other Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ten Acre Crisps – Gluten Free and Vegan! (Part 1)

I try to stick to a whole food diet most of the time but anyone who knows me will know my one weakness is crisps. I’m a connoisseur of the ready salted variety which is usually the only option to a gluten free vegan in this country. I do often think back to the days when I had a wide choice of flavours, my favourites being cheese and onion, smoky bacon and prawn cocktail. Licking the flavoured orange powder off my fingers afterwards was especially delightful. I was therefore very excited when I came across a brand of crisps called Ten Acre.

Although not widely available, this relatively new brand is available in selected shops. All of the eight flavours are suitable for vegans (even the cheese and onion!) and are also gluten and MSG free. They each have a quirky tale attached to them which you can read on the brilliant Ten Acre website. I’ve never seen such an interactive and intriguing website to advertise food before! A few months ago I was lucky enough to be sent some of these crisps to review and eagerly ripped open the package when they arrived! Here I will talk about four of the flavours I tried but please check back next week for the other four!

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The first flavour I tried was “The Secret of Mr Salt” which would have been the one I’d have picked up first in the shop as it’s my old standby flavour! The texture of the crisps is what struck me most here. At first I thought they were rather on the thin side but once I started eating them I realised how perfect the thickness was. They were extremely crunchy and morish and had just enough salt on them. These would be a firm favourite if they were available close to me! I soon moved onto the more adventurous flavours though…

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“How Chicken Soup Saved The Day” were amongst my favourites of the bunch. I loved Roast Chicken flavour crisps as a child so these were very exciting. Obviously these crisps are vegan and so contain no real chicken flavour. This makes them the perfect replacement for the vegetarians/vegans who are now being deprived of Walkers Roast Chicken flavour due to the real meat juices contained in them! The flavourings in these crisps focus mostly on the herbs parsley and sage. The flavour is deliciously savoury and remarkably chicken like! To see the rest of the ingredients and read the story behind the Chicken Soup click here.

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One of my favourite flavours of crisps used to be sweet chilli (I’m mainly thinking of Walkers Sensations!) so I thought I knew what to expect here. However while Sensations were very spicy to my palate, “When The Chilli Got Sweet” was a slightly sweeter flavour. This meant that the flavour could come through better and you could eat them forever without your mouth burning!

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When Hickory Got BBQ’d” was another of my favourites. These gorgeous crisps are flavoured with paprika, cayenne and smoke flavourings and capture the perfect BBQ flavour! Another example of how a traditionally meaty crisp can be vegan!

Please check back next week when I’ll be reviewing the other four flavours – cheese and onion, salt and vinegar, sweet & sour and bombay.

Have you tried Ten Acre Crisps yet? If not which flavour are you most interested in?

Categories: Reviews, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Gluten Free and Vegan Foody Christmas

 

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I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and a wonderful start to the New Year! As you would expect, I indulged in some new recipes over Christmas. My Christmas cake this year was a gluten free and vegan fruit cake which I decorated in a pink and purple theme for a change. It wasn’t a traditional Christmas cake as it didn’t have any alcohol in it and was very much a moist ginger cake with mixed fruit inside. I love marzipan but only ever eat it at Christmas so there was a thick layer underneath the icing!

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One of the most common questions I get when people find out I’m vegan is “what do you eat for Christmas dinner?” Many vegans are fans of a traditional nut roast or a meat substitute for their dinners but I fancied something different this year. I had a roasted butternut squash which was stuffed with mushrooms and chestnuts and tasted deliciously festive. It was served with the traditional roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips and some sprouts. Unfortunately I missed out on buying a gluten free Christmas pudding so I had the slightly less traditional dessert of strawberry and ginger crumble. It tasted much nicer than any Christmas pudding would have!

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What were your favourite foods over Christmas? Do you stick with the traditional menu or try to experiment a bit more?

 

 

Categories: My Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Vegan and Gluten Free Roast Dinner – The Egg Cafe

The Egg Cafe is a small vegetarian cafe located in the centre of Liverpool which is loved by vegans and vegetarians alike. It has a wonderfully bohemian atmosphere, increased by the long shared tables and the remarkable artwork which adorns the walls (which is often for sale!). The food is delicious, cheap and plentiful making it a favourite of mine. It was therefore the first place I thought of when me and my boyfriend were looking for food in Liverpool before a gig a couple of weeks back. As it was a Sunday I was extremely excited to find that on their specials board they were boasting a Sunday roast which was both vegan and gluten free! I eagerly handed over my £6 and was presented with this feast.

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The Egg’s food is good, homemade and rustic looking. It’s designed to taste delicious and as you can see, there is no pretentiousness here! The plate above is loaded up with nut roast, roasted potatoes and parsnips, mashed sweet potato and a whole host of boiled vegetables. It is then topped with a gorgeous gravy and a dollop of cranberry sauce. Needless to say, I couldn’t even get through half of this plate!

The next time you’re in Liverpool you should definitely check out The Egg Cafe just off Bold Street. To find out more about this amazing place (and see the menu) have a look at their website here.

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Where are your favourite places to eat out?

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Superfudgy Coconut Cookie Bars

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When I first went vegan I received The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions for Christmas. It’s a very useful book with substitution ideas and recipes for all sorts of dietary requirements including Cheese, Egg, Gluten and Sugar. Back then I was only interested in eating vegan but since I gave up gluten I’ve been exploring this book again.

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This week I decided to try one of the cookie recipes and due to the over-abundance of coconut I seemed to have in my kitchen, I decided to go with these Superfudgy Coconut Cookie Bars. I won’t lie, the name persuaded me to check this recipe out!

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These cookie bars taste deliciously naughty but are full of nutritional ingredients! The bars contain coconut, pecans, flaxseed meal, orange juice and chocolate chips. The texture is rather like a coconut brownie bar, rich and satisfying. The recipe seemed overly complicated with the ingredients needing to be cooked on the hob before going into the oven but it was simpler than it looked and it was definitely worth the work!

Get your copy of The Complete Guide to Vegan Substitutions here.

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What are your go to brownie recipes?

Categories: Cookbooks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pakistani Lentil Balls in Fragrant Stew

I don’t know about you but whenever I’m at a train station and I’ve got time to spare I always come out with at least one magazine. A couple of months back I took my mum to see the Boomtown Rats in Manchester for her birthday and I ended up browsing the shelves in the WHSmith’s at Liverpool Lime Street. I came across a real gem in the form of a totally vegan magazine! In the UK there are a couple of quite good vegetarian magazines which I read on a regular basis but I’ve never seen a vegan one before so I snapped this one up.

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The Tasty Vegan bookazine is a cross between a magazine and a cook book. It contains 100 recipes and many of them are suitable for those of us that are gluten free! So far I’ve tried a couple of recipes from the guide. Firstly I tried the Polenta with Porcini Mushrooms which I ate too fast to take a photo of! It was delicious comfort food though. This week I made the Pakistani Lentil Balls.

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The lentil balls were almost like meatballs in texture and were a delicious alternative to dumplings. They were made with green lentils, potato, onion and spices and were fried before added to the top of the aromatic vegetable stew. The stew was made with carrots and green beans and was cooked in a red thai curry sauce. It was a dish that I never would have thought of myself and it was an amazing winter warmer!

To try this recipe and 99 others I urge you to pick up your own copy of Tasty Vegan. Watch this space as I try more recipes from the amazing magazine!

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Have you already got a copy of Tasty Vegan? Which recipes would you recommend?

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vegan MoFo Round Up!

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has read along with my A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism theme for my first Vegan MoFo. It’s been really fun writing it and I very almost hit my goal of posting every day!

Also, thank you to all the bloggers who have been involved in this year’s MoFo, I’ve got a huge list of pinned recipes to try out and I’m going to try and work my way through them over the next few weeks! I’ve found a lot of brilliant new blogs to add to my reader too.

Here is a summary of my A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism (Vegan MoFo Year 1!)

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Vegan MoFo #1 – The month started off with a post where I got to know british followers and bloggers! It’s been really great getting to know you all and I’ve loved reading your blogs.

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Vegan MoFo #2 – With my vegan origin story I went back to the start of my gluten free veganism journey and took you along with me.

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Vegan MoFo #3 (A – Aubergine) – I shared a smoky aubergine and courgette stew, the perfect dish for autumn!

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Vegan MoFo #4 (B – Broad Beans) – How I came to like broad beans in a creamy soup!

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Vegan MoFo #5 (C- Calcium) – A useful guide on how to keep calcium levels up on a vegan diet.

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Vegan MoFo #6 (D – DS Ciabattas) – I shared a useful gluten free and vegan bread which is easy to find in supermarkets.

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Vegan MoFo #7 (E – Eggs) – An explanation of why I’ll never eat another egg.

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Vegan MoFo #8 (F – FAQs) – Frequently asked questions and answers about gluten free veganism.

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Vegan MoFo #9 (G – Gingerbread Men) – Some gorgeous little gluten free and vegan treats!

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Vegan MoFo #10 (H – Happy) – The way veganism makes me feel!

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Vegan MoFo #11 (I – Iron) – A quick guide to keeping your iron levels up in a vegan diet.

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Vegan MoFo #12 (J – Jelly) – Vegan jelly crystals!

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Vegan MoFo #13 (K – Kitchens) – How to share a kitchen and still eat gluten free.

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Vegan MoFo #14 (L – Lunch) – Tips on how to pack a vegan and gluten free lunch to take to work.

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Vegan MoFo #15 (M – Milk) – My journey to plant based milk

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Vegan MoFo #16 (N – Nakd Bars) – A review of my favourite snacks

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Vegan MoFo #17 (Observers) – My two babies!

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Vegan MoFo #18 (P – Pastry) – A gluten free vegan pastry breakthrough!

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Vegan MoFo #19 (Q – Quinoa) – Protein packed goodness!

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Vegan MoFo #20 (R – Risotto) – A carrot and coriander risotto recipe

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Vegan MoFo #21 (S – Snacks) – Gluten free and vegan snacking!

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Vegan MoFo #22 (T – Tomatoes) – A round up of my favourite tomato recipes.

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Vegan MoFo #23 (U – Utensils) – My top 5 kitchen essentials

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Vegan MoFo #24 (V – The Vegg) – The amazing vegan egg yolk

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Vegan MoFo #25 (W – Walnuts) – One of my favourite nuts!

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Vegan MoFo #26 (X – Xanthan Gum) – The must have ingredient for gluten free baking

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Vegan MoFo #27 (Y & Z – Yummy Zero Zebra Bars) – Some gorgeous children friendly vegan chocolate

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So that’s this year’s MoFo over! Check back here over the next few weeks as I work my way through the recipes I’ve accumulated!

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Now a quick question… what do you want to see on this blog? I’m going to reorganise my themes this week so if there are specific types of things you’d like to read about please let me know!

Categories: Uncategorized, Vegan Mofo | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vegan Mofo #27 – A-Z of Gluten Free Veganism (Yummy Zero Zebra Bars)

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OK guys, I’m aware that I am cheating twice here!

1) The last day of Vegan MoFo was yesterday

2) I’m doing Y and Z together

I’m sorry for missing the last day of MoFo! Hopefully this chocolate review will make up for it!

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Zero Zebra are a small brand that make dairy and allergen free chocolate aimed at children. Their products are all free of allergens, fair trade, vegan and organic and so are perfect for vegan or lactose intolerant kids. I bought one of each of their three chocolate bars to give a try.

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Their original bar is a gorgeous rice based milk chocolate. Many vegan milk chocolates can be too bitter or grainy but this is soft, creamy and delicious.

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I expected the Crispy Rice Pop bar to be reminiscent of the Nestle Crunch Bars that I used to adore before I was vegan (and before I gave up eating Nestle!). It is not like these bars at all but don’t let that put you off! The rice pops are scattered through this bar but there aren’t so many that the quality of the chocolate is hidden. It’s a creamy bar with small crunchy bits.

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This is the bar I was most excited to try. My favourite flavour in everything used to be strawberry so a vegan milk chocolate with strawberry is right up my street. This bar wasn’t what I was expecting at all but it was delicious nonetheless. It actually contains dried bits of strawberry so the fake sugary strawberry flavour I was expecting was replaced by a more realistic sweet strawberry flavour. This is sure to be a favourite amongst kids!

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Overall I think these bars are fantastic. They are a lot bigger than most vegan milk chocolate treats at 35g and I didn’t feel like eating another bar once I’d finished! I think the cute packaging and the shape of the bars will stop children from becoming jealous of the kids with the milky bars and parents can be sure that they are allergen free!

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What are your favourite vegan chocolates?

Categories: Reviews, Vegan Mofo | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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