Friday, 31 January 2014

Breakfast Smoothie Come Chill With Me

Smoothies, healthy shakes, little jars of yumminess, whatever you want to call them, they're damn tasty.

I've never been a breakfast eater, I know I know, apparently I'm missing the most important meal blah blah blah. But the thing is, I'm just never that hungry in the mornings, especially at the ungodly hour before work! The thought of shoveling down any kind of food before 11am does not sit well.
I personally believe it's better to listen to your body, because it will tell you what it wants. So for that reason, I eat when I'm hungry, not when the clock tells me too. (However if there is chocolate cake or peanut butter within my reach I will happily munch away even when my stomach is shouting I AM FULL.)

I find smoothies great to drink after I've done a workout, because by the time late morning rolls around I'm usually getting peckish. I don't like cereals and toast is a no no as it leaves me feeling bloated and just a bit yuck. 
So what can I devour that will keep my stomach happy, body strong and skin glowing? 

Here's what I put into mine
1 Fresh banana
Few pieces of frozen banana
1-2 tbsp Mixed frozen berries
1 tbsp Ground oats
1 tbsp Ground flax seed
1 tbsp Almond butter
About 2-3 floz Soya milk
2-3 floz Ice cold water

Then I just blend it all up and enjoy!

Happy blending! x

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Cold little day calls for Apple Sauce

Today has been cold here in Bristol. Clouds have covered the sky like some strange blanket that keeps the heat out and the cold in. I wanted to bake something little, something that would leave the smell of warm spice throughout our tiny flat.
Apple Sauce is lovely, eat it spread on warm toast or use it in your baking. It's nice on breakfast-y things too like porridge or granola.

And it's really really simple to make. I tend to make mine in small batches, because then I always have fresh sauce and can keep it in any little glass jars I have lying around.


Apples - I use 2-3
Large pinch of cinnamon
little pinch of grated nutmeg - if you like
2 floz water
1-2 tbsps of agave/maple syrup depending on how sweet you like it
Juice of half a small lemon - depending on how sharp you like it
Splash of vanilla extract

All you need to do is chop up your apples, I don't peel mine as I like how the peel gives it a rustic taste. Now add them to your trusty pan along with the spices, water, syrup and lemon. Give it all a good stir and simmer it gently on a low heat for about 5-10mins, until the chunks of apple are mushy.
Now remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. If you wish you can use a hand blender to blend it all into a smooth sauce, adding a little bit more hot water if needed. Or if your like it chunky then no need to blend, just let it cool slightly and then transfer to a glass jar, preferably airtight.
And that's it.

Happy baking! x

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Kale Is Fabulous Don't You Know

I think I may have started a love affair with Kale...shhh don't tell T....
I just can't help it, it tastes so good and I don't even have to cook it I can just EAT IT. All of it, as much as I like because It's GOOD FOR ME.
Yep that was my lunch....and it tasted GOOOOOOOD.

I had a tiny amount of avocado pesto noodles left over from dinner last night, so I stirred them into a big old bunch of kale, added a handful of mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower and linseed) and drizzled on some olive oil.

But of course that lunch was way too healthy, I had to go and spoil my health kick didn't I...
Actually, It wasn't my fault. I'm trying to perfect a recipe for Vegan Caramel, and well I had to taste it!

Sea Salt and Vanilla flavour

The flavour was good, but the texture needs work, I want them to be chewier. These came out soft and they melt in your mouth rather lovely, however they didn't have enough substance to them. I think next time I will try reducing the boiling time, and maybe adding a syrup as well as brown sugar. 
Any suggestions are most welcome :)
I'll share my recipe once I'm satisfied it's the best! 

Hope you're all having a wonderful Wednesday! x

Monday, 27 January 2014

Divine Tooth Ache

Crumbly Vanilla and Cardamon Fudge

Ah, the wonder that is fudge, the fabulous treat to be enjoyed when at the seaside, at Granny's house and, now that I know how to make it, in my own kitchen. I've been playing around with Vegan fudge for a while now, trying different flavour combinations of course, but also with the texture. This recipe produces crumbly, fall apart, melt in your mouth fudge, which I prefer due to it being really light and almost fluffy...yes, fudge can be fluffy.
And lets face it, nothing beats homemade fudge, and it's not as tricky to make as you may think! 
I'll be sharing a few recipes with you, each with it's own groovy beat. This one is a nice and simple, basic fudge to start us off!


300 ml Soya milk, sweetened and full fat - none of that 'light soya' here, good heavens we're making fudge my dear!
350 g/12 oz Golden caster sugar
50 g/2 oz Vegan butter - I use the make 'Pure'
50 g/2 oz Coconut oil
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Ground cardamon - Bash the cardamon pods with a pestle and mortar, then remove the husks, being careful to shake all the seeds from them and then grind the seeds.

Go grab your wooden spoon! You also need the trusty pan that you use to make jams, raspberry sauce and caramel in.
Now go and either angle you TV so you can see it from your cooker, or put some music on or grab a'll see why.

Put the soya milk, vegan butter, coconut oil and sugar into the pan and heat it slowly until it's all melted and combined.
Now, this is where the TV/book/music comes in handy, because once everything has melted, you need to boil the mixture and stir it continuously for about 15 minutes, or until it gets to 'soft ball' stage. 
Soft ball stage is easy to detect, if you've got a candy thermometer use that, or if not use a glass of water! Simply keep a glass of ice cold water near the pan, after about 10mins dip a teaspoon into the fudge mixture and plunge it into the cold water. Quickly reach in and grab the piece of fudge floating in the water and roll it between you fingers. You want it to feel soft but able to roll it into a ball. If it's not quite there keep boiling and keep checking.
Once it's ready, take it off the heat immediately and stir in the vanilla extract and cardamon.
Leave it to cool for 5mins and then give it a good stir to take away the glossy layer. 
Line a tray/tin with baking paper and spread it out to the thickness you want.
Leave it to set at room temperature.

And there you go! Easy Vegan Fudge.

Watch this space for more vegan fudge recipes!

Happy baking! x

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A Simple Lunch With Lots Of Crunch

Kale and Seed Salad


Bunch of kale
Bunch of spinach
2 Small mushrooms, roughly chopped or pulled apart
Tofu - as much as you like!
1 Small mild chili or 1/2 tsp of chopped chilies from jar
Handful of mixed nuts and seeds, I used pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and linseed with a couple of cashews and almonds
1 tbsp Coconut oil and 1 tsp coconut oil
Large pinch of salt
Large pinch of black pepper
1 Sun dried tomato, chopped

Firstly, roughly tear up the spinach and kale and mix together in a bowl. Then add the teaspoon of coconut oil and rub it into the kale and spinach to soften it up a bit.
Now pull apart or roughly chop the mushrooms (the large flat mushrooms work well too!) and add them to the bowl along with the sun dried tomato, handful of mixed seeds and salt and pepper.
In a pan, fry the tofu in the coconut oil, along with the chili. Stir it around so the tofu browns on all sides. This should only take about 5 minutes.
Now simply pour the tofu, chilies and coconut oil from the pan into the bowl and mix so it's all combined.
Pop it into your favourite bowl and enjoy with peppermint tea.

Happy eating! x

Friday, 17 January 2014

These past few months...

Life seems to being spinning around quite quickly these days...
I was just looking through some photo's and already what happened a couple of months ago feels like a different world.

In Autumn there was wandering around multi-coloured trees, a cold day of much needed fresh air after a weekend of board games and drinking with good friends.
There was good coffee with T as the days grew colder still.
My little brother graduated University! We all went to the cathedral and then ate celebratory chips in an old, tiny cafe.
With T, taking a break from the Christmas shopping.
Baking the Christmas pudding.
Christmas parties.
My lovely mums birthday, on the winter solstice. I baked her a chocolate and roasted hazelnut cake with chocolate truffles.
A mini Christmas dinner with T.
Hot chocolate on wintry evenings, curled up on the sofa with T and the newspaper.
Gifts from T.
Christmas dinner with my family.
Billy and Bitsy's new crocheted jumpers to keep them warm until summer arrives.
New clothes from the sales!
Coffee on a sunny Saturday spent wandering around town with T, breathing in the new year.

My new year's resolutions are more simple this year - 

Enjoy everyday things more (like try to actually enjoy my morning run!)
Stop worrying about spending money so much and do more (is one more night out really going to break the bank?!)
Don't feel guilty about going here there and everywhere (I want to explore)
Finish writing my book (most important, if I don't do it this year, I doubt I ever will)
Stop eating crisps and stop drinking fizzy drinks (I don't even like them, I just eat them because they're there. Doh!)
Cut out palm oil from my diet (Being vegan is something that I stand, over everything else, recently I have learned more about palm oil and where it comes from. So now I say NO to palm oil.)
Keep smiling
Keep laughing
Keep loving


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

You're So Yummy

So you want something healthy (since it's still January) but you also want to sit on the sofa in front of the TV and not move. This can be a common problem...and because the sofa and TV option usually wins...this CAN lead to over use of your local takeaway/chip shop/fast food shop/bag of frozen chips in your freezer.....
So here we go, no fuss food that is damn fine on your plate and keeps your body looking damn fine too :)

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Couscous with Salted Asparagus and Spinach

This is such an easy meal I make it far too much, and you can vary the ingredients to suit what you have in your fridge, winner winner!

In here I've used...(made enough for about four people, or two very hungry people!)
Half a butternut squash
One sweet potato
Can of mixed beans 
One large white onion (red onion is a win too!)
Two cloves garlic

Bunch of asparagus 
Chopped chilies
Cayenne Pepper
Juice of half a lemon
Few table spoons of olive oil
About four handfuls of couscous

The great thing about this dish is you don't have to be too precise, the more rustic the better!

So, all you need to do, is peel the butternut squash and sweet potato and cut into chunks.
Peel and chop the onion into rough chunks
Pop it all into a baking dish, along with a couple of good pinches of salt, a good grinding of pepper and about a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Chop up a chili (or use a teaspoon of ready chopped chilies) and add that to the dish
Take your garlic cloves and lightly crush them, leave the skin on and pop them into the dish too.
Add your can of mixed beans and a good glug of olive oil to the dish and mix it all up. Get your hands involved so everything is coated in the oil and spices.

Now simply cover with some tin foil and bang it in the oven at 200c. 
Now go sit on the sofa and watch TV :)
Check it after about half and hour, give it a stir and poke it with a fork to see how tender the squash and potato is. When it's soft you can turn the oven down to around 180c.

For the asparagus...
Simple trim the ends or snap (A good tip! hold the asparagus at both ends, gently bend it and it should naturally snap in the place where it starts to get 'woody' at the end)
Now lay them in a baking tray, cover with good pinch of salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Now lightly coat your hands in olive oil and rub the asparagus so that they're completely coated in the oil, salt, pepper and lemon.
Pop them in the oven for about 5-10mins until soft.

Whilst they're roasting pour boiling water over your couscous and then once fluffy add it to the potato and squash dish.

Serve with spinach and hummous!

Enjoy! :)