Friday, 28 June 2013

Banana, Date PB Green Smoothie- vegan

This smoothie is a beautiful bright green

Now here's a major confession: I often pride myself on my sensible approach to diet and nutrition, but when it comes to spinach I'm ashamed to say I'm like a fussy kid! Trouble is, I just can't stand the taste or smell or texture of it once it's cooked and I find it impossible to force myself to eat it, healthy as I know it is. I can do raw baby spinach in salads and sandwiches, no problem, so one morning I thought: a raw green smoothie-well why not? And I'm happy to say I downed it all, so I'm now working on ideas for kale and callaloo, as I'm not overkeen on those when cooked either. 

This recipe makes 2 large servings- enough for a really energising breakfast: 1 cup= 250ml.
1 cu (pressed down) fresh washed and torn spinach leaves
6 stoned dried dates
1 tab unsweetened peanut butter
plant milk of your choice (I used unsweetened soya milk- you could use rice, hemp, almond, oat etc.)- exactly how much is up to you.
  • Blend the spinach, dates and peanut butter together.
  • Add the milk last, and use enough to make the desired consistency.

If you are a reluctant cooked leaf-eater like me, you might want to try out kale chips, which are highly nutritious and a great antidote to a pile of slimy cooked greens! I also hear that semi-cooked/  warmed kale in salads is great, so if you've ever made or eaten that, I'd love to hear from you...

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Vegan Thursday: Brown Rice Peas- and- Seeds Pulao, gluten free

This is a complete meal, especially if you add some salad to boost up the veg content, as it contains protein from all 4 sources: pulses, nuts, seeds and grains.
This meal is simple to make, packed with protein, fibre and carbs, and altogether pretty darn healthy and satisfying. We think it's a great Vegan Thursdays recipe, and one that should appeal to you whatever your usual diet. The green peas could also be wholly or partly replaced by chana (chickpeas) and you could also use whatever nuts and seeds you have to hand- though our choice of cashews and pumpkin seeds was particularly yummy! If you'd like to make this yourself, scroll down to the recipe:

It also looks very attractive. We also added some sev/chevda spicy mix and tomato ketchup, for an instant bhel puri-
cum-tava pulao-style street food experience (and ate it before I could take any pictures!)

One cup =250ml, and this recipe serves 6-8, or more if you add chevda and chutney/ ketchup/ brown sauce.
2 cups organic long-grain brown rice, washed and soaked
1 cup green peas, cooked
1 cup sweetcorn kernels, cooked
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup cashew pieces
2 bell peppers, chopped and de-seeded
seasalt to taste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
soy sauce of your choice to taste
a little unrefined sunflower oil for frying
  • First, cook the rice in twice the amount of water with a pinch of salt. Ensure that it has absorbed all the cooking water.
  • In your tava or wok, lightly roast the nuts and seeds in the oil. Stir-fry the peppers, add the peas and corn and throw in the nuts and seeds. Add the seasonings.
  • Finally, add the cooked rice and mix everything well, heating gently and thoroughly. Adjust the seasonings now if you like.
  • Serve with sev mamra and chutney mixed in, accompanied by a salad, with a dollop of tahini, or just as it is.

This also goes to "Dish it Out" pulses and vegetables event for June, hosted this month by Vardhini over at:

Oh, and while we're on the subject of events, stay tuned for our roundup of June's Chia Champions event on 30.6.13, and news of our new Ingredient of the Month and associated event on 1.7.13!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Seed-Enriched Eggless Mayo

This makes a great dressing for a slaw

This week has been very busy for us- exams now over, the kids have propelled themselves into a social whirl which so far has included Leavers' Day and preparations for their prom, culminating last night in our daughter's art exam piece being shown at BCU Birmingham School of Art at an exhibition of the best submissions in the area- of which we are very proud indeed. Of course all this has meant very little time to cook at a leisurely pace and try out new stuff, so today's post is less of a recipe, more of an idea which I came up with about ten days ago.
It came about when I wanted to make coleslaw and found there was very little Orgran No Egg left with which to make the mayo, so I livened it up with salt, hing, black pepper and a few spoonfuls of ground mixed flax and chia seeds, which really gave a great texture. Their somewhat earthy flavour was sharpened up by adding plenty of lemon juice and dry mustard powder. Result: yummy and nutritious slaw!

Just whisk it all together!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Meal Concept of the Week: Mushy Peas 'n' Chips the Healthy Way

It's not hard to make this popular takeaway meal vegan and healthier!
Those of you who are regular readers will know that we just love taking traditional and usually unhealthy dishes and veganising them, making them more wholesome along the way too. Sometimes the new versions take longer to prepare, but sometimes -like this one- they are ridiculously easy. Not as easy, granted, as going to your local chip shop or popping a couple of cartons into the microwave, but then eating out and re-heated food is not what we're all about here. 
You may also remember that we order stuff from Suma Wholefoods every few months, and this week amongst the sacks and boxes were several kilos of marrowfat dried green peas. They are traditionally English, versatile and also very reasonably priced. Despite the unappealing name, they are well worth trying for their creamy texture and delicate flavour.
Mushy peas and chips is a perennial takeaway favourite for a Saturday night treat  (although according to the latest poll chip shops have now been beaten into third place by Chinese and Indian takeaways). Take a simple and vitamin-rich leafy salad, some dried marrowfat peas, a few potatoes and a little quality oil (we used virgin sunflower) and you're good to go...

Soaked, then cooked in a pressure cooker, mushy peas virtually make themselves! The big advantage. is you can control the amount of salt that goes into them. If you want to preserve the green colour, then I'm told bicarb is the thing to add. Don't put too much water in the pan- use just enough to cover them. When they are sufficiently mushy, just add salt,  plus a little black pepper if you like.

These non-fried "chips" are just as yummy as the traditional fried version. They are cut thicker so as to absorb less oil  in relation to their volume, and left unpeeled for extra crispness and fibre. Just cut, steam and lay on an oiled baking tray with about 30ml oil per 5 portions- that's only just over a teaspoon of oil in each portion. Use an unrefined oil with a high smoke point to minimise health risks and bake at 200C, turning from time to time.

Finally, there's nothing like fresh salad from your own garden to boost up the nutritional value of any meal. We used homegrown courgette flowers, lettuce and rocket with tomatoes- you could also throw in beansprouts, cucumber or radishes. Keep the dressing simple; just lemon juice and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, and don't add avocado either if you're concerned about calories and fat content- even though it is good oil.

If you were inspired by this post, you might also like:
which shows you how to make burger and chips much more healthy!