Friday, 21 June 2013

Date and Nut Logs-vegan sweets free from added sugar

A larger-than-life closeup reveals their true yumminess...
All week we've been munching on these amazing, naturally sweet fruit and nut snacks which my husband made. It all started with a bag of trail mix, a bag of sunflower seeds and a bag of dates from Poundland...

Using the grating attachment on our Magimix, he made a mixture of soaked and drained dates and trail mix- minus those annoying rock-hard banana chips. There were also sunflower seeds and carob powder, and the mixture was then shaped and rolled in desiccated coconut. The sweets were kept at room temperature in an airtight container, and although there were lots of them, they soon disappeared!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Fathers' Day Lemon, Coconut and Dark Chocolate Cake

A couple of details like lemon syrup and drizzles of dark chocolate make this a special treat for any occasion.
This is the cake I made at the weekend for Fathers' Day; it's based on the  lemon and coconut squares we posted last year, but one big cake. A couple of embellishments made it more special..

The two cakes were sandwiched together with lemon flavoured syrup. I made a double quantity, but with gour rather than sugar syrup, so it was both quicker to make and even gooey-er! 

The topping was more of the syrup, poured on while the cake was still warm so  it soaked in . Then desiccated coconut and grated lemon zest were sprinkled on, and the whole thing was finished off with a lattice of drizzled dark chocolate. (Can you spot the tulasi leaf..?)

Monday, 17 June 2013

Soup, Salad and Soda Bread- easy vegan lunch combo

Simple, fuss-free, delicious and nutritious- the perfect weekend meal!
I don't know about you, but the absolute last thing either of us want to do after a hard working week is spend Saturday morning slaving over a hot stove, much as we both love to cook. That's why we wanted to share this lunch/ brunch/ anytime meal idea, as it has the best of both worlds; it's healthy and cooked from scratch, yet quick and easy, especially if you have a food processor/ blender and a pressure cooker. None of it is rocket science- in fact you may well have your own versions of it that you've been making for years, but just in case you are new to the concept, here's how we do it in our kitchen:
If you get the soda bread in the oven first you can then use your food processor to chop or grate some veggies and add them to water, seasonings and beans/ dal in a pressure cooker. For a smoother soup, use a blender (a hand blender is quickest and makes the least mess). The salad takes just minutes and then you're done!

The Soup

Follow the above guidelines for a very quick bean and vegetable soup, or try out some of our soup recipes here, here, here or here. Using a food processor for fine chopping and then a pressure cooker shaves minutes off the cooking time because food cut small cooks more quickly and you usually only have to get the pan up to pressure and then switch it off and the veggies are done- about five minutes.

The Salad:

We find that the quickest salads are those that involve the least chopping (told you it's not rocket science...) so here I just grabbed some homegrown sprouts from the windowsill and tossed them together with baby rocket and lettuce leaves from the garden, a dash of lemon juice and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. If you want to jazz it up even more, throw in some sundried tomatoes or olives and top with your favourite sprinkle, like almond parmesan or coconut bacon.

The Soda Bread

I guess if you eat yeasted bread and have a bread maker then that would also be an option, but this wholemeal soda bread is so tasty and nutritious and quick to put together- no kneading or rising- it's well worth making. The secret ingredients here are soya milk (seems to lessen the soda-y taste you sometimes get) and ground flax/ chia seeds or shelled hemp seeds. Top with pumpkin or sunflower seeds before you put it in the oven. Get the basic recipe here and the hemp or other seeds version here.