Friday, 2 May 2014

Almond and Mung Sprout Crackers- raw, vegan

 These are crunchy and tasty- and make a great Summer packed lunch teamed up with some hummus, salad and olives. Unfortunately I didn't write the recipe down, so for now you'll have to make do with these pictures and the list of ingredients below:

ground almonds
sprouted mung beans
grated carrot/ parsnip/ sweet potato
finely ground whole hemp seeds (they really give the crackers some crunch!)
cracked black pepper
dried basil
  • Grind nuts.
  • Process sprouts to a coarse paste.
  • Mix everything together and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  • Spread really thinly (about 2mm) on Paraflexx sheet on top of dehydrator mesh (or use baking parchment). Use a cookie cutter to make them into thin rounds.
  • Dehydrate on high setting for about 4 hours, until brittle and crispy.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Potato Salad with Thick Tofu Dressing- vegan

We had ours with our first homegrown rocket and mustard leaves of the season. It will be even tastier once we can use our own salad potatoes too!
Pretty soon it will be new potato and salad potato season, so here's a potato salad idea: We don't use vinegar in our diet, but I must admit I miss its sharpness in tofu mayo; a sharpness that lemon juice just can't replicate. So in this thick and creamy tofu dressing for the potatoes, I used tamarind concentrate to add the zing- still not exactly like vinegar, but a flavourful change from lemon. Our salad serves 6-8 people, depending on  what else you're serving it with. (In our case, a fresh green salad, avocado and chickpea flour frittata minus the potato filling.)

1kg salad potatoes, diced
chopped fresh or freeze-dried parsley for sprinkling
Tofu made with 1l of soya milk, drained in a seive but not pressed
1 tsp tamarind concentrate dissolved in 2 tabs water
2 tabs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp agave
2 tabs soy sauce
1 heaped tab yeast flakes
1/2 tsp seasalt
cracked black pepper to taste (I used a pinch)

  • Steam the potatoes until soft and leave in a colander to cool- don't run cold water over them or you'll wash away the nice crumbly starchy edges.
  • Blend all the ingredients for the dressing together. I used a balloon whisk, but you could get an even smoother result using a blender.
  • Mix the dressing with the potatoes in a bowl, and scatter with the parsley.


Monday, 28 April 2014

Vegan Sweets at Stratford Sweet Shop

All very pretty, but which sweets are vegan?

I chose the fizzy cola bottles. Yum!
Last week we had two young relatives staying with us, so we took them to Stratford-upon-Avon for the day. Stratford is great fun to mooch around, with lots of unusual little shops like the Harry Potter-themed Creaky Cauldron, an emporium of all things magic-related, from conjuring tricks to hand crafted real magic wands, a cafe and a museum of magic. There's even a Christmas shop packed full of beautiful decorations all year round! Not forgetting, of course, all the Shakespeare stuff, like the Shakespeare Centre, the house where Shakespeare was born and the RSC's theatre. We parked in a side street just outside the town centre, ate our picnic in the van, walked down Stratford's main street taking in the shop windows, and headed for the river to watch the boats and stroll in the park. 
On the way, we decided to get some sweet treats from the kids' favourite sweet shop, informatively but unimaginatively named The Stratford Sweet Shop. This is what the window looked like, in all its pre-Easter glory:

...Milk chocolate, hand made fudge; surely there would be nothing suitable for us vegans in there? But that's just where I was wrong lucky! I wanted to check that the kids weren't getting anything they shouldn't (like gelatine), so I asked about that, and was told that as well as stocking lots of veggie and vegan-friendly sweets in jars, the fizzy cola bottles were also okay for vegans, being based, like Turkish delight, on cornstarch rather than gelatine, and with no other animal ingredients. I don't know what brand they are, but the other sweets like pips, mega sours and wrapped sweets are made by Barnetts. On checking out the Barnetts website I found the products section really informative, with ingredients given and vegetarian and gluten free options clearly marked. The kids went for mega sours and I opted for fizzy cola bottles. Sorted!

PS: When buying vegan-friendly sweets, do beware of E120, aka carmine, which is made from insects. I have seen a couple of online sweet shops who list certain products as "suitable for vegetarians" yet they still contain this. Yeuch :(