Dear Friends of Tasha. Kitchen,
Happy New Year!
My wish for you is to Live Better, Strive Harder, Be Bolder, Dream Bigger, Climb Higher and Seek Greater.
These too are wishes for myself and in the pursuit of this at the end of the year I took some time out to self reflect on all I have learnt over the last year.
In 2018, I completed my certificate in Plant Based Nutrition with Cornell and have used this and some great books (e.g. how not to die – Gene Stone and Michel Greger), articles and blogs to learn more about the hard science behind food and disease. Many of you may have seen my blog evolve over that time, from broad based healthy food to more of a plant-based blog. This is a reflection of my learning and has caused me to sit back and think about what my own philosophy is and what the blog should centre around.
After much study, contemplation and a recommitment to both my followers, and myself I am pleased to announce a new blog coming soon. The blog will be dedicated to Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw recipes with a focus on Plants and Whole Foods to maximise the nutritional content. There will also be a new section where I will share scientific research, so you can learn with me.
The blog will be called PlantToTable.com and exists today but with a redirect to Tasha.Kitchen until it is ready for launch in early 2019. Tasha.Kitchen will resume this Saturday and an announcement will be made when the new blog is ready.
I hope that this news allows you to forgive my absence and I look forward to continuing our journey together.
‘I didn’t change, I just started to look at things differently’.
Mr B and I popped into Orchard Grocer, a vegan Deli one day a few months ago. I was curious to see how they had become so popular so quickly, with reported long lines for their smoked salmon bagel. It is said that the bagel married lox in New York, so there is a high bar for this classic dish here.
I have to say, I was skeptical that a carrot could replace salmon and so took Mr B as the ultimate taster, given his New York roots and his love of this combination. The Deli did not disappoint and in fact the bagel was so good, Mr B asked me to recreate it so it could become his new go to at home.
The reason Mr B likes this, is because it has tones of the real thing due to the nori and tamari but is lighter and has a preferred texture. I like to serve it to Mr B on a Sunday morning in an everything bagel, or if he is getting on a train, I make it in a plain bagel and then add the everything seasoning to the vegan cream cheese. I also use it in wraps, bowls and in salads to add some depth and flavor.
I hope this dish gives you a glimpse into a reimagined classic and if not at least a new way to see the humble carrot
- 3 carrots
- 2 nori sheets
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 tbsp. Tamari
- 1 tbsp. Liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. dill
- Sea salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350f
- Wash the carrots, add some salt and bake for 45 minutes or until soft.
- Remove and once cooled slice into strips with a peeler or mandolin
- Transfer into a container with the rest of the ingredients and let marinate at least overnight
- For a classic new york bagel serve with vegan cream cheese, dill, red onion and capers
Chickpea Blondies (Vegan, DF, GF)
Oh so gooey, tasty, yummy, fudgy brownie blondies..
This is an easy blend and bake recipe, so you can do it when whilst you are waiting for the kettle to boil or whilst you are making the kids lunches
The Japanese tend to use sweetened bean pastes, like red bean, in their pastries and this is a nice parallel. It has the texture of a fudge brownie and is sweet but not too sweet, making it great for a midmorning snack
This recipe is super high in protein from the chickpeas and triple use of almonds in the almond meal/flour, almond butter and almond milk. It is gluten free also with the almond flour the only flour used
Mr B has a prolific sweet tooth and he loved these and found them more satisfying in a way as they kept him fuller for longer, whilst still satisfying that sweet craving in a natural way
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2, 15oz cans of organic chickpeas
- ¾ cup almond butter
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until well combined
- Pour into an oiled bread tin
- Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
Okra Pakora (GF, Vegan)
My grandma used to make Pakoras all the time. Here classics were potato, bread with chutney in the middle and chilli (which Mr B would eat till his eyes watered). She also used to make pakoras to use up the leftovers, as she hated waste, so we would get spinach or salad pakoras when the leaves were starting to wilt. Whatever she made them out of they were always delicious and addictive
I love Okra Masala but have always been intrigued by Okra Pakoras, so that is where I thought I would start. Okra is a scary vegetable for most cooks to use due to the slimy inside which appears the more you cook it. This is a great recipe as you use this as the moisture of the dish and the more the better!
A little known fact is that the inside is made of sugar and protein and similar to the inside of the Aloe Vera plant. It is also known for being high in vitamin c, vitamin k and folate. It is also known for harnessing a superior fiber, which helps with digestion and stabilises blood sugar. Who knew!
Serve this with any chutney you like, or organic ketchup for the kids!
- 10 Okra
- 2 green chilli’s
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 2 curry leaves, chopped
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- ½ tsp. Kashmiri red chilli powder
- ¼ tsp. hing
- ¾ cup chickpea/besan flour
- ½ cup rice flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- Oil for deep frying
- Firstly clean and wipe the okra then chop into small pieces
- Add chilli, ginger, curry leaves, turmeric, chilli powder and hing
- Add the chickpea flour, rice flour and salt
- Combine all the ingredients, use your hands to squeeze the moisture out of the okra and bind the pakoras together
- Add a little water if more moisture is needed to form a batter
- Take a tablespoon of the mixture into your palm and shape into a ball
- Drop into hot oil
- Fry until golden brown
- Serve with chutney
Kimchi Quinoa StirFry (GF, DF)
I saw this in Bon Appetite and it just sang to me! A recipe with tamari, sesame oil, kimchi and Quinoa, some of my all time favourite ingredients! It’s an easy recipe and has a double helping of protein with the egg and Quinoa.
Kimchi is great for your digestion, as it is fermented, another wisdom passed down through generations
I use normal Kimchi for me and mama’s extra spicy Kimchi for Mr B
- ½ cup Kimchi, plus 3 tbsp. of juice from the jar
- 4 scallions/spring onions
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 2 cups Quinoa
- 2 tsp. tamari
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. white sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- 1 tsp. black sesame seeds
- Squeeze kimchi over a small bowl to catch the juices. Top up if you need more to make it up to the 3 tbsp.
- Chop the kimchi, set aside
- Cut dark green tops of the onions and thinly slice, set aside
- Thinly slice the white and pale green parts and set aside
- Heat the coconut oil in a large non-stick frying pan
- Crack the eggs into the pan and fry until the white is solid and the egg is crispy around the middle, c. 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate
- Add the carrot and cook until soft, c. 2 minutes
- Add the green and white parts of the onions and kimchi and cook until golden, c. 3 minutes
- Add grains, tamari, sesame oil and the kimchi juice, cook until well mixed
- Taste and season with salt and pepper
To serve, top with the egg and black and white sesame seeds
Healthy Pop Tarts (GF)
Who would have ever thought you could make such a thing as a healthy pop tart?? It sounds like a contradiction in terms
The pop tart for those of you who don’t know was introduced to the world in 1964 by Kellogg as a pre-baked toaster convenience food and soon became popular as a kids breakfast. It is made out of two layers of pastry and has a sweet filling inside. The basic pop tart without frosting has approximately 16g sugar and 200 calories
The reason I know anything about Pop Tarts at all is due to Mr B, who recently admitted to me that when he is stressed at work he goes to the vending machine and liberates a pop tart. This surprised me, as Mr B is a firm believer in clean eating, and generally sticks to that during the week
I therefore decide to seek out the ultimate treat for him. A pop tart that he could eat, that would be healthy and clean but taste just as good. This recipe is adapted from Lexiscleankitchen.com and doesn’t disappoint. It has Pataya, blueberries, chia and almonds as the main ingredients and so has plenty of antioxidants. It is sweet, but the sugars are natural. The biggest difference is that unlike the shop bought version, it wont outlast a nuclear incident, but given how quickly Mr B ate them, that was rather unlikely anyway!
For the tart
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1 large egg
Homemade Chia Jam
- 2 cups blueberries
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. chia seeds
For the glaze
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. cashew milk
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. pataya powder
- To make the dough, combine all the ingredients in a blender and leave to chill in the fridge (very important)
- To make the jam, put all the ingredients in a deep pot and cook on a low heat until broken down, be careful not to burn
- Turn off an let cool
- Combine the glaze ingredients and set aside
- Between two pieces of parchment, gently roll out the dough and cut out rectangles using a sharp knife
- Place half the rectangles on parchment paper, place a teaspoon of the jam in-between, wet the edges and press down with a fork to close
- Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and preheat the oven
- Once the oven is hot, bake the tarts for 12-15, until golden brown. Let cool
- Once cooled use a pastry brush to add the glaze
- I added the pataya later after brushing first so that I had two different colours and used the glaze as a drizzle
Vegan Chorizo Empanadas
This was the most popular dish at my vegan Mexican feast and my guests didn’t believe the filling was not actually made with chorizo. I made 24 for six people and we had just a couple left over. Mr B, said he was dreaming about these all night and so we ended up having the rest for breakfast the next day!
The trick to this dish and any meat substitute is to impart the flavours of the dish you are impersonating. For the chorizo therefore the balance of smoky paprika and chilli for the subtle smoky spicy undertone, is the key. Don’t be afraid to be bold with the spicing as you’ll be wrapping these babies with a blanket of puff pasty and so will have to get through that first to get to the flavor
These are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as Mr B will attest, as well as holding up well during travel, for a picnic or packed lunch
- 2 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 lb. vegan mince
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp. oregano dry
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. chilli powder
- ½ tsp. salt or more to taste
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ½ cup. Vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. raw sugar
- 4 sheets of puff pastry
- Water and almond milk for glazing
- In a medium skillet heat the coconut oil
- Add the vegan mince, sauté for a few minutes, add onions and garlic and continue cooking until the onions are soft and translucent
- Add the oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, chilli powder, salt, pepper, vegetable broth and sugar
- Cook for 10-15 minutes till the broth is gone
- Add more smoked paprika or chilli powder to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350f/250c
- Working with one puff pastry sheet at a time, roll it out so it is long enough to cut 6 circles in with a pastry cutter
- Fill each with a tbsp. of the mixture, brush half of the inside of the round with water and pinch shut, use a fork to seal again on the outside which also creates a lovely picture
- Brush with almond milk on the outside to glaze
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients,
- Poke wholes in the empanadas and place on a baking tray
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
- Serve warm or cold