Honey Balsamic Brussel Sprout Tacos (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘People need to understand the different between wants and needs, I want abs, but I need tacos’

…. with this recipe you can have both!

My American husband likes Brussel Sprouts and Tacos, two popular ingredients in the USA, but not two that you normally see together. Given our plant-based diet at home however, I am always trying to find new and innovative recipes and nearly always have these two ingredients in the fridge.

This is a great recipe for brussel sprouts if you want them on their own or as a side. I love them in a taco as they are a little crunchy from the char, a little sweet from the honey balsamic and a little spicy from the red pepper flakes.

Ingredients

  • 5 Ibs. brussel sprouts
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Pinch red chilli flakes
  • Corn Tortillas

Method

  • Preheat oven to 425c
  • Line a baking tray
  • Trim the brussel sprouts and cut the bottom off. Cut in half.
  • In a large bowl, toss in the olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Roast until a little charred
  • Mix the balsamic, honey and a pinch of red pepper
  • Warm the tortillas, place some of the sprouts on and drizzle the honey balsamic on top
  • Serve warm

 

 

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Mushroom Broth and friends (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘Nature alone is an antique, and the oldest art a mushroom’  – Thomas Carlyle

I love this dish so much that whilst I am writing this, I am making another batch

It made my life so much easier this week as I started to commute and needed a nourishing, light meal that took 10 minutes to make when I got home

The first day I ate the broth on its own, the second I added some soba noodles as I heated it up, the third I added some tofu, the fourth some pea shoots and the fifth some pre-cooked barley and some coconut milk.  The base itself has about 10 calories, a portion of soba noodles has 70 calories, so this is a low-calorie meal, whatever you do to it

Dried mushrooms can be much cheaper than real mushrooms but they retain the taste and nutrients including protein, enzymes, B vitamins (niacin) and vitamin D2

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried mushrooms
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 8 cups water

Method

  • Place all ingredients in a deep pot, bring to the boil and then down to a simmer for 30 minutes
  • You are looking for a deeply concentrated flavour, so if at 30 minutes you don’t have that keep going or adjust the seasoning
  • If you have an instant pop, you can do the same thing and it will take 10 minutes
  • Eat as a nourishing broth
  • Add soba noodles and make a ramen
  • Add tofu and vegetables and make a protein dense soup
  • Use it as your broth and make a risotto

Squash and Eggplant Gratin  (Vegan, DF, GF)

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‘Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let every new year find you a better man’  – Benjamin Franklin

Every year people makes lists of resolutions, drink less, eat less, do more exercise. These are really just generalities that you think will make your life better and in some circumstances relieve the guilt of the past season. We all do it and it seems to make sense at the time, but how long do we stick to our resolutions?

I have found, for me at least that making small changes on a day to day basis works better, with a little room for error, so that I don’t get into a guilt cycle and give up. Every day I start a fresh and think about what I can do better today.

For me like a lot of people, I have a deep and complex relationship with food. It has been my friend and enemy, it comforts me when I am far from home, it teaches me about my ancestry and it gives me a canvas for creativity. I am not going to give up eating and sometimes I am going to want something that does not serve me well, like a slice of pizza with my Italian husband or a truffle parmesan potato chip or two. So how do I balance the two.

I make it easy for myself to eat healthily 90% of the time and I don’t punish myself for the rest. I batch cook at the weekend and then my fast food is healthy food. I buy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and I prepare them in batches as grab and go, lining up the pairings, for example peeling carrots and setting them next to the hummus, or placing mixed cut fruits in little pots next to my almond yogurt as a quick grab and go in the morning.

This recipe is an easy batch recipe. You cut and bake the butternut squash and eggplant, which you can make it bulk and use for other things also. You then add it all together bake it, creating 6-8 portions to be eaten or frozen. It tastes wonderful as a side or main, lunch or dinner and each ingredient can be repurposed in many different ways.

Take a few hours at the weekend to make your week easier and your food healthier. Now thats a resolution that anyone can keep. Happy Healthy 2019.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 large jar passata/homemade or shop bought
  • 2 large eggplants/aubergines
  • 100g gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 50g vegan parmesan
  • salt, pepper, olive oil, chilli flakes

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350f
  • Peel the squash, remove the seeds and cut into 1 cm long segments
  • Toss the squash in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until soft
  • As the squash is roasting, half peel the eggplant (alternate stripes) and slice into 1cm discs
  • Cover in olive oil, salt and pepper and lightly fry to brown on each side. Set aside on kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil
  • Warm the passata and add any additional flavouring you might like. I used a garlic basil tomato sauce and added a few chilli flakes (this saves a lot of time). Reference the Rowley Leigh recipe for the original recipe.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan and set aside till ready to assemble
  • In an ovenproof dish, spoon a little sauce on the bottom and place half the squash segments down. Add some more sauce over the top and add half the eggplant segments, add more sauce and add the rest of the squash segments, more sauce, the other half of the eggplant segments and the rest of the sauce. Cover with the mixed breadcrumbs and cheese and bake for 30 minutes. I baked it covered with foil to make sure the breadcrumbs didn’t burn
  • Best eaten fresh and hot, but works well as leftovers too

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Cauliflower Steak (Vegan, DF, GF)

Cauliflower steak

Let’s break the myth that you need meat to build muscle. The gorilla can lift up to 10 times its body weight!

I made this dish on the request of my meat and potatoes concierge. As I would leave the building early in the morning I would go by the front desk and drop off a plant based treat, vegan cheesecake, vegan meatballs, vegan samosa, vegan chocolate truffles and after a few months I finally got a request for a cauliflower steak. This was a man who said that he had to eat meat with every meal.

You must learn a new way to think, before you can master a new way to live.

I love the humble cauliflower, the texture is meaty enough to satisfy and it takes well to assertive flavours. This is a basic version, but you could add a pesto, salsa or chimichurri. I served this with some Baba Ganoush underneath for a texture and flavour contrast.

Mr B was a little upset that I was cooking for another man, so I made him some vegan truffles and he forgot all about it…

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup oil

Method

  • Preheat the oven
  • Remove the outer green leaves from the head of cauliflower
  • Use a large knife and cut the cauliflower half lengthwise and into half again
  • In a bowl mix the oil and spices
  • Brush the cauliflower with the mixture on both sides
  • Bake covered with foil until steamed and starting to soften
  • Uncover and let brown for the remaining time
  • If you have a BBQ, sear for grill marks and a little char

 

King Trumpet Yakitori (Vegan, DF, GF)

Yakatori

A little advice from a mushroom;

  • Be down to earth
  • Sprout new ideas
  • Keep a low profile
  • Know when to show up
  • Stay well-rounded
  • Start from the ground up
  • Be a fun-guy

This is a beautiful recipe for a BBQ. It is meaty and sticky and sweet and sumptuous.

Mushrooms are always said to be a great meat substitute but I don’t see it as a substitute but a star in it’s own right. I use a variety of mushrooms in my recipes due to the medicinal benefits; Trumpet versus the others is good for something you want to give more structure to, which is why it works so well on this recipe.

Be careful with the reduction, as it can get hot due to the melted sugar. If it toughens up just reheat.

Ingredients

  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup mirin
  • 1/3 cup sake
  • 1/3 cup tamari
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • trumpet mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • Salt

Method

  • Soak 6-10 bamboo skewers for at least 15 minutes
  • Prepare grill/BBQ for medium heat
  • Thread the mushrooms onto the prepared skewers and brush with oil and salt
  • Grill until golden brown
  • Heat the mirin, sake, tamari and sugar until slightly reduced
  • Brush on the mushrooms and grill again, flip and brush again
  • Serve with spring onions on top

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Cardamom Ice-cream (Vegan, DF, GF)

Cardamom Ice-cream (Vegan, DF, GF)

Cinnamon Icecream

I love the simplicity and pureness of this recipe, filled with amazing ingredients straight from Mother Nature’s door!

I adapted this recipe from my plant lab raw desserts classic, bringing a little Indian Flair with the cardamom. If you don’t like cardamom, cinnamon works well or vanilla if you’d prefer a less dominant flavour profile

Did you know Cardamom has impressive medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It has antioxidant and diuretic properties, which are said to stop the growth of tumours, lower blood pressure, prevent inflammation and act as an antibacterial.  Cinnamon has similar such properties, so you are good either way. Mr B doesn’t like Cardamom, so I tend to use cinnamon for him or during the holidays a little pumpkin spice (a US classic. I can not account for the medicinal properties I am afraid, just the smile invoked by the scent of the holidays)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup soaked cashews
  • ½ cup. Young coconut meat or coconut cream
  • ¼ cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp. crushed cardamom seeds or cardamom powder
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Blend all the ingredients together until smooth, except the coconut oil
  • Stream coconut oil in last
  • Process in an ice cream maker, or if you don’t have one (like me), place in a tub and freeze

Korean Eggplant Tacos (GF, Vegan)

Eggplant tacos

This is a recipe from the kitchen of Verge in Philadelphia and is a super sexy dish. It has umami from the glaze with the mix of maple and tamari combining well and added depth from the gochujang

Because you are only using the inside of the eggplant it is a super light dish, silky and smooth, spicy and sweet

I love these flavors!

Adding in Kimchi Vegan Mayo also adds to the flavour and gives you a health kick too! Apart from the positive effects on weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, kimchi benefits that have been reported in scientific literature include; increased antioxidant status, protection from asthma, anti-aging, anti-cancer and protection from atherosclerosis. A good source if you want to read up on the benefits Kimchi is universityhealthnews.com and it gives you the links to the studies too

Kimchi is Grandma Food, passed down from generation to generation and if you have followed my blog for a while, you will know my rule, of whatever granny says, goes!

Ingredients

  • 4 Japanese Eggplants (or one large Italian eggplant), peeled and chopped into 1 by 4 inch pieces (salt and leave to drain to take some of the moisture out)
  • 1 tbsp. Gochujang
  • 2 tsp. tamari
  • 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup/agave
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ cup vegan kimchi, drained, chopped
  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 4-6 corn/masa tortilla
  • 4 chopped spring onions
  • Chopped lettuce

Method

  • Preheat the oven
  • Make the glaze by mixing the gochujang, tamari, vinegar and maple syrup
  • In another bowl toss the eggplants in the sesame oil
  • Heat a large sauce pan over high heat and cook the eggplant for 5 minutes until browned
  • Toss the crispy eggplant in the glaze and bake until the glaze is soaked up
  • Meanwhile fold the kimchi into the vegan mayo
  • Warm the tortilla for c. 2 minutes
  • Assemble the tacos by spreading some of the kimchi mayo down the centre of each tortilla, top with a large spoon full of the roasted eggplant, dress with the spring onions and lettuce
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