Thai Red Lentil Soup

Red curry lentil soup

Thai Red Lentil Soup

‘Good soup is one of the primary ingredients of good living’

Given our sedentary lifestyle due to our choice of profession, Mr. B and I try and eat vegan at home during the week to make sure we are as kind to our bodies and digestive systems and also stay calorie light, so I am always looking for new and inventive lentil and vegetable dishes

This recipe is adapted from Plenty More and is a playful combination of Indian and Asian flavours. It is a little like a red curry without the bulk and is good with a little rice or on it’s own.

I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of flavour that is developed here, helped by the red curry paste in addition to the vibrancy that comes from the additional squeeze of lime!

Good hot or cold, in the summer or the winter, at home or on the go!

Ingredients

  • 20 sugar snap peas
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 tbsp. vegan Thai red curry paste
  • 250g/1.5 cups red lentils
  • 1 cup/250ml coconut oil
  • 5 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. tamari
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot and add the onion
  • Cook over low heat with lid on for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice until the onion is completely sweet and soft
  • Stir in red curry paste and cook for 1 minute
  • Add the red lentils and 3 cups of stock or water
  • Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft
  • Remove from the heat, once cooled, process the soup in a blender until completely smooth
  • Add back to the pot and heat with the coconut milk, lime juice, tamari and salt
  • Serve with diagonally cut sugar snap peas

Vegan Baked Oysters

Vegan Baked Oysters

‘The voice if the sea, speaks to my soul’…

I serve this in the summer, instead of real Oysters as Mr B isn’t so fond of the real things having been spoiled by spending so much of his childhood eating seafood in his parent home town in Italy

I do in fact love oysters, but am happy to save my feasting for when I am by the sea

It is a nice meaty substitute with the faux breadcrumbs providing a nice contrast in texture

I like to serve this with a dry white wine, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, works well and Kim Crawford is my favorite for choice

This is adapted from Fork and Beans.com, which has a whole faux seafood series

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. white wine (optional)
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. almond meal, or gluten free panko if you have a nut allergy
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 350f/250c
  • On a medium heat, sauté the shallots and garlic with the coconut oil
  • Add the mushrooms, white wine, stir until the liquid absorbs
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice, sprinkle the parsley and stir in the almond meal until well combined
  • Season well with salt and pepper
  • If you are baking in the shells, place a heaping tablespoon of the filling into each shell, top with extra almond meal and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are slightly brown
  • If you are placing these in spoons for serving, place into an oven safe dish, sprinkle extra almond meal and bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly browned. Take out of oven and once slightly cooled, place in spoons and serve

Summer corn custard with blackberries, sage and roasted hazelnuts

FullSizeRender-41

‘And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer’

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is an elegant vegan dessert bursting with summer flavours and combining the texture of silky corn custard, juicy tart blackberries and toasty crunchy hazelnuts

I am not one with a sweet tooth, like Mr. B. so this desert really suites me as it has a little salt in the custard base, making for a salty sweet combination that dances a tango on your tongue

The recipe is from Vedge, the exciting vegan cookbook out of Philadelphia using innovative techniques and flavour combinations to elevate the humble vegetable to its rightful place

Ingredients

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1/5 cups vegan cream (mayonnaise/aquafabba can be used)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. agave nectar or raw honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. agar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 2 sage leaves, cut into chiffonade (thin strips)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup shelled, skinned hazelnuts, chopped

Method

  • Shave the kernels off the cobs into a medium saucepan
  • Add the vegan cream, coconut milk, agave, vanilla, salt and the agar. Heat over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until it comes to a boil, about 10 minutes. Keep the mixture at a rolling boil for c. 5 minutes to allow the agar to fully dissolve, stirring occasionally.
  • Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender, add the cornstarch and blend for 30 seconds
  • Strain the contents through a sieve into a clean saucepan, bring just to a boil and immediately remove from the heat
  • Ladle the custard into six ramekins, or glasses if you don’t have any
  • Allow the custards to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator. Let them chill for at least 2 hours before serving
  • Toss the blackberries in a small bowl with the sage, lemon juice and remaining 1 tbsp. agave, cover and refrigerate until ready to use
  • Place the hazelnuts in a small sauté pan, sprinkle with the remaining ½ tsp. salt and dry roast over a medium heat until golden brown (the smell is amazing). Allow the nuts to cool
  • When the custards are ready to serve, toss the hazelnuts with the blackberries, then spoon some on top of the custard.
  • Serve immediately

Quinoa Granola Bar (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Granola Bar

‘Each day is a gift, don’t send it back unopened’

I like to eat every two hours or so, little and often is my motto, so it’s important to have healthy easy snacks with me at work and when I travel. I like this recipe as it can be used as a snack or a homemade granola and is another recipe to add to my love affair with quinoa collection, as Mr. B calls it. It is relatively easy and can be adapted to whatever you have in the cupboard. This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from the ambitious kitchen, a beautiful healthy food blog from an inspiring author who used healthy food and blogging to overcome her eating disorder.

A slight detour…

As I was writing the first sentence of this blog, ‘I like to eat every two hours’ I was struck with gratitude for being able to say that.

Some people don’t have the luxury of eating once a day, not only in developing countries due to poverty levels and famine but also in our own back yard.

Two organisations that are dedicated to this cause are Mary’s Meals, which supplies food at school in developing countries, to help lift children out of the cycle of poverty, www.marysmealsusa.org and the Woman’s Lunch Place in Boston, www.womenslunchplace.org, which aims to supply at least one good meal per day as well as helping to restore dignity and hope to vulnerable woman. I support these two charities and would urge you to read about they work they do. They certainly help me to be more mindful when I sit down for a meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • ½ cup uncooked Quinoa
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ¼ cup vegan dark chocolate (can use non-vegan chocolate if preferred)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Add oats, Quinoa and pumpkin seeds to a large baking sheet, spreading evenly
  • Toast for 10 minutes
  • Once toasted pour into a glass bowl and add the chia seeds
  • Whilst baking, melt the almond butter in a shallow pan on a low heat, add the coconut oil, salt, honey and vanilla
  • Once melted, take off heat and allow to cool slightly
  • Add to the mixture and combine
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and pour the mixture in, spreading out
  • Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the top
  • Place mixture into the freezer for 10-20 minutes or until hardened
  • Remove from the freezer and cut into 8 bars, use any that has crumbled as granola

Beetroot Chocolate Pot (Vegetarian/Gluten Free/Nut Free)

FullSizeRender-40

I am always trying out new and interesting dessert recipes to satisfy Mr. B’s sweet tooth and when I found this recipe in Verge, one of my favorite veggie cook books, it seemed the perfect balance between healthy yet indulgent

This is a rich and impressively heady desert and easy to make given the few ingredients and little process. The recipe serves, 2-4 people, but I would suggest it for 4-6 at least, due to the decadence

The beetroot can not be seen as the deep purple is swallowed by the chocolate (see picture below for the proof it is in the pudding…), so if you want your guests to know that there is beetroot, then you may want to sprinkle some crushed beet chips on top

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, use dairy free chips for the vegan option
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup red beetroot juice

Method

  • Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl
  • Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the cornstarch and salt, whisking to ensure that it is fully dissolved. The cornstarch will start to thicken the coconut milk after a few minutes, as soon as this happens, stir in the beet juice and then strain through a sieve over the chocolate chips
  • Whisk the chocolate mixture thoroughly until all of the chips are melted. Portion the mixture into serving dishes and chill for at least 1 hour to set

FullSizeRender-39

Quinoa Risotto, Arancini with a herbaceous dipping oil

IMG_4907

IMG_4914

This recipe was adapted from Hemsley and Hemsley’s, the art of eating well and gives you a great main and canapé. It’s one that I won’t mention to Mr. B’s mum since she is Italian and would not approve of me calling something a risotto not made of rice.

The ‘risotto’ is made from Quinoa, a great protein dense substitute to rich with the added bonus that it cooks quicker also, so no standing about the stove stirring. The leftover risotto also gives you this neat little canapé, which is baked and therefore a healthier version of the authentic Italian Arancini, which is deep-fried and very addictive.

The recipe can be adapted to your taste. The broth can be vegetable or bone broth, the cheese can be taken out and replaced with vegan cream cheese, or bacon can be added, just make sure it is crispy!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 celery sticks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 3 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 250g white Quinoa (soaked overnight)
  • 1 tbsp. white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 700ml vegetable stock (or bone broth)
  • 50g Peas (frozen or fresh)
  • 125g blue cheese (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Sea salt and pepper

Method

  • Heat the coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion and celery for c. 8 minutes, until softened
  • Add the drained Quinoa to the pan, stir and leave for a minute until the Quinoa is almost sticking to the pan
  • Add the white wine or cider vinegar, stir to deglaze the pan of all the sticky bits
  • Pour in most of the broth, turn up the heat to bring t the boil and then turn down to a simmer
  • After 8-10 minutes of cooking the Quinoa should be cooked and tender, add in the peas, they will cook in a few minutes
  • Switch off the heat, stir in the blue cheese, parsley, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste
  • Serve half which should be enough for 2 portions and keep the rest to make Arancini

Arancini

Ingredients

  • 40-60g chickpea flour
  • 2 portions of the risotto
  • Mint and parsley oil (see recipe)
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180c/250f
  • Mix the chickpea flour into the leftover risotto and combine well
  • Take 1 tbsp. of risotto and roll into balls, place on the baking tray
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden. Serve with mint and parsley oil for dipping

Mint and Parsley Oil

Ingredients

  • 180ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 30g fresh parsley, chopped
  • 10g fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper

Method

  • Mix all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle and mull together
  • If you don’t have one, just make sure the herbs are chopped finely and mix together in a bowl
  • Ready to serve with the Arancini or use as a salsa verde

Beet tartare

Processed with MOLDIV

Life is your canvas…paint it with your dreams!

My dreams are normally full of food. If you know me well and see me staring off into the distance, you’ll know its because I am thinking about my next meal, the meal I just had or a recipe I am working on. It is therefore natural for me to combine food and art.

Beetroots have such amazing colors, my favourite is the deep ruby red because of the colour but also the antioxidant qualities you get with it.

This recipe is my healthy vegan version of beef tartar using those beautiful red beets to create a hearty, beet tartare. The dish has a lovely crunch and salinity from the capers and a smooth heat from the mustard.

I loved playing with this dish, as when you have finished you have a pink paint and a white cream cheese base to play with. It lets your inner artist (and child out) and what could be more fun than that!

This is a Tasha. Kitchen original, feel free to copy, creativity should be shared!

Ingredients

  • 2 small beets
  • 1 tsp. capers
  • 1½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 3 tbsp. vegan cream cheese (see prior recipe)
  • Chives, chopped (for garnish)

Method

  • Preheat an oven to 350c
  • Bake the beetroots in salt for 40 mins or until slightly tender
  • Remove from the oven and let cool
  • Once cooled chop into roughly 1cm x 1cm pieces
  • Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, and salt.
  • Transfer beets to a small bowl and mix with the dressing
  • Smear plate with the vegan cream cheese and place the beetroot on top using a cookie cutter or ramekin
  • Garnish with chopped chives