Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)

Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)

Raw Toffee Apples

‘Here’s to the crazy one. The misfits, the rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. Some may see them as the crazy some genius. But it is only those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, that do’

Matthew Kenney was one such crazy person, who created a plant-based culinary nutrition education program. He is a true believer that food is our medicine and through his own personal experience has seen a plant based diet bring him back to life. His culinary school is dedicated to showing the world that healthy, plant-based foods can be delicious, sexy, vibrant, beautiful and can be consumed without compromise.

I am a true believer in this philosophy and whilst not 100% plant based, I am making my way down this path. My dream is that food is used to fuel our body, minds and souls and the more I learn about the nutrient content of our basic plant friends, the more I feel like our health care is easily accessible and available to all.

Of all the courses that the PlantLab Culinary school runs, the one I choose to start with was their raw desserts course. You can do it online over 6 months, so pacing it with your own schedule. Desserts have always been my weakest point; due to my body not reacting well to gluten and dairy, so this course is an eye and palate opener. Mr B who loves his desserts is super happy too as he can now eat dessert for breakfast.

This was the first recipe I used at my vegan dinner party and the guests where in love with it. The whole plate was dairy, gluten and nut free and they were super surprised that it was a possibility. I hope Chef Kenney is proud of the impact he is having, I believe this revolution and evolution has just begun!

Ingredients

Apples

  • 1 apple

Caramel

  • 10 medjool dates, pitted and soaked
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1/3. Cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. mesquite or maca powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. Water

Pumpkin seed crunch/raspberries

  • ½ cup, plus 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freeze dried raspberries

Method

  • Using a melon baller, make apple balls, place in a bowl with some lemon water to make sure it doesn’t brown. Place to the side
  • Blend all the caramel ingredients until smooth. Pour caramel to the side and move to the side
  • Grind all the pumpkin seed ingredients together, place in a bowl and move to the side
  • Crush the freeze dried raspberries, place in a bowl and move to the side
  • Take one of the apple balls, dry off, place a toothpick through the center, roll in the caramel, roll in topping of choice
  • Place in fridge to set (min 5 minutes)
  • Serve once set

 

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Beetroot Chutney (Vegan, DF, GF)

Beetroot Chutney (Vegan, DF, GF)

Beetroot Chutney

‘A chef must think like a scientist, organize like an accountant, plate like an artist and cook like a grandma’

I am always looking for fun ways to add flavour and colour to my plate and this dish is really an expression of my soul, as it combines my core philosophies of what I want my food to be – Delicious, Nutritious and Beautiful

This chutney from Vineet Bhatia, a famous British Indian chef, he has an amazing way of combining new and old flavors and there are always many exciting elements to his stunning dishes. I tagged Chef Vineet on Instagram, with this dish and he replied asking about the taste – highlight of my year 🙂

I loved this so much I made two different versions, a yellow and a red to play off each other on the plate. You can serve it with anything you like as it is elegant and subtle, so won’t overpower the dish

Ingredients

  • 1 Beetroot
  • ¼ tsp. fennel
  • ½ tsp. ginger, chopped
  • ½ tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Place beetroot into a pot of boiling water and simmer for approximately 40 minutes, or until cooked through
  • Peel when cool enough, dice
  • Place the beetroot and all the other ingredients in a blender, blend until well combined
  • Sieve to form a smooth chutney

Nori Macadamia Nut Cheese (Vegan, DF, GF)

Nori Macadamia Nut Cheese (Vegan, DF, GF)

IMG_0698

What do you do when you can’t eat dairy anymore but you love cheese…make your own of course!

Some of you may think that this sounds a little extreme, but I used to eat so much cheese that my brother nicknamed me, cheese please! I therefore had to work out a way to reintegrate this into my diet and the best thing about making your own, is that you can make it to your own palate

You may think that making vegan cheese sounds difficult but it is really a blender recipe with just a few ingredients. I got this recipe from Plantlab, my favourite raw plant power recipe book, which just blows my mind with every recipe. I love learning the new techniques and intensity of flavours you can achieve through raw preparations. You’ll need a dehydrator for this, but an oven on low will work just as well.

Mr B couldn’t work out what this was at first glance, but once he decided to try it, he loved the smooth texture and tangy taste

Ingredients

For the cheese

  • 3 cups macadamia nuts, soaked
  • ½ cup of water (just enough to blend thoroughly)
  • 1 probiotic capsule
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice

For the nori powder

  • Pulse nori in blender until it becomes a powder, about 1 minute

Method

  • Blend the macadamia nuts, water and probiotic capsule in a high speed blender until smooth, about 3 minutes
  • Place the mixture in a shallow glass bowl and cover with cheesecloth. Let it sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours to culture
  • Mix in the sea salt, nutritional yeast and lemon juice
  • Roll the cheese into a cylinder by first placing a 12-inch piece of plastic warp on a flat surface
  • Place half a cup of cheese in the middle and flatten it out into a rectangular shape
  • Carefully roll the plastic wrap over the cheese and twist the sides to create a tight cylinder
  • Tie the ends securely, starting with one and then twisting the other carefully and tightly before tying
  • Place the cylinder in the freezer for 2 hours
  • Remove the plastic wrap, roll the cheese in the nori powder and dehydrate for 115f for 24 hours to develop the rind
  • Refrigerate until ready to use

Wild mushrooms on Kombu (Vegan, DF, GF)

Wild mushrooms on Kombu (Vegan, DF, GF)

Mushroom Kombu

The intensity of the smell as this is cooking will make you want to take it out every five minutes to eat it, but the longer you leave it, the more concentrated the flavor. The Kombu brings an extra savory tone to the dish giving it a smoky depth

I took this recipe from Matthew Kenney’s Plantlab, creating the future of food. I would say that this is definitely going to be a part of my future and am looking forward to try other vegetables in the same way. I will have to at least try this recipe again, as Mr B wasn’t home, so I ate it all myself. Shhh…..

Ingredients

  • 1lb of wild mushrooms (I used trumpet mushrooms)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. thyme
  • 2 tbsp. rosemary
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt/sea salt
  • Large pieces of Kombu, pre-soaked in water

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350f
  • Wash the mushrooms and cut into roughly equal slices/sizes
  • Toss in the oil, thyme, rosemary and salt
  • Place the kombu on a baking sheet
  • Spread the mushrooms on the kombu in an even layer
  • Cook mushrooms for 30 minutes in the oven

Apricot Chutney (Vegan, DF, GF)

Apricot Chutney (Vegan, DF, GF)

Apricot Chutney

I saw these beautiful apricots glistening in the market and I had to get some. I love apricots, they have amazing nutrients, vitamins and minerals and taste as sweet as candy when ripe.

Since I just got the newest addition to my recipe book collection, Rasoi by Vaneet Bhatia and since I was building my second Hand in Hand, Indian Inspired Tapas menu, I decided to try a new recipe out and made these beauties into a chutney. The great thing about Chutney is that it lasts a long time in the fridge, so you can enjoy it when apricots are in season and also when not.

This chutney has a nice kick from the chilli, ginger and spices, which made Mr B and his spicy palate happy, whilst having a sweet, majestic undertone that mellows the chutney out. In the end I served it underneath my goats Sheppard’s pie parcel, which it complemented perfectly.

Ingredients

  • 100g dried apricots or 500g fresh apricots
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • ½ tsp. fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp. chilli
  • 1 tsp. chopped ginger
  • 50g raw cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. ground green cardamom

Method

  • If using dried apricots, soak in hot water for an hour, then strain reserving the liquid (original recipe)
  • If using fresh, pit and chop up (my version)
  • Heat the oil in a deep pan, add the fennel and cumin seeds
  • As they begin to crackle, add the chopped chilli and ginger and sauté for a minute
  • Add the apricots, sauté for 2 minutes and then add water to cover
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer until the apricots turn mushy and the water is almost evaporated
  • Add the sugar and white wine vinegar, simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the ground cardamom
  • Remove from the heat and leave to cool, once cooled pour into a glass jar and keep in the fridge

Easy Masala Sauce (DF, GF, Vegan)

Easy Masala Sauce (DF, GF, Vegan)

Masala Sauce

The classic ‘Indian’ dish, Chicken Tikka Masala, was apparently invented by a chef in Scotland as a hybrid dish for the English palate. This has since become a very popular dish both in the UK and US normally made with a decent amount of cream.

In Indian cooking, we call this cheating, anything that doesn’t take three days of you sitting next to the stove and gets it richness from dumping fat in at the end, would definitely not meet with generations of grandma’s who have passed these recipes down.

Needless to say therefore, this is not a grandma approved recipe, but since the last few weeks have been busy and Mr B loves masala, I decided to make a quick masala, which can be used for multiple dishes, vegetarian (e.g. served with charred cauliflower as above) or meat, used as a sauce for a breakfast bowl or a dip for some nachos. I make it in bulk and store it in the freezer. Coconut milk here is the vegan substitute for that added richness that my hubby loves so much!

Ingredients

Masala Base

  • 2 onions
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 inches grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • A handful of cashews

Masala Sauce

  • 5 cups of tomato puree
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup water

Method

  • Pulse all the base ingredients in a blender until smooth
  • Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan and scoop ¼ of the mixture into the pan. Fry gently until fragrant
  • Add the puree and water and simmer for 5-10 minutes
  • Add the coconut milk, simmer for another 10 minutes
  • Serve over grilled vegetables, use as a sauce for a rice bowl, or even over pasta

 

Easy Peanut Butter Curry (GF,DF,Vegan)

Easy Peanut Butter Curry (GF, DF, Vegan)

Peanut Butter Curry

This is a lovely, tasty, protein dense vegan curry and takes no time at all

I have been spending my weekends learning and adapting complex multi layered recipes to get a better understanding of Indian cooking, how to temper and mix the spices, which ones are for savory versus sweets, smell versus taste. Sometimes however I need to cook something really quickly (in a jiffy, as the British would say!) and this curry is the perfect, in a jiffy dish!

The original recipe didn’t have peanut butter, but since I have an American husband who thinking anything with peanut butter is ‘the bomb’, I thought this was a good way to get him to eat an entire bag of spinach and peas. Sneaky wife!

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Pinch red chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp. organic peanut butter

Method

  • Mix the curry powder and two tablespoons of coconut milk, heat and then add the spinach
  • Let the spinach wilt and when reduced in size add the salt and chilli flakes
  • Add the rest of the coconut milk
  • Add the peas and peanut butter and mix in until it is merged into the sauce
  • Allow to reduce down a little
  • Serve with rice