Raw Vegan Salted Caramel Slices

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These Raw Vegan Salted Caramel Slices are heaven! Three layers made up of wholesome, refined sugar-free ingredients but absolutely no sacrifice on taste. The first layer is a soft oaty biscuit, the second is a rich date and tahini caramel and the third layer is dark homemade chocolate. These taste just like the caramel slices I used to buy at school only (in my opinion) better!

Ingredients

Biscuit Layer

100g Ground Almonds

100g Rolled Oats

2 tbsp Coconut Oil

1 tbsp Maple Syrup

Caramel Layer

200g Medjool Dates

1 tbsp Tahini

1 tbsp Coconut Oil

3 tbsp hot water

pinch of Salt

Chocolate Layer

100g Coconut Oil

60g Cocao Powder

4 tbsp Maple Syrup

1 tsp Vanilla Extract / powder

pinch of salt

– Using a food processor blend all of the biscuit ingredients together. Transfer to a lined 8inch square tin, pressing down the mixture evening so that it is compact. Place in the fridge to set while you make the caramel.

– Pit the dates and then whizz them up in the food processor until finely chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to process until a smooth caramel is formed. It should be thick but spreadable. Evenly spread the caramel over the biscuit layer and place back in the fridge while you make the chocolate.

– Melt the coconut oil in the microwave and then add the rest of the chocolate ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Pour over the caramel layer, tap the tin a few times off the bench to evenly spread and burst any air pockets. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until the top layer has compete set and you are able to slice.

Enjoy!! X

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Butternut Squash Lasagne


I’m mainly sharing this recipe with you because I have found the perfect quick and easy Bechamel sauce recipe and it’s all thanks to Sainsburys vegan cream cheese. Did you hear about #garycheese?This sauce is a real game changer and it’s just like the real thing (if not better!). The cream cheese gives the sauce a brilliantly cheesy and creamy flavour and it only needs a little almond milk added to create the required consistency. It is golden once cooked and bubbles up nicely like any other lasagne – very exciting indeed!

Filling

1 glug of olive oil

Soya mince – vegan friendly

1 punnet of mushrooms

1 onion

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic

1 tsp maple syrup/sugar

Bechamel Sauce

1 tub of vegan cream cheese

2 cups of unsweetened plant-based milk (I used almond milk)

salt & pepper

Lasagne sheets

6 – 9 butternut squash lasagne sheets (Sainsburys) or dried pasta lasagne sheets – drum wheat, egg free

Make the filling by frying the onion, mushrooms and garlic in the olive oil. Add the soya mince and continue to cook for a  few minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs and sugar and leave to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime make the Bechamel sauce by adding all of the cream cheese to a sauce pan along with 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk and seasonings. Heat and stir everything together until it’s smooth and the consitency of double cream.

Once the filling and sauce are prepared start to assemble the lasagne. Start by putting a small amount of sauce on the bottom of a lasagne dish, then place some butternut squash sheets on top, followed by half of the mince filling. They put another layer of lasagne sheets on top of that followed by the remaining mince filling. Finally top the filling with some more lasagne sheets and cover the lasagne with the rest of the Bechamel sauce. It doesn’t really matter how you decide to assemble your lasagne this is just the way I do it.

Cook for around an hour on 190 degrees or until the top is golden and the lasagne sheets are tender. I hope you enjoy!

Nutty Chocolate Breakfast Bars 

Sweet, nutty, chocolatey, chewy…oh boy, these are good! These breakfast bars are great for when you are on the move, you can just pop them in your bag and eat them on your way to work if need be! They are delicious, filling and nutritious and the best thing is that you can experiment with what fruit and nuts you include. There’s no exact science with this, that’s why I just throw in the fruit and nuts as I please – you can find the combination and quantities that work best for you!

Ingredients – makes up to 8 bars

150g oats

5 neglet dates, chopped

Handful of almonds, chopped

Handful of raisins

Handful of pumpkin seeds

3 tbsp peanut butter

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water)

1 tbsp cocoa powder

Simply put all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt the coconut oil and add this along with the maple syrup, peanut butter and flax egg to the mixture. Combine well and then transfer to a lined 20cm tin. Press down the mixture tightly, making sure the sides have defined edges. You might doubt whether the mixture will set at this point but when the coconut oil solidifies in the fridge the bars will hold there shape perfectly. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars.

Enjoy!

Eating Vegan in Italy

 

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We travelled to Limone a small village in Lake Garda, Italy in September and it was hands down the most beautiful place we have ever visited. We stayed at The Hotel Splendid Palace which has the most amazing views of the lake, mountains and Limone. We spent a lot time on our balcony looking out and watching the boats go back and forth from other areas of the lake such as Malcesine and Riva – it was probably the most relaxing holiday we’ve ever been on! With a view like this, if we had spent the week on the balcony it would not have been wasted.

Before our trip we were a little worried about what we would be able to eat in Italy which would be vegan friendly. I had done a little research to see if I could find any blog posts on this subject but  I only came across one or two. I knew that when I returned I needed to share my experience and tips to help other vegans who plan to visit Italy. We were half board at the hotel which meant that our breakfast and evening meal was included. I contacted Thomson Lakes before the trip to ask if they could cater for dietary requirements and they said the hotel would be happy to do so. The hotel were great and made sure we had soya milk on our table each morning for cereal and coffee and on a night there was always something we could have. We usually mix and matched the side dishes such as potatoes, cous cous, salad and vegetables to create a kind of Buddha Bowl if you like. The hotel even made us vegan desserts on 3 on the nights, one of which was a selection of energy balls!

We ate out at various different restaurants in Limone, Malcesine, Riva and Verona for lunch and sometimes evening meal if we wanted a change from the hotel. We were surprised at how many dishes were already vegan friendly, without being labelled as such. On most menus at the top of the pizza section there is the option of a pizza without cheese but this often came without any toppings so we chose a pizza with lots of veggie toppings and asked for ‘no formaggio’. There is quite a few vegan spaghetti options and my favourite was the Peperoncino which was simply spaghetti with chilli oil, garlic and parsley. I loved it that much I recreated it when I got home! There was also the option of Arrabiata in some restaurants which is also delicious. The menus are very detailed in terms of stating what is included in each dish. It will clearly state if there is cheese in something and if you order pasta they bring out a separate pot of Parmesan on the side, so they don’t just presume you will want it or add it on for you. One thing to point out is that the Italians are not shy with the olive oil and all of the pasta dishes are practically swimming in it so if you are not overly fond of olive oil a pizza without cheese would be your best option. Bruschetta is another great option because it is totally deliciously, fresh and light which makes it perfect for lunch. One of the restaurants we walked past actually had an advertised vegan option on their specials menu so we knew we had to come back and try it. We came back the following night and ordered the vegan dish which was a mezze of  polenta, tofu, vegan ‘beef’ burger, millet and aubergine. It was lovely to have something different and you could tell how much thought and effort had went it to creating this option for the menu. It wasn’t cheap at €16.50 each but if you are to create a niché meal such as this with non-mainstream Italian ingredients I suppose this price is justifiable.

Extra Tips

– One thing to be careful of is the cocktails. I noticed that the Strawberry Daiquiri was made using strawberry ice cream and because we don’t include this ingredient in our cocktails in the UK you wouldn’t expect it.

– A lot of the shops sell dark chocolate and crisps so if you are fancying some home comforts they have got your back.

– The pasta is usually dried so it does not contain egg but be careful as some of the pasta is fresh but it should specify this on the menu.

– Contact the hotel or holiday company before your trip to let them know your dietary requirements. Liaise with the rep directly if possible.

– Verona airport has a burger restaurant which has a veggie burger option (minus the pesto and you have yourself a pre-flight vegan delight).

I hope I managed to cover everything food wise in this blog post but if you have any questions please let me know as I would be happy to help – I know how hard it is to find info on this subject on the Internet! Now excuse me while I go and make myself some lunch…

Indulgent Chocolate Cupcakes {vegan}

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These cupcakes are moist and light but still manage to be incredibly chocolatey, I was so happy with the way they turned out I had to share them on the blog! I am going to look into making a healthier version but for now enjoy this decedent treat 🙂

Makes 9-12

Cupcake ingredients

1 cup of soy milk

3/4 cup of sugar

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup of vegetable oil

1 cup white plain flour

1/3 cup of cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

Icing ingredients

100g vegan butter (I use Flora Freedom)

200g icing sugar

30g cocoa powder

*optional 1-3 tbsp. soya milk depending on how mousse like you would like the icing. The second picture shows the consistency you get using 2 tbsp. of soya milk.

  1. To make the cupcakes put all of the ingredients in to a mixing bowl and combine well.
  2. Put mixture into cupcake liners and cook for around 15 minutes in a 180 degree oven.
  3. While the cupcakes are baking you can make the icing by combining the butter and cocoa powder together then gradually adding the icing sugar. Add the soya milk until you get the consistency you require.
  4. Put the icing in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, put the icing in a piping bag with your preferred nozzle and pipe the icing onto the cupcakes. Please note that the icing will hold its shape and design better the less milk that is added and the longer it is kept in the fridge.

These cupcakes are best kept in an airtight container in the fridge for no longer than 4 days.

 

Blueberry Cheesecake {Raw, Vegan}

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I’ve been making the most of the bank holiday weekend and spending some time doing what I love to do most, cook! Or in this case blend lots of raw ingredients together. I had some blueberries I needed to use up so I decided to create a raw vegan cheesecake that also happens to be incredibly nutritious.  The great thing about this recipe is that you can change the fruit to suit your taste. I think that raspberries and strawberries would work really well or why not mix different fruits together to make a summerfruit cheesecake!

Crust

1 1/2 cups of raw cashews

8 Medjool Dates, pitted

1/2 tbsp chocshot 

pinch of Salt

Filling

2 cups soaked raw cashews

pinch of salt

Juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups blueberries

8 medjool dates, pitted

1 cup of water

20cm Spring form cake tin

– blend the crust ingredients in a food processor until the mixture sticks together between your fingers. Press down the mixture tightly to the base of the tin then put in the fridge while you make the filling.

– put all of the filling ingredients apart from the water in the food processor. Slowly add the water until the mixture is smooth.

– put the filling on top of the crust and then freeze. Take out of freezer 10 minutes before you wish to serve. It’s best to slice the cheesecake when it is still half frozen to keep the slices neat.

Enjoy! Katy X

Bulgar Wheat Lunch Recipe

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I have been loving bulgar wheat lately so I thought I would come up a recipe which is healthy, satisfying and is great served cold – making it is perfect thing to take to work for lunch.

Ingredients

300g bulgar wheat

1 tin of sweetcorn

1 tin of chickpeas, rinsed

1 red pepper, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp chilli flakes

handful of basil

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp onion powder

olive oil

Salt and pepper

[Makes 6 portions and lasts around 3 days refrigerated in an air tight container]

– Put the bulgar wheat in a pan and cover with hot water, a good few inches above the level of the bulgar wheat. Once this has come to a boil, put the lid on and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes until cooked.

– Meanwhile sauté 2 cloves of garlic in olive oil until fragrant, finely chop the remaining glove of garlic and then add all of the garlic to the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

– Once the bulgar wheat is cooked drain and mix everything together.

This is such a filling, satisfying and versatile recipe. I know I will be experimenting with some different flavour combinations in the next few weeks! Hope you enjoy 🙂 x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe. Taste. Repeat

So this week I wanted to share with you some of the meals / desserts i’ve been loving lately. I’m making these things over and over again because 1) they are delicious 2) easy to make – win win!

First up – the pizza. Well me and Chris have dabbled in a bit of fake cheese in the past but to be honest, I wasn’t feeling it. I’d much prefer to make something different than try and replicate with a poor substitute. So I came up with a ‘recipe’ for a cheese free pizza, I use the word recipe loosely as I used a store bought pizza base mix (you just add water) ha! I added chilli tomato paste, nutritional yeast, onions, sundried tomatoes, lots of chopped garlic and then drizzled cheese-free pesto mixed with extra olive oil all over the pizza. I then put it in the oven on 180 degrees for about 10 minutes.

I find that the extra oil keeps the pizza moist and indulgent – standing in for the cheese. I can honestly say, hand on heart that we didn’t miss the cheese one bit. The pizza was absolutely delicious and went well halved with some home made chips! Well, it was Saturday 😉

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Deliciously Ella’s Chickpea, Quinoa and Turmeric Curry.

Oh this is very good, very good indeed. You can just throw everything in and within the hour you have a delicious and nutritious curry which will make six portions. We’ve been taking this to work for our lunch and I was surprised to see how well it reheats. It also keeps well in the fridge. Another bonus is that you don’t need to cook rice or cous cous in addition to this as it already has quinoa in. It’s an all round super curry, really.

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Deliciously Ella’s Sweet Potato Brownies

When I first heard about these I wasn’t completely convinced they would be for me as I have love hate relationship with sweet potato but I gave them a go and today I’ve just made my third batch – so good! You forget that there is sweet potato in them but they add a moistness to the brownies. They are also very chocolatey, which is great. I would recommend buying a good quality cocao powder as it makes all the difference. For the second batch I made a chocolate frosting to go on the top which was amazing. For the frosting I used 1 tbsp cocao powder, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 tbsp of pure maple syrup and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt. Mix it all together and spread on the brownies once they have cooled, then pop in fridge to set. We’ve been taking these to work for breakfast as they give us loads of energy and fill us up until lunch. I think these will be a staple in our house for the months to come.

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Jus-Rol Pain au Chocolat {Vegan}

So I said in my last blog that I was on the hunt for vegan Pain au Chocolat as it was the only thing I really missed, well… Chris was an absolute hero and found Jus-Rol in our local Sainsburys, and you guessed it – it’s vegan! When Chris came home with this small but wonderful package I was over the bloody moon and couldn’t wait to get them in the oven!

So in the box you get a tin, which you twist to reveal the raw pastry. You unravel the pastry, which is perforated, to lay out six rectangles. You also get twelve sticks of chocolate, two for each croissant. You place the chocolate sticks on each end of the pastry and then roll each end so that they meet in the middle – they look a bit like tiny binoculars at this point! Flip them over and then bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

I let them cool slightly before tucking in but to be honest I couldn’t wait to get them in my mush! I remembered how addicted I was to these, gave myself a pat on the back for not having one for nearly three months and then ate three off the trot #sorrynotsorry. The Jus-Rol Pain au Chocolat are seriously amazing, I would say they are on par with the M&S freshly baked ones – if not better! It’s hard to believe there’s no butter in the pastry or milk in the chocolate. Good on Jus-Rol for creating such great products which are convenient, delicious and completely free from animal products.

 

 

Accidentally Vegan

So it’s Friday night, you’ve eaten well all week but now you’re in need for some serious, not-nessassarily-good-for-you-but-you-don’t-care, treats. Well I thought my store bought treat days were over when I became vegan nearly 2 months ago but I’m pleased to share just some of my findings above. For those of you who are just starting out like me, you might find these discoveries very comforting indeed – I know I did!

There are lots of snacks available that are labelled vegan, which is great, but sometimes discovering a snack which is accidentally vegan is the best feeling! It took a little time to get used to checking the labels of things but once we realised that everything to watch out for as a vegan i.e. eggs and milk is in bold, you can quickly scan for these ingredients (NB Gelatine and meat are not usually in bold so look out for this!). Don’t be put off by the name of some products, for instance Prawn Cocktail Skips do not contain prawns and Smokey Bacon Pringles do not contain Bacon – hurrah!

We have eaten out a lot since becoming vegan so I thought it might be useful to list the choices we made in the following  chain restaurants.

  • Nandos – veggie burgers *ask for no mayo* with chips
  • Handmade Burger Co. – Tex Mex Burger, Thai Burger, chips and Oreo Milkshake *ask for vegan ice cream and milk* This restaurant has amazing choice for vegans!
  • Las Igunas – Three Mushroom Fajita and Tembleque for dessert.
  • Leon – Sweet Potato Falafel Wrap *no non-vegan sauce* hummus on the side.
  • Wetherspoons – Pasta Pomodoro

So far we haven’t found it difficult due to the surprising amount of choice and options available in restaurants these days. The only thing that I miss and haven’t been able to find a substitute for is Pain au Chocolat, ahh man the M&S freshly baked ones were my weakness! If anyone knows any vegan versions please let me know!