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 saut√© 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 ūüôā 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 ūüėČ

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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 Рthey 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!

 

 

 

Can’t Get Enough, Raw Brownies

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I just can’t get enough of these¬†raw chocolate brownies from Deliciously Ella’s first book. As I’ve mentioned before I have a sweet tooth, especially on a morning, so I have been loving having these for breakfast!¬†With the brownie tin I¬†use, the¬†recipe makes 9 large brownies which will last me and my husband the working week (we take it in¬†turns¬†who gets to have the last one on a Friday morning!).

These brownies are moist, sweet and nutty with a hint of chocolate running through. They are satisfying and filling and will keep your energy levels up due to the natural, unrefined ingredients used –¬†but by no means do these brownies taste ‘healthy’.

Since becoming vegan 5 weeks ago I have been really enjoying raw desserts and have found that my taste buds and cravings have changed considerably. It’s been really surprising to¬†find that I’ve not been craving the dairy milk chocolate and cakes¬†I’ve been used to all these years. I think because I know I can’t have most¬†cake and desserts¬†that’s available in the supermarket it takes all of the temptation away in a,’that’s not mine to take’ kind of way.¬†¬†I will be making lots more vegan desserts and I currently¬†have my eye on a Key Lime Pie Cheese Cake that I would like to recreate so watch¬†this space¬†for that one!

 

 

 

 

The Mae Deli

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While we were in London last week for an ACDC concert we visited The Mae Deli¬†and it was definitely one of the best cafes I have ever been in. Deliciously Ella is one of my favourite food bloggers and I cook from her books regularly so I was really excited to check the cafe out. With its clean and bright interior and relaxed atmosphere it really is the perfect place to visit if it’s a healthy breakfast or lunch you’re after.

We visited the cafe around 9pm on the Saturday morning, there were a few people already seated having breakfast and we were welcomed by a friendly face. There was so much choice and the presentation of the food behind the counter was beautiful. Some of the options included porridge with compote and lots of toppings, avocado on toast and lots of cake and desserts. We decided to go for two different cakes to share and iced coffee. The service was quick at the counter and we then made our way downstairs to a lovely homely room which could probably seat around 20 people. The decor is fresh and minamilist but at the same time very personal and well thought out. The cakes we tried were out of this world – sweet, filling and nutritious. Washed down with the iced coffee, it was the perfect Saturday morning breakfast!

We would have loved to go back for lunch during our stay, I have seen amazing pictures on Instagram of the options available but unfortunately it was just a fleeting visit. We will definitely be returning here (multiple times) on our next trip to London, I think we may need to stay in a hotel nearby! ūüėČ

Sweet Potato Burgers

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After visiting the Sky Apple Caf√© last week I decided to try and recreate the Sweet Potato Burgers I had tried there as they were so delicious! It took a couple of attempts to get these right but I’m really happy with the way these turned out.¬†The burgers are tasty and satisfying and are very easy to prepare and cook.¬†This¬†is a lovely light and summery meal to have on a weekday evening¬†and only takes around 40 minutes to make,¬†including prep and cooking time. Happy days! I hope you enjoy ūüôā

To make 4¬†medium burgers…

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/2 red onion chopped finely
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp sweet corn
  • handful of panko breadcrumbs
  • handful of fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper
  1. Peel the sweet potato into even slices and put into the microwave for 10 minutes or until soft. NB: I boiled my sweet potato on the first attempt and found that the potatoes retained too much moisture, despite being drained, so the burgers did not hold their shape once cooked.
  2. Mash the potato up with a fork and mix through the rest of the ingredients until evening distributed.
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, brush olive oil on the tray.
  4.  Mould out four evenly sized burgers and place them on the tray.
  5. Cook for 25 minutes in a 200 degree oven, flipping over half way through. Take out once crispy on the outside.

I served the burgers with kale which I had sautéed in salt and pepper, along with some avocado, sweet corn and a cashew nut dressing (recipe below). I also think these burgers would be great served in a bun with hot salsa and guacamole.

Cashew Nut Dressing

  • 1 cup of cashews, soaked
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1¬†tsp mixed herbs
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cidar vinegar
  • 2¬†tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup of water (add slowly to desired consistency)
  1. Soak the cashew nuts in hot water for at least 15 minutes
  2. Put all of the ingredients, apart from the water, in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Add cold water slowly until it reaches your desired consistency for salad dressing.

 

 

Vegan Delights in Newcastle

The Sky Apple Cafe, Heaton Newcastle

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We decided to try out the Sky Apple Cafe in Heaton this week as we had heard really good things about it. The menu is both vegetarian and vegan and there is a lot of choice – we struggled to decide! I ended up going for vegan Sweet Potato Burger with Asian slaw, which was so amazing I tried to recreate it the next day at home (tasted great but burgers fell apart a little!). My husband got the Sky Apple Classic burger which he said tasted great. We spotted another diner tucking into The Volcano dish which looked delicious, we both said we would try that next time! Even though we visited on a week day around 2pm it was fairly busy, I would recommend booking for weekend or night time visits. The service was great and we would definitely go back!

Tea Sutra, Newcastle

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Tea Sutra is one of my favourite places to relax, drink interesting tea and eat delicious food. Both the day and night time menu is very select and consists of wraps such as falafel and butternut squash, salads and soups. The night time menu has such options as the Lebanese Bowl and Sweet Potato Curry. Tea sutra has always been busy when I’ve arrived but have always managed to get a seat. The service is brilliant and the desserts are amazing! I’m delighted to hear that Tea Sutra are now doing take out options. I will definitely be taking advantage of this since I work in Newcastle city centre!

Las Iguanas, Quayside Newcastle

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This was my first visit to Las Iguanas and I was blown away by the vegan options that were available on the menu. I had the Three Mushroom Fajita which was lovely and the Tembleque for dessert which was like a coconut pana cotta – this blew my mind! Las Iguanas is a all round people pleaser due to the options available to vegans and non-vegans alike. Again the service was great and atmosphere was very relaxed – will definitely be returning!

Banana Oat Cookies

I was feeling experimental and had some bananas that needed using up so I got to work on making some oaty cookies. I was hoping they would be a bit more pleasing on the eye but delighted to report that they taste pretty good! They are extremely filling and hearty due to the oats and nuts so would be great to have for breakfast or to have around 3pm to avoid a mid-afternoon slump. These cookies are dairy and refined sugar free and should last around 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. I would recommend warming the cookies up in the microwave for 20 seconds as they are better served warm.

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Recipe

  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1 cup of mixed nuts (I used almonds and walnuts)
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 cup of ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (I use Rude Health)
  • 1 tsp of fruit sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocao nibs (I use Sevenhills)

Leaving the cocao nibs to one side, put rest of the ingredients into a food processor until the mixture has become the consistency of cookie dough. My dough was a little wet at first so I added ground almonds. Lastly, mix the cacao nibs through the mixture with a spatula. The mixture will make 8 large cookies or 12 small. Put the cookies onto a tray with parchment paper and into a 180 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes.

The cookies are really soft on the inside and to be honest are more like the consistency of cake! I spread Meridian peanut butter on mine this morning and it went down a treat!

The One-Pot Wonder

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This spicy veggie sauce is one of the most versatile things you can make in batch form.  I usually make a big batch of this on a Sunday evening and mix it into pasta to take to work for lunches throughout the week, but there are so many other pairing possibilities! We have used this sauce as a fresh salsa dip and can even be used to cook fish in (or chicken if you prefer). It can be used as a base sauce for lasagne or even on its own as a Ratatouille. It can also be added to wraps or fajitas. The sauce freezes well and will last up to five days in the fridge.

Recipe for 6-8 portions (as a pasta sauce)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tomatoes quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pepper
  • 3 courgettes
  • 2-3 chillies (optional and to taste)
  • basil
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of red wine
  • 1 tbsp on fruit sugar

Sauté all of the veggies with the garlic and olive oil until they have softened. Add the chopped tomatoes, red wine and basil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Leave to cool before freezing.

The great thing about this sauce is that you can customise it to your liking – why not add extra veggies such as mushrooms or aubergine or crank up the heat if you like it really hot. ¬†It’s a great way to use up vegetables which may have otherwise been wasted and with only one pot to clean it really is a winner ūüėČ