Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Mmmm...Mocha Porridge Oats

A simple little breakfast for when you're craving something naughty and sweet, for those mornings when you really want to grab a slice of cake to eat en route with your coffee...

Or maybe it's 11am and you've just got back from a work out and you sugar levels are low and you're HUNGRY...

Or perhaps it's a Sunday morning and the chocolate bar hidden away in the back of the cupboard ready to bake brownies later is already calling to you...

Porridge will always have a special place in my heart, its warming, comforting taste transports me back to when I was little. In the winter mum would cook it for breakfast every morning and me and my younger brother would sit at the big wooden table and eat it whilst it was still too hot.
I still think my mum can make the best porridge, I think her secret is that she has magic powers. That, and the fact that she keeps the recipe simple, just oats, water, coconut milk and salt. And she leaves it to bubble away in the pan for ages so that it becomes so thick and gooey she can hardly ladle it into the bowls. 

This recipe is still oh so simple, but with a caffeine and cocoa twist. The coffee adds the punch to wake you up whilst the cocoa makes you feel all warm and cosy. The dates create a syrupy sweetness that makes this bowl of porridge remind me of a Hot Caramel Mocha from Starbucks.


Serves 2

2 oz Oats - use gluten free if you wish!
1 oz Dates - chopped
Good pinch of salt
1 tsp Espresso powder
1-2 tsp Cocoa powder

3 fl oz Coconut milk - halved
4 fl oz Water
2 fl oz Freshly brewed coffee

Optional extras -
Flaked almonds
Dried coconut
Chocolate chips
Chopped toasted walnuts
Maple syrup
Chopped banana

All you need to do is...

Pop the oats, dates, salt, espresso powder and cocoa into a saucepan and add the water, coffee and half of the coconut milk.
Simmer on a low heat until the oats become thick and creamy and the dates have 'melted' into the porridge.
Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining coconut milk - if you like your porridge really thick then you might not want to add the remaining coconut milk.

Eat and enjoy!

Happy Eating! x

Friday, 6 June 2014

A Simple Little Big Lunch...

Grab a fork and spoon and
Get stuck in!

So it got to lunchtime and I was hungry...quite hungry.
Since I'd missed breakfast I wanted something kind of breakfast-y but also mean enough to be called lunch.
I had left over spicy carrot soup with would have been fabulous on it's lonesome usually, (yes, I like to eat soup for breakfast) however in my rushed cooking of it last night I added waaaay to much chili.
Like, a lot. As in it burnt my mouth but I wanted to keep eating it because it did taste good. In a hurty type of way.
So I needed something to put with the soup, something to chew on when I wanted to cry from chili overload.
But bread would make the meal too much like dinner, or a starter at a fancy restaurant....
So out came the chickpea flour, some olives, good handful of spinach, salt and a shed load of pepper and thyme. 
Savoury pancakes are the best thing ever...well, apart from sweet pancakes that is.

If you guys want the recipe for this Spicy Carrot&Coriander Soup with Olive&Spinach Savoury Pancakes then leave a comment below!

Happy Friday Eating! x

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Cauliflower & Broccoli, Be My Tart The Vegan Way

This recipe came to me the other day when I was making some vegetable pancake-y, flat bread type of things. They were delightful on all levels apart from I wanted them thicker. So I made thicker batter but then they looked messy in the frying pan and took longer to cook in the middle so the edges got too brown and hard.
"Hmmm." I said. 
(Am I the only one who talks to myself when I'm cooking and baking? I hope not, I'd rather we were all mad than just me.)

So anyway, I suddenly realised that the batter I was using for my pancakes, would create a similar texture to quiche. Not that I wanted to create a 'vegan quiche', but once made it did look a bit like a quiche...and I couldn't really call it a pie...so I thought I'd go with tart, and a crust-less little tart at that.

This savoury tart is high in protein due to the use of chickpea flour and has a ton of veggies crammed into it. There's hardly any fat and the way the spices tingle and mingle over your tongue makes this one little healthy slice of yumminess.

I used onion but leeks would also work wonders, in fact, I'm already thinking up a garlic-y leek and mushroom tart....mmmm with the garlic blended right into the batter with chili...
But since I had some tomatoes that needed using, I thought onion would be the better shout for this recipe.
I love how the chickpea flour batter means the tart holds its shape really well, no falling apart and no crumbling. This batter is perfect if you want to make larger tarts because it slices so well. Although little mini curried tarts would look damn cute.

A slice (or two) of this is perfect with a salad or sweet potato wedgies, great to take with you to a BBQ or picnic.
Be My Tart Cauliflower & Broccoli Tart

Serves 4-6

3 oz Chickpea flour
Large handful of spinach
Small handful of cauliflower
Small handful of broccoli
2 Cloves of garlic
1 Small onion
1 Tomato
2-3 Mushrooms
Coconut oil
1 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Cumin
1-2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Chopped chili

If you're not afraid of a bit of heat then by all means add as much chili as you like, even add a pinch of cayenne pepper to give it a real kick!

Lets get roasting, whisking and eating!

Grease a 6" lose bottomed cake pan with coconut oil

Firstly, slice the cauliflower and broccoli in thin slices, so they kind of look like little flat trees.
Pop them into a little baking dish along with the garlic, whole and still in skin, with a tbsp of coconut oil and some salt. Roast them until they're starting to brown but are still slightly crunchy.


Finely chop the onion, set aside.
Slice the mushrooms and tomato into thin slices. Set aside.
Roughly chop the spinach, set aside.

Now, when the cauliflower/broccoli is done, remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Squeeze the garlic from the skin and chop up.

Now, to make the batter, simply add enough water to the chickpea flour so that it has the same consistency as double cream.
Now stir the chopped onion, garlic and spinach into the batter, along with the chili, coriander, turmeric, basil and cumin.
Season the batter well with salt and pepper.

Now pour a thin layer of batter into the cake pan, make sure it reaches all the edges.
Now add a layer of mushrooms, cauliflower and broccoli.
Pour another layer of batter over the top.
Add some more mushrooms, cauliflower and broccoli.
Pour the remaining batter into the pan and then poke any remaining pieces of veg into the batter.
Lay the tomato slices over the top and sprinkle with rock salt.

Bake at 200 c for about 15-20 minutes, until the top looks browned and a cake tester comes out clean.

This tart is great eaten hot from the over or cold the next day. When it's cold it can be sliced very thinly and used as a sandwich filling!

Happy baking! x

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A Day at Bristol Vegfest

A few weekends a go, I went along with my mothership, father, brother and T, to Vegfest. In Bristol it's situated near the harbour side so only a tiny little walk from our flat. Not that the distance really matters, I would have walked a thousand miles if at the end I could gorge on the very best vegan food I'll probably eat all year.
I mean just look at those cakes!!! All vegan and so damn tasty. When we came across this stall the mothership said she'd buy one each for T and I. Well, you can imagine the scene; me, drooling for about 10 minutes before I could make up my mind which one I wanted, even now I still don't know if I made the right choice. They were all TOO GOOD. 

That's the thing about being vegan, I've found that it's been so long now (8years) since I've had the choice of a full menu, that when I DO get the chance to choose anything that takes my fancy I find I simply can't. There's too much choice, too much pressure to make the right decision. I ended up asking T to choose for me! (He didn't, instead he told me about all the times I moan because there isn't enough choice for vegans...he did have a point.)
Living in England can sometimes be hard to find good vegan food. That's probably why I love cooking and baking so much, I figure why go out and have to eat that same god damn baked potato that I have to eat in every cafe because it's the only thing that doesn't come with animal products smeared all over it, when I get get my apron on and whip up a feast at home?
But I do love finding new little cafes that serve vegan food, like I said, a huge menu isn't necessarily a good thing for me, so I am more than happy with just a few vegan options. A crunchy mango and bean salad here, a vegan burger with sweet potato fries there. As long as they have good coffee and possibly a vegan brownie I'm a very happy bunny. 

So you can image how excited I get when Vegfest comes to town. 

So many beautiful stalls selling fancy chocolates and amazing sweets. I gorged on so much sugar I was running around like a mad woman all day.
My family and T loved the wide selection of food, my brother in particular can eat a whole load of food but he took it to a whole new level that day...
That's us in the pub after, nothing like a good dose of alcohol to balance out the food!

Unfortunately we didn't stay as long as we wanted, the rain was getting heavier by the second, so with full bellies we wandered into town, pub bound.

I was sooo tempted by these vegan marshmallows. I never usually eat what I call 'processed vegan food'. I tend to cook my food from scratch, just because vegan substitutes are expensive and lets be honest, if I had vegan marshmallows in the cupboard on a regular basis I would eat them on a regular basis...and even me, queen of sugar, knows that ain't guna do me no good.

So I left the pretty little things on the shelf and T and I settled on these cakes...

Yep, that is indeed me attempting to eat the largest vegan cake I have ever seen...

I somehow also managed to resist these delightful cookies, well, I know damn well how I managed to resist them...t'was because I had just eaten a bowl of vegan paella...and it was amazing.
This was Mrs Cupcake stall, they're cakes and cookies are out of this world.

The mothership treated herself to a bottle of lemon wine. We had a taster...or a few....and although the wine was a little dry for my liking the elder flower champagne was right up my street.

I'm already looking forward to Vegfest next year! If you've never been I highly recommend going, it's never expensive and the food is always to die for, vegan or not you'll love it!

I thought I'd put a little list of places that cater for vegans in Bristol, UK. In case any of you find yourselves here and hungry. These are the places that I like to grab lunch, they're cute, affordable and friendly.

Cafe Kino is completely vegan!

St.Nicks is great for food, have a wander around and chose from falafels and hummus, olives, cakes, Indian food and so much more!

Boston Tea Party have some great vegan options, including salads, burgers and cake!

Birdcage is fantastic, cafe by day, bar by night and also a clothes shop! It's tiny and cute with a huge selection of teas, there's always a vegan cake option and vegan breakfast.

Hope you're all having a lovely week! X