Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Easy Vegan Bacon Garnish

Yeah, you heard me - VEGAN! Aint that neat?

I am juuuust back home from having spent my Summer holiday with my family in Norway, and thus there might just be a post in the near future about it - just maybe *winks*. After ten days away, I have climbed mountains, eaten ice cream o'plenty and topped up on my favourite dish - raspeballer. I have attended a poetry slam in the heart of Bergen, seen some celebrities - and.....I just heard back from the people from my course and I have become a nutritional advisor, how about that? Needless to say I am really happy I made it, not to mention surprised and relieved!

I have seen several recipes for vegan coconut bacon, and most recipes call for the sliced coconut. I however, happened to have no such thing in my flat and thus settled for using dessicated coconut and just use it for garnish instead, and I was mighty surprised how something vegan can taste so beautifully....smokey - as if straight from the barbecue, mmmm!

I composed this recipe based on the main component in the other ones I have seen, and also just using whatever I had at hand. I think the liquid smoke is the key though, and you can find it in some Mexican food shops, as well as some normal food shops.

I might have used tamarind instead of tamari, which was somewhat a foolish thing to do, but thankfully it tasted really nice! Don't worry though, I corrected it in the recipe below for you *smiles*

Easy Vegan Bacon Garnish
(Makes 1 cup)

1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 tsp liquid smoke (it's seriously strong stuff!)
1 tbsp tamari + 2 tbsp water
1-2 tsp maple syrup (can use honey for vegetarian)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp coconut oil

- Simply start by combining the dessicated coconut with smoked paprika and salt, stir well to combine.

- Add the liquid smoke, syrup, tamari and water and stir, stir, stir some more!

- Heat coconut oil in a small frying pan on medium-low heat, and add the "bacon" mix. Stir frequently, and once it starts to char slightly, after about 5-10 minutes, it's done! Either use as garnish straight away or cool completely before storing in an airtight container or a jar for up to 1-2 weeks.

I have used it as garnish on fried eggs, topped soups with it, and now I am making a casserole that I plan on garnish with some of it as well ^ ^

Have you ever tried to make vegan bacon before?

Recipe by yours truly, with a little help from the iWebs!

- Jules

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Amaranth Pan-Fried "Scone"

I'm going to Norway today, to Norway today, to NORWAY....TODAY! OK, *cough* I'll try not to get ahead of myself, I'm just really looking forward to my Summer holiday, s'all ^ ^

But first, I thought I'd drop in and give you this really simple recipe for a lovely little gluten-free, pan fried "scone". For what do you do when you have a flour you don't quiiiite know how to use? You add liquid until it's workable and then you either bake it, or fry it!

I love going to shops that sell more exotic foods and different flours and such, I found one that sold all kinds of flour, one being amaranth - and I just had to try it, so in my basket a little bag of amaranth flour went, and when trying to decide what to make - I settled for a simple "scone"-like mixture.
It had a bit of a strong flavour to it, and so I decided that since it wa my first time using it,I would add some spices, and turn it into a thick little pizza thing, and it worked a treat! I will try and improve upon this recipe, but I thought it was too nice not to share, and also so I could maybe get some hints and tips about amaranth flour from you, should you happen to know more about it, because I was more of less clueless!

Amaranth Pan-Fried "Scone"
(Makes 1)

50g amaranth flour
A little salt, basil and cayenne pepper
About 3 tbsp water (A good splash)

Toppings of choice, I used:
Vegan cream cheese, 1 tsp tomato purée, oregano, salt and black pepper, and a couple of basil leaves to garnish.

- Combine the amaranth flour with the seasonings, stir to combine and make a well in the middle.

- Now add the splash of water and work the dough until you have a dough with a sort of play-doughish texture, leave for a couple of minutes.

- Roll out to about a 1cm thick "scone", or thinner if you want a bigger surface for the topping, but careful so the dough doesn't start cracking at the edges.

- Heat a small pan on medium-low heat and dry fry, turning every few minutes to prevent it from burning, you can also of course fry it in a little oil for some extra flavour.

- Once done, simply have it with whatever your heart desires, and enjoy!

Have you ever used amaranth flour?

So long for now! I've charged my camera, so I will hopefully have a few snaps to share when I get back in about ten days' time!

Recipe by yours truly,

- Jules x

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Banananice Cream with Caramelised Walnuts

You might have seen it on blogs a-plenty over the last year or so, but it was only the other day I got to try this tasty banana soft-serve, and you know what? It wont be the last! This ice cream is so healthy, you can have it for breakfast! Which is....exactly what I did *smiles*

Banananice Cream with Caramelised Walnuts
(Serves 1)

2 bananas, chopped and frozen overnight (or for a few hours)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
Handful walnuts
1 tsp light butter (vegan options available)
1 tbsp xylitol/sukrin gold/brown sugar

- For the topping, simply melt butter in a small frying pan along with the sweetener and add the walnuts, toast for a minute or two and set aside.

- Leave the frozen banana out for about 10-15 minutes to give it a chance to soften a little, before having it in a food processor with the vanilla extract, or use a stick blender to whizz until the bananas are just broken up and you have a smooth mixture.

Top the banananice cream with the walnuts and syrup and enjoy.

This. is. so. good!

Tips - Should you happen to have some leftover brownie or cookies, why not crumble it up and swirl it through the icecream? I only thought of this aaaafter I had demolished this bowl of awesomeness, dang!

If you want a little bit more of a zing, why not try and whizz a cup each of pitted frozen cherries and frozen diced mango? I am sure a strawberry/mango mix would be delicious too!

1/2 cup each of frozen cherries and mango blitzed up!

I also wanted to tell you about a couple of syrups I found in a health shop quite some time ago (which means I've had the chance to sample them thoroughly, hehe). They are called Sweet Freedom, and so far I have seen a normal syrup and a "Chot-Shot" which is basically like chocolate sauce. Sweet Freedom only used sugar from fruits, and so it is a little healthier!
My opinion, is quite split between these two, I mean, of course they wont be the same as normal syrups or chocolate sauces, but there is something a little "off" in the flavour of the syrup.

I love the chocolate sauce though, and am often found drizzling the lovely dark stuff on top of porridge and granola. It took me a little while to get used to the flavour, because it doesn't taste like normal, dark chocolate. Anyway, Choc-Shot get a thumbs up from me!

Have you tried the syrups or other products from Sweet Freedom before? And what is your favourite homemade ice cream?

Original source:
Sunnere & Sterkere med Proteinrik Mat, p. 124

- Jules

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Creamy Quorn with Sweet Potato Fries

After a long day at work, I was really hungry and wanted something a little different from what we make in work. I found this recipe for creamy coconut quorn, and it came out absolutely delicious, and it pretty much makes itself!

Creamy Quorn with Sweet Potato Fries
(Serves 2)

1 large sweet potato, cut into thin wedges
1 tbsp oil
Salt and black pepper
300g quorn (for vegan, why not used marinated and fried tofu?)
400ml light coconut milk (1 can)
A pinch of ground nutmeg
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, or 2 normal tomatoes
4-5 handfuls spinach (Or serve with some sugarsnap peas or broccoli!)

- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Have the potato wedges in a bowl with oil and some salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes. 15 minutes in, add the cherry tomatoes to the tray and bake until softened.

- In the meantime as the wedges are baking, have the coconut milk, quorn, some salt, pepper and nutmeg in a medium sized casserole and cook over low heat for about 25 minutes until slightly thickened.

- Once the wedges, tomatoes and creamy quorn is just about done, simply wilt the spinach in a casserole for a couple of minutes, and drain of the water.

- Divide the food between two plates and tuck in!

I hope you have a wonderful day! Here on my side of the world, I am counting down the days for take-off, and visiting family and friends in Norway on Saturday - cannot wait! Do you have any plans for the rest of the week?

Original source:
Sunnere & Sterkere med Proteinrik Mat, p. 21

- Jules

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Cranberry & Pistachio Cookies

It happened again.... I don't know how, but I know when... About 7 and a half minutes after I had popped these cookies in the oven, and they started to melt aaaaall across the baking tray, and colliding with each other, turning into an almost entire tray of cookie. OK, so that might not be such a bad thing, but it wasn't as pretty as I intended for it to come out.

After the first batch, I decided to use the little batter I had left and scale it down from a big tablespoon to a heaped teaspoon per cookie, and that my friend - worked a whole lot better!
I omitted the white chocolate chips in this, but do feel free to add half a cup as suggested in the original recipe. Usually, I don't like my cookies too sweet, next time though - I might just drizzle some melted chocolate on top, mmmm!

Cranberry & Pistachio Cookies
(Makes about 20)

4 tbsp light butter, softened
1 cup xylitol (or half and half brown and white sugar)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup flour
1 cup oats (OR use the opposite ratio of flour and oats for a finer batter)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

- Start by pre-heating the oven to about 180-200°C.

- Now, cream the butter and xylitol/sugar in a bowl. Whisk the egg lightly until slightly fluffy and incorporate into the mixture.

- Then, continue adding the remaining ingredients, and give it a good stir!

- Place baking paper on a baking tray, or grease a baking tray lightly with either cooking spray or butter. Dollop (with a good bit of space inbetween each cookie!) a heaped teaspoon's worth of batter for each cookie, and bake for about 15 minutes until nice and golden!

I hope you like them, aaand that my advice prevented you from ending up with a baking tray-shaped cookie, I had to learn the hard (and tasty) way!

The tray of "failed" cookies, I should just pour the batter into the tray and make a huge cookie next time, hehe!

Also, I thought I would add a picture of the mushrooms my flatmate and his friends had picked last Friday

Aren't they beautiful?! The people, plus a lovely dog, came over to ours afterwards, and the mushrooms were tended to, sliced and fried, and we had them on toast - it was delicious! I haven't had chanterelles in aaages, but it is something you'd find in most Norwegian food shops, not so much in the UK for some reason, weirdly enough, cause we have roundabout the same climate here in Scotland, and...judging by the picture, there are obviously chanterelles growing here!

Have you been mushroom picking before?

Original source:

- Jules

Monday, 18 August 2014

Fruit Nut Chocolate Nuggets

Y'know when you crave something sweet but not an entire billiongramchocolatebar? Those days? Yeh, well let me give you the answer to that - chocolate blobs! Or well...not blobs as such more like...uhm... Right, lets just say fruit nut chocolate nuggets! There..much better, and so the name of these things came to be!

Delicious bits of sweet, chocolate covered goodness, mmmm...

Fruit Nut Chocolate Nuggets
(Makes about 8 pieces)

50g fruit and dried nut mix
30g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp xylitol or sugar (icing sugar will do!)
1 tbsp coconut oil
40g light cream cheese

- Have the fruit and nuts ready! Ready? Good, here we go!

- Take out a small frying pan and put it over loooow heat, have the coconut oil, sweetener and chopped chocolate and stir until it's all melted, add the cream cheese and stir through.

- Once the mixture is fairly free from lumps, take it off the heat and stir through the nuts and fruit.

- Have a plate with either non-stick baking parchment or tinfoil over it and place 1 teaspoon of the mixture at a time onto the plate, one nugget done! And about 6-7 more to go. Pop in the freezer for about half an hour and keep cool before serving. Eat immediately, as the coconut oil does tend to melt quickly!

Fingerlickin' good - and hopefully you approve too *smiles*

Recipe by yours truly, inspired by the interwebs,

- Jules

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Artisan Crackers

Hello, and good day to you!

This recipe will make you never have to buy crackers for cheese ever again! The base is so simple, and easy to work with, and you can vary the herbs and spices and add just about anything you're in the mood for, aint that neat?

It took me about half a year to get around to making these, can you believe it? They only take about half an hour to make, and I had not been able to fit it into my schedule - sometimes I'm not so good at organising things...

Anywhoooo - I made these a day when I had a few friends coming over to mine to celebrate my last day in the office, I figured cheese and crackers would be nice, and I also made a few fruit and nut chocolate...things, everyone needs their sweet and savoury!

Artisan Crackers
(Makes about 10 long crackers)

1 3/4 cups wholemeal flour
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
(I also added 1 tsp dried basil)
Other herbs and spices as you like, I ground some seasalt on half of the batch, and a salt-garlic-and chilli spice mix on the other half!

- Start by mixing the flour, salt (and basil - if using) in a bowl, then, make a well in the middle and pour in the oil and the water. Add a little bit water if it's too dry, but I found half a cup was perfect.

- Knead the dough well, before leaving it to rest for about 10-15 minutes.

- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Then, roll the dough into a long piece and cut into ten bits. Roll each individual bit into a sausage, before using a rolling pin (or in my case, a glass) and roll until you have a nice long flat cracker (about 2-3mm). Place on a baking tray, add spices or ground salt on top if you want, and bake for 10 minutes for soft crackers, and 15 minutes for crispy ones - I went for the latter, CRUNCH! They turned out perfectly - how simple was that?!

Thought I would add a photo of Mister Tom Jones from Belladrum for good measure, since my friend has uploaded her photos!

It has been a bit of a crazy and work-filled week so far, and I'm working in the kitchen today as well, I'm off to charge my batteries tomorrow though, phew!
I hope you have a lovely weekend! Any plans?

Original source:

- Jules