Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Vegan Guaca-Rice

Today I have had a day off and it was a pure treat! It's important to sometimes take a few steps back from the professional life and just do what feels best for you, mmmm. I have had a few boxes ticked off today.

Hairdressers - tick!
Home made chocolate marbles - tick!
Pub quiz - tick! (And out team even got second place!)
Ice cream - tick!

In a busy week day though, or on days when you feel like little effort should be made in the kitchen - you can still rattle up some healthy food in zero point swish! (That's in a flash to you and me) You can even use the rice from yesterday's dinner if you have some left!

Here's what you need for some lovely, creamy rice - perfect as a side with many a main dish, or funk it up and have it for lunch, either as a salad or part as a sandwhich filler. As you have maybe noticed, these multi-purpose meals are all the rage on my blog these days!

Feel free to add a bit of a kick to it with a bit of finely chopped chillies, or perhaps add more veggies by swirling some chopped tomatoes and chopped red onion in the mix as well?

Vegan Guaca-Rice
(Serves 3-4 as a side)

2 cups cooked wholegrain rice (1 cup uncooked)
1 avocado
Juice of 1 lime
A pinch of cumin
100g sweetcorn
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped tomatoes, finely chopped chillies, and garlic all optional
Potential garnish: vegan coconut "bacon"

- If the rice isn't cooked yet, do so first by following the instructions on the packet. Once done, rinse in cold water and drain well, set aside.

- Have all the remaining ingredients apart from the sweetcorn, in a bowl and use a stick-mixer to make a nice and smooth guacamole, stir in the sweetcorn and rise, and it's all done! Serve along side main dishes, garnish with whatever you see fit, or use it as part of a filling for sandwiches.

Topped with vegan coconut "bacon" garnish

If you have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge, just remember to keep the avocado pit in it so it prevents it from discolouring.

I hope you have had a great week so far! Do you have other good avocado recipes?

Original source:

- Jules

Monday, 15 September 2014

Skinny Tuna Mayo Pasta

Six ingredients - and you have yourself an amazing dinner or even lunch!

Sometimes, I forget about the old classics such as spaghetti carbonara, soups, lasagne, stir-fries, and things like tuna pasta! It is so simple and it was just what I needed after a shift at work. You can of course make alterations to this recipe as you please, I wont be offended...promise!

By the way, you know how some people can be a little...sceptical to "lighter" foods? Well, I saw this LIGHTER than light mayonnaise, and I figured I had to try it, if even just to see if it was anything near mayonnaise, and I gotta say I was pretty surprised at how nice and creamy it was, a little bit of salt to enchance the flavour, and you're good to go *smiles*

Skinny Tuna Mayo Pasta
(Serves 1 + 1 serving sandwich or baked potato filler for lunch)

60-80g wholemeal pasta (double if making two portions, use 160g then!)
1 tin tuna, drained
1/2 cup lighter than light mayonnaise (Hellmann's) (or 50/50 mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt)
80g sweetcorn from a tin, drained
1/2 small onion, finely chopped (red works well here, I only had yellow onion at hand)
Salt to taste
Optional: A few basil leaves, finely chopped, pepper, finely chopped garlic

- Simply cook the pasta as instructed on the package, I used small wholemeal pasta shells and they are cooked in about 10 minutes, so handy!

- In the meantime, mix the tune and the mayonnaise together, and then stir in the onion, sweetcorn, and a little bit of salt. If you want to add a little bit of colour you can also have some finely chopped basil. I decided to add a little bit of pepper as well. I might try and add some finely chopped garlic next time as well, mmmm garlic.

I wont take credit for this recipe, as it is so easy to just bash together!

The other week, I decided to get myself a printer as a sort of early birthday present, because I had a few important things that needed to be printed and well... because it's handy to have, especially when you're into writing a little as well. Problem is, I bought it almost a week ago and I still haven't figured out how to make my laptop "recognise" this new machine of mine... SIGH! Have you got any experience with setting up printers?

On a less technical note, me and a bunch of lovely people all set out to pick blackberries yesterday morning/afternoon. It was great to properly get out into the nature, get our hands all purple from all the picking, not falling down into some bushes, and afterwards get to enjoy all these lovely fresh berries! I think I managed picked five litres... I have already made blackberry chia jam (adding a little bit of sugar as the berries were a little tart), and in the evening I made a crumble, adding some pears and apple to the mix as well, but I should have added a bit of agave for extra sweetness, now I know until next time!

I hope you have had a great weekend! Did you get up to much?

- Jules

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Kiwi & Peach Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze

Hey you! Yes, come on over here and have a look at this!

Originally this was going to turn into some lovely kiwi muffins, but I had a peach begging me for mercy and with a few alterations of the recipe, it turned into something completely different. And the best of all? The cake itself is sugar free!

My flatmate loved it (unless he was just being polite, but in that case he wouldn't have wanted a second slice!), and said it was almost like a flan. Now, I have never had flan before, but if it's like this - I'll definitely want to try me some, and I hope you give it a go too!

Kiwi & Peach Cake with Dark Chocolate Glaze
(Makes 1 medium-sized cake)

2 eggs
70g xylitol/sukrin gold
2-3 drops Stevia vanilla or vanilla creme
100ml milk (I used almond)
2 kiwis
1 peach
2 tbsp flour of choice (I used extra fibre-flour)
1 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
1/2 scoop vanilla powder (or an additional 2 tbsp flour of choice)
2 tbsp coconut flour (or more flour)
1-2 tsp cinammon

For the glaze:
70g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tbsp low-fat yogurt, or soy yogurt, I used the latter

- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.

- Have all the cry ingredients in a big baking bowl first, stir to combine and make a well in the middle and have the remailing ingredients. Stir a little bit more before whizzing it all smooth with a stick blender.

- Pour into a greased tin or cake mould (about 18-20cm diameter) and bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before tipping onto a serving plate.

- For the frosting, simply melt the chocolate in a bowl over a casserole with boiling water, and stir in the yogurt, take it off the heat once it's all melted, spread nice and evenly over the cake, and place it in the fridge to set a little before serving.

I hope you like this as much as I did! I had a little bit for breakfast the next day, I couldn't help myself *sneaky grin*

Have a lovely evening!

Recipe by yours truly, with a little help from a completely different recipe!

- Jules

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Curried Cauliflower Soup with Bacon & Sugarsnap Peas


I hope you are having a good week so far *smiles*. Now, with this new job of mine, sometimes my days off are in the middle of the week, or in this case - today! I have been on a little wander, bought a printer (early birthday present, yar!), and then I went shopping in some charity shops for books, DVDS and I found some clohtes too. Normally I don't like shopping, but today was one of those few exception-days.

Now, you might remember a few posts ago, that I mentioned how granny disappeared into the kitchen after I had said in passing how I was craving something savoury, and then ten minutes later came back into the living room with a beautifully garnished homemade curried cauliflower soup.
After my little adventure today, I decided to try and replicate this dish as well as I could, and I had this soup for dinner! It wont be the last time, I promise you!

Curried Cauliflower Soup with Bacon & Sugarsnap Peas
(Serves 3-4)

1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 chicken stock cubes
2-3 tbsp curry powder
1 cup milk of choice (I used almond, the curry powder covers the sweetness)
1-2 tbsp plain flour or cornflour

2 sugarsnap peas per person, halved
2-3 bacon strips per person, trimmed for fat and diced

- In a large pot, start by having the cauliflower in, with the chicken stock and enough water to cover the cauliflower. Cook for about 10 minutes until softened.

- Add the curry powder and stir well. Now, you can decide if you want to use a stickblender and whizz it smooth, leave the cauliflower whole, or do a half and half. I did the latter as I like a bit of a chunky soup.

- Pour in the milk and stir well. To thicken the soup, mix the cornflour or flour with a quarter of a cup of water and stir until smooth, tip into the soup and stir it in. Leave until the soup thickens.

- In the meantime, fry the bacon until it's as soft or crispy as you like it and set aside.

- Serve the soup in bowls garnished with the halved sugarsnap peas, then bacon and serve with homemade crackers or some good crusty bread for mopping and enjoy!

Granny Gerd's soup pictured to the left and mine to the right, I served mine with the Artisan Crackers (made with 50/ amaranth flour and wholemeal flour this time). I need to get one of those beautiful crochet tablecloths! And I was perhaps a tad heavy handed with the curry powder, what can I say - I quite like it....OK I like it a lot!

I hope you are having a good evening ^ ^

You can thank my granny for this recipe!

- Jules

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Oven-Roasted Parsnip Fries with Stuffed Mushrooms

I came up with this little dinner when I fancied something a little pub-grubby but that was still not....quite that.

Oven-Roasted Parsnip Fries with Stuffed Mushrooms
(Serves 1)

200g parsnip (about 2), cut into strips
1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil + dash of water
Salt, pepper and onion powder for the fries
2 "breakfast" or portobello mushrooms
2 eggs
Seasonings (I used salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, chilli and a bit of smoked paprika)
Cheese of choice, either soft or grated, I used two soft cheese triangles that I halved
Vegan coconut bacon garnish (optional)
Dip of choice to serve with the fries - I would recommend sweet chilli sauce

- Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC.

- In a small pot, melt the coconut oil or heat up the olive oil on medium heat, and add the water. As you prepare the parsnip, chuck them into the pan as you go along.

- Sprinkle with the seasoning, place a lid over it and give it a good shake! Place the fries on a piece of baking parchment along with the whole garlic clove, and place it in the middle in the oven. Let them bake for about half an hour before turning them and roasting them for a further half hour

- Right before turning the parsnip fries, core the mushrooms so it leaves you with more space for the filling. You can finely chop the excess mushroom and mix it with the other ingredients, but you might find it bubbles up a little over the edges.

- Whisk together the eggs and spices and distribute between the mushrooms, top with cheese and vegan bacon garnish (if using) and pop them into the oven as you turn the parsnip fries. Half an hour later - dinner should be ready, serve with sauce of choice and enjoy!

Also, speaking of mushrooms.... When I was in Norway, I went on my very first mushroom-picking trip! I thought it best not to eat any of them though, as I found none of the ones in the "top 10 edible mushrooms in Norway", but all other kinds under the sun. Some of them looked like they had come from Mordor, creepy little things...

But they look pretty all laid out like this, yeh?

Also, in Norway - when I was visiting my granny, I mentioned I was hungry... She turned into supernan and then after ten minutes and a few rattling noises from the kitchen she came back with a home made cauliflower soup garnished with fried bacon and sugarsnap peas - say what?! It was amazing! I might have to try and make it in the near future, too good!

I stayed at my mum's place most nights there, and she has a little cat that's moved in with her who's called Ninni. People claim she's evil, but I just defended her, reminding them that she's only a moody girl, plus - she never attacked me, mew!

View from Askøy over to the bridge that leads you to Bergen town!

On the left, you see a picture from when my sister and I went to Godt Brød (organic bakery) on my last full day in Bergen, it's foccacia with garlic butter, pesto, roast beef and salad, yum!
On the right, you have "Fløibanen" which takes you up from Bergen city centre and up to one of the smallest mountains there - Fløien! My family always walk up though, it doesn't take long, and is the perfect walk pre-dinner, builds up your appetite y'know *smiles*

Left, I finally got a pony! Too bad it was made out of stone and thus impossible to bring with me back to Glasgow, dang! On the right you see lucky clovers from one of the forests on Askøy, and the leaves are heart-shaped and everything!

And on that note, I am declaring my weekend BEGUN! I have been working from Friday and up until today, phew, I can feel the post-holiday-back-to-work has taken its toll on me...
I hope you are having a fantastic weekend! Any plans?

Recipe by yours truly,

- Jules

Friday, 5 September 2014

Easy Bean & Lentil Casserole

Good morning - and happy Friday! Got any plans yet? I'll be working today and tomorrow, but then I am off on Sunday, yarr!

Here's a lovely little dinner tip for you! I made this out of ingredients I already had at hand after I got back from Norway. You can substitute the lentils for a tin of black- or kidney beans if you want, I just used what I had handy, simples!

Most of the ingredients are spices - of which most you might already have at hand, if not - just use the closest thing you've got or omit *smiles*

Easy Bean & Lentil Casserole
(Serves 2 - 3)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
400g tin white beans (I used cannellini)
50-70g dry red lentils (or one tin of black- or kidney beans)
400ml tin chopped tomatoes
200ml water (if using lentils)
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp honey (optional, can replace with 1 tbsp brown sugar)
1/2 glass red wine
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
A few drops liquid smoke (optional)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/3 tsp cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

- Simply start by heating the oil in a medium casserole, add the garlic and onion and soften for about five minutes.

- Now, add all the remaining ingredients and turn it down to simmer for 30-40 minutes, stir occasionally and season to taste. If the mix gets a little dry, just add a splash of water and cover with a lid and cook until the lentils have softened.

- Serve with good crusty bread for mopping! You can also use this as beanmix for tortillas or tacos, maybe even as a dip with tortilla chips? Yum!

And as for breakfast today, I noticed I had this "cake in a cup" mix sitting that I bought in Norway. And what do you when you have bought such a "healthier" mix in Norway only to realise that Hey! You don't have a microwave!
....You get a non-stick frying pan out, pour the mixture into it, cook it covered with a lid on low heat for about 3-5 minutes. Cakey on the outside and gooey in the middle, mmmm! I did say it was Friday!

Recipe by yours truly,


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Popeye Cheesy Tuna with Roasted Potatoes

It has been a looooong day, and you know what you need after such a day? A good dinner!

I have seen so so many sweet spinach dishes (pancakes, cakes, smoothies) and thought that I'd just.... Hide them in some other way. This is a great way to prepare cheesy tuna and potatoes for the youngsters as well.

Buuuut that doesn't mean you have to be a young'in to appreciate it, I personally thought this was a lovely meal! And because it's so light, there's still a bit of room for dessert!

One more thing! Don't be intimidated by the ingredient list, over half of it is just spices.

Popeye Cheesy Tuna with Roasted Potatoes
(Serves 1)

About 200g salad potatoes
1 tbsp oil
1/2 packet of spinach
1 tin of tuna
2 triangles light cream cheese (between 40-50g/2 tbsp), I used Blue Laughing Cow
More salt
A few drops liquid smoke (optional)
A dash each of:
Cayenne or chilli powder
Smoked Paprika
Black pepper
Onion powder (optional)
Basil (optional)
A handful roughly chopped walnuts and fresh basil leaves to garnish

- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

- Have the potatoes, oil and a little salt in a bowl and toss well to combine. Bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes before turning it down a little low.

- Once you've turned down the oven a little, prepare the tuna mixture! Heat a small casserole and wilt the spinach, this should only take a minute or two. Once that's done, have the tuna, cream cheese, spices and spinach in a bowl and use a stick blender and whizz until almost smooth. Add a little more salt and pepper to taste if needed.

- Take out the baked potatoes and plate them up next to the tuna mixture. Top with the walnuts and a few basil leaves... Dinner's ready!

Popeye would approve! (image from Google)

Recipe by yours truly,

- Jules