Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Detoxifying Green Smoothie for Flawless Skin

My relationship with make-up is one of indifference. It wasn't always that way. I remember being in my early teens and eagerly looking forward to the day I could start experimenting with lipstick, eye shadow and all other face-painting rituals that have been adopted since the dawn of time. Then the years rolled on, I became old enough to start wearing the stuff, and lo-and-behold I found that I just didn't care. I'm not anti-make-up though because once in a while, if I'm in the mood or if a fancy occasion calls for it, I'll dab on a little lipstick or throw on some mascara. Otherwise, I go about my business bare-faced and au naturel. The decision to wear or not wear make-up should always be a woman's choice and there certainly shouldn't be any judgement on either side of the fence.

To relate this little spiel to the recipe at hand, the strange irony is that ever since I went vegan, I've received more questions about my 'beauty-product-secrets' than ever before. From what kind of foundation I'm wearing to which concealers I use to achieve a smooth finish. The look of surprise each time I say that I'm not wearing anything is somewhat amusing. In those moments, I want to say: 'Go vegan and your skin will thank you for it!' and depending on who I'm talking to, sometimes I say just that. 

It would be irresponsible of me to claim that all vegans automatically have great skin after giving up animal products - I can only speak for myself and share my personal experience - but you sure do give yourself a fighting chance when you go down the plant-based route. Your fruit and veg intake inevitably spikes and pore-clogging dairy is eliminated. If that isn't a recipe for getting that glow from the inside out, I don't know what is.

This smoothie recipe, like many other vitamin-rich fruit and veg combos, is a good option if you're looking to start eating and drinking for your skin and general well-being. Great as a healthy snack or a quick breakfast when you're in a hurry. Especially great when you want to give your digestive system a breather after days of glorious indulgence in rich foods.

You'll need: green apple, cucumber, fresh lemon juice and filtered water. If you have access to organic produce, even better.

Simply blend all the ingredients on high speed and enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Vegan Peppered Snail

What's that?

A take on a Nigerian favourite without any actual slime or the chopping up of little creatures who just want to mind their business as they chomp through leaves and crawl around in mud?


The Vegan Nigerian: saving one snail at a time. Lol.

Peppered snail is a well-known delicacy in Nigerian cuisine, usually served at parties as appetisers or prepared at home just cos. As a kid, I could never comprehend why anyone would want to eat a snail; the thought of it even now makes me gag a little. But that's just me. Tons of people love the stuff. And so I say, why not consider a version that gives you the same flavour and chewiness but without the grossness? Mushrooms can be earthy and robust and can soak up a ton of seasoning. If you think you'll miss the distinct 'muddy' taste of actual snails though, feel free to chuck in a handful of wet earth into the pan.

I'm joking. And gosh, I probably sound quite snide. Sorry.

For this recipe, I cheated and used the fiery hot chilli sauce by Marie's Little Jar. Although it's not entirely cheating is it, seeing as it contains natural, healthy ingredients. Still, if you want to make your own peppery sauce, it's simple: blend some scotch bonnet peppers with onions and tomatoes to make a thick sauce. Fry in some sunflower oil and allow the sauce to reduce. Season with salt and a vegetable stock cube, and you're good to go.

Re-hydrated dried mushrooms work better than fresh mushrooms in this dish because you get that chewy, rubbery taste.

You'll need:
- Dried mushroom (I used shiitake)
- Sunflower oil
- Red chilli sauce (read above for a quick way to make your own at home)
- Fresh mixed herbs (I used thyme, rosemary and tarragon - use what you have/your favourites)
- Salt, to taste

Soak the dried mushroom in water until soft. (Top tip: quicken the softening process by popping it into the microwave for 5 minutes). Drain, rinse and squeeze out any excess water.

Chop some fresh herbs and set aside.

Heat some sunflower oil in a pan and add the mushroom. Fry until brown and a bit crispy on the outside.  Season with salt.

Add a generous helping of peppery chilli sauce to coat the mushrooms. Throw in a handful of chopped fresh herbs. Serve hot or warm.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Vegan Food Spotting: High Street Kensington [Video]

Whole Foods Market - just like a well-stocked bookstore - is one of those places I could spend hours walking through. Forget properly shopping there, because some of those prices are...phew!...but when I'm in the area it's satisfying to wander around, marvelling at all the vegan alternatives on offer. This is where you go if/when you miss things like grated cheese and evaporated milk and French pastries. Who knew? Coconut evaporated milk for crying out loud! I treated myself to a vegan croissant while I was there and the first bite felt like being lifted off the ground. It transported me back to my year of living abroad in France in 2012... those few months before I went vegan, when croissants and pains au chocolat were an almost-daily indulgence. Memories.

On this particular evening of vegan food spotting at Whole Foods, I also had dinner at Wagamama - my first visit to the chain since the launch of their new vegan & vegetarian menu. Slow clap. Totally game-changing. My heart and stomach were full that evening. Of course, I had to go for their signature 'vegatsu' (a vegan take on their popular katsu curry, but with crispy seitan strips instead of chicken strips). Have you been yet? You should.

With the weather as beautiful as it is in London these days, I imagine I'll be doing a lot of trekking around the ol' city. When I do, I'll likely create more of these food spotting videos, because why not.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Catering a Vegan Wedding [Pictures & Video]

Words are not enough to capture the weekend gone by. I catered a wedding! A whole wedding! The intensity was unlike anything I've ever experienced before and I don't think I've ever had so much adrenaline pumping through my system. Forget skydiving and bungee jumping, catering a wedding is where it's at if you want a good kick.

Overall, it was a challenging experience with a lot of rewarding outcomes. My clients were an absolute pleasure to work with and my team was the definition of 'Dream Team'.

The video I've put together barely captures the experience, but I'm glad that I was able to get some footage at least. When the official wedding photographs come out, I'll try and update this post with more pictures.

If you've got an event coming up and think we could work well together, definitely drop me a line. Just putting it out there that I would love to cater an all-vegan baby shower next. Or a birthday party!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Baked Plantain Chips (Savoury)

A bowl of plantain chips = a thing of absolute beauty. Skip the spitting-splashing oil from frying and bake them instead. I'm more of a sweet plantain chip gal myself, and for that you'd need to use ripe plantains, but I had a rogue green plantain at home and decided to use it up in this way. Plus, you'll never see me turn down plantain in any form, so there's that.

I used a mandolin slicer to achieve the super thin strips and would recommend that you use that too. If you're missing this most essential kitchen gadget though, go ahead and slice as thinly as you can with a knife.

Hope you enjoy this super simple recipe!

- 1 unripe plantain
- sunflower oil (enough to coat the sliced plantain)
- salt to taste
- crushed chilli flakes

Slice the plantain as thinly as possible using a knife or mandolin slicer (available on Amazon). Place in a large bowl and add sunflower oil, salt and chilli flakes. Give it a quick toss/mix until the plantain is well-coated.

Lay the plantain slices out on a a lined baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Leave to cool slightly before serving.