Tuesday, 24 December 2013

NIGERIAN ROAST VEG MEDLEY + RED ONION GRAVY

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you're making the most of this festive season by indulging in some healthy, tasty food...oh and you know, by spending time with your loved ones and all that good stuff. 

If you're looking for some last minute inspiration for the dinner table tomorrow then how about this medley of bright roasted veg. Nigerian-style no less, with yam and plantain and sweet potatoes thrown in for good measure. There's also a recipe for a rich red onion gravy to pull the whole dish together. Enjoy!

Ingredients
(serves 6)
- 2 cups diced yam 
- 4 medium potatoes (diced) 
- 1 large sweet potato (diced) 
- 1 green bell pepper (diced)
- 1 red bell pepper (diced)
- 2 large carrots (cut into thick batons)
- 1 medium red onion (cut into chunks)
- 1 plantain (cut into thick batons)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves 
- 4 tbsp sunflower oil 
- salt and pepper to taste

For the gravy:

- 1 large red onion
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- squeeze of lemon
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 tsp corn flour mixed with 1 tbsp warm water 

Place the diced yam, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots in a large pot and cover with water. Parboil the vegetables for 10 mins on a high heat. Drain well.

Place the parboiled vegetables, diced peppers, red onions, plantain, garlic cloves and bay leaves in a large baking dish. Drizzle with sunflower oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together until all the vegetables are well coated.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, gas mark 2, for 20-25 mins.

To make the gravy, blend the red onion with a little water. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and add the stock cube, curry powder, squeeze of lemon and 1/4 cup of water. Stir continuously on low-medium heat for 5 minutes to cook off the onions. Add the corn flour mixture and keep stirring for a few more minutes until the gravy thickens slightly.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

MALTINA ICE CREAM

Hands up if you think we could do with a few more Nigerian desserts. 

I paid a visit to my local African food store yesterday and spied a row of malt drinks - Maltina, Malta, Amstel Malta etc (so many brands for such a popular beverage). I must have looked a bit dim as I stood staring at the row for longer than could be considered normal. In actual fact, the wheels were turning as I wondered how these carbonated malt drinks could be used in cooking. I imagined using it in a stew or a kind of rich vegetable soup. Then I remembered the tin of coconut cream I had at home and thought it'd be cool to blend the two to make some kind of ice cream. Fast forward to now and I'm glad I grabbed that bottle of maltina.
Few ingredients go into this but the process is long if you haven't got an ice cream maker. 
A labour of love, but well worth it!


Ingredients
(serves 4)
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1/4 cup maltina (or any other brand of malt drink)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar

Place the coconut cream, maltina and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk (I used an electric hand mixer) for 5 mins until the mixture is well combined and aerated.

Cover and put in the freezer for 30 minutes. Take out and give another whisk. 
Repeat this process several times until the ice cream mixture is firm. The purpose of repeating the process is to make sure you end up with smooth, scoopable ice cream and not rock-solid cream with large ice crystals. 

Serve in bowls or little glass cups and spoon some of the malt drink over the top for an extra kick.

NUTTY CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

These truffles would make a great home-made Christmas present. Just pop them into cellophane bags and tie up with some ribbon. 
Or you can serve them as a post-Christmas dinner treat. 
Or you can keep them all for yourself and devour in one sitting (not recommended). 
The possibilities are endless...

They require zero cooking time, just a short rest in the freezer. Pay special attention not to use salted peanut butter though, no one wants to bite into a salty truffle.



Ingredients
(makes 20)
- 4 tbsp smooth, unsalted peanut butter
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 8 tbsp ground almonds
- 75g dark chocolate (melted)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup dessicated coconut

Mix the peanut butter, cocoa powder, ground almonds, sugar and melted dark chocolate in a large mixing bowl until all the ingredients are well combined. Leave to rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

Place the dessicated coconut on a large plate (for rolling your truffles in). Spoon out little rounds of the truffle mix, drop into the dessicated coconut and roll them around until evenly coated.

Lay them out on a lined baking sheet. When they're all coated and laid out, place in the freezer for about 10-15 mins until they harden.





BREAKFAST #7 - SWEET POTATO PANCAKES

These pancakes are fantastic if you're trying to reduce your sugar intake. A wholesome way to start the day. The touch of cinnamon also creates a warm Christmassy aroma that fills the entire house.























Ingredients
(serves 2-3)
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 cup self-raising wholegrain flour
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- sunflower oil
- lemon juice (optional)

You'll need to bake the sweet potato first and there are two ways you can do this:
1. Microwave: poke the sweet potato all over with a fork, wrap in a damp sheet of kitchen paper and microwave for 4-5 minutes. Turn over and microwave for another 4-5 minutes. You should be left with a soft and squishy potato afterwards.
2. Oven: poke all over with a fork and place the sweet potato on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, gas mark 6, then turn it over and bake for another 20-30 minutes.

To make the pancakes, cut the baked sweet potato length-wise and scrape out the soft flesh into a large mixing bowl.

Add the flour, milk and cinnamon, and give it a good mix.

Lightly oil the bottom of a frying pan and drop the pancake mix in one tablespoon at a time, using the back of the spoon to spread and flatten the pancake. Cook the pancake for about 5 mins on low-medium heat until brown on one side. Flip over and brown the other side.

Serve warm with a little lemon juice drizzled over the top.

Monday, 16 December 2013

BEANS AND PLANTAIN CANAPES

If you're planning to host a big Christmas party this year, these quick and easy canapés are the way to go. A fancy-looking addition to your spread with minimum effort required. And if you've got some leftover cooked beans in your fridge or freezer then these will take half the time. This recipe makes about 18-20 canapés, but if you've got more guests then go ahead and double the quantities.

Lay them out on pretty trays with festive napkins to give them that special edge.




















Ingredients
(makes about 20)
- 2 plantains
- 1/2 cup brown beans or green lentils
- salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- tomato (diced, to garnish)

If you're using leftover beans, then skip this step. Otherwise, boil the beans/lentils in salted water until it turns soft and mushy. Season with a touch of cinnamon.

Peel and slice the plantains into thick rounds. You should be able to get 18-20 rounds from each plantain. Shallow fry the plantain in a little sunflower oil, browning on both sides. Drain on some kitchen paper.

Using the tip of a teaspoon, spread some of the beans on one slice and place a second slice on top. Hold in place with a cocktail stick and garnish each canapé with a little cube of tomato.

CLUB SANDWICH

Club sandwiches exist in various forms around the world, but the essential features remain the same - lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise. Nigerians have also managed to put their own spin on the sandwich, adding things like hard boiled eggs, sardines and grated carrots to the mix. Although there isn't a massive sandwich culture in Nigeria (you won't find sandwich shops scattered around Lagos city, for example), club sandwiches are eaten a lot, usually served up at exclusive hotels, clubs and restaurants - no doubt with tourists and cosmopolitan high-flyers in mind.

In this vegan version, I use hummus in place of the usual mayonnaise and I replace the meat with avocado and roasted yellow pepper. I've also used brown bread instead of white to up the nutritional value.

Be warned: with its multiple layers, this sandwich is enormous and you'll probably need to share it with someone. Enjoy!


























Ingredients
- 3 slices of wholegrain bread
- 2-3 tbsp hummus
- 1 yellow pepper (cut into thick slabs)
- 1/2 ripe avocado (cut into strips)
- medium tomato (cut into thick round slices)
- lettuce leaves
- seasoning of your choice
You'll also need 4 cocktail sticks to hold the sandwich together.

Start by placing the slabs of yellow pepper on a baking tray. Season with spices of your choice and black pepper. Bake in a hot oven for 8-10 minutes.

Toast the bread slices and spread some hummus on the face of all three slices.

To assemble the club sandwich, start with a layer of lettuce and tomato on the bottom. Place the next slice of toast on top, spreading another layer of hummus on the underside.

Next, add the layer of roasted yellow pepper and avocado and cover with the last slice of toast.

Hold the sandwich down on all four corners with cocktail sticks and cut into four triangles.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

FACEBOOK + GIVEAWAY

'Tis the season to create a Facebook page and launch my first giveaway. If this one works out, I'll probably do a few more giveaways next year.

Nothing says Christmas like yet another chocolate gift to add to your growing pile of chocolate, and we all know that you can never have too much chocolate. So if you're up for getting your hands on some dairy-free, organic fare then read on. And if you're that one person who's sick of chocolate already, then read on anyway and pass it on to someone else as a Christmas present.

The rules are simple:

1. 'Like' the Facebook page (if you haven't already) - www.facebook.com/VeganNigerian 

2. Post a comment or send a message letting me know what vegan meal you plan to make this Christmas.

I'll pick a winner by the 20th, get in touch and send them the choc.

Good luck!

Friday, 13 December 2013

EATING OUT #5 - 222 VEGGIE VEGAN

With rave reviews like 'best vegan restaurant in London' and 'an absolute paradise for vegans', it should come as no surprise that I was bursting with excitement before my visit to this restaurant. Truth be told, I've had their web page bookmarked for as long as I can remember and always had it at the back of my mind to make my way over there.



Today marked my first meet-up with one of my blog readers and so I finally had the perfect excuse to venture over to 222 Veggie Vegan. We arrived in time for the lunch buffet (which is between 12:00 - 15:30 everyday) and we were not disappointed! Fresh food, friendly staff and a fantastic atmosphere made for a very enjoyable afternoon.

The buffet selection was varied and inviting, with personal favourites like plantain and avocado salad making an appearance. Of course, I had to try a little bit of everything and I can honestly say that each component was distinct and packed full of flavour - I was so impressed. As an unlimited buffet of high-quality food, it is also really good value for money.


Located in West London, the restaurant has been going for nine years (!) and was founded by Ghanaian-born vegan chef, Ben Asamani.

I am already looking forward to my next visit (I'm keen to try out the dinner à la carte menu) and cannot recommend them enough. If you're in the London area, go check them out!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

VIDEO - BBC 'FOCUS ON AFRICA'

For those who missed it, here's the vid of my stint on BBC's 'Focus on Africa'. It was an amazing experience! Felt a little awestruck for the most part, especially considering how much I love the programme.
I can't thank Peter (the sports presenter) enough for stumbling across this blog in the first place, and also the rest of the presenters and producers on the show who were all so accommodating. 
A massive shout-out to my family and friends who are the most supportive and excitable bunch of people around ;)

Recognise any of the food on the table? :) 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

GOODBYE ANONYMITY?

So, someone might be appearing on BBC World's 'Focus on Africa' tomorrow (Friday @ 17.30 GMT).
Could be anyone really.
Said person will be talking about this blog and other vegan-related things, so you'll probably want to check it out. (Eeeep!)
Thanks guys :)


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

CURRY AND THYME POPCORN

Curry and thyme. Two classic ingredients in Nigerian cooking - especially where jollof rice is concerned. I've simply used your regular store-bought dried thyme and powdered curry (the 'Lion' brand, which most Nigerians will be familiar with) to spice up one of my favourite go-to snacks. 

Making popcorn from scratch is not always a walk in the park. The first few times I tried it, I ended up with burnt bits and miserable looking kernels that seemed reluctant to pop. I've since discovered a few handy techniques for making the perfect batch every time.

Ingredients
- 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
- 3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Salt to taste

Place a saucepan over a low heat and add the oil, thyme and curry. 

Before the oil starts to heat up, add the popcorn kernels. Place the saucepan lid on top, slightly ajar to allow some steam to escape, but not so much that the popped kernels can jump out of the pan. 

You'll need to hang around and keep an eye on things. As soon as the corn starts to pop, lift the saucepan off the heat slightly and give it a little shake to prevent any from burning or sticking to the bottom. Do this at intervals until the popping stops completely.

Serve with a little sea salt sprinkled over the top. Yum!

CHOCOLATE + PEANUT MUFFINS

My idea of quality late-night TV is watching one cooking show after another. Sad but true. Over the summer, I couldn't get enough of 'Cupcake Wars' on the Food Network. Some of the flavour combinations were craazzyy - they even put some of mine to shame. Who would ever think to add black pepper to a sweet cupcake? Or better (or worse) still, spinach and olive oil? Why? 

And yet and yet and yet, there was always that other 'crazy cook' side of me that nodded along and swore to give some of the recipes a try at some point. Just giving you a heads up.

These choc and peanut muffins are not so crazy.  In fact, they are arguably a big improvement on the chocolate cupcakes I made back in February (when I was still trying to find my feet with vegan baking). I dreamt these up when trying to figure out how to use up a bag of peanuts I'd tossed to the back of the cupboard. The addition of crushed peanuts certainly gives an extra depth of flavour and texture. I think you'll also agree that these look slightly more attractive.



Ingredients
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- 1/4 cup crushed peanuts
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Place the flour, cocoa powder and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Place the crushed peanuts, almond milk, vanilla essence and coconut oil in a blender and whiz for a minute or two until the ingredients are well combined (this goes a long way in ensuring a more even texture).

Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Be careful not to over mix the cake batter.  

Divide the mixture into individual muffin cases.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, gas mark 5, for 20-25 minutes until well risen and cooked all the way through (you can check by using a small toothpick. If it comes out clean, then you're good to go).

Leave to cool on a wire rack and dust with some extra cocoa powder and any other arty garnishes you feel like using.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

PASTA ÀWÖ EWÉKO

I would be the first to admit that some of my creations do turn out looking particularly monstrous. Take this idea for a pasta dish that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie - loaded with green 'stuff' and suspicious specks of red (rest assured that it's just spinach and red pepper respectively...). 

Despite these dodgy attributes, it actually tastes pretty divine. It's homely, delicious and packed full of nutritious bits and pieces. I've even added an extra special ingredient to make the green 'stuff' creamy and luscious. I've named it "pasta àwö ewéko" just because. (Àwö ewéko means green in Yoruba, which seems fitting)

Give it a go...if you dare.

Ingredients
(serves 2)
- 1 cup brown pasta
- 1 medium potato (quartered)
- 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
- 2 handfuls fresh spinach
- 1/2 red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
- 2 tsp chinese five-spice
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- chopped nuts (optional)
- Sunflower oil
- Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the pasta and potato in some water until soft.

Place the fresh spinach, scotch bonnet pepper, cooked potatoes and a little water in a blender and whiz to form a thick, smooth paste.

Fry the red onion and red peppers in a little oil for a couple of minutes before adding the green blended mix.

Add the seasoning - five-spice, stock cube, soy sauce, salt and pepper - and cook on a high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss until the pasta is evenly coated. 

Serve hot immediately with some chopped nuts sprinkled over the top.

SPICED CARROT PUDDING WITH DARK CHOCOLATE FROSTING

You know you're obsessed with all things food when you wake up in the middle of the night to sketch out new recipes. And I don't just mean writing out an ingredient list... I mean full-blown diagrams with labels indicating what goes where and how the finished dish is going to look. 

Such has been my lot over the past couple of nights. I'm not complaining though - there are just tons and tons of strange and exciting things that I'd love to try out. If my hands could keep up with the long list of recipes I plan to share, you'd be bombarded with a lot more than I've been dishing out lately. Thankfully, there's no real hurry, is there?

This particular recipe isn't all that strange (well, depending on what you're used to eating). It's a wonderfully gooey treat that's bound to satisfy any sweet tooth. It's bursting with freshly grated carrots, plump raisins and a heady mix of warm spices. As if that wasn't enough, the puddings are also topped with a silky dark chocolate frosting. 



Ingredients
(serves 4)
- 2 large carrots (grated)
- 1.5 cups plain flour
- 1/4 cup ground almonds
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp chopped pickled ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 8 dark chocolate squares
- 2 tbsp soy milk


To make the puddings, place the grated carrots, flour, sugar, ground almonds and raisins in a large mixing bowl.

In another small bowl, whisk the soy milk and oil with a fork and add to the first bowl containing the other ingredients. Mix to form a thick batter.

Add the rest of the ingredients - vanilla extract, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt - and mix until evenly distributed.

Oil four pudding tins and dust the inside with some ground almonds. Fill each tin (almost to the top) with the pudding batter and place in a baking tray. Fill the baking tray about a quarter of the way up with some warm water.
Bake the puddings in a pre-heated oven, gas mark 5 for about 40-45 mins. Use a toothpick to test if it is cooked all the way through (it should come out clean).

Take the puddings out of the oven and leave to cool upside down for a few minutes. They should slide out easily after a couple of minutes.

To make the chocolate frosting, place 6-8 large squares of dark chocolate with 2 tablespoons of soy milk in a small microwavable dish. Microwave for about 20 seconds and then stir continuously with a spoon until all the chocolate had completely melted to form a thick sauce. If it's too thick, add an extra dash of soy milk to loosen the mixture. 
Plate up the puddings on individual saucers and spoon the chocolate frosting over the top. Yum!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

CABBAGE WRAPS

This smashing lunch or snack idea is not only gluten-free and gentle on the waistline, it's also super quick and easy to assemble. You'll need a few pre-made essentials such as hummus and a cooked mixed veg filling (or you can stick to sliced raw vegetables - works and tastes just as good!) 

One or two of these is enough to make a filling lunch and a simple way to pack in more vegetables into your diet. I used the large outer leaves of the cabbage for this recipe but I'm sure big lettuce leaves will also give the same results.

Ingredients
(serves 2)
- 2-3 large cabbage leaves
- 2-4 tbsp hummus
- 1 cup cooked mixed vegetables (carrots, peppers, tomatoes etc...why not throw in some cooked beans or chickpeas for some extra protein)
- raw vegetables of your choice, cut into strips (I used yellow pepper and carrots)

To assemble your wrap, start by trimming down the tough vein that goes down the middle back of the leaf. This will make it easier to fold later.


Spread a tablespoon or two of hummus over one side of the leaf and stack on your cooked/raw vegetables. I used a combination of the two in order to create contrasting textures of soft and crunchy. I also used some cooked chickpeas to make it extra filling, but beans or rice would also work great in this. The more vegetables you can pack in there, the better!
Fold into a neat parcel and turn it over so the parcel holds its shape. Slice the wrap in half and enjoy!

                      


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

CHICKPEA AND VEGETABLE STEW

This has recently become one of my favourite things to make. It's really versatile and can be made in big batches which can then be stored in the fridge/freezer and eaten in different ways during the week - whether on its own, next to some rice/couscous or folded into a whole-wheat wrap.

Ingredients
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 large red onion (roughly sliced)
- 2 large tomatoes (roughly chopped)
- 1 red bell pepper (roughly chopped)
- 1 green bell pepper (roughly chopped)
- 1 yellow bell pepper (roughly chopped)
- 1 courgette (roughly chopped)
- 2 green chillies (finely chopped, with or without the seeds)
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 tsp mixed herbs
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp crushed ginger
- salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions, ginger and green chillies for a minute or two.

Add the rest of the chopped vegetables to the saucepan, along with the herbs and seasoning. Pour in the vegetable stock. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the cooked chickpeas and cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes.

BREAKFAST #6 - GREEN SMOOTHIE

After being inspired by the remarkable documentary, 'Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead', I have since taken to blitzing my fruit and veg. 

The documentary follows an Australian businessman named Joe Cross as he travels across the United States drinking nothing but fresh fruit and vegetable juice over a period of 60 days. The point of this?? To tap into the body's natural ability to heal itself when nourished with the right vitamins and nutrients. Not only does he tackle his debilitating autoimmune disease but he also drops an astonishing amount of weight, boosts his energy and inspires a few others along the way.

I am yet to invest in a good quality fruit and vegetable juicer, so for now I'll be starting most of my mornings with this delicious green smoothie. Takes hardly any time at all to make and gives me tons of energy until lunchtime. Feel free to stray from my recipe and add your favourite fruit and veg - be creative!

Ingredients
- 1 green apple
- 1/2 cucumber
- 2 celery stalks
- handful of spinach
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup water

Place all the ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth.

Drink within an hour of making the smoothie to get the most nutrients out of it. If possible, go for organic produce.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

SPICY GREEN RICE SALAD

Happy 53rd Independence Day to all the Nigerian folk out there. To celebrate, why not rustle up this excessively patriotic looking salad to go with dinner tonight. You know you want to.


Ingredients
(serves 4)
- 1 cup cooked basmati rice
- 4 cups lettuce (roughly chopped)
- 1/2 cucumber (thinly sliced)
- 1/4 cup spring onions (chopped)
- 2 green chillies
- 1 clove garlic
- Fresh ginger (size of a coin)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp ground black pepper 

To make the dressing, place the green chillies, garlic and ginger in a small mortar and crush to a pulp with a pestle. Add the olive oil, salt and black pepper and mix with a spoon.

To build up the salad, place the lettuce leaves on a serving dish, sprinkle the rice evenly over the top, layer on the sliced cucumbers and garnish with the chopped spring onions.

Drizzle the dressing liberally over the top and serve immediately.

ALMOND MILK

Almond milk appears in many of the recipes on this blog and so it's only right that I put up a recipe showing how easy it is to make at home. What I love about this home-made version is that I am in complete control of what goes in there - no need for additives or preservatives to extend the shelf life. No unnecessary added sugar to sweeten it if I don't want to.  Just pure almond goodness.

You won't believe how creamy and tasty this versatile non-dairy milk is. Rich in calcium and protein, it's perfect for baking, cooking and pouring over your favourite breakfast cereal. 

Once made, it should be refrigerated and used within five days.

Ingredients
- 1.5 cups whole raw almonds (soaked overnight)
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 pitted dates (optional)
- Pinch of salt

First thing's first, soak the raw almonds in a bowl of water, cover and leave to stand overnight. Drain the water and rinse the almonds before proceeding to the next step.

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz at the highest speed for 2 minutes. Leave the dates out if you want it unsweetened. Alternatively, you can use your preferred sweetener (1 tbsp brown sugar, maple syrup..etc)

Grab a large bowl and place a strainer over it. Pour the almond mixture into the strainer, using the back of a spoon to push as much liquid out as possible. 
Discard the almond meal, give the strainer a quick rinse and repeat the straining process into another bowl. 

Strain one final time to ensure a smooth consistency.

Pour into a sealable glass jar or bottle and refrigerate. Use within five days.

Friday, 27 September 2013

COLESLAW

If there's one type of salad that Nigerians can tolerate on the side of their plate, it's the humble coleslaw. The shredded cabbage and grated carrot is usually held together with a dollop of salad cream and chilled in the refrigerator until the main meal is ready. With the amount of spice and pepper we use in our food, coleslaw offers something of a cooling respite between those fiery mouthfuls.

Here is my version of coleslaw with an unbelievably rich vegan salad "cream" dressing. This is my second attempt at the recipe. I used rice flour the first time around but found it to be too grainy. Corn flour provided the right consistency and was a subtle enough base to build in layers of flavour. 


Ingredients
(serves 4)
- 2 cups raw shredded cabbage 
- 1.5 cups grated carrot
- 6 tbsp corn flour
- 3 tbsp coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp sunflower oil

To make the salad dressing, combine the corn flour and coconut milk to form a smooth paste. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and sunflower oil and whisk vigorously with a fork. The dressing should be able to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and black pepper.

Place the shredded cabbage and grated carrot in a large salad bowl and pour in a generous amount of the dressing. Give it a good mix and refrigerate until needed.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

LEMON AND TANGERINE CAKE

Just because summer is over doesn't mean that you have to wave goodbye to fresh and vibrant indulgences. This zesty, vitamin-rich treat is a great accompaniment to your afternoon tea or coffee. 

I have always been a big fan of lemon cake and this is my very first vegan attempt - with tangerine as an added twist!

The tangy lemon balances perfectly with the sweetness of the tangerine, and the flecks of lemon and tangerine zest in the cake batter are like little jewels, providing an additional burst of flavour.


Ingredients
(serves 8)
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used coconut in this case)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 lemons (juice and zest)
- 1 large tangerine (juice and zest)

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt.

In another bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together, including the oil, non-dairy milk, vinegar, juice of 1 lemon and the juice of 1 tangerine.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour and mix to form a cake batter. Incorporate the grated zest of two lemons and the zest of 1 tangerine. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.

Pour the cake batter into a lightly oiled cake tin and bake in a pre-heated oven, gas mark 5, for 20-25 minutes.

Allow to cool for half an hour and then squeeze the juice of half a lemon or tangerine over the top. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar (optional) and garnish with fresh tangerine segments.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

CHUNKY HUMMUS


I have always wanted to make my own hummus. I'm not going to lie - the first time I set eyes on it, I was a bit skeptical, but after that first taste, I was completely sold! 
Hummus is made by crushing/blending chickpeas with a few other kitchen cupboard ingredients and can be used as a dip or a spread. It's a great source of protein, fibre and numerous essential vitamins.

Like peanut butter, you can have it super smooth or, as I like it, with chunky bits. I've served mine up with a few carrot sticks and some home-made flatbread (recipe also below) but of course you can eat it with just about any other crunchy vegetable out there (sliced cucumber, raw pepper etc.). They also go well with baked chips, crackers or, as fellow blogger Berry Dakara cleverly suggested in my mini pizza post, as a topping for your veggie pizza.

 
Ingredients
(serves 2)
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
- Pinch of salt

To make the hummus, place the chickpeas in a large bowl and crush with the back of a fork to form a chunky paste.

Add the crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil and chilli powder (optional), and give it a good mix.

Serve in a little dish and drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top.

For the flatbread:
- 1 cup self-raising flour 
- 1/2 cup warm water 
- 3 tbsp olive oil 
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp sunflower oil to coat the bottom of the frying pan
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, making sure to add the water a little at a time until you have a soft dough.

Heat a large frying pan and coat the bottom with a little sunflower oil.

Divide the dough into 4-5 parts and use your hands to form a flat, roughly round or oval shape with each piece. Once the pan is hot enough, drop the bread in and cook for about 2 minutes or until it starts to form brown spots all over. Turn over and brown the other side.

Monday, 2 September 2013

CREAMY AVOCADO PASTA

Nothing beats the creaminess of a fully ripe avocado. Here's a neat way to exploit this in a simple yet tasty pasta dish. It's worth using good quality olive oil in this recipe as it adds a certain depth of flavour to the dish.

Ingredients
- 1 cup pasta 
- 1 ripe avocado 
- 1/2 red onion (sliced in circles)
- 6 cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1/4 cup sweetcorn
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- Salt to taste

Fill a saucepan with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Add your pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until soft.

In another saucepan, sauté the onions and tomatoes in olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently on medium heat until the onions soften. Add the sweetcorn, stock cube and mixed herbs. 
Toss the cooked pasta with the vegetables and scoop in the avocado. Mix well to break down the avocado so it coats the pasta nicely. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
Serve hot with a little extra drizzle of olive oil (optional).