Tag Archives: vegan

Warm avocado soup

Decorate with chopped eggs and chopped sweet pepper

Decorate with chopped eggs and chopped sweet pepper

Ingredients list:

  • Avocados, 2
  • 1 stock cube
  • Boiling water, 250ml
  • Rice milk, 250ml
  • Paprika, 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice, 1 Tbsp
  • Chopped spring onion, 1
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste

This soup is warm but requires no cooking. So it’s ideal for time-poor students or older persons who want a healthy meal without the hassle of cooking it.

Blend all the ingredients until smooth in a food processor and serve warm with boiled eggs (chopped) and red pepper cubes, for a nice colour contrast. Season generously and choose either sweet or hot paprika, or both, according to your inclination.

I also like this soup with a generous slice of bread covered in Sobressada from Mallorca. This paprika flavoured sausage can be spread easily and comes to reinforce the smoked paprika hint already in the soup.

 Nutrition notes:

This is very gentle on your digestive system as well as being very restorative due to the high potassium content of both avocado and paprika. The healthy oils in the avocado are excellent for the skin and the brain.

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Asparagus and broad beans risotto with miso and Umeboshi flavours

An all singing, all dancing vegetarian dish to shake our bodies out of the summer slumber! This is as rejuvenating as an outdoor yoga class or a jog in a bluebells’ wood. The miso and Umeboshi (marinated prune paste) are very good and calming for the intestines and will help restore depleted energies. You can find the miso paste and the umeboshi paste in Japanese shops and most health shops in the UK. The Japanese use them to restore intestinal bacteria after an illness or a course of antibiotics. The umeboshi is quite tangy and salty in taste so you will not need to add any salt if you use it – Especially combined with Miso.

You can do without those weird and wonderful ingredients and replace them with a good chicken or vegetable stock if you prefer .  I just wanted to include a healing and strengthening aspect into my recipe . Both versions are delicious.

Ingredients list:

  • 1 shallot
  • olive oil
  • 10 asparagus
  • handful of frozen or fresh broad beans
  • 250g of arborio or other risotto rice
  • 50ml of white wine
  • 600ml of boiling water
  • soy cream to finish
  • 1 Tbsp of umeboshi plum paste
  • 2 Tbsp of white miso paste (or 1/2 cube stock)
  • Pepper to finish

This quantity serves 5/6 as starter portions or 3 as main. Halve all quantities to cook a plentiful meal for one! There should be just a bit left over for the dog.

This month is the perfect time to use up the latest asparagus and broad beans from the garden or allotment. They are still coming up on market stalls at a bargain. I have even seen them recently at a Pick-your-own farm!

Chop up the shallot and fry it in a little olive oil.

Then throw in the rice and fry that too until the grains look transparent.

Add the wine and simmer until it is almost gone. Then add half the stock and continue simmering and turning. The secret of a good risotto is to add the liquid in stages and to keep the mix soupy and wet until the end so it does not dry too much as it cools down in the plate. Keep simmering and adding stock until the rice is cooked.

Meanwhile (or previously), you have washed and trimmed the asparagus and steamed them. The broad beans need to be shelled but not pre-steamed.

You need to season with the umeboshi and the miso paste about 5/10 minutes before the end- not before because boiling would destroy a lot of the healthy bacteria.

Add the asparagus stalks but keep the tips aside. Add the broad beans as well towards the end of the cooking and cover. Rice usually takes 20 min in all.

Dress with a dash of cream, some pepper from the mill and serve warm but not hot.

Decorate with fresh mint!

Decorate with fresh mint!

Here I have used fresh peas and decorated with fresh mint from the potted garden.

Almond milk rice pudding with lemon zest and cinnamon

A warming and regressive pud, perfectly pitched against the cold and grey weather that is still lingering on in the April month… This will comfort your soul and make the world suddenly feel like a cosy and reassuring place! Don’t sue me if it fails though: can’t be held accountable for freak weather…

I love the spanish style rice pudding my grand-mother used to make for us, but I made mine with almond milk for a change and it fitted beautifully. Lately, I have enjoyed using almond milk for its subtle taste as much as its health benefits. It was delicious in Panacotta and today it sings away in humble rice pudding.

Soft, pillowy rice pudding covered in warming cinnamon

Soft, pillowy rice pudding covered in warming cinnamon

Ingredients list:

  •  Almond milk (or full fat milk) 1L
  • Round or short grain rice, 170g
  • Zest of one lemon cut in big strips
  • Ground cinnamon, 1tsp
  • Brown sugar (or vergeoise) 140g
  • Butter, 50g
  • Vanilla bean, one scraped

Warm the milk in a pan and sprinkle the rice and spices and the lemon skin. When I peel the skin off my lemon (organic and unwaxed for this), I like those strips to be large and uneven: this is proper family food, not dainty party pudding.

Turn and check the rice often but the cooking should take about 45 min to an hour- sometime I put it in the oven for 1h30 at 150degrees. Towards the end, you add the sugar and the butter and mix it all in.

Alternatively, you can use a Thermomix and here is the step by step- this produces a lovely soft and pillowy result:

First insert the butterfly whisk and add the milk, rice, lemon zest, vanilla and cinnamon.

Cook 45 min at 90° speed 1.

The great advantage of course of the Thermomix over the oven version is you don’t have to watch it : just set the timer and go for a half hour run!

When you come back:

Add the sugar and butter and cook 10 minutes at 90° speed 1.

Remove the butterfly whisk and turn into a serving dish to cool. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve at room temperature or cold the next day.

It’s heavenly! A spoonful of it and you get this happy, contented-baby, feeling all around the table… Regressive possibly but so good…

Healthy bites for lunch box – raw and vegan!

  1. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT and that is why it is so important to only put the very best fuel into our bodies.
  2. Over two thirds of our plate (or our daily intake) should come exclusively from plant based food. Namely fruit, veg, carbohydrates and staple food like rice, grains, flours.
  3. We only need sugar in very small quantities and we should avoid added sugar in food such as sauces, bread, bought biscuits.

This is in three points the essence of the message I try to pass onto my children and family. They mostly take it in,  sometimes ignore it and rarely but otherwise expectedly rebel against it! So it was with glee on my part and relief on theirs that I recently was able to drill a slightly larger audience of fresh, open and eager minds!

Last wednesday, for the last session of the Healthy Cooking Club, I had a lot of fun designing a menu along those lines and as I was looking at including a sweet/pudding, I came across these fruit and nut balls. They are not only deliciously healthy but also very easy to make and gratifying for the children to roll . They can easily fit into a lunch box or can be used as snack on the go. They can be customised with an endless variety of dry fruit, nuts and even fresh fruits or seeds but here is the mix that I used for the photo:

Raw fruit balls

Ingredient list:

  • raisin, 1 cup
  • rolled oats, 1 cup
  • pecan nuts, 1/2 cup
  • ground almond, 1/2 cup
  • handful of pine nuts
  • dates, 1 cup
  • grated zest of one lime
  • Prune juice, 50 ml to bind
Process to a pulp, adding the juice along so that it helps binding the mix but do keep it touch dry. It must not get too sticky in your hands or rolling will not be such fun…
Now prepare three bowls : Fill one with raw unsweetened cacao, one with cinnamon and Allspice mixed with a little rice flour or cornflour and lastly one more with grated coconut.
Give latex gloves to the kids or oil your hands and take a marble size chunck of the mixture. Roll it lightly then dip into the covering you choose and roll into a ball. Remember your playdoh days! Modelling is so therapeutic it should be compulsory until A level… Dress on a pretty plate and enjoy – or reserve in clingfilm in the fridge.

For a real teatime treat, you could make yourself this amazing drink I discovered at TOMBO, japanese bistrot in South kensington: A frothy Macha latte with soya.
Recipe to come next!

Delicious chesnut and soda bread for autumn cheers!

Chesnut, in all its guises, is one of the treats I look forward to when the kids go back to school and the weather turns a bit chillier – and you know it is that time of year again and summer is over…

Chesnut Soda bread

This time, I have used chesnut flour to make my favourite soda loaf and I think you will LOVE – as we did here- its chewy, light and muffin-like bite… Because it has no gluten, chesnut flour is easily digestible and in this recipe I have replaced the traditionnal buttermilk with oat milk to make it suitable for vegans!

As I am continuing on my health trek and avoiding all animal products, this recipe came as a particular “coup de maitre” and I am exceedingly chuffed with the result. It is so yummy it is more of a cake than a bread and sooo vertuous it is hard not to love it. 

Ingredients list:

  • Wholemeal flour 150g
  • Chesnut flour 150g
  • Bicarbonate of soda 2 tsp
  • Pinch of salt
  • Olive oil 50ml
  • Oat milk (oatly) 250ml
The idea with a soda bread is to mix all the ingredients very lightly and NOT to knead at all. That makes it ideal for first-timers!
So mix the flours and soda in a big bowl. The bigger the better.
Add the salt and olive oil – it is a bit much I know but you’ll love the texture: open and light and nicely buttery without a hint of butter.
Throw the whole lot of milk in and mix well. Roll out onto a floured surface and add a bit of wholemeal flour if too sticky. Just pat to shape. No kneading required.
Cut a few marks on the top, like a cross or anything to help the raising.
Bake in a hot oven at 180〬 for about 25 min. It needs to have raised and to sound a bit hollow to the touch. Eat it warm or the same day with a bit of nut butter: I love it with hazelnut butter but it is delicious on its own as well or with olives as a starter , as in the photo.
Enjoy and let me know if you did when you next visit!
Nutrition notes:
Wholemeal flours and gluten-free flours such as chesnut are a good source of vitamins and fibres and they are suitable for a healthy diet for the whole family.  I try and discourage my children to eat white, highly refined flour and they are definitely won over when I can produce an alternative as tasty and indulgent as that! High 5!

children running on the wave-breaker