Mushroom Stroganoff Pasta

Creamy, hearty, One Pot Mushroom Stroganoff Pasta

20180104_171248 This One Pot Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff Pasta is so simple and easy to make, and tastes so comforting and delicious.

The flavours are hearty and dare I say it, ‘meaty’ (which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion, as long as it’s all animal free – which it obviously is!)

I absolutely adore mushrooms and I got lots reduced recently so this was an ideal way to use lots up at once.

20180104_171241

I based this recipe on the lovely recipe of “From My Bowl” (frommybowl.com)

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Small Onion
  • 250g mushrooms (I used chestnut)
  • 500g Dry Pasta (GF if necessary)
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 113g Cream cheese approx – just less than half a Tesco free from/Bute Island Foods cream cheese tub (see other options in notes below)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Salt (optional)
  • 940ml (1pint + 370ml) approx Beef Flavored Veggie Broth (see method below)
  • 1/2tsp each marmite / Vegemite (or 1tsp of either)
  • 1/4tsp each soy sauce / Maggi liquid seasoning (or 1/2 tsp of either)
  • 1 heaped tsp each red Bisto gravy / veg Bouillon powder
  • 1/4tsp each smoked paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic powder & turmeric
  • 1tsp liquid smoke (optional)

Method

  1. Peel & chop your Onion. Clean your Mushrooms using a damp paper towel or cloth, then cut in half or fourths, depending on size, keeping them nice and chunky. 
  2. Pour a splash of water to a large pot over medium heat. Add in the onions and cook until translucent, approx 3 minutes.
  3. Make up your broth (part A) – add Marmite & Vegemite to 1 pint of boiled water in a jug and stir. Add to the pot.
  4. Add in the Pasta, Mushrooms, Broth, Nutritional Yeast, and Black Pepper to the pot.
  5. Make up broth (part B) – add bisto and bouillon to 370ml boiled water. Stir and add to pot.
  6. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add in the rest of your herbs and spices & liquid smoke (as desired) tasting as you go.
  8. Turn the heat off, then either serve as is, or to make creamy, stir in the cream cheese (or alternatives as suggested below) until everything is well mixed.
  9. Taste and add any additional salt or seasoning, if necessary.
  10. Top with freshly chopped Parsley and Black Pepper, and serve warm. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Notes

*To make this dish creamy, in place of cream cheese you can also use the following: soy/ oat cream, coconut milk (tinned), vegan creme fraiche (eg Oatly), Cashew Butter or homemade cashew cream.

*Try adding in Fry’s or Vbites beef style pieces, or chunks of homemade seitan either in place of the mushrooms or as well as.

*You can buy Vegan Beef-Flavored Broth online, Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base Vegetarian

*Try cooking this dish with rice or arborio rice for a tasty one pot risotto!

 

Advertisements

Vegan cheese

So I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a while. Cheese is a biggie! For most people, cheese is what comes between them and a life of living cruelty free.

Sounds funny that doesn’t it, when you see it written in black and white, that one measly meagre food item could be so humongous and pivotal in swaying or detering someone from abstaining from cruelty?! Or their goals to live a life that’s better for the environment, or better for their health. But it’s true. People love cheese. And people don’t just love cheese – People are literally addicted to cheese. Read on to find out more…

When I first went vegan 4 years ago I struggled to give up cheese (& eggs) after having been vegetarian for 13 years. But once you know the truth you can’t unlearn it. So once you know better you do better. I hated vegan cheese at first and felt sad and a bit pissed off about it. But then I remembered why I was doing it (not for myself or my taste buds but for the animals). So I kept going and kept trying different cheese alternatives. I now love loads and there are so many different types (even just here in Scotland alone!) – I even like ones I hated at first because once you go vegan your taste buds completely change.

So let’s first rewind 4 years ago to January 2014. I was doing Veganuary and the very first vegan cheese I tasted was Tesco’s own. Now this was before the relaunch of their ‘free from’ range – this was a very different, very substandard offering… let’s put it this way when I tasted it that first time, with such high hopes and enthusiasm for my new vegan lifestyle, I nearly cried. Well, to be accurate, I spat it out and then nearly cried. IT WAS VILE!!!

But I didn’t let that deter me. I ordered a starter pack from the wonderful Vegusto, and jumped for joy on tasting their delicious Swiss artisan cheezes.

They were savoury and delicious and I could eat it cold on crackers or warm on pasta. It wasn’t the taste of cheese I was used to but it filled my cheesy void and it was a flavour I could get used to.

So Vegusto was on repeat order online and was what fed my cheese cravings in those early days.

I then tried a cheese from the Cheezly* range by UK based Vbites foods. Again I was disappointed and didn’t like them at all. And then I tried Sheese* by Scottish company Bute Island foods. Again, I was disappointed and did not enjoy it one bit. *NB I will refer back to both of these in just a moment!

So after much trial and error, mostly error, my first big revelation with vegan cheese came courtesy of Violife. Now a big leading name in vegan cheese on both sides of the pond, Violife were what saved me from a life of doom (ie a cheese-less life!)

Violife is reminiscent of American style processed cheese – it tasted and felt familiar, with no confrontational smell or funny taste. It was mild and unassuming… almost reminded me of edam in texture. Violife was my first major win with a Vegan cheese that I could eat regularly, and in ways I’d previously eaten cheese. It was a triumph in many ways.

I then tasted another Scottish offering by Nutcrafter Creamery – artisan nut based cheeses. Absolutely delicious. The only downside is that they’re not as easily available and the quality hand crafted product comes with a price tag to match. But I treat myself once in a while.

Early 2015 I went out with vegan friends to a veggie place and one of the things we shared was cheesy chips. They were so yummy! I enquired as to what vegan cheese they used and on discovering it was my once detested Cheezly, I set about sourcing some for myself asap! On this discovery I realised that either they’ve changed their recipe (unlikely) or my taste buds have changed in the course of being vegan. Triumphant I stocked up and have never looked back – Cheezly is now to this day probably my overall favourite vegan cheese. (More on this below).

Inspired by this victory, I then tried Sheese again (the other one I very much disliked at first) and who would have thought?! I loved it as well! I’ve bought it and enjoyed it ever since…

…So when Tesco relaunched their vegan cheeses along with Sainsbury’s last year I stocked up, delighted to have such a range of choice of flavours and styles so easily available. Not many people realise that Bute Island foods are the wizards behind both these supermarket’s vegan cheeses. I think one of the best things about these cheeses are that they melt so well, but again more detail on this below.

My husband went vegan last June and he can’t stand vegan cheese! And so instead of trying to make himself like them he’s simply not having them! It’s not the end of the world for him! …but the reason so many people struggle to give up cheese is because of casein (morphine like substances in casein act like opiate receptors in our brains) hence why people feel literally addicted to cheese. But the sad reason it has this effect is because dairy milk is breast milk intended for a baby. A baby needs milk to grow hence the addictive effect; it’s to ensure the young keep going back to the breast for more. Except the milk isn’t going to her young – it’s going to the mouths of humans in the form of cheese and ice cream.

If you want to find out more about the damaging effects of dairy on the environment and your health and the cruelty involved,  please check out the following links:

http://www.NationEarth.com (watch Earthlings documentary for free)

http://www.Cowspiracy.com

http://www.WhatTheHealthfilm.com

Here are some of the best vegan cheeses available in the UK and some more info on them:

Violife – probably the most easily available vegan cheese in the UK, most supermarkets sell this brand and it is very reasonably priced. The normal variety doesn’t melt very well but there is a Violife for pizza block that melts better. Like I mentioned above the taste and texture is reminiscent of a processed American cheese, almost rubbery but very mild in flavour and aroma.

*I would recommend Violife first and foremost for people transitioning to a vegan diet and lifestyle.

Vegusto – available online and from specialist health food style shops. A bit pricier but worth it because they are really good.

*Vegusto is another good introductory cheese for people transitioning.

Cheezly – made by Vbites, offer a range of cheese styles and varieties. I love their edam melted on toast – it’s not like a dairy edam so if you ever see it I urge you to buy it to make the most amazing melted cheese on toast! Available in Holland and Barrett and other health food shops.

Sheese – made by Bute Island Foods, excellent for melting and all types of cooking. Try their cheddar spread for an excellent Dairylea style spread. Available under the Sheese brand from Holland and Barrett and other health food shops. Or also available as the vegan cheeses available in Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

Nutcrafter – organic artisan cheeses. I can really recommend them as they are exceptional! Available locally in central Scotland or can be bought online.

Tyne Chease – another fantastic artisan cheese offering, also made using organic ingredients, available from their own website or alternativestores.com

Finally, my last word on vegan cheese… whatever reason you are going vegan or eating more plant based, my advice to all would be to avoid all alternative cheeses for the first month or 2, or longer, if you can. The reason for this is to let your taste buds change and adapt (because believe me, they will and they do!) and then you can introduce these vegan products once your palate has been renewed, and you will likely enjoy them much more than if you try them right away and are disappointed or put off by how different they are to real dairy cheeses. You may even find that you lose all notion for needing or wanting to eat them at all!

If you find you’re struggling because the addiction is just too real and you really want to cave and eat some actual cow’s cheese, just google ‘dairy is scary’ and that will help you get back on track!

Good luck friends and enjoy this whole new world of vegan cheese that awaits you!

Vegan eggs

20171228_142853

I loved eating eggs before I went vegan. Poached was my favourite way to have them followed by sunny side up (easy over) and soft boiled for dipping hot buttery toast soldiers in… I was vegetarian for 13 years before going vegan so I ate a lot of eggs and I missed them when I first gave them up.

I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that as a vegan I’d still be able to eat my favourite egg dishes!

In August 2016 I ate my first vegan poached egg by the culinary wizards of Sgaia foods. It was unbelievable and tasted exactly as I remember with a soft poached yolk and everything.

Since Follow Your Heart (who I’ll refer to as fyh from here on in) brought out their own vegan egg over here, my full breakfast fry ups have been complete! The instructions on the packet say to scramble them but I’ve fried it omelette style and also microwaved them in an egg poacher gadget thing and it worked too! The key is to cook them a lot longer than you would a regular egg.

I’ve also made frittata with them, eggy bread, egg fried rice, quiche and baked breakfast eggy muffins with them…

And I’ve baked cakes with them too! They are so versatile and great to use in all sorts of ways in vegan cooking.

So while I have gained a lot of joy from these follow your heart vegan eggs, I soon realised what I really missed was the delicious golden nectar of a runny yolk.

This year I bought The Vegg vegan egg yolk and I’m not exaggerating when I say it has changed my life… I am reunited with my childhood / feeling under the weather favourite of dippy egg and soldiers. Or I pour it over fried or scrambled fyh vegan eggs and it completes the taste sensation.

Egg is a hugely emotive food memory for me tied up with feelings of being comforted and soothed by my loved ones… it can be hard for some people to let certain foods go because they can be bound up in more than just the act of eating itself.

So I honestly cannot tell you enough how happy this makes me! I mean, it would have been totally possible for me to live a life without a fantastic egg replacement in it (tofu scramble had all but filled my eggy void) but the fact I can live a cruelty free life whilst still eating all my favourite foods is nothing short of a victory, and every meal time I can have this celebration! Of winning at life and food and living cruelty free! It not only feels good but tastes amazing!

The fyh eggs can be bought in most good health shops and the vegg yolk can be bought online from Amazon. Neither come cheap but they last for ages.

It can take a few attempts to get the knack with the fyh eggs so don’t give up. I realised what I was doing wrong initially was not cooking them long enough – because they look so much like actual eggs you’d be forgiven for thinking they were ready just as quickly as a real egg takes to cook, but they really need double if not triple the length of cooking time.

I blend them both (the fyh mix and the yolk) up in separate small nutribullet jars & I usually make double then I can store a spare amount in the fridge for using in the next day or two.

Also, with the fyh mix I store it in a airtight clip lock container in the fridge as this helps to make it last longer.

Some people feel like the fyh eggs aren’t as eggy tasting as they would like, so they add kala namak which is a pink coloured salt, also called black salt, that you can add for an extra eggy taste.

If you decide fyh eggs simply aren’t for you then you can mash avocado and add some kala namak to it as an alternative option. Or try my recipes for tofu scramble which are delicious too.

One of my favourite ways to make an egg mayo style sandwich filling is to mash butter beans with mayo, turmeric and some curry powder and it tastes so delicious. You could leave out the curry powder and add some of that black salt for an extra eggy oomph!

Chickpea flour can also be used to make frittata and quiche as well as tofu in these recipes also.

 

See these links to my Instagram page for more info:

Dippy egg – http://www.instagram.com/p/BYAmPvohjGF/

Breakfast sandwich – http://www.instagram.com/p/BYkoZBPhj0f/

Fried egg roll – http://www.instagram.com/p/BYQD46vhs2U/

Egg on toast – http://www.instagram.com/p/BWXMlVQBOGC/

Egg in a basket – http://www.instagram.com/p/BWMmWYRhRns/

If you want to find out more about why eggs are cruel then please see these links:

https://freefromharm.org/eggs-what-are-you-really-eating/

https://www.peta.org/features/egg-industry-cruelty/

http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_cruelty/eggs.htm

Plant milks

There are a plethora of plant milks on our supermarket shelves, and for the newbie to all things non-dairy it can be a bit of a mindfield.

Yes there are many and I have tried many; over the last 4 years since I stopped buying cows’ milk, the availability and options have grown and grown. It’s absolutely fantastic and there is so much range and choice… literally whatever your need, there’s a plant milk for that.

I tend to have several on the go at once because I like different ones for different uses, for example I like almond milk in my cereal but I prefer soy in my tea etc.

Also, although plant milks may seem on the surface to be a bit dearer than their crueller counterparts, they actually last a lot longer… one carton in my house can literally last 2-3 weeks before starting to go a bit off!

Plus there is the bonus of being able to buy in bulk and so having a good stock of milk at the ready, therfore running out of milk and running out to the shop in your slippers is a thing of the past!

So here is my list of top milks – I’ll start with what I use for tea & coffee, then for other uses… and I’ll explain a bit at the end as to why dairy is indeed scary.

Tea & coffee

My best bet / failsafe milk for tea is any supermarket own brand long life soy milk. I don’t like to have any flavour in my cup of tea (i.e. some almond milks have a strong taste) and these ones don’t taste of anything so they are ideal. Plus they don’t split/ curdle. You can get them in the longlife/ UHT milk section of the supermarket. They are mega cheap and last for absolutely ages.

Aldi own plant milks are good too.. also very cheap and found on the aisle shelf, not in the fridge.

I recently discovered Alpro organic whole bean soya is great in tea and coffee also…

…and my new favourite is from M&S – “Multi grain drink” – which is perfect for tea and coffee 💚

People swear by Oatly barista for coffee but I’ve not tried it yet.

I don’t drink coffee very often so I never dedicated the time to finding out what works best,  but apart from those mentioned above, some almond milks do work, as well as oat and cashew.

However, I believe the tricky aspect with coffee is that different blends/ types etc will affect the outcome of any type of milk. So what works for one person with their coffee, won’t necessarily work for you with yours! So it really is a case of trial and error.

In general I find rice milk too watery so I rarely buy it. We mostly have soy for tea and almond for everything else. Hemp is nice though as is coconut for smoothies and cereal etc.

The plant milks sold in the fridges tend to be a bit pricier than the ones kept on the aisle shelves, in my experience, so that’s something to take into consideration when it comes to price.

Most supermarkets do their own versions of plant milks so depending on what your nearest stores are you’ll have different ones to try.

Just have a bit of an experiment and play about and find what’s fits your tastes and uses best.

So now you know a bit more about what milks to start with, maybe you’re wondering why stop using dairy at all?

There are 3 main avenues of reasons why – the first being the cruelty involved, the second being the benefits to the environment and the third being the benefits to your health.

So let’s start with the first – cruelty. Dairy is extremely cruel. A female must first be impregnated (forcibly and against her will – in the industry they even use the term ‘rape racks’) she will then be pregnant for 9 months to give birth to a baby that is then taken from her, so that the milk intended for her baby can be given to humans.

Many people that have witnessed this report the mothers cries for her baby are beyond heartbreaking and gut wrenching. Her baby is then usually sold off to become veil and she is destined to a life of torture – this cycle of rape and birth continues for a female cow throughout her young life, so that she can keep producing milk to be sold to humans – adult humans that don’t even need her milk anymore than we need our own mothers milk beyond infancy! But more on this later.

Dairy cows are used and abused in this way until their poor tortured and exhausted bodies can’t take anymore, at which point they are sent to slaughter to become a burger for 99p.

In terms of human health, cows milk is no more necessary for a human than dogs milk or rat milk. Humans are the only species to drink the milk of another species and to drink it past infancy.

Why cows milk? They are big and able to produce lots of milk in large quantities; they are also docile, trusting animals, easily coerced and manipulated into doing as we demand.

Cows milk could also be referred to as bovine growth formula, or baby calf growth fluid – “The purpose of cow’s milk is to turn a 65-pound calf into a 700-pound cow as rapidly as possible. Cow’s milk IS baby calf growth fluid.” Dr. Michael Klaper

It contains IGF growth hormones, which are perfect for cows but not for humans! There are links to carcinogenic factors and accelerated cancerous growth in humans. Aside from this it contains antibiotics given to the lactating mothers against the multitude of infections those poor animals are subjected to, as well as hormones, puss and blood residue. To find out more on these topics please check out Dr Klaper (link to article below) and The China Study.

The intense farming of cows for dairy across the world is one of the biggest contributors to the destruction of our environment – for the best further insight on this please watch Cowspiracy the movie.

So by giving up dairy you actually gain a lot, lot more: you refrain from contributing to the abuse of animals, you help towards easing the burden on our environment and you also make a better choice for your health. It’s a win, win, WIN!

So we’ve started with milk, next I’ll dedicate a post to vegan eggs and cheese alternatives and replacements, of which there are many!

Links:

http://doctorklaper.com/answers/answers11/

http://www.NationEarth.com (watch Earthlings documentary for free)

http://www.Cowspiracy.com

http://www.WhatTheHealthfilm.com

http://nutritionstudies.org/the-china-study/

Vegan Welsh Rarebit

My wonderful gran used to make the most delicious Welsh Rarebit

I attempted a vegan version for the first time using the ever wonderful vegan egg by Follow Your Heart (which by the way lasts for ages!)

Here is what I did:

  • Make up the FYH vegan egg as per pack instructions.
  • Add 2 tbsp vegan Ale or strong dark beer (I used Black Isle Organic Porter)
  • 1 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • Approx 2 tbsp. grated vegan cheese (I used Sheese by Bute Island Foods)
  • 1tsp mustard (I used Dijon)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric and a pinch of black pepper or cayenne pepper

Stir all ingredients together

Dip bread in mixture to coat both sides well

Fry in a non-stick pan with coconut oil/ other cooking oil or vegan butter

Cook for roughly 4/5 mins on each side

Alternatively fry each side for a few minutes till begins to firm then finish under grill turning to heat both sides

The quantities listed are for one slice, so just double up for making two.

If you make this please tag me on Instagram @lovelightleaves and let me know what you think!

 

Vegan Steak & Peppercorn Sauce

 

I’ve been wanting to make ‘steak and peppercorn sauce’ since I first made seitan last year… this seitan recipe is based on my recipe from December, it’s so deliciously savoury and flavoursome and the texture is just yum… and the best thing about it is it’s so easy to make! And versatile too but more about that later.

Health fans will like to know that seitan is both high protein and low carb but let’s get to the all important recipe now shall we?

To make this seitan you’ll need:

2 cups vital wheat gluten 250 g
1/2 cup chickpea/gram flour or Rye flour 50 g
1/4 cup nutritional yeast 15g
1 tablespoon smoked paprika & 1tbsp mixed herbs
1 teaspoon marmite / vegemite
1 teaspoon onion powder & 1 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoon bbq sauce
2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce & 2 tbsp liquid smoke
1 tablespoon soy sauce & 1 tbsp Maggi liquid seasoning
1 teaspoon smoked salt & 0.5tsp cracked pepper
1 3/4 cups stock (I used chicken flavour) 385ml

Method:

Blend all dry ingredients in a bowl.

Blend all wet ingredients in a jug.

Add the wet to dry gradually, stirring well to form a sort of ‘dough’.

Separate in 2: (half will become spicy)

Put one half in cling film, roll into a sausage, tie a knot on either end (leaving a bit of room for expansion whilst cooking), place in a pot and cover with boiling water, bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover, cook for approx 1 hour.

For the other half stir in 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper and/or 1 teaspoon chipotle paste or hot sauce of choice; Wrap in tin foil and roast in the oven on 200° for approx 1 hour.

The half on the hob will have absorbed a lot of the water, so remove the seitan and set aside. Now for the gravy/ sauce…

Using what’s left in the pot, add 1 Knorr peppercorn stock pot, add approx 50ml boiled water (use more or less depending on your taste/ how much you need).

Blend 2 tsp corn flour with a little warm water to make a paste and add to the pot.

Add a splash of soy milk, some cracked pepper and a bit more Maggi liquid seasoning. (I also added more marmite, approx 1/4 tsp).

Stit in 1/2 tsp dijon mustard and a splosh of red wine.

Bring to the boil, reduce heat snd stir until nice and thick (adding more cornflour to thicken if desired).

Serve with steak cut chips or potato wedges and veg of choice, and a nice big glass of that red wine you opened for the gravy!

Ideas for the rest of your seitan include…

• Chop and serve with sizzling fajitas

• stir through curries and stir frys

• as pie fillings…

• sliced and used in sarnies…

• pizza toppings….

• salad toppers…. etc etc!

Have fun and please tag me in your creations on instagram @lovelightleaves

Easy sweet potato pizza

 

Delicious, easy peasy sweet potato pizza.

I’m on a bit of a sweet potato bender/love in of late… I mean, I’ve always loved them but recently I cant get enough of them! I’ve been making a lot of sweet potato fries coated in smoked paprika and chilli, a fab combo and just so tasty.

I will be adding my sweet potato gnocchi recipe soon, but for now enjoy this oh so easy pizza.

It’s so quick and simple to make and gives such a light and fluffy base which is hard to go wrong with.

Instead of rolling out into a pizza crust, this dough would also make delicious garlic bread or dough balls… just divide and roll into balls before baking, yum! (Find more ideas for uses with this versatile dough below).

 

To make a single serving, you will need:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • Self raising flour
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Warm water
  • Oil
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Microwave your potato till soft.
  2. Remove from skin and mash.
  3. Add 1 tsp bicarb.
  4. Add flour (approx equal amount to mashed potato).
  5. Add a splash of warm water and blend to form a dough
  6. Add a drizzle of oil & a pinch of salt.
  7. Add more flour until you can knead dough with hands and it doesn’t stick to your fingers. I did this in a large bowl using enough flour to coat.
  8. Transfer to a baking tray.
  9. Bake on 200 for around 5-10 minutes while you prepare your toppings.
  10. Remove pizza crust and layer on your chosen toppings.
  11. Bake again for a further 10 mins approx, depending on your oven, don’t let it burn!

 

Notes

*Double quantities for 2 pizzas or to make 1 Larger pizza

*Add other flavours while making your dough e.g. a little tomato puree or cayenne pepper, herbs etc

*Use flavoured oil such as sundried tomato or basil infused

*Experiment making other dishes with this dough such as garlic dough balls or mini pitta style breads for dipping in hummus or baba ghanoush!

 

Let me know what you think of this recipe in comments or tag me on instagram @lovelightleaves

Chickpea ‘tuna’ mayo

20170305_163036

My girls go crazy for this chickpea toona… OK they go crazy for near enough anything but they do know a good thing when they see it.

20170305_161824

This chickpea tuna salad or ‘chickpea of the sea’ as some folk call it, is so easy to make and such a yummy alternative to regular fishy tuna mayo. Before I went veggie over 17 years ago tuna mayonnaise was one of my favourite things and I’d have it regularly. Hubby also was a big fan (prior to himself going veggie 2 years ago and vegan a year ago) so it’s nice to have something that’s reminiscent of flavours and textures we used to enjoy.

Not to mention it’s blinking brilliant as a jacket potato filling or even used to make a ‘tuna melt’ on a panini or toasted sandwich with some vegan cheese (as a cheese addict I’ll be sharing a blog post dedicated to vegan cheese and the best ones out there as well as the optimum ones for specific purposes… melty cheese pizza? there’s a cheeze for that).

So for this chickpea tuna, the key ‘of the sea’ flavours come courtesy of seaweed. You can use any type of seaweed such as nori flakes etc but here’s a pic of the ones I use.

20170305_161949

I use 2 different types of dried seaweed – this one my mum got me on the left and also this smoked one my friend gave me. Mix in with some vegan mayo and/or salad cream, fresh lemon juice and some other bits n bobs and, well, Bob’s your uncle!

A delicious cruelty free alternative to hurting our fishy friends and damaging the oceans, result!

Chickpea-of-the-sea salad

You will need:

  • 1 tin or carton of chickpeas
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • seaweed/ nori flakes
  • vegan mayonnaise and/or salad cream (approx 1tbsp of each)
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1tsp white wine/ Apple cider vinegar (or use the vinegar from one of the jars listed below)
  • Combinations of the following: capers, cornichons/pickles, celery, sweetcorn, dill, parsley
  • sea salt

Method

  1. Drain and roughly mash chickpeas.
  2. Add variations of the following: lemon juice, vinegar, capers, cornichons, celery, sweetcorn, dill, parsley, seaweed flakes, sea salt, mustard and vegan mayo and/or salad cream to desired consistency.
  3. Stir thoroughly to blend and serve as sandwich filling or on jacket potatoes.

Notes

If you aren’t such a fan of an overly ‘ocean’ vibe just omit the seaweed, or any other flavours listed that you’re not keen on.

Don’t drain your chickpea water* down the sink! Keep it to use for a multitude of recipes such as meringue, mousse or mayonnaise. Try my recipe for vegan mayonnaise, perfect for chickpea tuna salad!

*Chickpea water also known as the fabulous, multi tasking Aqua faba!

IMG_20170306_150356

Tag me on instagram @love_light_vegan if you make it and let me know what you think!

Vegan pancakes

20170213_112500

Easy peasy tasty vegan pancakes.

This is my go to way of making pancakes. It’s not a skilled or exact science, I just eyeball everything, chucking it straight into my blender and voila, pancakes in what feels like seconds!

But pancakes are such a divine and delicious breakfast, snack or treat that everyone needs to be able to have this at their fingertips.

See Notes section below for ideas and suggestions!

Ingredients

  • Oats
  • banana (riper the better)
  • plant milk
  • chia seeds, cinnamon, peanut butter (optional)

Method

  1. Place oats in blender and blend until a fine mill oat flour.
  2. Add banana and milk.
  3. The ratios are approximately 1/2 cup oats, 1 small banana and 1/4 cup milk. Adjust accordingly until you get a smooth batter with a good consistency – you don’t want it to be too runny or too thick either.
  4. Add optional ingredients such as seeds and cinnamon and blend.
  5. Heat a non stick frying pan and spoon approximately 1 heaped teaspoon per pancake.
  6. Use a spatula to flip after a minute or two.

Notes

*Add the optional ingredients as noted above and try other flavours such as chocolate by adding a spoonful of cocoa/cacao powder

*To make chocoloate chip pancakes, stir in choc chips once you have blended up your batter before frying

*Replace oat flour for any other flour of choice. For Gluten Free flour you will likely need to use a higher quantity of milk/water.

*If you are not using a non-stick pan use a little oil or vegan marg; coconut oil works well.

*Serve with fruit, nuts/seeds, chocolate sauce, nut butters or maple syrup

20170213_112712
Pictured served with Raspberry Whip Cashew Butter by Almighty Foods, Chocshot sauce and dark chocolate drops

Scottish Tattie Scones

Aye ye canny beat a tattie scone! …or for those south of the border, potato scones… a bit like Irish potato bread or English potato cakes… only better of course 😉  I only recently discovered that folk on the West coast of Scotland call Potatoes ‘Totties’ rather than ‘Tatties’ as we do on the East coast… so there you go, fact fans! (As a qualified Literacy teacher linguistics never fail to amaze me!)

A Scottish classic, no full breakfast is complete without them… or hangover for that matter! Delicious on a soft bread roll with ketchup or brown sauce, and obligatory Irn Bru! …or my personal favourite – with marmite and avocado – mmm… a marriage made in food heaven, you’ve gotta try it!

The packets of ready made potato scones you get in Scottish supermarkets are already baked so you can eat them cold straight out of the packet, pop them in the toaster or under the grill, or indeed, fry them up in a pan… but making your own is sooo easy and so delicious that everyone can make their own from scratch, so here’s how…

Tattie (Potato) scones:  (makes 12 scones)

Ingredients

  • 400g floury potato (3 medium, peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 50g vegan margarine (approx. 3 tbsp) e.g. Vitalite
  • 75g plain flour (approx. 4.5 tbsp)
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, then drain and mash.
  2. While the potatoes are still warm, stir in the butter.
  3. Add the flour, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  4. Divide the mixture into three and roll out between two sheets of baking paper. (You want the scones to be at least the same thickness as a £1 coin).
  5. Cut your rolled out scone into quarters and gently peel them from the baking paper.
  6. Heat a griddle or frying pan and lightly brush with oil. Place the potato scones in the pan and cook for approx. 2 minutes each side.

Notes

*Try substituting white potato for sweet potato – you’ll likely need to use more flour as sweet potatoes are a lot wetter when cooked.

*The mixture needs to be dough like but not too moist and not overly dry; Try adding 3 tbsp flour to begin with and mixing, then adding more as required.

*To make these gluten free use less flour; gluten free flour tends to absorb more liquid.

*Instead of rolling into a circle and quartering, try rolling into individual rounds or cutting into squares.

*After mixing in the flour, a delicious variation is to add in some grated vegan cheese and spring onion.

*Experiment with other added flavours and seasonings such as turmeric, smoked paprika or chilli pepper for a kick!

*Once rolled, instead of cutting into individual scones, fry or grill gently then top with pizza toppings for a delicious potato pizza base!