Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Loving Hut Camden

When Emma sent me a link for Loving Hut in Camden a while ago, I checked out the menu, got very excited and put it on the top of my list of places to visit. 

So this week we put it on our agenda and still managed to fit a Loving Hut dinner in after a day of eating samples at the Lunch! exhibition and lunch at Borough Market. I have to say, the cafe doesn't look like much from the outside, but the welcoming staff and the menu make up for that. As well as serving a buffet, they also have a menu with 3 burgers, fishless and chips and nuggets (amongst other things).

We both decided to try some variety of vegan fish, I had fishless and chips and Emma had the ocean burger. Emma got her food a bit before mine and I could tell from her face it was good. After her first bite she said 'you're not going to believe how much this tastes like fish!' 

Fishless and Chips 
Well... it really does! It even has a fake fish skin (I think it's made from nori). The outside was perfectly crisp, and the inside had a delicate fish flavour and texture. The prices are really good for a cafe in London, with the ocean burger at £3.80 and the fishless and chips at £4.95, making it perfect for that naughty weekend treat.

Ocean Burger
So if you're shopping in Camden or just fancy a fantastic vegan alternative to the great British take away, I'd definitely recommend Loving Hut. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Chargrilled Vegetable, Halloumi and Quinoa Flatbread

The weather is absolutely mental at the moment (as my old housemate Amy would say, the worlds coming to an end) and this week it's decided to be really warm. 

So last week I was gearing up for winter with pies, soups and roasted veg in the hole, but this week I'm craving salads and fresh vegetables. As I'm little bit in love with quinoa, I thought I'd do some experimenting to make an indian summer lunch. This is also good if you're planning to have your last BBQ before the snow sets in next month (seriously!), stick the vegetables and halloumi on a skewer and cook over the fire rather than using the griddle.

For 4 you'll need:
200ml vegetable stock 
80g quinoa 
100g halloumi 
1 red onion 
1 red pepper
4 flatbreads
Some raita for drizzling  

  1. Start by boiling the quinoa in the vegetable stock and leaving for 20 minutes until all the stock has been absorbed.
  2. While the quinoa's cooking chop the pepper and onion in to large chunks, and pop on to a heated griddle that's been sprayed with a little oil.
  3. Then chop the halloumi into chunks and pop on the griddle, cook the cheese and vegetables until they're nice and chargrilled (around 5 mins).
  4. When they're done, mix with the cooked quinoa and then pop the flatbread on to the griddle to heat it on both sides.
  5. Place the quinoa and vegetables on top of the flatbread, drizzle with some raita and enjoy!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Roasted Veg in The Hole

As I've said before my boyfriends favourite meal is toad in the hole, so I've probably made it 1000 times. After my last toad in the hole post, I've decided that if I'm going to make it a lot, I want to make it different every time.

I don't really like veggie sausages and since cauldron changed their recipe (why!) I can't find any that I actually want to eat. So that's why this came about. I was thinking about just making a huge Yorkshire pudding, but that would be a bit boring (and maybe a bit weird) so I filled it with some lovely autumnal roasted veggies. It's perfect for this time of year because it's nice and comforting and full of flavour.

For 4 you'll need:

4 largish round tins (maybe 4-5 inches) 
1 butternut squash 
1 large red onion 
1 large courgette
4 cloves of garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 egg
100g flour
250ml milk
Mashed potato to serve

Veggies awaiting a roasting 
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, then peel the squash and onion and chop all the vegetables into large chunks.
  2. Pop the vegetables and garlic cloves into a roasting tray, cover with some olive oil, season well and pop in the oven.
  3. Put 4 tbsp of olive oil into each round tin and put them in the oven. 
  4. While the vegetables are roasting, make the batter by whisking together the egg, flour and milk until it's a lovely thick batter. 
  5. Pour the batter evenly in to the warmed round tins and leave to cook for 30-40 minutes (until it's nice and browned)
  6. By the time the Yorkshire's ready the veg should be roasted, so all you need to do is remove the garlic, serve it up and enjoy! 

Yes this is a very big portion but.... I'm a growing girl :D
It's great with a big dollop of mash and gravy on top and would also be good if you ever have any veggies coming round for Sunday roast! 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Friday is Pie Day and I Heart Pieminister

After a pretty weird hail, thunder and lightning storm last Saturday I was pretty sure that the world was  ending.

So, faced with a last meal decision I headed to The Great Taste Market in the Centre MK. To my absolute delight I spotted Pieminister and decided that if I was going to die, I may as well treat myself to a proper good pie. By the time I got home, my toms we're completely filled with water, I'd endured being pelted with hail as I walked from the bus stop (and was a bit scared my umbrella would be struck with lightning) and I was really ready for some pie and mash.

I chose the Heidi Pie because it has sweet potato, spinach, roasted garlic and goats cheese. What's not to like there? I can't really remember the first time I tried a Pieminister but it was definitely at a festival, and I remember having them a lot at Secret Garden Party last year. So the wonderful autumnal taste took me right back to the lovely SGP, running around with pie in tow, feeling very happy.

The pies themselves are amazing quality, as well as the company having a good ethos (perfecto). There are currently 3 vegetarian flavours, the Heidi Pie, Wildshroom and Asparagus and a limited edition Posh Cheddar and Onion Pie. Hopefully they will be doing more vegetarian ones soon (please?) as they really are the best pies I have ever tasted.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Tofu Chili Stuffed Peppers

At the beginning of this summer I brought a little green house and my dad brought me a few plants to grow. I have spring onions, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers... Basically I can make a mean home grown salad.

Ever since I saw a tiny green pepper sprouting out of my plant pot, I had this recipe in mind. But it's now been about 4 months and I'm too impatient to wait for it to grow. So this week I brought a regular sized pepper and stuffed it with chili tofu. This is the first time I've had chili made with tofu, I usually go with beans or vegetables, but as I love both chili and tofu so much I couldn't really see how it could go wrong! If you really dislike tofu then you could always try stuffing it with this chili instead.
This is my one and only pepper I'm growing, you may wonder why he's not in his green house... Well it blew away, leaving me with a GYO disaster!
For 4 you'll need:
400g drained tofu
1 onion chopped
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cayenne powder
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans drained
4 green peppers
  1. Soften the onion in a small amount of oil in a heavy based pan.
  2. Crumble the tofu in to the pan, then season with the chili power, cayenne pepper and paprika.
  3. Fry the spiced tofu mixture for around 5 minutes on a medium heat to remove any excess moisture then add the chopped tomatoes and kidney beans.
  4. Simmer for around 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Then cut an oval shaped hole in the pepper, remove all the seeds and strange white bits and fill with the chili. 
  6. Pop into a preheated oven for 20 minutes, until slightly browned on the outside.
  7. Serve with some boiled brown rice and enjoy!
I'm not sure if my pepper will ever get to a normal size, if not I'll have to find another use for it! But it's a shame because the green pepper is so nice filled with chili, and I'm sure it would taste about 100 times better if I grew it myself! 

Monday, 19 September 2011

I Heart Graze

I really do! If like me you love to snack, (who doesn't!) but you find that the biscuits and crisps are a bit too tempting then the Graze box is definitely for you! The snack pots are natural and healthy, all of them are vegetarian and lot's of them are vegan! The best thing about the graze box is that it's delivered to your home or office for super easy snackage! You can chose which recipes you like the most and how often you want the boxes sent and even better, you can get your first box free by clicking here

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Happy Vegan (Pizza) Birthday!

It was vegan supreme, Emma Black's birthday this week, so I went to visit her lovely home in London and we set off for a vegan (and vintage shopping) birthday adventure.

Emma's vegan pizza
So after a hard day of shopping (Emma brought lots of lovely clothes! I was very jealous) we visited Vx and brought some Vegourmet cheese and Wheaty salami and chorizo to make a pizza and calzone. The Vegourmet was amazing, I only have Cheezly to compare it to, but this really did taste like cheddar cheese and melted really well. I didn't like the wheaty so didn't end up putting it in my calzone, but I think it's just the texture that gets me, because the flavour is quite nice. Saying that, Emma really liked it and Fat Gay Vegan raves about it! So definitely try it for yourself (I'm a bit weird about food textures).

Any way here's the recipe for the calzone in case you want to make some :)

300g flour flour
200ml water
pinch salt
Pizza topping (we used Pizza Express pomodoro pasta sauce)
Vegetables of your choice (I had red onions, emma had mushrooms)
As much Vegourmet (or other vegan cheese) as you want!

  1. Make the dough by mixing together the flour, water, yeast and salt together in a bowl with your hands until it forms a dough. 
  2. Kneed the dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes then pop back into the bowl and leave in a warm place to rise. 
  3. When risen cut into two pieces and roll out into a thin circle. 
  4. Cover half of the circle with pizza sauce, vegetables of your choice and vegan cheese then fold in half. 
  5. Pop in a preheated oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Enjoy!

Of course it wouldn't be a birthday without cake, so we also brought a slice of banoffee cake from Vx made by To Happy Vegans! It was AMAZING!!

All in all it was a fun, food and shopping filled day and I hope Emma had a good birthday :) 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Vodka and Chili 'Meatballs'

As I've said before I'm not a huge fan of meat substitutes but after trying Redwood's Gourmet Meat Free Meatballs at vegan pot luck III, I couldn't wait to try out my own recipe with them. Now I hate Vodka, it actually makes my skin crawl. It reminds me of underage drinking in cold wet parks (straight from the bottle, ew) and generally feeling ill. But it makes this chili and tomato pasta sauce taste about 100 times better, so even if you hate the stuff it's still worth a try. It's a really quick and easy recipe and it's making me reconsider my stance on fake meats (still out on the Vodka thing though).

Serves 4

Olive oil
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 small red chili
500g cherry tomatoes
Handful of mixed italian herbs (or just basil if you want)
40ml vodka
Salt and pepper
20 redwood meat balls
400g spaghetti
  1. First put the onions, garlic and chili in a frying pan and then soften in some oil on a low heat for around 5 minutes. 
  2. Then make the sauce, I like to put every thing in the food processor, (mainly so I can hide the vegetables from my boyfriend) but you can chop everything up if you want a chunky sauce.
    So if you are using the processor the tomatoes and herbs in to the food processor until its well blended. 
  3. Pour the tomatoes over the onions, add the vodka, salt and pepper and mix well. 
  4. Then leave to simmer, put the spaghetti on and cook the meatballs according to the instructions. 
  5. When everything is ready put meatballs on top of the spaghetti, top with the sauce and enjoy.

I used garlic and basil spaghetti, but any will do. My boyfriend didn't like the green spaghetti, he said it was like picking up slippery eels.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Apple & Blackberry Cupcakes with Custard Frosting

Last year I celebrated Natural Cupcake Week with caramel kiss mix cupcakes, so this year I thought I'd move to the complete other side of the spectrum and mix one of my favourite puddings (there's a lot to choose from) apple and blackberry crumble, with the good old cupcake. The fruit really makes this recipe, I like to think of it as a portable apple and blackberry crumble, especially as it's topped with custard frosting! So why not give these a try and celebrate cupcake week in style. 

For the crumble topping:
  • 25g butter diced
  • 50g flour
  • 50g caster sugar
For the sponge:
  • 1 cooking apple chopped in to small pieces (+ a bit of lemon to stop it going brown)
  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 100g frozen blackberries
  • 2 eggs
For the Frosting:
  • 75g butter
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 50g custard powder
  • A little milk to loosen if needed
  1. Line a cake tin with 12 cupcake cases and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Make the crumble topping by combining the butter, sugar and flour and rubbing between your fingers to make a bread crumb consistency.
  3. Heat the apple in sauce pan with a tsp of water for around 5 minutes, until it's started to soften, then put to one side.
  4. Make the sponge mixture by creaming together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one by one and mix.
  5. Fold in the flour, apples and milk, then spoon equal amounts of sponge mixture in to the cases and top with blackberries.
  6. Sprinkle the crumble over the top, then bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Make the frosting by creaming together the custard powder, icing sugar and butter, adding milk if needed.
  8. When the cupcakes are done leave to cool completely, then pipe or spoon on the frosting.
P.s this will also be featured on Peach Trees and Bumblebees, where they will be posting lovely cupcake recipes all week! 

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Marmite and Mozzarella Dough Balls with Garlic Butter

I'm a massive marmite fan, I'm one of those people that puts it in everything. So while I was making my veggie lasagna (avec marmite of course) I decided to put some in my dough balls too. Cheese and marmite is always a winning combination in my eyes, so these are perfect for the avid marmite lover. I cheated and used a pizza dough mix because I don't full trust my bread making skills, but feel free to make up your own pizza dough from scratch if you want.

For 24 you'll need:

1 pack of pizza dough mix
50g mozzarella (excess liquid removed and chopped into 24 chunks)
Some marmite
50g butter
1 clove garlic minced

Balls waiting to rise

  1. Make the dough according to the instructions on the pack (but don't let is rise before turning in to balls) and chop the dough into 24 equal pieces.
  2. Take a piece, roll into a ball and flatten in your hand, then spread a little marmite in the middle and stick a piece of mozzarella on top.
  3. Roll it back in to a ball (incasing the marmite and cheese) and pop on to a grease proof lined baking tray, repeat for the other 23, then loosely cover with cling film and put into a warm place to rise for 30 mins.
  4. When doubled in size, pop them in the oven for 15 mins at 200 degrees.
  5. While they're baking make the garlic butter by melting the butter on a low heat, adding the garlic then turning up the heat for 5 minutes, until the garlic is cooked.
  6. Serve the balls straight out of the oven with the warm garlic butter and enjoy!
Cheese and marmitey goodness

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Pea and Mint Soup

Over the summer, mint has slowly been taking over my garden destroying everything in its path. So in an effort to tame the minty beast I've been trying to find things to use it in and this has to be my favourite. It has such a lovely summery flavour, but is great for when it's not so summery outside. Our mint has sadly been destroyed and is now in the compost bin (it's never smelled so good) but if you still have some left, give this a try! 

For 1 you'll need:

1 onion
1 potato
salt and pepper
500ml vegetable stock
100g peas

Handful of fresh chopped mint
  1. Chop up your onion, then sweat in a bit of olive oil on a low heat until translucent.
  2. Add the potato and season well, cooking on a low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Cover the vegetables in stock and bring to the boil, simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Then pop the chopped mint in and blend it up (I like to do it a bit rubbishly with a hand blender so it’s nice and chunky)
  6. Serve up and enjoy with some crusty bread and enjoy!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Mike's Baklava

I can't really take any credit for this recipe, as my friend Mike invented it with his knowledge of baklava and about 10 different recipes found online. Anyway, after opposing opinions of what we should bake (I wanted fruit, Mike wanted chocolate) Mike came up with Baklava, which was perfect because I had loads of filo pastry left after making the savoury strudel. I've never tried it before so I can't say if it tastes authentic. Mike said it tastes better than the real thing, but then he might be a bit biased because he made it! It does taste pretty good though, what's not to like, honey, nuts and pastry... Yum!

It's hard to capture Baklava's beauty, all my other pictures looked like shepherds pie
For a lot you'll need:

18 sheets of filo pastry
250g finely chopped pistachios and walnuts
250g melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon

For the syrup:

225g sugar
175g honey
250ml water

Mike doing the nut sprinkling
  1. Take a square tin (roughly the same size as the pastry would be good) and grease it up, then pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Lay the first 10 sheets of the filo pastry in the tin, one at a time, brushing with the melted butter each time. 
  3. Mix the chopped nuts and cinnamon together and then sprinkle half the nut/cinnamon mixture over the pastry
  4. layer another two sheets, brushing with butter each time, then sprinkle over half of the remaining nuts
  5. Place the last 6 filo sheets on, again brushing with butter each time
  6. Cut a criss cross patter in to the top of the baklava then pop in the oven for 30 mins
  7. While it's baking make up the syrup by mixing together the honey, water and sugar in a pan and bringing to the boil. Then leave to simmer for 20 minutes and leave to cool.
  8. When the baklava is done, pour the cool syrup in to the hot baklava and top with the remaining nuts.
  9. Leave to cool and enjoy!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Asparagus and Leek Strudel

The other day I was doing some strudel research online, when I stumbled on a genius recipe for a savoury one. I can't believe I've never thought of this before, because strudel/anything encased in pastry is one of my favourite things! So I thought I'd try it with two of my favourite vegetables to make the ultimate savoury strudel. It came out really well, and looks quite fancy and interesting too, so I'll probably break out something similar for my next dinner party/Christmas.

Lovely veg
 For 4 you'll need:

400g asparagus
2 large leeks
4 tbsp mascarpone
200g emmental, finely grated
salt and pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
8 sheets of filo pastry
Milk for glazing (or beaten egg if you want)

Again, I'm not very good at serving food!

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, then trim the leeks and boil them whole with the asparagus for 4 minutes.
  2. Remove from the water and let dry, then slice the leeks length ways and griddle with the asparagus on a high heat for 5 mins or until they have nice char marks (you can grill them if you don't have a griddle)
  3. Mix together the cheese, mascarpone and lemon juice and season well. 
  4. Lay two sheets of filo pastry on top of each other on a baking tray, then cover with a quarter of the cheese mixture, repeat for the other 3 strudels. 
  5. Lay the asparagus and leeks on top of the cheese, fold over the bottom edges, then fold the other sides in so it looks strudely. 
  6. Turn it over so the folds are underneath, give it a milky wash, then bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with salad and buttery new potatoes and enjoy!
Lovely served with salad and new potatoes 

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