Having spent all Sunday afternoon composing Monday Meditation: Relax with these Raw Tiger Nut, Cacao & Coconut Treats , I realised I hadn’t given a thought as to what I was going to have for dinner and my husband had pre-empted me by getting some of his frozen curry from the freezer. I stood in the kitchen gazing at the contents of the fridge, opening and closing cupboard doors. It was growing late, I was hungry and thought I’d end up making a salad. However, I knew that when I smelled my husband’s curry, I’d wish I had done something similar. I didn’t really want brown rice and there was a lovely caulifower calling out to me, so I decided on spicy cauliflower rice.
I put some puy lentils to soak while I got everything ready – you don’t have to soak them, but it makes them easier to digest.
I decided on cumin, which I love, to flavour the cauliflower ‘rice’, and turmeric, both for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and the lovely colour it would produce. Digestion begins with the eyes and I like to make food as colourful and appetising to the eyes as the mouth. The beetroot makes the carrot hold its colour and adding the frozen veg at the end makes this a bright, colourful dish.
This takes about an hour from start to finish – it sounds complicated written out, but if you pre-cook the lentils and process the cauli before you begin cooking, you don’t have to balance so many items at once. It really is easy.
It made enough for 2, with a little mixed veg and lentils left over for next day (see later).
Vegan, Gluten-free and Dairy-free.
All quantities are very approximate
1/4 Cup Puy Lentils + reserved cooking water
Half a Cauliflower
Optional: Dried Apricots
Mixed Veg – I used:
2 Chestnut Mushrooms
Frozen Peas & Sweetcorn
Vegetable Bouillon Powder
Vegan ‘parmesan’: Almonds ground with Nutritional Yeast & a pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Rinse and soak the lentils, then drain and cover with water, cook beforehand or while preparing the veg. Don’t overcook as they will be reheated in the veg mix. You want them to keep their shape and not become mushy.
Reserve the cooking water.
Process the cauliflower florets for a few seconds until it looks like rice and set aside.
Chop onion, beetroot, carrot, mushrooms.
Melt a little coconut oil in a frying pan, stirfry first the onions, then the other veg for a little while with some black pepper, add a few spoons of the lentil cooking water, cover and cook on a low heat. Make sure it doesn’t dry out.
When almost done, sprinkle on a heaped teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder and mix in, adding the peas and sweetcorn and a little more lentil water. Cover.
Meanwhile, heat a little coconut oil in another frying pan, add the cumin and turmeric, stir round and add the cauliflower rice. Mix well, stirring and turning it over all the time. Add some black pepper and a couple of spoons of lentil water to keep moist.
On this occasion I didn’t add dried apricots to the rice as my husband doesn’t like apricots, but when he tried some ‘rice’, he surprised me with ‘it would be nice with apricots!’
When the ‘rice’ is ready, with as much or as little bite as you prefer, add several spoons of lentils to the veg and gently mix well, making sure they are heated through without overcooking everything. Spoon the ‘rice’ onto a plate with the mixed veg on top.
I forgot to add the pine nuts and ground almonds with nutritional yeast and cayenne before I took the photo of the cauliflower rice dish, but I added them when I had the leftovers next day accompanied with sweet potato mashed with almond butter, and some steamed broccoli.
The cauliflower rice dish was really good and tasty, even my sceptical husband had a small helping in addition to his own curry!
These meals have so many vitamins and minerals, different complementary proteins and healthy fats, and are very satisfying.
We are in the middle of some arctic weather, with snow, hail, icy winds and below zero temperatures, so I thought I’d post a recipe for a nourishing soup to warm us up, rather than the frozen smoothie bowl I had planned!
This doesn’t look pretty, but it tastes great and is very filling, having plantbased noodles as well as lentils in it. It’s a good way to use up small amounts of green vegetables that you have left over. In my case, I also had some precooked puy lentils in the fridge from the previous 2 days’ meals as I had seriously over-bestimated how many lentils to cook!
Lentils are such a good source of complex carbohydrates which boost metabolism and can help to control weight. They contain a large amount of dietary fibre, which helps to control cholesterol and stabilise blood sugar. They provide protein, folate and magnesium, are heart healthy, and keep you fuller longer.
We all know we should eat our greens, and this is a good way to do just that. You can use any lentils, or mung beans.
(Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairyfree)
Amounts are very approximate.
Precooked Puy Lentils – reserve some of the cooking water
Half a head of Broccoli florets
Small amount of White Cabbage
Handful of Celery Tops & Leaves
Stock cube + water, plus a cup of lentil cooking water
Some Organic Endamame Spaghetti* or other good quality plantbased thin noodles, broken up
Chop and sweat veg and celery leaves in coconut oil with black pepper
Cover and simmer on low heat until just cooked
Add broken up Endamame spaghetti or any other thin noodles
When done, blend slightly with stick blender to thicken a little
Place a few spoonfuls of cooked lentils in the bottom of a warm soup bowl and cover with soup
I had just made some Tiger Nut Milk and also had some raw sweet potato left over from juicing and I remembered seeing a recipe on The Tiger Nut Company Instagram feed that featured scones made with sweet potato and tiger nut pulp (but you can use tiger nut flour). Yes! I thought, it’s been a year since I tried a scone recipe ( Vegan Gluten-Free Almond & Apricot Scones ) let’s have a go! So I did. They turned out so well, I made a savoury version, too: Savoury Sweet Potato Scones using almond milk pulp, nutritional yeast, ground oats and paprika – see later in the post.
The original recipe by Kimberly Parsons of The Yoga Kitchen can be found here. They are moist and filling, can be made nutfree, using seeds instead of the walnuts, and are a great way to use up nut milk pulp.
I used a chia egg instead of a hen’s egg(1 Tbsp Chia Seeds soaked in 3 Tbsps Water to form a gel). I steamed rather than boiled the sweet potato to maximise the nutritional content, and as I didn’t have any buckwheat flour, I milled some buckwheat flakes, and it worked well.
There is no refined sugar, just a little maple syrup.
Tiger nuts are tubers, full of gut-healthy nutrients, protein, calcium, Vitamin E, B Vitamins. They make lovely creamy, sweet milk – see link at the end of the post for how to make it.
This recipe with my alterations is reproduced by permission.
Ingredients for Tiger Nut & Sweet Potato Scones
90g tiger nut pulp (or tiger nut flour)
2 tsps baking powder
35g buckwheat flour (I milled some buckwheat flakes)
pinch Pink Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 chia egg
180g steamed sweet potato, blended to a purée
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maple syrup
30g chopped walnuts plus extra to decorate
A little nut milk to brush on top
Preheat oven to 180C
Line a large baking tray with baking paper
Whisk together Tiger nut meal or flour, baking powder, buckwheat flour, sea salt and spices in a medium bowl
Whisk the egg, sweet potato puree, vanilla extract and maple syrup until it’s a smooth paste
Add the mix to the dry ingredients and mix, adding the chopped walnuts once combined
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop mixture onto the prepared baking tray, Or small handfuls gentle rounded and flattened, brush tops with tiger nut milk and decorate with walnuts
Bake for 15-18 minutes until risen and the base sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool, and enjoy!
(I found the timing a bit difficult to judge as I have a fan oven and cooked them on a slightly lower heat for a little longer)
Savoury Sweet Potato Scones
This time I used almond milk pulp, nutritional yeast, paprika, salt and pepper, ginger and left out the maple syrup and vanilla. They were really good, keep well in the fridge and freezer and are very filling.
(All quantities are approximate)
1 Cup Almond Milk Pulp
35g Ground Oats
2 Tbsps Nutritional Yeast
2 tsps Gluten-Free Baking Powder
1 tsp Paprika + some to dust
1/2 tsp Ginger
Pinch Pink Himalayan Salt and Black Pepper
Approx. 200g peeled Sweet potato, chopped, steamed, cooled and blended
1 Chia Egg
1 Heaped Tsp Almond Nut Butter
35g Mix of finely chopped walnuts and almonds, reserve some for decoration.
A little nut milk to brush on top.
Method as before:
Mix dry ingredients with the spices.
Whisk the chia egg, sweet potato purée, nut butter together and add to the dry mix.
Mix with a fork until it starts to come together, then knead with your hands until it forms a ball.
Form as before – I used the s allest cutter in the set – brush with a little nut milk, dust with paprika and ground walnuts.
The trick is to keep the dough very moist and gently flatten it to about an inch and a half to keep them a good thickness and make them light.
Cook approximately 15-20 minutes, but keep an eye on them. They should be a little crisp on the outside and moist on the inside.
Cook as before and cool on a wire rack.
They keep well in the fridge, too.
Both versions can be eaten on their own or with nut butter, vegan cheese, or fruit spread for the sweet version.
Thank you to Ani of The Tiger Nut Company and to Kimberly Parsons of The Yoga Kitchen.
(Tiger Nuts and Tiger Nut Flour from The Tiger Nut Company, link in text above).
These were made some time ago, so the raison d’être is a bit hazy! I’m not sure what inspired me to try another version of vegan, gluten-free burger, I think it might have had something to do with buckwheat flakes, tiger nut flour and half a tin of beans that needed to be used up. I had also eaten up all the Nutty Bean & Beetroot Veggie Burgers I had put in the freezer (they were my favourites, I even like them cold). I was really pleased with how this new burger came together, how they handled. They were so easy cook and stayed whole. They are quite soft but the sunflower seeds give a bit of texture. Add as much or as little seasoning as you like. I was quite conservative. It’s all done in the food processor, the actual shaping takes longer than the making. I had one during Christmas week for lunch when our son cooked, he did glazed purple sprouts & carrots*, roast potatoes, mushrooms, while they all had cheese and herb sausages made by my husband (originally a Delia Smith recipe from the 80s!) Unfortunately I forgot to take a photograph! Sorry.
(Vegan, Gluten- free, Nutfree, Organic where possible)
1/2 Cup Dry Buckwheat, cook in stock using a third of a vegetable stock cube
A heaped 1/2 Cup Mixed Beans (tinned), rinsed and drained well
Gluten-free flour for dusting hands and board – I used fine Tiger Nut Flour*
Coconut Oil for frying
Cook and cool the buckwheat.
Process everything in bursts until it comes together but still some texture.
With flour-dusted hands, scoop out some mixture and shape it into patties on a dusted board. Makes about 10, depending on size and thickness.
Cook in hot (but not smoking) coconut oil.
Drain and serve.
*Sprouts: quartered and sautéed with lid on. Add juice of one lemon plus the rind, and paprika and salt about halfway through. Carrots: roasted with ginger. Normally uses honey too, but maple syrup would be nice.
As many have commented, the beginning of the new year is a time when many of us take a look at who we are and how our lives are panning out. We often don’t like what we see as our weaknesses or shortcomings and we decide on some resolutions in the hope of rectifying any flaws in our current lifestyle, character or appearance, in order to set our lives back on the track we mapped out.
I’m all in favour of periodic reassessment, but I think we can be too hard on ourselves. I think resolutions can be too hard and fast, too black and white, and can be a means of setting ourselves up to fail because they don’t take account of circumstances beyond our control and don’t allow us to take babysteps or even missteps. We can’t always live up to our own high expectations, and once we miss that gym session or we are pressed to have a celebratory glass of wine, or we can’t cope with the craving for bacon, that’s it, we’ve failed, so we may as well give up and revert to our previous lifestyle.
I do, however, like to reflect and take stock. To see what worked and what didn’t. To look at relationships and my part in them. To make adjustments. But also to give thanks and acknowledge my achievements. I try to learn a new skill every year: this year I took over my mum’s affairs, something I never thought I would manage, and added rock painting to my creative interests.
I also like to express hopes and intentions, send healing thoughts out to the universe and ask for support, not just for myself, but for all those struggling in difficult times.
For many, the planet has seemed slightly off-kilter this past year, not just politically or economically, but, for those around me, health and welfare issues have dominated our concerns. For me, I know that this year will be a significant one concerning my elderly mum and also a much younger family member coping with a terrible disease. It is difficult to watch loved ones suffer and not be able to take away the pain and the confusion, restore the memories fast disappearing, or provide enough support for those doing the hands-on caring, and in particular for the children of a sick parent.
I have friends who are caring for 3 parents in various stages of dementia as well as serious physical conditions. They themselves are suffering physically from the exertions of lifting, cleaning, cooking, driving back and forth and being called out in the middle of the night, all while working full-time jobs and looking after their own children. My heart goes out to them and I feel bad that I can’t ease their burden. I worry about them.
I have to remind myself periodically that I do what I can. I am here to listen to their worries. I check up on them regularly. I offer advice and information when I can see where something might help. I lend equipment to ease back pain. I give treats. And that’s all we can do: do what we can. If we all do what we are able, then that is all we can ask of ourselves and everyone will benefit.
Of course, this applies to our new resolutions, our goals, as well. If we do what we can at this stage in our lives, and we do better as we move forward, then we should be proud of our efforts. As the tag line on my Home Page says: You did then what you knew how, when you know better, you do better. (Maya Angelou). There are bound to be times when Life conspires to make things extra tough and we weaken, but that’s ok, it’s human, it’s not a reason to give up. We reflect on what’s occurred, the possible reasons why, acknowledge them and begin again. No recriminations are necessary, just self-care and self-support.
Every Christmas and New Year, despite my confidence in my ability to stay on the healthy food wagon, I succumb. Not at Christmas, but at New Year. What happens is, we buy all sorts of foodstuffs we – and especially I – don’t normally consume, especially snacky things. We get them in for the teenagers in particular. We also try to find me some vegan equivalents of the foods they like: pizza, sausage rolls etc. I’m not tempted by the cake or biscuits or any sugary foods, it’s the savoury foods that get me every time. I don’t like eating them, but they are completely addictive for me. I can refrain from them all year round, they are not in the house. I rarely crave them. They make me feel heavy and uncomfortable, but once I have them, I have to have them again, and so it goes on until they are gone. I try to send much of what’s left over with them when they go home, but by then the damage is done. I put on weight easily, so by January, I am having trouble fitting into my jeans, I feel bloated and unhealthy. My energy levels have dropped.
It would be very easy to jump on the scales every morning and berate myself while comfort-eating the very things that have got me there. But I know this never works. I acknowledge what’s happened, that it is now an inevitable occurrence at this time of year. I sort out my cupboards, get rid of anything I don’t want to eat (some to the foodbank) and gradually steer myself back to what is normal for me. It’s not easy, I have always been a compulsive comfort-eater and I find January a particular challenge, having said goodbye to all my family for a while and facing the dark, cold days until the first signs of Spring. Changing my lifestyle has helped a great deal, and learning to be gentle on myself has also played a big part. (The Supergreen Smoothie recipe above will be in my next post).
Starting a juice program, doing some work on past hurts, meditating and repeating affirmations, using aromatherapy oils and decluttering my home and my mind have all been beneficial to my health and wellbeing. You can read my story in the links below. Adopting an organic and vegan lifestyle, cutting down on plastic and waste also give me a sense of contributing to the welfare of the planet, of animals and those working with toxic products. I feel proud of my efforts.
We do what we can. Everyone has their line in the sand. If we all do a little bit, we will see positive change in our own lives and in those of the people that surround us. Hopefully, we will see positive change in the way we are governed and in attitudes towards this precious planet and to all its many and diverse inhabitants.
For those of you trying to change to a more sustainable plantbased diet, looking for ways to improve health conditions or move about more, there are links below to posts that may help motivate or keep you on track.
At this point, I’d like to acknowledge the fact that at some point over the Christmas period I reached over a thousand followers. I’m not sure how this has occurred, it’s a little overwhelming to be honest. I am very grateful that you all take the time to read and comment on my posts, and for the support you give me when I’m struggling with the stresses in my life.
Over the next couple of weeks, I shall be taking a break for some much-needed rest and back treatment. I have scheduled some Monday Meditatios for while I am away, but won’t be able to reply to your comments for a while. Thank you all for reading them, they have proved quite popular and I hope I’ll be able to go on more rambles and explorations as soon as the weather (and my back) improves.
Thank you all! Be kind to yourself: look after you body, it’s the only home you have.
PS These links should help keep you out of mischief and on track while I’m away, I shall be asking questions when I return, so make sure to do your homework 😉
We are still in the middle of family visits, but I wanted to say I hope you all had the Christmas break you wanted and to share some photos of our family Christmas, which is still going on a week later as my daughter’s family descended en masse to celebrate New Year with us.
Family is very important to me and I love this time of year when I get to see everyone in the one place, not all together nowadays as Mum needs the downstairs room that the children use, but in stages. Mum had lunch with our daughter on the 23rd (see Monday Meditation: Mothers and Daughters at Christmas), and with our son’s family before she went home on the 27th, which meant so much to her. Because she lives ‘up North’ and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren too far south to visit her, the only time she can see them is when everyone meets in the middle at our house, which is usually at Christmas. I have a lot to be grateful for, not least that everyone can and does travel quite a distance to spend time together when health and other commitments allow.
Here are a few shots from this week – my husband is holding some homegrown potatoes he’d just dug up for lunch, and a potato bag I had bought him in which to store them. I am holding a beautifully soft wrap from him, and Mum is approving the perfume of the gorgeous handwash given to her by her grand-daughter.
My son won £20 on his lottery ticket! His son was very pleased to be given a small share of the winnings, he was very ill and it cheered him up.
Mum and I received some beautiful flowers.
We made a nut roast from a Vegetarian Society recipe for Christmas lunch, which was excellent. We couldn’t find any vegan gluten-free ‘sausage’ rolls – apparently they don’t exist – so we made our own from Jusrol vegan gluten-free pastry and Dees Wholefoods vegan, gluten-free sausages. The Waitrose own vegan, gluten-free Christmas pudding was excellent and my husband and mum couldn’t tell the difference. In fact, my husband said it was the best Christmas pud he’d tasted!
The soup is carrot and sweet potato before it was blended, ready for the family visit. I made some Christmas granola for gifts (it had goji berries, apple-infused cranberries and pumpkin seeds in it for the Christmas colours, and was finished off with a red ribbon) plus some mango chutney; my grandson made us some German cinnamon biscuits and my son made us raw chocolate truffles (mine have gone already, I forgot to photograph them! They were delicious peanut butter chocolate fudge with a little rum). The bottom left picture is of the truffles I was making for the teenagers about to invade this weekend. They had marzipan centres, one batch was covered in chopped almonds and Pitch Dark raw chocolate, melted with cacao butter, the other in Mint – from The Raw Chocolate Company. The stir-fry yesterday was a welcome change from so much rich food!
On New Year’s Eve, we played a killer game of Monopoly (no prisoners taken, I was the first into bankruptcy!), and watched Star Wars: Rogue One, the teenage boys hoovering up copious amounts of (non-vegan) pizza and snacks! Here are the beautiful presents they made at school, the pouch and the sunset scene were made from hand felted wool, the candle holders are ceramic:
I always look forward to their handmade gifts. The dog was the only one oblivious to the wind and rain!
This is currently the vegan fridge:
…and this is the non-vegan fridge:
…because The Boys are Back in Town!
Don’t forget Veganuary begins on Monday 1st January.
Over 100,000 people have signed up this year at Veganuary.com to commit to trying to be vegan for a month. There are many health and environmental benefits to changing to a more sustainable plantbased diet. See my posts below which explain the scheme and help you find the information you need to be a healthy vegan.
Have a lovely weekend and I wish you and your families a happy and healthy 2018.
Some time ago, Esmé at https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com kindly asked me to write a guest post and this is it! It’s not very Christmassy, I didn’t realise it would go out so near to Christmas, but at the same time it’s a review and recipe for vegan gluten-free fast-food which can be useful between the big feasts of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. I didn’t have room to mention the BeFree seeded sliced bread as I hadn’t tested it in time for the original post, but it was surprisingly fresh and easy to use for sandwiches. I kept it out, not in the freezer as I usually do, to see how long it would last and I was pleasantly surprised that on the fourth day I could still make a sandwich. Gluten-free breads usually go dry and break up very quickly. I have bought it again when there wasn’t time to make any, which I guess is an endorsement as I’ve never done that before.
My husband and I (no, not that one) were having our usual late afternoon dilemma about what to have for dinner. It was freezing cold, we had the woodburner going and neither of us wanted to move to the kitchen, which is much colder as it’s in the flat-roofed extension. I began musing about dumplings. I haven’t had them for years. On the whole, I don’t go much for starchy foods and I’d rather fill up on fresh veg, salad, fruit or hummus than on bread, pancakes, pizza base etc. But today, I was besotted with the idea of casserole and dumplings.
However, as the beady-eyed ones among you will have noticed, this recipe is for scones not dumplings: I chickened out from putting them in the casserole as it was the first time I’d tried making them since becoming vegan and gluten-free, and I didn’t want to risk ruining the casserole if they didn’t turn out well. So I made the mixture into scones and cooked them separately, but I’m confident – well, sort of – that they will work as dumplings, too. Just make the recipe with a little less liquid to make them firmer and roll into balls or cut into thinner scones and layer over the top of the casserole (I haven’t tried that yet).
You will also notice that I titled the recipe Cheese and Herb scones, when I specify cumin in the ingredients list, but you can use whatever herb or spice you want. I chose cumin as that was what I put in the black bean casserole they would be accompanying.
I used a mixture of flours, I’m sure any combination would work providing the majority of it is Self-Raising. I like to add different organic glutenfree flours to the commercial SR flour to provide more nutrients. I discovered chestnut flour a year or so ago when I bought it just to try it, and I added it to bread recipes and Carrot, Apple & Spice Cakes with Cashew Frosting.
It works well and has a sweet taste. I use it sparingly to make it last. I also added some Tiger Nut Powder*, which is very fine tiger nut flour, it’s also a little sweet and gives some texture too. But as I said, you can make up your own mix.
The recipe suggests rice milk because it’s thin and doesn’t have a strong flavour, I wanted them to be as light as possible.
These scones have protein, healthy fats, calcium, b vitamins and minerals, no refined sugar or jam in sight! I also had them as a snack with Bute Island Foods’ vegan mature cheddar ‘cheese’, (made from coconut oil and soya protein), they were delicious and very filling. They also freeze well.
(vegan, gluten-free, organic where possible, quantities are approximate)
5oz G/F SR Flour
2oz Chestnut Flour
1oz Tiger Nut Powder
1 Heaped Tsp G/F Baking Powder
2oz Solid Coconut Oil, soft enough to rub into the flour
2 Tbsps Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 Tsp Dried Cumin
1 Tbsp Ground Golden Linseeds
Pink Himalayan Salt & Black Pepper to taste
1 Chia Egg (1 Tbsp Chia Seeds mixed with 3 Tbsps Water and left to stand for 10-15 minutes)**
Enough rice milk to make the mixture bind together and still be a bit sticky.
Sieve the flours and baking powder into a bowl
Add nutritional yeast flakes, golden linseeds, salt and pepper and mix in
Add coconut oil and mix in well with finger tips until it resembles breadcrumbs, it takes a while but it’s worth taking the time
In a well in the middle, add chia egg and a little rice milk
Stir it together with a round-bladed knife to begin with and then get in there with your fingers and work all the mixture together, adding a little rice milk at a time until it all comes together in a ball
Knead a little until it is smooth and will roll, but it needs to be a little sticky too
Spread a fine layer of flour on a board and a rolling pin
Gently press and turn until your dough is a nice round, about an inch high or a little more – too thin and they will be dry and crunchy
Use either a cutter or a cup to cut out approx. 6 round scones or a knife to make triangle wedges
Lightly grease a baking tray, brush a little milk on the tops, and cook at approx. 200C for about 10-12 minutes, until risen and splitting, golden on top but a little soft in the middle
We had a small squash in our veg box last week and this afternoon I was cold to the bone after venturing outside for a short walk – I think it was 5C – so I decided to use the squash in some soup. The squash had been sitting chopped up in the fridge for a couple of days and needed to be used. My husband does it for me and leaves it in the fridge so it’s available when I want to use it.
I didn’t exactly know what I was going to put in with it, but automatically reached for some carrots and saw the baking apples on the shelf. We still have a few left from the tree, but they are starting to go a bit soft and the freezer is already overflowing with stewed apple and crumbles, I thought I’d try one in the soup.
While I was chopping, I mused over what herbs or spices would go with itand decided on ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. I was feeling cold, tired and achy, a friend had been coughing over me while recovering from a nasty flu-like virus and I felt the need to protect myself: these three spices are not only warming but also anti-inflammatory. The squash, carrots and celery are rich in anti-oxidants, while the humble onion has long been used in Ayervedic medicine to relieve coughs, fevers and flu as well as to reduce pain and inflammation in joints. I was leaving nothing to chance! I had a big bowl of it for dinner that night, I thought the combination worked really well and I would certainly make it again.
Here’s the full recipe – you might need to adjust the spices, I just guessed and I loved it. I could feel the ginger warming my insides and the one apple was enough to give it a fruity flavour, almost sweet and sour.
Made enough for 3-4 servings
(Organic where possible, vegan and gluten-free)
1 Tsp Coconut Oil
1 Small Butternut Squash, peeled and chopped
1 Small Onion, chopped
2 Carrots, scrubbed and chopped (peel left on)
1 Thin Stick Celery, from the inner part of the bunch, not too strongly flavoured, with leaves, chopped
1 Medium Baking Apple, peeled and chopped
Approx. 750 mls Vegetable Stock (I used a Kallo stock cube) – enough to cover the vegetables
Ground Ginger, Turmeric and Cinnamon
Sprig of Watercress or Spinach or Rocket to serve (optional)
Melt the oil and sweat the vegetables with half a tsp of ground ginger, a couple of shakes each of turmeric and cinnamon and some black pepper for a few minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
Add the apple, mix well.
Add stock and slowly bring to a simmer.
Cook on the lowest heat for about 25-30 minutes, until everything is cooked but not mushy.
Blend to the thickness you like – I like to leave a little texture.
Serve with a twist of black pepper, a sprig of watercress and some warm seeded bread.
(When I had a second bowl the next day, I added a small handful of mixed watercress/spinach/rocket when I served it and I really liked it).
Please note: there is no added salt in the recipe because the stock cube had salt in it.
My husband is vegetarian, I am vegan. I like to eat early, he likes to eat late. He likes potatoes, I don’t eat them (except for a rare and indulgent packet of potato crisps). He likes pies and pastry and chips. I prefer quinoa, stirfries and soups. He often does bike rides during the day or in the evening which also creates a dissonance in our eating habits, as does my propensity for staying up late and getting up even later! So how on earth do we manage to co-ordinate our meals? Well, a lot of the time, we each do our own thing, but just occasionally we manage to be at the dinner table together and once in a blue moon we end up with something on our plates that almost resembles the other’s. This was one of those nights, no bike rides and the clocks had just gone back, so we both felt we wanted to eat earlier than the clock dictated. I don’t know about you, but my body takes ages to adjust when the clocks change.
HB loves Shepherd’s Pie and makes it often, but it’s been years since I had anything resembling it. Tonight, however, I felt inspired and made my own vegan version with mashed almond butter sweet potato on top.
I can’t give entirely accurate measurements as I didn’t think I was going to be blogging it. You’ll know how much to make for the ‘innards’ (as my dad would call the vegetables underneath).
Basically, this is it went:
Soak a good amount (sorry, that’s the best I can do!) of green lentils while preparing the vegetables – soaking aids digestion. Lentils are a good source of iron, B6 and magnesium as well as fibre.
Chop an onion, garlic, a large carrot, half a stick of celery, celery leaves, a small beetroot, 2 chestnut mushrooms, and sweat them in coconut oil, with the lid on, later adding some frozen peas.
Meanwhile, peel and chop 2 sweet potatoes and place them in the steamer, ready to switch on about 15 minutes after the vegetables have started simmering.
Next, mix half a mushroom stock cube with about 400mls hot water, 1 tsp of yeast extract and some dried thyme.
Add the lentils and stock to the vegetables. Replace the lid.
While they cook, put a dish to warm for mashing the sweet potato and a flat dish for the completed Shepherd’s Pie.
When all are cooked, add a little thickening to the vegetables, mash the sweet potatoes in a warm dish, then mix in a heaping teaspoon of almond butter, some pink Himalayan salt and black pepper and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes.
Spread the vegetable filling (with not too much gravy) in the bottom of the dish, cover with the sweet potato mash, using a fork to even it out and give it a textured appearance.
Place under the grill until it starts to crisp a little and turn golden.
I served mine with some steamed broccoli and a little of the left-over gravy.
This made enough for 3 servings for me, with extra green vegetables. It’s very filling. There was also some vegetable filling left in the pan which I’ll probably have with pasta tomorrow.
My husband made his with Quorn mince, left out the beetroot, celery and celery leaves and used mixed herbs, he topped it with mashed potato made with rice milk and a buttery spread. To be fair, he didn’t know his was going to be photographed, so please excuse his presentation :-))