Vegan Gluten-Free Nut-Free Bread Mk IV – the best yet!

28866432_UnknownI know I keep saying this, but each one keeps getting better in terms of how much it rises and slices. The taste and texture also vary a little, too, because of the different combinations of flour used in each new version.*

The amount of tiger nut flour is greatly reduced here compared with previous ones – it can be a bit gritty for some – and we substituted it with the finer-milled tiger nut powder, which seemed to work well. We may increase the proportion next time.

Mk IV turned out very smooth and close-textured, very easy to slice. I was delighted with how much it had risen – always a problem with gluten-free bread, but can’t really put my finger on why it did so well! The amount of golden linseeds was almost doubled from previous recipes – when they are pre-heated in the oven, they become sticky and help form a gel when mixed with the yeast and water – and the coconut yogurt – which is a bit too thick – was replaced with live soya yogurt.

This loaf has plenty of healthy nutrients without the additives etc. of commercial gluten-free bread which often resembles a chemical experiment and tastes like cardboard! Tiger nuts are tubers (not nuts) and contain vitamins, minerals, protein and both pre- and probiotics for a healthy gut. Chickpea or gram/besan flour, is a good source of iron, magnesium, protein, B6 and fibre. The loaf has healthy fats from the olive oil and the seeds, while the seeds also give it a little nutty bite.

Here’s the latest list of ingredientsorganic where possible, all vegan and gluten-free, measurements very approximate!

45g golden linseeds (pre-grinding a little helps)
Approx. 475mls warm water
1 sachet fast-action yeast (about 2½ tsp)
100ml live plain soya yoghurt

450g g/f flour made up of:
100g cornflour, 100g maize flour, 100g self-raising g/f flour, 100g chickpea (gram) flour, 50g fine tiger nut powder**

1 tsp salt
11/2 tsps coconut palm sugar*** (ordinary sugar will work of course, but reduce to 1 tsp)
50g psyllium husk powder
50ml olive oil
extra olive oil and cornflour, to sprinkle on top

Method

Heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4

Pre-heat the linseeds on a baking tray for about 10 minutes to make them split slightly and become sticky – ours are ground up slightly beforehand to enhance the process. Try not to burn them!

Turn off the oven.

Mix together the water and yeast, then stir in the yogurt and seeds. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl sift together the flours, then add the salt, sugar and psyllium husk powder.

Add yeast mixture and olive oil and mix well.

The mixture will quickly turn into a sticky dough. When it’s ready, knead it for a few seconds, then place in a bowl, cover and leave for 30 minutes. We covered it with a damp tea towel and put it in the still-warm oven.

When it’s risen, either make the dough into a fat sausage shape and place on a lined baking tray or shape to fit in a lightly-oiled loaf tin – we found the first time we put it on a tray it spread too much and produced very narrow slices, so we use a loaf tin now.

Lightly brush with olive oil, cover and leave for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 240C/465F/Gas 9, make shallow diagonal cuts across the top of the dough, sprinkle with a little cornflour and bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden-brown and crusty on the outside. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

When completely cold, slice and enjoy! We had some while it was fresh, left some for next day and sliced the rest up to go in the freezer.

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The sandwich in the top photo comprises of Natex low salt yeast extract on two slices, sliced avocado with a little lemon juice and black pepper, peppery baby lettuce leaves, spring onion and thinly sliced cucumber, topped with homegrown alfalfa seeds.**** It was lush!

*(For my other recipes and the original Dan Lepard recipe on which they are based, see Vegan Gluten-Free Tiger Nut Bread Mark ll

Vegan Gluten-Free Tiger Nut Loaf/Bread Mk III

Dan Lepard

** Tiger nut flour and powder available from The Tiger Nut Company

***Coconut Palm Sugar available from The Raw Chocolate Company

****See Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment! for how to grow your own beansprouts.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Quick, Easy & Nutritious Leftover Meals from Veggie Lentil Casserole & Vegetable Protein Bolognese Sauce

You know when you’ve made too much and there’s not quite enough left over for another full serving next day? We always keep the smallest amount of leftovers and make sure it’s reused somehow. It might be my upbringing that renders me unable to throw food away, but regardless, I can’t bring myself to do it when so many go hungry. Anyway, last week, I had leftovers three days running. Twice! (But the second time from a different starting point, if you see what I mean).

The first basic meal was a Veggie Lentil Casserole with Peanut Butter Gravy (see below): sweet potato, cauliflower + stalks, green lentils (pre-soaked to ease digestion), chestnut mushrooms, leek + leaves, peas, vegetable stock, mixed herbs, low salt yeast extract, peanut butter.

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Next day, I had leftovers using just the ‘innards’ (as my dad used to call the solids in a stew) with quinoa and wilted spinach (sorry, forgot to take a photo), reserving most of the leftover gravy which was used on the third day when I had baked sweet potato, vegan sausages* and vegetables.

The Courgetti Bolognese below and Rice Bowl Leftovers (further down the page) resulted from an original meal combining a vegetable protein bolognese sauce with basmati rice and vegan parmesan cheaze** (see Courgetti Bolognese ft Hanna’s Vegetable Protein Sauce.)

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We cooked far too much brown basmati rice, too much sauce and blended a jar full of vegan parmesan, so I ended up having it in different forms for two more meals. This is the first, using the extra sauce and cheaze with spiralised courgetti spaghetti.

Pictured below is the second, a rice bowl using up some avocado leftover from juicing in the morning. I knew that despite covering it in lemon juice it wouldn’t last until next day, and there were also some mung bean sprouts that needed using up.

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They were all promptly turned into this rice bowl salad. The brown basmati rice is on the bottom, then we layered chopped cucumber, grated carrot, avocado, beansprouts and cherry tomato. A tamari and olive oil dressing was drizzled over it and the vegan parmesan sprinkled on top, as well as black pepper. And Bob’s your uncle! This recipe does what it says on the can: quick, easy and nutritious. If we hadn’t run out, I might have added pine kernels or pistachios too. Great for a satisfying lunch or light dinner.

And if you want a nutritional breakdown, you have protein, antioxidants (they help fight arterial plaque and disease), B vitamins, Vitamin C, minerals, Vitamin E, lycopene (helps prevent cancer), healthy fats, fibre and tons of slow-released energy.

*See Vegan Leek, Carrot & Ginger Sausages and Vegan ‘Cheesy’ Almond, Leek & Herb Sausages

*Vegan parmesan cheaze: blend blanched almonds which have been patted dry, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, black pepper and whatever spice you might like. It will keep for quite a while in an airtight jar in the fridge, I had the last of it a week later.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Mixed Beans with Avocado, Pomegranate & Wilted Spinach

img_2566We had a pomegranate and some spinach in our organic veg box that needed using, as well as some homegrown mung bean sprouts,* and this is what I came up with.

This is such a colourful, nutritious and satisfying salad, full of antioxidants, protein, fibre, B viamins, minerals and healthy fats.

Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic where possible.

Ingredients

Romaine lettuce leaves

Thinly Sliced Cucumber

Grated Carrot

Sliced ripe Avocado

Spinach

Tinned Mixed Beans, drained and rinsed

Mung bean sprouts (or any other sprouted beans or seeds, but not the commercially packed long beansprouts)

(See * Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment!  For how to make homegrown sprouts and their benefits)

Pomegranate seeds*

Tamari and Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Black Pepper

Method

Arrange the torn Romaine leaves around the plate, leaving a space in the centre

Place the thin cucumber slices, then the grated carrot and avocado slices on top around the circle

Lightly warm the beans, stirring gently to prevent them sticking or over-heating, and gently wilt the spinach – this releases the iron in the spinach and makes it more bio-available.

Arrange them in the centre

A few twists of black pepper over the salad

Pour over some Tamari & Olive Oil Dressing

Scatter the Pomegranate Seeds around the beans**

Top with beansprouts

**To remove the seeds, gently roll the whole fruit between your hands, cut in half, invert over a bowl and whack the end with a wooden spoon. If it’s ripe, the seeds should fall out. Otherwise, scoop them out with a metal spoon. See The Healing Powers of Pomegranate + Recipes for the health benefits of this bejewelled fruit.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Zoodles with Garlic Mushrooms, Beansprouts & Lemon Avocado & Pine Nut Dressing

The title pretty much describes the recipe. This is a light, quick meal conjured up when I wasn’t feeling very hungry but knew I needed to eat something or I would be hungry during the night. As usual, once I began eating I was glad I had made the effort to come up with something to stimulate my appetite.

First, we spiralised a small Courgette (zucchini) and arranged it on the plate. (see Spiralising: A Great Way to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Greens, Reds, Yellows …)

Next, the avocado dressing was prepared in a small chopper: we had no fresh avocado so we used some from the freezer – did you know you can freeze stoned and peeled avocado? We use it to blend with freshly extracted juices.

For one person, blend 1/4 – 1/2 Avocado, a good squeeze of Lemon Juice, a little Water, some Pine Kernels and Black Pepper. Season with a little Pink Himalayan Salt if liked.

I love Chestnut Mushrooms and we seemed to have rather a lot that needed using. So about 7 or 8 were washed, stalked and chopped in quarters before the whole lot was tossed in a teaspoon of Coconut Oil with some crushed Garlic and lightly stir-fried with Tamari.

The mushrooms were placed on the top of the zoodles. The avocado dressing in the middle, a reserved mushroom on top. We had some Mung Beans sprouting and we scattered some over the rest of the food. (See Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment!)

It was finished off with more black pepper.

It doesn’t look very exciting, but it tasted good and was surprisingly satisfying. Raw food is more filling than cooked, with plenty of fibre and nutrients to keep you healthy. Avocado is the ultimate in healthy convenience food with its protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre. (See Raw Energy).

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment!

Recently I published a recipe for Warming Stir-Fry with Avocado, Alfalfa and Sprouted Beans and was asked where to obtain the beansprouts. Well, the answer is, your kitchen counter!

It so easy to grow your own, takes no time or effort and they provide protein and oodles of more useable nutrients than cooked foods. Enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fibre and essential fatty acids (that burn fat and are usually in short supply in most diets) increase dramatically during the soaking and sprouting process and are more easily absorbed by the body.

Not only are homegrown sprouts good for body and soul (growing your own is a satisfying and life-affirming activity), but they are also good for the environment. Buy organic, untreated seeds, nuts, beans or legumes and you omit nasties: pesticides, additives and other unwanted chemicals. Ready grown sprouts are often treated with chemicals before packaging. (NB You need to buy seeds from a health food shop/supermarket or online eg Amazon etc NOT a gardening shop!)

They are inexpensive, 1 tablespoon of seeds produces several days’ worth of sprouts – depending on how often and how many people eat them! You can rotate the varieties and have your own little sprout garden in your kitchen, producing nutrient-dense plants for your salads, sandwiches and lunch-boxes and the children will enjoy the process of soaking, watering and watching them grow as well as benefiting from the foods themselves.

So, what do you need and how do you do it?

There are 3 methods: the third actually produces microgreens, a stage further on than sprouting and involves soaking seeds and sprinkling them on a tray of organic soil, watering and letting them grow. But we want to produce sprouts, so you need either a sprouting tower like this one:

This thirty-year-old tower has 3 sprouting trays, a lid that is ventilated to allow air to circulate and a bottom tray where the water drains off – if buying new, check it is BPA-free

or large, wide-mouth mason jars with either sprouting lids (available from healthfood stores or online), cheesecloth or muslin and a rubber band to keep it in place.

You can sprout most seeds, nuts, beans or legumes – except kidney beans, they are poisonous if eaten raw.

For either method, the first thing you need to do is wash your hands – hygiene is important, then rinse the seeds and pick out any grit or discoloured or broken ones and soak them overnight in pure water. For 3 trays, you could use 1-2 teaspoons of alfalfa or broccoli seeds between 2 of them and 1-2 tablespoons of mung beans in the third. Use 3 times as much water as seeds. (Broccoli seeds provide many times more nutrients than normal broccoli).

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(If using jars, you can put them straight into the containers). Next morning, drain them into the trays and rinse again (one type of seed per tray, they all grow at different rates).

Rinse and drain twice a day, pouring away the excess water.

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After Day 1, the mung beans have swollen and are beginning to sprout.

For the jars, cover and stand upside down, if possible at a slight angle, and rinse at least twice a day.

The sprouts will grow faster in warmer weather and in exceptionally hot weather may need an extra rinse. Don’t let them dry out but don’t overwater! Be sure to drain off the excess to prevent mould and bacteria developing.

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After 2 days, they are well on their way. These were growing during a very cold February.

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3 days and the mung beans are about an inch long and ready to use! The alfalfa needs another couple of days.

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When you harvest the mung beans, rinse and either store them as they are, covered in the fridge – they will last up to a week or more – or place in a bowl of water, swish them around and the green hulls will float off and can be removed if desired. Some people think they are a little bitter, but of course you will be discarding nutrients too.

The sprouts can be used in salads, sandwiches, with stir-fries or as garnish for warm soups (the less heat the more nutrients you retain).

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Sprouted seeds, beans, nuts and legumes are highly nutritious and are particularly rich in Vitamins A, B Complex, C and E, but alflafa is also a good source of Calcium, and a very good source of Vitamin K, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.

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Broccoli Sprouts

You can have a lot of fun with the kids using alfalfa sprouts:

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There have been comments in the media about the dangers of ecoli in beansprouts. Firstly, I would say commercial enterprises don’t much like us growing our own rather than buying their nutrient-poor, mass-produced products and secondly, providing you keep up your hygiene standards: wash your hands, drain off the soaking water and scrub out the trays/jars, then all should be fine.

We have been growing sprouts for 30 years and neither my family nor friends have had one problem with ecoli.

I hope this helps inspire you to start producing your first beansprouts.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Warming Stir-Fry with Avocado, Alfalfa & Sprouted Beans

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This is one of those meals where it was a case of just tossing together whatever was available with no thoughts of creating a new recipe for the blog, but it turned out so well I decided to post it anyway. It looks a bit like a bird’s nest, but satisfying and tasty.

These are our favourite kinds of meals: easy, quick, one chopping board, a sharp knife, spatula and frying pan. Little mess and lots of nutrients.

Prepare all your ingredients beforehand, have your seasonings ready and plate warming, because it all comes together very quickly.

This recipe is for 1 serving, amounts and timings are approximate.

Ingredients are organic where possible. For a little more colour you could add spiralised or shaved carrot. I am sensitive to nightshade foods, so I haven’t included bell peppers.

Ingredients

1 Tsp Raw Virgin Coconut Oil

1 Small Onion, sliced or several Spring Onions, chopped

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

2 Thin Slices of Fresh Ginger, minced or chopped very finely

6 Sugar Snap Peas, topped, tailed and chopped

Half a Stick of Celery

4 Large Chinese Leaves, including stalks, chopped

1/4 Large Courgette, spiralised

Handful of Cashew Pieces

Half an Avocado, chopped

Handful Green Lentil Sprouts (or any other sprouted beans)

Handful Alflalfa Sprouts

Few splashes of Tamari

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

(I haven’t included salt as the Tamari is quite salty anyway)

Method

Melt Coconut oil in Large Frying Pan until a piece of onion starts sizzling, but not smoking

Add onion, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a couple of minutes

Add Celery and Sugar Snap Peas, keep stir-frying for a further couple of minutes until the onion starts becoming translucent but not soft or brown

Add Cashew pieces and Chinese Leaves and stir-fry until leaves start to wilt a little

Add Spiralised Courgette, plenty of Black Pepper and a few splashes of Tamari

Keep stir-frying all the time

When everything is cooked but still has a bite to it, remove from heat, add Lentil Sprouts, stir a few times, add Avocado , a bit more Tamari and Black Pepper if desired and remove to hot plate. Add Alflalfa Sprouts.

Leave washing up, sit down and eat straightaway!

Copyright: Chris McGowan