Easy Vegan, Gluten-Free Pink Pancakes!

img_3293We first made these 2 years ago when I discovered the basic recipe at Masala Vegan and although I’m not a big pancake-lover, my husband is and it’s Pancake Day, so we revisited these lovely Pink Ones.

We were better at cooking them this time, they were crisper and thinner.

Last time we had them with blueberries and Coyo coconut yogurt, this time we went with homegrown apples stewed with raisins and cinnamon, topped with Sojade soya yogurt and an optional small drizzle of organic maple syrup.

The original recipe calls for Xylitol as a sweetener, but I don’t like it and we prefer to add the sweetness via the fruit on top, and if you have a particularly sweet tooth, there’s always the maple syrup.

The recipe is very simple, all measurements are very approximate:

Ingredients

2 Cups of blended Watermelon Pulp

1 1/2 Cups Gluten-free Self-Raising Flour (last year we improvised with cornflour and gluten-free baking powder as we didn’t have the SR flour, it worked fine)

Coconut Oil for cooking

We added a pinch of salt

We also think they’re good with a pinch of spice, ground ginger or cinnamon, or baobab powder.

Method

In a large bowl, gradually whisk the flour into the watermelon pulp.

Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil until a drop of the batter sizzles.

Add 1/4 Cup of batter at a time and swirl around until it is thin. Cook until golden and crispy on the bottom, gently lifting the edges and turn over to cook the other side.

This amount made 8 small pancakes, we reneged after 3 each! Very filling and very tasty with the topping.

(See This Spicy Watermelon & Grapefruit Juice Will Help Stave Off Those Winter Bugs! for information on the many health benefits of watermelon – and grapefruit).

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Vegan Mixed Bean Salad While the Kitchen’s Under Wraps!

29134960_UnknownLast week, the kitchen was covered in dust sheets and all the appliances – juicers, blenders, pans, etc. – were scattered about in other rooms. HB had been painting the ceiling, walls and doors all day, the windows were closed because the Men in Orange were laying smelly tarmac on the drive and it was quite a hot sticky day too, so a quick, cool salad was in order for dinner at the end of a long day.

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The bottom layer of this nutritionally power-packed salald bowl is a combination of leaves: romaine, rocket, watercress and spinach – did you know romaine and rocket contain protein? Watercress and spinach are a good source of iron and Vitamin C, too. Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron in the body.

Layered over the leaves are chopped celery and cucumber, then celery leaves, chopped spring onion (a prebiotic for gut health), more protein and B vitamins in homegrown mung bean sprouts*, and topped off with basil leaves, which we grow on our kitchen windowsill. Basil is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and rich in anti-oxidants.

Alongside, we have half a can of mixed beans, rinsed well – another source of protein and B vitamins, as well as dietary fibre.

The whole salad is then dressed with tamari and olive oil dressing, and sprinkled with raw hemp seeds* and plenty of black pepper. Hemp seeds are high in protein and a good source of healthy omega oils.

HB had a large baked potato with his!

*See also Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!

Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment!

Crunchy & Satisfying Black Bean, Red Grape & Hemp Seed Salad

Mixed Beans with Avocado, Pomegranate & Wilted Spinach

Rocket (Arugula) Salad with Sweetcorn, Walnut Slaw, Crisp Red Apple & Lemon Tahini Dressing

Oh-So-Chocolatey Hemp Seed Coins

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Post-Election Wake-Up Nectarine Smoothie/ Dessert

28863056_UnknownThis lovely smooth nectarine chia pudding was just what I needed the morning after the General Election when I felt exhausted and strung out after all the highs and lows of the long night before. I needed energy, but most of all something to give me a lift. Like the rest of the country, I didn’t know which end was up and needed the certainty and stability (sic*) of a reliably healthy, and refreshing breakfast to keep me going through the inevitable long drawn-out hours of bemused debate and analysis to come, while everyone figured out who was running the country (we’re still not sure!).

It can be served in a glass as a smoothie for breakfast or with slightly thicker consistency in a dish for dessert.

I’m not sure why I’m publishing it so long after the election, I think I thought there were rather too many smoothies stacked up together or it may be because the weather got so cold I thought soup was more appropriate!

Anyway, here it is:

If you use frozen fruit it will be thicker and chilled, lovely for a warm day or to perk you up in the morning, or just use more or less coconut water for the desired consistency.

We had some lovely juicy nectarines in our organic veg box recently and whilst I normally prefer to eat them as is (despite the juice inevitably dribbling down my top!), a couple were becoming over-ripe in the fruit bowl and were sliced up & frozen, so I decided to put one in this smoothie. They were small, so we used just half a medium banana to go with it.

This pudding has lots of healthy ingredients and beneficial nutrients: protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamins A, B, C, E, omega oils, probiotics, fibre to name but a few.

Ingredients – Serves 1

(Vegan, Glutenfree, Organic)

1 Nectarine (fresh or frozen)

Half Medium Banana (fresh or frozen)

2 Tbsps Plain Live Yogurt of your choice

1 Heaped Tbsp Peanut Butter

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds**

1 Tbsp Buckwheat Flakes

1 Tbsp ground Golden Linseeds**

Small to Medium Glass Unsweetened Coconut Water

1/2 Tbsp Baobab Powder**

Blend for about 40 seconds and serve, sprinkled with a few chia seeds or a slice of nectarine.

*For the non-Brits, ‘Strong and Stable’ was the Tories’ campaign mantra.

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**See also: Three Cheers for Chias! What Are Chia Seeds & How Do I Use Them? Recipes included

Golden Linseeds (aka Flax Seeds): The Original Superfood?

The Benefits of Baobab, a Fruity Protein Smoothie + Review of Aduna Bars.

 

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

Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Ageing Cherry, Chia and Lucuma Smoothie (no bananas necessary!)

img_3062Cherries are considered another of Mother Nature’s superfoods, reputedly containing a wondrous variety of nutrients which are both anti-inflammatory, anti-againg, pain-relieving and help prevent certain cancers.

They have been found to help relieve the pain of gout, arthritis, fybromyalgia, headaches, sports injuries and also help improve sleep patterns.

That’s a world of responsibility for one little seed!

Combined with the multitude of health benefits from the similarly super-endowed blueberries, you have a super smoothie in the making.

We also have the prebiotics and probiotics, omega fats, Vitamin E, protein and calcium of the homemade Tiger Nut milk (also known as horchata, recipe here) added to the B Vitamins, protein and healthy fats of the almond butter. (NB Tiger Nuts are not nuts but tubers and so should be suitable for people with nut allergies, you can substitute tahini for the almond butter).

And that’s not all!

Did you know Romaine lettuce is a good source of protein? Well, that’s in there too.

Have you tried Lucuma fruit powder from Peru? It is well-known in South America where it is added to desserts and has a slightly malty flavour. It is a source of beta-carotene, iron, zinc, protein, calcium and many other vitamins and minerals.

Chia seeds are a frequent visitor in my smoothies and in porridge and desserts. They are so packed full of goodness and so versatile. Did you know you can use them as egg replacers in baking when mixed with water? See Three Cheers for Chias! What Are Chia Seeds & How Do I Use Them? Recipes included for more information on the benefits and how to use them.

Finally, we have the medjool date, a mineral-rich natural sweetener that even contains Vitamin K, necessary for good bone health.

All of these ingredients are good sources of dietary fibre, which aids digestion.

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Organic where possible.

As there were no fresh cherries available, frozen cherries were used for this recipe.

All measurements are very approximate. Adjust to suit your own tastes.

Ingredients

2 Tbsps Chia Seeds* soaked for 10-15 minutes in some of the Tiger Nut Milk to form a gel, this will thicken the smoothie in the absence of banana or flakes

Large handful of Frozen Cherries

Large handful of Blueberries

A handful of chopped Romaine leaves

1 Tbsp Lucuma Powder*

About 350-400mls homemade Tiger Nut Milk, depending how thick or thin you want the smoothie

Blend in high speed blender for about 40 seconds.

*The Raw Chocolate Company

*Tiger Nuts from The Tiger Nut Company

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Vegan Curried Lemon Rice

c8e6b5a8-06de-4166-8ef1-83cec7da0edeThis recipe was inspired by Masala Vegan’s Lemon Rice. She has such wonderful spicy vegan Indian recipes, I have a long list that I want to try but I can’t keep up!

In our version, we added stir-fried veggies and left out the green chillies, mustard seeds and apple cider vinegar because my stomach won’t take the vinegar or chillies, and my husband says he doesn’t like them although he’s never had them!  We didn’t have any curry leaves or mustard seeds, but we’re going to make sure we have them for next time.

I like a fruity curry rather than a hot one, so we added some raisins as we didn’t have sultanas, my preferred option.

This is such an easy, tasty recipe and so quick to make. As always, measurements are very approximate, in fact it’s taken me so long to write this down that I have to rely on the photos, so you may just get a ‘few of these and a bit of that!’

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Ingredients

for 2-3 generous servings (organic where possible):

1 Cup Organic Basmati Rice, soaked and rinsed to remove any arsenic (yes, most rice absorbs arsenic from the ground)

Cook the rice in twice as much boiling water, keeping the lid in place for about 20-25 minutes until the water is absorbed and the rice cooked al dente, not split open or mushy. If it is cooked and there is water left, either remove the lid and leave on a low heat to allow it to evaporate, or if there is quite a bit, drain it off and put into a hot dish, fluff it up gently with a fork to allow the moisture to evaporate.

(If you’re cooking more than one Cup, you’ll need under twice as much liquid).

As many chopped veggies as you need, in any combination, providing they will stirfry easily.

We used:

Chestnut mushrooms, washed and unpeeled

Courgette (Zucchini), ditto

Broccoli (including stem, where most of the nutrients are), washed

Green Beans, topped and tailed, washed

A good squeeze of fresh Lemon Juice and a little Lemon Zest

Raisins/Sultanas or Chopped Dried Apricots

Chilli Powder

Turmeric Powder

Ginger Powder

Black Pepper

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds or Peanuts or Sunflower Seeds

Desiccated Coconut

1 Tsp Raw Virgin Coconut Oil

Method

When the rice is cooked, melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan or wok.

When it’s hot but not smoking, add the combined spices according to taste, then the chopped veggies. Mix thoroughly.

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Stirfry for a couple of minutes then cover and allow to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

img_2388When they are ready  (they should still have a little bite to them to retain the nutrients and give texture to the meal), add the cooked rice and mix throughly but gently.

Add the lemon juice,  toasted seeds and raisins, taste and adjust the seasoning.

Transfer to a hot dish to serve, or on hot plates, top with desiccated coconut and serve with yogurt and a green salad.

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Warming Sweet Potato & Ginger Soup

img_2883This is a favourite in our house, it is so simple and quick to make and makes a very welcome lunch or dinner on a cold winter’s day. It takes less than an hour to make and you can make it as thick or thin as you like and spicy or not according to your tastes. We prefer to blend it with a stick blender to thicken it up, but leave it a little coarse. We steamed a little broccoli for garnish and extra nutrients.

Sweet potatoes and carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, for healthy eyesight, while sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin D, B vitamins, iron and magnesium – necessary for relaxation of mind and muscles; celery contains potassium, B vitamins and, like carrots, is a good source of Vitamin K, necessary for bone health; ginger is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Broccoli is a good plant source of calcium, B vitamins and protein. The yeast extract contains protein and B vitamins, including B6 and B12, important for vegans. So now you’re good to go!

All measurements are approximate and all ingredients are vegan, gluten-free and organic where possible. Hence, we scrub the veggies and leave the skin on for more nutrients and more flavour.

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Ingredients

1 Tsp Raw Virgin Coconut Oil

3-4 medium Sweet Potatoes, chopped

3-4 Medium Carrots, chopped

1/2 a Stick of Celery, chopped

1-3 thin slices of Ginger Root, depending how thick the root is and how spicy you want the soup, very finely chopped

1 Tsp Yeast Extract, we use Natex as is low salt and has a slight herbal taste.

1 Low Salt Vegetable Stock Cube

dissolved in about

500 mls of hot water (enough to cover the veggies)

Black Pepper

A few small florets of Broccoli to steam for garnish

Method

Melt the oil. When hot but not smoking, add the ginger and stirfry for a few seconds before adding all the other veggies except the broccoli.

Add some Black Pepper.

(Black Pepper aids absorption of nutrients as well as adding flavour).

Stirfry for a minute or so, mixing them up as you do, then turn down the heat, place a lid on the pan and allow to sweat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock and Natex, turn the heat up a little, but try not to allow it to boil. Replace the lid and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Leave to cook for about 40 minutes, until the veggies are done but not falling apart.

Steam the broccoli.

Turn off the heat, remove the pan and blend with a stick blender.

For a more substantial meal, you could place some cooked orange lentils or organic brown basmati rice in the bottom of the bowl before ladling the soup over the top. 

Top with the broccoli or, alternatively, some bean sprouts.

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Serve with crusty bread.

PS. Look out for Zesty Orange Squash Soup, coming soon!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Spiced Fruity Raw Vegan Gluten-Free Christmas Pudding & Christmas Truffles

imageThis raw vegan Christmas pudding was inspired by a recipe on The Raw Chocolate Company blog, but it doesn’t seem to be there anymore so I can’t credit the original (though there is a more luxurious – cooked – recipe).

We made the raw one the previous Christmas, which turned out a little bit tart as we’d used golden berries and orange juice (they also made it orange!), so this time I have swapped them for raisins, apple-infused cranberries and fresh apple juice.

So long as you keep to the overrall amounts, you can use whatever dried fruit you like, depending how sweet or citrusy you prefer it.

This pudding is rich and contains no refined sugar.

Amounts are approximate and you can play around with the different spices, dried fruit and nuts.

It will keep in the fridge for a few days, but we made ours in advance and put it in the freezer. It turned out really well.

This time, we made two small ones with this mixture, a large one is too much if there’s only two of you. You only need a small slice.

You can eat it as it is or with some whipped coconut cream (add whatever ‘flavouring’ you like ;-)), cashew nut cream or coconut yogurt.

You might also like my recipe for Christmas Truffles which are great as a gift or if you want to img_2880freeze small treats rather than make a whole pudding.

For the mould, you can use a pudding bowl, a cereal bowl or in our case, a Tupperware bowl! I’m not fond of plastic, but sometimes there is no other option and as we wanted to freeze the pud, that’s what we used, 2 small plastic bowls with lids. You could line the bowl(s) with parchment to make them easier to remove, although we found they it came out of the plastic bowl quite easily.

*

Ingredients

1 Cup chopped Medjool Dates, pitted & chopped

1/2 Cup Goji Berries

1/2 Cup Dried Mulberries

1/2 Cup Apple juice-infused Cranberries

1/2 Cup Raisins

1 Cup Sweet Apricot Kernels /Almonds, or a mixture of them and Walnuts, all lightly chopped (we forgot to chop ours this time!)

1 Cup Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds

 2/3 Cup fresh Apple Juice

Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Lemon and Orange Zest to taste

Method

 Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and pour over the apple juice.

Stir well, cover and leave to soak. Give it a stir occasionally. We left ours an hour, if you want the nuts softer, leave it a bit longer.

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Turn the mix out into the food processor, add the spices and zest.

Pulse and stir until you get the consistency you want, depending on whether you want a smooth or coarse texture.

Taste-test to see if the balance of spices/zest is right.

When you’re satisfied, spoon the mix into the bowl(s), pressing down with the back of the spoon.

Place in the fridge to set.

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And Bob’s your uncle!

(I can’t show you a slice with all the trimmings as this was going straight back in the freezer).

Enjoy the video!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Raw Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding Bites

img_2454I put a picture of these on Instagram as soon they were ready so as to have a record of the ingredients until I had time to write them down – it was a very busy day in terms of administration, phonecalls etc – and I very swiftly received a message saying ‘early!’ So I’m holding back this post for a couple of weeks, I don’t want to spook the horses (but as I write, we are only 5 weeks away and preparation is everything!)

We’ve used leftover almond nut pulp, but you can use alternative milk pulp or if you have a nut allergy, use ground sunflower seeds or similar, it will alter the flavour slightly . (See How To Make Almond Milk for the nutritional benefits of almonds).

These are healthy raw treats, full of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fibre and protein and contain no refined sugar.

Some people may find the golden berries a little tart, you can substitute for more gojis or dried apricots. See also Choco Almond Truffles for a sweeter version with coconut and maple syrup.

Ingredients

1 Cup Almond Milk Pulp, squeezed dry (or any other nut/tiger nut pulp or ground sunflower seeds)

1/2 Cup Raisins

1/4 Cup Goji Berries, soaked in a few drops of the orange juice*

1/4 Cup Golden Berries*

1/4 Cup Dried Mulberries*

Juice and zest 1 1/2 small Mandarin Oranges

1 Tbsp Cacao Powder*

1 Tbsp Melted Raw Cacao Butter (4 Pulsin’ Cacao Butter Buttons)

Blend all of the above in a food processor until it will come together and roll into balls.

Roll into balls and place in the fridge to firm up while you prepare the topping.

For the raw chocolate topping:

Melt approx. 1/3 bar of Pitch Dark or Orange Raw Chocolate*

with 2 Pulsin’ Cacao Butter Buttons (about 1 Tsp melted)

and a squeeze of the remaining mandarin orange

(do this in a bowl over a pan of hot but not boiling water)

Dip the balls in the melted chocolate and top with a goji berry moistened with a drop of orange juice.

Leave to set and keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

http://www.pulsin.co.uk/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Half-Price Juicers 24 Hours Only!

A quick post: I don’t like this Black Friday mayhem but if you are thinking of buying a juicer for yourself or someone else, Jason Vale has a Half-Price Sale on selected appliances from Midnight tonight (GMT) for 24 hours only. (UK ONLY)

See my reviews Juicemaster Retro Super Fast Juicer: Review and Which Juicer? – Where to Begin?

Juice Master

Copyright: Chris McGowan