Homemade Beans On Toast Video

I promise you, you will never look at a can of baked beans in the same light again after you watch this great video of homemade beans on toast – not a can opener in sight, not even tinned tomatoes! It’s spicy and colourful and will definitely tempt your tastebuds. By the way, it’s vegetarian not vegan and not gluten-free though you can make your own substitutions, vegan sausage for the Linda McCartney ones here and gluten-free bread for the sourdough.

Do visit Juddy at Long Player Kitchen. He has great plant-based recipes and, being a musician, a wealth of music to accompany them!

Long Player Kitchen

Video update today.

I have made a video of an old recipe from here, but one of my favourites, my version of the British classic “Beans on Toast”.

Loved by Brits, mocked by others! Give this recipe a try and I can guarantee you will start loving beans on toast!

This is also the first time I have put my voice to a video too, you unlucky gits!


View original post

It’s Christmas, Even Juicers Can Have Fun!


Zesty Raw Orange Christmas Pudding inspired by a Raw Chocolate Company* blogpost recipe (recipe here).

I’m a juicer, vegan and so-called ‘clean-eater’. That means I eat a healthy, plant-based diet: I don’t eat sugary, fatty, chemical-laden or processed foods (except the occasional vegan sausage or, at Christmas, a nut roast, but even these are organic). I don’t drink bone-harming fizzy drinks.

It’s not just good for me but also for the environment and the animals: fewer chemicals, less packaging, no cruelty.

Following years of pain medication and undiagnosed gluten-intolerance, I can’t digest many processed or starchy foods nor alcohol or coffee. And dairy makes me snotty! So even if I wanted to, I couldn’t have a Christmas blow-out – unless I was prepared to suffer weeks of pain afterwards and generally feeling yuck. So I make no apologies for refusing the flaming Christmas pud or sherry-doused trifle!

But that doesn’t mean that I dampen any joy my family and friends have in anticipation of festive foods and it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy myself over the holiday period. Far from it.

I have been juicing and clean-eating now for 3 years and have reaped the benefits of no longer having to use an inhaler, no more bloating or burning stomach pain, no itchy skin, better sleep, more energy and so on.

Why would I jeopardise all that for a couple of weeks of over-indulgence just because tradition, newspaper articles and advertising companies suggest that I am a killjoy if I don’t participate?

I read an article in The Guardian* decrying the likes of Deliciously Ella* for providing advice and recipes for clean food over the holiday season (see Comment is free). The writer calls them smug and suggests they promote poor eating habits. Personally, I am grateful to Ella, Tanya Maher*, The Raw Chocolate Company*, Laura at The Whole Ingredient*, Victoria at Caramelia Cakery*, Hanna at My Goodness Recipes* and all the bloggers who post their colourful, gluten-free, sugar-free, chemical-free recipes to inspire and enjoy.


My Açaí, Blackberry & Coconut Gelato

It is always good to try other people’s culinary creations, most of us get bored with our own usual fare.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean boring, bland and brown! On the contrary. Check out Victoria’s Amazing Raw Vegan Christmas Cake on The Raw Chocolate Company Blog and Tanya Maher’s The Uncook Book!


Many of us have health conditions which means we would be foolish to ignore our normal regimen. Many don’t want all their hard work losing weight or controlling Type 2 Diabetes going down the drain through a couple of weeks’ boozing and bingeing.

I don’t like that bloated, heavy feeling, having to loosen my belt or undo the top button, collapsing on the sofa unable to move and then falling asleep while my poor body expends all its energy digesting it all.  (See Post Thanksgiving/Christmas/Celebration Digestion – some suggestions to ease that overstuffed feeling)

 But it doesn’t mean we can’t participate in festivities or indulge our tastebuds. I really enjoy having unusual meals surrounded by my family, sharing food successes and disasters, trying each other’s creations.

Do they have to be full of different forms of sugar, artificial flavours, colouring, or sweeteners? Do we have to drink so much alcohol we become sick, boring or even worse, abusive? Absolutely not.

Last year, my family of 13 all got together for a buffet lunch we prepared for each other, our Christmas gift to the family. There were vegetarian sushi, falafels, bharjis, pizzas, olives, salads, dips, filo parcels… The desserts were yummy and home-made and involved copious amounts of raw chocolate!


My daughter’s Vegan Sushi

This is the one occasion in the year when we are all able to be in the same place, and cooking for each other is our way of celebrating that fact.

One way juicers and clean-eaters can still join in but not suffer the negative impact of over-indulgence is to have a large green juice first thing in the morning. This provides all the nutrients your body needs for the day and as a result, you won’t feel the need to over-indulge. You can have a little bit of what you fancy and still feel good:-)


Clean-eating doesn’t mean juicing and/or eating raw all the time. Of course you can have cooked meals and treats. Colourful warming soups are my favourite. I merely choose to avoid the nasties and include as many healthful ingredients as possible. In any case, it’s a choice.

Don’t let anyone undermine your efforts to be the healthiest you can be, you haven’t come this far just for someone to question your sanity and persuade you otherwise, but you can enjoy yourself if you want to without worrying about paying for it in January.  

And if you do find yourself succumbing to temptation remember, as Neil Martin (Natural Juice Junkie) says:

It’s what you eat between New Year and Christmas that counts, not just between Christmas and New Year!

In any case, you have the insurance of Jason’s Big January Juice Challenge* or The Natural Juice Junkie’s Juicuary Challenge* to get you back on the straight and narrow!

Have a lovely Christmas, however you’re spending it. I wish you all Peace, Health and Happiness and thank you so much for supporting my blogging efforts!

*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/ *https://deliciouslyella.com/ *http://betterraw.com/*http://www.thewholeingredient.com/ *http://www.mamababado.com/blog/ *http://www.mygoodnessrecipes.com/ *http://www.juicemaster.com/ *http://naturaljuicejunkie.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

The Look, No Banana! Mango Smoothie Bowl

imageI nearly always start a smoothie wth a banana. I like that it thickens the smoothie but also that it has so many healthy nutrients in one ingredient and it is so satisfying.

Today, however, I went for something different: dried mango. I love mango, it is my favourite fruit: I love the juiciness, the colour and most of all the smell! But it is difficult to find them here, they are nearly always expensive and unripe.

Like avocados, they have a tendency to go off before they ripen and so when I get the urge for mango, I generally turn to the dried strips. Still organic, but not so juicy – or so messy! They take a little soaking first, so you may want to soak them in a little fresh apple juice or with the chia seeds and quinoa flakes in the coconut water for half an hour while you do something else. (This is extra yummy if you use frozen mango).

Mangoes are a good source of dietary fibre, B6, Folate, Vitamins A, C and K (necessary for bone health), and Potassium. Quinoa is a complete protein, while chia seeds are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and essential omega fats (see also 3 Cheers for Chias! for more info on these amazing seeds plus further breakfast bowl recipes). Brazil nuts contain selenium, which some people are deficient in. (See Love Brazils? Beware Potential Selenium Overload! to read more about the symptoms of selenium deficiency and also the dangers of over-consumption).

This isn’t a particularly arty breakfast bowl, but it is simple and healthy.

All ingredients are organic, vegan and gluten-free.


1 Cup Dried Mango, chopped

1 Tbsp Quinoa Flakes

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

3 Brazil Nuts

1 Medium Glass Chi Coconut Water

Soak the above for about 30 minutes in the blender.

Blend and pour into a bowl and top with sliced apple and a sprinkling of dried coconut. 

Some smooth jazz today with some stunning natural photography.

(Ps If you’re reading this via email, you’ll have to go onto the blog to play the video)

Have a great day!


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Banana Plum Smoothie with a Warming Dash of Cinnamon

imageThis is a mineral-rich smoothie with protein, fibre and omega fatty acids and a little warming cinnamon spice added now that Autumn is creeping in. Cinnamon has many health benefits including reducing spikes in blood sugar and lowering insulin resistance, as well as helping to balance your metabolism. Yellow plums are reputed to improve iron absorption, possibly due to their vitamin C content. Those with nut allergies can substitute the almond milk with tiger nut milk or any other non-dairy alternative.

All ingredients are organic, vegan and gluten-free, all measurements approximate.


1 Banana

1 Yellow Plum

2 Tbsps Golden Linseeds (lightly ground)

1 Heaped Tbsp Raw Hemp Seeds*

Glass of chilled Almond Milk (see here for how to make your own, it really is very easy and tastes much better than bought)

1 Medjool Date, pitted and chopped

A Dash of Cinnamon + another on top

 Blend and enjoy.

*from http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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

This is quite possibly the final salad photo I’ll be posting for a while – not that I stop eating salads as soon as Autumn appears, far from it, but I don’t think you’ll be wanting to read about them when the central heating’s on! (I realise of course some of you will be in the summer season, but no doubt you’ll be off to the beach for a barbie or spending your time in the pool or by the river, playing with children, partners or pets, or reading a book in the garden, so again won’t want to be reading about salads – no envy at all in those words, honest!)

I don’t eat mayonnaise which is often the default dressing for cole slaw, this one has a lemon and tahini dressing.

If you have a nut allergy and want to avoid the walnuts, you could use alternatives to give a bit of a crunch, perhaps roasted chickpeas – see Crunchy & Spicy Roasted Chickpea Nibbles

I love adding crisp or tart fruit to a green salad, sometimes red grapes, or slices of kiwi, this time slices of a crisp red apple. The fruit not only adds a contrasting flavour but also extra nutrients and can often tempt a child for instance to try a salad they would otherwise turn their noses up at.

There is protein in the walnuts, tahini, sweetcorn and leaves, while rocket (arugula) is believed to have cancer cell-inhibiting properties and along with spinach is rich in B vitamins, Vitamin K (essential for bone health), Vitamin C, and minerals.


Rocket (Arugula) and Spinach Leaves to line the plate, washed even if prepacked.

Thinly sliced Cucumber, washed and peel left on, layered on the leaves.

Sweetcorn arranged around the outside.


Finely shred washed light green crisp Cabbage and Carrot into a bowl.

Finely chop a Spring Onion and add to the bowl.

Mix some Tahini with a little Lemon Juice, depending on your taste, and water to the desired consistency.

Mix into the slaw, reserving some to drizzle over the finished salad.

Add Walnut pieces, Pink Himalayan Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Place the slaw in the middle of the leaves.

Thinly slice the Apple and sprinkle with Lemon Juice.

Arrange around the salad.

Drizzle more Tahini Dressing over the salad.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Apricot & Cacao Fudge Bites

 I recently discovered that the bag of sweet apricot kernels had been open for some time and really should be used up. We made some sweet apricot kernel milk and then used the pulp to make these bites.

You can of course use any nut or seed milk pulp –  a good alternative would be almond milk pulp – but it may behave and taste slightly differently, so you may need to make some other adjustments.

Please ensure you buy Sweet Apricot Kernels if you wish to follow the recipe and not the Bitter ones, which are often used in traditional medicines, taste bitter (!) and can cause nausea and a whole string of other effects.

Sweet Apricot Kernels look like a slightly smaller almond and have a similar taste. They contain Vitamin E and Iron.

Cacao powder contains many vitamins and minerals especially magnesium, which many people are deficient in, and is a natural mood enhancer and energy booster.


1 Cup Pulp reserved making from Sweet Apricot Kernel Milk

3/4 Cup Soft Dried Apricots, chopped

1/2 Cup Sweet Apricot Kernels,*chopped

1/2 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1/2 Tbsp Cacao Powder*

Juice of a small Satsuma

1 Apple, peeled and grated

1/4 Cup Cacao Butter Buttons** – about a dozen, melted (or solid cacao butter)

1 Tsp Maple Syrup (optional)

Desiccated Coconut for sprinkling


Add all the dry ingredients to a food processor (including the pulp) and pulse several times to break up the apricots and sweet apricot kernels. You still want a bit of bite, the sweet apricot kernels need to be roughly chopped rather than ground, so don’t overdo it.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the desiccated coconut.

Alternately pulse and mix on low for a couple of seconds, scraping the mixture down if necessary, until the mixture can be squeezed together to form a ball. Again, don’t overdo it.

If it’s too wet, add some more chia or other seeds, or a few ground sweet apricot kernels. If too dry, a few more drops of juice.

Roll into ball and then in the coconut. Makes about a dozen, depending on size and how many times you ‘test’ it!

(This one’s for you, K!)



Copyright: Chris McGowan

Lemony Avo Pine Nut Spread

This arose out of necessity: there was a mini avocado in the bowl with the bananas that had been there all week and I fancied avocado salad, surely it must be useable by now? The avocado had other ideas. It was so hard, we could have played cricket with it! So, not to be completely outwitted, it was peeled, stoned and chopped and placed in the Braun grinder/chopper with some chopped spring onion, a good squeeze of lemon, some pine nuts, a splash of virgin olive oil, some pink Himalayan salt and some ground black pepper. (All the ingredients were organic).

It was lush! It really worked. I had some with the salad and the rest on some Nairn’s Gluten-Free Oatcakes. Loved every bite.

Avocados are such a versatile fruit and it has been said that you could practically live off them (with water), they have so many essential nutrients for the human body. They are good for your skin, heart, and brain too, with Vitamin E, protein and essential fats. I have avocado in some form every day, often blended into a juice.

(If you want it a bit thinner just add a little more oil and lemon – or persuade your avocado to get a wriggle on with its ripening timetable!)


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Vegan Black Bean & Walnut Veggie Burger

Greg over at Pleasant Peasant Cuisine, is a lifelong vegetarian and is on a quest to find the perfect veggie burger. He has several great recipes on his blog. We too hanker after a good, tasty burger, but ours is even more difficult to find as it has to be vegan, gluten-free and nightshade-free, so no egg, wheatflour or tomato. We also need it to be simple, quick and uncomplicated!

Greg has used kidney beans, tofu and seitan, but we decided to try and devise our own version using black beans, which we’d never had before. We enhanced the protein content of the beans with organic chickpea flour to hold it together, chia seeds instead of egg, and walnuts to give it some bite and texture, as well as sweetcorn for a little colour.

Everything was thrown into the food processor and pulsed to bring it together, then shaped and cooked in a little coconut oil in a frying pan.

Black beans are often used in cajun and creole cooking and are good for vegetarians and vegans alike as they are high in protein and fibre:

1 Cup of cooked black beans provides 1/3 of a day’s protein requirement + 15g of fibre – US dietary guidelines recommend 21-25g per day for women and 30-38g per day for men.

They are also a good source of Vitamin B1 (thiamine) which, along with the other B vitamins, helps convert carbohydrates to glucose for fuel to provide energy and also helps metabolise fats and protein.

Black beans contain magnesium – important for relaxing muscles, good quality sleep and elevating mood – as well as iron.

So, on to the burgers – you thought I’d never get there, didn’t you?!

As always, the measurements are appoximate, it was a case of let’s try this and see how it goes and if it’s not enough add a bit more! Everything was organic and gluten-free. If you want a bit more colour or spice, you can add chilli powder or flakes or paprika or different herbs.


1 Cup Cooked Organic Black Beans (we used tinned, strained and rinsed)

1/2 Cup Walnut Pieces

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds* in 1 Tbsp Water

1 Cup Frozen Sweetcorn, defrosted

1 Onion, chopped

1/2 Stick Celery + leaves, chopped

1/2 Small Carrot, shaved

1 Clove Garlic, pressed

A good splash of Tamari

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt + Black Pepper

1 Tbsp Dried Miso Soup

2-3 Tbsps Chickpea Flour + extra for shaping & frying

imagePut everything in the food processor and pulse a few times to  bring it together, don’t overdo it  you want some texture not a purée! Test to see if you can squeeze it together. If it’s too wet, add a little more flour.

Dust a board with some flour and shape the mix into burgers.


We managed 4 good-sized ones and a smaller one.

They are quite soft, so handle gently and use a fish slice to lift them into the pan and flip them over.

Melt a little coconut oil in a large frying pan, but not smoking.


Cook on a medium heat turning a couple of times until done.

imageServed with a watercress or babyleaf and rocket salad, we added sprouted mung beans (more protein), and cumin spiced sweet potato oven chips (fries) with a piquant cashew ‘cheese’ sauce (see here for recipe),


Do visit Greg, his blog is full of improvised, unusual and colourful recipes and beautiful photos (click on the link at the top of this post).


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Blended Purple Carrot Memory Juice*

As promised in Ever Had Purple Carrots?  here is a recipe using purple carrots and carrot greens.  I’ve called it the Memory Juice because the anthocyanins that make fruit and veg purple are believed to help with improved memory, among many other benefits. Click the link to find out all about why you should not turn your nose up at differently coloured vegetables or discard your greens.

All ingredients are organic, so the peel is left on. If using non-organic or waxed lemons, peel them thinly so that you retain the pith where the micronutrients lie.

If you’re new to beetroot and not sure, you can peel them so they won’t be as earthy but you’ll lose a lot of nutrients.


2 Purple Carrots, washed, peel left on

1 Small Beetroot, ditto

2 Apples

A Small Handful of Carrot Greens, washed and cut up (they contain protein and are rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium)

1/2 Lemon

1″ Ginger (anti-inflammatory)

3″ Broccoli Stem (also a good plant source of calcium and B vitamins)

1/2 Celery Stalk

Juice all the ingredients, placing the greens, lemon and ginger in between carrots and apple to help them through, put the celery through last so it doesn’t block up your juicer.

Blend the juice with 1/4 Ripe Avocado to make a thicker, more satisfying juice and add more protein and essential fatty acids, good for the skin, good for the brain.

Look at the rich colour – your friends could be forgiven for suspecting you’re stocking up for the next vampire convention!


*Disclaimer: it’s not really purple but the carrots are!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Blackberry, Açaí & Chia Smoothie

imageIt was just warm enough to have my breakfast smoothie outdoors this morning, but there is a definite autumnal feel in the air first thing. Nevertheless, reluctant to give in just yet, I donned my shorts and sunnies and made the most of it.

This smoothie had some gorgeous large organic blackberries in it. Blackberries are SO good for you.

Nutritionally dense, blackberries are rich in antioxidants, including Vitamin C, minerals and fibre. They are everywhere at the moment, so why not go back to your roots and spend a couple of hours in the fresh air blackberrying – be sure to wash them well and inspect them for insects before eating. Of course, if you’re 3 years old like my grand-daughter, completely disregard this advice, eat them all before you get home and just beam your purple smile!

Açaí is a South-American super-fruit with a mild chocolatey/blackberry flavour which complements the blackberries well while adding lots of healthy nutrients to the smoothie. Açaí is extremely high in antioxidants and has been found to boost immune cell function.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids and a good plant-based source of zinc, good for prostate health, a strong immune system, cell growth, wound healing and the breakdown of carbohydrates.

Vegan and Gluten-Free if you use Gluten-Free Oats.


1 Small Banana

Handful Blackberries, washed

1 Tbsp Açaí Powder*

2 Heaped Tbsps Oats

Glass Unsweetened Chi Coconut Water (depending how thick or thin you like it)

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Small Handful Pumpkin Seeds

Blend and sip at leisure!


Copyright: Chris McGowan