CAULIFLOWER MADRAS BITES

CAULIFLOWER MADRAS BITES

Have you noticed that cauliflower has become extremely fashionable lately. I am talking beyond the traditional cauliflower cheese. You can turn this cruciferous vegetable into mash, rice, couscous or even buffalo wings.

Even if the low carb craze/grain phobia is partially to blame for this, it actually resulted in some rather tasty dishes that I personally adore. Cauliflower buffalo wings from PETA website have long been a firm favourite in my family. Even the kids love it. So I thought I will play with the concept a little and create a cross between “chicken” tikka and cauliflower pakora.

I have tried this recipe before with a whole cauliflower, thinking it would make a great centerpiece but it ended up undercooked. Separating the cauliflower into florets has solved this problem. The cauliflower bites are perfectly tender and the batter cooked all the way through.

These are perfect for a party with a spicy fruit chutney or yoghurt dip (the new KOKO coconut yoghurt makes a good raita). Or serve it alongside lovely curries for an Indian Thali dinner.

IMG_6670



CAULIFLOWER MADRAS BITES

ingredients
1 medium cauliflower
1 cup non dairy yoghurt (I like KOKO coconut or Alpro coconut/soya yoghurt)
1Tbs (or more if you like it spicy) of madras curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 Tbs gram (chickpea) flour
salt to taste

method

  • Separate the cauliflower into medium sized florets.

  • In a large bowl mix the yoghurt, spices, salt and chickpea flour until well combined.

  • Coat the cauliflower in the yoghurt mixture.

  • Line a baking tray with baking powder and place the coated cauliflower florets onto the tray. Spoon any left over yoghurt mix over the florets.

  • Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes or till golden brown and tender (test with a toothpick or tip of a sharp knife)

  • Serve with chutney or coconut yoghurt raita.


IMG_6665



0 Comments

A WEEK OF VEGAN EVENTS / GRAIN AND BEETROOT SALAD WITH SWEET MISO DRESSING

A WEEK OF VEGAN EVENTS / GRAIN AND BEETROOT SALAD WITH SWEET MISO DRESSING

The week of vegan adventures:

Wednesday: Vegan Cheese Making Workshop ran by lovely Mel Rogers of Mel’s Kindness Kitchen - http://melskindnesskitchen.co.uk/workshops-and-catering/ - Mel strives to create delicious vegan cheese recipes on a budget. We were taught how to make 4 different plant based“cheeses”. My favourite was Me’s creamy tofu cheese, it will become a staple in my kitchen as it can be adapted to so many different flavours . Mel’s cheeses taste miles better than any vegan cheeses I have bought from shops (you know the plastic bag taste…). Mel will be running a cheese workshop at the Bristol Vegfest in May so do go see her if you get a chance.



IMG_3875


Friday: Dr Michael Greger’s talk : Uprooting the UK’s Leading Causes of Death! Definite highlight of the week!!! Indeed I have been a huge fan ever since his discovering his fantastic website www.nutritionfacts.org, I did walk up to him just to call him my hero (think he appreciated it). Dr Greger is one of the biggest advocate of the plant based diet’s health benefits out there. And what more, all his claims are backed by science! His talk was fabulously entertaining and informative, I loved that he tailored it to reflect the health issues here in the UK (the US version of his talk is on the internet) making it very topical. My, soon to be 14, son left very inspired too. We were discussing nutrition and health during the whole car journey back and yes this time he initiated it. I have a photo and signed copy of HOW NOT TO DIE book to remember this day. An amazing experience meeting an amazing man. Start struck I was. If you haven’t already please do buy his book!!!


IMG_3920




IMG_3928


My personal proud moment: As I sat down at the auditorium I realised there were leaflets everywhere with my face on it!!! The College of Naturopathic Medicine was the co-organiser of Dr Greger’s talk together with the amazing Viva! (proud to have such an organisation in Bristol). The leaflets were there to advertise the upcoming CNM Open Day event I am part of with my talk on vegan nutrition.

Finally Saturday, a delicious (even not so healthy) hot dog experience at a LD’S Bitchin' Kitchin vegan pop up at the Golden Lion pub. This was an attempt to make the pub owners realise that there is a demand for vegan options that are currently missing from the pub’s menu. We were happy to help the cause :) Hot dogs were delicious, mine was smothered in delicious barbecue beans sprinkled with vegan bacon and gherkins. Yum. I had a taste of my husbands Satan’s Seitan and hiccupped all the way home…Fiery! Perfect for the Punks Vs Mods event the pub was hosting.

IMG_3975


A quick recipe to round up this blog.

GRAIN AND BEETROOT SALAD WITH SWEET MISO DRESSING
Makes about 5-6 servings, keeps well in the fridge.

3 cups cooked mix grains ( I used mix of quinoa and bulghur)
1 large beetroot
3 medium carrots
1 red onion
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Dressing
2 Tbs sweet white miso
5 Tbs sushi seasoning
1 Tbs soya sauce (tamari)

  • Place the grain in a large bowl.

  • Grate the beetroot and carrot. Add to the grain together with thinly sliced red onions.

  • In a dry pan lightly toast the sunflower seeds till just beginning to colour, add to the salad.

  • To make the dressing just whisk all the ingredients together and pour over the dressing. Mix well.

  • Top with herbs if desired.


IMG_3889
IMG_3896



0 Comments

OVERNIGHT OATS

OVERNIGHT OATS

Mornings tend to be rather manic in my house, sorting out breakfast for the kids, lunch boxes, the dog… the truth is I rarely have the time to eat breakfast myself. The truth is I really am not a breakfast person. My favourite thing is a glass of green juice. However on those days where lunch time is an unpredictable thing due to work commitments I need a something more, something that will keep me going.

Overnight oats are the perfect, stress free option. Ok, you do need to be organised and prepare them in the evening, a smart phone reminder is brilliant here if like me you find it hard to thing about a breakfast the night before. In the morning you just upturn your soft yummy oats into a cereal bowl, add some fruits and/or nuts and breakfast is served. I find oats prepared in this way so much lighter than cooked porridge.

You can experiment with many flavours. I tend to add some frozen berries (they defrost by the morning), chia seeds, cinnamon and almond or coconut milk. You can also soak the oats in apple juice and add a bit of non-dairy yoghurt in the morning. My son likes a teaspoon of maple syrup to sweeten up the oats but I find the oats sweet enough without it.

IMG_2498


OVERNIGHT OATS

a jam jar (that holds just over 1 cup) with a lid
frozen berries of choice
oats
chia seeds
non dairy milk
nuts
fresh fruits


IMG_2490


  • First place a layer of frozen berries at the bottom of the jar (about 2-3cm).

  • Add a layer of oats mixed with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. The oats should go up to about 2/3 of the jar.

  • Next add 2 tbs of chia seeds (you can add a tablespoon of nuts here too).

  • Cover with non dairy milk.

  • Refrigerate over night.

  • Up turn into a bowl, add some fresh berries and nuts.


IMG_2502

0 Comments

IRON AND PLANT BASED DIETS

IRON AND PLANT BASED DIETS

Iron is without a doubt essential to our health, it has several roles in the body. Iron is needed production of red blood cells and facilitates the transport of oxygen around the body. Iron is also involved in the immune system function, production of enzymes and the conversion of blood sugar to energy.
Deficiency or suboptimal iron are very often touted as one of the downfalls of plant-based (vegan) diets. From my clinical experience I can say vegans are no more likely to suffer with iron deficiency than meat eaters.
It is true that haem-iron from meat is easier for the human body to absorb thus making it, in theory, easier to have healthy iron levels if you include meat in your diet. Saying that there is no reason while you shouldn’t get the iron you need from a plant based diet. All that’s required is a little bit of knowledge and planning.

There are many underlying causes such as inadequate diet, impaired absorption, late stage pregnancy and heavy periods can all contribute to low iron levels. There are several chronic conditions (i.e. Crohn’s disease) and medications (i.e. Proton Pump Inhibitors such as Omeprazol) that are associated with decreased absorption of iron.

What you drink and eat can interfere with absorption even if you are otherwise healthy. Calcium, oxalates (found in green leafy veg, beetroot, nuts, wheat bran and other foods), polyphenols (tea and coffee) and phytates (legumes, seeds and whole grains) are all known to reduce the absorption of iron. Fermentation, soaking, and boiling beans and grains all reduce phytates and oxalates. Drinking your tea and coffee away from main meals is also advisable.

Vitamin C on the other hand increases the absorption of iron from non-hame iron by two to three fold. Anybody following a healthy plant based diet should have plenty good sources of Vitamin C in their diet. Having a fresh salad with lemon dressing alongside an iron rich meal or some fruit for dessert are great strategies.

Iron deficiency symptoms include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, tingling or crawling feelings in legs, headaches, irregular or fast heartbeat, cold hands and feet, brittle nails and hair loss. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms if is always a good idea to have a blood test to check for iron levels.

A good practitioner will never prescribe iron supplement unless it is based on results of a blood test as having too much iron may have detrimental effect on the body. Having too much iron results in oxidative stress and can contribute to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and some cancers .
However in a case of diagnosed deficiency iron supplement is a sure way of increasing iron blood levels until underlying causes can be addressed.

For any vegan it is important to not only maintain cruelty free aspects in their diet but this cruelty free ethos spreads to all aspects of life. That’s why it is important to me to be able to prescribe vegans supplements from companies that are run with vegan values in mind such as Vertese. Supplements produced by Vertese are both Vegetarian and Vegan Society approved, they are made using vegan sources, not tested on animals and encapsulated in gelatine free capsules. The Beetroot, B12 and Iron complex contains 15mg of iron citrate that is gentle for people with sensitive stomachs. The complex also contains vitamin B12 (one vitamin that vegans need to supplement) and vitamin C from the superfood acerola cherry.
Vertese supplements are available from https://www.nutricentre.com where you can explore the whole range of their vegan friendly products.

IMG_2568 (1)

0 Comments

ROASTED ROOT SALAD WITH MUSTARD DRESSING

ROASTED ROOT SALAD WITH MUSTARD DRESSING



IMG_2524
IMG_1922
What happens when three nutritional therapists and their families get together for dinner? No, we don’t snack on carrot and celery sticks and drink kale juice. We eat, and we eat a lot. But we do eat very nutritions and delicious foods. Usually we struggle to put all the various dishes on the table. The quantity reminds me of the French film Blow Out.

Last Saturday we had one of our foodie get togethers. Our table was overflowing with black bean chilli, patatas bravas, Mexican rice, guacamole, hummus, rocket and vegetable salad with cashew dressing and roasted vegetable salad with mustard dressing. Everything was delicious, full of nutrients and made with love :)

IMG_1925

One of my contributions was the roasted root salad with mustard dressing. Full of flavour, zingy, delicious and very colourful (if I may say so myself). It is so easy to make! I used carrots, butternut squash and beetroot. Of course other veggies would work here well too, sweet potato, parsnip, pumpkin, swede. The sweetness of root veggies can take a very punchy dressing flavoured with plenty of whole grain mustard.

This salad is fabulous when made ahead, great for take to work for lunch. Or as the weather gets better it is definitely one for a picnic basket. Bit of crusty sourdough would be amazing to soak up the dressing that has turned beautifully pink. I know I will be making this again and again.



IMG_1916

ROASTED ROOT SALAD WITH MUSTARD DRESSING

ingredients

1Tbs coconut oil
5 medium to large red beetroot
5 large carrots
1 small to medium butternut squash
3 medium red onions
Dressing
2 Tbs whole grain mustard
3 Tbs sherry vinegar
4 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp tamari or nama shoyu
1 Tbs maple syrup

5 tbs chopped parsley
1/2 cup walnuts

  • Cut the root vegetables into 1/2 inch (1.5cm) dice.
  • Melt the coconut oil.
  • Place the vegetables on a baking tray and roast, drizzle with coconut oil and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Slice the red onions and add to the vegetables, roast for another 30-35min or until the roots are cooked all the way through and starting to caramelise around the edges.
  • While the veggies are roasting prepare the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients.
  • Tip the roasted veggies into the dressing, mix to coat. Hot vegetables will soak up the dressing making this extra delicious.
  • When the dressed veggies are cooled down add the parsley and walnuts.
  • Serve with a crusty chunk of sourdough.


IMG_1917


0 Comments

VEGAN ROASTED TOMATO PASTA BAKE


IMG_1625

VEGAN ROASTED TOMATO PASTA BAKE

Like most kids mine adore pasta. Whenever I cook some for dinner I get pretty much no complaints and empty plates. It may not be very popular in today’s age of carb hating world but I have not issue with pasta as long as there are loads of veggies and some protein (nuts in this case) on the same plate too. This comforting bake can be assembled ahead and baked just before dinner. Ideal for a Monday evening when still reminiscing of the weekend.

For the topping I made a cashew sauce with some vegan cheese on top, totally delicious. I don’t use vegan cheese very often, it is not the most natural ingredient but once in a while there is a place for it. The topping can be made without the vegan cheese; just add 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes to the sauce and perhaps even make double the amount of the cashew sauce.

The tomato sauce can be also made purely with roasted tomatoes, in that case just use double the amount of tomatoes you are going to roast and omit the tinned ones. To further bulk up the dish add some roasted vegetables; peppers, courgettes, aubergines are my favourite. White beans or chickpeas would fit in here quite well too. If I wasn’t cooking for my daughter I would add some red chilli flakes to the bake too. But there is always hot sauce for those who need it :)


IMG_1616

VEGAN ROASTED TOMATO PASTA BAKE
Serves 4-5

10 medium tomatoes
12 cherry tomatoes
60 ml (1/4cup) water or 2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbs tomato puree
1 tin tomatoes
400g pasta (macaroni) - regular or gluten free
Cheese topping:
1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 30min or longer)
1/2 water
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
vegan cheese grated (if not using vegan cheese add 2 tbs nutritional flakes into the cashew sauce mix)

IMG_1619

  • Cut the larger tomatoes in half, leave the cherry tomatoes whole. Place into a roasting tin, the larger ones cut size up.
  • Roast in 200C for about half hour or till the edges start to caramelise. Blend in a blender till smooth.
  • In a sauce pan heat 60ml (1/4cup) water or 2 tsp of olive oil, add the onions and garlic and saute till softened.
  • Add the tomato puree, saute for 1 minute. Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer for 10 min. Next add the blended roasted tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste
  • In the meantime cook the pasta.
  • In a blender blend the cashews, water, mustard and lemon juice till smooth.
  • Mix to pasta with sauce, pour into a baking dish. Spread the cashew sauce over and sprinkle with the vegan cheese.


IMG_1623
0 Comments