Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Vegan Mofo Day 29 Gingerbread Granola

Day 29 is holiday test run day. I like to make my own granola now and again and I've been thinking about trying to come up with a seasonal flavour for a while. I kept coming back to something that I like to make at this time of the year - gingerbread!

I was pretty happy with the result but think I would like to tweak it still further. It's not overly sweet so I think next time I'd try adding a little more maple syrup, maybe 1/4 cup. I'd originally wanted to use dried apples but they seem to be out of favour at the moment and I could find dried fruit of all descriptions except apples! The dried pears tasted good but were a little too chewy for my liking and stuck in the teeth a bit! I think I would possibly try this again with some dried pineapple as pineapple and ginger is such a great combination. Anyway the texture came out great and I loved the pecans in it. I'll put the recipe below for people to play around with and I'll continue to refine it until I get it just perfect. I quite like to give glass jars of home made granola as gifts so maybe this will even make it as a Christmas present this year. We enjoyed it mixed into plain yoghurt that had been drizzled with Sweet Freedom.

Gingerbread Granola

Makes 4 servings

2 teaspoons of ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 1/2 cups of oats
1/4 cup of dried pears
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
2 tablespoons of vanilla soy milk
2 tablespoons of rapeseed (canola) oil
1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoons of maple syrup

Pre-heat the oven to 350f/ 180c

Stir the spices together in a cup and add them to a bowl along with the oats, pecans and dried pear and mix well.
In another bowl whisk together the soya milk, oil, maple syrup and blackstrap molasses.
Add the liquid mix to the oat mix and stir to combine.
Line a backing tray with greaseproof paper and tip the granola mixture onto it.
Bake for around 25 minutes giving it a few stirs and keeping an eye on it so the nuts don't burn.
Let it cool and store in a glass jar.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Vegan Mofo Day 27 Cherry Chia Bricher Museli

So today's Mofo prompt asks 'Was there a food you used to hate and now don't?' As I'm sticking to my breakfast theme I struggled a bit with this as I couldn't really think of any breakfast foods that I don't like, if anything I feel I am discovering new ones all the time. 2016 has definitely been 'The Year of The Breakfast' for me. But then I remembered the first time I ever heard of Bircher Museli. It was about 15 years ago and I'd gone round to my friends Robert and Corinne's house. Now this pair are fantastic cooks and know their food so when Robert was talking up this Bircher Museli that he had started making I should have known it would be great. However, the picture that popped into my head of oats soaked overnight and then eaten cold in the morning just made me think, urggh, cold porridge! Now years later and a regular overnight oats eater I am pleased to say I am a huge fan of Bircher Museli too. Basically anything that takes a few minutes prep in the evening and yields a wonderful tasty, healthy breakfast in the morning is a winner in my book.

Cherry, Chia Bircher Museli
Serves 2

1 cup of oats
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
1/2 a cup of dried cherries
1/4 cup of flaked almonds
1 1/2 cups of plant milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Sweet Freedom/maple syrup/ agave to taste
2 grated apples (in the morning)
Yoghurt to serve (optional)

Prepare the bircher museli in the evening by stirring together the oats, chia seeds, dired cherries and almonds in a tupperware container. Add the milk and vanilla extract and stir again then place in the fridge overnight.
In the morning stir in the grated apple. Portion out into two bowls. Drizzle with the sweetener of your choice and add a little more plant milk / yoghurt to taste.

Are you a fan of overnight oats or bircher museli? What add ins do you like?

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Vegan Mofo Day 23 - Roasted Apples and Applesauce

The prompt for today is Autumn traditions. For me that would be roasting apples to use in recipes throughout the winter. I am lucky in that for the past few years I've had people give me organic homegrown apples. I use the recipe from Babycakes to prepare them.

Roasted apples - From Babycakes by Erin McKenna

2lb apples peeled, cored and diced into 1 inch cubes
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup of agave nectar or Sweet Freedom
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice

Mix everything together and spread on a baking sheet covered with greaseproof paper and bake for 35 minutes.

Once baked I like to keep some of the apples as chunks. There's a tealoaf and a muffin recipe in the book that uses them like this.

The rest I blend up with a little more sweetener and some hot water to make applesauce. Most of the Babycakes recipes use applesauce so I tend to bag them up into various cup sizes ready to grab from the freezer when I need them. I've come to love doing this as a Sunday afternoon Autumn tradition and the house smells amazing. Who needs scented candles when you can have the aroma of roasted apples and cinnamon!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Vegan Mofo 2016 Day 19 Blackcurrant and Blueberry Chia Pudding

Day 19 - Goth Day – Blues, purples, blacks? Let your dark side shine. As a former teenage Goth I got a little bit excited when I saw this prompt and immediately set about thinking about how to create a purple breakfast. I'd picked up a couple of bags of these Urban Fruit blueberry and blackcurrant mix a few weeks ago in Home Bargains and they seemed perfect for today's suggestion.

Here's what they looked like straight out of the packet. I popped 2 tablespoons of them in a cup and added a little hot water, just enough to cover and let them re-hydrate further for about 20 minutes.

I then blended the berries and water mix with 3/4 cup of soya milk in a blender. In a bowl I mixed this with 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and 1 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Then I poured the mixture into one of my favourite cups and popped it in the fridge overnight. In the morning I served it with a few dried berries as a topper and this was really tasty and blackcurranty. I'll definitely be making this again and experimenting with other dried fruits in chia puddings.

The photo looks a bit brown but it was more of a lovely mauve colour in real life! And here you go for good measure - a blurry picture of 16 year old goth me circa 1984/5. Complete with purple tie dyed dress from Afflecks Palace and purple lippy (Boots 17).

Today is actually my birthday and I can tell you that despite being 32 years older than I am in this photo I have never, repeat never lost my love of black liquid eyeliner!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Vegan Mofo 2016 Day 15 Mulitcolour Meal - Donut time!

If you've been reading up to now you'll know that as well as following the prompts I'm trying to do a breakfast theme which also features fruit and nuts in some way!

Fairly recently I had a great charity shop score of a brand new 12 hole mini donut pan for £2. I am a massive fan of Erin McKenna's books Babycakes and Babycakes Covers The Classics. After trying donuts from the Babycakes Bakery in New York City many years ago I was so pleased to see donut recipes when I got the second book a few years ago but until now have not had the right equipment. On my first go I made the classic cinnamon sugar dusted donuts as pictured above. These were delicious and I can report that they froze well too.

For my second attempt I made these for a visit from my niece and nephew and went the multi coloured decorating route. They loved these and asked for seconds. Yep, that's 6 year olds asking for seconds of vegan, gluten free baked goods, love it!

And the fruit or nut element of this breakfast treat? Well, like most of Erin's recipes these contain some apple sauce. Here is a link to the recipe if anyone fancies a go. I can see many more baked donuts in my future and look forward to experimenting with different flavours. What sort of donuts do you like?

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Vegan Mofo 2016 Day 13 Marmite Croissants

Today's prompt asks if an alien landed on your doorstep what would it eat? Seeing as it's an alien I wouldn't have a clue. It would also have to arrive around breakfast time to catch us in. With that in mind I would like to find out it's views on marmite. Would it be 'love it' or 'hate it'?

Hands up if you watch 'Eat Well for Less'. If you don't the basic premise of the programme is that two blokes who used to be green grocers spend a couple of weeks with a family and find ways for them to dramatically reduce their food bills. It's usually things like making takeaway style food at home for cheaper, having one meal instead of cooking four different ones for picky eaters and buying supermarket own brand goods instead of pricier brand leaders. They also always feature one item where they reckon it is worth paying MORE. This is usually something like sausages or bacon from a local butcher instead of a supermarket it. In our budget household our pay more item is Essential Yeast extract which although more expensive has less salt and much more B vits than Marmite.

Back to the alien. I think a croissant would be a good food as it wouldn't need cutlery and it tastes good either hot or cold. To prepare the croissants you simply unroll the tin (I use vegan friendly Jus Rol brand) and add a slick of yeast extract.

Once rolled I snuck some nuts in there by decorating the tops with flaked almonds.

They only take 10 minutes to cook so that's not too long for awkward silences if the alien doesn't speak English and you don't speak their language and just enough time to do a tour of the house. I wonder what aliens like to drink?
PS - The picked onion and onion pots in the background are what we store garlic and ginger in.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Vegan Mofo 2016 Day 10 - Fritalian Croissants

Today's Mofo challenge is to take two cuisines and make them work together. In the spirit of the prompt may I introduce to you - Fritalian Croissants. We have the croissants from France married to perfect Italian pizza flavours. I mean who doesn't like pizza for breakfast!!!

I like to pick up a tin of Jus Rol croissants whenever they appear in our local bargain shop. These were 39p instead of their normal RRP of £2. I also picked up a jar of sundried tomato pesto for 59p from the same shop. It was Dolmio brand and I was surprised to see it was vegan friendly. We don't normally buy pesto as Matt doesn't like pinenuts and basil gives me bad acid reflux. This had a teeny safe amount of basil though (2%) and the nuts used are cashews. It also means it fits with my fruit and nut breakfast theme, yay!

Once the pastry is unrolled and cut along the perferations into triangles you simply add a smear of pesto, a sprinkling of Italian dried herbs and a smidge of vegan cheese. I used a little bit of Vegusto Piquant which I grated very finely with a microplane.

Before and after pics!

These were a winner! As well as a fancy breakfast they'd also be nice to take for a packed lunch.

I'm on the hunt for ideas for other fusion croissants. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Vegan Mofo Day 8 - Wattle Tea

Today's prompt asks if you dug straight down where would you come out? Well for me that would be Australia. In keeping with my breakfast theme I did a bit of online research and it seems that Aussie breakfasts are not that different to British breakfasts and that we both like a fry up! What would be different though would be the beverage I'd have with my breakfast. Sadly, I haven't tried this in real life but I have been reading about Wattle Seed tea from Australia.

I'm hoping that Susan from Kitten's Gone Lentil or another Aussie reader can fill me in and let me know if this tea really does taste like waffles as one review has led me to believe. I mean tea that tastes like waffles how amazing would that be!!! I don't think I'd actually serve it with a fry up as I'm not much of a fan. Instead my breakfast of choice would be some home made strawberry chia jam on some crusty just baked French bread.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Vegan Mofo Day 7 - Derbyshire Oatcake with Chai Spiced Apples and Birdhouse Peak District Tea

The prompt for Day 7 is to blog about a food from your county, state or home town. Although I am not originally from here I have lived in the Peak District for over two years now and hope to be here for many years to come. The town I live in is part of the county of Derbyshire and as I am also doing a breakfast theme I thought I'd blog today about Derbyshire oatcakes.

Not to be confused with the hard oatcake biscuits that you eat with cheese, the Derbyshire oatcake is a kind of yeasted pancake. I have to confess that I haven't made these as my local health food shop Peak of Health sells them ready made in packs of three. I simply wrapped my oatcake it foil and warmed it in a hot oven for ten minutes.

 It's served with some apples that I stewed the night before. I made a Redbush chai syrup at the same time which I stirred into the stewed apples when they had finished cooking. The oatcake is topped with a heaped spoonful of Coconut Collaborative plain yoghurt and a sprinkling of toasted almonds. Just perfect for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast.

I felt that the tea based syrup with the apples called for a beverage of tea rather than coffee to accompany the breakfast. I recently received a box of Peak District teas for reviewing from Birdhouse Tea Company. I will be sharing more about the rest of the range after Mofo which contains green, herbal and black tea blends. For this breakfast I fancied a black tea and selected the Duchess Georgiana named after the Duchess of Devonshire who was a celebrated beauty, socialite and infamous lover of Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey!

How beautiful does this blend look? It also smells fantastic. Alongside the black tea there is grapefruit and rose, mallow and marigold petals. I love the punchiness that grapefruit can give to a tea blend. It really is something special. The mallow gives it a lovely rounded softness that compliments the citrus flavours well. I have to admit that I usually add soya milk to black tea but not when I get a blend like this. It tastes better drunk without. If you are interested in interesting, quality loose leaf teas then definitely check out Birdhouse Tea Company. There's ranges for other areas of the country as well as the Peak District and teas grouped into collections such as Wellbeing and Sweet Shop. I have my eye on the Black Jack and Strawberry Laces teas!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Vegan Mofo Day 6 - Super Fruit Porridge

Continuing with my theme of fruit and nuts for breakfast I'm merging this with today's daily prompt which is to share a comfort food that always cheers you up. For me that would be porridge. I love that there's no end to ways to 'pimp your porridge' with allsorts of different fruit and nut combinations. Porridge does not have to be boring! It's also a great breakfast when you are on a budget as oats are cheap and there's always good prices to be found on dried fruit and nuts.

I am a big, big fan of Urban Fruit. They do a lovely range of dried fruits which they advertise as 'gently baked'. Whenever they are on offer I stock up. Recently our local Co-Op delisted a lot of lines and brought in new ones so I grabbed some bags of dried strawberries and dried cherries for bargain prices. I like that you can also pick up Urban Fruit in mini bags too. I love the pineapple for snacking on.

Here's what the strawberries look like out of the bag. Kind of weird eh! They have an intense jammy flavour. For this porridge I also dry fried a couple of spoonfuls of almonds as a topper.

We'd visited Matt's mum a few days before and she'd kindly sent us home with a tub of stewed rhubarb so that formed the base of the fruit compote. To it I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a few tablespoons of Sweet Freedom (maple or agave or any other honey substitute would be good too) and a handful of the dried strawberries. I let it simmer for around 15 minutes and the strawberries plumped up nicely.

I went off to do a bit of yoga whilst the fruit mix was simmering away and Matt made the porridge. It's just oats and water. He also added his secret porridge ingredient which is a grated apple. If you've not tried this before you must do! The apple just dissolves into the porridge, thinly sliced banana is good too. So there you have it - Super Fruit Porridge. Warming and comforting with a good boost of energy, vitamins and fibre from apple, rhubarb and strawberries. What fruit and nut combinations would you add to porridge?

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Vegan Mofo Day 5 - Red fruit Crunch Granola

So today's theme is a late night snack. With my theme (breakfast) within a theme (fruit and/or nuts) within a theme (the daily prompts) I have to admit I was stumped at first with this one! But then I thought - of course - Granola.

I'm not much of a late night snacker to be honest but occasionally if I am hungry it's to the cereal section of the pantry that I head. I like to eat it from a big soup cup that I won in an Amy's competition a few Mofo's ago.

Granola is a favourite late night snacking cereal for me. Just recently we've been enjoying this Red Fruit Crunch from Whole Earth that came in the wheelbarrow of organic food that I won in an organic September competition. It's a super sweet style of granola with yummy dried strawberries, redcurrants and raspberries and definitely one I would purchase in the future. I'm a big fan of granola and like to make my own too, there's a recipe coming up in post later this month. What flavours do you like?

Friday, 4 November 2016

Vegan Mofo Day 4 - Coconut Quinoa Porridge and Fancy Beans on Toast

Seeing as my theme is about breakfasts I thought I'd blog today about my favourite vegan breakfast I've found in a cafe. Sadly Filmore and Union is not very local to us. They have branches in North Yorkshire and we live in the Peak District but they are not too far away and we have friends in Skipton and have been to the Skipton branch a few times when visiting them.

I'm not a big fan of the fried breakfast. It's something I will have now and again but increasingly less so. Fried food gives me reflux issues which is then a nightmare for my cough condition so unless I'm prepared to glug a chaser of Gaviscon I'd rather search out other options. Filmore and Union is a great place to find said other options!

This was lovely. A warm comforting bowl of quinoa porridge cooked in coconut milk served with stewed apples and cinnamon. There was even a little extra jug of warm coconut milk served on the side.

Matt is a lover and connoisseur of the fried breakfast but I think he was quite happy with this offering of smokey beans and chickpeas on rye toast topped with watercress. Filmore was also the first place I tried a turmeric latte. Their style is the whole clean eating, superfood vibe but they do it really well and the food seems like a treat. If you're ever in York, Harrogate, Skipton, Beverley, Wetherby, Ilkley or Moortown then definitely check them out.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Vegan Mofo Day 3 - Chocolate, Lime and Sea Salt Chia Pudding

Today's Mofo prompt is what your easy cook meal, the meal you cook when you can't be bothered to cook much. I came up with this breakfast recipe recently when Matt was away on tour.

Don't worry I don't just live on bars of chocolate when I'm on my own! It was a Friday night and I was munching the bar above thinking how much I loved the flavours of dark chocolate, sea salt and lime. Choc Affair also make it in hot chocolate form which is one of my favourite hot chocolates ever.

What came to me was the idea of combining these flavours into a breakfast chia pudding. Minutes later the pudding was sitting in the fridge just waiting for me for the perfect, delicious no cook Saturday morning breakfast.

Serves 1

1 1/2 tablespoons of cacao powder
1/8- 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons of agave or maple syrup
3/4 cup of almond milk
Juice of half a fresh lime

Stir all of the ingredients together. Pour into a cup or dish and leave to chill in the fridge overnight whilst the chia seeds firm up. I added a bit of lime zest to the top too.