I am currently in the middle of studying for finals so I will be uploading recipes after my last exam. Stay tuned for some cashew Espresso Blondie Sandwiches and for Creamy Squash Noodles... (and lots more!) xx

Holy Basil

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Sultana and Beluga Lentil Salad with Cumin Caramelised Veg

It's exam season (boo), so in between mornings in the library, afternoons in the library and evenings in the library, the only 2-hour me time I have is at dinner.

So I made this.

This post will be a quick one, because 2 hours is up and it's back. to. the. library. again.
Back to the human brain...

Sultana and Beluga Lentil Salad with Cumin Caramelised Veg

  • 3/4 cup beluga lentils, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups water + 1 veggie stock cup (or just use 1 1/2 cups veg stock)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 cup of pitted olives, sliced
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 a butternut squash
  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • I red onion
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp rice malt syrup, or other sweetener
  • Handful of chopped cilantro, or other greens.
  • sesame seeds
  • Pitta Bread and Hummus, to serve

In a pot, bring the lentils and stock to a boil. Reduce the heat at let it simmer for about 25 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are cooked, but still have a good bite to them. As the lentils, cook, cube the squash, thinly slice the red onion and cut the cauliflower into small florets. Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray. Toss all the veg on the tray with the cumin seeds and syrup, mixing it around with your hands so everything is well coated. Bake this for 20 minutes, or until all the veggie are tender and fragrant.
When the lentils are done, stir in the cumin, paprika, olives, sultanas and lemon juice. Add in the roasted veggies and mix well. Garnish with cilantro, and sesame seeds if desired. Serve with toasted pita bread and hummus.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Chocolate Chilli Non Carne

A quick little recipe for you, a favourite of mine. I have been putting chocolate in chilli since I first made chilli! I would say it's a game changer but I really have forgotten what chilli is like any other way. Try it, though! Chocolate lends some sort of smokey, butteriness to the chilli that's hard to beat.

Chocolate Chilli Non Carne
Serves: 6

  • 1/2 cup texturized vegetable protein (TVP) + 1 cup water (I buy mine from Holland and Barrett, but you can also use 3 cups of chopped mushrooms or 1 1/2 cups of cooked lentils in place of this and the water)
  • 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 crush cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 tbsp rice syrup, or sugar
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, precooked
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder 
  • 1 bunch green onions chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped 
  • Soy yogurt

Place the textured vegetable protein (TVP) in water, and soak 30 minutes. Press to drain.
Heat some oil or water in a large pot over medium heat, and saute onion, and garlic until onion is tender and fragrant. Add in the soaked TVP, beans and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and cardamom pods. Mix in syrup, cacao powder, corn and carrots. Cook, stirring, occasionally, 45 minutes. To serve, divide into bowls, garnish with green onions and cilantro, and top with dollops of soy yogurt.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Olive Oil Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon drizzle is something special. At home, we used to make a lemon yogurt drizzle cake, with candied lemon peel studding the drizzle that had encrusted the loaf. Divine. 

My version, too, uses creamy dreamy coconut milk (full fat, please!) to lend so much moisture to this loaf. It's fragrant with floral rosemary and olive oil. It works. It does. 

The end result is pillowy-soft, cloud-like. It is light and it is airy. It floats around your mouth, aromatic rosemary notes doing little somersaults across your tongue. 

So, yes, make this cake. Now. And eat it sat in front of your tellie binge watching Modern Family because you have finished your dissertation it has taken you 10 months to write (okay maybe that's just me, but celebrate with this cake anyway!)

Olive Oil Lemon Drizzle 
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, very finely chopped (optional but it makes it really lovely)
½ cup olive oil
1 ½ tbsp plant milk or water
1 cup coconut milk
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 160°C and grease and line a bread tin.
Sift together all dry ingredients and rosemary in a bowl a mix well. In another bowl, combine milk, olive oil, coconut milk, lemon juice and melted vegan butter. Pour wet into dry and fold until mixture starts to come together. Do not overmix! Pour the batter in the bread tin and bake 45 min (last 10 minutes covered with foil) or until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool before removing from the tin. Sift icing sugar and lemon juice and stir to a smooth paste, spread over the cake and let it firm before slicing the cake.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Gingerbread PB Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

You know that phrase 'too much of a good thing'? How too much good can equal bad? Everything in moderation?
I am a huge believer in everything in moderation. That's my rule. Rules, however, are meant to be broken. And this cookie is the exception.

I like cookies, you see. But ask me to chose my favourite one, and I wouldn't be able too. I can narrow it down, to my top three cookies. 
  1. Peanut Butter cookies (yum!)
  2. Oatmeal Raisin cookies (mmmm)
  3. Gingerbread cookies (yesss)
So, genius that I am, I decided I don't have to choose! I CAN HAVE ALL THREE. In one cookie! Genius, yes?

Trust, it works. They all have a little something in common - they all go well with cinnamon. Cinnamon brings these three punchy flavours together. It's divine! This cookie is chewy from the oatmeal, crumbles ever-so-slightly (thanks to the PB!), is packed full of christmassy spices. Make it, you'll see.

Gingerbread-PB-Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies
½ cup vegan butter (or coconut oil!)
½ cup coconut sugar or dark brown sugar
½ cup cane sugar
2 tbsp applesauce (about 1 small apple, microwaved and pureed)
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 cup bread flour 
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 tsp ginger 
A pinch of nutmeg
1½ cups rolled oats 
1 cup raisins 

Preheat oven to 170C. Cream together the butter, and sugars with an electric beater or stand mixer. Beat in the applesauce and peanut butter and mix until smooth. Add the flour, spices, baking soda and stir in. Gently fold in the rolled oats and raisins
Scoop the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet using, 2 tablespoons per cookie, leaving about 1 inch between them as they will rise! This recipe should give you about 18 cookies
Bake for about 11 minutes. Let cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Let cool before moving off the sheet, they are fragile when hot! When completely cool, store in an airtight container. Warm it for 10s in the microwave before eating, so it gets gooey again. It should last a week but it won't be able to resist finishing them all before then, trust me x

Friday, 24 February 2017

Shepardess Pie - an update

I thought it was about time I have my Shepardess Pie a makeover. 2.0. It's not got a ton of garlic, sweet potatoes and can be made in under 30 minutes.

You will probably have pretty much all of the ingredients with you, hiding in your pantry. It's that simple. You can, of course, use any most kinds of lentils. Puy, beluga, pardina, marrow, french green and brown... I find that the indian lentils like red split lentils or channa dal really don't do very well in this. The former becomes mush, great for dhal and not great for pie, whereas the latter needs way too much cooking. If you are using dried lentils for this, use about 2 1/2 cups of cooked lentils for this pie.

Shepardess Pie
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf 
4 tsp tomato paste
1 veggie stock cube + 1/2 cup hot water
2 springs fresh rosemary, stems removed, or about 1 tsp dried
2 tsp balsamic vinegar 
2 cans green lentils, drained
1 large carrot, diced into small cubes
1/2 cup green peas, frozen
Salt, to taste
4-5 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 large garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
1/3 cup soy milk
2 tbsp vegan cream cheese, optional
Salt, to taste

Boil the sweet potatoes and the garlic cloves until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile make the filling.
In a skillet, fry the onion and garlic until fragrant and onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add in the bay leaf, tomato paste, stock cube and water and continue to cook until stock cube is well dissolved and mixture is bubbling. Add in the vinegar, lentils and carrot reduce the heat and allow to cook until carrots are tender, about 5 minutes. Throw in the green peas and cook until those are cooked as well, an additional 2 minutes. Add salt to taste and take it off the heat. Leave the filling in the skillet if you have one that can be put in the oven/grill, otherwise transfer to a baking dish.
Drain and mash the sweet potatoes, garlic and add in the soy milk, cream cheese and salt. Make sure it is nice, soft and creamy and you don't have any big chunks of unmashed potato. Spoon the topping over your lentil filling, you can pipe it as well to make it look pretty but if you do so, I recommend blending it or the bigger chunks may get stuck in the piping nozzle. Place under the grill until the peaks of the potato mixture begin to caramelise and the pie is singing (it does! I promise), anout 10 minutes. Serve hot!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Vegan Smoky Enchiladas

My sister is a little bit obsessed with the vegetarian enchiladas they serve at El Mexicana, and it's not difficult to see why. It comes, served on a bed of refried beans, practically smothered with gooey cheese. It's not vegan in the slightest, of course, so I have made my own version.

I ran out of refried beans (just my luck, hm?). I always have a can in the pantry, but on the day I decide to make enchiladas, the can seems to have mysteriously vanished. When I say mysteriously vanished I mean I ate it all and was too lazy to get a replacement. *typical*

But do eat this with refried beans, if you happen to have some/make some. It's good on it's own, but I can only imagine the heights that creamy dreamy beans could take this to...

Smoky Enchiladas
Serves: 2

For the sauce:
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 cup passata
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 yellow pepper, sliced into half and seeds removed

For the filling:
1 cup butternut squash, cubed and skin removed
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup aubergine, chopped
1/2 can of chickpeas
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of salt

5-6 tortilla wrappers, I used mini ones
Vegan cheese, about 1/2 cup lightly packed
Spring onions and cilantro for garnish

Prepare the veg filling by tossing with the paprika and salt (without the chickpeas), and roasting in a 200C oven for 10-15 minutes, also roast the yellow pepper for the sauce with the veg. As the filling is roasting, fry the onion for the sauce. When it is translucent and aromatic, add in the passata, spices and salt. Let it simmer.

When the veg is out of the oven, place the yellow pepper and the sauce into a blender and puree to a smooth consistency. Stir the chickpeas into your roasted veg on the baking tray.

Now we assemble! Place about 2-3 tbsp of sauce on the bottom of your skillet or baking dish. Assemble each enchilada by spooning about 1-2 tbsp of sauce onto it, adding some filling and a sprinkle of cheese, roll tightly and place, seam side down, into the skillet of baking pan. Repeat until you have used up all the veg mixture (you will still have leftover sauce). Pour whatever reamins of your sauce on top of the enchiladas and add the rest of the cheese. Bake at 200C for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is golden and melted. Serve garnished with spring onions and cilantro

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Mango Meringue Pies

I love lemon meringue pie. My mother used to make it all the time. Tart, creamy lemon curd topped with a light-as-air meringue. Delicious! 

This is my tropical spin on the traditional lemon meringue, with a dreamy mango curd and a cloud coconut meringue. Biting into this pie is a journey, it's a story with more plot development than twilight ever had (seriously). 

First, your teeth sink into an unbelievably fluffy, mellow and toasted-marshmallow meringue. It's a cloud! Is this vegan? Then--the climax--the mango curd. Tart, but balanced with just the right about of sweetness. It's sensuous, it seduces you. It teases you with just the right amount, you want another bite already. 

Then the finale. Your teeth hit the rum-infused shortcrust and it snaps. It crumbles in your mouth and dances with the coconut, the mango. 

The mango curd oozes from the pie, and you want more, a sequel.

It takes a wee bit of effort to make, but trust me, so worth it. 

Mango Meringue Pies 
Makes: 8 individual pies or 1 large pie

For the crust:
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup vegan butter, cubed and chilled (I used stork)
  • 3 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 tbsp rum, or vodka (or 1 tbsp more cold water)

For the Mango Curd:
  • 1¼ cups sweetened condensed mango pulp (available at Indian supermarkets and in Tesco)
  • 2 tbsp-4 tbsp sugar 
  • 4 tbsp butter 
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp Corn Starch
  • 4 tbsp water 

For the Coconut Meringue: (adapted from Plantified)
  • 3/4 cups aquafaba (the liquid from 1 can of chickpeas)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum Gum 
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp agar powder (about 5g)
  • 1/2 cup water

First, make the pie crust. To make pastry, cut the cold butter into the flour with a pastry blender, fork or food processor. You can use you hands to rub the butter in, but I find that this melts the butter faster and the result is not as flaky. When the butter has formed small pea-sized crumbs, work the ice-cold water and run in, a spoonful at a time, until a shaggy dough is formed which holds its shape when you press it (if necessary, add a teeny bit of extra water but try to use as little additional water as possible). Form a ball, wrap in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Next, make the curd. Add the mango pulp and lemon juice to a sauce pan. In a seperate bowl, stir the cornstarch and water together to make a smooth paste. Pour into the saucepan and heat on medium, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Bring it to a boil and let it thicken. Take it off the heat, and stir in the butter and 2 tbsp of sugar. Taste it and if you would like it more sweet, add in the remainder of the sugar. Leave the mango curd in the fridge to chill.

When the pastry is done resting, remove it from the fridge onto a countertop dusted with flour. Prepare your pie pan/s by brushing lightly with oil or butter. Preheat the oven to 180C. Roll out pastry to 1/4 inch thick, and cut out circles big enough to fit your mini pie pans, or a large circle for an individual large pie pan. Fill pie with parchment paper and baking beans (or uncooked beans/rice) and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the beads and parchment then bake a further 10-15 minutes until bottoms are golden brown. Leave to cool.

Pour the mango curd into the cooled pie shell and let it set in the fridge as you prepare the meringue. Preheat the grill to about 190C, if you do not have a blow torch. In a stand mixer, whisk the aquafaba and xantham to firm peaks. This will take about 10 minutes, so prepare the syrup as this whips. In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and agar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Use a candy thermometer to tell when your syrup is 250F/121C (hard ball stage). Alternately, do the water drop test. When this is ready, pour it into your mixer while it is whipping, preferably with the splash guard on, quickly but carefully. Also add in the extract. Continue to whip until stiff and glossy, and the mixture is no longer hot (touch the sides of the bowl to tell).

Scoop a healthy dollop of meringue on top each pie, you can pipe a layer on top of that to make it look really dainty, as I did. But a rustic look may look just as good! Either torch the meringue and this point, or place under the grill, for about 1-2 minutes, keeping a good eye on it so as to catch it just as the tips turn golden.