Chocolate raspberry pots

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I’ll happily hold my hands up and admit that generally, puddings are NOT my strong point.  I love eating them but making them?  Not so much.

However, pregnancy has definitely given me something of a sweet tooth so I thought I’d have a play with a really simple, foolproof vegan recipe involving two of my favourite sweet things (chocolate and raspberries) and this is the result…

PS Even if I say so myself, they taste kind of amazing!

(Serves 4)

  • 2 x 85g bars of dark chocolate (minimum 65% cocoa)
  • 2/3 tin of coconut milk (full fat)
  • 2 large handfuls of raspberries (fresh or frozen will be fine)
  • Dried rose petals and sugar to decorate (optional)
  1. Boil a pan of water
  2. Break the chocolate into chunks and pop them into a Pyrex jug or bowl
  3. Gently place the jug or bowl into the pan to slowly melt the chocolate (be careful not to get any water in the chocolate)
  4. Once all the chocolate is melted slowly add the coconut milk, stirring as you go
  5. Place a few raspberries into the bottom of the ramekin dishes
  6. Slowly pour the chocolate and coconut milk mixture over the top of the raspberries
  7. Pop in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to set
  8. Decorate as you so wish, serve and enjoy!

Vegan kale pesto

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I use pesto a lot in different recipes and although I do sometimes buy ready-made (Zest and Suma both do some great vegan ones), I often make my own.  Pesto is traditionally made with rocket but for this one I used kale instead.  Once made it will keep in the fridge for a few days.

  • 3 large handfuls of organic kale
  • 1 small cup of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic – peeled and chopped
  • Large handful of pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to season
  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl
  2. Blend using a hand-held blender
  3. Delicious with pasta, gnocchi, in soups or drizzled on salads

Vegan pizza breads

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These are so simple and quick to make and they’re an ideal way of using up day-old French stick.  You can be as creative as you like with the toppings.  I tend to use whatever we have in…

(Serves 2)

  • 1 French stick
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Drizzle of maple syrup
  • Passata
  • One organic red onion – peeled and sliced
  • Couple of handfuls of organic mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 organic green pepper – sliced
  • Green olives – de-stoned and sliced
  1. Fry the onions on a low heat with a drizzle of olive oil and maple syrup to caramelise
  2. Cut the French stick in half and slice down the middle
  3. Grill the crusty side of the bread under the grill for a few minutes
  4. Spread the passata over the bread
  5. Meanwhile gently fry the peppers and mushrooms in a little olive oil
  6. Assemble the onion, peppers, mushrooms and sliced green peppers on the bread
  7. Pop back under the grill for a few minutes
  8. Serve with a green salad

Lentil, aubergine and kale curry

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It’s hard to beat a really good homemade curry.  I love this one – it uses lentils as a base and then I pretty much just chuck in whatever other veggies I fancy on the day.  No hard and fast rules – just go with what you fancy.

Much healthier than a takeaway and quick and easy to make too!

  • Drizzle of sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons chilli flakes
  • 2 red onions (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 aubergine (chopped)
  • Half a mug red lentils
  • Two mugs of vegetable stock (I use Kallo organic veg stock cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
  • 2 large handfuls of kale (roughly chopped)
  • 1 punnet of organic cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to season
  1. Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan with the aubergine and shallow fry for a few minutes, until browned on all sides
  2. In another pan heat some oil and add the spices and the onions for a few minutes to soften
  3. Add the lentils followed by the veg stock, tomato puree and fried aubergine.  Simmer for approximately 20 minutes
  4. Add the kale, cherry tomatoes and seasoning and cook for a further 5 minutes
  5. Serve with rice and a wedge of lemon

Smashed potato and rocket cake with tomato and celery sauce

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This meal came about because we were running low on fresh food before we did the weekly shop and needed to use up potatoes, rocket, tomatoes and some celery…  My husband decided to make himself a tomato soup and I opted for potato cakes – the soup was thicker than planned and so became a sauce and I decided that my potato cakes needed a little of something extra.  Hey-presto – a new meal was born!

Somewhat surprisingly it actually tasted really good so has now become a bit of a regular!

For the smashed potato cakes:

  • Small bag of organic new potaotes
  • Half a bag of organic rocket (roughly chopped)
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

For the sauce:

  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 medium organic onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 6 organic tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tin of organic chopped tomatoes
  • 1 stick of celery (roughly chopped)
  • Approximately 1 pint of vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon of agave syrup
  • Salt and pepper to season

To make the sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and the onion, fry for a few moments to soften
  2. Add the celery for a further few minutes
  3. Add the tomatoes (tinned and fresh), stock and agave syrup to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Season to taste
  5. Blend to a smooth consistency (I use a hand-held blender)

To make the potato cakes:

  1. Boil the potatoes for approximately 10-12 minutes, until cooked (I leave the skins on)
  2. Drain the potatoes and then add the chopped rocket, olive oil and salt and pepper to the pan
  3. Roughly mash all the ingredients together
  4. Shape the mixture into chef rings to make patties and then fry in a little olive oil for a few minutes each side

Serve the potato cakes with the sauce and enjoy!

Minted pea purée

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I love the combo of peas and mint and this makes a great side-dish.  Think of it as posh mushy peas!

(Serves 2)

  • Cup of organic frozen peas
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Pinch of sea salt

Boil the peas for a couple of minutes then drain and add to a bowl with the mint, olive oil and salt.  Blend (I use a hand-held blender for this) and serve.

I served the pea purée with Vbites Fish Style Steaks (available from Health food stores in UK and Ocado).

Vegan gyros

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I was lucky enough to grow up in Greece and I absolutely LOVE Greek food.  When we lived there we’d head to a gyros stall at the bus station once a month or so for a quick and cheap meal, which they’d wrap up in paper and we’d eat sitting on the edge of the harbour looking out to sea.  Childhood food bliss!

A gyros is typically meat cooked on a spit and then popped into a pita bread with salad, chips and tzatziki.  Since going veggie, then vegan I’ve occasionally had cravings for a cruelty-free version and here it is….

This is definitely more of an assembly job than an actual recipe as such.

You’ll need the following:

  • Pita bread or flatbread
  • Chips
  • Salad
  • Tzatziki
  • Meat-substitute pan-fried with olive oil, oregano, paprika, garlic, lemon juice. cracked black pepper and sea salt

The pita breads that you can buy in most UK supermarkets are nothing like the ones you get in Greece. The closest I could find were actually Italian flatbreads by Crosta & Mollica, available from Waitrose.  You just pop them in a hot dry frying pan for 1 minute each side before using.

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I made a simple salad with cucumber, cherry vine tomatoes and red onions (all organic) drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with dried oregano.

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I made the tzatziki using soya yoghurt, grated cucumber, sliced garlic and a pinch of salt.  The yoghurt I tend to use for cooking is one by Sojade, made in Brittany and sold by Abel and Cole.  It’s GM-free, organic and is one of the only ones I’ve found in the UK that’s unsweetened and so is ideal for using in savoury recipes.

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The meat-alternative I used is one that I bought at Vegfest recently.  It’s made by an Italian company called Muscolo di Grano, which they sell online and is scarily realistic!  I marinated it first in olive oil, dried oregano, paprika, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper and salt, which I then just shallow-fried in a pan.

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Chips – if you’re feeling that you have the time and energy then by all means make your own but this time I cheated and used oven chips.

Wrap all the ingredients up in the flatbread, sit back, enjoy and dream of sitting by the Med on a balmy Greek summer’s evening….

Zucchini, broad bean and pea soup

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This is my favourite summer soup and I make it really regularly during the warmer months.   Very simple to make with delicious fresh flavours.

(Serves 4)

  • 1-2 zucchini/courgettes – diced
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen broad beans
  • 1/2 a cup frozen peas
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • Handful of fresh lemon thyme
  • About 1 pint of organic vegetable stock (I use Kallo stock cubes, which are also gluten-free as well as being vegan)
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper to season
  1. Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan
  2. Add the chopped onion and gently fry for a couple of minutes, to soften
  3. Add the diced zucchini to the pan and gently fry for a few minutes
  4. Add the vegetable stock, peas, broad beans and fresh herbs and cook for a further 3-4 minutes
  5. Remove from the heat and blend (I just use a hand-held blender as I find it easier in a small kitchen plus there’s less washing up!)
  6. Return the soup for he heat, squeeze in the juice of one lemon and season to taste
  7. Serve with fresh, crusty bread

Thai green coconut soup with zucchini noodles, peas, broad beans and pan-fried tofu

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I absolutely love Thai food!  This soup is really really easy to make and I love the colours of the vegetables – really vibrant and fresh.   I always crave this kind of food in the Spring when the weather isn’t quite warm enough for salads but when you want something a little lighter than the carbs and stodgy foods of winter.

(Serves 2)

  • 1-2 zucchini (courgette)
  • Organic extra-virgin coconut oil
  • Half a pack of organic firm tofu (I tend to use either ‘Cauldron’ or ‘Dragonfly’, both available in the UK but there are lots of other brands)
  • Soy sauce, ideally low-sodium
  • 1 inch chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • Large dessert-spoon of Green Thai curry paste (check that it’s vegan – lots of them contain fish)
  • 1 can coconut milk – I used the low-fat version but you can use full-fat if you prefer a creamier taste and texture
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen broad beans
  • Handful of fresh coriander (optional)

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  1. Using a spiralizer; make noodles from the zucchini
  2. Remove any excess water and then slice the tofu into fairly thin slices
  3. Pop a spoonful of the coconut oil into a wok or non-stick pan – warm it through until it melts
  4. Add the ginger and garlic
  5. Place the slices of tofu into the pan, drizzle some soy sauce over them and cook for a few minutes each side until browned before removing from the wok

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  1. Add some more coconut oil to the wok and warm through until it melts
  2. Add the Green Thai curry paste and then stir-fry the zucchini noodles for a couple of minutes
  3. Add the coconut milk and warm through with the peas and broad beans just long enough to ensure all the ingredients are hot (but not too long or the noodles will lose their delicious fresh crispiness)
  4. Serve in a bowl with the tofu and a handful of fresh coriander

Enjoy!!