Hummus is still my number one go-to lunch time ingredient. I love it on toast, in wraps, with salads or on baked potatoes. Or just as a lovely dip to coat crunchy veggies with. And even though I do love it so, it is good to jazz it up from time to time. Continue reading “Roasted squash and harissa hummus”
Having an intolerance to yeast means that most bread items are off the menu for me. Yeast pops up everywhere in most cuisines, so finding an alternative can be a challenge – and rather restrictive. Continue reading “Sweet potato flatbread”
Crackers are great! Crisp and crunchy texture that carries off all sorts of flavours, they’re perfect to have in the cupboard for lunch or snacking. What’s not to love? Well, for many people, the ingredients in shop-bought crackers are not ideal, particularly if you have food intolerances, follow a specific way of eating for health or want nourishing whole foods that don’t include ingredients that have a negative effect on the environment. Continue reading “Seedy crackers”
Working out what to have for a picnic or in lunchboxes can be a bit challenging at times, especially when you are eating with food intolerances or starting to follow a whole-food plant-based diet. For me, sandwiches tend to be off the menu so I’m always looking for something that’s satisfying, super tasty and not going to make me feel bleurgh at the end of the meal.
I am a big fan of scones – there’s already two recipes on my blog, these sweet dairy-free scones (one of my earlier recipes and so not quite as healthy as nowadays!) and these lovely savoury pumpkin scones. So why the need for another one? Surely two is enough?
Firstly, I don’t think you can ever have enough scone recipes! But apart from that, these savoury scones push the flavour boundaries further than the pumpkin ones, and contain a cheap, easy and super-nutritious vegetable – carrot.
I’ve already talked about how healthy carrots can be with my post earlier this week here. They can also be a useful agent in low-fat whole-food baking, acting as an egg and butter replacement whilst adding in some nutritional goodies at the same time. Carrots are complimented by a number of other flavours including mixed herbs, nutritional yeast (for that slight cheesy flavour) and a little mustard, all of which feature in this recipe.
If you suffer from food intolerances that mean yeast or mustard are off the menu, then you can just up the other flavours and not miss out on the lovely savoriness of these scones. And if you can’t have either, then just top up on the herbs, add a little extra salt and make them anyway for they will still taste wonderful.
Rather than going for whole-meal flour, I’ve started to use spelt for much of my baking. This older strain of wheat seems to be less of a challenge to many people’s digestion compared to modern fast grown wheat. It has a slightly nutty flavour and produces slightly lighter, fluffier scones than whole-wheat flour. Of course if you have an allergy or an intolerance to gluten, spelt is not for you. Fortunately, these scones work well with a good gluten-free flour mix like Dove’s Farm so you don’t have to miss out.
I like to make these scones in two round batches and then cut then into triangles. It saves time as you don’t have bother rolling out the dough and cutting them into shapes (and risk losing the air bubbles that make them light and fluffy) and you don’t end up with leftover dough that ends up getting thrown away. They do well in the oven too, producing a more even bake. Finally, if you make too many to eat in one or two sittings, then these freeze really well, perfect to grab for a quick lunch or snack.
So why not give these yummy savoury scones a try over the weekend? They are so worth the effort. And if you do, don’t forget to let me know how you get on.
- 400 grams spelt flour or gluten-free alternative
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons mixed herbs
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 150 grams carrot pureé (see note below)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 6 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons soya milk (or other dairy-free milk as tolerated)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon soya milk to brush over the top
- 2 tablespoons mixed seeds (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC. Place a silicon mat or non-stick baking paper onto a large tray.
- Place the flour, baking powder, salt, herbs and nutritional yeast in a bowl and mix together to combine well.
- In a separate, large bowl, mix together the carrot pureé, olive oil (if using), ground flaxseed, water, soya milk and mustard. Whisk together well to combine and rest for a couple of minutes to let the flaxseed thicken the mix slightly.
- Tip the dry mix into the wet (the opposite to how you normally do it when making cakes) and bring together with a large spoon and then your hands to form a soft dough.
- Split the mix into two equal halves. Carefully mold each half into a round and place on the prepared tray. Gently mark out 6 sections on each round with a knife, but don't cut all the way through. Brush the top with soya milk and sprinkle mixed seeds on the top (if using).
- Place the tray in the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes until the top is lightly golden and firm and the underneath sounds slighly hollow when you tap it. Transfer to a cooling rack.
- Once cooled, cut each round into 6 triangular portions. Serve whilst slightly warm or keep in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. If you want to freeze the scones, lay them out onto a non-stick baking tray and place in the freezer so each one freezes individually. Once hard, transfer to a freezer-safe container and return to the freezer. Remove and defrost scones as required.
Do you get stuck thinking of things to have for lunch to take to work or college, or even at home? If you’re lucky enough to have access to a canteen or take-away that has whole-food plant-based options that’s great. Continue reading “Lunchtime creamy mashed beans”
One of the many wonderful things about eating a whole-food plant-based diet is that it’s a constant voyage of discovery. Wherever I am, there are always new ingredients to try out, or local recipes to adapt. Some experiments are a success, others not so much. It’s definitely not dull, that’s for sure. Continue reading “Warm mashed beans with lemon and thyme”
Here’s a super-quick and tasty dressing to liven up any salad or to drizzle over a spicy soup, curry or baked dish (like the Baked Spicy Stuffed Aubergine). Continue reading “Dairy-free coriander yoghurt dressing”
I often get asked where the ideas for my recipes come from. Sometimes, I just make things up on the spot, others are inspired by something I have read or seen in a magazine or on the internet. Occasionally, an idea rumbles around in the back of my mind for a long time then suddenly comes together. These pumpkin scones are in that category. Continue reading “Savoury pumpkin scones”
Everyone is different; we look, sound, feel and act differently, and so it follows this is reflected in what we choose to eat, from what we just love to something that may potentially be lethal if we’re allergic to it. Food choices are influenced by a whole multitude of factors from family, religion or health to income, location or social standing. It’s a fascinating subject.
When it comes to food allergies or intolerances, anything goes – there’s no end to the variety of substances people can be allergic to. This could be due to the makeup of a person’s microbiota, the billions of bacteria and other microbes that live in the gut. In the same way a person has their own characteristics externally, their internal makeup does too! It’s an exciting area of research, but not really that new as ‘alternative’ therapists have been going on about gut health for decades!
Despite our individual differences, there are a number of foods that people are more commonly sensitive too – the ‘Big 8’. Top of that list is dairy, followed by eggs, fish and shellfish, then nuts and peanuts, wheat and finally soybeans. Interesting that most of these are used in processed foods in some form, either as a main ingredient or a chemical derivative. Another good reason to avoid the ready-meal aisle!
I often get asked my opinion about soya products; it’s amazing how controversial a small bean can be! One of the biggest issues is that in the US, the vast majority of soya products come from genetically modified crops. Living in Europe, we don’t have the same problem but I always aim to buy organic soya products if possible, or check where in the world it has come from to avoid GM – consumer choice.
Soya is a key feature in a lot of vegetarian food, whether as tofu or tempeh, textured protein or in vegetarian or vegan products or ready meals. This is often used as a criticism of a more plant based diet, particularly as an increase in growing soya crops is responsible for deforestation and the devastation of tropical rainforests. What’s interesting though, is that about 75% of soya crops are actually used for animal feed, not human consumption. So you may avoid eating soya directly, but if you eat meat, unless it’s grass-fed, you’re also consuming highly processed soya. The world of food production is a complicated place these days!
Another issue with soya products is that it is thought to be a hormone disruptor, particularly for the thyroid gland. For some people, this may well be true. As I mentioned above, we’re all different, and foods can harm as well as heal, so it’s good to be aware if your thyroid function is compromised, but then there are lots of factors that might be involved, far to many to talk about in a blog post. Current research has found little correlation*, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any. Soya contains isoflavones, phytonutrients that can help balance hormone levels, good for ladies of a certain age suffering from hot flushes due to oestrogen fluctuations! But maybe another reason that soya may be associated with disrupting hormones is the type and volume of pesticides and insecticides that are used on non-organic crops. Chemicals and humans don’t tend to go together well, even when deemed ‘safe’.
Personally, I do include soya in my diet. It’s a great source of plant based protein, fibre and minerals and as well as phytoestrogen, it has other isoflavones beneficial for health. I don’t eat it every day, I check it’s source and tend to avoid highly processed ready meals, so mainly have it in the form of soya milk, yoghurt, tofu and edamame beans. But that’s my choice, which won’t be right for everyone!
If you don’t have a problem with soya but haven’t ever tried edamame, do give them a go. These are young, unprocessed soya beans. Bright green, fresh and packed with flavour, I love eating them straight out of the pod as a snack or starter at Japanese restaurants. This is soya at it’s most unprocessed, and so in my mind it’s healthiest – all the fibre and nutrients remain intact rather than lost in processing. Edamame have to be cooked otherwise it’s poisonous but only takes a couple of minutes, so no big deal. They can be added to salads, stews or just eaten straight from the pan. Alternatively, try this super tasty and simple dip to get a mouthful of flavour and bellyful of nutrients. If, however, you know that soya’s not for you, then peas work just as well – still lots of protein and fibre, just a slightly darker green. Enjoy!
Edamame (or pea) and mint dip
1 cup edamame bean or peas – defrosted if frozen
juice of 1 – 2 limes depending on size
20g fresh mint leaves
salt and pepper
Bring a pan of water to the boil and simmer the beans or peas for a few minutes until cooked. Drain and refresh with cold water. Leave to cool.
Place the beans or peas in a small food processor with the mint, lime juice and salt and pepper. Blitz until smoothish – a little texture is good – adding more lime juice or a dash of water if too thick. Add a glug of flaxseed oil, blitz again and taste. Add more lime juice, mint or seasoning if needed. Keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days.
In my mind, broad beans are forever connected with my dad. When I was very young, the house we lived in had a big garden. We had the obligatory swing and slide, a cute little wooden wendy house for us to play in and a purpose built sand pit that the local cats just loved to use as their toilet of choice! Continue reading “Beautiful broad beans with olive tapenade”