With the kids back at school and more people at their place of work rather than at home, packed lunches are back in focus. It can be hard to know what to put in that’s healthy, unprocessed and, of course, tasty. It’s even more challenging if you are creating packed lunches for a nut free environment, particularly schools. Continue reading “Savoury carrot flapjacks”
If you struggle with eating ‘normal’ bread (by that I mean the supermarket offerings!), then this oat and buckwheat bread might just be the thing for you. This was last weeks live cooking session on Facebook – in case you missed it or would like the whole recipe without having to watch me jabber on for 20 minutes, here it is.
If you haven’t got buckwheat flour, then you can make your own but toasting buckwheat groats and then blending it into a flour using a high-speed blender or food processor. Alternatively, you could try quinoa, millet, spelt flour (if you don’t want to be gluten-free) or even just all oats. Be mindful about the amount of ground flaxseed you use if you are using a wheat-based flour (and therefore one with gluten) as this will help hold the bread together more. Reduce the flaxseed by 1 tablespoon otherwise your loaf will be rather dense. Plus if you need to be super-careful with gluten, then make sure use use gluten-free oats.
The seeds add extra flavour, texture and nutrients to this bread; if you haven’t got everything I’ve listed then improvise with whatever is in your cupboard, or leave them out. Baking in current times is a challenge whether it’s due to lack of stock or even just getting out to the shops. Fortunately, this recipe is very flexible, so go with what you’ve got.
Storage wise, this loaf keeps for 4-5 days, but if you know it’s not all going to be eaten then cut into slices and freeze. Then you can pull out the amount you want whenever you want it. Just defrost and use plain or pop in the toaster to perk it up.
I hope you enjoy making this bread – don’t forget to let me know how you get on!
Oat and buckwheat bread
- 40 grams whole oats
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 150 ml warm water
- 340 grams oats ground into a flour
- 115 grams buckwheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 375 ml water
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds extra for top of the loaf
- Mix the chia seeds and whole oats with 100ml water and leave for a few minutes to thicken
- Line a 2lb baking tin with non-stick baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC./390ºF.
- Add the flour, oat flour, salt, baking powder, ground flaxseed and seeds together in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Pour in ¾ of the water and the thick paste and stir well to combine. It should come together to form a sticky but not wet mix. Add more water to get the right consistency (remember the flaxseed with absorb water so if its sticky to start it will dry out).
- Transfer mix to baking tin. Level the top and sprinkle extra sunflower seeds on top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is toasted and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Second in my series on quick meals, here’s a super quick stir fry that literally takes 10 minutes. Serve it with either brown rice noodles or leftover cooked whole-grain rice (properly reheated of course) and it’s a fully plant-based, gluten free meal that your tastebuds and body will love. Continue reading “Stir fried veg with chickpeas and green sauce”
Four weeks in to my 5 Easy Changes series and we’re at Step 2. And this one really is super easy – just go brown! Now, that’s nothing to do with sunbathing or (sadly) eating more chocolate. This is about eating whole grains and cereals. Why? Well, there’s 3 main reasons that I can see – fibre, flourish and flavour. Continue reading “Easy changes – Step 2”
Autumn is definitely here. Crisp mornings with air that tingles the end of your nose, leaves turning an array of colours before they drop to the ground in a pile ready to be jump in. Or, more sadly, stormy grey days with enough rain to send you into the back of the cupboard to hunt out the wellies. But whatever the weather, autumn is also time for thick, soul-soothing soup. Continue reading “Sweet potato and bean soup”
When people discover that I eat a whole-food plant-based diet, there are a number of questions that I can almost guarantee will get asked. If you too are on a plant-based journey you will be familiar with them! Continue reading “Quick chickpea salad”
Some people find changing to a whole-food plant-based diet easy, for others its more challenging. One area that seems to be a big stumbling block is breakfast. On the surface it seems easy – cereal or toast are most peoples go-to options. Continue reading “Breakfast inspiration”
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.
One of the big benefits of eating whole, unrefined plant-based foods is that food starts to taste different – and wonderful! When you change to a whole-food plant-based diet, cutting out lots of refined fats and sugars as well as high-sodium animal products, it takes a few weeks for your taste-buds to change – but only a few. Suddenly, you realise that each dish tastes delicious unadorned. This old blog post tells you more about taste.
But even though natural flavours start coming through in individual, fresh products, how to combine and enhance them to get a taste sensation still comes down to cooking technique. Continue reading “Toasted savoury seeds”
Gingerbread is synonymous with Christmas, but sometimes it’s good to have something a bit different to the norm. So for day 7 of my Sensitive Foodie Advent calendar, I bring you raw gingerbread balls.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a bit partial to a tasty energy ball. I’ve posted a few different ones over the years including yummy carrot cake balls and last years raw Christmas cake balls.
Energy balls are great, especially if you have a sweet tooth as they hit the spot with sweetness but are free from shedloads of refined sugar. That’s not to say they’re sugar free, far from it! But the sugar is still bound up with the fibre in the whole foods plus there’s lots of extra fibre in the oats. This means the sugar is released slowly so it doesn’t give you a sugar rush, followed by a sugar low. This is much less stressful for your body and suitable for everyone; if you’re gluten-free, then gluten-free oats work really well too.
I always see energy balls as a wonderful benefit of eating a whole-food plant-based diet. The flavours are intense and they’re just so enjoyable. But I know some people find them too much of a faff, or haven’t got the right equipment to make them. If that’s you, then let me introduce you to Charlotte of Frog Hollow Catering.
I met Charlotte a few years ago through The Mumpreneurs Networking Club (MNC) and she then came along to my Eat Well Live Course. As with many trained chef, she had previously thought that rich, animal-based food was the best way of eating, until she had serious health problems. She discovered the benefits of eating whole, plant food and started to use her skills in a different way. She now has a fabulous business making energy bites and delicious raw cakes. And I mean delicious!
Charlotte has a range of products you can check out on her website here, but if you want something super special for Christmas, she makes these gorgeous raw chocolate truffles that are dairy-free, vegan and contain no refined sugar, just lots of fabulous nutrients and deliciousness. Last order date before Christmas is 18th December, so don’t delay if you want some. Btw, I’m not on commission here, I just love what Charlotte does!
Right, back to the gingerbread balls. Ginger is an amazing ingredient to include in your cooking, particularly at this time of year with all the colds and viruses going around. It contains an array of phytonutrient compounds that help with all sorts of things including nausea and pain. It can also help support the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Ginger can be a bit perky on the flavour side of things though; I certainly find it more fiery than other members of my family. One of the benefits of making your own gingerbread balls is that you can get the flavour to your own liking. I’ve set it at a moderate level, but if you prefer more of a ginger hit then feel free to increase the amount of ground ginger.
These balls do contain almonds; if you have to eat nut-free, replace them with sunflower seeds. The flavour will be slightly different, but still works really well. And don’t forget that if you are strictly gluten-free, please use gluten-free oats.
I’ve coated some of these with sesame seeds; they’re not essential but add even more nutrients and make them slightly less sticky to pick up. Feel free to omit if you so desire.
These are also great fun to make with the kids as they can get their hands in and fully sticky. If you give them a go, let me know how you get on!
Raw gingerbread balls (makes 18 )
- 75g dates, stone removed
- 50g oats (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 50g raisins
- 100g almonds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
Soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes if they are very dry, then drain, retaining the water. Place all the ingredients apart from the sesame seeds into a food processor and blend until combined and sticky. Add a little soaking water if it’s too dry to bind.
Take a heaped teaspoonful of the mix out and roll it into a ball in the palm of your hand. Roll in sesame seeds if using. Repeat the process until all the mix is used up.
These balls will keep in an air-tight container for up to 7 days, or can be frozen.