All posts filed under: Food

Rice Bowl with Greens and Tofu

Vegan meals don’t need to be time consuming or a faff. With just a few ingredients, it’s easy to put together a nutritious, delicious and satisfying dinner. This recipe is my go-to when I’m tired or just can’t be bothered, and is the epitome of what I like to call ‘jazz recipes’. ‘Jazz’, because it’s a bit free form. There are not any set ingredients or measurements. It’s all down to what you like and how you feel! You’ll need: Rice – cooked as according to instructions Firm tofu (I like silken – it’s a little more difficult to work with, but I think it’s worth it) Greens (Chard, spinach, kale, spring greens, pak choi – anything dark and leafy will work) Oil for frying (I like olive, but sometimes I go for toasted sesame) Soy sauce Sliced chilli pepper ( you can use dried, but fresh is best) Grated ginger (again, use fresh if at all possible) Minced garlic Salt toasted sesame seeds (optional) Start cooking the rice. I usually let it simmer while …

No Bull Vegan Burgers Review

A couple of Christmases  ago, I took it upon myself to try every mince pie on the market to see which one was best. Iceland’s offering was the clear winner, and even though I can’t even look at a mince pie now, I still remember being super-impressed by their attention to detail – crumbly, buttery pastry; the perfect filling-to-pastry ratio, and gorgeous, boozy flavour. Iceland is onto another winner with their No Bull Burgers. Of all of the veggie burgers I’ve tried, these are the closest to real beef I’ve found. Aside from the added beetroot to give them a ‘bleeding’ effect (not necessary in my opinion, as this could make vegetarians and vegans a bit squeamish), they are close to perfect. They actually taste like a burger cooked over an open flame. I’d recommend shallow frying them for a better texture, but you can easily bake them if you’re not keen on adding extra oil. We enjoyed ours on a brioche bun with sliced tomatoes, pickles, lettuce and onion, and could have easily believed …

Spanish Butter Beans with Tomatoes

It’s been quite warm in Scotland these last couple of weeks, and the last thing I want to think about is food. So what do you eat when you can’t be bothered? I suggest something than is just as delicious at room temperature as it is when it’s hot. This simple recipe needs only a few ingredients and a relatively short cooking time. It also happens to be vegan. Makes four smallish portions, perfect for lunch or a light supper. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of olive oil 1 medium onion, diced 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped 250g dried butter beans, soaked and cooked (use tinned if you like) 2 400g tins of peeled plum tomatoes 1 vegetarian stock cube 2 tablespoons mild smoked paprika 200g baby leaf spinach 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped (optional garnish) In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until it begins to shimmer. Now add the onion and garlic and fry for two minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the tinned tomatoes. Use your cooking …

Gazpacho

I had the good fortune to spend a summer in Spain a few years ago, and I learned to make this version of gazpacho there. It’s a lovely, relaxed dish to have when the weather is hot and you can’t face turning on your oven or cooker. The secret to the authenticity of this recipe is the vinegar. It really needs to be sherry vinegar from Jerez. I buy Sainsbury’s own brand and it works very well. This is a smooth cold soup, so if you prefer a little texture, reserve and finely chop a bit of the pepper and cucumber. You can add this as a garnish just before serving. Ingredients: 2 slices of stale white bread  or 1 day-old petit pain 1 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar from Jerez 250ml cup cold water 6 ripe tomatoes, quartered 1 red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped 1 cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped Salt to taste Place the first four ingredients in the blender and whizz until liquefied. Now add the …

Yummy Vegan Burgers

My husband and I have been working on making the perfect veggie burger, and while we’ve found a few good recipes, none were perfect. So we’ve come up with our own. The burger we’ve created had the added benefit of being vegan. It’s also quite high in protein. Full disclosure: it’s a bit of a faff to make, but I promise the results are worth it. Using a 1/4 pound burger press, we got 15 burgers from this recipe. They freeze well, so it makes sense to make a lot in one go and have a couple of weeks’ worth of quick lunches. But if you’re not keen on making loads, this recipe scales down well. You can halve or even quarter it. You can customise your burgers using spices you like. Our favourite is Lakeland Burger Seasoning Mix. It’s surprisingly spicy! But if that’s not your thing, warm spices like smoked paprika, cumin, and chipotle work well. The trick to making veggie burgers with a pleasing texture is to keep as much excess liquid …

New Year Resolutions

I don’t tend to make resolutions – especially in January.  It’s so dark and cold, and I don’t feel like making major life changes.  Instead, I try to make tiny changes that make a big difference to my health and well-being.  Some haven’t stuck, but a few have.  So here is a list of easy beauty resolutions for 2017.  These are the ones I’ve managed to keep over the years. Cleanse your face every night before you go to bed.  I can’t impress upon you how important this is.  Find a cleanser that works for you.  For me, it’s Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm.  I use it every evening without fail and my skin looks better for it.  Proper daily cleansing is something you can do that will make an immediate and visible difference to your skin. Eat fresh fruit every day.  It doesn’t have to be a chore and you will eventually come to miss it if you accidentally forget.  Because it was January when I started this, I ate a tangerine most days, and …

Gin Soaked

My friend and I had the good fortune of attending a gin tasting at a wine and spirits shop called Wood Winters.  We were treated to eight different gins and instructed how to sample and appreciate them.  Most were good, some were ok, and one was spectacular.  My friend and I both left with a bottle of Brockman’s, and I suspect it’ll be a permanent fixture in my drinks cabinet.

Homemade Toaster Strudel

Sometimes we get a hankering for toaster strudel, but it isn’t something we can find in the frozen food section at the grocery store.  Ready-made puff pastry to the rescue!  With this and a bit of jam (or curd, conserve, or fruit), we can make wonderful strudel ourselves.  In fact, we can make just about any variety – far more than the limited flavour variations available in the US. Betty Crocker vanilla frosting in a can is the closest thing we’ve found to the original topping.  Just microwave a couple of tablespoons of frosting for a few seconds and drizzle it over the baked pastries. Homemade Toaster Strudel: 1 package ready-made puff pastry 1 jar of jam or conserve (you won’t need all of it) 1 can of prepared vanilla frosting (again, you won’t need much of this) 1 egg, beaten Unroll the pastry and cut into 8 equal pieces.  Spoon about a tablespoon of jam onto one side of the cut pastry and then brush around the edges with the egg (see picture above). …

Homemade Pumpkin Syrup

  I know it’s a bit passé, but I enjoy the flavour of spiced pumpkin this time of year, especially pumpkin chai and pumpkin lattes.  After trying several shop-bought syrups and finding them artificial, I decided to try to make pumpkin syrup myself.  It took two attempts, and the syrup isn’t very thick, but it’s absolutely delicious in tea and coffee. Easy Pumpkin Syrup: 1 cup chopped fresh pumpkin (you can use tinned pumpkin if you like) 1 cup caster sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 stick cinnamon, broken into pieces 5 whole cloves 1 teaspoon ground ginger 3 cardamom pods, opened but not crushed 1.5 cups of water Boil the pumpkin and the spices in the water until the pumpkin falls apart – 30-45 minutes. Cool slightly and carefully strain through a clean cloth* so that all of the liquid is collected.  Return the liquid back to the pan with the caster and the brown sugar and boil for about 10 minutes.  Then decant your lovely syrup into a sterile jar.  It’ll keep in …

Bird in the Hand

Yesterday, I noticed the tell-tale sign of a chilly night – condensation on the windscreen of my car and inside the greenhouse.   So I decided not to chance losing the remainder of my tomato crop and harvested the lot.  We now have four jars of gorgeous green tomato pickle – ready to bring a bit of sunshine this winter, when we’ll need it most.  

Winding Down

Nights are drawing in and the morning air is noticeably cooler.  As much as I don’t want to admit it, summer is coming to an end.  While most of September is technically summer, autumn is arriving.  While I’m never in a hurry to see summer go, I do love the fall – I can wear tights to hide my glowing white legs, put an extra snuggly blanket on the bed, and pick blackberries until my fingers are stained purple. After a few years of dismal wild food hunting, it looks as though we’re going to have fantastic crops this year.  The raspberries and strawberries have been excellent, and lovely blackberries are on the way.  I’ve scoped out my foraging areas and plan to make as much jam and jelly as my jam cupboard will hold.

Kalpna, Edinburgh

A view from my husband’s favourite restaurant, the Kalpna in Edinburgh. The food is amazing, and the service is always good. It’s my turn to pick where we go for our date night on Sunday. Can you guess where we’ll end up?