Grated carrot & beetroot salad

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On the run up to my little girls birthday party (which was only a few weeks ago but feels like a lifetime) we had some beautiful golden beetroot in our VegBag. I’d never even heard of it before last year, but am thrilled each time it appears now and can’t get enough of it!

It’s very beetrooty on the surface but golden yellow in colour once peeled, very sweet and doesn’t get you nearly as messy when preparing it as the traditional stuff does. Since starting to use beetroot as a salad base last winter, I’ve become very partial to this dish and it was a great success as side for the chicken drumsticks and sausages at the party. I made a mountain as you can see in the photo and it was all gone within half an hour.

All you need to do is grate equal amounts of raw, peeled beetroot and raw, peeled carrot (I did about a kilo of each), then add a big sprinkling of mixed seeds and dress with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste. Completely delicious for any occasion. And if you can’t get hold of the golden variety, red beets work just as well.

If you have a grating function on a kitchen gadget use it! I was grating by hand for months before having a brainwave and throwing everything into my Vitamix. Now this dish literally takes seconds to create.

 

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Kid friendly choccie treats

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Now that my little girl is off egg, making treats for her has been my new challenge. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t have chocolate every day, far from it but at the weekend when everyone else is tucking into a delicious cake, it would be unfair for her to not have anything. These little babies are a modified version of this, they’re a bit sweeter and I’ve left out the seeds. We had friends over for lunch and they were given the seal of approval by all the kids – aged 9, 4 & 3.

Ingredients (to fill 12 cupcake cases):
100g desiccated coconut
100g dates
100g pecans
40g 100% cocoa powder
Tbsp honey
100ml olive oil
50ml coconut oil

Method:
– either whiz all the ingredients together in your blender on the highest setting OR;

– grind the pecans and dates (or finely chop by hand), then mix in the coconut. In a separate bowl mix together the oils and cocoa until nice and smooth, then incorporate into the other bowl

– divide into cases and refrigerate for at least four hours

Raw vegan chocolate crunch-cakes

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As if my three year old’s diet wasn’t restricted enough, we discovered this week that she has now become intolerant of egg. If it was me the news would have been the end of my world, as I strongly believe there is no better start to the day, but thankfully three year olds are more resilient when it comes to these matters. Although she did look at me the day of diagnosis, and with a rather concerned voice ask ‘but what will I eat now for breakfast’? Bless her.

As you can imagine I’ve been beavering away in my kitchen, conjuring up eggless delights. These lil vegan treats are very rich and very more-ish, totally fab with a drizzle of goats cream on the top. I’ll definitely be making several batches over the holidays. Not sure they are entirely suitable for a three year old however…

Ingredients (for 12):
80g pecans
80g dates
80g cashews
80g desiccated coconut
40g cocoa powder
100ml olive oil
50ml coconut oil
2 heaped tbsp mixed seeds

Method:
– line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases

– either whiz everything except the seeds together in the blender until combined, then mix in the seeds by hand OR finely chop the nuts and dates, and mix with the other ingredients

– divide into the cases and place in the fridge to set. They will be quite gloopy and need a good few hours. Serve with cream and store in the fridge

 

Rum Truffles

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With Christmas around the corner I’ve been thinking of ways to ensure we don’t go without sweet treats, but don’t fall off the sugar wagon. I’ve been creating truffles this week, and have to say they are not bad at all! Super easy to make, and about as primal as you’re gonna get for this sort of thing.

Ingredients (for 24):
150g pecan nuts
75g unsweetened desiccated coconut
75g dates
40g cocoa
50ml dark rum
50ml coconut oil
50ml freshly brewed espresso
1-2 tbsp good honey (optional, to taste)
Tbsp good vanilla extract
25g each of cocoa & coconut for rolling

Method:
– either whiz everything together in a powerful blender until a dough forms, or chop the pecans and dates real tiny and mix with the other ingredients by hand until a dough forms

– lay out a large sheet of cling film and tip your mixture onto it.

– pack into a tightly rolled sausage shape and twist the ends, then refrigerate for at least an hour

– unroll the sausage and slice into 24 pieces

– mix together the extra cocoa and coconut on a large plate

– roll each piece around on the plate and into a little ball, then place your truffles in petit fours cases

– sprinkle the end result with a touch more coconut… The perfect Xmas treat or gift for friends

 

Lightly roasted fennel soup

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We had a lovely bulb of fennel with tops attached in our veg bag this week, and it was a miserable old day yesterday so I wanted something soothing and warm for lunch rather than my usual salad. Soup always springs to mind when I’m in that kind of mood, and this refreshing, filling concoction really hit the spot. After a bit of research I also discovered that fennel is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium and fibre – what more of an excuse do you need to make this tasty recipe?

Ingredients (for 2-4 servings):
600ml fresh stock
Bulb of fennel (& tops if you have)
Med sized swede (peeled & cut into 6)
Med sized red onion
Large carrot or two small ones
Freshly ground sea salt & black pepper
1-2 tbsp olive oil
(optional) knob of butter or drizzle of ghee or olive oil

Method:
– if you’re making stock on the same day as the soup, keep hold of the onion and carrot and add to the proceedings at the end when you are blending

– when you’re ready to start cooking your soup preheat the oven to 180 and generously grease a baking tray with olive oil

– wash your bulb and remove the outer layer if it’s particularly tough. Lay the fennel tops on the baking tray and place the bulb on top. Scatter the sweet potato around it

– if you do not have carrot and onion from the stock, then prep now and add to the baking tray. Peel and halve the onion, and top & tail and peel the carrot. You’ll need to chop it fairly small as carrot takes longer to cook than the other veg. I chop mine into large batons as I would if I were prepping crudités

– give the veg a liberal sprinkling of salt and pepper, and put the knob of butter if you are using on top of the fennel. Cook for 30 mins

– remove from the oven and place in your trusty blender or food processor. Add hot stock and whiz on high until you get the consistency you enjoy

 

Beautiful Brownie Bites

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These little vegan beauts came about because I was playing around with some past brownie recipes and completely forgot to add any egg. They’re really tasty and perfect for a teeny tiny treat without the guilt. Also great to serve up if you happen to be entertaining vegan friends.

Ingredients (for 12):
50g ground almonds
50g cashew nuts
50g dates
20g cocoa powder
60ml coconut oil
120ml coconut milk
2 tbsp hazelnut butter

Method:
– preheat the oven to 175 and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cases

– put all ingredients into your blender or food processor and whiz on high for about ten seconds until you have smoothie consistency

– divide the mixture equally into the cases and bake for 10 minutes

– take out of the oven and place in the fridge to cool down and set

– they’ll need to be in the fridge for about an hour, after which time you’ll have delish gooey mini-brownies. Be warned one is never enough!

 

Roasted red pepper & aubergine dip

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Dips are possibly the easiest starter to knock up when you have guests and this is no exception. Very scrummy and well received, this creation will continue being made.

Ingredients:
Aubergine (peeled and cut into 16)
3 red peppers (chopped in half and deseeded)
Large or two small red onions (peeled, left whole)
Large or two small cloves of garlic
Red chili (deseeded)
Tbsp sesame oil
Tsp tamari
Tbsp tahini
Juice of half a lime
2 tbsp cooking juices or stock*

Method:
– preheat the oven to 180 degrees

– place all the veggies in a bowl and coat well in the sesame oil and tamari

– place on the baking tray and cook for 30 mins

– allow to cool down, then whiz together with the lime, tahini and cooking juices/stock until smooth

– serve with carrot batons and cucumber discs

*I was cooking a roast pork, so used some of the juices from the bottom of the pan. The juice from any roast would work in this, alternatively you could use veg or meat stock