Category Archives: Dairy Free

Japanese Simmered Pumpkin (Kabocha no nimono)

1/2 Japanese pumpkin (kabocha)

3 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp soy sauce

– Deseed the pumpkin and roughly peel (leave some bits of peel there). Chop into large chunks.

– Place skin side down in a large pan and just cover with water. Bring to a boil.

– Add the sugar and salt and simmer on a low heat until the liquid is half reduced.

– Add the mirin and soy sauce and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced in half again.

– Either serve warm or leave to cool completely.

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Japanese, Mains, Sides

Yakitori

I LOVE Yakitori!  But I often forget about how easy it is to prepare and how delicious it is to eat!  It’s a mainstay of Japanese food found on street stalls and izakaya menus across the country.  I have some absolutely perfect memories of eating Yakitori across Japan on my travels.

Yakitori

It’s usually served as a snack, side dish or a dish amongst many but you can make it as a main in its own right.  I had it with a bowl of rice and some gyoza here.  It’s a brilliant option for BBQs as something a little different and makes a great canape option too.

Yakitori

One of the great things about Yakitori is that you don’t need to marinate the meat.  You just make the sauce and brush it on as you cook it.  You could even make the sauce in advance (and soak your skewers) then it’s simply a matter of 10 minutes on the  grill!

Yakitori

 

Makes 6 skewers (serves 2 as a main)

2 chicken breasts, sliced lengthways into strips (or chunks, whatever you prefer!)
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup granulated sugar

– Place your mirin, soy sauce and sugar in a small pan and bring to a boil.  Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes on a low head but don’t let it get too hot or you will end up with salty toffee!
– Once the sauce is reduced and thickened (about the consistency of double cream) remove it from the heat.
– Reserve a little of your sauce for dipping once cooked
– Thread your chicken onto presoaked bamboo skewers.
– I like to give the chicken a quick coating of sauce before placing on the grill.
– Then put them on the grill and brush every minute or two with sauce.
– Give one final coating just before you serve for a glossy, sticky finish.
– Serve however you wish!

Yakitori

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Filed under Canapés, Dairy Free, Easy, Japanese, Low Fat, Mains, Sides

Prawns and Red Lentils with Rice

This dish came about because I had defrosted a bunch of prawns for a salad… and then the weather changed.  It was horrible!  So I wanted a nice, warming, filling dish to warm me up and bring some sunshine back into my life! This prawn and red lentil dish hit the spot nicely!

Prawns and Red Lentils with Rice

It was nice and simple to throw together and just half an hour of simmering works wonders on the depth of flavour you get from a dish like this.  The ingredient list might seem a bit long but I promise you, it doesn’t take that long to throw it all in a pan and the combination of flavours really works!  I also managed to get my workout in while it was simmering so that was a nice bonus!

Prawns and Red Lentils with Rice

Serves 4

1/2 onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp dried coriander leaves
1 sweet red pepper, sliced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
+ 1 tin boiling water
3 tbsp coconut milk powder ( or 1 sachet coconut cream)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp garlic puree ( 1-2 cloves, crushed)
1 vegetable stock cube
8 tbsp red lentils
~ 150g prawns, defrosted (I used a mix of king prawns and coldwater prawns)

– Heat a splash of oil in a large heavy frying pan (I adore my enamel cast iron pan for this kind of dish!)
– Add the onion and spices and gently cook for a few minutes until the onion in soft and the spices are fragrant.
– Add the pepper and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally.
– Add the tinned tomato, rinsing out the tin with the hot water, to coconut milk powder, the tomato puree, garlic puree and the stock cube. Give it a good stir to mix.
– Add the lentils and stir in.
– Leave to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and the liquid reduced by half.
– Add the prawns and heat through until piping hot.
– Serve with rice, or without as a nice Fast Day option.  You can sprinkle a little fresh chopped coriander on top for a little more panache!

Prawns and Red Lentils with Rice

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains

Salmon and Veggies in Foil Packets

A simple dish to throw together these salmon and veggies in foil packets are an easy, tasty and very low mess way of prepping a nice fillet of salmon and some beautiful fresh veggies.  Use whatever veggies float your boat.  Here I’ve used baby courgettes, sweet red peppers and asparagus but you could use bok choi, tomatoes, aubergine.  Lemon slices are a really nice addition too but sadly I didn’t have any in! You can prep them in advance and then store them in the fridge so they’re great for a weeknight supper.

Salmon and Veggies in Foil Packets

 

Serves 2

2 salmon fillets
1 baby courgette, split lengthways
1 sweet red pepper, split lengthways and deseeded
a handful of asparagus spears

– Heat the oven to gas mark 5.
– Lay all of your veggies out on a large sheet of foil.
– Place the salmon on top.
– Fold in the edges of your foil to make a sealed parcel.
– Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes until the veggies are tender and the salmon cooked through.

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains

Cumin Roasted Cauliflower

This recipe is easy peasy lemon squeasy and DELCIOUS!  I have an unholy love for cauliflower and it all started because of this recipe!

Cumin Roasted Cauliflower

So quick, so simple, so delicious!  It makes an excellent side dish for any curry, or even just with a roast (with cumin or without,it’s up to you!) I confess, if I’m making this and there are leftovers I often just snack on this coldas I’m passing it in the kitchen, it’s so good!!!

Cumin Roasted Cauliflower

Serves 4 (or 1 Anna)

1 large head cauliflower
oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
sea salt

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Chop the cauliflower into florets.
– Put it in an oven proof baking dish.
– Drizzle with oil.
– Scatter with cumin seeds and a pinch of sea salt.
– Roast for 30 minutes until browned.
– CONSUME!

 

 

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Sticky Date Slice

My mother was a brilliant, sneaky mother. She found ways to get us to eat really healthy things and make it fun and tasty! These sticky date slices were a staple snack in our family and it’s only as an adult when I asked for the recipe that I realised just how good for you they are! To me they’re still a fantastic sweet treat, I just get to enjoy them even more now!

Sticky Date Slice

They are so quick and easy to make too, throw it all in a food processor, blitz it up, rolls, chill, slice and wrap!  Now I have a little stash of these in my fridge whenever I need a quick boost of energy (mostly that post-work pre-dog walk ten minute break I get!)

Sticky Date Slice

I suspect that if you made these into balls rather than slices then they would be in the ‘powerball’ category of healthy snacking.  But let’s not ruin something delicious by loading it down with too much virtue!

Sticky Date Slice

Makes 12 (~70 kcal each)

175g dates (pitted)
50g whole almonds
50g rolled oats
1 tsp honey
~1 tbsp cold water

– Put the dates and the almonds in a food processor and blitz until all chopped up.  You can go for longer if you want a smooth slice, or leave it chunkier for more bite.
– Add the oats and honey and blitz again.
– With the motor running add the water slowly until it comes together in a ball.  You may need a little more water if your dates were very dry but don’t add too much or you will get a VERY sticky slice!
– Turn out onto baking parchment and roll out to a little under the size of an A4 piece of paper.  About 5mm thick.
– Place in the fridge and chill for about an hour.
– Remove from the fridge, slice and wrap in cling film then store in the fridge for later.  (You can also keep them in an airtight container at room temperature but I prefer the bite from keeping them in the fridge!)

 

 

 

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Filed under Breakfasts, Cookies and Biscuits, Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Teatime Treats

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

November’s Clandestine Cake Club challenge for the York group was enough to tempt me back into the fold.  The challenge was to produce a vegan AND gluten free cake.  Well, I couldn’t pass up on that kind of fun, could I?

I chose to go for a chocolate cherry cake… because YUM!  But you could really take this cake in any number for directions for a scrumptious, vegan, gluten free, packed full of flavour, moist and delicious cake!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

It is equally at home being a loaf or a layer cake.  Whether you are after something for a celebration or just a little something to serve with tea.

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

So often I find the texture of gluten free cakes to be lacking.  There’s something just not right about them.  However, this cake proves that not only does it not have to be that way but that you can make a quick, easy, fuss free gluten free AND vegan cake without making any sacrifices at all!  What’s not to like about that?!?!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

Makes 1 cake (Large loaf or 2×7″ victoria sponge tins)

1 cup gluten free flour mix (I like Asda’s own brand one.  It’s mainly rice, potato starch and tapioca flour and works well in a variety of recipes.)
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (Make sure no milk has been snuck in, you are after cocoa powder, never ever drinking chocolate!)
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder (Most are but always best to check!)
1 cup soya or almond milk
1 tbsp Trex solid vegetable fat
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g plain chocolate (Check for milk!)
100ml soya or almond milk
cherry jam
glace cherries to decorate
plain chocolate sprinkles

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3/170C and prepare your chosen tins by greasing and lining them.  (If you use silicone tins then no need to line, this recipe won’t stick.)
– In a large mixing bowl combine the flour mix, the almonds, the sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder.
– In a small saucepan heat together the milk, fat and syrup until all melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine into a smooth batter.
– Pour the batter into your prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes.  (Loaf tin may well take a little longer to cook in the centre.)
– Test with a skewer to check if it is done in the middle.  If the skewer comes out clean then place it on a wore rack to cool, otherwise pop it back in for another 5-10 minutes.
– To make the icing melt the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl.  30 seconds, stir it, then another 20 seconds work for my microwave but they are all different so go slowly in short bursts, checking and stirring regularly.  Alternatively you can place the bowl over a pan of boiling water until the chocolate melts.
– Pour in the milk and mix vigorously to combine into a smooth ganache.
– When your cakes are cool spread jam in the centre if using, then ice the top with the ganache and decorate with cherries and sprinkles!

 

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Filed under Cakes, Dairy Free, Easy, Gluten Free, Low Fat

Sloe Gin

Autumn is here!  And with it come a wealth of free hedgerow foods and abundant old wives’ tales to guide you on your foraging!  Having been indulging in Blackberry and Apple Pie and Brown Betty for weeks now the first frost has come and so blackberries are out (the devil’s claw has been upon them!) but it’s open season on the sloes!

Sloes have had some ups and downs over the past few years but it seems like a good year for them around here so get out and see what you can pick!  This sloe gin is well worth the wait, I’ve just cracked open last year’s stash and, just like every year, I am reminded of just how good this stuff is and questioning why I don’t drink it year round!

Sloe Gin

 

Makes 1 bottle*

350g sloes*
175g granulated sugar*
8 blanched almonds
1 pint gin*

– First step, freeze your sloes.  Or spend 3 hours pricking each and every one of them with a small knife.  Your choice.
– In a large jar or bottle with a wide neck (make sure it seals properly!) layer your frozen sloes and sugar so its nicely combined.
– Add the blanched almonds.
–  Add the gin at room temperature.  The shock of the gin on the frozen sloes will cause the skins to split, you may even hear them cracking like ice cubes!
– Put in a safe, cool place and then shake once a week for 6 months-the end of time. (Mum has a bottle she’s been working on for at least 5 years, its brilliant!)
–  Strain the sloes and almonds from the gin leaving just the liquid.  **
– Enjoy with ice and tonic, or as a bonfire night tipple straight from a hip flask!  Warms you up a treat!

* As with all foraging expeditions your harvest varies.  If you have come home with say 2kg of sloes (well done you!) then simply use half the amount of sugar to the weight of sloes (so 1kg) and when adding gin you want the sloe/sugar mix to come about halfway up the bottle leaving the rest of the room for gin.

As for gin, DO NOT go using Bombay Sapphire or the like in this recipe.  It’s a waste!  Lidl, Aldi and the like do perfectly acceptable gin at a good price especially when you are going to be adding so much fruit and sugar to it.  There’s no need to break the bank!

** If you don’t want to waste the sloes you can go on to use them in Sloe and Apple Jelly by simply adding them to this recipe.

 

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Filed under Dairy Free, Drinks, Easy, Gluten Free, Jams and Preserves

Vegan Surprise Inside Cake

This delicious cake with a “surprise inside” wasn’t actually meant to be vegan.  I was playing around with different ideas and it was only when I came to write down the recipe that I realised that it was actually vegan!  Which was another happy surprise!

I decided to go for a simple bone shape hidden inside this cake as Halloween is so nearly upon us.  I contemplated doing a bat but unfortunately the cutter was too wide for the loaf tin!  This cake has a lovely springy, dense texture and is a brilliant option for kids as the cake doesn’t crumble when subjected to rough toddler handling.  This cake is really robust and travels well, even through the post!

Vegan Surprise Inside Cake

Makes 1 large loaf (plus a whole bunch of chocolate offcuts!)

Chocolate Cake:
2 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of soft brown sugar
1 large tablespoon of Trex (or another solid vegetable fat, coconut oil might work well here!) 
2 tablespoons of golden syrup (I just go for one hulking great dollop!)
1 cup of soya milk

Orange Cake:
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of golden caster sugar
1 large tablespoon of Trex (or another solid vegetable fat, coconut oil might work well here!) 
2 tablespoons of golden syrup (Again, one hulking great dollop!)
1 cup of soya milk
zest and juice of one orange

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3 / 170C. Line a large loaf tin with baking parchment or similar.
– Measure out the flour, cocoa, bicarb and sugar into a large mixing bowl.
– Place the soya milk, golden syrup and Trex in a small saucepan.
– Gently heat until the Trex and golden syrup are melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mix well to combine completely.
– Scrape out the mixture into the loaf tin.
– Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
– Remove the cake from the oven, lift out of the tin by the paper and allow to cool.
– Slice your cake into thick slices the depth of your chosen cutter.
– Cut out one shape from each slice and place to one side.
Now for the orange cake!
– Heat the oven to gas mark 3 / 170C. Line the same large loaf tin with baking parchment or similar.
– Measure out the flour, bicarb and sugar into a large mixing bowl.
– Place the soya milk, golden syrup and Trex in a small saucepan.
– Gently heat until the Trex and golden syrup are melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, add the zest and juice of the orange and mix well to combine completely.
– Scrape 1/3 of the mixture into the loaf tin, level it out.
– Place your cut out shapes in a neat row along the centre loaf tin, pressing down gently into the cake mixture below.
– Carefully scrape the rest of the cake batter out on top of the chocolate cake shapes.
– Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
– Remove the cake from the oven, lift out of the tin by the paper and allow to cool.
– Peel off the paper and serve!

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Filed under Cakes, Dairy Free, Low Fat, Moderately easy

Falafel

 

 

 

Falafel is something I have had a troubled relationship with.  For years I wanted to like it, I just couldn’t!  Everything was ether too bland or too spicy or too mushy or just not right!  However, with this recipe I really feel like I’ve cracked it.  And I feel that the key is to really amp up the spices.  Not too much chili, but spices, the cumin and coriander, and a good dash of salt and pepper, are what are going to make your falafel sing! 
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It helps if you think of your falafel as portable hummous.  Just as a bland humous is nobody’s friend, so too for falafel so even if you look at these quantities and think I’m crazy, remember, chickpeas are delicious but only with the proper accessories!

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The wonderful thing about this falafel recipe is that it healthy and simple.  You basically put everything in a food processor and blitz it up! Simple!  And to keep the calorie count down on these falafel I oven bake them rather than frying them.  Would frying them make them tastier… well, yeah, probably! But I can’t afford those calories so oven baking it is!  That’s why we amp up the spices, what you lose in fat you can make up in flavour!

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Makes ~15 falafel balls

2 x 400g tins of chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 LARGE cloves of garlic, peeled
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp fresh coriander
2 tbsp plain flour
~ 2 tbsp water if necessary

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Put everything except the water in the food processor.
– Blitz, scrape down the bowl, blitz again.  You want to keep blitzing until you have about half coarse mix, half smooth paste in there.  You don’t want to keep going until you get hummous!
– If it’s just not coming together into a paste at all then you might just need a little extra moisture to bind it so gradually add a little water at a time until it just comes together.  You don’t want to add too much or you get a soft, sticky falafel!
– Using your hands (or if you’re weird about these things feel free to use spoons/a small ice cream scoop) grab a ping pong ball sized amount of mixture and gently shape it into a nice round ball.
– Place on a very lightly greased baking tray (a quick spray with olive oil will do) and repeat until your mixture is all gone.
– Give all of your falafel a light spritz with an olive oil spray.
– Place in the top of the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  The falafel should just be turning brown in places and should be crisp to the touch.
– Serve with salad, pita and haydari… or whatever else takes your fancy!

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Low Fat, Mains