This morning, I opened the freezer to get some frozen fruit to make myself a nice healthy smoothie. Then I saw the crumpets… but – get me and my steely resolve – I resisted them, telling myself I’d have the crumpets for lunch instead.
I don’t know what happened but, instead of toasting the crumpets at lunchtime, I made some spinach and tomato soup. Not really the same thing, is it? Ho hum.
I made this vegan soup in my soup maker but if you’re going to make it on the hob, then fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, simmer for 20 minutes or so, then blend.
You can use any stock you like but I made my own ‘instant chicken’less bouillon powder’ from the recipe on the Gentle Chef website.
A bag of kale seems to last forever, doesn’t it? If you’ve got a never-ending bag of kale in your fridge, here’s something to do with it. This recipe is loosely based on the one in Ani’s Raw Food Essentials – it was her idea to add the agave nectar. I won’t bother with the agave nectar next time as, although it added a nice sweetness, it made the chips too sticky for my liking.
I’ll also fill up all the dehydrator trays with kale next time because a couple of large handfuls (two trays’ worth) of kale seemed like a lot at the time but it shrank down loads and only made a ramekin’s worth of chips. And you’re going to want more than one ramekin’s worth, I can tell you. If you’re in the market for a dehydrator, I can recommend the Froothie Optimum P200 Dehydrator.
Why did I wait so long to get a dehydrator? What I’ve eaten from it so far has made me want to give up pizza and become a raw foodist. Well, that might be a bit hasty, especially as it’s Friday and Friday night is chippy chips night, so any new raw foodist lifestyle will have to hang on for a bit.
But, these raw crackers I made are amazing. I tried some raw crackers a couple of years ago when I bought some at VegFest but I didn’t like them. So I wasn’t expecting great things from these but now I never want to eat anything else, ever. They’re especially good spread with the best ever hummus and topped with olives.
The original recipe is here but I added chilli flakes because, well, you know… chilli…
You know I said how much I loved Bodychef’s feta and pepper spread? Well, I loved it so much I decided to make my own. Mine had a thinner texture than Bodychef’s but you can add as much or as little oil as you like, depending on your own personal taste.
I said on Facebook I could eat this with a spoon and, after getting the munchies after drinking a bottle of wine, that’s exactly what I did – using celery as a spoon. Ah well, at least it’s healthier than getting the munchies and pigging out on crisps and chocolate.
Because I’d eaten all my spread, I had none left for lunch the next day, so I made another one – this time using a carrot instead of a red pepper.
Roasted red pepper and feta spread
1 red pepper
100g feta cheese
20g sundried tomatoes
salt and pepper
chilli flakes (optional)
Core and deseed the red pepper and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200C.
Add the red pepper and the rest of the ingredients, except for the olive oil to a food processor and blitz.
Drizzle in the olive oil until you get the consistency you require (I used the oil that was in the jar of sundried tomatoes).
Use a carrot instead of a red pepper (no need to bake it first). Add jalapenos and/or chilli flakes. Experiment!
The Complete Bread Machine Cookbook had been in my Amazon Wishlist for a few years but I never got around to buying it, probably because I don’t use my other bread machine cookbooks that much and didn’t see the point in buying another one just to not use that one much either. But when I saw it in a local charity shop a couple of weeks ago for just £1, I thought I might as well buy it.
I’m really glad I bought it, as it includes a recipe for the best pizza dough I’ve made in a bread machine.
According to the blurb at the front of the dough chapter, it says it may be necessary to leave the dough in the bucket to carry on rising, even after the programme has finished, until it reaches almost to the top and/or doubles in size. As I’d halved the original recipe (if you don’t want to halve it and haven’t got a lot of people to feed, you can freeze the other half of the dough), I didn’t know how much further it would rise, but I left it in the bucket for another twenty minutes or so after the programme has finished and I think it rose a bit more.
You’ll see in the instructions below (no. 6) that it says to roll the dough out and put in a tin, then spread with tomato puree or passata, then covering with oiled paper and putting in the fridge. I didn’t bother with this bit but just – after kneading the dough – covered it with some oiled baking paper and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then I rolled it out and covered it with tomato sauce (make your own with a tin of chopped tomatoes and herbs) and my favourite toppings of olives, mushrooms, red pepper, mozzarella, Cheddar and chilli flakes.
2 tbsp olive oil
450g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
7g sachet instant or fast-acting yeast
Pour the water into the breadmaker bucket, then add the oil and half the flour.
Sprinkle with the salt and sugar.
Cover with the remaining flour and mound the yeast into the centre.
Fit the bucket into the breadmaker and set to the dough programme.
When ready, remove the dough from the bucket and quickly knead on a floured surface.
Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a round large enough to fit two 25-30 cm/10-12 in well-greased pizza tins, gently pulling and stretching the dough to fit. Pinch up the edges all round to make a lip, then spread with the tomato puree or passata.
Cover with oiled paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cover with your favourite toppings and bake for 20-25 minutes at 220C/gas mark 7 until the pizzas are well risen and the cheese is bubbling.
I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this week with absolutely no energy and getting out of breath just walking up a few stairs. With Juneathon approaching, this just won’t do, so today I made a batch of spicy soup – if this doesn’t sort me out, nothing will. The original recipe called for a pinch of cayenne but who wants just a pinch of spice? Not me, that’s for sure, so I also added some chilli flakes as I am a firm believer that chilli cures everything.
Because I’d made my own vegan mayonnaise a few days ago, obviously it contained no preservatives, which meant I needed to actually use the stuff and not leave it in the fridge ignoring the ‘use within six weeks’ you see on shop bought mayos.
I’d had it with some pizza and also this week I’ve had it for lunch in pitta bread with some mashed-up chickpeas.
It’s seriously simple. Just mash up some chickpeas with a fork or potato masher, add salt and pepper and anything else you fancy (in my case, chilli flakes), mix it up with mayo, and stuff it in some pitta bread with salad. You can’t really see the salad in my photo but it’s there, honest.
In Wholefoods the other day, I bought a Raw Chocolate Chilli Pie. It was delicious and inspired me to make my own. I didn’t have all the ingredients listed on the label so I had a look for a raw chilli chocolate recipe using cacao powder and coconut oil and stumbled across this raw chocolate recipe. Their recipe calls for cacao butter, which I didn’t have, so I used coconut oil instead.
These raw chocolates are delicious – why did I only make six of them; they’ll be gone in no time! They only take a couple of minutes to make and you could add any flavourings you want. I added desiccated coconut to mine – next time I think I’ll add a bit of vanilla, too.
Raw Chilli Coconut Chocolate (makes 6)
50g coconut oil
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
1-2 tbsp agave nectar
3 tbsp desiccated coconut
pinch of rock salt
chilli flakes – add depending on how hot you want it
Heat a pan of water and place a bowl over it.
Melt the coconut oil in the bowl.
Add the raw cacao powder and mix well with a whisk.
Remove from the heat and add the agave nectar and mix in.
Add the desiccated coconut, salt and chilli flakes.
Pour into moulds/cases.
Leave to set in the freezer for about 20 minutes, or a couple of hours in the fridge.
This is the nicest soup I’ve made for ages and more than makes up for the disastrous soup I made last week. Of course, it could be because it’s got chilli in it; chilli improves everything (except avocado. Nothing could improve that. Bleurgh).
The recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food website but I didn’t use any coriander or yoghurt and I didn’t leave it as a rough puree – I blitzed it until it was smooth.
There are chickpeas in it, honest.
Red lentil, chickpea and chilli soup (serves 4)
2 tsp cumin seeds
large pinch chilli flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
140g red split lentils
850ml vegetable stock
400g chopped tomatoes
1/2 can chickpeas
Heat a large saucepan and dry fry the cumin and chilli flakes for 1 minute, or until they start to jump around the pan and release their aromas. Add the oil and onion, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils, stock and tomatoes, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils have softened.
Whizz the soup with a stick blender, then add the chickpeas and heat through.