Summer Fruit Superfood Smoothie with Acai Berry Powder

Acai berry powder smoothie

I may not know whether they do any good or not but I do like to add superfoods to my smoothies. Except for spirulina – there’s just no disguising the rancid taste or smell of that stuff.

I’m happy to say the acai berry powder Selva Organic sent me neither smells nor tastes rancid. It’s also a dark purple colour, which pleases my inner goth. Acai berry powder is loaded with omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, fibre, protein and other nutrients and yesterday a spoonful of it went into my lunchtime smoothie.

Despite moaning inwardly there weren’t any bananas left to have in my smoothie, this smoothie of kiwi fruit, frozen summer fruit, cashews, dates, acai berry powder, soya milk and water is now up in my top ten smoothies. It goes to show you should always keep a bag of frozen fruit in the freezer for those bananaless emergencies.

Selva Organic don’t just sell acai berry powder – they have a 14-strong range of South American superfoods starting at £5.99. To check out their range and for more information on the benefits of superfoods, visit the Selva Organic website.

Veganuary Day 13 – Dinner 

For dinner last night we had vegan chilli on jacket potatoes again, with mine being topped with Violife vegan cheese and home made vegan sour cream. As I made it last week and posted a pic of it then and it didn’t look any different last night, in true Blue Peter style, here’s one I made earlier.

Jacket potato with vegan chilli, cheese and sour cream
Jacket potato with vegan chilli, cheese and sour cream

Tomorrow (Friday), I’ve decided I’m going to go into town and be brave and order a hot chocolate in Caffè Nero with soya milk (I know… I know… on a bravery scale of 1-10, it’s not even on the scale. My scale begins at minus-something). I’ve checked Caffè Nero’s website and they do a vegan houmous and falafel wrap and if they’ve sold out of them when I get there, I’m going to have the hump as it will be my first purposely vegan meal outside of the house.

I’ll report back on my vegan food foraging on Saturday.




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My First Veganuary – Day 5

Spinach, apple, carrot, clementine, chia seeds, coconut water Nutriblast

Veganuary banner

Veganuary Day 5 started off with a Nutriblast as usual (for my review of my Nutribullet, go here) and today’s Nutriblast was a combination of spinach, apple, carrot, clementine, chia seeds and coconut water. I haven’t had a carrot in a Nutriblast before but I had half of one left over from Monday’s stew, so I chucked it in. I’ve said before, it doesn’t seem to matter what I chuck in my Nutribullet, it always turns out fine, unlike when you juice without a recipe to guide you and it turns out like swamp water (she says, immediately before posting a photo of something resembling swamp water).

Spinach, apple, carrot, clementine, chia seeds, coconut water Nutriblast
Spinach, apple, carrot, clementine, chia seeds and coconut water Nutriblast


Lunch was another Nutriblast but, unlike my breakfast ones which I make into more of a juice, I like my lunchtime Nutriblasts to be more substantial and to contain more protein, so I filled up the tall Nutribullet cup with spinach, banana, kiwi fruit, passion fruit, dates, cashews, cacao and topped it up with soya milk and water. This filled me up to the verge of needing an afternoon nap.

Deconstructed Nutriblast
Deconstructed Nutriblast


Despite my Facebook friend Pete declaring a pie isn’t a pie unless it’s made of lard (forgive him, he’s northern), dinner was a Linda McCartney Country Pie, mashed potato (mine mashed with soya milk and Vitalite) and baked beans.

Linda McCartney Country Pie, mash and beans
Linda McCartney Country Pie, mash and beans

For a snack, I had hot chocolate and an Oat Flip (see yesterday’s post for hot chocolate and Oat Flip info and photo).

There’s nothing I’ve missed yet (what’s to miss when you can still eat pie and mash, huh?) and I definitely haven’t been hungry – I haven’t been snacking as much as I did before taking part in Veganuary and although I was having a couple of Oreos a day before January, a packet remains unopened in the kitchen (that’s probably because I’ve discovered how nice Oat Flips are).

Come back tomorrow to read about my bravery in Wetherspoons.


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Chia Bia Milled & Whole Chia Seeds

Chia Bia Chia & Cranberry Mix
Chia seeds are great in smoothies

Chia seeds are known as the ‘superfood of the 21st century’ but, unlike some other ‘superfoods’ such as spirulina, chia seeds are tasteless, so you get all the nutrition without any of that ‘I’m only eating this because it’s good for me’ nonsense. (My apologies to anyone who thinks spirulina tastes nice.)

Because chia seeds are so high in omega 3, protein, fibre and antioxidants, people use them for:

  • digestive disorders
  • heart health
  • increased energy levels
  • joint pain or arthritis
  • improved memory and concentration
  • weight loss
  • lowered cholesterol
  • increased endurance
  • hydration
  • protection against muscle cramping
  • reduced fatigue

And, because chia seeds are tasteless, that means you can use them in all sorts of ways such as adding them to flapjacks, sprinkling over your breakfast cereal, stirring into yoghurt and – something I do every day – adding them to smoothies.

Banana, mango, pineapple and chia seed smoothie
Banana, mango, pineapple and chia & cranberrry mix smoothie

I’d bought a load of single-use sachets of chia seeds that had been reduced in price from 65p to 16p in Tesco the other week but, coincidentally, just as they were about to run out, Chia Bia (the leading supplier of high quality chia seed products in Europe) asked if I’d like to try their range of chia seeds which includes not just the whole seeds but also milled chia seeds and chia seeds in powder form, including cranberry and blueberry.

The Chia Bia chia seed range
The Chia Bia chia seed range

I used some of Chia Bia’s powdered chia & cranberry mix in today’s lunch of a tropical smoothie of banana, mango, pineapple and soya milk. Another benefit of chia is that it absorbs up to ten times its weight in water so, as well as keeping you hydrated for longer, it also keeps you fuller for longer, too.

Chia seed recipes

If you fancy doing something other than bunging them in your smoothies, here are a few more ways to use chia seeds.

For more information on the Chia Bia range and on chia seeds in general, visit the Chia Bia website.


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Recipe: Vegan Leek and Potato Soup

Vegan leek and potato soup

Another thick and creamy soup using cashews and soya milk – this time, the always popular leek and potato. I don’t know what it is, but my leek and potato soup never comes out as nice as the ones in the tins, but it’s probably the cream and additives and other unhealthy stuff, but I’m sure I’ll make the perfect vegan leek and potato soup one day – I’ll just have to keep experimenting.

Again, as with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I made the other day, I started this soup off in the frying pan, and finished it in the soup maker. If you haven’t got a soup maker, just add the stock and seasoning to the pan, simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked, leave the milk out until the end, then blend.

Recipe: Vegan Leek and Potato Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
  • 300g potatoes, cubed
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked for a few hours or in boiling water for 20 minutes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 750ml stock
  • ½ cup soya milk
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes
  2. Add the leeks and fry for a few more minutes
  3. Add the potato and mix in with the onions and leeks
  4. If using a soup maker
  5. Put the onion, leek and potato mixture into the soup maker with the cashews, stock, seasoning and dill
  6. Put on the blend programme for 30 minutes
  7. Add the soya milk and blend again
  8. Check the consistency and, if needed, blend until smooth
  9. If using the hob
  10. Add the stock, salt and pepper and dill to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender
  11. Add the cashews and the soya milk and blend until smooth




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Recipe: Cheese, Onion and Jalapeno Pasty

Vegetarian cheese, onion and jalapeno pasty
Better than Asda

The worst cheese and onion pasty I ever had came from Asda. I’ll never forget it. I can’t remember where I’d been that night but I’d been out and decided to pick something up from Asda to eat when I got home. I went to the pasty section, saw one for 30p and thought I’d got myself a bargain. After all, it’s not possible to mess up a pasty is it?

Oh yes, Asda sure know how to mess up a pasty.

I took one bite, gagged and threw the rest away. It was so wet, I’m sure if I’d squeezed it, a gallon of liquid would have leaked out. Tesco’s pasties are hardly expensive (I think they’re about £1.50 for four) but are a perfectly decent pasty. I’m never getting an Asda one again. At least, not one that only costs 30p, anyway.

One year, on holiday in Cornwall, I went to a pasty shop and thought I’d be getting the best cheese and onion pasty ever. I mean, Cornwall’s famous for its pasties, isn’t it, so I was certain that meant any pasty I bought there would be the best ever. It wasn’t. It was nicer than the one from Asda but no better than a Tesco one.

Why am I wittering on about pasties? Is there a point to all of this? Well, yes, there is. Yesterday, on Facebook, a friend said she’d settled down to watch television with a cheese and onion pasty. Man, I wanted a pasty then too, but I had no pasties in the freezer and I couldn’t be bothered to walk up to Tesco and buy one. Then I realised I had some puff pastry in the freezer, cheese in the fridge and an onion in the cupboard and although I’d never made a pasty before, I reckoned that’s all I needed to make a pasty.

And, do you know what? I made the best cheese and onion pasty in the world, ever. It was so simple, I don’t know why I’ve been buying them when I can make one in less time than it would have taken me to go out and buy one.

The recipe I’m going to give you is just a rough guide as I just kind of bunged it all together. I had planned to add some sandwich pickle into the pasty but I forgot to put it in. Next time, I’m definitely going to make a cheese and pickle pasty and I might even give it a go in my Diablo Toasted Snack Maker.

Vegetarian cheese, onion and jalapeno pasty

Cheese, Onion and Jalapeno Pasty
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Pasty
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 1
  • ⅓ roll ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 30g cheese, grated
  • 1 baby onion, sliced
  • 3 jalapenos
  • Soya milk for glazing
  1. Spread the mustard on to the puff pastry, leaving a 1 cm gap round the edges
  2. Spread the cheese, onion and jalapenos on top of the mustard
  3. Fold over the pastry and squeeze the edges down so they're sealed
  4. Brush with a little soya milk, then cut a little hole in the top of the pastry
  5. Bake at 200C/180C fan for about 10-15 minutes, until golden


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Recipe: Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

Vegan cream of mushroom soup
Although my VonShef Soup Maker acts as a great blender, I’ve been lazy and have just chucked all my ingredients in, pressed the start button and buggered off to leave it to it. This method ends up with a smooth, creamy soup but slightly lacking in flavour with the onion and garlic not being fried first. This is only to be expected – after all, boiled onion doesn’t sound appetising, does it?

So, yesterday, I decided I’d had enough of creamy, yet bland, soup and took a bit more effort with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I’d decided to make. Yes, it meant more washing up but only one pan, so it’s not that much of a hassle and it was totally worth it.

I’ve made mushroom soup in the past (see here, here, here and here) but this one is definitely my favourite. I had a brainwave and wondered if cashews and soya milk would give it the creaminess some of my soups are lacking and yes, it certainly does. I usually use a potato to thicken my soups up but cashews are definitely the way to go in the future. Cashews will obviously add a lot of calories to a soup – if you’re bothered about that kind of thing – but they’re good calories and full of protein and apart from protein being good for you, it keeps you full up and this soup kept me full all afternoon.

Recipe: Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked overnight or soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500ml stock
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • ½ cup soya milk
  1. If making in a soup maker:
  2. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  3. Add the mushrooms and fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the mushroom/onion mix and all the other ingredients to the soup maker except the soya milk.
  5. Cook on the blending programme for 20 minutes.
  6. Check the texture at the end, blend until smoother if necessary.
  7. Add the soya milk and blend again to mix through.
  8. If making on the hob:
  9. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  10. Add the mushrooms and fry for a few more minutes.
  11. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cashews and milk and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  12. Add the cashews and milk and blend until smooth.



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Vegan Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

I’m supposed to be writing a book review, so obviously I had the urge to bake something instead. I had it in my head that I wanted to use up the silken tofu in the cupboard and googled recipes for muffins that used silken tofu, then realised I didn’t have any other muffin-making ingredients and plain tofu muffins didn’t sound too appealing.

So, I had a look on the Post Punk Kitchen website and found this recipe for oatmeal peanut butter cookies.


Isa’s recipe is slightly different to mine as I didn’t have the same ingredients, but after reading the comments, I discovered I could use mashed banana instead of applesauce (which I didn’t bother mashing as it was going into the blender). I also used rapeseed oil instead of canola oil (which might be the same thing, I’m not sure), agave nectar instead of molasses, plain flour instead of whole wheat flour and on discovering the tofu I thought was silken, was just normal tofu, used that. Also I used vanilla soya milk as that’s what I’ve got open in the fridge.


I made half the dough into cookies and half pressed down into a tray. Both are delicious, but the cookies are firmer, while the bars have a more cake-like texture (although they were still warm when I tried them, so they may well firm up a little when cool).

The recipe below is how I made them – if you want the recipe as it was originally (and by someone who knows what they’re doing), go to the link above or below.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
(Adapted from the recipe at The Post Punk Kitchen)

3 oz tofu
1/4 cup banana
1/4 cup rapeseed oil
1/4 cup soymilk
3/4 cups peanut butter
1 cups sugar
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups oats
1 cups plain flour
1 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180C

In a bowl, sift together the flour, oats, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter and sugar until well combined, 3 – 5 minutes.

In a blender, crumble the tofu in, add banana, soymilk and oil. Whizz on high until completely smooth. Add this mixture to the sugar mixture and cream together until well combined. Beat in the agave nectar and vanilla. Fold in the oats/flour mixture.

Make into balls with your hand, slightly flatten and place on to an ungreased cookie sheet, or press down into a tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

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Giveaway: Win 8 Cartons of Vivesoy Soy Drinks!


Vivesoy is available in six flavours – natural, unsweetened, light, vanilla, chocolate and cappuccino and can be used hot or cold. Each carton retails at £1.25 per litre carton and is available from Tesco, Waitrose, Amazon, Ocado and independent health stores nationwide.

Win 8 cartons of Vivesoy!

I’m giving away a case of 8 cartons – the flavours you receive is up to you, so you can try all of them or just choose your favourite.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave a comment letting me know which combination of flavours you would choose if you won (don’t worry; if you do win, you don’t have to stick to those flavours, you can always change your mind) and I’ll pick a winner at random after the closing date of 31 May 2014.

UK entries only.

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Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise Recipe


Although I am neither fat nor vegan, I love the What Fat Vegans Eat Facebook page. As the name suggests, its 14,000+ members post photos of their food – from gourmet to grub – and it all looks absolutely gorgeous.

A couple of weeks ago, Rich – who is one of the members – posted a vegan mayonnaise recipe. I actually prefer vegan mayonnaise to that eggy stuff but it’s never occurred to me to make my own, but this recipe looked so simple that I had to give it a try.

Unfortunately, my first attempt was a disaster. A delicious disaster but a disaster nevertheless, as my mayo didn’t thicken at all and I was left with mayonnaise flavoured liquid.

I thought it might have been because I used almond milk instead of soya milk, so I gave it another go today and, hurrah, it turned out perfectly.

Thick, creamy, delicious and only takes a couple of minutes to make.

Rich says his recipe is basically this one, although says he found organic rapeseed oil gives the best taste. I couldn’t find his recipe earlier today though and adapted this one instead. Rich is also posh and has a Vitamix whereas I only have a cheapy hand blender from Tesco, so I Googled for advice on making mayo with a hand blender and followed Isa’s instructions over on the Post Punk Kitchen.


The recipe below is what I used and how I did it.

Vegan Mayonnaise

1/2 cup soya milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp agave nectar
1 cup organic rapeseed oil

Blend all the ingredients except the oil.
Add 1 tbsp of the oil slowly and blend for 30 seconds.
Keep adding 1 tbsp of the oil and blending for 30 seconds each time until you have a gorgeous thick, creamy mayonnaise.

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Vegan creamy spinach and potato soup


I’ve got a confession to make. None of the soup I’ve had on the two days I’ve had soup for lunch for Vegan Monday over the last four weeks has been vegan. This means I have only successfully completed one out of four Vegan Mondays (and that was only because I’d got up too late to have lunch).

Please forgive me though, as I had no idea. I’d been using Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon and it never occurred to me that anyone would put dairy in stock. But after Ocado sent me some Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon with ‘vegan’ written on it in nice big letters, I thought to myself ‘if they’ve gone to the trouble to label that vegan, does that mean the other one isn’t?’ and bah, yes it does mean it isn’t. It has lactose in it, which comes from milk [insert swear word of choice here; mine was ‘bollocks’, in case you’re interested].

Still, a lesson learnt and today’s soup (and therefore tomorrow’s for Vegan Monday) is 100% vegan.

Spinach and potato soup (serves 3-4)
(Adapted from a recipe at BBC Good Food)

1 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots (I only used shallots as I didn’t have an onion), chopped
1 medium potato, diced
150g spinach
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400ml vegan stock
300ml soya milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the potato and fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the milk and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the spinach and lemon juice and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and add the nutmeg.
  7. Whizz in a blender.
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