As you’ll know from my fitness blog – JogBlog – I’m a finely tuned athlete (cough cough) and athletes need protein. I’m not sure if they also need ice cream but if they do, then they won’t find any better than this protein-rich ice cream from Wheyhey. After putting it off for a while (I mean, come on, ‘protein ice cream’ doesn’t sound appealing does it?) I tried the banoffee flavour and, oh my god, this stuff is flipping delicious!
It’s sweet, creamy, bananary and toffee-ee and although the texture is slightly chewy rather than having a more traditional ice cream texture, this isn’t a bad thing. I loved this ice cream so much I don’t know whether to try the three remaining flavours I have in my freezer right away or to save them so I’m not sad when they’re gone.
Along with the 20g of protein and 100% deliciousness, Wheyhey protein ice cream is also:
Have you heard of matcha? It’s a green tea that comes in powdered form, is full of good stuff and I’ve got a friend who loves it and says it gives her a nice steady energy rise during the morning with no crash.
It looks like this.
Traditionally, matcha is drunk whisked in hot water but if it’s not to your taste drunk ‘neat’ like that you can use it in lots of different ways, e.g. in cookies, ice cream, juices or – as I did this morning – smoothies.
I’ve tried matcha before but not regularly (i.e. I kept forgetting I had it) so when Teapigs asked me if I wanted to take part in their matcha challenge to take matcha every day for two weeks and let them know how I felt at the end of the challenge, I accepted.
Teapigs sent me everything I needed to get going. A pot of matcha, a shot glass and measuring spoon, a hand-held whisk/milk frother and a chart on which to tick off each day of the challenge (which will be a great aid in reminding me to take my matcha).
I’ve ticked off day one and if you’d like to join in the Teapigs Matcha Challenge, you’ll find all the information you need on the Teapigs website.
Additionally, they’re also holding a daily giveaway of a 30g pot of matcha for a photo selected from Instagram. To be in with a chance of winning, upload your Teapigs Matcha Challenge photo to Instagram, tagging @teapigs and using the hashtag #matchachallenge.
I have no idea if this is just like ‘real’ havarti, as I’ve never had it. What I can tell you though is that it’s creamy and spicy and gorgeous in sandwiches with mayo and salad. Unfortunately, I can’t share the recipe with you – you’ll have to buy The Gentle Chef Cookbook (the hard copy is available on Amazon (which doesn’t have photos but there is an image gallery on the website), or you can buy a pdf version with photos from The Gentle Chef website) if you want to know how to make it. I just wanted to show you how pretty it is.
Freedom Mallows have revamped their range, giving it a makeover and bringing in a new mascot – a sloth called Cedric.
Part of the range includes a bag of mini marshmallows, which are perfect for baking or adding to hot chocolate. I made some vegan rocky road with mine. I have no idea if my rocky road was like the real thing, as I’ve never had rocky road before. It looked pretty though. I made this one with raw chocolate but to be honest, I think it’d be better with ‘normal’ plain or milk chocolate, not raw.
Vegan Rocky Road
100g coconut oil
6 tbsp cacoa powder
3 tbsp agave nectar
A handful of Freedom Mini Mallows
A handful of mixed fruit and nuts
Melt the coconut oil in a bowl over a pan of boiling water (don’t let the bowl touch the water though – you want to melt the coconut oil, not cook it), then whisk in the cacoa powder and agave nectar. Mix in the Freedom Mini Mallows along with the fruit and nuts and pour into a tray/foil dish. Put in the freezer to set for about 30 minutes.
Freedom Mallows are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, are nut- and gluten-free and approved by the Vegetarian Society, Vegan Society and Coeliac UK and available from Holland & Barrett, Vegan Store, Wholefoods UK, The Health Store or online at the Freedom Mallows website.
Giveaway – Win 3 bags of Freedom Mallows!
If you’d like to make your own rocky road, or just want to get your hands on a few packets to munch on in front of the television, simply leave a comment below and you’ll be in with a chance of winning three bags of Freedom Mallows, along with a gorgeous tote bag, featuring their new mascot.
Terms and conditions
The winner will be picked at random shortly after the closing date of Midnight, Sunday 14 December 2014.
I said yesterday I’d give the VonShef Soup Maker another go, so I used it today to make a batch of red pepper soup.
Just like last time, when I plugged it in, it was lifeless and could only be revived by giving it a whack on its side. And again, it only started doing something after I’d randomly pressed all the buttons, except this time it decided my soup needed 35 minutes instead of 30. I left it alone during the 35 minutes and let it do its thing, especially as I wanted to know if it would automatically blend the soup at the end. It didn’t. It switched itself onto standby and only blended when I turned it back on again and rotated the dial a bit. The only positive thing I can say about the soup maker is that it blends ridiculously quickly.
I’m going to tell Domu to come and take their almost useless machine back.
Soup Maker Red Pepper Soup (serves 4)
3 red peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
Put all the ingredients in the soup maker.
Whack the soup maker on the side to bring it to life.
Press all the buttons until it starts to do something.
At the end, turn it back on and turn the dial and blend the soup.
Contact Domu and tell them to come and take back their stupid machine.
I plugged in the soup maker and nothing happened. The instructions, which appear to have been translated from Martian into some weird form of English spoken by no one ever said the display should light up and go on stand by. Well, it didn’t. Not until I’d whacked it on the side, dodgy-80s-television stylee, anyway, then it lit up. But how to make the soup? As I said, the instructions are unfathomable, the display doesn’t help much and I had no clue how to use the machine. Apparently you can add a bit of oil to the bottom of the jug and fry onion and garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients and I thought the instructions said you do this by pressing the ‘stir’ button but that just blended it. The time and temperature are set by default to 30 minutes and 100C respectively and I think it starts to heat up as soon as you switch the machine off standby. It started to heat up after I’d pressed all the buttons about a billion times and was on the verge of throwing it out the window in frustration and making some toast instead, anyway.
I added the rest of the ingredients and waited around for a bit to see what it did and the timer started to count down so I assumed it was cooking. After a couple of minutes it started bubbling rapidly (see video below – it’s the right way up when you click it) and I wondered if it was blending but I think it was just boiling as when I turned the temperature down, it stopped. I couldn’t get it to simmer like my hob-made soups do, and I didn’t know at which temperature soup is supposed to simmer (100C sounded too hot to me but what do I know?), so I just kept turning the temperature up and down during the cooking. I thought it was supposed to blend the soup without me doing anything but when it got to the end, I stuck my spoon in and the tomatoes were still lumpy, so I pressed the ‘stir’ button until it was smooth, then I added the chickpeas.
Despite the machine needing whacking on the side to start (and if it happens next time I want to use it, it’ll be returned to Domu) and me not having a clue how to use it, it did make gorgeous soup. But if all it does is heat it up and then require you to press the button to blend it, it’s not really any better than a saucepan and a blender. It also takes up a lot of room – this is a big machine.
Still, I’ll give it another go. Now I’ve worked out how to use it (I think), I may grow to love it. I will report back.
Domu – a website containing a wide range of home and kitchen products – approached me a few weeks ago and asked if I’d contribute a recipe to an online cookbook they were planning to put together. I was happy to let them have my pesto, spinach and mozzarella pasta recipe and today they launched their cookbook 24 Restaurant Quality Dishes To Make In Your Kitchen*. You can download your free pdf copy by following the link in Domu’s blog post or download it directly here.
Do have a look around Domu’s website though, they have some fab stuff. As a ‘thank you’ for my contribution to their cookbook, they sent me a voucher to use on their website, so soon I’m going to be the proud owner of a soup maker. I can’t wait.
*Please note that not all the recipes in the cookbook are vegetarian.
After seeing someone posting this on one of the vegan Facebook groups I’m a member of, I really wanted to make them. There’s quite a lot to it – it’s not something you’re going to whip up in a couple of minutes – but it’s mostly seasonings and the method isn’t difficult at all.
I don’t think we can get Old Bay Seasoning here in the UK, so I found this recipe on the internet which can be made up and used in its place:
Below is an interview with Dom, a young vegetarian. Thanks, Dom!
The Young Vegetarian
According to statistics from The Vegetarian Society, young people have increased their awareness of vegetarianism from 8% in 2007 to 40% in 2013, with 17% of young people not eating any meat at all.
With this in mind, I set off to find a young vegetarian to seek his views and find out what made him become vegetarian. I met up with Dom, 21, from London, to ask about his transition from carnivore to vegetarian four years ago at the age of 17.
I think about my own experiences and reasons for becoming vegetarian over twenty years ago. My eating habits changed when I got a cat. I couldn’t bring myself to eat meat in front of her – even though I wasn’t eating cat, honest – as the connection between animals and what was on my plate became startlingly obvious. I asked Dom what the turning point was for him. He tells me eating wasn’t an important part of his life when he was younger. ‘It was just a necessity and something I didn’t really focus on. I never really enjoyed meat.’ Was that why he stopped eating meat? He says he started wondering what the point of eating meat was. ‘It’s not really a modern necessity,’ he explains. I’ve got to agree the boy’s got a point – we’re not cavemen anymore, after all.
I tell him my ‘couldn’t eat meat in front of my cat’ story. ‘Because your cat’s an animal? That’s a good defence for vegetarians to use.’ I’d never really thought about it that way before, especially as I try to avoid being in situations where I have to defend my choice of what I put in my mouth.
‘Hummus is the pâté of the vegetarian diet.’
Dom’s commitment and passion towards vegetarianism is obvious. ‘Bloody hell, meat is cruel. Factory farming is a no-no. Meat which is not factory farmed is expensive and that’s pretty bad too. It’s bad for the environment, it’s bad for the human body, it’s completely non-viable and besides… vegetarian food is bloody amazing.’ He stops being an angry young man for a moment and smiles. ‘When’s the last time a meat-eater had falafel or hummus?’ We’re with a friend of mine, Gary, and I point at Gary and tell Dom that Gary doesn’t like hummus. Dom looks at Gary as if he has two heads. ‘Hummus is amazing,’ Dom says. I agree with him and tell him I love hummus too. I’m not just humouring him, I really do love hummus. ‘Hummus is the pâté of the vegetarian diet,’ Dom declares. I have no idea what this means but I nod in agreement anyway.
Moving on from our mutual appreciation of mashed-up chickpeas, I ask him if he lives with his parents. He does, in their basement (he assures me this is a good thing and he’s not tied up down there as punishment for being vegetarian). Are his parents vegetarian? He raises his eyebrows, ‘Oh god, no.’ Remembering my mum’s reaction to me becoming vegetarian, which was something along the lines of, ‘It’s just a phase you’re going through’ – a line she kept up until I was at least 35 – I ask how Dom’s parents feel about him becoming vegetarian and am pleased to hear they’re mostly positive. ‘They had to give into it because they had no choice. They do veggie nights where they eat vegetarian food, so it’s been mainly positive.’ Dom seems to have an extremely independent set up at his parents’ house; he has his own fridge-freezer and cooks his own meals. ‘If I need to make something, I just get it out and make it. It’s not like I have to rifle through all the meat; being vegetarian is such an integral part of my life that I could never imagine riffling through meat picking out my vegetarian food.’ He’s a lucky chap; I’d left home by the time I became a vegetarian at 22 but I can’t imagine my mum letting me have my own fridge-freezer in her house, even if there had been room for one.
I ask him if he ever misses meat. ‘No, although a couple of winters ago, I used to get cravings and I thought what could this be and I realised it might have been a caveman instinct to gather meat to eat to brave the winter. I don’t miss meat in any personal way though, more the evolutionary way – do you know what I mean?’ Um, not really, but it kind of makes sense. He’s a deep thinker, is young Dom, that’s for sure.
Considering how deeply he thinks about things and how obviously committed he is to his vegetarian lifestyle, I wonder if he went full-on veggie from the start, or was there a transitioning stage? Thinking back to my own early days of veggieness, I ate fish at the beginning and it was only on discovering plaice had black skin covered with orange spots that made me stop (the chippy had run out of my usual cod. Cod doesn’t have freaky orange polka dot skin). Dom, unsurprisingly, tells me he read up on everything to see what was vegetarian, even going as far as checking out which E numbers were unsuitable. ‘E120, for example is bugs – that was out.’
‘Multinational corporations like Mcdonald’s will not miss you.’
I tell him about my fishy experience. ‘Fish have brains, fish have nervous systems – just because it’s not called meat doesn’t mean it’s not meat. I mean, chicken’s a meat. Meat is the flesh, isn’t it?’ he says. My 22-year-old self is now feeling guilty for not being a full-on veggie from the start.
I round off the interview by asking him what advice he would give to a young person who was thinking about becoming vegetarian. His response is suitably passionate. ‘Don’t fall back on stereotypes, keep a wide diet, eat plenty of antipasti like artichokes and stuff, stand up to meat-eaters and remember peanut butter is very healthy and has proteins and young people need protein. Be happy and remember you’re doing yourself and millions of animals proud and you’re also doing the world a lot of good too.’ He finishes by saying, ‘Multinational corporations like McDonald’s will not miss you.’
I’d spent a long time pondering over whether to buy The Gentle Chef Cookbook, mostly because it’s self-published and I’m a still a bit snobby in that respect. I needn’t have worried though as the book is amazing. It’s beautifully laid out and produced and just as professional as any traditionally published cookbook. There aren’t any photographs but (and this is what swung it for me in the end) you can see plenty of photographs of the recipes on The Gentle Chef website. For even greater flexibility, if you do want the photos and the recipes combined, there’s a pdf version available to purchase.
The 235 pages are split into chapters:
Seitan, with information on preparing it and recipes for lots of different types, e.g. meatballs, pepperoni, corned beaf, chick’n, bacun, roasts, ribz, etc., along with recipes in which to use them.
Salads and Dressings (including vegan mayonnaise and mock tuna salad)
Soups, Broths and Stews
Entrees and Accompaniments
South of the Border Cuisine
Japanese and Pacific Cuisine
Sauces and Gravies
Sweets and Treats
Doesn’t this book sound amazing?
The extensive number of seitan recipes was another factor in my decision to buy the book and the day it arrived in the post, I flicked through it and decided to make the pepperoni. Unfortunately, in my eagerness, I forgot about my over-zealous fan oven and slightly overcooked the pepperoni, as the outside was a bit tough and chewy. This hasn’t stopped me snacking on it all morning though, as it’s deliciously warm and spicy, containing chilli flakes, paprika and fennel seeds, along with other herbs and spices. I can’t share the recipe with you here as – quite rightly – Skye Michael Conroy (The Gentle Chef) doesn’t like his recipes being shared and would prefer you to buy the book and find the recipes for yourselves.