Walnut ‘Meat’ Tacos with a Fresh Pineapple Salsa

IMG_1179
Walnut ‘Meat’ Tacos with a fresh Pineapple Salsa

I have had a couple of requests to upload the recipe for these walnut meat tacos.  I am a huge fan of Mexican food and love how social it feels, sitting around eating with your fingers and downing a couple of mojitos!  I would love to say the recipe is my own, but I have adapted it slightly from Aine Carlin’s The New Vegan.  I have made these tacos for my pop up low FODMAP brunch and the launch event I did with Makrobios.  They are super fresh, crunchy and the walnut ‘meat’ really is ‘meaty.’   They work perfectly as a vegan starter or as finger food and if you are interested into getting into the raw food movement this is a great introduction.

If you want to make this in advance I would recommend making all the elements separately, but fill the lettuce taco shells at the last minute or they will go soggy.  Also try and get the best quality walnuts you can, preferably organic as it will really make a difference to you finished dish.  My version of this recipe is low FODMAP as well as gluten free and vegan.

Walnut ‘Meat’ Tacos with a Fresh Pineapple salsa – serves 4 – 6 as a starter

130 g Organic Walnuts (I used Makrobios organic walnuts)

5 sun dried tomatoes and a tsp of their oil

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried coriander

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 tbsp of gluten free soy sauce

2 tbsp of olive oil (I used Clear Spring)

2 – 4 little gem lettuces, depending on their size

For the Salsa:

1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled and diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

a handful of chives, finely chopped

juice of one lime

a handful of fresh coriander chopped

An avocado, cut into thin slices and extra fresh chopped coriander for serving

Put the walnuts into a food processor and pulse into a coarse rubble. Add all the other ‘meat’ ingredients except the lettuce and pulse until it forms a crumbly ‘meaty’ texture.

For the salsa, simply combine all the ingredients together, mix and leave for a few minutes for the flavours to develop.

To build the tacos, separate the lettuce leave and spoon a little of the walnut meat into the centre.  Top with a slice of avocado, a spoonful of the salsa and a sprinkling of extra coriander.

 

Advertisements

Baobab Bircher Muesli with Balsamic Roasted Cherries

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Baobab Bircher Muesli with Balsamic Roasted Cherries

Greetings from Krakow!  I have escaped the rain of Helsinki, for the rain of Poland!!  I have spent the day on a communist tour, travelling around in an old trabant and taking in the sites, culture and vodka! of Nowa Huta.  This will be my last baobab collaboration recipe with PONA .  I have loved getting to know the product and hopefully have given you some ideas of how to use baobab and boosted my nutritional levels at the same time.  I won’t repeat the benefits of adding baobab to your diet, but if you want more information visit http://www.pona.fi or look back at my previous posts.

This has to be one of my favourite breakfast dishes.  Creamy oats flavoured with baobab, apple, banana and cinnamon and topped with sweet juicy balsamic roasted cherries.  Like strawberries, balsamic vinegar really brings out the sweetness and flavour of the cherries, while the baobab adds a citrusy tang which helps bring the whole dish together.

You can easily make all the elements the night before and they will keep for 2 – 3 days.

Finally there is still time to use my discount code VEGEBRIT to get 20 % off your baobab order at http://www.pona.fi/shop until the end of the day (24.6.) so get your order in soon!!!

Baobab Bircher Muesli with Balsamic Roasted Cherries – serves 2 -3 

3 dl of organic oats (I used Myllärin gluten free oats)

5 dl almond or oat milk

2 tsp PONA organic baobab powder

1 ripe banana, grated

1 apple, grated

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

a pinch of salt

For the cherries:

150 g fresh cherries, halved (de-stoned weight)

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

a drizzle of olive oil

grated apple, toasted pecans, almonds and poppy seeds to decorate

Add all the bircher muesli ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Cover and leave overnight for the oats to soften and the flavours to develop.  To be honest the bircher is even better after a couple of days.

To roast the cherries place them in a bowl, drizzle with a little oil, then stir in the syrup and vinegar.  Spread on a lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 mins at 180 degrees c.  until soft and juicy.

Spoon generous helpings of the bircher into bowls, top with the cherries and sprinkle with a little fresh grated apple, poppy seeds and toasted nuts.

 

 

 

Baobab, Blackcurrant, Cardamom, Coconut Ice-Pops

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Baobab, Blackcurrant, Cardamom, Coconut Ice-Pops

The sun has been shining for more than two days in a row, the temperature has remained in double figures …. It must mean summer is finally here.  What better way to celebrate than these yummy smoothie coconut Ice-Pops.  Any berries would work, but I am a huge fan of blackcurrants and they marry perfectly with baobab and spicy cardamom.  If possible grind your own fresh cardamom from some pods, it really is worth the extra effort.  I picked up these moulds at Flying Tiger for a couple of euros,  they are fairly small and can easily fit into the most compact of freezers.

This is my fourth collaboration recipe for PONA.  Their organic Baobab not only adds a great citrusy flavour to these icy treats, but it also helps thicken the smoothie element.   Baobab is packed with vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron and B vitamins, not to mention dietary fibre and when combined with blackcurrants, these ice-pops become a nutritional powerhouse. Remember you still have one week to use my exclusive baobab 20 % discount code VEGEBRIT at http://www.pona.fi/shop

Baobab, Blackcurrant, Cardamom, Coconut Ice-pops – makes 6 ice-pops (depending on the size of your moulds)

200 g frozen blackcurrants, defrosted

4 tbsp maple syrup

1 x super ripe banana

1/2 tsp cardamom

3 tsp baobab powder

a squeeze of lime juice

small carton of extra thick coconut milk

Place all the ingredients, except the coconut milk, into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  You are looking for a thickish smoothie consistency, but you can add a little extra water if necessary.

Now the fun part.  Spoon/ pour the smoothie mix into ice-pop moulds.  Top up with the coconut milk.  I like to alternate in layers and stir slightly to create a marbled effect.  However you can also simply freeze just the smoothie or make neater layers, it is totally up to you.

Place in the freezer and allow to freeze solid, preferably overnight.

To remove the ice-pops, dip the moulds in hot water for about  20 seconds and they should come out easily.

 

Baobab Carrot Falafel with Pea and Basil Hummus and Tahini Sauce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Baobab Carrot Falafel with Pea and Basil Hummus and a Tahini Sauce

Part 3 of my collaboration with PONA.  If you have already added baobab to your smoothie bowl, yoghurt and cakes then why not try adding it to a savoury dish!  I have been really surprised just how versatile baobab can be.  These Baobab Carrot falafel are so good and easy to make.  Not only have I packed the bowl with loads of fresh veggies, but the baobab adds an extra nutritional boost.  Baobab can be particularly beneficial for vegans as it is packed full of Vitamin C and iron (vitamin C is necessary for the absorption of iron).  The baobab also really brings out the sweetness of the carrot and its addition removed the need to add flour to the recipe.

It may be raining here in Helsinki, but I guarantee this light fresh dish will make you feel like summer has come.  The crispy falafel work well hot or cold, so can easily be made in advance for a summer picnic or a party.  I recommend making the fresh, zingy pea hummus the day you intend to eat it, or the hummus will lose some of its vibrant green colour.  You can also serve the falafel in wraps, with homemade flatbreads, or as a tasty canapé topped with a spoon of hummus and some fresh micro herbs.

If carrot is not you thing then why not try my Beetroot Falafel Bowl and simply replace the flour with health-boosting baobab.

Finally remember you still have chance (until 24.6) to get a 20% discount off your order from PONA with my exclusive discount code VEGEBRIT. Click on the link or visit http://www.pona.fi/shop.

So why not start your summer off on the right foot and give baobab and my falafel a try, you definitely won’t regret it!

Baobab Carrot Falafel with Pea and Basil Hummus and Tahini Sauce – serves 4

For the Baobab Carrot Falafel:

250 g organic dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed (I used Makrobios)

a handful of fresh coriander

a small red onion, finely chopped

2 small carrots, grated

a good pinch of smoked paprika

a good pinch of cardamom

a good pinch of cayenne pepper

4 tsp of PONA‘s organic Baobab powder

salt and pepper

oil for frying

 

For the Pea Hummus:

200 g frozen peas, defrosted

1 tsp of dried cumin

a handful of fresh basil

a splash of olive oil

a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice

salt and pepper

 

For the tahini sauce

1 dl of extra thick coconut milk

1 tbsp tahini

Fresh vegetables, leaves etc to serve

Start by making the pea hummus and tahini sauce.  For the hummus, add all the ingredients into a food processor and season.  Pulse, adding a little extra oil or water if necessary, until you have a hummus like texture.

To make the sauce, simply whisk the coconut milk and tahini together until smooth.

For the hummus, squeeze as much liquid as possible from the grated carrots and then add with all the other falafel ingredients into a food processor.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pulse until the falafel begin to come together.  You may have to do this in batches if you have a smaller machine.  The falafel will be easier to form if some of the mix is more finely blended.  Shape the mixture into falafel balls or mini patties, it should make around 30 falafel.  If you find that your mix falls apart it may be as you have left too much liquid in the carrots.  You can solve this by adding a little chickpea/ gluten free flour.   Shallow fry in batches until golden brown and crispy.

I served my falafel in a bowl with lambs leaf lettuce, chopped carrot, pepper, radish, avocado, cucumber, spring onion, yellow tomatoes and a mound of fresh pea hummus.  I then drizzled my falafel with a generous helping of tahini sauce

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Orange Baobab Cake with Citrus Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Chocolate Baobab Cake with Citrus Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

Here is my second recipe using PONA’s Baobab powder.  Remember you can get a 20 % discount off your order using my exclusive discount code VEGEBRIT at http://www.pona.fi/shop until 24.6.  PONA sources their baobab from a local co-op in Zimbabwe and have a commitment to only using organic fruit powder.  One of baobab’s biggest strengths is its versatility.  With high levels of fibre, it works well in cakes, breads and baking.   If you haven’t read my previous post, I will quickly repeat what a super food powerhouse baobab is, it contains:

  • 10 times more antioxidants than blueberries
  • More calcium than milk
  • More iron than red meat
  • More potassium than a banana
  • More magnesium than spinach
  • The high content of vitamin C allows for a better absorption of iron

So it is great for anyone wanting to boost their nutritional levels and for those on a vegan diet looking for another source of these essential vitamins and minerals.

This cake was inspired by Cat Elliot’s paleo mud cake.  I have mixed it up a little and serve this cold with a baobab citrus cashew cream cheese.  Baobab really boosts any citrusy flavour as well as helping the cake and icing to set properly.    The cake is super moist, wheat free and not too sweet.  It lasts well in the fridge and I topped mine with poppy seeds, edible rose petals and chopped toasted pecans.

Chocolate Orange Baobab Cake with a Citrus Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

Dry Ingredients:

200g of ground almonds

35g of raw cacao powder

4 Tbsp of PONA’s organic baobab powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

a pinch sea salt

 

Wet Ingredients:

3 tbsp of chia seeds

50g  of fresh blueberries blended with 1 dl of water

1 and 1/4 dl of maple syrup

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

zest of an orange

 

For the cashew Cream Cheese:

3 tsp PONA’s Baobab powder

125 g  cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed

juice of 1/2 an orange

Zest and juice of a lime

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

maple syrup (optional – see note below)

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c. and grease and line a 22 cm round loose bottom cake tin.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set to one side.  In another bowl add the chia seeds and 9 tbsp of water, stir and allow to thicken for a couple of minutes.  Stir in all the other wet ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.  Pour into your cake tin and bake for 35 – 40 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Set to one side and allow to cool completely, preferably in the fridge.

Meanwhile make the cashew cream cheese.  Add all the ingredients, except the maple syrup, into a food processor and blend until super smooth and creamy.  Depending on how juicy you fruit is, you may need to add a little more juice or water, but remember the icing will get thicker as it cools in the fridge.  If you prefer a sweeter icing, add maple syrup to taste.  I chose to colour my icing with a little beetroot juice, but you could also use fruit powder, or simply leave it plain.

Carefully remove the cake from the tin.  The cake is fairly soft, however it will firm up the longer it is chilled.  Spread the cake with the cashew cream cheese.  Finally I decorated my cake with toasted pecans, poppy seeds and dried rose petals.

Allow the cake to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving, this will allow the icing to firm and make the cake easier to cut.

 

Organic Baobab Powder – Collaboration with PONA and Webshop Discount Code

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Baobab Berry Smoothie Bowl, Yoghurt with Baobab, Cherries and Granola, Baobab Tumeric Latte

As  I have mentioned before I have been super busy with a number of projects, but now you will begin to see the fruits of my labours!  I have been lucky enough to try out PONA’s Organic Baobab powder.  PONA is a word in Shona meaning to heal or get better.  The company, based in Helsinki, was set up by three good friends who share a commitment to ethically sourced products and working with smaller local producers.   Baobab is an African super fruit, full of dietary fibre and packed with nutrients.  Baobab has more anti-oxidants than any other fruit, has more iron than red meat, and has high levels of potassium and magnesium.  The fruit dries while still on the branch, naturally producing an organic superfood powder.  It has a lemony citrus taste and can be added to yoghurt and smoothies, stirred into water to create a nutritious drink and can also be used in baking, pancakes and ice cream.  Baobab also thickens, which helps to quickly create jams and add depths to sauces, marinades and compotes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
PONA’s Organic Baobab Powder

It has been great to get to know the product and see how versatile it can be.   I will be posting a series of recipes and hope to give you an idea of how Baobab can easily be added into your diet to boost your dishes and intensify citrusy fruity flavours.  PONA’s Organic Baobab powder is currently available in John’s Coffee Shop and Kuuma. However if you order online now (9.6. – 24.6.) with my exclusive discount code you will get 20% off your order!  Go to PONA’s webshop at http://pona.fi/shop/ or click on one of the links in this post, and use the discount code VEGEBRIT to get a 20% discount off their Baobab powder (unfortunately it is currently only available in Finland).

I began by simply adding a teaspoon or two to boost my smoothie bowls and yoghurt (pictured above) and moved on to this Baobab Turmeric Latte.  It is a super easy way to introduce yourself to using Baobab, not to mention it is packed full of healthy goodness!  So why not give PONA’s Baobab a try?  During the next two weeks I will be posting more Baobab recipes from cakes and pancakes to bircher muesli and ice pops so you can get an idea of what can be done with this superfood powder.

Baobab Turmeric Latte – makes 2 lattes

4 dl almond milk

1 heaped tsp PONA’s Organic Baobab Powder

1 heaped tsp turmeric

2 tsp maple syrup

2 small cinnamon sticks

4 cardamon pods, crushed

a good pinch of ground ginger

a pinch of pepper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Baobab Turmeric Latte

Pour the milk into a small pan and slowly heat, add all the spice ingredients and allow to infuse for 3 – 5 mins.

Pour through a sieve into 2 cups and top with a little extra cinnamon.  If you wish you can whisk the milk, or whizz it up quickly in a heat proof blender to create some foam before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Black Forest Ice cream

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Vegan Black Forest Ice cream

After the success of my Vegan Black Forest Cake, I had to use cherries and chocolate again.  Cherry season is almost here and the prices are dropping, which makes it the perfect time to make this vegan black forest ice-cream.   Once again the humble chickpea comes up trumps and aquafaba, or chickpea juice, is used here as a substitute for the egg filled custard in regular ice cream.  The base of the ice cream is very similar to a cherry smoothie, which is then folded into the whipped aquafaba with added chocolate chips, fresh cherries, a splash of kirsch and a drizzle of sour cherry jam.  The best thing about using aquafaba, is that it does not freeze solid and therefore does not require churning.  It can easily be taken straight out of the freezer and served immediately, perfect now that the weather is finally getting a little warmer.

Vegan Black Forest Ice cream – makes around 2 Litres

80 g cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lime
1 small ripe banana, chopped into pieces
400 g fresh cherries, halved (de-stoned weight)
75 g dark chocolate chips, or chocolate cut into chunks
7 tbsp sour cherry jam
2 tbsp Kirschwasser  (cherry brandy)
2 dl of aquafaba/ chickpea juice
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
80 g white sugar

Add the cashews, lime juice, 250 g of the cherries, chopped banana, kirsch, and 2 tbsp of the sour cherry jam to a food processor or blender.  Blend until completely smooth,  this make take a little time, but you want the mixture to be smooth or your ice cream will be grainy.  Set to one side.

Pour the chickpea juice into a spotlessly clean bowl, add the cream of tartar and whisk until you have stiff peaks.  Add the vanilla and then the sugar bit by bit.  It is super important you whisk the aquafaba until super thick or the ice cream will be too runny.  It usually takes 8 – 10 mins on high using my KMix.

Next, carefully fold the cherry mixture into the whisked aquafaba.  Try not to knock too much air out, to keep your ice-cream light and fluffy.  Finally fold in the remaining fresh cherries and chocolate chips.

Pour into your freezing container, I used an IKEA loaf tin measuring 32 cm x 13 cm.  Heat the remaining sour cherry jam just enough so it is a little runny.  Drizzle onto the ice cream and lightly stir to create a marbled effect.

Freeze for at least 8 hours.

Sweetcorn Fritters with a Coriander and Cherry Tomato Salsa

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sweetcorn Fritters with a Coriander and Cherry tomato Salsa

I have been posting so many sweet treats recently, I thought it was about time to post something savoury.   I love these sweetcorn pancakes.  Not only are they super simple, using ordinary store cupboard ingredients, but they taste great and are perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast.   I have topped mine with a quick tomato and coriander salsa, a squeeze of lime and some fresh avocado.   Later we are meeting friends, getting some culture at Helsinki’s modern art museum Kiasma and then stuffing our face with pizza in  Töölö.   Keep watching the blog, I have almost finished a series of posts using a superfood ingredient I have been testing and will be posting lots of new recipes soon.

Sweetcorn Fritters with a Coriander and Cherry Tomato Salsa

80 g flour

200 g tin of sweetcorn

1 tbsp baking powder

a good pinch of salt

a good pinch of paprika powder

half a chopped chilli or a pinch of cayenne pepper

1 and 1/2 dl of water or plant milk (I used Oat milk)

For the Salsa:

250 g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 spring onion, chopped

a handful of fresh coriander, chopped

a good glug of olive oil

salt and pepper

a squeeze of  lime

vegetable oil for frying

Avocado and limes to serve

Start by making the salsa, add the tomatoes, spring onion and coriander to a bowl.  Season and stir in the olive oil and lime juice, set to one side.

To make the batter, sieve all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.  Pour in the water/ milk bit by bit to form a smooth thick paste.  Finally stir in the sweetcorn.

Fry spoonfuls of the sweetcorn batter in vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides.

Serve topped with the salsa, slices of avocado and lime wedges.

Easy Vegan Orange and Cinnamon Spiced Fruit Tarts

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Easy Vegan Orange and Cinnamon Spiced Fruit Tarts

Two factors have inspired this post, firstly how much I hate wasting any food in my fridge and secondly how busy I seem to be right now.  I am in the middle of preparing a series of posts for a company I am collaborating with and can’t wait to let you know more (including a special discount code in Finland).  This has been taking up a lot of my spare time, so I looked for something quick and easy to post.  I always seem to have some leftover vegan pastry in my freezer, not to mention a few berries past their prime in my fridge and hate to see them go to waste.  So I rustled up these vegan fruit tarts.  They have a fruity jammy centre flavoured with orange zest and cinnamon and a crisp pastry outside.  I am not the best with pastry, but these are not meant to look perfect, in fact I like their rustic appearance.  I have mine with a generous spoon of plant based yoghurt or whipped cream!

One note, I have listed the recipe per tart so you can make as many tarts as you have ingredients.  If you are using my vegan pastry recipe from scratch, it should make 8 – 10 tarts. So simply multiply the ingredients as necessary.

Vegan Orange and Cinnamon Spiced Fruit Tarts – ingredients per tart

Vegan pasty – find my recipe here

a handful of berries, or chopped rhubarb

1 tsp arrowroot

1 heaped tsp coconut sugar

a grating of orange zest

a pinch of cinnamon

a good splash of orange juice

extra coconut sugar for sprinkling and plant milk to brush

plant based yoghurt or cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.  Roll out the pastry to around 3 mm thickness.  Cut into rounds (I used a 12 cm diameter bowl)

Mix the berries with the sugar, zest, arrowroot, cinnamon, and juice and spoon into the centre of your tart.

Now go round your tart, folding over one edge and then the next, pinching where the two edges cross, until you have gone around the whole tart.  Sprinkle with a little extra sugar and brush with plant milk.

Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 mins, until golden brown and the fruit has turned jammy

 

 

 

 

Vegan Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwald torte)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Vegan Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwald torte)

As soon as I heard my Austrian friend and colleague was going back to Vienna for the weekend I jumped at the chance to get a bottle of authentic kirschwasser, a clear cherry brandy.  Kirschwasser is an important ingredient in a traditional Black forest cake and here is my vegan version.  This cake is just too good and I don’t think you would be able to tell that it is vegan at all.  Although the cake is maybe a little more dense than a traditional black forest cake, it really soaks up the alcohol well and has a great dark chocolatey taste.  Luckily kirschwasser is available at Alko here in finland, although it is a little expensive. If you want, you can leave the alcohol out and simply add a little more cherry juice.

Black Forest Cake – makes 18 cm 3 layer cake

330 g plain flour

170 g sugar

25 g cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

75 ml oil

4 dl water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cider vinegar

5 dl plant based cream

425g / 750 ml jar of  sour cherries with juice reserved

4 tbsp Kirschwasser mixed with 2 tbsp of the cherry juice

100 g vegan friendly dark chocolate, grated

1 jar of sour cherry jam

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and line an 18 cm round cake tin.  Mix the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Pour the oil, water, vanilla and vinegar into a jug and give it a good mix.  Now pour the liquid into the dry ingredients, stir thoroughly until smooth and pour into your prepared tin.  Bake for 40 – 45 mins until firm.  Set aside to cool

Once cool slice the cake into three layers and sprinkle with the kirschwasser juice mixture.  Whip the cream and mix the jar of cherries with 3 tbsp of the cherry jam.  Now spread 2 tbsp of cherry jam on 2 of the cake layers.  Top with a few of the sour cherries and top again with a dollop of whipped cream.  Now place one of the layers on top of the other and finally top with the final reserved layer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Vegan Black Forest Cake

Spread cream around the edges of the cake and press the grated chocolate to the sides, until the cake is covered.  don’t worry if it seems to be falling off, be patient and keep pressing and you will get a good finish.  Pipe small roses around the edges of the top of the cake and finally fill the centre with the remaining sour cherries as pictured above.

Blog Event for Makrobios

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
smoothie bowl decorating with Primrose’s Kitchen muesli and granolas

Tuesday finally saw all the my recent hard work and planning come to fruition.  I was so pleased to be asked by Makrobios to become involved in their launch event for three new healthy UK products and one from Portugal which are now available to buy in Finland.  Primrose’s Kitchen (naturopathic muesli and granolas) were joined by Bear fruit yo yo’s, Pip organic’s juice and finally Captain Kombucha‘s probiotic drinks.  A selected group of bloggers with interests ranging from food, to lifestyle and family were invited to hear talks from brand representatives (including Primrose herself) and get to know more about the products.

I had the task of creating healthy vegan, gluten, nut free finger food and organising the smoothie bowl bases which the bloggers would then decorate with their favourite Primrose’s Kitchen muesli or granola.  I plumped for mini beetroot falafel, topped with a roasted red pepper and garlic hummus and tahini drizzle (recipe for beetroot falafel here)  and secondly raw walnut tacos with a fresh pineapple salsa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
My mini beetroot falafels and raw walnut tacos

I think they went down well, I had a couple of people ask for the recipe and one person even asked if I do catering!   For the smoothie bowl bases I opted for a berry cardamom and a raw cacao.

It was great to hear the story behind each product and see the passion involved in creating these healthy, additive free brands.  For example Primrose Kitchen uses raw vegetables in their mueslis which are grated and then slowly dried to maintain all the nutritional goodness.  Bear employ hundreds of workers who individually hand roll all their fruit yo yo’s, which considering how many they sell, is a fairly monumental task.  While Pip Organic are one of the few kid’s juice boxes not made from concentrate, but premium organic juice.  The makers of Captain Kombucha chose to give their 5 flavours  a lighter taste so it has a more mass appeal and more people can therefore enjoy its health benefits.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Smoothie bowl decoration in full progress

Probably the most fun part of the evening for the bloggers was their chance to decorate their own smoothie bowls.  I had a range of delicious fruit toppings, as well as dried and fresh flowers which really allowed the bloggers to get a bit creative (you can see my attempt above).  I have to say I would usually make my own granola and muesli, but the Primrose’s Kitchen brand is a great product.  It is so good to have a range with only whole natural ingredients, no additives and little to no added sugar.  My particular favourites are the cacao courgette granola and the carrot and cinnamon muesli.  The range is currently available at Ruohonjuuri and soon Stockmann  (Ruohonjuuri currently stocks all 4 product ranges). Although I no longer live in the UK I noticed that both Primrose’s kitchen and Bear yo yo’s were available at Waitrose

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Makrobios’ goodie bag

The evening was a great success, it was nice to meet some fellow bloggers with similar interests and of course to be involved with Makrobios’ event.  Thanks to every one who came and Miina for giving me the opportunity.

Rainbow Rolls with a crunchy Peanut Dipping Sauce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Rainbow Rolls with a Crunchy Peanut Dipping Sauce

It finally feels as is summer is coming to Finland.  The snow has stopped and my balcony furniture has been brought out of storage!  Today we have been cycling around Helsinki and enjoying terrace season at Birgitta.  The weather inspired me to make these beautiful rainbow summer rolls.  They are so colourful and simple to make.  I love the crunchy fresh vegetables with the peanut dipping sauce.  Feel free to add tofu or another source of protein as you wish, but I kind of like these in all their veggie glory.

Rainbow rolls with peanut dipping sauce – serves 2 – 3 people

10 Rice paper spring roll sheets

1 pack of vermicelli rice noodles

colourful veg for filling (avocados, peppers, cucumber, carrots, red cabbage etc)

shoots, cress or crunchy lettuce

small bunch of coriander or mint

For the sauce:

4 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

2 tbsp gluten free soy sauce

2 tbsp coconut or palm sugar

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tsp sriracha chilli sauce

Soak the rice noodles in hot water for ten minutes until they soften.  Meanwhile dip the rice papers in warm water and layer between damp sheets of kitchen paper/ paper towel and leave for 2 minutes until they become soft and semi-transparent.

Take a sheet of rice paper and place you veg in tight rows in the centre of the round. Top with a handful of drained rice noodles, a little of the fresh herbs and a bunch of shoots or lettuce, depending on what you are using.  Fold over the top end of the rice paper, roll the sides over the filling and finally fold the bottom end to seal the filling into the roll.  Repeat until you have used up all your rice papers.

To make the dipping sauce, simply whisk together all the ingredients and then thin a little with some warm water.

Update! 

I have been lucky enough to test New Whites new product.  While I normally try to use vegan products I have some vegetarian readers.  New Whites is made from 94 % egg white and is packed with protein.  So for any vegetarians reading, this is a good edition to the rainbow rolls if you want to up your protein.

 

 

Beetroot Falafel Bowl

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Beetroot Falafel Bowl

Just a quick post today! I am super busy at the moment with a number of exciting projects – watch this space for more details coming soon.

I love falafel.  They are so easy to make, but so good.  These beetroot falafel use dried chickpeas, which I think give a better texture.  The beetroot adds a little sweetness, which fits perfectly with a tahini dressing and some crunchy salad.

Beetroot Falafel – makes around 15- 20 falafel depending on their size

250 g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained

1 small red onion finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

2 tbsp flour/ chickpea flour (for gluten free falafel)

A good pinch of salt

1 medium sized beetroot, peeled and finely grated

3 tsp dried cumin

a good pinch of cayenne pepper

a handful of chopped parsley

a good pinch of ground cardamom

oil for frying

Add the dried chickpeas to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped and beginning to come together.  Add all the other ingredients and pulse until well mixed. You should be able form the mixture into falafel sized balls.  If the mixture won’t come together try adding a little more flour or pulsing the mixture again so it has a finer texture.   Make sure the balls are firmly pushed together or they will break up when frying.

Heat a deep pan of oil, test the temperature by dropping in a small amount of mixture.  It should bubble, but not so furiously that it quickly burns.  Cook the falafel in batches until  they turn crispy and golden brown (around 6 – 8 mins)

Remove the falafel with a slotted spoon and place on some kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil.

I served my falafel with green salad, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers and strips of grated carrot.  I also made a quick tahini sauce by stirring a couple of teaspoons of tahini into a plant based creme fraiche.

 

 

 

 

Hummus recipe – 4 ways

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hummus – 4 ways

Did you know that yesterday was international hummus day?  If you have been following my blog, you will know my love for the almighty chickpea.  It is incredibly versatile and of course they are used for the base of most hummus.  I didn’t have time to post this yesterday, but I celebrated hummus day in style with four different types of hummus.  Below is a base recipe which you can then add different flavours and mix up your hummus styles.  Pictured above are a pea and mint hummus, a beetroot hummus, a roasted red pepper and garlic hummus and finally a hummus flavoured with zhoug, a yemenite spice paste with fresh coriander, parsley and cloves.  I actually think the zhoug was my favourite.  I picked up a jar last time I was in the UK and it adds a spicy herb flavour which really brings the hummus alive.

On a side note, I made a batch of Irish soda bread to serve with my hummus.  I used my Vegan Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Irish Soda Bread recipe, but just left out the chocolate, sugar and cranberries and topped the bread with loads of seeds before baking.

Basic Hummus recipe

250 g canned chickpeas (retain the chickpea water from the can)

2 tsp dried cumin

2 tsp dried coriander

1/2 tsp of dried garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried onion powder

1 heaped tsp tahini

good squeeze of lemon

a glug of olive oil

a good pinch of salt

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Add a little of the chickpea water if the mix is too thick.  Check the seasoning and add more of any of the spices or salt as required.

For the Zhoug hummus

simply add 2 tbsp of zhoug paste to hummus and stir through

For the Beetroot hummus

Peel 300 g of beetroot and cut into chunks.  Sprinkle with oil and salt and roast in the oven for 40 mins until tender at 180 degrees.  Once cool add to the hummus and pulse until thoroughly combined.  I usually leave out the garlic, onion powder and tahini as I think it gives a more beetrooty flavour.  You will also probably need to add a little extra chickpea water or oil or the mixture will be very thick.

For the Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic hummus

Cut two red peppers into chunks and roast with 2 cloves of garlic in the oven for 30 mins at 180 degrees, until the peppers begin to char.  Squeeze the roasted garlic from their cases and add with the red peppers and a tsp of smoked paprika to the hummus and pulse until thoroughly combined.  I think this works best with an extra squeeze or two of lemon juice.

For the Pea and Mint Hummus

This hummus does not use the base recipe above.  Simply add 200 g of defrosted frozen peas, a handful of fresh mint, a squeeze of lemon juice, a glug of olive oil, a good pinch of salt and 2 tsp of dried cumin to a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Add a little water if the mixture is too thick.

Vegan Rice Pudding with Oranges and Roasted Vanilla Rhubarb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Rice Pudding with Oranges and Roasted Vanilla Rhubarb

Sometimes I crave something comforting, especially when it is still snowing here in Helsinki mid way through May!! This rice pudding is super creamy and satisfying.  It works perfectly with fresh oranges and roasted rhubarb, the tart fruit cutting through the rich soft rice.  I added 1 tbsp of maple syrup, but to be honest it doesn’t really need it.  I was trying to recreate the tinned ambrosia rice pudding from my youth, which is incredibly sweet, so I indulged in the extra syrup!.  However I would definitely leave it out if you are having this for breakfast.  The porridge is good both hot and cold, so make a big batch and leave the rest in the fridge to enjoy when you want.  If the porridge gets too thick just add a splash more milk.

Vegan Rice Pudding with Oranges and Roast Vanilla Rhubarb – serves 2 – 3

120 g Pudding rice

4 dl of roasted almond milk

2 dl of extra thick coconut milk

1 dl water

a good pinch of salt

seeds from a vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder

1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

For the Rhubarb:

200 g rhubarb

1 tbsp coconut sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla powder

1 large orange

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.  Add all the porridge ingredients to a large pot and cook on a low temperature for 45 mins, stirring regularly.  Add a little extra milk or water if the porridge becomes too thick.

Meanwhile roast the rhubarb.  Clean and cut the rhubarb into 3 – 5 cm pieces and  arrange on a baking tray.  Cut the orange in half and put one half aside. Zest one of the halves and sprinkle over the rhubarb with the coconut sugar.  Squeeze over the juice and give the rhubarb a good mix.  Roast for 20 -25 mins until the fruit is soft and tender, but retains it shape.

Serve the porridge with slices of orange from the retained half and the roasted rhubarb.