Coconut!

smoothie

We were sent some coconut milk by Rhythm. It’s a chilled product, comes in sachets as opposed to tins, and contains no added ingredients, no sweeteners, no de-coagulants, no rubbish. Just coconut. It’s also cold pressed, so suitable for raw food recipes, and is the best coconut milk we have ever tasted.

coconut milkWe made the tropical fruit smoothie pictured above (4 pints, adjust quantities as desired).
Into it went:
1 bag of frozen organic tropical fruit
4 bananas
100g of Rhythm’s thick creamy coconut milk
a few brazil nuts
1 litre of orange juice
Whizz it all up in a blender. The Vitamix had no problem with the fruit straight from frozen, you might have to defrost with a lower powered machine. It was gorgeous: sweet but not too sweet, rich but not sickening, perfect.

chiilisThis next recipe we are calling ‘Thai-Style Bubble and Squeak’. If you actually have left over cooked potatoes and cabbage it would be super quick to prepare. This is the method from scratch:
In 1 tsp of coconut oil, fry up a red chilli, 5 cloves of garlic and a thumb of ginger, all finely chopped. Stir in 300g of Rhythm’s coconut milk with a little water to make a creamy bubbling sauce.

Wash and thinly slice a small bag of new potatoes and half a Savoy cabbage. Pop them into the pan, stirring frequently until soft and cooked, increasing the water if needed.  Add sea salt to taste. Nice served with rice and salad after a blustery Autumn walk.

autumn leaves

Viva! Cookbook

viva cover

The beautiful new cookbook from Viva! by Jane Easton (see her delicious beanburger recipe over on frugal).

The organisational structure of the book is exceptionally user-friendly. First there’s the main sections: Vegan Basics; Souperb; A bit on the side; Back to the sauce; The main event and Sweet thing. Then there’s a range of indexes based on the codes found on the recipe pages: budget dishes, fast feeds, Gluten & wheat free, cooking for one, kid-friendly, freezable, low fat/diabetic-friendly.

The recipes themselves are diverse and gorgeous and there’s a stunning colour photo beside each one. It’s hard to know where to start with describing them as there as so many, so we’ll give you a favourite: Speedy Chocolate Pudding. You can click the photo to see a bigger version.

viva recipe

The book is a wonderful mix of simple advice for beginner cooks and those new to veganism through to advanced ideas such as Christmas Stuffed Squash with Two-rice, Cranberry and Porcini Mushroom Filling. Rose Elliot’s Chestnut and Red Wine Pate en croute that we’ve loved for years is also included.

There’s Scrambled Tofu; Socca Pizza with Cream Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts; Perfect Pancakes; Vegetable Tempura; Smokey Black Bean Cakes & Sausages; cakes, muffins, slices… we could go on and on. Really we could, there’s 145 recipes!

The beautiful photos make it an excellent coffee table title, so much better for inspiration than tucking it away on a shelf…

To buy or read more visit Viva!

a pasta dish, a vegan guide and a dragonfly

pasta

So simple: cook pasta of your choice; fry up some chopped onions and whole chestnut mushrooms in a little olive oil. Once cooked, drain the pasta and stir everything together adding salt as desired. Add chopped parsley and cherry tomatoes, some seeds. Eat.

The HouseTrip Vegan and Vegetarian Food Guide has interactive maps showing good eating places for veg*ns in London, Paris and Berlin. You may see the odd review from us in the London section!

And a dragonfly, there are so many this year…

dragonfly

Autumn and Oatly

mushrooms

Ah, Autumn, you’re upon us again. Season of beautiful leaves, mushrooms in the grass and an abundance of apples. And squashes, let’s not forget them.

Timely then that Oatly sent us some of their products and a recipe for Oatly roasted butternut squash soup with lemon thyme. The apples really add a seasonal fruitiness to this dish, don’t miss them out!

Ingredientsbutternut squash soup
250 ml Oatly Organic Creamy Oat
1 butternut squash
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 minced red chilli
2 sprigs of lemon thyme
2 green apples, diced
800 ml vegetable stock
1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted pumpkin seeds to serve

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 240C/475F
2. Halve the butternut squash and scoop out the seeds using a large spoon. Place the halves on a large baking sheet with flech side up. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
3. Heat a large pot over a medium high heat and add the oil. Add the onions, chilli, ginger and apple and cook gently until soft.
4. Using a large spoon, scoop out the flesh from the butternut squash and add it with the thyme to the pot.
5. Pour over the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Remove from the heat and blend using a hand-blender to desired consistency.
7. Add the Oatly Organic Creamy Oat and squeeze over lemon. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
8. Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds. We didn’t have those but we did have homemade potato wedges which made up for it.

Recipe credit: this recipe was made with Oatly Creamy Oat – a great dairy free, healthy alternative to single cream. For more delicious recipes and further information about the Oatly way of life, visit facebook.com/oatlyab

Creamy Oat is also great with puddings such as apple pie, it comes out of the fridge with the consistency of double cream. Pie recipe over on frugal.org uk

apple pie

glossy hair, a recipe and a dolphin

Argan_Rosemary_treatment_mediumFirst to the glossy hair. The organic hair care company Old Wives Tail sent us some lovely smelling Argan & Rosemary Organic Oil Treatment. Now, my hair has always been thin and brittle; good nutrition improved it, but on a windy day in the woods I still looked like a demented will-o’-the-wisp.

Never having used an oil treatment before, I wondered if the thick conditioner would really shampoo off easily: it did, oily to squeaky clean in sixty seconds. And it’s left my hair feeling fuller, with more body and smelling great. It’s actually glossy. Will it defy the wind? Well that would be a miracle, but who knows?

Old Wives Tail are running a competition to win a free hair mask of your choice here. (Closes August 1st).

sunflower

An older recipe from our main courses page has recently come back into favour, it’s so delicious I don’t know why we stopped making it:

Sweet Potatoes in a Coconut and Peanut Sauce
Ingredients:
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a little sunflower oil
1 teaspoon of curry powder or spices of your choice
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 tin of coconut milk
5 or 6 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into bite size chunks
seasalt to taste

Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes. Add the curry spices and stir well. Add the peanut butter, stirring over a medium heat until in begins to melt and then pour in your coconut milk and stir until well blended. Put the sweet potatoes and salt in the pan and bring to the boil and then turn down to simmer until they are softened (10 minutes +). Nice with rice and salad.

dolphin

‘Harlequin’ is one of fifty life-size dolphins displayed across Aberdeen for the summer. They are diverse and beautiful and huggable. See the Wild Dolphins website for more info.

Orange, pomegranate and kale salad

orange, pomegranate and kale salad

This salad is colourful and strongly flavoured. In fact, it is hard-core salad. Lots of chewing involved. No dressing. If the pomegranate is nice and ripe, preparing this salad will leave you looking like a guest at a wedding written by George R. R. Martin (but healthy).

We used:
6 oranges, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
the juicy contents of 1 large pomegranate
plentiful kale leaves, chopped or torn
some red lettuce, shredded

Mix and eat those colours, people!

salad in bowl

Other salad recipes here

Chocs Away!

Goodness Direct goodies
Goodness Direct sent us some things! Sweet things! Ooh!

The Booja Booja Champagne truffles we had tried before, hence our delight on seeing them in the box. They are smooth and rich and decadent, perfect for a special occasion or as a gift or treat.

truffles

The Eskal mints and fruit crèmes were new to us, but both very enjoyable, the mints reminiscent of Bendicks and the crèmes delicately and naturally flavoured. The company do quite a large range of vegan and gluten-free foods (we like the pasta and noodles too).

nutri snax

Nutri Snax are a bit like Nakd bars, maybe a little chewier, but very nice and they come in various flavours.

Lest this post be ever so sweetly misleading: Goodness Direct are actually an online health food shop, selling everything you would expect from such a store including fresh vegetables, bread and household items. Despite the fact we live in the North of Scotland, a package from them usually arrives the day after ordering. They offer free delivery on orders over £35. We’ve used them for years and know their customer service to be excellent.

Let’s finish up with an evening loch picture, just because:

loch

vegan recipes, books and festivities… Among the trees in Scotland.

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