November 26, 2013

Christmas Spices...

Christmas is here once again and its all sparkle and lots of goodies to eat and drink. This is when we get our bottles of spices out for the traditional Christmas cake and pudding and mince pies. However, is any of this good for us? Spices have been used for cuisine and trade since 2000bc (Wikipedia) and in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, there is the story of Joseph who was sold as a slave to spice merchants by his brothers. In the biblical poem Song of Solomon, the ‘beloved’ is compared to many forms of spices. Spices originated from Asia and Middle East and were among the most demanded and expensive products available in Europe in the Middle ages mainly due to the transport over thousands of miles. They are aromatic and give beautiful spicy tastes to many other now familiar foods that we eat such as curry’s and stir fries. They also have health qualities such as reducing inflammation and helping blood sugar balance.
Most of all, they were ‘Fit for the King’ being given in worship of the birth of Jesus by those who visited Him in those few days after being born in the manger.
Here are a few more nutritional facts about spices.

Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon of cinnamon contains 28mg of calcium, almost 1mg of iron, over a gram of fibre and quite a lot of vitamins such as C K and manganese. Several studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control by taking ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day. This in turn will help weight control as well as decreasing the risk of heart disease.

Cloves – The active principles in cloves are known to have antioxidant, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory and anti-flatulent properties. It contains an oil called eugenol which has local anaesthetic and antiseptic properties. It also contains a good amount of minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and magnesium which are vital in our body. The spice also contains good amounts of vitamin A.

Cardamom – contains many chemical compounds that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties. Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium. Potassium is an important part of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. It is also an excellent source of iron and manganese. Iron is required for red blood cell formation and cellular metabolism.

Ginger – Ginger maintains normal blood circulation as chromium, magnesium and zinc improves blood flow. It also improves the absorption of essential nutrients in the body by stimulating gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion. It is a natural powerful painkiller as it contains some of the most potent anti-inflammatory fighting substances. As well as this, ginger decreases bacterial infections on the stomach, helps battle coughs and throat irritation and can help to inhibit fatty deposits from the arteries.

Nutmeg – Nutmeg has anti-fungal, anti-depressant and digestive functions. It is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium. It is also rich in many vital B-complex vitamins, including vitamin C, folic acid, riboflavin, vitamin A and many anti-oxidants like beta-carotene which is essential for good health.

Turmeric – Turmeric features antibacterial and antiseptic qualities, so can be used to treat wounds. There is evidence that it aids in the restructuring of skin so may prevent scarring after injuries. It prevents breast cancer by altering cancer cells as it contains a powerful antioxidant compound that has reduced the size of tumours in 9 different studies. It can also be used to ease the side effects and boost the effects of some chemotherapy drugs. Many other medicinal properties include detoxifying the liver, helping in the metabolizing of fat and preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing the plaque build up in the brain that is believed to trigger Alzheimer’s. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory compounds which work to reduce joint pain and inflammation.

Recipes with Christmas spices

Braised beef with cranberries and spices
(serves 8)  ~ cinnamon, ginger
2 tbsp olive oil
8 thick braising steaks, 1kg meat in total
2 large onions, very finely chopped, preferably in a food processor
4 garlic cloves, sliced
25g ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
good pinch saffron
2 cinnamon sticks, snapped in half
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp harissa
2 tbsp ground almonds
1.2l hot beef stock
2 bay leaves
85g dried cranberries

  • Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish. Add the steaks 4 at a time and brown them well on both sides, then transfer to a plate. Now add the onions, garlic and ginger to the oil, plus juices left in the dish, and fry for at least 15 mins, stirring very frequently, until they are golden and soft. 
  • Add the saffron, cinnamon sticks, coriander, harissa and ground almonds, and stir well for 1 min.
  • Tip in the stock, then return the meat to the dish. Add the bay leaves, cover and simmer for 1 hr.
  • Remove the lid and cook for another 1 hr 30 mins, checking occasionally to ensure the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom. 
  • Add the cranberries 10 mins before the end of the cooking time so they can plump up in the gravy. Check the beef after the cooking time – it should pull apart easily with 2 forks. If not, add a splash more water or stock and cook for another 30 mins.
  • Remove cinnamon and bay leaves.

Gingerbread men
(makes 12 large) 
cinnamon, ginger
140g unsalted butter
100g dark muscovado sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
350g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
2 balls stem ginger from a jar, chopped

To decorate
50g icing sugar
a few glacé cherries 
2 balls stem ginger

  • Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan. Mix flour, soda, spices and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir in the butter mix and chopped ginger to make a stiff-ish dough.
  • Wait until cool enough to handle, then roll out dough to about 5mm thick. Stamp out gingerbread men, re-rolling and pressing the trimmings back together and rolling again. Lift onto baking sheets. Bake for 12 mins until golden. Cool 10 mins on the sheets, then lift onto cooling racks.
  • To decorate, mix icing sugar with a few drops of water until thick and smooth. Halve then slice cherries thinly to make smiles, and cut ginger into small squares. Spoon icing into a food bag, snip off the tiniest bit from one corner, then squeeze eyes and buttons, and a tiny smile onto 1 man at a time. Stick on a cherry smile and ginger buttons. Repeat; leave to set. Will keep up to 1 week in an airtight tin.

Low sugar spiced fruit cake
(12 slices) 
cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice
85g self-raising flour
140g wholemeal plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g  low sugar apricot jam 
50gm caster sugar
4-5 cardamom pods
zest 1 small orange
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
¼ tsp nutmeg
140g butter, cut into pieces
100g pecans
85g raisins, preferably golden or green
85g sultanas
85g dried cranberries
1 egg
125ml milk

For the topping
85g frozen cranberries, thawed
25g dark brown sugar

  • Butter and base-line a deep 18cm round, loose-bottomed cake tin. Heat oven to 170C/fan 150C/gas 3. For the cake, stir together the flours, baking powder, 50 gm sugar. Slit open the cardamom pods and remove the tiny seeds (discard the pods). Grind the seeds to a powder using a pestle and mortar, then stir into the flour mixture with the orange zest and all the other spices.
  • Rub the butter into the mix until it looks like coarse crumbs. Coarsely chop half the pecans and stir into the mix with the raisins, sultanas and cranberries. Beat the egg, pour in the milk and stir into the cake mixture the jam. Spoon the mixture into the tin, level the top and scatter over the remaining pecan halves. Bake for 45 mins, then lower the heat to 150C/fan 130C/ gas 2 and bake for another 45 mins.
  • While the cake bakes, prepare the topping. Pat the cranberries dry on kitchen paper, then toss with the sugar in a small bowl. After the second 45 mins of baking, spoon the sugared cranberries over the top of the cake. Return to the oven for another 15-20 mins, or until the cranberries are sticky and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack. The cake is best kept overnight for the flavours to mellow before slicing.

Thai green chicken curry
(serves 6) 
ginger, turmeric
1kg pack boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
15g pack fresh coriander, chopped
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 medium onions
1 tsp ground turmeric
400ml can reduced-fat coconut milk
1 chicken stock cube

  • Slice each chicken thigh into 2 or 3 large chunks, then put in a bowl with the ginger, garlic green thai curry paste, half the coriander, lime juice and 1 tbsp of the oil. Stir well, then cover and leave in the fridge to marinate until ready to cook. For the best flavour, do this in the morning or, better still, the night before. You don’t have to though-it still tastes great done in the moment!
  • Peel and slice the onions, then very finely chop them Heat the remaining oil in a wok or large frying pan, then add the onion and stir-fry for about 8 mins until soft. Tip in the chicken mixture with the marinade and cook over a high heat until the chicken changes colour and browns.  
  • Pour in the coconut milk, and stock cube, then cover and simmer for 10 mins until the chicken is tender. 
  • Stir in the turmeric, adding the pack of stir fry vegetables stirring well  and cook for 5 mins more
  • Stir in the remaining coriander, then serve with brown basmati rice and broccoli.

Sweet Potato, carrot and swede mash
(serves 4) 
3 large sweet potatoes
3 carrots
½ swede
25g butter
splash of milk or cream
good grating of nutmeg

  • Cut the veg into similar-sized chunks. Tip into a pan of cold salted water, bring to a boil, cover, then cook for 15-20 mins until all the vegetables are tender.
  • Drain, leave to steam-dry for a few mins, then tip back into the pan and mash with the butter, milk or cream, nutmeg and some seasoning. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Cardamom meringue nests
(serves 10) 
6 egg whites
350g caster sugar
2 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp cocoa

  • Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2 and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Put egg whites in a clean bowl and beat with an electric whisk until they resemble stiff peaks. While whisking, add the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time – meringue will thicken and become glossy. Fold in cardamom.
  • Using a metal spoon, dollop small spoonfuls of meringue, evenly spaced, onto the baking sheets, to make around 48 mini meringues. With the back of the spoon, lightly flatten and hollow out the centres. Sieve a dusting of cocoa over them and bake for 1 hr until crisp. Turn off the oven and leave meringues in the oven to cool. Pile high on a plate and serve with flavoured creams.

October 01, 2013

Gluten Free Foods For Kids

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye.

Gluten is the main structural protein of wheat and contains gliadins and glutenins.  Research is showing that gluten has a role in the outcome of inflammation, being indicated in the cause of celiac disease.

If you have coeliac disease, your immune system reacts to gluten and leads to damage to the lining of your gut. Gluten causes the immune system to produce antibodies that attack the delicate lining of the bowel, which is responsible for absorbing nutrients and vitamins.

The small bowel contains villi, which are tiny finger-like projections that are only visible under a microscope. They provide a large surface area over which we absorb nutrients such as folic acid, iron and calcium. If you have coeliac disease, a reaction occurs when gluten comes into contact with the lining of the small bowel. The villi are attacked by the immune system and become inflamed and flattened. This results in nutrients from food going down the gut without being absorbed (malabsorption), leading to diarrhoea, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, anaemia and thin bones (osteoporosis). Other symptoms include tiredness, headaches, bloating and nausea.

Cereal Products
Gluten free cereal products include: buckwheat, potato flour, rice, rice flour, quinoa, soy flour, corn flour (from maize), taco shells and coconut flour.

Lunch & Dinner Ingredients 
Gluten-free pasta:
Gluten-free bread: 
Kelp noodles (wheat free): 
Soba Noodles (gluten free):

Pom Bear potato snacks: 
Gluten-free cakes: 
Gluten-free pretzels: 
Gluten-free crackers/crisp breads: 
Gluten-free wafers:
Gluten-free biscuits/cookies:
Gluten-free cake/brownie/pastry mixes:

Breakfast Suggestions
Gluten free cereals include: ‘Doves Farm Organic Choco Stars’, ‘Whole Earth Honey Oaty Pillows’, ‘Whole Earth Tasty Cocoa Bears’, ‘Barkat Organic Breakfast Pops’. All of which can be purchased from

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins - 12 Muffins

175g/6oz rice flour
50g/2oz tapioca flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 rounded tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp salt
150g/5oz caster sugar
60g/2½oz butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, preferably free-range, beaten
60g/2½oz buttermilk
2 tbsp milk
150g/5oz fresh blueberries

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/35F/Gas 4
  • Sift together the rice flour, tapioca flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and xanthan gum in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar and mix well
  • Whisk together the cooled melted butter, egg, buttermilk and milk in another large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter, egg and buttermilk mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon to combine and finally gently fold in the blueberries
  • Divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin cases and bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly. They are nicest served warm
Recipe from

For more recipe ideas, and places to get gluten-free ingredients from, visit these websites:

June 04, 2013

Stevia – a healthier alternative to sugar

What is Stevia?

Stevia Rebaudiana is an herb in the Chrysanthemum family which grows wild as a small shrub in parts of Paraguay and Brazil. The glycosides in its leaves account for its incredible sweetness, making it unique among the 300 species of Stevia plants.
There are indications that Stevia has been used to sweeten a native beverage since Pre-Columbian times. 
It is gluten free, safe for diabetics and as well as this, is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It is almost calorie free and can replace refined sugar and sweeteners, as stevia is natural and has none of sugar’s unhealthy drawbacks.
It will not raise blood sugar levels or affect the glycemic index and apparently, according to the tests conducted by Purdue University’s Dental Science Reasearch Group, is fluoride compatible and significantly inhibits the development of plaque, therefore helping to prevent cavities. 
Stevia is sold under the brand name of Truvia in many supermarkets in England including ASDA, Morrisons, Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsburys in sachets or jars.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – 18 cookies

1/2 cup raisins (packed)
5 ounces apple juice
1/3 cup raw cashews or walnuts (coarsely ground)
1/4 cup soy flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine (softened)
3/4 tsp stevia extract
1/2 tsp maple flavouring
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and oil greaseproof paper
  • Simmer the raisins and apple juice in a small pan over low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Coarsely grind cashews or walnuts in a blender. In a mixing bowl, cream the cashews or walnuts and soy flour into the softened butter (or margarine). Stir in the stevia, maple flavouring, vanilla, and slightly beaten egg.
  • Cream 1/3 of the stewed raisins and all of the juice in a blender. Set the rest of the raisins aside. 
  • Stir the creamed raisins into the butter mixture before adding the milk and oats.
  • Sift together the wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir the flour into the other ingredients and add the rest of the raisins.
  • Drop onto greaseproof paper sheet and flatten with the palm of the hand. Bake 13-15 minutes.

Banana Bread
1 loaf - 12 servings

2 very ripe, medium to large bananas
1/4 tsp powdered stevia extract
1/2 tsp stevia concentrate
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a medium-sized loaf pan (7 1/2 “x 3 1/2 “ x 2 1/2”)


  • Mash the bananas in a small bowl. Mix the stevia extract, stevia concentrate, and lemon juice into the mashed bananas. Set aside.
  • Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
  • Beat the oil and egg together in a mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in the yogurt and the vanilla. Stir the mashed bananas into the liquid mixture.
  • Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring as little as possible. Mix in the walnuts just before the flour is completely blended.
  • Place into the loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until a toothpick or fork stuck in the middle comes out clean. Turn out the loaf and cool on a rack.

White Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Sauce
Serving Size: 1/2 cup (4 oz) - Total Servings: 4 (2 cups total)


3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp stevia extract 
1 (4 oz) bar of baking white chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt

  • Whip heavy cream in electric mixer for about 1 minute before mixing in vanilla and stevia extracts until stiff peaks form. 
  • Melt white chocolate in microwave at 50% power for about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir white chocolate until completely dissolved. 
  • Add to half of cream/ stevia mixture and blend. Refrigerate the white chocolate/cream mixture in one bowl and the remaining whipped cream in a separate bowl for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove bowls from fridge and add yogurt to remaining whipped cream and whip with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. 
  • Gently fold yogurt/cream mixture into white chocolate/cream mixture. 
  • Place in dessert cups or ramekins and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Keep up to 2 days in refrigerator.

April 25, 2013

Vegan Diet - Health Benefits

This Easter I embarked on only eating vegan for a month and it was an eye opener. It was really like doing a detox as I cut out all sugar, coffee and alcohol as well as meat and any animal produce. As you can imagine I felt rather tired and heady to start with but that soon cleared in the first week and as my waistline got trimmer, my energy increased, as did my sleeping improve. It wasn’t as hard as I thought even though I was also cooking for my husband who loves meat. I ate as much as I fancied within those boundary lines and  still lost weight. People commented on my skin and said I looked well and that further encouraged me on. I even ate out but stuck to vegetables and rice and when at friends for dinner I just missed out the meat. I felt quite sad when the month had finished but decided not to make it a lifetime policy but to increase my vegetable and plant intake. All menopausal symptoms seemed to fade away and I believe in this stage of life, as a woman, eating more plant food and cutting down on animal produce, sugar, alcohol and caffeine is key to good health.

Mushroom and pumpkin couscous (serves 4)

15g Shiitake Mushrooms
4tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
300g Japanese pumpkin or butternut squash, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
8-10 leaves sage, finely chopped
250g couscous
1 sachet Miso Bouillon Paste
1 lemon juice and zest
Fried sage leaves, optional
Sea Salt

  • Place the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 250ml of warm water. Allow to soak for 5-10 minutes until softened.
  • Strain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Remove the tough stalks form the shiitake and discard. Then, slice the mushrooms into strips.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the pumpkin, garlic, sage and fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes, add the couscous and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Mix the miso bouillon paste into the mushroom soaking liquid until dissolved, then pour it into the couscous mix along with the lemon juice and zest. Stir briefly, add a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then turn off the stove, place a lid on the pan and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  • Stir the couscous to break up any large chunks and drizzle over the remaining olive oil. Serve garnished with fried sage leaves, if desired.

Pasta with Pesto, Broccoli & Pine Nuts (serves 2)

8oz (225g) pasta
2 tbsp vegan pesto
1/2 small broccoli
2 handfuls pine nuts
1 sliced tomato
Vegan Parmezano

  • Add pasta to boiling water and boil for 8 minutes. 
  • Steam broccoli for last 4 minutes and add to pasta together with the pesto and pine nuts.
  • Mix and serve onto plates. Add garnish of thinly sliced tomato.
  • Sprinkle with Parmezano.

Spinach Quiche (serves 4)

8 oz (225g) wholemeal flour
Good pinch of salt
4 oz (115g) very cold vegan margarine
Approx. 2 tablespoon cold water
1 lb (450g) fresh spinach, washed and shredded
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 oz (115g) mushrooms, sliced
12 oz (340g) tofu, pressed to remove excess water
1/2 tbsp dried dill, or to taste
Fresh parsley
Season to taste
2 tbsp sunflower seeds

  • Start with the pastry: sift together flour and salt. Use finger tips to rub in the margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add just enough cold water to bind it to dough, then wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the spinach gently in a saucepan in a minimum of water, or preferably steam it, until just soft.
  • Heat the oil and fry the onion until it begins to soften, then add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes more. 
  • Either mash the tofu, or blend it to make a thick puree. Add dill, plenty of finely chopped parsley and seasoning. Stir in the mushroom mixture and spinach.
  • On a floured board roll out the pastry, then use it to line a medium-sized flan dish. Pour in the tofu, spinach and mushroom mixture, smooth the top and sprinkle with seeds.
  • Bake at 190C/375F/gas mark 5 for about half an hour, or until the pastry is crisp. Serve hot.

Millet and Vegetable Risotto (serves 4)

4 generous handfuls of seasonal vegetables
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
14 oz (400g) millet
1 1/2 pints (850mls) water or vegetable stock
2 heaped tbsp vegan pesto
2 heaped tbsp tomato puree
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Large handful of nuts to garnish

  • Prepare the vegetables.
  • Over medium heat sauté the onion in the oil until transparent. Add the millet grains and ensure that each one gets coated with the oil. 
  • Add the water or stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the vegetables and continue to simmer until all the excess liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are tender. Add extra water if required but keep it to a minimum.
  • Add the pesto, tomato puree and half the lemon juice. Adjust seasoning and add extra lemon juice if necessary. Serve and garnish with the nuts of your choice.

Vegan tomato & mushroom pancakes (serves 2)

140g white self-raising flour
1 tsp soya flour
400ml soya milk
Vegetable oil, for frying
For the topping
2 tbsp vegetable oil
250g button mushrooms
250g cherry tomatoes (halved)
2tbsp soya cream/milk
Large handful pine nuts
Snipped chives

  • Sift the flours and a pinch of salt into a blender. Add the soya milk and blend to make a smooth batter.
  • Heat a little oil in a medium non-stick frying pan until very hot. Pour 3 tbsp of the batter into the pan and cook over a medium heat until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake. Flip the pancake over and cook the other side until golden brown. You will make about 8.
  • For the topping, heat the oil in a frying pan. Cook the mushrooms until tender, add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of mins.
  • Pour in the soya cream or milk and pine nuts, then gently cook until combined. Divide the pancakes between 2 plates, then spoon over the tomatoes and mushrooms. Scatter with chives.

Soba Noodle & Edamame Salad With Grilled Tofu (serves 4)

140g soba noodles
300g fresh/frozen edamame (soy) beans
4 shredded spring onions
300g bag beansprouts
1 cucumber (deseeded, peeled & sliced)
1 tsp sesame
250g block tofu, patted dry & thickly sliced
1tsp vegetable oil
Coriander leaves

For the dressing
2tsp mirin
2tsp tamari
2tbsp orange juice
1 finely chopped red chili

  • Heat dressing ingredients in your smallest saucepan, simmer for 30 secs, then set aside.
  • Boil noodles following the pack instructions, adding the edamame beans for the final 2 mins cooking time. Rinse under very cold water, drain thoroughly and tip into a large bowl with the spring onions, beansprouts, cucumber, sesame oil and warm dressing. Season if you like.
  • Brush tofu with the vegetable oil, season and griddle or grill for 2-3 mins each side - the tofu is very delicate so turn carefully. Top the salad with the tofu, scatter with coriander and serve.

Falafel Burgers (serves 4)

400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Garlic clove, chopped
Handful of parsley
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp chili powder
2tbsp sunflower oil
Toasted pita bread
200g tub tomato salsa
Green salad
Red onion – roughly chopped

  • Pat the chickpeas dry with kitchen paper. Tip into a food processor along with the onion, garlic, parsley, spices, flour and a little salt. Blend until fairly smooth, then shape into four patties with your hands.
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the burgers, and then quickly fry for 3 mins on each side until lightly golden.
  • Serve with toasted pitas, tomato salsa and a green salad.

Vegan, No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispies with Peanut Butter  ‘Fudge’

No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispies

1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
1/4-1/2 tsp salt, to taste
3 cups crisp rice cereal
1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

Dark Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter ‘Fudge’

1 cup all-natural peanut butter
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil
salt, to taste
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut + coconut for sprinkling (optional)

  • Line an 8 inch square pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper going each way.
  • In a medium sized saucepan, stir together the peanut butter, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and almond milk together over low-medium heat. Once combined, slowly add in the sifted cocoa power and the salt. Stir over low heat being careful not to burn.
  • Mix in the 3 cups of rice crispies and remove from heat. Now add I the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and stir well. Spread this mixture into the square pan lined with parchment paper. Press down firmly and evenly. Place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes to firm up.
  • Meanwhile, make the Dark Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter by melting the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small bowl in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. Be careful not to burn. Now stir in the 1 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup coconut (optional), and kosher salt to taste. Mix until completely combined.
  • Remove the pan from the freezer when firm to touch and spread on as much of the Dark Chocolate PB ‘fudge’ as you prefer. Sprinkle with coconut if desired.
  • Place in the freezer for 45-50 minutes until firm. Store in the freezer or fridge. 

Vegan Diet Health Benefits
Meats and cheese are high in saturated fat which can elevate levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) within the blood. These LDLs cause narrowing of the arteries, putting you at a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Typically, a vegan will eat more lentils, beans and legumes. These are good for the heart because they contain soluble fibre which reduces cholesterol.
Lower rates of blood pressure as well as blood cholesterol levels.
Due to less animal fats, there is less fat in the diet and therefore easier to lose weight
More vitamins consumed generally, as more fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds are eaten.
A vegan’s diet is higher in dietary fibre, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins C and E, iron and they tend to be lower in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol.
Lower risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.