Vegan cookie discovery!

Breakfast

Toast with loganberry jam, fruit

This was the amazing loganberry jam made by my Nan which really brightens up any breakfast.

Lunch

Hummus and tomato wrap, fruit

This was one of the Warburton’s square wraps (wholemeal), which I find make great sandwiches. Sliced tomatoes are always a really good addition to a hummus sandwich as they add a nice burst of juiciness.

Dinner

Green lentils with pine nuts, spinach and kiwi

019

This is a nice quick dish for a tasty protein boost. It works well served with pitta breads or tortilla wraps.

Ingredients for green lentils with pine nuts, spinach and kiwi (serves 2):

– 2 ripe kiwi fruits

– 2 medium shallots

– 2 cloves garlic (crushed)

– Olive oil

– 1 medium packet of spinach

– 1 tin of green lentils

– ½ packet pine nuts

Method:

1. Peel and chop the kiwi fruits, then set aside. Finely chop the shallots. Heat a good splash of olive oil in a pan and add the shallots and garlic. Sautee gently until the shallots are semi-transparent but not brown, stirring constantly.

2. Stir in the lentils and spinach, plus a splash of water. You may need to add the spinach in batches, waiting for one lot to wilt before you add in the next lot.

3. Stir in the pine nuts and continue to simmer for another 5 mins or so, stirring frequently. You may like to add a little more olive oil before serving. Once it’s been served, top artistically with the chopped kiwi fruits!

Dessert

Apple, chocolate chip cookies

To my great excitement, I’ve managed to find some animal-free chocolate chip cookies. They’re hobnobs, and have dark chocolate chips. They ‘may contain traces of milk’ but I tend to ignore this (my reasoning being that buying such products does not give funding to the dairy industry). They’re extremely nice, as you can imagine!

Advertisements

Store cupboard ingredients + 20 mins = delicious meal

Breakfast

Wheat biscuits, raspberries, soya milk

002

The raspberries were slightly on the sharp side, so perfect with some sweetened soya milk. I always find that wheat biscuits and berries are a great breakfast combination.

Lunch

‘Cream cheese’ and salad sandwich, crisps, sharon fruit, flapjack

003

This was the lovely Tofutti brand of vegan cream cheese and I’ve recently discovered the garlic and herb flavour. It’s really tasty without being overwhelmingly garlicy and works well with spinach and cucumber. I used the Warburtons sandwich thins (wholemeal version), which are definitely a useful lunchtime ingredient.

005

Dinner

Homemade potato salad. Green lentils with spinach, cranberries and cashews.

001

The homemade potato salad was left over from the day before and kept well in the fridge overnight. For the recipe, please click here and scroll down to dinner. I had some green lentils and spinach to finish, so made a super-quick dish to go with the potatoes. The result was really good, and I don’t honestly think it could take longer than 20 mins to throw together.

Ingredients for green lentils with spinach, cranberries and cashews (serves 2):

– 1 onion/two large shallots

– 2 cloves of garlic

– 1 tin of green lentils

– Olive oil

– 1 packet of spinach

– Generous handfuls of cranberries and cashews (salted are tastier, unsalted are healthier!)

Method:

1. Dice the shallots and press the garlic. Rinse the lentils, drain and set aside.

2. Heat a good splash of olive oil in the pan and add the onion and garlic. Sautee gently for about 5 mins, stirring constantly.

3. When the onion is soft and semi-transparent, stir in the other ingredients. You may need to add the spinach in batches- stirring one lot in until it has wilted, then adding the rest.

4. To serve, you may like to add some extra olive oil and seasoning. Pitta breads would be a good alternative to the potato salad.

Dessert

Greengages, dark chocolate

These are the greengages I bought from a local fruit seller which were definitely a good purchase.

What to do if your watercress wilts

Breakfast

French bread with jam

001

This was the second of the Sainsbury’s Basics par-bake baguettes that I’d bought at the weekend. The picture is a little misleading as I actually left the banana and went for the rest of the baguette instead. My vague reasoning was that the banana would keep better than the bread. It made a nice breakfast time treat, although it probably wouldn’t be the healthiest way to start every day.

Lunch

Rye bread with banana, crisps, apple, dried mango

This was a repeat of my lunch the other day as I needed to finish up the lovely sunflower seed rye bread that my grandparents had brought when they came for Sunday lunch. The bread goes really well topped with  some sliced banana, and it’s a packed lunch you don’t even have to prepare- you can just bring along the bread, a banana and a knife.

Dinner

Apple and watercress dhal, salad

003

Apple and raisin dhal is one of my favourite recipes, but tonight I did a slight variation and I’d say that this version is even nicer. This new version was prompted by the presence a packet of watercress  that didn’t quite look salad-grade. It hadn’t gone yellow, but it just didn’t look as fresh and perky as it should have done. I didn’t really want to throw it away though, as it’s such a nutritious and tasty variety of greenery. I couldn’t see any reason not to treat it like spinach and stir it into a savoury dish, and this ended up working really well. In fairness though, I don’t think that the lovely flavour of the dhal was really the result of any watercress related innovation. My grandparents had brought me a box of fresh herbs from their garden, and I think it was these that really made the dish. I used a little sage, rosemary and thyme, and they really made it into something special. If you don’t have access to garden grown herbs (my own attempts have been enjoyed by many snails but few humans), then I’d go for sage and/or rosemary in the supermarket as I think these were the key herbs to include.

Ingredients for apple and watercress dhal (serves 3):

– 250g red  lentils

– 1 litre veggie stock (2 stock cubes)

– 1 onion

– 2 large cloves of garlic

– A small handful of sage leaves and a little fresh rosemary

– 3 apples (Coxes are ideal)

– Olive oil

– 1 smallish packet of watercress

– A good splash of soya cream

– (Optional) a few seeds to sprinkle over the top

Method:

1.  Rinse the lentils, add to a pan along with the stock and simmer until tender (around 15 mins)?

2. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion, apple and herbs. Crush the garlic cloves.

3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Sautee on a low heat, stirring constantly until the onion softens and turns transparent. Then add the apple and herbs, and continue to saute for a few minutes. Next, add the  watercress and soya cream, and stir until the watercress has wilted fully.

4. When the lentils are ready, stir into the apple mixture. It’s best to leave the dhal to cool a little before serving, otherwise it’s just too hot to appreciate all the flavours. Sprinkle each serving with a few seeds if you’re using them.

I just served this with some salad, topped with a little Bombay mix, plus the last of the mini ryvita crackers. If you’re feeling in need of a more substantial meal  though, you could always serve it with pitta bread.

004

Dessert

Chocolate and strawberry dessert, a few squares of chocolate

006

I had a little Alpro soya dessert left over from the Sunday lunch effort and had managed to find some strawberries in the Co-op for 50p. I literally just chopped the strawberries, put them in  a plastic wine glass and topped with the remaining soya dessert, plus a few chopped hazlenuts sprinkled over the top. It certainly doesn’t taste like the low-budget dessert that it really is!

005

Snacks

Mixed nuts

I think nuts are the ultimate energy snack as they’re really effective at keeping you going in between meals, and quite healthy too.

How a virtually empty cupboard can make a great meal

Breakfast

Blueberry bagel, banana, grapes

The expanding New York bagel range  is definitely great news for vegans. The blueberry ones are a good alternative if, like me,  you don’t have much time to make vegan blueberry muffins.

Lunch 

Hummus and tomato sandwich, salted nut mix, fruit, cranberry flapjack

Afternoon fuel in animal-free form and pretty tasty too. I know unsalted nuts are healthier, but they’re so much more inviting with salt on….

Dinner

Apple and raisin dhal, mini chilli crackers. Dessert: vegan chocolate (mandarin and ginger), grapes

This is where the empty cupboard comes in. In the outer reaches of South London, there seems to be a mixture of no food shops, or huge supermarkets where a shopping trip turns into a long-distance walk, especially if you don’t know where anything is. At least that was my excuse for cooking supplies being rather thin on the ground; I just couldn’t face a trek round the village-sized Morrisons with a heavy bag.

Fortunately though, the bare essentials of a store cupboard will make you a tasty vegan meal.

Ingredients for apple and raisin dhal (serves 2):

– 1 onion

– Some vegetable oil or a spoonful of vegan spread

-1 mug of lentils (see picture)

-2 mugs of veggie stock

-1-2 garlic cloves (crushed)

-1 apple

-A few raisins or sultanas (but don’t go overboard on these or the sweetness will dominate)

-Optional: fresh herbs (e.g. parsley), sunflower seeds, soya cream or yogurt

 This is the mug I used. Larger than a teacup but not a coffee bucket.


This is the mug I used. Larger than a teacup but not a coffee bucket.

Method:

1. Chop the onion and rinse the lentils. Chop the apple and set aside.

2. Melt the spread in a pan or heat some oil. Add the onion (or about four shallots) and sautee until it goes transparent.

3. Add the lentils, stock, garlic and parsley. A little later on, add the raisins and apple. Stir regularly as lentils are prone to sticking to the pan.

4. Simmer until the lentils are tender and a lot of the liquid has been absorbed (but without letting the mixture dry out).

5. If you have it, add a little soya cream or yoghurt and stir in. Allow to cool before serving, as the flavours are easier to appreciate when  it’s not boiling hot.

The dhal makes a filling meal without being too heavy and the lentils are a great source of protein. Chilli crackers are a nice spicy accompaniment, but you could have pitta bread if you feel the need for something more substantial.

002

004

Dessert brings me on to the vast subject of vegan chocolate. The range is overwhelming, and some of it very cheap. Even Sainsbury’s now do their own range of vegan chocolate, so you don’t even have to venture into a health food store (where vegans often go to buy chocolate)! If you like milk chocolate, try the Moo Free range. You get the feeling that some of the marketing is aimed at lactose-intolerant children, but it’s cute and I confess to purchasing a Mikey Bunny Easter egg this year. For a real treat though, I haven’t found anything that beats the Booja Booja truffles. I know I mentioned Animal Aid yesterday, but as it so happens, they sell Moo Free and Booja Booja chocolate on their website and both brands have been approved by non-vegans 🙂