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Strawberry & Kale Salad

When the sun comes out it means it is time for fresh summer food. And this delicious strawberry & kale salad is freshly made in minutes and jam packed with one of Summer Times natural remedies for Hay Fever – Strawberries!

Nature usually provides a solution to cope with ailments – and in the case of hay fever, it’s strawberries. Strawberries, as well as other berries, are especially high in a bioflavonoid called quercetin. Quercetin, can also improve the health of capillaries and connective tissues. Because of this, the many benefits of quercetin include alleviating bruising, oedema, varicose veins, and fragile capillaries. A major benefit of quercetin is its ability to inhibit the release of histamine. So eat this lush salad and know that you are also being looked after by natures pharmacy.

PREP TIME: 10 MINS

RECIPE:

  • 4 cups fresh organic curly kale
  • 8 strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/2 a large avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts (You can gently crush them with your hands)
  • balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below)

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE – mix all the below together:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic glaze
  • 1 tablespoon of agave (honey will also do if you are a vegetarian or a vegan who eats honey – it’s a never ending battle and still open to debate)
  • sprinkle sea salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Steam the curly kale for about 60 seconds until it becomes a rich dark green and the leaves start to slightly wilt. Simply toss all ingredients together and a drizzle of dressing.

Serve immediately, preferably in the sunshine!

 

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Brussels sprout with cauliflower 

Sometimes simple is best. This Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower combo is tasty, full of nutrition and packed with natural vitamins and minerals not to mention plant based protein. It is also low in calories. Which makes it an optimal food for watching the weight. 

One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains just 56 calories but is packed with more than 240 percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA) for vitamin K1, and nearly 130 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.

Plus, Brussels sprouts are a good source of fiber, manganese, potassium, choline, and B vitamins. They even contain protein. But not only do Brussels sprouts contain well-known antioxidants like vitamin C.

They also contain others that are much less known – but equally as important, like kaempferol, isorhamnetin, caffeic, and ferulic acids, and the relatively rare sulfur-containing compound called D3T (3H-1,2-dithiole-3-thione).

This means that when you eat Brussels sprouts, you’re helping your body to ward off chronic oxidative stress, which is a risk factor for many types of cancer and other chronic diseases.  

Remember, if your Brussels sprouts become overly “smelly,” mushy, or turn a muted green, they’re probably overcooked. Ideally, they should be bright green with a slightly crisp texture and pleasant, nutty/sweet flavor, even after they’re cooked. Read more here.

Recipe

2 cups of Brussels sprouts 

1/4 head of cauliflower 

Drizzle of Olive oil 

Directions : 

Boil the cauliflower and Brussels stouts in a saucepan of water for 10-15 minutes. Drain and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

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Rosemary and Thyme vegan potato cakes 

I’ve declared today a Rustic food day. And what better comfort eating rustic food is there than potato cakes?!

Here is a recipe I’ve come up with that includes one of my favourite herbs : thyme. 

Potato cakes are such a wonderful rustic warm comfort food- served either hot or cold- I hope you enjoy. But first why choose these wonderful herbs? 

Well, Thyme is an herb from the mint family. You probably recognize from your spice set. But it’s so much more than an after-thought ingredient.

With about 400 subspecies, its range of uses is impressive. Ancient Egyptians used it in their embalming practices, while ancient Greeks used it as incense.

Thanks to its distinctive taste, it has remained a culinary staple to this day. But thyme is also fast gaining a reputation for its medicinal qualities too, such as its ability to help treat acne and high blood pressure.

Read more about it here: http://www.healthline.com/health/health-benefits-of-thyme

Rosemary : This herb, especially the flower tops, contains antibacterial and antioxidant rosmarinic acid, plus several essential oils such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate, and α-pinene that are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties! 

And now to the Recipe :  

250g of potato, chopped into cubes and cooked in boiling water for about 10 minutes – until fluffy 

50g of self raising gluten free flour  

Teaspoon of Himalayan salt 

1 teaspoon of glutenfree baking powder 

1 teaspoon of fresh chopped thyme and fresh rosemary 

1/2 cup of soy milk 

Olive oil for cooking 

Soya butter for spreading 

 Directions 

When the potatoes are cooked take the cubes out of water and strain. Then mash together with the flour & thyme mix. Mashing all ingredients together until it all forms into a ball of dense fluffy goodness!

Place the mix onto a rice flour dusted flat surface and roll out to about 5mm thick then cut into triangles. 

Brush a griddle or nonstick frying pan with some oil and cook the scones for about 5 minutes on medium heat each side until golden brown. 

Spread your butter on top and Garnish with parsley and thyme and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 

Enjoy! 


   

 

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Irish Vegan Brown bread with Dillisk seaweed 

This bread recipe is one that’ll please any bread lover. It echoes of the past and tastes like a staple of old Ireland. Fully gluten free and vegan with the salty addition of Dillisk seaweed- its rich flavour will leave anyone oblivious to the fact that it’s vegan and gluten free because it simply tastes so good. 

Bread to me was always close to my heart. Yet the tradition of bread making is getting more and more diluted with convinience foods taking precedence to the shelves. The old art and enjoyment of smelling freshly baked bread coming from the oven after some kneading labour is something that can not be beaten. 

So without further ado, let’s get to it. 

The history of bread…way back at least 30,000 years, the first bread produced was probably cooked versions of a grain-paste, made from roasted and ground cereal grains and water, and may have been developed by accidental cooking or deliberate experimentation with water and grain flour. It is the most widely consumed food in the world. 
Recipe :

2 cups of mostly ground porridge GF porridge oats

1/2 cup of GF flour

1 tablespoon of agave syrup 

1 tablespoon of date syrup or fig syrup 

1 teaspoon of salt and a sprinkle of pepper 

1/2 cup of chopped Dillisk 

1 cup of nut milk or soy milk 

1 teaspoon of baking power and bicarbonate of soda 

1 tablespoon of linseed 

1 tablespoon of pumpkin seed 

1 tablespoon of chia seeds 

Mix together and place in a lined tray and pop in the oven at 180c for about half hour until golden brown and cooked. Best served with some jam and butter ! 

Vegan Protein bars 

These protein bars  are a great source of natural energy. They allow for a healthy digestive system and help keep cravings at bay by being a slow energy release food.
They also have an abundance of dietary fibre making them great for avoiding constipation. It’s high content of potassium outdoes bananas (which are overrated anyway!) and they even make you look better by aiding with muscle tone so these guys are perfect for when you are training and in the throes of an exercise regime! 

The recipe is easy and can be altered. You can add cranberry, blueberry or gogi berry. Today I used Gogi berry. They are yum eaten straight away or else left in the fridge where they can go that little bit harder. They can last about a week or more too! So make a great meal prep energy food!

Recipe

1/2 cup of creamy organic peanut butter 

1/2 cup of gluten free oats  

1/2 cup of gogi berries

1/2 cup of medjool dates – pitted   

2 tablespoons of cacao powder 

1 small tablespoon of vanilla essence 

1/2 cup of mulled linseed  

1 spoon of chia seeds

1 Teaspoon of Maca  

3 tablespoons of agave 

Directions : 

Mix ingredients altogether, in a food processor. 

Separate the mixture and mould into either protein balls or brownies/bars. 

 And enjoy! 
  

  

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Vegan paella with cucumber & avocado salad 

Paella is deemed the national dish of Spain but it is actually a Regional Valencian rice dish with its ancient roots originating in its modern form in the mid-19th century near Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia. Usually made with sea food, this is my own vegan adaptation using vegetables. 

It is a hearty warming meal best enjoyed by the whole family or a group of friends! 

There is patience involved in the preparation but as they say all good things come to those who wait. 

I served my vegan paella with some cooling chunky cucumber and avocado salad with a lush peanut sauce.

Recipe

Vegan Paella : 

2 cups of paella rice 

2 spring onion bulbs chopped finely 

1 cup each of the following veg: 

Chopped mushroom 

Diced Aubergine 

Cooked Artichoke hearts (Aldi do a fab jarred artichokes!)

3 Chopped Sweet peppers (yellow, orange and red) 

Chopped green beans 

Chopped Mangetout 

Sliced baby tomatoes 

1/2 cup of edamame 

1/3 cup of chopped fresh parsley 

Vegan veg stock 

2 teaspoons of tomato purée 

1 teaspoon of Paprika 

Salt and pepper to taste 

2 spoons of olive oil 

1 litre of water (approx) 

For the cucumber and avocado salad: 

Large bunch of spinach 

Large bunch of fresh rocket 

1 avocado – diced 

For the Peanut sauce

1 large spoon of soft creamy organic peanut butter 

1 spoon or tomato paste 

2 spoons of tamari sauce 

1 spoon of sesame seeds 

1/2 cup of warm water 

Directions

Boil the stock and 2 spoons of tomato purée in a medium saucepan with the water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and maintain a simmer. 

Heat paella pan or a large deep pan with 1½ tablespoons Olive Oil. Then add the chopped spring onion and sautee for 2 minutes, as they start to brown add in the sweet peppers and continue to saute till softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom and sautee for 5 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add In the paella rice, chopped tomatoes and paprika and cook, stirring, for a minute until well mixed through. 

Reduce and add one-third of the stock and stir. Let the rice simmer uncovered for 5 minutes until liquid is almost absorbed. Add in the Mangetout, Green beans and Endamame. And now add the next third of the stock and cook for 5 minutes uncovered or until almost absorbed. Add remaining third of stock and cook for 5-10 minutes uncovered.

It is a slow process but necessary when cooking paella rice. 

In a separate pan – drizzle with olive oil and add in the chopped aubergine and artichokes until sautéed to perfection and brown. Add in some fresh parsley. 

Spread the surface of paella with aubergine  and artichoke. Cover entire pan and leave to cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes until all liquid had been absorbed. Then turn heat off but leave the paella pan covered for another 10 minutes.

Remove cover and garnish with a fresh sprinkle of parsley and paprika.

For the salad chop the cucumber, avocado and mix with the rocket and spinach then mix in the ingredients of the sauce separately until it become a nice dense liquid and dollop over salad. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  


And there you have it! A meal worth sharing ! Enjoy ! 

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Nutty lentil loaf 

What Sunday would be complete without something baking slowly in the oven as the aromatic flavours come wafting through your home? 

Since becoming vegan I learnt that Sunday roasts were not a thing of the past and not something exclusive to meat eaters, with this meaty nutty lentil loaf you’ll be sure to rekindle memories of old Sunday’s. The powerhouse herbs within marjoram, fresh parsley, thyme and rosemary seal the deal here with this dish. It requires some tlc and time to cook but it sure is worth it and it is jammed with protein and carbs. 

Enjoy! 

Home baked nutty loaf with a wall of raw spinach and balsamic jus’ for Sunday dinner:
Recipe  – 2 cups of cooked green lentils

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 scallion chopped finely

1/2 cup carrots, shredded 

2 chia eggs 

2 cups of White Button mushrooms, diced

2 tablespoons tomato purée 

2 tablespoons of tamari

2 cups of cooked brown rice 

1/2 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon of majoram

1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley 

1 teaspoon of thyme and rosemary

1 cup of grated vegan cheddar 

Directions

Once the above is prepared, chopped and ready to go – mix all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Then empty into a lined oven tray and press down with a flat kitchen utensil so no air holes are in the loaf and to ensure it is flat solid in the baking tray. 

Place in preheated oven and bake at 180c for about an 45 mins to an hour until golden. 

Serve with spinach and balsamic.