Sweet potato and kiwi soup

What a weird, shouldn’t work (but it does!) combination, right? Wrong. Believe me, I am as astounded as you may be to discover that sweet potato and kiwi are a match made in soupy heaven.

Sometimes you just gotta work with what you’ve got to hand. Today that was three sweet potatoes and a kiwi. What possessed me to put them together I don’t know but boy am I glad I did. I’ve always been a total soup aficionado, which means I’m pretty fussy when it comes to the perfect bowlful. Obviously this weather doesn’t exactly scream soup but I’m the kind of person that can sup on sumthin’ hot anytime and this one went down a treat at lunchtime. Paired with a slice of toasted rye bread I couldn’t have been more content.

Now, I think any more than one kiwi might tip this soup from delightful to defunct. That one kiwi lends the perfect balance to the sweet potato and garlic, giving it a much needed spring lift – there’s no way one should be eating this in the darker months, should one. Ahem…. I think this Royal Wedding stuff might be getting to me!

The other great thing about this soup is how quick and easy it is. Bish, bash, bosh and you’re sitting down to eat in no time at all. I love and need dishes like this at lunchtime – I don’t go in for complicated recipes at that time of the day. I will absolutely be making this again, it’s too wonderful not to. One thing you can’t see very clearly in the photos is that it is beautifully speckled from the kiwi.

Oh, another thing I must must tell you is that I stood up on my surfboard the other day. I was pretty stoked about it and can’t wait to get back out in the water again, it is just too much fun.

Lastly, two days in and Hubbie is still off the soy. We’ve discovered that coconut milk is brilliant in tea. It also helps that we finally invested in a tea pot – a bright orange teapot to be precise – which makes tea making an absolute breeze, particularly in the mornings when I’m in no mood to play around with teabags.

sweet potato and kiwi soup

3 small/medium sweet potatoes

4-5 garlic cloves

1 tbsp vegetable bouillon or stock cube

1 kiwi

salt and pepper

olive oil

filtered water

Peel and roughly chop the sweet potato. Set aside. Also keep the peelings, I’ll be showing you what to do with those later.

Roughly chop the garlic. Heat a little olive in a pan. Add the garlic and light fry for a minute or two ensuring it does not brown.

Add the sweet potato, season generously and stir. Allow to cook in the pan for a few minutes before covering with filtered water and stirring in the vegetable bouillon. Bring to a simmer, cover, allowing the sweet potato to gently soften – about 10-15 minutes.

Transfer to a blender, add the peeled and chopped kiwi and blitz until completely smooth. Return to pan, water it down a smidge with some filtered water and let it warm through on a very low heat. Taste for seasoning. I didn’t need to add any more salt or pepper but you may want to. It should be quite thick and rich.

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Creamy Matcha Smoothie

Another fabulous green smoothie that will knock yer socks off. I’m properly getting into these things although I still like them to err on the sweet side – not quite ready for a full blown veggie juice first thing just yet.

Whilst on my raw cookery course I sampled a green smoothie seriously rammed full of greens – rocket, kale, watercress – and it was a little bit too intense for my tastes although I appreciated the resulting spring in my step after I drank it down. I honestly felt like I’d taken a shot of espresso only without the mild trembling that normally ensues after I ingest such strong coffee. It was good stuff but, I’ll be truthful, it left a lot to be desired in the taste stakes.

This smoothie, however, does taste very nice. Very nice indeed. It’s the perfect way to start your morning. Sure the spring in your step might not be as great as if you consumed the practically all leaf smoothie that tastes sub par but ‘it’s reeeeeeaaaally good for you, don’t ya know?’. Still, there’s plenty of goodness in this glass, so I’m not overly concerned.

In other news, my Husband is cutting out soy for 10 days to see if his constant streaming nose clears up. Updates to follow.

creamy matcha smoothie

1 banana

1 pear

1 kiwi

1 celery stick

1 avocado

handful of baby leaf spinach

2 medjool dates

1 tsp matcha powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup coconut milk (not the stuff from a can – or any plant milk)

4 ice cubes

filtered water

Quarter and de-seed the pear, chop and place in blender along with the peeled banana, peeled and chopped kiwi.

Add washed and chopped celery. Halve the avocado, remove the stone and scoop the flesh into the blender.

Lastly add the dates (remove the stone!), matcha powder, vanilla extract, coconut milk, ice cubes, spinach and a splash of water. Blitz until completely smooth. If it is a little too thick add more filtered water and blitz again.

Pour into a tall glass and glug away! Morning y’all:)

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Fresh Tortilla Tacos with Black Bean, Pineapple Salsa and Paprika Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Phew! That was mouthful, wasn’t it?

Okay, first off, I have to give you the best piece of advice you’ll ever get with regards to homemade Mexican food. What you do with this advice is entirely up to you but should you wish to ignore it you will spend a lifetime eating below par, inferior, less than satisfy homemade Mexican food and that, in my humble opinion, would be a travesty. So, my advice on top of advice is to take this advice very very seriously – go to this site and buy yourself an authentic Mexican tortilla press and more importantly a bag of masa harina corn flour.

Sorted? Good.

Now, onto the tacos. I love tacos. I love ’em, I love ’em, I love ’em. Unfortunately getting decent tacos in the depths of Cornwall is nigh impossible so I have only myself to rely on when it comes to anything Mexican inspired. I’ve got to tell you though, since leaving Chicago my Mexican offerings have been somewhat lacking – I can no longer buy authentic corn tortillas from my corner shop any longer. Say wha? Major sad face.

Those hideous tortillas available in supermarkets are exactly that – hideous. I hasten to add they are not even tortillas, they are merely wraps. Wraps are not tortillas. Real tortillas do not stick to the roof of your mouth nor do they disintegrate when any sauce or liquid comes into contact with them. Even the wholewheat ones have a certain wallpaper paste quality to them – you know what I mean. Oh yes, and if you think these new bright yellow ‘corn’ tortilla offerings are any better or any closer to the real thing then think again. Mass produced, completely the wrong texture and that colour…..beyond scary.

Tortillas should have chew. They should be able to hold a decent filling without falling apart. They should be malleable enough so that you can hold them and twist them around said filling without them cracking, tearing or going soggy. So you see then, those supermarket ‘tortillas’ just don’t cut the mustard. No siree, not one bit.

If you’re a little daunted by making your own tortillas let me put those fears to rest immediately. There was a three to four week gap between me purchasing all the necessary equipment and mustering up the courage to make the darn things – I’m silly like that. It’s the possibility of failure that stops me sometimes. I do not like to fail! I should’ve known better though, as there was not one failure. Nope, not one. Every single tortilla from the first to the last were pretty much perfect although there was a slight panic when I initially couldn’t get the first tortilla off the second plastic sheet but then I developed a special (easy) technique and the rest of the experience was plain sailing.

Right then. I think I’ll leave it there lest I allow my perfect sales pitch deteriorate into brow beating.

Notice the difference between my first and last photos – when I started cooking it was still daylight (yay for spring!) and by the time we sat now to eat it had disappeared. Sure I coulda used my special flash but I wanted to eat – that’s food bloggin’ for ya. You got all the time in the world when you’re preparing the food and then when it’s ready patience goes out the window and you just want to scoff what you made. My belly waits for no-one or nothing and as a result my photos suffer. Hey ho.

tortillas (makes 10 taco sized tortillas)

1 cup masa harina flour

1 cup warm water

Put the flour in a large bowl, add the warm water and mix initially using a spatula.

When it comes together use your hands to lightly knead the mixture until it becomes clay like.

It should not be sticky. Shape into a ball and cover. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Tear off smallish pieces and roll into balls.

Heat a dry pan/skillet until hot.

Place a tortilla ball in between two plastic sheets cut to the size of the plates (you’ll not want the balls to go directly onto the plates, as they will be impossible to lift off).

Press until you get a generic tortilla shape. Peel off the top plastic sheet. Then place the sheets together again and use it to help peel off the other sheet – this is my patented technique.

Gently place the tortilla onto the hot pan and allow to heat for 15 seconds before turning over. Heat the other side for 30 seconds and then flip it over onto the other side again. When it puffs up remove it from the pan and keep warm in a tray covered with a clean tea towel. Repeat.

black bean, pineapple salsa

1 cup cooked black beans

1 cup organic sweetcorn

1/2 red onion

1 spring onion

1/2 cup chopped pineapple

1/2 large red or green chilli pepper

1 heaped tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

1 heaped tbsp chopped corinder (cilantro)

juice of 1/2 lime

sea salt and black pepper

Place the black beans and sweetcorn into a large bowl. Finely dice the red onion, finely chop the chilli and add to bowl. Give it mix.

Finely slice the spring onion. Chop the parsley and coriander and add everything to the mix. Season generously, squeeze over the lime juice and thoroughly mix.

Lastly stir in the chopped pineapple – I like uber tiny pieces but you could have them chunkier of you wish. Taste, season again if necessary and serve.

paprika roasted sweet potato

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 heaped tsp paprika (smoked paprika or chipotle powder)

1 tsp dried thyme

sea salt and black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 fahrenheit.

Chop the sweet potato into large chunks, as it will shrink quite a bit when roasted. Put the sweet potato in a baking tray and toss with the olive oil, thyme, paprika (or chipotle powder) and sea salt and pepper.

Bake for 40-50 minutes. When they are cooked, turn the oven off and allow them to sit in the oven until you have prepared all the other components. They will remain warm but also gain a desired chewiness – perfect for tacos.

I like to layer my tacos with the salsa on the bottom and sweet potato on top, as it holds together much better this way.

*Don’t forget to serve your tacos with some roughly chopped avocado – squeeze over some lime juice and season. A few drops of tabasco is optional but highly recommended. Perfect.

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Vegan Sausage and Spinach Macaroni

I am so excited to tell you I will be contributing to the fabulous new online magazine BrewDrinkingThinkings. Obviously I’ll be their vegan recipe gal, which is so thrilling for me and hopefully means my plant based dishes will reach a wider audience. Vegan is a bit of a niche market and I think many people are a little intimidated by it – totally understandable, I was exactly the same when I first embarked on veganism.

It became apparent very quickly that vegan cooking isn’t so scary and for me it has heightened my love of food and to be frank has taught me to eat. That may sound like a strange thing to say because of course I knew how to eat and I truly believed I knew what I was putting into my body. I was sure I was an informed person and was always conscious of ingredients – reading labels was something I did looooooong before veganism. However, my plant based diet has really brought me a deeper understanding and appreciation of food. I view it as something wonderful not just because of taste anymore but because of what it does for my mind, body and soul – food can bring a sort of spiritual awareness if you let it.

Don’t run. I am (relatively) sane. Promise?

Anyway, this new opportunity is exactly what I needed right now because whilst I’m always cooking food, eating food, writing about food not to mention photographing food, I kind of felt I’d reached a little bit of a plateau. Sometimes my obsession with food becomes somewhat overwhelming and this new outlet is the perfect venture in which to channel all these recipes – away from my beloved blog. That’s right, there’s going to be double recipe dosage because I’m attempting to avoid replicating ideas, which will mean more work but I’m up for the challenge, as they say.

Inspired by my recent trip to London and now this I’m very positive about my foodie future.

vegan sausage and spinach macaroni

1 1/2 cups (150g) long macaroni

1/2 red onion

1 small carrot

1 celery stick

handful baby leaf spinach

2 linda mccartney sausages

2 tbsp chopped basil

1 heaped tablespoon onion chutney

1 tsp vegan bouillion

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

few drops tabasco sauce

sprinkle of chilli flakes

Olive oil

salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 fahrenheit. Bake the sausages for 20 minutes. Whilst they are cooking get on with the sauce.

Finely dice the red onion, carrot and celery. Heat the olive oil in a large pan/skillet and add the veg. Season generously and slowly sweat the veg – do not allow to brown by stirring frequently.

When the vegetables are sufficiently softened add about a half cup of freshly boiled water and the vegetable stock powder (or cube). Allow to gently simmer for several minutes.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Salt and cook macaroni until al dente – about 9mins. Drain and set aside.

Chop the sausage into bite size pieces and add to pan. When heated through add the spinach, balsamic and tabasco. Allow the spinach to gently wilt before stirring in the chutney and adding the chopped basil and chilli flakes.

Transfer macaroni to the pan, lightly season and thoroughly combine. Let the pasta warm through in the pan before serving in bowls.

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Quick Breakfast Oats

I’m 30! At the weekend I said sayonara to my twenties and welcomed in the flirty thirties with a very undignified night out in East London that involved sambuca and moustaches (don’t ask!). Do I care? Heck no!

At least I ate well, too well in fact although that was almost a complete non starter after I caught a terrible tummy bug on the very day I was supposed to be travelling to London – great timing, eh? When we were meant to be half way to Greenwich I was actually doubled up in two in bed praying I’d be well enough to go first thing in the morning. Luckily those prayers – plus a whole heap load of hot water, lemon and ginger, tiger balm (for the additional chronic headache), ginger ale (sugar levels) and the very reluctant popping of a particularly non vegan painkiller (a last resort) aided me in being pretty much back to normal by Friday – phew!

Disappointingly my appetite was negatively affected and I couldn’t physically consume the vast quantities of food I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, I ate A LOT of food but I had planned an entire weekend of relentless vegan yumminess – the equivalent of a conveyor belt of eats. Good thing I’m going back to london in June for my Sister’s final performance before graduating (she’s a singer, an incredible singer) so it’s just as well I’ve left enough in the food itinerary to keep me going next time.

Here’s a list of what I did eat and where:

Friday evening – dinner at Zilli Green

Dim sum to start (a.maz.ing.) followed by squash, corn and (vegan) cheese quesadillas. Vegan sour cream and a lush guac were also on the plate and I couldn’t resist two sides – spiced spinach and courgette chips. All really, really good. To finish I had the mixed vegan ice-cream (strawberry, vanilla and chocolate). I liked the chocolate the best, it was uber creamy. Had I been hungrier I would’ve went for the chocolate and cherry liquer brownie but I just couldn’t face it. We also shared a gorgeous bottle of organic vegan pinot grigio – so nice and really refreshing on a balmy London evening. Service was incredible – best I’ve had in London I think – so thumbs up for that too. All in all, great food, great night, thoroughly recommended.

On Saturday morning/afternoon I attended a raw cookery class at Saf in Shoreditch, which I’ll blog about in more detail at another time but the highlights were the green smoothie, chocolate almond milk shake, sprouted quinoa salad, raw crackers with cashew cheese, an unbelievable raw lasagne and last but not least a rich blackberry cheesecake. The guys were so sweet, they even put three candles on the top and sang Happy Birthday to me.

Saturday evening we returned to the same restaurant for a slap up meal. I had sweet potato dumplings (yeah, I like dumplings), seitan kebabs and again a raw ice-cream/sorbet selection – green tea and rhubarb & white wine (yes, it tasted as good as it sounds). We also had the most outrageous bottle of red wine I’ve ever had. Lebanese wine to be exact, which is a new one on me. It tasted like cherries – pure indulgence. Oh yes, and the service in Saf was superb also.

Keeping up with me?

Sunday seen us trek to Camden Market to eat at the Loving Hut only to discover it was closed – boo. There’s so much choice in Camden though we weren’t stuck for options. We ended up having a huuuuuuuge salad at wholefoods. Simple, delicious and exactly what we needed to center us after a heavy night on the tiles. Lots of brown rice, broccoli, spinach and some seriously fantastically flavoured whole closed cups mushrooms that blew my tiny mind. To top it off we were given some free vegan cupcake samples and I can safely say they were the best vegan cupcakes I’ve ever had. We rehydrated with some coconut water.

And……we couldn’t leave without sampling the much raved about Inspiral raw vegan ice-creams. I went for the lucuma and pecan and raw chocolate chunk. We sat along the canal and ate them whilst taking in the unique Camden vibe before embarking on the market itself.

That’s it. Now it’s back to porridge. Literally.

quick breakfast oats

1/2 cup jumbo oats

2 chopped dates

handful of raisins

handful chopped hazelnuts

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp maple syrup

toppings

chopped pear

pumpkin seeds

sunflower seeds

cashew butter

Put the oats, dates, raisins, hazelnuts, cinnamon and maple syrup in a breakfast bowl. Give it a thorough mix ensuring to combine all the ingredients.

Boil some water in a kettle and pour over the oats – just enough to cover them. Stir and cover with a plate to seal. Set aside for about five minutes.

Meanwhile chop the pear. Remove the plate, stir the oats and top with pear, seeds and a teaspoon of cashew or other nut butter.

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Vegan Fudgy Brownies

Would you just take a look at those brownies! Uber fudgy brownie goodness, sans sugar and totally vegan – can it get any better?

Yes, I know, I’ve posted brownie recipes before (try here and here) but I swear these are my best brownie effort yet. I combined the best elements from two of my favourite brownie recipes and this was the result. It doesn’t even contain any plant milk. None. What. So.Ever.

Crazy, huh?

Texture is so important with brownies and I’ve been striving to find that perfect dense fudginess. With these brownies I really think I’ve cracked it. The fact that they are painless and full proof to make is just a bonus.

You know that episode in Nigella Kitchen where she casually whips up a batch of brownies for her daughter’s bake sale? Well this is my go to brownie recipe I can imagine nonchalantly rustling up for my own (imaginary) daughter when she springs the school bake sale on me last minute.

Now that I’ve let you into the somewhat weird workings of my mind I shall leave to get on with trying out this brownie recipe for yourself.

Bysie bye!

vegan fudgy brownies

1 cup plain white flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

1/4 cup date syrup

1/4 cup agave syrup

1/8 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup sweet freedom

1/4 cup apple sauce

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup water

optional add in’s

vegan choc chips

walnut pieces (recommended)

Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) – no need to sieve.

In another bowl whisk together the sweetener/syrups, apple sauce, oil and water. It may be sticky to begin but eventually it will be pourable.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together using a spatula (my preference). Add the choc chips and walnuts and carefully fold in ensuring not to overwork the mixture.

Pour into a prepared, lined tin and bake in oven for 25minutes.

Remove from oven (the brownies should look glossy) and allow to cool before cutting into small bite size pieces. I dusted them with icing sugar because they looked prettier that way and I was serving them for lunch with a friend so appearance mattered – you can totally not dust them.

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Raw(ish) Stew

Has that title turned you right off? I don’t blame you but I challenge you to read on.

I’m having a raw moment. I’ve just finished reading the Crazy Sexy Diet and I’m soooooo pumped (give me a woohoo!) about my birthday present – a raw cookery class at Saf in London. You think I’m bad now? Wait until I’ve been tutored by the experts and then I’ll be unbearable. Unbearably raw!

I know it sounds daunting and I’m sure a few of you even feel a little queasy at the thought of raw food not to mention a whole lotta freaked out. It all sounds a bit nuts right? And you would be right because there are a heck of a lot of nuts involved in raw cooking – all sorts of nuts, but in particular cashews, almonds, macadamias, walnuts, oh and more cashews.

Still not convinced? Still wondering what the deal is with raw food? I know, I get it, I really do. Let me tell a few things though before you go running off to another blog with cooked food. Raw food is good for you. Now there’s a brainwave says you. What else can I say – cooking food does take many of the nutrients out of the food(boohoo but truehoo). All those beautiful lovely nutrients that keep our bodies happy and our souls elevated.

Secondly, raw food tastes good. You know that it does because I know you crunch on carrots, munch on cucumber and chew on peppers. Am I right? AM I RIGHT? So it’s not such a leap to the next level –  a dish comprising of all or mostly all raw ingredients. I’m not quite there yet – baby steps – so you could totally join me on this little journey and inch your way towards an entirely raw meal.

I know I could never eat raw all the time, that would be very difficult for me, very difficult indeed. However, I’m desperate to incorporate more raw meals into our weekly menu. Longterm I’m hoping for a 60/40 weekly ratio – the 60% being cooked vegan (I ain’t that hardcore….yet!).

I was stunned at how gorgeous this dish was and very pleased with myself (verging on smug) especially as my Husband took some for lunch and also gave it a massive two thumbs up (this man tells it as it is so his opinion means a lot to me).

Now, I did serve it with millet (cooked) and I also included sweetcorn from a tin (don’t hate me, it was organic) so this isn’t as rawly virtuous as it could be but like I said baby steps!

raw(ish) stew

1 large carrot

1 small tin organic sweetcorn

1/2 large red pepper

small red onion

pesto dressing

large handful of basil

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup walnuts

juice 1/2 lemon

1 clove garlic

olive oil (a good glug and dependent on how thick/thin you want it)

salt and pepper

Grate the carrot, chop the pepper into small chunks and finely dice the red onion. Drain the sweetcorn.

In a large bowl combine the carrot, pepper, red onion and sweetcorn.

Put the basil, pine nuts, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and seasoning into a blender, food processor or hand blender. Blitz until completely smooth and pour over the vegetables. Mix thoroughly.

Serve with millet, couscous, quinoa or any grain of your choice.

My preferred method for cooking millet is one part millet to two parts water, clamp on lid, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Once all the water has been absorbed (about 10mins) take it off the heat, remove lid and fluff with a fork.

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Chia Cookies

I don’t know about you but I always need (alright, want!) a little sweet sumthin’ in the afternoon. It doesn’t really matter what it is – it could be a medjool date, a piece of fruit, rice cake with a skim of nut butter and no added sugar jam or a raw bar/ball.

We’ve been trying really hard to eliminate cane sugar from our diet and that means no shop bought treats like biscuits or cake but that hole has to be filled somehow and I’ve chosen to go down the raw route. I discovered raw balls about a year ago now and immediately fell in love. Sometimes called fudge babies due to their fantastically chewy texture, these little beauties are great for a mid afternoon pick me up. There are endless flavours and combos and I am slowly working my way through them.

Recently I discovered chocolate peppermint balls, which my Husband exclaimed tasted just like an after eight – winner! In that particular recipe I combo’d soaked cashews, dates, cocoa powder and peppermint essence. So ridiculously easy and so incredibly delicious – you just have to be careful not to scoff the lot in one sitting. In fact, because they are really satisfying, your sweet tooth should be satiated after one or two.

Like I said there are a thousand variations and I could be here all day recounting the different ones I’ve tried so I’ll skip on to the chia cookies. Chia seeds are magnificent. Full of omega 3’s, protein, calcium and other essential minerals they are blackish grey in colour and resemble a poppy seed. You can soak them in water, juice or plant milk to form a gel, add them to porridge (I use them in overnight oats frequently) or eat them raw like in this recipe. They have a wicked crunch but I must admit the blighters do have a tendency to get stuck between your teeth – a small price to pay methinks.

I used a cookie cutter to shape these because I’m a bit of a neat freak and I knew if I cut them into bars they wouldn’t be even. Did I just say that out loud? It also makes them easier to transport – I packed my Husband off with a couple in his bag this morning, they should go perfectly with his mid-morning tea.

chia cookies

slightly adapted from this vegetarian times recipe

1 cup dates (without stone!)

1/8 cup chia seeds

2 tbsp cacao powder

1/4 cup whole raw almonds

1/2 cup raw slivered almonds

1/4 tsp vanilla essence

dash of almond essence (go easy as it’s very powerful)

Put the dates in a hand blender or food processor and blitz until a paste is formed.

Add the whole almonds, cacao powder, chia seeds, vanilla and almond essence. Blitz until everything is combined.

Finally add the slivered almonds and pulse in until they are incorporated into the mix.

Transfer to some baking parchment/waxed paper, place another sheet on top and roll out either using a rolling pin or flatten using your hands (this is what I did)- you want the cookies about 1/2 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out medium sized cookie pieces. Wrap each cookie in baking parchment and refrigerate (preferably for a few hours but they can be eaten immediately too).


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Easy Coleslaw

Things have been a bit more hectic than usual these past few days. Lots of get up and going including our first surf lesson, which was awesome……dude? It may only be April but we braved the Cornish water and got to it because we want to start making roads waves before the summer season when things will no doubt get manic here in Cornwall with the arrival of about a gazillion tourists.

With all these happenings my food making has been rather hurried – I’ve been taking shortcuts, lots of shortcuts. I’m not used to shortcuts, it makes me feel like I’m cheating somehow but I need to learn that spending at least two hours on dinner isn’t normal especially when I don’t start cooking till 7! Lucky for us we still leave the required three hours between eating and sleeping but that means we end up going to bed pretty late every night.

So, with that in mind, most of my dishes of late have been quick, easy and with the minimum of ingredients. This coleslaw is a great accompaniment to any meal; lunch or dinner. I’ve packed it into wraps, served it as a refreshing side and taken it as part of a picnic – it’s a super little dish with heaps of flavour not to mention how incredibly easy it is to make, hence the title.

I am definitely getting better at getting quicker – cooking in a hurry is not my forte but practice is perfect as they say. Trying to include more raw food into my diet is also aiding my aim for speed in the kitchen – I have recently finished the Crazy, Sexy Diet book (if you haven’t heard/read it yet you must buy/read it immediately, pronto, now) and I’ve been inspired to adjust my vegan diet – less puds, more juice, no sugar, easy on the alcohol.

This wonderful book has also helped me reassess my overall health so it’s just as well I’ve been upping my activity routine and attempting to eliminate all nasties – say sayonara to all that processed crap that I’ve allowed to creep into my cupboards and fridge. Vegan does not necessarily mean healthy. There’ll still be room for treats but not so frequently and for my thirtieth I’m being treated to a raw cookery class in London – could I be any more excited?

In summary, I’m rocking the quick, easy, mostly raw look this season. I hope you approve and maybe join me yourself if you feel the need for a spring clean before summer (and bikini’s) beckon. Remember that quest for zen? One step closer baby, one step closer.

easy coleslaw

1/2 red cabbage

1 very large carrot

6/7 radishes

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

vinaigrette

1 heaped tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp cider vinegar

juice 1/2 lime

1 tsp agave nectar

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Finely grate the red cabbage and carrot. Squeeze the excess juice out of the carrot – I just use my hands but you can use a tea towel or one of those muslin cloths if you wish. Transfer the cabbage and carrot to a bowl.

Finely slice the radish and add to bowl along with pumpkin seeds. You could also light toast the pumpkin seeds for extra crunch. Lightly mix everything together.

Put all the vinaigrette ingredients into a empty jar and shake vigorously until it emulsifies. Pour over the coleslaw and thoroughly combine. Refrigerate – it will last a few days.

p.s. some lime zest would also be a nice addition.

p.p.s. here’s another easy coleslaw recipe.

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