After three months on tour and relying a wee bit too much on convenience foods – namely Linda McCartney’s vegan range, bagel’s, baked beans, that sorta thing – I’m desperate to get back to my relatively healthy eating ways. I’m not really one for snacking but being on tour means you have to snack throughout the day just to keep energy levels up and whilst I love marmite rice crackers and nakd bars, there are only so many a girl can eat before she’s sickened with the sight of them.
Carbs were calling my name every morning and unfortunately I answered by consuming a few too many crumpets, a heap load of toast and a decent helping of those bagels I mentioned – not all at the same time I hasten to add! Topped with pb&j, this was my favourite and, to be perfectly frank, easiest breakfast of choice – the other bonus being it filled me up until lunchtime, which, especially when you’re having to do two shows back to back, is essential. Luckily because I was so active I ended up losing weight instead of gaining but I knew my body wasn’t happy so being back home and in my own kitchen was a welcome relief, as I felt I could return to my normal eating ways.
A few too many excuses there perhaps (and I occasionally did have granola, fruit and soy yoghurt – occasionally being the operative word there!) but believe me (and I know you do seeing as I’ve bleated on about it so much) that tour was tough enough without restricting my food too. Food really was my only comfort and because I didn’t want to linger in the communal kitchen too long, quick and easy eats became an absolute priority – get in and get out – so there were lots of stir fries and pasta. Carbs, carbs, carbs!
Carbs are still on the menu in our house but not in the same quantity I was inhaling them when away. I started off the new week with this wonderful vegan bircher muesli. Honestly, if I were to have only one breakfast for the rest of my life this might be it, it is just so darn delicious. If you’re not a soy gal/guy then there may be other non-dairy yoghurts on the market where you live that would make a great substitute – I hear So Delicious have a new coconut milk yoghurt available (sadly not in the UK but we live in hope!). I did try ricera yoghurt when I lived in the States but I wasn’t crazy about it – although it would certainly be nice to have an alternative to soy right now.
Anyhoo, whatever yoghurt you use I can’t imagine this bircher muesli not tasting absolutely, out of this world, fantabulous. It’s light yet filling, sweet but not sickly with lots of texture and a heap load of taste – surely the perfect way to start your morning? Now, I’m not claiming this to be the perfect superhero recipe – what with the use of processed items such as rice milk and soy yoghurt plus the sugar from the dried fruit etc. – but I see no harm in having a bowlful of this loveliness a couple of times a week. I’m all about mixing it up, so have the kale smoothie by all means but include a bircher in your life sometimes. For me being ‘healthy’ encompasses my mental health too and I’m pretty sure a kale smoothie in the morning wouldn’t get me leaping out of bed the way this muesli does.
This breakfast is the original overnight oats recipe – y, know, that breakfast sensation that’s taken the (vegan) world by storm over the past few years? You can soak the oats in water, any non-dairy milk or even apple juice – although I think that might be apple overkill. When you arise fresh as a daisy in the morn all you have to do is mix in the other ingredients and et voila a nutritious brekkie awaits – now that’s what I call slow, fast food. Those swiss sure do know how to work an oat.
How do you like your
eggs oats in the morning? I like mine with a kiss x
vegan bircher muesli
in each bowl:
3 tbsp rolled oats
approx 1/4 cup rice milk (or any non-dairy, water or apple juice)
1 tbsp cranberries (or gogi berries)
1 tbsp sultanas or raisins
1 tbsp chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds work best)
2 tbsp plain soy yoghurt (or any non-dairy yoghurt but ensure it is plain)
agave nectar (optional)
1 tbsp mixed seeds
Place the oats in a bowl and cover with rice milk. Refrigerate overnight.
In the morning peel and grate the apple – I like mine very fine, almost puree like but you may want the strands slightly thicker, it’s a personal choice. Loosely mix just so the apple doesn’t discolour too much.
Add the cranberries (gogi berries), sultanas, nuts, yoghurt and mix thoroughly. Squeeze in a little agave nectar if you wish – add to taste but I’d recommend no more than a teaspoon.
Give it a final stir before topping with the mixed seeds.
That’s it. Good Mornin’!
PHOTO CREDIT – ALI ALLEN
Okay, so January isn’t exactly whizzing by but maybe that’s not such a bad thing … after all it gives us time to really adjust to those resolutions. If you’ve decided to give Veganuary a whirl or are just looking to tweak your diet for the better then why not join me for a full day of vegan cooking at the Waitrose Cookery School in Finchley on Saturday 24th January between 9.30am and 4pm. There are still some spots left on the course (but you best hurry before they sell-out!) where I’ll be taking you through some specially selected recipes from my book ‘Keep it Vegan’.
The price for the full day is 150pounds, which will supply you with all your ingredients and equipment plus wine with lunch. The course is not aimed directly at vegans either – everybody is welcome at my table and I am so excited to connect with you all in reality. So, even if you’re just a teeny bit curious or simply want to expand your vegan/veggie menu (especially handy when you have vegan guests!) I have endeavored to tailor the day to be as expansive and inclusive as possible.
Here’s what you can expect…
When you arrive you will be met with freshly prepared Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins and Bircher Muesli, which you will then learn to make yourself.
Afterwards we will begin preparing our lunch, which will include my Macaro-no Cheese followed by one of my personal favs from the book – the Indian Spiced Tacos. Next up I’ll be offering some tofu tips before taking you through my Sweet ‘n’ Sour Tofu dish step by step. This will be accompanied by my Green Bean Salad with Lemon, Garlic & Chilli as well as the ever-popular Cumin Spiced Carrots – because, in my opinion, side dishes are equally important as the main!
Dessert dishes will include my easy-peasy Carrot Cake Bites (for the health conscious amongst us) as well as my super-rich Fudgy Brownies (for those of us who don’t mind a little sugar in our lives). Yikes, I don’t know about you but I’m full already, haha!
To cap the day off I decided to go with my No-knead Carrot & Courgette Bread alongside my Balsamic and Black Peppercorn Cashew Cheese because they’re great ones to have up your sleeve. And that’s that!
I will, of course, be available to answer any questions you have so feel free to ask away on the day – look forward to seeing you there!
Fresh fruit, salads, chilled breakfasts. I am in hea.ven.
Above is an example of what I’ve been eating on a daily basis lately. It varies but there is a lotta green and a good bit of flava going down in my meals recently, which brings joy to my heart. And my belly.
Bircher Muesli served with sliced nectarine and blueberries
My new discovery is green rice/couscous/pasta…..any other grain you care to use and holy moly it’s a goodun. It’s all about a making a paste, gently frying and then infusing all those wicked flavours into whatever carb you like. It’s criminally tasty and I am obsessed!
Bringing back the bircher muesli in the mornings was a shrewd move. Nothing like starting the day with oaty goodness and making it all summerified is what it’s all about. Very pleased. I’m totally loving prune (yes prune) soya yoghurt stirred through it. Amazing. Trust me.
Lunchtime salads – potato salad & carrot, sweetcorn and avocado salad
Carrot salad. Um, heart! The one here is just mixed with sweetcorn, avocado, chopped coriander and a dijon dressing. Simple. To the point. God damn delicious.
Put that mayo (and nayo!) away people – ugh, no gloopy goop goin’ on my tater salad. No siree. Wholegrain mustard dressing sweetened with palm sugar is what I’m talking about and plenty of finely chopped green stuff (oh, I just about throw everything but the kitchen sink in….capers, gherkins, celery, fennel – crunch, texture, flavour, love). Don’t forget the dill and you have got yourself one serious salad.
Chilled Chopped Melon and a Vegan Digestive topped with Vegusto ‘cheese’
Oh, and while you’re at it, why not try a little digestive topped with Vegusto vegan cheese on for size. My Husband screwed his nose up initially. After the first bite? Hooked. Will he never learn…..I am ALWAYS right about these things. Sheesh.
I’m giving you that ‘green pasta’ recipe, by the way, but I’m making it all proper for ya so you might have to wait a day or two. I promise it’ll be worth it.
Lordy, lordy, summer eats got me all hmmm hmmm, sassy and you knows it!
Yeah, I’m basically talking complete
nonsense crap now…..forgive?
Green Pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil tofu