Raspberry & Vanilla “Cheesecakes” (Vegan-Friendly & Easy!)

1498728094582For so long I have wanted to have a go at making a vegan cheesecake. The only thing that has prompted me to do so is moving home to Bradford, where these kind of desserts are pretty much unheard of. Which means I have to try and perfect making my own.

What has always put me off it the super-long list of ingredients for these cheesecakes. Admittedly, this list is longer than my usual recipes, but you actually only need 10 ingredients in total. All of them can be bought in a supermarket, or if you have a small “Express Supermarket” between that and Holland & Barratt’s (I got my cashews from the H&B’s fruit and nut ‘Pick N Mix’ section as it worked out slightly cheaper). These cheesecakes also don’t take that long to make, and are not difficult in the slightest. The longest thing you have to do is wait for your nuts to soak, and then chill everything.

Ingredients (makes 10 cheesecake cups)

For the base

  • 8 dates, soaked for 10 minutes in freshly boiled water
  • 1 cup oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • OPTIONAL: pinch of cinnamon

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Egg, Asparagus, Broccoli & Pepper Couscous (fast, easy, and healthy!)

IMG_20170516_212211_450The past few weeks have been a bit busy for me, what with my final essays for third year being handed in tomorrow, and completing my poetry portfolio to hand in a couple of weeks ago- something I’ve spent nearly a year working on and had to be pried away from me. I know that this time of year us students tend to just pick up food as we go, and though I am always ready to indulge my love of food, it can become a little bit expensive. It can become a LOT expensive. And since I’ve been spending a lot of time in a local cake shop recently, and I would rather spend my money on cake (its really good cake), this was becoming a bit of a problem. This is the kind of lunch that provides a solution: its fast, its pretty no-brain-power-required, it tastes great, and it will make you feel good. You can also then spend more money on cake.

Swap in whatever veggies you want/have. Here I’ve used broccoli (I always have that in), pepper (I was finishing up a three pack), and asparagus (on offer in the market, and coincidentally one of my favourite vegetables, so I was using up a massive bunch of the stuff). The idea is to keep this cheap, so don’t go buy mega-expensive ingredients. Couscous is something I feel like every student should have in, as are eggs. Both are things you can make multiple meals out of, and so are invaluable.

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Raspberry-Apple Cashew Butter Pancakes

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Lately I have been fancying pancakes. When I was little we made pancakes pretty much every weekend- Scotch drop scones are actually what we made. My mum was often the one who made them with us, and as that’s the pancake recipe she prefers, my brother and I grew up feeling these were proper pancakes. They’re small, fluffy, and much more “stackable” than crepes. These remind me a lot of those pancake-driven mornings.

This was the first time ever that I’ve ever used the flour in a recipe, and I actually quite like it (I’ve used the Seven Hills one here). There’s a subtle coconut-y taste and texture. Not as fluffy as regular pancakes, but really delicious. If you want mega-fluffy pancakes then I’d say use self-raising flour and omit 2-3tbsp of the milk (coconut flour has a higher fibre content, which mean you need more milk to form a batter).

This is a really satisfying breakfast, and the apple adds the height that guarantees a decent stack. The cashew butter is amazing when it melts into them. My top tip is this: stack them, adding cashew butter, then microwave for up to 1 minute. If you’re anything like me, then you’re quite slow at making pancakes and the first has gone stone-cold by the time the last is ready, so the microwave is your best friend. I also highly recommend adding a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt, or even a scoop of ice-cream if you’re pushing the boat out. Continue reading

Mustard- Balsamic Bean & Veggie Couscous (cheap & quick)

wp-1487931517876.jpgThis has been one of my favourite lunches for a while now. Last year my flatmate would make massive couscous, pesto, and veggie salads, and then divide them up, store them in tubs in the fridge- and have lunch ready for a couple of days. With practically no effort. You can see where the inspiration for this meal comes from.

Since I’ve been at uni I’ve gotten into the habit of always having a big bag of couscous in my cupboard- just the plain kind, so that I can add my own flavours. Currently, wholegrain mustard and balsamic vinegar is my go-to combination to flavour my couscous salads. The veg I add changes depending on how well-stocked my shelf in the fridge is, and whether I want to add in Quorn, tuna, tofu, mackerel, or kidney beans for my protein source. That’s the basic formula you want here: couscous + protein source + seasonings + vegetables. And you’re good to go. The great thing about this dish is that you can change up what you put in it according to what’s in the fridge- though the combination I’m showing you today is vegan and veggie suitable.

The ingredients I’ve given below then are just an example; use what you like and let me know what you add down in the comments. You can also easily double this, and then keep a second portion in the fridge for up to two days.

Ingredients

  • 50g dry couscous, left to soak for 5 minutes in 70ml freshly boiled water
  • 1/2-1 can kidney beans (depending how hungry you are), drained, and well rinsed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 handful close cup mushrooms, sliced and then microwaved for 1 minute (or have them raw- they’re equally delicious)
  • Cherry tomatoes, however many you want really, each chopped in half
  • 1/2 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 large handful spinach (again, you can wilt this or leave it raw- completely up to you, and how much time you have)
  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste (I use 1-2tbsp)
  • Wholegrain mustard, to taste (I use 2-3tsp)

 

Method

Whilst the couscous is soaking, simply place all of your veggies and beans into a large mixing bowl. Once the couscous has absorbed all of the water then throw that in too, followed by balsamic vinegar and mustard, to taste. Stir everything up together, and then dig in straight away, or transfer into a tub, allow to cool, and store in the fridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pear & Chocolate Protein Smoothie

wp-1484842033994.jpgAfter the gym, if I need a snack instead of a meal, then I always opt for a smoothie. Usually a banana and chocolate smoothie, as I’m not generally a fan of tropical smoothies. However, pear and chocolate is one of my other favourite chocolate combos- and so that’s that we’re doing today.

I used a mixture of cacao and pea protein powders to give me both chocolate flavour and protein, making this suitable for vegans and those who can’t eat dairy- but a chocolate whey protein is also an ideal substitute for these ingredients.

Happy blending!

Ingredients

  • 1 large pear, chopped into small chunks, microwaved until tender, and stored in the fridge overnight (ALTERNATIVELY, you can use 80g of canned pears for ease; this also gives a smoother texture- but make sure that they are chilled. As these blend more easily than fresh pear, you could even freeze them to ensure a super-cold and refreshing drink)
  • 200ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1tbsp cacao powder (I used Seven Hills)
  • 1tbsp pea protein (I used Pulsin)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • OPTIONAL: 1tsp maple syrup (if you really have a sweet tooth; I personally didn’t add this), ice

Method

  • Into a blender place all of the ingredients, and simply blend until smooth. My blender isn’t too high-tech, and so there were still some pear chunks, but as I’m not fussy this was no issue for me! (If chunks are an issue, then see the “alternative” in the ingredients).

December’s Salad: Parsnip, Kale, Red Onion, Chilli & Tofu

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I can’t believe that this is the last seasonal salad of the year. So I had to make it a good one. And as I mentioned over on IG, this is my favourite salad so far.

Warm salads are something I actually prefer to crisp and cool summer ones- even in summer I like some roasted vegetables (preferably from an actual BBQ) on my lettuce leaves. People massively underrate winter salads though: they can be flavourful, and showcase root veg brilliantly. And, if you’re anything like me, you like spacing out the more indulgent meals of Christmas-time with a few simple (but always tasty) ones as well.

For this salad we’ll be honey-roasting parsnips, and baking tofu in some honey, soy sauce, and ginger. This means that the recipe takes a little more time start-to-finish, but it’s well worth it. Once the veg is in the oven, it all looks after itself anyway…

 

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 large parsnips, chopped into chunks, and tossed in 1tbsp runny honey in a large mixing bowl
  • 200g of firm tofu, chopped into chunks
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 fresh red chilli, finely sliced (leave the seeds in if you like spice, remove if not)
  • 2-3 large handfuls of kale
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • Ground ginger, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars (no bake!)

wp-1479643937314.jpgYou probably saw my PB & J Crumble Topped Flapjacks last week, and now I bring you another classic PB combo…chocolate peanut butter. I promise I will make some non- peanut butter recipes soon. But if you’re into chocolate without peanut butter, then you can check out my recipes over on Discover Chocolate’s blog, where I’m currently freelancing.

Anyway, these bars are just as easy as the first, and they’re another great snack to carry about with you. No bake, a handful of ingredients,  a whole lot of flavour- and these ones are also suitable for dipping in tea, because I know we all like that…

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of oats
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter (I used Meridian)
  • 3tbsp cacao
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 8 tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
  • Pinch of each: salt, cinnamon (just a little)

Method

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, salt, cinnamon, and cacao
  • In a microwavable bowl melt together the honey and peanut butter
  • Pour the honey and peanut butter into the oats, and add the milk. Stir to combine, and then use your hands to bring everything together.
  • Press firmly into a tray lined with greaseproof paper, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning cut into bars, and store in an air tight tub in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

 

TIP! – Top a bar with nutella. You won’t regret it…