Easy Avocado Pasta Sauce (Avocado, chilli, basil & balsamic vinegar)

IMG_20170821_123410_482I’m having a bit of a love affair with pasta at the moment. I don’t know where it has come from, all I know is that if it contains pasta, I shall eat it. You know what goes really well with pasta? Fresh herbs. And chilli. And balsamic vinegar. And, surprisingly, avocado.

I usually opt for a spicy tomato, pesto, or even butter-based sauce, and am generally not a fan of creamy concoctions coating my fusilli. Avocado is just the right kind of creamy though. Its also a great substitute if you’re a vegan who misses creamy sauces, but obviously isn’t going to be pouring carbonara sauce over your pasta any time soon.

You can always add extra vegetables or some quorn, chicken, meat substitute, or fish into this pasta dish- but try it as it is at least once, because sometimes keeping it simple is best… Continue reading

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Savoury Oats (Eggs, Asparagus & Mushrooms)

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Savoury porridge. Are you feeling disgusted or intrigued? Either way, just for me, please give it a go. You might surprise yourself.

In this porridge bowl we have mushroom, asparagus, salt, black and white pepper, and two runny-yolked eggs. This combination meaning that you have a lovely, balanced breakfast containing low GI carbohydrates in the oats (they digest more slowly, meaning they don’t spike blood sugar and keep you fuller for longer), a source of protein and healthy fats in the eggs, and one of your ‘5 a Day’ in the asparagus and mushrooms- as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals, which the fat in the egg yolk is going to help the body absorb. This is one super-charged breakfast bowl, and a great alternative if you want to change it up a bit from fruit and nut butter on your porridge. My biggest tip with this dish is not to skip the seasoning: white pepper is amazing with eggs, and the salt and pepper combo is going to give the oats some oomph (they smell great when they’re cooking).

I happened to love this combination of salt and pepper oats, eggs, and veggies- but I’m interested to hear what you think, so let me know in the comments below if you decide to try this. Lets get started…

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Raspberry, Pear & Chocolate Overnight Oats

IMG_20170421_091924_883I tend to go through phases with breakfasts. The porridge phase (okay, that one never ends), the pancake phase, the eggs on toast phase, the shredded wheat phase…and the overnight oats phase. This is one of my favourite variations on overnight oats. You’ll find plenty of recipes for them under the food section of the blog, though the combination of sweet pear, bitter dark chocolate (we’re using cacao, though if you really like things much sweeter you can either add maple syrup, or use a cocoa powder / hot chocolate mix instead), and juicy, sharp raspberries is amazing. Any overnight oats recipe is ideal for mornings when you know you’ll be in a rush, and short on time to make something. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Aubergine, Greens & Tofu Rice Bowl

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I know that quite a few people who follow me on IG are involved in Veganuary this year, and though I personally didn’t opt to attempt it (this year), I have still cut down my fish consumption these last few weeks (I’m pescetarian, but mainly eat vegetarian food- I just have a weakness for seafood every few days). Having done so I’ve ended up trying several more vegetarian and vegan meals- including this delicious stir fry.

This meal is relatively cheap to make, the only expensive ingredient is the tender stem broccoli, but feel free to swap it for regular broccoli- I just felt like splashing out, and love the tender stem variety. It’s also a meal crammed with goodness in the colourful veggies, low GI brown rice, and the vegetarian/vegan source of protein that is the tofu. Baking the tofu is much easier than pan-frying, and much healthier than deep-frying; you’ll get the perfect tender, soft interior, but a crispy golden exterior.

Let’s go…

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1 baby aubergine, chopped
  • 5-6 Chinese leaves, sliced
  • 1 handful tenderstem broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 large red chilli, cut into small pieces
  • 150g firm tofu, sliced into 8-10 pieces
  • 1/2-1tbsp soy sauce, to taste
  • Chinese five spice, to taste
  • Salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 50g brown rice (this is the dry weight)

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200*c, and place your tofu onto a baking tray sprayed with a little cooking oil. Season with salt and black pepper, and once the oven is up to temperature throw it in.
  • Meanwhile, boil some water, and place the rice into a small pan with enough of the freshly boiled water to cover. Set this re-boiling as you put the tofu into the oven, and set a timer for 25 minutes.
  • With 10 minutes left on the timer, place the onion, garlic, and chilli into a pan with non-stick spray. Cook over a low heat until the garlic and onion is softened, then add in the aubergine, soy sauce, and five spice, cooking for 3-4 minutes more. Finally, add in the broccoli and Chinese leaves, and cook until tender.
  • When the timer goes off, plate everything up, and dig in…

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…