Raw Beetroot Carpaccio With A Tahini Dressing

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My life has improved by about 1000% since being gifted a mandolin slicer by my Grandma. Most of you guys probably already have one of these, but I’ve been embarrassingly slow on the kitchen gadget bandwagon – I’ll probably get round to buying a spiralizer some time next decade? Anyway, I’d been making courgette ribbons like there was no tomorrow and putting them in salads until I thought I’d try my hand at slicing something a little more off-beat….(but, on-beet. sorry).

Let’s ignore the fact that my chopping board looks like a murder scene and admire how gorgeous the faint rings on the slices are! I appreciate that raw beetroot isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I do enjoy it on occasion and I think it’s definitely a lot more palatable when sliced very thinly. It’s kind of like eating a very earthy tasting carrot. However, this kind of dish would also work really nicely with cucumber if you want something more mild and refreshing.

The tahini dressing is so simple. I mixed one tablespoon of tahini with about double that amount of water, a squeeze of lemon juice and some salt. If you stir well it aerates a little and becomes lovely and smooth. Crack on some pepper to finish and you’re sorted. This kind of thing makes a nice side plate to accompany a summery barbecue (consisting of veggie burgers and grilled aubergine, obv) or something of that ilk. Here’s to hoping for sunnier days ahead!

Polenta Stuffed Peppers & Veggie Sausages

I think I might have found a way to make polenta look somewhat presentable. With a little bit of tweaking, I can see this being a regular dinner time thing! It does require a teeny bit more effort compared to boiling up some pasta, but it’s still pretty simple to do (trust me, if I can do it  anyone can).

Like making a cup of tea, everyone seems to have their own special way of making polenta. I’m pretty sure I do it differently every time, but as a rule of thumb, the best measurements for making it are 1.5 cups of water for every 1 cup of polenta. Of course, constant stirring is MANDATORY, unless you’re happy to settle for lumps. I tend to season with salt and pepper and finish with a swig or two of good olive oil for creaminess and a nice sheen.

For this particular dish, I spooned in the polenta mixture to halved peppers that had already been roasting for 20 minutes, then put them back in for another 20 (at gas mark 6). The next time I do this I think I’ll add crispy onions either into the polenta or on top, just to break up the texture a bit.

The peppers were paired with Linda Mac vegan sausages and some greens (more unpictured) for a good hearty meal. It’s not particularly summer on a plate, but the weather in London is so confusing right now I don’t know what’s what.

If I think of any other ways to prepare polenta, you’ll be the first to know!

Vegan Nutty Banana Loaf

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I got really experimental in the kitchen today and came up with this recipe which is actually somewhat healthy (It doesn’t taste it though)!? It’s filled to the brim with omega-rich ingredients, contains no refined sugar and no eggs or dairy, which adds to a grand total of zero cholesterol. Let’s get into the recipe!
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I’m so sorry if you abide by scales. You’ve come to the wrong blog post. Below is what I added to my mixing bowl (roughly measured) and in the order I added them.

2/3 cup wholewheat self-raising flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour (just for a different flavour. You can use oat flour too)
1/2 tsp baking powder
a good sprinkling of cinnamon and ground ginger
a pinch of salt
2/3 cup date syrup
2 tbsps milled flax/chia/hemp seeds soaked in warm water
1/2 cup hazelnut oil (coconut oil works too)
4/5 small ripe bananas mashed with warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
80-100g crushed walnuts
a glug of almond milk


I preheated my oven at gas mark 4, poured the mixture into a tin greased with hazelnut oil and sprinkled with hemp hearts before putting it in for around 45 minutes.
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SO MOIST (I hate that word but it’s warranted here…)!

I think the mix of wheat flour and buckwheat flour in this loaf really works in its favour as well as the richness of the hazelnut oil. I know coconut oil gets all the praise these days but I think hazelnut oil is just as good, if not better for baking.

And so the baking chronicles continue…

 

 

 

Amanzi Tea

img_0207Soho is one of my favourite parts of London. Probably because it’s not overly posh like Chelsea or Notting Hill and it’s not intimidatingly ice cool like Shoreditch. It’s like a maze full of great little haunts, bars and jazz clubs and there’s even a pretty green square to sunbathe on when the sun decides to show its face basically one day a year. Soho basically has all the good parts of London compressed into… one square mile (Yes, I googled that).

But the best thing by far about Soho is that no matter how many times you navigate its meandering lanes, you’re sure to spot something you haven’t seen before. This is precisely what happened to me when I was walking down Brewer Street (probably the best street name ever?) and noticed what I thought was a really cool coffee shop… only to realise it was actually a tea shop: Amanzi Tea! It wasn’t particularly busy and I saw a magnificent collection of teas displayed on the wall so I had to go in.

I wanted something caffeine free and the girl behind the counter suggested the pink roasted almond tea (I didn’t edit that photo at all, it really is that pink!). I believe it’s beetroot which gives it the wonderful colour. It’s also got apple and cinnamon in it, and probably some other stuff too but my memory fails me. It’s soooo delicious and wonderfully sweet, but not at all sickly. If you like apple-y, marzipan-y type things and you’re in London, definitely try this out.

I also noticed on the menu that they do all kinds of coffees, matcha lattes and matcha smoothie/frappuccino type things, as well as baked treats and healthy snacks. So that’s basically another 5 reasons for me to go back.

 

The Creamiest Avocado Smoothie Bowl

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Excuse the hyperbole, but I don’t think there’s anything better in the whole world than cutting open a perfectly ripe avocado. This sublime occurrence happened to me yesterday, of which I took great advantage and threw together a cheeky bit of avocado toast.

Fast-forward to today, and I’m trying to figure out what to do with the other half of the avocado, swaddled with cling film in the fridge, eagerly awaiting its fifteen minutes of fame. Do I make more toast, or give this poor chap the destiny it so desires? In a moment of madness, I go against the norm of avo smash or guacamole and decide to make this beautiful bowl.

Ingredients:

1/2 a perfectly ripe avocado
1 small frozen banana (in pieces)
1 handful of spinach
2-3 dates, depending on sweetness
A few pineapple chunks
A few glugs of water or almond milk
Hemp hearts for decorating

Once blended together, you’ll have to eat this from a bowl with a spoon because it’s that thick and creamy. Also, I promise you can’t taste the avocado. You get all of its smoothness and silkiness with a fruity taste, just as all smoothies should be!

Ceylon

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Loose leaf tea is always a bit more of a hassle, but always worth it. If I do end up ditching the bags, I like to make a bit of a ceremony of it (…probably the most British thing about me!).

One of my friends gifted me some Ceylon tea last summer and I have only just got round to trying it. Oops. I’m late to the party but it sure was worth the wait! 

I can only think of really pretentious ways to describe the taste of this tea (sorry pals). So here goes: it has a rich and bold flavour, which is great as it means you don’t need a whole load of leaves to get a strong brew. Imagine your bog-standard black tea, but with a deeper flavour profile… this is it. I’ve only tried ceylon on it’s own, but I can imagine it would be really lovely with milk too (dairy or otherwise), and brown sugar if you’re that way inclined.

This is basically a builder’s brew, but with a more interesting flavour. Or, a black tea with the intensity of a masala chai, but without the spice. Does that even make sense? If you think my description is completely nuts, maybe try it out for yourself and better me in the comments.

 

“What does a chopping board and pot of a daffodils have to do with tea?” – I hear you ask? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. But it does look kind of presentable, no?

Hugs and tea leaves,

Sarah x

I MADE HUMMUS!

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Before this rite of passage, I was a mere vegetarian. Now I’ve actually put chickpea to blade, I feel like an entirely different person – a bonafide herbivore.

Here it is in all its glory. Yes it’s more coarse (ahem… ‘rustic’) than it’s probably supposed to be, but I made it in a blender as I don’t own a food processor. Also, who has time to remove the skins from a whole tins worth of chickpeas?! 

I’m not bold enough to create my own hummus recipe. Here’s the one I stole. I followed it as closely as I could except I added a bit of water halfway through blending, as well as doubling the amount of garlic because why the hell not?

The recipe turned out pretty good, apart from the fact that it was maybe a bit too lemony. That can be easily rectified for next time, though.

Claps all round for plant power!