Tag Archives: Gluten Free Option

Tagliatelle con Verdure. Vegan. Gluten Free Option

Tagliatelle con Verdure

For this month’s Suma Blogger’s Network entry, I’d like to share one of my favourite quick ‘n’ easy evening meals. I’ve used the Italian name for this dish ‘Tagliatelle con Verdure’ as the English equivalent ‘Ribbon Pasta with Green Vegetables’ just sounds far too plain and boring for such a beautiful dish.

For me, Tagliatelle con Verdure is the perfect pasta dish for this time of year. It’s much lighter than cheesy or cream-based pastas, and the addition of peas and tender green leaves make it taste fresh and Spring-like.

Tagliatelle con Verdure

This dish also happens to be incredibly simple and quick to make. It’s ready in just 20 minutes, and there’s very little prep or chopping involved. It’s perfect for busy week day nights, but also for weekends when you want to prepare something quick for friends and family.

Tagliatelle con Verdure

I always use wholegrain pasta as it contains more vitamins and minerals than white pasta (plus my family prefers the coarser texture and nuttier flavour of the wholegrain varieties). At the moment, the health food shops in the UK stock a much wider selection of wholegrain pastas compared to the supermarkets. Pastas made from ancient grains like spelt and kamut are amongst my favourites. For a gluten-free option, ribbon pastas made from maize are available (like this one from Le Veneziane).

In today’s recipe, I used organic whole wheat tagliatelle from one of my favourite pasta companies – la BIO IDEA – which produces its pasta using traditional methods dating back to 1911.

La Bio Idea Tagliatelle

I often keep jars of antipasti in the fridge, as they’re great for throwing into pasta dishes, salads and sandwiches. I especially love the jars of sun-dried tomatoes packed in herb-infused olive oil.  The oil is great for loosening up pasta ribbons, as well as adding extra flavour.

Pea shoots are currently in season here in the UK and I adore their fresh pea flavour and tender texture. If you can’t get hold of pea shoots, baby spinach or rocket (arugula) would make good substitutes.

Pea Shoots

 

Tagliatelle con Verdure

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear your feedback Do leave me a comment below or post a photo on my Facebook or Twitter pages. Hearing from readers always makes me smile xx

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What’s your favourite Spring-time dish?

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Cranberry, Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines. Dairy-free. Vegan

For this month’s Suma Blogger’s Network entry, I though I’d share one of my latest treat obsessions – Vegan Florentines

Vegan Florentines

I’ve been dreaming about Florentines ever since I saw them on display in the patisserie shops of Venice and Florence a few years ago. I’d never seen anything quite like them before. They looked so dainty yet totally decadent with their dark chocolate bottoms! I was pretty sure that they’d be full of dairy and off limits to me, but I was excited about the thought of creating a vegan version one day.

This week I finally got round to a little Florentine experimentation in the kitchen.

Cranberry Pieces

After a quick internet search, I discovered that Florentines are typically made with cane sugar, honey, butter, candied cherries, candied citrus peel and almonds. Since I’m not a fan of the first 4 ingredients, and I know a lot of my readers aren’t keen on candied peel, I ended up subbing 5 of the 6 ingredients. The almonds stayed 😉

The cane sugar and honey was swapped for coconut sugar and maple syrup, which gave the Florentines a wonderful golden hue and caramel-like sweetness. Instead of candied cherries and citrus peel, I used dried cranberries and orange zest. This gave the Florentines a fresh, citrussy flavour which I absolutely loved. The butter was exchanged for non dairy spread or organic aroma-free coconut butter.

Vegan Florentines

I’ve done 6 trials so far this week, playing around with different ingredient ratios and combos. All have tasted delicious, but I was striving to bake a Florentine that was super thin with the traditional ‘lacey’ texture on the underside. By the 4th trial, I’d cracked it.

Vegan Florentines

Once cooled, I then added the classic Florentine wavy chocolate bottom.

Vegan Florentines

These Florentines are my new treat obsession. I absolutely love their texture – crisp on the outside, chewy in the centre with a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate bottom. Plus the flavour combination is so lush. The citrus zest gives them a wonderful lift while the dark chocolate makes them feel decadent.

Another great thing about this biscuit is that each one only contains 1 tsp of mixture which, in my eyes, makes it totally acceptable to go back for a second or third 🙂

‘M’ and Lil’ L seem to love them as much as me. I’ve made 72 so far this week, and there are very few left in the biscuit tin! I also took along a sample to my Tuesday night study class and they were a big hit!

Vegan Florentines

[Recipes updated 22nd July 2015]

Unwaxed Citrus Fruits
Unwaxed lemons are widely available, but unwaxed oranges are a little harder to come by. In the UK, they are currently available in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco. If you’re only able to find waxed oranges, you’ll find tips online on how to remove the wax. The wax on citrus fruits often contains shellac (from the lac beetle) or beeswax, making them unsuitable for vegans. Organic citrus fruits are unwaxed, which makes them vegan friendly 🙂

You’ll find Suma products available to purchase in UK independent health food shops. You can also bulk buy many of their products from Amazon.

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Treats & Sweets

Easy Vegan Waffles & VonShef Waffle Maker UK Giveaway

I have always loved waffles. There’s something about those cute indented squares that makes them such a pleasure to eat. I especially love them this time of year, warm straight from the waffle maker or toaster. They make such a yummy breakfast or mid-afternoon snack.

Lil’ L shares my love of waffles and can easily get through a dozen a week. He says there are two Autumn/Winter foods that he’ll never get sick of and that’s apple crumble and waffles!

Easy Vegan Waffles (GF Option)

These vegan waffles are so easy to make! It’s simply a case of blending up the ingredients (I use my Froothie for this job), scooping the batter into the waffle maker and waiting 3-4 minutes. And then they’re ready to eat!

We use a slightly thicker version of our breakfast pancake batter for these waffles. To replace the egg, we use a banana or two small-medium organic apples. On balance, I prefer the texture of the waffles made with banana as it’s slightly firmer and more robust. The riper the banana, the stronger the flavour will be in the waffles. For the mildest flavour, use ripe yellow bananas rather than brown ones.

The batter also includes wholegrain flour and oats for protein and slow release energy. The waffles happen to be fat free and cane sugar free too. This means they’re scrumptious and healthy, so perfect for treating the kids (and yourself!) Lots of Lil’ L’s friends have tried these waffles and they’ve all given them a big thumbs up.

While his friends tend to prefer them with a simple drizzle of maple syrup, Lil’ L loves to fill his squares with little pieces of chopped walnuts or pecans, for some crunch…

Vegan Waffles with walnuts and maple syrup

… while I love to top mine with raspberries and chopped almonds

The waffles in the photo below were made using GF flour. I was so delighted to find that the recipe works gluten-free too as it means all our GF friends can tuck in too 😀

Vegan Waffles with Raspberries & Almonds

We make the waffles small enough so that they’re easy to pick up, fit in the toaster, and so you can scoff two or three at a time (‘cause one waffle is never enough 😉 ). We often make them as an afterschool snack, then leftovers get stored in the fridge for breakfast the next day. A quick warm through in the toaster and they’re ready to be served.

Here’s how we make our basic vegan waffle…

Forks are optional 😉

Vegan Waffles with walnuts and maple syrup

We purchased our waffle maker last October while it was on sale, and we’ve been really happy with it. It’s easy to use and, even with all our batter experimenting, we’ve yet to have a single waffle fail (which is pretty incredible!) The machine’s simple to clean too… while it’s still warm (but not scorching hot) I just wipe it over with a piece of kitchen towel.

While I’ve seen the waffle maker selling at a range of prices these past couple of months (the RRP is £64.99) you can get some amazing offers if you keep a watch out. It’s currently selling for £24.99 on Amazon and, at this price, you can’t really go wrong. We use ours 3-4 times a week and have made hundreds of waffles, so we’ve definitely had our money’s worth.

Vegan Waffles & VonShef Wafflemaker

Giveaway Time!

I’m not sure how many of my readers have waffle makers, and it seemed a bit unfair to share a waffle recipe without giving you the opportunity to make some yourself, so I contacted Designer Habitat and they have kindly offered to give away a VonShef Quad Waffle Maker to one of my lovely readers

To be in with a chance of winning, simply leave me a comment under this blog post answering the question featured in the Rafflecopter below. Do make sure you tick the box in the Rafflecopter to register that you have done so. There are a number of additional ways you can enter in order to increase your chances of winning. You will find these listed in the Rafflecopter. All entries will be verified prior to the winner being selected.

This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 and over (sorry international readers)

The closing date is Friday 16th January 2014 at midnight GMT. The winner will be selected at random and notified by email. The winner will have 7 days to respond. If they fail to do so, another winner will be selected at random.

New to Rafflecopter? It’s pretty easy! Simply click on ‘Use Your Email’ and enter a name and your email address (rest assured it won’t be published anywhere). You can also log in using your Facebook account, if you wish. A quick demo of how to use Rafflecopter can be accessed here.

* If you experience any technical problems when trying to enter the Rafflecopter, let me know in the comments section below and I’ll submit your entry for you *

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone! xx

 

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Filed under Breakfast & Elevenses, Healthy Snacking

Orange Spiced Hot Chocolate (Dairy-free / Vegan)

For my last recipe of the year, I thought I’d share one of our favourite Winter drinks – Orange Spiced Hot Chocolate. It’s really easy to make and tastes amazing!

I love the chocolate and orange flavour combo, especially this time of year 
How about you? 

Orange Spiced Hot Chocolate

You can buy ready-made orange flavoured hot chocolate blends, but I find they often contain a lot of cane sugar. I don’t tolerate cane sugar well these days (especially in drinks) and just one cup of the shop-bought blends can leave me feeling queasy for a good hour or so, which is no fun at all :/ My sweeteners of choice for this drink are coconut sugar or maple syrup. Both add a delicious caramel-like sweetness to the drink.

This winter, my preferred milk for this drink has been Oatly. Just a few seconds of whisking produces the most amazing froth! I buy the long life ‘Ambient’ cartons that are fortified with calcium, riboflavin, D2 and B12 (the one in the blue carton).  The Oatly milks contain very low levels of gluten so, if you’re super sensitive to gluten, it would be best to use another milk such as soya, almond, rice or coconut drinking milk. I’ve used all of them, and they all work well in this drink. It’s just that some are thinner, and some froth better. All taste good though!

Orange Spiced Hot Chocolate

 Have a wonderful Christmas everyone
I look forward to catching up with you in 2015!

 

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Chinese ‘Egg-fried’ Noodles… Vegan Style!

As part of their Healthy Smiles campaign, SimplyHealth invited me to take part in a competition to design a recipe using ingredients featured in their Infographic for healthy teeth. As soon as I saw the list, the recipe that sprung to mind was my family’s favourite Chinese stir fry

Chinese 'Egg Fried' Noodles... Vegan Style!

It features three of the six ingredients listed in the Infographic’s ‘Eat It’ column  – purple cabbage, carrot and ginger. If you drink a glass of water with the meal, then follow it with a cup of green tea, then we’ve got all bar one of the ingredients covered (we’ll forget about the last one, salmon!)

Stir fry vegetables

This stir fry takes 20 minutes or less, so it’s perfect for busy week day nights or as a cheap, tasty (and healthy!) alternative to a weekend takeaway. It has a beautiful, distinctive Chinese flavour thanks to the Five Spice seasoning, which is a blend of star anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper.

Instead of eggs, we much prefer the texture and flavour of scrambled tofu in this stir fry. It’s so easy to make. You simply squeeze the excess water from the tofu (no need to press it), and crumble it into a wok…

Scrambled Tofu Stage 1

… then stir in some soy sauce, garlic, ginger and a touch of turmeric to give it a lovely golden yellow hue.

Scrambled Tofu Stage 2

The stir fry vegetables are then added to the wok, along with a sprinkling of Chinese Five Spice, some cashews and a little vegetable stock.

Chinese Stir Fry

After a couple of minutes, the noodles are stirred in. (We prefer to use wholewheat noodles in this stir fry as they have a chewier texture which works well in Chinese dishes, but do sub with rice or other GF noodles if needed).

We add a final drizzle of soy sauce, then it’s done!

Chinese Stir Fry 2

This meal is so speedy and simple to make. It has to be the perfect Chinese Fast Food!

Products used in this recipe (UK Stockists)
Cauldron Foods Original Tofu, available from the chilled aisle in most major UK supermarkets
Kikkoman Less Salt Soy Sauce, available from most major UK supermarkets
Suma Five Spice Seasoning, available from health food stores and via Amazon (Other Chinese Five Spice blends can be found on the spice aisle in supermarkets).
Blue Dragon Wholewheat Noodles, available from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons

Chopsticks are optional 😉

Chinese Egg Fried Noodles Vegan Style 2

I would LOVE to be able to use chopsticks. I’ve tried so many times but I’m utterly useless. I’m the one in Chinese restaurants that has to put their hand up and ask for a fork. Shame on me!

 

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