Tag Archives: Snacks

Top Vegan 7 for British Sandwich Week

This week we’re celebrating British Sandwich Week. Do you know how the sandwich got its name? I remember as a kid thinking it was a strange name for a food. It clearly didn’t contain sand. Maybe it was what witches ate? Incredibly, I only learnt the meaning of the name this month (thanks to the May issue of Vegan Life).

John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, was fond of ordering meat tucked between two slices of bread, avoiding both the inconvenience of a fork and messy meat-covered hands, so he could easily eat while playing cards. His fellow gamblers saw the appeal and started ordering “the same as Sandwich”. The 18th century aristocrat’s clean and convenient way of eating is why we came to call any variation of filling between bread ‘a sandwich’

Sadly, here in the UK, the availability of ready-prepared vegan sandwiches is extremely limited. The supermarket aisles are filled with row upon row of chicken, cheese, ham, egg mayo and tuna. If you’re lucky, you might find a falafel sandwich, but then you’re likely to find they’ve added milk or egg into the dressing. I’m sure that one day the sandwich shops will catch up with the growing plant-based trend but, until then, we’ll just have to whip up some of our own.

Vegan Life Issue 5

This month’s Vegan Life magazine has a fantastic selection of sandwich recipes, including the Reuben, Buffalo Tofu Hoagie, Triple BLT, Spicy Wiener and The Peter Pan. There’s also a fun Sandwich Roulette on their Interactive App.

Vegan Life Issue 5 Sandwich Roulette

You spin the scroll bar and whatever recipe you land on has to be your next sandwich creation. I landed on Coronation Chickpea which is perfect for me as I love chickpea spreads (as you’ll see below).

Vegan Life Issue 5 Sandwich Roulette 2 500

In honour of British Sandwich Week, I thought I’d share a selection of my family’s current favourite creations. All of them are 100% plant-based and come together in a matter of minutes. I don’t know about you but, if I need a sandwich, I need it pretty instantly. I’m usually making sandwiches first thing in the morning for lunchboxes or I need to grab a quick bite at lunchtime between jobs, so I can’t be spending ages cooking or prepping the filling.

So, in no particular order, here are our current 7 top picks. Between us, we’ve eaten all of these already this week and we’re only on day 3 of British Sandwich Week!

Falafel Sandwich

1. Falafel, Caramelised Onion Hummus, Beetroot Salad and Sweet Pickle.
I always keep a stash of Cauldron Falafels in the fridge for quick sandwich making. At home, I love this filling in freshly baked or lightly toasted granary bread. For lunchboxes, we stuff it into wholemeal pitta breads so, no matter how much the school bag gets shaken, the filling stays neatly inside.

Cheese and Tomato Sandwich

2. Cheese, Tomato and Basil.
This is a pretty classic combination, except that we use vegan ‘cheese’. In our dairy-eating days, none of us actually liked cheese slices, but we really like the Violife version. They’re made with coconut oil instead of cow’s milk and are surprisingly tasty.  The slices come in a range of flavours. Cheddar, olive oil, herbs, pizza and smoked are our favourites. In the UK, Violife is currently available in health food shops, Tesco and Asda.

Chilli Chickpea Smash Sandwich

3. Sweet Chilli Chickpea Smash
Chickpea smashes are really versatile. You can flavour them in different ways and change the texture, making them coarse or creamy. One of my all-time favourite smashes is Sweet Chilli Chickpea, made with a can of drained chickpeas, glug of sweet chilli sauce, splash of fresh lime juice and salt whizzed in a blender or food processor until coarse. In this sandwich, I’ve served it with organic sprouts and freshly ground black pepper.

Mediterranean Veggie Ciabatta

Mediterranean Veggie Ciabatta

4. Mediterranean Veggie Ciabatta
This is one of our favourite ‘easy’ Saturday night teas. It’s also one of Lil’ L’s favourite school lunches (though we use pittas to keep the veggies intact). A selection of colourful veggies (red onion, courgette/zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms) and seeds (sunflower & pumpkin) are pan-fried, then served on crispy, warm ciabatta slathered in sun-dried tomato paste. The veggies are either fried in a drizzle of olive oil with plenty of seasoning or a splash of tamari.

Smoked Tofu Sandwich

5. Smoked Tofu, Avocado, Tomato Salad
I was so pleased to find smoked tofu in the Spanish Hipercor so we could make one of our favourite sandwiches whilst in Marbella last month – organic smoked tofu, sliced tomato and avocado, beetroot salad and hummus, topped with a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. For our return flight, we stuffed this filling into seeded wholewheat mini baguettes. It tasted so good and far, far better than any option available on the plane. Back home, I use the Cauldron organic smoked tofu, which is currently available from Waitrose, Ocado and health food shops.

Sunday Dinner Sandwich 6. The Sunday Dinner Sandwich
We used to call this The Boxing Day Sandwich as it was filled with our Christmas Dinner leftovers. However, I love this sandwich so much that I couldn’t relegate it to a ‘once a year’ thing. Now we use the leftovers from the Sunday roast dinner, or I even just make this sandwich instead of a Sunday roast, hence why Lil’ L calls it the ‘Sunday Dinner sandwich’. My favourite components for this sandwich are red lentil & cashew nut loaf or sage & chestnut stuffing, balsamic red onion and brussel sprout hash, served on soft granary bread slathered in cranberry sauce. Tastes. So. Good.

Nutella Banana Panini

7. Home-made ‘Nutella’ and Banana Panini
And here’s one of our favourite ‘Elevenses’ or mid-afternoon snacks, perfect for when a sweet craving strikes. Slather one side of toasted panini in home-made ‘nutella’ (hazelnut butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, a little coconut oil and pinch of salt whizzed together) and the other side in mashed ripe banana and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon, then slam together and devour.

Happy Sandwiching everyone! xx

What’s your current favourite sandwich creation?

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Filed under Healthy Snacking, Lunches & Light Dinners

Cocoa Lime Energy Bites (Vegan / Gluten Free)

Cocoa Lime Energy Bites

As we head into Spring, I’ve started to crave lighter foods and fresh citrus flavours. For me, these Cocoa Lime Energy Bites are spot on for this time of year. They’re chocolatey but not too rich, they’re fresh and zesty thanks to the lime, and they’re lighter than the classic energy bite as I’ve cut down on nuts and substituted oats instead.

Lime Zest

I toyed between calling them ‘bliss balls’ and ‘energy bites’. They’re packed with mood-enhancing nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron, B vitamins and omega 3, as well as cacao which triggers bliss-like chemicals in the brain. I always feel amazing after eating them. For these reasons, they definitely belong in the ‘bliss camp’.

Cocoa Lime Energy Bites

However, whenever I mention ‘bliss balls’ to M, he cringes. Maybe the name’s just too hippy or girly for him. ‘Energy bites’ got his approval though. It’s not very attractive or sexy, but if this name makes it a ‘man treat’ too, then that’s what we’ll go with. Men definitely deserve their share of these yummy snacks.

Energy bites is an accurate description anyhow, as they’re packed with fantastic ingredients like oats, nuts, seeds and dates that boost and sustain our energy levels.Cacao Nibs

I also like to add a handful of cacao nibs into these bites. They provide a lovely chocolatey ‘crunch’, as well as more of those amazing raw cocoa nutrients.

These energy bites make a great mid morning snack, afternoon ‘pick me up’ or post-school snack (Lil’ L loves them!) They’re very filling, so I find that one is usually enough for an energy boost and to stave off hunger pangs. They’re easy to transport too, so perfect for stashing in your bag for road trips and days out.

Cocoa Lime Energy Bites

Products used in this recipe (UK Stockists)
Mornflake Superfast Oats
Tesco Wholefoods cashewswalnuts  and soft pitted dates
Sevenhills Organics shelled hemp seeds, cacao powder, cacao nibs
Clarks original maple syrup
East End desiccated coconut
Suma coconut sugar (available in health food shops) or Biona coconut sugar from Amazon
Magimix 3200 Food Processor

Cocoa Lime Energy Bites

Do you crave different foods in Spring? As well as citrus, I’m loving fresh green flavours right now… mint, peas, asparagus, green beans. Two of my favourite Spring dishes are Mint Pea Soup and Risotto con Verdure. Hopefully I’ll get to share them with you very soon! xx 

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Filed under Healthy Snacking, Treats & Sweets

Gingerbread Men (Dairy-free / Vegan)

The recipes I most often share are firm family favourites that I’ve been refining over a number of years. So when I get inspired to create a new recipe that I want to blog now rather than in 5 years time, I end up obsessively testing it again and again over the course of a week or so to play catch up with the tweaks and refinements.

This week, the obsession has been these little guys…

Gingerbread Men

When Amy mentioned gingerbread under my waffles post, it reminded me that I hadn’t made gingerbread men in years. I decided it was high time I dusted off my old recipe notes and gave them another whirl.

So far this week, I’ve made 72 gingerbread men! Family and friends have kindly been helping me out with the testing. Lil’ L’s taken them to school, M’s taken them to work, and I’ve shared them with friends over coffee (not the classiest of cookies but hey it made them smile).

Making Gingerbread

All the batches got great feedback, but M thought they could be a bit ‘gingerier’ so the next batch had an extra ½ tsp of ginger. I’ve tested different thicknesses (the thicker men were the winners), different sugars and different oils/butters. All worked fine, so I’m guessing the recipe is pretty adaptable. I also tested different cooking times and I personally preferred the longer time as it made them firmer and crunchier round the edges.

The one thing I haven’t managed to test yet is whether they work with gluten free flour. As soon as my Suma order of GF flour arrives, I’ll get straight onto it.

Gingerbread Men

Even though I’ve eaten a ridiculous amount of gingerbread men this week, I’m still totally in love them and will be happily munching my way through more this weekend. Fortunately, as cookies go, these are pretty healthy as they’re wholegrain, plus they’ve got an extra boost of iron from the molasses. As well as coffee, they’re delicious with a cup of 3 Ginger Pukka tea. This has got to be the ultimate winter warmer. I can literally feel myself warming up from the inside out as I sip a cup

Gingerbread Men

 

If you try the recipe and make any adjustments, do let me know. I always love to hear your feedback!

Blogging friends, how do you go about testing your recipes before you post them? Are you an obsessive tester like me? How many times do you tend to make a recipe before you post it?

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Healthy Snacking, 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

Chocolate Granola Clusters with Hazelnuts, Pecans and Cranberries

Today, I’d like to share another of my family’s favourite granola recipes. Filled with hazelnuts, pecans, cranberries and chocolatey goodness, this granola is perfect for this season.

Chocolate Granola Clusters with Hazelnuts, Pecans & Cranberries

My garden is bordered by cob nut trees, and this year they produced the most amazing crop. I made a deal with the squirrels whereby I would collect nuts from the low hanging branches, and they could have the rest. They then got to work, burying nuts all over my lawn and flower beds, and in my plant pots. Invariably they forget where they’ve buried them and we end up with nut trees growing literally everywhere!

Cob Nuts

I’m not going to complain though. Nut trees are awesome!

And once they’ve matured, cob nuts are very similar in taste and texture to hazelnuts, so I put them to good use in yummy recipes, like this granola.

Hazelnuts

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Lil’ L loves home-made granola, especially when it’s formed into clusters. It’s so easy to make. You simple press down the mixture as if you’re making a thin granola bar then, once completely cooled, you break it into clusters.

Granola Cluster Making

Our favourite sweetener for granola is maple syrup. This adds a delicious caramel-like sweetness, rather than a ‘sugary’ flavour. I use Clarks Original Maple Syrup, which is a blend of maple and carob syrups. It’s widely available in the UK, and a fair bit cheaper than pure maple syrup. I really like its flavour and consistency, which is slightly thicker than the pure grade syrup.

Granola Clusters

These granola clusters are wonderful for breakfasts, snacks and desserts. For breakfast, we like to serve them with natural non dairy yogurt (such as Alpro) or milk. For an omega-3 boost, I often add a light sprinkling of ground linseed and finely chopped walnuts before serving. I also sprinkle in a few extra cranberries to brighten up the bowl.

Chocolate Granola Clusters with Hazelnuts, Pecans and Cranberries

Layered with yogurt and fresh or frozen fruits, the clusters also make a delicious dessert or after-school snack. They look really fancy yet take literally seconds to throw together!

Chocolate Granola Parfait

Products used in this recipe (UK stockists)
Mornflake Superfast Oats, available in Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and The co-operative (Gluten-free oats are available from the ‘Free From’ aisle in major UK supermarkets and health food stores)
Tesco Buckwheat (found in the wholefoods section) (Buckwheat is also available in health food stores and online)
Biona Coconut Sugar, available from health food stores and online
Dried Cranberries (sweetened with pineapple juice), available from the wholefoods sections in Tesco and Waitrose
Clarks Original Maple Syrup available in Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s
Essential Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (available in health food stores and online)

Enjoy! xx

Postscript
Sirilipons … ‘Secret’ nibbling eh? I wondered where the bottom right hand corner had gone. It looks like a giant mouse has been at it. You are so busted!

Granola Cluster Making

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Filed under Breakfast & Elevenses, Desserts, Healthy Snacking