Friday, 30 January 2015

Vegan Crunchy Peanut & Dark Chocolate Cups

It is time for something sweet! Don't you agree?

Now, I got to try out some cocoa butter from work, they are little pellet that are easily melted in a pan over a low temperature. Mainly it is used in chocolate, but it has become more and more popular to try and add to other recipes, or home made sugar-free chocolate.
Since I am surrounded in chocolate at work, I didn't want to go down the obvious route. This lead me to - peanut chocolate!

Vegan Crunchy Peanut & Dark Chocolate Cups
(Makes 7 mini moulds)

(two had already been "tested", y'know, gotta make sure they'll pass....)

For the peanut crunch:
2 tbsp cocoa butter
2 tbsp xylitol/sukrin gold/brown sugar
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

For the chocolate:
1 tbsp cocoa butter
1/2 tsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 tbsp xylitol/sukrin gold/brown sugar
2-4 drops stevia vanilla (optional)

- Start with the "peanut crunch" by melting the cocoa butter, this will take less than a minute. Stir through the peanut butter and sweetner until combined. Divide between mini cupcake moulds, or bigger one if you have taken the excellent decision of doubling the recipe.

- Now, repeat with the chocolate; melt cocoa butter on low heat, mix in cocoa powder and sweetner(s), drizzle into the moulds over the peanut crunch, and leave them to set in the frige for about half an hour/an hour until set, before serving.

I took some of these with me to work the other day and they disappeared within minutes! And I have made them several times now....

Crunch! My friends couldn't believe they were healthy, and loved the sweetness and the crunch. Perfect snack alongside your cuppa.

This morning, I also uploaded the pictures from my vegetarian "Rabbit Burns" Night Supper. The vegetarian compared to the meaty one tasted just as nice! But it's a little bit lighter, which means you can have an extra bit, yum!

Recipe by yours truly,

- Jules

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

20-Minute-Dreamy Satay

This is one of the tastiest shortcuts I have EVER taken! I literally wolfed this down, and you know when you have the last bit of something and it almost makes you sad you have to part with it? Happened with this stuff!

Got some leftover rice from earlier on or yesterday that you can steam? Or perhaps that ingenious fast-cook wholegrain rice? Spiffing! You'll have yourself a lovely little satay in about 20 minutes *smiles*

I had one and a half cup of cooked amaranth that I heated up to serve with it, but yuo know what? Just get a big bad naan for dipping, because it's all in the peanutbuttery sauce, that I lightened up a little bit. I hope you like it!

20-Minute-Dreamy Satay
(Serves 2)

200-300g Quorn "chicken-style pieces" (from frozen works just fine ^ ^ )
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cm fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar/sukrin gold/xylitol
2 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp dried coriander leaves (optional)
1/2 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
A good pinch of turmeric
2 heaped tbsp peanut butter
1/2 onion, grated (I used the cheese grater)
1 cup Alpro coconut milk (carton coconut milk or light from a can)
Cooked rice to serve
Matchstick cucumber to garnish (optional)

- Start by having the quorn pieces in a large casserole together with everything except from the coconut milk, rice and cucumber. Fry for a few minutes so that the onion gets softened and the garlic and herbs become fragrant. Add the coconut milk and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

- In the meantime, prepare your rice/naan/accompaniment of preference, and cut the cucumber into matchsticks.

- Simply serve the Satay with your sides of choice and a little bit of garnish, aaaaand let it sweep you off of your feet! ..or...something like that.

I know what I'll be making in the very near future again..... *sneaky grin* Do you like Satay sauce? And do you have a favourite "shortcut" recipe?

Also, we need your help! My friend and I, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, are having a little competition against each other, and need your vote! So pop by here and let's hear who you reckon deserves to win! So far it is a tie - the tension!

Original source:
Den Lille Kokebokserie - Thai, p. 68

- Jules

Monday, 26 January 2015

Cross-Asian Salad, Burns' Night & A Sassy Sarnie

So last night was Robert Burns night! I had a few people over for a traditional Burns' Supper, but as I was cooking, I caught something in the corner of my eye. The label for the organic garlic had caught fire (I normally don't use the hob that it was close to....). Thankfully I managed to put it out within seconds, and the end result was a slightly shocked Julie and a rather amused friend (she was my helper, both with cooking and laughing at me when it happened.. It's what friends are for, right?!)
Anywhoo, I had six lovely people over for vegetarian haggis, with "neeps and tatties", and there were drams for everyone, and desserts aplenty, including a few games. It was a lovely night, despite a slightly turbulent start.

A little while ago, I made a salad I thought was worth mentioning. This is open for alterations and swaps for whatever you like really.

Soy sauce and Chaat Masala, a little peculiar you'd think, and fennel? Well, I improvised, which I am quite glad about, cause this tasted lovely!

Omit the cayenne if you want a little less of a kick to it

Cross-Asian Salad
(Serves 1)

1/2 tbsp oil
4-5 Spring onions, chopped
30g Fennel, cut into matchsticks
100g Quorn mince
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chaat masala
Pinch of cayenne
1/3 tsp garlic powder
Splash of water
1 small tomato, chopped
Chunk of cucumber, finely chopped
Mixed leaves to serve

- Start by heating the oil in a large frying pan and soften the spring onions for about five minutes. Add the fennel and fry for a couple of minutes to soften.

- Once fragrant, add the mince, soy, spices, and a splash of water along with the mince and fry until cooked through. Add the chopped tomato and cucumber and let it sizzle for 2-3 minutes.

- Serve warm over some fresh, washed leaves and tuck in! Lately I have found myself somewhat addicted to a ruby chard and lambs lettuce duo leaf-pack - it goes with everything!

Aaaand for the bread lovers out there... I have a little heads up for you!

A couple of years ago, I mentioned how topping a slice of bread with peanut butter, thinly sliced tomatoes and a sprinkle or salt and pepper actually worked incredibly well (I stumbled upon this tip on a blog somethere). Well.... I had some leaves and salsa at hand a little while ago and decided to make a twist to this, squished between two toasted slices of bread and a good dollop of peanut butter and you have yourself a perfect breakfast, lunch, or evening snack!

It doesn't take much for a sandwich to look appealing...I mean really!

I hope you have had a wonderful week so far and not set fire to garlic... Have you been up to much? And have you ever tried haggis before?

Recipe by yours truly,

- Jules

Monday, 19 January 2015

Sunflower Pancakes

Hello and top o' the morning to you! Had a good start to your week? I hope so! Either which way, pancakes always make you feel pretty spiffing, don't they? Have you tried adding different seeds to the batter and see what happens? They add a bit of crunch as well as flavour, which - let's be honest - isn't a bad thing!

Originally, sesame seeds were used in this recipe I found, but I only had sunflower seeds so I used them instead, and it worked a treat!

Sunflower Pancakes
(Makes 2)

For the pancake batter:
1 egg
5 heaped tbsp wholemeal or gluten-free flour
1/2 cup milk (125ml)
1 tsp oil such as sunflower or rapeseed
1 tbsp syrup (maple, agave etc) plus more to serve

Juice of 1/2 lime (or lemon)
2 bananas
2 tbsp sunflower or sesame seeds
1 tbsp oil (neutral, like sunflower oil)

- Start by mixing together the ingredients for the pancakes, and leave to set for about 5 minutes.

- In the meantime, squeeze out the citrus juice into a small bowl, slice the bananans - and dip them into the juice. Make sure it is all coated slightly, and set aside.

- Now, heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add 1 tbsp of the seeds in, lightly toast for about a minute, before pouring half of the pancake batter over it, using a ladle. Swish the frying pan around a few times so that the whole bottom is coated and the edges are even. Cook until you can see it is cooked through (when the batter is set in the middle), this should take 3-4 minutes. Flip over and fry until slightly golden. Repeat with the remaining half.

- When the pancakes are done, simply serve with the citrus banana, fold over and douse with 1 tbsp syrup each, and enjoy!

On another note, the other day when I was at some friends' for a clothes-swap (so much fun! Ever done it?), I got a jar of homemade chutney! (you know who you are!)

I have already demolished half of the jar-ful of the chutney, and it was delicious! Especially with a bit of cheese. But check out the beautiful colour!

Presents like these really make me warm and fuzzy inside!

Have a lovely Monday - and practice making pancakes for the National Pancake Day, less than a month to go! x

Original source:
Friske Vegetarisk Oppskrifter, p. 212

- Jules

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Citrus, Ginger & Coconut Smoothie

I came across this recipe over at NITK and after having just bought an extra large piece of ginger (I always feel kinda bad when I only break off a little bit....) it seemed like the right thing to use some of it for!

This smoothie contains two of your five a day, and is a great way to detox your body a little. It's zingy, sweet and fresh - perfect when you need a little something to wake you up!

Citrus, Ginger & Coconut Smoothie
(Serves 1)

1 cup (about 130g) peaches (can also use apricots or pineapple, or a mix!), choppped
Optionally a few icecubes (or just freeze the fruit overnight)
1 cm ginger, grated
200ml coconut milk from a carton, not tin
1 tbsp coconut cream (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon or 1 1/2 lime
5 drops stevia

- Simply have all the ingredients in a blender or process with a stickblender until smooth, and serve!

The sunshiney-colour just wakes you up a little instantly!

Do you have any favourite smoothie combinations?

Original source:

- Jules

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Golden Potatoes & Almonds

A recipe that is good for your muscles as well as your bones, imagine!

I had never tried saffron in any savoury dishes until I made this. But it works really well! Normally, I use it for St. Lucia "lussekatter" the 13th December, I am glad however - that I stumbled upon this recipe *smiles*

You can serve it as lunch, breakfast, or a side with any main you see it fit for really! And even though it features potatoes, it doesn't take long to cook, promise.

Golden Potatoes & Almonds
(Serves 2)

1 tbsp olive oil
A pinch of saffron
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
500g potatoes, finely diced
Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
500ml vegetable stock (1 cube)
25g almonds

Optionally: Bread for mopping

- Heat oil in a casserole and fry the almonds until they're dark golden. Set aside.

- In the same pan, add the potatoes, and stir for a few minutes. Add the saffron, garlic and parsley (if using), and fry for a minute before adding the stock. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

- Once the potatoes are done, add the almonds and serve!

Have you ever tried saffron in savoury dishes before, and have any hints and tips for me?

This week has been interesting; some customers at work who had their photo-shoot in one of our rooms insisted that I had a couple of photos taken, despite me not having the best of days having braved the weather on my way to work earlier that morning, but it was something else I suppose, haha!
Now I've got my feet up and am ready for two days off. Tomorrow, I'll be going to a few friends' for a clothes swap, and on Saturday evening I'll be making sure to see some lovely faces too. In between, I'll try and cook up a few tasty dishes and cross my fingers and toes that the weather will get better. It has been brutal the past few days with storms and rain, brrrr!

Original source:
Friske Vegetariske Oppskrifter, p. 233

- Jules

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Crumbly Oat & Cranberry Cookies

Oat macaroons is one of the infamous "seven kinds" in Norway to make for this festive season, I decided to put a bit of a spin on it, and so these came to be!

I swapped the butter for coconut oil, which means the dough will be a little sweeter and contain plenty of healthy fats, and then instead of water and sugar, I swapped it for agave - but you can also use maple syrup. I thought that I'd use cranberries instead of raisins as well, as I simply love the colour of them, and they're at least as delicious as their not too distant berry cousin, so...there's that!

Crumbly Oat & Cranberry Cookies
(Makes 7-8 small ones)

1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup (spelt) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp maple- or agave syrup
A good handful and a bit of dried cranberries

- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

- Mix all the ingredients together well and stir to combine, making sure that the coconut oil isn't lumpy (optionally melt it a little before mixing it in).

- Shape little walnut-sized balls with your hands and place on a baking tray with baking paper, and bake them in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving.

So far this week, I have been up at 6am so that I had enough time to get ready for the opening at work. Chilling like a villain in the evening, reading a Norwegian crime book (makes a change from fantasy fiction!), I hope you have had a good week so far, been up to much? x

Recipe by yours truly inspired by these.

- Jules

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Silky Smooth Avocado Soup

Avocado in guacamole - of course, avocado in chocolate mousse: sure! Avocado in....soup? Why had this not ocurred to me sooner, until I saw it in a book somewhere? Because you know what? It really works!
Using avocado gives the soup a silky smooth consistency, and you can throw in some leftover greens you have in your fridge such as bell pepper, half a head of lettuce, a handful of spinach, it'll work a treat. I made a few changes to the recipe I had at hand, and this is how it turned out *smiles*

Silky Smooth Avocado Soup
(Serves 2)

1 large, ripe avocado
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1/2 head lettuce OR 1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
Small sprig of mint (about 8 leaves)
500ml vegetable stock
Good, crusty bread to serve

- In a medium pot, start by heating up the onion, lettuce/cucumber and green bell pepper.

- Then, cut the avocado in half, take out the stone and remove the flesh. Chop up, and add to the casserole, swish around for about a minute before pouring over the stock. Simmer for about 10 minutes, before adding the mint. Take the soup off the heat and blend smooth.

- Add salt to taste (I didn't think it needed any), toast some bread, or serve this soup with crutons. It can be enjoyed either hot or cold!

Soup post-bread attack

The weather over the past week here in Glasgow has been well...less than sunny to say the least, the rain pouring down sometimes accompanied by sleet... It's a very mild Winter for sure, but I think I'd take snow over this if I'd had to choose. Perfect soup weather though, for sure!

I have just had a couple of days off, recuperating - seeing friends over lunch, went to a dinner at a colleague's (she and her flatmate makes badass pizza with roasted vegetables!) and reading a little. Today, it's back to work - bring it on! Whatever have you been up to over the weekend?

Recipe by yours truly,

- Jules

Friday, 9 January 2015

Luis' Savoury Cheesecake

So my friend Luis came over for dinner once a while back, and had brought this amazing cheesecake that he had made for dessert. But this cheesecake was different - it was a lot more savoury than any other cheesecake I had tried before, the secret? Parmesan! And it worked really well, because more times than others, I prefer having two savoury courses... I had the leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days afterwards, and I had to get the recipe for this so I could share it with you!

And here - my first ever, properly made cheesecake! My previous attempts has been a little so so. I halved the original recipe, as I was only making this for myself, and I had to suss out how high a temperature and for how long I had to cook it. You can add an additional 5-10 minutes in the over just to be sure, maybe just cover the top with aluminium foil then so it doesn't go darker in colour at the top!

Luis' Savoury Cheesecake
(Makes 1 - Serves 4-6)

3 eggs
1 small can of condensed milk
250g cottage cheese
25g parmesan/grana padano grated
1/2 tea spoon baking powder

- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

- Blend everything with a stick blender or in a processor. Place in a silicone mould or a greased and baking-paper clad cake tin, and scoop in the cheese mixture. Have the tin/mould into a baking deep baking tray filled with water (about 1cm), this will allow for the cake to steam.

- Place in the middle of the oven and cook for about an hour and ten minutes, then - turn down the temperature to 160°C and cook for about 10-20 minutes more if necessary, until the cake is properly set.

You can also cook this entirely at 160°C, but then I imagine the cooking time will be longer, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours altogether.

Have you tried savoury cheesecakes before?

Recipe mi amigo Luis!

- Jules

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Persimmon "Shake" with Berry Sorbet

Hello! Have you had a good week so far? I have been powering through work, bumped into friends and cooked - mainly, and then I finished readin the second book in "The Dresden Files" called Fool Moon. Are you reading anything at the moment?

Today I wanted to share a weird and wonderful recipe with you, it's like mousse, but not quite, like smoothie, except not. All I know is that I thought this was a great way of using up the last persimmon fruit I had, and the blackberry sorbet on top added a bit of refreshing berry-ness which I thought went really well with it. You can substitute blackberries for raspberries if you want, or also freeze the diced persimmon before blitzing it for a double-bill sorbet!

Persimmon "Shake" with Berry Sorbet
(Serves 1, easily doubled)

1 persimmon/sharon fruit, diced (optionally frozen)
50g blackberries or raspberries, frozen
1 tbsp xylithol, agave syrup, maple syrup or brown sugar
Juice of 1/3 lime or 1/4 lemon

- Start by blending the persimmon fruit until you have a nice, smooth pureê, pour into a serving glass or bowl.

- Now, blitz the berries, sweetner and citrus juice until you have a sorbet, it doesn't have to be super smooth, I like when it has a bit of a texture.

- Top the persimmon with the berry mixture, and enjoy!

Do you have any good recipes that calls for persimmon fruit?

Original Source: Friske Vegetariske Oppskrifter, p. 184

- Jules

Friday, 2 January 2015

Soft Oat Biscuits

Soft oat biscuits with a hint of coconut for sweet toppings such as cream cheese and smashes berries, peanut butter and jelly or whatever else you can think of!

I tried it first with savoury topping, and that actually worked too! But my favourite topping so far was jam and almond butter - no less than spiffing!

These are child-friendly, egg-free and altogether vegan. I love the currants in the mixture, they add just that little something to the biscuits.

Soft Oat Biscuits
(Makes about 9)

125g oat flour or oats (you can whizz oats roughly in a food processor)
150 ml boiling water (a little over half a cup)
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp dried fruit (currants, chopped dates, cranberries, coconut, mango, etc.)
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

- Pre-heat your oven to 175-180°C.

- Now, mix the oats and boiling water together and set aside for a couple of minutes, before mixing in the rest of the ingredients.

- Place the dough on a baking tray, and place a piece of clingfilm over the top before rolling out. The dough should be about 5mm thick.

- Once rolled out, use a knife or a pizza cutter to make marks in the batter, you don#t have to cut all the way through, you can do this after they are baked. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes.

- Let it cool completely before cutting the biscuits into squares. Serve topped with whatever goodies you can think of, or simply on its own!

As for my Hogmanay celebrations, I hosted a little get-together for the last/first day of the year. I spent a couple of hours cooking, and I made Spiced Currant Bulghur, Hummous, Iranian dressing, Sweet Tater Tots, lentil patties and I also tried my hands on these puff pasties stuffed with Brie and caramelised onions, yum!

Cava, wine and cheap champagne were had in-between all the food, and I was lucky to enter the new year with some of my favourite people! Did you do anything nice for New Year's Eve?

Original source:

- Jules