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Monday, 25 February 2013

Spicy Noodle Salad

This recipe is originally a Jamie Oliver recipe that I adapted and changed a bit. I have made it several times and tweaked it a bit each time, and this time I decided to use the opportunity to try and do something interesting with the stalk of broccoli - something I always feel wasteful throwing away but never really know what to do with! Using this method of slicing it really thinly and marinating with courgette and carrot worked really well


1 stalk of Broccoli
1/3 Courgette
1 Carrot
1/2 cup White Cabbage (shredded)
2 tbsp Rice Vinegar (any nicely flavoured vinegar will work really)
1 tbsp Sake (optional - I didn't include this but it would have gone nicely)
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/6 tsp Salt (just a big pinch really)
3 Cakes Wholewheat Noodles
1 Chili
1/2 Red Onion
1 tsp Coriander
1 Lime
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
Salt and Pepper


First to marinate the vegetables, mix together the salt, sugar, vinegar and sake
Slice the vegetables thinly, about 3-4 mm thick (if you have a mandolin use it but I managed fine with a knife)
Pour the mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat, set aside
Boil a kettle and pour over the noodles, leave to soften and then strain with a colander
Cover with cold water to stop them from cooking, and also to stop them socking together
Heat a small pan, add the seeds and then the sugar
Once the sugar melts, take off the heat stir constantly to coat the seeds well - if they start to stick in clumps break them up now as it's easy while they're still hot but once they're cool it's much more difficult
Leave to cool (you might want to transfer them onto a sheet of baking paper and put the pan straight in to soak, burnt/melted on sugar is an absolute pain to clean off)
Chop the onion and chili and mix in a mug with the soy sauce, sesame oil and coriander
Juice the lime into this and add about half of the zest (feel free to add more if you like but I find this make the lime too overpowering - I'd usually go for about 1/3 to be honest)
Strain the noodles, then combine with the onion and chili mixture
Toss to coat well
Stir in the vegetables
Season to taste

The vegetables used in this are pretty flexible, I thought it was a good and easy say to use up the broccoli stalk but you can make it with anything. Some mangetout or sugarsnap peas make a nice addition. The sesame oil and sweetness of the seeds go really well together. I like this about as hot as I can stand it but that's just personal preference. Let us know any suggestions you come up with at

Gluten-Free (and vegan) Protein Pancakes

Tom here,

So in the spirit of me being gluten free for lent I've decided to try and actually cook something (rather than just staying away from all things that remind me of bread as I have done so far). Had an interesting experiment making rice flour chapattis a couple of nights ago, but these need a bit more tweaking so I will make those again before I blog them. This is just a very simple pancake recipe which worked well, based on the general banana pancakes recipe I've blogged before ( but made with rice flour instead. This might seem like a speciality ingredient (and I guess it is, but hey, I'm trying to make this gluten free and vegan, give me SOME slack!) but I found a bag in the local greengrocers, and most asian food stores (like Worldwide on oxford road) will sell this, probably in economy sized bags. In our quest to make everything high protein and low carb I've added protein powder to these (mostly to see if it worked) and some flaxmeal, but these can be omitted as they are both expensive and not to everyone's taste - but I would reduce the milk slightly if you're cutting this out). All in all, they made pancakes, so I'm happy.

Ingredients (serves one):

1/3 Banana
2 tbsp Rice Flour (more heaped ones)
1 tbsp Cornflour (quite flat)
1 tsp Soya Protein (or whatever the recommended serving of your powder is)
1 tsp Flaxmeal (we've been using the Linwoods one with goji berries and pumpkin seeds and everything else wonderful in it)
2/3 cup Milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)


As before, I like to make this is just a mug, so really I add the ingredients and then fill it up to about 3/4 full with milk, but I think this is about the right amount
Blend with a hand blender until smooth (alternatively you can make it in a blender or smoothie maker, or simply mash the banana and whisk together, but all of these things seem like a lot of effort compared to my trusty hand blender!)
Heat up some oil in a non-stick pan (I used about a teaspoon of coconut - not least because anything fried in coconut oil smells amazing)
Place tablespoon sized(ish) dollops of mixture around the pan and brown on either side - don't try and flip them until you are absolutely positive they are about to burn, every time I tried before this they weren't cooked yet and they just flopped everywhere - the first time I made this recipe I ended up just squishing it all into one giant pancake - not so pretty but tasted good!
Plate up with a big portion of fruit and cover with cinnamon (yes, this is necessary)

These might all seems like speciality ingredients, but once you've bought them and they're in your cupboard, (like me) you'll probably find yourself putting them into everything and experimenting so trust me they're all worth buying if you're trying to be gluten free or vegan. Let us know any flavour tweaks you come up with at

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Lemon Quinoa Chicken Stir Fry

Hey, it's Jess :)

So Tom has been making a pretty impressive selection of vegan treats so I figured it's time for me to cook something vaguely interesting again. My recent meals have quite often been based around throwing a load of vegetables, chicken and sweet potato in a dish and baking. And serving. Like this.

 I'd write a recipe, but I literally did as I said. Veg, sweet potato, chicken and chopped tomatoes with whatever herbs and seasonings you fancy, in the oven until...done. Perfect.

And having given up chocolate for lent (yes, that is ALL chocolate and cocoa based products), I've been desperately looking for nice things to cheer me up when I'm craving my late night chocolate fix. (See future carob recipes!)

Going slightly off tangent, Tom and I have been increasing our training recently, as we're aiming to run the Bristol Half Marathon this year and a marathon (undecided as to which - suggestions anyone?) in 2014. So anyway, alongside trying to watch our weight, I have become a little obsessed with increasing my protein intake and cutting my carbs down. I know that working hard in the gym won't pay off if I'm not eating the right things, so now seemed like a good time to try new things. So I decided this would be a good opportunity to try the gluten-free, high protein grain quinoa.

I had never tried or seen quinoa until about an hour ago, so bear with me. But having done a little research on how to cook it, I figured I'd come up with a high protein recipe that can be eaten for lunch or dinner. You could easily make this recipe vegan by omitting the chicken and adding some other veg, I just really like chicken.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)
1 cup (uncooked) quinoa
1 lemon
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1-2 spring onions, chopped
1 courgette, sliced
2-3 chicken breast, cut into thin strips
2 tbsp soy sauce/gf tamari
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon

To cook the quinoa, add 2 cups boiling water to 1 cup quinoa and cook for about 10-12 minutes until the germ has separated. A little white line kind of appears around the outside of the little grains and they soften, basically. To stop it being too bland, I added half a lemon to the boiling water, thus giving the quinoa a citrusy hint.

 When the quinoa is cooked, leave it to the side and chop and stir fry the onions with a little oil, adding the chicken and veg as you go. Add the soy sauce, cumin and cinnamon together with the juice from the unused half of the lemon and add a tablespoon of this to the cooking chicken and veg. Add the quinoa once the chicken and vegetables are cooked, and add the rest of the soy sauce mix to the quinoa. Stir fry for a few more minutes until the quinoa has taken on the flavours. Either serve immediately, or keep covered in the fridge. I did both, and had a portion for tea and will have another portion cold tomorrow for lunch. Using my fitness pal, there are 312 calories in one portion and 25g protein, so definitely fits the bill for a high protein healthy gluten free meal!

I will be using quinoa in a few more future recipes now I have figured it out, but please let me know if you have any suggestions :) enjoy!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Vegan Moussaka

Tom here,

This is a recipe from one of the rare times that I manage to persuade my housemates to cook vegan for an evening, and is actually gluten free as well, but sadly Jess wasn't there to appreciate it.

My family have a very obscure relative that none of us have ever met who has an apartment in Bulgaria, and for the last few summers they've been kind enough to let us go out there and use it. It's in the little seaside town of Ravda. Lots of amazing fresh fish and beaches and sun, I'd probably struggle to eat as a vegan now but at the time it was great. One of our favourite dishes was the moussaka at the nearest restaurant called cremi (spelled cvemi of you're ever in the area - near the luki apartments on the sea front, very nice and even better they have good service!)

Anyway hunger induced ramblings aside - here's my attempt at recreating this dish. I didn't use any lentils or meat substitute but these could be easily added and (green particularly I think) would make a nice addition.


3 Aubergines
2 Courgettes
1 Pepper
1 1/2 cans Chopped Tomatoes
1 medium Red Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1 small glass Red Wine
1 tbsp fresh Thyme
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pack of Clearspring Firm Silken Tofu
120g Pine Nuts
1 clove Garlic
1 tbsp Arrowroot (or cornflour)
More Salt and Pepper


First off cut the aubergines into slices a centimetre thick, rub with salt and the place in a colander with a weight on top
Leave theme for a couple of hours (This is to remove the bitterness from the aubergines)
Halve the pepper and grill or bake until soft
Next slice the courgettes lengthways onto strips and place on a grill tray
Rub the aubergines slices with garlic and then coat thinly with flour
Place the aubergines next to the courgettes on a grill tray
Grill on either side until browned, then heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius
Now for the sauce, chop the red onion into slices and fry in a little oil until soft
Crush the garlic and add, and fry for another minute or so
Add the tomato paste, wine and thyme and reduce for a minute or two
Add the chopped tomatoes
Chop up the pepper finely and add
Stir through, season and simmer for 15-20 minutes
For the topping, toast and crush the pine nuts using a pestle and mortar
Blend the tofu, garlic, seasoning, flour and pine nuts together with a hand blender
Once everything is ready, start to assemble the moussaka in a baking tray
Place a layer of aubergines, then courgettes, then cover with the tomato sauce
Repeat until you run out of ingredients or you are an inch from the top of the tray
Cover with the tofu mixture
Bake until the tofu is set and golden around the edges, around 30-40 minutes
Serve and enjoy! We made some wedges and salad to go with it

Hope you enjoy the recipe, let us know any comments at

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Vegan Pancake Day

Tom here,

Sadly me and Jess didn't see each other this pancake day, however we make pancakes an average of once a week anyway so it's probably a good thing...however I spent the day in Lancaster with my friend Phoebe and we made some pretty epic hangover pancakes. So here they are

Cinna-blue-bana-maca-choco Pancakes

There is absolutely nothing healthy about these pancakes so don't ask me to work out the nutritional information. Please. I don't want too.

Ingredients: (makes 5 heeeeeeeefty pancakes - plenty for two, even with hangover munchies)

500 ml Soya Milk
2 Bananas
6 oz Self Raising Flour
1 large pinch Sea Salt
150g Macademia Nuts
1.5 cups Blueberries
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 bar Dark Chocolate (we used Divine)

Topping: all of the fruits and some golden syrups, or phoebe had peanut butter and jam on one (it did look epic to be fair), mix and match as you like!

Blend the milk, banana, flour and cinnamon together using a kenwood, magimix or hand blender or any other brand of food processor, or if you don't have one of these mash the bananas with a fork and then beat everything together
Stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the dark chocolate (crush the Macademia nuts if they are whole using a tea towel and rolling pin)
Heat some oil in a frying pan to the low end of medium heat (these pancakes with be thick so they need to cool through before they burn)
Pour a good pancakes worth into the frying pan and let it spread out
Break the chocolate into pieces and dot over the pancake (we found three or four was a good ratio)
Wait until cooked about a centimetre from the edge, then flip (if you can do this without a spatula I will be very impressed) and cook on the other side
Slather in fruit, cream, syrup, Nutella, dark chocolate spread (a personal favourite of mine), sugar, more cinnamon, whatever you want
Enjoy. We certainly did.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Raw Food Truffles

Tom here,

These truffles are a recipe from my mum, which make a regular appearance each christmas. Despite being really delicious they are about as close to healthy as truffles get and have no added sugar at all. Quite a simply recipe to make as well, and would be even simpler if you had a nut grinder (instead of a pestle and mortar that I used to hand grind all the cashews!) Raw foods recipes are becoming more and more popular and these are a tasty and simple way to introduce people to raw food cooking styles.


1 1/4 cup ground Cashews
1 tbsp Cashew Butter (I made mine by accident whilst breaking my coffee grinder - oops, worked well though!)
1/2 cup of Dates
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1-2 tbsp Apple Juice (optional)
Icing Sugar to coat

The extra cashew butter is entirely optional but give a nice richness to the truffles.


Soak the dates in boiling water until the water is cooled
While this happens, mix together the cashews, oil, paste and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl
Once the dates are soaked (should take around 15 minutes) pour away the excess water as you don't want this and then blend the dates down using a hand blender or food processor
Mix everything together into a dough-like paste (you could equally do this simply by throwing everything into a food processor, if you're lucky enough to own one!)
If the mixture seems a bit dry add tablespoons of apple juice until the dough comes together
I then like to pinch off walnut-sized lumps and roll them in icing sugar to give a nice coating
Make sure your hands a damp as you roll them in your palms so the dough doesn't stick too badly (it will somewhat anyway)
Refrigerate for an hour or two and serve

These should last for around a week in an airtight container in the fridge. This recipe can be easily added too or adapted to other flavours. Originally the recipe used ground almonds which work well. Most other nuts could be used as well.

I really didn't think these would go down very well at the wine and cheese night, so only made a few as well as the dark chocolate and orange truffles (the definitely less healthy version!) but actually everyone seemed to love these and prefer them to the others. They're really sweet without being overly rich (which after an evening of cheese and crackers was just right I think).

As always let us know any versions you come up with at!

Dark Chocolate and Orange Truffles

Tom today,

These truffles are the final instalment of the vegan cheese and wine evening. I think these were my favourite part, but then anything rich and chocolatey generally gets my vote! The dark chocolate truffle without the orange can be used as a basic recipe to make your own adaptation with other flavours, or can be used alone for a simple truffle. I used 70% dark chocolate from lidl (because it's cheap but still tasty), but this is personal preference as I don't like dark chocolate to be too dark (more sweet than bitter always!) but you can make with with your preferred dark chocolate. The flavoured chocolates (chocolate and chili would definitely be a winner - Lindt's excellence brand is the best variety in my opinion) would make for really nice truffles in themselves I would think, or you can add flavourings as you like.


300g Dark Chocolate
3/4 cup Coconut Oil
4 tbsp Water
1 Blood Orange
1 tsp Agave Syrup
Pinch Sea Salt Flakes (might seem odd but I would really recommend it for a depth of flavour)
Cocoa powder to roll in


To make the orange flavouring, zest and juice the blood orange into a pan
Reduce as much as possible (although there probably won't be a huge amount)
This will make the juice quite bitter, as there's not much I didn't want to strain it as I thought I'd just end up loosing most of the juice but if you're making larger amounts this will be an option - there was no grittiness or texture in the truffles though so it's not a problem
Sweeten the flavouring with agave syrup (or sugar or whatever sweetener you like to use) and set to one side
Melt the chocolate, oil and water in a bowl (or pan) over hot water (making sure the bowl isn't touching the water so the chocolate doesn't burn)
Take off the heat just before it is fully melted and stir together gently
Fold in the orange flavouring and sea salt
Place in a wide flat dish and cover and leave in the fridge to set for a couple of hours (don't leave it too long or it will be difficult to roll)
Cover your hands in cocoa powder to stop the chocolate from sticking
Spoon out truffle-sized lumps and roll into balls in the palm of your hand (or if you have a melon-baller this will do this job for you in one go
Roll in the cocoa powder and refrigerate for an hour
Serve and enjoy!

These should keep for up to a week in the fridge. I haven't tried making these with other chocolates so I don't know how that will work, white I think might be a problem but you can probably have reasonable success with milk, although you may need to reduce the amount of oil and reduce or omit the water.

Let us know how yours go at

This is the last of the vegan cheese and wine night recipes - however do let us know of any good vegan canapĂ© or other party nibble recipes you have, we love to get mail and photos!

Vegan Pesto Boursin

Tom again,

This is part two of the vegan cheese and wine evening. Boursin is one thing I really miss, especially around christmas time. It was a tradition of mine to try and make it through an entire wheel in one sitting with a pack of Tuc biscuits at some point over the chrismas period. Always regretted it, always did it again the next year. This is an attempt to recreate that using tofu as a base


50g Pine Nuts
50g Cashew Nuts
1 pack (/carton) Clearspring Firm Silken Tofu
4 medium cloves Garlic
1 tbsp Butter
1 1/2 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
1 tsp Black Pepper
25g Chives
A large handful of Basil Leaves (remove the stalks)
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon


This recipe is very simple -
Toast the pine nuts and cashews, then crush with a pestle and mortar
Blend everything together in a jug
Leave in the fridge for a few hours
Serve on crackers or baguette as you like

I didn't mean to make this so much like pesto originally, recipes I'd seen used varying amounts of cashews and tofu so I decided to add some, and though a few toasted pine nuts would go well, not realising that of course the basic flavours of pesto are basil, garlic and pine nuts. This combined with my rather heavy handed basil tendencies meant that this ended up being quite like a pesto dip, but still tasty nonetheless! As I blended in everything with a hand blender at the party this was referred too by the generic 'green stuff', but people still seemed to enjoy it! I certainly did, and with garlic and basil and toasted pine nuts it's pretty difficult to make anything taste bad (I could happily eat pesto forever!).

Walnut, Lentil and 3 Mushroom Pate

Tom here,

Sorry guys! It's been quite a hiatus over the exam period but Jess has managed to get a few recipes up, and now I have a bit more time I'm hoping to get a few more up. Got a few new recipes to upload over the next few weeks (including the dinner I made on actual christmas day at my parent's) This is a part of four different recipes I made for a wine and cheese evening we had to celebrate the new kitchen we've had installed in our university house! It's amazing, I would happily marry that oven and never look back. Sadly that's illegal. I think. Or at least frowned upon.

Obviously a wine and cheese evening presents a slight problem for veganism (and an even bigger one for gluten intolerants) but I managed to whip up a vegetarian pate, an attempt at vegan boursin and a couple of different types of truffles for something sweet.


150g Walnuts
120g Oyster Mushrooms
120g Chestnut (cremini) Mushrooms
120g Shitake Mushrooms
100g Red Lentils
100g Shallots
2 cloves Garlic
1 tbsp Butter (I used sunflower, but usually prefer soya)
1 tbsp Thyme
1 1/3 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce

This recipe is an adapted version of one I found online, I've used different mushrooms for more flavour, but each of these were purchased in sainsburys in fallowfield so they should be pretty easy to get hold of. The lentils added give a bit of a texture boost, but could be omitted easily.


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius/ gas mark 4
Boil the red lentils until soft
Toast the walnuts for 5 minutes until browned and fragrant (they smell amazing!)
Leave the walnuts to cool
Dice the shallots and fry in the butter until soft
Chop the mushrooms and add to the pan
Crush the garlic and fry as well
Remove the stalks of the thyme and chop and add to the frying pan
Crush the walnuts in a pestle and mortar (may require a few batches)
Add all the ingredients to a jug and blend using a hand blender
Spoon into a bowl and refrigerate for a few hours
Stir in the soy sauce just before serving to give a nice flavour boost
Serve with crackers or use as a spread for sandwiches

This should keep in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days. This is quite a simple recipe, and can easily be adapted with more herbs, or even changed entirely if you wanted to make a different style. The mushroom types can be substituted for any really, I just happen to like these three (and they were all available) using a large amount of two or one type would be fine, but the pate would definitely loost some of it's flavour.

As always let us know any suggestions or tweaks you come up with at

And hope you all had a nice christmas/January, will definitely not leave it so long for a new recipe this time!

As you may notice I got a bit carried away cooking and forgot to take photos. Sorry! Next time I will take some more I promise!