Plant Pioneers Ramen Style

I love Ramen as it’s super filling, can be made gluten free depending on the noodles and broth and there are so many vegan options available to protein it up.

Plant Pioneers Ramen

As a coeliac I use gluten-free rice noodles in all the recipes I follow and meals I cook. I’ve used ribbon rice noodles in the meal. In this dish I’ve used the Meat Free Chicken style pieces from the new Plant Pioneers range at Sainsbury’s.

Before you begin the main cooking pop the chicken style pieces into the oven to cook for 16 -18 minutes. I’ve found this soya based meat alternative is light and tasty as well as really good for you.

Start by heating sesame oil in a wok or large pan. Then add chopped garlic, a little ginger and sliced courgette to start cooking. The choice of vegetables are up to you entirely but I’ve added to the courgette and pan fried Pak choi, mange tout and tender stem broccoli.

Once the vegetables are lightly pan fried add stock (I use Kallo Vegetable stock cubes for easy, gluten-free, vegan stock) and gluten-free soya sauce. Continue to cook on a very low heat whilst you prepare the noodles. As I’m using ribbon rice noodles I just soak them in boiled water for a little while to soften.

When all components are cooked I set up for serving. Initially I add the noodles at the bottom of the ramen bowl and then top with the vegetables, our over the stock and top with the chunky Plant Pioneers pieces. I’ve sprinkled a few toasted sesame seeds over to complement the oils.

If you try a similar Ramen, or the plant Pioneers range I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Tomato and Smoky Tofu Soup

It is definitely feeling autumnal and that means it’s time for me to get my big pan out for some soups!

Tomato and Smoky Tofu Soup

This is a tasty soup and a great way for me to celebrate my home grown tomato crop.

Start by adding a little oil, chopped spring onions, chopped garlic and a stock cube to your soup pan. Sauté a little and then add plenty of fresh chopped tomatoes.

The tomatoes I’ve been growing this year are cherry tomatoes so I’ve added about 2 cups full and just chopped them roughly as I will be blending later. Turn the heat down to medium and allow the soup mix to simmer as the tomatoes soften.

Adding tofu to soup is a great way to increase protein (perfect for vegans) and to add flavour and texture. I love the Tofoo brand smoked tofu and think it’s a perfect fit with this dish. As Tofoo does not need pressing you can roughly chop and add to the soup once the tomatoes are starting to break apart.

Once it’s simmered a little more add stock until the vegetables and tofu are well covered and cook on a medium – low heat for about 20 minutes.

The soup will start to smell lovely once the smoky flavour and the tomatoes infuse. Just before serving I use a hand blender to whizz it all up and then serve with gluten free vegan pitta.

This warming and flavourful soup is perfect for Autumn weekends or a midweek pick-me-up.

Redcurrant Flapjack Slice

Redcurrants are an under-rated berry. Often left on the side of a plate at a Christmas party pudding or turned into a jelly that’s only used infrequently. Personally I find the sharp taste of redcurrants is a brilliant contrast to a sweet pudding or bake and this is a perfect flapjack recipe to make use of wild or homegrown redcurrants.

Foraged Redcurrants

I’ve foraged these redcurrants locally during a nice walk and intend to make good use of them in this flapjack recipe.

Redcurrant Flapjack Slice

Start by preparing a jam from your redcurrants. Place them into a pan and squish with a potato masher before stirring through sugar. Cook on a high heat and bring to the boil before you switch down to a simmer and cook slowly for 30 minutes or so.

Then move onto the flapjack. I love flapjack as it is a simple bake which is easily veganised or made gluten free!

Melt dairy free butter in a pan and add either golden syrup or vegan honey (made from dandelions this is another lovely foraging recipe). Keep stirring until the butter is melting and warm and then add Demerara sugar.

Add gluten free oats and mix through thoroughly to combine into a thick mixture. Layer a baking dish with greaseproof paper and pack in a firm bottom layer of the flapjack mix.

Allow the bottom layer to set a little before topping withe redcurrant jam and adding another thick layer of flapjack mix.

Sprinkle a small amount of Demerara sugar over the top and bake for approximately 20 minutes. When cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing to create individual servings.

Rose Harissa Chickpeas and Spinach

Chickpeas are a theme in my blog posts. Partly because they are tasty, healthy and packed full of protein to support my coeliac and vegan diet. This dish cooks chickpeas with a beautiful rose harissa paste and some lovely vegetables. It’s a meal I first had at my friend’s house and I love to recreate it at home.

Rose Harissa Chickpeas and Vegetables

Start by preparing your chickpeas. I use dried chickpeas so I soak and precook them until they are ready. Alternatively you can use ready to eat canned chickpeas.

Finely chop an onion (red or white) and add the onion to a large pan with a little olive oil. Saute until the onion is softened. Add finely chopped red pepper and continue to cook.

Once the pepper is starting to soften also add the chickpeas, cherry tomatoes (halved or quartered) and a tablespoon of rose harissa paste.

The rose harissa paste I’ve used is by Belazu and is suitable for vegans and coeliacs.

I also add a tablespoon of tomato puree. Keep the heat high for 10 minutes of cooking before turning down the heat and simmering for a 30 – 45 minutes so the vegetables cook slowly and take on the flavours.

When the chickpea stew is looking well cooked and there is little liquid left add chopped spinach and stir through to wilt.

I like to serve this with a dollop of coconut based yoghurt or humous and a gluten free pitta.

Vegan Elderflower Turkish Delight

I love this time of year when everything is in bloom. Even better is the fact that I can forage elderflower during a walk and use it in baking and cordials. This year I’ve looked for new ideas online and come across a recipe Elderflower Delight on River Cottage which I’ve altered to make vegan.

So Tasty

Using the recipe I found online o started by adding 700g caster sugar to a very large pan with 300ml of water and plenty of fresh lemon juice. Switch on the heat to a medium point and heat whilst stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.

Mix together 100g corn flour and 100ml of water into a smooth paste and pour into the liquid, stir through then add a tablespoon of pectin. Stir using a whisk and bring the mixture to the boil. When boiling the mixture will start to thicken. Turn the heat down to a simmer.

At this point it’s time to add the elderflower. Remove the flowers from the elderflower sprigs (approx 20 sprigs) and wrap into a tied up muslin bag or cloth. Place it into the mixture so it is underneath and continue to simmer for 20 minutes before removing the elderflower.

Once simmered you should have a very thick and gooey Turkish Y mixture. Whilst you allow it to cool a little bit line a large tray with baking paper and dust with a 50:50 mix of icing sugar and corn flour. Pour the mixture into the dish, cover with paper and leave to set in a cool, dry place. I left mine overnight in the pantry.

Once fully set and fairly rubbery dust with more icing sugar and cornflour mix. Cut into pieces and roll the sides in more sugar (in for a penny in for a pound) and then enjoy as a delicious summer sweet.

This gluten free and vegan sweets are lovely. I hope you enjoy them too.

Lockdown Baking

During an extended period at home I’ve been really getting stuck into baking. I’ve been following other recipes so will just share photos of my lockdown bakes, all gluten free and vegan.

Peach Muffins with an iced topping
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Blueberry Jam Linzer Biscuits
Easter Nests
Brazil Nut and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lemon Cakes
Scones
Blueberry Oat Muffins
Apricot Seed Muffins
Marmalade Muffins and Marmalade Cookies

Almond Milk Rice Pudding and Homemade Cherry Jam

An old classic, rice pudding is great for coeliacs as rice is naturally gluten free. I’ve updated this recipe using almond milk and it pairs beautifully with my homemade cherry jam.

Start by adding pudding rice to a large pan and covering with almond milk and an additional 200ml water. I’ve used unsweetened almond milk but added carob syrup for a natural sweetness with a gentler sugarey feel.

Stir through thoroughly and then turn the hob on but keep the heat low. I used setting 3 / 9. The rice pudding takes nearly an hour to cook and will need occasional stirring and monitoring to see if additional liquid is required.

When the rice is fully cooked it will be soft and fluffy without much liquid. Taste to check the rice is fully cooked.

I’ve stirred through a little Alpro single cream and then topped with my homemade cherry jam as I always find almond and cherries a strong mix.

Vegan and Gluten-free Sausage and Mash

I’m not going to suggest that this is true cooking but my put together vegan and gluten-free sausage and mash is a real favourite of mine. I had this meal yesterday afternoon as it makes a perfect Sunday lunch.

This meal uses Linda McCartney sausages, you can use any that suit you but I find the red onion the best as they are also gluten free.

To accompany these sausages I’ve made homemade mash potato with baby potatoes, pure soya butter and fresh rosemary from my garden.

I’ve also steamed some sweetheart cabbage and made some gravy using the Bisto gluten free vegetable gravy powder which is also vegan.

An easy, hearty and tasty sausage and mash made friendly for vegans and coeliacs and very accessible.

Vegan coconut fudge

This is my first attempt at fudge and I’m really pleased with the results (but will be buying a sugar thermometer for next time!)

I’ve used a recipe I found online but adapted to suit my tastes (and the ingredients in my pantry).

Start with a large saucepan with a thick base and add the ingredients. I’ve used 450g Demerara sugar, 250ml Alpro cream, 150g Alpro coconut milk, 50g Pure Olive spread and 1 tbsp of golden syrup. (For the rum and raisin flavour – pictured above – I also added 100ml Bacardi at this point.

Bring to heat on a medium high and stir whilst cooking until the sugar has all dissolved and you have a consistent syrup which will be light brown and will smell amazing! (Reminded me of a very sugarey Bailey’s)

When all the sugar has dissolved and you have a consistent syrup bring the pan to the boil. It needs to reach a really high temperature of 112° – 116° and needs to be stirred regularly to prevent the sugars in syrup from burning to the base of the pan. The syrup will foam but keep boiling and keep stirring until it reaches this temperature.

As I didn’t have a thermometer when I made this fudge I used an alternative to measuring the temperature by “soft ball” ing the fudge. To do this have a pot of cool water close by and as the mixture boils take a small spoonful out of the pan and drop into into the water. If the syrup forms a soft ball you can mould and lift then it has reached the right temperature and is ready to remove from the heat. If it is still a liquid when poured into the cold water then it will need to boil for longer to reach temperature. An important learning curve here is to make sure the syrup has long enough to cool in the water before you try to mould it! Hot fudge syrup burns – safety first!

Once you have ensured the syrup has reached that temperature remove it from the heat entirely. At this point you can add extra flavouring – I’ve used dessicated coconut in the coconut fudge and added raisins for the rum and raisin. Then stir rigourously as the mixture cools down. You will notice the mixture become thicker and less glossy as you stir it. Keep stirring until the mixture of fairly cool and no longer too hot to touch and is pretty thick and creamy then pour into a line baking tray or dish to set.

I’ve learnt from the two batches I made that it is best to leave the fudge to set fully at room temperature. The coconut I made I popped into the fridge to cool and it created a split in the top and bottom with the bottom of the fudge being more like a toffee.

When fully set remove from the dish, peel off the baking paper and chop into bite sized pieces ready for a tasty treat!