Lemon and Rocket Risotto

Risotto is a Sunday night go to in my house. It’s tasty, filling and flexible so you can use whatever veggies you have in the house.

This risotto uses some kitchen staples and is delightful. Start by chopping red onion and garlic then heat on a medical high with a little olive oil. Once the onion has softened add arborio rice and cook in the oil and onion until translucent.

Pour over a cup of white wine and allow to bubble off rapidly keeping the heat high. Then add warm stock. Kallo have a great low salt, vegan and gluten free stock cube which I use as a flavour base for many meals.

At this point squeeze the juice of a lemon and add the zest to the risotto. Turn down the heat and continue to simmer adding more stock as needed. Time for the vegetables. I add super simple veggies with peas and rocket. Cook for a further 15 – 20 minutes and serve warm.

Sunday night perfection.

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Garden Secret Spa – GF and Vegan options

I had such a wonderful day yesterday enjoying some relaxation and self care at The Garden Secret Spa at Ringwood Hall Hotel in Derbyshire. I was expecting to have a great time but wasn’t expecting them to be so accomodating around my dietary needs.

I’m a lactose intolerant, coeliac, I’m allergic to nuts and mushrooms and I’m a veggie. So I normally expect a minimal salad or fruit if I eat out. That just wasn’t the case yesterday at all.

All the meals are prepared fresh on site and inspired by garden and herbal foods. For my spa day lunch I tucked into a spring garden salad with vegan substitutes and was really impressed when the chef sourced vegan parmesan to top the meal!

My pudding was also excellent, an ideal lunch for a relaxing day.

Warwick Castle, Maida Vale

I was in London yesterday and looking for my go to chain restaurants for lunch. I’m really pleased I didn’t as I stumbled across this gem with loads of vegan and coeliac suitable options.

Cosy and inviting my friends and I enjoyed a few drinks in the sunshine outside before looking at the menu.

I have a lot of allergies, I’m a lactose intolerant, coeliac, I’m allergic to nuts and mushrooms and I don’t eat meat or fish so finding food which won’t make me unwell is often problematic.

I was encouraged by the presence of 4 vegan options on the menu and when I discussed with the staff and the chef they were able to come up with great substitutions for me. I had the veggie chilli with quinoa and sweet potato and a gluten free bread bun toasted with garlic. It was really tasty.

To make lunchtime even better they had some samples of Skollie cider brought in which were gluten free and vegan so they asked me to try them out.

Thanks to Warwick Castle, Maida Vale for a lovely lunch, tasty drinks and a scrabble game!

You can find more details about this lovely pub at http://www.warwickcastlemaidavale.com

I hope you like it as much as I did!

Creamy vegan vegetable soup

After a few weeks on heatwave it’s almost nice to return to the normal British summertime and enjoy cooler, breezy summer days. It makes it easier to enjoy heartier food and this soup is a meal I’ve missed during the scorching weather.

Perfect as a one pot meal this soup has loads of taste and texture.

Start by preparing and chopping vegetables. I’m using 3 medium carrots, 3 medium leeks, spring onions and garden peas. Place in the pan and cover with warm stock.

As I’m a coeliac I use a gluten free stock base. Kallo have great gluten free options and the vegetable stock cubes are available in low salt too.

Cook the vegetables for approximately an hour and as the stock reduces add cream. I use Alpro soya cream which gives a great taste.

Season with salt and pepper for a very tasty, veggie packed lunch.

Smoked Tofu Salad

I really enjoy tofu and having recently discovered Tofoo Smoked I’m coming up with as many ways I can serve this as possible.

On a warm and sunny Sunday my favourite way to tuck into smoked Tofoo is with a classic salad.

I’ve cooked the tofu with avocado fry-light and grilled for 20 minutes. Served with layered cucumber, tomato and avocado and topped with balsamic this is a beautiful and tasty salad. The tofoo provides essential proteins which are ideal for vegan diets.

Crispy Lemongrass Salad

During hot weather I find myself eating a lot a salad. Many folks find salad quite full but I love different vegetables and flavour combinations. This warm salad is a perfect evening meal on a warm summer evening.

Ingredients

Baby cabbage

Pak choi

Orange and yellow peppers

Sugar snap peas

Broccoli

Lemongrass

Lemon

Garlic

Ginger

Coriander

Gluten free tamari sauce

Coconut oil

Start by preparing the flavours, I use a garlic mincer to prepare garlic and lemongrass and I grate ginger and chop the coriander finely.

Nextheat a little coconut oil in a wok and add the sliced peppers and broccoli once warmed to temperature. Once the vegetables are in I add the herbs and spices so they can absorb into the vegetables during cooking. Stir fry for 5 minutes before adding the sugar snap peas and continuing to stir fry for a further 5 minutes. You can increase the cooking time but I like my veg pretty crunchy.

Whilst the veggies are cooking I lightly steam the cabbage and Pak choi to make a leafy base.

Serve with a slice of lemon and a drizzle of gluten free tamari for a zingy finish. This is a wonderful salad full of flavour and far from boring. Ideal for vegans, veggies, coeliacs and everyone else besides!

Gluten free, vegan Vietnamese rolls

Although I have a very restricted diet due to coeliac disease, allergies and veganism I always wonder why people think I can’t get variety in my food. I love trying new things and thanks to travel, the internet and of course immigration we have so many different cuisines available in the UK.

Today I have used Vietnamese roll rice papers to create beautiful gluten free, vegan rolls using crunchy fruit and vegetables. I found the rice paper rolls in the world food section, the ones I am using are produced and exported from Vietnam but looking online I see the Blue Dragon brand are gluten free and widely available.

They may look like a fancy or time consuming meal but really this is so simple. Start by prepping the vegetables and chopping into baton shapes. I used 2 large carrots, a large avocado, half a mango and half a cucumber in mine and this made 10 super filling rolls.

Then fill a large mixing bowl with warm water. Take one of the dried rice paper sheets and soak it in the warm water for 15 – 20 seconds. It’s important the sheet is submerged or only one side will start to dissolve. The rice paper should become really pliable and flexible once it’s been held in the water.

Spread it out on a dry surface and the. Stack your choice of raw vegetables into the middle of the roll in a rectangular shape. Now comes the folding! I’ve found that it’s best if you fold in the edges that would be the short sides of the rectangle first and really press them down tightly to the vegetables. Then fold in over the paper left on the longer sides and wrap them around.

Repeat these steps as many times as you need to for the perfect number of rolls.

Served with a little sweet chilli sauce or gluten free tamari for dipping these are a healthy, easy treat to help you increase your raw veg intake. So tasty!