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.

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.

Elderberry and Lemon Lemon Cordial, Vegan, Gluten Free

I love cordial and having recently been getting into foraging I wanted to use some of my finds to make a sharp, sweet cordial I can enjoy as Autumn arrives.

Whilst foraging I came across and elder tree thick with elderberries and picked enough to fill about 2 small mugs. I gave the berries a really wash when home and set about cordial making.

Use a large pan similar to a jam pan and use a potato masher to mash the berries. Add about 500g sugar, 5 chopped and squeezed lemons and a teaspoon of citric acid powder to act as a preservative. Then fill the pan up with water and bring to the boil.

Once boiling the process is similar to making jam as you will need to reduce the heat and simmer slowly. Stir occasionally, keeping an eye out for the cordial starting to become a little syrup-ey.

Once it has a cordial consistency allow the cordial to cool slightly and then strain the mixture through a muslin cloth or bag and then bottle.

I made 4 70cl bottles of cordial and have been enjoying it with water and fizzy water.

Sweet Potato and Aduki Bean Thai Burger – Vegan and Gluten Free

It’s Veganuary and I’m loving all the new food and drinks available at the moment! I’m actually going back to an old classic tonight and making vegan burgers with sweet potato and Aduki beans.

As I’m trying to shop with less packaging and from zero waste stores where possible I’m purchasing more dried beans and pulses and then soaking or cooking them before use. These Aduki beans are one example of products I’m getting dried. It’s really simple to bring them to a usable state and I’ve done this with approx 250g Aduki beans by popping them in the slow cooker for about 6 hours on a low heat.

The next job is to prepare the sweet potato. To make 6 burgers I chop the sweet potato into pieces about an inch or so wide and bring to the boil. Personally I am a fan of the extra nutrients and the added texture so I leave the skin on but if you prefer a smoother texture peel them too. Boil for 15 – 20 minutes and then drain off and allow to cool for a little while until you can easily handle the potatoes.

Once cool add a tablespoon of soya butter to the sweet potatoes, this will assist with the mashing. Also add your flavours. I used minced garlic, lemongrass paste and chopped spring onion to give it a Thai feel as well as a little salt and pepper. Using a potato masher crush the sweet potatoes, seasoning and onion until well mashed.

Then add the cooked or tinned beans. Stir through the mash so the beans are evenly distributed. After this form the mix into patties. I find the thinner patties cook a little better. Place into a cooking pan lined with a little oil. I’ve used coconut oil as I think it goes perfectly and then cook for 40 minutes at 200.

I’ve served these delicious homemade burgers with salad. A yummy vegan and gluten-free option ideal for keeping us healthy and well fed in January.

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.

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!

Sweet potato chilli

I’m enjoying back weekend away for new year and although it’s not a familiar kitchen it’s lovely to spend some time cooking healthy, happy food. 

After a day walking a hearty and warming chilli is fab. Start by peeling a large sweet potato. Then chop into slices and quarter leaving you with large chunks of sweet potato. Start by warming some olive oil in a large pan and then saute the sweet potato. Add chopped garlic and red chilli. 

After approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Add kidney beans, borlotti beans and canned chopped tomatoes. Stir through thoroughly, switch the heat down and simmer for a further 20 – 30 minutes. 

Whilst the chilli cooks it’s time to get the rice on. I’m cooking with long grain and wild rice as I love adding extra textures and different amino structures. Wild rice isn’t a rice at all, it’s a grass and surprisingly high in protein. 

The chilli and rice should finish cooking at about the same time so drain off, dish up and enjoy tucking into a well earned, post walk meal. Vegan and gluten free just being one added bonus! 

Parsnip and Coconut Curry

The festive period is an excellent time to tuck into a winter veg favourite. Rather than roasting, mashing or souping this recipe uses the warmth and versatility of the parsnip to set off some excellent flavours. 

Start by warming a little coconut oil in a large pan. I use a Le Creuset casserole dish as it gives me the consistent heat and even cook I’m looking for. 

Add chopped red chilli, chopped garlic, minced ginger and a little chopped coriander the coconut oil and start to stir through. Then add parsnips diced to approx 1cm cubes. 

Saute off the parnsip a little to give it a softer texture then add drained, cooked chickpeas and sliced spring onions. 

Stir so the vegetables saute evenly in the coconut oil and spices. Then add fresh plum tomatoes, tomato puree and coconut milk. Turn the heat down to a medium setting and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

When cooked this dish is ideal served with rice to keep it gluten free!