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.
Tofu, the key ingredient to so many vegan diets, is much loved for its versatility as well as it’s nutritional value.
In this stir fry I combine tofu with cashew nuts, sweetheart cabbage and sesame for a nutty and rich flavour.
Start to prepare by cutting the tofu into blocks and the cabbage into shreds whilst sesame oil warms in a large wok. Add the tofu and stir frequently to prevent burning. High in protein tofu is a healthy and environmental alternative to meat which has been used for centuries.
As the tofu starts to brown add the cashew nuts and the cabbage to the stir fry and continue to cook for a further five minutes. The addition of cashew nuts increases the protein content.
When cooked add toasted sesame seeds and serve warm. Perfect for coeliacs and vegans this is a tasty and healthy stir fry which is super easy to cook.
Rice pudding is making a big comeback in my life as a naturally gluten free dessert which can be made vegan so easily and with so many options. Today I’ve made rice pudding with Alpro Coconut Milk, pudding rice, carob syrup and dried pineapple and papaya pieces.
Many coconut rice puddings will used canned coconut milk which is very dense and high in fat. I’m using the Alpro milk alternative made from coconut as it’s much healthier coming in at only 20 calories and less than 1g fat per 100ml. Start by adding 500ml of coconut milk to a pan and gradually bring to heat.
When the coconut milk starts gently boiling add in carob syrup. I’ve used 3 tablespoons to sweeten the pudding whilst still avoiding refined sugars. Thoroughly stir through the syrup until blended well with the coconut milk
Once the coconut milk and carob base is ready add half a cup of pudding rice and turn the heat down low to simmer for 45 minutes whilst occasionally checking in to stir.
Shortly before serving I’ve mixed through dried pineapple and papaya pieces to complement the coconut flavour.
Rice pudding is a classic which so much reminds me of Sunday dinner in Yorkshire with my gran (and a thick skin on top) but the tropical flavours and the hob cooking give it an adult twist making it fresh and tasty in the here and now.
Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities for so many reasons. One of those is the range of vegan and coeliac options for eating out.
Hula is a juice bar and cafe just off popular Grassmarket and has a wide choice of vegetarian, vegan and coeliac foods. Almost all of which come with or can come with smashed avocado – it’s the dream.
I ate the Vegan Poké Bowl with smoked tofu, rice and quinoa, red cabbage, edamame beans and salad.
I also enjoyed the Ass-Aye-Eee smoothie, it’s the purple drink pictured and includes coconut milk, acai berries and more delicious ingredients. At first I was a little confused about the number of plastic cups and straws being used – until I discovered they are entirely recycled and biodegradable – constructed from plants not carbon!
Beautifully decorated, relaxing and welcoming I’d definitely head to Hula again.
I’ve been really enjoying exploring new recipes using different varieties of cabbage. My favourite recipe so far using sweetheart cabbage is this simple oven roasted dish.
Preheat the oven and place halved sweetheart cabbage heads into a baking tray. Drizzle a little olive oil over the cabbage head and season with a little salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes until the leaves are soft and tender inside and crispy around the edges.
Whilst the cabbage is cooking cook the tofu. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large pan and add chopped tofu. I use Tofoo Naked tofu as I find the texture is beautiful and it cooks consistently. Turn to ensure its cooked evenly on both sides and drizzle with a little lemon juice and black pepper.
Serve the cabbage and tofu with salad and a little lemon dressing.
This meal is very simple, super tasty and incredibly healthy. I would highly recommend this as a perfect summer meal which fit my gluten free, vegan diet down ideally.
As a coeliac and a vegan I still default to the assumption that I won’t be able to eat out in smaller towns or in places without chain restaurants where I know the options. It makes me so happy when I’m completely incorrect about that and come across somewhere as wonderful as the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore.
We weren’t expecting I would find somewhere to eat in the small mountain town of Aviemore whilst we were tripping through for the weekend but seeing the signs outside which highlighted that gluten free and vegan options were available we went to check.
I actually had a choice of 3 different dishes and felt really reassured by them double checking with the chef and explaining the alternatives. The fact that the menus all had clear indicators of which allergens and dietary requirements were available on every dish was ideal.
I opted for the veggie burger. Made from quinoa and red pepper this is probably in my top 3 GF, vegan burgers. The flavours and textures worked really well and went perfectly with spiralised vegetables, dressing and a banana chutney.
I would definitely recommend the Mountain Cafe for all veggies, vegans, coeliacs or anyone with an allergy as they are understanding and professional as well as serving up some tasty food.
Now to make my way back to the Cairngorms again soon to try the other dishes on the menu.
Having discovered how tasty Tofoo branded tofu is I have been rediscovering so many tofu and stir fry recipes. This dish with tamari marinated Tofoo and sesame stir fried veggies is a favourite.
Start by chopping and draining the Tofoo and drizzling with tamari. Clearspring is my favourite as it’s organic as well as gluten free and vegan. Leave to marinate and when ready place under the grill or on a griddle pan and cook the tofu evenly.
Heat sesame oil in a large wok before adding vegetables to the pan. This time I’m using green beans, red onion, pak choi and courgette. I fry for a few minutes so the veg is well cooked bit still crunchy and nutritious.
I love this tasty tofu dish. Hope you enjoy it as well.