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.

Summer Stirfry Recipes (Gluten-free and Vegan)

An absolute staple of my diet as a vegan, coeliac are tofu and noodles which I add to a number of stir fry dishes.

Tofu Steaks with Chinese style Vegetables

The meal above was a recipe from a friend whose family run Chinese restaurants as he thought I would love it. I do. The tofu steaks are coated in cornflour before frying in sesame oil. The veggies are stir fried in a sauce made from sesame oil, ginger, garlic, tamari, vegan honey (I used carob syrup), cornflour and water. I added toasted sesame seeds to serve.

Smoked Tofu Vegan Salad Bowl

A simple stir fry with smoked Tofoo tofu, beansprouts and mange tout. Served with smoke humous and tonnes of veggies.

Sweetheart Cabbage and Tofu Stir Fry

Sweetheart cabbage is fantastic in a stir fry. Served with vermicelli noodles and toasted sesame seeds.

Cashew and Rice Noodle Stir Fry

Pad Thai rice noodles served with Cashew nuts, courgette and mange tout.

Chickpea and Olive Ratatouille

I’ve soaked lots of chickpeas recently so it’s fair to anticipate chickpea recipes coming up. This dish is a super easy and tasty.

I’m using dried chickpeas so I’ve started by preparing them in advance. I’ve soaked them in water for 8 hours, drained the water off and rinsed and then boiled them in water for 10 minutes to soften fully.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan, add some chopped or minced garlic and then add the cooked chickpeas. Chop black olives, cherry tomatoes and spinach and add to the pan in that order, seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes stirring frequently and ensuring the juice from the tomatoes speedy through.

This is a really simple and exciting meal and once you have the chickpeas ready it’s great to make as many meals as you can. This is a wonderful coeliac and vegan friendly recipe.

Roasted Sweetheart Cabbage with Lemon Tofu

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.

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!

IKEA Veggie Balls – gluten free & vegan

Plant based choices are really taking off and I’m delighted to be finding vegan and coeliac friendly foods in places I wouldn’t usually look for them.

Following a lead from a vegan friend I recently got myself to IKEA to sample their veggie take on the iconic Swedish meatballs.

I have not been dissaoppointed. In the food section before the exit (several packs of candles and mini cacti after I arrived) I found the frozen veggie balls called Allemansr√§tten. You can buy a quite frankly huge bag for only ¬£3.95 so it’s very affordable.

Also very easy, they cook from frozen and take less than 20 minutes. I’ve cooked these tasty gluten free goodies with kale, spinach garlic and green beans and served with hearty brown rice for a summery and delicious evening meal.

Happy IKEA-ing to all!