Thursday, 18 October 2012

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

I recently got a load of Toffuti 'Better than Ricotta Cheese' from Vx (aka, Vegan Cross), in central London.

So I started off by making the obvious classic: Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni. I made it pretty lazily, so this is an easy recipe. It just takes some time.

1. Mix one tub of 'Better than Ricotta Cheese' with a fork, in a large bowl, with the following...

  • the juice of half a lemon
  • one crumbled vegetable oxo cube (or similar vegan stock cube).
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp.) dried oregano
  • Handful fresh basil leaves. Washed and torn.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced/finely chopped.
2. Stir-in 500g fresh spinach. Washed and torn.

3. Use a teaspoon to fill the cannelloni with this mixture. This is the time consuming part!
Don't worry about making it too neat. You're going to cover these with sauce and bake the crap out of them soon!

4. Line a baking dish with tomato sauce (I used this lovely stuff) and place the cannelloni in it, in rows.

5. Cover it with more tomato sauce. Top with a melting vegan cheese, such as Teese vegan cheddar sauce, or Wilmersburger 'Scheiben' gouda-style, both also found at Vx.

6. Bake at 220°C for 25-35 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on top.

I served this with sundried tomatoes, and various green vegetables.

Jen x

Healthier banana bread!

Okay, so it's not the healthiest thing in the world, but it's certainly a lot better for you than regular cake, and tastes divine! This is also a great way of using up bananas that are getting overripe.

I adapted my old banana bread recipe to, to get rid of the refined sugar and pack it full of goodness!

1. Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl, and stir with a fork...

  • 10oz plain four (I used a gluten-free flour blend)
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp.) bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 4oz dairy-free spread (I used Pure Olive spread)
  • 2.5oz date syrup
  • 1.5oz agave nectar
  • 2 tsp. egg-replacer (I used "No Egg")
  • 3 large or 4 medium bananas - Mashed first into a thick pulp, in a separate bowl.
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp.) oatbran
  • 1 tsp. ground flax seed (linseed)
2. Add 1/2 to 1/3 of a cup of soya milk. Stir/whisk with a fork, adding extra soya milk if you need, until it becomes a thick, but still pourable, batter.

3. Pour into a greased loaf tin of around 20 x 13cm and bake at 180°C for 40-45 minutes. It will be quite brown in colour, due to the date syrup, so ensuring it doesn't burn can be quite a challenge. Just don't open the oven within the first 30 mins, at least!

4. Leave to rest for 2-3 mins, then loosen the edges all the way around with a narrow, sharp knife. Leave for a further 15 mins, then turn-out onto a wire rack and leave to cool fully.

Cut in slices and EAT.

Jen x

Nutty Chocolate Fudge Protein Bars!

I've fallen in love with exercise lately. And, with that, my dietary needs have changed too.
So I've been working on making some of my old recipes healthier, and coming up with new ones.
So what's today's healthy and delicious vegan treat? Nutty Chocolate Fudge Protein bars!

There are various vegan protein bars commercially available nowadays, but if you're looking to save a little money and avoid refined sugar and scary processed ingredients, this is the recipe for you!
These are easy and quick to make too, so what are you waiting for?

1. Throw the following in a blender. Blend intermittently, stopping to stir at intervals of 1 minute or so, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs...

  • 3 rounded tablespoons (Tbsp.) of whole almonds
  • 1 rounded Tbsp. cashew nuts
  • 1 rounded Tbsp. brazil nuts
2. Remove about 1/4 to 1/5 of this mixture and put in a bowl. Put to one side for now.

3. Add these to the nut mix in the blender and continue blending as before. Aiming again for a fine breadcrumb texture...
  • 60g protein isolate (I used soya, but pea, rice, hemp or other proteins would work too)
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp.) vanilla extract
  • 2 heaped Tbsp. cocoa powder.
  • 2 rounded Tbsp. oatbran
  • 2 rounded Tbsp. oats
  • 2 rounded Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp. Agave nectar
4. Scrape all the contents of the blender into a large bowl and add 7 Tbsp. of unsweetened soya milk.

5. Knead the mixture thoroughly with your hands, then tip into a large rectangular dish (or several smaller ones), lined with greaseproof paper.

6. Press the mixture down until it is roughly 1-1.5cm thick throughout the dish. Then using a rolling pin to flatten and compress it more evenly.

7. Drizzle a little extra agave nectar over the top and spread it out as evenly as you can. Just enough so the surface is sticky. You can use a spatula for this, but I actually found it easier to use a square of greaseproof paper.

8. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts and chunks of dark chocolate. Instead of dairy-free chocolate chips, I find it cheaper to just buy cheap dark chocolate and chop it up.

9. Refrigerate for 20-40 minutes, until cool throughout, and firmer.

10. Cut into squares or rectangles. These can be a bit crumbly, so avoid making the sides of each longer than about 5cm.

You can wrap them in greasproof paper or clingfilm (or just in a tupperware box) in the refrigerater.

And most importantly, enjoy!

Jen x