Thursday, 28 March 2013

Blackbean burgers & tahini-garlic sauce

Store-bought veggie burgers tend to be full of all kinds of processed junk, unnecessary fats, and fillers, like potato & breadcrumbs. But I wanted something appropriate as a post workout meal...i.e. high protein & low fat, and made from whole, natural foods. These delicious black bean burgers, with a divinely rich and creamy tahini-garlic sauce, were the result. And oh my, they fit the bill perfectly!

Easy, healthy, and goddamn delicious.
In short: make these!

Burger Ingredients

(serves 2-3 people)
  • 50g* dried black beans, soaked in cold water for 12+ hours & drained (*weighed before soaking)
  • 20g orange split lentils
  • 20g dried soya mince (TVP)
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable bouillon powder or stock cubes (plus an extra pinch)
  • 1 tsp. ground flax seed
  • 1 spring onion (chopped finely)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • pinch marjoram
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • about 2 Tbsp. chickpea flour

1. Cook the beans for 40 minutes. Halfway through, add the lentils.
2. Meanwhile, soak the soya mince in hot water, for 10 mins, with a pinch of vegetable stock/bouillon.
3. Drain both the beans and soya mince thoroughly, and stir both together in a large bowl.
4. Stir all the remaining ingredients, except for the chickpea flour, into the mixture.
5. Mash the mixture until it starts to become soft and creamy. It should stick together in clumps, but still have large chunks of beans in.

6. Form into 5-6 burgers, and coat each in a thin layer of chickpea flour.

7. Bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes, turning once halfway though.

Best served with tahini-garlic sauce...

Tahini-garlic sauce Ingredients
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • the juice & pulp of 1/4 of a lemon
  • pinch salt
  • 100ml boiling water

1. Throw all the ingredients in a bowl or jug and stir thoroughly with a fork. At first, the tahini will separate and go lumpy, but keep stirring, and it will emulsify and become a smooth, creamy sauce.

I also served these with mixed roast root vegetable chips, which were amazing! I'll share the recipe for those next time I make them, so watch this space!

Jen x

Friday, 22 March 2013

(Healthy!) Breakfast cake!

Cake for breakfast!

No, really.

But this isn't just any cake! It's delicious, gluten-free, low fat, free from refined sugar (okay, aside from a little in the currants), and packed with energy and nutrients to start your day right!

Oats provide slow-release energy to keep you going throughout the morning. The seeds provide protein and omega-3s. The bananas and blueberries provide lots of fibre, potassium & plenty of vitamins.
So what are you waiting for? Go make cake for breakfast!

  • 3 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) oats
  • 1 banana
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp. soya milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon (tsp.) baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp. brown rice flour (any other flour will do, if you can't get your hands on this)
  • 1 Tbsp. mixed seeds (I used an omega mix of sunflower, pumpkin, flax, hemp & sesame)
  • 1 Tbsp. currants (or raisins)
  • about 15 blueberries
You'll also need a blender or food processor.


1. Put the oats in a blender & blend into a coarse flour.
2. Chop the banana, and add it to the blender, along with the cinnamon, soya milk, baking powder & ground flaxseed. Blend, stirring intermittently, until it becomes a smooth batter with as few lumps as possible.
3. Remove the mix from the blender & transfer to a bowl. Then stir-in the remaining ingredients.
4. Spoon all of the mix into a terracotta dish or large ramekin and bake at 180°C for 16-18 minutes, until firm throughout & beginning to go golden on top.

Best served warm, with a little nut butter & a drizzle of agave nectar or maple syrup. Mmmm.....

I used mixed nut butter (peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts & almonds), but peanut, or any other nut butter would be just as good.

Jen x

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Kale Pesto & Parmesan

Ready to try the most delicious & healthy pesto pasta you've ever had? Good, then let's get started...
This is basically two recipes: vegan kale pesto, and a vegan alternative to parmesan.
Both are awesome. And pretty damn simple.

To make it extra healthy and awesome, I substituted the pasta itself for 'vegetable spaghetti'. I used a julienne peeler (but I'm sure a spiraliser would be even better) to cut carrots & courgettes into fine strips, then steamed them for a few minutes.

Kale Pesto

Finding a good vegan pesto can be difficult, but this is not just good. It's amazing. Really.
Using the kale added extra flavour & nutrition. Or, as my partner put it, made it taste 'like pesto, but better'.

You'll need:
  • 150g curly kale
  • large handful fresh basil
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 4 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) oil (ideally extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • handful whole almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon (tsp.) salt
1. Steam the kale for a few minutes. If you don't have a steamer, microwave or boil it for 1 minute. Drain & put to one side.
2. Put the almonds in a blender & pulse until they become coarse grains.
3. Add all the other ingredients to the blender. Blend thoroughly, stopping to stir intermittently. If your blender struggles with this, add a tablespoon of water.
4. That's it (told you it was simple).


This is similarly delicious, and even simpler. Plus, it takes no more than a few minutes to make.
This makes a good cupful or so, so store leftovers in a sealed tub at room temperature.
Perfect for sprinkling generously over any pasta dish!

You'll need:
  • 1 Tbsp. cashews
  • 3 Tbsp. almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt.
1. Throw it all in the blender & pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs....Done. Ta-da!

Jen x

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Raw chocolate berry kebabs

Easy. Quick. Delicious. Healthy.
In short: make these!

It's essentially just berries on bamboo skewers, drizzled with raw vegan chocolate. What's not to love?!

I love raw chocolate. It's like regular chocolate, only richer & fuller-flavoured. Plus, it melts at a lower temperature, so really melts in your mouth. Not to mention that it's free from refined sugar, and packed full of goodness. Who knew chocolate could be a health food?!


1. Thread your favourite berries onto bamboo skewers.

2. Make a simple raw vegan chocolate by stirring the following ingredients together thoroughly (seriously, that's it!)
  • 3 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Lucuma powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Fruit syrup (or agave nectar/date syrup)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp.) vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp. melted cacao butter (or coconut oil, if you prefer)
To keep the chocolate from hardening, place the bowl of chocolate within a second bowl of warm/hot water.

3. Drizzle each berry kebab in plenty of chocolate. Sprinkle immediately with the decoration of your choice. I used goji berries, dessicated coconut and chia seeds. Then lay out on a tray or plate lined with greaseproof paper & leave to set. Ensure each kebab doesn't touch the next one. Refrigerate to set quicker, but remove from the fridge 10 mins before eating to get the fullest flavour.

4. Devour with reckless abandon.

If you have any leftover chocolate, pour it into chocolate/ice moulds & leave to set.

Jen x

Friday, 1 March 2013

Raw vegan layer cake of WIN!

This 'cake' was spectacular: pretty, healthy & delicious!
It consists of layers of chocolate brownie, chunky coconut-vanilla cream, and a rich berry cream.
It takes some time, and a bit of preparation. But it's definitely worth it!
It also involves lots of blending, so you'll need a tough blender or food processor that can cope with it!


1. Put 1 cup of cashew nuts in a bowl, cover with cold water & refrigerate for at least 3 hours...This is the preparation bit I told you about!

2. The brownie part. Throw the following in a blender. Keep blending and stirring intermittently until it becomes a coarse grainy texture, but still retains some hefty chunks of dried fruit.
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
  • 3/4 cup currants (or raisins)
  • 1 cup brazil nuts
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp.) raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp. date syrup (or agave, fruit syrup, or the sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp.) vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. goji berries

3. Divide this mixture in half, into two bowls, and put one aside for now. Pour 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil into ONE of the bowls & stir thoroughly with a fork. Press the mixture into a springform cake tin, to a depth of 1-2cm & refrigerate.

4. The vanilla-coconut cream. Put the following in a blender & blend thoroughly until it becomes a smooth paste, with big chunks of coconut. If your blender struggles with the fresh coconut, try chopping it up lots first.
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut chunks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 chopped (medium to large) banana
  • 2.5 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
5. Spread the coconut cream onto the brownie layer. 

6. Sprinkle with a thin layer of the dry brownie mix that you set aside earlier. Return to the fridge.

7. The berry cream! Drain the soaked cashew nuts & put them in the blender. Blend & stir intermittently for a few minutes, until it starts becoming a coarse cream. Then add the following & continue to blend and stir until it becomes a smooth pinky-purple cream.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. date syrup or agave
  • 4.5 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup mixed red berries (blueberries, raspberries, cherries, redcurrants, blackberries, strawberries...whatever you can get your hands on!)
8. Spread half of the berry cream onto the cake. Sprinkle with the remaining dry brownie mix, then add another layer. If you have lots of the brownie mix, try dividing it into more layers.

9. Decorate with coconut oil, berries & nuts. Then refrigerate for an hour or so until set. 

10. Remove from the tin & eat to your heart's content!

Jen x

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Raw cocoa-berry cookies!

Happy commercialised love day everyone!
I wanted to make something sorta valentines-themed, but I don't own any heart-shaped cookie-cutters or chocolate moulds. So I went for crazy red/purple-coloured cookies instead!

These are super soft and chewy, so I could've rolled them into balls and called them energy-balls. But hey, I decided to flatten them and call them cookies!

These are really simple to make, packed full of goodness (vitamins, antioxidants, protein, omega-3s...), and absolutely delicious. The tang of the berries goes perfectly with the bitterness of the cocoa.
I defrosted frozen berries, as that's all I had to-hand, but I'm sure fresh ones would be even better.

1. Put 3/4 of a cup of oats into a blender, and blend to a coarse flour-like texture. Put aside in a large bowl.

2. Blend the following until it becomes a gooey paste. Then add it to the oats & stir well with a fork.
  • 1 cup mixed red berries (e.g. blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, blueberries...)
  • 2 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) agave nectar
  • 1/2 tablespoon melted coconut oil (this is all I had, but use a little more if you want these to be firmer)

3. Blend 1 cup of mixed nuts & seeds, of your choice.
I used walnuts, cashews, almonds, and an omega seed mix that included pumpkin seeds, sesame, golden linseed and sunflower seeds. At first, it will become a chunky mixture, then a coarse flour, then the oils will start to come out & it'll start sticking together a little. Keep blending, stirring intermittently, until you reach this point. Then add it to the bowl with the previous ingredients.

4. Blend these ingredients into a chunky jam-like texture. This is the last stuff you have to blend, I promise!
  • 7 stoned dates
  • 1/2 a cup of sultanas and/or currants.
5. Add this to the bowl and stir everything together thoroughly with a fork, along with the following:
  • 2 Tbsp. dessicated coconut
  • 2 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch cinnamon
6. Finally, roll it into balls and flatten them into discs of around 1cm in thickness and 4cm in diameter. Then coat in dessicated coconut. Alternatively, just leave them as balls and roll them in the coconut.

7. Refrigerate for about half an hour. Then EAT.

Jen x

Raw chocolate brownies!

I have something to admit.
Over the last 9 months or so, I've fallen in love with exercise.
I'm working out 5 days a week now, so my diet has changed too.
I've cut down massively on refined sugar, white carbohydrates, fats and processed foods. Instead, I'm eating a diet high in protein and with vast quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables.
So what do I do when I want a treat, or my partner pesters me for junk food? The answer's pretty simple really. Go RAW!

These chocolate brownies are one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten, are quick and easy to make, and are actually pretty good for you! What more could you ask for?!


1. Put 1 cup of walnuts and 4 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) of oats in a blender, and blend to a coarse flour-like consistency. Put aside in a large bowl.

2. Blend the following into a thick paste:
  • 2/3 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup stoned dates
  • 3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons (tsp.) vanilla extract
3. Add this to the bowl and stir the two mixtures together, along with...
  • 2 Tbsp. dessicated coconut
  • 2 Tbsp. fruit syrup (or agave nectar)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
4. Press into a baking tray, lined with baking paper. It should be about 1-2cm thick throughout.

5. You can either leave it as it is, or make a raw chocolate/ raw nut butter topping. I actually cheated here and used non-raw ingredients, as it's all I had. I spread it with a mixed roast nut butter (cashew, almond, hazelnut & peanut), then sprinkled with more dessicated coconut & dark chocolate chips.

6. Refrigerate until set, then cut into squares with a sharp knife.

I then cheated again and served these with vanilla Swedish Glace.

Jen x

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Mint Choc Chip Whoopie Pies!

Who doesn't love mint chocolate chip? Seriously, who? I will find you and...
Never mind, on with the recipe...
Oh, and these are awesome.

1. Mix the following in a large bowl & stir well with a fork
  • 6 Ounces (oz) plain flour
  • 5.5 oz white sugar
  • 2 heaped tablespoons (ideally Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon (tsp.) baking powder
  • pinch cinamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 tsp. egg replacer
2. Knead-in 5.5 oz non-dairy margarine.

3. Gradually stir-in 3/4 of a cup of rice or soya milk. (I actually used a coconut flavour rice milk. Definitely worth it, if you can find it!)

4. Spoon little dollops of the cake batter onto baking sheets, lined with greased baking paper. They should be about 2 inches in diameter, and at least 1 inch away from each other.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, then bake for 12-16 mins, until cooked throughout, but not crisp. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool fully.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Mix the following in a bowl with a fork, then stir-in a handful or two of chopped (dairy-free) dark chocolate...
  • 1.5 cups icing sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. dairy-free margarine
  • 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
  • few drops green food colouring
  • 1-2 Tbsp. soya milk

7. Refrigerate the icing until the cakes are fully-cooled. Then, spread a thick layer of icing between two similarly-sized cakes, and sandwich together.

They keep in the fridge for up to about 5 days, or can be frozen for eating later.

Jen x