mini recipe | roasted broccoli…

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So if there is one thing you should know about August it is that it is going to bankrupt me. Two weekends away on the trot, a big old payment on the old credit card bill, and things like driving lessons and trips to Venice in the autumn all make my purse want to squinch up tight and refuse to let go of any cash unless it absolutely has to. Months like this happen, when everything (and every bill) seems to come all at once. It’s month like this that I thank god I’m a vegan (admittedly not always a very good one) with incredibly simple tastes. Sure you can get all fancy with your health food shops and every pulse under the sun, but like I’ve said many times before, the best way to keep on track and to keep your bank balance happy, is to eat simply. And what can be more simple than Broccoli?

I must admit, in the past I’ve over looked broccoli as an over cooked thing. Is there anything worse than soggy greens? But since going vegan, I’ve started to see that basically all veg has infinite amount of potential (except sprouts). So here’s the story, the other night I came home to look in my fridge and see food in there, but not necessarily food that came together to make a meal. Broccoli, spring onions, sweetcorn, a chilli, potato, hummus, garlic. Sure these things all have their part to play, but where’s the leading role, the one with that extra something special? This is when not so skint me would normally head to the shop, to find something that acted as the main star of the event to compliment the small parts. But not so skint me said ‘there’s no such thing as a small part, just a veg that needs seasoning’ or something like that. ANYWAY the point is, I decided to take shy old broccoli out of the wings, and put it centre stage and this is what happened…

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The cast…

1 medium broccoli
2 spring onions
1 mild chilli
1 large clove of garlic
The zest of a quarter of a lemon
1 teaspoon of soy sauce
Olive oil
Salt & pepper to season

The production process…

1. Dice the spring onion and the chilli up and throw into a mixing bowl with the minced garlic clove and lemon zest.

2. Add your teaspoon of soy sauce, and cover the ingredients in olive oil.

3. Cut off the florets of the broccoli (you can use the stem too, but this does take longer to roast so just be aware of that when cooking) and throw into the bowl.

4. Make sure all the broccoli is rubbed into the olive oil, chillies, lemon and onion, you can add a little more olive oil if you need to.

5. If you have time, stick the bowl in the fridge to marinate for half an hour (or longer if you’re preparing in advance. I didn’t bother with marinating because I was hungry and it was still delicious, but marinating literally makes everything even better.

6. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and pop your florets on to it in a single layer. If there are still chillies, garlic and onion at the bottom of the bowl make sure you get this onto the tray too, but try not to have any excess oil slithering around, as this leads to soggy broccoli and I’ve already made my feelings on that perfectly clear.

7. Pop into a preheated oven for about 15 minutes and voila, Broccoli’s Hollywood makeover is complete.

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I ate my broccoli with a baked sweet potato, a corn on the cob and some hummus, and while it might not sound like much, it was SO satisfying, in fact I’m thinking of printing out the above picture and sticking it on my fridge to remind me just how much I enjoy eating food without any fuss, or drama queen antics!

This was also delicious,cold the day after for lunch, and I’m also thinking that for a picnic, it would be perfect served up with some new potatoes also roasted the same way. Maybe some sour dough bread. Ooo and pearl cous cous.

Now I’m hungry, and I also completely lost track of my stage conceit, but you can’t say I’m not at least trying to bring my two loves of theatre and food together!

Let me know if you try this, or roasting any other veg in the same way. I’m thinking maybe some cauliflower would compliment it perfectly?

Live life & never underestimate the humble broccoli x

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far from rocket science…

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Hi everyone, how are you? I have a super early start today and I am already looking forward to lunch, dinner and ll the snacks, that quite rightfully live in between. Please tell me I’m not alone? I LOVE my food, and that hasn’t changed since going vegan, in fact if anything I love my food even more now, because now I spend more time with it, thinking about it, planning it out, devouring it (in a totally none sexual way, unless any particularly sexy vegan man wants to amuse my bouche?). Of course, that is all because being vegan, means my food on the go options, are a little more limited. However, I don’t think this is a relationship only vegans can enjoy.

As I mentioned in my last vegan based post, when it comes to what I’m eating I like to keep it simple, and I think this is something that can be applied to all diets, meat eater, cheese lover, gluten free, whichever way you swing, why shouldn’t we strip it back every now and then? It’s the quickest and easiest way to get healthy! When I published that last post, a few of you (I wanted to write ‘many of you’ but lets not get big headed) said I should share some recipes. Well, I’m not sure about recipes because a)most of the stuff I make is waaaay to easy for that grand title and b) my food photography is shocking.

So instead I thought I might share the odd simple meal idea every now and then (a bit like I did with these) that you can add to, take away from, adapt, and refrigerate as you wish. Today, I thought I would share what an average meal looks like for me, something which my work colleague would laugh at and say was far from ‘average’ but as you’ll see, it doesn’t take fancy ingreedients or even much time to make a big old plate of veg delicious. So without further ado, I give you a courgetti salad, served with lemon and garlic potatoes, asparagus and a tahini dressing…

Shopping Basket (serves 2 as a main meal)…

8 New or Salad Potatoes
1 large clove of Garlic
8 stalks of Asparagus
1 courgette
Half a pack of mange tout
1 can of chickpeas
As many sun dried tomatoes as you please
1 Lemon (for it’s juicy juice)
Salt, pepper, dried or fresh parsley, chilli flakes
Olive oil

Method, or how I throw everything together and hope for the best…

1. In a large bowl, crush the garlic clove, drizzle a generous amount of olive oil, and add half the lemon juice all together and mix up. Slice up the new potatoes, into halves or thirds (keep em chunky) and throw them into the bowl, making sure to cover them in the dressing. Season with salt, pepper and parsley, and roast them in the over for about 30-40 minutes on a fairly high temperature. I like to roast them relatively slowly, so that all the flavours roast together. otherwise I find the dressing burns

2. While the potatoes are cooking, strip your courgette in courgetti. You can do this with a fancy pants spiralizer, or just use a jullienne peeler, or keep your strips a bit thicker by just using a normal vegetable peeler. Throw your courgetti into a salad bowl, drain your chick peas (rinse) and add them in too along with your, mange tout and sundried tomatoes. If your using sun dried tomatoes from a jar, then I put these on some kitchen roll before adding them to my salad, as I find the chepaer jars tend to have a lot of oil on and when this goes into your salad it can make it all a bit soggy! I then dressed this with a little olive oil, lemon, and some chilli flakes.

3. When your potatoes are about 5 minutes away from being done, grill or steam your asparagus. I like my asparagus to have a little crunch to it, but generally if it starts to turn a lush bright green it’s done!

4. To make a yummy and simple tahinin dressing, just mix a table spoon of tahini, juice of quarter of a lemon, and water (depending on what consistency you want, as a rule, I use twice as much water as tahini, but it does tend to thicken up if you leave it in the fridge over night so you might want to make it a bit weaker)

4. Take your potatoes out, pile your corgetti salad high on your plate, top with the asparagus, and drizzle with your tahini and enjoy OR put it all in a lunch box, and leave it for tomorrow.

I told you I couldn’t call it a recipe! What do you think? Let me know if you try this, or if you adapt it in anyway. I made this for the first time, after the overly indulgent Easter weekend, as it was made up just from what I had left in the fridge, but isn’t that how all the best meals come about?

Live life & have the best lunch in the office x

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[guest post] Sam from Oh! Hello’s vegan gluten free chocolate cake recipe…

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Hello everyone! I’m so happy to share this delicous gluten free vegan recipe with you as a mid week pick me up! This is from the wonderful Sam over at Oh! Hello. Sam’s space is so beautifully and simply laid out, and her posts always leave me feel uplifted, so I am utterly thrilled to be having her here to share not only her gluten free baking genius but vegan too!

Hi, I’m Sam and I blog over at Oh! Hello which is a lifestyle blog with some gluten free baking thrown in. I have been a reader of the lovely Tea In Your Twenties for quite some time so when Stephie contacted me to guest post I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I always really look forward to Stephies post about her diet and lifestyle choices, and I was especially interested to read about her taking on Veganuary. With that in mind, I have baked a recipe on their website, which I adapted to make gluten free, and I whilst I was nervous it turned out to be a hit. I look forward to the day when Stephie and I can enjoy a slice of this cake together, with a cup of tea of course!

Ingredients:
250g Gluten Free Plain Flour Blend (I use Dove’s Organic)
1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
350g Caster Sugar
85g Cocoa Powder
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
125ml Coconut Oil (or whatever oil you have to hand)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
250g Courgettes, grated
300ml Almond Milk (or other dairy free substitute)
375g Icing Sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
75g Soy Butter + extra for greasing (or again, dairy free sub of your choice)
4 1/2 tbsp Boiling Water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 180c
  2. Grease two 9inch cake tins with butter and line the bottom with baking paper.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the flour, xanthan gum, caster sugar, 85g cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  4. In a jug mix together the almond milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Add this to the dry mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Add the grated courgette and mix well. You don’t need to peel the courgette before grating, in case you were wondering like I was.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer (or knife in my case) comes out clean. Leave to cool for at least 5 minutes before turning them out of the tins and leaving them on a rack to cool completely.
  7. For the icing – In a jug/bowl melt the butter with the boiling water. In another bowl, mix together the icing sugar with 1 1/2 tbsp of cocoa powder. Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients and stir until you have a smooth icing.
  8. Assemble the cake by covering the bottom layer in icing and putting the second cake on top. Spread the remainder of the icing on the top of the cake and serve.

I hope you find this recipe successful, it was so interesting to try a cake with no egg and I was pleasantly surprised by how I couldn’t actually tell. For the gluten-ful version make sure to check out the Veganuary website, there are lots of other great recipes to try there too!

Thank you so much for sharing Sam, and for perking up my working day with your lunch time emails! Can’t wait to meet properly for a vegan gluten free feast! If you can get to York, I know just the place!

Live life & get experimental with your cake x

Where you can find Sam and Oh! Hello…
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