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The Part-Time Vegetarian’s Year by Nicola Graimes is available to buy NOW!

How things have moved on since my original The Part-Time Vegetarian was published five or so years ago. The culinary climate has definitely changed for the better, with more of us choosing to eat plant-based meals on a regular basis. And to prove the point, research figures show that, impressively, one in three in the UK have cut down on the amount of meat they eat, with 60 per cent of vegans and 40 per cent of vegetarians having adopted their dietary preference over the last 5 years.

While the health benefits of a plant-based diet – the reduced risk of major chronic diseases, obesity and diabetes – are well documented, it has been the growing concerns over the environmental impact of intensive animal farming that has spurred much of the move towards flexitarianism, vegetarianism and veganism over the past few years. Recent research has revealed the hefty footprint of intensively reared meat, with the conclusion that the single most effective way to reduce our environmental impact is a global shift towards a flexitarian diet that contains only small amounts of ethically reared, good-quality meat and dairy, eaten once or twice a week with a plant-based diet being predominant.

For me, one of the most exciting aspects of the shift towards flexitarianism is how inspiring and creative plant-based cooking has become. Nowadays, no chef worth their salt would forget to include a vegetarian or vegan dish on their restaurant menu. What’s more, many openly relish the exciting culinary possibilities of plant-based cooking.

As a family, we have become more mindful of what and how we eat over the years. Like many families, our eating preferences vary and I’m constantly on the look-out for meals that both meet our differing tastes and that can be adapted if need be. Whether we eat meat just once a week; just at weekends; as part of an extended family get together; for a dinner party; or not at all, I’ve found that flexitarianism is a way of eating that can be moulded to suit our individual needs.

I’m hoping that this sense of versatility, adaptability and variety shines brightly in the recipes in this book. Importantly, vegetables always take centre stage with a focus on what’s in season. Where meat (or seafood) are included they are in cost-, eco- and health-conscious small amounts and treated as a garnish, side, topping or second to the plant-based components of the meals. At the heart of this book is the growing relevance of a mindful connection with what and how we eat.

This recipe of pistou from the book Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes by Nicola Graimes is a new take on the traditional soupe au pistou which is a specialty from the south of France, Provence to be exact and eaten in the summer months.

Low Carb Recipe 1

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 leek, sliced

1 small carrot, finely chopped

1 stick celery, finely chopped

3 green beans, thinly sliced

700ml/11⁄4 pints/3 cups vegetable stock

150ml/5fl oz/2⁄3 cup pasta

1 bay leaf

30g/1oz/1⁄2 cup whole-wheat conchigliette (small shells) pasta

30g/1oz/1⁄2 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed

sprig of fresh rosemary

salt and freshly ground black pepper

a few shavings of Parmesan, to serve

1 tbsp pesto, to serve

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the leek. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the carrot, celery and green beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the stock and pasta and add the bay leaf, stir well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, half-covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and using a hand-blender or food processor, semi-purée the vegetables.
  • Return the bay leaf to the soup, add the pasta, cannellini beans, and rosemary and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. You may need to add some extra stock or water if the soup seems too thick. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary and season to taste.
  • Divide between 2 bowls. Serve with the Parmesan shavings and a spoonful of pesto.

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

Nicola Graimes

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

£5.99, available from Nourish Books

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Water kefir from The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet by Christine Bailey is simple to make and an effective way to support your gut health and give your immune system a boost as well. By blending in fruit and supercharged foods you create an amazing, healthy, fizzy smoothie.

Supercharged Diet 2

 

Ingredients:

zest and juice of 1 lime

80g/2 ¾ oz fresh or frozen pineapple, chopped

1 tbsp lucuma powder

250ml/9fl oz/1 cup water kefir

1 tsp tocotrienols or oil of 1 vitamin

E capsule, plus the squeezed capsule

1 tsp probiotic powder

1 tsp manuka or raw honey, or coconut sugar

4 ice cubes

Method:

  • Put all the ingredients, except the ice, into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the ice and blend to create a slushy drink.
  • Serve immediately.

Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet

Christine Bailey

The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet

£10.99, available from Nourish Books

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Rich with coriander and watercress, and with fruity highlights, this intensely green smoothie from the book The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet by Christine Bailey packs quite a punch. It will keep your body clean and help to remove toxins and waste material – a great smoothie to include in a detox or cleansing programme. Freezing the banana keeps the taste fresh and light.

Supercharged Diet 1

 

Ingredients:

1 small banana

¼ tsp chlorella powder

¼ tsp wheatgrass powder

1 tsp ground flaxseed

1 small handful of coriander leaves

1 small handful of watercress leaves

¼ mango, peeled and chopped

100ml/3½fl oz/generous

1/3 cup coconut water or water

Method:

  • Chop the banana and put it into a freezer bag.
  • Exclude all the air, then seal and freeze overnight or until solid.
  • Put the banana into a blender or food processor and add the remaining ingredients.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Serve immediately.

Supercharged Green

Christine Bailey

The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet

£10.99, available from Nourish Books

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These little cakes from the book Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona MacGregor are free of gluten and dairy if you’re sensitive to either. The quinoa gives them a firm, nutty texture, which is delicious with the fresh herbs and courgette/zucchini. Dipped in a little garlic mayonnaise, chilli jam or tomato chutney, they’re wonderful.

Healthy Speedy Recipe 2

 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

140g/5oz/1 cup quinoa

300g/10 ½ oz courgette/zucchini, grated

3 spring onions/scallions, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed handful of mint leaves, shredded handful of parsley leaves, chopped

10 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped juice of ½ lemon

55g/2oz/ ½ cup cornflour/cornstarch

1 egg

rapeseed/canola oil, for frying

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

garlic mayonnaise, chilli jam or tomato chutney, to serve

green salad, to serve

Method:

  • Tip the quinoa into a small saucepan and cover with 300ml/10 ½ fl oz/ 1 ¼ cups of cold water. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. Turn out into a bowl and leave to one side to cool.
  • Meanwhile, place the grated courgette/zucchini in the bowl of a food processor with the spring onions/scallions, garlic, mint, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice and cornflour/cornstarch. Crack the egg straight into the mixture, add the quinoa, and season with salt and pepper. Blend for about 30 seconds to mix the ingredients thoroughly and to form a thick paste. Tip the mixture out into a bowl and taste to check the seasoning.
  • Heat about 5mm/1/4 in rapeseed/canola oil in a large frying pan until the oil is hot enough to sizzle loudly when you drop in a tiny bit of the courgette/ zucchini mixture.
  • Drop a heaped tablespoon of the mixture into the hot oil, flattening slightly with the back of the spoon to form round patties. Repeat until you have 3–4 cakes in the pan at the same time, or as many as your pan will fit comfortably, with room to turn.
  • After 3–4 minutes the underside of the cakes should be nicely golden and holding their shape. Gently flip them over and cook until the second side is golden. Lift the cakes out of the oil onto some paper towels and keep warm. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used; you should end up with 12–14 cakes.
  • Serve the cakes warm with green salad and your choice of dip.

Part-time variation:

  • To make a very quick garlic mayonnaise or aioli, add 2 crushed garlic cloves to 4 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise along with a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with freshly ground black pepper and, if needed, a little sea salt.

Healthy Speedy Suppers

Katriona MacGregor

Healthy Speedy Suppers

£16.99, available from Nourish Books

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This recipe from Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona MacGregor, was given to the author by her good friend and fellow cook, Bella Thomas-Ferrand, it sings of indulgent Italian eating, both with its classic flavours and ease of preparation. A friendly greengrocer will find you figs, but failing that, good supermarkets have them out of season. After a few days in the fruit bowl and the help of sticky balsamic caramel they will be delicious. If sourdough isn’t available then any good-quality crusty loaf will work, the chewier and more rustic the better.

 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

6 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

8 ripe figs

2 tbsp pine nuts

8 slices of sourdough bread

2 garlic cloves, peeled

extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

8 slices of prosciutto

100g/3 ½ oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

handful of rocket/arugula

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  • Pour the vinegar into a small pan, add the brown sugar and heat gently. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and simmer rapidly until the liquid is reduced and syrupy.
  • Slice the figs into quarters, vertically through their stalks, and place cut side down in the balsamic syrup. Cook over a medium heat, with the syrup bubbling, for 1–2 minutes, then turn the fig quarters, spooning the liquid over the figs. Remove the figs to a small plate, then boil the remaining syrup until reduced to a thick glaze.
  • Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan for 1–2 minutes until lightly coloured, then leave to one side. Toast the sourdough on both sides using a griddle/grill pan or alternatively under a grill/broiler. Rub the garlic cloves over the toasted bread, then drizzle with olive oil.
  • While the bread is still warm, top each slice with 2 slices of prosciutto, followed by the caramelized figs, Gorgonzola and a drizzle of both the balsamic glaze and some more extra virgin olive oil. Scatter over the rocket/arugula and pine nuts and grind over some salt and pepper.

Healthy Speedy Suppers

Katriona MacGregor
Healthy Speedy Suppers
£16.99, available from Nourish Books

 

 

 

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This Salmon & Courgette Frittata from The Aussie Body Diet  is a high-protein start to your day and it is great for detoxing, with its combination of chelating agents, parsley and coriander. To get rid of excess water from the courgette, grate directly into a clean tea towel and twist until the courgette is completely dry. If courgette is not your thing, you can substitute any vegetable you prefer. Serve with a fresh garden salad.

Aussie Body Diet

 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

80 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing

1 large onion (220 g), roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

10 small courgettes (1 kg), coarsely grated and excess water squeezed out

6 large eggs

2 x 85 g tins salmon in spring water or brine, drained; flesh, bones and skin mashed with a fork

1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease base and sides of a large baking dish with oil.
  • Saute onion with olive oil in a large, deep saucepan or small frying pan over medium– high heat until brown (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and courgettes and cook over medium– high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off heat and leave to cool for 20 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly with a fork, then add salmon, coriander and parsley. Add courgette and onion mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour egg mixture into prepared dish. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked when tested at centre with a skewer.
  • Take out of the oven, leave to cool for 10–15 minutes and cut into large slices.

Aussie Body Diet

Saimaa Miller

The Aussie Body Diet: A Happier, Healthier You in 14 Days

£14.99, available from Nourish Books

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This recipe of Thai green vegetable curry comes from the book Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes by Nicola Graimes. The Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes is the essential tool for anyone who is interested in controlling their weight by cutting down their intake of carbohydrates. The key to success is eating the right type of carb alongside good sources of protein and fat.

Low Carb Diet 2

 

Ingredients:

2 tsp sunflower oil

200ml/7fl oz/1 cup reduced-fat coconut milk

150ml/5fl oz/2⁄3 cup vegetable stock (see page 23)

115g/4oz/1 cup small broccoli florets

1 corn on the cob, husk removed, sliced into 2cm/3⁄4in pieces

1 small red pepper, seeded and sliced

55g/2oz/1 cup fresh spinach leaves, shredded

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander/cilantro, to garnish

Spice Paste:

3 green chillies, seeded and chopped

1 stick lemongrass, peeled and finely chopped

1 shallot, sliced juice and zest of 1 lime

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1cm/1⁄2in piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander/cilantro

Method:

  • Place all the ingredients for the spice paste in a food processor and blend to a coarse paste.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the spice paste for 1 minute, stirring. Add the coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced.
  • Add the broccoli, corn and red pepper and cook for 3 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for another 2 minutes until the vegetables are just tender.
  • Season to taste and sprinkle with coriander/cilantro before serving.

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

Nicola Graimes

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

£5.99, available from Nourish Books

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The delicious tahini dressing with a citrussy zing and the sweetness of basil lifts the flavours of griddled vegetables and makes a rich and satisfying lunch. The dressing also tastes good with falafels or as a dip.

GrilledVegSalad

Serves: 4
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
4 large courgettes, thinly sliced lengthways
2 aubergines, thinly sliced lengthways
1 fennel bulb, cut into quarters and thickly sliced
1 small head of cauliflower, thickly sliced
4 large portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil or melted coconut oil
4 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves, such as dandelion, mint, parsley, coriander, mustard, beetroot greens, rocket and kale,
to serve

Tahini dressing:
60g/2¼oz/¼ cup tahini
250ml/9fl oz/1 cup orange juice
zest and juice of ½ lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ tsp ground sea salt
1 small handful of basil leaves

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 100°C/200°F/Gas ½ and put a plate inside to warm. Heat a large, ridged griddle over a medium- high heat.
  • Put all the vegetables in a large bowl and add the oil, then toss gently to coat the vegetables and tip into the griddle. You may need to cook these in batches. Spread the vegetables out evenly. Cook for 8–10 minutes until marked with golden lines on one side. Reduce the heat, if necessary, to avoid burning.
  • Meanwhile, make the dressing. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor, then process on high speed for 30 seconds, or until the dressing is smooth and creamy.
  • Leave to one side to allow the flavours to develop.
  • Turn the vegetables over and cook for 8 minutes, or until there are golden lines on the second side.
  • Transfer the cooked vegetables to the warm plate while you cook the remaining batches. Put the salad leaves on a large serving plate and put the cooked vegetables on top, then drizzle with the tahini dressing.
  • Serve immediately

Adele McConnell is the founder of the hugely successful vegan food blog, vegiehead.com, and was the winner of the prestigious ‘Vegan Food Blogger Award’ by The Vegan Woman 2012. She loves sharing her passion for vegan food. Watch her inspiring, easy-to-follow cookery demonstrations on her YouTube channel.
Adele MacConnell - 100 Vegan Recipes

“Feed your soul, taste the love: 100 of the best vegan recipes”

The Vegan Cookbook by Adele McConnell

Click for more info!

 

Looking for something different and guilt-free for Easter? Look no further than these Chocolate Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting.

Perfectly light and moist – a great alternative to the heavier Easter treats around. Using avocado in icing might sound strange, and I suppose it is a little strange, but surprisingly it works! And they’re egg and dairy free so even your vegan friends can enjoy a treat at Easter!

Have a look at our Publicity Assistant, Gemma, making up her batch at home:

The Recipe, in black and white

Makes 24 mini cupcakes (12 servings)

Per serving:
Fat: 4.5g (of which saturates: 0.8g)
Calories: 111kcal
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

For the chocolate cakes:
240ml/8fl oz/scant 1 cup almond milk, plus extra for the frosting
1 tsp cider vinegar
185g/6½oz/heaped ¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract (optional)
250g/9oz/2 cups self-raising flour
30g/1oz/ ⅓ cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the avocado frosting:
2 ripe avocados
4 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
2 tbsp clear honey
a little almond milk, to loosen

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and line two 12-hole mini-muffin tins with paper cases.
  • Mix together the almond milk and vinegar in a large bowl and stir well, then leave to one side for a few
    minutes to curdle.
  • Beat in the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and almond extract, if using, and whisk until frothy.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together well.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins, filling the sections three-quarters full. Bake for 10–12 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • To make the frosting, scoop out the avocado flesh into a small blender or food processor (or bowl and
    work with a hand-held blender).
  • Add the cocoa powder and honey and process until smooth, then gradually add a little almond milk, a drop at a time, until the mixture just begins to hold its shape.
  • Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle and pipe the frosting onto the centre of the cakes in a nice high peak. (You don’t need to cover the entire surface as this would add too much icing and therefore too many calories.)
  • Peel back the paper and enjoy – the great thing is they are so mini you can eat two!

 

GuiltfreeBaking

Gee Charman

Guilt-Free Baking

£16.99 | available from Nourish Books

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We hope you have enjoyed the past 14 days! We loved sharing our wellbeing tips and tricks with you. If you would like to find out more, and to be informed about the next time we do the #14days of wellbeing, please sign up to  our newsletter!

The books that we have included, and you might like to delve into a little deeper, are:

SuperchargedGreen

 

Christine Bailey
The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet
£10.99 | Available from Nourish Books

 

 

 

 

 

AussieBody_front

 

Saimaa Miller
Aussie Body Diet
£14.99 | Available from Nourish Books

 

 

 

 

 

index2

 

Jo Pratt
In the Mood for Healthy Food
£ 20.00 | Available from Nourish Books

 

 

 

 

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Belinda Hamblin is one of our readers, she loves cooking and inventing her own desserts. Here she tells about her latest delicious creation: Strawberry Biscuit Bomb. Belinda left her fabulous career as managing theatre, visual arts, music and creative projects to start a family. She became a cooking consultant and a self builder. She is a mother of three, and at the moment she is pondering whether to return to her artistic roots or to open her own cafe… or maybe both!

This is what she says about herself: I’m Belinda, who once had a fabulous career managing theatre, visual arts, music & creative projects… Then we decided to start a family & build houses & I became a Cooking Consultant & a Self Builder…  Now, I’m a mother of three, who is unsure about whether to return to my artistic roots or to open my own cafe… Or to… Oh gosh… Decisions, decisions…

So, I recently turned 40 and the hubby surprised me with a trip to Rome, without our three munchkins; yes, he organised three full day and nights of childcare and I was determined to make the most of it.
We literally ate and drank our way to every ancient monument and ruin the fabulous city had to offer… We had the time of our lives, but on the plane home, realisation hit… I’m now 40 and I’ve probably just eaten and drank quadruple my recommended daily allowance of salt, sugar, carbs, alcohol, saturated fats, etc, etc… I’m not in my 20s, where I’d burn said calories at the Camden Palace… I’m in my 40s and those said calories are going to set up house & home on my thighs, tummy & butt… Possibly forevermore.

I’m a real food obsessive; naughty, nice, but I also love healthy food. However, I do have to engage my brain more when consciously knocking up a healthy plate. I’ll happily gnaw my way through a Grilled Chicken Breast, Quinea & Salad… Nevertheless, once I’ve got through the healthy main, I soon start to fantasise about something sweet/naughty…

Love a slice of melon. Actually love all fruit, nuts and yogurts but they just don’t do it for me after a meal. I need ‘a dessert’. I need something that I can spoon into my chops. Something that I can chew, something that looks yummy. Not necessarily cooked, that’s the hubby’s obsession.

And so, I’ve started inventing my own desserts. I’m replacing all the naughties for healthier alternatives; for example, I’ve been swapping cream, creme freche and sour cream with quark. It’s naturally fat free & fabulous for cooking, baking & mixing. I’ve just knocked up a Strawberry Biscuit Bomb and  not only is it delicious and healthy, it looks a little naughty, which is always nice!

Now, I made a single portion so feel free to double, triple, quadruple the ingredients as required. There’s five of us in our house and I’ve got myself into a crazy routine of knocking out five different meals and five different desserts most evenings. This will stop. I just kind of get obsessed with experimenting and as a result have fashioned a family with the most demanding and differing palates. I know, I’ve only got myself to blame!

So, here goes…

Ingredients:
Faux biscuit layer – 30g oats, 20g pecans, 10g warmed honey, 20g organic coconut oil
Faux cream layer – 60g quark, a little zest & freshly squeezed juice of 1/4 an orange
Strawberry layer – 4 large crushed strawberries, a sprinkling of icing sugar

Method:

Recipe steps

  • Line a glass bowl or ramekin with cling film & freeze for at least 20 minutes.
  • Chop pecans & mix with oats, honey & coconut oil, set aside.
  • Mix quark, zest & juice in another bowl, set aside.

Strawberry Biscuit Bomb step 2

  • Mix crushed/chopped strawberries & icing sugar in another bowl, set aside.

Strawberry Biscuit Bomb step 3

  • Remove glass bowl/ramekin from freezer. To layer the bomb, pour the strawberry mix into the bottom of the ramekin/glass bowl.
  • Then layer the faux biscuit layer over the top & smooth with a spatula.
  • Lastly, spoon the faux cream layer over the top & return to the freezer for another 20 minutes.

To serve, invert the glass bowl or ramekin over a plate & gently remove the cling film. And, Ta-da, your bombe is ready to serve; looks impressive, tastes fab & it’s extremely low in fat. Now, where’s those after dinner mints.