7 December 2017

Mushroom Bolognese


Mushroom Bolognese
Vegan

Mushrooms have become one of my most used ingredients since becoming vegan and considering I once couldn't ever touch any meal that had them in, I now find so many ways to throw them into different dishes. Recreating a basic bolognese using minced mushrooms is probably one of my best light-bulb moments to date - full of flavour and all the right textures, this spaghetti recipe is just as simple as it is scrumptious... 

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes | Serves: 2

Ingredients:
1 white onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp tomato paste 
450g closed cup mushrooms
Salt & pepper
Fresh parsley to garnish

Method:
Heat the oil on a medium heat in a large pan and meanwhile finely dice the onion. Add the onion to the pan and fry it off for a couple of minutes until soft. Next, mince the garlic and add it to the pan and cook that off for a further 2 minutes before then adding in the dried herbs, paprika, and nutmeg, stir to coat the onions well then add in the tomato paste and mix it through. Leave that to cook on a gentle heat whilst finely chopping the mushrooms, add the mushrooms to the pan, stir well again and allow those to cook down for 5 minutes. Add in the tin of chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup boiling water, vegan Worcester sauce, nutritional yeast and season well with salt and black pepper. Stir, bring it up to a boil then leave to simmer uncovered for around 30 minutes. Just before it's ready, cook the spaghetti and once done, drain it off then serve a bed of spaghetti on a plate or in a pasta bowl with the Mushroom Bolognese on top. Finally, garnish with some fresh chopped parsley.

Storage:
Any leftovers can be frozen in an airtight container for up to two weeks and used within that time for maximum freshness.


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4 December 2017

Autumn & Winter Beauty Trends with Ellisons #AWBeautyTrends


*This is a collaborative post

Easing into the cooler months is a breeze, albeit a bitterly crisp one, with textures and transitional tones galore but the seasonal trends always bring in a whole new wave of inspiration. As a professional wholesale beauty supplier, Ellisons are on top of this year's autumn and winter beauty trends and I'm chatting through a few of my favourites as well as letting you in on what else is up and coming across makeup, hair and nails for this season and the next...
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1 December 2017

12 Days of Tropic Advent Calendar | Cruelty Free & Vegan AD



The time of year is (almost) here with advent calendar season rolling around once again in the lead up to the main day in question and whilst the choice of product-stuffed packages is vast, giving that more beauty brands are jumping on the bandwagon by the year, the options for something cruelty free and vegan are a little more limited. Hear me out, limited in this case isn't such a bad thing because I'm about to spill the contents of what I think is top of 2017's advent calendar class; Tropic's 12-Day Gift Collection, which makes for the perfect present to any product lover, be it someone else or as a ''To me, from me'' gift-to-self...
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24 November 2017

Satay Mixed Vegetable Curry | Mr Organic Recipe



Satay Mixed Vegetable Curry
Vegan

Peanut butter lover I'm really not, though I'll get the occasional craving for the crunchy stuff slathered on some toast, the only other dish I can really get stuck into is anything satay. Lifted with lots of spices in creamy coconut milk, I don't find the peanut-ness too overwhelming and padded out with a mixture of vegetables and a side of fluffy brown rice, it makes for an awesome curry - here's my very own version and of course, it's only complete with a generous few spoonfuls of the Mr Organic Coconut & Turmeric Salsa...

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 2 people

Ingredients:
1 tsp coconut oil 
1 white onion
3 cloves garlic
1 thumb sized piece ginger
1 red chilli
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp turmeric
2 tbsp curry powder
150g baby button mushrooms
1 large handful mange tout
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables: broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, peas
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1 tsp tamari
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp lime juice
Chopped coriander, chopped red chilli and crushed peanuts to garnish
Brown rice to serve

Method:
Start by melting the coconut oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Finely chop the onion, then add it to the pan and allow to soften. Mince the garlic and add it to the pan, then grate in the ginger, finely chop the red chilli, reserving some for garnishing, and add that to the pan too. Cook that off for around 3 minutes, before then adding in all of the spices. Give everything a good stir together ensuring the onions are coated well and fry it off for a further few minutes. Next, half the button mushrooms and add those to the pan along with the mange tout, allowing them to cook for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Then add in the frozen mixed vegetables and whilst those are cooking through, over in a blender add the can of coconut milk along with the roasted peanuts. Blend those together on a high speed for around 30 seconds so that it's not completely smooth with small chunks of peanut. Pour that into the pan, then add in the peanut butter, the Mr Organic Coconut & Turmeric Salsa, the tamari and season it well with salt and black pepper. Give it a good stir together, then turn up the heat so it begins to boil. Allow it to boil for around a minute before then turning the heat back down, allowing it to simmer for around 20 minutes. In the meantime, cook the brown rice and just before serving, add the lime juice to the curry and stir it through. Serve up a bed of rice with a good few ladlefuls of the Satay Mixed Vegetable Curry on top and garnish with some fresh chopped coriander, the reserved chopped red chilli and small handful of crushed peanuts.



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19 November 2017

Pesto Cashew Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells in Baked Marinara




Pesto Cashew Cheese Stuffed Pasta Shells in Baked Marinara
Vegan

Prep Time: 40 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 2 people

Ingredients: 
For the Marinara Sauce:
1 tsp rapeseed oil
1 white onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
1 cup hot water
Salt and pepper

For the Pesto Cashew Cheese:
Juice 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 cup cashew nuts
2 large handfuls fresh basil
Salt & pepper

250g Conchiglie pasta shells
Fresh, chopped parsley to garnish

Method:
Make the Marinara Sauce by heating the oil in a large saucepan, then finely dice the white onion and add it to the pan, allowing it to soften for 5 minutes. Mince the garlic, add it to the pan and fry it off for a few minutes before then adding in the tomato paste and dried herbs. Mix it well and fry that off for a further few minutes, then add in the chopped tomatoes, hot water and season it well with salt and pepper. Leave it to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

In the mean time cook the pasta in boiling, salted water for 5-7 minutes and then pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Whilst the pasta is cooking, make the pesto by adding all of the ingredients to a blender, starting with the lemon juice and olive oil to ensure it blends smoothly. Blend for 3 minutes until a pesto cashew cheese forms.

In a large baking dish, spread out 2/3's of the sauce in the base, drain off the pasta then layer the shells on top of the sauce. Fill each shell with around 1 1/2 tbsp of the Pesto Cashew Cheese, add the remaining Marinara Sauce on top and sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley. Place it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, then serve hot.


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Chickpea, Kale & Potato Stew



Chickpea, Kale & Potato Stew
Vegan

Come lunch time in the winter months, I'm craving a big bowl of comfort and nothing says that like a few of my favourite ingredients put together; chickpeas, potatoes and kale, all of which leave me feeling warm and cozy, and my belly full. Packed with flavour in a creamy, spiced coconut milk and tomato broth, I enjoy a generous serving simply as is but it also works great with a side of fluffy quinoa or on a bed of brown rice. 

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 2-4 people

Ingredients:
1 tsp coconut oil
1 white onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 medium sized potatoes
2 carrots
1 can chickpeas
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Salt & black pepper
1 large handful kale
Chopped coriander to garnish 

Method:
First slice up the onion, then add the coconut oil to a pan and add the onion in with it. Fry that off for around 5 minutes, then mince the garlic and add that in too. Fry that off for a few more minutes before then adding in the chilli flakes, cumin, coriander, paprika and turmeric and cayenne pepper. Mix it well and fry it off for a minute before then adding in the tomato puree and give it another good stir. Peel the carrots and slice them up, then peel and chop the potatoes into cubes. Add those into the pan next, coat them well in the spices then add in the chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and coconut milk. Season it well with salt and black pepper, give it a good stir together, then turn up the heat and continue to sir it until it comes to a boil. Turn the heat back down, place the lid on and leave it to simmer for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, chop the kale and add that in, stir it well and allow it to wilt, then serve immediately with chopped coriander on top. 

Storage:
Refrigerate any leftovers and use within 2 days or freeze in an airtight container and use within 2 weeks for maximum freshness.


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Artichoke, Red Pepper & Herb Spread


Artichoke, Red Pepper & Herb Spread
Vegan

Throwback to my school lunch days where my favourite sandwich filling was a vegetable spread - I'd go through jars of the stuff. Ever since getting my new food processor, I've been mixing and matching my ingredients to create different pastes which can be smothered on rice cakes, bread, crackers - you name it. To be fair, throwing some meaty artichoke, sweet picanto peppers, fragrant, fresh herbs and a pinch of seasoning together was always going to result in something good - for my fellow antipasti - mezze lovers, this one's for you...

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: None | Makes: 1 small jar

Ingredients:
5 artichoke hearts
10 small cherry peppers or 4 jarred roasted red peppers
Small handful fresh parsley
Small handful fresh basil
Salt & pepper

Method:
Add all of the ingredients together in a food processor and blend into a chunky paste. Spread onto crisp breads or crackers, or dip into with crudités. 

Storage:
Store in an airtight container in the fridge and use within a week for maximum freshness.


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2 November 2017

Roast Vegetable Spaghetti



Roast Vegetable Spaghetti 
Vegan

This fool-proof spaghetti throws out flavours of roasted aubergine, fresh and sun-dried tomato, red pepper and a whole lot of garlic, it's brought to life with a good squeeze of zesty lemon and torn basil, and is topped off with the buttery texture of toasted pine nuts. You can get all kinds of creative with this one, toss in some mushrooms, courgette or artichoke to switch things up a bit, it works great for a penne dish too - as you can see, I like to pile it high, and I'll always go back for seconds if any or just polish off what's left on my boyfriends plate.

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 50 minutes | Serves: 2

Ingredients
1 aubergine
3 tomatoes
2 red peppers
1 red onion
3 cloves garlic, whole
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried herbs
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Salt & pepper
2 large handfuls spinach
Juice 1/2 lemon 
A few torn basil leaves
A small handful pine nuts, toasted
Spaghetti (enough for 2 people)


Method
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Roughly chop the aubergine, tomatoes, peppers and onion, then add them to a large roasting dish, add in the whole garlic cloves, drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle on the dried herbs. Toss everything well then place it in the oven for 35 minutes. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti in salted, boiling water and drain it off then set aside. In the same pan, add in the spinach and leave it to wilt down, then remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and transfer it over to a food blender. Add in the sun-dried tomatoes, nutritional yeast, chilli flakes and season it with salt and black pepper, then pulse it until it forms a chunky-sauce, but not so much so that it turns into soup. Add the pasta sauce straight to the pan with the wilted spinach, stir and warm it gently for a few minutes before adding the cooked spaghetti back in. Turn the pasta through the sauce and spinach, then squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Turn again, then serve immediately and garnish with the toasted pine nuts and fresh basil leaves.

Storage:
The pasta sauce can double-batched, simply add in twice the amount of each ingredient. Freeze it in a container and use within 2 weeks for maximum freshness - simply defrost, warm it up and add it to your cooked pasta.


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Spicy Sweet Potato, Coconut & Ginger Soup

Spicy Sweet Potato, Coconut & Ginger Soup
Vegan

A warming autumnal, creamy sweet potato and coconut soup with a kick of ginger, fiery red chilli and fragrant fresh coriander which makes for a lovely, light but filling lunch or an easy week-night dinner served with some crusty bread or a couple of slices of toasted rye. I've usually got leftover ginger and chilli hanging about from the curries I cook up, so this is a great way to make use of them whilst creating something a little bit different.

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 2-4 

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil 
2 white onions, peeled 
3 cloves garlic, peeled 
1 thumb sized piece ginger, peeled 
1 red chilli, deseeded 
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled 
Salt & pepper 
Large handful fresh coriander, chopped 

Method: 
Chop the two onions then add them to a large pan with the olive oil and allow them to soften on a medium heat. Mince the garlic, add it to the pan and fry it off for a minute. Grate in the ginger, then finely chop the red chilli, reserving a few pieces to garnish and add that to the pan too. Fry everything off for a few minutes before then adding in the turmeric and frying it off for a further two minutes. Chop the sweet potatoes into roughly 2cm cubes and add those to the pan, mix everything well then cook that off for around 3 minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock and the coconut milk, then season well with salt and black pepper. Stir then bring it to the boil and allow it to cook on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Turn the heat back down to low-medium, cover and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, add in the majority of the fresh coriander then blend with a hand-blender or transfer to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Heat again if necessary, serve hot and garnish with the remaining red chilli, fresh coriander and pumpkin seeds. 

Storage:
Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freeze in an airtight container and use within 2 weeks for maximum freshness.




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Blueberry Jam Breakfast Oaties


Blueberry Jam Breakfast Oaties
Vegan

A crumble-top cakey-bake with a oat biscuit-base and a Blueberry Chia Jam sandwiched in between. Makes for a great breakfast slice, as a snack or as a dessert with a scoop of vegan ice-cream or drenched in custard. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Makes: 6 squares

Ingredients
For the Blueberry Chia Jam:
2 cups blueberries, defrosted from frozen
3 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice


For the Breakfast Oaties:
2 cups oats
1 cup oat flour
1 cup almond meal
2 tbsp ground flax seed
4 tbsp coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
Pinch salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp brown rice syrup
Splash plant-based milk
Blueberry Chia Jam (see above)


Method:
Make the Blueberry Chia Jam by placing the defrosted blueberries in a bowl, along with the chia seeds, maple syrup and lemon juice. Mash with a potato masher and ensure it is mixed well then put to the side to thicken for around 10 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, then prepare the Breakfast Oatie base by adding all of the dry ingredients into a bowl. Turn them over with a spatula, then add in the wet ingredients one-by-one. Stir with the spatula until the mixture has formed, it should be quite crumbly but it should stick together at the same time. Take 3/4 of the mixture and press it evenly into a baking dish or tray (if using a tin, line with parchment paper) using a spatula. Place that in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and spread the Blueberry Chia Jam evenly on top of the baked base, then take the remaining 1/4 of the Oatie mixture and crumble it over the top of the jam, then place it back in the oven to bake for a further 20 minutes. Once it's done, remove it and leave it to cool before serving, alternatively, then place it in the fridge to firm up further.

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31 October 2017

Fennel, Olive & Basil Pesto Penne | Mr Organic Recipe


Not a fan of the fennel here? Don't fear, the flavour is super subtle (even I'm not one for anything aniseed), instead it adds a bit of a crunch to the dish but if I still can't win you over, sub for courgette, artichoke or asparagus instead. The olives add a little something salty but it all comes down to the jar of Mr Organic Basil Pesto, made with the standard recipe of basil and pine nuts, there's also cashews and tofu thrown into the mix to switch things up a bit.

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 2

Ingredients:
3 cups wholewheat/spelt penne
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bulb fennel
10 green olives, pitted
Salt & pepper
Fresh basil to garnish

Method:
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan on a medium heat. Start by trimming the fennel, then remove the green leafy tops, half the bulb then thinly slice it up, add it to the pan and fry it off for around 5 minutes. In the meantime, add the pasta into a separate pan of boiling, salted water and allow it to cook until al dente. Next, add the jar of Mr Organic Basil Pesto to the cooked fennel, stir then chop the olives and add those to the pan too. Drain the pasta, then add it to the fennel, olives and pesto, season well with salt and black pepper, and stir until coated. Serve immediately, garnishing the dish with the reserved fennel tops and some fresh basil.


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8 January 2017

New Year Beauty Haul with MyBeautyMatches




If there's any time to use the excuse for a makeup bag revamp, it has to be January - 'New Year, New You' and all that. To beat the blues, I've refreshed my pouch with a few product essentials and I did so through MyBeautyMatches.com, a personalised service for all your beauty shopping needs. Think of it as a health and beauty version of SkyScanner - based on your personal profile, it scans and searches for the products best suited to you at the best deal for you...
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