The weather may be dull but the soup doesn’t have to be!
Carrot, Sweet Tattie and Pepper Soup
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
5 large carrots, scraped and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 large peppers, de-seeded and chopped, we used 1 red and 1 orange
about half a cup of quinoa
small bunch of fresh coriander or a tsp of dried cumin
5 cloves of garlic
water to cover
seasalt to taste
In a large pan, fry off the onion for a few minutes before adding the other veg. Stir until coated in oil and then add water (boiled in kettle makes cooking quicker). Add the quinoa, coriander/cumin and garlic and cook until the quinoa has sprouted and the vegetables are tender. Add salt. Blend until smooth, adding more water if too thick. If you like a creamy soup and have a strong blender throw a handful of cashew nuts in there too.
Sacred Elephant Incense is vegan and ethically produced and smells of peace and light and all the good stuff. The scent (in our case, Cedar) evokes Glastonbury and Findhorn and Iona, spiritual places, beautiful bookshops and clear skies.
Our dragon burner may not look so peaceful, but that’s just his way… The various scents: agar wood, cedar, cinnamon spice, gaura leela, Himalayan musk, myrrh, prema, rose, sandalwood, sayali jasmine, and vraja leela can be bought online here
To go with this we’ve dug back into the old archives of the Vegan Family House and found one of the first recipes to go online, back in 1998. It’s smokey too!
Smokey Seafood Rice
Don’t worry, the seafood here is Arame, a sea vegetable.
a little sunflower oil
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 block of smoked tofu
a good handful of dried arame
500g/18 oz/2 cups basmati rice (this makes a large potful to feed a family – reduce the amount of rice and water accordingly if you want)
a cupful of frozen peas
seasalt to taste
water to cover
Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes. Chop the tofu into small cuboids and add to the onion and garlic. Add the rice and mix well then add enough water to well cover the rice. Add the arame (you may need to add more water as seaweeds vary in how absorbent they are) and the seasalt. Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer. A few minutes before the end of cooking time add the peas. Nice served with a green salad. Enjoy!
That’s a raw vegan hemp chocolate shake from Purition, boasting 14.2g of protein and lots of healthy nuts and seeds. In fact that’s all it has; there’s no weird ingredients, no poly-whatsits or methyl-who-has, just hemp, sunflower kernels, chia and pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, linseeds: the good stuff.
The shakes are marketed as being suitable for breakfast, lunch or post workout. Replacing a meal with a drink? There were sceptical faces here, but these drinks are filling! Really filling. And delicious. The words ‘just like a chocolate milkshake’ were spoken.
Here’s a vanilla one with a chocolate topping to which we added a banana. In retrospect we could have layered it up all stripy from the bottom if we’d known how thick and substantial they were.
We also used them in our regular smoothies, replacing the usual avocado or nuts, which worked well.
The vegan sample box we had can be purchased from Purition or at Amazon.co.uk Shakes are also available singly in their 40g packs or in a large 500g size.
500ml soya milk
half teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
200g pudding rice
85g. dark chocolate (80% best), broken into small pieces
Bring milk, sugar and salt to the boil then add the rice. Stir occasionally while cooking for about 20 minutes – add more milk if too sticky. Stir in vanilla. Divide between 4 ramekins and insert the chocolate pieces into the middle and push down with a spoon. Leave at room temperature for a few minutes and the chocolate will go all melty like a rich sauce…
Room by Emma Donoghue. You’re best going into this knowing only that a five year old boy and his mother live in a tiny room and that the child, the voice of the novel, has never left it. So intriguing. Scary and thought provoking too. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
The Bones of You by Debbie Howells is a chilling and gripping murder mystery and a good exploration of narcissism. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
And if you need to laugh after those, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion should have you doing that from the opening pages as obviously autistic Don Tillman sets out to solve ‘the wife problem’. Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Yushoi sent us some of their healthy Snapea Rice Sticks to try. The four flavours: Lightly Salted; Soy and Balsamic Vinegar; Sweet Chilli and Lemon, and Smoked Salt and Szechaun Pepper are all delicious. Our favourite was the Szechaun Pepper with its rich and smoky barbecue taste.
All the Snapea Rice Sticks we were sent are suitable for vegans (edit: new Coconut and Chilli flavour contains milk) and also made in a nut free factory. While reminiscent of puffed corn or potato snacks, Yushoi actually make their products with green peas which are a better source of protein. The flavourings are all natural too. Baked, not fried, they come in a single serving size of 21g and a large re-sealable pack of 105g. So this Valentine’s Day: crisps not chocolate. Okay, maybe crisps and chocolate! And hummus… and tomatoes…
Snapea Rice Sticks are available at various shops: Tesco, Morrisons, The Co-op, Ocado, Wholefoods, WH Smith and even Amazon.