In Forest Gardening by Robert A de J Hart, the vegan author details his garden – a miniature forest filled with an abundance of things to eat. This is low maintenance gardening once established with trees, bushes and perennial plants which provide both shelter and food. Included are recommended plants for different regions of the world – this book is a huge resource of information and inspiration. Amazon UK
It’s certainly inspired us over the years. We live among the trees and love to eat the garden!
Below are more pictures and recipes from the food forest.
Courgettes and lettuce growing all wild and mixed up together:
We transplanted some wild garlic from the woods to a shady spot under trees in the garden and it’s thriving and spreading further every year.
A rabbit relaxes on the grass…
We grow quite a few annuals too…
Apple and bramble (blackberry) juice from trees and bushes:
Fruit bushes there are aplenty. White chocolate mousse above, topped with redcurrants and raspberries. Chocolate cheesecake below with mint and currants.
Mint is a wonderful herb to spread and grow wild. Minted noodle soup is a simple summer favourite:
Homemade ketchup by the barbecue:
Blend up: 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped 1 small onion also roughly chopped 1 clove of garlic 2 teaspoons of sugar 2 heaped tablespoons of tomato puree 3 tablespoons of vinegar (apple cider best) a little salt to taste herbs make a very nice addition – to the pictured sauce we added a bunch of fresh dill. This variety grows huge.
Sage, lovage, thyme and oregano are all great perennials too, and nice and hardy for Scotland!
Don’t miss our latest post over on Frugal Living in the UK:
Really flavoursome and delicious, these cauliflower steaks are super easy to prepare.
We used two medium sized cauliflowers and cut them into thick ‘steaks’ (there will be lots of wee bits too). We then rubbed them with two tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a dash of soy sauce. Roast in the oven at 200C/400F for about half an hour or until soft. Turn at least once during the cooking time and sort of squidge them around in the oil else they tend to dry out. YUM!
Beautiful blue poppy (flies like it too obviously) growing in the potato patch. These were the result of throwing a bag of out of date blue poppy seeds into the compost! They’re popping up everywhere…
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 600 children and young people who were kidnapped from Aberdeen during the 1740s and sold into indentured servitude in the American Colonies. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s proper derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!
From the Publisher’s press release here: “Fiery and forthright, Elizabeth isn’t someone to be argued with. Through her experiences, the reader sees her grow from a girl, into a woman with a powerful voice… a woman of her time, but very much of ours too.”
The cake above was made with the cacao rich vegan cake mix from Creative Nature. The little round sweets are their Gnawbles which are basically vegan Maltesers!
The mix makes a gorgeous, sweet and luxurious cake – you just add oil and milk of your choice – and the Gnawbles are delightfully crunchy and delicious.
Creative Nature also make snack bars which are great too. See the whole range here. It includes many different types of vegan cake mix and numerous varieties of Gnawbles and bars. Particularly innovative is the Hazelnot flavour, containing no nuts.
Use code VEGANFAMILYHOUSE10 at the checkout for a 10% discount.
Everything is gluten free, vegan and nut free too.
We made some scrummy and easy vegan meals with the free sausages mentioned earlier (now 15% off). We highly recommend them, they’re a really nice product and well-priced even when not free. Above is a mega salad consisting of: the braised sausages, tomato and sweetcorn; Greek baked beans (Lidl baby!); stuffed vine leaves (also Lidl); potato salad made with left-over baked potatoes; baby cuke and a red cabbage/onion/soy sauce salad.
Next – less photogentic, but no less delicious – pitta pizza with the salami and a homemade sauce that included lots of oregano from the garden.
Then – the last of the easy vegan meals for now – a baked tattie topped with hummus, pointed red pepper and sweetcorn and paired with soused red cabbage (similar recipe here) and the tofu & quinoa sausages.
Roll up! Roll up! Get your free vegan sausages here! Well not here exactly but over at Green Bay Vegan Supermarket. Their new range of plant based braised sausages, quinoa and tofu sausages and salami slices is totally free with any order of £10 or more.
🥦 Fry off an onion and some garlic. Chop and add: a head of broccoli, a potato, a stick of celery, a little fresh sage, parsley and lovage. Cover with water, bring to boil, turn down to simmer. Add several young nettle tops and a handful of cashew nuts. Once potatoes are soft, season with salt and pepper and blend just enough to leave some texture.
Vegan moussaka. Rich and delicious and good for you!
The most basic of recipes: layer up four roasted aubergines (thinly sliced length-ways prior to rubbing with olive oil and roasting until soft, about 30 mins) with green lentil ragu (simple pasta sauce recipe here, just add two small diced sweet potatoes and a chopped red pepper to it along with cooked green lentils, either two tins or 250g dried then cooked) and top with a thick white sauce (recipe here, leave out the vegetables).
Our quantities served six, or three eating it cold for lunch the next day too, which was very very good.
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE, inspired by the kidnapped children of Aberdeen, and featuring a historical vegan character (see post here), is out now. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… and there’s chocolate!
Fireflies and Chocolate, Lucy’s latest novel, written under the pen name of Ailish Sinclair, is out today. And this one features a real vegan from history: Benjamin Lay.
He’s not a main character but he shows up a few times in the story and his appearance is always profound and helpful to Elizabeth, the protagonist. Benjamin Lay lived from 1677-1759 and did not eat, wear or use anything that came from slavery, human or animal. He campaigned against the slave trade, particularly among his fellow Quakers, often in rather dramatic fashion as is shown in this quote from the book:
Mr Lay did stand out in the snow in his bare feet and stab a bible that was filled with some red juice to look like blood. He did this in front of the congregation as a message about slavery.
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 600 children and young people who were kidnapped from Aberdeen during the 1740s and sold into indentured servitude in the American Colonies. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… and there’s chocolate!
Vegan lentil loaf is not the most photogenic of dishes. Its brown whole-foody visage summons vegetarian magazines from the 1980s to mind, with their equally brown grainy photos.
But it’s delicious. And good for you. And pretty easy to make.
Ingredients, quantities serve six, adjust as required:
250g of green lentils (other types will work too)
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
a teaspoon of dried rosemary or sage
water for cooking
3 slices of wholemeal bread
a handful of porridge oats
salt and black pepper to taste (it really doesn’t need much salt)
sliced tomatoes for topping
Place the lentils in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn down to simmer for about 15 minutes then add the carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf and herbs. Cook until the lentils and vegetables are all tender, adding more water to keep covered if needed. Once the veg and lentils are ready, discard any excess water. You want it wet but not swimming in liquid else the loaf will be soggy. Transfer half the mixture (including the bay leaf) to a blender and give a quick blitz. It does not need to be smooth. Tip it back into the pan with the rest of the mix. Crumble the bread into it. Add the oats. Season and stir thoroughly.
Place it all in a greased baking dish. Top with sliced tomatoes and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200C/400F for half an hour.
Great in a roast dinner, or paired with macaroni cheese, or as part of a lighter meal with a baked potato, this lentil loaf also slices really well when cold for sandwiches and salads.
The book is a satisfyingly chunky hardback with lots of beautiful full page colour photos that reminded me of when my son was a toddler and used to like to look at recipe books. He would point at each picture and say ‘Nums!’ Well, there’s lots to say ‘nums’ about in this book… See our whole review here