Viva! Cookbook

viva cover

The beautiful new cookbook from Viva! by Jane Easton (see her delicious beanburger recipe over on frugal).

The organisational structure of the book is exceptionally user-friendly. First there’s the main sections: Vegan Basics; Souperb; A bit on the side; Back to the sauce; The main event and Sweet thing. Then there’s a range of indexes based on the codes found on the recipe pages: budget dishes, fast feeds, Gluten & wheat free, cooking for one, kid-friendly, freezable, low fat/diabetic-friendly.

The recipes themselves are diverse and gorgeous and there’s a stunning colour photo beside each one. It’s hard to know where to start with describing them as there as so many, so we’ll give you a favourite: Speedy Chocolate Pudding. You can click the photo to see a bigger version.

viva recipe

The book is a wonderful mix of simple advice for beginner cooks and those new to veganism through to advanced ideas such as Christmas Stuffed Squash with Two-rice, Cranberry and Porcini Mushroom Filling. Rose Elliot’s Chestnut and Red Wine Pate en croute that we’ve loved for years is also included.

There’s Scrambled Tofu; Socca Pizza with Cream Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts; Perfect Pancakes; Vegetable Tempura; Smokey Black Bean Cakes & Sausages; cakes, muffins, slices… we could go on and on. Really we could, there’s 145 recipes!

The beautiful photos make it an excellent coffee table title, so much better for inspiration than tucking it away on a shelf…

To buy or read more visit Viva!

Also available from Amazon.co.uk


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a pasta dish and a dragonfly

pasta

So simple: cook pasta of your choice; fry up some chopped onions and whole chestnut mushrooms in a little olive oil. Once cooked, drain the pasta and stir everything together adding salt as desired. Add chopped parsley and cherry tomatoes, some seeds. Eat.

And a dragonfly, there are so many this year…

dragonfly

Autumn and Oatly

mushrooms

Ah, Autumn, you’re upon us again. Season of beautiful leaves, mushrooms in the grass and an abundance of apples. And squashes, let’s not forget them.

Timely then that Oatly sent us some of their products and a recipe for Oatly roasted butternut squash soup with lemon thyme. The apples really add a seasonal fruitiness to this dish, don’t miss them out!

Ingredientsbutternut squash soup
250 ml Oatly Organic Creamy Oat
1 butternut squash
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. minced ginger
1 minced red chilli
2 sprigs of lemon thyme
2 green apples, diced
800 ml vegetable stock
1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted pumpkin seeds to serve

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 240C/475F
2. Halve the butternut squash and scoop out the seeds using a large spoon. Place the halves on a large baking sheet with flech side up. Drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
3. Heat a large pot over a medium high heat and add the oil. Add the onions, chilli, ginger and apple and cook gently until soft.
4. Using a large spoon, scoop out the flesh from the butternut squash and add it with the thyme to the pot.
5. Pour over the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Remove from the heat and blend using a hand-blender to desired consistency.
7. Add the Oatly Organic Creamy Oat and squeeze over lemon. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
8. Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds. We didn’t have those but we did have homemade potato wedges which made up for it.

Recipe credit: this recipe was made with Oatly Creamy Oat – a great dairy free, healthy alternative to single cream. For more delicious recipes and further information about the Oatly way of life, visit facebook.com/oatlyab

Creamy Oat is also great with puddings such as apple pie, it comes out of the fridge with the consistency of double cream. Pie recipe over on frugal.org uk

apple pie

Orange, pomegranate and kale salad

orange, pomegranate and kale salad

This salad is colourful and strongly flavoured. In fact, it is hard-core salad. Lots of chewing involved. No dressing. If the pomegranate is nice and ripe, preparing this salad will leave you looking like a guest at a wedding written by George R. R. Martin (but healthy).

We used:
6 oranges, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
the juicy contents of 1 large pomegranate
plentiful kale leaves, chopped or torn
some red lettuce, shredded

Mix and eat those colours, people!

salad in bowl

Other salad recipes here

Chocs Away!

Goodness Direct goodies
Goodness Direct sent us some things! Sweet things! Ooh!

The Booja Booja Champagne truffles we had tried before, hence our delight on seeing them in the box. They are smooth and rich and decadent, perfect for a special occasion or as a gift or treat.

truffles

The Eskal mints and fruit crèmes were new to us, but both very enjoyable, the mints reminiscent of Bendicks and the crèmes delicately and naturally flavoured. The company do quite a large range of vegan and gluten-free foods (we like the pasta and noodles too).

nutri snax

Nutri Snax are a bit like Nakd bars, maybe a little chewier, but very nice and they come in various flavours.

Lest this post be ever so sweetly misleading: Goodness Direct are actually an online health food shop, selling everything you would expect from such a store including fresh vegetables, bread and household items. Despite the fact we live in the North of Scotland, a package from them usually arrives the day after ordering. They offer free delivery on orders over £35. We’ve used them for years and know their customer service to be excellent.

Let’s finish up with an evening loch picture, just because:

loch

Creamy Vegetable Pie and a train…

River, trees and snowy mountains from a steam train window (it’ll make sense later).

Creamy Vegetable Pie is an old recipe that wasn’t included in the site update, but we’ve had requests for it so here it is 🙂

Ingredients:ACER
1 tablespoon vegan marg (we used Pure sunflower)
1 leek, chopped
5 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
6 carrots, chopped
about a cupful of frozen peas
1 vegan stock cube (we used Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes )
2 tablespoons white flour
3/4 of  litre of soya milk (approx)
seasalt to taste
2 kg potatoes, peeled
a little soya milk, marg and salt and pepper to mash into the tatties
large bunch of chives to mash into the tatties – easiest chopped up with scissors, straight into pan.

Peel and roughly chop the potatoes, place in a pan and cover with water and bring to boil. Once boiling turn down to simmer until soft. While that’s happening, prepare the veg and sauce. Melt the marg in a pan and add the veg and stock cube, cooking until slightly softened (5-10 min), stirring regularly. Add the flour and mix well. Gradually add the soya milk, stirring all the time until a nice thick sauce is formed round the veggies (you can add more soya milk or water if too thick). Season with salt and pepper and place in a large oven proof dish (we used a lasagne one).

Once the tatties are cooked, mash with the marg, s. milk, salt, pepper, and chives and spread this evenly on top of your veg sauce. Place in oven at 200c/400F for about 20 minutes or until browned as much as you like 🙂 Delicious with fresh salad…

Back to the train. The Strathspey Steam Railway  does lunches on board and with at least 24 hours notice they can cater for any dietary requirement. The three course Sunday lunch they gave us was lovely, and the first class compartment an added treat.

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some London eating

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In beautiful, colourful Neal’s Yard, in the former home of Monty Python, resides the Wild Food Café. We enjoyed our raw pizza and salad (it is ‘raw-centric’).

raw food from the wild food cafe

Also in Covent Garden is LabOrganic, which we visited more than once for their fresh green juices and raw chocolate mousse.

We loved The Coach and Horses vegetarian pub with its timeless rickety stairs, twenties music and somehow Dickensian mantelpiece:

mantle piece

The ‘tofush’ and chips was excellent:

vegan fish and chips

and the flowers in a teapot, pretty:

flowers on the table

Though we didn’t eat in them, Food for Thought in Neal St. had a savoury and delicious smell wafting out its door and the dishes visible through the window of totally vegan Vantra Vitao looked very good.

Useful resource: Vegan London

Cheap tickets etc:

just pointing you to Vegan Easter…

bunniest-dark-button-eggHere it is

There’s bunnies and eggs. Online stock always sells out fast. Go get.

 

snowdrops

Tibits, Tomato Soup and Vegan Month

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Autumn is deepening and darkening, it’s conker time, it’s almost November, and November is vegan month. Animal Aid are running The Great Vegan Challenge where anyone can pledge to be vegan for a month with lots of help and support detailed here on their website (some rather nice recipes there too).

The vegetarian restaurant Tibits in London, normally 80% vegan in its offerings, is going to be launching Vegan Days, specifically on the 1st, 7th, 18th and 29th of November. Further vegan days will be mentioned here on their website. Judging by the lovely book they sent us – Tibits at Home – the food is pretty delicious.

Divided into seasons, the plethora of colourful recipes are all accompanied by photos. We liked the fact there are juice recipes and lots of really tasty sounding quinoa dishes, but today we tried the tomato soup with lemongrass and coconut milk, recipe below.

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Theirs is rather better presented than ours 🙂 The book is now splattered, always a good sign with a cookbook.

Preparation time 40 minutes:
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 stalk lemongrass
200g green leeks
600g fully ripened tomatoes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
350ml vegetable stock
half tsp ginger powder
half tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp chilli oil
1 tsp sea salt
150ml coconut milk
freshly ground seasalt and white pepper

1. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic. Squash the lemongrass on a chopping board and chop finely.
2. Wash the leek, cut into half lengthwise and then chop into fine strips. Wash the tomatoes, remove the stem ends and chop into 3cm dice.
3. Sweat the onion, garlic and lemongrass in the hot olive oil until transparent. Add the diced tomatoes, veg stock, ginger, lemon pepper, chilli oil and sea salt and simmer at low temperature for 20 minutes.  Puree the soup in a food processor and pass through a sieve.
4. Add the coconut milk and the leek and lightly cook for another five minutes. Add seasalt and pepper to taste.

It was a very nice and warming recipe despite being from the summer section of the book. There are many sweet photos throughout, this was our favourite:

tibits 018 (550x413)

Next up will be the parsnip soup though the linguini with pumpkin and swiss chard also looks enticing…

Don’t forget out own paprika pumpkin soup recipe this autumn, the shops seem to be stocking proper culinary pumpkins this year.

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vegan pizza cheese!

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It goes all melty in the oven and tastes like something from the distant past, in a good way, not in an over-flavoured, chemically and unfortunate way. This pizza cheese comes ready grated and is delicious. I extended the taste testers beyond just our family, including those who still eat dairy cheeses, and the general consensus was that this vegan cheese ‘does not taste weird’, which is actually quite an accolade.

The same company do a range of sliced vegan cheeses in ten flavours: original, cheddar, peppers, hot peppers, olive oil, olives, tomato and basil, herbs, pizza  and mushroom. They all share subtle flavouring from whole added ingredients and are very pleasant in a sandwich. Particular favourites in this house were mushroom, herb and pepper. Pictured below is the ‘original’ type paired with lettuce and onion.

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I like the fact that the products contain no palm oil; they are also free from gluten and soya.

Available from Green Bay Vegan Supermarket and some health food shops.