Weekends are for brunching and here is one of our favourites. The combination of fresh, vibrant green pesto, soft, wobbly scrambled tofu and juicy, umami mushrooms is just perfect!
You can make your own pesto very easily if you have a food processor or blender – I used my kale and pumpkin seed pesto that I’m making on repeat this time – or you can of course use a ready made one for ease. We sell a few organic jars of pesto in the grocery section of our shop. The scramble is simply a gently sautéed pack of organic silken tofu seasoned with salt, pepper and some chopped sun-dried tomatoes. And those gorgeous, meaty mushrooms are marinated with our new packs of umami paste then grilled.
What’s your favourite brunch? Are you a sweet or savoury person? Let us know in the comments.
Cut bread and pop it in the toaster ready to go. Heat up a griddle pan (or fire up the grill in your oven).
Slice the mushrooms in half and mix them with the umami paste and a drizzle of olive oil in a bowl. Then push them onto skewers and place them in a hot griddle pan (or on a tray under your grill) to cook whilst you get on with the scramble.
Heat up a knob of butter (or tbsp of olive oil) in a medium-high heated frying pan. Open your pack of silken tofu, drain off any excess liquid and then pop it in the pan. Break it up gently with a wooden spoon or a spatular.
Season the scrambling tofu with salt and pepper and then add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Keep the scramble moving and cook it for 5 minutes or so until it’s warmed through, but don’t break it up too much. It’s nice when there are still some larger pieces.
Meanwhile turn the mushrooms in the grill to cook the other side and then toast the bread.
Spread the toast with a thick layer of pesto, then divide the scramble and mushrooms between the plates.
How is it the Easter holidays already? The kids have only just been back at school for a few moments! Well here we are and what is Easter without toasted sticky, spiced, fruity buns slathered in lots of butter? Here’s my plant based recipe. Sure it takes a while to make, but most of that time is just waiting for the dough to rise. These will keep you and the kids busy for a least one day over the Easter holidays anyway. Liz x
Ingredients (makes 12 buns)
2 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinnamon
300ml milk (I use oat milk)
50g butter (I use a dairy free butter)
500g strong white bread flour (plus about 60g extra for making the paste for the crosses)
70g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar mixed into a syrup with a little water (or maple syrup) for glazing
Measure out the sultanas and spices into a small bowl. Add the zest and juice of the orange. If your orange is very large, just use half the juice. Mix well and allow the sultanas to soak up the orange juice and spices.
Measure the milk and butter into a small pan and gently heat it to melt the butter. Allow it to cool to a touchable temperature while you measure out the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients well then pour in the warm milk and butter and mix with your hand into a rough, sticky dough.
Tip the dough onto a clean work surface then knead well for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, stretchy ball of dough. Don’t be tempted to add more flour, just keep kneading until it all comes together. Then pop the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover it with a clean tea towel and allow it to rise and double in size. This should take about an hour in a warm place.
When the dough has doubled in size, stretch it out onto a clean work surface and spread over all of the juicy, spicy sultana mixture. Then roll it up and give the dough an extra knead to incorporate the ingredients. Put the dough back in the bowl to rise again for another hour or so in a warm spot.
Once the dough has doubled in size again, take it out and divide it in 12 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into neat balls and put them on a lined baking sheets. I space mine out onto two sheets because my oven doesn’t bake evenly so I like to give them room for the hot air to circulate. If your oven is good you can place them together on one large baking sheet, just leave a couple of cm between each one to allow them space to rise. Cover them with the tea towel and allow them to rise for about 45 minutes.
Once the buns have risen, mix about 60g of flour with just enough water to make a paste (aim for the texture of toothpaste). Then spoon the paste into a piping bag and pipe crosses over the buns. You could do other designs too if you like? Signs of spring like eggs, flowers, bunnies or lambs… Then put the buns into a preheated oven at 200C (fan) for 15 to 20 minutes until the buns are golden brown.
*If the buns are looking a bit dry, spray them with a little water just before they go in the oven. Most of the rise will happen in the oven now so you don’t want them to form a crust before having a chance to rise and get fluffy inside.
When the buns are cooked, removed them from the oven and brush them with syrup while they are still hot. I simply mix a couple of tbsps of brown sugar with enough boiling water to make a syrup. You could use maple syrup or warmed, sieved apricot jam instead. Then allow them to cool before eating. They are fantastic still warm and fresh from the oven or if you are eating them the next day they are great toasted. Happy Easter!
Easily get 10 portions of fruit and veg into your day with this plant based St Patrick’s Day menu. No green food colouring in sight but lots of vibrant, fun, healthy ideas. Hope you have a fab day off everyone! Let us know what you are cooking to celebrate the day in the comments or over on our friendly facebook page.
Green Smoothie Pancakes
Is it even St Patrick’s Day if you don’t eat something green? Avoid the food colouring and get out your blender for these sweet (but healthy) pancakes.
Ingredients (makes 10 pancakes)
a couple of large handfuls of rinsed kale (or spinach)
Put all the ingredients except the butter and maple syrup into a smoothie maker and blend until smooth.
Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium then melt some butter and fry the pancakes in small batches for a few minutes on each side until cooked through. It’s better to cook them low and slow so that they are cooked through and not too dark on the outside.
Stack them up and serve simply with butter and a generous drizzle of maple syrup or your favourite pancake toppings.
Golden Boxty with Rainbow Slaw
Traditional Irish potato griddle cakes (but with very non-traditional grated courgette in the mashed potato batter instead of grated raw potato) are fried in butter until golden brown. Serve these ‘pots of gold’ with a rainbow slaw of fresh, raw, crunchy veg and a dollop of mayo for the perfect lunch.
mayonnaise to serve (or make your own using my easy aquafaba recipe here)
Start with the slaw. Shred the cabbage, grate the carrot and thinly slice the peppers, spring onions and chives. Mix in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon to start with and the olive oil. Taste and add more lemon juice if you like.
Preheat a frying pan and mix up the boxty batter. Put the mashed potato, grated courgette (or raw potato), flour, milk, vinegar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. You should end up with a batter that’s a dropping consistency. If not, add more milk.
Fry in melted butter on a medium heat for about 5 or so minutes on each side. You can fry them in little fritters or in large rounds the size of the pan. Carefully flip them over when the bottom is golden brown. Add more butter to the pan before flipping if it’s looking a bit dry.
Serve warm with the rainbow slaw and a dollop of mayonnaise.
Irish Stew with Soda Dread Dumplings
Meaty mushrooms and bitter Guinness makes this stew rich and delicious and what better way to mop up the juices than with some Irish soda bread? I steam it as dumplings on top here for a hearty one pot supper but you could bake it separately if you prefer and serve it alongside. Looking for a gluten free alternative? Why not make some colcannon (mashed potato with wilted green cabbage or kale and spring onion stirred through) to go with the stew instead and use a gluten free stout in place of the Guinness?
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion
3 sticks of celery
4 cloves of garlic
1 mug of green lentils
1 stock cube
1 can of Guinness
2 tbsp dark brown sugar (optional – to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped chives to serve
500g flour (I like 250g plain and 250g wholemeal)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml oat milk
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Get a large pot on the hob and heat it to the highest setting.
Roughly dice the onion and add it to the pot with 2 tbsp of sunflower oil.
Roughly dice the carrots, celery and mushrooms and add them to the pot next.
Stir occasionally and allow the vegetables to take on some colour and caramelised flavour for around 10 minutes. Then peel, chop and add the 4 cloves of garlic.
Rinse your mug of green lentils and add them to the pot with the can of Guinness, the stock cube and an additional mug of water. Season the stew with salt and lots of black pepper. Give the broth a taste and add some brown sugar to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness if needed.
Then let the stew come up to a simmer while you make the soda bread dough.
Measure the dry ingredients (the flour, salt and bicarb) into a large mixing bowl and mix well to evenly disperse the bicarbonate of soda and salt. Check for lumps and sort them out now before you add the wet ingredients.
Measure the wet ingredients (the oat milk, oil and vinegar) into a measuring jug and give it a stir. This is the plant based alternative for the traditional buttermilk in the recipe. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well with a wooden spoon to form a rough dough. No need to knead, just stir well to ensure there are no dry, floury bits in the dough.
Use wet hands to form 6-8 balls of dough and place them carefully in the top of the simmering stew. Put the lid on the pot, make sure it’s turned down ow and allow the stew to simmer an the soda bread to steam for about 20-30 minutes.
Check that the lentils are cooked through then serve the hot stew and dumplings with chopped chives on top.
Mint Choc Chip Ice-Cream
This ice cream is vibrant green, creamy and sweet…but made with peas and bananas! Don’t be put off by the healthy ingredients, blended frozen banana is a creamy revelation and peas are naturally so sweet. It’s especially good if the banana is frozen when super-ripe. If you eat through your bananas from your weekly delivery then this recipe is a good way to use up those reduced over-ripe bananas at the shops. A win-win for you and for the epic food waste problem the planet is facing. I’ve used cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips because I love their bitter, dark chocolate flavour, but do feel free to substitute with real chocolate chips…especially if you are serving this to children.
optional sweetener of your choice to taste (eg maple syrup)
and a tbsp or so of cacao nibs (or sub with chocolate chips)
Peel and chop as many over-ripe bananas as you like. About one per person. Freeze them overnight on a tray until solid (with gaps between the pieces otherwise they’ll all freeze together and be very difficult to blend).
You’ll need a strong food processor with an S blade attachment. A food processor works better that a jug/smoothie blender for this.
Put the frozen banana chunks and frozen peas into your blender along with fresh mint leaves to taste.
Blend into a frozen, crumbly texture then stop the blender, scrape down the sides and blend again until vibrant green and creamy.
Taste the mixture and add a sweetener or more mint leaves if you like and blend again.
Scrape the nice cream out into a tub and stir through cacao nibs or chocolate chips. Scoop into balls and serve (they will be quite soft at this stage so for quickly) or move to the freezer to firm up until you are ready to serve.
Organic, egg-free mayo is so simple to make with common store-cupboard ingredients. The easiest way is with soya milk as per the illustrated recipe above from my book. But there’s another way if you are intolerant to soy or don’t have soy milk in the house. Aquafaba is the viscous liquid result of boiling beans, the most reliable source is from a tin of organic chickpeas, and it’s truly magic stuff. It makes a brilliant egg white replacement and I use it in lots of cake recipes like this clafoutis. It is used as an emulsifier in this mayonnaise recipe and it works perfectly.
Let us know in the comments or over on our facebook group if you try this recipe. We love to see our recipes recreated in your homes. Liz x
*Get the ingredients from our shop. Just click on any of the bold words and you’ll be taken right to the product so you can easily add it to your cart.
Measure the aquafaba, mustard, salt, vinegar and optional flavourings into a jar or jug in which your immersion blender will fit.
Blend with the immersion blender until frothy.
Add the oil in a slow steam whilst continuing to blend. You may not need to use it all. Stop once your mayonnaise is thick, creamy and glossy.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as you wish with more salt/mustard/vinegar.
Keep refrigerated and use within 2 weeks.
Add to sandwiches, burgers and wraps.
Stir through shredded cabbage and carrot to make homemade coleslaw.
Dunk potato wedges in it or other roasted veg chips.
Make potato salad. Mix through boiled potatoes, carrot and beetroot with chopped dill and spring onions.
Saffron mayo is especially good with patatas bravas. Roast bite size chunks of potato with olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Make a simple tomato sauce (simmer sautéed onion and garlic with a tin of chopped tomatoes and seasoning) and serve the potatoes in small tapas bowls on top of the sauce with chopped parsley and saffron mayo.
Make a vegan ‘egg mayo’ sandwich. Simply mash the chickpeas from the tin, then stir through some mayo and chopped chives or spring onions, black or white pepper and then pile between two slices of bread with some watercress, rocket or our seasonal winter purslane. It’s great with some crunchy, peppery radish slices too! Get that eggy flavour by sprinkling in some sulphurous kala namak (aka black salt).
Blood oranges are in season now and they are unmissable! Add them to your order here to make the most of their short season. They are sweeter and more perfumed than regular oranges and our organic ones are wax free. Zest to make the most of the bright, citrus flavour in their orange oil scented skin before slicing. Stir the zest through this pancake batter or through the polenta cake batter in the recipe below.
Polenta cakes are naturally gluten free and go so well with citrus flavours. They are moist and moreish with a gorgeous, sunny crumb…possibly my favourite type of cake! This is a riff on a classic lemon polenta cake recipe which is normally baked, then soaked with a zingy lemon syrup. In this recipe, instead of the lemon syrup, I have placed juicy slices of blood orange in the bottom of the cake tin to make the most of their stunning, ombre blush.
Let us know in the comments of over on our facebook group if you make this cake. I’d love to see your photos. Liz x
Preheat the oven to 175C. Butter a 23cm cake tin with the tbsp of butter (preferably a loose bottomed one, but a regular cake tin is fine too).
Zest the oranges into a mixing bowl. Then trim a thin slice off the top and bottom of the oranges, and using a small, sharp knife, slice off the skin and white pith. Then slice the oranges into discs and arrange them in a neat layer in the bottom of the buttered cake tin.
Measure the rest of the ingredients into the mixing bowl with the orange zest and whisk until smooth.
Pour the batter over the layer of orange slices, even it out with a spatular and bake for 30 minutes.
Allow the cake to mostly cool in the tin. Then run a knife around to loosen it from the sides. Put a plate over the cake tin and turn it upside down. Carefully lift the cake tin off the plate and you should be left with a beautiful upside down cake. You may need to pop bits that stick to the bottom of the cake tin back onto the cake.
TIP: if you don’t have ground almonds you can easily make your own. Just blend whole or blanched almonds in a food processor until they resemble a rough flour.
Beetroot in a brownie is nothing new, but it’s still a delicious way to use up those beets in your box – especially if you live in a house of beetrootphobes. Beetroot keeps the brownies extra moist and although you can’t taste them, their earthy sweetness brings an extra quality to the overall flavour that just works really well. My recipe is egg and dairy free and totally adaptable. Leave out the beetroot if you like or replace it with something else. How about some raspberries or cherries? Or some walnuts or hazelnuts? A swirl of peanut butter and some raspberry jam? Let us know over on our community facebook group if you come up with a brownie addition that you’d like to share. Liz x
Boil about 270g of beetroot (usually around 3 medium sized ones) in plenty of water until cooked through. Then allow the beetroots to cool and slip off their skins using your hands or a small, sharp knife. You should be left with around 250g of cooked beetroot.
Pre-heat your oven to 175C and line a baking dish with baking paper (I use a 25x16cm dish).
Weigh out the dark chocolate and coconut oil into a large pan.
Gently melt the chocolate and oil together on a low heat.
Whisk your favourite milk (I love creamy oat milk) into the pan and all the dry ingredients – the flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarb and baking powder.
Grate the cooked, peeled beetroot straight into the pan and stir well with a wooden spoon/spatular.
Scrape the batter into the lined baking dish, level it out ensuring you get into the corners of the dish, then bake it for 30 minutes or so until it is cracked on top but still has a slight wobble.
Allow the brownie to cool & firm up in the dish to make it easier to slice, you can even chill it in the fridge overnight.
Then carefully move it onto a chopping board, slice it into portions and enjoy!
Here’s a video of the process if you’d like to watch how I do it.