Vegan Abroad

I promised pictures would follow, and so they shall!
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That was taken in the Alcazar Gardens – by FAR my favourite part of the trip! Oh it was so beautiful I could have stayed there forever! My friend and I just breathed in the air there and felt so, so wonderful. Stayed for hours just meandering.

My favourite meal, ironically in a Steakhouse, was one that I went on to recreate when we went on to Seville and had our own apartment. I just fell in love with the sweetness of the couscous, with the tangy chilli and gorgeous veg!
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Here’s the recipe:

1. In a saucepan, heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of honey, a dash of chilli powder, a dash of almond milk, and a handful of sesame seeds.
2. In another prepare the cous-cous, cooking till fluffy and at the same time frying up whichever vegetables you choose in some olive oil.
3. Once the veg is crisping up (I used onion, aubergine, courgette, mushrooms and peppers) toss it and the cous-cous in with the sauce and mix it all together. Serve hot and enjoy with a glass of Sangria, preferably!

Fruit, in Spain. Is beautiful. Honestly, the colours are breathtaking – like precious gems! Breakfast for me every day was a gorgeous fruit platter that erased any evil from the night before!
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Nothing gears me up for the day like fruit. Since being home I’ve been making breakfast salads with an approximation of the honey sauce from above, but cold, and chopped up apple in with the lettuce instead of veg.

Soon I’ll be starting music college – within the next week – and last night was the first of what will be many house parties this year, so I’m a little worse for wear! Not as bad as my housemates though as they’re still in bed! The perfect healthy hangover food for me was a minestrone soup that I made and froze a couple of days ago:

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil,
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp basil,
1/2 tsp oregano
5 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
2 courgettes, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked beans (of choice – I actually used chickpeas)
3 cups chopped spinach
2 tbsps. parsley, minced

Methhod:
1. In a big pot heat the oil and then add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cover and cook until softened.
2. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, stock and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add courgette and beans then cook until courgette is softened.
4. Stir in spinach and simmer till wilted, then add parsley just before serving.

TRY IT! So good 🙂

I leave you with a picture of beautiful Seville. Have a wonderful day! x

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Spanish Ladies

So, I have not posted for a while. I shall now divulge the reason. Pretend you didn’t already guess from the title of this post.
I’VE BEEN IN SPAIN!

Let me tell you now, Spain is amazing. Truly, utterly amazing! I loved it. I soaked up the sun like a sponge along with the culture, which my friend and I embraced wholeheartedly. We had siesta’s and everything! And ate dinner past ten pm! It was fabulous.

The most difficult thing to be honest was maintaining my vegan diet. Spanish food is decidedly un-vegan. If it doesn’t have meat, there’s fish, and if not fish, there is undoubtedly cheese. And sometimes they don’t seem happy about taking the cheese out on request. I was met with many blank looks when I asked! Oh well though, I got by, and I didn’t digress from my veganism once, about which I am very proud!

A question I get asked a lot is how I get enough energy from my food. (I have a somewhat manic lifestyle). It’s a question I don’t really understand however, as to my way of thinking I get natural energy from everything I eat! And of COURSE I’m going to ultimately feel better after a bowl of quinoa, hoummous and avocado, than after a cheeseburger and chips.

For example, the day I travelled to Spain, I had a cup of nettle tea and a bowl of granola with almond milk, and it saw me through without a hitch! I just took some raw cashews to snack on, and I was raring to go!

So good for you!

So good for you!

Cashews have an insane amount of health benefits; such a superfood. From fighting cancer to maintaining a healthy heart, I have a lot of love for them. They’re also lower in fat than most nuts, which is a plus, and what they do have is considered good fat.
I have to say, I am a fan of Tapas in general! Lots of vegetables 🙂 In particular I loved the Spinach and Chickpea stew option, and the roasted vegetables in olive oil. They were a staple to my trip, and I’m planning on recreating the stew! I also had fried aubergine cakes which were DELICIOUS!

It’s difficult to maintain health sometimes on holiday, but this trip wasn’t a problem for me (apart from a little too much tinto de verano!) as I went running every other morning and kept to my mostly plant based diet.

Mostly for breakfast it was delicious fresh fruit and fresh passion fruit juice, which was a treat. Then tapas at around 4 pm, followed by dinner whenever we felt like it.

My friend is definitely NOT vegan, but actually the best vegan meal I ate there was at a steakhouse she made me go into! I had a cous-cous dish with roasted veg and a beautiful honey sauce that was to die for! Steaming hot and so wonderful! Another dish I must recreate.

In my next post a recipe will follow, actually, as well as some others I picked up, and lots of pictures!

Over x

Healthy Chocolate Cake! Yes, Really :)

Howdy people!

That was an unrelated start to today’s post. I’m not going to write about beef jerky, or whatever it is cowboys eat.

Obviously not, in fact, because I’m a committed vegetarian. And in FACT am in the process of doing a Vegan trial for a month. On day 11 I believe!

I’m loving it, actually. The thing is, I’ve felt so bad about the situation with farmed animals, for so long, but I didn’t go vegetarian until last year because I was scared I wouldn’t get the vitamins I needed. Because of my singing I need my body to be in optimum working order, with all the nutrients I need to be healthy and strong. HOWEVER, I learned more about it, did my research, and I feel better than ever, ethically and physically.

My family have mixed opinions…My Mum’s very supportive (she’s actually doing the month vegan trial with me, bless her cotton socks!) but my Dad thinks I’m being silly. He’s very much a carnivore. Two of my sisters are firmly his side of the fence, but my youngest declares she’s going to be ‘at least a pescatarian when she’s older’.

So yes. The majority of my family are bemused with my ‘hippie ideals’ and think I’m mad. None more so than my fruit-and-vegetable hating Uncle. And he is relevant to today’s post, people. This is the story of how he ate beetroot without realising it.

 

It was a sunny, idyllic day in good ol’ Jersey a few weekends ago, and I sojourned to my Uncles house to have a barbecue with some family and friends. Known for my interest (ahem, obsession…) with cooking they presumed I would bring something, and I said I’d bring dessert. My Uncle was heard in the background:

“Fruit salad ISN’T a dessert!”

“Don’t worry, Uncle dear,” I said sweetly. “I’m making chocolate cake! You’ll love it!”

That did it. Chocolate is the magic word.

All the while, however, I was plotting. I was determined that I would get vegetables into the cake. And that he would like it.

The result…this very recipe: Enjoy! He did 😉

 

Ingredients:

2 cups flour (I used wholemeal)

1 cup + 2 tbsps ground almonds

2 heaped tsps baking powder

2 heaped tsps bicarbonate of soda

4 heaped tsps cocoa powder

¼ tsp sea salt (well, I used Himalayan sea salt, but hey)

2 cups cooked beetroot, mashed

½ cup liquid sweetener (I used prune juice actually, as I had some lying around)

½ cup honey

1 banana, mashed

¼ cup sunflower oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chopped dark chocolate

 

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line your cake tin
  2. Toast 1 cup of the ground almonds gently until golden brown, keep 2 tbsps aside
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients
  4. Mix the wet ingredients, when fully combined add to dry and mix well
  5. Bake for approx. 1-1 ½ hours until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out dry
  6. Let it cool for 15 mins and then top with fruit or nuts or…whatever!
  7. FOOL THEM ALL!

 

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So there you have it! The recipe was an amalgamation of several different ones and the topping was basically what we had in the fridge. Worked pretty well!

But the moral of the story IS that vegetables are awesome, and that tricking people into eating them is fun. I felt like a Vegan Ninja.

 

But dreams aside, this cake is yum! Moist, decadent and shamefully healthy! Eat your heart out whoever you are x

 

Breakfast out of Bed

I believe in breakfast. In secondary school when all my friends were trying out the ‘oh my god I have to diet even though I’m not even fat because that’s what the girls in Mean Girls do!’ thing, and they were skipping breakfast, I was not impressed.

Firstly, I was skeptical of the motivation behind it as, let’s be fair, they always got hungry a few hours into the day and bought a bacon roll or something before having their lunch.

Secondly, it’s called breakfast, people. BreakFast. As in, the Breaking of a Fast. i.e. Sleep.

You don’t eat whilst you’re sleeping, generally, and so it is neccessary in the mornings to refuel your body in order to tackle the day ahead with any degree of va-va-voom.

BREAKFAST IS IMPORTANT.

When I was having my problems with eating I would, I admit, skip breakfast. But this only allows me to say now with authority that breakfast should not be skipped. It left me feeling listless, like the day ahead was a struggle and an uphill slog. My body was screaming at me to give it what it needed to cope with all the stress of exams and auditions I was throwing at it, but I was silly enough to block my ears.

So yes. I believe in breakfast.

The reason I’m writing this really is that this last week I have had the BEST breakfasts! I’ve literally woken up looking forward to eating it!

First off, I made myself a big batch of cashew hazelnut milk with honey, cinnamon and vanilla, which was GOOD. Then, I discovered that millet could be used as porridge.

WHA?

I had a whole big bag of millet sitting gathering figurative dust in my cupboard! So I looked at a few different variations and decided to lose my millet-porridge virginity with this one: http://www.thevegancookiefairy.com/2013/04/fig-cinnamon-orange-millet-porridge.html

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Heaven.

It is so good. SO good. I cooked up a whole batch of it and then stored it in my fridge, but the first day I had it was an epiphany! I had a bowl of it and then did a zumba class. I was so energized and bright-eyed and felt so happy after a long, draining week of feeling blah! The orange gives the dish a tangy lift (I used all the juice) and I am a massive fan of ginger! along with the figs, which made me nostalgic as they used to be my ‘sweetie’ of choice when I was a little tyke, it was just the perfect breakfast.

And it got better every day!

The millet absorbed more and more of those delicious flavours, and by day 5 of my supply I was adding pomegranite kernels and wearing a ridiculous grin on my face all day, every day.

With the milk I had made using this wonderful recipe: http://ohmyveggies.com/recipe-cinnamon-vanilla-cashew-milk (Added some hazelnuts because I didn’t have quite enough cashews!) it really was just a divine way to start the day.

Go and try it already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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To make myself feel better totally about eating breakfast again after my spell without it, I did some research. Research that gave me a kick up the ass, to be frank! not eating first thing in the morning does not help you lose weight. On the contrary, your metabolism will slow down throughout the day as a result. Also, there’s been a study from the University of Alabama showing that those people who ate a breakfast that was rich in fats burned more fat through the day than those who ate one that was high in carbs! Obviously, we’re talking healthy fats here like avacado. This doesn’t mean you can eat a whole tub of pringles at 8:00, or whatever.

Well, you could, but…yuck!

So yeahhh guys! Breakfast! Woo! Fuller for longer, stable blood-sugar levels, less prone to snackage and a better metabolism; what’s not to love?!

x