Thursday, 26 February 2015


Yes, we've made it.
Vegan 'Nutella'.

It's horribly easy. So easy you'll be rounder than you've ever been in a month's time. Yep, fat vegans exist y'know.

1 cup of mixed brazils and cashew nuts
2 tsp pure organic vanilla extract
3 tbsps raw cacao powder
4 tbsps maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
One-eighth of a teaspoon of salt
Half a cup of almond milk

Blend the nuts in a food processor or blender till they form a paste. (We actually put ours through the juicer, as we have a grinding attachment, and this worked really well. If you do, you'll need to move the nuts to your food processer/blender afterwards to continue.)

Add the coconut oil to the nuts, carry on blending till the mixture starts to get smooth.

Add all of the remaining ingredients and blend till creamy and 'spreadable'.

That's it.
It should look something like the extreme close-up below. We ate it on Leigh's fresh crusty home-made bread.

Now go away and eat it, for the love of all that's chocolatey.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Hands down to the Lansdowne.

On Wednesday, G had to venture into Leicester to buy some Okra for a curry he's making me, and one that I believe will be featuring on the blog courtesy of Sarah at a later date! I decided to tag along mainly for one reason: I wanted to try out the vegan menu at the Lansdowne pub.

Located on the London road, a mere five minute walk from the train station, the Lansdowne is part of the Orange Tree group. I'd seen another vegan foodie based in Leicester talk about the place so I thought I'd venture there myself, and after nosing at the menu I was eager to get my chops around some polenta fries!

Now the place has a really nice interior, with a mixture of beautifully designed furniture, and just a relaxed atmosphere. We arrived for opening at 12, and within the first half an hour a steady flow of customers entered- which I think is always a good sign.

Like I said I did look at their autumn menu before we went, and had my heart settled on their Mediterranean Vegetable stew- full of butternut squash, grilled pepper, aubergine and artichokes in a rich red pepper sauce served with mashed flageolet beans. But I wasn't hungry enough for it, so instead settled on the homemade raw carrot hummus and grilled veg sandwich on a nice ciabatta. It's nice to see on their menu that they source their breads from a local Leicestershire bakery. I love businesses that are conscientious of their stock sourcing- and supporting local trade!

I upgraded the sarnie (for £2) to make sure I had the chance to sample the polenta fries, and G had a veggie burger, consisting of halloumi & sweet potato which, like their other burgers, comes with the choice polenta fries or normal wedges. And oh boy, those fries were divine. Nice crispy edge and chewy soft middle. I'm not sure how I've never made them before, especially with a bag of polenta sitting in the back of the cupboard. Let's just say, the polenta won't be staying there forever, and with a vegan polenta recipe in my newest cookbook, I shall definitely be making my own. 

Now, the restaurant was great. Whenever I had any questions about the food the staff were super accommodating and quick to get answers. The deserts board seemed to have no vegan options but when asked the kitchen gave me the option of a lemon sorbet or mixed berry samosas. Being pretty full, and with neither option screaming out to me I declined. 

One thing that niggled me: the lack of sandwich/lunchtime/lighter eating choices for vegans. Don't get me wrong, what I had was absolutely tasty, filling and satisfying. I just wish there had been a tad more variety. Their other vegan dish choices seemed more like an evening meal affair. 

Saying that, I shall be going back (this time in the evening) to make sure I get a taste of that appealing Mediterranean stew. Even G said he'll go for a vegan option next time.

Monday, 9 February 2015


We have needed a decent protein ball for a long time, since we are doing more in the gym and Leigh is currently also engaged in some heavy wood-manipulation (we have a woodburner to feed, which in turn feeds the whole house with heat and hot water).

So this is what I came up with. It is a combination of several recipes with my own alterations and additions! It's simple and you can knock up a batch every Sunday like we are now, ready for down-the-week pre-/post-gym or anytime-in-between protein injections, or in your packed lunches.

I also thought these made a good 'BACKATCHA' to Katherine's Raw Carrot Cake Bites - these too are raw.

[Note: Do not use whey protein - it behaves differently from plant-based protein and will not keep as long either (and it make your balls smell funny.)]

Use the same sized cup for everything.
I used a mug, and it made about 20 balls.

1 cup of almonds
1 fistful of cashew nuts (about a quarter of a cup)
1 cup of soya, pea, hemp or other plant-derived protein powder
Pinch of salt
2 x tablespoons pure cocoa powder (not hot chocolate)
2 x tablespoons of coconut oil (MELT GENTLY till liquid)
5 x tablespoons of maple syrup
0.5 cup coconut, almond or soya milk
3 teaspoons of organic (non-propylene glycol) vanilla essence
1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes - half as an ingredient, half for rolling the balls in


Put the dry ingredients - almonds and cashews, protein powder, cocoa powder and salt - into a blender/food processor (we do it on the top of the Kenwood Chef).
Leave the coconut aside for now.
Blend carefully till crumbly but a wee bit sticky-togethery.

Then, in a separate bowl, mix together by hand the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, soya milk and vanilla essence - basically, all the wet ingredients.

Add half the coconut to the wet ingredients once mixed.

Scrape the wet ingredients into the dry stuff in the blender and blend carefully.
You'll probably need to scrape it down from the sides now and again (WITH THE BLENDER SWITCHED OFF!)

When it's well mixed - good and squidgy - dump the lot into a bowl being careful to get ALL that precious mixture out of the blender with a spatula.

Roll into balls neatly about the size of the bottom half of a hen's egg, and roll in the coconut.

Place into a lidded tin on a layer of baking paper, and leave them with the lid off for the first 12 hours or so (or overnight) - this helps them firm up a bit.

Then stuff them in your face.

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