The Vegan Storecupboard

We are approaching World Vegan Month, which punctually runs in November every year starting on November 1st, and celebrates a plant-based diet.

If you feel inspired to try and start a vegan diet, the first step is to choose the right ingredients to cook with at home, which will help to keep the costs down. In The Vegan Cookbook – 100 of the Best Vegan Recipes, Adele McConnell lists the best vegan ingredients to start with in order to plan a well-stocked storecupboard. Although some of the foods may be unfamiliar, Adele has chosen them for their health benefits. You can stock up gradually and to save costs you can buy a lot of pulses (such as peas, beans and lentils) in bulk.

Almonds are high in magnesium, vitamin E, phosphorus and calcium. They are a great convenience snack and they make incredible milk.
Antipasti vegetables such as sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes stored in oil in jars (or artichokes in brine from a tin), are handy to add to a tomato based pasta sauce for a quick and easy dinner or to serve on a platter with vegan cheese and biscuits.photo-1430163393927-3dab9af7ea38
Cacao nibs are shelled and crushed cacao beans. They have a dark, bitter taste, and a small amount will add a chocolatey flavour to any dish. This is real, unprocessed chocolate, containing feel-good nutrients such as theobromine, phenylethylamine and anandamide. If you don’t have raw cacao nibs or raw cacao powder, a high-quality vegan dark chocolate will suffice.
Cacao powder is made from raw, ground cacao beans and has a fairly bitter, rich and earthy taste. Rich in magnesium and antioxidants, it is a healthier choice than cocoa, which is highly processed and has lost much of the nutritional value that was present in the raw product. You can use cocoa instead of cacao, but not if you are making a raw recipe.
Carob powder comes from carob, a legume (bean), which has a mildly sweet and fruity taste. Unlike chocolate, it contains no caffeine. The powder can be used in place of cacao or cocoa in recipes. Milder-flavoured raw carob has not been heat treated and is preferable for raw desserts.
Chia seeds are ancient Mexican seeds that have recently been gaining recognition due to their health properties. They are high in the essential fatty acid omega-3 and -6, and they are useful for vegans because they contain vital omega-3, which is difficult to obtain from animal-free sources. Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, cereals, baked products, soups and salads. They also make a substitute for egg as a binding agent, by soaking in 1 or 2 tablespoons of water until they form a gel.
Coconut aminos is similar to soy sauce, but without the soya. It is less salty, but it still has the same kick you expect from soy sauce or tamari. It can be used in place of both.
Coconut cream is the thick, solid layer that forms on the top of coconut milk, if the fat content is high enough, and is also sold as cream in cartons and tins. For extra-thick cream, store the carton or tin upright in the fridge, then open it and take off the cream from the top.
Coconut milk is a more liquid equivalent of coconut cream. The thickness and quality of milk varies according to the brand. I choose
cream most of the time and water it down myself if I need milk.
Coconut nectar is a mineral-rich liquid from the sap of coconut trees. It has a caramel-butterscotch flavour and can be used in place of honey, agave syrup, and any plain sugar product. It has a low GI, and it also contains vitamin C.
Coconut oil has a fairly high smoke point (176°C/350°F), and so is suitable for frying. It can be heated without being damaged and oxidized, as other oils are. Oxidization causes oils to become unhealthy free radicals in the body. Choose organic, virgin and unrefined coconut oil, as they are minimally processed. Non-virgin coconut oil may be produced from dried coconut (copra) and will have lost nutrients as well as being highly processed. Use coconut oil for baking or frying and in desserts or smoothies.
Alternatively, use olive oil (not extra virgin) for frying over medium heat. Organic safflower oil is high in omega-6 essential fats and is my personal alternative for cooking if I am short of coconut oil. Rice bran oil is rich in vitamin E and omega-6, and has a high smoke
point at 232°C/ 450°F. The only oil suitable for raw dishes, however, is coconut oil – for taste, nutrition and its ability to solidify quickly.
Coconut sugar is a good alternative to cane sugar due to its mild caramel taste. It has a lower GI than cane sugar and is also rich in minerals. You can make the recipes in my book using brown sugar, but try to source coconut sugar to make sweet dishes healthier if you can. Coconut sugar is classed as raw, so can be used instead of brown sugar for recipes that are labelled as raw. Agave syrup is sometimes given as a sweetener, although I rarely use it because it is high in fructose, which can lead to weight gain. Brown rice syrup is my preferred alternative as a sweetening syrup.
Coconut yogurt is a relative newcomer to the market, and dairy-free coconut yogurt is a wonderful substitute for soya yogurt. It is rich and creamy and has the most amazing taste. It should be stored in the fridge. Desiccated coconut and coconut flakes are nutritious and useful for adding to cakes, muffins and smoothies.
Gluten-free flour is available in a variety of types, such as brown rice, coconut, buckwheat and gram (chickpea). Your local health-food shop or supermarket should stock a range, and you can also buy gluten-free flour blends, although these vary in quality. All gluten-free flours work slightly differently from regular flour and I recommend you try different ones to see which you prefer. Coconut flour is a tricky ingredient to work with because it absorbs a lot of liquid. If you try it, use only 20–30 per cent of the quantity of the regular flour stated in the recipe.
Nuts are a great way to get protein into a vegan diet – don’t be scared by the fat content! They contain healthy fats when eaten raw and unprocessed. You can add a variety to your diet, such as almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecan and pistachio nuts, walnuts and peanuts (which are actually a legume, although we still eat them like a nut). Eat them alone, in salads, soups and stews, in raw desserts and smoothies, or blend them into nut butters.
Seaweeds are rich in iodine and offer a broad range of other nutrients: B vitamins, folate, magnesium, iron, calcium and riboflavin. Salty flavoured nori sheets are used to make hand-rolls. Agar-agar is used to set jellies and desserts in a similar way to the animal product gelatine.
Seeds are high in protein and minerals. Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and flaxseeds are just a few of the healthy seeds available. You can sprinkle them on to salads and soups, and make them into milks.

Vegan_UK

Adele McConnell
The Vegan Cookbook – 100 of the Best Vegan Recipes
£14.99
Available from Nourish Books

 

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Hangover Helpers: The Top Foods to Eat

by Christine Bailey

This article has been cross-posted from www.christinebailey.co.uk.

Need some help to nurse that hangover? Here are some top foods to get you feeling better.

With the party season ahead it can be easy to get carried away with cocktails and celebratory drinks. So if you’ve overdone the alcohol – here’s what to do

Before you got to bed. Up your intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a valuable nutrient to help your liver detoxify alcohol. At the end of the party drink at least 2-3 glasses of water or coconut water as your body will be dehydrated then before you go to bed take 1g of vitamin C and 5g of glutamine powder to help stabilize sugar levels and repeat this in the morning before you tackle breakfast.

The following day aim to snack regularly if you cannot face meals in order to stabilise blood sugar and replenish depleted nutrients. Even though you may feel extremely tired and a cup of coffee seems like the best way to wake you up, try to stay away from it. Caffeine will only dehydrate you more, and since it’s also a diuretic, it will not help your stomach. Milk and other dairy products are also not a good idea; they may make you feel more queasy.

Instead try and include some of the following foods.

Banana – Excessive alcohol can diminish carbohydrate levels and deplete magnesium and B vitamins. Bananas are useful source of B6, potassium, magnesium and quick releasing carbs to perk you up. To help balance your blood sugar try banana topped on oat cakes, which are a great source of slow releasing carbohydrate and soluble fibre to boost flagging energy levels.

Coconut water It’s not so much the alcohol that leads to hangover symptoms but some of the chemicals the alcohol is metabolized into such as acetaldehyde. Alcohol is also a diuretic so a night out on the town can lead to dehydration further exacerbating that throbbing head the morning after. Coconut water is a great hydrating drink – rich in electrolytes sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are depleted after a night of drinking. So before you go to bed have a couple of glasses of coconut water to support detoxification.

Eggs. Eggs contains an amino acid called N acetyl cysteine one of the building blocks of a potent antioxidant called glutathione which is important in ridding the body of the toxins from alcohol. Protein will also help support energy levels through the morning. So the morning after if you can face it have a couple of scrambled eggs with veggies for a breakfast energy boost

Berries & Citrus Fruits. Not only does alcohol deplete your body of nutrients particularly vitamin C, A and B vitamins it can also lead to bnW1TuTV2YGcoh1HyWNQ_IMG_0207low blood sugar levels, which may leave you feeling weak and shaky. Counter this by snacking on a bowl of berries or an orange. A great source of natural sugars to boost energy levels and plenty of vitamin C an essential antioxidant to protect your body from the damaging effects of alcohol. These fruits also contain a range of energy boosting B vitamins and vitamin A to replenish depleted levels. You can also add a scoop of ProBerry Amla to perk you up quickly too.

Watermelon. Like berries watermelon is a fabulous source of potent antioxidants including carotenoids. It is also packed with water to boost hydration. Watermelon is high in many essential nutrients that can be depleted by alcohol, including vitamin C, B-vitamins and magnesium.

Ginger. Hangovers are often accompanied by an upset stomach. If you feel a little queasy try sipping some ginger tea or cordial. Ginger’s root contains chemicals called gingerols and shogaols. These chemicals relax the intestinal tract, preventing motion sickness and relieving the nausea and colicky stomach cramps. You could suck on a ginger sweet or munch a little crystallised ginger. The sugar it contains also helps to bring up your blood sugar levels, which can crash following a night of alcohol.

Supergreens. An effective way to support detoxification pathways is to add a spoonful of green superfood powder to a morning protein smoothie. Choose a blended powder, wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella or moringa to give your liver additional support. Here’s a favourite of mine

Baked potato. Rich in vitamin B6 plus potassium (eat the skin as well). These are an ideal choice if you want to keep meals bland to prevent nausea and sickness

Oats. Another good source of B vitamins and magnesium needed to perk up energy levels. Oats can also help stabilise blood sugar levels too which can be out of balance after a drinking session.

Supercharged Juices Smoothies low resolution _UK_PB_CMYK

Christine Bailey
The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet
Available in January 2016.
Preorder from Amazon now.

 

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Warm Up Your Winter With a Wild Brandy

by Nick Moyle and Richard Hood

If you’re a fan of good port but crave something darker, boozier and more intense, a simple blackberry and brandy infusion is the drink for you. But if you want to crank the intensity up to maximum, this liqueur will send you wild with excitement. Just as the deep, mellow richness of the blackberries seduces your taste buds, along comes a sturdy slap of tart elderberry goodness. Compared to our wild brandy liqueur, port is for wimps.

Ingredients:
300g/10½oz/2½ cups blackberries
200g/7oz/1¼ cups elderberries
220g/7¾oz/1 cup white sugar
1 x 70cl bottle of brandy

Method:Recipe_WildBrandy

  • Pick the fattest, ripest, juiciest blackberries and elderberries you can find. The blackberries can be simply washed and put in a large jar, but you’ll need to remove the elderberries from their stalks before they join them. Elderberries have a habit of ripening at different times on the same head, so first pick off any young green or old shrivelled berries and discard them. The easiest way to strip the ripe fruit from the stalks is with fingers, but if you don’t want your hands to look like you’ve just come from a production of Sweeney Todd, flick them off by dragging them through the tines of a fork.
  • Add the sugar and brandy to the jar with the fruit, then firmly seal the lid and give the jar a vigorous shake.
  • In order to preserve the luxuriously deep colour of your drink, keep the jar somewhere cool and dark. Shake the jar daily until the sugar has dissolved, and continue to agitate it every week or two throughout the infusion time.
  • This is definitely a drink not to be rushed, so try to hold out for 3 months before bottling. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or mesh – gently press the fruit to remove the last drop of goodness without getting too heavy-handed and making a mess. Small particles of fruit are likely to be drifting through your bottled liquid, although it will be so dark they may not be obvious. If you want to remove these, strain for a second time through coffee filter paper.
  • Wild brandy benefits from ageing in the bottles more than most liqueurs, so it’s well worth being patient to allow the flavours time to mellow. If you’re intending to drink it straight after bottling, you may wish to add a bit more sugar to smooth out the edges.

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Nick Moyle and Richard Hood
Brew It Yourself
£14.99, Available from Nourish Books

Indulge in an Afternoon Tea With these Maple & Pecan Squares

by Roger Saul

Afternoon tea is a peculiarly British custom, but one that has become popular and is now practiced all over the world. As a meal, it didn’t really appear until the mid 1800s, when the Duchess of Bedford created a fashion for it.

To accompany your afternoon tea try the delicious, delicate and crunchy Maple & Pecan Squares, perfect with a cup of strong tea or coffee.

Makes: 9 squares
Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
150g/5½oz unsalted butter.
125g/4½oz/⅔ cup light muscovado sugar
115g/4oz/⅓ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
150g/5½oz/1½ cups pecans
150g/5½oz/1½ cups spelt porridge flakes

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and line a 23cm/9in square cake tin with baking paper.
  • Put the butter, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a saucepan over a low heat and bring slowly to a simmer, allowing everything to melt and mix together. Add the pecans and the spelt porridge flakes and stir well.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top so that it is as even as possible, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the
    top looks golden brown and slightly crisp.
  • Leave to cool in the tin. Once cool, put the traybake, still in the tin, in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to set fully before slicing into squares. These will keep in an airtight tin at room temperature for about a week (if they last that long).

9781848991965-300x390Roger Saul
Spelt
£16.99, Available from Nourish Books

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WIN Chocolate by Jennifer Donovan!

We are giving away a copy of Chocolate by Jennifer Donovan!

Chocolate gives you a superb collection of delicious, luxurious recipes, all of which are easy to follow and simple to make. Whether you’re looking for the perfect way to end a dinner for your family and friends, or just an indulgent treat for yourself, you’ll find a delicious array of options, from simple and traditional recipes to exquisite and innovative ones. For beginners and more experienced cooks alike, this is the one-stop bible for chocolate lovers.
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Kick Start the Day With a Caramel Berry Blend

Recipe from Pimp My Rice by Nisha Katona.

This is a berry-sweetened porridge made from a coconut-based congee. Congee is the beef tea of the East, the porridge version of motherly love. For many in the East, this blended congee has been the stuff of rib-sticking recuperation. The berries are a bright, tart European twist.

Serves: 4
Preparation: 15 minutes, plus soaking
Cook: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
150g/5½oz/ heaped 1 cup raspberries, plus 6 whole raspberries, to garnishPimp_B_Caramel_Berry_Blend
150g/5½oz/1½ cups strawberries, plus 3 halved strawberries, to garnish
1½ tbsp demerara or muscovado/soft brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

THE CONGEE
90g/3¼oz/½ cup Thai fragrant rice or short-grain rice soaked for 2–4 hours, rinsed and drained
650ml/22fl oz/2¾ cups coconut milk
2 tbsp caster/granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Method:
Chop the raspberries and strawberries roughly into large chunks, reserving all the juices. Reserve a few pieces to decorate, then leave them all to one side.

For the congee, heat the rice, coconut milk, caster/granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat. Once the rice begins to boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until you have a porridge consistency.

Meanwhile, put the raspberries, strawberries, dememera sugar and lemon juice in a shallow frying pan over a medium heat and stir for about 8 minutes until the fruit softens but still has some bite, and the juice thickens slightly. Don’t let it go to a to‹ee-like consistency.

Now you can either stir the berry mix into the congee until the red juices just bleed a little into the congee, or blend them together using a stick/immersion blender.

Serve warm or cold in bowls, decorated with the reserved fruit.

Pimp My Rice_Cover_WEL

 

Nisha Katona
Pimp My Rice
£20.00, Available from Nourish Books

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How to Make Kimchi

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Extract from Veggienomics by Nicola Graimes

This popular spicy Korean pickle is the classic accompaniment to the rice dish Bibimbap, but a spoonful will lift any Asian rice or noodle dish. The Asian radish, daikon or mooli is traditional but I find turnip is just as good, easier to find and more economical to buy.

Makes: 750ml/26fl oz/3 cups
Preparation time: 2½ days

Ingredients:
165g/5 ¾oz/ ¾ cup salt, plus extra for sprinkling
750g/1lb 10oz Chinese leaves, halved crossways and cut into 4 wedges, tough stalk removed
375g/13oz turnip, peeled and coarsely grated
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp mild Korean red pepper powder, Aleppo
chilli flakes or mild cayenne pepper
2 tbsp gochujang (Korean hot chilli paste) or other hot chilli paste
2.5cm/1in piece of root ginger, grated (no need to peel)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
4 spring onions, sliced
1 tsp sesame oil

Method:

  • Dissolve the salt in 2l/70fl oz/8 cups water in a large bowl. Sprinkle extra salt between the leaves
    of the cabbage. Put the cabbage in the salty water and put a weighted plate on top to keep it
    submerged. Leave to soak for 3 hours, or until the cabbage leaves are pliable and do not break
    when bent.
  • Using a slotted spoon, scoop the cabbage out of the water into a large colander and add the turnip
    to the salted water. Rinse the cabbage well under cold running water (this is important or it will be
    too salty) and leave to drain for 30 minutes while the turnip is soaking.
  • Mix together the soy sauce, red pepper powder, chilli paste, ginger, garlic, sugar, sesame seeds,
    spring onions and sesame oil in a large bowl.
  • Squeeze the cabbage to remove any excess water and pat dry with a clean tea towel. Slice the
    cabbage crossways into large, bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the flavourings. Drain and
    rinse the turnip well, drain again and pat dry in a clean tea towel. Add to the bowl with the cabbage
    and stir until everything is combined. Spoon the kimchi into a sterilized Mason jar (see page 11) and
    press down with the back of the spoon. Put the lid on and leave in a cool, dark place for 2 days before
    eating to allow the flavours to develop, then transfer to a fridge. It will keep for several months in
    the fridge.

Veggienomics-Vegetarian-Cookbook-by-Nicola-Graimes-300x405
Nicola Graimes
Veggienomics: Thrifty Vegetarian Cooking
£14.99, Available from nourish Books

 

 

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Super Sprouts: All You Need to Know About Sprouting

2015.01.20-SproutFeatSpread-022

Extract from In the Mood for Healthy Food by Jo Pratt.

If you are not familiar with sprouts (and I don’t mean Brussels sprouts — they are a different thing all together!) then do read on. I must admit I didn‘t used to take that much notice of the tubs of loose tangles of pale threads with tiny unopened peas/buds at the top until I realized just how amazingly good for you they are.

Nutrition
There are lots of different types of baby plants and vegetables that are eaten in their sprouting stage and are a powerhouse of nutrients. They’re jam-packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein and enzymes that all have huge benefits to our health and wellbeing. When a plant or vegetable seed is germinated, its nutritional benefit increases anywhere between 300 and 1,200 per cent! So sprouted seeds are a pretty impressive condensed form of nutrients that shouldn’t be ignored. A little goes a long way in the world of sprouts so a mere handful of these ‘living foods’ included in your diet can give you a really healthy boost and leave you bursting with energy. What’s more, they can replace important enzymes in our bodies that we can no longer produce ourselves, as we get older.

Where to find them
When it comes to sourcing sprouts, they are becoming increasingly more available in supermarkets, grocery stores and, of course, health food shops, which is great news. However, your best option of getting to enjoy a variety of sprouts regularly is to grow your own – and it’s far easier than you might imagine.

How to sprout
You can buy all sorts of fancy sprouting seed trays and kits, but to get you started it can be as simple as using a fairly big screw-top jar (about 1–2l/35–70fl oz/4–8½ cups) and a lid with holes pierced into the top or a piece of muslin/cheesecloth securely attached to the top with a rubber band, for ventilation and drainage. I use a large Mason jar with a two-piece screw-top lid, replacing the metal disc with a piece of muslin/cheesecloth.

Details vary from seed to seed, but once you have some seeds or beans suitable for home sprouting sprouts(not planting) the general method is the same.

Put the seeds into your clean jar (fill no more than one-third full). Rinse with cold water, drain and then top up with fresh cold water. Leave to soak overnight (or less if the seed/grain package says so).

Rinse thoroughly, drain well (tip the jar upside down) and leave the jar on its side at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Rinse and drain a couple of times a day (I find at breakfast time and before bed is the most practical time for me) and after 3–5 days you should have fully sprouted seeds. Make sure they are well drained, then keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Flavours
Like vegetables, each and every type of sprout has a different flavour. These are just some of the types of sprouts around:
» Fresh and delicate microgreens – the baby leaves of vegetables such as beets, pea, rocket/arugula, clover and cress. These are very mild in flavour and can really enhance the presentation of a dish when scattered over the top.
» Spicy and add bite – radish, onion, fenugreek, garlic, mustard.
» Nutty and wholesome – these will add texture and crunch to a dish: mung beans, lentils, chickpeas, aduki, alfalfa and split peas.

What to make
Here are a few suggestions on how to include some sprouts in your diet:
» Add to tossed salads or make them the star of a salad (mixture of any sprouts)
» Mix into coleslaw (cabbage, radish or clover)
» Scatter into wraps or sandwiches (alfalfa, sunflower, radish)
» Add to stir-fries (mung beans, aduki, lentil, cabbage)
» Add to sushi (radish, clover, sunflower, broccoli)
» Stir into soups, casseroles and stews (chickpea, mung bean, aduki, lentil)
» Mix into curries (chickpeas, fenugreek, lentils, mung bean, aduki)
» Blend into juices (broccoli, clover, alfalfa, pea shoots)
» Blend into hummus (chickpea)
» Garnish dishes (microgreens, alfalfa, onion, pea shoots)

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Jo Pratt
In the Mood for Healthy Food
£20.00, Available from Nourish Books

 

 

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