Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Cheeky Vegan

I have been going to the Stirling Farmers Markets on and off again for a while now. Plenty of fresh fruit and veggies to be had there, and some of them organic.Just  lately, though there has been a new stall that has become a firm favourite of mine. It is called “The Cheeky Vegan”. 

Unfortunately, the first time they set up a stall there, it PELTED down with rain and it looked like they were packing up early. I did manage to get some of their wares and have gone back there every Sunday since, and have tried more of their range.
What is on offer is mostly raw vegan dessert type fare, including gluten free items.

 So far, I have tried out their Muesli Bliss balls, the O-raw-eos, the Choc Pie, the Apple C-raw-mble, Choco Cookies, and the Lime and Coconut Tarts. All were delish but my faves would have to be the Apple C-raw-mble and the Lime and Coconut tarts!
Apart from the sweets, there were also raw kale chips on offer, which I tried and liked. These featured sweet potato, tahini and lemon dressing. I do hope there will be more savoury items on offer in the future.
The Stirling Markets are on every Sunday from 7.30am to 11.30am and are situated on Cedric Street, next to the Stirling Council Chambers.

Cheeky Vegan also do catering for functions. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Quinoa Salad with Fennel and White Beans in a Light Lemon Vinaigrette

I came across this recipe a while ago, whilst looking through “Spork-Fed : Super fun and Flavorful vegan recipes for the Sisters of Spork Foods” by Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg. I wanted to try in straight away but had two stumbling blocks. Firstly, I could not for the life of me find German mustard. I am not much of a mustard eater but remember years ago, having some by Masterfoods. I looked through two different supermarket chains and could not find it. After some online investigation, I found out that Masterfoods discontinued that variety. I found that quite astounding. Anyway, check out the international/import food stores and you should find some there.
My next challenge was the fennel. It was out of season and so was either hard to find or very small and very expensive. I decided that I would wait until winter when fennel is in season and easy to find. Oh, and the bulbs are big and lush.
I simplified and tweaked the original recipe to suit me.

What you will need:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and boiled in 2 cups water until the liquid is absorbed (You can use a mix of colours if you want – red, white, black – it doesn’t matter)
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 large fennel bulb, finely chopped
1 tbsp agave syrup
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp German mustard
1 tsp cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
5 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
A big bag of salad greens

This is really easy.
Throw all of the ingredients together and toss! You can season with salt and black pepper if you wish. Serve it warm.
I found this makes a meal size quantity for 2 people or as a side dish for 4 people.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Easy Spinach, Lime and Ginger Soup

This is so simple to make and tastes good too. I found it “Mouthwatering Vegan” by Miriam Sorrell.

What you will need:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp finely grated/minced fresh ginger
1 medium onion, chopped. Optional. I left it out and soup tasted fine.
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped. Optional. Again, I left it out and the soup was fine without it.
400g frozen spinach or 600 fresh
4 cups of vegetable stock (You can find the Massel range at supermarkets and yes, it is vegan.)
Juice of 1 lime
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and add onions and ginger. Saute for a minute and then add garlic. Sauté for another minute.
Add spinach and cook, stirring got a minute or if using fresh, until wilted.
Add stock and cover. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Remove from heat and using a hand held immersion blender, blend the mixture.

Add the lime juice and spices. Process for 1 minute and then serve. Add salt and pepper if you wish.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Wild Basmati Pilaf

This is a very plain and simple recipe. I find that if I have days of eating rich foods, I crave a simple (but still tasty!) meal. I found it in “Food that Cause you to Lose Weight : the negative calorie effect” by Dr Neal Barnard.

What you will need:
¼ cup wild rice ( Available in supermarkets. A bit pricey, but you don’t need to buy much.)
2 cups vegetable stock (You can get Massel vegan stock at supermarkets.)
¾ cup basmati rice
1 onion, finely chopped (Optional.)
3 garlic cloves, minced (Optional.)
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp marjoram
1/3 cup chopped parsley
¼ tsp salt (Optional.)
¼ tsp black pepper (Optional.)

Rinse the wild rice and place it in a saucepan with the vegetable stock and ½ cup of water. Stir to mix and cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add the basmati rice and cover and cook for about 50 minutes. Both varieties should be tender.
Heat ½ cup of water in a large pot and add onion and garlic (if using) and cook until all the water has evaporated. Add another ¼ cup of water, scrap the pot and cook until onions begin to stick. Repeat the process of adding water and cooking until the onions are browned. This will take about 15 minutes.

Stir in the mushrooms, celery and seasonings. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes and then add the cooked rice and parsley. Cook over low heat, turning gently until mixture is heated through.