Saturday, 25 January 2014

Parsnip Seed Cake- vegan, sugar free, soya free

The ingredients may seem unusual but they work well together.
This has been on our to-make list for nearly a year, because it was only at the end of last year's parsnip season that I had the idea. But this season we had a really good crop of parsnips in the allotment and the cake turned out to be worth the wait; we hope you will think so too. Seed cakes have fascinated me ever since I read Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" as a student- the part where Jane and her school friend are given tea and seed cake by a kind teacher. When thinking of other ingredients to go into a cake made with grated parsnip, seeds and a hint of lemon seemed like a flavoursome and nutritious option. Using agave rather than sugar was not only a healthy choice; agave lends a softer, fluffier texture to cakes, and encourages them to form an attractive brown top. I used a small square roasting dish instead of a silcone mould for this cake; it is a slightly wetter mixture than usual, so I decided to make it shallow to ensure an even bake.

400g self-raising flour with 4 tsps baking powder
50g (about 4 tabs) poppy seeds
2 tabs chia seeds
2 tabs anise seeds (I may try caraway next time)
150g grated fresh parsnip
the juice and zest of one lemon, plus 1 tsp natural lemon essence*         (*optional)
150ml cold-pressed sunflower oil, coconut oil or rice bran oil
350ml almond milk
200ml agave nectar

  • Mix the flour, baking powder and seeds together in a bowl.
  • In another container, whisk the oil, almond milk, agave and lemon juice/ zest/ extract.
  • Stir the grated parsnip into the flour and seed mixture, then beat in the liquid ingredients for a minute or so, ensuring they are thoroughly combined.
  • Spoon the cake batter into a prepared tin or mould and bake in an oven preheated to 180C for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake emerges clean.
If you like the idea of cakes made from vegetables, you may like to check these recipes out as well:

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Throwback Thursday: Green Pea Soup

This soup looks great garnished with mung sprouts or grated beetroot for added colour and texture.
This soup has been a staple in our house for many years, and was first mentioned here way back in 2009. Finally, I got round to writing down the recipe properly so we could share it with you. It's a great quick and easy crowd-pleaser on chilly days.

Serves around 6:
150g white cabbage, sliced finely
2 tabs cold-pressed sunflower oil
1 tab soy sauce
a pinch of compound hing
a pinch of seasalt
about 300g cooked marrowfat dried peas (they are sort of pale greyish-green; sorry, I don't know what they are called outside the UK)
400g fresh/ frozen green garden peas/ petit pois
1l water
about 1 tab dried herbes de Provence/ thyme/ mint
1/3 tsp black pepper
2 tsps seasalt.

  • First take the cabbage, oil, soy sauce, hing and the pich of seasalt and fry the cabbage in the oil, stirring in the seasonings. (This is instead of using onions, and makes a tasty alternative stock.)
  • Add the marrowfat peas, green peas and water and simmer it all until the green peas are cooked- usually just a couple of minutes, depending on whether they are frozen or not.
  • Blend it all until smooth.
  • Add the pepper, dried herbs and seasalt.
  • Serve with a garnish of mung sprouts or colourful grated raw beetroot and a hearty chunk of whatever kind of home made bread you like.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Apple and Ginger Chutney

No proper recipe for this one yet, except a list of ingredients: but it was so simple to throw together as a last- minute meal accompaniment we just had to post it. 
Grated fresh ginger, grated apple, sultanas. lemon juice and salt gently heated together for a few minutes are all you need for this virtually instant condiment. (Practitioners of Bhakti Yoga can also have it on grin-free fasting days- Ekadasi- too,)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Inspired by... 1: Coronation Chickpea Salad- vegan, gluten free, soya free

This salad is full of contrasting crunchy and soft textures and spicy, sweet and creamy flavours
How many hundred recipes have I bookmarked or pinned over the years then forgotten all about? Well no longer- because now I'm going to start taking some of those recipes, veganising/ yoga-ising them and generally adapting them to what ingredients I can get here if necessary. We all need a little inspiration sometimes! Today's recipe (which I named "Coronation" after "Coronation Chicken" salad) was inspired by , Julie at The Simple Veganista's amazing curried chickpea salad recipe. She has only been blogging since 2012 but her site is full of great recipes and photography, and her positive, caring attitude to life shines through all the posts. Well worth checking out- you won't be disappointed. Thanks for the inspiration, Julie :)

Serves 4-5 people as a side (but I loved it so much I could have easily eaten twice the amount!)
2x250ml cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
1/2 stick celery, diced small
1 small carrot, diced small if you eat them (many following the path of Bhakti Yoga don't) -I changed the veggies a bit
1 tab sultanas -I used these instead of raisins as I already had them in the cupboard
1 1/2 tabs cashew pieces- I didn't bother to toast them, although I'm sure they would have been delicious if I had
2 tabs tahini
2 tabs lemon juice
1/2 tab Madras curry powder
a pinch of hing -I use this instead of garlic or onions
a pinch of black pepper

  • Mash the chickpeas a little; I didn't mash mine as much as Julie's, although if I had made this as a sandwich filling I would have.
  • Stir in the chopped veggies, cashews and sultanas.
  • In another bowl, mix the tahini, lemon juice and seasonings.
  • Mix the dressing in with all the other goodies.
... and next time I make this I'm going to add a little chopped apple as well!