Monday, 25 November 2013

Chia Pudding

As I journey through the maze that is going vegan, I'm constantly surprised and impressed at how many wonderful (and completely natural) treats there are to enjoy. The latest "superfood" to join my list are Chia Seeds. They are high in Protein, Iron and Omega-3, plus antioxidants. I've been enjoying them with cereals & puddings, sprinkling them over at the end for a little nutrition kick, until now... 

This super-simple recipe for Chia Pudding is highly rewarding - and get your favourite fruits, seeds and nuts at the ready! To serve 2, you will need:

60g Chia Seeds
300ml Soya Milk
1 tbsp Agave Syrup

Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl or jug and mix well. Leave to settle for 30 minutes then mix again. Cover the container with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight. 

The next day all of the seeds will have increased in size and you should have a dessert the texture of blancmange - a little wobbly! Now is for you to decide on a topping. I used dried figs and a little more agave syrup. That's my sweet tooth talking!

The texture of the pudding was not what I expected but the flavour is so creamy, almost akin to rice pudding. You can use any non-dairy milk that you enjoy. I imagine Almond milk would be quite something! 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Beetroot & Horseradish Soup

Beetroot is one of my favourite vegetables but also probably one of the most underrated. Lets be honest, most people will only recognise it pickled. And up until recently fresh beetroot has been relatively tough to get your hands on. Now it's not uncommon to see it in most supermarket veg aisles. And what a pleasure it is! 

Beets are also seriously versatile; in slaws, soups, stews, smoothies, salads and even cakes. The rich, earthy quality of fresh beets is mouth-wateringly good and it's colour is divine, brightening up any plate.

So now I've bigged up the beets, let's get going! For my Beetroot & Horseradish Soup you will need:

5 medium-sized Beetroots
50ml water
1 sprig of Rosemary
3 tsp Salt Flakes
2 tsp coarsely ground Black Peppercorns
2 tbsp fresh grated Horseradish, or The English Provender Co. 'Grated Hot Horseradish'
500ml Vegetable Stock
2 small sprigs of Dill
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp Capers

Set your oven to 190°c. Scrub the beetroots clean and chop off the head and tail of each one. Place a large piece of foil into a deep baking dish and curl up the sides so that you are almost creating a foil bag for your beets. Sit the beets in the centre and pour in the water all around them. Sprinkle over 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper and sit the sprig of rosemary on top. Seal the foil bag up then cook the beets for 1 hour 30 minutes. 

When you remove the beets from the oven fully open up the bag then leave them to cool for 15 minutes or so. Once they are cool enough to handle move to a chopping board and peel off the skin. This should be easy to do by rubbing the edges down with your fingertips. If you are struggling then use a knife to carefully shave away the skin. Chop the beets into wedges and throw into a blender. Add the horseradish, vegetable stock and the remaining salt and pepper before blending well. 

Pour the soup into a large saucepan to heat gently at a medium heat until steaming but not boiling, about 5 minutes. Season to taste. To serve add a swirl of Dijon mustard using a teaspoon, drop in the capers and add a sprig of dill. 

Every ingredient here plays a major part. The winning combination of beets and horseradish, a lovely pair of roots, spiked with added mustard and capers. The capers acting like little flavour bombs throughout. Delicious - i hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Now, beet it!