Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Turmeric and Ginger Tea with Coconut Milk

When Leigh recently had a bit of inflammation about the shoulder (a lot of wood-cutting for our woodturner and some hard gym sessions), I turned to this recipe I'd seen a friend talking about online a few weeks before.

This is my own tweaked version of what turned out to be a very nice drink indeed. It doesn't taste anything like you'd expect - it's creamy, soothing and rich with just a tang of turmeric and the knowledge, that comes with this delicious golden herb, that you're easing those inflamed tissues every time you sip.

Despite it feeling like a very wintry drink, I shall most definitely be making it again. Whether I am inflamed or not! And don't let my photos put you off - it was really hard to photograph! (all that yellow).

Makes 2 mugs.


1 x 1-inch knob of fresh turmeric
1 x 1/2-inch knob fresh ginger
2 x teaspoons almond oil or coconut oil
1 x cup full-fat coconut or soya milk
1 x cup coconut water OR powdered ground coconut
1 x generous tablespoon maple syrup


Wash the turmeric and ginger, then grate them finely into a mortar (don't bother peeling, if you grate well enough the tiny skin bits will only add to the roughage!)

Put the coconut oil into the mortar, and grind the oil into the turmeric and ginger with your pestle until they form a fine paste.

Pour the coconut milk and coconut water into a saucepan, and put in the paste made with turmeric, ginger and oil. 

Turn the heat up to medium-high and warm the ingredients together until it's bubbling a bit. Turn off the heat and cover the saucepan, allowing the turmeric and ginger to steep for about 3 minutes.  Stir in the maple syrup until it dissolves.

Strain the tea through a fine-mesh strainer or strainer into a tea pot, or pour into mugs.  
Serve warm.

If you can't get fresh turmeric (which comes in nice yellow strange-shaped blobs), substitute 2 teaspoons of organic powdered turmeric.


We’ve made our solid easter eggs twice before (you may even have eaten one) but our versions for 2015 are fabulously evolved beasts!

The eggs are a labour of love that, quite frankly, we make because we can, and because we should, and because the world has been crying out for a solid - like, actual SOLID Easter egg - since Easter Eggs were invented. Easter usually comes right in the middle of an annual busy period, so there is always a late night or two as packaging is designed and photographs are taken…samples eaten...eggs collected…but somehow we do it, for the love of sinking one’s teeth into a bed of praline or gnawing on three inches of chocolate into the night.

Hand-made for us this year by Leicester chocolatier Pete at  Cocoa Amore, whose shop sits right in the middle of the current Richard III activity in Leicester, Solid Egg 2015 has a girthy 70% cocoa shell filled with either solid chocolate or incredible soft praline. Now coming as one solid egg (rather than two halves), we’ve made these in Solid Chocolate, Praline, Salted Chocolate or Ginger (the latter in limited supply). Every egg comes wrapped in a chocolate-brown signed screen print of cocoa-loving artwork by me, printed in Factory Road, just a few doors down. Which is fully washable and can be used for any purpose after the egg is long gone!

This year we’ve made 20 available as a special edition snuggled in a hand-woven nest by international willow artist Tom Hare. If you’ve been to any of the RHS gardens, or Kew Gardens, or latterly to Bishopsgate, the Bellagio in Las Vegas or to might have seen his work. He too was in the middle of a super-busy period when we commissioned these nests from him, so we’re grateful to have them - each one will be different from the last.
As usual the eggs are 100% vegan, gluten and dairy-free, with the emphasis on flavour and quality. Oh, and size. And…weight - over 500g per egg.
Watch one being cut, and listen for the chocolate crack!

Check the photographs for proof of the existence of this magnificent celebration of bunnies, greed and re-birth!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Get Nakd cheaper!

When I first went vegan, Nakd bars became a go to snack. It was something I could easily pick up in a supermarket without having to worry about it's content as it happily boasts it's dairy free status.

It got to a stage where actually having looked at the ingredients I realised there must be a way to make these without having to fork out the high costs attached to the tiny little bars. So I got searching, and found a Larabar recipe. It's so simple, and you can mix the ingredients- swapping out nuts, adding in seeds, trying other dried fruits. Whatever you like. But this recipe is a alternative version of the Cashew Cookie Bar from Nakd- which I think is much tastier and probably saves me my pennies (haven't actually worked that out...)

Anyways, you will need:

1 cup cashews
1 cup dates 
1 tbsp peanutbutter
1-3 tbsp water

You need to have a food processor too. I have tried before to make it in a small blender but it did not like it. 

 So you follow the tricky step of chucking the right contents of everything into the food processor bar the water and hitting the blitz button until it begins to bind. At this stage add a tbsp of water at a time until it thickens more and properly sticks together. It'll look something like the image below- but it depends on how sticky you'd like it. Obviously the more water the stickier.

Then whack it all onto one half of a sheet of greaseproof paper to roll it out. Before, I used to use my hands and just mould it into a larger bar that I'd then cut up. It made it irregular, which I didn't mind, but left my hands feeling rather grim. So I started to roll it out wedged between greaseproof to save the rolling pin from making a claggy mess. 

Just cover it up- leaving space at each edge and roll it all out.

Hurrah! Then I just cut the edges off to neaten it, and cut into bars/squares ready to have healthier snacks to munch on throughout the week. My little nephew tried this once and loved it, so if you have little ones it may be a nice alternative to a choppy bar. Plus once it's made- you get to enjoy the cut off edges with a cuppa!

Friday, 6 March 2015

K on Jamie's Cheesey, creamy sauce...

It's K again, this time sharing a veganised version of a Jamie O recipe.

I’ve never really been a fan of celebrity chefs, despite watching way too many episodes of cooking shows… But when I was at uni, I lived with two people who had a real thing for famous foodies: one had a girl crush on the saucy Nigella, and the other came from a family of Jamie Oliver fans. 

And one day, the J.O fan cooked me his creamy, cheesy, tomatoey aubergine and pasta dish which I fell in love with. It became a staple meal in my repertoire, which began to develop at uni when I actually became interested in cooking and leaning new recipes. 

Then I went vegan, and the meal wasn’t an option. Jamie does have a wide selection of vegan dishes on his website though.  BUT I wanted the creamy cheesy tomatoey goodness again, so I thought I’d give it a shot using vegan imitations. 

It’s quite a simple recipe which you can easily add or subtract from/ get creative with. 

You’ll need:
An aubergine.
2-3 cloves of garlic.
2 onions- red or white, whatever you have to hand/prefer.
Olive Oil.
Salt and Pepper
A tin of chopped Tomatoes.
Tomato Puree (optional.)
Balsamic Vinegar. 
Soya Cream or a dairy free cream alternative.
Vegan imitation mozzarella cheese, or one that is meant to melt. 
Basil (optional.)

Firstly, chop up your onions and garlic all nice and fine, and whack them in the pan with a glug of olive oil over a low heat to soften. 

While that is occurring, cut up your aubergine. I do mine about as big as in the snap below, but you can do them as big/small as you like it’ll just alter cooking time. 

By the time you’ve chopped that all up your onion and garlic should be ready to have the aubergine added in, and gently cook it until it starts to get tender. 

Once you’ve reached that stage, whack in some seasoning, stir, and then pour in the chopped tinned tomatoes, and some puree if you have some to hand. 

Bring it all to the boil, and then reduce to a simmer until the aubergine is nice and soft (or if you prefer it a little differently, alter to your taste.)

With that doing it’s thing, salt some water, bring it to the boil and add the pasta in. 

When you’re about five minutes away from the pasta being cooked, add the cream. I tend to just pour it in until the sauce is a similar shade to the image above. But you can add as much or as little as you like/have available. Mix it in well and leave on a low heat. 

Then cut half a block of the vegan cheese (or more) into small chunks and stir it through the sauce, along with 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, before draining the pasta off and then chucking it in the sauce as well and mixing it all together.  Add some chopped fresh basil and stir it in too. 

Whack it in a bowl, eat, enjoy. It may not look the most attractive, but it sure tastes yum.

N.B. I did this without the 'cheese', and liked it just as much. Personally, I found the 'cheese' didn’t melt as much as I anticipated. But G said he much preferred it with the addition of the mozzarella style goodness. So I guess it’s just personal preference! 

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