Drink: Banana, apricot, vanilla & passionfruit Oatly smoothie

One way of getting by in Malmö, on a budget (for me, at least) has been to shop at my local ‘livs’ store. ‘Livs’ stores are small, little corner shops, come greengrocers. They often have great prices on veg and sometimes reduce great quantities as the day goes by. This it where it really gets fun (AND CHEAP!). My local ‘livs’ store, last week had huge bags of passionfruit, bananas & apricots all reduced to 10kr (just under £1), and I had used them in a myriad of different ways, but time came to that the last few needed using up. This is one great way of using up leftover fruit, that has maybe gone a-bit-too ripe, to make a nutritious & healthy breakfast option.

 

To make you’ll need:

  • 400ml water
  • 4tbs rolled oats
  • 4 ripe bananas, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 ripe apricots, de-stoned & roughly chopped
  • 1tsp Vanilla bean paste/ vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1tsp Maca powder (optional), sifted
  • 1tsp Young barley grass powder (optional), sifted
  • Pinch of salt

 

For the yogurt top:

  • 200ml dairy-free yogurt (I used Oatly)
  • 1 Passionfruit

 

Start by placing the water and the oats in your blender and pulse until you get a creamy, thick solution. Then, add about half of the rest of the ingredients, remembering to keep pulsing it down. Once you start getting a creamy & fruity mix you know you’re on the right track. blend it with the final portion of ingredients and pour into a jug/pitcher. In a separate bowl mix up the yogurt with the passionfruit pulp & seeds. To prep the passionfruit, I’d recommend using a small, serrated knife to cut the fruit in half and then scoop out the tart & sweet pulp with a spoon.

To serve, pour the smoothie mix into your desired cup/ bowl/ glass. If the mixture is a bit too thick, then try thinning it out with a splash of water. After, you have the desired amount,  spoon the yogurt on top and drink.

 

Enjoy!

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Food: Columbian potatoes

This is my take on the Colombian dish, Papas con Salsa de Aguacate (potatoes with an avocado sauce), using sweet & purple potatoes, topped with a creamy intense avocado hit. My version has a spicy tomato base to transform it from a traditional side-dish into a tasty plantbased meal.

You’ll need:

  • 3 Sweet potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 purple potatoes/ potatoes roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tin of peeled tomatoes
  • 1tbs tomato pureé
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1tbs Pimentón
  • 1tbs ground cumin
  • 1tbs ground coriander
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red chilli, chopped finely (de-seeded if want less hot!)
  • Black pepper
  • Oil for roasting.

For the Salsa de Aguacate:

  • 1/2 a tub of Oatly fraîche
  • A glug of garlic infused oil
  • 1 avocado
  • Handful of coriander, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Some red onion
  • Salt & pepper

Garnish:

  • Salt for garnishing (I used Saltverk Birch smoked salt)
  • Handful of chopped coriander

Start by parboiling the potatoes in salted water. As they’re boiling, place a baking tray in oven on it’s hottest setting, with a layer of oil (just like you’re making roasties). Whilst they are cooking, fry off the onion & garlic in a pan. When they are sufficiently softened the potatoes should be ready to take off the boil. Drain and place into the baking tray and oil. Flip over until they begin to sizzle. Place back into the oven to start roasting and crisping up.

In a baking dish, place the now softened garlic & most of the onion with the tomatoes, spices and the chilli. I’d recommend roughly chopping up the tomatoes. Season, mix thoroughly and spread evenly across the bottom of the dish.  After around 10-15 minutes, take the potatoes out and place into the baking dish, on top of the spicy tomato base. Place back into the oven, with a lower temperature of 180°C. Cook for a further 30-40 minutes before taking out. Leave to cool slightly, before serving.

Whilst the potatoes are in the oven, you can make the indulgent bit, the avocado sauce. In a food processor, place the Oatly fraîche, avocado, coriander, garlic oil, lime juice and the rest of the fried onion. Whizz up until it forms a creamy sauce. Scoop into a bowl. Season to taste. If too thick, you can loosen it up with a bit more lime juice.

To serve, drizzle on the sauce, the chopped coriander and a sprinkle of salt flakes. I used Saltverk birch smoked salt, which matched the smoky spicy taste of the potatoes.

I’d reccomend serving this with a couple of cold cervezas. I paired it with some Columbian Cerveza Aguila.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Food: Peaches with apricot, cardamom & lemon fraîche

Here’s a quick recipe for a dessert perfect for cooling down in the Summer sun.  The flavours also give a taste of the exotic, so even if you’re stuck at home, you can feel like you’re on holiday

Serves 2

You’ll need:

  • 4 peaches ( I used doughnut peaches as they are in season)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 shot of lemon vodka (optional)
  • 2tbs sesame seeds, toasted

Apricot fraîche:

  • 1/2 tub of vegan crème fraîche/ yogurt ( I used Oatly fraîche)
  • 2tbs icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 apricots, chopped finely
  • 1tbs ground cardamom
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

 

Start by making the fraîche. Add all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix throughly. You can either then place it in the fridge to firm or do as I did and use the freezer. It will start to create a slightly frozen texture, like a semi-freddo.

Whilst it’s in the fridge/freezer you can prep the peaches. Cut them in half and de-stone. This is usually a messy job, so I tried to keep it intact by poking the stone through the other side. once this is done, heat up a pan on a medium heat. Place the peach halves in the pan, flesh down. cook until they begin to colour. Flip and cook for a few minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over them and sprinkle them with the lemon zest. Take them out of the pan and place them into the serving bowls. This in an optional step, but I like pouring a shot of lemon vodka on them too! Take the fraîche out and dollop it on top. Finish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. I’d recommend you pair it with a Tokaji wine.

Enjoy!

 

 

Food: Oatsicles

We may well have had our fill of sunshine for the year already, but on the off chance that there is more sunshine to come here’s a quick and easy recipe for a dairy free alternative ice lolly for keeping cool in the sun.

 

You’ll need:

  • Lolly moulds,
  • 1 carton of chocolate Oatly,
  • 1 banana.

 

Chop the banana into slices and fill the lolly moulds. Don’t pack them in too tight, you need to leave enough space for the chocolate drink. Pour in the drink to the brim, stick the lids/handles in firmly and leave in the freezer for a good couple of hours or overnight if possible. One carton can easily make between 6 – 8 lollies, depending on the amount of banana you use and the size of your moulds. I used the small ones from Lidl. The creaminess of the chocolate drink combined with the fudginess of the banana are a fantastic (and cheap) alternative to the usual sugary lollies. This way you can control their sugar intake with natural ingredients!

It also works great with other flavours of Oatly like Orange & Mango, or for a grownup take on the above recipe, mix some coffee into the chocolate Oatly mixture for an iced mocha lolly!

 

Enjoy!

 

Food: Vegan Irish Stew

With St Patrick’s Day celebrations over the last weekend why not try something traditional but with a Vegan twist? This simple recipe is made with TVP chunks which, I’ve found, aren’t that easy to track down! My packet was bought whilst on holiday in Llandrindod Wells! In any case, it comes dried in a bag and looks like misshapen croutons, but these swell to make delicious but firm soya pieces that can be used in a number of creative ways.

You’ll need:

  • 100g TVP pieces,
  • 2 medium carrots,
  • 2-3 medium potatoes,
  • 1 large onion,
  • 2 Bay leaves,
  • 1tsp of all purpose seasoning,
  • 250ml boiling water,
  • 250ml of Irish stout (I used Carlow brewing company for M&S Irish Stout as it’s SFV)
  • 1tbsp of dried thyme,
  • 50g barley or oats,

 

Prepare the TVP pieces first by covering them with boiling water in a bowl with the seasoning. They should begin to swell to nice, meaty pieces.

Peel and chop the onion and soften in a little oil over a medium heat in a decent sized Dutch oven, then peel and chop the carrots and potatoes into nice chunky pieces. Add these to the onions and pour over the boiling water and the stout until the veg is more than covered. Combine the barley or oats along with the TVP pieces and their broth into the pan and stir. Season with black pepper, dried Thyme and the Bay leaves. Check the saltiness of the water for preference. The seasoning can be quite salty so be careful when adding more.

Give the whole thing a good stir and then cook in the oven on a medium heat for forty minutes. When it’s ready the broth will be rich, the TVP will be soft but hold their shape and the vegetables will be cooked but not disintegrating. Enjoy with some crusty bread or potato farls and a liberal glass of stout, I paired ours with another couple bottles of Irish Stout brewed for Marks and Spencer’s by Carlow Brewing Company. Making the most of finding vegan friendly Irish stout
Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit! Sláinte!

Drink: Semla Shake

Here’s a great recipe for fettisdagen (the Swedish Mardi Gras). It has all the flavours of semla buns, but none of the time-consuming process of proving and kneading. However, if you’re game for all that, then by all means this cocktail would be amazing paired with the decadent buns! You can omit the custard if you want, but it gives another dimension to the cocktail and hey, it is for Fat Tuesday, after all!

To make, you’ll need:

  • 1 Whole carton of Oatly milk/ unsweetened unroasted almond milk
  • 2 Scoops of Swedish Glace (Tofu Line) vanilla Ice cream
  • 3 Shots of Amaretto
  • 2 Shots of vanilla vodka (I used ABSOLUT, naturally)
  • 1⁄2 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 2tbs Oatly custard

To finish:

  • Soy whip
  • Cake crumbs

To make, put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz up until they make a sweet, aromatic cardamom laced cocktail. Get your glasses, in my case a vintage milk bottle, and fill with the mix. Top with some soy whipped cream, but be wary that it doesn’t sink, as it doesn’t behave exactly the way dairy cream does, it’s also a bit heavier.

Garnish with cake crumbs, vegan in my case, left over from a delicious Naturally Kind Food slice and you’re done!

 

Enjoy!

Food:Pep up your porridge!

Everyone knows a good breakfast is the cornerstone of a good day, right?

 

Sometimes we skip it, thinking we’ll grab something on the way, or worse sometimes, we settle for a breakfast that’s merely adequate rather than sublime.

Now, most people wouldn’t think of porridge as being sublime, but the nice people at GRØD would humbly disagree. This Danish company has taken porridge (Grød, after all, is the Danish word for porridge) and in 2011 was determined to “show the world that porridge can be delicious, delicate and versatile”. It’s more than just chucking a load of ingredients in and hoping for the best, there is a knack to it.

Ever since I visited their porridge boutiques in Copenhagen, I’ve been inspired to make an original and interesting bowl of porridge every Sunday morning.

So, with that in mind, here’s a handy guide to bringing your ‘A Game’ to breakfast.

Compotes & jams.

Jams can make what was a dull, hearty gloop into a sweet treat! But, as much as ‘a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down’ you can use jams and compotes to elevate the humble porridge gastronomically.

Whenever I go abroad, I stock up with all of the interesting jams that you can’t get back home. For instance, In Germany I found a raspberry & passion fruit jam, in Poland – chokeberry, Sweden – Cloudberry and in Denmark – Sea buckthorn. My case is normally bulging from the jars & pots of things I’m determined to return home with! Whilst I’m not asking you to travel the world and smuggle kilos of sugary, interesting goodness back home, I’m asking to think laterally about the traditional flavour combinations that we regularly fall into doing in this country.

Compotes are an easy way to make your own flavour combinations. As I work in a supermarket, I tend to try and snaffle any reduced fruit they have, to make compotes. It’s a challenge sometimes, as some of the fruit I’ve never had before! However, through trial and error I’ve come up with some stonkingly good ones, like peach & rosemary, pomegranate & rose or liquorice and blackberry. Plus, making a compote couldn’t be easier.

Simply fill a pan, quarter way up with water, add a sugar of your choice and then the fruit. Bring up to a boil. This is now the time to add in the spices/herbs/botanicals of your choice, turn down to a simmer and allow to thicken. Once all the flavours are in harmony take off the heat to cool.

Salts.

Hear me out. If you look up the Traditional Scottish porridge they salt their oats, then add the sweetness later. Plus, salt over the past 10 to 15 years has become far more than just a seasoning.

These days you can get salts for everything in a variety of different flavours, all designed to bring some extra dimension to your culinary creations. Seasoning porridge is absolutely essential, otherwise, regardless of whatever else you add to it, the basic ingredient will be bland and lifeless.

So, why not go a little gourmet and interesting? One of my “go to” salts comes from Halen Môn, a homegrown company based in Anglesey (Ynys Môn). Their vanilla salt is a delight sprinkled on caramel, anything chocolate or used as a base for porridge. While the salt brings out the sweetness, the vanilla enhances it. If you’re looking for a variation you can go with Norður Salt, an Icelandic company, who specialise in a range of interesting flavours. They do a blueberry salt and a rhubarb salt which can be paired brilliantly with the other ingredients you decide to add to it.

Perhaps my absolute favourite (though, I may have one or two detractors on this one!) is Saltverk’s Liquorice Salt.
Creamy toppings.

Nothing seals the deal on a great bowl of porridge like a bit of cream! It helps balance the flavours, brings sharpness and adds a touch of velvety luxury. As I tend to cook plant based, the creams are dairy-free. I’ve found that a dollop of ‘Oatly crème fraîche’ (made from oats, naturally) is perfect for giving that extra bit of decadence to what was once a peasant staple. I also use soya products from Alpro like their soy yogurt and quark substitute, ‘Alpro Go On’. I have found that the soya yogurt tends to be flavoursome, a little sweet and quite runny, while the quark gives great acidity and has a great thickness.

Combine the salts, compotes and creamy toppings and you not only improve upon a very simple and hearty breakfast, but personalise it too. The combinations and possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Be creative, flex those flavour muscles and try something new!