Saturday, 15 February 2014

Store cupboard Gluten free vegan gravy

I'm SO busy right now with my book campaign that blogging, recipe tasting, everything really has been put on the back burner. We're doing so well but are a ways off completing our goal to get mine and my talented Sister in laws magical healthy children's cookbook to print! It will happen I'm sure of it because of the wonderful people out there like you supporting our campaign, but it has meant our family meals have got simpler and simpler over the past couple of weeks! Making time to create a good gravy is just one of the areas that has suffered.

Ok, so I know it is easy to make a really good plant based gravy, but it takes a little time. Sauteing onions and mushrooms gives depth to the gravy and adding a splash of wine can really richen it up but it's not super quick. When I'm making a midweek dinner, I often don't have that extra time, what I'm looking for is a magic little mix that you can whip up quickly and easily!

That leads us on to buying ready made gravy mixes. But...Have you ever checked the ingredients on those packets? They've got refined sugars, they've got colourings, flavour enhancers, gluten, all sorts of stuff you don't necessarily want in your dinner. So what is the answer? 

Home made gravy mix! My frustration at the poor quality of gravy mixes led me to mix up my own gravy powder that I now keep stored in the cupboard ready for emergencies. I admit that this isn't as rich as a beautiful homemade veggie onion gravy, of course not, but it sure makes my life easier when I'm rushed for time and definitely passed the family taste test!

To check out how we're getting along on our campaign, check here!

Makes enough for 4 batches, each batch serves 4 comfortably!

4 tsp boullion powder (I use marigold low salt)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
3 tsp instant chicory
1 tsp coconut palm sugar
1/4 tsp ground white pepper*
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tbsp arrowroot flour
6 tbsp brown rice flour

* I use white pepper as when I tried it with black it was far too overpowering

 Blitz everything togther in a spice or coffee grinder or mini atatchment on a food processor to ensure everything is uniform size and evenly distributed through the mix.

When making it up I use about 1 1/2 cups of water per 1 tbsp of mix, you can adjust depending on the your preferred consistency! Using the cooking water from cooked veggies enhances the flavour and nutrient value. Simply whisk powder with water and cook in a saucepan over a medium heat for around 10 mins until thickened. Easy as pie! Easier actually...

You can also add dried herbs to this gravy if you prefer a herby flavour.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Pease pottage hot, pease pottage cold!

Hey guys! Ever heard the pease pottage nursery rhyme?

"Pease pottage hot
Pease pottage cold
Pease pottage in a pot, nine days old"

We used to sing that alot as kids. I've always loved this split pea dish, it was one of my favourite dinner ac compliments and my Nan used to make it for me special. It's traditionally served as a side dish to boiled ham and cabbage but I really thought it deserved to be a dish in its own right,  I wanted to make it the star of the meal!

Even though I follow a plant based diet I do still enjoy a good old Sunday roast and the main part is usually a nut roast or veggie loaf of some kind. But one weekend it dawned on me that pease pottage would taste pretty darn good as the centre piece of a roast! So I boiled up the split peas with some onion, sea salt and water (yup, you heard me right, just four ingredients!), and then baked it in the oven to firm up so it could be cut into slices.

The result was so good that it's been the centre of our family roast dinners ever since! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

500g yellow split peas, soaked overnight
1 onion, roughly diced
1/2 tsp sea salt
Filtered water to cover

Drain the soaked split peas and add to a large sauce pan. Add the chopped onion and pour over the water to cover about 2 cm over the top.

Bring to the boil, then reduce to a high simmer. You'll notice foamy stuff apearing on the top, this can be removed with a spoon. You want to cook this mixture down until it is like a thick puree, it needs watching and topping up with water when necesarry. It usually takes me about and hour and a half to reach desired consistancy, then add the salt.

At this stage it can be poured into a bowl and used as a spread on toast and crackers or as a sandwich filling when cold, it can be used just like a hummous would.

As this was the main attraction for our roast dinner I wanted to set the mix. So i poured it into a large pyrex roasting dish and baked it uncovered at 170 degress for about 35 ins. Then i turned off the heat and left it to go cool in the oven. This produces a delicious sliceable pease pottage that is a great alternative to a nut roast any day!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

What I ate Wednesday- Raw banana ice cream & how to eat a rainbow!

Wow. It's been waaay longer than I realised since I last wrote a blog post. Sorry guys and thanks for sticking with me! Most of my creative energy has been taken up with an amazing book campaign my talented Sister in Law and I are running. She is a most fabulous artist and we've joined forces to bring you all a healthy children's recipe book!

This one is really special, it's illustrated with tons of fairies and magical beings, just like a picture book and comes complete with a fairy food certificate for your little ones to fill in! Our recipes contain no refined sugars, are free from gluten and dairy and packed with tons of fresh fruits and veggies. It's called 'How to Eat a Rainbow'. We are running the campaign on indiegogo and our book can be pre ordered there too. We really hope to reach our target of $8000 so we can make it a reality- we are soooo excited! You can check out our campaign video and pre order here on indiegogo.

So with all this happening and less time for recipe creating, I thought I'd ease myself gently back in to the world of blogging with a WIAW which is always lots of fun! And what have I been eating? Random things! My time has been spent so busy, its all been a little chaotic...

We're looking at buy Tuesday eats today! And for me and the girls the highlight of the day was a tasty chocolate cookie dough ice cream we made. I made this to help with our campaign (ahem - any excuse to eat ice cream) but it's not just tasty. It happens to be refined sugar free, dairy free, raw and gluten free, so I'm guessing that it's ok to eat a ton of it! Just kidding, I didn't really eat that much. My friend came and photographed it so I actually do happen to have a very pretty picture of it for you to see! If you'd like the recipe for the tasty ice cream please check it out on our face book page 'How to eat a rainbow'

For lunch I had a big old spinach salad with chickpeas and roasted veg. Roasted veg is just so easy to throw in the oven and forget about  for a while. The girls weren't crazy about this as it had Jerusalem artichokes in it which really aren't their  favourite, but you can't win them all!

At dinner time I was lucky enough to be invited to dinner with my good friend so I didn't have to cook. It was so lovely to have some time out and catch up and she made the most delicious mixed bean chili, totally yummy. So yummy I did not photograph it, sorry!

For snack time it was apple power and a cup of rooibos chai tea with almond milk. Really love this tea, it is so tasty and nice to have a caffeine free option. Which caffeine free teas are your favourite?

I''m sorry I've been away a while but I promise to be better! Thanks for reading, can't wait to see what you've all been enjoying!