Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Food for Friends, Brighton

I turned 25 just over a month ago, when I was younger I thought by the time I was 25 I would be married with children and a mortgage. Luckily I only have one of those things, so I'm still free to go on Birthday adventures. This year Mr Hef took me to Brighton for a beautiful day of sitting on the beach, playing in the arcade, shopping in the Lanes and eating at Food for Friends. I've wanted to go to Food for friends for ages and after a bit of convincing Mr Hef agreed to take me. The restaurant is lovely inside, it was a sunny day so it was really bright and airy. We went straight for the main meal, I ordered the Halloumi burger (I cant resist a bit of fried halloumi) which came with balsamic portobello mushroom, grilled red pepper and gherkins in homemade brioche bun served with sweet potato chips, wasabi aioli, and dressed leaves. It was perfect, I feel like all other burgers in life won't live up to it. 

Mr Hef ordered the goat’s cheese, goji berries, toasted hazelnut and pear salad with dressed mizuna and lambs leaves, ‘parmesan’ crisps and pesto croutons. Which was surprising because the only time I see him eat salads is if it's a token piece of green on his plate. But I think he was attracted by the goats cheese and the pesto croutons. He really loved his dish as well (I tried a bit, I can see why) and he ate it all apart from some of the 'parmesan' crisps, which somehow ended up in my mouth. 

When it came to desert I had the internal struggle of what to choose. I narrowed it down to either the coconut and black sesame ‘arancini’ with fresh coconut, black sesame and trio of mango – sorbet or the deconstructed passion fruit and vanilla cheesecake with mojito fluid gel, fresh passion fruit and mint sorbet. Then I managed to sway Mr Hef's decision so that I could try them both (always a good idea). The coconut and black sesame 'arancini' tasted like little balls of coconut/donut heaven and went perfectly with the mango sorbet.

The deconstructed mango cheesecake was equally as good, rich and creamy and topped off perfectly with the fresh passion fruit (now one of Mr Hefs favourite fruits).

We both left with smiles on our faces, full bellies and the need to go back to Brighton very soon!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Mushroom, Stilton and Ale Pie with Thyme Pastry

This Easter I had my brothers over for a roast dinner and while I had nut roast, I cooked them and Mr Hef beef. This was hard because, I don't particularly like cooking meat and I'm also not very good at it. My older brother is a chef and has literally walked in to the kitchen when I was cooking beef before, tried a little bit, told me it was tough as old boots and left again. This time it turned out a lot better, but that was probably because my brother took over half way through! Anyway, because I really don't understand meat (it takes me about an hour and a lot of googling to decide what to buy) I managed to buy a huge piece, so there was loads left over. I really didn't want to waste it so Mr Hef is eating beef for the rest of the week. The first left over dish was beef, stilton and ale pie, so it made sense that my veggie version was a mushroom pie. Mushrooms don't feature much on here and that is quite simply because I think they're really gross. I try to make myself like them and since going to Demuths Cookery School, I've learnt how to cook them properly which helps. The flavours were so yummy that I kind of forgot I was even eating mushrooms. I made pastry from scratch for this because it's really simple and tastes so much better, but you can use ready made for a quicker recipe. The best part about making pies (apart from getting to eat them after) is that you can make little pastry decorations, mine had little mushrooms and and Mr Hefs had little willes on, because I couldn't make a cow and that seemed like the next best thing.

Serves 2 (I made 2 small pies):

For the thyme pastry

200g plain flour
100g cold butter, chopped in to chunks
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 pinch of salt
4-6 tbsp of cold water
1 egg (for egg washing if you wish)

For the filling

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
300g mushrooms of your choice, stalks removed and chopped in to large chunks
1 pinch and pepper
100ml vegetarian ale
100ml vegetable stock
100g vegetarian stilton

1. Start with the pastry. Tip the flour in to a bowl and add the chunks of butter and rub between your finger tips until you get a bread crumb texture, add the salt, thyme and water and mix in to form a ball (I usually stick my hands in at this point, it's much easier).
2. Wrap the pastry ball in cling film and pop it in to the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
3. Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees and get started on the filling.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan and add the onion and garlic, cooking on a medium heat until the onions turn translucent, then add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and turn up the heat.
5. Keep cooking the mushrooms, stirring regularly, until they have sweated out all of the moisture and have started to brown, then add the ale and keep cooking on a high heat until all of the ale has been absorbed/cooked off.
6. Add the vegetable stock and cook until the stock has thickened and you have a nice thick gravy. Then switch off the heat and pop to one side.
7. Get your pastry from the fridge and chop off a third for the top of the pie, roll out the rest of the pastry and line your tin/tins.
8. Chop up the stilton and add it to the filling, then pour in to the pastry in the dish. The roll out the rest of the pastry and use it to top the pie. Cut the rough sides off and use it to make decorations if you wish.  Beat the egg and brush it over the top of the pie.
9. Pop into the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes, until its golden brown on the top.
10. Serve up with season veg and mash and enjoy!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Tibits, London

Last week was wonderful, I took the week off of work to dog sit for 2 lovely pugs, went to Southampton for a surprise tea party for Georgie and best of all, the lovely people at Tibits invited me to go and try their newly refurbished restaurant, in Heddon Street Food Quarter, just off of Regent Street. I've heard loads of good things about Tibits and their self serve food boat, so I was really excited to go and eat there. I took my little vegan mermaid friend Hannah G, (she really is a mermaid, with long red hair and an intense love for the sea!) and after a beautiful day in London, we walked to the restaurant where we were greeted by a totally buzzing, lively atmosphere. The staff we're really friendly and after being seated we were shown the food boat, had the concept explained to us and set off to stack our plates with delicious looking veggie food!

I really enjoyed the experience of picking different dishes to load your plate with, everything on the boat looked so fresh and inviting that I wanted to try it all! We made an initial trip around the boat and then went for it. I chose the spinach quiche, with quite a few different sides (you can check out the menu here)! There were so many different dishes, there really is something for everyone. After choosing your food you take your plate to the counter and they weigh it for the price, a bit like pic and mix. You can order drinks at the counter too, we went for the special juice, which was super green and super delicious! Every dish on my plate tasted great and I loved the variety in flavours. Rather than being cheese heavy and overly rich, the food was light and there was loads of vegan options for Hannah G. I left feeling full in a good way, not a 'I need to take my clothes off for the journey home' way.

After our main we couldn't resist trying some pudding, I went for the panna cotta with a bit of vegan mango cream (seriously good!) and Hannah G went for the vegan sticky toffee pudding. Again you get your puddings from the food boat and take them to be weighed.

We both really enjoyed the meal and I loved the pay for your plate concept, because it means you can get as little or as much food as you want. My plate came to about £10.70 which I thought was amazing value for the amount of food I had. I'm not surprised they've just won Cook Vegetarians Best Restaurant award, it's definitely one of my favourites so far!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Cashew Butter, Honey and Chocolate Cookies

Mr Hef and I have been living in our house for over 2 months now, which seems insane as I feel like I've lived here for ever and only just moved in yesterday all at the same time. It's been hard to find time to bake around removing wall paper, painting (these are the two jobs I can do) and all the other stuff Mr Hef has been doing. But the lovely people at Meridian Foods sent me some of their nut butters to try and it was just the thing I needed to get me on the baking train again. First I used their almond butter to make some vegan salted caramel popcorn, I don't have a recipe because it was a bit of a chuck lots of ingredients in a pan and hope it works job, but you can see a picture here and find an amazing looking recipe for almond butter popcorn on Meridian Foods website. I do however have a recipe for cookies, soft gooey cashew butter, honey and chocolate chip cookies. Once again they were a chuck lots of ingredients in a bowl and hope it works job, but this time I actually remembered to write down the recipe before they all got eaten and forgot how they were made. 


125g butter, softened
100g Meridian cashew butter
200g light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g milk chocolate chopped in to chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line some baking sheets with grease proof paper.
2. Cream together the sugars, butter and cashew butter until fluffy.
3. Beat in the eggs, water, honey and vanilla paste until smooth.
4. Sift in the flour and baking soda, adding a bit at a time and fold the flour in. 
5. Fold the chocolate chips in and make sure they are distributed well, then using a regular spoon (I think they're called a desert spoon) drop 4 spoonfuls of mixture on to the trays, with loads of space in between. You may have to do them in batches if like me you only own 2 trays. 
6. Bake for 12 minutes, until golden all over and leave to cool on the trays, otherwise they might implode (they're very soft). 
7. Once cooled, shove in your mouth and enjoy! 

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More