Beetroot pasta salad

Beetroot pasta salad

They say you eat with your eyes first.  Well, this delicious and colourful salad will have you drooling!  It is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fibre.  The earthy taste of the beetroot and cumin is really complemented by the fiery horseradish.  Of course its up to you how hot you go!

At only 165 calories a portion it is perfect for anyone wanting to lose weight, especially you 5:2 fast-ers.

Beetroot pasta salad – serves 2, 165 calories a portion

beetrootbeetro160g cooked beetroot, cubed (I used the pre-cooked vacuum packed version), 60g grated carrot, 100g of cooked and cooled wholemeal pasta,

The dressing –  1tsp horseradish puree (from a jar but not the creamed version)  or fresh horseradish if you have it, ¼ tsp each of ground paprika and cumin,  2 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp orange juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, large pinch of ground black pepper, small pinch of sea salt,

1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint or parsley

Make the dressing by mixing the spices, oil and juice together.  I use an empty clean jam jar. Set aside.

horseradish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mix the vegetables into the cold pasta pour over the dressing and mix well.  Sprinkle over the fresh herbs and mix again.

Divide in to two bowls and serve

 

 

 

Non-fast day additions

Add a large mixed salad (180g) – 50 calories in total

Add ½ tin drained chickpeas for two– 145 calories in total

Add ½ an avocado – 150 calories

The Parlour

Step in to the Parlour for breakfast

 

14344975_1246108248742642_812204112531224888_nA number of months ago the Parlour, on Bridgford Road, changed hands and has undergone a mini transformation. Thankfully it still retains its quirky mis-matched furniture, happy hour cocktails and hopefully its pleasing food menu

 

As a vegetarian I was really excited when the Parlour (under its previous ownership) dedicated more of its menu to vegan and vegetarian options, but sadly the choice has been slowly eroded. So it was with some trepidation that I arrived one weekday morning. Happily the menu was littered with veggie options, but only a few vegan ones, which was disappointing. The veggie choice ranged from the full works veggie breakfast (with all the usual suspects), granola, an egg banjo pretzel (no I don’t know either!), scrambled egg on toast, eggs Florentine and Colombian eggs. All egg heavy and nothing specifically vegan. Maybe they could serve the granola with soya milk and without the honey, or toast and jam. Not thrilling is it?!

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Well I had a long day ahead of me so I went for the full veggie breakfast and a soya cappuccino. Both arrived at the same time (which I like) and both were piping hot. Two ticks so far! The toast was a multigrain and nice and thick; another tick. The tomato was well cooked and nice and soft; tick. Anyone who knows me knows I hate undercooked grilled tomatoes! The veggie sausage (homemade possibly) was slightly burnt and quite bland; no tick! That was a really shame because the Parlour was on course for quite a high breakfast score. But the soya cappuccino was as ever a winner, tick.

parlour

My companion who’s a meat eater ordered the ‘Hangover hash’, Chorizo, pepperonata, hash browns, fried egg and spicy sauce; all served in a piping hot skillet. Although he said it was very tasty he would have either preferred a larger portion or some of my lovely chunky toast.

parlour

I asked the team about their changes to the menu and the reduction of vegan dishes in particular. Apparently they couldn’t perfect the vegan sausage so some options were dropped off the menu. Linda McCartney do a great range of vegan sausages and the Co-op is only next door; just saying!parlour 18449927_10154617819456903_938501313_n

On the whole we enjoyed our breakfast (although £7 for the veggie option is at the top end) and I will probably return to the Parlour to try the egg banjo pretzel.

Homemade bourbon biscuits

Homemade bourbon biscuits

Makes 8 generous biscuits

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125g plain flour

15g cocoa or cacao powder

½ tsp bicarbonate soda

62g of non dairy marg or butter (I used Pure soya spread)

62g golden caster sugar

1 tbs golden syrup

2 tbs non dairy/dairy milk (I used soya milk)

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For the filling

37g non dairy marg or butter

62g sieved icing sugar

7.5g cocoa or cacao powder

Optional – 15g toasted chopped nuts or biscoff paste

 

  • Preheat the oven 180C/160 Fan/350F/Gas 4
  • Put the flour cocoa, bicarb, marg, and sugar in a blender/food processor and mix until to make fine bread crumbs. Or place in a bowl and rub between your finger

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  • Add the golden syrup and milk and blend in the blender or in the bowl with a spoon. Chill the dough for 30 minutes
  • Roll out the chocolate dough between two layers of clingfilm. Remove the top sheet and cut in to two long lengths. Then cut across each length into 8 wide biscuits (about 2.5 cm wide) – 16 in total. Option: Make holes along the edges with a tooth pick or fork to look like the real thing

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  • Spread the biscuits out on a grease proofed lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack

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  • Make the filling by placing all the ingredients (except the nuts) in a blender/processor until a thick buttercream is achieved. Or put the marg in a bowl and gradually add the icing sugar and cocoa. Add the nuts and mix well

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  • Spoon the mixture right up to the edges of 8 of the cold biscuits. Sandwich with the remaining 8. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks

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vegan chocolate brownie

vegan chocolate brownie cake with black cherries and ice cream

Makes 9 – 12  generous portions

Gooey and delicious

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This vegan chocolate brownie recipe has been inspired by Ms Cupcakes cookbook.  I have slightly reduced the chocolate and sugar content to make it a little bit healthier

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

3 tbsp lukewarm water

250g plain flour *

60g of cocoa or cacao powder

200g caster sugar

100g brown sugar

½ tsp baking powder

½ rsp salt

120ml water

100ml unsweetened non-dairy milk

280ml rapeseed or vegetable oil

1 tbsp vanilla extract or paste

100g dark chocolate – chopped in to small pieces

2 tbsp chopped nuts

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  • to make this gluten free substitute with a gluten free flour and add ¼ tsp xanthan gum

 

 

Grease and line (with greaseproof paper) a cake tin. I used a 20cm x 20cm tin to produce a thicker more ‘cake’ like brownie. Using a square cake tin, as opposed to a round one, also make it easier to portion out the cake

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Preheat the oven 180C/350F/gas4. In a small bowl or cup add the ground flaxseed and water and whisk together leave for 10 minutes

 

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients ie flour, cocoa/cacao, sugars, baking powder and salt. The carefully add in all the wet ingredients i.e. milk, oil, water, vanilla extract and flaxseed mixture. Using a large spoon gently mix the ingredients until you get a smooth batter. Spoon the batter in to the greased and lined tin

 

Scatter the chopped chocolate over the top, pushing some pieces into the mixture. Then scatter over the chopped nuts.

 

Bake for 25 minutes until the edges start to crack but the middle is still slightly gooey. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. If you’re not eating it all immediately (with friends and family of course!) then cover with Clingfilm in the tin (to preserve the moisture). They can be kept at room temperature for up to a week. Individual portions can also be wrapped and frozen

vegan brownie

This was made using gluten free flour

 

Here’s a short video showing how the finished cake should look

They can be eaten just as they are, but to zhuzh then up add some black cherries soaked in kirsch and serve it with some non-dairy ice cream

 

 

Veg out restaurant review- Gusto, West Bridgford

Veg out restaurant review- Gusto, West Bridgford

I’d heard mixed reviews about the new Gusto restaurant in West Bridgford (the site of the former Monkey Tree pub), so it was an obvious place to visit to check out their veggie options.

GustoThese days all the info you need is online, a quick look at their menu and I was pleasantly surprised to see a note about vegetarian cheese. That’s something I don’t see every day. It makes life so must easier as a vegetarian to know which of the cheeses are suitable.

As I was making a booking for a large number we had to pre-book which gave me an opportunity to talk through the veggie options. The restaurant was really accommodating and helpful; their goat’s cheese is veggie friendly so that could be substituted for all the other cheeses. They also suggested an option that wasn’t on their regular menu

 

So on Saturday night 11 of us arrived and we were quickly taken to our table. It was a higher than average table with bigger chairs, and when you’re only small they are a bit tricky and heavy to manoeuvre; needles to say lots of shuffling took place!

gusto inside

To say the place was buzzing is an understatement. It was chocker, but that meant (as with many modern establishments) it was very noisy, making it hard to hear everyone.   The noise levels weren’t helped by the occasional clatter of plates and cutlery being dropped by the staff as they descend the stairs with large, full round trays.

NP Gusto

 

My review is also online at the Nottingham Post and will be in the hard copy tomorrow

http://www.nottinghampost.com/gusto-in-west-bridgford-was-really-accommodating-and-helpful-says-veggie-food-reviewer/story-30277092-detail/story.html

Our order was checked for any changes and after 20 minutes or so our starters arrived. My generously proportioned roasted butternut squash and chickpea salad was delicious and looked very healthy. It also happened to be vegan. The other winners were Caesar salad with chicken, mussels, hummus (with a huge flat bread!) and garlic mushrooms. The pate however didn’t pass muster as it was lacking flavour and would have benefited from more bread, but on the whole we were a happy bunch

 

On to the main course I plumped for a dish suggested by the restaurant that wasn’t on their menu ‘sweet and sour aubergine with polenta chips’. I’m not a big sweet and sour fan (it often tastes artificial) but when the plate arrived it smelt amazing, more Asian spices than saccharin sweetness. It was a whole roasted aubergine that had been cooked to the point of collapse; in my opinion the only way to eat aubergine. And the polenta chips were unbelievable; crispy on the outside soft and squidgy in the middle. A big hit with everyone that tried to steal one off my plate

gusto aubergi

My fellow dinners enjoyed their pizzas (lovely thin crispy bases), roast chicken and meatballs. A couple of friends said their tagliatelle and prawns and the cod and lentils were unexpectedly sweet.

 

We toyed with the idea of having the chocolate and hazelnut brownie, the sticky toffee pudding or the mini doughnuts with cream and chocolate sauce. But in the end we were just too full.

 

Overall the restaurant coped well with a large party on a very busy night and for the most part our food was very tasty. I really enjoyed my vegan meal and would be happy to order that again.

 

A few of things to note though; As a veggie/vegan it would be really helpful to have the ‘V’ or ‘VG’ symbol on the menu when making food choices. It looks like the on line menu has changed and my delicious salad is now longer listed, might be worth checking with the restaurant. And my main course wasn’t on the menu so if you are struggling to find veggie and vegan dishes its always worth ringing the restaurant and having a chat. Gusto in particular is very on the ball and helpful.

Butternut squash and coconut soup

Butternut squash and coconut soup – serves 2, 153 calories per serving

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

This is a really fibre rich soup that will keep you feeling nice and full.  By not using any oil and dry frying the vegetables it makes it very low calorie, so ideal for the 5:2 fasters and anyone wanting to stay healthy.  The coconut milk, as well as adding calcium also brings some sweetness, richness and a velvety texture to the dish

IMG_3386330g butternut squash – chopped into small cubes, but not peeled

130g onion – chopped

300ml stock (made with half a stock cube, half a tsp vegetable powder or vegetable water)

100 ml non-dairy coconut milk.  You could also used tinned coconut milk but the calories will increase by 60 calories per serving

large pinch of dried chilli flakes

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbls of the seeds from the butternut squash

 

 

IMG_3387In a non stick saucepan slowly dry fry the butternut squash. This means having the pan on a low light and allowing the veg to release its own oils and liquid to help with the cooking. This will take about 6-8 minutes to begin to soften and colour

Add the chopped onions and keep turning over so all the veg colours evenly and doesn’t burn. This will take another 5 minutes

Add the stock, chilli and salt & pepper.

IMG_3390Cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until the squash is completely soft

Add the coconut milk and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Take out a few pieces of the cubed squash, and set aside

 

IMG_3392Blitz the soup with a hand blender or nutribullet and pour into two warmed bowls

 

In another non stick pan add 1 tbls of butternut squash seeds IMG_3391and dry fry i.e. don’t add any oil. Have the heat low and gentle move the seeds around the pan until they start to toast and colour. Remove from the pan

 

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Scatter the seeds over the soup and add the few cubes of reserved squash

Valentines raw food menu

Valentines raw food menu for two

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_9884Why not try something different this Valentine’s day and enjoy a light and energy giving ‘raw’ vegan meal.  Many of the water soluble vitamins are preserved and the dishes are bursting with fibre

I have devised a  light two course menu of courgette noodles (courgetti), with tomatoes and cannellini beans and for ‘afters’ peanut butter truffles.  The courgette is made using a ‘spiralizer’, although you can now buy them already prepared in many supermarkets. Eating courgettes this way means you can enjoy the romance and joy of pasta twirling without the carbohydrate overload.  The tomatoes add some great antioxidants and the beans are a good low fat protein source, and both are a great source of fibre.

The dessert is only slightly naughty; the peanuts provide protein and fibre, the rice is gluten free, the chia seeds are bursting with omega 3 fats and the sesame seeds are a valuable source of calcium.  Finally, the dark chocolate contains some nice mood enhancing endorphins.  Making it an ideal choice for Valentines day

 

Courgette noodles with tomatoes and cannellini beans

 

  • IMG_13812 large courgettes, spiralized (or ribboned with a vegetable peeler)
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil or virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes or ½ chilli de-seed and finely sliced
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 tin of drained and rinsed cannellini beans
  • Sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves chopped

 

IIMG_2437n a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together – except the sesame seeds and fresh mint. Taste and add some salt and pepper if needed or a bit more chilli

 

Leave at room temperature for 20 minutes for the flavours to marry together. Scatter over the images-10sesame seeds and mint. Serve in a large clean bowl to share – visualise the spaghetti eating scene in the Lady and the tramp!

 

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For dessert some little bite sized chocolate lovelies!

Peanut butter truffles

 

IMG_1816100g wholenut crunchy peanut butter

10g wholegrain puffed rice – toasted, cooled and lightly crushed

few drops of Vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp Agave, Golden syrup or Maple syrup

½ tsp Chia seeds

½ tsp Sesame seeds

40g Dark chocolate

½ tsp Coconut oil

few grains of rock salt

 

Mix the first six ingredients together. Blend well

Line a tray with Clingfilm and shape the mixture in to small balls. Keep wetting your hands with cold water to stop the mixture from sticking to youIMG_1820

Leave the balls to firm up in for fridge for at least 30 minutes

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a pan over a bowl of hot water or microwave on high for 1 minute

 

peanut butter truffles

 

Remove the peanut balls from the fridge and dip each one in the chocolate. Place on the cling filmed tray to set. Crush a few grains of rock salt over the coated peanut balls.  Leave for a few hours for the chocolate to harden.  Then pop one in your beloved’s mouth and enjoy!

Speedy stir-fry

Speedy stir-fry – serves 2 or 3

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

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To celebrate the Chinese New year why not cook yourself this vegan speedy stir-fry.

This recipe makes a really quick and tasty light lunch or a more substantial supper dish.  The peanuts and sesame seeds add protein and some useful minerals like iron and magnesium and all the veggies are bursting with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.  The wholegrain rice also adds some useful protein and fibre.

 

 

 

IMG_36311 packet microwavable wholegrain rice

½ (100g) large onion – sliced

2 (130g) carrots – cut into matchsticks

1 (130g) red pepper – sliced

80g spring greens or spinach or kale- shredded

20g fresh ginger – thin strips

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

30g unsalted peanuts or cashews

1 spring onion – sliced

½ tsp soy sauce

1 tsp *toasted sesame seeds

 

 

Heat a wok (or non stick frying pan) until it is really hot and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Quickly add the sliced onion and keep them moving in the pan (with a large spoon or chopsticks). After 2 minutes add the carrots. Again move them about to stop them burning. If it looks too dry add a splash of water

 

After another 2 minutes add the pepper, greens, ginger and chili flakes. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the veg soften slightly

 

In the meantime microwave the rice according to the instructions on the packet (usually 2 minutes).  This step can be missed out, just tip the rice straight into the wok and cook for an extra 2 minutes with a splash of hot water

 

IMG_3639Add the steaming rice to the wok and mix in. Add the peanuts, soy sauce and spring onion and again stir to mix

 

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Divide into 2 bowls for a generous evening meal serving (358 calories) or into 3 bowls for a lighter lunch or 5:2 fast diet meal (238 calories). And sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds

 

Now you know how simple it is what are you waiting for?! 

* To toast sesame seeds. Heat a nonstick frying pan – don’t add any oil. Add the sesame seeds and keep moving the pan to stop the seeds burning. They will start to colour and go golden brown after 2-3 minutes. Switch off the heat and allow to cool before tipping into a container with a lid. The toasted seeds will keep for 2-3 months

Spinach and butter bean gnocchi

Spinach and butter bean gnocchi

Serves 3, 340 calories per serving

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_3874This is a great vegan dish to celebrate veganuary.  It’s also a great way to use up some leftover tinned spinach from making your favourite curry (but fresh or frozen is equally as good).  It is also really adaptable; so you can use your favourite beans like cannellini, borlotti, chick peas etc.  If you like it a bit spicier then add more chilli, pepper and paprika

The beans add some really good quality low fat protein, the spinach is a great source of fibre and vitamins – especially A,E and K,  which makes it great for bone health

1 (75g) onion

½ fresh chilli

IMG_3868200g chopped spinach (fresh, frozen or tinned)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp olive oil

1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes

1 tin butter beans

50g pitted olives

1 tsp capers (optional)

½ tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

1 packet dried gnocchi

Splash of lemon juice

Handful of chopped mint

 

 

Fry the chopped onion gently in a pan with the olive oil for 5 minutes until it softens. Add the chilli and chopped garlic and cook for a few more minutes

IMG_3871Add the drained tinned spinach (or the frozen or washed fresh spinach), tinned tomatoes and drained and rinsed butter beans and stir thoroughly. Cook on a medium heat until it all starts to bubble, reduce to a simmer and add in the chopped olives (I prefer the green ones), capers (if you are using them) and the paprika.

 

IMG_3869Have a taste and add a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly

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In the meantime put a pan of water on to boil as soon at it starts bubbling tip in the gnocchi. It is ready when each one pops up to the surface. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and tip into the spinach sauce and stir to mix

 

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Add a splash of lemon juice and a handful of chopped mint and serve in 3 warmed bowls

Blue Monday 2017

Blue Monday!

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

6389379-largeToday, Monday 16th January is considered to be the most depressing day of 2017; for some pay day is nearly 2 weeks away, dry January is getting harder, credit card bills are dropping on the mat, the weather is miserable etc.  So lets make Monday the 16th January all about being uplifted.  Today’s Meat free Monday recipe has some mood enhancing ingredients, to make you feel better.

Energy balls

Makes 25 – 30, which are approximately 70-80 calories per ball

ingredients200g pitted dates (preferably Medjool)

2 tbls chia seeds

2 tbls oats

1 tbls melted coconut oil

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbls raw cacao powder

100g almonds

100g other nuts (cashew, walnuts, pistachio, hazel, brazil, peanuts)

 

 

  • blendFirstly place all the nuts, oats and chia seeds in your food processor or nutribullet. Blend for 1 minute, until a powder forms and the nuts have crumbled.
  • Secondly add the remaining ingredients. Blend for another minute until a sticky dough forms. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the mixture so it all blends
  • Wet your hands with water and use them to roll the mixture into little balls. Or use a chocolate mould to make different shapes. This short video will show you how its done
  • At this stage you can place them in a container and store in the fridge. Or you can coat them in desiccated coconut, sesame seeds or cacao powder before placing them in the fridge
  • Now that should put a smile on your face!

energy balls

Additions or substitutions

Use pitted prunes instead of dates

Use ginger powder instead of cinnamon

Use toasted puffed rice instead of oats

Use quinoa flakes instead of oats

Use 1 tbls pea, soy or hemp powder instead of oats

Use sesame seeds instead of chia seeds

Use linseeds/flaxseeds instead of chia seeds

energy balls1

 

And these were the energy balls made by a Twitter follower @SNottsExplorer

Snotts