Peppy Living

Peppy Living for the Eco-Anxious

Category: Beans For Beef Page 1 of 2

Aubergine and Black Bean Stew

Aubergines seem to be a bit like marmite – some people like them and others can’t stand them. I believe that many of the people who dislike aubergines simply don’t know how to prepare them. They take a bit of time and patience because they need to get thoroughly cooked until mushy. If you don’t, they are tough and bitter. Yuck.

As always, feel free to add any other veg that you have lying around like peppers or courgettes.

This stew is really nice as a side or served as a sauce. If you want to go low-carb just leave the beans out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 very large or two smaller aubergines
  • 1 red onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • a tin of black beans
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp of dried mixed herbs
  • A pinch of chili flakes
  • Salt to taste

Chop and fry the garlic and onion in a bit of oil until fragrant. Cut the aubergines into chunks and place in a pot or frying pan with a lid. Add a splash of water and tart simmering the aubergines at a fairly high heat but don’t burn them.

Place the rest of the ingredients into a blender and whizz them into a tomato sauce. Check the seasoning and mix into the aubergines. Add the onion, garlic, and beans into the pan.

Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the aubergines are completely soft.

Peanut Butter Chocolate


I wouldn’t go as far as saying that these chocolate chunks are healthy, but the recipe has very little sugar, and it will work with even less if that’s more to your taste.

The peanut butter gives the chocolate a bit of body which I think many other home made chocolate recipes lack. This recipe makes about 35 chunks.

Ingredients:

  • 150g peanut butter
  • 125g coconut oil
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 10g honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder

Whizz all ingredients together in a blender. Pour on a tray lined with grease proof paper. Pop in the fridge or freezer until solid and then cut to chunks.

Peanut Butter Lentil Dahl


I love lentils and peanut butter goes so well with them. The PB adds a bit of oomph to the flavours without making it all taste like peanuts either. This was heavenly.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 0.5 tsp of each: cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, mustard seeds
  • A tin of green lentils
  • 1/2 cup (100 ml) of red lentils
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 generous tbsp of peanut butter
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 stock pot

Sautee the onion and garlic in coconut oil.

Add spices and mix well.

Add lentils, tomato paste, peanut butter, water and stock pot. Simmer until red lentils are cooked.

Courgette Chips

Courgette chips

I found a bag of courgettes from the fridge that needed using. With a little help from my friend Google, I decided to try this recipe by Nadia Lim. This was pretty easy and very yummy.

  • 500g courgettes
  • 250ml almond meal
  • 250ml finely grated cheese. The original recipe uses parmesan, but I sed mature cheddar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage or whatever herbs you have and like
  • Salt

Cut the courgettes to sticks. Beat the egg in one bowl, mix all the dry ingredients in another bowl.

Cover courgette sticks in egg, then coat them in the cheesy mixture.

Place on baking tray an bake for 15-20 in 200C until golden brown and crispy.

Did I mention they are yummy?

Courgette chips recipe

Cashew Cheese


Ok if you actually eat cheese, this doesn’t really taste like cheese but I love this stuff. I use it as a spread on toast and crackers or as a sauce on just about everything.

The special ingredient here is nutritional yeast. It’s used in vegan food to add that “cheesy” flavour to food and yeah it kinda does. You can get it from large supermarkets pretty easily but you can leave it out if you like. I do think that it adds that special something to the recipe though.

The recipe is from Deliciously Ella.

Ingredients:

  • 250ml of cashew nuts
  • 100ml of water
  • 70ml of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt + pepper

Put all ingredients in a blender and whizz into a sauce.

Life is a picnic

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I recently bought a cookbook called Deliciously Ella. It’s vegan but I think finally I’ve discovered a veggie style of eating that is not just about substituting meat with cheese or tofu.

The big idea is to prepare fairly simple little dishes and then compile them into a meal. One of the dishes is rice or quinoa, one is some kind of bean or lentil dish. Then there are roasted veggies and salads. And my favourites: dips and sauces that are just amazing.

Sounds like a lot of work but it’s not. I often cook this stuff on Sunday and we eat it for several days. I just love this style of eating. Filling, delicious and lots of different flavors.

cheesy courgette fritters

Cheesy Courgette Fritters

I spotted this recipe a few years ago from some veggie cook book, and it has stayed in our menu ever since. The original recipe only used courgettes, but I’ve added onion and mushrooms for some extra texture, as courgettes alone are quite watery and not very filling. The original recipe also suggested cooking the fritters on a frying pan, but it makes them very greasy and the kitchen very smoky, so I cook them in the oven instead, which is also quicker as you don’t need to stand there flipping them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large courgette
  • 3 mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 100g hard cheese such as cheddar or emmenthal
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & pepper
  • Freshly chopped herbs (coriander, basil, parsley)

japanese-mandolin

First slice all the vegetables into little sticks. I got this rather retro piece of equipment to do my slicing – the japanese mandolin. At first I wasn’t sure it was a good idea, as we have a big table top mixer that has a slicer attachment. Well, this has proven to be a really handy little device as it doesn’t take a lot of effort to whip out or wash clean, unlike the table top machine, which is mostly collecting dust in the cupboard. The mandolin has several blades for different shapes and sizes and costs under £10. So well worth the investment.

cheesy courgette fritters

Right, all the veg has been turned into cute little sticks. Add flour, eggs, herbs and seasoning and mix well.

cheesy courgette fritters

Shape little patties on a baking tray and bake in the oven on low temperature, around 160C was good for a fan oven. A regular oven without a fan will probably do at 175C or so. The temperature needs to stay low to allow the patties to firm up and cook properly without getting too brown on the surface. 25-30 minutes did the trick for me.

cheesy courgette fritters

Served with root vegetable mash.

 

Guilt Free Banana Ice Cream

This is recipe is just fantastic. Zero nasties, zero indulgence, just a great treat!
Whenever I have leftover bananas that are starting to turn black, I just slice them and pop them in the freezer. Then when it’s time for a little treat, I whizz them into this great home made ice cream. The only downside of this recipe is, that the ice cream melts quite quickly and it doesn’t re-freeze well, so you need to make it just before you eat it. Not that it’s a huge problem, making it takes about 3 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • At least 2 large bananas
  • 1/3 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
  • A little bit of vanilla extract (optional)

  • Slice the bananas and put them in the freezer for several hours until completely frozen.

    Put the bananas, the coconut milk and any optional ingredients in a blender. You will need at least two large bananas for this recipe, in order for it to really work. Add more coconut milk if needed.

    Start slowly by using the pulse button. The bananas are very hard, so let them break down a bit first. Then crank up to full speed and blend until the bananas have turned creamy. Serve immediately.

    banana_icecream_ingredients

    banana_icecream_ingredients2

    banana_icecream_pulse

    banana_icecream_blend

    banana_icecream_serve

    Aubergine Parcels

    These parcels look like much more work than what they are. The original recipe used mozzarella, but I also made some with soft goats cheese, which in my opinion worked better. Why not try both?

    Ingredients:

    • 2 Aubergines
    • Olive oil
    • Mozzarella or soft goats cheese (or both!)
    • Basil
    • Tomatoes

    Slice the aubergines sideways and brush them with olive oil. Place on a baking tray and grill for 5minutes per side or until they look done. Season with salt and pepper.

    aubergine_parcels4

    Add a slice of cheese, a slice of tomato and a bit of basil on each. Fold and pop back in the oven until the cheese has melted a bit.


    aubergine_parcels3

    aubergine_parcels2

     

    aubergine_parcels1

    raw chocolate

    Raw Chocolate

    Chocolate is healthy and extremely good for you. That’s the news I’ve longed to hear all my life. Cocoa has 10 times more antioxidants than blueberries and tons of feel good ingredients, so it’s no myth that eating chocolate makes you feel good. The trick is to prepare it raw, that means without heating it above +45C degrees.

    I had to try this.

    Ingredients:

    • 250g Cacao butter
    • 250g Cacao powder
    • 250g Agave nectar
    • 7g Pure raw vanilla powder
    • Goji berries
    • Raw, unsalted cashew nuts

    raw chocolate

    I bought a kit with all the ingredients from Amazon, which was not cheap, so this ended up being probably the most expensive chocolate I’ve ever had. However, I’m sure this stuff can be made cheaper, when bought separately. This is a huge batch, so just half of the recipe will get you plenty to munch.

    raw chocolate

    First I chopped the cacao butter as finely as I could and placed it in jug. I heated some water and put the jug in the water. Now this is the tricky part. The water must not be hotter than 45C, which is enough to melt the cacao butter, but it will take time. I needed to up the heat in the pan, as the water temperature fell to about 35C and the butter stopped melting.

    raw chocolate

    Once the cacao butter had completely melted I whisked the vanilla powder in. Once it had completely dissolved into the butter, I added the cacao powder, while constantly whisking the butter.

    raw chocolate

    Finally I added the agave nectar. Agave nectar is a sweet syrup that comes from the same plant that tequila is made of (nice bit of trivia there). It is a much healthier alternative to sugars and syrups and a bit lighter in texture than honey. Adding the agave nectar makes the chocolate quite thick and difficult to whisk. It needs good work to get mixed properly. Keep the mix in the warm water, as the chocolate starts to set very quickly.

    Look at that, that’s proper chocolate!

    raw chocolate

    I got these pretty chocolate moulds, but you can use any silicon moulds, such as ice cube trays. I added some chopped nuts and goji berries to some of them.

    raw chocloate

    In goes the chocolate. This is messy stuff, and the chocolate is quite stiff, so it doesn’t simply pour in. I used two spoons to get it in.

    raw chocolate

    I had much more chocolate than molds, so I improvised and put some dollops on a baking tray. These turned out really cute. I then decorated them with walnuts, hazelnuts and cranberries.

    raw chocolate

    The chocolates set quite quickly on their own. You can also pop them in the fridge or a freezer. Once they have hardened just take the molds off and enjoy.

    Raw chocolate is quite powdery in texture, so it doesn’t have that rich melt-in-your-mouth feel to it. But it has a lovely chocolate flavour to it and is very satisfying. Knowing that this is good for me raw chocolate is a wonderful treat, and just a couple will do the trick – no need to eat half a tray! These will also make a nice last minute Christmas present.

    raw chocolate

    Aww… isn’t that cute.

    stuffed peppers

    Stuffed Peppers

    I like stuffing, clearly, but you can rarely go wrong with stuffing so here is another one. Peppers are easy to stuff as they don’t need all that hollowing-out-work. Simply fill and bake. I filled these bad boys with fennel and goats cheese. You can also try the lentil filling that I used for stuffed squash or the tomato filling from the stuffed courgette recipes.

    Ingredients:

    • 4 peppers
    • 1 fennel bulb
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 red onion
    • 100g soft goats cheese
    • Ground black pepper
    • Fresh basil

     

    stuffed peppersYou can use any coloured peppers you wish. I used one of each. Green peppers are great for baking, as they can be a bit bitter when eaten raw.

    stuffed peppers

    Chop fennels, garlic and onion and season with black pepper. Massage the goats cheese into the vegetables until they make a nice paste. Brush the peppers with a bit of avocado oil and fill them with the goats cheese mixture. Bake in 175C for 15-20 minutes.

    stuffed peppers

    Garnish with black pepper and chopped fresh basil. I served them with root vegetable mash.

    borscht soup

    Ruby Red Borscht Soup

    Borscht is a fantastic winter soup. Just looking at those radiant colours of the ingredients make me feel like I’m pumped with iron and other veggie goodness. The ingredients cost next to nothing and the soup is absolutely delicious. Again, this is a vegetarian version of the recipe, but you can add sausages (I’d use  frankfurters) or some non- lean meat (you want it to be very tender). A dollop of sour cream is also optional, but this is an incredibly lean soup to begin with and the cream makes it so much nicer, that I wouldn’t miss it for the world. And it does turn the soup into a very cute shade of pink!

    Ingredients:

    • 4 raw beetroots
    • Half a cabbage
    • 2 carrots
    • 1 red onion
    • 1 tbsp of butter
    • 1-1.5l of stock (beef or vegetable)
    • 1.5 tbsp vinegar
    • 1 tbsp of sour cream per serving

     

    borscht soup

    These ingredients are pretty enough for  a still life painting, don’t you think? I’m inspired.

    borscht soup

    Chop everything. I used a mandoline for the beets and carrots to get pretty evenly sized pieces, but knife is just as good.

    borscht soup

     Briefly fry the chopped vegetables in butter, then add stock and cook for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add vinegar.

    borscht soup

    Serve with a dollop of sour cream. Store any leftovers as this soup is even better the next day.

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