quinoa

A WEEK OF VEGAN EVENTS / GRAIN AND BEETROOT SALAD WITH SWEET MISO DRESSING

A WEEK OF VEGAN EVENTS / GRAIN AND BEETROOT SALAD WITH SWEET MISO DRESSING

The week of vegan adventures:

Wednesday: Vegan Cheese Making Workshop ran by lovely Mel Rogers of Mel’s Kindness Kitchen - http://melskindnesskitchen.co.uk/workshops-and-catering/ - Mel strives to create delicious vegan cheese recipes on a budget. We were taught how to make 4 different plant based“cheeses”. My favourite was Me’s creamy tofu cheese, it will become a staple in my kitchen as it can be adapted to so many different flavours . Mel’s cheeses taste miles better than any vegan cheeses I have bought from shops (you know the plastic bag taste…). Mel will be running a cheese workshop at the Bristol Vegfest in May so do go see her if you get a chance.



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Friday: Dr Michael Greger’s talk : Uprooting the UK’s Leading Causes of Death! Definite highlight of the week!!! Indeed I have been a huge fan ever since his discovering his fantastic website www.nutritionfacts.org, I did walk up to him just to call him my hero (think he appreciated it). Dr Greger is one of the biggest advocate of the plant based diet’s health benefits out there. And what more, all his claims are backed by science! His talk was fabulously entertaining and informative, I loved that he tailored it to reflect the health issues here in the UK (the US version of his talk is on the internet) making it very topical. My, soon to be 14, son left very inspired too. We were discussing nutrition and health during the whole car journey back and yes this time he initiated it. I have a photo and signed copy of HOW NOT TO DIE book to remember this day. An amazing experience meeting an amazing man. Start struck I was. If you haven’t already please do buy his book!!!


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My personal proud moment: As I sat down at the auditorium I realised there were leaflets everywhere with my face on it!!! The College of Naturopathic Medicine was the co-organiser of Dr Greger’s talk together with the amazing Viva! (proud to have such an organisation in Bristol). The leaflets were there to advertise the upcoming CNM Open Day event I am part of with my talk on vegan nutrition.

Finally Saturday, a delicious (even not so healthy) hot dog experience at a LD’S Bitchin' Kitchin vegan pop up at the Golden Lion pub. This was an attempt to make the pub owners realise that there is a demand for vegan options that are currently missing from the pub’s menu. We were happy to help the cause :) Hot dogs were delicious, mine was smothered in delicious barbecue beans sprinkled with vegan bacon and gherkins. Yum. I had a taste of my husbands Satan’s Seitan and hiccupped all the way home…Fiery! Perfect for the Punks Vs Mods event the pub was hosting.

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A quick recipe to round up this blog.

GRAIN AND BEETROOT SALAD WITH SWEET MISO DRESSING
Makes about 5-6 servings, keeps well in the fridge.

3 cups cooked mix grains ( I used mix of quinoa and bulghur)
1 large beetroot
3 medium carrots
1 red onion
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Dressing
2 Tbs sweet white miso
5 Tbs sushi seasoning
1 Tbs soya sauce (tamari)

  • Place the grain in a large bowl.

  • Grate the beetroot and carrot. Add to the grain together with thinly sliced red onions.

  • In a dry pan lightly toast the sunflower seeds till just beginning to colour, add to the salad.

  • To make the dressing just whisk all the ingredients together and pour over the dressing. Mix well.

  • Top with herbs if desired.


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PINK QUINOA SALAD

PINK QUINOA SALAD

Last weekend at college we learned about phytonutrients and superfoods. I feel that we have only scratched the surface, there are thousands of phytonutrients, some have been well researched and some have not yet been discovered. What a fascinating subject!

My college friend put on her Facebook page: “After a whole weekend at college the conclusion is: just eat your fruit and veg!” I couldn’t have said it better. And as our lecturer pointed out we should aim for 10 and everything over that is a bonus.

The bad thing about phytonutrients? They all come with rather complicated names and I have to learn and remember them for my upcoming exam. Together with biochemistry, all vitamins and minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, orthomolecular nutrients... Yes I shall be busy over the next 3 weeks...

Quick nutritious recipes should get me through it! Just like this pink quinoa salad. You must admit it looks fabulous. It tastes great too. I will try to post as much as my study schedule allows me.


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PINK QUINOA SALAD
Sushi seasoning is sold in bottles in Japanese sections of Asian shops or supermarket. I use it to season sushi rice (of course) it takes the guess work out, perfect balance every time. It tastes great as a dressing too, it may need a bit of vinegar or lime juice if too sweet for your palate. I used cider vinegar, but rice wine vinegar would be fantastic too.

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa
1 large carrot
1 medium beetroot
3 spring onions
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbs capers
small handful of parsley
2 Tbs sushi seasoning
1 Tbs cider vinegar

  1. Rinse the quinoa well. Bring a medium pan of water to boil (about 1litre), add the quinoa and cook for about 15min. Rinse under running cold water.
  2. Coarsely great the carrot and peeled beetroot. Place in a salad bowl.
  3. Slice the spring onions into thin rings.
  4. LIghtly toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan, take care not to burn them.
  5. Add the onions, sunflower seeds, quinoa, capers, parsley to the carrots and beetroot..
  6. Season with the sushi seasoning and vinegar.

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MISO TOFU KEBABS WITH LEMONY QUINOA

MISO TOFU KEBABS WITH LEMONY QUINOA

It’s 4th of July and everybody in the US is celebrating. No doubt barbecues and fireworks displays will be fired up. This got me inspired, I had 2 blocks of tofu in my fridge and some kebab skewers in a drawer. Tofu kebabs is the obvious way to marry these two.

Tofu and a kebab skewer don’t not always make a very successful combination. You see them looking perfect in a magazine, buy a block of tofu, cut it up into large dice and try to impale these on a bamboo skewer. And than disaster strikes, the tofu falls apart and you are left with a mess and have to make a stir-fry instead. I have been there before. My solution has been to bake or grill the cubes of tofu without putting them on a skewer.

Now, however, my kebab luck has finally changed. I found the perfect tofu that is easy to put on the bamboo skewers. While grilling them I turn the kebabs over couple of times and they stayed intact. How exciting!!! My superb very extra firm (and organic) tofu comes from my veg box supplier (Riverford). It is made by Dragonfly. I am sure me and Dragonfly tofu will become firm (forgive the pun) friends for years to come.


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MISO TOFU KEBABS WITH LEMONY QUINOA

I paired my kebabs with quinoa but rice, couscous even Asian noodle salad would be great. Baked sweet potato chips would work very well too. Or just a nice crisp salad. Next time I would thread some vegetables between the tofu cubes, small mushrooms, pepper, shallots, cherry tomatoes would all work really well. Pieces of pineapple would be great too.

If using bamboo skewers do soak them in water to prevent burning.

The quinoa was asking for a herb to be added to it but I thought it would overpower the kebabs.

Serves 3-4

ingredients

tofu kebabs
500g (1lb and 2oz) of very firm tofu (I used 2 packs of dragonfly organic tofu)

marinade:
3 Tbs brown rice miso
3 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs agave syrup (or another sweetener or just omit)
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar

lemony quinoa

1/2 cup quinoa
1 tsp olive oil
1 courgette, cut into 1cm dice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 spring onions, cut into half cm slices
1/2 cup of peas, I used frozen
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
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method
  1. Cut the tofu into large cubes, I got 12 from each block of tofu, 24 in total.
  2. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, mix well.
  3. Place 1/3 of the marinade on the bottom of a dish (I used a baking dish) that will hold all tofu pieces in one layer. Place the tofu pieces on top, pour rest of the marinade over. Cover the dish and let marinate in the fridge for an hour ( or longer).
  4. When ready to cook, thread the tofu on skewers. I used 6 skewers with 4 cubes each for 3 diners, if serving 4 use 8 skewers with 3 pieces of tofu each. (You can thread some veggies between the tofu pieces) Place the kebabs on a baking sheet lined with alluminum foil ready to be placed under the grill (broiler). Pour any remaining marinade over the kebabs.
  5. Cook your quinoa: rinse quinoa under running water, place in a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 min, drain.
  6. Half way through the cooking time place the kebabs under your grill and cook 3 min, turn over cook another 3 min, turn over again and give it 2 more minutes. The tofu pieces should start to caramelise on around the edges.
  7. While the quinoa and kebabs are cooking prepare your vegetables.
  8. Heat 1 tsp of olive or rapeseed (canola) oil in a frying pan. Add the courgettes and cook until they start to caramelise.
  9. Add the onion and garlic, for a minute.
  10. Add the peas and cook for a further minute until just heated through.
  11. Tip the quinoa into the vegetables and mix through. Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest and juice (to taste).
  12. Serve.
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QUINOA AND BULGUR WHEAT SALAD


There is no doubt Type 2 diabetes is sweeping the world, as I learn at college yesterday, there are about 180, 000, 000 cases worldwide. 90% of those are Type 2 diabetes. As Type 1 means a lifetime insulin injections, Type 2 can be, in most cases, prevented, managed and even reversed.

I was always aware that this is a very serious condition, but my lecturer opened my eyes to just how serious it really is. Complications are numerous, heart failure, stroke, loss of feeling to extremities (which often lead to amputation), kidney failure and loss of eyesight. Photos of leg ulcers and gangrene would put anyone off. These are risks everybody should be aware off.

Unfortunately people are still in denial, just google Paula Dean and diabetes, the queen of American high calorie high fat cooking, who still will not admit her diet could have anything to do with her diagnosis. On the other hand, doctors like Neil Barnard, John McDougall or Michael Klapper have had amazing results treating this disease with diet only for many years.

Where the “western diet” and fastfood chains go diabetes Type 2 follows. China and Japan are seeing rise of cases. I think we have to take a step back, take a long look on our diet and lifestyle and act. Prevention is always better than cure.



QUINOA AND BULGUR WHEAT SALAD
I have cheated here and bought a pack of quinoa and bulgur wheat mix, very convenient. You can mix your own, half and half, 4-2 whatever you fancy. In that case however cook the grains separately, drain and mix together. I am not a great fan of raw tomatoes but I can imagine a few halved cherry tomatoes would go wonderfully with this recipe.

I have used dairy free Plamil mayo, which is more tart in flavour that regular mayonnaise. Red peppers are from a jar, preserved in brine not oil.

quinoa

ingredients
250g pack of quinoa and bulgur wheat mix
2 roasted red peppers, from a jar
3 Tbs of dairy free mayonnaise
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 carrot, grated
1 small red onion, finely chopped
half a cucumber, chopped into 1cm dice
15 olives, halved
2 Tbs parsley

method
  1. Cook the grains according to package instruction. My mix took only 10 min. Drain, rinse under cool running water. Make sure all water drips out.
  2. For the dressing, in a blender (or small food processor) blend together red peppers, mayo and vinegar, pausing to scrape the sides.
  3. Mix the dressing into your cooled grains.
  4. Add the carrot, cucumber, olives and parsley.
  5. Serve as it is, or mix with green baby leaves.

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