OATLY Review + Creamy Garlic Pasta

First up, apologies are in order for my absence! After the long and strenuous months leading up to the completion of my degree (dissertation, exams etc.), I went travelling around Europe, relaxing, soaking up the sun and enjoying general post-study merriment and now I’m back in the kitchen! So I thought I’d start off with a review and a delicious pasta recipe using the oh-so yummy dairy-free milk range from Oatly. Check out their motto – “It’s like milk, but made for humans” – how perfect is that?

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It comes in a number of varieties including the three I chose which are the Organic Oat Drink, the Original Oat Drink and the Chocolate Oat Drink – all wonderful gulped down straight from the glass (or the container if you are a rebel like me) or incorporated into different recipes like smoothies, sauces and pastas! Oatly is a nutrious alternative to dairy milk and for those who are sensitive to soy. It is high in fibre and has a nutritional balance of protein, fat and carbs, relative to energy.

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Look how awesome their new packaging is! Yeah, I am a bit of a sucker for funky branding – what can I do? I used the Organic Oat Drink in my morning smoothie with berries, bananas and maple syrup and it was positively scrumptious. It’s difficult these days to find the right dairy-free milk when there are so many out there, but I’m beginning to think I’ve found my favourite. The Chocolate Oat drink went down this afternoon with some carrot cake cookies I made using this awesome recipe from the divine Angela Liddon. Having never really been a huge fan of chocolate milk – I can safely safe this one is changing my opinion on that.

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Chocolate-y and smooth without being too heavy, this is a drink I’ll definitely be buying again. Another thing I love about Oatly is the simple and short list of ingredients in their products. The original oat drinks contain oats, water and a hint of salt and the chocolate drink has in addition, sugar, cocoa powder, rapeseed oil, calcium, flavour and vitamins – not bad for a drink that usually contains some seriously nasty stuff! Try dunking your biscuits (or cookies) in this dreamy stuff, you’ll love it!

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Now on to that pasta… I thought a good way to test the original oat drink was to make a creamy pasta using it, as previous attempts at making creamy sauces with other non-dairy milks have been too sweet or watery. I’m happy to report that Oatly milk works wonderfully in this recipe which means it would work equally as well in any white or cheese sauce where one would usually use dairy milk.  This recipe is inspired by this pasta from the Minimalist Baker – a truly awesome blog.

Makes: Enough for 4 entrees or 3 mains

  • 500g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons plain/all purpose flour
  • 2.5 – 3 cups of OATLY Original Oat Drink
  • Pasta of your choice – Rigatoni works well with creamy sauces

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6 and line a baking sheet with baking/parchment paper. Throw the sliced tomatoes in a bowl and toss with a little oil and black pepper and lay out on the baking tray. Roast for 20 minutes – just enough time to complete the rest of the dish!

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Now heat in a large pan/wok a large glug of olive oil. Throw in the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft, about 4 minutes. Next add in the flour, mixing with a whisk so it is incorporated into the mix, then add in the milk a cup at a time, whisking it so there are no lumps. Heat for a few minutes so it thickens and then turn the heat off.

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Transfer to a blender and process until you have a smooth consistency. Pour back into the pan and heat gently, adding salt and pepper to your liking whilst you cook the pasta according to pack instructions. Drain pasta, reserving a ladel-full of cooking liquid. Add this and the pasta to the sauce and toss with roasted tomatoes and finish with black pepper and (if you like) vegan parmesan or crushed toasted nuts. Serve with a salad or bread and you’re ready to go!

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The OATLY range is available at Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Asda, Tesco and other retailers. For international readers, please check their awesome website for details :)

 

 

Easy Vegan Falafel

I don’t want to be just another blogger telling you how busy I am and that’s why I haven’t been posting frequently – but, well – I’m-a-gonna! Really, for the next few months things will get a bit crazy with exams and my dissertation, but I’m going to try to post something once a week, I mean, I am eating so I might as well try and document it as much as I can (if I did it too often, however, you’d be inundated with pictures of mung bean bowls and oat cakes :) ) So on this not so crazy Sunday I decided to whip up something fast and easy. So here I present to you – my lovely, green, fragrant and delicious falafel!

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Makes: About 15

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 2 small onions, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 very large bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 very large bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for cooking)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour

Method:

Throw into a food processor the chickpeas, onion, garlic, cumin, fresh herbs and oil. Process until you have a thick but smooth texture. Add a little oil or water if it’s not coming together easily. (I have a small processor so I did this in two batches. Now add this to a large bowl and add the salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. The mixture should stick together nicely when you roll it between your hands.

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Now, lifting heaped teaspoon amounts into your hands, roll into small rounds and then flatten slightly with your fingers. They should look something like this:

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Heat a very shallow amount of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the falafel until brown on both sides. This should take around 5 minutes on each side. Now place in a pre-heated oven at 400F/200C/gas mark 6 for another 20 minutes.

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I also baked a few instead of frying and they turned out great. Simply place on a baking sheet, brush with some oil and bake for about 30-35 minutes, turning once. Do this is a hotter oven at 425F/220C/gas 7.

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Serve with pita bread or wraps, lettuce, tomato, avocado, radishes and of course…hummus! I have a simple recipe here for one or just use a store-bought one for added ease! Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper and maybe some smoked paprika. Enjoy!

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Vegan Muesli/Granola Bar – Two Ways, Both Sugar and Gluten Free!

Things are really getting busy here with my dissertation due date and exams approaching faster than I’d like! Days spent at home studying or in the library reading make for exhausting weeks and it’s important that I don’t fall back on getting the bulk of my calories from all the lovely vegan goodies that Camden has to offer (I’m looking at you Cookies and Scream)! So I try to whip up some good ol’ fashioned muesli bars to take with me for a boost of sustenance whilst studying.

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I’ve made two here, one – a nutty, sticky bar with almonds that is inspired by an article in a magazine I found about using dates and peanut butter in a muesli bar and the other – a lovely and sweet chewy bar that is based on this recipe from Angela at Oh She Glows! I have been experimenting lately with sweetening things using dates and whilst some recipes have NOT turned out, these bars are fantastic! One is baked and one is chilled – so you can easily make them at the same time and be left with two lots of awesome, chunky goodness!

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Sticky Peanut Butter Bars:

  • 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter (smooth would be fine, but I love the extra peanuts!)
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar (I used a mix of dark and light, but one of either would be fine)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 2/3 cups porridge oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts like pecans or almonds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Extra coconut and linseeds for pressing on top

Method:

Throw most of the oats into a large mixing bowl with the nuts and coconut. Place remaining oats (like a small handful) into a food processor with the pitted dates. add a splash of water and process until combined – it will be sticky and gooey! Now add this to the oats and nuts. In a little frying pan, you are going to heat gently the peanut butter and the agave until they come together in a liquid. Turn off the heat, add in the vanilla and then pour into the bowl with everything else. Mix well until everything is combined and then press into your prepared pan, making sure the surface is nice and flat.

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Wet your hands and press down on the surface a little to wet it and then sprinkle over the linseeds and coconut so they stick down. Place in fridge for half an hour or more until cool and firm. Now they are ready to slice!

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Soft Baked Fruity Bar:

  • 3/4 cup of rolled oats (gluten-free if you need)
  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup seeds of choice (I mixed sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and linseed)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries chopped (or raisins)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 325F/160C/gas mark 3. Line an 8×8 square pan with baking/parchment paper. In a food processor, blend the oats until fine. Now place in a large bowl. To the processor add the dates and water and blend until you have a nice smooth consistency. Drop in the vanilla extract now.

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Now add the liquid to the oats followed by the rest of the ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon until all combined. Transfer this to your prepared pan and smooth out until you have a flat, smooth surface. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes. It will become nice and firm when you press it. Once done, leave to sit for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.

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Look how loaded these babies are!

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Cranberry, Almond and Cocoa Christmas Truffles – Vegan and Gluten-Free. Plus a New Product Review!

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Well it’s officially Christmas time! I really love this time of year because London is at its absolute prettiest with all the lights and hopefully snow AND it means I get to fly back home (Australia) for a few weeks to see the family – and enjoy the hot Melbourne summer! I know, it’s all pretty confusing, trust me, my body let’s me know it confuses it also :)

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So today I’m making something Christmassy and I think these lovely little balls of sweet, nutty and fruity deliciousness would make a great treat to leave for Santa or eat whilst opening all those pressies! I made these up as I went along and they turned out lovely, but feel free to mix in any of your own ideas – this recipe is totally adaptable.

Makes: 14 -15 balls

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oats, soaked for 10 mins
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked for 10 mins
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Method:

In a food processor, blend the almonds until finely chopped.

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Drain and press as much water as you can out of the oats and add this to the almonds. Add also the dates, raisins, cocoa powder, maple syrup, oil and salt. Pulse until you start to get a sticky, thick mixture.

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Add the coconut and pulse a few more times.

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Place mixture in a large bowl and stir in the cranberries until combined. Now roll up into neat little balls and place in fridge for an hour. I sprinkled mine with some extra coconut to look like snow (I have always been very imaginative) but if you are not that daring then you can fancy them up any way you choose!

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These little beauties are also amazing to snack on when you are in need of an energy boost. I have one right before I go to gym or go for a run/walk. I have started to run again (good timing, it being freezing and all) and I was lucky enough to be sent a new pedometer to test out and review. It is the Ozeri 4×3 Motion Digital Pocket 3D Pedometer – a mouthful I know! I’ve never used one before but I can say this one is amazing. It counts the steps I take very accurately and it’s super easy to set it up. You just input some info about yourself and it gets working right away. You can choose between km/miles and it also calculates your calories, distance and time. You can split the counter also, which is great if you want to record, for example, a single activity. The one thing I would say, however, is that it does not seem to take into account my extra calories burned when walking or running up an incline. I tested this out on a treadmill and whilst the treadmill showed 230 calories, the pedometer said only 120 – even though I gave the treadmill the same information as the pedometer.

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All in all I would definitely recommend this product, it can really help you to stay on track of certain goals and can be motivating, as I really was not aware of how many steps I took in a day! It comes with a handy little screwdriver to open the back for changing batteries and a cord to hang it around your neck, although it’s small enough to put in any pocket.

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Vegan Cauliflower Rice Sushi

Let me start by saying I love me some sushi, and I’m somewhat of a sushi snob; I won’t touch it if it doesn’t taste delicious! That said, I’m always open to trying new things, so when I came across some recipes for cauliflower rice I thought, what the hell, let’s make some sushi with that! Turns out, rice made with cauliflower is freakin’ awesome and works wonderfully in sushi! Even for this sushi snob :) For this hand-roll I used marinated flat mushrooms and avocado but you could put any of your favourite additions in there.

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Makes: 4 hand rolls

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, broken in pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 nori seaweed sheets
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 large flat mushroom
  • A dash each of soy sauce, oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Sushi ginger, soy sauce and wasabi for serving

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Begin with the rice. Place the cauliflower florets into a food processor and pulse until you have a fine, rice-like granules. It won’t take long!

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Now, heat the oil in a small pan and throw in the ‘rice’. Mix to coat in the oil and cook for about 7 – 8 minutes until it softens slighty. Put to the side.

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Now slice the mushroom into longs strips and place in a shallow bowl. Drizzle with some soy sauce, oil and balsamic vinegar and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Slice your avocado in the meantime. Cook the mushroom in a pan over medium to high heat for a few minutes until soft. Set aside.

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Now it’s time to assemble! (Sorry, but how gorgeous is that ‘rice’?) Making sure that the rice stays slightly warm will help it stick to the nori better. Start by spreading a layer of rice over the nori sheet, leaving a space at the front and back. Now lay over the avocado and the mushroom slices.

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Roll up and cut in half! Serve with ginger, wasabi and soy sauce. Give these a go, I’m sure you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

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Lovely and Warming Mung Bean & Lentil Soup

By now, many of you may be wondering; “This girl called her blog ‘An ode to mung beans’ but I ain’t seen no MUNG BEAN recipes!” and you would be correct. It is a strange thing, but you have to believe me, I eat those little magic legumes every other day – they just haven’t made it on the blog yet! This is mostly, I imagine, because I eat them in such basic, un-photogenic ways. Like, we’re talking prison cafeteria-style bowls of green goodness with nothing but some salt and lemon juice. THIS is how much I love my mung beans! So today is a special day, because I made something else with them, soup!

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Makes: 4 large servings

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 cup mung beans
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 5 pints vegetable stocks
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • a pinch of chilli powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley

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Heat a little oil in a large pot and throw in the garlic cloves, allow them to release some aroma and turn golden before removing from pain, chop into fine pieces. Now with the oil still hot, add in the onions, carrot and celery. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

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Add in the lentil and mung beans, stir again and allow to mix with the vegetable for a fe minutes before pouring in the stock. To this add your spices, salt and pepper and bay leaf.

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Cover the pot and simmer for around 30 minutes. Add some fresh chopped parsley and continue to cook for a few more minutes, tasting the lentil and mung beans to make sure they are soft.

Now you’re ready to serve! Pour into bowls, eat this hot with crusty bread, rice, salad or whatever floats your boat!

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Crispy Tofu and Shiitake Mushroom Noodle Soup

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It’s the perfect season now for bringing out all those lovely soup recipes. Although I’ve never had to wait for a particular time of year to eat some good ol’ Asian-inspired noodle soup! This one is my absolute go-to recipe when I need something hot, tasty and slurpy! It’s very simple and actually very healthy, being low in salt and gluten-free if you use tamari. So go ahead, give this a go and if you want to make it even healthier, try rolling the tofu in breadcrumbs and baking instead of frying.

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Makes: Enough for 2

  • 1/2 block of firm tofu, pressed and drained and cut into cubes
  • Cornflour for rolling tofu in
  • 2 servings of your favourite rice noodle
  • 6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • A large piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced finely
  • 1 large bunch choi sum (or your favourite green) chopped finely
  • Soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon chilli oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Extra chilli, onions, chopped peanuts, fresh coriander and black sesame seeds for garnish

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Method:

Pour out some cornflour onto a plate and gently toss the tofu cubes through it so they are coated well. Set aside.

Fill a medium – large pot with around 8 cups of water and set over high heat. To this add in your spring onions, chilli, garlic and ginger and when it comes to the boil, turn the heat down so it is just simmering. Now add the mushrooms. Whilst those flavours are mixing, heat some oil in a frying pan and throw in the tofu cubes. Fry them until they are golden brown on all sides, adding in a dash of soy sauce right at the end. Put to one side.

Now add your noodles to the soup, stir for a minute and then add the chopped choi sum, chilli oil, sesame oil and a little soy sauce. Cook until the noodles are soft.

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Distribute noodles between two bowls and pour soup over each. Top with tofu, extra chilli, onions, fresh coriander, chopped peanuts, black sesame seeds and extra chilli oil if you wish. Happy slurping!!

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Vegan Month of Food Debrief!

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It’s over! Great timing too may I add, as today was my first day back at uni. (Final year!) I had so much fun with this Vegan MoFo, it was definitely tricky at times to get the posts out and still ensure the same detail and quality that I like to have. Looking back, I’m surprised that I had only 2 sweet recipes in there, but on second thought, time was of the essence and when I make desserts and such, it seems to take me longer to do :) The following recipes were my favourite of the month so by all means take a look through and try them out – I’m still making my way through everyone elses posts and bookmarking like mad!

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My healthy pizza makes the list because I still can’t believe how well some simple seasoned silken tofu replaces the traditional soft mozzarella. Made with a store-bought spelt pizza crust this pizza was fast and delicious!

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Alicia Silverstone’s peanut butter cups have been a favourite of mine ever since I tried them! Her book The Kind Diet was my first vegan cookbook, so those recipes have a special place in my vegan heart!

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Although I wasn’t happy with these photos, I WAS happy with the way these spring rolls turned out. They were so fragrant and delicious with the coriander peanut pesto, they only lasted a few hours in this house.

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My new favourite pasta! This rich and creamy tomato sauce blended with cashews and pine nuts is so hearty and delicious that even my fussy Italian boyfriend was singing its praises.

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A simple and classic eggs on toast, turned Vegan, thanks to The Vegg!

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A fabulous little burger this one is. Butter beans and kale in pita pockets served with sweet chilli sauce. Quick and easy to make as well!

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It was hard to choose my final favourite, but these gluten-free savoury pancakes won over my heart. I could eat these at every meal!

So that’s it for my first Vegan MoFo, I look forward to next year’s and I hope everyone enjoyed the posts and recipes! Now that classes have started, I won’t be able to post as often, but I am going to try and aim for at least twice a week – hey, if I can do it for a month…!

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Vegan Burger Series: Episode Four – Butter Bean Kale Burger – Vegan MoFo

So the last day of this Vegan MoFo has arrived! It’s been a great and difficult ride, but lots of fun and obviously totally delicious! My final post shall be a return to the Vegan Burger series and today is my fourth episode. I had a heap of organic butter beans and some kale in the fridge so I thought, why not throw them together in a burger?! I crumbed these little beauties for some extra crunchy goodness and served them with sweet chilli sauce in toasted pita pockets – they were awesome!

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Makes: 5 – 6 burgers, depending on size

  • 1 can butter beans (or any white bean)
  • 1/2 cup tvp
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon each dried thyme and rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Breadcrumbs for coating
  • pita bread, tomato, lettuce etc for serving

Method:

Start by placing the tvp in a small bowl and covering with water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes whilst the tvp soaks up the water. Drain and set aside. In a large bowl add in the beans. Mash with a fork until you have a thick paste.

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To this, add in the tvp, oats, potato starch, onion, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well until all combined. Now throw in the kale and parsley and mix again.

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Now shape the mixture into 6 patties. Roll them gently through the breadcrumbs.

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Heat some oil in a pan on high heat and cook the patties until brown on both sides, pressing gently once you have flipped them the first time.

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Now serve with some sweet chilli sauce on your pita bread with your choice of toppings. Enjoy!

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Thanks everyone for your support during the month! It was really great fun and I look forward to reading back through everyone’s posts that I missed during the month :)

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Easy Vegan Burritos – Vegan MoFo

As this post goes live, I’ll be living it up in Venice with two of my best mates! I’ll try and take photos of all the delicious Italian cuisine I’m sure I’ll be scoffing my face with. But for now, we do Vegan Mexican style! This recipe is one of my go-to lunch or dinners because its easy, cheap and incredibly tasty. As always, feel free to mess around with the ingredients, otherwise, why mess with perfection!

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There is really no specific recipe here folks, just the usual suspects

  • Tortilla wraps
  • Organic black and kidney beans
  • Brown rice (I used left-over turmeric rice with chickpeas)
  • Onions
  • Cumin, coriander, chilli powder, garlic and salt and pepper
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Vegan cheese if you please

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For anyone in the UK, these organic beans from Sainsbury’s are the bomb, so much nicer than the tin stuff :). I fried up some onions with the spices and then added in the beans with some fresh parsley.

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Any rice is fine, but I just used up some left-over rice I had made with turmeric, lemon and chickpeas.

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I put the avocado down first, so it sticks to the tortilla, then the rice, beans, cheese and tomato. Finish with some salt and pepper, roll up and you’re ready to go!

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