Food

Spirulina Smoothie Bowls

The lack of time pressure to get up on study leave (well, apart from on exam days) has left me loads of time to mess about making breakfasts. I’ve finally got back into the way of experimenting with smoothie bowls (you might remember me mentioning my love of them here and here), so today I’m back with another smoothie bowl recipe.

 

spirulina smoothie bwol

 

For this one, I tried adding spirulina powder for a little extra nutrition. In case you didn’t know, spirulina is a green-blue algae and is a hugely popular superfood due to all of its health benefits (you can easily buy it online or in most health food stores). Spirulina is 65% protein, making this a brilliant source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. It also contains key fatty acids, chlorophyll, micronutrients, antioxidants, etc etc.

 

Although the thought of eating algae is likely pretty off-putting, I promise it has no flavour whatsoever in this smoothie bowl! So here’s the recipe…

 

spirulina smoothie bowl

 

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • half an avocado
  • a large handful spinach
  • 2 bananas, chopped and frozen overnight
  • 2 heaped tablespoons thick soya yoghurt 
  • 200ml soya milk (or any type of milk)
  • 1 tablespoon spirulina powder
  • a large handful of frozen mango
  • a large handful of frozen pineapple

 

Optional Toppings:

  • kiwi and mango (or any fresh fruit you fancy)
  • chia seeds
  • granola

 

spirulina smoothie bowl

 

Method:

  1. The night before, chop the bananas into slices and freeze.
  2. In a blender, blitz the frozen bananas with the soya milk.
  3. Add the avocado, spinach and soya yoghurt before blitzing again.
  4. Add the frozen mango and pineapple, blend, and then add spirulina powder.
  5. Blend until completely smooth.
  6. Divide between two bowls and top with any ingredients of your choice (if you need time to prep the toppings then simply leave the smoothie bowls in the fridge whilst you do this). Serve, and feel free to add extra toppings as you progress through the bowl (I usually end up having double the amount of toppings as is shown in my photos).

 

As usual, this recipe is really flexible so sub-in or sub-out whatever you choose. Although spirulina powder has so many benefits, it can be ridiculously expensive to buy so feel free to swap it for hemp, chia, or flax seeds, or just omit it if you’re unlikely to use spirulina ever again.

 

spirulina smoothie bowl

 

And once again I’ve used my beautiful coconut bowls to serve these (I’d definitely recommend buying them - I absolutely love mine!). Good luck if you make these smoothie bowls, and I’d love to hear if you’ve had any other experiences with spirulina or have any tasty recipes using it that you can share.

 

Heather xoxo

 
Spirulina Smoothie Bowl - hefafa.me.uk
 

Buddha Bowls with my Bestie

As a little break from revising for my last two prelims I had a brilliant catch up with one of my best friends, Sophie, yesterday (featuring lots of laughs, random conversations and some crazy dancing too!). I experimented a little and make us buddha bowls for lunch - Sophie isn’t vegan and so it was almost like a challenge to see if I could persuade her to enjoy some form of vegan food! These bowls only took 10 minutes to prep before serving in my beautiful coconut bowls. Here’s the recipe if you’re tempted to give them a go…

 

buddha bowls 4
buddha bowls 1

 

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • a head of broccoli
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • half a pepper
  • a small handful of spinach
  • 60g couscous (although this may vary depending on the brand of couscous)
  • half a cucumber
  • a teaspoon of sesame seeds
  • sriracha

 

Method:

  1. Break the broccoli into small florets. Quarter the cherry tomatoes and chop the pepper into small chunks. Slice the cucumber into semi-circles. Tear the spinach leaves into shreds.
  2. Cook the couscous in a pan of boiling water (quantities of couscous, volumes of water and cooking times may vary so be sure to read the packaging).
  3. Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwavable bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water. Seal the bowl (I did this by placing a plate on top upside down) and microwave for about 3 minutes (or until cooked through).
  4. Assemble bowl with prepared ingredients (you can do this however you choose - don’t worry about the appearance too much!).
  5. Drizzle as much (or as little) sriracha as you choose over each bowl, then add a sprinkle of sesame seeds before serving.

 

buddha bowls 3
buddha bowls 2

 

As per usual, it’s a really flexible recipe so feel free to mess about with quantities or ingredients however you choose. You could use quinoa instead of couscous, or even opt for bread instead; add chicken or eggs if you’re non-vegan; replace sriracha with ketchup if you’re not a fan of spice (although I personally am the opposite and added a tonne more extra sriracha than what’s in the photos!); and of course you can change any of the veggies you feel like. Buddha bowls are meant to just be a quick and easy way of having a tasty and nutritious meal, so don’t worry about having exact ingredients.

 

buddha bowls 5

 

And just for a little laugh, here’s Sophie’s reaction to the beautifully natural appearance of the vegan buddha bowls (she actually enjoyed them too which was a major win for me!)…

 

Sophie reaction

 

Let me know how you get on if you give this recipe a go!

 

Heather xoxo

 

*And in case you didn’t know, I’ve recently created a Facebook page for my blog where I’ll share links to all of my recent posts - I’d love it if you’d like the page here! For more general and frequent updates on my life, add my Instagram here instead - I’ll be sure to follow back. Thank you!

 
Buddha Bowls with my Bestie - hefafa.me.uk
 

Vegan Fajitas

Tex-Mex food has to be one of my favourite cuisines - after all, who doesn’t love burritos, tacos, enchiladas, nachos, chilli, quesadillas and fajitas?! Part of what I love about these dishes is the flexibility of them. You can put pretty much any ingredients you choose in them, making it easy to accommodate different dietary preferences amongst all the different options. And as a little bonus, if you do it the right way this style of cuisine can actually be really nutritious too!

 

Given my love of this style of food, I thought I’d share my own recipe for fajitas! All of the ingredients and cooking times are really flexible, so feel free to sub in or out whatever you choose. I have included both vegan and non-vegan ingredients in the listing, although I’d obviously recommend choosing the vegan options, I feel like it’s best to be fair and show meat and dairy options too for the majority of the population. So here’s the recipe…

 

assembled fajita 1 (spinach wrap)

 

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 peppers, sliced
  • 150g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 courgettes
  • per person, 1/2 block of tofu* OR 1 chicken breast

 

Spices**:

  • cumin
  • chilli powder
  • cinnamon 
  • coriander
  • paprika

 

Optional Sides:

  • salsa
  • guacamole (you can make your own by simply mashing avocado with a little fresh coriander and chilli, or just buy pre-made from supermarkets - if vegan, remember to check if it contains milk as this is often the case)
  • grated cheese (cheddar works best)
  • sour cream (if vegan, try this recipe for cashew sour cream)
  • 8 large wraps (2 per person)
  • chilli flakes

 

* Tofu is made from soya beans and is an excellent source of vegan protein (approximately 8g protein per 100g). Tofu, however, is naturally quite bland and spongy, making it relatively unpopular to eat in this form. To improve the taste and texture, I use a tofu press (from Tofuture) to squeeze out all of the liquid, making the tofu firmer and more flavoursome when it comes to cooking. Pressing the tofu takes a couple of hours, but there’s more advice on how to do it here. Alternatively, you can just buy marinated tofu chunks from Cauldron which makes prep a lot less hassle.

** Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the listed spices, just use the ones you like the taste of or already own to save the bother of buying more.

 

Method:

  1. Prepare all vegetables. Chop the chicken breasts into chunks. Cut the tofu into thin strips. Prepare any sides if necessary.
  2. Cook onions in a large wok-style pan with a little vegetable oil for approximately 5 minutes, or until softened.
  3. In a frying pan, pan fry the strips of tofu in a small drizzle of vegetable oil. In a separate frying pan, do the same with the chunks of chicken until cooked through.
  4. Add the peppers to the onions and cook for another few minutes before adding the mushrooms and courgettes.
  5. Add a mix of the spices to each pan (I tend to do mostly cumin), remembering to add in a rough ratio to the volume of food in each pan. I’m a spice addict so add quite a lot, but just add to suit your preference (you can always add more later anyway).
  6. Cook everything for another couple of minutes until fully warmed through, then assemble your fajitas!

 

2. cook the onions
6. cook everything for a couple of minutes more
5. add the spices to the vegetables
seasoned tofu strips
seasoned chicken

 

I layered tofu strips, vegetables, guacamole, salsa and chilli flakes on top of a wrap (one wrap was spinach, the other was beetroot - they were a little weird but made a nice change from the norm!). To prevent the fajita falling apart, I folded the bottom edge up before folding in the two sides - I can’t guarantee this technique is fail-proof, but it tends to work for me! Of course you can layer whatever ingredients you choose in whatever order you want - after all, fajitas really are a free-for-all DIY. 

 

assembled fajita 2 (beetroot wrap)

 

Good luck if you make this at home - I’d love to hear any feedback on how it turns out! And if you have any requests for future meals you’d like to see veganised, just let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to come up with recipes for them.

 

Heather xoxo

 
Vegan Fajitas - hefafa.me.uk
 

Brunch at Singl-end

Is it just me or does anyone else absolutely love going out for brunch? To me, going out feels so much more exciting and indulgent than staying at home, and combining two meals into one makes it much easier to guiltlessly devour loads of tasty food. And because it’s part breakfast it’s easy to get away with having an entirely sweet meal too!

Singl-end sign

As a little nearly-end-of-the-holiday treat we went out for brunch at Singl-end, a cafe/bakehouse hidden near Charing Cross in Glasgow. It was a little tricky to find initially as we had to drive down a few backroads, but the minor inconvenience of driving there was definitely worth it (for future reference, it’s probably easier just to get the train to Charing Cross and walk from there).

 

Walking in at 10:30 I was immediately drawn to the quirky decor: glass tables filled with vintage stamps and photographs, Scottish art covering the walls and countless baubles hanging from the ceiling post-Christmas, all overlooked by the bustling kitchens. All of the staff were friendly and welcoming too.

menus

Service was quick (although by no means rushed) and the menu offered a wide range of options for breakfast/brunch/lunch. Food was clearly marked vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free and there were multiple choices for each diet (plus plenty of meat options too).

freshly squeezed orange juice

freshly squeezed orange juice

We all ordered freshly squeezed orange juice, which was deliciously sweet and citrusy. There were plenty of dairy alternatives my almond latte was creamy and warming. They also have three different fruity smoothie options which are meant to be delicious.

almond milk latte

almond milk latte

For mains, my mum ordered the Eggs Benedict, James had the Meaty Cooked Breakfast and my dad and I both opted for the Vegan Cooked Breakfast. I can’t really speak for the others but my cooked breakfast was divine. All of the different components worked together in perfect harmony and the whole plate was hearty and fulfilling. My favourite combo would have to be the sweet potato with the sautéed spinach and onions. The food is not the cheapest but definitely worth it in my opinion!

Singl-end eggs benedict

Singl-end eggs benedict

Singl-end meaty cooked breakfast

Singl-end meaty cooked breakfast

Singl-end vegan cooked breakfast

Singl-end vegan cooked breakfast

Despite being absolutely stuffed as we wandered out, it was impossible to resist the phenomenal array of cakes available (a surprisingly large number of which were vegan too - yay!), so we chose some to enjoy later on. I opted for a tropical cake and the others bought a peanut caramel brownie, a slice of nutella cake and a slice of banana, peanut butter and raspberry cake. We indulged in these mid afternoon and they were absolutely sensational (the tropical cake and banana, peanut butter and raspberry cake were definitely the favourites though!).

cake selection at Singl-end

So after that extensive review my verdict is definitely in favour of brunch at Singl-end. I loved the delicious food, the stunning decor, the extensive vegan-friendly options and the wonderful staff - I’ll definitely be heading back soon and I’d undoubtedly recommend giving it a go!

 

For more details, check out their website here.

 

Heather xoxo

 

Where are your favourite places to go for brunch?

Have you ever visited Singl-end?

 
Brunch at Singl-end - hefafa.me.uk
 

Vegan Sweet and Sour

Having finally achieved a life ambition and learned how to use chopsticks recently (it was at Wagamama with their delicious new vegan menu - I’m completely obsessed with the kare burosu) I’m now trying to use chopsticks as much as possible with everything. So, last week I cooked one of my favourite meals (sweet and sour) with my dad, experimenting with seitan for the first time ever too.

 

In case you’re wondering, seitan is a vegan wheat-based substitute for meat and has a surprisingly similar texture to that of meat. You can make seitan at home (although it’s a very long, slow process so I haven’t found the motivation to experiment yet), or you can take the much easier option of buying it in a jar from health food stores. Best of all, seitan is packed full of 20g protein per 100g and is relatively low in calories too.

 

But if you’re not vegan (like my mum and brother) then it’s easy enough to use chicken breasts instead of seitan. I’ve included instructions for cooking both seitan and chicken in the recipe below, so just use whichever you choose!

 

This sweet and sour recipe is healthy, tasty and cosy - perfect for a winter day. Here’s the recipe...

 

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

Vegetables:

  • a drizzle of sesame oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 150g mushrooms, sliced
  • 200g sugar snaps
  • 2 small courgettes, sliced
  • head of broccoli, broken into chunks
  • 150g baby sweetcorn, chopped into chunks
carrots and onions
broccoli and baby sweetcorn
peppers and sugar snaps
mushrooms and courgettes

Sweet and sour sauce (a recipe from The Dinner Lady)

  • 400g pineapple chunks in juice
  • 600ml water
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50ml soy sauce
  • 80ml white wine vinegar
  • 230g tomato purée
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 40g cornflour, mixed with a little water to make a paste
sweet and sour jar ingredients

Optional:

  • noodles of your choice, cooked according to packaging
  • per person, 1/2 jar of seitan (100g drained) OR 1 chicken breast

 

Method:

  1. Prepare the vegetables. Chop the chicken breasts into chunks and drain the seitan. Stir together all ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce apart from the cornflour. Boil a pan of water for cooking the noodles later on.
  2. Stir fry the onion with a drizzle of sesame oil in a large wok pan for two minutes, then add the carrots. Cook for another two minutes before adding the peppers and the sugar snaps.
  3. Optional: Add the chunks of chicken to a frying pan and stir fry in a drizzle of sesame oil until golden brown all over. 
  4. Meanwhile, cook the vegetables for a further two minutes then add the mushrooms and courgettes. Cook for another two minutes before adding the broccoli and baby sweetcorn.
  5. Optional: Add the seitan to a frying pan and stir fry with a drizzle of sesame oil. 
  6. Cook all pans for five minutes and then divide the sauce between the pans, pouring most of the sauce over the vegetables.*
  7. Add the leftover canned pineapple. Cook for another five minutes, stirring the pans occasionally. Optional: Add the noodles to the pan of boiling water and cook according to packaging (if the noodles have a relatively long cooking time them you may want to do this sooner in the process).
  8. Once warmed through, stir in the cornflour (divide in similar proportions to the sauce) to thicken the sauce.
  9. Plate up and enjoy!

 

step 2: stir fry the onions
step 2: add the peppers and sugar snaps
step 6: divide the sauce between the pans
step 7: add the canned pineapple
step 8: stir in the cornflour to thicken the sauce

 

* This recipe does make a rather saucy sweet and sour so feel free to half the quantities of sauce, or bulk up on the other ingredients.

 

sweet and sour 1
sweet and sour 2

 

I hope you like the look of the recipe! Key thing to note: the recipe is not exact so it’s easy enough to change about the quantities of ingredients (or even change the types of ingredients themselves) without having too much of an effect on the final dish. It’s also really flexible with cooking times so don’t worry if your times are different to my estimates. Good luck if you give it a go! I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it at home.

 

Heather xoxo

 

Vegan Sweet and Sour Recipe - hefafa.me.uk