Vegan kitchen gadgets: the Nutribullet

The Nutribullet is not just a new must have gadget for dieters, it is also a seriously handy kitchen sidekick for any vegan.

David Wolfe, a raw food vegan known for his appearances in documentaries such as Food Matters, Hungry for Change and Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 days, is the official celebrity spokesman for the Nutribullet. Whatever your views on the raw vegan diet most vegans can get on board with why Wolfe and other health buffs endorse the product. The Nutribullet is sold on the premise that it is superior to juicers as it doesn’t remove the fibre packed pulp and its high powered blade means it is more effective than regular blenders at breaking down any chunks. So essentially it makes it easy to cram in a sh** tonne of plants into your diet.

The rush of omnivores trying this new diet gadget are excitedly pulverizing heaps of spinach, berries and kale as if they have discovered the Holy Grail. Meanwhile the vegan community are watching on as yet another nutrition makes that revolutionary claim… plants are really bloody good for you!

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Lazy Winter Warmer: ‘Spicy Falafel and Mustard Sweet Potato Mash’

image2Cooking, for those who wish to partake, can feel blissfully therapeutic. The art of transforming simple ingredients into an eclectic and exciting dish and the satisfaction of settling down to enjoy something you have created is one of life’s simplest and most satisfying pleasures.

Having said that, when you live in a bustling city that can suck the life out of you at the best of times and winter draws in and darkness begins to engulf the city halfway through the afternoon it’s hard to have the imagination and the motivation.

This is one of my go-to meals for those exhausting winter nights when creativity is not on the agenda.

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Rice salad, topped with beetroot and toasted pumpkin seeds

image(35)This salad is a perfect edition to any vegan’s dinner party repertoire.

Much better made in advance and served cold this dish is perfect to bring along as an edition to a friends party or to make at the beginning of the week and work through it for lunches all week long!

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‘Runner bean and walnut puff pastry tart’ & a plee in defense of the joy of cooking!

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One of the saddest things I can hear a person say is that they have no real interest in food or ‘can’t be bothered’ with cooking. In the way that an avid reader will insist that those who prefer TV are ‘missing out on SO much’ those who choose to dismiss cooking because they aren’t good at it or, more likely, just aren’t used to it are (in my opinion at least) living with an empty void that can and absolutely should be filled.

Of the many reasons a person can, and should, enjoy cooking one that we can all identify with is its ability to unearth memories one might not normally connect with. Whether through a taste, a smell or family secrets passed down through generations there are at least a few buried emotions in all of us waiting to blossom through the simple act of preparing a meal.

In my case, there are many sentiments that chime throughout my cooking repertoire as a result of all the tricks I have picked up from the many wise women in my life. For example, I have never cooked a pancake without becoming instantly immersed by that warm, fuzzy homely feeling as I smugly reach for the self raising flour instead of the traditional plain; a recipe secret my Mum has always sworn by. Whenever I am desperately scooping tomato puree in an attempt to thicken watery sauces I am suddenly in my Granny’s kitchen on a crisp autumn Sunday afternoon watching her nurture the Sunday dinner gravy swearing by this staple ingredient and its magical thickening qualities. Even the baking of a cake cannot pass without at least a suppressed chuckle at the lifetime battle my Auntie has waged against cakes and their unwillingness to rise, a reminder that persistence is key and will always triumph eventually.

This recipe, like almost every dish I have made emerged as result of fond memories, this case it is those of summer trips to London Soho’s vegetarian/vegan restaurant Tibits.  One  Tibits dish which is not to be missed is the dried bean and walnut salad. I have taken these ingredients and combined them with ‘Jus-Rol’ puff pastry, a favourite vegan product of mine, to make my ‘Runner bean and walnut puff pastry tart’.

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Sausage Ragu

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One thing that is often lacking in vegan recipes is grease! Although that’s probably best the majority of the time, sometimes a little grease is in order. This ragu is made using Linda McCartney’s veggie sausages which are often the only vegan friendly meat substitutes in local supermarkets. Unfortunately her entire range isn’t vegan friendly but the sausages, pies and mince are safe. These vegetarian sausages are sufficiently greasy to make a rich comforting ‘meaty’ ragu – perfect for autumnal duvet days!

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Street Food Inspired Curry & Caper Stuffed Aubergines

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London has been thriving with street food this summer which has been eclectic in terms of cuisines and also with plenty of veggie/vegan options.
This recipe is inspired by a barbecued harissa aubergine dish I had at Paperworks in South London which is an open air space, with a different street food stall each week.

For us Londoners life is slowly moving back indoors in preparation for a good 7 months of cold, dreary drizzle so I have made this dish as a way of reminiscing about the days of barbecues and outdoor living whilst hibernating indoors and filling up on some good wholesome comfort food.

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Meat Free Monday: Spicy Lentil & Mushroom Burgers

ImageIn the early days of veganism, as a rookie, it is difficult to avoid buying a lot of pre-made, processed alternatives to meat as you’re still getting used to a new way of cooking. However, making your own alternatives is cleaner and cheaper. In support of ‘Meat Free Monday’ I have made some vegan burgers made with clean whole foods and packed with some of the healthiest ingredients you can find.

Health benefits in ‘Spicy Lentil & Mushroom Burgers’:image(13)

  • From Turmeric: Turmeric contains high levels of manganese which is good for the skin, healthy bones and regulating blood sugar.
  • From Parsley: Vitamin A is found in a lot of animal products but there are many vegan alternatives such as parsley. It also contains many cleansing properties and is packed with antioxidants.
  • From Green Lentils: These contain the all important protein as well as a lot of dietary fibre which is good for digestion.
  • From Kidney Beans: Kidney beans are very high in protein and iron which makes them an excellent substitute for red meat.

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Basic vegan lasagne (no blender required)

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There are countless online recipes for vegan lasagnes but many require a lot of niche ingredients and/or the use of a blender. This recipe is for a vegan lasagne using ingredients that can all be found easily in local supermarkets.

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Vitamin rich avocado, mango and basil salad

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There is a certain sense of British cynicism towards putting fruit in savoury salads, it seems far too ‘LA’ for a British palette. However, avocado and mango are perfect for turning fruit&veg combination skeptics.

This salad is a perfect quick lunch and contains lots of good fats from the avocado, plenty of vitamins from the fruit and veg as well as B vitamins (especially important in a vegan diet) and protein from the seeds. As usual, all ingredients are available even in small supermarkets and reasonably priced.

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Super simple ‘buttery’ garlic spring spaghetti

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This spaghetti is quick, easy to make and uses barely any ingredients all of which can be bought in most supermarkets. I bought all of mine in a Sainsbury’s Local!

It also contains protein, carbs and veggies so depending on how ‘buttery’ you make it it’s also pretty healthy.

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