Vegan Gingerbread

This recipe is perfect for Christmas (and honestly any time of year yes please), and is just so easy to make! This makes so many biscuits and they’re perfect for storing and having as a mid-morning snack. Let me know if you make these – I’d love to see your creations!

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Ingredients:

  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • 300g plain flour
  • 100g coconut flour
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 150g muscovado sugar
  • 2tbsp ginger
  • 1/2tbsp cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of ground cloves
  • 100g coconut oil
  • 100g dairy free margarine
  • 50ml dairy free milk

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Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  • Mix the chia seeds with 3tbsp water and leave to thicken
  • Mix together the flour, coconut flour, baking powder, sugar and spices in a mixing bowl
  • Heat the margarine and coconut oil and mix together. Mix in the chia seed mix with a fork until incorporated
  • Pour oils into the dry mixture and mix.
  • Add the milk slowly and mix in until the mix is holding together
  • Leave to thicken before rolling out on top of clingfilm (it will be easier to do in 2 batches)
  • Cut out whatever shapes you like and place on a tray with baking parchment (or foil)
  • Place in the oven and cook until browning at the edges, 10-15 minutes (depending how soft you like them)
  • Let cool and ice (or not) as desired!

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Vegan pad thai

I whipped up this recipe the other day simply because I had a bunch of ingredients that worked together, but it was amazing and whilst it’s not the traditional pad thai, it worked well and was absolutely delicious! And so many of you asked for it, so here it is 🙂

Some pad thai is quite bad for you because of the amount of sugar, oil and salt present, but in this recipe the quantities are reduced (just because I don’t think you need it all) and veg content increased (because veg). If you prefer wholewheat noodles go for those (as I did), but white rice noodles work well too. Play around with it! Tofu works well as an added bit of protein.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 150g of rice noodles (I used wholewheat)
  • 2 white cabbage leaves
  • 2 spring onions
  • 60g bean sprouts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Chopped ginger, to taste
  • Handful of peanuts, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tsp mirin (or rice wine vinegar)
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • Chilli (optional)

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a large wok until very hot. Thinly chop the cabbage leaves and start to fry.
  • Chop the spring onions and place in the pan with the bean sprouts, ginger and garlic, tossing constantly.
  • Once softening, turn the heat down slightly and cook the noodles according to their instructions
  • Mix together the soy sauce and mirin in a small bowl
  • Once the noodles are cooked, add them to the wok and stir, adding the soya sauce mixture last
  • Serve and top with a generous squeeze of lime and handful of nuts (and chopped chilli, is using).

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    Please excuse the poor quality photo – I wasn’t expecting to write the recipe up!

 

Flapjack

I didn’t know what to call this recipe because ‘flapjack’ doesn’t really do it justice. It’s reduced sugar (because I find syrupy flapjacks almost unbearable) and vegan, and also is more nutrient dense than ‘normal’ flapjacks, thanks to the addition of prunes and seeds and the use of unrefined sugar rather than golden syrup. It’s slightly crumblier than most flapjack recipes but I’m working to fix this. Either way, it tastes bloody good!

Let me know if you make it and I can share on my instagram.

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Ingredients:

  • 250g oats
  • 3tbsp linseeds/seeds of choice
  • 1 heaped tbsp flour of choice
  • 100g vegan butter (I used vegan Flora for this)
  • 25ml oil
  • 50g dark brown demerara/muscovado sugar
  • 3tbsp honey/syrup
  • 5-8 prunes, chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp peanut/almond butter

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade
  2. Put the oats, flour and linseeds in a large mixing bowl
  3. In a saucepan, heat the butter and oil until melted
  4. Add the honey and sugar and mix in the peanut butter. You may need to remove some of the lumps
  5. Add the chopped prunes and mix, before pouring into the mixing bowl with the oats
  6. Place in a small dish lined with baking parchment and pack down hard (I do this with the back of a metal spoon)
  7. Cook for 30 minutes until browning at the edges
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Perfect with a nice cup of coffee

Miso quinoa buddha bowl

This recipe is the perfect dinner for two, including carbs, plenty of veg and protein. Double or quadruple the recipe and you have some great lunches throughout the week, as this tastes just as good cold. These flavours taste amazing together but equally, if you have leftovers lying around just chuck them in – that’s the amazing thing about grain bowls.

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SUCH YUM

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 pakchoi
  • 250g cooked quinoa (approx 80g uncooked)
  • 150g cabbage
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 1/2 block tofu or tempeh
  • Paprika
  • Chilli powder

Dressing

  • 5tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp soya sauce
  • 1tsp miso paste
  • 1tsp ginger paste/lazy ginger

Method:

  1. Head the oven to 60 degrees (to keep the ingredients warm)
  2. Start by cooking the chickpeas. Pour a drizzle of sesame oil in a non stick pan and add the drained chickpeas
  3. Sprinkle on the spices and toss. Cook until browning (about 5 minutes)
  4. Pour into a bowl and keep warm in the oven (at 60 degrees)
  5. Quarter the pak choi lengthways and place in the frying pan with more sesame oil
  6. Cook for around 3 minutes on each side, until browned and soft. Place in the oven to keep warm.
  7. Dice the cabbage and cook in the frying pan with a dash of sesame oil
  8. While the cabbage is cooking, cook the quinoa. If it is the ready-cooked quinoa this should take just a few minutes
  9. Fry the tofu/tempeh in a pan whilst the cabbage and quinoa is cooking
  10. Dice the avocado half
  11. Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients with a fork
  12. Make up the buddha bowls by placing in all the ingredients into 2 bowls/plates and pour on the dressing

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Almond biscotti

These little biscuits are something you should always have in your cupboards at home or desk at work. They’re small, satisfying and healthy, and go perfectly with a cup of coffee for mid-morning slumps. The almonds make them filling, while the slow-release carbohydrates mean you also get energy. Most importantly though, they taste great (and are suitable for vegans)!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups flour of choice
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (muscovado works well)
  • 1/2 cup dates chopped (approx 10-15)
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2tsp almond essence

 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients
  • In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients slowly, mixing with a wooden spoon as you go
  • The mixture should become very hard to mix.
  • Form a ball with the mixture. It should stick together easily. If it cracks, add a little more water. If it is too gloopy, add a little more flour.
  • On a floured surface, roll the mixture out into one or two long sausages.
  • Flatten the sausages slightly and scour diagonal cur marks into the tops with a serrated knife (to cut through the almonds). Do not cut all the way to the base.
  • Cook the sausages on a tray for 20-30 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Cut the sausage into individual biscuits and lay flay on a tray. Cook for another 20 minutes until browning and hard.
  • Let cool and enjoy!
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Scour the sausages diagonally so they look a bit like French baguettes

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Enjoy with a delicious cup of coffee!

Beetroot hummus

This dip is a great variation on the classic hummus, and a great vegan side with pitta bread to share. It’s one of the easiest recipes to make and requires basically no input! All you need is a blender, the ingredients and 5 minutes. Simple!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 1-2 cooked beetroots (if you buy the ready cooked ones, make sure they’re not preserved in vinegar)
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini (optional)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Add to a food processor or use a hand blender to blend until desired consistency. Easy!

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My year in review – 2017

I like to take time around Christmas to think of the things in the past year that I’m proud of. Reflection on your achievements can help you appreciate even the smallest of things: contentment at work, good times with family, new skills learned – the list goes on. With that in mind I thought I’d do a little summary of the things I’ve achieved this year. Whether you write yours down or just think of them in your head, it’s something I’d really recommend doing!

 

Social media
This is the year I grew from 10,000 followers (25 December, 2016) to my current 57,000. Whilst follower number isn’t everything, I think this year’s growth has been a true reflection of the pride, time and effort I’ve put into my content. Creating weekly blog posts, including recipes, thoughts and advice is tiring but something I’ve learned to balance in my life – it helps that I love doing it! My aim of creating weekly content has been upheld (most of the time!) and it’s so worth it when I’m able to help people in more than the length of an instagram captions or twitter’s 280 characters (another new thing this year!).

In January I signed to W model management, an agency that I had applied to (twice) and been rejected from (twice). For them to approach me and ask me to be on their books as a ‘fitfluencer’ and model was literally a dream come true. The extra help allowed me to focus on my finals and dissertation at university and build excellent relationships with brands that probably would never have noticed me on my own. It’s been a strong learning curve for me – from having to reshoot campaigns 5 times to learning when to say no to collaborations, this year has taught me a lot about working with people. Most of all, it’s shown me that the best people to work with are those who are really, really passionate about sharing what they do, and that’s something I’ll be aiming to do more of next year.

My Twitter has grown from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand followers, but in reality I’m still just a little confused about twitter. My favourite thing is that whilst instagram is all ‘highlight reel’ and sometimes makes you super depressed, twitter is where people seem to head when they want to complain about life, which is strangely refreshing. I like twitter, but I still don’t really get it.

This year has been a whirlwind year in regards to social media. It been amazing to have the opportunity to share my voice and (hopefully) help others along the way. I’m so excited to see what 2018 will bring for the brand ‘food fitness flora’, and I hope all of you will still be here to share it with me!

See my most popular recipe and blog post of this year.

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Personal life
This year was a great year for family and friends. Without going into depth, it’s been so interesting to realise that some people are always there for you no matter what, and others are along for the highlights and mysteriously disappear when things get tough. It’s also been so lovely to meet a bunch of new people, through countless events and various things in common. I am forever grateful for social media – who could have known that instagram would lead to some of my closest friendships (Maiken I’m looking at you, even though I know you never read this).

I moved back to London after my degree, and have been living at home while I’m getting on my feet. It’s been so nice after 10 years of boarding school and three years of university to finally be able to spend some time with family – there really is nothing that can replace it! Shout out to my sisters for still being as crazy this year as last. You are all wonderful and the variety of things you all do and succeed in (and the ones you don’t) never ceases to amaze me.

I can’t write about my personal life without mentioning my wonderful boyfriend, Fiann. Fiann and I have been together for over 2.5 years now, and without wanting to sound soppy, I am forever grateful for everything he does. For anyone who loves a nerd and pretty rocks as much as I do, check out his instagram (and look out on BBC One at 8pm on the 7th Jan for a great surprise!).

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He’s not bad really

 

Education
This year I graduated from Bristol University, where I was doing a bachelors in Biology. It was really tough (as anyone who has done/is doing a degree will know!), but something I’m so proud of. I loved the subject throughout the three years, which I’m learning isn’t all that common, and when I left with a strong 2:1, I was happy. My academic performance wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be, but I also learned that at university, grades really aren’t everything. The experiences I had at uni are worth more to me than any grade I could have got, and I hope that anyone else struggling to achieve what they were aiming for will still make the most of the experience. For me, university was about learning to balance 7 million different things – friends, work, sports, music, social life, family life etc – whilst finding who you are as a person. It wasn’t easy, but boy was it worth it.

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Graduation

Work
In my last year of university I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do (work with scientists and journalists turning science into terms everyone could understand), but didn’t know if that was even a job. After finding out that science media and communications was definitely a thing (and a very important thing at that), I set out to find myself some work experience. After leaving uni in June, I got an unpaid internship at the Society for Endocrinology in Bristol over the month of August. I loved the work but struggled staying in Bristol when all things blogging were based in London. Half way through my internship I got called in for an interview at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, for a job as ‘media and PR officer’. Upon arrival at the college I was filled with amazement at how beautiful the building was, followed shortly by terror, because I felt massively under-qualified for a real job in the real world. After a very fun interview I was convinced that they were looking for someone more professional (and probably older) than I was, which is why I was unbelievably surprised when the very next day I got a call back offering me the job. I’m now working at the RCOG, working with scientists and journalists debunking pseudoscience, making sure everyone is in the know about women’s health and keeping engaged with the public via social media. The blogger work/work work balance is a hard one to get right (this last week has been 15h day after 15h day), but it’s made so much easier when you love everything you’re doing. People ask me why I don’t work full time as a blogger, but helping women throughout their life through education and information is literally a dream come true for me, and that is exactly what I’m doing.

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Work Christmas party (you can see why I fit right in)

This post is as much for me as anyone else – the last year has been a total whirlwind of change for me, from leaving uni to starting a new job, all whilst focusing on my social media accounts too. Always make time to celebrate your successes, no matter how big or small, and learn from your mistakes so you can succeed next time. Merry Christmas everyone, enjoy this time to reconnect with family and spend some time away from social media.

 

“Celebrate your success and find humour in your failures. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Loosen up and everyone around you will loosen up. Have fun and always show enthusiasm. When all else fails, put on a silly costume and sing a silly song” – Words to live by from Sam Walton.

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That’s me over and out for the year – have an amazing christmas everyone! 

Gooey chocolate cake

This recipe is totally vegan but for anyone who’s not vegan, don’t be put off – the gooey interior will please any dessert lover, and it’s rich enough to only need one slice (although who would stop at that). The recipe is also super easy and requires minimum ingredients, dishes and time. The best!

Ingredients:

  • 180g dark chocolate
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 70g flour
  • 3 heaped tbsp cocoa
  • 150g dark sugar (Demerara, golden caster or muscavado)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vanilla essence
  • 230ml almond milk
  • 5tbsp sunflower oil
  • 100g pecan or walnuts (optional but recommended)

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • Melt 150g of the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of water
  • While it’s melting, add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix
  • Warm the almond milk slightly and add it, the oil and the melted chocolate to the bowl with the dry ingredients in
  • Chop the remaining 30g of chocolate and pecans and mix in (the mixture will start off quite liquidy but start to solidify as it cools)
  • Pour into a lined cake tin and cook for 20 minutes.*

*This leaves a slightly gooey centre – if you prefer it more gooey or solid, adjust the cooking time by 2-3 minutes more or less (depending what you like). Remember it solidifies more as it cools.

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This cake is the perfect dessert when you’re short of time but want something to please everyone

Vegan pumpkin soup (and more)

The season for pumpkins is undoubtedly now, but what do you actually do with them? Do you carve them and then leave them to rot? Or buy pumpkin spiced lattes in ode to Halloween? Well let me tell you – pumpkins are a hugely under-rated vegetable (actually technically a fruit), filled with all sorts of vitamins and minerals, including carotenoids (great for your eyes), fibre (keeping you fuller for longer), vitamin C (to help fight off those winter colds) and potassium (good for lowering blood pressure)

Looking at a pumpkin though, you might think ‘what the hell do I do with this’? I know I sure did – I wasn’t even sure how to cut it! The great thing about pumpkin it can be used in a huge variety of dishes. Almost the whole pumpkin can be used too, including the seeds.

To cut, I used a serrated knife and cut it in half, before scooping out the seeds into a bowl. See further down on what to do with the seeds! This soup is super (souper) easy to make, makes enough to feed a family and is a perfect side or starter at a dinner with some crusty bread and, for non-vegans, cheese (I recommend gruyere).

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Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pumpkin
  • 1 onion
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1tbsp vegetable spread (or butter if you’re not vegan)
  • Olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper

 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and pith (see bottom with what to do with the seeds) and cut the halves into three each.
  • Score a crisscross pattern into the quarters and place on baking trays covered in baking parchment or tinfoil.
  • Pour olive oil on top of the pumpkin and sprinkle the salt and pepper on top
  • Roast for 30 minutes until soft when poked
  • While the pumpkin is cooking, dice the onion and fry until brown in a saucepan
  • Add the vegetable stock and simmer until pumpkin is cooked
  • Remove the pumpkin from the oven and leave to cool enough to touch it
  • Cut away the flesh from the skin of the pumpkin and place in the food processor
  • Add the vegetable stock and onion mix
  • Blend (in batches if need be)
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!

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To use the seeds: wash using a colander and remove the pith (the orange gooey bit) from them. In a bowl, coat in olive oil, salt and any other seasoning (I LOVE a little curry seasoning for this). Spread on a baking tray and cook until crunchy and very lightly browned. Make sure not to burn! Enjoy as a healthy snack any time of day.

 

OK, so I absolutely hate waste, and sadly soup is hard to make with skins, so what do you do with all those leftover skins? I have 2 ideas – pizza and miso-glazed pumpkin.

 

Miso glaze:

  • 1 tsp miso
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1tsp lazy garlic/garlic paste
  • 1tsp lazy ginger/ginger paste

Mix all up and spread on the skins. Bake in the oven for another 15 minutes.

 

Pizza:

  • Tomato paste
  • Oregano
  • Cheese (vegan or real)

Spread the tomato paste on the skins, top with grated cheese and oregano. Bake in the oven for another 15 minutes. Enjoy!

 

I hope these recipes give you some ideas of what to do with one of the most under-rated and best value vegetables/fruits out there. My advice would be to go on Halloween or shortly after, stock up and make all of the above recipes! How do you use your pumpkins?

Chocolate chips oat cookies

This recipe is so simple and quick, I dare you to get it wrong. This is cooking at its simplest, but yields the softest, most satisfying oat cookies you could hope for. The dates provide little morsels of sweetness among the bitter dark chocolate and carby oats, and miraculously the entire mixture is filled with goodness (it definitely doesn’t taste like it)!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 50ml almond milk
  • 4 tbsp almond or peanut butter
  • 100g oats
  • 75g wholemeal flour
  • 50g muscovado/demerara sugar
  • 25g vanilla/chocolate/peanut protein
  • 4 dates, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 50 dark chocolate, finely sliced

 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking parchment
  • Melt the coconut oil and whisk in the almond milk and nut butter.
  • Mix together the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, chopped dates and protein
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients in a large bowl before stirring in the chocolate pieces
  • Lump into balls and flatten partially onto the tray. This mixture should make 12-15 cookies.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are firm to touch
  • Enjoy!

 

* * I used vanilla pea protein in this recipe. You can use whatever protein you like, but bear in mind that whey may not require so much added liquid so add the milk slowly.

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