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Vegan on Tour: Bath

Bath Demuths

I’m just back from a couple of days in the beautiful city of Bath! I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned on here but in September I’m moving from Oxford to Bath to do a masters at the university there. I’ve visited the city twice before but only for assessments and both times I’ve hardly had time to see the city. This trip was planned specifically for exploring the city, flat-hunting, and having a little Mummy/daughter time.

Royal Crescent and Circus

We had a really lovely time getting to know the city and I was so pleased to find a flat I love. What’s also made me even more excited to move was the great veg dining options we discovered! As before any trip to an unfamiliar place I’d had a browse on Happy Cow at home to find out what was on offer and was pleasantly surprised to find a few entirely vegetarian restaurants. As part of getting to know the city we of course had to do the rounds of all the veg eateries Smile

We arrived at lunchtime and so after checking into our bed & breakfast walked into town to find the first place on my list!

Chapel Arts Café is an all-vegetarian café connected to an Arts Centre with all sorts of interesting sounding events. I’m afraid snapping a photo slipped my mind as we were pretty hungry. We shared 2 dishes and just about managed to finish them between us as they were so tasty- the portions were huge! Flatbreads make up most of the menu (in your choice of spelt or wheat) and there are a range of toppings. We went for the “Moroccan” which had a thick layer of hummus, tabboulleh, salsa + harissa, and the chef kindly subbed avocado for the tzatziki.   We also had the “salad combo” plate which changes daily and had a lentil salad, a carrot + caper salad (my favourite), more tabboulleh and green leafies.

The afternoon we walked (in the pouring rain) around the city and had a flat-viewing. This was in fact my first and only flat-viewing as it was too perfect and I decided it was pointless to see any others! All the arrangements were made and after a little more exploring and a relax back at the hotel it was time for dinner.

I’d heard about Demuths before and how it was a must-visit but I didn’t realize it was going to be a vegetarian fine-dining experience. A quick glance at the menu and I was swooning. There weren’t too many vegan options but in this case it was a good thing as otherwise I’d never have been able to decide what to have! Here’s the menu so you can see what I mean:

Demuths Menu, Bath

I love eating out with my Mum as she’s always willing to share dishes with me, which means I can try more without getting too stuffed! So that we had room for 3 courses we shared a starter and a pudding and had our own main courses.

Charred Leeks starter, Demuths

Charred Leeks with hickory smoked potato, hazelnuts, apple + pickled yellow mustard

This probably isn’t something I’d usually go for but it sounded intriguing and I thought the other vegan option, carrot cashew paté, was something more like what I might make myself. I was pleased I pushed myself to try something different as this was really tasty, especially the smoky potatoes. Fennel + Apricot Tagine, main course, Demuths

Fennel + Apricot Tagine with roast courgette, chickpeas, citrus purée, pistachios and spiced panisses

Another very good dish. I was a little hesitant before this came as tagine is usually a homey, rustic sort of dish, but this was unlike any tagine I’d ever made, not simple, hearty food but far more special. Every flavour was allowed to shine individually as well as blending so well together. Panisses are fried chickpea flour cakes, and although I’ve used chickpea flour a lot in my kitchen, I’ve never made these. That will soon be changing though!Chocolate Ganache with Port Cherries, dessert, Demuths

Chocolate Ganache with Port Cherries + Frozen Coconut Mousse

I think I’m incapable of leaving a restaurant with vegan dessert options without having one! I was pretty excited that there was more than just sorbet available for vegans. This was so so delicious. I’m glad we shared again though as it was very rich. The crunchy cacao nibs, toasted coconut and salt sprinkled on top really made the creamy ganache sing. Cherries are always fantastic with chocolate. I only wished the coconut mousse pieces were a little bigger as I thought their flavour got a little lost.

It was a great meal in a very cozy setting, and although Demuths is definitely not an everyday restaurant I’m sure I’ll be back for special occasions.

The next day it was raining again, and having already chosen a flat  decided to go to Ikea in nearby Bristol to see if we could find anything useful and hope it brightened up for an afternoon back in Bath. The hotel put on a lovely breakfast- we had fruit compote, cereal and soy milk from the buffet and I had grilled tomatoes and mushrooms on toast as well! The hotel staff were very helpful and even offered non-dairy spread for toast.

After a successful Ikea trip we made it back to Bath in time for a late lunch. Next on my list was The Green Rocket. I gather this place is fairly new but it already seems to be doing well and had a steady flow of diners in while we were there. I wasn’t surprised when I tasted the food. Almost everything on the menu was vegan and all the cakes were too! We weren’t particularly hungry after a big breakfast and knew we’d be eating out again later so didn’t go crazy and shared 2 starters and 2 cakes.

Courgette "Spaghetti" Salad, The Green Rocket Café

Courgette “Spaghetti” Salad

If you saw my last post you’ll know I’m already a courgette spaghetti eater! With just a few ingredients this was one of the best courgette noodle dishes I’ve eaten, if not the best, and one I’ll definitely be recreating at home. It had olives, sundried tomatoes, dates, torn basil and just a touch of olive oil.

Fennel + Chard Pakoras, The Green Rocket Café

Fennel + Chard Pakoras

Light and flavourful and not greasy at all. The perfect size to leave a little space in our tummies for a piece of the lemon-lime polenta cake and a piece of coffee-walnut cake between us.

Lemon-Lime Polenta Cake, The Green Rocket Café

The sun came out for us in the afternoon which was ideal for a good walk. It’s nice to see how much green space the city has and we walked up through Royal Victoria park and the gorgeous Botanical Gardens (highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in the city), and I had to see the iconic Royal crescent and “The Circus”. We rested our weary legs for a while back at the hotel again and got cleaned up for our final meal out.

We tried a Nepalese restaurant with a great name “Yak Yeti Yak”. I’ve had Nepalese once before and enjoyed it so I was keen to try it again.  What made our evening even more fun for me was eating, sitting on the floor! We had little cushions and sat cross-legged at our low table. The guys running the place were Nepali and all the classic dishes were there. We had the vegetable momos to start, steamed vegetable dumplings served with a delicately-spiced hemp seed chutney.

Nepalese feast, Yak Yeti Yak

For our main we again shared a selection of dishes: Cauli Keraw, cauliflower and green peas stir-fried with freshly ground spices, Chamsur Sag, stir-fried spinach and watercress, Bhuteko Bhat, fried rice Nepalese style with turmeric, mustard seeds and mixed vegetables, and finally Musurko Dal, split orange lentil sauce cooked with traditional spices and finished with garlic fried in vegan butter.

We got chatting to two girls my age at the table next to us who were planning a 3 month trip to India and Nepal. It turned out that one of them had been vegan for life and her Mum was Amanda Sweet, author of the classic vegan guide,  The Vegan Health Plan! I’m always pleased to meet vegans when out and about as we are still few and far between in the “real world”.

We said our goodbyes to Bath the following morning and drove back to Oxford but I’m now really looking forward to starting my course in September having got such great vibes from the city.

Have you been to Bath before?

Do you live in a veg-friendly area?

N.B. This restaurant is now called the “Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen”. The owner has changed but the head chef is still the same and the food is as good as ever. 

Swiss Chard Lasagna with Golden Raisins + Pine Nuts

Swiss Chard Lasagna with Golden Raisins + Pine Nuts

It’s five years this summer since I left school. The 5 year anniversary had me musing on school life…especially the food. I boarded and so all meals were eaten in my boarding house- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I suppose the food wasn’t terrible, but for the picky eater that I used to be, meals weren’t exactly to my taste… I did have my favourites though, especially some of the puddings, and me and friends would check the notice board with anticipation for the new weekly menu to be posted!

If there was one thing the kitchen did well though it was the lasagna. It was a fairly frequent Saturday lunch and one I actually looked forward to! It wasn’t the sloppy, cheesy mess you might expect from school food but packed with layers of roasted vegetables, spinach ricotta and pasta with crispy edges. I wasn’t vegan at the time but have found a fairly good replica in a variation on the Veganomicon “Lasagna Marinara with Spinach”. Despite loving that dish I wanted to try a new baked pasta-something lighter in flavour and more summery.

I found myself with a beautiful bunch of swiss chard in my fridge and browsed through my saved recipes to find these two: Swiss Chard with Currants and Pine Nuts from the NYTimes Recipes for Health, and this Swiss Chard Gratin with Vegan Bechamel from Chocolate & Zucchini,  which together provided the inspiration for my lasagna.

Swiss Chard Lasagna with Golden Raisins + Pine Nuts (Vegan)

Lemony tofu and cashew ricotta, earthy dark greens, little sweet bursts of raisins and crunchy pine nuts, topped with caramelized onions for good measure.

This isn’t an average 30 minute dinner (like any lasagna) but maybe, every now and again, like me you enjoy lingering in the kitchen that bit longer to produce something more special .

Swiss Chard Lasagna with Golden Raisins + Pine Nuts (Vegan)

Swiss Chard Lasagna with Raisins and Pine Nuts:

Tofu Cashew Ricotta:

1/4C Cashews, Soaked and drained
1/4C Lemon juice
1T Olive oil
1T Nutritional yeast
2 Garlic cloves
1 1/2t Salt
1 400g/1lb pkg Firm tofu
2T Brown rice flour (Optional- to help set up ricotta)


2C Vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lemon
2T Arrowroot/Cornstarch


Large Bunch (approx 400g/1lb) Swiss Chard, thick stems cut off and julienned
1/4C Golden Raisins
1/4 Pine Nuts + 2T for topping (toasted if desired)

Caramelized Onions:

1 Large onion, thinly sliced
1/2T Olive Oil
1/2t Sugar

4-6 Lasagna Sheets

Make the ricotta first- using a food processor or blender blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until ready to assemble lasagna.

Boil a pan of water and add julienned swiss chard. When the water comes back to the boil, drain and rinse in cold water to retain bright green colour. Stir through raisins and pine nuts. Set aside.

Whisk sauce ingredients together in a pot and then warm over medium heat until sauce thickens slightly, approx 10 minutes.

Par-boil lasagna sheets- Lay sheets in a large dish and pour boiling water over, then leave for two minutes to soften. Remove and set aside.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F

Lightly oil or line a large oven-proof dish with foil. Start layering up your ingredients. Start with 1/3 of the chard mixture, then 1/3 of the sauce, then a layer of pasta sheets, then 1/3 ricotta. Repeat until mixture is used up. Cover the dish with foil and place in oven to cook for approx 40minutes.

While it is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat and add onion and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cook gently, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Sprinkle over sugar and continue to cook for another 10-15minutes until onion is soft and caramelized.

When lasagna has finished cooking remove from oven and leave to firm up for at least 10 minutes. When ready to serve remove foil and top lasagna with caramelized onions and remaining pine nuts.

Serves 4

Swiss Chard Lasagna with Golden Raisins + Pine Nuts (Vegan)

What was your school food like? Any dishes you remember fondly?!

Mini Raw Cacao, Coconut + Raspberry Cupcakes

Mini Raw Cacao, Coconut & Raspberry Cupcakes

I hate wasting food. I’d love to say that my concern for the environment is what compels me to do my best not to waste, but in reality it’s probably mainly because I love food and hate the thought of throwing anything away! I’m also pretty tight-fisted and wasting food = wasting money.  I try to follow all the rules: I plan my meals weekly, make sure to store my produce correctly, keep my cupboards and freezer well-stocked with staples to make the most of leftovers, and don’t buy more than I can eat (most of the time at least… I’m pretty easily tempted by fruit and vegetables! all the more so when shopping at farmers’ markets)

I mentioned I’ve started making my own almond milk at home.  I was initially reluctant to try it given that nuts are so darn expensive, as well as thinking the process was somewhat wasteful since you’re left with quite a bit of nut pulp after squeezing out all the goodness from the whole nuts. Going through with it and doing a little calculation proved me wrong though- in fact, if you buy your nuts in bulk, as I do, you can make your own almond milk for less money than the bought stuff, and the nut pulp needn’t be wasted but is a bonus that you can use in other kitchen creations. I love how much tastier it is and that it contains no added anything…Oh, and there’s none of the packaging either! A winner all round.

A bit of scouting about online for how to use this precious pulp unearthed all sorts of exciting recipes: From raw nut pulp hummus and vanilla almond cookies to sweet + savoury crackers and these beautiful little cupcakes, the recipe I decided to start off with.

Mini Raw Cacao Coconut Raspberry Cupcakes

There are hundreds of recipes for raw nut + date balls out there and I’m definitely a fan of them, but these are a little different, the texture is much “cakier” and they’re not so intensely sweet. The mild chocolatey coconut base pairs well with the zingy raspberry topping and prevents them from being cloying at all.

Mini Raw Cacao Coconut Raspberry Cupcakes

I changed up the recipe just a little bit to suit the quantities of nut pulp I had, as well as boosting the chocolate flavour and zipping up the topping a touch.

Mini Raw Cacao, Coconut + Raspberry Cupcakes

(Minimally adapted from Sweetly Raw)

For the Cake Base:

3/4C Almond pulp (Leftover from making almond milk- it should be dry and crumbly)
1 C Walnuts
1/4 C Raw cacao powder OR Cocoa powder (if not concerned for raw status)
Pinch salt
1 Recipe date paste (see below)
1/2 t vanilla
2T Melted coconut oil

Pulse walnuts and almond pulp together in a food processor until you get a coarse meal. Be careful not to over-process as it will turn to nut butter!)

Add salt, cacao powder, date paste and vanilla and process to form a thick dough.

Finally drizzle in the coconut oil and pulse briefly. Scrape out mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer to firm up before shaping.

Roll the mixture into little balls with your fingers and place into petits-fours cases or mini muffin cups.

Pop the cakes back into the fridge until ready for the topping.

For the Date Paste:

1/3C Pitted, chopped, packed dates
2T Warm water
2T Agave nectar

Soak dates in warm water for 15 minutes to soften them up.

In food processor or short cup blender combine dates and water with agave nectar and blend until smooth. Stop and scrape down sides a couple of times so everything is incorporated. Set aside.

Mini Raw Cacao Coconut Raspberry Cupcakes

I’m not a fan of traditional cake frostings with vegan butter and powdered sugar-they’re always too sickly sweet for me. This cashew and coconut oil based frosting, on the other hand, is wonderful. It’s much healthier, though still very rich, and doesn’t leave you with a stomach ache.

For the Raspberry Topping:

1/2 C Raspberries ( I used defrosted frozen berries)
1/4C Cashews, soaked for a couple of hours, rinsed and drained
1T Agave nectar
1T Water
1 1/2 T Lemon juice
2 T Melted coconut oil

Blend all ingredients, except for coconut oil, in a high-powered blender until smooth. Add coconut oil and blend again for 1 minute.

Pour topping into a bowl and leave to thicken up in the fridge for at least 2 hours, especially if you want to pipe it onto the cupcakes.

Pipe or spread onto cupcakes. Move quickly as in warm temperatures it melts quite fast! Top with fresh raspberries if so desired.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.

Makes 18-20 mini cupcakes

I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly blog party Raw Foods Thursdays

What are you making with your leftover nut pulp?

Do you have any tips for minimising food waste?

Tempeh Pasta alla Carbonara

Tempeh Pasta alla Carbonara

Pasta alla carbonara, the classic Italian dish, typically combines spaghetti with fried pancetta or bacon and a sauce made with eggs, cheese and cream. Decidedly non-vegan fare, but here of course done vegan-style!

Nuts show their magic once again in this velvety, animal-product free sauce (with tahini and cashew butter), and salty, crispy tempeh stands in brilliantly for the pancetta.

Ricki Heller is to thank for this recipe. Ricki writes the blog Diet, Dessert and Dogs, home to a phenomenal number of fantastic vegan kitchen creations-“sugar-free, gluten-free, allergy-friendly”.

I’ve made a lot of her recipes:  Grain-free coconut flour biscuits, Edamame seaweed saladLemony baked cheesecake, Warm chickpea + artichoke salad, Chocolate almond mousse, Fruity cabbage salad, Almond + curry sauce, Quinoa chickpea olive + prune tagine, Carob + date pancakes….just to name a few, and I can’t name any failures!

Tempeh Pasta Carbonara, close-up

My Granny was eating with us the evening I made this pasta and knowing that she doesn’t usually eat a lot I just gave her a small amount, but she was nabbing bits of the tempeh bacon from the serving dish and said how much she enjoyed it. I’ll make a vegan out of her yet…!

Tempeh Pasta Carbonara

There are a few components to the recipe but it really doesn’t take that long to come together so don’t be put off by the ingredients list and instructions.

Tempeh Pasta Carbonara

(Minimally adapted from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs)

For the Tempeh Bacon:

1/2 8oz/225g pkg Tempeh, very thinly sliced and diced into bite-size pieces.
1 1/2 T Tamari
1T Lemon juice
1/8 t Liquid smoke OR 1/4t smoked paprika
1 Clove garlic, minced
1T Olive oil
3-4 Drops liquid stevia OR 2-3t Agave/Maple syrup
1/4C + 1 T Water

For the Sauce:

1T Cashew butter
1/2T White miso
1/2T Tahini
1/8t Dijon mustard
1/8t Turmeric
Salt + Pepper
1/2C Almond milk, unsweetened
1/2C Vegetable broth
1T Arrowroot + 2-3T Hot Water

1/2C Green peas (fresh or frozen)

Enough Pasta for 2-3, any variety (I did 150g/1 heaping cup Brown Rice Fusilli which was enough for 3 modest servings)

1-2T Chopped Parsley

Prepare the tempeh bacon: Slice tempeh up, mix remaining ingredients in a large frying pan over medium heat and add tempeh.

Let simmer gently for approx 5 minutes until sauce begins to evaporate. Flip pieces over carefully and leave to brown for another 5 minutes. Flip tempeh one more time and cook the other side until brown and crispy. Turn off heat and set pan aside.

Prepare the pasta according to package instructions, in last couple of minutes of cooking time add your peas so they cook through. Drain, reserving 1/4 C pasta water.

While pasta is cooking prepare sauce:

In a medium pan over low heat whisk together ingredients on list up to and including salt and pepper. Gradually add milk and broth, whisking all the while to avoid lumps and produce a smooth sauce.

In a small bowl dissolve the arrowroot in the hot water. Gradually add this mixture to the sauce pan, keep whisking as it will thicken up pretty quickly. Continue to cook for a further minute until thick and creamy.

Add pasta, peas and tempeh pieces to the sauce pot, stir sauce through, cover and warm through for approx 5 minutes. If it looks a little dry add the reserved pasta water and continue to heat until warm and everything is nicely coated in the sauce.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Serves 2-3

Have you veganized any seemingly very un-vegan recipes?

What are your favourite Ricki recipes? If you’re unfamiliar with Diet, Dessert, and Dogs get over there now!

Apricot & Almond Smoothie (with a hint of cardamom)

Apricot & Almond Smoothie (with a hint of cardamom)

Apricot & Almond Smoothie (with a hint of cardamom)

I adore nuts of every kind, but it’s probably only since going vegan that I’ve actually really started eating them regularly, and certainly that I’ve discovered their versatility. In the past, my encounters with nuts were probably mainly limited to chocolate coated peanuts, salted + roasted peanuts, peanut butter (the kind with sugar and preservatives…), and that’s about it.

Wow was I missing out.

Dried Apricots and Almonds

They’re well and truly a staple in my kitchen now: A handful of nuts is a great snack- cashews, almonds and walnuts are my favourites; nut cheeses (see my courgette galette with cashew chèvre); an ingredient in salads and stir-fries; a key component of raw desserts; a lovely addition to baked goods,  and of course nut creams and milks, among many other uses.

I’ve been buying almond milk for a long time, but only very recently started making my own at home. If you haven’t tried it yet you really must. It’s far creamier and tastes so much more like the actual nut than any stuff you’ll find pre-packaged. It’s hardly any effort either.

Apricot & Almond Smoothie (with a hint of cardamom)

I’m not usually a big smoothie drinker but the warm weather has made me fancy a lighter start to the day. This cool, creamy smoothie is ideal for breakfast ( I enjoyed it alongside a little homemade chamomile muffin I found lurking in the freezer), or makes a perfect afternoon pick-me-up, or would even be a delicious dessert.

I’ve just got back from a week in Spain and enjoyed tonnes of gorgeous stone fruit- peaches, nectarines and apricots galore. What we get over here is mainly imported and of course nowhere near as good as the fresh stuff. I found a bag of the soft dried type, and although very different they worked really well in this smoothie, their concentrated sweetness making it feel rather decadent.

Dried Apricots come in two varieties: sulphured, and un-sulphured. Sulphur dioxide is often unnecessarily added to dried fruits as a preservative and is what retains the bright orange colour of the apricots. I prefer to use organic dried apricots with no added preservatives or other added ingredients. This means that they are not bright orange, but are naturally dark instead. In my opinion these are far more delicious and fruity-tasting than the artificially-preserved variety.

Apricot & Almond Smoothie (with a hint of cardamom)
Serves 1
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  1. 3/4 C Almond milk (preferably homemade)
  2. 1/2 Frozen banana ( I freeze peeled, halved bananas when they’re turning brown)
  3. 4 Soft dried apricots (organic, unsulphured)
  4. 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  5. 1/8 tsp Almond extract
  6. 1/8 tsp Ground cardamom (optional)
  1. Blend all ingredients together until thick and smooth. Serve immediately.
Coconut and Berries
I’m submitting this to the Weekly Blog Hops: Raw Foods Thursdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, and Wellness Weekends

Apricot & Almond Smoothie (with a hint of cardamom)

Do you make your own nut milk? What’s your favourite kind of nut?

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