In my Kitchen Lately



I’m back from a few days in London where I did absolutely no cooking whatsoever. There are too many good restaurants and cafés (and Wholefoods…!) and as I’m not visiting very often at the moment I feel like I have to make the most of the options when I am there.

Back in Bath I pretty much never eat out and I think we’ve established by now that I love spending time in the kitchen! When I’m not coming up with recipes for the blog I’m trying recipes from my favourite cookbooks, lately I’ve been enjoying some new ones (more on that to come though), and also trying out recipes from other bloggers.

After Vegan MoFo in September, I said that I wanted to squeeze in some time to do this and I figured, as I photographed what I made anyway,  it might be nice to share the successes and point you to the recipes from some of my favourite blogs.

So, without further ado, here’s a little more of what’s been happening in my kitchen lately:

Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple-Cream Cheese Sauce

I have pancakes at least once a week so think of myself as a pancake connoisseur of sorts. I’m actually not going to tell you where I found this recipe as I didn’t love it. They were just a tad tough. The “Maple Cream Cheese Sauce” from the Vegan Cookbook Aficionado, however, was fantastic. It had a pleasant tanginess to it but was still plenty sweet and most definitely redeemed the lacklustre pancakes.

Kale Salad with Apricot-Ginger Dressing, Apples & Walnuts

Kale Salads are one of my favourite ways to eat kale. This “Kale Salad with Creamy Apricot Ginger Dressing, Walnuts and Apples” from Gena of Choosing Raw was delicious and nice and autumnal. You’ll want to clean out the blender really well to get every drop of the dressing out!

Kale Salad with Apricot-Ginger Dressing, Apples & Walnuts

Back when the Canadians were celebrating Thanksgiving I kept seeing lots of beautiful holiday dishes appearing all over the blogosphere and decided to make something a bit more festive myself. This lovely tart from Dreena Burton’s “Let Them Eat Vegan” is aptly named, “Festive Chickpea Tart”, and is packed with savoury herbs and cranberries for lots of flavour, along with chickpeas, walnuts and oats to make a really hearty meal. Luckily for those of you who don’t have the book, Dreena’s kindly posted the recipe on her site, Plant-Powered Kitchen too.

Festive Chickpea Tart

A fresh, zingy salad was the perfect pairing. I chose a recipe I’d seen ages ago on Oh She Glows- “Holiday Salad with Apple, Pear, Cranberries & Walnuts”. I’ll definitely be making the Cranberry-Orange Vinaigrette again.

Holiday Salad with Apple, Pear, Walnuts & Cranberries

My final pick to share today is the “Kale & Sweet Potato Quesadillas” from Oh My Veggies. Lots of my favourite ingredients here- kale, sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, black beans and smoked paprika,  so it was a given that I would like this one really. As Kiersten points out, these aren’t really “quesadillas” since there’s no “queso”, but they’re no less tasty for it.

Kale & Sweet Potato Quesadillas

I served them with a quick homemade salsa, a squeeze of lime and sprinkle of fresh coriander.

Kale & Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Hope you check some of these recipes out.

Now it’s your turn! Are there any recipes you’ve made from other blogs recently that I simply have to try?

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Raw Foods for Winter

(Raw) Spiced Hot Chocolate

Now, if you’re anything like me, you might well be thinking that raw food isn’t particularly suitable for winter and cold weather. We’re naturally drawn to warming, comforting foods at this time of year, and my associations of crisp, fresh, raw salads just didn’t fit into this picture. Nevertheless, at this time of year we’re all extra susceptible to getting ill and it’s now when we need to be taking extra good care of ourselves and eating the most nutritious foods possible. Raw food is just that!

So, how to make raw meals that are just as warming and comforting as our cooked favourites?

That’s where Tanya comes in.

"Nourished-Raw Foods for Winter": e-book Review

Tanya Alekseeva is one of the UK’s leading raw food chefs and educators and blogs over at better raw. If you haven’t met her yet, definitely read her amazing story of transformation.

Tanya’s e-book “Nourished - Comforting Raw Food Recipes for Winter” addresses the issue of eating raw in winter, with lots of useful info and recipes.

- It’s a full-colour book with pictures of all the recipes, along with step-by-step instructions.  It’s always nice to know what you’re aiming for!

- The book’s got you covered for drinks, breakfasts, sauces, sides, snacks, meals and desserts. There are some real show-stoppers in here which I think would be especially fantastic to serve to guests, along with dishes ideal for everyday eating.

- It includes some great tips for eating raw when it’s chilly out, many I hadn’t thought of, but which make such a big difference.

- There’s also a guide to local and seasonal produce and recommended equipment for a raw kitchen.

Note, most of the recipes don’t require specialist equipment and if you’ve got a good knife, a blender and/or food processor you’ll be able to make most. About a quarter do call for a dehydrator though, something I don’t own (yet…), so I couldn’t make these, slightly torturous as they all looked really good. If you do have a dehydrator you’ll definitely want this book!

- Particularly handy if you’re new to raw food, there’s also a glossary of ingredients you might be unfamiliar with.

You can find a full list of the recipes included and more pictures here, but this is what I made:

"Nourished-Raw Foods for Winter": e-book Review

First up, I tried the Apple & Cinnamon Chia Pudding. This was a really tasty, light breakfast. It’s creamy, mildly-spiced and sweet, even with only fruit to sweeten it. I would probably add less almond milk next time though as I like my chia pudding a little thicker.

"Nourished-Raw Foods for Winter": e-book Review

I really wanted to try one of the main-dishes from the book but struggled to make a decision with so many options. Lots of the recipes might sound like conventional dishes: “burgers”, “ noodles” “mash”” “pie” and “curry”, but they’re probably not what you’re expecting! Tanya’s given these traditional dishes a  raw make-over, but their healthiness definitely doesn’t compromise their flavour.

"Nourished-Raw Foods for Winter": e-book Review

I decided to put together a few of the recipes for a meal with some serious wow-factor. Here we have the “Winter Sun Burgers”, “Tangy Cabbage Salad” and “Ranch Dressing”. The burgers were rich and flavourful. They’re very easy to make too, just a few ingredients and a food processor is all you need. I’m already planning on using the same mixture and blending it up a little more and using it as a dip Smile

The cabbage gets jazzed up with a yummy raspberry vinaigrette (Tanya suggests using frozen berries if they’re not in season where you live).

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the ranch dressing was absolutely incredible! I could have eaten this stuff with a spoon! I’m definitely going to be making it regularly. Note: there wasn’t any water listed in the ingredients and I found I needed to add some to get a smooth, pourable consistency. I also subbed tamari for the liquid aminos listed as I didn’t have any.

A perfectly satisfying meal, and I didn’t miss hot food at all.

"Nourished-Raw Foods for Winter": e-book Review

The last of the recipes I tried was the “Spiced Hot Chocolate”. This was creamy and indulgent-tasting, and it would have been hard to believe it was healthy if I hadn’t made it myself. You can still have warm food eating raw, just as long as you don’t heat foods above a certain temperature which is thought to damage their nutrients. Blending all the ingredients on high with some hot water made this plenty warm enough, and the kick of cayenne added extra heat.

(Pictured above with store-bought raw oatmeal-raisin cookies)

Tanya has kindly allowed me to re-print the recipe here for you all to enjoy.

Spiced Hot Chocolate:

1C Almonds, soaked overnight
4C Pure water (2C cold, 2C hot)
½C Pitted dates
¼ avocado
2T Raw cacao powder
1T Agave nectar
¾t Cayenne pepper

Rinse the nuts, drain and blend with 2 cups cold water.

Strain the liquid through a nut milk bag/cheese cloth/stocking to remove the pulp. Pour the strained milk back into blender and add the rest of ingredients including the hot water, blend on high. Enjoy immediately.

Serves 3

The next recipes I want to try are the Pecan Pie Shake, “Never Miss Meat” Stroganov, Root Veggie Satay Noodles…and the Traditional Apple Crumble with Vanilla Sauce! You can get your hands on the book instantly by downloading it from Tanya’s website, better raw, here.

I know it’s only October, but December will be here before we know it! Tanya’s book of raw Christmas recipes- “Festive”, is one I’m definitely considering. There are always so many parties and social events at this time of year, not usually involving the healthiest of foods, but with these recipes you’ll be well-equipped to wow friends and family with healthy and delicious raw alternatives.

You might want to check out Tanya’s other e-books:

“Purified - Your Complete 7 Day Detox Program” and “Seduced - Raw Chocolate Recipes to Get Very Excited For”

If you’re in the UK you might also be interested in the workshops Tanya runs in London- coming up very soon, with just a few spots left are the Comforting Raw Foods for Winter Workshop (THIS Saturday 25th October) and the Raw Food Christmas Festivities Workshop (7th December).

Do you try and incorporate raw food into your diet? I’d love to hear your thoughts about raw food in general.

Note: I was provided with a copy of the book for review purposes, but all opinions expressed are my own.

Review: LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

It feels like forever since I’ve posted. I have been doing plenty of cooking though so have a lot I want to share, it’s just been a little busy my end so I haven’t been able to get it together to post.

You’ll have to wait a teeny bit longer for more recipes though as today I’ve got a product review for you- LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars!

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

If you’re a long-time reader of Coconut and Berries you’ll know I’m a big fan of energy bars to stash in my bag for when I’m out and about. It’s still not always easy to find healthy, vegan food away from home. I do have to say that I have been fairly impressed with the food on offer on my university campus. You can get super cheap herbal tea (!), and I’ve just discovered that there’s even a café with a fully vegetarian menu and daily vegan options!

Still, for the 5 minute breaks between classes, snack bars are ideal, and LoveRaw Bars are my new favourites Smile.

I imagine most of my readers know about the benefits of raw food already, but if not, you may be interested to learn that heating certain foods means that you lose a lot of their nutrients and all the natural enzymes which are so good for us. With this in mind, LoveRaw slow-dry their bars to preserve the vitamins and minerals of the quality, organic ingredients used.

I’ve been on a big raw kick recently ( more on that to come too…) so these came at the perfect time.

I love the story behind the company too. You can read more about Rimi, the founder, and how LoveRaw came to be here. Rimi is clearly passionate about healthy food and committed to creating the products as healthy as possible. The bars are all hand-crafted and packed in Cheshire, UK. I like the idea that there are real people behind what I’m eating rather than just machinery!

I had the opportunity to try 3 of their flavours:

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

  Coconut & Chia

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

  Rosehip & Lemon

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

Cacao & Maca

A bar made with wholefoods ingredients- nuts, dried fruits and superfoods with no added sweeteners or fillers is already a plus for me, but, just as importantly, they taste delicious too.

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

The coconut bar was perfect for this coconut-loving girl. It’s nice and chewy from the shredded coconut with a pleasant crunch from the super-nutritious chia seeds. I talked a little about chia seeds earlier here.

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

This might  have been my favourite of the 3, though it was so hard to choose! The chocolate taste is nice and prominent, and there are definite nutty, malty undertones from the maca, though I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint the flavour exactly without knowing what was in it. Oh, and this one’s got cacao nibs in too which add a little bit of crunch. I’ve recently learnt about the nutritional benefits of maca, traditionally used in Peru. It’s most known for its positive effect in balancing hormones so is especially good for women to be consuming.

Lastly, I tried the rosehip and lemon bar. No picture of this one as it was eaten on the go, but I still made sure to savour it. This one’s very different from any other snack bar I’ve had but was really lovely. Lemony and fruity/floral-tasting, as to be expected really from its name! Rosehip is another one that’s been getting recognition recently for its health properties. It’s a concentrated source of Vitamin C, as well as having high levels of antioxidants and other vitamins.

There’s a 4th flavour, Apricot & Camu Camu, which I haven’t yet tried. It looks as though it’s currently sold out (19/10/13) on the LoveRaw website but hopefully it will be back in stock soon. I see it’s got lucuma in, which I love!

Where to buy? LoveRaw Bars are currently available across London, in Wholefoods stores, Planet Organic and the Natural Kitchen, Marylebone. But, if you’re not in London there’s no need to fear! Love Raw also sell online direct from their website and you can buy boxes of 12 bars of each flavour. I’d love to see LoveRaw introduce a mixed box as I wouldn’t be able to pick just one flavour!

Have you tried LoveRaw Superfood Bars yet? What do you look for in a snack bar?

Note: These products were sent to me for review purposes, but the opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: Vegusto Cheese


If you caught my Lentil and Sausage Stew recipe post last week you’ll know that during Vegan MoFo I won a bunch of Vegusto meat and cheese “alternatives”. Until recently they haven’t been too widely available in shops, and this, along with actually never being a cheese fan pre-vegan, meant that I hadn’t bothered to seek them out. I’ve kept hearing more and more about them though and they seem to be taking the European vegan market by storm, so winning the giveaway I was actually pretty excited to try their stuff out for myself.

I thought I’d share my thoughts on the products and what I made with them today.

Vegusto Meat & Cheese Alternatives

Pictured above is the selection of products I won. They’re not too attractive in their packaging, but is uncooked meat and packaged cheese really particularly nice to look at?

-Farmhouse Sausage
-Mushroom & No-Moo Burgers
-No-Moo Melty
-No-Moo, Mild-Aromatic
-No-Moo, Piquant

Vegusto Mushroom & No-Moo Burger

I was really impressed with these burgers. I haven’t had many meat alternatives before so don’t have a lot to compare them with in that regard, but they certainly have a very meaty texture and flavour, as the sausage did. There are little flecks of cheese in the patty itself which makes them extra juicy. I ate them on homemade spelt/rye buns with rocket, avocado and salsa, and a side of carrot sticks Smile

Vegusto Mushroom & No-Moo Burger

Next up was the No-Moo Melty. This is the Vegusto product I’d heard most about so had high hopes. I certainly wasn’t disappointed and it melted like a dream. Tomato soup and cheese on toast are classic comfort foods so on a dreary day here I thought I’d have them together! I whipped up a quick tomato soup, grilled some nice seedy bread in the oven, then popped it back in with the cheese on top to melt.

Tomato Soup,Vegusto No Moo Melty Cheese on Toast

After my first melting success I had to make a cheesy pizza. I haven’t had a cheese pizza in a very long time. I do occasionally add cashew cheese or tofu ricotta to my pizzas but usually go completely cheese-less and just let the vegetables shine or sometimes add a different sauce like the pesto and romesco pizzas I made this summer.

Southwestern-style BBQ Pizza (with Vegusto No-Moo Melty)

I didn’t stick to classic cheese and tomato with this one either (you’ve probably realized by now that I can’t resist trying new things!). I opted instead for a “Southwestern” style pizza with a homemade wholewheat crust, BBQ sauce (I use Isa’s recipe which isn’t too cloyingly sweet like the commercial ones typically are), No-Moo Melty, peppers, red onion and creamy avocado. I really loved this and am not sure I will be able to stop myself adding avocado to all my pizzas in the future!

I didn’t go overboard on the cheese, and honestly don’t think I would have missed it here, but maybe should have given it a whirl on a more simple pizza.

Southwestern-style BBQ Pizza (with Vegusto No-Moo Melty)

The Vegusto website described the No-Moo Mild-Aromatic as a “Cheddar alternative” so I had a think about how I remembered cheddar being used in the past. It’s a very English cheese so I decided it had to be a very English recipe! Afternoon tea is perhaps what England is know best for in food terms, so with this in mind I came up with cheesy scones, more than fit for a fancy afternoon spread!

Vegan Cheese Scones (with Vegusto No-Moo Mild-Aromatic)

Bath, the city  where I’m now living, has dozens of tearooms, and cheese scones seem to feature on most of their menus. They were very easy to veganize using oil instead of butter, flax instead of eggs and Vegusto instead of dairy-cheese. Despite the changes they turned out beautifully. Lovely and flaky with a prominent cheese flavour.

Vegan Cheese Scones (with Vegusto No-Moo Mild-Aromatic)

I like the sweet/savoury combination and served mine fresh from the oven with raspberry jam, but they’d be lovely all on their own just with a cup of tea.

I also liked them as an addition to a little brunch I put together- along with sautéed balsamic mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach.

Vegan Cheese Scones (with Vegusto No-Moo Mild-Aromatic)

I don’t really remember the taste of cheddar but the smell of this was exactly the same! Although I was never a cheese-eater, my Dad (and dog!) loved the stuff. When I opened the Vegusto packet it took me right back to childhood lunches and the moment the lid was lifted off the cheese box!

Vegan Cheese Scones (with Vegusto No-Moo Mild-Aromatic)

I’ve only tried the No-Moo Piquant on oatcakes so far but surprised myself in enjoying it just like that! The flavour has been compared to a French Gruyère so I’m thinking it would be nice in a simple tart or for a kick of flavour in a potato gratin…

Other than the products I tried there are lots more- a Blue cheese, a Herb cheese and a Walnut cheese (maybe nice for a cheeseboard?), various other sausage and burger flavours, sandwich slices, steaks, schnitzels and mince, as well as roasts, dips and sauces!

Vegusto definitely place an emphasis on quality ingredients, something which is important to me. All their cheeses are made with a base of organic nut butter and for salts and oils they only use rock salt, and cold pressed oils, including coconut, sunflower and rapeseed oil in their products, unlike most dairy cheese alternatives which rely on soya and palm oil.

I would definitely recommend these products and think they’d be especially useful for those transitioning to a vegan diet and looking for more familiar foods. I enjoyed trying them and can see myself buying them on occasion, even if they’re not going to be new staples for me.

Do you like any meat or cheese alternatives? How would you use the Vegusto products?

Disclaimer: I won these products in a giveaway but was not required to write a review. All opinions are my own.

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Vegan Sausage, Lentil & Prune Stew


Regular giveaways were held at the Vegan MoFo headquarters during the month of September and I was one of the lucky winners! I won a selection of Vegusto products. Vegusto are a Swiss company specializing in “meat and cheese alternatives”, all entirely vegan, free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatves, soya free and palm oil free.

Vegan Sausage, Lentil & Prune Stew

I do prefer to stick to whole foods most of the time and haven’t really tried any of the meat or cheese “alternative” products out there, but I’d heard a lot of great things about Vegusto and was keen to give them a go.

I’ll be sharing what I’ve made with the other products and my thoughts on them over the coming days, but to start here’s a recipe which turned out really tasty, and which I made using their sausages . If you can’t find Vegusto where you live then try it using another brand of vegan sausages or make your own seitan sausages.

Vegan Sausage, Lentil & Prune Stew

This Sausage, Lentil & Prune Stew is perfect winter comfort food. It’s hearty, filling and full of goodness.

Don’t be put off by the prunes! I know so many people associate them with their grannies, but, even if you don’t eat them normally ( I personally love them, as a snack instead of dried apricots or dates, or stewed with a cinnamon stick and orange slices) I promise they work in this dish and add a lovely richness and little bursts of sweetness, almost like in a tagine.

Vegan Sausage, Lentil & Prune Stew:

(Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for The Guardian)

1T Olive oil (divided)
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
1 small stick of celery, chopped (on the bias)
1 small carrot, chopped (on the bias)
1 large Vegusto sausage, or 2-3 regular-size vegan sausages, cut into slices (on the bias)
1/4C Puy lentils (green or brown would also be fine, but you may need to adjust cooking time accordingly)
1/3C Whole dried prunes (the soft-kind)
3/4C Vegetable broth
Sprig of fresh thyme
Salt + Pepper

Warm a pan with 1/2T olive oil over medium heat, add the onion and a pinch of salt and cover to cook for 10 minutes until very soft, stirring occasionally. Add the celery and carrots, re-cover and continue to cook for another 10 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.

Meanwhile, fry the sausage(s) in the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over high heat, flipping to brown all over.

Add the lentils, broth, prunes and thyme and stir gently. Top with the browned sausage, cover and simmer on low for approx 30 minutes until the lentils are cooked through and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 2


Vegan Sausage, Lentil & Prune Stew

There’s plenty of flavour in this dish so I kept the sides simple and served it with a jacket potato and steamed broccoli.

Obviously it’s been quite a long time since I’ve had meat but this sausage really hit the mark for me. It’s got a great texture, firm but not overly chewy and with a delicious savoury flavour. I used the “Farmhouse-style” sausage (as that’s what I received) which is reminiscent of a frankfurter, but think their “Herb” or “Onion” sausages might have been more fitting.

Have you ever tried Vegusto products? Or do you like any vegan cheeses or meats?

Looking forward to sharing my experiences with the other products I was able to try.