Hemp Seeds Recipes


H is for…Hemp Seeds!


We’ve had Chia seeds already and today I’m featuring another nutritious little one- Hemp seeds. No, you won’t get high from eating these I’m afraid! Hemp seeds and marijuana do come from the same plant, cannabis, but different varieties with different properties.

Just like chia, hemp seeds are packed with protein, EFAs, Vitamin E and minerals, not to mention they’re really tasty. They have quite a distinctive flavour, slightly earthy and sweet.

I frequently use them in my meals but almost always just sprinkling them on top of whatever it may be. From salads and soups, to porridge, non-dairy yogurt and fruit. I’ve also recently discovered these flavoured hemp sprinkles from the UK company Good Hemp. They come in 3 flavours: Asian Spice, Italian Herbs + Sweet Cinnamon and are extra tasty. I can especially vouch for the Italian Herb being good on pesto pasta Smile.

For my A-Z challenge I decided I had to incorporate them into a recipe like I did for my Cheesy Tofu Scramble + Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos. I left it to the experts to come up with the recipes though and made 3 hemp recipes from 3 of my favourite bloggers.

Happy Hemp 2 Bite Brownies

First up was these Happy Hemp Two-Bite Brownies from Ricki Heller. They’re grain-free and also don’t contain any refined sugars. I use coconut sugar in my baking already but hadn’t found a good brand of stevia until recently so had avoided stevia sweetened desserts. I won a giveaway for some NuNaturals products and have to say these are unlike any others I’ve tried. Stevia can often have a bitter aftertaste but this one is completely undetectable.

NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia + Coconut Sugar

Back to brownies. Ground almonds and hemp seeds are the main ingredients leaving them with that perfect fudgy brownies texture- a slightly squidgy middle whilst still being crisp on the outside.     

2 Bite Hemp BrowniesEspecially good with a tall glass of ice cold almond milk. I couldn’t decide if I liked them being small or not. Mini treats are fun but 2 bites of these was not enough!

Beet & Hemp Seed Granola

Next, I made Gena from Choosing Raw’s Beet and Hemp Granola. This was my first time making granola of any kind and I was so pleased with how it turned out. Gena gives either the option to dehydrate or oven bake but as I sadly don’t own a dehydrator I had to go with the latter. I’m sure it didn’t compromise the taste but it might have resulted in the darker colour of mine, not quite the pretty beetroot pink it was before baking.

Beet & Hemp Seed Granola

I don’t buy store-bought granola as it’s far too sweet for me but this had just the right amount of sweetness- all natural from dates. The goldenberries (Incan berries) added a nice chewy, tangy contrast too.

Beet & Hemp Seed Granola

I served mine with almond milk and berries (N.b My blackberries were from the freezer which is why they look a little icy still!) . I’m excited to try out a bunch of other granola recipes now I know how easy it is to make, and far healthier and cheaper than buying it.

Hemp recipe number 3 was another breakfast recipe. Dreena Burton’s “Hempanana Smoothie” from her latest book Let them Eat Vegan (See this post for my review).

Hempanana Smoothie - "Let Them Eat Vegan"

This is a super simple concoction but needs no adornment. Just frozen banana, almond milk, a generous helping of hemp seeds and a dash of cinnamon. Hemp seeds are very soft so they blend down easily and leave the smoothie dreamily creamy! I ran out of straws ( I need to get myself a reusable one….) and slurping this from the glass left me with a thick milk moustache. I’ll definitely be making this again and again.

Hempanana Smoothie - "Let Them Eat Vegan"

I enjoyed this for breakfast alongside one of my Strawberry-Almond Muffins. (Oh, and that’s the Good Hemp Sweet Cinnamon variety sprinkled on top of the smoothie)

Incidentally, I just came across this recipe for Chocolate Hemp Banana Ice Cream the other day, which, along the same lines, uses hemp for richness. Can’t wait to try it out.

Have you tried hemp seeds? How do you use them?

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Review: Frank Bars


F is for…Frank Bar!

I’m cheating on my Vegan MoFo A-Z pantry series today…I had planned something else but, although the dish I made was delicious, by dinner time the light had gone so I didn’t get any decent pictures. As I said, it was very tasty so I’ll be sure to make it again and post the recipe after Vegan MoFo.

Anyway, I am still sticking to the planned letter “F” today and bring you a review of a new snack bar on the scene: Frank Bar.

Review: Frank Snack Bars

I’ve told you how I always travel with chocolate, but I always travel with a couple of snack bars in my bag too. As a vegan, it’s still not all that easy to find a good snack if you’re out and about, and even harder to find a healthy one, so I leave the house prepared!

Review: Frank Snack Bars

I was really pleased to discover Frank Bar at the Allergy & Free From Show earlier this summer. They’re 100% natural, made from oats and dried fruit and topped with a delicious dairy-free coconut cream chocolate layer. They’re also entirely free from gluten and nuts, which makes a nice change, as the snack bars I’m used to often have nuts as a main ingredient. Another thing I really liked is that they’re packed with fibre and also contain pea protein which makes them seriously satisfying for their small size.

So how do they taste?

I loved them! The creamy chocolate layer is the perfect foil to the chewy, oaty base. Frank Bars are currently available in 5 flavours:

Review: Frank Snack Bars, Strawberry & Chocolate

Strawberry & Chocolate- If you like chocolate-coated strawberries then you’ll love this one! That’s exactly what it reminded me of.

Review: Frank Snack Bars, Orange & Chocolate

Orange & Chocolate- This was my 2nd favourite as I love orange and chocolate together. Terry’s chocolate orange anyone?!

Review: Frank Snack Bars, Blueberry & Chocolate

Blueberry & Chocolate- The berry flavour really comes through in this one and isn’t dominated by the chocolate as I expected it would be. This one surprised me with how much I liked it.

Review: Frank Snack Bars, Double Chocolate

Double Chocolate- What’s there to say about this one? It’s double chocolate! It’s obviously fantastic!

Review: Frank Snack Bars, Oat & Chocolate

Oat & Chocolate- This was my favourite flavour. It’s slightly different to the others in that the main bar doesn’t have cocoa powder in so there’s more of a contrast between the base and the top chocolate layer (see image below). Maybe choc-chips would be good in it though?

Review: Frank Snack Bars, Nutritional Profile + Ingredients

Here’s the ingredients list and nutritional info so you can see for yourselves how nutritious Frank Bars are. This is the Blueberry & Chocolate flavour but the nutritional profile is pretty much the same for all the flavours. Nearly 4g Protein and 4g Fibre in each 35g bar and only around 120 calories.

Review: Frank Snack Bars

You can find them in various independent stores across England as well as in Planet Organic in London, and online from the Frank Food Co. website. A mixed case of 20 bars- 5 of each flavour- is currently on offer for just £10- that’s only 50p a bar!

Are you a snack bar eater? Which are your favourites?

UK folk, have you tried these yet? If not, ask your local health stores to stock them.


I’ll be back on my pantry A-Z series tomorrow with a recipe for you! Can you guess what the letter “G” will be?

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Review: Al Shami, Oxford


I wasn’t planning on posting today but I couldn’t resist a little bonus post Smile This is not following my Vegan MoFo theme. I’ll be back on the A-Z next week, with the letter F on Monday.

As I’m shortly leaving Oxford to move to a new city my Mum asked if there was anywhere I’d like to go out to eat for a “farewell” meal. I didn’t have to think twice about my choice as Al Shami is my favourite Oxford restaurant. It’s not vegan, nor even vegetarian but is incredibly vegan-friendly and all vegan dishes are clearly marked with Ve on the menu. Apparently a new menu is in the works with  info for those avoiding gluten and nuts too.

Review: Al Shami Lebanese Restaurant, Oxford

It’s a Lebanese restaurant and if you’ve been reading Coconut and Berries a little while you’ll know that Middle-Eastern might just be my favourite cuisine!

The restaurant’s not particularly fancy at all but it’s definitely authentic :)

There are so many dishes to choose from that it’s best to go with a few people so that you can try more! Most of the dishes are “Meze” (small plates) anyway so order lots! Although I was eating with omnivores everyone was very happy to eat vegan and let me take charge of the ordering.

Here’s what we got :

Review: Al Shami Lebanese Restaurant, Oxford

Mohammara Bil-Jawz- Mixed crushed nuts, red capsicum, olive oil and spices

My love of dips probably warms me to Lebanese food as there are so many, and all completely different. This is rich and slightly spicy.

Review: Al Shami Lebanese Restaurant, Oxford

Fattoush- Mixed salad with herbs and toasted Lebanese bread

A traditional salad with plenty of parsley and lemon, just how I like it.

Review: Al Shami Lebanese Restaurant, Oxford

They automatically bring a basket of flatbread and a plate of salad to the table- lettuce, tomato, raw carrot and pepper, radishes and pickles- which is nice to nibble on to start with or to use to scoop up the delicious dips and other dishes. Review: Al Shami Lebanese Restaurant, Oxford

Moutabel- Puréed aubergines, tahini, lemon juice, garlic

The phrase “looks can be deceiving” comes to mind with this dish as it looks slightly bland and insipid. I don’t know how they managed it but it had a fantastic smoky flavour. I thought it must be smoked paprika but it’s not red coloured so I’m perplexed… Any suggestions? I really want to recreate this one!

Review: Al Shami Lebanese Restaurant, Oxford

Falafel- Ground chickpeas and broad beans mixed with spices, fried

Does anyone not like falafel?! These were rather a treat as I always bake rather than fry the falafel I make at home. I adore them anyway but they’re quite different to these crispy little morsels.

Review: Al Shami Lebanese Restaurant, Oxford

Ardi-Shoki- Artichokes with selected vegetables cooked in our special sauce

The cute name alone enticed me into ordering this one (!), but it was delicious too. I’ve not had artichokes cooked like this before- I usually just use them to top pizza to be honest but they soaked up the sweet, tangy sauce wonderfully.

Review: Al Shami Lebanese Restaurant, Oxford

It came served with rice…

Review: Al Shami Lebanese Restaurant, Oxford

Mujadara- Cracked wheat, lentils and fried onions (This comes with yogurt but we asked them to omit this).

I’m going to be on the look out for cracked wheat like this as the bulgur I’ve bought before is finer and doesn’t have the same toothsome quality.

I forgot to get a picture of this dish but you can kind of see it in the first photo- Zahra Maqlia- Fried cauliflower topped with tahini, parsley, garlic, lemon juice. Gosh was this good. The cauliflower is wonderfully tender but crisp and draped in silky tahini sauce. We were so stuffed but couldn’t bear to leave any of this behind.

There were four of us eating and it all came to only £8 a head (excluding drinks)! Seriously good value I think. For some reason it wasn’t listed on Happy Cow so I’ve just added it to the listings so other vegans/vegetarians visiting Oxford can find out about it.

Are you a Middle-Eastern food fan? Which dish looks best to you?

Review: Clearspring Products

Review-Clearspring Products

Review: Clearspring Products

I’ve talked a lot about Clearspring  before on the blog, but I really do love the company and want you to try their products for yourselves! Their Japanese range is what I’m most familiar with, but it turns out they have 3 different product ranges: “Authentic Japanese”, “Organic Fine Foods” and “Free From Range”.

As well as the huge range of different items available, what I especially love about the brand is their dedication to quality ingredients. They even have a “brand promise” on their website which states:

• Authentic and traditional recipes
developed by master artisan producers.
• 100% vegetarian / vegan foods and
• Wholesome and great tasting daily foods
for optimum nutrition.
• No artificial additives, MSG, colourings,
preservatives or added refined sugar.
• No hydrogenated fats or palm oil
• Ethically sourced foods which support
producer communities.

Pretty impressive, no?

As mentioned, all Clearspring foods are free from added refined sugar and dairy but many are also free from gluten, wheat and nuts too if that’s a concern for you. All are clearly marked as such and you can find listings of these products under the “free from” section on their website. Review: Clearspring Products

I recently had the opportunity to try some of their new-to-me products and am excited to share with you today.

Review: Clearspring Products

Organic Instant Miso Soup on the go: These are convenient single serving freeze dried blocks of organic instant miso soup. They come in 2 varieties- white miso with tofu and red miso with sea vegetables.  I loved these, especially the red variety, as I love anything with seaweed. I’ve eaten these up at home but they’re great for if you’re out and about too- you can simply ask for a cup of hot water in a coffee shop, dissolve the little block in the water and you’ve got yourself a nourishing snack Smile

I use miso a lot in my cooking and love the depth of flavour it adds to sauces, dressings, marinades- Clearspring have a whole range of varieties- you’ll always find a pouch of their sweet white miso in my fridge.

             Review: Clearspring Products         

Review: Clearspring Products

Organic Black and White Sesame Brown Rice Crackers: Most crackers out there are not as good for you as they might claim, full of preservatives or merely refined flours lacking in nutrition. You won’t find any nasties in these crackers whatsoever, just pure, unadulterated goodness.

They’re light and crisp but unlike potato chips/crisps they don’t seem to get crushed easily, so again they’re a good snack to stash in your handbag. We enjoyed them as pre-dinner nibbles.

Review: Clearspring Products

Organic Roasted Seed + Nut Snacks:

You’ve probably heard talk of how protein staves off hunger so it’s a good idea to include it in meals and snacks. These snacks certainly prove that it’s easy to get enough protein eating a plant-based diet, each of the small bags of lightly roasted soya beans and seeds (and dried fruit) contains a hefty  8-13g of protein. These little seeds are very moreish too, I munched my way through these packets in no time!

Review: Clearspring Products

Review: Clearspring Products

Tamari Roasted Cashew Nuts: These slightly sticky Tamari roasted nuts were my favourite of the pouches of nuts. I adore cashews and the tamari adds a lovely savoury flavour. I tossed a few on my 10-minute Raw Peanut Noodle Dish for a little crunch.

Review: Clearspring Products

Review: Clearspring Products

Roasted Seeds + Soya with Goji Berry

Review: Clearspring Products

Review: Clearspring Products

Roasted Seeds + Soya with Cranberry

Two of the snack pouches include dried fruit in the mix too, dried apple and cranberries and goji berries. Most dried cranberries are prepared with added sugar to sweeten them, but the organic cranberries used here are combined with apple juice concentrate which keeps their real fruit flavour and adds just a little sweetness. I’m a fan of sweet and savoury together so these varieties went down a treat.

Review: Clearspring Products

Roasted Seeds + Soya

Review: Clearspring Products

Tamari Roasted Sicilian Almonds

Review: Clearspring Products

Tamari Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

The Tamari roasted pumpkin seeds and Sicilian almonds were perfect for sprinkling on salads. I found the little pouch was the perfect size for topping a large salad for two. Of course, you can just eat them from the packet too- I don’t usually eat plain nuts and seeds as a snack but the gentle roasting and tamari makes these much more flavourful and appealing to me.

Review: Clearspring Products

Clearspring have a range of organic cold-pressed oils too. If you’ve been reading Coconut and Berries a while you’ll know I already use and love Coconut Oil, and this one’s great quality.  I was unfamiliar with these other varieties though.

Organic Corn Germ Oil: Unlike large scale and higher yielding conventional corn oil extraction where solvents are widely used as well as alkali treatments, Clearspring oils are cold-pressed to preserve nutrition and flavour.  Corn-germ oil has a high smoke point so is ideal for high temperature cooking like stir-frying. Its flavour is fairly neutral I found so it’s good when you want something less obtrusive than coconut or olive oils

Organic Argan Oil: I’d heard of argan oil used in cosmetics and hair treatments so was a little surprised to see it suggested for culinary purposes. But apparently it’s  one of the world’s most precious culinary oils and is produced using very traditional, labour intensive methods. Produced from the kernels of the argan tree (endemic to Morocco and UNESCO protected) it takes about 15 hours and 30kg of fruit to produce 1L of argan oil! I loved the mild, nutty taste of this oil on a grain salad, or Clearspring also suggest it as a dip for bread which sounds really good to me. It’s also worth knowing that argan oil is super high in Vitamin E, with twice the levels in olive oil, making it a powerful antioxidant.

Review: Clearspring Products

Organic Sweet Grains Dessert, Brown Rice Amazake

This was a product I’d never heard of before but has been a great discovery.

Amazake is made from just 3 ingredients- whole grains, water and salt. The traditional Japanese process uses a koji culture to convert the carbohydrates in the grains into simple sugars and magically transform them into these wonderfully thick and creamy dessert.

It’s delicious straight from the jar and in Japan is traditionally enjoyed as a sweet, hot drink, simply mixing a spoonful with hot water, but, as I’ve now discovered, it works fantastically as a sweetener in non-traditional recipes too, from smoothies to baked goods.

I’ve got a delicious recipe to share using it…but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer for it…

Other Clearspring products I use are their Japanese seasonings, tofu, soba and udon noodles and seaweeds.  There are still many more I haven’t tried yet but am keen to, such as their sugar-free organic fruit spreads and organic oatcakes.

I feel good about supporting the company, not only because they’re producing fantastic vegan products, but also for their strict food and environmental standards, something which is extremely important to me.

All the products mentioned are available from Clearspring’s new online shop (UK and Ireland) and numerous other online retailers in Europe. Many of their products are also available in independent health stores and Sainsburys and Waitrose in the UK, so be on the lookout!

Have you tried any of these products? Which would you be most interested in?

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

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

Last week I had a few days away in Edinburgh, Scotland. Every year for 3 weeks in August the “Edinburgh Fringe Festival” takes place in the city and me and a friend, R,  went up to check it out. It’s the largest arts festival in the world and involves thousands of performers presenting all kinds of shows- theatre, comedy, music, dance and more.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

We saw some fantastic performances…as well as some less than brilliant ones. My top pick was “Angels in America”, an adaptation of Tony Kushner’s play about the AIDs crisis in America in the mid 80s. I’m going to have to check out the film version. Also up there amongst my favourites was “John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice the Musical” , which describes itself as “an all-singing, all-dancing romp through 2,500 years of political philosophy” and was equally hilarious and thought-provoking. What’s more, it was put on by a group of Oxford students so we were particularly pleased that it was so good Smile

It was my first time to Edinburgh, and actually my first time to Scotland too, so it was fun to do some exploring and get to know a new city as well as enjoy the festival.  We had to eat too of course, so took the opportunity in between events to explore Edinburgh’s vegan dining options. Meals were rather erratic due to show timings, queuing for tickets, and late starts (my getting up early definitely went out the window…) but we still managed pretty well on the eating front.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

Café Milk was a good little find for breakfast one day. I loved the quirky “milk bar” decor and the menu was more innovative than most. By the time we ate it was more of a lunch than a breakfast hour and I was nearly tempted by their savoury options but in the end I settled for sweet as per usual.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

This was the Bircher Muesli. Soaked oats with strawberries, topped with banana, granola and honey (yes I eat honey on occasion…). This was so so tasty and very filling.  I think the oats were just soaked in water, authentic Bircher muesli style (It’s usually topped with yogurt but I asked for it to be left off) but soaking them makes them magically creamy all the same.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

We passed by The Baked Potato Shop several times and it certainly seems to be hugely popular as there were always queues outside and customers sitting on the pavement eating their humungous spuds! I loved that it said “vegan” on the shop-front. It’s exclusively vegetarian and pretty much just does baked potatoes but with a whole range of creative fillings alongside the more standard baked beans, chili etc. It’s a shame that we didn’t end up sampling their food but the fact that we were spoilt for choice with all the other veg options in the city was definitely a good thing I suppose!

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

Henderson’s vegetarian restaurant is something of an institution in Edinburgh. They now have 3 locations in the city- the original restaurant, the bistro and deli. They’re known for their wholesome, hearty food, and that’s certainly what we got. I chose the Thai nut burger which came with homemade potato wedges. It was decent but could have done with some kind of sauce as it was a little bland. I thought it was also a bit expensive, especially considering it was counter not table service. My friend chose better, opting for the Malaysian curry with brown rice. The presentation was lacking but I had a bite and it was tasty, and a huge portion.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

One of the many groups of street performers on the High Street. Scottish Highland dancing looks so fun! Though I’m not sure I’d want to wear the outfit…

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

Our meal at Orb Café, Scotland’s only raw food restaurant, was probably my favourite of our trip. We had scheduled in a few hours between events one afternoon and took the opportunity to walk out a bit further from the busy centre to this place and enjoy a more leisurely meal.

I had a lovely green smoothie to start with. This was mild and refreshing, just what I needed, as I never get enough vegetables, especially greens, when travelling.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

My friend chose the raw pizza- a flax-buckwheat base topped with red pepper cashew cheese, olives, capers and sundried tomatoes. It came with kale chips and salad. R’s not vegan but I’ve taken him to quite a few vegan and raw places before so it’s not unfamiliar territory for him. He even told me he craves the raw flax crackers from Saf sometimes! He said it was good but the kale chips and base could have been a little crisper.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

I had already decided I’d be having dessert so didn’t go too wild on my main meal. This was the pear and walnut salad which had both fresh and dried pears, a delicious sweet mustard dressing and came with chewy onion bread. I really enjoyed it and it was the perfect size.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

R accompanied me in having dessert, choosing the nutty brownie with raw chocolate ice cream, berry coulis and cherries. I gather it was good and the ice cream was Booja Booja which I know is amazing.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

I had the banana coconut cream pie. This was perfect for me as it wasn’t too sweet but had a light, moussey texture and chewy coconut crust. It came with a dollop of cashew cream, prettily adorned with pink buckwheat crispies.

Like most raw food places it was quite expensive, but I’m happy to pay for good quality, well-presented food.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

I couldn’t leave Scotland without trying vegetarian haggis! On our last night I finally got to. I’m sure most of you know what the non-veg haggis is and it’s not something pleasant to think about so I won’t go describe it here. The veggie version is really a thick bean and lentil stew, lightly spiced and thickened with oats. It does somewhat resemble the kind of early vegetarian food from the 70s, but it’s delicious in a homey sort of way.  Like the non-veg version it was served with “neeps and tatties” (turnip and potato) and red wine gravy. You’ll have to excuse the terrible photo- the restaurant’s in a basement so has no light, and I can’t really imagine this dish photographing well in any case.

If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, Henderson’s have actually posted the recipe they use. I’ll be recreating it in the winter for sure.

Vegan on Tour: Edinburgh

Despite the haggis being pretty substantial, this was lunch and dinner in one go so I indulged in a piece of chocolate hazelnut cake (with oat cream on the side).  This was delicious, albeit very rich, so I took my time over it while my friend enjoyed a glass of wine, and we listened to the live piano performance in the background.


Other places:

Hula Juice Bar was a useful find for a decent breakfast/lunch and we went a couple of times. As well as fresh juices and smoothies other vegan options included porridge, granola, bagels and wraps.

David Bann vegetarian restaurant. A little smarter than most. It was candle-lit so I couldn’t get any pictures, but Ienjoyed the Chilli pancake which was sort of like a dosa done Mexican-style. The crepe-like red lentil pancake was rolled around a spicy bean filling and served with  grilled sweet potato, courgette and chocolate sauce. The service was incredibly speedy, ideal when you’ve got to dash to your next performance although there was a nice atmosphere to the place so it would have been nice to take our time.

Dovecot Café. When we arrived on Monday it was almost 2pm and we were definitely ready for lunch by then. We had an hour to kill before we could check into our hostel anyway so grabbed a bite at this cute place. It’s not vegetarian but they had a few nice options: sandwiches, soups and salad.

The Chocolate Tree was another place I’d have liked to visit but we didn’t get to this time as unfortunately it was a bit far out of the centre. It’s a chocolate shop and café in one! They sell their own artisan individual chocolates and bars, and have a range of special hot chocolates to enjoy there, along with homemade cakes (many are apparently (vegan and often gluten-free), ice creams and sorbets.

I really enjoyed my time away and might well go back to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival next year. I’ve just read that Glasgow was voted the most vegan-friendly city in the UK though so maybe I should be going to a different Scottish city..

Have you been to Scotland before? Enjoyed any good veg meals out recently?