E is for…



I know my A-Z series is pantry ingredients not fresh fruit and vegetables, but I decided edamame count as I buy the frozen packaged kind Smile . My blog, my rules!

I love edamame but always forget to use them…probably because they’re in my freezer and not as visible as the veg in my fridge’s crisper drawer. But, I had lunch at the Japanese noodle restaurant chain Wagamama a few days ago where one of the sides on offer is simply a bowl of salted, steamed edamame and it reignited my passion for these little green beans.


I can’t seem to find them still in their pods unfortunately but they’re more convenient for a variety of recipes in their podded form anyway. I’ve used them in a few recipes on the blog so far- My Summer Vegetable + Chickpea Sauté, 10-minute Raw Peanut Noodles, and my favourite Cauliflower Fried “Rice” with Grilled Tofu. I’m still mad about dips so thought I’d make something similar to my Broad Bean + Roasted Garlic Dip but using edamame.

Edamame-Pea Dip + Tofu Ricotta Toasts

I opted to fancy up this lunch staple a little with the addition of a second spread for my toasts- tofu ricotta. The slightly salty, tangy ricotta is a lovely contrast to the sweet edamame-pea dip, but if you’re pushed for time then the latter is still very yummy on its own.

Edamame-Pea Dip + Tofu Ricotta Toasts

Edamame-Pea Dip + Tofu Ricotta Toasts:

1C Frozen edamame
1C Frozen peas
1Clove of garlic, minced
1T + 1t Olive oil
1/2T Tahini
1T Lemon juice
1/8t Salt
1 1/2T Fresh mint leaves

Steam the peas and edamame for approx 3 minutes then plunge into cold water to stop cooking and retain bright green colour. Set aside in a bowl.

Heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a small pan over medium and when hot add minced garlic. Cook, stirring for a minute just to take the raw garlic edge off. Add garlic to edamame and peas and add remaining olive oil, tahini, lemon juice and salt. Using an immersion blender blitz the mixture until you have a fairly smooth purée. You can also use a food processor for this. Finally add the chopped mint and pulse through.

Tofu Ricotta (For Soy-free use Cashew ricotta)

(Adapted from Veganomicon)

1/2 400g/14oz pkg Firm tofu
1 1/2T Lemon juice
2T Nutritional yeast
1/4t Salt
1t Olive Oil
1 Clove of garlic, minced
1/4t Dried basil (optional)

Using your hands crumble up tofu and squish between your fingers until you have a ricotta-like texture. Stir through remaining ingredients and taste for salt.

Spread toast with a generous layer of the tofu ricotta, followed by a good dollop of the edamame-pea dip. Serve alongside a big salad for lunch or make crostini with the spreads and serve as appetizers.

Edamame-Pea Dip + Tofu Ricotta Toasts

A few more edamame recipes to try:

If you’ve still got peaches where you are try these Portland Porch Lettuce Wraps which use edamame pesto, from Isa at the PPK.

These Vegan Sushi Rolls with Sticky Walnuts and Edamame also look fantastic.

You could thrown them in a veg-loaded hummus wrap.

Or, if you’re in the mood for something a little more wacky…how about these Teriyaki glazed Brown Rice and Edamame Burgers?

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Chocolate-Sesame Biscotti

Chocolate-Sesame Biscotti

I shared pictures of these on instagram (@coconutandberries), google+ and facebook  on Saturday and feel a little mean for not having shared the recipe until now… but hopefully you’ll forgive me when you make them!

I do love raw sweets, but sometimes turning on the oven just feels right.

I didn’t actually bake a lot with my Mum growing up, I think our repertoire was limited to fairy cakes and rice krispie squares…but when my brothers and I went to stay with our grandparents, it was a different story. Rainy days were instantly designated as “Baking Days,” something my brothers and I all enjoyed.

After a long spell of sunshine the rain finally came at the weekend and I thought of Granny and our baking Smile . One of my lovely readers had put in a special request for biscotti so the timing seemed even more perfect.

Chocolate-Sesame Biscotti

If you’ve never had biscotti before you’re truly missing out. They are hard and crunchy because they are twice-cooked (‘bis’ is Italian for twice and ‘cotti’ means cooked) and perfect for dipping in a cup of tea or coffee (although apparently true Italians only dip them in Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine, not coffee). In any case, when I was 19 I spent 6 weeks studying art history in the magical city of Florence, and, although I didn’t pick up the Italian espresso habit, I definitely got into biscotti!

The original recipe is made with almonds and is NOT vegan as it contains eggs (but no butter interestingly). I have made more traditional biscotti in the past but decided to try something different this time, opting for chocolate and sesame. I love the richness that tahini brings here, a perfect pairing with chocolate. I also added sesame seeds to amp up the sesame flavour and for texture, and a few chocolate chips for a little fun too.

Chocolate-Sesame Biscotti

Biscotti-making is not a complicated process and the only real difference to making other cookies is the shaping of the dough into a log and the twice baking.

Chocolate-Sesame Biscotti:

I made a small batch as I wasn’t sure how popular these would be at home, but perhaps I should have doubled it as they were gone in a flash!

(Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar)

3/4C Light spelt flour (or other flour of your choice)
1/4C Cocoa
1/8t Salt
3/4t Baking powder
1/2C Coconut sugar ( I like to use coconut sugar in my baking as it’s less processed than other sweeteners, it’s also less sweet than refined sugar so these are more chocolatey than super sweet, perfect for this chocolate lover)
2T Tahini
2T Oil (I used rapeseed, but any neutral oil is fine)
1T Ground flaxseed
1/4C Non-dairy milk (You might need 1 or 2 extra tablespoons of milk if your tahini is very thick. Mine is very runny)
2T Sesame Seeds
2T Chocolate Chips (or more! That’s all I had left!)

Preheat oven to 180C/350F

Sift together flour through to baking powder in a large bowl and stir in the coconut sugar. Whisk oil, tahini, ground flax and milk together in a small bowl. Combine wet with dry ingredients and combine with your hands to form a thick dough. Stir through sesame seeds and chocolate chips and shape dough into a ball, pressing chocolate chips back in if they pop out.

On a baking tray lined with parchment paper shape the dough into a rectangular log approximately 4” by 6”. Flatten and square off edges as best as you can.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until log is puffed and firm. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and leave to cool for 20-30 minutes.

Chocolate-Sesame Biscotti

Preheat oven (again) to a slightly cooler 160C/325F.

Carefully slide the log off the baking tray onto a chopping board. With a sharp, heavy knife, cut the log width-wise into slices, on a diagonal if you like (I forgot!). Carefully return the slices to the baking tray, standing them on their sides (see wire rack picture below). Bake slices again 10-15 minutes on one side, then flip gently and bake a further 10-15 minutes on the reverse side. 15 minutes will give you a slightly crunchier, more authentic biscotti texture, 10 minutes will leave them a little softer. Allow the biscotti to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet and then carefully remove to wire racks to complete the cooling. Warm biscotti can be fragile! They should store well in a covered container, if you don’t eat them all!

Makes 10-12

Chocolate-Sesame Biscotti

Chocolate-Sesame Biscotti

Enjoy dunked in a cup of tea ( herbal if you’re me!) or coffee, or if you want to be authentic, after a meal with vin santo!

Chocolate-Sesame Biscotti

Have you tried or made biscotti? What flavour would you like to see?

Baked Beetroot Falafel


Entertaining. It used to be something I’d avoid doing. Far too much anxiety involved. Planning the perfect spread to try and please everyone I’d constantly be worrying: what if my guests didn’t like the food? What if I was bad company? What if.. ? Fortunately I’ve mellowed a little recently and entertaining nowadays is a different matter.

I get excited about having people over and love the planning and preparations that go into cooking up a big feast. All the same, sometimes it’s nice to have friends round more spontaneously and not spend weeks poring over recipes for an elaborate menu, simply embracing the company as what’s important (alongside a few light bites…).

I’m moving into my own place mid September, a cosy little flat, and am very much looking forward to playing hostess!

Baked Beetroot Falafel

Today’s recipe is the ideal party appetizer and takes hardly any time to put together so you can whip it up quickly if you decide last minute to have friends over.

Falafel is familiar to almost everyone so it’s not intimidating “vegan” food, and the shocking pink of these ones are sure to impress. I baked them too which is obviously a much healthier choice than frying, without any compromise in taste in my opinion.

During the half an hour that they’re doing their thing in the oven you can mix up a little tahini dipping sauce for a little extra yum with time to spare to spruce up your place too!

Baked Beetroot Falafel

Baked Beetroot Falafel
Yields 12
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  1. 1 C Shredded beetroot
  2. 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1/2 Small onion
  4. 1 tsp Ground cumin
  5. 1 tsp Ground coriander
  6. 1/2 tsp Salt
  7. Black pepper
  8. 1 1/2 C Cooked chickpeas/1 can
  9. 3/4 C Roughly chopped fresh parsley and coriander (I used equal quantities of each)
  10. 2 tsp Olive oil
  11. 3 Tbsp Chickpea flour
Tahini-Lemon Sauce
  1. 4 Tbsp Tahini
  2. 3 Tbsp Lemon juice
  3. 1 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  4. 1/4 tsp Salt
  5. 1 Tbsp Agave nectar
  6. 1-2 Tbsp Water
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
For the falafel
  1. I used the grater attachment on my food processor for the beetroot to speed things along even further but you can grate by hand if you don’t have such a thing. Remove beetroot from the food processor into a bowl.
  2. Pulse minced garlic, onion, spices and salt in the food processor until coarsely chopped. Add in chickpeas and herbs and pulse again, being careful not to process too much, as you want a little texture. Add shredded beetroot and pulse just once or twice to combine. Finally stir in the olive oil and chickpea flour. If your mixture is still a little wet then add another tablespoon of chickpea flour.
  3. Shape into golf-ball size balls, lay on a lined baking tray and flatten slightly. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping half-way, or until lightly brown and crispy. Serve warm or at room temperature with tahini dipping sauce.
  1. Whisk all ingredients, up to and excluding water, until you have a smooth, thick paste, then gradually add water until it reaches your desired consistency- I like it a little thicker for a dip, a little thinner for a salad dressing. Season with lots of black pepper and chopped fresh parsley.
  1. I’d suggest making a double batch as these things are addictive, and if you’ve got leftovers they’re great for lunch over a big salad, drizzled with extra sauce.
Coconut and Berries http://www.coconutandberries.com/
Do you like entertaining? What do you like to serve when you don’t have time to plan far ahead?

Hope you try these Baked Beetroot Falafel for your next get-together!

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Cheesy Tofu Scramble + Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos

Cheesy Tofu Scramble + Sweet Potato Tacos

Who doesn’t love eating with their hands?  Did you know that Indians eat with their hands because they believe that food is more than “just protein, carbs and fat” … it nourishes the mind, intellect and spirit. Food has to be sensual and mindful and eating with your hands apparently gives you a greater connection with the food.

I’m not sure my thinking is that deep but ditching the utensils and opting for hands instead is definitely more fun somehow! These tacos are not really the ooey gooey type since there are no beans, salsa or the like so it’s possible to eat them pretty neatly, if you’re concerned about sticky fingers!

The starting point for this recipe was Vegetarian Times’ June issue which featured tofu scramble breakfast tacos. I love a tofu scramble but I’m not a savoury breakfast kind of girl so my tacos were served for dinner. Don’t let me dictate when you eat them though, they’ll be delicious at any time of day!

Cheesy Tofu Scramble + Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos

The original recipe looked very mild on spice, with just the suggestion of a little hot sauce to liven things up. I decided to amp the heat up and bulk things out with the addition of chipotle dusted roasted sweet potato, which turned out to be a good choice. I had to top them with avocado too, as for me Mexican food of any kind isn’t complete without my creamy green friend.

Talking food with my uncle not that long ago I was horrified when he pronounced how bad avocado is for you because of how “fatty” it is!  That couldn’t be further from the truth. They are of course high in fat but it’s mostly the healthy monounsaturated kind, and our bodies need these good fats for all sorts of functions. They’re also packed with other good stuff too, so much so that on many occasions they’ve appeared on lists of the world’s healthiest foods.

Another superfood boost comes in these tacos from a liberal dose of nutty hemp seeds in the scrambled tofu. These little seeds are a real nutrition powerhouse since they contain all of the essential amino acids which makes them an ideal source of protein.

Nutrition aside, these ingredients just taste good!

Chipotle Roast Sweet Potatoes, Cheesy Tofu Scramble

Cheesy Tofu Scramble + Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos

(Inspired by Vegetarian Times)

For the Tofu Scramble:

1/2 Pkg Firm Tofu, Drained + Pressed
1T Tahini
2T Nutritional Yeast
3/4t Onion powder
Salt + pepper
1/2T Coconut OR Olive oil
2T Hemp Seeds

For the Sweet Potato:

1 Medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1” cubes
1/2T Coconut/Olive Oil
1t Chipotle chili powder
1/2t Garlic powder
Salt + pepper


Everything else:

6 Corn tortillas, soft or crisp ( I like the Cool Chile Co)
1 Medium avocado, sliced thickly
Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Spring onions, thinly sliced
Lime slices
Hot sauce (Optional)

Toss sweet potato cubes with seasonings and spread out on baking tray. Roast at 200C/400F for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown.

Meanwhile, prepare toppings and warm tortillas. Heat a dry pan until medium hot. Warm each side of the tortilla until toasty but still soft. Wrap in a tea towel to keep warm.

Crumble tofu into a small bowl and mix in tahini, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Warm the oil in a pan over med-high heat. When hot, add tofu mixture and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking but allowing it to get some brown crisp bits. Turn off heat and stir through hemp seeds. Set aside.

Allow individuals to layer up their own tacos as they wish- tofu scramble, sweet potato cubes, avocado slices, coriander and spring onions and a squeeze of lime and drizzle of hot sauce.

Serves 2-3

As someone who thinks about food a LOT I’ve been wondering for ages what the difference between fajitas and tacos is.  I finally got around to looking it up and for anyone else curious about these things, here’s the answer. I love vegetable fajitas too- and yes I’ve decided I can still call the vegetable version “fajitas” since the word is really referring to the shape (little strip) rather than the ingredient itself. I love this fajita feast over at the Edible Perspective for a more classic-style Mexican vibe. Ashley even has a recipe and detailed instructions for making your own tortillas at home from masa harina. One day when I’m feeling ambitious I’ll give it a go….

Cheesy Tofu Scramble + Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos

What form of Mexican food do you like best? Tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, burritos, chimichangas…? All the different names are pretty confusing, no?

Do you have a favourite hand-held food?

Wheat Berry Salad with Chickpeas + Za’atar, Tahini Beetroot

Wheatberry Salad with Chickpeas + Za'atar

I’ve already talked about my love for Middle-Eastern flavours on the blog and I’m featuring them again today in another couple of recipes.

Dried pulses, fresh produce, herbs and spices, olive oil, lemon, garlic and grains are all characteristic ingredients in dishes from that part of the world. You can probably see why I’m drawn to them, given how naturally vegan-friendly they are, not to mention packed with flavour.

Za’atar is a herb and spice blend widely-used in the Middle-East.  Its specifics vary according to region but it usually includes toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme and sumac. It’s used as a seasoning for grilled vegetables, salads, sprinkled on top of hummus and mixed with olive oil and spread on flatbread, known as manakeesh.

I brought a bag of freshly ground sumac home  from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul last year and am always on the lookout for new ways to use this tangy, lemony spice. So far I’ve especially enjoyed it rubbed onto roasted potatoes, a light sprinkle on fattoush (cucumber, tomato, herb + pita salad), and now in this spice blend.

Wheat Berry Salad with Chickpeas + Za’atar

I love all the different textures in this salad, with the chewy wheat berries, tender chickpeas, melt-in-the-mouth roast aubergine and juicy fresh tomatoes. The combination made it satisfying enough for a supper salad, alongside my delicious tahini beetroot.Grain and bean salads hold up well for a while in the fridge too so this salad would be perfect to keep on hand for quick lunches throughout the week.

Wheat Berry Salad with Chickpeas + Za’atar

Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

1 1/2C Cooked chickpeas/ 1 Can chickpeas
1/2C Wheatberries OR Farro OR Spelt berries
1 Large aubergine, diced into 1” chunks
1 T Olive oil, 1/2 t cumin seeds, 1/2 t sumac
1 C Cherry tomatoes, halved
2T Lemon juice
1T Olive oil
Salt + Pepper
Large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1-2T Za’atar spice blend

Za’atar *

1T Toasted sesame seeds (toast in dry pan over medium heat, tossing occasionally, approx 5 minutes or until fragrant)
1T Sumac
1/2 T Dried thyme
1/4 T Ground cumin

* I just made a small amount, enough for this recipe and to rub on a few flatbreads but I recommend doubling the recipe as it’s nice to have prepared for other dishes.

Cook your wheat berries according to the package instructions. I used semi-pearled so they only took 30 minutes but they can take up to an hour. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and leave to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Toss the aubergine chunks with 1T oil, sumac and cumin seeds, spread in an even layer on a baking tray and roast at 200C/400F for 20-30 minutes until brown and very soft.

In a bowl combine wheat berries, chickpeas, warm roasted aubergine and halved cherry tomatoes. Mix in remaining olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper. Sprinkle liberally with chopped parsley and za’atar seasoning to taste. Toss again and serve.

Serves 3-4

Wheat Berry Salad with Chickpeas + Za’atar, Tahini Beetroot

The tahini beetroot I made to go with the salad is a repeat recipe in my kitchen. Everyone who tries it loves the stuff and it’s a great accompaniment to all sorts of dishes, not just those with Middle Eastern flavours.

I cut the beetroot in a different way each time I make it but I think I’ve finally decided that julienned (as in the below picture) is the way to go-  greater surface area allowing for maximum sauce coverage.

I originally found the recipe at The Kitchn but now know it off the top of my head.

Tahini Beetroot:

3-4 Small to medium beetroot, roasted and peeled (Scrub beetroot, slice off greens, wrap loosely in foil, place on a baking sheet and roast at 350C for approx 1 hour, or until the beetroot fall off a knife easily when pierced. Leave to cool and skin should rub off easily)
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t Sea salt
2T Tahini
1 1/2T Lemon juice
2-4 T Water

Slice cooled beetroot into thick matchsticks (or your preferred shape)

Use pestle and mortar to grind garlic and salt into a smooth paste. Add tahini and lemon and stir until homogeneous. It will separate initially but keep stirring and it will smooth out. Thin with water to desired thickness.

Combine sauce with beetroot in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. It’s best left an hour or 2 to sit so the sauce soaks in.

Serve with the above salad or with a selection of mezze.