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The memories I have of rice pudding as a child are not the best, probably because it involved the type that comes out of a tin, generally served with fruit (also from a tin) and it's juice which kind of created a weird separation situation between the warm rice pudding and cold fruit juice. I didn't like it. This rice pudding, however, is exactly what I deem to be a bowl of heaven.

Ever since I visited All Bar One back in January to try out their special Veganuary menu, I've been dreaming about their coconut and vanilla rice pudding. The obvious answer would be to go back and get more, and I wish I could, but the delicious dessert was only there for Veganuary and is now gone from the menu. With cravings that could only be solved by creamy rice pudding, I had a bash at creating my own and I am pretty damn proud of how it turned out. I love having this as a lazy Sunday super indulgent breakfast or as a dessert. The coconut and vanilla go so perfectly together and it's just so creamy I kinda can't believe that it is vegan. Topped with a sweet blueberry compote and some coconut and pumpkin seeds, it makes the perfect bowl of deliciousness. You guys are going to love it. 


You will need (serves 3-4):
for the rice pudding 
3/4 cup pudding rice
1 cup tinned coconut milk
2 1/2 cups soya milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons caster sugar

for the blueberry compote 
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons water

Method:
- Add all the ingredients for the rice pudding into a pot and mix well. 
- Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat right down and simmer for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
- 10 minutes before the rice pudding is ready, add the blueberries, sugar and two tablespoons of water to another pot and leave this to simmer over a low heat for 6-7 minutes to make a compote.
- Top the rice pudding with the blueberry compote and some pumpkin seeds and desiccated coconut.




I'm pretty happy this week because I have the week off work. Not that I'm unhappy otherwise, I'm just really excited about having a little break and getting away for a few days. It's going to be a bit of a digital break too because where we are going has no wifi so it's a good opportunity to just cut off and escape the internet and social media for a while. I'm looking forward to days filled with long walks in nature, evenings spent by the fire with good food and better company, and the absence of the pressures of everyday life and constantly feeling like you need to be doing something. The country is definitely where I feel most at home, walking through beautiful woodland, climbing to the top of hills and seeing the world from above, getting your shoes muddy and being able to find pure silence and peace. The cities may have the best vegan food but the country has the beauty that will forever capture my heart.

This week I thought I would share one of my go-to lunch recipes. Roasted vegetables are such a simple pleasure and this is a recipe I've been making for a while now, and one of my favourites to make in advance to take to work. Make a big batch on a Sunday and you're set for a few days, which is my favourite because ain't nobody got time for prepping lunches every night. If you fancy something a little different this also works really well as a filling for a wrap (I am so into wraps right now), or on the side of a main dish.


You will need (serves 2): 
for the roasted veg 
1 large sweet potato 
1 carrot 
1 courgette 
1 red onion 
2 sweet peppers
mixed herbs 
olive oil 
salt and pepper 

for the couscous 
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous 
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon mixed herbs 
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules 
1/2 teaspoon paprika 
1/4 teaspoon dried chillies
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast 
10 cherry tomatoes 
3 sundried tomatoes
the juice of a thick slice of lemon  

Method: 
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. 
- Peel and chop the sweet potato and carrot into small chunks and put onto a baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and mixed herbs and pop into the oven to bake for 40 minutes. 
- Chop up the onion, peppers, and courgette into small chunks and put onto another baking tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and mixed herbs. Put into the oven to bake for 25 minutes. 
- Once the veggies have all roasted, transfer them into a large bowl. 
- To make the couscous, add the 1/2 cup couscous to a pot with 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. Bring this to the boil for 4-5 minutes and then remove from the heat and leave to sit for a few minutes. 
- Add the tomato puree, mixed herbs, garlic granules, paprika, dried chillies, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice to the couscous and stir through with a fork. 
- Chop up the cherry and sundried tomatoes and add these to the large bowl along with the couscous. Mix everything together well.

Download recipe 



Obviously I couldn't let Pancake Day slip by without sharing another one of my favourite recipes with you guys. My banana and cinnamon pancakes recipe from last year was one of my most popular on here for ages so I'm glad you all seem to love pancakes as much as I do. Perfect for a lazy weekend morning snuggled under a blanket with a cup of tea, pancakes will always be one of my most favourite breakfasts. Blueberry pancakes tend to be my first choice when I decide I want a little something special to start my day and these ones taste just like a blueberry muffin, lovely and sweet with little pockets of blueberries bursting with flavour. I just love them, especially when topped with a lemony blueberry compote and lots of maple syrup. 


You will need (serves 1):
1/3 cup plain flour 
1/3 cup oats 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 ripe banana 
1/2 cup soya milk (or other plant milk)
1/2 cup blueberries 

Method:
- Put all the ingredients, except for the blueberries, into a blender and blend the mixture until smooth. 
- Transfer the mixture into a jug and stir in the blueberries. 
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until hot. Pour the mixture into the pan to make the pancakes. I can usually make two at once but this will depend on the size of your pan. Cook each pancake for 2-3 minutes on each side. You'll know the pancake is ready to flip when lots of little air bubbles appear on the surface. 
- Serve with your choice of toppings and syrup. I like to make a simple blueberry compote to pour over mine - just add a handful of blueberries to a bowl along with a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle of caster sugar and pop in the microwave for a minute. You could also make it in a pot on the stove if you don't have a microwave (I'm just lazy). 





If I was ever to have my own cookbook (a girl can dream), then Sam Murphy's new book is kinda exactly what I would have pictured. It's pretty beautiful and all vegan and it doesn't really get much better than that in my eyes. 

Sometimes I look through recipe books and feel like everything sounds so fancy and a bit too posh for my liking, like it's trying just a bit too hard. I love Sam's book because everything is recognisable, there are lots of old classics, and it just feels really down to earth. There are recipes for 'bacon' and mushroom carbonara, sweet and sour tofu, lemon honey tofu, loaded vegan hot dogs, lots of pizzas and burgers, and cheesy nacho sauce, to name just a few I've been drooling over. Classic faves but with a plant based twist; it's like a guide for how to make all your old favourite dishes vegan. And the thing I love most about this book? Every single recipe has a photo. I don't know why, and I think a lot of people are the same, but I hate when recipes don't have photos, like yea okay I need to know how to make it but I want to see how it looks first.


So far, I've only made two recipes from the book but they've both been really good. The raw cookie dough cereal was divine, although I did end up eating most of the little balls as snacks rather cereal, and honestly, most of the dough just went from the food processor into my mouth... It seriously does taste like cookie dough. I've also made the satay tofu, which was delicious, although it was a little too garlicky for me. I'd just reduce the two cloves to one next time and I reckon it would be perfect for my taste, my boyfriend did love it as it was though. I do love a good peanut satay sauce so as soon as I saw that recipe I knew I had to make it. 

The only thing that really bugged me about the book was some of the words and phrases it used, 'guilt free' and 'real food' being the main ones. We need to stop the whole guilt vibe around food because it's not okay. It comes along the same lines as the whole good foods, bad foods chat. Food isn't good or bad, you shouldn't feel guilty for eating certain foods and view others as innocent. Likewise, what makes some foods real and others not real? How can food not be real? I'm assuming real means filled with lots of fruit, veggies and whole grains, but does that mean than something more processed isn't 'real'. Processed isn't bad, tofu is a processed food and it's bloody amazing. We definitely need some more positivity around food, to stop being scared or scaremongered into believing certain things are good or bad. Eat what you love and stop feeling guilty about it. The book hasn't jumped on the whole 'refined sugar free' trend though, which I am super happy about - check out this post for more 'refined sugar free' ranting. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a fab book, I just have some personal dislike towards certain words surrounding food having been fooled by them before and I think the book would have been able to stand itself without them because it's so great.


Beautifully Real Food is a wonderful book filled with a collection of creative and mouth watering vegan recipes. I know for sure it's going to become a go-to in my kitchen and it's definitely overtaken the other cookbooks I have as my fave. If you want to introduce more plant-based eating into your life, or to show someone just how easy being vegan can be, this is the book to get. 

You can get your hands on this gem from Thursday (23 February) - I'd most definitely recommend it. 


[Beautifully Real Food: Guilt Free, Meat Free Recipes to Indulge in by Sam Murphy. Out on February 23rd, RRP £16.99, Blink Publishing.]

I was kindly sent a copy of Sam's new book to review. As always, all views and opinions on here are totally my own.