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Vegan Banana Bread

Banana bread is something I have been working on perfecting for a long time and I think I might have cracked it with this recipe. It's definitely the best one I've baked so far so I'm really excited to share it with you. It's got the perfect amount of banana, it's not too stodgy (a problem I often encounter with banana bread) and has just the right amount of cinnamon and spices, or in other words: delicious. I really am proud of this one.

I wanted to use dates as a sweetener as when I've baked loaves in the past and relied just on the sweetness from the bananas I've found they just haven't been quite sweet enough. I created this recipe before I bought my food processor so I had to find a different way to break down the dates. Turns out that soaking them in boiling water for 10 minutes and then mashing them with a fork works perfectly.  So, this recipe is even better because not only is it incredibly yummy but you don't need any fancy equipment at all to make it - just a few bowls and a good old fork. And, it's not got any flour in it at all, just lots of almond and oat goodness!

Vegan Banana Bread

You will need (makes one loaf): 
4 over-ripe bananas 
1 cup ground almonds 
1 cup finely ground oats
1/2 cup oats  
2 tablespoons coconut oil 
5 Medjool dates 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon mixed spice 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder 

Method: 
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper and grease with a small amount of coconut oil.
- Pit the dates and pop them in a small bowl of boiling water. Leave them aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Mash the bananas using a fork and add to a bowl.
- Melt the coconut oil over a low heat on the hob and add this to the mashed bananas along with the vanilla extract and give everything a good stir.
- In a separate bowl combine together all the dry ingredients - ground almonds, ground oats, oats, cinnamon, spice and baking powder.
- Now, go back to the dates and remove them from the water. They should be nice and soft so you can mash them easily using a fork, if not you can give them a little longer in the water. Mash them all up into a paste and add to the banana mixture and mix well.
- Finally, pour the wet banana mixture into the dry mixture and fold together. Once combined add the mixture into the loaf tin. At this stage you can add a topping to your bread, I went for flaked almonds this time but pumpkin seeds or pecans also work really well.
- Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on the loaf while it's baking and use a knife to check it's cooked through, mine took 50 minutes but this will differ depending on your oven. If the top starts to get too brown but the inside still needs a little longer you can cover the loaf with tin foil for the last little while to stop it from burning.

I really hope you enjoy this recipe because it is one of my favourites. Let me know if you give it a go!

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Vegan Banana Bread

Three Bean Veggie Chilli

Chilli is one of my most favourite meals ever. When I first went vegetarian, I used to make it using quorn mince, which was nice and gave the exact texture of its meat counterpart, but I've never been a big fan of veggie products that replicate meat products. There's nothing wrong with them, I just don't like how similar they can be to meat in terms of texture and find that a little off putting as it just reminds me of eating meat too much. So, of course, this fully vegetable chilli was created and honestly, it's just as good and packed full of so much veggie and bean yumminess! This is another recipe I like to make in a big batch so I can freeze lots to have on hand when I fancy it. I love serving it with rice and sliced avocado or stuffing it into a wrap. It's so good, I could eat it for dinner every night. 

Three Bean Veggie Chilli

You will need (serves 5-6):
1 red onion
1 red pepper
1 large courgette
2 large carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 x 325g tin sweetcorn 
1 x 400g tin pinto beans 
1 x 400g tin kidney beans 
1 x 400g tin borlotti beans 
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes 
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 cup vegetable stock 
2 teaspoons herbs de provence 
1 teaspoon chilli flakes 
2 teaspoons cumin 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (half this if you prefer a milder chilli)
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 teaspoon coriander 
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 

Method:
- Finely chop all the vegetables into chunks. 
- Fry the onion and pepper in a large pot in a little olive oil over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes. 
- Add the garlic, carrots and courgette and fry for a further 2-3 minutes until the vegetables have softened. 
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, beans, vegetable stock, herbs and spices and mix everything together. Leave to simmer over a low heat for around 90 minutes until the liquid has reduced and the sauce thickened. 
- Put the sweetcorn into the pot and mix well. Leave to simmer for a further five minutes. 
- Serve with whole wheat rice and sliced avocado.

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Three Bean Veggie Chilli

Coconut, Pecan and Almond Granola

Sometimes, I like to not have porridge for breakfast. It doesn't happen often because I do love porridge a lot, but sometimes I fancy something different, which is where this granola comes in. Granola is summer's answer to porridge, for when you still want something really filling that will last you until lunch but don't want to eat a big bowl of hot oats. Shop bought ones tend to be packed full of sugar, which I've always thought is pretty bad as granola tends to be assumed to be a healthier alternative to sugary cereals but, actually, in some cases granola can be even worse! Crazy, right? So, I came up with my own recipe, filled with goodness and only natural sugar. I love baking a big batch of this at the weekend and munching on it throughout the week (sometimes straight out the jar with a spoon...). It's so yummy with soya yoghurt or almond milk with lots of fresh fruit on top (bananas and blueberries are my favourite). Once you've made this granola you'll never go back to shop bought, I promise you. You can also change it up depending on what you like - add in different nuts, swap pumpkin seeds for sunflower seeeds, pop in some goji berries or cranberries, there are just so many possibilities! 

Coconut, Pecan and Almond Granola

You will need (makes one large jar): 
2 cups jumbo oats 
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup flaked almonds 
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup linseed
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup melted coconut oil 
1-2 tablespoons date syrup, depending on preferred sweetness
3/4 cup sultanas 

Method: 
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. 
- Combine all the ingredients, apart from the sultanas, together in a large bowl and mix well, ensuring that all the dry ingredients are coated in the coconut oil and date syrup. 
- Spread the mixture over two lined baking trays and bake for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the granola doesn't burn.
- Leave the granola to cool and then mix through the sultanas and store in an air-tight jar. It should keep for up to a month but, trust me, it will be gone long before that! I'm lucky if a batch of this lasts me a week. 

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Coconut, Pecan and Almond Granola

Curried Lentil and Spinach Pie


This pie was born after I tried my first ever vegan sausage roll. I don't remember the brand it was but it was the yummiest thing ever (I got it from Realfoods in Edinburgh for anyone local, aka, the best store ever). It was puff pastry with a curried lentil and spinach filling and it was so delicious that I decided I just had to try recreating something similar at home. It also made me think, seriously, who needs meat when veggie food can be this good?!

I'm not a huge fan of puff pastry, it makes too much mess for my liking, so instead I thought I'd try a spelt flour pastry, which turned out pretty well. I used a cake tin as my pie tin, which also worked pretty well. My kitchen is so tiny that I really can't fit in any more kitchenware (cry). The filling is made with three types of lentils, veggies and lots of herbs and spices making a delicious mixture filled with goodness. This pie is seriously good. It serves four as a main meal - I usually just have a big piece with extra veggies on the side - but would serve six if you serve it with potatoes as well as veggies.

Curried Lentil and Spinach Pie

You will need (serves 4-6, depending on portion size): 
for the pastry 
2 cups spelt flour
1/4 cup olive oil 
1/3 cup water 
a pinch of salt 

for the filling 
1 onion 
1 carrot 
2 cloves garlic
3 cups vegetable stock 
1/2 cup green lentils 
1/4 cup red lentils 
1/4 cup puy lentils 
2 handfuls spinach 
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 teaspoons herbs de provence 
3 teaspoons curry powder
ground pepper to taste 

Method: 
- Mix all the ingredients for the pastry together in a bowl using your hands until a dough forms. Leave this to chill in the fridge while you make the filling. 
- Finely chop the onion and carrot and mince the garlic. 
- Fry the onion in a large pot over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrot and garlic and fry for a further 2 more minutes. 
- Add the vegetable stock, lentils, tomato puree, herbs, curry powder and pepper to the pot and mix well. Leave to simmer over a low heat for around 30 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed by the lentils and you've got a nice thick filling. 
- Roughly chop the spinach and mix this through the filling. 
- Roll out the pastry into two large circles, one slightly bigger than the other. 
- Grease an 8-inch(ish) cake or pie tin with a little olive oil to stop the pastry sticking and then line the tin with the bigger of the two pastry circles, ensuring the bottom and sides of the tin are covered. 
- Add the filling to the tin and then use the other pastry circle to close the pie. 
- Remove any excess pastry from the sides and cut a few slits in the top to let the steam out as the pie cooks. 
- Pop the pie in the oven at 180 degrees celsius for 35-40 minutes until it is golden brown and crispy.

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Curried Lentil and Spinach Pie

Peanut Butter Cookies

I can't believe that it is April already! I think everyone is talking about how fast time is going but it really is just going so quickly. I started this blog in January and have loved every minute of writing it. I've connected with so many wonderful people because of it, have been offered some amazing opportunities through it, and have gotten to make and share a lot of really yummy healthy food. It's something I am so passionate about and I really hope you are enjoying it too. Taking the leap and starting a whole new blog was pretty scary but I could not be happier I did and I'm so excited to see what the rest of this year will bring for my little space. 

Now, let's get onto the important part... peanut butter cookies! 

I love peanut butter. A lot. I could easily, and sometimes do, sit and eat it out of the jar with a spoon (come on, we all do it). So, of course, I love experimenting with different ways to use it and fit it into as many of my meals and snacks as possible. I baked these cookies a few weeks ago and have baked them at least three times since then because they are just so delicious and so easy to make. I really think you will love them! They're perfect for an afternoon pick up or a pre or post-workout snack because they're filled with protein from the peanut butter and oats. The pumpkin seeds give them an extra crunch but if you don't like these then you can replace them with sultanas or even cacao nibs. 

Peanut Butter Cookies

You will need:
1/2 cup ground almonds 
3/4 cup oats 
8 Medjool dates 
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter 
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds 

Method:
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. 
- Pit the dates and soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes to soften. 
- Add the ground almonds, 1/2 a cup of oats and the soaked dates to a food processor and mix until combined and the mixture is starting to stick together. 
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the peanut butter, 1/4 cup oats, and the pumpkin seeds and mix well. 
- Roll the mixture into balls and then flatten into a cookie. The mixture will make six good sized cookies. 
- Place onto a lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, flipping half way.

Ps. Spreading more peanut butter on top of the cookies when you eat them makes them taste even better!

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Peanut Butter Cookies