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Vegan Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli

I think chilli might be my most favourite dinner. I mean it tastes pretty amazing but I just love how versatile it is too - you can have it with rice and avocado, eat it in a wrap or with pitta bread, serve it with nachos, on a jacket potato or even with pasta. I make chilli a lot and so I love coming up with new flavour combinations to keep it different while still being the same, if that makes any sense. Sweet potato and black bean is my latest creation and it is so good! The sweet potato makes it a little sweeter than usual (of course), but the spices still give it that fiery chilli kick.

Vegan Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli

You will need (serves 3-4): 
1 large sweet potato
1 tin black beans (400g)
1 large carrot 
1/2 cup sweetcorn
1 onion
2 cloves garlic 
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (made with 1/2 stock cube)
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon dried chillies
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence 
1 teaspoon oregano 
ground pepper to taste

Method: 
- Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Peel the sweet potato and carrot and chop into chunks. 
- In a large pot over a medium heat, fry the onion and garlic in a little water for 3-4 minutes until softened. 
- Add all the other ingredients to the pot (except the sweetcorn) and mix together. 
- Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30-35 minutes. 
- Stir through the sweetcorn.

I served it with some fresh homemade guacamole, which is super easy to make and so much tastier than buying a supermarket one. I just mashed up one ripe avocado and then added a little lemon juice, ground pepper and chilli flakes - yum!

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Vegan Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli

Banana Maca Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie bowls are fast becoming my favourite breakfast. I mean, of course, I still love porridge a lot, nothing can break that bond, but sometimes I like to have something different and smoothie bowls have become my go-to. Smoothies are wonderful but I find that having that alone for breakfast doesn't completely satisfy me, so smoothie bowls are the perfect alternative, filled with lots of fruit goodness but with plenty of toppings too to make it a bit more substantial. Plus, my banana granola makes the yummiest smoothie bowl topping (or at least I think so).

The flavour combination in this recipe was inspired by a really delicious smoothie bowl I had at Hula Juice Bar in Edinburgh a few months ago - the maca nana bowl, which is a banana, vanilla and maca smoothie topped with raspberry granola, peanut butter, and berries. It was incredible, and while I wish I could eat there every single morning because damn it is so good, it's not the most practical so I came up with my own recipe to recreate it at home and I'm so happy with how it turned out. I mean nothing beats the original but this is a really good runner up, and it means if you don't live near Edinburgh you can still enjoy the yumminess (but seriously, if you do live near you need to get to Hula and try it too)!

Banana Maca Smoothie Bowl

You will need (serves 1): 
for the smoothie
2 very ripe bananas
1 tablespoon maca powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons oats
1/2 cup almond milk

for the toppings
smooth peanut butter
a handful of blueberries
banana granola (recipe)

Method: 
- Put all the ingredients together into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with banana granola, blueberries and a drizzle of peanut butter.

Banana Maca Smoothie Bowl

Vegan Chickpea and Mushroom Burgers

This is a bit of a strange recipe for me because I don't exactly like mushrooms. It's a bit odd, I do like the taste but I cannot stand the texture of them so they aren't something I ever buy or eat, I don't know what it is about them but they are the one veggie I really don't enjoy. However, a little while ago I had a chickpea and mushroom burger while eating out and it was so delicious that I was determined to try recreating it at home. I've tried making veggie burgers a few times before but they never seem to turn out just how I want them to, that was until I tried these ones - maybe mushrooms were the missing ingredient all this time?

While I was in the supermarket buying ingredients for this recipe, I think I stood at the mushroom section for a good 10 minutes trying to figure out which ones I needed to buy, who knew there were so many different types?! I settled on baby mushrooms (mainly because it was the smallest packet and I didn't want to have any leftover as I knew I wouldn't eat them) and they turned out really well, but you prefer other mushroom types then these will be easily substituted in (and please let me know which mushrooms are the best to buy, I am honestly so clueless!). So, with the mushrooms all blended up into the mixture so I can only taste them, not feel their texture, these have become my best attempt at veggie burgers yet! I hope you will love them too. They are really yummy served in a roll or just by themselves with lots of salad. 

Vegan Chickpea and Mushroom Burgers

You will need (makes 6 burgers): 
1 tin chickpeas (400g)
2 cups baby mushrooms (200g)
1/3 cup sweetcorn
1 cup oats
1 tablespoon tomato puree
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules (or two minced cloves)
1/2 teaspoon dried chillies
a sprinkle of salt and pepper

Method: 
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Add the oats to a food processor and pulse into a flour.
- Add all the other ingredients into the food processor and pulse until broken down and combined, but not completely smooth - the burgers work best when the mixture still has some texture to it. You can add extra oat flour if you find the mixture is too wet. 
- Shape the mixture into six burgers and place onto a lined baking tray.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning half way.


Vegan Chickpea and Mushroom Burgers

Raspberry and Coconut Crumble Bars

Fruit crumble, in a bar - the dream! I love fruit crumble a lot but it's pretty impractical for when you want to take it on the go, which is where these bars come in. I've wanted to try creating something like this for ages and had the idea written down for a long time before actually giving them a go a few weeks ago. They did not disappoint. I feel like fruit crumble is quite an autumnal thing, something comforting and homely to put a smile on your face during the dark and cold nights. These bars feel much more summery though and I can definitely see them being served at summer gatherings in the garden or as a snack with a cold drink on a hot day. The raspberry and coconut flavour combination feels summery too, maybe because berries always taste better in the summer or because coconuts make me think of exotic and sunny places, either way, I love it and I hope you will too. The recipe is really easy and you don't need that many ingredients, in fact the bulk of these bars is simply made up from oats (because oats are life) and raspberries.


Raspberry and Coconut Crumble Bars


You will need (makes 10): 
for the crumble
3 1/2 cups oats 
1/2 cup desiccated coconut 
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil (hard)
3 tablespoons soya milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

for the jam filling 
2 cups frozen (or fresh) raspberries 
2 tablespoons maple syrup 
3 tablespoons water 
1 tablespoon chia seeds 

Method: 
for the crumble
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  
- Put 2 1/2 cups of the oats into a food processor and pulse into a flour. 
- Add the coconut oil, sugar, desiccated coconut and vanilla into the processor and pulse until the mixture starts to clump and stick together.
- Stir in the remaining cup of oats and ensure they are well distributed in the mix. 
- Line and grease with a little coconut oil a baking dish (the one I used was 22cm x 14cm) and add about two-thirds of the crumble mixture to this. Press down on the mixture to create a firm and even base layer for the crumble bars. 
- Place the base in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, leaving the rest of the crumble mixture to the side. 

for the jam 
- While the base crumble layer is baking you can make the jam for the middle. Put the raspberries, maple syrup and water together in a pot. Place this over a medium heat until it begins to boil and then reduce to a low heat. 
- Allow the jam to simmer for 6-8 minutes and while it is cooking, press the raspberries against the side of the pot using a wooden spoon to break them down a little. 
- Add the chia seeds and stir through. Leave the jam to simmer for a further 10 minutes until it has thickened. 

to make the crumble bars
- Once the base has been in the over for around 20 minutes it should be starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and then add the raspberry jam on top, spreading evenly across the whole base. 
- Add the rest of the crumble mixture on top of the jam layer and gently press down on it with a spoon so the crumble sticks into the jam - this makes the bars a little less crumbly and more solid. 
- Pop the bars back into the oven for 20-25 minutes until the crumble topping is golden brown.

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Raspberry and Coconut Crumble Bars