Butterbean and Sweet Potato Stew

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So it is November which means it is stew season. Spikey plays in the garden in summer evenings but is not so keen to do so in the dark evenings and instead entertains himself indoors – he has just had a mad burst of energy and has completed at full speed  a series of shuttle runs between the front door and the back door. When he does this in the garden he goes so fast that he often rolls over on the turn……

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Anyway, stew season and there are so many tasty and warming stews to make this time of year. My current favourite is a made up recipe with butterbeans, sweetpotatoes, carrots, sweetcorn, mushrooms, onion, garlic and some chilli just to give it a bit of a kick.  The orange and yellow colours in this stew are great and I like to add  some contrast to the colour by serving it with some broccoli.

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Butterbean and Sweet Potato Stew  Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

1 small red chilli

6oz mushrooms

2 medium sized sweet potatoes

2 medium sized carrots

1/2 pt vegetable stock

1 400g tin of butterbeans

1 198g tin of sweetcorn

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and finely chop the onion, garlic and chilli. Saute these ingredients and chop the mushrooms and add, peel and finely chop sweet potato and carrot and add. Pour in the stock bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes (or until carrot and potato getting soft).Next drain and rinse the butterbeans and sweetcorn before adding them and simmer for another 5 minutes or so.  Serve with scones (see previous blog for recipe) and seasonal vegetables.


Spicy Sesame Dip

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  • Spikey is always full of energy and especially so this evening as he has been tearing around the living room playing with his toys before entertaining himself by seeing if he can squeeze himself into his toybox….. He hasn’t even been eating any sesame seeds which are high in protein, a great form of rich in quality vitamins, and minerals and thus a great energy food. Sesame seeds are very good sources of B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folic acid, thiamin (vitamin B1), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and riboflavin. They are also rich sources of minerals – calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sesame seeds.

One of my favourite sesame seed recipes is the Spicy Sesame Dip from this website – http://www.foodstolove.co.uk/

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Spicy Sesame Dip

120g sesame seeds

2 tablespoons of ground linseeds

2 tables of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast

1/2 -1 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

Blend the seeds in a food processor, then add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth

Almond Butter Brownies

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This is a super quick blog as have some friends coming around to play some Kate music in a minute. Spikey keeps rushing over to the door in anticipation of the visitors – I clearly need to teach him to tell the time. Have tried a new recipe for when we have a break  – Almond Butter Brownies and the link is here


Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake

2014-10-24 20.00.14Today my niece Lowenna is 9 years old. I remember the day she was born because after her Mum and Dad, I was the first family member to see her and hold her. 9 years on, Lolo likes making things and doing crafts. So, it is handy that my friend Louise stocks quality craft kits for children in her shop  Painters Craft Box (http://www.craft-box.com/ ) for when it comes to buying birthday presents.

Spikey was pleased that it was Lolo’s birthday as it meant he would get to see her and her two brothers as well as their dog Indy. Spikey adores children and likes to join in with all their games: in fact I believe he thinks he is a child. In the event he didn’t get to see her because after her birthday trip to the cinema she got invited to a sleepover at the house of one of her friends.

No birthday is complete without a Birthday Cake – so for birthday tea   I made a chocolate cake adapted from the recipe in Leah Leneman’s 365 plus one Vegan Recipes book.

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Vegan Chocolate Cake

6oz sugar

6tsp cocoa powder

9oz spelt flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

120ml vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla essence

3 tsp cider vinegar

300ml cold water

1. Mix thoroughly  the sugar, cocoa, flour and bicarb in a mixing bowl

2. Add the oil, vanilla essence and vinegar and pour cold water over the mixture

3. Combine well with a fork but do not beat

4. Pour into two greased sandwich tins and bake in a moderate oven at 180oC for 45 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

I sandwiched the cake with vegan chocolate fudge icing from the Parsley Soup webpagehttp://www.parsleysoup.co.uk/getrecipe.php?section=cakes&recipe=choc_fudge_icing

Autumn Chill(i)

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Over the last couple of days an Autumnal chill has set in. It’s not exactly cold but nice and fresh and Spikey is making the most of playing in the garden after tea as next week it will be dark evenings owing to the clocks changing this weekend. It is nice to have some warming food so I thought that I would make a vegan chilli.

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I prefer to use fresh chillis as I think they add to the overall flavour in a much better way than chilli powder and they are a great anti inflammatory.

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To make a nice filling chilli I also include lentils – I wasn’t keen on lentils for years owing to the bad press they got at school. Everyone in the first year of my secondary school had to make lentil soup in cookery lessons. Well, everyone except me as I managed to organise a flute lesson at the same time an successfully avoided the lentil soup cooking experience. I don’t know what was in the recipe but the corridor outside the cookery rooms never smelt good when the first years were cooking lentil soup and it really is best not to go into detail about some of the things that  used to happen to lentil soup on the school bus…..Then as a young adult I didn’t want to fall into the stereotype of being a lentil loving vegan. However these days I’ve got over all those hangups from my youth and I am a lentil lover as they are just such a versatile ingredient and I enjoy sprouting lentils as well as cooking them ….. and you get different types of lentil which is really quite exciting. Well Spikey thought it was exciting when I was telling him about being able to get different kinds of lentil the other day.  I always like to serve my chilli with freshly steamed veggies including Broccoli. As discussed in an earlier blog, broccoli is always popular in my house and the contrast both in terms of taste and colour is great.

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Vegan Chilli serves 6


6oz Red Lentils
1 tbsp Olive  Oil
1 Onion, large, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
2 red chillis chopped
6oz Mushrooms chopped
1 400g can of  Chopped Tomatoes
1 heaped tbsp Tomato Purée
1/4 pt Vegetable Stock, (make with a  vegan stock cube)
198g tin of Sweetcorn

1 400g     tin of Red Kidney beans

Place the lentils in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Leave to soak for 20 minutes. (Alternatively, buy a tin of pre-cooked lentils.) Drain.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic together with the chillis until the onions are softening next add the mushrooms
Add the  carrots and drained  lentils and cook for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. Add the tomatoes, purée, stock, sweetcorn and bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils are tender (about 20 minutes). Add the red kidney beans and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Systemic Pecans

2014-10-19 10.17.55Yesterday it was my turn to host the NLP practice group and Spikey was delighted because as well as liking NLP he loves having visitors. He was most interested by the systemic systems exercise – he did it content free (and didn’t quite go through all the steps) before he decided that his favourite was Unstable Positive. I believe this was because he gets so excited about trying new and different things. After the practice group it was time for me to do my first NLP modelling session. Was quite anxious about this however it went really well. It turned out that my gut reaction in choosing my model was absolutely right and neither of  us could believe how quickly the time went.

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So to feed the practice group and my model (but not Spikey) I thought I would make a Raw Vegan Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cake. The recipe can be found here http://www.onegreenplanet.org/plant-based-recipes/raw-vegan-chocolate-caramel-pecan-cake/.

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No cook recipes are very handy when you are short on time and pecan nuts are tasty and nutritious. According to the I love pecans website, pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. Pecans are also high in healthy unsaturated fat that can lower total blood cholesterol and preserve high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or “good” cholesterol.

Going Bananas about the Porthleven Philharmonic


On Saturday the Porthleven Philharmonic Orchestra are playing in Falmouth. Spikey thinks the programme is great as he has been listening to the music on Youtube and is quite disappointed that he can’t go to the actual event. Music is a real passion of mine and on reflection perhaps I should rename my  blog page “Cornish Musical Vegan” so I can blog more about my love of music.

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Before the Porthleven Philharmonic concert I’m going to my friend Fi’s for tea so I thought I would take along some Banana Bread Muffin Tops. I found the recipe here –  http://ohsheglows.com/2014/01/17/banana-bread-muffin-tops/. Didn’t really eat bananas much as a child as my brother doesn’t do them but have since made up for it in adult life. Bananas contain Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese, and are very good source of Vitamin B6 and I like them raw as well as cooked in recipes like this. According to the websitehttp://www.bananalink.org.uk/all-about-bananas “Bananas could help you to feel happier as they contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to promote relaxation and improve mood”. So on that basis I should really enjoy the concert after eating the Banana Bread Muffin tops instead of just enjoying it….. On another note it is probably just as well Spikey is not coming to the concert as he is so excitable it doesn’t take much for him “go bananas”.