Vegan Lasagne

Vegan Lasagne looks so tasty up close even better in your mouth

I’m becoming more and more interested in both vegetarian and vegan food at the moment. The ethical and environmental reasons behind switching to a non meat/ animal product diet are vast and I really do support them. But on a wholly selfish note, eating more fruits, veg, nuts and grains improves your health and wellbeing considerable and even more so when you avoid processed foods that contain chemicals and toxins. A switch to a veggie/vegan or even a mostly veggie diet can be hard but as I have said in several other veggie recipes, you can use a much loved ‘meat’ recipe and turn it into a veggie delight and ‘trick’ yourself. A perfect example of this is my veggie lasagne, a simplified version of a recipe from Emily @ This Rawsome Vegan Life which uses fewer ingredients. Some of the wonderful but unusual ingredients Emily suggests may be harder to find for those those of us who may not follow a strict vegan diet .

Vegan lasagne 'pasta' 'mince' 'bechamel'

Ingredients, Serves 2

For the ‘Pasta’

1 Medium Courgette

For the ‘Mince’

1/2 a head of broccoli, 1 can of chopped tomatoes, 2 tbsp dried basil, sprinkle of pepper

For the ‘Béchamel sauce’

1 Cup of sunflower seeds (or any other nuts or seeds), 2 tbsp Tahini, 2 Garlic cloves, 1 tbsp lemon juice, water to loosen

Vegan Lasagne for one

1. Blend all the ‘béchamel’ ingredients together, in the vegan community they call this nut cheese. Blend to a rough paste adding a little water to loosen, you don’t want it too sloppy more like a rough pate.

2. Chop the broccoli into tiny pieces so the little buds are basically little green grains, this will be your ‘mince’ In a bowl mix the broccoli with the chopped tomatoes, basil and pepper

3. Slice the courgette length ways, using a mandolin is best, cut off the ends if you want them to sit flush against your baking dish.

4. Layer! Courgette, ‘Mince’, Courgette, nut cheese, repeat till your baking dish is full

5. Bake for 30 mins on gas mark 5 or enjoy raw!

Vegan Lasgne with courgette pasta, broccoli mince and nut cheese crunchy topping

Pretty simple recipe really for a quick and delicious dish. It definitely matches a ‘regular’ lasagne on flavour and I was so pleased by the textures as well as taste. The top with nut cheese came out really golden and crunchy making it even more appetising. I used the left overs to make myself a single serving for my lunch, the photos are of this meal and I made it a circular little stack by cutting slices rather then lengths of courgette. This is a great recipe to experiment with too, you could swap the sunflower seeds for any other seeds or nuts and the broccoli with maybe cauliflower or minced carrot and onion. The choice is yours, just make it a healthy one ;)

Do you have any favourite meaty meals you’d like me to turn veggie? just ask

Lorna

x xxx

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3 Fruity Toppings for Toast

fruit on toastI would definitely say that British breakfasts are boring for the most part. On weekends we indulge and do a proper meal, a full English is a staple of the Saturday after the Friday night before and a continental mish-mash of a brunch is satisfying to graze on during a lazy Sunday morn. The rest of the week appears to be a combination of the same sad cereal, bread and butter or for the lucky but unhealthy a bacon or sausage sarnie from the cafe next to the bus stop. One of Britain’s favourites is toast for a quick warm meal but it normally doesn’t really have that many calories or nutrients to really set you up for the day unless it’s got a tasty topping! Here are three easy ones to start with.

chocolate banana on toast

1. Chocolatey Bananas

Serves 1 Ingredients: 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, 1 banana, 1 tsp coco powder,1 cup of soya milk, a handful of flaked almonds, some toast

Melt the coconut oil in a pan with the coco powder and when warm add in the banana cut into slices. The pieces will start to sizzle, mix gently to get the banana coated in the oil. When fully combined add enough of the soya milk to make a chocolatey sauce. Heat till warm. At the same time toast the almond flakes in a pan till golden. Make your toast, top with the chocolate banana mixture then sprinkle over the almonds. Delicious!

Amaretto Apples on Toast

2. Amaretto Apple Sauce

Serves 1 Ingredients: 2 medium eating apples, 1tbsp butter, 1/2 tbsp demerara sugar, 2tbsp Amaretto liqueur, some toast

Melt the butter in a pan and add the apples chopped in to bite size pieces (you can peel or leave the skin). Stir the the apples till they start to colour. Add the sugar, mix until melted. Add the amaretto and warm through. Though only optional I think it adds a luxurious treat to breakfast and works really well with the apples. Pile on to toast and enjoy.

tomatoes on toast

3. Tomatoes on Toast

Serves 1 Ingredients: A good handful of cherry or plum tomatoes, 1 tbsp olive oil, a small handful of parsley, salt and pepper, 1 garlic clove, some toast.

Tomatoes are fruit you know! Simple chop the tomatoes into quarters or smaller for larger ones, add to the oil once heated in a pan. Allow them to reduce down, season and then add finely chopped up parsley at the last minute. (Optional for Garlic lovers) Slice a length off the garlic clove, and while holding the uncut edge, rub the cut edge all over one side of your toast and add a splash more olive oil if you wish. Add the tomatoes and you’ve got one more tasty breakfast to start your day.

Simple recipes that only take 5-10 mins to make but will give you something just a little bit more inspiring and more nutritious to get your ready for the rest of the day. Why not try one tomorrow morning.

Lorna

x xxx

In the World: Mutato Project

The Mutato Project is a unique and singular mission by one man to document ‘unusual’ vegetables and fruit or as he calls them Mutatoes! I presume it means mutant potatoes. The man, a German artist named Uli Westphal, started documenting fruit and veg when one day in a Berlin market he discovered a 5 headed aubergine and then scoured the rest of the stalls to find other misshapen veggies. He finds and photographs the veg creating a collection and it influences his other works that ‘deal with the way humans perceive, depict and transform the natural world’. The collection displays the many interesting colours, textures and shapes that groceries can have and mostly likely what different tastes they can have.

The main point that Westphal makes is that we have become almost brainwashed to what vegetables and fruit should look like. The food industry has conditioned us to think that all veg should conform to the same shape and size, their produce goes through rigorous checks so that they are not too small, too big, not too much of a bend in a cucumber, the right shade of pink for an apple, no blemishes at all and the list is endless when you include all the fruit and veg available today. This one issue has several major consequences which Westphal explores through his other artistic works and installations.

Firstly, the lack of blemishes and conformity to shape and size means that the consumer is being taught that this is how vegetables are naturally when nature does not conform to shop ideals. It is educating both adult and children that this is normal when it is far from reality. It is basically a lie by default. Secondly, as many products do not fit the supermarkets’ cardboard cut-out, tons and tons of produce are being disposed and dumped in landfills because supermarkets will not buy them. A waste of food and resources as well as adding to gas build up from landfills. This also means that farmers are losing out on revenue because the wholesalers and retails are refusing any product that is not ‘perfect’. Lastly, this kind of conformity is continuing this retail tool of everything available all the the time when we should be growing and eating the right foods in the right season.

The collection is perfect for show casing these issues and highlighting what is normally shielded to us, the consumer. The People’s Supermarket, a cooperative based shop in London set up by TV Chef Arthur Potts, looked to buy farmers’ rejected produce that wouldn’t be taken by other retailers, to reduce their costs and provide cheaper goods to their customers. This could be a brilliant option for small retailers if they have the ability to educate their customers that these items are completely normal. There are many other issues based on organic, natural production and on to retail tactics and marketing tools which can be discussed from the point raised above, which I will no doubt discuss in other posts. This however is a brilliant visual basis for showing people that these mutatoes aren’t mutant at all but completely natural and next time we shop for our food maybe we’ll think twice before putting back that conjoined mushroom. It won’t look any different in the risotto.

What do you think of the mutatoes? And have you ever seen a crazy potato?

Lorna

X xxx