5 Minute Cacao & Date Porridge Bowl (vegan, gluten free)

I’m a big lover of porridge, as anyone who followed my old blog (Woolly Whiskers) may know. It’s filling and comforting – just what I need in the morning, especially before an early morning lecture!

Another great thing about porridge is that it’s easy to customise. On a low energy day, or when my appetite is struggling, I use Ready Brek style oats with a little sugar and jam. In the summer, I add as many fresh berries as I can fit into the bowl.

I’ve eaten the same porridge almost every morning for the last week – it’s just that good! It tastes sweet and indulgent – but it gives you 2 of your 5 a day, and there’s no refined sugar involved. The perfect treat to start your day.

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5 minute cacao & date porridge bowl
(and that includes the prep work!)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I use soya or almond)
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • A handful of pitted dates
  • One ripe banana
  • Maple syrup (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

Method

1. Put the oats, milk, and cacao nibs into a microwave-safe bowl

2. Cut the dates into small pieces and stir into the porridge mix

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3. Put the bowl in the microwave at full power for 1 1/2 minutes, at full power

4. Meanwhile, slice the banana

5. Stir the porridge and return it to the microwave for another 1 1/2 minutes (give or take depending on how thick you like it) – keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t turn into a volcano!

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6. When the porridge is cooked, give it a stir, and put your sliced banana on top

7. I like to top mine with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup, but you can flavour yours however you like it!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And if you think of any yummy variations, let me know – I’m always on the lookout for new ways to enjoy my oats!

Maisie Rose x

Recipe: Spicy Coconut Rice (36p, vegan, gluten free)

This recipe first came about a few months ago, when I had half a can of coconut milk leftover from making the frosting for a vegan red velvet cake. Back then, it was quite plain – just coconut flavoured rice with a few vegetables thrown in.

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The “plain” version: a coconut rice and vegetable bowl. This portion was made on 1/1/16.

Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes prefer that version to this one – the more veggies the better! But chopping and frying the vegetables in a separate pan takes a little more energy, and means more washing up. Plus, the version I’m giving you here feels more comforting to me, especially if it’s cold outside.

So with a couple of simple additions and changes, you get tonight’s dinner. It’s creamy, warm, and a little spicy. The sweetcorn and raisins add a nice bit of texture and a touch of sweetness; but if you don’t like them, feel free to leave them out or replace them with anything else you can think of. I sometimes fry a range of veg in a separate frying pan with garlic infused oil, and before I went vegan I put Quorn chicken-style pieces in there. Whatever takes your fancy!

Spicy Coconut Rice: Serves 2 (or 1 generously) for 36p

 

Ingredients

  • 150g rice (I used basic white long grain – 7p)
  • 200ml water
  • 200ml coconut milk (made from creamed coconut* – approx. 20p)
  • 1tbsp tomato puree (3p)
  • 1/2-1tsp chilli powder (1-2p)
  • 1/2tsp dried ginger (<1p)
  • Generous pinch of salt (<1p)
  • Optional: Handful of frozen sweetcorn (<1p)
  • Optional: Handful of raisins (<1p)

* Blocks of creamed coconut work out cheaper than liquid coconut milk in my experience, but you can use coconut milk from a can or tetrapak if you prefer. I’ll explain how to make the coconut milk from the block below.

Method

1. Weigh the rice directly into a small saucepan, preferably one with a lid. Add the salt, ginger, and chilli powder and give it a shake to mix in evenly.

2. Boil a kettle and pour 200ml of water over the rice.

3. Measure another 200ml into a jug or bowl. Use a sharp knife to cut or shave off up to 50g of creamed coconut. Make sure the pieces are small before tipping them into the jug and stirring until fully dissolved. Pour the coconut milk into the saucepan.

4. Add the sweetcorn (if using) and put the saucepan over a medium heat, lid on.

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5. When the mix comes to the boil, reduce to a simmer, and stir occasionally until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Add the raisins at this point, if you’re using them.

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6. Stir, turn the heat off, and serve immediately.

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So there you go – all in under 15 minutes! I hope you like it as much as I do.

Maisie Rose x

Recipe Review: Vegan French Toast (vegan, gluten free, low fodmap)

I woke up on a Tuesday morning half way through January craving something a little special – warm and covered in cinnamon, but not porridge. French toast ticked all of the boxes… But how do you make eggy bread without eggs?

One determined Google search later and, with the help of a recipe from Love & Lemons, I was mixing a strange little concoction. I was just getting the hang of basic vegan substitutions, and expected to be dipping into my bag of milled linseed (flax) to make “eggs”, but instead I was sprinkling in some of the nutritional yeast flakes I’d been told to buy in case of cheese cravings.

I’m glad I trusted the recipe, because here’s the result, and it was delicious!

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Ingredients and Alterations

Most of the ingredients in this recipe are cupboard staples even in non-vegan homes, and nutritional yeast has been well worth the initial outlay for me.

As noted by Love & Lemons, this can easily be made gluten free by simply swapping the bread. They used day-old ciabatta; I used standard sliced white.

I didn’t have millet flour, so swapped it for brown rice flour, which seemed the most sensible substitution out of the gluten free flour collection I’ve been amassing. I think you would have just as much success with most flours – I would avoid gram though, I don’t think chickpeas would go particularly well with maple syrup!

I coated the bread in soya milk, rather than the recommended almond milk, simply because it’s what I happened to have to hand – but good news for anyone with an almond allergy, it still tastes great!

And finally, I chose to top it off with cinnamon, icing sugar (which is starting to clump, but I was too hungry to search for my dusting sieve), and a generous drizzle of maple syrup.

The Verdict…

I don’t have the experience to compare this to other vegan recipes for French toast just yet, but as someone who had only stopped eating the eggy kind a few weeks before, I was not disappointed.

The bread had the classic French toast texture – soft in the middle, slightly chewy, with the outside just starting to get crispy. The nutritional yeast lived up to its promise of adding the savoury note normally provided by eggs. And what can go wrong with the classic flavouring of cinnamon and nutmeg?

I’d encourage anyone to give this recipe a go – it makes a quick, simple, and comforting meal.

I am still curious about how the flax egg recipes would compare to this one, though – I’m sure that a battle of the eggy(less) bread will be coming to Spells & Spices very soon!

Maisie Rose x

Recipe Review: Dark Chocolate Rosemary Cookies (vegan, gluten free)

On New Year’s Eve, I was busy collecting vegan recipes. I’ve been vegetarian since I was about 6, and had wanted to go vegan for a while – the new year seemed a good time to start, especially when I discovered Veganuary. Not only was the sense of community lovely, but the Veganuary website holds hundreds of Vegan recipes, a list of ‘accidentally’ vegan products, and lots of other useful resources.

So, with a stash of dairy cheese and chocolate to finish off, I picked out a set of recipe cards that would be 100% vegan (I had one box already half-full of various recipes, and was given another box and a recipe folder for Christmas by my brothers!) and started scribbling down recipes in coloured gel pens.

Among them was this recipe – Dark Chocolate Rosemary Cookies by Fettle Vegan.

I’m no stranger to putting savoury herbs and spices in my sweet baking. One of my favourite cookie recipes of all time involves infusing the butter with basil and sprinkling the dough with kosher salt – I’m working on a vegan adaptation, because they’re too good to never eat again! I’m thinking coconut oil and flax seed “eggs”, but I’ll get back to you on that one.

With those amazing basil cookies in mind, I knew I needed a big tin full of these ASAP, and made my first batch on January 3rd.

 

Ingredients and Alterations

I used Dove Farm’s gluten free plain white flour blend, raw cacao in place of cocoa, and unsweetened almond milk. I also used fresh rather than dried rosemary.

The flax seeds threw me a little at first- it turns out, they’re referred to almost exclusively as linseeds in the UK. I’ll remember that for when I run out, because (at least in Holland & Barrett) milled flax seeds cost more than milled linseeds despite being exactly the same thing. In the meantime, I have a nice big bag of Neal’s Yard milled flax seeds.

The Verdict…

I think that next time, I’ll chop down the rosemary a little more or find a way of infusing the flavour into the coconut oil – I had a bit of a silly moment and put the fresh leaves straight into the mix, as you might be able to notice in the photo.

Other than that, these are basically perfection, with wonderfully balanced flavours. As I said on Instagram, “whoever said gluten free vegan food is boring needs to try these”, and so does everybody else!

Maisie Rose x