10 October 2015

Vegan paté

A couple of weeks back, my Mum sent me a new recipe that she and my Sister Bip had tried out, from Bip's ever growing collection of vegan recipes - a vegan paté which looks and tastes like the real thing. I put the idea forward to Lundulph and he seemed interested as he's always after a new healthy thing to eat and he's not too big a fan of regular paté. This recipe yields quite a lot, but it can be frozen in smaller portions for later use.



2 tbsp vegetable oil
200 g finely chopped onion
5 - 6 cloves of garlic
100 g fresh chopped button or chestnut mushrooms
400 g canned chick peas
120 g chopped walnuts, can be roasted, but not necessary
1 tbsp soy sauce
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
2 tbsp fresh chopped sage
1 tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste


  1. Heat up the vegetable oil and fry off the onions and garlic until soft.
  2. Add the chopped mushrooms and fry to soften them as well.
  3. Remove from the heat and transfer to a deep bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  4. Transfer to an air-tight container and chill in the fridge until needed.

The resulting paté has the texture of traditional fine liver paté and tastes similarly. The main flavours are the rosemary and sage and some experimentation may be required - I used too much rosemary and it dominated everything, so I have a lot of it now, frozen in chunks to use with something else. But it was very interesting that the flavour and texture matched a traditional pate so well.

5 October 2015

Breakfast variation

I've been quite happy with my new breakfast, but I've been wanting to have a seasonal variation on this. Even with an unusually warm Autumn and availability of strawberries, I want something to see me through the Winter and decided to give this one a try.


As it turned out, this didn't work well at all, for me at least, there was very little flavour to it, though that could be down to the butternut squash, I don't know.


1 large butternut squash
350 ml water
2 roiboos chai teabags
3 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp honey


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Cut the butternut squash in two and scoop out the seeds. Then bake in the oven, cut side up for about 45 minutes until it has gone soft.
  3. Scrape out some 400 g of the baked squash and place in a large saucepan together with the water and the contents of the teabags and the coconut oil, then bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set a side for a few minutes to cool a bit.
  4. Stir in the chia seeds and honey, making sure that there are no lumps.
  5. Leave for an hour at least to allow the chia seeds to swell a bit.
  6. Warm up before serving.

The amounts above were enough for 5 breakfasts for me and I might need to experiment a bit to get the flavour right - I think there was too much coconut oil and not enough sweetness. Unfortunately I don't know how to determine how sweet a butternut squash would be, so some adjustments for each batch would be required.

I also didn't see much point in the roiboos chai - I think some cinnamon should do the trick and I think maple syrup works really well with butternut squash, so I'd swap that out for some of the coconut oil.

The really good thing is that one batch was enough for the whole week and I only needed a quick whizz in the microwave to warm it up, no other effort required, meaning possibly a few extra minutes' sleep.

I served with flaked almonds and blueberries, which was OK, but still not enough to make this a meal to look forward to.

4 October 2015

Raspberry and Chia Pudding

As Autumn has been rolling in at a steady pace and the days have been getting shorter and shorter, both Lundulph and I have been hankering for "afters" in the evenings and so, I did some searching to find tasty, yet healthy options and from the trusty BBC web site, I found this. Which combined nicely with getting some of the last big British raspberries for the season.< br>

I'd tried to pick out the punnets with the largest raspberries, as I also wanted to try out an idea I had a few years ago - raspberries filled with chocolate ganache. The ganache was equal parts of 55% dark chocolate and double cream. The cream was heated up to boiling point. The chocolate was broken up in small pieces and the hot cream was poured over it, then stirring until all the chocolate has melted, then left to cool down. After this, I picked out the largest raspberries for filling. I transferred the ganache into a piping bag and filled up the raspberries, then into the fridge to let them set completely.


These can be made a couple of days in advance and stored in an airtight container with a piece of kitchen tissue inside it to take up the moisture. They are also nice to eat on their own. But are good as decorations too.


400 g crème fraîche
6 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp vanilla extract
4 tsp honey
300 g raspberries

Decoration sweetened whipped cream
ganache-filled raspberries
a handful of almond flakes


  1. Blend together the crème fraîche, chia seeds, vanilla extract, honey and raspberries and spoon into serving bowls/glasses.
  2. Chill overnight, or at least 4 h before serving.
  3. Just before serving, pipe some sweetened whipped cream, add the ganache-filled raspberries on top and sprinkle almond flakes over.

The original recipe also recommends using liquid stevia to increase the sweetness, but I didn't use that and so the pudding was a bit on the bland side, but had a very nice texture. Possibly using mascarpone instead of crème fraîche might make it a little sweeter and perhaps more honey. I'm not a fan of sweeteners, so I'd rather not use any, if I can avoid it, tempting though it might be on occasion.

I also think chopped almonds might be nice in the pudding to add some crunch as well. The ganache-filled raspberries are very easy to make and very tasty, so I was really pleased with them. I've not been able to find them in the internet, though I don't think it's an original idea of mine. I think they can be also taken a step further and dipped in chocolate to make pralines, I'll give that a try once I've mastered the art of chocolate tempering.