Friday, 24 June 2022

Vegan Chilli Cheese Toast



I have been a vegetarian all my life but I do eat dairy ie cheese, milk, yoghurt and milk base products. However my daughter recently changed to a vegan diet, so I have been trying lots of substitutions for dairy products that I can use in my vegan recipes so she too can enjoy all the food that I cook.

One of our favorite lunches is Chilli cheese toast, basically this is a delux vegetable packed spicy cheese on toast. I tried to recreate it using the Violife vegan cheese. 


Violife is an alternate to cheese, it is a plant based product which is free from dairy, soya, gluten, lactose, nuts and preservatives. Its is made from coconut oil, modified starch, salt and vitamin B12. You enjoy them sliced in your sandwiches, spread on your bagel, sprinkled on your pasta or melted on your pizza. Violife is the vegan alternative to cheese that tastes and cooks great! It resembles grated cheddar in appearance, it does soften upon grilling but does not go brown like normal cheese. The flavour is similar to dairy cheese and its a great cheese substitute.

There is a variety of products available in the Violife range, some that I have tried are:



Violife Le Rond Camembert  flavour is soft, round and creamy. It can be baked it in the oven or microwaved. It can be served with vegetable crudites, crackers and crisps. It is perfect appetiser to present at any party with a glass of wine.



Violife Original Flavour slices,this classic flavour that gives you your cheesy taste. Its great in a tastycheese salad or cheese ploughmans sandwich and can also be grilled to make a cheese toasty.  




Violife Smoky Cheddar flavour Slices are delicious served with warm crusty bread or rolled up with olives and sundried tomatoes. This makes a delicious starter to serve with a glass of red wine. 










Violife Epic Mature is a really nice crumbly texture that is great grated or cut in cubes to serve with cheese and pineapples . It has great robust flavour that is perfect for sandwiches and wraps or grated on pies and pasta too.










For my Vegan Chilli cheese toast I used the Violife ready grated cheese, it is convenient to use and comes in a handy resealable bag so it remains fresh even after opening. 
The Violife range is available from most large supermarket, such as Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda.



The chilli cheese toast recipe is really easy and can be made in less than 10 minutes. It has lots of healthy ingredients and the perfect balanced lunch to enjoy.






**Collaborative Post

Your Good Health with Organic Wine

Image Credit

I admire winemakers that make the extra effort to produce wine sustainably. To be a little gentler with the environment without compromising the quality of the wine. Seeing animals and birds actively playing a role in wine production, even if they only munch on insects and bugs, is good news for the environment.

So, what makes a wine organic, and why should you choose organic wines?

The absence of herbicides and pesticides is the most obvious advantage, but it goes further than that. It's not only that the grapes and vines are free of chemicals but the environment as well. 

Here is a selection of great organic wines to enjoy celebrating a healthier environment.

La Scolca Soldati Millesimato d’Antan

The next time you have a celebration, why not raise a glass to the efforts of the Soldati Family of the Piemonte region of Italy.

Their La Scolca Soldati Millesimato d’Antan sparkling wine is made in the Metodo classico way. In the same way, like Champagne, the second fermentation occurs in the bottle.

La Spinetta Il Rosé di Casanova


A much younger wine, made predominantly with Sangiovese and a touch of the gentle Prugnolo grapes, the La Spinetta Il Rose di Casanova is a delightful rosé wine from Tuscany. The Rivetti family has spent the last forty-five years crafting great wines in the Castagnole Lanze area, and this rather elegant rose bears testimony to their diligence and skill.
It is a delightfully light wine that lends itself to summertime pre-lunch drinks around the pool. A tempting array of fruity flavors follows the welcoming freshness of the first sip. It is an excellent companion to summer salads and a seafood salad. 


La Scolca Gavi dei Gavi


This Gavi wine produced from sixty-year-old vines has confirmed it's top position for wines made from the Cortese grape. A rigorous selection process ensures that only the top quality grapes are used to make this fine wine. 
The wine is allowed to age through the winter on the lees, adding complexity and producing an aromatic, easy-drinking wine.
Paired with most kinds of seafood and salads ,this wine is a perfect balance of acidity and delicate fruits with a hint of almonds


Tchotiashvili Tavkveri 2017


Every so often, a wine appears so appealingly different from the mainstream varieties, and I guess the alternative streak in me excites my taste buds. Such a wine is the relatively rare Georgian, Tchotiashvili Tavkveri 2017. Only two thousand bottles of this deep, brightly colored red wine are produced. Organic farming methods are employed to produce the wine in the ancient traditional style.
The vines themselves are over forty years old, and the Qvevri method of fermentation is employed before the wine is decanted into barrels of French Oak. This silky-textured wine is lovely and light with fresh nuances of cherries, raspberries, and a collection of sweet spices. 
This wine can rest quite comfortably for up to ten years, and a short period of allowing the wine to breathe will enhance the tasting experience.


Beaumont Pinotage


I have to admit that I am totally in love with South African wines. They represent excellent value, and their quality has grown exponentially over the last few decades. So here I'm going to recommend a Pinotage wine from the Beaumont winery.
Pinotage is a South African wine. Originally a combination of Pinot Noir and what was then known as Hermitage but subsequently found to be Cinsaut. Pinotage survived a rocky start, but the Kanonkop Pinotage was judged as the best red wine at the Robert Mondavi Awards in the early nineteen nineties.
The Beaumont Pinotage is an excellent example of the strides made in improving South African wines. The vines are over forty years old, and the wine is initially stored in concrete tanks and then aged in oak barrels for one and a half years.
Pinotage has a deep dark color and is full-bodied. It can comfortably rest for up to seven years, but I suspect it may improve even more with a further year or two. The wine is an excellent companion to warm winter meals of succulent beef and venison.
The Beaumont family moved away from the cooperative system in the mid-nineteen nineties to produce their own wines. Now second-generation Sebastian Beaumont works at keeping a close eye on sustainable and environmentally sound farming practices while creating excellent wines.


Photo by Maja Petric on Unsplash

Conclusion

While there are no universal organic farming accreditation systems, individual grower organizations and countries have introduced qualifying requirements that allow wineries to call their wines organic.
Organic wines are a healthier option. There will still be some Sulphites in the wine but typically far less than wines not produced organically. In the USA, organic wines are not permitted to contain sulfites.
The reduced preservative content will also limit the wine's shelf life.
Organic wines are free of chemicals typically found in conventionally produced wines. Not only is this good news for controlling cholesterol levels, but organic wines will give you less of a headache if the night was a little longer than expected.

*Collaborative post

Friday, 20 May 2022

Vegan Supper Club with Chef Saurav Nath at Chakra Restaurant Kensington

My family and I love discovering new places for dining out. With the Covid situation now improving the options have opened to allow us to travel to London and visit our favorite restaurants. Being a vegetarian my first choice of restaurants are the ones that accommodate our dietary requirements and offer a good range of dishes not one or two, so that we can enjoy a variety of textures, tastes and flavours. 

We were recently invited to attend the Flavours of a Vegan Indian Spring supper club at Chakra Kensington hosted by Humayun Hussain one of the UK’s leading exponents of Indian food and restaurants and Chef Saurav Nath who is an extremely experienced chef who has headed up the kitchens of some of the finest of Indian restaurants in the UK as well as worked alongside such revered European chefs as Pierre Koffman and Eric Chavot.

 


We were lucky that the British weather was thankfully in our favour and we were able to dine outside under the stars. We sipped on refreshing Passion Fruit and Rose and Cardamom mocktails. 


The menu presented to us was extremely exciting, especially as a lot of thought and attention was given in choosing interesting ingredients, spices, flavours and textures. Here is the menu we sampled.

AMUSE BOUCHE

Palak & Aloo Chat

Tangy potatoes, sprouted beans, popped lotus seed, pomegranate, tamarind sauce, soya yogurt foam, red onion.


STARTER

Global Artichoke Doughnut

South Indian spiced infused globe artichoke patties, sesame seed & tomato chutney, black onion seed, coriander oil, mooli & peanut salad.

 


MID-COURSE

Beet & Broccoli Tikka

Tandoori spiced, glazed beet root & broccoli tikka, coconut & wild garlic chutney,  shimeji mushroom, golden beet, quinoa & walnut salad.

 


MAIN COURSE

Served with vegetable Yakhni Pulao

Separate grainS of rice, light and fluffy cooked to perfection with subtle flavours to compliment the curries and dhal.


Spring Green Kofta

Melt in the mouth spring green & soya ball cooked in Awadhi kormas sauce.


Tofu Hara Pyaz

Organic tofu tossed in black pepper & coriander flavoured tomato sauce with spring onions.


Dhaba Dal

Channa dal tempered with cumin & garlic.

 



Tandoori Roti


Soft tandoori roti cooked on the griddle, the perfect accompaniment to mop up the delicious curries.



Dessert

Boondi with Poached Pears and Icecream

Boondi pearls dipped in syrup served with poached pears in cinnamon syrup and creamy vanilla icecream.

 


Each and every dish was beautifully constructed, well balanced in look and flavours. I especially liked the fusion touch that Chef Saurav Nath introduced to the Indian cuisine. Using ingredients such as artichoke, beetroot, tofu and quinoa in a very unique way was welcoming and very exciting to eat.

I was a guest at the supper club and would like to Thanks Chef Saurav Nath and Humayun Hussain for inviting me to sample this gastronomical feast. My tastebuds were rocking and rolling all evening as each course arrived. All the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are of my experience of the supper club. If you would like more details for further information on all forthcoming Supperclubs and dinner events please contact Humayun Hussain or Chef Saurav Nath.


Monday, 18 April 2022

Vegan Chin Chin



I was born in East Africa and African cuisine is very close to my heart. Cassava, plantain, matoke, makai (corn) are just a few of the vegetables I love cooking with. The cuisine is a mix of spicy, savoury and sweet flavours.

Cooking African dishes brings back childhood memories so I was really excited to receive a copy of African Twist a collection of plant based recipes with an African twist written by Maggie Ogunbanwo and Huw Jones.

The book is divided into 4 sections, Starters and Soups, Mains, Desserts and Party Favourites. The selection of recipes are all vegan and the variety is super. I particularly liked the chilli flavoured with couscous and grilled vegetables, coconut rice with papaya and the plantain curry. I recreated all these recipes and they all turned out delicious. The desserts were very unusual such as the plantain loaf, banfora and chin chin a type of sweet doughnut.The aubergine dip and the ginger spritzer with pineapple was really refreshing.

The recipes are easy to follow and the illustrations are beautiful. The recipes are well laid out and the book is a nice compact size that is perfect for any kitchen shelf. You can purchase the book from Graffeg

I spent a lot of time looking through the book and I picked so many favorites, finally I decided to make the Chin Chin, it is a Nigerian street food and party snack which is made especially during Ramadan and Christmas. Chin chins are diamond shaped deep friend little doughnut type bites that are totally moreish.



I followed the Chin Chin recipe in the book, The chin chins turned out absolutely delectable.





The book is so lovely I really enjoyed cooking from it, as always I love giving my readers the opportunity to try products I review. I have two copies of the African Twist Plant based recipes book to giveaway.

How to enter:

Answer the mandatory question to open the bonus entries.

 Rules:
This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 who live in the UK.
Giveaway closes 3rd May  2022 12 am
The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses random.org) and announced on this page.

Prize:   2 x African Twist Plant Based Recipe Books (One per winner)
Simplyfood is hosting this giveaway in collaboration with Graffeg. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. They reserve the right to withdraw the competition at any time should any unforeseen circumstances arise, in case that the prize is not available a similar prize of same value will be substituted.  No monetary compensation will be given.

Graffeg will be responsible for sending out the prize to the winner, by entering you are **consenting** to share your address for the prize to be sent and be contacted by email to notify you if you have won the prize. 

Please note to be complaint with the new GDPR rules by entering the giveaway you are consenting to allow simplyfood to contact you if you win the prize and to share your details with Graffeg  so that you can be sent your prize. Your data will NOT be used for any other marketing purposes.

All entries will be verified, failure to follow instructions correctly will result in participants being disqualified. Please do not cheat.

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Sunday, 6 February 2022

Veggie Rice with Lentils- Chuti Khichdi



Rice is a staple ingredient in my pantry. It can be cooked in so many different ways
This delicious one pot veggie rice with lentils also known in Gujarati cuisine as Chuti Khichdi is really flavorsome and is packed with lots of veggies and lentils to make it healthy and perfect to serve with raita, I make this often when I want comfort food or I am in a hurry where I only need to cook one dish that is a complete meal on its own.


What is Chuti Khichdi?


Khichdi is savoury rice porridge usually made with short grain rice and moong dhal (lentils) and flavoured with spices. Often a mixture of vegetables are added to it to make it a complete meal. It is fairly gluninous in texture due to the use of the short grain rice. Chuti Khichdi is slightly different, it is made with long grain rice and the rice grains are separate more like a pilaf. In Gujarat, the rice is commonly mixed with Tuver Dhal (split pidgeon peas) and cooked with diced vegetables and spices. Again this is one pot meal that is just delicious with a Cucumber Raita, some pickle and pappodams.

What Vegetables can you add to this Chuti Khichdi?


You can add any seasonal vegetables but they work better if they are all cut in the same size.

What is a one pot meal?


One pot meals are dishes that are a complete meal in them selves. They don't need any other accompaniments. These dishes are time saving and great when you want a healthy and nutritious dish in a hurry.

Some examples of one pot dishes are:


Achari Khichdi

Chinese style fried rice

Cheesy Pasta Bake

Aubergine Bake

Dietary Tips:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan (Can be vegan if you omit the Ghee)
  • Gluten Free


Cooking Tips


To get perfectly cooked Rice use a ratio of 1-2 of rice and water. I always recommend using a shallow non stick pan with a lid to cook my rice dishes.






I used this Zyliss Cook Ultimate Pro Saute Pan which is made from hard anodized aluminium. This Swiss engineered pan has an alpine crystals non stick coating that is 8 times times tougher than any standard coating ensuring that nothing sticks. The pan heats up fast and ensures an even heat so that all food gets cooked evenly. the pan can be used on induction, gas, oven and is dishwasher safe too making it an excellent addition to any kitchen. You can purchase it from Zyliss.



Some tips when cooking the perfect khichdi:

  • Soak the rice and dhal this is a very important step.
  • Saute the onions before adding any thing else as they need to be soft.
  • Saute the rice and dhal to get a nice even coat of oil on them.


  • Once all the ingredients are added, add hot water to the rice and bring to a simmer.
  • Once water is simmering, cover and cook the khichdi. Do not open the lid during this cooking process.
  • Adding ghee during serving enhances the taste however to make the dish vegan you can omit it.


What type of lentils can you use?


I always favour Tuver dhal - pidgeon peas dhal, however you can use moong dhal, masoor dhal or even channa dhal in this recipe.







You can watch a step by step video of this recipe on my you tube channel:



Post In collaboration with @zylissofficial
Zyliss have been really generous and have agreed to send a pan to one lucky simplyf00d reader. 

How to enter:
Leave a blog post comment then open rafflecopter for more entries.
This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 who live in the UK.
Giveaway closes 18th February 2022 12 am
The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter (which uses random.org) and announced on this page.

Prize:   1x Zyliss Cook Ultimate Pro Saute Pan
Simplyfood is hosting this giveaway in collaboration with Zyliss Official. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. They reserve the right to withdraw the competition at any time should any unforeseen circumstances arise, in case that the prize is not available a similar prize of same value will be substituted.  No monetary compensation will be given.

Zyliss Official will be responsible for sending out the prize to the winner, by entering you are **consenting** to share your address for the prize to be sent and be contacted by email to notify you if you have won the prize. 

Please note to be complaint with the new GDPR rules by entering the giveaway you are consenting to allow simplyfood to contact you if you win the prize and to share your details with Zyliss Official so that you can be sent your prize. Your data will NOT be used for any other marketing purposes.

All entries will be verified, failure to follow instructions correctly will result in participants being disqualified. Please do not cheat.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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