Try This: Super-Easy Sweet Potato Falafels

Falafels. Loved by vegans and meat eaters alike, super versatile, super healthy, and all-round delicious (in my humble, opinion).

Homemade falafels are always that little bit healthier than the shop bought versions. First of all, I’m an advocate of baking rather than frying falafels, it’s healthier, and I think they are easier to add to sandwiches, as they won’t fall apart as much from being too crispy. Other than that, inevitably, homemade falafels means you know exactly what is going in your food and you get the satisfaction that you made your own.

This quick and simple recipe can be easily adapted, sometimes I use roasted butternut squash or roasted peppers instead of sweet potato, or add some fresh chilli for a kick.

Sweet Potato Falafels
Vegan, Gluten-Free

Makes 12

Ingredients:
1 can of chickpeas (drained)
400g of sweet potato (2 ish large ones)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1tsp of ground coriander
1tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of paprika
Salt and pepper

Optional extras 
Plain flour (Sometimes helpful to bind the mixture together).
Chopped coriander, lemon zest, tahini paste or my favourite, some crushed chilli (for extra flavour).

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200
  2. Place the sweet potato in the microwave, on high, for around 8 minutes, flipping half way through or until it is cooked through – you can roast it if you have more time.
  3. Once cooked, remove the flesh.
  4. If you have a food processor, whack the sweet potato and all other ingredients in the food processor and blend until combined. If not, its time for a work out. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and use a potato masher to combine. (If you’re also lacking a potato masher, my boyfriend’s technique of using a good old fork to mash works fine, but as he quickly realised its much easier to pick up one for a £1 in the supermarket!)
  5.  Shape the mixture into balls slightly bigger than a golf ball and place on a baking tray, I sometimes use a muffin tin to keep them in place. Equally you can shape them to look like burger patties if you prefer them to be flatter for wraps, buns and sandwiches.
  6. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, flip and cook for another 15 minutes, or until they have started crisping and turning brown.

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And there you have it, place in sandwiches, wraps, salads, on their own as part of a mezze board or dipped in some hummus as a delicious healthy snack.

 

Try This: 2-Minute Vegan Pancakes

So, pancake day is literally almost over and I’ve decided to add to the noise a little too late and give you my recipe, why? Because part of being an adult is realising that you can make pancakes any day of the year!

This recipe is completely fuss free, takes two minutes, vegan friendly, and tastes like heaven on a plate. Now I maintain the real heroes and make-or-break parts of the humble pancake are the toppings, so really, a pancake is what you make it. But it helps to have a good base.

A lot of vegan recipes for pancakes use banana instead of egg, which I personally really like, but I know it’s not for everyone, so I’ve gone for banana-free ones to satisfy all – but if you want, feel free to change the nut butter for banana, or chia seeds etc.

Go crazy and add some broken up dark chocolate or blueberries like I did to pimp-up your pancake, and marvel at how easy and stress free it can be!

2-minute vegan pancakes
(Serves: Literally depends on how greedy you’re feeling, I ate it all, but I went into a food coma, it made about 6 ish pancakes!)

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Ingredients:

150g (1 cup) plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
2tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 heaped tbsp nut butter of choice
1 tsp oil (vegetable, melted coconut, whichever you prefer) – plus extra for frying!
300ml almond milk (or milk alternative of choice)
Toppings/ additions of choice (go crazy)

Method:

  1. Sift (or don’t, I didn’t because 1) I don’t own a sieve at uni 2) who really has time for that) all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Mix the nut butter and oil together and then add to the dry ingredients
  3. Add the almond milk and whisk until combined
  4. Add in any additional flavours (I’ve chosen some dark chocolate and blueberries)
  5. On a medium/high heat add a little oil, enough to lightly cover the pan, once hot, pour in your batter to whatever size you want
  6. Once the pancake is coming away at the sides, is producing some bubbles and looks brown on the bottom, flip and cook on the other side (or try your best pancake-tossing tricks!)
  7. Remove from heat, get your pancake decorating on and enjoy!

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From the pictures you can also tell I went a bit ott… to the point you can’t really see the pancakes! So, feel free to indulge as little or as much (as much is encouraged) as you want!

Try This: Ultimate Shakshuka

Mornings are getting darker, evenings colder and for some, freshers week is around the corner. Summer may have only just left us, but as I do live in England, winter is very much making its way in, and I have already lit the fire twice this week. Dreary and wet days mean that a nice cold sandwich will no longer cut the mustard and some warm comfort food is on the menu.

I made this for lunch a couple of days ago and posted it on my Instagram stories and to my surprise, I had loads of people message me asking what it was, and for the recipe. (Side Note: When I say loads I mean 7. But that was enough for me to feel like I was Nigella Lawson and that I might as well make a blog post out of it).

 

Shakshuka is my new love affair. There are plenty of recipes online so you can adapt how you like as I sort of made this one up on the spot. The basis of it is a rich spicy tomato base with some runny baked eggs in the middle, this warming dish is perfect for brunch, lunch and dinner, and works as my personal favourite hangover cure. So if you are in need of a little comfort food, hanging from freshers week or want to mix up your mid-week meals, give this one a try.

Ultimate Shakshuka: 
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 can of chickpeas (drained)
1/2 pepper (chopped)
1/2 chilli (chopped)
Large handful of spinach
2 eggs
1tsp paprika
1tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
Bread (toasted)

Method:

  1. Preheat the grill to around 170. Place the chopped tomatoes, pepper and chilli into a saucepan and place over a medium heat to start heating through and reducing the tomatoes.
  2. Add all of the seasoning and chickpeas and place a lid on the saucepan and let it thicken up a little.
  3. Once thickened, add the spinach and stir until it had wilted and combined.
  4. Then transfer the contents of the saucepan into a bowl of choice.
  5. Make two small wells in the mixture with a spoon and crack the eggs into these wells.
  6. Place the bowl under the grill and leave until the eggs are cooked through.
  7. Garnish, and serve with some toasted bread to dip into the egg yolks as mop up the sauce.

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Super easy, and super quick, it probably takes me max 15 minutes to make. And you can play around with your ingredients; sometimes I use a tin of 5 bean mix instead of chickpeas, or you can go one better and get the 5 bean in a tomato sauce and then you have no need for the chopped tomatoes. Frying off some onion and garlic and adding to the sauce also gives some nice flavour, or my personal favourite, crumble some feta on the top after you have cooked the eggs!

 

 

Naughty but Nice: Revision Snacks

Snacking during long periods of revision, hard days at work or when you are just plain bored is the biggest weakness for most of us. It is so easy to reach for a handful of biscuits or a packet of crisps, which gives us a spike of energy, only to make us crash an hour later. I know for a fact that staying relatively healthy around deadline season is near impossible, after I post this I am probably going to dive into my bar of salted caramel chocolate which is just staring me in the face. However, if you’re like me and like to pretend that you can fight the urge and remain healthy for a little while longer, here are two great, easy to make and store snacks to keep you going.

Roasted Chickpeas

Once again my favourite versatile legume takes centre stage for this super easy savoury snack.

They say having a handful of nuts a day is really good for you (so while I’m at it there is a great fuss-free revision snack right there), but if you are anything like me and want to save a few pennies here and there, a bag of almonds or pistachios can be pricey sometimes. Not to mention they’re only really good for you if you get them plain and not swimming in honey or salt.

Enter the mighty chickpea. Packed with protein and fibre, these little wonders are the new, cheaper replacement for nuts, trust me.

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Pinch of salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200’c, drain the water from your chickpeas and then place them on a couple of sheets of kitchen roll to soak up excess water
  2. Once they’re mostly dry place on a baking tray and cover in the salt, pepper and paprika
  3. Chuck them in the oven for around 30 minutes – you basically want them to dry out, go golden brown and be crunchy when you eat them

Place them in an airtight container and keep them in your bag for the perfect on-the-go snack to see you through revision, work, long train journeys etc.

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The best part about these is you can experiment with lots of different herbs and spices mix up your snacking. For example, try adding some mixed herbs, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes, lime or garlic, the world is your chickpea!

Apple Crisps

Perfect for the times where you just want to reach for the packet of biscuits or a chocolate bar when you are seriously slumping during revision, or 3pm on a work day, these apple crisps are naturally sweet and easy to keep in your bag.

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Ingredients:

2 apples
1 tbsp cinnamon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 120’c
  2. If you have access to a mandolin/ some form of slicer, then make use of that bad boy now. If not, (like me) using a knife, cut the apple into thin slices, the thinner the better!
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet and dust with cinnamon, and a bit of sugar if you want them extra sweet
  4. Place in the oven for about 40 minutes and then remove and leave to cool. This is the crucial bit, leaving them to cool is where most of the ‘crisping’ will take place, so don’t be tempted to move them straight after you take them out of the oven or they will remain slightly soggy!

 

So whether you are slaving away in the library, stuck at your desk all day or just need some better ways to snack, give these a try. They are perfect in an airtight container left in the bottom of your bag, so when that inevitable temptation to reach for the biscuit tin creeps in, you have something delicious to stop you, at least for a little while!

 

Naughty but Nice: Chickpea-Chocolate Mousse

The bank holiday has ended, Easter is now a distant memory, and if you are anything like me, you may have indulged in the chocolate and wine just that little too much. Easter is quite often the time for a revival of new-years resolutions where people get a little disgusted (and impressed) with how much food their body can consume and decide to hit the gym and cut the crap again.

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But let’s be honest, it is really hard to resist over-indulging every now and again. And so to reconcile myself (and maybe give some of you some inspiration in the process) I have tried and tested some delicious recipes which not only taste oh-so-good and a little bit indulgent, but actually are oh-so-good for you! So here is your first ‘serving’:

Chickpea-Chocolate Mousse

Okay so bare with me – chickpeas, in chocolate mousse? I thought the same, just to weird you out more, on top of that, you don’t actually use the chickpeas, you use the water they’re soaked in, (the technical name for it, I have now learnt is ‘aquafaba’). But after some scepticism I decided to experiment, and these are the real deal. What’s best is the recipe only calls for 3 ingredients, making this treat gluten free, and vegan, (dependant on the chocolate you use), but I only used cheap dark chocolate from Lidi’s and turns out it was vegan anyway!

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I can 100% tell you it is very hard to make a can of chickpeas look ascetically pleasing, and I felt sad enough I was having a photoshoot with a can of legumes…

The chickpea water is packed with protein and everyone knows dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, making this chocolate mousse practically saint-like. Bonus – I kid you not, no one can tell the difference between these and regular homemade chocolate mousse. Believe me, my brother is a sniffer-dog for anything out of the ordinary and healthy and even he couldn’t tell the difference and loved them!

Chickpea-Chocolate Mousse:
Vegan, Gluten-free

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas (only need the water)
120g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp maple surup (or agave/ coconut syrup)
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl which is sat over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water)
  2. Add the vanilla extract and maple syrup and leave to cool slightly whilst you do the next step
  3. Use an electric whisk or blender to mix the chickpea water until stiff peaks form and the mixture is fluffy and white in texture (this step is basically the same as if you would whisk up eggs) – you can hand whisk but you will be mixing for quite a while!
  4. Gently fold the chocolate into the chickpea mixture with a spatula until all is combined
  5. Pour out into bowls/ ramekins and leave to set in the fridge for 30-60 mins (but the longer you leave it the better set it will be).18109902_1470102309708150_478748715_o.jpg

Top with some raspberries or strawberries to balance out the sweetness, and there you have it! Quick and easy, protein packed chocolate mousse. Once you get over the fact you’re using chickpeas and try it, it’s a complete game-changer – and means you have use for something you would usually just chuck down the sink!

Much Love x