Hearty Spiced Cauliflower and Carrot Soup

A simple but hearty soup rich with vegetables and lightly spiced for a warming bowl of deliciousness that will fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied at lunch or dinner. Cauliflower and carrots are the star of the show in this vegan and dairy free soup.

It's the end of April and I'd love to say we're enjoying some warm weather and lots of sunshine here in Scotland, but it's blooming freezing! The weather is up and down and all over the place. You don't know where you are or what to wear from day to day. We even had snow yesterday! It's definitely still soup weather, so today I bring you this hearty spiced cauliflower and carrot soup.

Doesn't it look good?

I was just going to make a carrot soup, but there was a head of cauliflower staring at me mournfully from the fridge so I had little choice and as we really enjoyed it, I thought I should share it with you. Hence hastily photographed shots of said hearty spiced cauliflower and carrot soup!


23

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (24 April 2017)


Happy Monday my friends.

How has the last week treated you? 

I don't have much to share with you this week. I've still been suffering from a chest infection, although it's definitely clearing now. Cooper has been busy at school and Graham at work. No exciting meals or days out, just work, work work. Sigh.

Now I've thoroughly depressed myself thinking back on such a boring week I'll share with you the latest veggie recipes for this week's Meat Free Mondays. They are anything but boring and hopefully they'll cheer us all up and inspire you to eat meat free at least one day this week, if you don't do so already.


5

Pa Amb Tomaquet - Traditional Catalan Tomato Tapa Recipe



My beautiful Spanish friend Populo has made us this simple pa amb tomaquet tapa a few times and we've always been wowed by how good it is.

What is Pa Amb Tomaquet?


Pa amb tomaquet is a traditional Catalan tapa dish. It's a bit like a Catalan bruschetta. The Spanish call it pan con tomate, but this is definitely Catalan rather than Spanish. You'll soon be offered this tapa if you spend any time in Barcelona and they are rightly proud of it.

Pa amb tomaquet is a really simple dish where the flavour of the fresh tomatoes sing. All you need is really nice bread and I'm talking a good sourdough, if you can get it, some ripe flavourful tomatoes, a clove of garlic, a good quality olive oil and salt and pepper. Populo also adds a sprinkle of oregano, so I shall too.


37

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (17 April 2017)


Happy Easter my friends. I hope you had a fun and chocolate filled Easter Sunday.

I'm sorry to say my Sunday was spent indoors. I've been suffering from a chest infection this week and because I have asthma, I've been rather poorly, although I haven't given up and gone to bed. 

I've actually spent a lot of time cooking this week and today I made a big pot of chilli (Cooper's favourite) and a trifle. Did I tell you that Hartley's glitter jelly is veggie? It's really good and makes a firm jelly.

Cooper was at his grandparent;s house this weekend, where no doubt he was spoiled rotten and Graham has been a star, helping me with some housework, shopping and walking the dogs.

Now Monday is here, Cooper is back at school, I'm at work and lucky Graham is off today and hopefully doing some more housework for me, but as it's Monday I have another seven sensational veggie dishes for you to try (and a few bonus recipes) in honour of Meat Free Monday.

10

A Beginners Guide to Juicing

Want to know more about juicing? Then this is the guide for you. All your questions answered along with ideas on what to juice and juicer recommendations.


A range of vegetable juices in glasses, carrot, cucumber, tomato and beets


Juicing, what's it all about?


There's a lot of information out there about juicing, Some good and some bad, but as a lover of juices and smoothies I wanted to share a beginners guide to juicing. 

I will only talk about my experiences with juicing and the juicers I use.

I use Froothie Optimum juicers (disclosure, I work with them after trying and loving their blenders). 

I've had cheaper machines in the past and they were useless to use and useless to clean. I gave up on them.

Carry on down to find out the answers to your questions and check out my guide to what to juice and what to avoid.



A Beginners Guide to Juicing




An easy guide to juicing, why it's good for you and what to juice as well as an introduction to the Juisir, a new no-clean juicer from Froothie.
A Beginners Guide to Juicing - Green mango smoothie from above with stripey paper straw on wooden board


1. Should I drink juices and smoothies?


Yes definitely. 

They will help you top up your ten a day (yes scientists now say we should be aiming for ten portions of fruit and veg a day and not five) and are great for adding extra nutrients and antioxidants to your diet. 

The green mango and spinach smoothie above makes a great start to the day.


2. I buy a bottle of juice when I buy my lunchtime sandwich. Is it good for me?


Well it's better than fizzy juice, but sometimes not much better. 

Often they can have a lot of sugar, additives and preservatives in them. 

It's much better to make your own juice or if you are out and about stop at a juice bar, where they juice the fruit and vegetables in front of you.


3. Aren't fresh juices full of sugar too?


Fruit certainly is, although it will always be a better option than processed foods full of sugar. 

The secret is to balance your smoothies and juices with a mixture of fruit and vegetables. The more vegetables the better. Check out this melon, spinach and avocado smoothie.


4. Isn't eating whole veg better for you?


Of course eating fresh vegetables is a healthy option for your diet, but juicing supplements your diet and provides you with lots of extra vitamins and minerals. 

See juicing as an added extra to your meals.


5. But will I get any fibre from fresh juice?


Fibre is important to help food move through your digestive system. 

When you blend juice in a blender the fibre is still there in the pulp of the juice, but when you juice you only get soluble fibre. 

Lets face it juice doesn't need to be broken down in your body anyway it's a liquid and easily digested, so that's that covered.


6. What happens to the pulp, is it wasted?


You can throw the pulp away or you could keep the pulp and add it into smoothies, soups, stews, pesto and sauces for extra fibre and nutrients.


7. Is there anyone who shouldn't juice?


Pregnant women and diabetics should check with their doctor or nurse before juicing. 

If pregnant women are juicing it as an extra energy boost and still eating a varied diet they should be fine, but they should never go on a juice diet while pregnant. Do check first.

Diabetics need to be careful as fruits contain a high amount of natural sugar. Do consult a doctor first if you are diabetic.

Better to be safe than sorry!


8. Why does juice turn brown?

If juice has turned brown it has oxidised and lost all the nutrients. Juices are best served fresh.

You can juice in the evening for the morning and pop it in an airtight container in the fridge if you have a cold-press juicer which retains the nutrients for longer.

Or if you have a vacuum blender like the Froothie Vac 2, which removes the air from the juice, removing oxidation and keeping the nutrients for longer, you can juice ahead (well blend ahead) and store in the fridge in an airtight container.



Now we've gotten that out the way I can give you some juicing tips to get you started.



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An easy guide to juicing, why it's good for you and what to juice as well as juicer recommendations and what you can juice and can't juice. #juicing #juicingforhealth #juicingforbeginners #juice #juicingtips

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Remember and say hi. I'm always happy to chat and answer questions.


What can I juice?


    A Beginners Guide to Juicing - fruits that can be juiced


    Fruit


    Apples, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, lime, melon, oranges, passion fruit, pears, pineapple, raspberries, starfruit, strawberries and watermelon.




    Vegetables


    Asparagus, beetroot (not pickled, ugh), broccoli, carrots, celery, courgette, cucumber, fennel, fresh ginger, kale, lettuce, onion, parsnip, peas, peppers, spinach, squash, sweet potato, tomatoes and watercress.


    I may have missed some fruit and vegetables out of that list, but it's a good place to start and I hope it helps. 


     What should I not juice?



    You can juice pretty much any fruit or vegetable, but can I start by telling you what YOU CAN'T OR SHOULDN'T JUICE

    1. You can't juice bananas, avocado, figs. You just won't get any juice out of them. Stick to blending these.
    2. You might want to skip juicing leeks, turnip and aubergine. They don't taste good, seriously!
    3. You probably won't get much juice out of these fruits unless you catch them at the right moment. Peaches, nectarines and mangoes. Also rhubarb will be tough on your juicer and yield little juice.
    A Beginners Guide to Juicing - Froothie 700 Juicer

    JUICERS

    What kind of juicer should I buy?


    Spend less?

    You don't always need to spend the most money in life for the best results. 

    For instance when you are grocery shopping avoiding big brands is a good ideas as you can buy a good quality product at a lower price from the supermarket's budget brand.

    Can you spend less on a juicer?


    NO. Unfortunately this is not true with juicers. 

    A juicer is an investment and a good quality one will last a long time, have more power (and usually extract more juice too) and be easier to take apart and clean.

    You really get what you pay for and I know from personal experience lower prices juicers are not worth the money. 

    They are hard to use, don't extract a lot of juice, are awful when it comes to taking them apart and don't mention trying to clean them. They will quickly end up at the back of our cupboard unused.

    Spend as much as you can on a powerful and high quality juicer


    Spend as much as you can afford and save if you have to. It's really worth the extra money to buy a powerful beat of a juicer. 

    It will last longer, juice better and become a daily part of your routine. Helping to improve your overall health.

    I'm going to introduce you to 2 powerful juicers (and a powerful travel blender) in three different price ranges.

    One is a no-clean juicers with re-usable bags, then there is is a wide mouth cold press juicer where you can add whole fruit and veg to save a lot of chopping.

    I have also included a lower cost powerful travel blender, if your budget won't stretch to one of the big boys of juicing.


    JULAVIE X

    A revolution in juicing. A no-clean juicer.


    A Beginners Guide to Juicing - JuLaVie juicer - a no-clean juicer


    How the Julavie X No-Clean Juicer Works

    The JUlaVIE X is a new concept in juicing. 

    1. You put the fruit and vegetables in a bag (reusable or eco-friendly, you can choose which).
    2. Pop the bag in the Julavie and hit the button.
    3. The Julavie will now crush the fruit and vegetables with eight tonnes of force, the force of two adult elephants (yes that's why the bags have cute elephants on them).
    4. 90 seconds later you have freshly pressed juice and not need to take the juicer apart and clean it with a scrubbing brush. No cleaning! 

    For £599 (use the code amb20/1405 for £20 off) you will receive your JUlaVIE X and 1 reusable bag with 30 cotton refills or 60 disposable bags (you can buy more from the Froothie website) and a standard 2 year warranty.


    Too pricey? Try a mid-priced juicer


    I admit it's a pricey machine, but if it's one you will use everyday, you'd be looking at paying between £300 and £500 for a good quality cold pressing juicer that will work and last well. 

    It depends if you want to spend time cleaning or just juice and go.

    For a good quality juicer, check out this wide mouthed juicer, which saves on chopping.







    Optimum 700 Whole Fruit Juicer


    If you juice at night or if you have time in the mornings, don't mind a quick bit of cleaning and just don't have the budget for a Julavie X, then I would recommend the Optimum 700 whole fruit cold press juicer

    It costs £399 (use my code amb20/1405 for £20 off).

    I have this one and it's great and easy to take apart and wash, if you do it straight away.

    You can just add whole fruit and veg (well within reason, obviously a melon would need to be cut into chunks)


    This one is a cold-press juicer which squeezes the fruit and veg slower for maximum nutrients and juice.


    Want juices but don't have the budget?



    Froothie Nutri Force - a mini power blender


    Powerful but little power blender


    Froothie also have a mean little travel blender called the Nutri Force Blender, which is a powerful little beast for it's size. 

    It's only £179 and is a good option if you want a lower priced way of making smoothies and need to save for one of the big boy juicers or blenders.

    It's also more versatile as you can blender so many other things in it as well as making juices and shakes. 

    It's a good place to start if you want the health benefits of juicing, but not sure if it's right for you.


     Froothie Nutri Force Mini Travel Blender

    Nutri Force Travel Blender


    I use this one a lot in my kitchen for thicker smoothies like my ultimate chocolate green smoothie, sauces (try my whizz bang pizza sauce) pesto (try my spinach and lemon pesto),  hummus (try my easy hummus recipe) and sin-free chocolate mousse (which I made last night). 

    It's a handy bit of kit and nice and small so it doesn't take up a lot of room. 

    The photo above is one of the pasta sauces I whizz up in this blender. 

    It's a red pepper and olive pasta sauce you can whizz up while the pasta is cooking. Just gorgeous!

    As with the others, if you use my code amb20/1405 at checkout you will receive £20 off. this Nutri Force Travel Blender.




    I hope this guide has answered some of your questions and inspired you to try out juicing. 




    Disclosure: I love Froothie products and approached them to be an ambassador for them. I wouldn't recommend the machines if I didn't love them. Froothie do not require me to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own. 
    26

    Deep Lemon Curd and Raspberry No-Bake Cheesecake

    A luxurious deep no-bake lemon cheesecake studded with fresh raspberries that's super easy to make and a real delight to eat. Made with a simple crushed biscuit (cookie) base, the cheesecake layer is made with cream cheese and cream swirled with lemon curd. It's a real crowd pleaser.

    Deep Lemon Curd and Raspberry No-Bake Cheesecake

    Cheesecake!


    Deep Lemon Curd and Raspberry No-Bake Cheesecake! 

    BOOYAH!


    Do you love a good no-bake cheesecake?

    I do.

    I LOVE CHEESECAKE!

    They're easy to make, luxurious and utterly stunning when finished. Of course they taste great too. 

    I think I can safely say I've mastered them now and I make them rather a lot, especially for my baking club meetings. I even developed a recipe for a vegan cheesecake that tastes just as good. 

    Cheesecake is the perfect dessert for special occasions like Easter, Christmas and birthdays.



    Vegan no-bake Oreo and caramel cheesecake.

    Vegan no-bake cheesecake?


    My lemon curd and raspberry no-bake cheesecake contains dairy, so it's not suitable for my vegan readers, but I did recently make a rather gorgeous vegan no-bake Oreo and caramel cheesecake.

    There wasn't a single cashew nut or any tofu in the recipe. It was totally luxurious and I think my husband fell in love with me all over again when I presented him with it. He loved it!


    Which tin to use for a deep no-bake cheesecake?


    The secret to a deep no-bake cheesecake is the cake tin.

    I used to make my cheesecake in a 23 cm (9 inch) loose-bottom cake tin, but a couple of years ago I started making them in a deeper 18 cm cake tin that's 10 cm deep (7 inch x 4 inch).

    Here's a similar cake tin on Amazon (this is NOT a paid or affiliate link, I am just showing you what I use), if you're looking for one. It makes really sensational cheesecakes.

    If you use a tin with less width and more height you end up with a much more spectacular cake.


    Chilling the cheesecake & tips


    This is quite a deep cheesecake so make sure your fridge is set to chill and remember it will need a bit longer than a shallower cheesecake to set.

    It's also important to use full fat cream cheese, the low fat cream cheese don't set as well.

    So many people have made my cheesecake successfully (you can see some of my reader's Deep Lemon Curd and Raspberry No-Bake Cheesecake photos) and they loved it.

    Occasionally someone makes it and says it hasn't set and nine times out of ten it's because they've used low fat or lighter cream cheese.

    The other important tip is to make sure your whisk the double cream until it has stiff peaks, if you mix it in when it's too soft, it will also struggle to set as well as it should.

    Cake release spray


    I also use a cake release spray on the tin before I start building the cheesecake, just to be safe and when I am ready to release it from the tin I heat a knife in hot water before running it around the edge of the cheesecake to help loosen it, then I remove it very carefully!

    It's always a moment of pride as you gaze at your masterpiece.


    Deep Lemon Curd and Raspberry No-Bake Cheesecake


    Isn't it stunning? Believe me it tastes just as good as it looks!


    Check out my dessert page for more easy dessert recipes



    Lemon flavoured cheesecake


    I decided to flavour my cheesecake with lemon.  I added lemon juice and finely grated lemon peel, but it wasn't lemony enough.

    I'd planned to spread lemon curd on top of the cheesecake, but in the end I mixed it in with the cheesecake mixture and it was glorious.

    I have to admit I did use most of a jar, so this is really just for a treat not a weekly bake (or should I say no-bake?), but oh my goodness it's gorgeous and everyone loved it!


    Lemon curd


    You can buy ready made lemon curd or make your own.

    The traditional method for making lemon curd involves a lot of whisking, but it's glorious stuff.

    I have also made blender lime curd, which is super light and fluffy and no whisking. You can use my lime recipe and replace the limes with lemons for a quick lemon curd.


    Pile on the raspberries


    I mixed fresh raspberries through the cheesecake mixture then finished the whole cheesecake off with a pile of raspberries on top for a pop of colour and flavour.

    It was a good decision. Lemon and raspberry make such a fabulous flavour combination.

    They are both slightly tart but there is creaminess and sweetness there too.


    ...............................................................................................


    ................................................................................................


    Ginger Cheesecake Base


    I usually use digestive biscuits (Graham crackers) for my cheesecake base although I have on occasion used bourbon biscuits or Oreos, which also make a good base.

    This time I decided a ginger flavour would compliment the flavours of lemon and raspberry so I used ginger nuts. 

    A crisp or soft cheesecake base?


    The flavour worked really well, but I knew when I was crushing the ginger nuts it would be a crisper base than usual and it was definitely crisp.

    It still tasted great, but I might try mixing some digestives (Graham crackers) in with the ginger nuts next time for a softer base. Alternatively I could just use digestives and add some fresh ginger. There are plenty of options.

    When you make your base you can choose which biscuits (cookies) you prefer to use for the base. Just follow my quantities.

    Can you make cheesecake ahead?

    Cheesecake is the perfect cake or dessert (whichever you see it as) to make ahead.

    It benefits from time to chill and set, for a firm cheesecake.

    It will happily keep covered in the fridge for 3 days.

    It can also be frozen (for up to 2 months) and defrosted a few hours before you need it, if you space in your freezer.

    Can cheescake be left out overnight?

    I wouldn't recommend leaving a cheesecake out overnight.

    If it is cool, it could be left out for a few hours, but as with other foods, it should be chilled to keep bacteria at bay.

    cheesecake, no-bake cheesecake, no-bake, lemon cheesecake, lemon curd cheesecake, raspberry cheesecake, raspberry and lemon cheesecake, deep cheesecake, easy cheesecake, best cheesecake, cake, raspberries, lemons, lemon curd, ginger biscuits, ginger nuts
    dessert, party, birthday party
    American, Mediterranean or British
    Yield: 12 slices
    Deep Lemon Curd and Raspberry No-Bake Cheesecake

    Deep Lemon Curd and Raspberry No-Bake Cheesecake

    A luxurious deep no-bake lemon cheesecake studded with fresh raspberries that's super easy to make and a real delight to make. It's a fabulous Easter bake (no-bake).
    prep time: 30 minscook time: total time: 30 mins

    ingredients


    • 200g ginger nuts (or
      Graham crackers with finely grated or crushed fresh ginger)
    • 100g butter
    • 600 ml double (heavy) cream
    • 5 tbsp caster sugar
    • 560 g  full fat cream cheese
    • finely grated peel from 2 lemons
    • juice from ½ lemon
    • 300g lemon curd
    • 300g/ 2 punnets raspberries

    instructions


    1. Spray a deep 20cm (7 inch) cake
      tin with non-stick baking spray or line with baking paper. 
    2. Melt the butter in a small pan and in a large bowl, crush the biscuits to a fine crumb using the end of a rolling pin.
    3. Pour the melted butter into the biscuit crumb and mix well. Press firmly into the base of the cake tin and pop in the fridge.
    4. Whisk the double cream until thick and firm with the sugar and lemon peel. 
    5. Whisk in the lemon juice and cream cheese and most of the curd, then fold in the rest of the curd and half or more of the raspberries. Pour it into the tin and smooth off. 
    6. Pop the cheesecake in the fridge for a few hours to set.
    7. Take it out of the fridge when you are ready to serve it and loosen the edge of the cheesecake with a hot knife (run it under hot tap water) around the edge and carefully pop the cheesecake out of the pan.
    8. Serve topped with a mound of fresh raspberries and a smile.
    9. Enjoy!

    NOTES:

    The preparation time does not include chill time.
    calories
    484
    fat (grams)
    34.2
    sat. fat (grams)
    15.7
    carbs (grams)
    26.7
    protein (grams)
    7.3
    sugar (grams)
    14
    Created using The Recipes Generator




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    A luxurious deep no-bake lemon cheesecake studded with fresh raspberries that's super easy to make and a real delight to make. It's a fabulous Easter bake (no-bake).


    WHAT? 

    MORE CHEESECAKE?


    Oreo and Caramel Cheesecake


    Oreo and Caramel Cheesecake


    Even more cheesecake recipes to try:



    The Ultimate Rolo Cheesecake


    Vegan Banoffee Pie No-Bake Cheesecake


    vegan cheesecakes




    What? 

    You want another decadent recipe?


    Snickers Cheesecake Loaf


    Snickers Cheesecake Loaf



        For something a bit different try this Snickers Cheesecake Loaf. It's a totally luxurious baked cheesecake that your guests will go into raptures over. It's the perfect bake for Father's Day.


    Would you like to receive my posts by email?


    Scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up or why not sign up for my newsletter and get my monthly newsletter full of recipes and an update on what I've been doing? 

    42

    Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (10 April 2017)



    Happy Monday my friends! It's Meat Free Monday again and time for seven delicious new recipes to help inspire you to make at least some of your week meat-free. You may find a few bonus recipes at the bottom too.



    So this is where I usually tell you about the last week and what we got up to. It's school holidays here in Scotland, so Cooper has been sharing his time between home and his grandparents house. I think I can safely say he's been enjoying the free time. Lots of dog walks, games, some time coding and Cooper and I took a two day trip over to Edinburgh for the Science Festival. We stayed in a hotel, did some experiments and generally had a blast. Our highlight had to be Dr Bunhead and his eggcellent eggsplosions at the National Museum of Scotland. It was exciting, funny, loud and sit on the edge of your seat nerve-wracking.

    Did you do anything fun in the last week?

    Now it's time for the recipes.  


    12

    Spiced Chickpea, Carrot and Coriander Burgers (vegan recipe)

    An easy burger recipe that can be made in a power blender or food processor. From blender to table in 15 minutes and all made with fresh tasty ingredients. Cook from fresh or freeze for another day.These burgers are suitable for a vegetarian, vegan or dairy free diet.

    Homemade veggie burgers? 


    Why yes please!

    You can't beat them and today I'm sharing my latest veggie burger recipe, for spiced chickpea, carrot and coriander burgers. I whizzed them up in my blender and they are totally dairy free and vegan.

    A good veggie burger really doesn't need egg to bind it or any dairy. The vegetables and pulses with spices are tasty enough and the chickpeas in this burger are the binder.
    An easy burger recipe that can be made in a power blender or food processor. From blender to table in 15 minutes and all made with fresh tasty ingredients. Cook from fresh or freeze for another day.These burgers are suitable for a vegetarian, vegan or dairy free diet.


    18

    No Croutons Required (Soup and Salad Blog Challenge) - April 2017

    Whoops! I was so caught up in my birthday fun at the weekend and so busy at work, I totally forgot I am hosting No Croutons Required this month.

    If you have a blog why not join in?

    Simple post a veggie soup or salad recipe on your blog, linking to this post and mentioning No Croutons Required, then add your link to the linky below. At the end of the month I'll do a roundup of all the yummy recipes for my readers to enjoy.

    Check out last month's soups and salad's over at Lisa's Kitchen.

    I wonder if we will see more salads this month?



    1

    Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead (3 April 2017)


    Happy Monday!

    How are you? Have you had a good week? I had an excellent week. The weather has been a bit mixed, but the sunny days have been wonderful and there is so much more light now and it gets dark much later. It really cheers me up.


    Saturday was a gloriously sunny day and it was warm in the sun, so we headed to the beach with the boy and the dogs. We dragged my husband's brother along too and had a great time. We walked the beach, met a lot of dogs, lapped up the sun and watched our boy and dogs having fun.

    On Sunday the sun shone again, so I was inspired to bake. I made a Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Banana Bread in the morning and a Deep Lemon Curd & Raspberry Cheesecake in the afternoon. Recipes coming soon!

    Now the fun of the weekend is over, it's time to plan meals for the week ahead and I hope you will be inspired by this week's Meat Free Monday to include some veggie dishes this week.

    13
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