Magic loaf version 3
Been having another play with this programme and made another magic loaf today.

Vegan Dinner Loaf!
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
One onion, diced
One large garlic clove, minced
One large carrot, peeled and grated
1 tin green lentils
1 cup dry oats
1/4 cup water from canned lentils
1/2 cup groun flaxseed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp mixed herbs
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
Preheat the oven to 350º/Gas 4. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Break walnuts into small pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Sauté any vegetables you've chosen in the vegetable oil until soft. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny (you may not need to add any liquid if the grains and protein are very moist). Add more binder/carbohydrate as needed if the loaf seems too wet. Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes until cooked through. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice or just cut up and scope it out. If you like walnuts and lentils, you should like this. Its not my favourite version, but then walnuts are my least favourite nut.

Strawberry fool on biscuit base dessert

This is a accidental recipe created today that tasted good, when I forgot to put the vegetable gelatine (agar) mixture into the recipe. Was supposed to be a cheesecake like recipe and instead it turned into a fool on biscuit base.
10 dates
10 nairn fruit and spice biscuit
Bit of unsweetened soya milk to blend
Soybean dessert made up double strength
1 large banana
1 tbsp agave syrup
2 tsp vanilla essence

Blend dates, biscuits and soya milk to blend and put in bottom of pie dish.
Make up soybean dessert to double strength. Put in blender with rest of ingredients and blend. Freeze for 1 hour. Blend in strawberries. Put filling on top of biscuit mixture in pie dish. Put in freezer to set for up to 1 hour.Leave to get to room temperature and then serve. If served frozen its similar to frozen cheesecake, if served at room temperature, its a strawberry fool on a biscuit base. This was todays experiment and I will play with it again next time. Now what shall i do with a jug full of plain set vegetable gelatine!

Bean, vegetable and ‘sausage’ hotpot

300g new potatoes, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 onion chopped
450ml vegetable stock
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp seaweed
1 can mixed beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
300g or about 1/3 mugful frozen garden peas
5 sausages (vegetarian choice 5 pack)

Make up stock, add mixed herbs and seaweed. Add potatoes, carrots and onion in stock and bring to boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile grill sausages over medium heat for about 20 minutes until cooked. Add peas, mixed beans, tomatoes to the hotpot. When sausages are cooked, chop into five pieces each and add to hotpot. Cook for 10-20 minutes for flavours to blend. Serves 3 (Ground flax seed or flax oil can be added just before serving for an omega 3 boost)

Indian Mixed Vegetables (Serve With Broccoli)

1 tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 tsp each ginger powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 onion
6 oz potatoes
3 oz carrots
1 oz green beans
3 oz peas
2 oz swede
Handful of raisins
4 oz easy cook rice
15 fl oz hot water

Fine chop the onion and green beans. Dice the carrots, potatoes, and swede and weigh out the peas. All measurements are approximate, this is a very flexible dish.
Mix all the spices (except garam masala) in the oil in the wok, warm the mixture and then fry the onion on medium heat. Add the tomatoes and stir for 1 minute. Add the rest of the vegetables, easy cook rice and hot water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 30 mins). Top up with hot water if necessary. Steam the broccoli whilst the vegetables are cooking.
After the 30 minutes add the garam masala and raisins and mix well. Stir in the broccoli. Remove from heat and serve.

This is a very mild curry, for people who can’t tolerate spicy food. If you like spicy food, up the spices or use curry paste.

Soya bean pudding substitute for soft silken tofu

I have discovered a product that can be used as a substitute for soft silken tofu. This also works out cheaper as you can make about the equivalent of 4 packs of silken tofu for £1.75. Its called soybean pudding and I got it from a chinese food shop. It cost me £1.75 (although I have seen it for £1.45 online, so may be cheaper elsewhere) and has 8 sachets for making soya pudding. This is very runny and doesn't have that much taste to it, its a pleasant not sweet milk type pudding. Its great for a silken tofu substitute to use for chocolate fool, as per the recipe posted yesterday if made to double strength. To use as a soft silken tofu substitute I used two packets to 200ml to make double strength and this then sets firmer. Leave to set in fridge and use as you would soft silken tofu. Please note its not as firm as firm silken tofu, so would not be good for a cheesecake filling, but great for soft puddings, smoothies etc. Although if using for smoothies, no need to make double strength.
Details of product from packet.
Mount Elephant Instant Soybean Pudding
Soybean pudding is made of soybean and cane sugar.
Dissolve the contents of one packet (32g) into a bowl, add 200ml of hot water (above 85c), stir with a spoon then let it stand for 5-10 minutes, or why not try it cool from a refrigerator
Product of China
100% vegetable - Dried extract of Soybean, Cane sugar, Vegetable protein

Choc-dipped biscuits

A quick easy biscuit recipe for when you fancy a treat and also taste great without the chocolate dipped ends. This is a recipe I have made many times and it always turns out great, unlike some biscuit recipes I've tried!

115g/4oz/1/2cup soft margarine such as pure or vitalite.
3tbsp icing sugar
150g/5oz/1 ¼ cups plain flour
Few drops of pure vanilla essence
75g/3oz plain chocolate, broken into squares

Beat margarine and icing sugar together until soft. Mix in the flour and vanilla essence.
Preheat the oven to 180C/3560F/Gas 4 and lightly grease two baking sheets.
Shape into whatever biscuit shapes you prefer, round, oblong etc. Cook for 15-20 minutes until pale golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before lifting on to a wire rack. Leave the biscuits to cool completely.
Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Place over a pan of hot, but not boiling water and leave to melt. Can also be microwaved to melt, but be careful not to burn, a little at a time, unless you know your microwave oven well. Dip both ends of each biscuit in the chocolate, put back onto rack and leave to set.
From cooking for your vegetarian kids by Roz Denny

Scotch pancakes

Dinner was followed by ....

Sultana scotch pancakes with agave syrup.

I didn't make pancakes on pancake day, so today was our pancake treat.

225g Self Raising Flour
pinch of salt
25g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
1 tablespoon of soya flour (optional)
350ml soya milk
2 tablespoons sultanas (optional)

Put all dry ingredients in a bowl and stir them together. Pour in soya milk and whisk until smooth, add sultanas. Drop small ladlefuls into a fairly hot lightly oiled frying pan. Wait until bubbles appear all over the surface of the pancakes, then flip them over and cook on the other side until browned. Keep going until all the batter is gone. Eat straightaway agave syrup or maple syrup or any flavoured jam. Makes about 6 depending on size. Sorry I can't remember the original source of this recipe, as I have been using it for years.

Stew and dumplings

Dinner tonight was Stew and Dumplings

Her is a picture of the stew with one large dumpling in the middle.

Stew was made with lots of chopped assorted vegetables, gravy, stock, oats, herbs and soya mince.

Herby Dumplings

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed herbs

1/4 cup soya milk

Mix in a medium bowl, flour, baking powder and herbs. Stir in soya milk. Stir briefly to mix. Drop small spoonfuls of dough on top of simmering stew or soup, cover tightly with lid and leave to simmer for 10 -15 minutes without lifting the lid.

Lentil Pate

75g red lentils
½ pt water or vegetable stock left over from last time you steamed vegetables
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
2 slices whole wheat bread crumbs

Wash lentils, drain, and place in a saucepan. Add the water or stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Drain any excess water. Chop the onions and the garlic very finely. In a large frying pan, heat the oil. Add the garlic, onions, and herbs and saute over medium heat, stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions and garlic are brown. When the lentils are done, stir them thoroughly to mash, add the onion mixture with the bread crumbs.
Suitable for freezing.

Mushroom pate

350g (12oz) closed cup mushrooms, chopped
1 medium onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsps mixed herbs
1 tsp yeast extract such as vegemite
400g (14oz) chickpeas, drained
½ lemon, juice only
100g (4oz) mixed chopped nuts (optional)

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in frying pan. Fry the mushrooms and onions together until soft. Stir in the mixed herbs and yeast extract. Remove from the heat and drain off any liquid. Place the mixture into a food processor with the chick peas and lemon juice to make a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the nuts. Cover and allow to stand at room temperature for about an hour before serving to allow the flavours to develop.

Suitable for freezing

I always make this with leftover mushroom stalks, having used the tops in a salad! The other 1/2 lemon can be made into a hot lemon drink or frozen in slices or just the juice for a hot lemon drink later.

Ways to get more vitamins/minerals into meals

As a child the only vegetables I would eat was processed peas, grated carrots and potatoes. Children and a lot of adults just don't eat enough fruit and veg and are therefore missing out on valuable nutrients. Here are some foods that can be added to meals easily to make them more nutritious. Some could be added sneakily into sauces or cakes if necessary.

There are a lots of vegetables and fruits that are good sources of vitamins and minerals. This is not a exclusive list, just a list of foods that are rich in particular vitamins which can easily be added to foods to make them more nutritious. There are plenty more foods and products containing these vitamins, this is just a list of foods that can easily be sneaked into foods. Some are ideal for adding to soups or deserts just before serving if ground/grated etc.

Vitamin A/Beta Carotene: Grated carrots, dried apricots, Watercress, tomato sauce, sprinkle of parsley and cocoa powder

Vitamin B Group: Wheatgerm, Bananas, Peanuts, Mushrooms, Nuts, Sesame seeds, Vegemite, Bran, Nut butters, Soya milk and Dried Fruit.

Vitamin C: Currants. Orange juice, Strawberries, Parsley, Blackcurrants, Frozen peas

Vitamin D: (Sunlight on your skin during the summer) Fortified soya milk, fortified margarine

Vitamin E: Wheatgerm, Tahini, Nuts, Seeds

Vitamin K: Flaked seaweed, blackstrap molasses, wheatgerm

Iron: Wheatgerm, Parsley, Prunes, Dates, Dried Apricots, Pumpkin seeds, Millet, blackstrap molasses

Calcium: Tahini, Parsley, Watercress, Ground/Flaked Almonds, Brazils, figs, fortified soya milk, sesame seeds and hummus

Zinc: Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, wheatgerm, oats, and hummus

Iodine: Flaked seaweed

Magnesium: Cashew nuts, almonds, wheatgerm, bananas, prunes

Phosphorus/Sulphur/Potassium: Wheatgerm, hummus, pumpkin seeds, potatoes, nuts, many fruit and veg

Others (copper/colbalt/fluorine/chromium/manganese etc): Bananas, Potatoes, Almonds, seaweeds

Five a day!

Aparently the Department of Health say that in England we only average 2.8 portions of fruit and veg a day! Yet its not that difficult to get 5 portions and this is the minimum recomendation as they don't think we would bother if we knew it was higher!. Recomendations are really 5+ for children, 7+ for women and 9+ for men. Remember it doesn't have to be fresh if budget doesn't allow, even tinned fruit counts. Frozen vegatables are cheaper, with no waste and still full of nutrients.
Here is the department of health website for information on portion sizes etc.

Three meals a day should easily get 5 a day if not more, so here are some budget ways to get your fruit and veg.

Eat more vegetarian meals and try to add extra veg to meals by grating in vegetables to bulk out meals.

Eat fruit as snacks. Bananas are very nutritious and are not expensive.

Add dried fruit to your oats or breakfast cereal.

Homemade houmous and grated carrots sandwiches
Homemade lentil pate with salad sandwiches
Homemade mushroom pate with salad
Homemade guacamole sandwich with salad

Vegetable stew (vegetable stock cube and whatever vegetables are available, if you add soya mince or beans this also will count towards your 5 a day)
Vegetable chilli (tomatoes,kidney beans, onion, soya mince, vegetable stock, chilli powder)-serve with rice, potato, or pasta (non of these count towards your 5 a day!)
Beans and tomatoes on toast
Vegetable stir fry
Vegetable curry

Canned fruit in fruit juice
Malt bread with jam
Any homemade cake or flapjack can have extra dried fruit added to it or make a carrot cake, courgette cake or beetroot cake!

So check out the above site and before you know it you will be getting way over 5 a day! Remember pulses such as baked beans count, but only as one of your five a day, even if you have two portions. The idea is to get variety, so to get a good range of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals etc. A variety of colour should also get you all these, aim to include all these colours every day if you can.

red (Tomatoes, pasta sauce, tomato juice, tomato soup, red peppers, red onions, beetroot, red cabbage, kidney beans, apples, pink grapefruit, red grapes, strawberries, cherries, watermelon, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranates)

yellow or orange (Carrots, corn, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, yellow peppers, cantaloupe, grapefruit, lemons, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pineapples, tangerines, apricots, mangoes, papayas)

white:(Cauliflower, mushrooms, white beans, onions, garlic, parsnips, shallots, turnips, ginger, bananas, pears)

green (Leafy greens, asparagus, green peppers, broccoli, green beans, peas, cabbage, green onion, Brussels sprouts, okra, courgette, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwifruit, limes)

blue/purple (Aubergine, purple grapes, plums, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, purple figs, dried plums, black currants)

So a two course meal could typically contain garlic, onions, tomatoes, carrots and greens (so thats white, red, orange and green and a dessert could made with grapes or raisins or blackberries etc to get the purple range and then you will get some of each colour and a few of your five a day, possibly all 5 at one meal!

Credit crunch tips

Every week I will add some credit crunch tips to help in small ways to save the pennies.

Switch of the oven, hotplates, and iron a few minutes before you need to stop using them - they will stay hot for a long time. Heating devices use a lot of power.

If you are by the kettle when it reaches the boil switch if off by hand - the automatic cut off will leave it boiling and burning up electric for longer. Also, only boil the quantity of water you need as this will take less time and energy. I know this isn't practical if only needing a cup, as you need to cover the element, so any aditional water boiled can be saved in a flask to make a drink with later.

When using the oven, try to fill it! Main meal, dessert, stuffing, roast potatoes, baked potatoes. Even if its for a meal for another day. If you really need to put it on for just one thing, then pile up at the bottom of the oven your baking sheets and tins and this will make the space smaller to heat, meaning it will heat up quicker.

Look out for free coupons, online vouchers and discount codes before buying products or trip on the internet. Try sites like coupponstar, free in UK and Also don't forget those cashback sites like topcashback to save even more money or go via nectar and earn nectar points.

Shop around before renewing your motor or household insurance. Comparison sites like comparethemarket or confused will search thousands of policies and come back with the best deal.

Magic loaf studio results version one amended version

I tried the magic loaf again and mashed the chickpeas this time and it worked out much better.

I also tried it again using canned kidney beans instead of the chickpeas and walnuts instead of almonds. This was also a success, although I prefer the chickpea version, just because I like chickpeas more than kidney beans!

Will try a complete new magic loaf soon and post version two.