Recipe – Extra Special Vegan Chocolate Pancakes

IMG_4257One rainy Wednesday a few weeks ago I discovered that adding chocolate Oatly to my pancake batter instead of water or dairy-free milk makes for a super-tasty treat. These are so simple, really fluffy and don’t require any unusual ingredients even though they’re egg-free – perfect for pancake day (actually perfect for any day!). Who says vegan breakfast is boring?

If you like these you might also like to try my vegan banana bread too – another sure-fire hit with my family every time.

Makes about 10 small pancakes (about 10-12cm in diameter)

I’ve got one of these tiny little frying pans to make them perfectly round but any non-stick pan will do.

Ingredients

Oil for cooking

150g plain flour

2 Tsp baking powder

Pinch salt

300ml chocolate Oatly. You can also use any other non-dairy milk and just add 3Tbsp of cocoa powder to your dry ingredients if you don’t have chocolate milk.

50g raisins (optional)

To serve

Fresh fruit (banana and strawberries are my fave),, maple syrup, crushed nuts or a sprinkling of ground flax seed if you want to add a bit of extra goodness.

Method

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add your milk alternative of choice and raisins if using then whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Heat a little oil in your pan and add a large spoonful of batter. Cook until you can see bubbles on the top, then flip and cook for another couple of minutes until the other side is browned.
  4. Repeat with remaining batter (you can keep the ones you’ve already cooked warm in a low oven if you want to create a stack before eating).
  5. Serve with your choice of toppings.

 

Other recipes you might like:

Easy and Delicious Vegan Banana Bread

Vegan Vanilla and Strawberry Oaty Pancakes

Vegan Chocolate and Banana Oat Muffins

Recipe- Tofu and Veg Satay Stir Fry

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The quickest dinner I make

This is such a tasty midweek dinner and is one of a few vegetable stir-fry sauces I have on rotation. It’s on the table in 15 minutes and is a sure-fire hit, even with toddlers. Just adjust the spice level depending on how hot they like it. The Little Food Critic has just learnt the word “spicy” and likes to proclaim “It a little bit spicy Mummy”, whilst dramatically downing loads of water but she still eats it so I’m pretty sure she likes it quite hot.

Lots of people say they avoid tofu because they’re not sure how to cook it. The joy of this recipe is that the tofu is already pre-pressed and marinated so all you have to do is dump it in the pan with everything else – simple!

So here it is, one of my best vegan stir fries!

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp oil for cooking

Thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed

320g bag stir fry veg (you can just use a load of loose veg instead if you like but this recipe is all about being quick and I find if I buy all the veg separately I end up taking ages chopping it AND end up with some waste, so the bags work for me).

160g pack Cauldron marinated tofu pieces

1 Tbsp peanut butter

1 Tbsp light soy sauce

1 Tsp coconut palm sugar (normal sugar works too)

400g tin of coconut milk

Juice 1 lime

2 x 150g packs of straight to wok noodles (I like the ribbon rice noodles but any others work).

Dried chilli flakes to taste

Crushed salted peanuts to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Heat the oil in the pan, then add the garlic, ginger and tofu and fry until the garlic has softened and the tofu is getting crispy.
  2. Add the stir fry veg and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the noodles and cook until they’ve separated.
  4. Mix together the peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar and lime jiuce, then add to the pan.
  5. Add the cream from the top of the can of coconut milk, plus a little more of the liquid from underneath to loosen the sauce to your taste.
  6. Add chilli flakes to taste, sprinkle with crushed peanuts (if using) and serve!

Other recipes you might like:

Vegan Chickpea “Tuna”

Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Easy And Delicious Vegan Banana Bread

Why “Sleep When The Baby Sleeps” Doesn’t Work For Me

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“Get some rest when the baby is asleep”

It’s an age-old saying that, in theory, makes perfect sense. I’m pretty sure most parents have been advised to “leave the housework” or “don’t worry about anything else” and to SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS.

Now, assuming you have a baby/child that naps for longer than 25 minutes at a time, this strategy is a sensible suggestion. Chances are you’re feeling a hell of a lot more knackered than your pre-children days, especially if your baby doesn’t sleep at night, and taking some time to lay down and catch up on any overnight sleep you’ve missed out on can make the day easier to deal with.

However, this just doesn’t work for me. When my daughter was born two-and-a-half years ago, there used to be times when I was so exhausted I just couldn’t function without a daytime sleep when she did, but it was rare. Now my son is coming up to six months old and I’ve found that the need to sleep has diminished slightly (I guess I’ve just got used to 6 hours a night).  But there are loads of other factors at play here:

  1. Me time I’m breastfeeding, and at the moment, our son isn’t a massive fan of taking a bottle (and by this I mean, he won’t). This means that going out with friends for an evening, or even leaving him for an afternoon, is currently not really an option. So any little snippet of time I get to myself, even if it’s just doing the online food shop or having a cup of tea and watching Judge Rinder (yes, this, I think the man is hilarious) is really precious.
  2. Catching up or getting ahead. On the very rare occasion I manage to get both children to sleep at the same time (now is one of them by the way – parenting holy grail), if I’m feeling motivated to do something more than just drinking tea, the sense of satisfaction I get from catching up with my to-do list (more on this when I explain my new found bullet journal habit) or even making dinner for the evening is immense. Small victories and all that.
  3. Headspace > Sleep. For me, the opportunity to have a hour or so of AWAKE time by myself, whatever I’m doing, is so much more important than an extra hour of sleep (tell me that at 5:30am though and I might be saying something different!). Sleeping somehow feels like “dead” time. I go to sleep, I wake up, and then the parenting starts all over again and I’ve not had a “break”. Whereas if I’m awake, I can really recharge my brain ready for the next round.

I have several friends who absolutely relish a nap wherever they can get one, so I know that this approach isn’t for everyone. But for me it works and I think (I hope) that having a bit of time to do something for myself each day makes me into a more patient parent, and also makes me really appreciate the time my children are awake.

Which camp are you in? Leave me a comment – I’m interested to see if I’m in the minority!

Other posts you might like:

“Me Time” Vs What’s Right For My Baby

Why Having Another Baby Has Made Me Expect Too Much From My Toddler

A Message To The Woman I Met In Pret Today

Recipe – Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

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Here goes!

Since I’ve started posting photos of my vegan recipes on my Instagram feed, loads of people have been asking for me to start publishing them. I’ve been resisting it for a while because frankly, a lot of the stuff I make is just a bit made up, with the only rule being that if I can’t make it with a toddler clinging to my ankle shouting “I WANT A SNACK”, I won’t make it. This means that you’ll see a lot of what cooking purists will call “cheats” but I call “sensible”. If you’re busy but still want to create tasty, interesting, varied meals, don’t be afraid to employ a curry paste, or a ready-made pastry, or falafels that you have’t crafted yourself. It’s still cooking, people, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I also want to show how vegan food isn’t all salads and birdseed. The intention of this blog is not to push this lifestyle on anyone or preach to anyone, converted or otherwise. I just want to share some of the things we love to eat, so whether you’re interested in becoming vegan yourself, want to start adding some more plant-based meals into your diet every now and then, or are just curious about what “us lot” actually eat, you’re very welcome here.

Anyway, onto the recipe! This creamy coconut curry is so easy. It has been a weekly staple in our house for over a year now and I don’t plan on it taking a back seat anytime soon. So here it is, my very first blog post and my very first recipe!

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp oil (I use rapeseed or olive oil)

1 onion, chopped

1 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped or crushed

2 Tbsp Madras Spice Paste (I use Pataks – so you may need to check your jar if using anything different to make sure you’re using the right quantity).

1 red pepper, chopped into chunks

400g tin of chick peas

400g tin full-fat coconut milk

400g tin chopped tomatoes

200g fresh or frozen spinach

Handful of fresh chopped coriander (optional)

To Serve

Basmati rice (add some turmeric to your cooking water for an extra splash of colour)

Naan (we love the Morrison’s Clay Oven Bakery garlic and coriander ones – yes they’re vegan!)

Patak’s aubergine pickle (trust me this is a GAME CHANGER) and mango chutney.

Method

  1. Place the sweet potato in a large pan of boiling water, bring back to the boil and cook for 5 mins, until just tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion, garlic, ginger and curry paste. Cook gently for 4-5 minutes until the onion has softened.
  3. Add the red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the sauce begins to thicken.
  5. Add the chickpeas, spinach and the cooked sweet potato, and keep bubbling away until the spinach has wilted (or if using frozen, until it’s all broken down and heated through).
  6. Add the chopped coriander (if using) and serve with rice and/or naan.

Please let me know if you make this and what you think!

Other recipes you might like:

Veggie Paella 

Tofu and Veg Satay Stir Fry

Lentil and Hidden Veg Pasta Sauce

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