MEAT CONSCIOUS CHALLENGE // Life

  The 15th to the 21st is the national Vegetarian week, so I think this is the perfect time to start taking an active interest in your meat intake.

I purposely haven’t titled this the ‘meat free challenge’ or forcing anyone to go vegetarian for the week, but as a start I challenge everyone to think about where your food is from, how it’s been produced, how far it’s come, as well as how nutritious is it for you. These are the three top tips I’d start with to help you.

1) WHERE – only buy free range, local, meat from the butchers.

2) HOW MUCH – instead of making meat the main part of a meal, try out new recipes that focus more on full flavoured beans, lentils, rice, potatoes, and vegetables.
3) WHY – the most common reason people eat meat is because it’s what they’ve been raised with, so try asking your parents/ siblings/flatmates to join you buy limiting your meat to say once a day.
  And if it’s because ‘vegan food costs so much’ then you just need to look at the price of a tin of beans, and the price of a steak to know that this really shouldn’t be an excuse.
Another of the common myths about vegetarianism is that you ‘eat like no protein’. Again, this is completely inaccurate and you only have to Google meat free sources of protein to find there is an abundance – try things like Quorn, beans, lentils, quinoa, plant based protein powder, soya yogurt, and tofu.

For the best places to eat out vegetarian on this week, check out this great post by Morgan, as well as my local Norwich restaurant reviews.

Pop up shops (run every month)

No33 Cafe

Roots

Wild Thyme

  

  

  
I hope this next week encourages people to try reduce their meat, and maybe even progress to reducing their dairy intake, and try some more delicious vegetarian/vegan meals.

 

VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE // Recipe


Mousses traditionally use whipped egg whites, caster sugar whisked with egg yolks, chocolate and whipped cream, so it’s easy to see why this is such a delicious well loved dessert.However, this recipe manages to replicate that airy, smooth perfection using just three ingredients – silken tofu, cocoa powder and dark chocolate.

Silken tofu has less water pressed out of it then the traditional tofu that you would use in stir fries etc, but it’s still a great source of protein as well as have an almost neutral taste making it perfect to add with other flavours.

You can also custom the basic mousse with any flavours you like;

black forest – stewed black cherries with shaved dark chocolate

chocolate orange – add zest of 1 orange and decorate with candied orange peel

matchmakers – add 1/4tsp of mint extracts and decorate with crystallized mint leaves

  

 

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15minutes + 1 hour chilling
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A light, airy, yet luxurious mousse completely egg, cream and milk free.

Ingredients

350g silken tofu

4level tbsp cocoa powder (or 2tbsp cacao)

50g dark chocolate, 70% +, melted and cooled slightly

50g raspberries

30g hazlenuts

Directions

  1. Melt the dark chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmer water, or in the microwave in 20 second blasts, until smooth and glossy, then leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain the liquid from the silken tofu.
  3. Add to the blender (or nutribullet) with the cocoa and melted chocolate.
  4. Divide between the two glasses or bowls, leave to set for 1 hour.
  5. Decorate as you wish (I toasted some hazelnuts in an oven for 15minutes at 180C, then chopped them and sprinkled them over with some raspberries).

This will keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

 

 

 

 

PERFECT CARROT CAKE // Recipe

Carrot cake is my family’s all time favourite cake, and being competely unbias the carrot cake at No33 Cafe is the BEST you will ever buy. I’ve used this as the basis for mine, but made a couple of slight changes to suit it to my exact tastes. It’s also incredibly easy to make, and has got carrots in so pretty much counts as one of your 5-a-day.

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170g/6oz caster sugar

55g/2oz dark brown sugar

3 medium eggs (or vegan egg replacement or 1/2 cup apple sauce + 60ml extra oil)

175ml oil (sunflower, vegetable or coconut)

3/4tsp vanilla extract

225g/8oz self raising flour

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tsp cinnamon

200g/70z (around 3 large) carrots, peeled and grated

50g/1.75oz handful of raisins (optional)

Icing –

2 tubs of mascapone OR 2 tubs vegan cream cheese

up to 50g/2oz icing sugar, sifted

drop of vanilla extract

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Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Whisk the eggs and both sugars together in a large bowl until well combined, then add in the oil, vanilla, sift in the dry ingredients, and beat everything together.

Split the batter between two 8 inch cake pans lined with grease proof paper and oil.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until when inserted with a cake skewer it comes out with just a few crumbs, and leave to cool on a rack.

For the icing, gently beat the mascarpone or vegan cream cheese until smooth, then add the vanilla, sifted icing sugar and fold in gently.

If the icing is too runny, place it in the fridge for an hour until it hardens.

When the cake is cool and the icing is ready, spread half of the icing onto one cake with a knife (palette knifes are particularly great at this), then repeat with the next layer of cake. Grate some extra carrrot on top to decorate, and serve.

This keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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CHOCOLATE COVERED MARZIPAN // Recipe

 Marzipan is definitely a love or hate it kinda thing, but these tiny little treats are more popular then the thick strip everyone picks off from their Christmas cake. I made these using the left over ready to roll marzipan from decorating our own cake, but you can make your own if you’re feeling really adventurous. 

  

Ingredients:

200g marzipan

50g chocolate of choice (I used a mix of 70% dark and dark orange chocolate)

Handful of icing sugar 

Decorations of choice (eg. Holly leaves, red balls, sprinkles)

If you’re using flavored chocolate, you may want to decorate them to reflect this (e.g. Orange zest as I did, crushed candy canes for mint chocolate, chopped dried cherry for cherry chocolate) 

 Dust a clean working surface with icing sugar, then roll out the marzipan to about 2mm thin, ensuring you regularly turn it and dust the pin as well so nothing sticks.

Using a variety of cooking cutters, cut out the shapes, place them on a tray of grease proof paper and gather up the left over and re roll it until you have used up as much as you can. 

Leave them to harden up slightly for ten minutes in the fridge while you get the chocolate and decorations ready.

Break the chocolate into small pieces, then melt it over a ban Mari or microwave in 20 seconds bursts, stirring between each so it doesn’t burn.

Using a spoon, paint the melted choocate on the shapes in whatever fashion you wish (I went for the ‘half dip’ style, and rustic drizzle). After each one, sprinkle or place the decorations of your choice before the chocolate sets.

Leave them all on the tray to harden for around 1 hour back in the fridge, then you can layer them up and keep them in the fridge for up to one month!

These are great to tie up with ribbon and give as edible gifts, and you just even pierce holes in the top of them and hang them on the Christmas tree! (Although I would recommend using cooking chocolate if so, as this hardens better).

  

I also used the left over chocolate to dip some nuts and dried fruit in; equally delicious and quite pretty in pictures.