Get in the Romantic mood with a partner or simply treat yourself! This beautiful menu is guaranteed to make any evening special.
Starter: #Carrot and coriander soup accompanied by chunks of love-your-heart tart, a crustless, eggless tomato #quiche.
Main course: The Yogi Veg bowl: a pretty, layered #quinoa and #tofu salad with shredded greens and smoky red pepper sauce.
Dessert trolley: #Glutenfree chocolate hazelnut #cookies, mango #cashew kulfi (a rich, Indian-inspired icecream), twice- baked chocolate cheesecake
Drink: Chia fresca, a refreshing palate-cleanser with a secret energy kick.
The meal just happens to be gluten free; I was going for light yet nourishing. There are protein-packed elements such as Quinoa, chickpea flour, tofu, nuts and superfoods like tomatoes, kale, chocolate and Chia for maximum nutrition and a boost of energy 😉 . I tried to choose recipes with seasonally-available ingredients. (You may have to skip the edible flowers in the Yogi Veg Bowl though.) Hope you think I’ve combined it all into something attractive and yummy!
………………………………………………………..Carrot and coriander soup (serves about 6)
1 kg fresh carrots
200g potato, diced small
2 tabs cold-pressed sunflower oil
1/2 tsp compound hing
2 rounded tabs ground coriander seed
stock made from 1 tab brown rice miso and 1l of water
25g fresh coriander
2 tsps black pepper
seasalt to taste
- Prepare and slice the carrots thinly.
- Cook the potatoes in the oil for 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan, then add the carrots and mix well.
- Stir in the hing and the ground coriander.
- Add the stock, put the lid on your pan and simmer until the veg is soft, adding the fresh coriander at this point.
- Now blitz it in the blender until smooth and return to the pan.
- Add salt and pepper, adjust the liquid if you like, and re-heat gently to serve.
Note: ginger and orange are two flavours that go really well with carrot- you could try adding one or both of these to the soup.
Yogi veg bowl:
You will need:
a shallow pasta bowl,quinoa, tofu, red pepper sauce-recipe below the next picture- roasted spiced pumpkin seeds, mixed beansprouts, tomato wedges, shredded greens, calendula petals
- Cook some organic, fair-trade quinoa and set aside to cool.
- Roast some pumpkin seeds in Tamari soy sauce/ Liquid Aminos and spices of your choice (I used some chilli powder and garam masala.)
- Cube some firm tofu and grill on a baking sheet in a little oil until browned slightly and leave to cool.
- Shred kale/ beetroot greens/ spinach (I used the Magimix, but you can do it by hand with a large, sharp knife).
- You are now ready to assemble the bowl! Start off with the quinoa as the bottom layer.
- Next add a layer of mixed sprouts- I used mung, chickpea and sunflower this time. Pile the goodness high- it’s all about abundance!
- Lay the tomato wedges in a circle and fill in the centre with the shredded greens.
- Scatter generously with the grilled tofu cubes.
- Pour on a lavish helping of red pepper sauce.
- Sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Scatter calendula petals around the edge of the bowl. You now have your very own Yogi Veg Bowl to enjoy!
Red Pepper Sauce (makes just over a 250ml cup; enough for 3- 4 Yogi Veg Bowls):2 medium red bell peppers2 heaped tsps unpasteurised brown rice miso1 tab extra-virgin olive oil1 tab tahini (use raw for a completely raw sauce)1 tab lemon juice1/2 tab sweet smoked paprika1/4 tsp seasalt1/4 tsp black pepper1/4 tsp compound hing- or less if it’s pure hing (use pure to ensure it’s gluten free)
- Puree the peppers in a food processor or blender (such as a Vitamix).
- Add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth and well combined.
- Adjust seasonings if necessary.
- Store in an airtight glass jar in the fridge until you need to use it. If you want to serve this sauce with either pasta or courgette ribbons/ noodles just heat it gently in a small saucepan.
Love your Heart Tart:
1 cup (250ml) gram (aka chickpea/ garbanzo/ baisen) flour
1 tsp seasalt
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1/2 tsp compound hing*
*check it is made with rice flour not wheat flour if you are using this.
1 tsp each dried basil and oregano
a pinch of coarse black pepper
1 tsp gluten free baking powder (such as Dove’s Farm/ Barkat brands)
350ml soya milk
12 black olives, stoned and halved
1/2 a bell green pepper, chopped finely
150-250g (depends on size) cherry or cherry plum tomatoes, halved. (If some or all of them are yellow, you can omit the turmeric to show their colour off.)
- Saute the bell pepper until soft and set aside.
- Whisk together all the ingredients in a large bowl except the gluten free baking powder, gradually adding the soya milk last to avoid lumps.
- Stir in the gluten free baking powder.
- Pour into a damp silicone mould or oiled shallow heatproof dish and place the tomatoes in the batter, cut side downwards so as to give a studded effect. If they are very small you will have to make sure your dish is large so the batter is not so deep that it covers them.
- Bake for about 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 200C until set but not overcooked on top. (Test with a skewer.)
Mango cashew kulfi
Makes about 700g of kulfi, enough for about 5 people.
200g cashew pieces (unsalted)
500g diced fresh ripe mango flesh
- Grind the cashews to a fine powder; as fine as possible so as to achieve a smooth end result.
- Add the diced mango and blend to a puree.
- Put into a tub or bowl and freeze.
Twice baked chocolate cheesecake
1 1/2 cups (1 cup =250ml) millet flour (aka bajri/ ragi)
1 cup ground almonds (grind your own if you can, coarser than the bought ones, and with the skins on)
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
2 tabs date syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- Mix all the ingredients together and press evenly into an oiled springform tin.
- Bake for 190-15 mins in an oven preheated to 150C. Take care not to over-brown the edges.
200g medium-firm tofu (if you make your own like we did, use one litre of soya milk and press for about half an hour)
150g vegan dark chocolate, melted
2 large bananas
2 tabs tahini
1 tab maple syrup
- Melt the chocolate. (Use a microwave or Bain Marie)
- Blitz everything in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. (Alternatively, you could mash and blend by hand.)
- Pile it on top of the base and gently smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake for about 20 minutes at 150C.
2 kiwi fruits
a handful of fresh strawberries
and/ or more dark chocolate
- When the cheesecake is completely cool, decorate with a pattern of sliced fresh fruit.
- You can also sprinkle on grated chocolate.
- For an extra-special look, you could make chocolate curls or chocolate leaves (paint melted chocolate onto fresh rose leaves then peel off).
Chocolate hazelnut cookies
Makes 16 small cookies:
200g ground hazelnuts (leave some bigger bits if you’re doing this yourself, for textural interest)
125g gram flour (chickpea/ garbanzo/ besan)
125ml coconut oil, melted
125g soft light brown raw cane sugar
2 tabs (approx) agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla essence
about 100g vegan dark chocolate
- Mix together the chickpea flour, sugar and ground hazelnuts.
- Add the vanilla to the oil and mix with the flour and nuts.
- Add enough agave to get a dough that will hold together when pressed.
- Divide the dough into 2 and make 2 rolls. Wrap them in clingfilm and refrigerate for about half an hour, or until they’re chilled.
- Carefully slice the rolls of dough into 8 pieces each roll. (Mine came out oval rather than round this time.) They should be 4 or 5 mm thick at this stage.
- Slide them onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and press gently with a spatula to flatten. (It makes a pattern on them too!)
- Bake for about 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 200C. Do not over cook.
- When cool, lift them gently off the baking tray and half dip in melted chocolate, then lay them onto a sheet of baking paper to set
Makes 4 generous servings.
4 cups water (1 cup = 250ml)
4 tabs whole chia seeds
the juice of 8 lemons (or the equivalent amount in limes)
7 tabs agave nectar (traditionally honey is used, but agave nectar is also Mexican)
a few mint leaves and lemon slices to garnish
- Whisk the chia seeds up with the water and set aside for the gel to form.
- Meanwhile, squeeze the lemons and stir in the agave nectar. Agave dissolves really well in liquids, so just a quick stir will probably do.
- Whisk the juice and agave into the chia and water and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint. You might want to stir it in the glass just before drinking to distribute the chia evenly.
A Note from the Author:
I would recommend making the desserts in advance, maybe even the day before, and also prepping the veg bowl stuff like the roasted seeds and the tofu, or the meal will be a lot of work! Readers will also have to scale some of the recipes down if they are cooking a meal for two- shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.