Easy Strawberry Vanilla Vegan Crepes

After the crazy first week of college that I’ve had, I could use a batch of these deliciously light crepes.


Hi! It’s been a while, I know. Quick update: I have since relocated to Philadelphia. Pennsylvania in the USA from Zimbabwe to start college at the University of Pennsylvania! How’s the first few weeks of college been? Insane, wild and fun to put it in a few words. Expect a blog post detailing my experiences to come soon!

Anyways, on to this recipe. I think that crepes are severely underrated and underappreciated. The French really had something going with this one. Crepes can be had as either a breakfast option or a dessert, but the best part of having crepes is that the basic recipe never changes but there is an infinite combination of crepe fillings. I just filled these with cacao macademia spread (a vegan alternative to Nutella) and fresh strawberries but you can go with whatever you like! I’ve previously used lemon curd, strawberry jam and even plain sugar. You can top them with powdered sugar, ice cream, custard, the limits go as far as your imagination!


Strawberry Vanilla Vegan Crepes 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups soy milk (or any other plant based milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp any neutral oil (I used coconut oil but vegetable oil would work too)
  • ½ cup strawberry jam or chocolate spread
  • 100g fresh strawberries, sliced in half

Method

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir together before pouring in the soy milk, vanilla essence and oil. Stir with a fork until just combined. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out it’s okay if there are a few here and there. The batter should be very runny.
  2. Heat a large saucepan on high and brush with some oil. Try not to add to much oil to the pan otherwise the crepe batter will run with the oil. Use a ladle to pour the crepe batter in the saucepan. Swirl the pan around to spread the crepe batter all around the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges of the crepe start to turn up, about 2 minutes, before turning over. Remove the warm crepe to a plate and store in a warm oven so that they don’t get cold. Repeat the process until you’ve used up all the crepe batter.
  3. Once you’ve cooked all the crepes, spread the lighter side of the crepes with some strawberry jam or chocolate spread. Fold the crepes into half and then into quarters before serving topped with the fresh strawberries. Enjoy!
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How to Plan Your Mother’s Day Breakfast In Bed

Greetings all! Welcome to the first of a series of posts that focus on all things outside the kitchen. Think hosting dinner parties, sustainability and food security, DIY projects and basically everything else that’s on my mind. Today, we’ll be talking about setting up an epic breakfast spread for Mother’s Day.


For all my regular readers, you’ll know that I am no stranger to breakfasts in bed. If you’re new around these here parts, I’d just like to say hello, I’m glad you’re here! If you’d like to dig around in my archives, here are my 2 previous breakfast in bed posts, one with lemon ricotta pancakes and the other with berry waffles. Featured in this post are these Carrot Cake Pancakes


There’s nothing much to creating a memorable breakfast in bed, there are just a couple of points to consider whenever you’re planning a breakfast in bed:

  1. Is there anything messy that could ruin your bedsheets?

There is nothing more aesthetically pleasing yet heart wrenchingly terrifying than a photo of a large breakfast spread on stark white bed sheets. Sure, we’d all like to wake up to that, but not all of us would like to then be responsible for the sticky bright orange juice stain on the Egyptian cotton sheets. People with fur babies at home, please be especially cautious about this. I’m not saying that you’re not allowed to enjoy a glass of freshly squeezed OJ at brekkie, I’m just forewarning you of any possible outcomes. The last thing you’d want is to stress your mum about is the clean-up.

Beware of these culprits: maple syrup/honey, fruit juice, tea or any beverages, jam or marmalade.


2. Consider the whole picture

There are 4 elements that I like to include in every breakfast of bed that I plan. These are something sweet, something savoury, something to drink and something pretty. In this particular one, I have these carrot cake pancakes, avocado toast, orange juice and flowers. For aesthetic purposes I have also included a newspaper and a ramekin of strawberries.


To me, breakfast in bed is about providing the hotel experience, lots of choices involved. What separates this from a hotel breakfast (apart from the fact that it’s free) is that this is done from the heart. That means making everything from scratch. This is something I refuse to budge on. You don’t have to create something elaborate, 2 options is better than none. I can almost guarantee that your mother would greatly favour your burnt cinnamon rolls and soggy toast over supermarket croissants. I don’t care how good your local baker is, this is non-negotiable. This is about a gesture of goodwill towards your mother, in the spirit of celebrating her, the least you can do is make an effort.


3. Think about how long it will take to prepare breakfast and plan accordingly

I’m lucky to live in a household where I don’t have to worry about my mother leaving her boudoir until about 10am, leaving me plenty of time to prepare. For those who are not as fortunate, it would do you well to prepare the night before lest you think about waking up at 5 am to have breakfast ready. Due to the simplicity of breakfast in bed, many elements can be prepared the night before and assembly is the only thing left for the morning.


To be done the night before:

  • Cutting and arranging the flowers
  • Wrapping the present and writing the card
  • Preparing any yeasted dough e.g. croissants, kouign amann, cinnamon rolls or bread that can then be baked in the morning
  • Organising the add-ons such as jam, butter, fresh fruit
  • Preparing pancake/waffle batter, though I wouldn’t advise keeping these around for more than 12 hours

Although most recipes let you know how long it will take you to prepare it, give yourself an extra 15 minutes for every hour, so if the recipe says 30 minutes, give yourself about 40 minutes; if it says 2 hours, give yourself 2 hours and 30 minutes. This is just to allow for any unfortunate happenings that may become you when you’re in the kitchen. The last thing you’d want is to keep mum starving.


All these points taken in consideration, you should be set for a stellar Mother’s Day breakfast. I wish you the best of luck for this Sunday! If I missed anything or if you have any more points you’d like to bring up, leave a comment below!

Until next time loves,

x Andy


 

Spinach and Feta Pesto Muffins

This recipe was originally posted on the 9th August 2016, but was updated with new photos and reposted on the 10th of May 2017. For the original photos, scroll to the bottom of this blog post. 

Killer combos: balsamic vinegar + honey, pasta + pesto, spinach + feta

Today, I decided to get you back onto the healthy wagon having tempted you with these killer chocolate chunk cookies, heavenly rich thick milkshakes and perfectly cooked French fries. We’re going to try and be healthy, okay? I’d also like to debunk this myth that healthy and tasty are mutually exclusive. These spinach and feta pesto muffins are everything you could ever want: an extremely light crumb, bursting with flavour in every bite and extremely filling. Loaded with the super food spinach, these could not be any healthier. It just happened to be a coincidence that these muffins are also sugar-free.


Let me dress down this superior vegetable just so you can see how amazing it is.

1. It turns Popeye into a superhuman.

Are you hoping to increase your gains in the gym? They say that abs are built in the kitchen and not the gym, so look no further than this lean green muscle building machine! Spinach: taking Popeye from 0-100 in 0.4 seconds since 1929.

Meal planning tip: make these muffins on a Sunday and freeze them. Defrost as needed for a grab and go breakfast.

2. It’s loaded with all sorts of great things such as iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B2 and folic acid. What that means for you: increased energy, stronger bones and lower blood pressure.

3. It can be used to make these bomb-ass muffins


The only thing I can fault spinach for is how much it shrinks. Uncooked spinach is roughly 25% water. That explains why this happens whilst making these muffins. I used my Simple Spinach and Parmesan pesto  to give these muffins that lovely dark green colour. It only takes 5 minutes to prepare the pesto, but if you’re seriously short on time then you don’t have to make it.


Spinach and Feta Pesto Muffins                                                               makes 10-12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 and ½ cups self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach or 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp spinach pesto, homemade or store bought (optional)
  • ¾ cup feta cheese, cut into cubes

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease 12 muffin cups, you can also line them with parchment paper to give it a more fancy look. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and paprika.
  2. Add the milk, oil and eggs to a separate smaller bowl and whisk until combined. If you’re using fresh spinach, add it to a colander and pour boiling water over the spinach until reduced in size by about 50%. Now squeeze the spinach to get all the water out. By the time you’re done squeezing, the ball of spinach you’ll be left with will be no bigger than a child’s fist. Carefully add the reduced spinach to the egg mixture and stir until the spinach is incorporated. Add the parmesan cheese.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture into the middle. Use a rubber spatula to mix the two together to obtain a thick batter. Drop the tablespoons of pesto into the batter and gently stir it in to yield a dark green colour. Don’t be tempted to mix the pesto completely in, it’s okay if there are streaks of it in the batter.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes before consuming warm. These can also be eaten at room temperature. Store in a cool dry place for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. To reheat, microwave on high for 40 seconds or place in a warm oven at 200°C for 5 minutes.


Chocolate Chai Quinoa Granola Bars

I’m falling in love with chai spice.


There’s something magical about this particular combination of spices. Whether it comes from their insane health benefits, how good they taste together or the fact that it can be applied to any dish and make it 100× better. Especially when there’s chocolate involved.


Enter: these granola bars. Easy grab on the go snacks. They’re perfect just before a workout, during a long road trip or whenever you need a pick-me-up. They’re also ridiculously easy to make. They’re easily customised, so you can add whatever takes your fancy here. I’m talking coconut chips, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit, whatever you like! Need a weekend project? These bars- RIGHT NOW!!!


Chocolate Chai Quinoa Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • ½ cup flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper or aluminium foil, leaving an overhang so that you can remove the bars. In a large bowl, combine the oats, quinoa, almonds, chia seeds, cardamom, pepper, ginger and cinnamon. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl. combine the almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla essence. Microwave for 30 seconds before whisking to combine. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the almond butter mixture into the centre. Use a wooden spoon to fold the wet ingredients into the dry.
  3. Dump the mixture into the square pan and press down into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes or until set and remove to cool. Once the bars have cooled, use the parchment overhang to pull the bars out of the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 bars.
  4. Add the chocolate and coconut oil to a small bowl. Microwave in 20 second increments, whisking after each, until melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the sliced bars. Leave for 5 minutes to set before indulging. Enjoy!

30 Minute Mexican Potato and Kale Anytime Hash

The 30 minute dinner of my dreams.Whenever I’m tired, uninspired or just lazy to cook, this is what I have for dinner. Roasted potatoes cooked in a tomato sauce and topped with a runny poached egg; what more could I want? What I love about this recipe is that it isn’t strict or bound by a set of predetermined rules. Only got sweet potatoes? That’s fine, sub them in. Hate spicy food? Leave the cayenne pepper out. Are you pressed for time? Take a shortcut and fry the potatoes on the stove top instead of roasting them in the oven.

This recipe is full of glorious shortcuts and magical alteration options, you can top it with more fresh herbs, some grated cheese (or nutritional yeast if vegan), sour cream, the options are endless! Go forth my lovelies: cook dinner, take photos, tag me in your photos, I’d love to see what you come up with! Happy weekend!

30 Minute Mexican Potato and Kale Anytime Hash

Ingredients

For the potatoes:

  • 2 Russet potatoes, washed, unpeeled and chopped into bite sized pieces (may sub sweet potatoes)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp each salt and black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground mustard
  • ½ tsp dried oregano

For the hash:

  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chopped kale

optional for serving: poached egg (here’s a handy guide), nutritional yeast, whole grain toast or parmesan cheese

Method

Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F. In a large bowl, throw together all the ingredients for the potatoes and shake until the potatoes are covered in spice. Lay the potatoes in a single layer on a large baking tray and roast for 20 minutes or until browned and crispy on the outside.

Once the potatoes have roasted, heat a deep cast iron pot on high, add a glug of vegetable oil and fry the diced onion until translucent, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat before adding the tomato paste. Cook until the tomato paste has caramelised, being careful not to let it burn, another 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and stir until everything has combined. Add the kale and roasted potatoes to the pot and stir to coat in the sauce. Cook on low heat until the kale has softened, about 5 minutes.

Serve immediately topped with a poached egg (omit if vegan), nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese! Leftovers keep well in the fridge and make a delicious lunch, enjoy!

Simple Apple Pie Breakfast Oatmeal

If anyone ever wanted to know what I eat on a daily basis, this is it.

My go-to breakfast, snack or post-workout meal. In one of my first posts on the blog, I told you all about my (un)healthy obsession with oatmeal. The strange part is that I never really got round to showing you all the wonderful ways in which oatmeal can be consumed. From overnight oats, to granola bars to streusel topped apple cakes, the options are endless!


This recipe could not be easier, if you find yourself in a tough spot in the mornings, then this is the perfect fix. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, so you can easily leave the oats on the stove whilst you shower and get ready for the day and by the time you’re ready to leave, breakfast will be on the table!

Simple Apple Pie Breakfast Oatmeal                                                                        serves 1-2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, grated
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (optional, but I don’t usually find it necessary to sweeten)
  • 1 and ½ cups almond milk

Method

Add all the ingredients to a medium saucepan and stir well with a wooden spoon to combine. Bring the oatmeal to a bowl then reduce heat to low and cook until the oats have absorbed all the liquid, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes

Happy Shrove Tuesday!


Personally, I don’t need an excuse to make pancakes on any day. Soft pillowy cakes of heaven layered with a sweet berry sauce, what could be possibly be better on this planet?!


Last year, I dedicated a post to all things pancakes and gave you my science-backed top tips for the BEST Saturday morning pancakes. Today I decided to incorporate some of those top tips into these luscious pancakes. They are incredibly soft and fluffy as well as being light and airy on the inside. I find that ricotta greatly improves the flavour of pancakes as well as lightening the texture. I made a YouTube video last year about how you can make it at home if your wallet isn’t ready to commit.


A couple of weeks ago I did a Berry Waffles Breakfast In Bed for Valentine’s Day and since then I’ve been itching to do something under the same theme. There’s just something about enjoying  warm comfort food in Egyptian cotton sheets that rings all the bells for me. Lucky for me, there was half a bottle of champagne in the fridge that I could use as a prop here. Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, it doesn’t mean you can’t surprise your loved one this weekend with a romantic gesture. Today is the last day of February, but we still have many more holidays to look forward to such as Mother’s Day, Women’s Day and even looking so far as Thanksgiving! This is the perfect way to express gratitude whether it be to your parents, your lover or even your best friend!


It doesn’t have to be pricey, it’s the thought that counts. I found this wooden tray amongst the other household junk that was thrown out and decided to keep it knowing that it would come in handy later. I harvested a couple of roses from the garden and set them up with a vase and water. We’ve already spoken about the champagne and I just used a ramekin of fresh strawberries and the champagne as decoration. Don’t limit your creativity lovers, inspiration is everywhere!

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes                                                                       serves 4 

Ingredients

For the pancakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk of your choice or buttermilk
  • ½ cup ricotta (may substitute with more buttermilk)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 2 and ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • ½ cup blueberries

For the berry sauce:

  • ½ cup chopped strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cornflour + 1 tsp water

Method

To make the pancakes: 

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, ricotta, lemon juice, butter and vanilla essence until combined. Sift in the flour, baking powder and sugar and gently stir to combine. Drop in the blueberries and gently stir again until the blueberries are evenly distributed. Allow the batter to rest 10 minutes whilst you heat up the frying pan and prepare the berry sauce (instructions below).

Once the frying pan is hot, brush with a little melted butter. Drop the pancake mixture ¼ cup at a time into the hot pan and cook until bubbles start forming on one side before gently flipping over and cooking for another 2 minutes before removing from heat. Repeat until you’ve used up all the batter. Top with berry sauce and enjoy!

To make the berry sauce:

To make the blueberry sauce, add the strawberries, blueberries, maple syrup and lemon juice to a medium saucepan on low heat. Heat gently and once the mixture is at a rolling boil, pour the dissolved cornflour in and stir until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and layer over warm pancakes.