16 September 2017

Kefir and how to make it!

The year I go on a Vegan diet, one of our customers decides to go to Thailand and needs someone to pet sit her live kefir granules, which involves keeping metal away from them, keeping all the utensils for dealing with them extremely clean, I sterilise mine with the coffee machine frother and making sure you feed them and give them milk and also strain the milk off from them.

I was torn between whether to do it or not, I mean, you do have to keep feeding them milk! I decided to see it as a good deed to look after the cultures for someone and not to think it through any further, sometimes trying to make the right decision for the greater good does me head in, so I have to stop trying to work it out like a Rubik's cube puzzle and just solve the one colour instead of the whole thing.

The lady explained to me that she has found the kefir drink that she makes from the granules to be extremely good for your health. Since doing some research on the internet, I have found claims stating that it is full of probiotics and plenty of vitamins. I am not sure if scientific research is available to back up these health claims but seeing as funding would be needed and this is a cheap and easy way to maintain your health, I do not see who would be motivated to provide the funding, unless Dairy Farmers reckon it could be a good idea, due to milk's declining popularity with the rise of veganism and excellent alternatives to milk which taste amazing and are much less calorific. A hot chocolate made with almond milk in our shop for instance is only about 100 calories but with full fat milk it is around 200 calories.

If you want to try the perceived or real health benefits of Kefir for yourself, it is relatively easy to create your own fermented kefir drink, once you have got hold of some live kefir granules. The granules are far better than the powders that you can buy as once you have the live culture it creates many more probiotics and vitamins than the powder and if you look after it properly, the culture will just keep growing and going, whereas with the powders, the culture stops after a few times.

If you do want some fresh, live Kefir granules, you can get some from us and continue to make your own fermented, live yoghurt style drinks at home, with no need to keep purchasing granules again.

You will need the following items:

Wooden Spoon, Nylon Strainer, Kitchen Towels, Tea Cloths, Large Glass or plastic Jar that can hold two pints or more, Elastic Band and a plastic jug that you can keep the kefir drink in that fits in the fridge door, with a cover on.

It's best to have a jar with a plastic lid but if your lid is metal, just put a piece of kitchen towel between the jar and the lid, Kefir granules don't like metal! (I bought my items from our local hardware store Dredge and Male and I hope you choose to shop independent too).

How to create your own kefir:

1/ Place your jar of granules and milk in a warm place/body temperature is best. The milk is just feeding the granules until you are ready to start.

2/ Prepare your equipment, wipe down all surfaces, clean and rinse well all your equipment.

3/ Put the plastic strainer over your special storage jug for the kefir and gently pour the mixture from the jar containing the granules and milk into the seive.

4/ Use the wooden spoon to encourage the milk to drain through into the jug and give a little stir to encourage the liquid to drain through.

5/ When all you are left with in the sieve are granules that looked like well cooked cauliflower, then you know you have finished draining the granules.

6/ The liquid in the plastic jug is kefir and can be drunk as it is or perhaps made into a more palatable concoction, like a cherry smoothie, or something, that is up to you!

7/ The remaining granules in the sieve must then be put into the large jar.

8/ Now pour one and a half pints of WHOLE milk into the jar with the granules and stir with the wooden spoon.

9/ Then place a paper kitchen towel over the top of the jar and secure with an elastic band.

10/ Keep your kefir granules snug and in darkness by wrapping them in a couple of clean tea towels.

10/ Now place the jar wrapped in tea towels in a nice warm place. Around body temperature, remember! (Around 68 to 78 degrees)

11/ After about 24 hours or so, it will be time to drain off the kefir, especially if it has separated into whey at the bottom with liquid and lumps on top.

12/ When draining the kefir, do it as described from step 2 onwards.

Don't Forget:

The Kefir culture does not like metal, do not use metal spoons or sieves and do not allow metal lids to contact the kefir.

The warmer the temperature that you store the culture at, the more quickly it will ferment.

DON'T drink the granules, that will mean you haven't got your starter culture and you will have to get some more!

The culture will grow and you will then be able to share some with your family and friends, so that they too can make their own fermented milk drinks.

Please make sure that you send them the link for this blog, so they can follow these easy instructions.

20 July 2017

The Dark Side Anti Unicorn Smoothie! A Deep Dark Vegan Smoothie full of Goodness!

This smoothie comes out looking so deep and dark and is rich in goodness. There's only so many Unicorn Hot Chocolates a girl can cope with in one day, so I've created the complete antithesis to the Unicorn Food Trend, this is my backlash, in a splash! Sometimes, I just can't keep that rebellious streak down. 

So to feed the rebel in you and escape the sweet light pinks and prettiness of all things unicorn, sip on this!

Before I go and make one of these delicious creations for myself, here's the recipe so that you can make one too!

The Dark Side, Anti-Unicorn Smoothie

1/ Throw the following ingredients into a blender:

A handful of frozen cherries.
A handful of frozen banana
One and a half tablespoons of Spirulina
Half an avocado
One Tablespoon of Raw Cacao Powder
Half a tablespoon of Agave Sweetner
250ml of Almond Milk

2/ Whizz it altogether and you get a really dark, almost black smoothie that tastes AMAZING! 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 204
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4 g6 %
Saturated Fat 0 g2 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 386 mg16 %
Potassium 789 mg23 %
Total Carbohydrate 27 g9 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g24 %
Sugars 22 g
Protein 3 g7 %
Vitamin A35 %
Vitamin C16 %
Calcium65 %
Iron13 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

11 July 2017

Unicorn Vegan Natural Hot Chocolate Recipe!

I like natural food, natural healthy food, without food colouring. Food that you can see what it's made from, cakes that are easy to make, no icing, or marzipan, or layers of rainbows, or thick dollops of cream, I like my drinks the same, uncomplicated gorgeousness. I am completely against those hot chocolates that other people seem to love, those ones made with powder, topped with spray cream, sprinkled with sweets and stuff. Yuck! It all seems a bit too elaborate and a bit too over the top and it just looks very, very bad for you it seems tacky and unhealthy. So, when the Unicorn food fashion for rainbowed items came along, I thought I'd just hold my breath, continue making my black bean brownies and simple hot chocolates and wait for it to go away. I was pleased to see in one of the Sunday Times magazines their barometer pointed to the Unicorn trend going down! Yippee!

What happened then and why was I inspired to create my Vegan, Unicorn Hot Chocolate?

What happened was the weather! After several sunny days, we woke up to a dull overcast day, with rain on and off through the day. One of the first things that I thought this morning was, 'This is a hot chocolate kind of day'. I am still continuing my plant based diet, since Veganuary and this hot chocolate had to be Vegan, mostly healthy and taste deliciously comforting and it had to be sparkly too. First of all, I created a spirulina based hot chocolate with cashew nut butter and although I enjoyed it and so did my children and even Miranda, of Ido-Vintage, a very cute Vintage shop down the road from us, had one and thought it was delicious and I have to say she was instrumental in inspiring me to experiment with colourful Unicorn stuff in the first place! Today, however some new ingredients came in from a new supplier and now instead of using spirulina to create a mint green colour, I'm using beetroot powder to create the deeply pink topping and edible flowers! So, if you want to make one of these as a treat for yourself at home, here's how you do it!

Mini Unicorn Vegan Hot Chocolate

1/ Into a small cup place the following:

1 teaspoon of melted Cacao Butter
1 teaspoon of Agave Nectar

2/ Mix together well.

3/ Warm and froth up around 100ml of almond milk.

4/ Pour the almond milk into the mug and make sure it is foamy on top.

5/ Top with a little Beetroot Powder and  Golden Chocolate Powder.

6/ Of course, if you want to you can treat yourself to some vegan sprinkles and really go to town but I would prefer to sprinkle some edible flowers on top.

Take lots of pictures and post them everywhere.

Then sit back and enjoy.

Oh and I have to tell you, that my two boys loved this hot chocolate! Absolutely loved it and so do I, which is a first in a long time, for us all to enjoy the same thing! I might not have mentioned that the deep pink stuff on top is beetroot powder!

Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 141
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7 g11 %
Saturated Fat 3 g14 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 136 mg6 %
Potassium 198 mg6 %
Total Carbohydrate 19 g6 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g5 %
Sugars 1 g
Protein 2 g3 %
Vitamin A0 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium26 %
Iron0 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

8 July 2017

Chocolate Beetroot Lavender Brownies Recipe. Vegan.

Some recipes are so complicated, aren't they and they use oil, which is highly calorific and refined sugars and eggs and so on but these brownies are completely Vegan, refined sugar-free and have no oil or dairy products in.

Also, I find the way that recipes are usually written,  are not the way that I like to follow them! Normal procedure is to mention the pre-heated oven somewhere in the middle when you need to put the batter in, instead of mentioning the pre-heated oven as one of the first things you should do. So, here's my recipe, written as I and I am sure, any logically-minded person would like to follow them.

1/ Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2/ Take a 9" x 9" square brownie tin, line with grease proof paper.

3/ Place the following ingredients into a blender:

1 x Cup of Sliced Cooked Beetroot

1 x Cup and 2 x Tablespoons of Buckwheat Flour

1 x Cup of Raw Cane Sugar

Half a Cup of Cocoa powder.

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 a teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda

1 x teaspoon of Doves Farm Gluten Free Baking Powder.

1 x teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

A pinch of ginger.

Half a cup of water.

4/ Blend it all together, I use the smoothie setting on my blender.

5/ Smash up a bar of Seed and Bean Lavender Chocolate and stir it into the mix.

6/ Then pour the whole mixture into the brownie tin and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, carefully cover the pan with foil and cook for another 10 minutes. 

Don't forget, you can buy all the ingredients you need in our shop, online and instore.

Enjoy but if you can't be bothered to make them yourself, just pay us a visit in Shepton Mallet and we will make them for you.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 9.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 206
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g1 %
Saturated Fat 0 g0 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 154 mg6 %
Potassium 0 mg0 %
Total Carbohydrate 35 g12 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g8 %
Sugars 24 g
Protein 2 g4 %
Vitamin A0 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium0 %
Iron0 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.