RECIPE: Gluten Free/Vegan Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Courgetti Salad using Sacla’ Free From Basil Pesto

My new year’s resolution for 2017 was quite simple really: to eat more of what makes me happy. Sometimes that might mean a pizza, but other times it might mean a hearty serving of my nourishing gluten free/vegan Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Courgetti Salad

Gluten Free/Vegan Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Courgetti Salad

January often means restriction for so many people when it comes to food. That’s why I decided to never simply turn to eating less in order to reach a healthier me. I’m a firm believer that restriction can only ever be temporary at best, whereas adopting a healthier lifestyle can easily be maintained for life.

To me, a healthier lifestyle means that whenever I feel like treating myself with my favourite comfort food, I relish the occasion without having to feel guilty about going against my ‘diet’.  But other days, you’ll find me in the kitchen creating something truly revitalising like my pesto and sun-dried tomato courgetti salad with some delicious Sacla’ Free From Basil Pesto.

Gluten Free/Vegan Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Courgetti Salad

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and Mark’s Mum got me this awesome spiralizer (I’m a little late to the party I know!) which has allowed me to experiment with something a little more exotic than pasta. After spiralizing every vegetable known to man, I fell in love with the endless variety of possibilities that merely switching in some spiralized veggies could achieve. Me and Mark always enjoy cooking together in the kitchen for dinner, but when it comes to making lunch for one, I’m definitely guilty of falling into the same old gluten free sandwich every day.

I often struggle to liven up my lunch beyond a simply gluten free sandwich (not exactly nutritious or exciting is it?!) so I’ve decided to opt for taking a little lunchbox of sunshine with me to work every day. I’m always in a hurry in the morning so obviously, I don’t want to be cooking up a storm, leaving a path of culinary destruction waiting for me when I get home. Also, lunch for me has gotta be quick and ideally, possible to make whilst brushing my teeth with one hand! So how is it possible to whip up such a beautiful looking dish with limited time in the morning? It’s simple, I assure you!

Gluten Free/Vegan Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Courgetti Salad

Sacla’s Free From Basil Pesto has long-since been a staple item in our store cupboard. We always crack open a jar when it comes to meals in the evening like pesto tuna with gluten free linguine or pesto cheesy garlic bread and loads of other endless variations. With Mark not being able to eat dairy, pesto used to be off the menu for both of us so it’s no surprise we’ve fallen in love with the wonderful, intense flavour (and undeniable convenience) of Sacla’s Free From Basil Pesto.

That’s why I find it so easy in the morning to whip up a quick batch of pesto and sun-dried tomato courgetti salad whilst still having time to enjoy a few  vlogs with my cereal (bonus points if you’ve already spiralized your courgetti the night before!) I promise you’ll really enjoy digging into this recipe every lunchtime and I hope you’ll join me in my search for a healthier lifestyle that’s easy, convenient and sticks well beyond 2017 šŸ™‚

Gluten Free/Vegan Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Courgetti Salad
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Ingredients
  1. * 1/3 of a jar of Sacla' Free From Basil Pesto
  2. * 250g Courgette, spiralised
  3. * Handful of pine nuts, lightly toasted
  4. * Sundried tomatoes (I used 4 chopped)
  5. * Cherry tomatoes, halved (as many as you like!)
  6. * Handful of fresh basil leaves
  7. * 1/4 Lemon, squeezed
Instructions
  1. 1) Slightly soften your courgetti in a frying pan/wok, this literally takes a couple of minutes. I often find that I don't need to even use any oil, as there is lots of moisture within courgette anyway. However, you could add a touch of garlic infused oil if you wish for flavour.
  2. 2) Remove your courgetti from the heat and stir in your basil pesto. I allow the courgetti to cool at this stage.
  3. 3) Place the courgetti and pesto into your serving dish and mix in your fresh basil leaves, cherry tomatoes and sundried tomatoes.
  4. 4) Sprinkle on a few toasted pine nuts.
  5. 5) Season with salt, pepper and squeeze a little lemon on top.
  6. 6) Enjoy!
Notes
  1. You don't have to cook your courgetti at all if you don't want to, I just prefer it slightly softened.
Gluten Free Blogger, Becky Excell, UK | Gluten Free Cuppa Tea http://glutenfreecuppatea.co.uk/
Gluten Free/Vegan Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Courgetti Salad

So there you have it my gluten free/vegan Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Courgetti Salad. It’s super simple to make and is so flavoursome. I literally never thought a salad could quite be so delicious. The Sacla’ Free From Basil Pesto is great for this, but as I mentioned earlier it’s great for so many other dishes too – I’d love it if you guys shared with me your favourite dishes that include pesto, I’d love to try some more pesto dishes too! Of course let me know if you get the chance to try out my gluten free/vegan Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Courgetti Salad too, just drop a comment below, or on Facebook/Twitter.

Thanks for reading,

Becky xxx

RECIPE: Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls (Dairy Free & Vegan) using Jus-Rol Gluten Free Puff Pastry

Nothing beats a delicious sweet pastry in my opinion. I thought today I would attempt one of my favourites: gluten free cinnamon rolls! These gluten free cinnamon rolls are not only gluten free, they are also dairy free & vegan cinnamon rolls… everyone can eat them!

It’s been years since I last had cinnamon roll. The smell of fresh cinnamon rolls seems like a distant memory from the bakery where I used to go after school. I’ve tried my best to make gluten free cinnamon rolls with other gluten free puff pastry in the past but the results have always left me a little disappointed.

gluten free cinnamon rolls

They always lacked the flaky and lovely light texture which I adored, so when Jus-Rol‘s brand new gluten free puff pastry hit the shelves, I’m sure you’ll understand my initial hesitation. But just holding Jus-Rol‘s pastry and thinking of all the endless possibilities I could create was too exciting to pass up! Obviously, the first thing that sprang to mind was my childhood favourite… cinnamon rolls! But would gluten free cinnamon rolls live up to my expectations?

gluten free cinnamon rolls

The pastry was extremely easy to work with and shape into little rolls of pure joy. I didn’t have any issues I’d experienced previously with gluten free pastry – it wasn’t brittle at all and I didn’t experience any untoward stickiness. It’s literally a case of unroll and you’re ready to rock’n’roll! I’m a massive fan of any product that makes baking convenient and easy and Jus-Rol ticks all the boxes for me. But what about the most important thing… the taste test?

gluten free cinnamon rolls

The wonderful smell of cinnamon rolls wafting around my kitchen already got my hopes extremely high as they basked in the oven. After letting them cool and drizzling a healthy dose of glace icing for a little added wow factor, I had everything crossed that they would be every bit as glorious as I remember – and they were! I shared them with my Mum and Dad when they came to visit our new house and they were in every bit of agreeance!

You’ve got to try my gluten free cinnamon rolls, not just because they mindblowingly delicious, but also because you can whip up a batch so quickly! With a pack of gluten free Jus-Rol in hand, you’re ready to read on below…

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls (Dairy Free & Vegan)
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Ingredients
  1. * 1 packet of Jus-Rol gluten free puff pastry
  2. * ground cinnamon
  3. * soft brown sugar
  4. * icing sugar
  5. * vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. 1) Remove your gluten free pastry from the fridge and packaging for around 5 minutes.
  2. 2) Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  3. 3) Prepare a baking tray with some baking paper.
  4. 4) Place your sheet of gluten free puff pastry on a lightly floured (gluten free!) board.
  5. 5) Spread a thin layer of soft brown sugar across the entire sheet.
  6. 6) Sprinkle some cinnamon on top of this (as much or as little as you like, I went for loads!)
  7. 7) Tightly roll up the pastry sheet with the sugar & cinnamon within.
  8. 8) Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into even pieces.
  9. 9) Gently lift each piece up and place on the baking sheet swirl facing up.
  10. 10) Bake in the oven for around 15 - 20 minutes, until they look golden & done!
  11. 11) Allow to cool.
  12. 12) Drizzle with some icing (for the icing pour your icing sugar into a bowl and gradually stir in some water + a teeny bit of vanilla extract until its the right consistency - not too runny - it should slowly fall off a spoon)
  13. 13) They're ready to eat, enjoy!
Gluten Free Blogger, Becky Excell, UK | Gluten Free Cuppa Tea http://glutenfreecuppatea.co.uk/
gluten free cinnamon rolls

So there you have it my dairy free, vegan & gluten free cinnamon rolls. They are simple, delicious & the perfect quick bake. They take so little time to create yet are somewhat impressive. When I’ve made these for other people they think I’ve spent all afternoon in the kitchen baking them, when really it took under 30 minutes!

Let me know if you get the chance to make my gluten free cinnamon rolls. Iā€™d also love to know how you got on with them. I’d also love to know if you have any other ideas for pastries I could make with the gluten free / vegan Jus-Rol pastry… I’m thinking gluten free maple and pecan plaits! Just drop a comment below if you have any ideas, or on Facebook/Twitter. A massive thank you to Jus-Rol for creating such a delicious product, thanks for thinking of us gluten free folk and also the dairy free & vegan amongst us too!

Thanks for reading,

Becky xxx

RECIPE: Homemade Crunchy Dairy Free Nutella (Vegan, Gluten Free, No Refined Sugar, Healthy!)

Finding a dairy free nutella that both Mark and I can eat has been an impossibility, so I decided to make my own. This recipe is for not only a dairy free nutella but it’s also a vegan nutella, a refined sugar free nutella & a gluten free nutella. It’s also got an optional (but for me essential!) crunchy twist!

dairy free nutella vegan gluten free refined sugar free healthy

I’ve been meaning to put this recipe up for so long now. I first started making it when I was living in Manchester and now it’s just a staple thing I make on the regular for Mark & I. Ever since Mark realised dairy wasn’t for him he pestered me to try and create a dairy free nutella & obviously being the kind girlfriend that I am… I took up the challenge! 

In addition to it being a dairy free nutella, I wanted to ensure that I could also enjoy it so I also decided to try and reduce the refined sugar content in it. Instead of overloading it with refined sugars I used a pure Canadian maple syrup (unrefined sweetness!) and raw cacao powder (seriously cacao powder is a great ingredient to have in your cupboard I cannot recommend it enough). So yes, not only did I make this a dairy free nutella but also a refined sugar free nutella, you could almost call it a healthy nutella!

dairy free nutella vegan gluten free refined sugar free healthy

Whilst nutella is usually a smooth spread I have always been a fan of spreads for my toast having texture as well as taste. For instance it has got to be crunchy peanut butter for me & jam has to be full of fruity bits. Because of this I decided to make my dairy free nutella also a crunchy nutella as well. I mean, it really is down to preference and it is very easy to remove the crunchiness from this recipe if you prefer it smooth, but just try it… I know you’ll like it!

We enjoy this dairy free nutella on the regular purely because it is so easy to make. There are so few ingredients… if you exclude water my dairy free nutella is a 3 ingredient recipe… quite a few less ingredients than is on the back of a regular jar of chocolate spread. I’ve learnt over the past few years how stupidly simple it is to make your own spreads and nut butters just by blending nuts with a super strong food processor. The taste is so much better and enjoying it is so much more satisfying knowing that you made it. I’ve recently got people eating my dairy free nutella who would never in a million years ordinarily eat shop bought stuff, it’s great!

Anyway, the recipe is below… it’s super simple. Just remember a strong food processor like a Magimix is important for this & also as a vegan nutella I find it lasts better if you keep it in the fridge.

Homemade Crunchy Dairy Free Nutella (Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Healthy)
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Ingredients
  1. * 200g whole hazelnuts
  2. * 1.5 tbsp raw cacao powder
  3. * 80ml maple syrup
  4. * 80ml water
  5. * 100g chopped hazelnuts (optional & you can vary this amount too)
Instructions
  1. 1) Place your whole hazelnuts on a baking tray & bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 180degrees. (I usually use hazelnuts with the shell on and they peel off easily after they come out the oven, but you can definitely just use whole hazelnuts without the skin on instead).
  2. 2) Allow your hazelnuts to fully cool.
  3. 3) Place them in a super strong food processor and blend for around 10 minutes until they become almost like a spread. (I use my Magimix whenever I need to break down nuts)
  4. 4) After 10 minutes add the cacao powder and maple syrup to your hazelnuts & blend again, ensuring that the cacao, maple syrup & hazelnuts are fully combined.
  5. 5) Next, very gradually add your water, do this a little at a time blending as you go. Again, make sure everything is fully combined.
  6. 6) For a crunchy nutella mix in your chopped hazelnuts at this stage, I mix mine in just with a spoon and it works really nicely.
  7. 7) Pour your dairy free / vegan nutella into the jar you want to keep it in & store in the fridge until you want to use it!
  8. 8) Enjoy on toast, pancakes, off the spoon & in lots of different recipes!
Notes
  1. You can make my dairy free nutella without the crunchy bits if you prefer smooth nutella, just don't stir in the chopped hazelnuts at the end.
Gluten Free Blogger, Becky Excell, UK | Gluten Free Cuppa Tea http://glutenfreecuppatea.co.uk/
dairy free nutella vegan gluten free refined sugar free healthy

We use dairy free nutella for plenty of different meals whether that is just having some of toast or even better spread over pancakes alongside some fresh bananas and strawberries. It’s great with ice cream and also can be used in a range of different recipes (my gluten free, dairy free & vegan ferrero rocher is a good one that you might like to try!) Alternatively, if you can’t wait for other things to cook, I advise just eating it off a spoon, I do this far too often, shhh!

dairy free nutella vegan gluten free refined sugar free healthy

So there you have it, my dairy free nutella recipe which also happens to be a vegan nutella, a refined sugar free nutella (some might call it a healthy nutella!) oh & of course, it wouldn’t be on the blog if it wasn’t gluten free as well! Let me know if you give it a try, trust me, once you’ve made it you won’t be able to stop. If you let friends try it, they will want you to make it for them as well. I’m just a bit in love with this recipe and I’m so happy to finally share it with you all! Any questions etc, just drop a comment below, or on Facebook/Twitter.

Thanks for reading,

Becky xxx

RECIPE: Vegan & Gluten Free Satay Noodles

One of my favourite Asian dishes is satay noodles. However, many are not suitable for those unable to eat gluten. That’s why I created my very own gluten free satay sauce – it’s perfect to put into my gluten free satay noodles. The flavours in this dish are so delicious it’s the perfect vegan satay meal too. It’s up to you whether you want to put meat in or not.

I absolutely love satay. Essentially, to me it seems like I’m just getting to cover my food in a spicy peanut butter! Actually, that doesn’t make it sound all that great, but it is! I hadn’t really eaten a lot of satay dishes until sometime last year, but now I am addicted.

A turning point for me with satay was visiting Amsterdam. For some reason Amsterdam seems to be the home of satay… for one there seems to be an influx of Indonesian restaurants, but as well as that, a huge amount of eateries seem to offer satay as standard. I don’t know why they do, but I visiting Amsterdam is even more awesome as a result! (On that note… check out my Guide to Eating Gluten Free in Amsterdam!)

Anyway, a good satay sauce will usually contain soy sauce which of course isn’t gluten free as standard. So, to make a gluten free satay sauce you will require some gluten free soy sauce (very accessible these days!). Other than that, all you need is some good quality peanut butter, coconut milk, a little garlic infused oil & some chilli to taste.. it tastes great with a bit of a kick.

gluten-free-vegan-satay-noodles

In terms of noodles, I like to buy noodles fresh which you can do in Tesco. Rice noodles are the way forward, & you can use the very thin ones or flat ones. Personally, I prefer flat noodles, so I usually go for them.

Veg wise, literally go mad (or not), choose whatever you fancy. As I mentioned this can very easily be both a vegan satay noodles recipes & a gluten free satay noodles recipe, but… it can also just as easily contain chicken. Chicken Satay in my opinion is delicious so feel free to give that a try too!

So, lets get stuck into this very simple recipe for gluten free satay noodles!

Gluten Free Satay Noodles
Delicious Gluten Free Satay Noodles with the option of having it veggie/vegan or with chicken!
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Ingredients
  1. 150g Peanut Butter
  2. 1 Tsp Gluten Free Soy Sauce
  3. 200ml Coconut Milk
  4. 1 Tsp Garlic Infused Oil
  5. 1 Tsp Chilli Paste (or finely chopped chilli) to taste
  6. Flat Rice Noodles (I buy mine fresh in Tesco)
  7. Stir Fry Vegetables (Whatever you fancy, I used 1/2 Carrot & a handful of Mange Tout)
  8. Generous handful of Bean Sprouts
  9. Crushed Peanuts (for serving)
  10. Chilli Flakes (for serving)
  11. Lime
  12. 2 Chicken Breasts (optional)
Instructions
  1. 1) Mix together your peanut putter, gluten free soy sauce, garlic infused olive oil, chilli paste & coconut milk in a bowl. (You can add some extra chilli flakes for a little extra heat if you fancy!)
  2. 2) Pour your mixture into a small saucepan & heat gently for about 10 minutes until reduced a little, but not too thick. (Keep warm on a very low heat till needed)
  3. 3) Heat up your wok & add the peanut oil.
  4. 4) Once heated, add your stir fry vegetables (if you are using chicken add at this stage chicken and cook until sealed)
  5. 5) Once vegetables are to the level you like them cooked, add your rice noodles. Leave to cook for a few minutes, tossing them in the wok with your veg all the time.
  6. 6) Next pour over your satay sauce, stir it into your noodles & veg. (I often find it easiest to use chop sticks or tongs to move the noodles around to make sure the satay sauce spreads and is well incorporated) Cook at this point for a couple of minutes.
  7. 7) Add a handful or two of bean sprouts, cook for a further minute or so.
  8. 8) Take off the heat & serve immediately.
  9. 9) I like to squeeze lots of fresh lime juice, add some crushed peanuts & chilli to the top.
  10. 10) Enjoy!
Gluten Free Blogger, Becky Excell, UK | Gluten Free Cuppa Tea http://glutenfreecuppatea.co.uk/
vegan-gluten-free-satay-noodles

So there you have it, this is such a simple recipe that is very quick to rustle up. It’s perfect for a quick dinner after work, but equally it makes for a delicious meal if you have friends coming round. I guarantee they will be impressed. I’ve made this for a few people & they all love it.

Let me know if you get the chance to try out my gluten free satay noodles. It’s certainly a firm favourite in our dinner menu schedule! What’s a firm favourite dinner in your house? Share your recipes! Just drop a comment below, or on Facebook/Twitter.

Thanks for reading,

Becky xxx

Ombar buttons… The Best Vegan and Dairy Free Chocolate Ever?!

After Becky’s recent trip to London, she came back with two humble packets of Ombar’s vegan and dairy free chocolate buttons. Not only am I lucky, but now I also have chocolate!

As a massive fan of Dairy Milk buttons (well, an ex-fan since being lucky enough to join the lactose intolerant club) I couldn’t believe my tastebuds when I tried a few cheeky coconut milk chocolate buttons courtesy of Ombar. How could dairy-free chocolate taste this good?!

ombar-dairy-free1

I’ve tried a lot of dairy-free and vegan chocolate in my time and most of it fits on the scale somewhere between bitter dark chocolate and unexciting plain chocolate… long story short: not exactly a taste sensation. However, Ombar’s vegan and dairy free chocolate buttons are on their own insanely amazing scale altogether! Oh, & of course they are gluten free too, as are all Ombar products.

ombar-dairy-free-chocolate-buttons

Ombar’s vegan and dairy free chocolate buttons actually have an intense creamy quality that (basically all) dairy-free chocolate lacks. Because of this, these delicious buttons aren’t rock solid either; I can’t count the amount of times I’ve struggled to bite into dairy-free chocolate. My dentist will most certainly be pleased that I’ve finally found Ombar!

ombar-dairy-free

In short, I retract any statement where I claimed that I enjoyed any dairy-free chocolate in the past and instead tell you all this: go and try Ombar’s vegan and dairy free chocolate buttons! Stop wasting time reading this when you could either be a) Spending your time finding Ombar’s chocolate buttons or b) Eating Ombar’s chocolate buttons. Get out of here!

Let us know if you have enjoyed any Ombar products or if you have a different favourite dairy free chocolate! Leave a comment below, or on Facebook/Twitter.

Cheers,

Mark x

Looking for a Vegan Chocolate bar? Introducing Vego!

Looking for a dairy-free and vegan chocolate bar? When you tell someone you’re looking forward to a delicious vegan snack, you wouldn’t half blame them for imagining that you’re about to munch on a sprig of broccoli.

Vego: Vegan Chocolate barBut thankfully for us, Vego’s Hazelnut Jumbo Chocolate Bar ensures that us lactose intolerants and vegans don’t necessarily lose out when losing the dairy.

First off, no image online does this modest looking chocolate bar justice – it’s big. It’s about twice the size of any standard chocolate bar and twice as thick, packed with hazelnuts among solid blocks of rich chocolate. Where most dairy-free and vegan chocolate bars fail, Vego’s Hazelnut Chocolate Bar exceeds expectations; it may seem obvious, but this bar actually tastes like chocolate. Not soy. Not cocoa butter. Not rice milk. It actually tastes like chocolate.

Not convinced? Here’s a little more on Vego from the German brand themselves:

We only use exclusive high-quality ingredients such as fine Italian hazelnut paste, hazelnut cocoa cream and whole hazelnuts that we blend together in a unique process to create your “Vego Whole Hazelnut Chocolate Bar”.

For those who are lucky enough to have tried a Yorkie bar and a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Wholenut bar in the past, this is both of those but even better. And if you haven’t been fortunate enough to try said chocolate bars well… just go grab a dairy free and vegan chocolate bar by Vego. You can buy one from Vegan Tuckbox right now!

Cheers,

Mark x