• Cooking
  • How to Make the Perfect Fruit Smoothie

    veg-smoothie

    I think one of the best ways to get all your nutrients each day, especially if you’re not a vegan, is to have a fruit and veg smoothie each morning. Not only are they packed with nutrients and vitamins, but they are also great for energy boosting!

    I’ll get to the step-by-step guide in a minute, but the most important thing is to get your RATIOS correct. The best ratio is 1 part fluid/1 part fruit/1 part ice or frozen fruitI’ll talk more about this in a minute, but it’s the key to a smoothie that tastes nice (which is vital if you want to drink it regularly). I always start with a soya milk base, and then add the vegetables until I’ve got all the nutrients I need. Only then will I start adding fruit.

    Step 1: Get a good blender!

    The most obvious thing you need is a top quality blender. I recently replaced my old and battered Kenwood with a Nutri Ninja, on the recommendation of this guide to the best blender for smoothies. I’ve been really pleased with it, especially the Auto IQ which extracts the most possible juice and nutrients from each fruit and veg.

    Step 2: Start with the Liquid

    There are several options for a liquid base. As I mentioned, I enjoy a soya milk base, but here are the others you could try:

    • Water – if you want to focus on the flavours of the fruit rather than the base, then a liquid base is probably the best option.
    • Almond milk – a good alternative if you don’t like soya.
    • Fruit juice – this is the unhealthy alternative, especially if don’t squeeze it yourself, as fruit contains a lot of sugar.
    • Coconut water – if you love tropical tastes, coconut water is another good option.

    Step 3: Add Thickener

    Ice is the usual thickener, and you won’t need to use this step if you’re using frozen fruits. But it you want an even thicker consistency, try using dairy free yoghurt.

    Step 4: Add the Fruit and Veg

    Next, pick the vegetables (I use frozen) and add them to the smoothie maker. There are near-infinite combinations, but I like to include blueberry and banana in most of my smoothies.

    This is also the point where you should add some green veg. I’m a big fan of kale and spinach. You can also add some flax seeds.

    My Favourite Healthy Recipe

    If you’re looking for a simple smoothie recipe, I recommend the following. Make sure you useĀ  ripe bananas and drink it straight away!

    • 1 cup of filtered water
    • 1 or 2 bananas
    • Handful of kale and spinach
    • 1/2 cup strawberries (frozen)
    • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen)

     

  • Veganism
  • What’s Wrong with Vegan Cakes?

    A vegan chocolate cake

    Credit to VegKitchen for the picture above.

    If you’re vegan, you’ve almost certainly experienced something like the following exchange:

    Them: “Oh wow, that chocolate cake looks amazing!”

    Me: “Yeah I know! I’m pleased with how it came out.”

    Them: “I bet. You won’t be able to eat it though right?”

    Me: “I can! It’s a vegan chocolate cake.”

    Them: “Oh…”

    They try to hide it, bless them, but they just can’t hide their disappointment. And I don’t blame them, because I used to feel like that too before I gave up dairy and eggs.

    But vegan cakes can REALLY be just as nice as the “real” thing! It’s true that you usually need to use more oil, but you can get a really nice soft sponge consistency with cakes that is surprising. There are also egg substitutes that have a similar effect without the ethical concerns.

    I had friends round this weekend and had the exact conversation I wrote above. They would never say it – they are too nice for that – but I know they were thinking “why couldn’t she have just baked a real cake!?”

    The good news is that their politeness meant that they had to try a bit – and when they did they completely changed their mind. I’ll probably type up the recipe, which is one of my own, in the near future, because it really was good.

    But until then, here are some tips for cooking the perfect vegan cake:

    • Make sure you weigh EVERYTHING correctly. I find vegan cake recipes are a lot less forgiving, you need to get everything right.
    • On the same note, pre-heat your oven so it’s at exactly the right temperature.
    • Eggs are usually vital for baking, as they bind ingredients together and maintain the moisture. That’s why you need a good vegan egg substitutes.
    • Shortcrust pastry is much easier than puff pastry, so stick to the basic option if you’re new to baking (you’ll have enough to think about already).
    • You can often just use substitutes from a regular cake recipe. For example, scones can be made from soy milk (unsweetened) and vegan margarine.

    Those are just a few tips to get you started. If you would like to see more, let me know in the comments!