Jerk Seasoned Roasted veg with rice - Caribbean food month | ChampagneTwist.com

Caribbean Food Month – Jerk Seasoned Roasted Vegetables​​ – Champagne Twist

Hello, happy 1st of August and happy Caribbean Food Month here on ChampagneTwist.com!

We’re deep into summer now and the heatwave we’re currently enjoying in the UK is akin to the summers enjoyed in the Caribbean. All that’s needed is a golden sandy beach, a bowl of rum punch and a tropical music soundtrack.

Well, I can’t provide the beach or the soundtrack, but I may be able to produce a few food and drink ideas for the Champagne Twist, Caribbean Food Month.

Caribbean food month, August 2018, Champagne Twist.jpg

Kicking off this month’s culinary extravaganza is Jerk Seasoned Roasted Vegetables. Jerk seasoning is fairly well known as a Jamaican herb and spice blend used to season meat, particularly chicken. But in this recipe, I thought how could vegetarians get in on the act?

This is an easy, flexible recipe staple which allows for a quick exit from the kitchen – let’s face it, who wants to spend hours in a hot kitchen in 32-degree heat? Make a large batch and portion up for healthier frozen meals or barbeque side dishes.  The vegetables are cut into different shapes, of roughly the same size to provide visual interest and to ensure even cooking.

Jerk Seasoned Roasted Vegetables | Champagne Twist

Serves 2 as a main meal or 4 as a side dish.

Fresh vegetables - Caribbean Food Month | ChampagneTwist.com
Fresh vegetables | ChampagneTwist.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium white onion, finely sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 or 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, cut into batons
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 large broccoli head, cut into florets
  • 1 large carrot, cut into batons
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium courgette/zucchini, cut into batons
  • 1 corn on the cob, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2tsp jerk seasoning (try Dunns River)
Cut vegetables Caribbean food month | ChampagneTwist.com
Cut vegetables – Caribbean Food Month | ChampagneTwist.com

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients and ensure all the vegetables are completely coated with the coconut oil and jerk seasoning. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Place the contents of the bowl into a large roasting tin. Roast for about 45-60 minutes until the vegetables are roasted.
  4. Allow to cool slightly before transferring into a serving dish. Enjoy with plain white or coconut rice.  You could also create a rice salad by simply mixing the seasoned veg with the rice. Try substituting with brown rice for a nuttier flavour.
pre roasted root vegetables - Caribbean Food Month | ChampagneTwist.com
Pre-roasted vegetables | ChampagneTwist.com

Remember with Jerk seasoning, a little goes a long way. Err on the side of caution, use a scant 1/4 tsp of Jerk seasoning if you prefer a mild flavour. Don’t be too heavy-handed, it will taste great, but it will feel like your mouth is on fire. Use the wet mix, not the dry spice blend.

Jerk seasoned roasted vegetables | ChampagneTwist.com
Jerk seasoned roasted vegetables | ChampagneTwist.com
Jerk Seasoned Roasted veg with rice - Caribbean food month | ChampagneTwist.com
Jerk Seasoned Roasted veg with rice ChampagneTwist.com

 

 

Lemon Cups – recipe | Champagne Twist

Hello, check this out! A lemon cup jelly based dessert that vegetarians and eat, and with a few minor adjustments vegans can enjoy too.

When I discovered Just Wholefoods lemon jelly crystals, I was over the moon that I could once again enjoy homemade jelly and ice-cream.

This is another easy dish, which can be made to look like you spent a lot of time and effort. Only 2 basic ingredients that can be used to top off a lovely meal or as part of an afternoon or high tea.

lemon cups

Lemon Cups – recipe | Champagne Twist

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of Just Wholefoods lemon jelly crystals
  • lemon yogurt (use a non-dairy alternative for vegan or plant only based diners)
  • lemon sugar crystals or lemon zest to decorate (optional)

lemon pots 2

Method:

  1. Make up the jelly according to the directions in a jug. Pour the jelly into the heat proof cups, dividing the jelly equally amongst each serving. Place in the fridge to set. You can lean the cups on one side to create the slanted effect.
  2. When set, remove the jelly cups from the fridge. Add 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt to each serving. Return to the fridge to chill.
  3. Remove the cups from the fridge 10 mins before serving, and sprinkle the lemon sugar crystals or lemon zest, if using, on top and serve immediately.

 

lemon cups 3

Freaks of Nature: Cocoa Loco – Review | Champagne Twist

This is the last of the trio of vegan approved desserts from Freaks of Nature I have taste tested. As it turns out, I left the best till last.
3 freaks

Like Zingy Thingy and Mango Fandango, the fun titled Cocoa Loco is gluten, dairy, egg and soya free.

cocoa loco fon

The creamy textured chocolate ganache is smooth, flavourful, with just the right level of sweetness.

Cocoa Loco Close up

Provided in their own sealed off selection to help keep their crisp, crunchy freshness, the chopped caramelised roasted hazelnuts are a perfect match for this pudding.

f of n cocoa loco

Of all the 3 puddings, I think the Cocoa Loco is my flavourite. Zingy Thingy for me could have benefitted with a little more lemon zest, and the Mango Fandango could have done with a little more vanilla bean seeds.  But the Cocoa Loco was simply perfect – lovely, rich chocolate flavour, creamy smooth texture and the delicious nutty crunch from the hazelnuts. The added bonus that such a luxurious dessert is gluten, dairy, soya and egg free – only plant based ingredients are included in these desserts.

These puddings represent clear examples that you don’t have to miss out if your diet  has exclusions. Nor do you need high amounts of sugar, salt or high fat ingredients to produce a delicious dessert.

I have mentioned the packaging before, and again state that I’m very impressed that such minimum packaging has been used to great effect. I’m also pleased to say that I have now found a home for all 3 of the pots in my sewing kit. I’m sure you could easily find a use for your DIY and crafting storage.

Freak of Nature - recycling container | Champagne Twist

Freaks of Nature have a new fan, and I will be following their progress as they develop new products. If these 3 are anything to go by, the future will be very bright for them, and delicious and healthier for me!

For more information about Freaks of Nature, please visit their website.

Thanks for reading,

Signature

Disclaimer:  I was gifted 3 different items from Freaks of Nature, which I have decided to review. This post is not sponsored and I have not been remunerated in any way. The opinions featured are my own.

 

Freaks of Nature: Mango Fandango – Review | Champagne Twist

Yesterday, I reviewed the Zingy Thingy pud from Freaks of Nature. Today, from the same company I’m taste testing a second from the range, Mango Fandango.

mango fandango

Like Zingy Thingy, Mango Fandango is gluten, dairy, egg and soya free. The pudding consists of a vanilla posset atop a mango and passion fruit coulis.

Freaks of Nature know how to make coulis. Like the previous flavour, the mango and passion fruit combo packs a flavour punch. The consistency is lovely and smooth, has a great colour yet manages to do so without an over sweet saccharine after taste.

The vanilla posset has a smooth, creamy texture, with flecks of vanilla powder through out.  Personally, as a fan of vanilla, I could have done with a little more.

Freaks of Nature Mango Fandango - mango and passion fruit puree vanilla posse
Freaks of Nature Mango Fandango – review by http://www.champagnetwist.com

An extremely clever addition are the chopped pistachios, which are separated in an sealed compartment on top.  This gives the option of sprinkling the pistachios, making an interactive treat, or leaving as is. You do get added crunch if you use the nuts, but the desert isn’t lessened without them.  It also means of course those who don’t like pistachios can still enjoy this pudding, without feeling left out.

I’m still impressed with the packaging, with the minimal use of plastic. Other luxury individual pud manufactures should take note. As I mentioned, I’ve recycled the robust pots for my sewing kit.

Freak of Nature - recycling container | Champagne Twist
Freak of Nature – recycling container | Champagne Twist

Another great pud from Freaks of Nature. The 3rd and final taste test will be posted soon. I’m expecting great things from the final one. Stayed tuned to find out the results.

Disclaimer:  I was gifted 3 different items from Freaks of Nature, which I have decided to review. This post is not sponsored and I have not been remunerated in any way. The opinions featured are my own.

 

Roasted fennel with mixed tomatoes – recipe | Champagne Twist

This is a quick and easy recipe where the oven does most of the work. Great as a barbecue dish too.

Roasted fennel with mixed tomatoes – recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 fennel bulbs including tops, core and thinly sliced
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, peeled
  • 1 whole lemon, quartered
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300g punnet of mixed tomatoes – I used Isle of Wight tomato selection pack
Roasted vegetable dish recipe, fennel tomato
Roasted Fennel with Mixed Tomatoes recipe

Method

  1. Pre heat the oven to 230C / 450F / Gas Mark 8
  2. Place the fennel, garlic cloves and lemon on a baking tray.  Sprinkle salt onto the veg, then drizzle over with oil. Toss together to ensure an even coating.
  3. Roast in the oven for 30 minues or until the fennel is golden brown.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, return the baking tray to the oven and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Serve immediately.
Roasted vegetable dish with fennel, lemon and tomato
Roasted Fennel with Mixed Tomatoes recipe

Freaks of Nature: Zingy Thingy – Review

Freaks of Nature is a new company to me, and I was fortunate to meet the creator of the range yesterday. I wondered if these beautifully packaged puddings, were as tasty as they looked.

zingy thingy

First up is Zingy Thingy – a lemon posset with raspberry coulis. This product is gluten, dairy, egg and soya free, a remarkable feat, considering this is a desert.

I was pleasantly surprised, this pudding is delicious.  The coulis has substance, with a subtle sweetness that isn’t clawing, and actually tastes of raspberry. The lemon posset has a smooth, creamy texture, although I think the flavour isn’t as strong as it could be, and perhaps could have benefited from some more lemon zest.

zingy thingy raspberry

The ingredient list is very impressive, all derived from natural sources, without any additional additives. Those who suffer from nut allergies will not be able to indulge, but if you’re a vegetarian fed up with everything nut, don’t worry, the cashew nut presence is not obvious.

You may also be pleased to know that the outer packaging is recyclable, and the plastic container with lid, while not recyclable, are quite robust so can be reused.  I’m going to use mine to store beads.

raspberry zingy thingy

 

I enjoyed this pudding and am looking forward to trying out others in this range. The reviews will be posted shortly.

Disclaimer:  I was gifted 3 different items from Freaks of Nature, which I have decided to review. This post is not sponsored and I have not been remunerated in any way. The opinions featured are my own.

 

Quick Vegan Flat Bread – recipe | Champagne Twist

A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for quick flat bread. This recipe is just as quick to make, and perhaps a tad healthier. I even managed to make an extra 2 flat breads with this recipe.

Quick Vegan Flat Bread – recipe by Champagne Twist

quick vegan flat bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 4 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup warm water

Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food mixer, until a slightly sticky dough is formed.
  2. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the dough to rest.
  3. After resting, divide the dough into 14 equally sized balls.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a heavy bottomed saucepan or frying pan over a medium to medium high heat.
  5. Roll each dough ball on a well floured board, into a circle about the size of a tea saucer.
  6. Cook each flat bread in the pan, for a minute on each side.
  7. To keep the flat breads warm whilst cooking, cover a plate with a clean tea towel, and add the freshly cooked flat breads on top. Cover again with another clean tea towel to keep them warm.

Let me know if you try this recipe. Please don’t forget to subscribe for more recipes – Easter is coming up and I have a few treats in store 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Vegan Life Live show bag cover Eat. Sleep. Save Animals. Repeat

Vegan Life Live Goodie Bag – Review

Earlier this week I promised a review of the goodie bag I received at the Vegan Life Live event at Alexandra Palace.  Well, here it is …

First, a nice note with the large reuseable and recyclable paper bag. The printed quotes outside the bag were also a nice touch.

The inside of the bag held a number of treats, and proved to be one of the most generous goodie bags I have been fortunate to receive from many a festival or show.

  1. Linwoods: Milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and goji berries.
  2. Ape: Coconut bites – natural
  3. Vita Coco: Coconut oil, 5ml
  4. Sacla: Free From no.9 basil pesto
  5. Sweet Freedom: Fruit Syrup, 350g
  6. Naturya: Organic wheatgrass powder

Since the show, I have tested the goodies and here are my thoughts on each product;

Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries
Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Linwoods: Milled seed and goji mix

This is a new product for me, and I have to say, I like it. On it’s own it tastes great, adding it to salads and cereals, it’s superb.  I think this would be a useful ingredient in many recipes, especially soups, breads and stews. It could also be used as an alternative seasoning. However, I wonder if making your own seed and berry mix would be more advantageous. It’s a great idea and versatile, but personally I think I would prefer to make my own.

Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries
Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Ape coconut snacks
Ape coconut bites champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Ape: Coconut bites – natural

The actual coconut bites in this sample pack are tasty, but I find the brand name very off putting. Dont really understand why anyone would call a food product aimed at the vegan market after an animal, but hey! Also not sure many people would be comfortable purchasing a product often used as a term of racial abuse.

Ape Coconut Bites natural coconut snacks
Ape Coconut Bites champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The bites are the size of 2, 10 pence coins, have a crunchy texture and a very coconutty flavour. There is some sweetness, but it’s not overpowering.  It would be easy to eat a normal sized pack of these in a sitting.  However, personally I would stick to raw, fresh coconut pieces, but if you like potato crisps, these could be a viable and healthier alternative.

Rating 3 out of 5

Vita Coco Coconut Oil
Vegan Life Live Vita Coco Coconut Oil champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Vita Coco: Coconut oil 5ml

It’s coconut oil! It’s brilliant! Nuff said! Nice and useful pocket size I can use as a hand cream whilst travelling. A fabulous thing I discovered at the Vita Coco stall was fresh popcorn cooked in coconut oil. It was delicious. The money off vouchers included are an added bonus.

Rating 5 out of 5

Sacla no 9 free from basil pesto
Sacla no 9 free from basil pesto champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Sacla: Free From no.9 basil pesto, 190g

As a pesto loving eater, I was very excited to try this tofu version, cheese free version, especially as I just happened to use the last of my pesto stash.  Yes, I usually have a pesto stash. It’s a thing. Don’t judge!

I tried it on a baked potato, and it was lovely. Plenty of basil flavour and has a good creamy consistency. With a sunflower oil base, I do miss the flavour that comes with organic olive oil and I think it could have done with a higher amount of pine nuts and a lower amount of cashew nuts.

http://www.sacla.co.uk/products/pesto/free-from-pesto/no9-free-from-basil-pesto/
Sacle Free From No.9 Basil Pesto Picture source: http://www.sacla.co.uk/products/pesto/free-from-pesto/no9-free-from-basil-pesto/

That said, as a full sized product, I think it was a rather lovely sample size and I have made room in my fridge for this little gem.  Nice to know I have lunch sorted for the next couple of days.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

fruit-syrup

  • Sweet Freedom: Fruit Syrup, 350g

A very generous size, I found this syrup extremely sweet, so a little goes a long way. I used it over unsweetened breakfast cereals and found it very enjoyable.  It’s nice to know that there is only 13 calories per teaspoon, but I only needed to use 1/2 a teaspoon. I hope to try baking with it, but over pancakes this should be great.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

Naturya organic wheatgrass powder
Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder – champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Naturya: Organic wheatgrass powder, 7g

I’m new to the whole wheatgrass vibe, somehow it missed me. So I’m particularly glad to give this a try.  I added a teaspoon to a glass of coconut water and the verdict – I would happily do this again. It gave a fresh ‘green’ taste to the coconut water, and I would say it would be lovely with apple juice, lemon water and an elderflower drink, I can’t imagine this being nice with orange juice, but I’d geive it a try and let you know.

Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder - champagnetwist.wordpress.com Coconut water and green wheatgrass drink
Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The only slight quibble, the powder is so finely milled, it does tend to go everywhere. But as the colour of the year is Greenery, I’m not too bothered as I can say it’s part of my new decorating colour scheme 🙂

Naturya organic wheatgrass powder - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Rating: 4 out of 5

Did you go to Vegan Life Live? What did you think of the goodie bag? Have you used any of these products? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe for more.

 

Vegan Life Live – review

January 2017 Health and Wellbeing January 2017 Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpresss.com
Health and Wellbeing, January 2017. Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpresss.com

I’m trying to post this as quickly as possible to encourage you to visit the Vegan Life Show. If you have any plans for today, cancel them and go to Alexandra Palace.  You can thank me later – and you will!

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-06-31-23

Picture source: www.veganlifelive.com/london/

It is not often for me to attend a show and leave several hours later, wishing I could stay longer. The Vegan Life Live event was one of those rare times.  The 2 day show held at Alexandra Palace, simply isn’t enough for the vegan or wannabe vegan in your life to gather up all the vast array of information and to fully explore the delights of this event.

From start to finish the whole show is well organised, efficient and well thought out. The free shuttle bus to Alexandra Palace arrived on time and delivered us promptly, outside the entrance. Although the W3 bus service is more frequent, if you can wait up to 30 mins, why not save a few quid and enjoy a more direct route to the venue.

The entering, despite the growing queues, was very quick with helpful and polite staff ushering the crowd, leading us to the show freebie bag tables. Yes, the show freebie bag – a huge affair filled with so many goodies – all of which will soon be reviewed on this blog.  I have to say, this is one of the most generous and more impressive show bags I have ever enjoyed at such events, and it was an indication of the quality of this event

Normally, I would advise to take a small flask of tea or coffee, a bottle of water and a small snack, as these events are notorious for selling over-the-top expensive refreshments, and you spend half your time queuing, only to served by stressed out or rude catering staff. But at Vegan Life Live, if you go today, I strongly suggest leaving behind your lunch box and just bring your wallet. The catering staff are owners fo the businesses, and are kind helpful, very friendly and keen to share their knowledge and advise with you. The portions are generous and the prices reasonable. I saw many people returning for seconds.

The variety on offer in the food court is almost overwhelming. Stocked with edibles for the sweetest of teeth, treats from the 4 corners of the globe, including West Indian, Chinese and home-grown British fare. Tacos, wraps, curries, soups, smoothies, cupcakes, brownies – if you can’t find anything to suit your palette, then you will not be able to find it anywhere on Earth!

And that’s just the food you pay for – I was able to fully dine out on just the samples alone, and these were not just silly little morsels, they too were generous and plentiful.  If you have any notion that vegans are starved out individuals who only eat lentils, this show will quickly put that idea to bed.

There is literally something for everyone – even hard-core meat eaters, would find something to rave about the Vegan Life Show. The demonstrations were numerous, the shows informative, there is even an area showing films and documentaries, which sadly I didn’t have time to watch. It’s impossible to leave without learning something new, and in my case a full tummy!

I will post more later today and over the next few days across the Champagne Twist network, including my show highlights. I strongly  urge you, if you love good food, go today to the Vegan Life Live show at Alexandra Palace for an affordable day out and enjoy food at it’s best.

The show ends today at 5pm, tickets available at the venue – click here for more details.

Rating 4.5/5