VEGAN HUMMUS MESABACHA + AN E-COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, NF)

VEGAN HUMMUS MESABACHA + A COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY! (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, NF)

There are hundreds of thousands of food blogs out there. In fact, there's one source on the net which claims that there are over 2 million food blogs currently in existence. CRAZY, right!?! Yet, somehow I feel I've been lucky enough to find the right food blogs to get stuck into and get excited about. They aren't always the most well known (in fact I love 'discovering' blogs with smaller followings ;)), but the food blogs I read all have two key things in common:

1. They are about good, home-made, delicious, flavoursome food and
2. They are written by kind, thougtful bloggers whose voices I want to 'listen' to. 

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RAW VEGAN TENDERSTEM® PESTO (R, V+, ChF, NF, GF, GrF, P)

RAW VEGAN TENDERSTEM® PESTO (V+, R, GF, GrF, ChF, NF, P)

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a safe and fun journey into 2016. May your new year be filled with joy, happiness and great health! 

I don't know about you, but I sure feel ready to get back onto the healthy bandwagon as Christmas was a feast of utter indulgence *ooops*. That's why I love the fact that the start of a new year and the opportunity to renew my commitments to healthy eating come so close after Christmas. I think that's because the universe knows a thing or two about perfect timing :).

As I was putting my blog schedule together for 2016 I was certain that I really wanted to start the year with a raw and savoury blog post (anyone else had enough of baking?). So when I was asked to do a sponsored blog post for a raw recipe including Tenderstem®, I jumped at the chance. Now, before I delve into the recipe, I wanted to say something about doing sponsored posts, as well as about Tenderstem® itself. I hope that's ok.

In terms of sponsored blog posts - over the past 12 months I have been approached a few times by companies asking me to do sponsored posts or review their products; those of you who visit the blog regularly will know that I have never accepted any of these offers. That's because none of the companies that contacted me were selling products that I would ever eat, would consider healthy or could wholeheartedly recommend to you. So please rest assured that if ever I write a sponsored blog post or review something, it is because I genuinely enjoy the items featured and think you will too. I have no plans of making sponsored blog posts a habit, but when I do one I'll be totally open and upfront about it. Sound cool?

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APPLE AND TOMATO CHUTNEY (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, NF)

APPLE AND TOMATO CHUTNEY (V+, ChF, GF, GrF, NF)

It feels as though so much has happened in the last two weeks and I am bursting to tell you all about it! Can I start off by sharing a little bit about my experience at Food Blogger Connect 2015 (FBC15)? If you've been following along, you'll know that I've wanted to become much more serious about my food blogging, writing, photography and recipe development. So as part of that 'want', I did a collaboration with Ceri about two weeks ago to broaden my food blogging horizons. I also attended FBC15 at Chiswick House and Gardens in order to get as many tips as I could on making my blog bigger and better.

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So what was the conference like? Well, it took place over 3 days (I attended and volunteered at 2) during which one had lots of opportunities to meet, mingle and connect with other bloggers, share experiences and provide one another with heaps of encouragement and support. For me personally, this was probably the most invaluable aspect of the conference and as it stands 2 possible collaborations are in the works as a result of FBC15! So watch this space ;)

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BEETBUTTER (V+, GF, R, P, GrF)

BEETBUTTER (V+, R, P, GF, GrF)

I wish I could say something inspiring, clever, thoughtful, reflective or funny even. And how I wish I could include a quote from some literary master. But the truth is life's been pretty hectic at the mo' and I gotta keep it short and sweet today. You see, motherhood has kept me busy :) as well as this MASSIVE biochemistry/nutrition exam I've been revising for. It's on Friday. :(. YIKES! So, everything else has kinda had to go on hold.

Thank goodness there was time to celebrate Valentine's day with my 3 loves though – hubby, son and... kale. I know the kale bouquet has nothing to do with today's recipe but it was so cute, I HAD to share it here with you guys. (Can you blame a proud mama?) 

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UPDATED! SUN-DRIED TOMATO PÂTÉ (V+, P, GF, R, GrF)

UPDATED! SUN-DRIED TOMATO PÂTÉ (V+, P, GF, R, GrF)

NOTE: The pictures were updated in September 2015.

A few weeks ago the lovely Ksenia - the blogger behind At the Immigrant's Table - nominate me for the Liebster Award (remember I mentioned Ksenia last week?). Please, don't get too excited, the Liebsters ain't the Oscars ;), but the award is a superdy duperdy cute way of making the food blogging world feel like a real, caring and tangible community. Consequently I was delighted and rather flattered that I'd been chosen for this award. Thank you soooo much Ksenia :). 

First things first, the Liebster Award Rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you by providing a link to their blog 
2. Display the award badge
3. Answer 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you
4. List 11 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 11 bloggers 
6. Pose 11 questions to said nominees
7. Go to each nominee’s blog and notify them of their nomination

YIKES! I got my work cut out!
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TAHINI DIP AND ALMOST RAW KALE CHIPS (V+, P, GF, NF, R, GrF, ChF)

TAHINI DIP (V+, R, GF, NF, P, GrF) AND ALMOST RAW KALE CHIPS (V+, GF, NF, P, GrF, ChF)

No one can claim that opportunities to learn about cooking aren’t all around us. For starters, the internet is such a wonderful source of cooking inspiration; the array of creative food blogs out there is near to overwhelming! And then of course there are 100s of cookbooks to fall in love with, countless stylish cooking magazines to subscribe to and free recipe cards galore to grab hold of at your local supermarket. I mean, come on, there was never a better time to be a food geek.

And though I have indulged in all the options noted above, this week I thought I’d go all old school and do something a little bit different... To celebrate ‘Homemade Bread Day’ I decided to emulate what women did centuries ago i.e. hang out near a big fire, catch up on village gossip whilst preparing a delicious meal together. To recreate a modern day version of this girly tradition I invited some pretty cool female friends into my kitchen where we chatted, cried, giggled, moaned about the pressures of being working, middle-class moms and baked some yummy scrummy goodies.

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CHUNKY AVOCADO DIP (R, V+, GF, NF, P, ChF, GrF)

CHUNKY AVOCADO DIP (R, V+, P, GF, NF, ChF, GrF)

The avocado is a bit of a star in the raw vegan world, isn’t it? And it is easy to see why - avocado is so versatile, wonderfully nourishing and utterly delicious. Consequently, it is often used in green vegan smoothies and luscious raw ‘cheese’ cakes. Essentially, what the avocado does to perfection is lend all these desserts a smooth, creamy texture without impacting negatively on their taste.

It’s mind-blowing all that it can do, but my husband says that we’re corrupting the poor avocado; that it was never meant to be hidden in some sweet drink or worse still a raw vegan chocolate mousse. Instead he feels avocado should take centre stage in a savoury dish, the good old fashioned way. (Although ironically, on a recent business trip to Indonesia the locals were appalled when they saw my husband sprinkle salt on his avocado. After much persuasion, they tried it, apprehensively, with a polite smile, before quickly scraping the salt off and reverting back to using their avocado where it belonged – in a sweet smoothie, thank you very much! LOL!)