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Delicious activated charcoal croissants are ideal for vegans

Delicious activated charcoal croissants are ideal for vegans

In the vegan world, activated charcoal has become the latest addition to the growing list of foods made with the unusual ingredient. If you've been online recently, you'll have seen the growing trend in activated charcoal croissants but don't be put off by their appearance, they really do taste much better than they look.

The blackened, plant-based pastry provide a unique yet delicious taste. But what are the so-called health benefits to these croissants? Let us explain a little more...

Firstly, the vegan croissants helps flush out toxins thanks to the alkaline properties of charcoal in the croissant. This helps to detoxify any poisons in the body by neutralising excess stomach acids. As such, this makes charcoal croissants a great breakfast choice for anyone, especially if you've had a heavy night the night before. What's more, the active ingredient can even reduce bloating. So, if you are trying to slim down for the summer and get your beach ready body, activated charcoal croissants could be just the ticket! Who thought that could happen after eating a croissant!? 

Fancy trying them for yourself? As an experimental food developer, private chef and personal chef, I've made these beauties myself and found a gorgeous recipe for you to try. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Activated Charcoal Croissants

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Recipe (inspired by The Rose & Bean recipe)

  • 260ml water
  • 14g fast-action yeast (2 sachets)
  • 500g plain flour
  • 10g salt
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 360g vegan butter 
  • Splash of non-dairy milk
  • Activated charcoal

Directions

  • In a large bowl, put your water, sugar and yeast and stir together
  • Add your flour, salt and 100g of vegan butter, the activated charcoal and knead until it all comes together (mix it in the bowl first before tipping out and kneading). If you have an electric whisk with a dough hook, you can use this
  • Cover the dough with cling film, place in the fridge, and leave for 8 hours or overnight
  • Once you’ve placed your dough in the fridge, take the remaining 260g of vegan butter and place between two pieces of parchment paper or into a sandwich bag
  • With a rolling pin, flatten the butter until it becomes a square shape that is roughly 7×7 inch (ideally, measure it with a tape measure to be sure). Wrap in cling film and place back in the fridge and leave until your dough is ready (you need to be working with the butter cold but not rock solid, so ensure it stays in the fridge until needed, and then work quickly)
  • Once your dough has been left for at least 8 hours, remove from the fridge and place on a lightly floured worktop
  • With a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle that is 14×7 inches in size
  • Take your slab of butter and place it in the middle of your dough
  • Fold the two ends of the dough to meet in the middle over the butter slab, and make sure the butter is sealed by pushing the dough together all around the edges
  • Turn the dough so that the join is now straight in front of you, not lengthways. Starting from the middle, roll your pastry out into a long rectangle, till it’s roughly 22×7 inches in size (do not roll back on yourself, always come back to the middle and roll out towards the edges)
  • Now it’s time for your first fold. Take one end of your dough and fold about two thirds of the way down, then take the other end, and fold it on top, so that you’ve folded the dough into thirds and you’re left with a rough square shape
  • Wrap your dough into cling film (make sure it’s well wrapped as this stops it from drying out) and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Remove from the fridge and place it so that the folded end of your dough (the part like the binding of a book) is on your left
  • Roll your dough again until it’s 22×7 inches (step 10), then repeat step 11 (the fold), wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat this again (make sure fold is on left, roll and fold), wrap in cling film, but this time place in the fridge for 60 minutes
  • After your dough has been in the fridge for its third and final time, remove from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll out to about 24×8 inches
  • Next, create yourself a template. Cut a piece of card or paper into a triangle shape. The base should be 4 inches wide and it should be 8 inches high
  • Place your template onto your dough and cut around it (use something sharp like a pizza cutter) to create 9 triangle shapes
  • Take a piece of dough and make a small slit in the middle of the base of your triangle with a knife
  • Roll your dough from the base to the end using your finger and thumb, turning by the corners so as to not crush the layers
  • Repeat for all pieces of dough
  • Place on a baking sheet with the pointed end at the bottom, then brush each croissant lightly with some non-dairy milk
  • Cover lightly with parchment paper and leave to rise for 1 hour. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees fan. Once heated, place in the oven for 20 minutes. If they look like they’re browning too quickly, cover with tin foil
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool
  • Serve and enjoy!

A Vegan Christmas

This festive period, we've found some delicious Vegan friendly recipes for you to try out at home- enjoy!

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Whether you’re catering for a crowd of hungry vegans or determined to wow your meat-eating family members with delicious plant-based food, Christmas is a time to go all-out with your cooking.

As an experienced food consultant and private chef operating across Leicester and the wider Midlands region including Birmingham, Loughborough, 
Northampton, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Rugby, Nuneaton, Burton, Redditch and Edgbaston and beyond, when it comes to designing a festive vegan menu, there are no limits to how creative you can be.

As the big day is fast approaching, we thought we’d give you a couple of delicious recipes for cooking up some Christmas treats with the key difference. Absolutely no animal based products will be used!

First up we’re showcasing a gorgeous vegan alternative to traditional Christmas puddings. Oh so light but equally sumptuous, this little delights will have your taste buds tingling with joy this festive period!

Take your pick and make them with dark or white chocolate- the choice is yours! What’s more, for advance preparation, these puddings can be frozen so you can make them in advance and worry no more about Christmas day which is fast approaching!

White Chocolate, Orange, and Pistachio Vegan Puddings

Serves 6 – makes 1 large pudding or 6 individual puddings

Ingredients:

  • 100g vegan margarine
  • 75g golden caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 150ml dairy free yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • Zest and juice of ½ an orange
  • 3 tbsp Cointreau or orange brandy
  • ½ tsp cider vinegar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Grating of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 80g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 50g unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g white or dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Extra pistachios and maple syrup for decoration

Instructions

  1. Grease 6 individual pudding tins or 1 large pudding bowl, and line with a thin strip of baking parchment.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 5
  3. Mix the dairy free yoghurt with the ground flax seeds, orange juice and zest and cider vinegar. Leave to sit for 10 minutes to allow the flax seeds to activate.
  4. Cream the margarine sugar and maple syrup together for a minute until light.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, spices and pinch of salt.
  6. Whisk the yoghurt mixture in with the creamed margarine and sugar.
  7. Whisk in the sifted flour mixture until smooth, like a pancake batter.
  8. Fold in the breadcrumbs, ground almonds, pistachios and white or dark chocolate.
  9. Mix quickly until smooth then spoon the mixture into the pudding tins.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes until puffed up and firm to the touch.
  11. Turn out and serve with a drizzle of maple syrup, orange cream and a sprinkling of pistachios.
     

Vegan Sausage Rolls

Now to something savoury! It is true- some foods are just super fun to eat and some just scream comfort food. Well in this recipe, you get the best of both worlds.

The ‘sausage’ in this Vegan Christmas menu is made from raw nuts and seitan meat, providing a great meaty and cheesy texture and taste. Wrapped in puffed pastry, this Vegan sausage rolls get you in the spirit of Christmas if nothing else! Finger food at its best, we’d say.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 150g cup raw almonds, soaked
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 150g raw walnuts
  • 125g cup breadcrumbs or stale bread
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoons vegan beef stock powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 140g cup finely chopped seitan
  • Frozen puff pastry squares or sheets
  • Non-dairy milk, for brushing
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Take the puff pastry out of freezer and let defrost in the fridge overnight.
  2. Blend the first 6 ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Add the walnuts and pulse until they are chopped (not totally smooth).
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well combined. I like to leave some texture, but the consistency is up to you. Set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Remove your puff pastry from the fridge and roll out into a rectangle, cut in half so you have two triangles.
  7. Spoon the filling lengthwise down the long side of the puff pastry triangle; lightly brush the border with the milk.
  8. Roll the dough over the ‘sausage meat’ and secure with milk as glue.
  9. Brush the top of the roll with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  10. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or

Kick start your metabolism ready for the summer

Spring and finally sprung and what better time than now to start a healthy detox to kick start your metabolism and get you ready for the summer?!

As a food consultant working across Leicester and the surrounding region, I understand that most people would like to be in better shape and feeling healthy in time for the summer sun. For many a healthy detox can be just the ticket but why should you embrace a health detox, and what are the benefits in doing so?

Firstly, there’s no magic formula that you can take that will suddenly turn you into a healthier version of yourself, however hopefully you can benefit from some of the tips and guidance I am about to share with you.

The Key to Your Metabolism

With a wealth of experience in the food industry the key to a fitter, healthier you lies in your metabolism and how clean your internal body is. As a biochemical process, metabolism dictates how fast you turn calories into energy and this is something which you need to address in order to kickstart your healthy lifestyle and get yourself summer ready!

I’m sure you are aware that you use energy and burn fat when you are exercising and digesting food, but did you know that you also continue to burn fat even when you are resting? The rate at which you burn fat when at rest is called your BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate. It’ll be music to your ears but there are methods to speed up your BMR so that you can burn fat faster even when you aren’t doing much and also speed up your metabolic rate.

As with everything in life, in contrast to speeding up your metabolism it can also slow down. In fact, you may well be doing things currently that slow down your metabolism and allow your body to store excess fat without even realising it. Such factors include:
 

  • Eating Poorly – My first suggestion is to stop with the fizzy drinks and sugary treats. While we all deserve a little treat once in while why not speak to me about planning your meals to focus on organic, healthy, and natural foods instead of high processed fat foods?
     
  • Not Enough Sleep – If your body is exhausted then the efficiency with which it burns calories diminishes. A well rested body is more efficient and not only will it make you feel better, your body will thank you in the long run too.
     
  • Being Stressed Out – Stress causes high levels of a hormone called cortisol in your body, which leads to excess fat and a lower metabolism. As difficult as it may sound, try to kick back, relax and unwind, and stop stressing…positive mental attitude really will help to kick-start your metabolism and change your attitude towards food in a positive way!
     
  • Fad Dieting –Avoid fad diets and super low calorie diets. Low calorie diets cause your body to switch to starvation mode, your metabolism slows down to keep you from burning too many calories, then when you eat again your body stores the calories as fat. Fad diets may work in the short term, but the true path to a healthier you is to improve your overall eating habits over the long term.
     
  • Age- unfortunately some factors affecting your metabolism include some that are beyond your control, such as older age. Your metabolism naturally slows down with age and this is especially true in women.
     
  • Health conditions- an under-active thyroid, family genetics or adrenal burnout can also lead to weight gain and a slower metabolism. But that doesn’t mean you cannot kick-start your healthy living and speed up your metabolism in time for the summer!

With this in mind, if you have any concerns or questions about how to change your eating habits, how to safely begin a healthy detox and how to eat more ‘clean’ foods, I can help you.

So, what’s the best way to speed up your metabolism? You’ve guessed it- a combination of exercise and delicious, clean and healthy food. As a private chef working across Leicester and the rest of the UK and with many years of experience working as a food consultant, I am on hand to help get your food choices on track, enjoying a healthy detox and kick start your metabolism ready for the summer!

I live and breathe delicious food, all day, every day and look forward to being able to help you live, eat and think ‘clean’. What's more, as a judge for the fantastic FreeFrom Food Awards- now in its 10th year- I have a wealth of experience in preparing and cooking delicious dishes which are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free- perfect for those with allergies and sensitivities.

I was honoured to have attended the annual awards only a few days ago on the 28th March 2017 and cannot wait to share the details with you very soon. Watch this space!

Get in touch today to find out how I can help you by emailing through my online form or by calling me on: 07789 326 547 to discuss your individual preferences, requirements and goals for the summer months.