Daily Breads Blog

Articles written by Daily Bread workers and friends.

DBCauliflowerWrap300With the recent hot, barmy weather and the up and coming British Burger Day, maybe it’s time to reflect on how great it is to eat al fresco. The waft of charcoal, onions, and sizzling food, the sound of laughter, music and popping bottle tops in the air from neighbours and gardens in faraway streets. And then...cutting through the chilled-out ambience of the social gathering and family mutterings, there’s the “how do you cook this veggie stuff then?”.

The BBQ is a lot of fun but when you a have a visiting vegan or vegetarian or if you are one yourself, you may feel a little awkward and on the outside at BBQs and al fresco occasions. You may force a smile for the cold pasta salad that has been provided, with a tomato sauce that has been expertly poured from a glass bottle or you may feel a little hard done by with the supply of veggie dips and raw vegetables that languish in the sun, but there are more choices available!

So, here are some facts about our favourite summer, leisure activity to get you well polished on the event. So many of us have such a lot of fun preparing and attending them, maybe it’s worth taking a moment to consider the bigger picture.

• 3 out of 4 households now own a BBQ of some sort.
• We are Europe’s leading BBQ nation, with the German’s coming 2nd to us.
• In 1997, the BBQ market was worth £150million, which is quite a lot. However, in 2017, this was set at being worth just over £7.6billion!
• Gas and charcoal are both as popular as each other when we choose our preferred cooking fuel.
• The “hooded” BBQ is the most popular model of BBQ, followed closely by the “flatbed”.
• Over the past few years, there has been a slight increase of 4% of women “manning” the BBQ.
• On average 33% of us will attend at least 8-9 BBQs this year.
• 5% of us enjoy BBQs all year round.
• The average amount spent on a BBQ meal is £41, which was £19 only 5 years ago.
• There are a bigger assortment of ingredients and more exotic dishes being prepared on the BBQ nowadays, with duck, fish, halloumi and brochettes being consumed by more of us.

So, as a vegetarian or vegan, how can you approach the great British BBQ, when the main choice of food still appears to be sausages, burgers and chicken drummers at most al fresco gatherings?

Here are some fab BBQ tips to help you through the season, whether you eat alternatives yourself or you have visitors that do:
• Make a decision whether you are going to have space to cook vegetarian/vegan foods separately and safely on your BBQ right at the beginning. Use a frying pan or separate grill away from sizzling meat fats or use the oven inside and cook.
• Forget pasta salads, and provide some colourful and tasty kebabs with mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and onions.
• Pre-pare some red peppers or large mushrooms. Mix some vegan soft cheese with a huge handful of mixed herbs to create a tasty mix and stuff in to half a pepper or the top of a de-stalked mushroom. Bake/BBQ when required.
• Yes, get a pack of halloumi but don’t just cook it – quickly rub some olive oil over it, sprinkle over garlic powder, polenta and some fresh mint, the taste and crunch are lovely!
• Pitta pockets are great for Vegetarians and Vegans. Stuff some pittas with sliced jarred peppers, sundried tomatoes and artichokes, spinach, rocket, sunflower seeds or any fresh vegetables you have. Make ahead and BBQ or bake as required.
• Provide salads that everyone can eat, but make sure there is a protein on them, so these can be used as main event for vegetarians and vegans. Add seeds or nuts, beans or lentils, ready cooked from tins.
• Ok, yes, do make it easy – there are a huge choice of vegetarian burgers and sausages out there now, pre-made and really tasty. Have a look and try them out if you know your prep time is really limited.

With a summer of outside eating and long, hot evenings on the cards, be adventurous. Use fresh fruit to make cocktails, fresh vegetables, spices and herbs, homemade breads, grilled fruits and iced desserts, all fresh and seasonal. Don’t succumb to the usual meats and burgers when there is such a wide choice of ingredients available to us all, they should be celebrated along with the summer and an alternative al fresco living.DBFetaOrzo300

*Try our cauliflower wraps recipe that you can make ahead if you have a gluten free guest – see the recipes
* An alternative vegetarian orzo salad can be found in the recipes to add to your al fresco dining table for everyone.

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PeaPestoPastaWe have a rather new celebration to add to our diaries this month. July welcomes the third Great British Pea Week from the 9-15th July 2018 and it’s an acknowledgement of this great little vegetable that we all love.

Whether you’re a meat eater, vegetarian, vegan, coeliac, trying to lose weight or improve your health in general, it’s quite likely that peas are on your menu. But as you easily and quickly boil up some water for this simple, sweet vegetable to add to your meal, do you ever stop and ponder over the work that takes places to get those little pods to your freezer?

On average, everyone in Britain eats around 9,000 peas a year. That’s a lot of peas! If you consider that the pea season is only 6-8 weeks long and the UK pride themselves with picking and freezing each pea within 150 minutes, have you ever given any thought to the huge undertaking our farmers perform each year at that time?

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Italian Roll upsJune seems to a month of celebratory and social “get togethers” when it comes to National Food Days. We have The Big Lunch (3rd June), National Picnic Week (15-24th June), The Great Get Together (22-24th June) and even a National Cream Tea Day (29th June) and World Gin Day (9th June), if you’re feeling very social!

So, what is it about the month of June that brings all of these wonderful celebrations together around the same time? I reckon it’s a lot to do with the weather. The sun comes out, the picnic blankets are given a good shake and the outdoor furniture and soft furnishings are given a thorough dusting, all ready for us to bask in the emerging summer sun with good food and high spirits.

It’s great that there are these wonderful initiatives to bring families and communities together and its really worth considering all the positives for sitting down and eating together. There are many studies that show that those who sit down together regularly for meal times, have better communication skills, they are less likely to have weight issues, their diets and nutrition are more diverse, and they have stronger relationships.

There are many associations that work towards socialising individuals who for whatever reason find themselves quite isolated. Contact The Elderly are a charity who work hard at getting tea parties organised for care, conversation and a cuppa, giving older adults on their own a chance to get together with others. This is such a great initiative that provides support for the elderly and enriches lives.

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national veggie weekWith Veggie Week looming it’s worth taking a moment and thinking about all the positive aspects of being a Vegetarian and celebrating the meat-free life that many of us follow.

Provided you are following a well-planned and well-balanced diet, Vegetarians are known to have a higher consumption of fibre, folic acid, Vitamins C and E and many phytochemicals (which are the wonderful, highly beneficial nutrients found in plants). They are also found to have lower cholesterol as they consume lower levels of saturated fat, also resulting in lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. All sounds pretty good, right?
Life is so precious, animal and human, and there are many who decide that their own life shouldn’t depend on the demise of another; this decision is one that more and more people make nowadays and this is leading to so many other benefits too.

How about education? Vegetarians (and Vegans) are likely to be much more aware of their bodily requirements when it comes to nutrition.

They understand the need to choose good proteins required for growth, repair and energy. They choose a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables to get as many different vitamins and minerals from their diets as possible. They understand the importance of gut health and have diets rich in fibre. They are interested in eating well and embrace all the foods they choose to eat. How about animal welfare? Even though there are huge numbers of meat eaters and producers worldwide, vegetarians and vegans highlight the issue with how animals are kept and treated. Are they slaughtered humanely and are they respected? With a growing population of Vegetarians, meat producing companies are forced to consider their actions more and more.

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sandwichWith British Sandwich Week looming (from 14-20th May), it’s time to take a moment to think about how this humble food item began and how it has become such an important part of our fast food lives. It’s quite probable that everyone of us has eaten a sandwich of some form in their time; whether it was a brown sugar sandwich as a child, a bedtime “toastie” of some kind or a regular cheese affair for lunch; and so many times, it has been the answer to that familiar question “What can I make to eat - fast?”.

It is believed that the sandwich began life in the 1700’s when the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montague requested for some slices of beef to be served to him between two slices of toast, so he could carry on playing a 24 hour card game! Not wanting to stop play, he thought this quickly prepared and easy to eat snack would see him through the game. And so, the sandwich was born.

The sandwich can come in many different forms using different breaded items: sliced breads, two halves of baguettes, pitta pockets, toasted ones, “open” ones, wraps and even steamed bread buns that are pulled apart. Whichever breaded item, it’s used to encase a number of different fillings, both hot and cold and usually eaten with the hands.

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So, what’s the scoop on seitan?

This wonderful vegetarian or vegan “meat” is becoming more and more popular with those choosing plant based diets – but where do you get it and what on earth is it?Seitan

Seitan, (pronounced – SAY-TAN), is already used in Asian cooking as vegetarian mock meat and forms the base of many commercial vegetarian foods, such as Tofurky. It is made from a whole wheat flour base (which can be lovingly prepared by hand, but is extremely labour intensive!) or you can use Vital Wheat Gluten, which is available in many good wholefood shops. This gluten is what is left after the starch has been washed away from the wheat, leaving a high protein powder ready to make in to Seitan.

A bit like Tofu and Tempeh, Seitan won’t win any awards for flavour, but it does a produce a more “meaty” texture than these other alternatives. Stringy, chewy and dense enough to give a good bite, it is certainly gaining a lot of interest.

High in protein but not from a soybean base, this is a great alternative for Vegans and Vegetarians who are avoiding soy. It’s also high in iron and low in fat, so Seitan has many positives.

The best way to get Seitan, is to make it yourself. It’s easy to do and can be cooked in a number of different ways to suit. The only thing you need to do is to pack some flavour in to it! You can buy it already prepared in some shops but it isn’t widely available at the moment. It is known to be prepared with plenty of soy sauce, so beware if you are watching your salt levels. Making your own allows you to control sodium and the other flavours – so grab a bowl and give it a go!

Basic Seitan Recipe

BBQ Dippers

Chinese Seitan with Hoisin

Buy Suma Vita Wheat Gluten

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Orange Cinnamon PancakesMany of us could confess to owning a store cupboard containing a few hidden, out of date dried herbs and spices, where a particular recipe required one measly teaspoon of something you haven’t used again. There maybe a few vinegars, sauce jars or other condiment found lurking in the back too, but there appears to be a new contender in the Top Ten of “Brought and Used Once” list of food ingredients joining the battle for cupboard space – welcome Coconut Flour!

With a recent influx of information promoting this wonderful flour; it’s association with healthy eating, low carbs, gluten free diets and of the course the fact it has come from a coconut (which we are all learning is a wonderful ingredient to use, however it comes), there has been quite a few of us that have invested in a bag. When the word “invested” is used, this is no exaggeration – coconut flour is expensive!

A lot of us may have initially been quite keen to try a recipe using the flour and one saved article was pulled out of the magazine or website article you had been holding on to. The flour made its way to the oven, the bake was ok/great/a bit disappointing, but then all is forgotten...sound familiar? What do you do with the rest?

If you have tried using coconut flour in direct replacement of white or brown plain wheat flours, you may have found yourself both rather alarmed and rather insulted by the result! You may have thought you weren’t too bad at baking and have created some rather glorious cakes, breads and biscuits in the past, but whoa! WHAT HAPPENED?

When coconut flour was initially promoted around the UK food scene, it may have been helpful to educate customers, that this flour is NOT to be used as a direct replacement for wheat flours. It creates a heavy, flat and utterly dry experience on its own. It needs company! It’s also a thirsty beast and will absorb all of the liquid you would usually use, plus more and it will still produce a rather dry, crumbly and uninspiring result.

So, what exactly is coconut flour?
Coconut flour is dried, defatted coconut meat, that has a mild taste of coconut. It’s high in fibre and low in carbohydrate, plus, it’s gluten free. It’s also lower in fat content than the similar textured, almond flour so it’s got a lot going of it! However, to succeed with using it, you need to help it a long a bit.

If you are a novice baker, or someone new to coconut flour, it is worth initially following recipes that have been designed to use coconut flour specifically. When you get to know how these flours behave you could then start to replace the usual wheat flours with “blends”. This means 2 things –
1) Add extra liquid to the recipe
2) Add a friend or two to the coconut flour, so combine coconut flour with oat flour, or tapioca, buckwheat flour and other plain gluten free flours.

That bag of expensive coconut flour can be used up in easier ways too. You don’t need to be a top baker! How about using it to coat items? Soak some tofu or chicken pieces in buttermilk/soya yoghurt and then mix with coconut flour and oats. Bake as required. How about mixing the coconut flour with nuts, oil and sea salt and bake – use this as a topping for gratins, soups or salads. In other words, use it in ways where you want some texture or crunch.

Coconut flour doesn’t need to be lurking in the back of the cupboard and need not be an expensive mistake. Just understand that it’s thirsty and it produces a rather crumbly, heavy texture on its own. However, this means it still has a variety of uses and it can produce some wonderfully tasty and healthy results, so enjoy it...for what it is!

Try these recipes

Coconut orange and maple syrup pancakes

Pear and Ginger crumbles

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Chocolate Christmas puddingIt’s coming up to that time of year again. The first step of Christmas, the beginning of the festivities, looking forward to enjoying the end of a year and making plans for the next. Stir up Sunday.

Historically, this is the name given to the Sunday, five weeks before Christmas, where families gather around a large mixing bowl and make the Christmas Pudding. This warming tradition will be taking place on Sunday the 26th of November this year and it’s a great way to kick start the festivities.

Said to be taken from the opening words of the Book of Common Prayer, read on the Sunday before Advent, there is expected to be a whole lot of stirring taking place on this day. “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord” has been proclaimed and excitement and comfort is created by this special annual job.

Thirteen ingredients, representing thirteen disciples, is the customary number of items placed in the Christmas Pudding Bowl. Traditionally stirred from East to West, representing the Wise Men who visited Jesus in the Nativity Story, a wish is made by each member of the family, as they take it in turns to stir.

To finish the job, lucky charms are added to the mix. Silver coins, representing wealth, a wishbone for luck, a thimble for thrift, a ring for marriage and an anchor for safe harbour. Not sure how lucky these charms would be if you bit in to one and broke your tooth on Christmas Day though! If you do follow the tradition to this level, it is suggested you warn your fellow diners on the day and ensure these items are thoroughly clean! Don’t forget your holly sprig for the top, as this represents the crown of thorns; take note that a fake version is much less toxic.

So, why the Christmas Pudding? It is thought that this particular recipe is derived from the Middle Ages and a Christmas Porridge, called Frumenty. Initially this had been a savoury affair, consisting of boiled wheat grains, eggs and milk, served up with meats, such as venison. Over the years, this recipe evolved into a plum pudding where sugar, dried fruits and alcohol were added, to try and increase the shelf life. It was the 19th Century and Prince Albert’s declaration of his love for this “plum pudding” that elevated it to great demand and the Christmas Pud was born.

It’s a great tradition for the family to gather around a mixing bowl in the kitchen once a year, excited by the up and coming Christmas and chattering about news, life and fun events. Delicious aromas and warmth filling the kitchen and a whole heap of memories being stirred up too, but what if no-one likes Christmas Pudding? Can you still take part in this family ritual?

Of course, a new recipe! Move over Christmas Pudding, we have a new kid on the block. Thirteen ingredients stirred together to form a mix. Not a pudding to be steamed and kept for the following weeks, but a dry mix that can be measured out and stirred by young and old. It can be kept in a large, pretty jar, labelled “For Xmas Pudding”, (with lucky charms as well) and admired over the coming weeks. When at last Christmas dinner is roasting, grab your jar and make the best alternative to a Christmas Pudding ever and remember those wishes you made.

So, this could be your reason to get together on that Sunday; to stir up a new modern-day pudding, one that everyone (or most) will love (it’s a vegan bake too). Make your wishes as you all stir, feel excited about the Advent looming and most of all, make this a simple pleasure, in a busy life.

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“So where do you get your protein from?” “Are you malnourished yet?”
“Are you mad?” . “Are you a student?” “Don’t you miss bacon?”

DID YOU KNOW…

One person changing to a Vegan lifestyle will -

  • Conserve fossil fuel. Conserve water. Use grain efficiently. Conserve top soil. Save rainforests

DID YOU KNOW…
One person changing to a Vegan lifestyle –

  • Will improve their auto immune function
  • Could avoid certain health conditions such as heart disease and some cancers
  • Will enhance their nutrition from eating a variety of protein sources
  • Will remove food related symptoms from consuming over processed foods
  • Will fall in love with food. Totally.


DID YOU KNOW…

  • Many Vegans would not have considered being a Vegetarian previously.
  • Many Vegans begin their journey from their concern about additives, processed foods and issues with packaging. Animal cruelty and farming conditions are the “final straw” to their decision.
  • Vegans improve their cooking skills.
  • Many top athletes are Vegans.
  • Adopting a Vegan lifestyle is much easier than you think!

Vegans are emerging bright, healthy, full of life and perfectly normal. They aren’t part of peace protests, tree hugging adventures and unemployment. They are a growing community of people who just so happen to care about the future, animal welfare, sustainability and their health.
Northamptonshire embraces Veganism. It provides fantastic shops stocking great quality plant based produce. There is a wealth of imaginative restaurants, cafes with wonderful Vegan menus, food fayres, food shows and projects all around us, inspiring us.
It’s not about “I can’t eat that”, it’s about “I won’t eat that”, it’s a choice and its certainly food for thought.

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