-Jackfruit-

basket jackfruit

Jackfruit. It’s becoming more and more popular as people are realising how amazingly versatile and tasty this fruit is. You can buy it in a few different forms; green jackfruit, cooked jackfruit (both in water or brine) and ripened jackfruit which is usually served in a can with syrup. I’ve most recently seen jackfruit sold in vacuum packed bags which came either cubed or ready shredded which would be handy for someone who leads a busy life. You can even buy jackfruit whole but they’re around 10kg in weight and will put you back £50-£60… The biggest ones can grow up to 36kg!

Ripe jackfruit is actually sweet and has a texture quite similar to mango or melon. The flesh can be used in cakes or battered and deep fried and the seeds have a fairly creamy taste and can be boiled, baked or roasted as a healthy snack. Jackfruit comes from the same family as figs, mulberries and the less known breadfruit which has an extremely starchy texture quite like a potato or boiled polenta.

Jackfruit is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, carbohydrate and fiber but is fairly low in protein. It’s fairly low in calories and contains no cholesterol or saturated fats and has plenty of pottasium in the flesh which helps to maintain the sodium levels in the body and in turn reduces high blood pressure levels which can cause strokes and heart attacks.

Jackfruit seeds, when eaten, are good for circulation and contain lots of vitamin A which is essential for stopping dry and brittle hair.

outside jackfruitIt’s also rich in vitamin C and antioxidants whilst helping to boost your immune system which is important to prevent colds, sickness and many diseases. Another benefit is that it’s one of the rare fruits that is rich in a B-complex group of vitamins and contains outstanding amounts of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid.

 

Most recently vegetarian and vegans have been using this unripened fruit as a meat equivalent, where it can be pulled apart once cooked to create a dish with the same texture and taste to pulled meat like chicken or pork. Being plant based and with all the benefits listed above there’s just no reason not to give it a try. It’s so versatile you can add almost any savoury flavour to the unripened jackfruit and the fruit will soak it all up and take on that flavour. I’ve cooked it dozens of times so far and I haven’t been disappointed yet.

all 4 jackfruit

The different variations I’ve tried are; peri peri, jerk BBQ, sweet chilli jack, fajita/Mexican, tunamayo nnaise (for a jacket potato or sandwich), breadcrumbed and fried jackfruit (jackfish tacos) and I’ve also heard

of it being put into pies, cooked on pizza, made into meatballs, added into a chilli among other thing.

Jackfruit used to be quite hard to buy and you used to have to travel to find it a shop shelf but now the demand for it has become higher, supermarkets are getting on board and starting to sell it too. Sainsburys and Ocado being some of the few supermarkets that are now selling it and I can’t imagine it will be much longer until the other big brands get on board and realise how much of this product they can sell. I usually buy mine in a world foods shop (Faraway Foods in Bury St Edmunds) where they come in bigger cans and that is also where I get a lot of my food inspiration from.

 

BBQ pulled jackfruit recipe:

You will need:

  • a deep baking dish
  • 1 x tin of green jackfruit
  • 1/2 x small tin of sweetcorn
  • 1/2 x tin of red kidney beans
  • 1 x chopped red onion
  • 1/2 x red/yellow/green (or all) pepper
  • 1 x marinating sauce, usually they’re around 280g-300g (this could be anything from jerk sauce, bourbon sauce, spicy BBQ… whichever you prefer really)
  • 150ml water

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 200°C (Gas mark 6)
  • Drain the water/brine from the jackfruit and transfer the fruit into your baking dish
  • Add in the bottle of sauce straight onto the jackfruit (no need to cook first) and add in the other ingredients if using (sweetcorn, red kidney beans, onion, pepper can all be added in raw, they will cook in the oven)
  • Mix together to make sure the fruit is completely covered
  • Add in your water and mix again
  • Place on the top shelf of your oven for 45 minutes, removing from the oven 30 minutes in to stir.
  • Once the 45 minutes is up, remove and pull apart the jackfruit using 2 small sixed forks. If you like you can place back into the oven or under the grill to dry out slightly.
  • Enjoy!

Ways you can serve this include: in a wrap with lettuce, served with rice, served in a jacket potato, in a sandwich with some avocado and vegan sour cream, with some tortilla chips making a nacho style dish, or just by itself!

Advertisements

-Coffee-

“A cup of coffee shared with a friend is happiness tasted and time well spent.”                     -Anonymous

 

Coffee is not only tasty and gives us plenty of energy, but there a loads of studies showing that are major health benefits to drinking coffee. These studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several diseases such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers, liver disease, heart disease, dementia, type II diabetes among others. Coffee contains a large amount of antioxidants, and coffee drinkers actually get more antioxidants from coffee than they do from fruit and vegetables combined.

It’s also known that coffee is great for burning fat as the caffeine found in coffee can boost the metabolic rate by 3-11%! It stimulates the nervous system which then sends signals to the fat cells, telling them to start breaking down body fat. The fat cells then get broken down and they’re released into the blood as free fatty acids making them available as fuel.

As I’m sure you’re aware, there are more and more companies creating vegan friendly products. Veganism is becoming evermore popular and more people are realising that it’s a great way of life, not only for the health benefits, but for the environmental side of things also. It’s amazing how you can go into pretty much all coffee shops and they will have dairy free alternatives, not just to drink but they are welcoming sandwiches, cakes, cookies onto their shelves and it’s keeping us all very happy. 😛

In Europe, Brits actually drink the least amount of coffee, with Finland and Sweden taking the lead, but it’s been proven that we actually pay more for our caffeinated drink out of the countries!

coffee

 

The great thing is, we as consumers have so much choice nowadays when it comes to coffee and I think it’s safe to say we all have preferences when it comes to our daily coffee. Black, white, sugar, no sugar, instant, from a freshly brewed cafetiere, from your local Starbucks on the way to work (like me – haha) or even an iced coffee on a nice warm day…

Coffee isn’t just good in hot (or iced) drinks, you can have it in cake, cocktails, desserts, truffles and I’ve even heard of coffee flavoured balsamic vinegar, jelly beans and even coffee crisps…. I don’t know what I feel about that last on – haha!

Coffee will remain to play a part in my day and I’m sure we will continue to see more and more coffee shops popping up in our locals towns and cities. But it’s definitely safe to say that coffee is more than just a brown liquid…

 

FILE PHOTO: A cup of coffee rests on a counter at a Starbucks coffeehouse in Austin, Texas

The Best Vegan Pancakes

As a child, I can remember making pancakes quite often, usually on a weekend. I learnt the basic recipe ( 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk and 1 egg ) and I ran with it. I can remember teaching friends how to make them and impressing everyone with how these 3 ingredients could create something so tasty. Sugar and lemon was always the topping I chose, and I was lucky enough to live in Spain next to a lemon grove where we could just nip and pick a lemon straight from the tree and within minutes squeeze it’s goodness onto your stack of pancakes. We’d then carefully sprinkle sugar on top being careful not to add too much or too little. I’d rush home from school especially and I’m only now realised how important me cooking those simple little things has added to my passion for food now as an adult.

After going vegan in 2018 I never even took into consideration my favourite breakfast food – the almighty pancake. I looked online and found a basic recipe using plant milk but nothing necessarily to replace the egg part of the trio. I tried it and something wasn’t quite right so I played around and perfected – modest I know – the below recipe which I am now happy to share. Let me know how you get on!

poo.jpg

You will need:-

  • Measuring scales
  • Medium size mixing bowl
  • Blender (I just use a standard stick blender but any will do)
  • A non stick pan or griddle
  • Measuring spoons
  • A spatula for flipping

 

Ingredients:              (makes 8-10 medium sized pancakes)

  • 120g of self raising flour
  • 40g breakfast oats, they can be rolled or normal
  • 1/2 ripe banana (the riper the better – this will add sweetness to the batter)
  • 100ml plant milk, I’ve used almond, oat, rice, coconut, hemp, quinoa… and they all work just as well 🙂
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • Oil – I use coconut oil or rapeseed oil but vegetable oil would also work or if you know nothing ever sticks to your pan and you don’t like using oil then even better!

Optional:- 1 tbsp cocao powder, 40g raisins, 1tsp cinnamon powder, 40g blueberries (I usually cut the big ones in half), 40g vegan chocolate chips, 2 tbsp crunchy or smooth peanut butter, 2 tbsp biscoff spread (they even sell a crunchy version!!!!!), you can also add in vegan protein powder if this is something that you include in your daily diet, you just may have to add more liquid….. but the options really are endless 😀

Method:

1. Weigh out your flour, oats and measure out your milk.

2. Add together in the mixing bowl and blend for around 30 seconds until smooth.

3. Add in your banana, vanilla and salt, and blend again until all mixed in (probably around another 20 seconds.)

4. Make sure your pan is nice and hot and lightly oil it (if you’re using oil). You may want to use a ladle at this point or if you feel confident then you can free pour the mix into the pan (or onto the griddle). Make sure you turn down the heat at this point, a medium heat should do.

5. You should start to see bubbles form in the mix only seconds after touching the pan, once you notice that the whole mix has started to cook then this is when you can flip your pancake.

6. Continue until all your mix has gone. The recipe should make around 8-10 small to medium sized pancakes. You can either stack them up on top of one another or roll them up with your choice of mix inside. I usually stack mine up and then have an abundance of sauce on top, which I 9 times out of 10 spill somewhere or another, because I’m clumsy like that…

Toppings:- So you could go full on classic and have sugar and lemon, maple syrup and bacon (Vbites bacon is my ultimate bacon alternative. They do a maple kind too and they crisp up really nicely), some sliced fresh fruit like strawberries, banana, kiwi… would also be a nice topping to have, a fruit compote is very easy to make but can be quite sickly or tart depending on the fruit you use and the amount of sugar you add in… golden syrup is another favourite or even chocolate spread if you can find a good vegan one or you could even make your own if you’re feeling adventurous.

31502553_10155652040241872_4292838302186209280_n