Peppermint & Goji Bliss Balls | Raw, Vegan

Delicious bite-sized sweet treats, with a hint of peppermint, packed full of fibre, antioxidants, calcium, essential amino acids and a source of vitamins and minerals.Raw & Vegan Peppermint & Goji Bliss Balls | The Tofu DiariesThere are just so many good things to say about bliss balls. There is the endless possibility for creating different combinations and flavours. They don’t require any baking or lengthy prep and are ready to eat right away. They keep well in the fridge for around a week (if you can restrain yourself, that is). Most of all, they satisfy any sweet craving whilst being full of nutritious ingredients. They do contain naturally occurring sugars but as far as sweet treats go, I’d say they are pretty guilt-free.Raw & Vegan Peppermint & Goji Bliss Balls | The Tofu DiariesAm I bit late the party only just creating my first ‘bliss balls’ recipe? Well, maybe. They’ve been on my radar as something I wanted to try out and experiment with creating my own flavours but it’s only recently, after moving out of a shared house and into somewhere I can have nice kitchen things and have the space for them, that I’ve invested in a good blender/food processor.Raw & Vegan Peppermint & Goji Bliss Balls | The Tofu DiariesI’ve had some amazing similar treats in restaurants and in pre-made raw bars, but this was my first time of making raw bliss balls. To get started I actually made a few different varieties, including some delicious lemon-flavoured ones and a batch minus the coconut so Pete could get involved (since he isn’t a coconut fan). The peppermint ones however were the stand out of the bunch and the ones I wanted to share.

Most ingredients in the recipe can be mixed up and changed to your taste though – the tahini can be switched for a nut butter, nuts can be used in place of seeds, cocoa powder instead of coconut and so on.Raw & Vegan Peppermint & Goji Bliss Balls | The Tofu DiariesMakes around 6 balls

Ingredients:

20(ish) dates, roughly chopped

2tbsp mixed seeds

1tbsp dried goji berries

1tbsp tahini

1/4tsp natural peppermint flavouring/essence (I used flavoured stevia liquid)

Desiccated coconut, for coating

Method:

1. Add all of the ingredients (bar the coconut) to a food processor. Blend until it has broken down into a sticky, fine mixture. If your processor isn’t too powerful, give the seeds a quick whizz before adding the other ingredients.

2. Remove the blade from the food processor. Using your hands, bring the mixture together and roll into small palm-sized balls.

3. Cover the bottom of a plate or wide dish with the coconut and roll the balls in it until they are full coated. Enjoy!Raw & Vegan Peppermint & Goji Bliss Balls | The Tofu DiariesHave you made bliss balls before? What is your favourite flavour concoction?

Don’t forget to enter my Nibnibs giveaway!

Little Vegetarian Treats: Mininibs + a Giveaway!

Something I love about living in Yorkshire, aside from all of the beautiful countryside, is the creativity and artisanal flair you find here. One of the wonderful things about having adopted the county as my home is the chance to discover many of them first hand, whether it is from living and working in such a vibrant neighbourhood as Chapel Allerton or from exploring the surrounding towns.

NibNibs is one such company. Located up in North Yorkshire, they create handmade nibbles fresh from their bakery in Ripon using only the finest locally sourced ingredients. Their vegetarian snacks contain Yorkshire-milled wheat and British Cheddar (they even list Yorkshire water as an ingredient) making the food miles that go into these remarkably low. Since hearing from NibNibs, I have been, well, nibbling my way through their yummy range of mininibs.

NibNibs MininibsThe cheerfully packaged mininibs come in three exceptionally cheesy flavours: Cheddar Cheese, Cheddar & Spicy Chili, and Cheddar &Cheeky Onion. The first thing to hit you with each variety is undoubtedly the Cheddar, but what I really love is how the accompanying flavours – be it chilli or onion – develop after the initial cheesy hit. After my first mininib, I wasn’t too sure but as soon as it was done with I couldn’t wait to reach for the next one; the strong flavour combined with the crunch makes these beyond moreish!Mininibs 2NibNib’s Salt & Pepper Jumbo Peanuts were another pleasant surprise, and dare I say it, equally as moreish.Mininibs 3The pots are all foil sealed when they arrive with a handy little lid to keep them fresh after opening. It also makes them ideal to pop into your bag for a snack on the go.

NibNibs are kindly giving away a selection of their snacks to one of my lucky readers (suitable for vegetarians but not for vegans, I’m afraid) so click below for a link to the Rafflecopter where you can enter! (There isn’t an option on there to follow me too (boo!) but I’d love it if you did.)

The competition is open internationally so my readers from everywhere can have a little taste of Yorkshire!

Click to enterAnd finally, the all important question, where do I nibble mine? …At my desk to keep me going through the afternoon! Where would you nibble yours if you won?

*The competition is being hosted here on behalf of NibNibs who will be randomly selecting a winner on October 10th. NibNibs are responsible for contacting the winner and sending out their prize. Full T&Cs can be found on the Rafflecopter. Good luck!

Tofu Bacon | Vegan

A versatile and tasty option, these strips of tofu are marinated in a sticky sauce that is both smoky and slightly sweet. Perfect for a veggie brunch, a breakfast sandwich, or as a creative topping on almost any dish!Tofu Bacon Recipe | The Tofu DiariesSince getting a bit more settled into the new house, I’ve been enjoying a few slow weekends at home: waking up early, appreciating a good coffee, and setting myself up for the day with a tasty breakfast. This tofu “bacon” made for a perfect sandwich filling in seeded brown bread with a creamy cajun sauce.

As someone who has never seen the appeal of the real stuff, I’m somewhat loathe to call it “bacon” but it does best encapsulate the flavours and how this can be eaten. Next time, I want to serve it up as a veggie breakfast with mushrooms, baked beans, and toast, yum!Tofu Bacon | The Tofu DiariesTofu Bacon | The Tofu Diaries Tofu Bacon | The Tofu DiariesIngredients:

1 block tofu, drained and pressed for at least 30 minutes

1tbsp tomato purée

1tbsp soy sauce

1tbsp maple syrup

2tsp smoked paprika

1tbsp olive oil (or oil of your choice)

Method:

1. Slice the tofu into 5mm thick strips. In a bowl mix the tomato, soy sauce, maple syrup and smoked paprika into a smooth paste. Coat the tofu in the marinade (you could leave them to marinate but it isn’t necessary if you want to save time).

2. In a pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the tofu to the pan, spacing the slices evenly. Fry for around eight to ten minutes, turning occasionally, until they have crisped and browned.

3. Take off the heat and remove any excess oil using kitchen roll. Serve as you please – as part of a cooked breakfast, in a sandwich, or chopped into small bits as a topping!Tofu Bacon | The Tofu Diaries

What would you eat this tofu bacon with?

Morocco Diary: Jardin Majorelle

Set in the heart of the new part of the city, Jardin Majorelle is an oasis filled with bamboo, palms, cacti, and pools filled with lilies. The gardens were originally created over a period of forty years by French artist Jacques Majorelle. His passion for travel and for botany led him to fill the garden with rare and exotic plants collected along the way. He chose vibrant cobalt and shades of ochre to complement the greens and evoke the intensity of its African setting.Jardin Majorelle 16 Jardin Majorelle 17      Jardin Majorelle 11Jardin Majorelle 13 Jardin Majorelle 5Jardin Majorelle 15 Jardin Majorelle 6Finally finished in the 1930s, but not opened to the public until 1947, Jardin Majorelle had sadly fallen into disrepair by the 1960s. It wasn’t until 1980 that things began to look up when Yves Saint Laurent bought the gardens and restored them to their former beauty. Upon his death, Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered here and the gardens given as a gift to the city.Jardin Majorelle 8 Jardin Majorelle 14Jardin Majorelle 12      Jardin Majorelle 10These days the gardens offer a beautiful respite from the heat and hecticness of Marrakech. Gleaming russet paths snake around the lush greenery and chirping birds bring the garden to life. There is a small Berber museum (worth visiting for the surreal lighting alone) and a gorgeous walled café with a stunning selection of teas on offer (and prices to match). The café also boasts a sprinkler-type system, as found in many local restaurants, that lets out bursts of cool mist at frequent intervals – just the thing for a summertime visit.Jardin Majorelle 1    Jardin Majorelle 4 Jardin Majorelle 3 Jardin Majorelle 2Jardin Majorelle 9Entrance to the gardens is 50Dhs and the museum is 25Dhs. The gardens are best reached by a short taxi ride away from the medina which should cost no more than 30-40 dirham. The address? Rue Yves Saint Laurent, of course. Jardin Majorelle 7What is the most beautiful garden you have ever visited?

Creamy Vegan Lemon & Basil Pasta with Peppery Butternut Squash + Introducing Oatly

A creamy yet light pasta dish with flavours of fresh lemon and basil. Spinach and mange tout are flashed with heat to keep their natural crunch, whilst the butternut squash is roasted to perfection in olive oil and plentiful black pepper.Creamy vegan lemon & basil pasta | @TheTofuDiariesThere are times when you crave something creamy and rich but don’t want that sluggish feeling that more often than not accompanies such an indulgence. Thankfully this dish fulfills the criteria of being satisfying and filling whilst staying light through using oat milk in place of cream and fresh by adding fresh lemon juice to cut through the richness. The sauce the vegetables are cooked in for this dish doesn’t thicken too much so you could add a little cornflour to achieve a richer sauce if you wanted.Oatly Oat Milk Oatly Oat MilkFor the recipe I used Oatly, a Swedish brand of oat milk that I picked up in my local Waitrose. I love the packaging and their straight-forward approach to talking about what they do and labelling their products. Who knew but the Nordic climate is perfect for growing oats as are the farming practices common in Sweden, which you can read more about on their website here. Already low in pesticides and heavy metals, Oatly is also available in an organic variety and in a chocolate-flavoured variety, as well as both fresh and long-life varieties. Unfortunately the chocolate Oatly isn’t stocked anywhere near me but I’ll be keeping an eye open for it.Creamy vegan lemon & basil pasta | @TheTofuDiaries Creamy vegan lemon & basil pasta | @TheTofuDiariesServes 4.

Ingredients:

250g wholewheat fusilli or pasta of your choice

1 butternut squash, cut into small cubes

2 shallots or 1 white onion, finely chopped

175g mange tout, ends trimmed

125g baby spinach leaves

250ml oat milk (or milk of your choice)

4tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Handful of fresh basil

1 tbsp pine nuts

2tsp freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of sea salt

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200C / gas mark 6. Add 3tbsp of the oil to a roasting dish, heat in the oven for a few minutes then add the cubes of butternut squash and black pepper. Mix well and return to the oven. Roast for around twenty minutes, until the cubes are tender and golden brown.

2. In the meantime, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and sea salt. Stir once. Cook until al dente (time according to pasta instructions).

3. In a large frying pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat. Add the shallots or onion. Once they have softened, add the garlic and mange tout. Cook for a further three minutes.

4. Turn the heat up slightly and slowly add the oat milk, stirring constantly. Simmer for a couple of minutes before adding the spinach leaves. Once the leaves have wilted, add in the fresh basil and lemon juice. Stir and serve on top of the pasta with a sprinkling of pine nuts.Creamy vegan lemon & basil pasta | @TheTofuDiariesWhat is your favourite plant-based milk for cooking with?

*I was sent some vouchers to sample Oatly but all opinions and the recipe are my own!