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Naan (with a Peshwari Naan Option)

This is a beautifully soft and airy naan, perfect for serving with soups, curries, and so on. The secrets to its fluffiness are the strong white bread flour and frying it in a lidded pan. Although this recipe calls for white spelt flour, you can substitute that with plain wheat flour if desired, but adjust the liquid quantities accordingly. This recipe makes 8 side-plate-sized naan, so feel free to scale the recipe down if desired.

Ingredients for the Plain Naan

250g white spelt flour
250g strong white bread flour
2 tsp quick-acting yeast
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup soy yoghurt
250ml warm soy milk
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp salt
Additional salt, smoked paprika, garlic granules, and nutritional yeast for frying
Suitable-for-vegans spray oil

Directions for the Plain Naan

1. Mix the flours. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast, maple syrup, soy yoghurt, soy milk. Combine. Sprinkle over the baking powder, garlic, granules and salt and begin to knead in the bowl. Transfer to a floured surface and knead well for about 5 minutes. Return to the bowl, dust with flour, cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place for about an hour to rise.
2. When ready to cook, heat a lidded frying pan over a medium heat and spray with some oil. Gather the dough into a ball, divide it into 8, and roll each piece out on a floured surface about 1/4 cm thick.
3. Spray the top of the rolled-out piece of dough with spray oil, and sprinkle with a little paprika, garlic, salt, and nutritional yeast. Place carefully into the frying pan, cover, and cook for a couple of minutes until the top bubbles and the bottom is browned; flip, and cook again until the bubbles start to blacken.

Ingredients for the Peshwari Naan

250g white spelt flour
250g strong white bread flour
2 tsp quick-acting yeast
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup soy (or other all-plant) yoghurt
250ml warm soy (or other all-plant) milk
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp salt
Suitable-for-vegan spray oil

For the Filling

100g unsalted pistachios, shelled
100g ground almonds
Pinch salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
1/4 cup soy (or other all-plant) yogurt
30g raisins, sultanas, or dates

To serve:
Toasted, flaked almonds for sprinkling

Directions for Peshwari Naan
1. Mix the flours. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast, maple syrup, soy yoghurt, soy milk. Combine. Sprinkle over the baking powder, garlic, granules and salt and begin to knead in the bowl. Transfer to a floured surface and knead well for about 5 minutes. Return to the bowl, dust with flour, cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place for about an hour to rise.
2. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a food processor, mix everything together until you have a thick paste.
3. When the dough is doubled in size, knock it back and divide it into 8 pieces.
4. Roll the filling into 8 balls. Take each piece of dough, roll it into a ball between your hands, and make an indent in it with your thumb. Push one of the balls of filling into it, and smooth the dough back over it.
5. When ready to cook, heat a lidded frying pan over a medium heat and spray with some oil. Flatten out each ball of dough with your palm, and start roll each ball into a teardrop shape about 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface.
6. Place carefully into the frying pan, cover, and cook for a couple of minutes until the top bubbles and the bottom is browned; flip, and cook again until the bubbles start to blacken.
7. Spray the bubbled side of the naan with a little spray oil, and top with some flaked almonds.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

This speedy Creamy Broccoli Soup takes under 20 minutes, is oil-free, and serves 2 (generous portions) and is great for those on a tighter budget. The spices create an interesting flavour profile with just a tiny bit of heat.

Ingredients

1 onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp wholemeal flour
1 large head broccoli, roughly chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp suitable-for-vegans yellow or Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
pinch white pepper

Directions

1. Heat a soup pan or large pot over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, adding a splash or two of water if the vegetables start to stick.
2. Mix the flour with 1/4 cup vegetable broth from the 4 cups. Add to the vegetables and cook stirring, for 1 minute more.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
4. Blend the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in a jug blender. Season to taste, and adjust the seasoning if desired.

Easy Oaty-Coconut Cookies

A very simple cookie that’s perfect for those new to cooking. Not much can go wrong with these (apart from the inherent wrongness of the fact that you have to allow them to cool before tucking in!). Makes 26 cookies.

Ingredients

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup brown suitable-for-vegans sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegan vegetable fat spread
3 tbsp golden syrup (if you want your biscuit chewier, use less)
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C).
2. Sift the flours into a mixing bowl, and add the oats, coconut, sugar and salt. Mix to combine.
3. Melt the margarine in a saucepan over a low heat. Turn off the heat, and add golden syrup, water and bicarbonate of soda.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix well.
5. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls, flatten between the palms of your hands, and place on a lined baking tray (I needed two), leaving some space in between each as the biscuits will spread slightly as they cook.
6. Bake for 15 minutes (if, like me, you had to use two trays, give them 8 minutes on their respective shelves and then swap them over).
7. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes or until completely cool.

Coconut Spinach and Chickpeas with Couscous

A dinner that takes just 10 minutes to prepare is a sheer delight, especially when it is healthy, minimally processed, and beautifully fragrant with coconut and spices.

Ingredients:
200g couscous (the photograph shows giant wholewheat couscous)
200g baby spinach
50g kale, destemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
150g baby button mushrooms
1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained
1 bell pepper, medium dice
1 can coconut milk (well shaken to combine)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch chilli flakes
salt and pepper
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

Directions:
1. Cook the couscous according to the packet directions.
2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over a medium heat, wilt the spinach. You may have to add it in batches. A splash of hot water will help speed things up.
3. Add the kale, mushrooms, chickpeas, and peppers. Stir to combine.
4. Add the coconut milk and spices. Cook until the mushrooms shrink a little. Season to taste. Add the cherry tomatoes and warm through.