One of my on-going goals is to start recording, organising and compiling some of my favourite vegan recipes so I can create my own vegan cookbook full of tried and tested recipes and go-to meals. So, I thought what better place to start than on my very own blog Generosity of Spirit.
I have always enjoyed cooking, but lately I have found no happier place than in the kitchen cooking and experimenting. I put some music on and get out my favourite cookbooks or with no plan at all, I just start cooking. It makes me feel happy, relaxed and centred.
6 Ways Cooking can help your Mind, Body & Spirit
1. Setting Goals and Feelings of Accomplishment
When you cook for yourself or other people, you’re setting an achievable goal for yourself… either following a recipe from start to finish or developing a new recipe yourself. Setting goals and achieving them no matter how big or small can feel great and I love plating up a dish or taking something out of the oven – it is the best feeling.
2. Exercising Creativity
I love getting creative in the kitchen. Sharing recipes with friends, seeing something enticing online and trying it out. I love how the options feel endless and for me cooking is as much a creative outlet as writing, or painting.
3. Experimenting and Learning
Humans love to learn, and I can think of no better place to learn than in the kitchen. Sure, sometimes we fail- something doesn’t taste as good as you hoped, or your finished dish looks *nothing like the photo in your cookbook! But experimenting is the best fun and I love to follow my instincts in the kitchen.
4. Connecting and Sharing with Others
I love cooking, full stop but there is nothing better than cooking for family and friends, or even just sharing recipes. My Instagram community and this blog have encouraged me to share more, and this gets me cooking more so it’s a win-win!
6. Getting Organised
As your confidence grows in the kitchen you get more ambitious and more organised. Planning and cooking in batch for the week ahead is a great way to feel in control. It makes life easier and circles back to that great feeling of accomplishment.
7. Getting Healthier
If you have health goals, cooking at home is the way forward. You are in total control of your food, and what goes into it. Eating healthily becomes easier and fun!
My Favourite Recipes … Right Now
Slow Cooked Tomato Risotto
50 ml olive oil
2 red onions, quartered
2 garlic cloves, bashed
Handful of fresh basil, sage and thyme
2 – 3 punnets fresh tomatoes (some large and some small)
300 g Arborio rice
200 ml white wine
400 ml water
1 Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot
1) Preheat the oven to 180c.
2) Lay out the tomatoes in a large roasting tin. Add in the quartered red onions, garlic cloves, basil, sage, thyme and a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Now pour over the olive oil, submerging the tomatoes somewhat and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
3) Turn on your slow cooker and allow to heat up.
4) When the tomatoes are caramelised and starting to melt into a rich, fragrant sauce, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Take out the vine stalks and the woodier thyme sprigs. Still in the roasting tin, blitz everything into a smooth sauce, using a hand-held stick blender
5) Pour this into your preheated heated slow cooker, add in the risotto rice and stir through.
6) Pour over the white wine and the water, then add in a Knorr’s vegetable stock pot and allow to melt into the sauce. Give everything a good stir, cover and leave for an hour and a half, until the rice has absorbed all of the sauce.
Vegan Banana Muffins
(to make 12)
250g plain flour
100g brown sugar
100g white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
3 mashed bananas
120 ml oat milk
30g smooth peanut butter
60g melted coconut oil
1) Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases. Set aside.
2) Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the brown and white sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3) Mash the bananas and add to the mixing bowl.
4) Add the oat milk to your mixing bowl a little at a time, stirring to combine.
5) Add the melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and mix into a thick batter.
6) Add the smooth peanut butter and stir in.
7) Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cases and place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of one of the muffins comes out clean.
8) Transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack to cool and then enjoy!
2 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 large courgette
1 can of chopped tomatoes
150g of chestnut mushrooms
Handful of vittoria tomatoes
Fajita seasoning mix
1 packet of Merchant Gourmet Mexican style grains (but you could use any rice, bean & grain combo)
Vegan creme fraiche
1) Heat some rapeseed oil in a large pan, add minced garlic, after a minute or so add 1 chopped red onion.
2) Sizzle for a couple of minutes and add chopped courgette, red & yellow pepper.
3) After a further couple of minutes add some sliced chestnut mushrooms.
4) Add your spices, we used Sainsbury’s Fajita Seasoning Mix (medium heat).
5) Crumble Merchant Gourmet Mexican style grains into the pan and stir.
6) Add 1 can of chopped tomatoes, and refill 1/4 of the can with some water and add slowly to help deglaze the pan.
7) Add a handful of whole vittoria tomatoes, simmer gently until piping hot.
8) Served with Oatly creme fraiche and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.
Vegan Green Lentil & Veggie Lasagne
Splash of Rapeseed Oil
2/3 cloves of Garlic (minced)
1 White Onion (diced)
1 large Courgette (cubed)
2 Red Peppers (roughly chopped)
1 can of Green Lentils
Tomato Puree (to taste)
Seasoning Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Parsley (to taste)
Sacla Vegan Red Sauce and Vegan White Sauce
Grated Vegan Cheese
1) Gently fry minced garlic and onions in a splash of rapeseed oil for 2/3 minutes.
2) Add diced courgette, chopped peppers and continue to fry for a further 3/4 minutes.
3) Drain and add green lentils with Sacla red sauce and stir to combine.
4) Add tomato puree & seasoning to taste, simmer for 5/6 minutes.
5) Meanwhile submerge lasagne sheets in water and microwave to soften (approx. 1 min 30).
6) Get ready to assemble… I like to put some lasagne sheets on the bottom of an oven dish, and add a layer of red sauce evenly over the top.
7) Add another layer of lasagne sheets and spoon over some white sauce, and scatter some spinach leaves on top (de-stalk).
8) Add another layer of lasagne sheets and repeat layers until you are happy.
9) On the top layer, add more white sauce, spinach and sprinkle some vegan grated cheese and season with pepper.
10) Bake for approximately 30 mins at 200 degrees until bubbling.
I hope you enjoyed them, and if you do give them a try – let me know!