Mood: Party snack, sandwich spread, salad dressing, veggie stick dip, Netflix & Chips companion..the humble Hummus is an extremely versatile dish that can liven up any occasion! I’m a total Hummus junkie and this Mediterranean delight is a definite staple in my home! Recently, I found myself buying a new tub of Hummus every couple of days; which was not only a burden on my pocket but not too environmental friendly either; because of all that plastic! So that’s when I decided to start making Hummus at home and now..there’s no turning back! This stuff tastes better than it’s store bought counter part and it’s super simple and affordable to make at home too! This Super Creamy Vegan Basil Hummus recipe is a herbalicious twist to the classic dish and it’s bound to be a crowd favourite! 10 Minutes. 10 Ingredients. 100% Deliciousness:) Healthy. Extra Smooth. Luscious. Scrumptious. Home Made Goodness:)
Recipe YouTube Video: Check out my YouTube video to see how to make the recipe:)
Method: 1. First, empty 1 can of chickpeas (with the chickpea water) into a microwave safe bowl.
2. Next, add the garlic gloves to the bowl as well.
3. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook the ingredients for 4-5 minutes. This process of heating the chickpeas and garlic with the chickpea water from the can will give the Hummus that extra creamy touch:)
4. Let the ingredients cool down for 1-2 minutes and then empty the contents of the bowl into a blender/food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Do a taste check (Taste. Tweak. Repeat.) and adjust the seasoning based on your preference:)
5. Scoop the hummus into a serving bowl and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes. The longer it cools; the more pronounced the basil flavour:) Garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika/red chilli powder:) Enjoy the hummus with fresh veggie sticks, with crackers or pita chips, in sandwiches, with salads, the works! The dip can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container. And voila! Your Super Creamy Vegan 10-Minute Basil Hummus is ready to be served:) Happy Eating:)
*If you don’t want to use the microwave, then you can heat up the chickpeas and the garlic cloves in the chickpea water in a saucepan on the stove. I have only tried the microwave method, but the stove should work too:)
*I used 2 Garlic Cloves, 2 tbsp Lemon Juice and 1 tsp Sea Salt. You can add more or less of these ingredients depending on how garlicky, lemony or salty you want the Hummus to be:)
*I used 1 cup of Fresh Basil (chopped). You can add more Basil depending on your preference. You can substitute other fresh herbs too:)
*I used a standard Dried Herb Mix of Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme from Sainsbury’s UK. You can use any dried herb mix that you have at home:)
*You can skip the olive oil if you want to make the recipe oil free:) The microwave method makes the hummus extra creamy; so the oil is just optional; not a necessity:)
Mood: NEED. COOKIE. NOW. This mantra was basically the all consuming voice in my head as I stormed to the kitchen like a woman on a mission. You know, sometimes you just crave a comforting cookie and you need it now..and I mean, like right now! I had no recipe in mind but I wanted to use simple ingredients that would bake quickly, taste good and yet be quite healthy..all at the same time! And that’s how these Double Chocolate Chip Vegan Lace Cookies were born:) 1 Bowl, 10 Ingredients, 20 Minutes, 12 Decadent Cookies. And did I mention, they’re also gluten free and refined sugar free? Success! Light. Lacy. Soft. Chewy. Addictive. Indulgent. Finger Licking Deliciousness:)
Recipe YouTube Video: Check out my YouTube video to see how to make the recipe:)
Method: 1. First, preheat the oven to 200°C/392°F.
2. Next, mix 1 tbsp of Flax Seed Powder with 3 tbsp of cold water and set aside in a bowl for at least 5-10 minutes. This step is very important because it needs to thicken up; so that it can act as a strong binder to hold the cookies together:)
3. Add all the dry ingredients (except the chocolate chunks) to a large bowl and combine well.
4. Next, add all the wet ingredients to the dry mixture (including the flax egg) and mix well (add the coconut oil last so that it doesn’t solidify further). Combine the ingredients properly and make sure that there are no solid coconut oil chunks in the cookie batter.
5. Finally, add the chocolate chunks and gentle combine them well; making sure they’re well incorporated across the cookie batter.
6. Line a large baking tray with baking paper; it’s important to use a large tray so that the cookies have enough space to expand without intertwining into each other. I actually used one large baking tray plus one small baking tray to give the cookies enough room:)
7. Scoop 1 tbsp of cookie batter (I used the 1 tbsp size baking spoon itself) onto the baking tray. It will appear quite wet and that’s perfectly normal:) Repeat again, 1 scoop at a time, until you have used up all the cookie batter. It’s ok for the scoops to be quite rough/uneven; don’t flatten them because the cookies will expand and flatten out themselves during the baking process:) Make sure to space out the cookies well; giving each cookie enough room to expand:)
8. Place the baking tray in the pre heated oven and bake at 200°C for about 8-9 minutes. Every oven is different, so keep an eye on the cookies to make sure they don’t burn (I burnt my first two batches!). I baked them for 9 minutes:)
9. Once the over timer goes off, take the cookies out of the oven and let them cool down. They will appear quite soft when you take them out, but allow them to cool down for at least 10-15 minutes. Once they’ve cooled down, they will hold their shape and you can gently take them off the baking sheet and transfer them to a serving dish/air tight container. They taste best when eaten at room temperature with the gooey chocolate chunks working their magic, but they can also be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days in an air tight container and they still taste delicious a few days later:) Whether you keep them outside or in the refrigerator, remember to always store them in an air tight container to preserve that freshly baked goodness:) And voila! Your Double Chocolate Chip Vegan Lace Cookies are ready to be served:) Bon Appétit:)
*I used Gluten Free Oats but you can use also regular oats, according to your preference:)
*If you don’t have ground almonds/almond meal at hand, then you can also make your own almond meal/flour at home:) Check out this easy recipe by Foolproof Living:)
*If you don’t want to use cocoa powder, you can skip it to make regular (not double!) chocolate chip cookies instead:) I made a batch without cocoa powder and they tasted delicious too:)
*I used a vegan baking chocolate bar and cut it into bite sized chunks. But you can also use pre made vegan chocolate chips instead:)
*I used Almond Milk but feel free to use other mild flavoured non dairy milks instead:)
*It’s important to use solid (scoop-able) coconut oil; if the coconut oil is liquid/melted, then the texture of the cookies will be affected. If you don’t have coconut oil, you can try using solid vegan butter or nut butter. I have not tried this recipe with these substitutes, but please let me know if you have success with them:)
This edition of the ‘Food For Thought with Vegan Change Makers’ interview series is all about International Women’s Day! Women are ruling the plant based world and this post is dedicated to all the incredible vegan women change makers, leaders and role models that are working every day to make the world a better place for every living being:) Happy International Women’s Day Ladies! You’re an inspiration:)
This special issue features Shasvathi Siva, a strong female role model in the young but growing plant based industry in India. From starting as a friendly neighbourhood food blogger and vegan cheese maker to transforming into a successful plant based entrepreneur and the Founder of Cowvathi, a cow friendly food startup in India; her journey of change is a true inspiration:)
Name: Shasvathi Siva
Location: Mumbai, India
Change Maker Category: Plant Based Entrepreneur
Enterprise Name: Cowvathi
The Year the Enterprise was founded: 2017
The Elevator Pitch: Breaking stereotypes about vegan cheese and plant based food with a delicious vegan food product range as an alternative to dairy products
Products: Vegan Cheese, Dips, Yoghurt & Plant Based Milks
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your story? When & why did you decide to go vegan?
I’m a simple, happy-go-lucky girl from Chennai, who moved to Mumbai about 12 years ago along with my family. After we moved to Mumbai, we welcomed two beautiful dogs into our home. They changed our lives upside down. My parents were the first ones to make the connect. My dad visited a dairy farm and decided to go vegan overnight. I took more time than he did, finished my research and watching a fair share of videos before making the choice to give up all forms of dairy. I wouldn’t say that was an easy journey, but once I reached this side, I realised the grass is truly greener here.
When, why & how did you start your enterprise and what is your vision/mission or dream for the organisation? I worked in advertising as a writer for 5+ years, and constantly carried around the weight of not feeling fulfilled. I really wanted to contribute to the vegan world and the growth of veganism in India. Cowvathi was only a blog then, so I decided to take her forward and create her into a brand itself. When I started the blog, I had no idea that one day I’d turn it into a brand. But I guess I had already begun my journey without even realising I had. My vision for Cowvathi is that one day I want to set up a quaint cafe with all kinds of affordable vegan food:)
What’s the story behind the name Cowvathi?
My father had bought this farm set of animals. I wanted to take the pig from the set, but he loved the pig too much. After putting up a fight, he finally settled on giving me the cow. (Thank goodness he did, huh?) I took days trying to come up with a name for her, but just couldn’t. I was trying too hard. Then one day the name ‘Cowvathi’ just popped into my head while I was fast asleep. I got attached to the name and decided to stick with it.
What were the main challenges you faced as a plant based entrepreneur & how did you overcome them? Entrepreneurship is all about challenges. All kinds of them. But as a plant based one, I think the first challenge is explaining to people why this is important and why I am doing this. Other challenges include delivery, cold storage, etc; which I’m still figuring out as my journey progresses.
Tell us a little about vegan cheese. What goes into the process? What can it be used for? And how does it compare to traditional dairy cheese in terms of the taste/texture/eating experience?
The vegan cheese I make is from Cashews. It’s quite versatile & can be used for making pizzas, pastas, lasagnas, sandwiches, Maggi (Noodle Brand), & so much more. It’s a different experience from Cow cheese because the ingredients are completely different. But having said that, it does give a very cheesy flavour. I’ve received very good feedback for my cheese, especially the Vegan Garlic Basil Cheese.
What is your typical daily vegan meal plan? What do you usually eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks & dinner? I LOVE FOOD! A typical day for me includes mainly South Indian food. I start the day with 2 huge glasses of fruit smoothies; move on to Poha/Upma (Savoury Breakfast Dishes) for breakfast; lunch is mostly Rasam (South Indian Broth), rice and a vegetable curry; snacks include fruit/steamed veggies/salad; & dinner is a repeat of lunch. In the middle of this, I manage to dunk a couple of mugs of Chai (Tea) too. And I occasionally binge on vegan junk food as well.
What is favourite vegan comfort food/dish? Rasam Rice. Maggi. Curd Rice.
What is your favourite vegan friendly cooking ingredient that we will always find in your kitchen?
“Veganism goes beyond food, it’s a lifestyle change.”
What is your favourite vegan/cruelty free item of clothing/fashion that we will always find in your wardrobe? Veganism goes beyond food, it’s a lifestyle change. Even clothes. Everything I own is fabric made from plants and plant derived materials, and not animals. You’ll mostly see me walking around in a comfortable pair of cotton pyjamas and a cotton top/t-shirt.
What is your favourite vegan/cruelty free personal care or lifestyle product that we will always find in your home? Kajal (Eye Pencil/Liner). I cannot do without Kajal at all.
What is a product or ingredient that you were surprised to learn is not vegan and/or a product or ingredient that you were surprised to learn was in fact accidentally vegan? Uncle Chips (Indian Chip Brand) are not vegan! But Oreos are vegan:)
What is the most common veganism/plant based/cruelty free lifestyle related question that a lot of people ask you & what is your answer to that? “But there are no vegan places next to my house“: I tell them that there is no need to have a vegan cafe next to you so you can go vegan. Veganism is a lifestyle, not a one-time meal plan. You can eat vegan anywhere and everywhere.
What is a common veganism/plant based/cruelty free lifestyle related stereotype or myth that you often come across & that you want to address or break?
That veganism is expensive. It really isn’t if you learn to start making use of your kitchen smartly.
What’s your favourite veganism/plant based/cruelty free lifestyle related Book/Movie/TV Show/Podcast that you would recommend to others & why? I don’t really have a book or movie for reference since they affect me too deeply. But I really liked Okja (Netflix), in recent times. I’d also like to share some of the biggest vegan inspirations on Instagram. @sweetsimplevegan @jamesaspey @earthlinged
What advice would you give to people/aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start plant based enterprises? Go ahead & be part of the change! We need to build veganism in India to a much larger extent & work really hard to make it mainstream. But also make sure you know the shortcomings & the difficulties in running a business. I’d suggest that you work with a fellow vegan company for a couple of months; so the learning can only help.
What are advice would you give to people who want to transition to/continue to maintain a vegan & cruelty free lifestyle? DO IT! It’s more than important for the animals, the planet & your own health. It’s very possible to live vegan today anywhere in the world. The animals will thank you profusely:)
I hope you enjoyed the second edition of Food For Thought with Vegan Change Makers! I would love to hear your comments or feedback about other interesting questions I could add to my interviews in the future! I’m also looking for other exciting vegan change makers to feature in my upcoming interview series. If you know anyone who is making a difference in the world of veganism (anywhere across the globe), then please leave me a message on my Contact page with the details! Thank you:)
New year, new resolutions & I’ve got one too! My resolution: 2019 will be the year to inspire & to get inspired:) How, you ask? I vowed to set out on a journey to talk to exciting vegan rockstars across the world, who not only champion the cruelty free lifestyle themselves, but are also changing the world, one step at a time; and moving us towards a compassionate future where we can all peacefully coexist with our wonderful furry friends. The thought of these conversations literally sent me into an over excited frenzy & I just knew that I had to take you all on this journey with me! And lo & behold! The idea for ‘Food For Thought with Vegan Change Makers’ was born:) A fun and fascinating sneak peak into the thoughts and lives of some truly interesting people doing down right exciting things in the world of veganism! It seemed like the perfect way to bring together my passion for animal rights and a cruelty free lifestyle with my professional background in working with social entrepreneurs:) Some food for thought to go along with all those delicious plant based recipes? Yes, please! And who exactly is the interview series for, you ask? Come one, come all, I say! The vegan curious reader, the first time vegan, the vegan veteran, the aspiring plant based entrepreneur, the inspiration junkie; there’s something for everyone:) Excited yet? I know I am! It’s time to get inspired:)
The first person I want to highlight in the ‘Food For Thought with Vegan Change Makers’ interview series is Abhay Rangan, a 22 year old rockstar who is the Founder of Goodmylk in India! What better way to celebrate the last day of Veganuary 2019 than to get to know this cruelty free crusader a little better? Here we go! Let’s dive right in:)
Name: Abhay Rangan
Location: Bangalore, India
Startup Name: Goodmylk
The Year the Enterprise was founded: 2016
The Elevator Pitch: Making plant based food affordable and accessible in India through delicious alternatives to dairy products
Products: Plant Based Mylk, Yoghurt, Butter, Easy-To-Use Mylk Powder
Tell me a little bit about yourself. What’s your story? When & why did you decide to go vegan?
“My story goes back to my parents. About 8 1/2 years ago, they turned vegan on their wedding anniversary and they inspired my sister and I to go vegan six months later. So I’ve been vegan for about 8 years now and I think it’s largely because my family played such a large influence on me getting there.”
When & why did you start your enterprise and what is your vision or dream for the organisation?
“We started Goodmylk about 3 years ago; it was an idea then. We wanted to make plant based food affordable and accessible; and the goal is to become a large scale company that makes plant based food affordable and accessible at scale and makes delicious vegan food available to everyone in India.”
What is your typical daily vegan meal plan? What do you usually eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks & dinner?
“My usual food is South Indian food; I mean the good thing about Indian food is that a lot of it is vegan by default so you don’t have to work too hard to find what you want. I’ve always loved South Indian food and it’s ridiculously easy to eat South Indian vegan food.”
(Think Idli, Dosa, Uttapam, the works!)
What is favourite vegan comfort food/dish?
“My guilty pleasure is Potato Chips! And not the stuff that you find in packs at retail stores. I like the hot chips that are made fresh. I don’t know; there’s like a thing that they’ve got that’s almost addictive I’d say. Yeah; I fall pretty hard for that food. It is my number one comfort food.”
“The good thing about Indian food is that a lot of it is vegan by default.”
What is your favourite vegan friendly cooking ingredient that I will always find in your kitchen?
“We don’t use that many alternatives I guess; because a lot of Indian food is vegan by default. But I’d definitely say the oil to butter/oil to ghee substitution has been fantastic. So oil I guess; whatever kind it may be; because different applications require different types of oil. My family uses sunflower and olive oil.”
What is your favourite vegan/cruelty free item of clothing/fashion that I will always find in your wardrobe?
“Oh, my absolute favourite would be a suit. I always look fantastic in suits and I think it brings out the best in me. Yeah; there’s no way you wouldn’t find a suit in my wardrobe.”
Any cruelty free factors to look out for when buying suits?
“Watch out for wool or silk!”
What is your favourite vegan/cruelty free personal care or lifestyle product that I will always find in your home?
“I don’t really use that many personal care items; like besides soap and shampoo I guess. We use Medimix (Ayurvedic/Vegan Indian Soap Brand) in my family.”
What is a product or ingredient that surprised you when you learned that it was in fact accidentally vegan?
“I was surprised to learn that Oreos and Hide & Seek (accidentally vegan biscuit brand in India) are vegan. That’s fantastic! They’re some of my favourite biscuits. Yeah; I’m pretty glad that happened.”
“I would definitely recommend someone who is transitioning to join their local vegan group or community and just get exposed to other people there.”
What is the most common veganism/plant based/cruelty free lifestyle related question that a lot of people ask you & what is your answer to that?
“I think it has always really come down to convenience for most people. A lot of people would be vegan if it were a lot more convenient and that’s a problem we’re trying to solve through Goodmylk. I would definitely argue that it’s a lot more convenient to be vegan now than it was before and Goodmylk and other companies like ours are definitely working towards paving the way to make that happen.”
What is a common veganism/plant based/cruelty free lifestyle related stereotype or myth that you often come across & that you want to address or break?
“I think the most common myth I want to break is that being vegan is hard. It really isn’t! It’s ridiculously easy in urban settings. You know; most Indian food is vegan by default. It’s so easy to be vegan. It’s just a matter of wanting to do it; and that’s one myth I always wanted to break.”
What’s your favourite veganism/plant based/cruelty free lifestyle related Book/Movie/TV Show/Podcast that you would recommend to others & why?
“I actually would not recommend any one podcast or TV show or movie or documentary. I would recommend you go out and watch all of them if you can; because it exposes you to a diverse variety of views. And even with veganism, there are a bunch of views that people disagree on and I think to be exposed to a well grounded bunch of facts is really important. My personal favourite is Earthlings; but I can understand if that is too harsh for some people. It’s not my favourite in the sense that I liked watching it; but I think it’s a favourite in the sense that the impact that it has on the viewers is immense.”
What advice would you give to people/budding entrepreneurs looking to start cruelty free businesses?
“I would definitely ask them to approach it like a business. A lot of people think that; you know just because it’s cruelty free or vegan; that the customers will come by default even if you’re not providing value for money. But the first rule should really be: start looking at it like a business, start adding value to your customers and only then will you be able to help your ideals spread to a large scale. Otherwise it will always remain small and niche and other people are soon going to take over you and you won’t have a cruelty free business to run anymore.”
What are advice would you give to people who want to transition to/continue to maintain a vegan & cruelty free lifestyle?
“I would just ask them to get started. There is no perfect day; there is no perfect time to get started to be vegan. There are no set of perfect circumstances; everyone is in unique circumstances and being vegan is just a matter of going ahead and doing it. I would definitely recommend someone who is transitioning to join their local vegan group or community and just get exposed to other people there. A lot of support groups exist; a lot of people are very supportive in helping other people to be vegan. And I would definitely say that community has been a game changer for me with respect to how I experience veganism and I would say it’s going to do wonders to you too.”
I hope you enjoyed the first ever Food For Thought with Vegan Change Makers! I would love to hear your comments or feedback about other interesting questions I could add to my interviews in the future! I’m also looking for other exciting vegan change makers to feature in my upcoming interview series. If you know anyone who is making a difference in the world of veganism (anywhere across the globe), then please leave me a message on my Contact page with the details! Thank you:)
The holiday season is the best time of the year! It’s the season of Love, Laughter & Celebration:) From a relaxed holiday potluck lunch to an elegant Christmas dinner, we all celebrate the holidays in our own special way; with good food, good company & good cheer:) And to help you get into the holiday spirit, here’s a roundup of my favourite Vegan Holiday Recipes! I’ve categorised the recipes into four popular foodie personas:) From Comfort Food Cravers & Healthy Eaters, to Boozy Kick Lovers & Adventurous Diners; I’ve got you covered;) Each recipe brings a little special something for every single person in your holiday party! A great way to surprise & delight your friends & family:) I hope you enjoy the Holiday recipes & I wish you a wonderful celebration with your loved ones! Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays Everyone:)
Mood: Winter is coming? Wrong! Winter is here. But unlike the Game of Thrones universe, where winter heralds the wrath of the Night King (though one can argue that a rainy London winter day is pretty bleak!), here in the Muggle world, winter brings all things warm, cosy & festive! Tis the season to be jolly indeed! Tis also the season of the best beverage genre invented: The Dessert Drink! I mean, can you really enjoy a festive winter season without a regular dose of steaming hot decadent delights? Gotta love those heart warming cups of sweet indulgence! Just the other day I was looking out of the window, listening to the steady pitter patter of the London rain & I found myself dreaming of the warm sunshine in Los Angeles & Mumbai that I was blessed with for the last few years! A low rumble of thunder jolted me back to reality & there I was, desperately craving a comforting pick me up! “Hmm, what do I want? A strong cup of coffee? Sounds good! Or wait, maybe some dark chocolate? Always! Unless..a bit of both? Yes, please!” And that’s where the magic happened! Lo & behold, a few minutes later, I ended up with this delicious concoction & what can I say? It’s just what I needed:) This Vegan Winter Spice Hot Chocolate Mocha is not as rich & heavy as it’s traditional hot chocolate counterpart, but it definitely still hits that sweet spot, with a strong coffee kick & that fabulous winter spice aroma:) Part Dessert. Part Drink. 100% Heart Warming Deliciousness:) Happy Holidays!
PS: In the festive spirit of gratitude & celebration, I’d like to give a special shoutout to my dear friend & former LSE classmate, Krupa Asher! Blessed to have good friends like her, who opened her home up to me while I got settled into London life & looked for a new place:) Yes, I’ve been using your kitchen as my cooking playground;) Yes, that’s your mug, book & chopping board;) You the best. Kthnxbye.
• 1 cup Unsweetened Full Fat Coconut Milk*
• 5 pieces/approx. 25g of Vegan Dark Chocolate (I used Dr. Oetker’s 72% Dark Chocolate)
• 1/4 tsp Vanilla Essence
• 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
• 2 tsp Unrefined Brown Sugar
• 1/8 tsp Nutmeg Powder
• 1/8 tsp Clove Powder*
• 1/4 tsp Cinnamon Powder
• 1/4 tsp Ginger Powder
• 1 1/2 cup of Strong Freshly Brewed Coffee (I made mine in a French Press)*
• Garnish: Vegan Dark Chocolate Shavings
Method: 1. First, let’s start with the coffee:) Brew yourself a hot cup of strong coffee & set it aside. Remember, if you want a good mocha kick in this drink, then the cuppa joe needs to be nice & strong!
2. Next, add the first 9 ingredients (everything except the coffee & the chocolate shavings) to a shallow pan & heat the mixture on the stove, with the flame on low. Combine well & make sure the chocolate melts completely, until you have a rich hot cocoa mixture.
3. Next, add the winter spiced hot chocolate to a blender & blend on the ‘high’ mode. The hot chocolate should be nice & frothy:) You can also use a powerful frother; that should work too!
4. Time to assemble this bad boy! Pour the coffee into a large/oversized mug, until the mug is 1/2 – 2/3 full & then top that with the frothy hot chocolate mixture:)
5. Finally, garnish (be generous!) with dark chocolate shavings. And voila! Your Vegan Winter Spice Hot Chocolate Mocha is ready to be served:) Enjoy!
*I recommend using full fat coconut milk so that the Hot Chocolate Mocha is thick & creamy:) However, feel free to experiment with other plant based milk:)
*Clove, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger..I used all the winter spices in the pantry! But if you don’t have clove powder on hand, then feel free to skip it & top up on some ginger powder instead:)
*I make my coffee with the humble French Press & it turns out great! But if you have one of those trendy espresso machines (lucky you!), then adjust the quantity of the coffee accordingly:) I think some strong instant coffee powder should work well too:)