In August, when I was reading about the ethics of the cocoa industry and how chocolate is produced, I wondered whether it would be possible to make chocolate myself using cocoa powder, sugar and oil. This way, I would be able to make my own chocolate exactly how I wanted it: vegan, fair-trade and refined-sugar free with lots of desiccated coconut and ground almonds. I managed to find some tips on the internet (I can’t remember where) and started making my own chocolate. The finished product is slightly different to the chocolate we buy in supermarkets, but I think it actually tastes a million times better. It needs to be kept in the fridge and the sugar crystals don’t properly dissolve, making the finished product crunchy and ‘raw’ tasting (which I love). Making your own chocolate is not as cheap as the cheapest ready-made option, but it means that you have complete control over what you are eating. If you’re vegan, avoiding palm oil, refined sugar or cocoa that isn’t fair trade, this is a great way to keep enjoying chocolate. Even if you’re none of the above, this chocolate is easy to make and absolutely delicious.
Pumpkin is a winter squash, and the UK squash season is from October-December. This makes it a great vegetable to eat all through autumn and into winter. Pumpkins are naturally sweet, high in fibre and vitamins and delicious in soups, stews, curries and even cakes and pies! In the US it seems to be quite common to cook with canned pumpkin puree, but over here we prefer to buy whole pumpkins so we can roast and eat the seeds. In the next two weeks we will be sharing our favourite pumpkin and squash recipes, but for now, here’s some inspiration for cheap and creative ways to prepare this yummy vegetable.
I love grilled veggies. They remind me of summer barbecues and sitting out on the terrace until late into the night drinking wine by candlelight. But you don’t need a barbecue to make delicious grilled veggies. We don’t have one in Scotland (not to mention we don’t have the weather for it. sad times.) If you make the investment in a griddle pan you can get the same grilling effect as a real barbecue. I got my griddle pan from ikea for 9 pounds. This is a great summer or autumn recipe, whether you’re having a barbecue with vegetarian friends or just want a simple way to make use of seasonal vegetables and home-grown mint. So make use of those last few weeks of zucchini and aubergine and have an nostalgic indoor-barbecue!