Suma Blogger’s Network: How to feed 66 hungry yogis!

All Roots Mini Yoga Festival 019

Last weekend saw the very first All Roots Mini Yoga Festival take place near Three Cliffs Bay, on Gower in South West Wales. A collection of yoga teachers from several different disciplines joined together with therapists and yoga practitioners, for three days of inspiring yoga classes, sunshine, good company and great food.

As well as teaching the Sunday morning yoga class, it was great that my good friend Jane Easton (Viva!) and I were able to step in at the last moment and cook dinner for everyone on the Saturday evening. During my time at Viva! Jane and I worked together on dozens of events, cooking vegan in bulk for crowds of people at festivals and roadshows – so it was a great reunion for us to cook together once again.

Using lots of key ingredients from Suma, including Chickpeas, Quinoa, Brown Rice and Gluten-free Flour, we used bulk recipes adapted from Viva!’s Vegan Recipe Club to cook up our Moroccan Chickpea Stew, Quinoa Pilaf and Rice, Mixed Salad, Carrot Salad and three varieties of vegan cake; Coffee and Walnut, Carrot and Gluten-free Lemon Cake.

Ingredient lists for most dishes can be multiplied for bulk cooking, but it is always worth bearing the following points in mind when cooking for lots of people;

  • Cook the dish first to familiarise yourself with its taste and how the ingredients work together
  • Working out the quantities of main ingredients such as vegetables or pulses normally works fine by simple multiplication based on how many people you are feeding
  • Seasoning isn’t so simple. You need to season gradually as you go along, tasting to see how spices and salt are behaving in larger quantities. Some won’t go as far and you may need to add more or less
  • Some dishes improve with time, like stews or curry, so cook these first, while leaving accompaniments like rice or other grains to nearer serving time
  • Don’t be tempted to try to cook everything in one or two large pans. It’s easier to stir and cook large quantities of food spread across several medium-sized pans, especially to be able to stir food with ease
  • When cooking in bulk for a specific event, it can save lots of time preparing and chopping vegetables in advance and taking them with you in covered containers
  • Weighing out herbs and spices in advance also saves time
  • Making use of appliances such as small chopping blenders or food processors can also make bulk cooking quicker (as does having several pairs of hands to help!)
  • If you do have a team of helpers, nominate someone to be in charge of chopping, someone overseeing cooking tasks and one or two people keeping on top of the washing and clearing up
  • Be mindful of good food hygiene practises. Get people to wash their hands and keep hair tied up
  • Discuss how you are going to serve the food before hand and who is responsible for what
  • Don’t underestimate the time required afterwards for clearing plates, washing up and leaving the kitchen clean and tidy
  • Save money by ordering bulk wholefood items from a specialist supplier such as Suma Wholefoods

Moroccan Chickpea Stew (Bulk)
Preparation/cooking time 60 mins
Serves 35-40 people

180ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
6 large onions, medium diced
3 large bulbs garlic, peeled and blended
45g/3 tbsp ground cinnamon
45g/3 tbsp ground cumin
12.5g/2½ tsp cayenne pepper
75g/12 heaping tsp (sweet) paprika
6 x 400g tins OR 2.4L can of chopped tomatoes
15 x 400g tins Suma chickpeas drained OR 3.6K cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
2.85L/ 6 pints vegetable stock
45g/3 tbsp brown sugar
Salt to taste (adjust if stock is salty)
Freshly ground black pepper
1K pre-washed spinach, chopped OR the equivalent frozen spinach. If using frozen, reduce stock a little
500g/2 jars sun-dried tomatoes, chopped in blender (if in oil, you can use this to replace some of the olive oil)

Olives – black, green or mixed – chopped

1. Heat olive oil/sun-dried tomato oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until they begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic to the onions and cook in, lowering the heat if browning starts to occur.

2. Add the cinnamon, cumin, cayenne and paprika and sauté a minute or so. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, stock and sugar. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper.

3. Stir well. The chickpeas should be slightly covered with liquid. If the level is too low, add some water to bring it just above the chickpeas. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and then lower the heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes.

4. Remove the soup from heat. Use a potato masher to mash-up some of the chickpeas right in the pot. Stir in the spinach and let it heat through until wilted, just a few minutes. Season again, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve the soup, and sprinkle the sun-dried tomato pieces on the top with a drizzle of their oil if desired.

We served this with Quinoa Pilaf, organic Quinoa supplied by Suma.

Click on an image to open the gallery.


Spirulina & Berry Smoothie made using the Nutribullet


After realising a while a ago that starting the day with bread wasn’t making me feel as good and energised as I needed in the morning… I was lucky enough to be given a Nutribullet – an extractor which unlike everyday juicers and blenders completely breaks down ingredients in to their most nutritious, most absorptive state!

I haven’t looked back! Here is my favourite Green Smoothie recipe, which uses Spirulina – a fabulous source of plant-based protein, amino acids and many other nutrients.  Frozen spinach and berries blended together with banana give this chilled drink a smooth and thick texture. You can feel how much your body will benefit from it as soon as you take a sip. Toddlers even like it too!

Spirulina & Berry Smoothie made using the Nutribullet
Serves 1
Preparation time 5 mins

1 banana, broken into pieces
Handful of frozen spinach
2 handfuls frozen mixed berries
1 tsp spirulina powder
1/2 pint almond milk or other plant milk

1. Place all the ingredients together into your Nurtibullet or other strong blender and liquidise. Remove the lid and add more milk into the smoothie if it is too thick. Enjoy and feel rejuvenated!


Welsh Pea, Mint and New Potato Fritters

Having a veg box delivered featuring both Welsh and English produce helps keep eating seasonally in check. As the summer continues, I also have an abundance of mint plants expanding across my balcony garden. So with bags of peas in pods and new potatoes from Gower and a few sprigs of homegrown mint, I thought some little potato fritters would do nicely for a small person’s dinner last night, or a lunchtime snack.

Pea and Mint Fritters blog1
Welsh Pea, Mint and New Potato Fritters
Makes 4 fritters
Preparation/cooking time 30 mins

4 medium New Potatoes, cubed
24 peas in pods
1 tbsp vegan margarine
4 small heads of mint, finely chopped
Salt and pepper (no salt if cooking for children)
1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Olive oil for frying

1) Pop the peas and place them all into a medium saucepan with the potato.
2) Cover with water, bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer for 15 mins until pots are soft.
3) Drain peas and pots and add in all the other ingredients into the saucepan.
4) Roughly mash everything together with a potato masher. Taste, then add more seasoning or yeast flakes if required.
5) Shape into four fritters and fry in olive oil in a wide frying pan, on a medium heat. Turn over once the fritters are golden on one side.
6) Serve with tomato salad.

Mint  Pea and Mint Fritters blog2

Herb and Onion Tear and Share Rolls

Herb and Onion Tear and Share Rolls

Bread, in its many forms is certainly one of the finest foods. At its best, served warm, smothered in something tasty like homemade hummus or dipped in a hot, thick soup.

So I was inspired when I saw an old episode of the BBC’s Hairy Bikers, making sage and onion tear and share bread. It looked and sounded really appetizing, served with a parsnip and apple soup. So I thought I’d have a go at making a vegan version (theirs contained milk). We also had a good crop of parsley which needed cutting into, so I added some of that too.

It took a bit more preparation than some of my other breads like flatbread or focaccia, but was very much worth it. I had some friends over for lunch, so I served it to them with roasted butternut squash soup. Their reaction was, ‘you made that???’, which is what you want.

Herb and Onion Tear and Share Rolls
Serves 8
Preparation/cooking time 2 and a half hours approx.

150ml/5fl oz soya milk, plus extra for glazing
400g/14oz strong white flour, plus extra for kneading
7g/¼oz sachet fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
15g/½oz vegan margarine
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
15-20 sage leaves, chopped
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 150ml/5fl oz water and the soya milk in a saucepan over a low heat until lukewarm.
2. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the yeast, sugar and salt.
3. Make a well in the centre and stir in the water and milk with a large wooden spoon. Gather into a ball then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. I used the dough hook in my food processor (Magimix) and pulsed the dough for a minute instead.
4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover loosely with oiled clingfilm. Leave to rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
5. Meanwhile, melt the vegan marg and oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the onion and garlic over a very low heat for 10 minutes, or until softened.
6. Scatter the chopped sage and parsley over the onions and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with lots of freshly ground black pepper and set aside to cool.
7. When the dough has doubled in size, tip it back onto a floured surface and flatten with the palms of your hands. Spoon the onion mixture on top and knead for a couple of minutes until evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if it becomes sticky.
8. Divide the dough into eight and shape into neat balls by pulling the dough from the outside of the ball and pushing into the centre. Turn over with the ends underneath. Place the rolls in a circle on a large baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, making sure the dough balls are touching. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
9. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 6.
7. Brush the top of each roll lightly with milk. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool a little before serving.

Make it quick tip: I chopped and cooked my herbs and onion the night before and put them in the fridge in a covered bowl, saving time during the next morning. I also did the kneading in a food processor, also reducing the preparation time. If serving soup with the rolls for lunch, why not prepare the veg for it the night before too? I roasted my butternut squash, carrots and onions and left them to stew in stock overnight, ready for blending and warming through the next day.

Yoga and Vegan Cookery Retreats in Wales


Come and learn vegan cookery and yoga with vegan food expert Jane Easton (Viva!) and I, in West Wales this Winter.

Originally posted on womankind yoga wales:

Womankind Yoga specialises in running Yoga and Vegan Cookery Retreats in Wales; as Helen also specialises in vegan cookery.

We also help run monthly day and weekend Yoga Retreats at Yoga Satsanga Ashram, in West Wales. Click on the links below for the full details and booking information.

Retreats flyer

Retreat programme 2014-2015

Sunday, July 20          
Day Yoga Retreat at Yoga Satsanga Ashram

August 23-24                
Weekend Yoga Retreat at Yoga Satsanga Ashram

September 5-7, 2014
Yoga & Cookery Retreat for Women – Womankind Yoga
Feeding Body & Soul in the Beautiful Black Mountains
Join expert vegan cook & teacher Jane Easton and Gitananda Yoga Teacher, Helen Wilson for a rejuvenating & nourishing yoga and cookery retreat weekend in the stunning Black Mountains.

October 30- Nov 2
Four day Yoga and Cookery Retreat
Feeding the Body & Soul in West Wales
Join expert vegan cook & teacher Jane…

View original 30 more words

Suma Blogger’s Network: Millet, Pea and Lentil Burgers

Burgers long
While I’ve been concentrating hard on building my new yoga business, Womankind Yoga, I’ve had little time for food writing sadly… so it was a real pleasure to be invited to become part of the new Suma Wholefoods Blogger’s Network, giving me the opportunity to get back in the kitchen with the camera for a couple of hours!

Specialist Wholesalers of Vegetarian, Organic & Fairtrade produce, Suma Wholefoods have literally hundreds of lovely vegan products to choose from, ranging from cupboard staples, to the latest animal-free foods on the market.

Most of the ingredients used in the recipe below can be purchased from Suma.

Millet, Pea and Lentil Burgers (vegan, GF)
Makes 12 (small)
Preparation/cooking time 30 mins

1/2 packet Clearspring Quick Cook Millet, Peas and Lentils
1 tin Suma Red Kidney Beans, drained
3 tbsp frozen edamame beans (soya)
1 tsp Suma dried mixed herbs
1 tsp Dove’s Farm Quinoa Flour
3 tbsp Marigold Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 tsp fresh chives, chopped (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
Serve with: Taifun Tofu Fillets (cut into chips)

1. Cook the grains according to the packet instructions for 10 mins. Add in the edamame after 5 mins.
2. Meanwhile, part blend/mash the kidney beans with a hand-blender, keeping some whole. This is what binds the burgers, alongside the quinoa flour.
3. Drain the grains and edamame and tip them into a mixing bowl.
4. Add in the kidney beans and all the rest of the ingredients.
5. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon, then with your hands. The mixture should bind well and hold together when you take a small handful and shape it in to a burger.
6. Either make 6 large or 12 small burgers from the mix.
7. Heat some olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Cook the burgers on a medium heat, turning over when they turn a golden colour. They should only take a few minutes to cook on each side.
8. I served the burgers with salad, hummus and Taifun Tofu Fillets, fried and then cut into chips.

cooking burgers Grains Ingredients Kidney beans tofu

Quinoa Salad with Cannellini Beans and Toasted Mixed Seeds

The sun is shining and my heart is calling for all things salad. I’ve even been successful in cultivating my own baby basil, rocket and coriander plants this year, so my balcony is looking plentiful.

Some homegrown herbs helped make this salad as glorious as it looks. Simple quinoa is combined with cannellini  beans, spring onions, vine tomatoes, broccoli and basil, dressed with a mustard vinaigrette and toasted mixed seeds. Pack a punch of protein, vitamin c and omegas with this wholesome party of ingredients.

Quinoa salad
Quinoa Salad with Cannellini Beans and Toasted Mixed Seeds
Serves 2
Preparation/cooking time 15 mins

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to packet instructions (usually around 10 mins)
1 cup cooked cannellini beans, drained
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 medium vine tomato, roughly chopped
Handful of broccoli florets (raw) broken into small pieces
2 tbsp chopped basil
3 tbsp mixed seeds

1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. The grains should be open and the little water they are cooked in should have been soaked up.
2. Dry toast the seeds in a saucepan for a couple of minutes until they begin popping. Watch they don’t burn! Turn with wooden spoon.
3. Place the quinoa in a bowl, then mix in the remaining salad ingredients, apart from the seeds.
4. Make the dressing by mixing together its ingredients in a small cup, then pouring over the salad. Combine well using a spoon.
5. Serve into 2 bowls, then sprinkle the seeds over the top.

Lunch at The Green Rocket Cafe in Bath

One of my favourite pastimes is eating out at vegetarian & vegan establishments whenever I come across them on my travels. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to spend the day in beautiful Bath, with some of my best friends.


Carla and I decided to have lunch at The Green Rocket Cafe, on Pierrepoint Street. I’d passed it before and stopped for a sandwich, but on this occasion we decided to have a proper lunch – and weren’t disappointed. My mezze platter featured wonderful baba ganoush and beetroot dips, quinoa tabouleh, falafel, soft flat bread and a wonderfully dressed spiral carrot salad. Carla enjoyed a super roasted cauliflower dahl, with the most incredible homemade pesto on the side!

I only wished we’d had time to sample some of the homemade vegan cakes they had on offer.

Really friendly staff, great setting and mouth-watering food. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the historic city (a trip to Bath Spa is also highly recommended).


Raw Vegetable Power Salad

While I’m awaiting delivery of a new juicer, I was craving a raw energy boost from some green vegetables. It’s a good job raw broccoli is packed with vitamins the amount I’ve been eating lately!

This salad was no exception. Plus, with the news today that we should all be eating seven portions of fruit and veg a day - this salad totally hits the spot, with five! Tahini is also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B1 and zinc.

Raw Power Salad

Serves 1

1 handful chopped kale,
1 handful rocket
1 carrot, grated
1 handful broccoli florets
1 handful sugarsnap peas
1 handful cashew pieces

2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp olive oil or flaxseed oil

1. Mix all salad ingredients together in a serving bowl. For the dressing, whisk the ingredients together with a fork.
2. To serve, drizzle the dressing over the salad and top with a little sweet chilli sauce and hummus.

Wheat and Gluten Free Mini Pikelets with added Omega

Recently I fancied making some little bite sized snacks suitable for a lazy sunny Sunday morning. I’ve been experimenting with rice flour and recalled having little rice flour pancakes years ago. I thought I’d try making some little pikelets and add some ground flaxseed for an added nutritional boost. I served them with agave nectar and they were crispy and tasty. The great thing about these pikelets is that they are wheat and gluten-free, vegan and contain good omega fats from the flaxseeds.

Rice Pikelets
Wheat and Gluten-free Mini Pikelets with added Omega
Makes around 12
Preparation/cooking time 15 mins

1 cup rice flour
1 cup almond or other plant milk
1 tsp ground flaxseed
Pinch of salt

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and beat with a small hand whisk. The batter won’t be smooth but don’t worry.
2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and spoon in tablespoons of batter. Smooth them out into little rounds and cook them on one side until they are golden and crispy, before turning and cooking the other side.
3. Serve drizzled with agave nectar.