As you may have seen trending on Twitter, yesterday was World Environment Day. The internet was flooded with beautiful quotes about how we need to take care of the nature, and it’s animals, travel less and overall decrease our carbon footprint.
I’m no expert, but if you’ve watched shows such as Cowspiracy, you’ll know the huge effect that farming cattle does to the environment in terms of producing carbon. I won’t go into detail, but suggest you give it a watch – it’s very interesting. Cattle alone solely produce a huge amount of carbon, and both reducing our meat and dairy intake can definitely help in a positive way.
When Flora got in touch about their dairy free spread, Flora Freedom and challenged me to go dairy free for World Environment Day, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been vegan for a whole month before (Veganuary) and try to limit both my meat and dairy intake where possible. It can be quite difficult when you have to lead a gluten free diet to start adding other restrictions, so this isn’t something I could commit to full time, but definitely changes I’d like to gradually make more and more.
Since Veganuary, I tend to stick with dairy free spreads as well as soya milk in coffees, so was pleased to see Flora were taking a great step forward in terms of adding a dairy free and vegan product to their range. People choose to be dairy free for a number of reasons, whether it be for an allergy, for health reasons, ethical, environmental or simply through choice. Everyone has the right to decide what’s right for their body. There’s been a great increase gluten free availability in supermarkets and cafes, and it’s great to see Flora leading the way for making more dairy free and vegan options.
Anyway, down to the good bit – what did I eat? You can find all my posts of Veganuary in terms of recipes and ideas here, but for this challenge I wanted to make some new recipes. I started the day with a couple of gluten free crumpets (Genius), with a large heap of Flora Freedom. I love how butter melts through all the gaps in crumpets, and Flora’s dairy free spread behaved in a similar way.
Next up I made a huge portion of vegan cottage pie. I was always a big fan of cottage pie as a child, but it didn’t often agree with me. The richness of the meat was all a bit much for my stomach to handle. I do however love loading up dish of pan fried veggies and topped with creamy mash.
Getting the mash perfectly creamy is always something that’s important to me. I can’t bare mash potatoes with chunks, and a good helping of spread, blended in a food processor helps to make silky smooth and creamy mash.
Vegan Cottage Pie
Suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans.
What you need:
For the mash –
4 medium potatoes (baking potatoes are fine, but Maris Piper are particularly good)
Good helping of Flora Freedom
Salt, black pepper & dry oregano, to season
For the pie –
Dash of olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5 medium mushrooms, chopped into large chunks
1 tbsp Flora Freedom
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 large courgette, chopped into small chunks
1 red pepper, chopped into chunks
Dash of oregano & black pepper
1 veggie stock pot
200ml boiling water
2 tbsp plain gluten free flour (I use Dove’s Farm)
- Set your oven to 180C.
- Start by gently frying the onions, garlic and mushrooms in a splash of oil and fold of Flora Freedom dairy free spread. This gives the veggies a nice creaminess.
- Once they’ve sweated for 5 minutes, add the carrots, courgette and pepper and leave to sweat for 10 minutes.
- Now peel and chop your potatoes into medium chunks, bring to the boil with some salt and simmer for roughly 15 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to fall apart and crumble.
- Next mix a veggie stock pot (I use the fresh, jelly like, Knorr veggie stock pots as they’re vegan) with 200ml of boiling water and add to the veggie mixture. Stir and leave to bubble for a few minutes.
- When the potatoes are done, drain and add to a food processor, adding a generous heap of Flora Freedom, followed by a dash of black pepper and salt. Blend until super creamy.
- Then add 2 tbsp gluten free flour to the veggies and stir well. This gives the pie’s centre a little stickiness, and helps the veggies clump together, rather than be swimming in the stock. Be sure to keep an eye on this so it doesn’t stick, it’ll only need a minute or two.
- Remove the veggies from the heat, and assemble in a medium sized dish, and top with the creamy mash.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 30 minutes. You can remove a this point, or to give the pie a nice crispy top, I tend to pop into under the grill for 5 minutes.
- Serve with herbs and black pepper.
In the afternoon, I thought it would be nice to bake some biscuits to take into work. After a week in NYC, I’ve become a little peanut butter obsessed, so thought gluten free and dairy free PB biscuits would go down a treat. You can easily sub in Flora Freedom instead of butter to make these dairy free.
A good quality peanut butter is essential for these. I try to avoid palm oil where I can, as it’s not always clear if it’s from a sustainable source. It’s also good to get those with no added sugar too – 100% peanuts is best. Double check if you’re dark chocolate is dairy free and gluten free too. It always should be, but best to double check, as this can vary with brands.
Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Chip Biscuits
Makes: 16 biscuits
Suitable for: gluten free, dairy free.
125g Flora Freedom
125g peanut butter (good quality with no sugar, I use Meridian)
180g rice flour (I use Dove’s)
1tsp gluten free baking powder
80g dark chocolate (good quality)
- Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Cream together the spread and the sugar with a fork in a large mixing bowl.
- Next add the peanut butter and egg, stirring well.
- Tip in the rice flour and baking powder into the mix, and stir well.
- Finally add the chopped dark chocolate chunks and stir.
- Use a piece of baking paper to line a baking try, and gently spoon small circles of the dough onto the sheet. Make sure you allow a good space in-between, as these cookies are known to merge if they’re too close. Feel free to bake too batches if you need to.
- Bake for roughly 30-35 minutes, or until they begin to brown.
- Leave to cool before dunking in a huge mug of tea!
By the time early evening came, I didn’t really fancy a big meal. Filling up on pie, cookies and crumpets had left be feeling pretty satisfied. I did have time to squeeze in some yoghurt, fruit and granola, however. Nature’s Path is my FAVOURITE granola in the world. It’s gluten free and vegan, and has the perfect texture, jam-packed with flavour. I added it to some Alpro soya plain yoghurt with coconut and a handful of blueberries.
I’d love to hear if you made any changes for World Environment Day or if you’re looking at reducing meat and dairy in your diet. It’s always great to discover more recipes.
This post was in collaboration with Flora, but all views are my own.