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Ultimate Plant Based Sausages Rolls

adapted from JustWholeFoods recipe

Serves 8 as finger food

Ingredients
125g vegan & organic sausage mix
1 packet ready-rolled vegan puff pastry
5 tbsp sweet onion chutney
Oat milk for brushing
2 tsp sesame seeds

Method

  1. Make the vegan & organic sausage mix –  stir 125g into a bowl of 175ml boiling water and 2 tsp oil. Stand for 10 mins. Leave to fully cool.
  2. Carefully unroll the pastry. Dust the sheet with flour and turn the pastry upside down (with the floured side on the paper). Cut the pastry in half lengthwise.
  3. Spread some chutney along the bottom half of the length of the pastry. Crumble the sausage mix onto the chutney, leaving enough room so that the top of the pastry can be folded over the filling.
  4. Brush the edges of the pastry with oat milk before covering the mixture with the pastry. Seal the edges making sure not to trap any air.
  5. Press down the edges and crimp them by pushing the back of a knife blade into the rim. Brush the whole roll with oat milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cut into thumb length pieces and put onto a lined baking tray.
  6. Bake at 160˚c / 180˚c fan / Gas 6 for 15-20 minutes until puffed up and golden.
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Seitan from Wheat Gluten

Making Seitan may sound daunting, but it’s actually incredibly quick and easy and I was hugely impressed with the end result, which is satisfyingly chewy, really tasty and massively versatile!

The quantities I give made four ‘steaks’, each weighing approx 150g and giving enough for two people as part of a meal. Seitan is very high in protein and makes a perfect meat substitute. You can cube it, slice it or bash it up in a food processor to make ‘mince’ and then proceed as you would with any meat-based recipe.

Picture 1
The finished product. It’s tasty, so you could use it just like this in sandwiches, with chutney or salad and mayo.

Picture 2
Ingredients:

1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten (FL)
1/4 cup wholemeal bread flour (FL)
1/3 cup soy sauce (FL)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (FL)
1 cup cold water

Method:
Mix dry ingredients. Stir soy sauce into the water and gradually add this to the flour. Form into a ball and knead for a minute or two. It will feel wet, but not at all sticky.

Picture 3
Put the ball of dough on a plate, cover (wax wraps are good for this) and leave for 15 minutes.

Picture 4
Cut the ball into four sections, mould into ovals and flatten out. It’s quite springy.

Picture 5
Make a stock in a saucepan from 1 pint cold water, 2 teaspoons Bouillon powder, 1 tbsp soy sauce and a bay leaf. Add other herbs and spices if you like. Put in the four pieces of dough; they will swell, so choose a big enough saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. It’s ready! Use what you need then keep the rest in its liquid in the fridge, or freeze.

Picture 6
Here it is cut into small strips and used in a stir-fry with vegetables and noodles. Do you have any favourite ways of using it?

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The Plastic Free July Challenge

We love it, you love it, the whole planet loves it!

Are you ready to kick off July with the Plastic Free Challenge?


Since 2011 the Plastic Free Foundation has been working towards its vision of a plastic free world. Their award-winning Plastic Free July campaign was started in Australia and has since grown to become one of the biggest, most influential environmental campaigns in the world.

Millions of people have signed up over the years to reduce their personal plastic use, from making changes at home, at work and in their local communities. There’s nothing stopping you from becoming the new eco-warrior in your community!

In 2020 over 300 million people signed up to the campaign, and who wouldn’t want to add to that number to make it even BIGGER in 2021! On average people that sign up reduce their household recycling and waste by 5%. That might not sound like a lot but that helps save 940 million kg of plastic waste each year. Now that’s a lot of plastic that isn’t going to end up in our seas!


What you can do to help this July!

Head to Plastic Free July and sign up to the challenge!

You’ll get weekly e-mails with tips and tricks to reduce your use of plastic. Start small or make a commitment to make changes from now on, it all starts with being more conscious and aware of what you use now, and what you can eliminate!

Come and visit us!

Every volunteer at FoodLoose is full to the brim with eco tips! We’ve all had our own journeys with embracing eco-friendly alternatives so pop in, have a chat, and start your Plastic Free July shopping!

From food refills to bathroom essentials we’ve got everything you need to become a modern day planet saver.

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

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Pistachio and Cardamom Cake

We shared this recipe on our social media pages as a great choice for Father’s Day, but let’s be honest, everybody loves cake all year round! This is a step away from your average Victoria Sponge and will introduce you to a yummy new flavour combination.

It’s moist and fragrant and all the ingredients can be bought from FoodLoose (see FL noted in the ingredients list) except the eggs. Using sunflower oil instead of butter allows the flavour of the pistachios to shine through. Don’t forget to come and buy them from us today!


Ingredients:

200g pistachio kernels (FL)
250ml sunflower oil (FL)
250g caster sugar (FL)
5 cardamom pods, seeds ground (FL)
100g self raising flour (or plain flour with 1.5 tsp baking powder) (FL)
Pinch of salt (FL)
4 large eggs

Instructions:

Oven 175C/Gas 4
Prepare 230cm springform tin


Blitz pistachios in a food processor until finely ground. Reserve 2 tsp for garnish, then add flour and salt and blitz again briefly to mix. Beat the oil, caster sugar, cardamom and eggs together to create a batter. Add the pistachio mix and fold lightly into the batter until well mixed.

Pour into the tin and cook for 30 minutes or until the cake shrinks from the sides and a skewer comes out clean. Cover the top with paper if it shows signs of catching. Cool in the tin.

This is lovely as it is but you can make it more festive with a lemony glacé icing and sprinkled pistachio crumbs or push the boat out (as shown) with a white chocolate icing – melt 100g white chocolate buttons slowly in a bowl over boiling water and mix gradually with 100g sieved icing sugar mixed very runny with VERY HOT water and some ground cardamom and pour this over, allowing it to drip down the sides.

You would need to double this quantity to make enough to cover a big cake and have some left for decorating.

Happy baking!

Adapted from a recipe in the Guardian by Ruby Tandoh.

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How to Cook Dried Pulses and Grains

So you’ve been wanting to reduce your environmental footprint by switching to dried pulses and grains. You’ve popped into FoodLoose and bought all of your supplies, but now what? How do you actually turn these dried goods into soft, tender beans?

The following guide will help you master the art of cooking dried pulses and grains.

General Notes:

  • Beans and pulses approximately double in size when cooked. Grains grow to three times their dry weight. Be mindful of this when substituting canned pulses and grains in recipes.
  • You don’t HAVE to soak your beans but it is generally recommended. I’ll share some faster ways of doing this later.
  • Different beans take slightly different amounts of time to cook (e.g. chickpeas take the longest, while lentils are ready relatively quickly). Here is a really helpful chart to show the different cooking times you can expect for your beans.
  • Do not salt your beans until they’re soft enough to taste (you’re looking for the al dente version of beans)! Adding salt too early makes them firm. Similarly, don’t add anything too salty or acidic (like tomatoes, citrus or vinegar) until the end.

BEANS:

  1. Rinse thoroughly.
  2. Cover beans in plenty of water (3-4 times as much water as beans).
  3. Soak overnight in the fridge or use the Quick Soak Method.*
  4. Remove any that floated to the top.
  5. Place drained beans in a saucepan with fresh water and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the beans are soft enough to taste. Salt your beans.
  7. Simmer until the beans are nice and soft. The overall cooking time will depend on your beans but it’ll generally take anywhere between 45 minutes to 2 hours.
  8. Drain and enjoy!

* Quick Soak Method: Put your beans in a pot of water. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid. Remove from heat and let the beans sit for 1 hour. Continue with the rest of the recipe.


OTHER PULSES:

  1. Rinse thoroughly.
  2. Pulses other than beans (e.g. lentils) don’t need to be soaked.
  3. Place pulses in a pot and cover them with 3-4 times as much water as lentils.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Drain the water and enjoy!

Note that red lentils cook faster than green, brown or black lentils. To avoid them going mushy, make sure to remove them from the heat after 15-20 minutes.


GRAINS

Couscous: Place one portion of couscous into a heatproof bowl. Add slightly more boiling water than couscous into the bowl. Cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately (it doesn’t reheat well).

Quinoa and Bulgur Wheat: Wash thoroughly. Place in a pot with twice as much water as grain. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until all the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

One portion is approximately 60-80g of dried grains.


Please leave any other tips and tricks you may have in the comments below.

We love to learn from you and hear how you found our recipes!

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Simnel Cake with Vegan Marzipan

Traditional Simnel cake is a lovely thing to make at Easter, though we were surprised that it’s almost impossible to get organic marzipan outside of Christmas. But who needs to buy ready-made when it’s so quick and simple to make your own!?

This fantastic vegan version is a lovely golden colour from all the delicious maple syrup that’s in it. It’s also perfectly pliable and way less sickly sweet compared to store-bought versions in our opinion.

What’s even better, you can get the two main ingredients right here at Food Loose!


Ingredients for the vegan marzipan:

1 1/4 cups ground almonds

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp almond essence

1 tsp lemon juice

Instructions:

Put all ingredients into a food processor and whizz for a few seconds. Or if you don’t have an electric mixer, you could just knead the ingredients together in a bowl.

You would need to double this quantity to make enough to cover a big cake and have some left for decorating.

Happy cooking!

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THE ULTIMATE NUT ROAST

What better way to make use of our great selection of nuts than by giving them a starring role in the ultimate vegan nut roast? This recipe is super quick and easy, and you can source almost all the ingredients package free from Food Loose! Any mix of nuts will do – make it luxurious for special occasions by including pecans or pistachios or opt for a more cost-effective version by choosing peanuts, cashews or brazil nuts.

To make this super quick recipe even faster, you can pre-cook a batch of rice and freeze it in half cup measures. Whenever you fancy a nut roast, simply take it out the freezer and add it to your mix.

Ingredients:

250g mixed nuts processed coarsely

100g fresh breadcrumbs, preferably wholemeal

Half a cup cooked rice (brown or red works well)

2 onions, chopped and fried in oil

2 level tablespoons nutritional yeast

Herbs to taste, fresh or dried

Salt and pepper to taste

300ml bouillon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees/Gas mark 4.
  2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients.
  3. Add bouillon and mix again.
  4. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  5. Place in a greased tin of any shape and bake for 30 minutes.

If you make this recipe, we would love to hear how it went! Let us know in the comments or tag us on Instagram @foodloosecheltenham.

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Judith’s Naturally Sweet Tea Loaf

If you’re anything like me, you’re in need of some sugar detox after eating Easter eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That is why I was so excited to learn this naturally sweet Tea Loaf recipe from one of our wonderful volunteers, Judith. Packed full of dried fruits, this loaf is sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding even the tiniest bit of sugar.

This recipe is totally customisable to include all of your favourite dried fruits, or even nuts.

And what’s better, you can get most of your ingredients at Food Loose! Remember, you can shop online or pop in the store with your own containers.

tea loaf fruit cake

Ingredients:

1 lb mixed dried fruit

½ pint warm tea (or water, juice or a mixture)

1 egg

1 lb self-raising flour

2 tbsp marmalade (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Soak fruit with tea overnight
  2. Stir egg (& marmalade if using) into fruit and mix well with flour.
  3. Pour into greased or lined 2 x 1lb loaf tins / 1 x 2lb loaf tin.
  4. Bake at gas mark 3 / 325F / 160C for 1 ¼ – 1 ¾ hours until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Cool in tin for 15 mins before turning out.

Judith’s tips:

The Tea Loaf keeps well & freezes well, so I usually make a double quantity and cut the loaves in half to freeze.

I don’t always use marmalade and it works out fine. I suppose if you want a ‘tang’ you could try adding lemon or orange zest. You could also add mixed spices or ginger depending on your taste.

I have added ground almonds before which worked well.

I usually use wholemeal flour which means I either add more liquid or use less flour, adding in small quantities until the mix seems right.

+ + +

If you make this recipe, we would love to hear how it went! Let us know in the comments or tag us on Instagram @foodloosecheltenham.

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New Year’s Resolutions, Veganuary and marmalade….

Single-use plastic seems to be on many people’s hit list for their new year’s resolutions in 2019! Many of you may have been ditching unnecessary plastic for even longer, whether you’re a buying-loose novice or a veteran pro, we’ll help you on the next steps of your journey.

If you’re just getting started, check out our previous blog post for 25 ways to ditch single-use. Another useful resource can be found at
https://lessplastic.co.uk/9-tips-living-less-plastic/ where you can also find postcards and posters for sale. Alternatively, pop into the shop with some empty, clean containers and have a browse of the products that we offer, and grab a nice cup of tea or coffee too to warm up these cold January days. We also offer takeaway hot drinks, just remember to bring your reusable mug or buy one from us! We know shopping loose isn’t always the fastest option if you’re short on time, so simply pop in with your containers and a list of what you would like in which container and we’ll happily fill them for you to collect later in the day.

Maybe Veganuary has been your new year’s resolution, whether for a month or for good! We have an excellent range of nuts, fruits and grains and would love to hear your suggestions for other products you’re struggling to find plastic free.

Some of our newest additions thanks to your suggestions include:

  • Pistachios
  • Goji berries
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut oil
  • Seville oranges to bring some marmalade sunshine into January!

Keep your suggestions coming for new products!

We have also switched to a wonderful social enterprise for our cleaning product refills. Sesi, based in Oxford, delivers the large dispensing containers and then collects them again to refill, meaning zero waste. The products themselves are vegan, biodegradable and cruelty free, all made here in the UK. Take a look at their website here: https://sesi.org.uk/products/ or pop into the shop to find out more.

January has so far provided our busiest day of takings so far, we have even totally run out of shampoo so are awaiting a refill! We would love it if you could share your visits to our shop far and wide on social media and amongst friends. Remember all profits are going to the Global Footsteps charity, so every plastic free purchase in store is not just good for the planet, but good for people too.

RK

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Plastic Free Advent Ideas

We are absolutely delighted to announce that the Foodloose shop in Cheltenham is now officially open!

Our mission is to make sustainably packaged goods accessible to everyone, whether you’re living zero-waste or interested in making your first plastic-free switch, we can help!

Come and visit us in store or contact us on social media and we’ll be happy to answer any queries, take your product suggestions or just have a good old chat about one-planet living.

With the store opening on the 1st of December, what better way to kick things off than with our very own advent calendar of tips to reduce plastic waste? We’ve indicated where alternatives are available at Foodloose but not all the products listed below are stocked at the shop, if there’s something you’d love to see at the shop then send us your suggestions.

1. Christmas tips! Planning a plastic-free festive season? How about shopping from our selection of dried foods for that all important Christmas pudding? Use fabric wrapping or make your own from newspaper. Better still, why not think about giving experience gifts instead of novelty ones? Theatre tickets, cinema vouchers, subscriptions or memberships can be a gift that keeps on giving, unlike those novelty stocking fillers!

2. Water bottle and coffee cup. Stay hydrated and/or caffeinated whilst out and about with a sturdy water bottle and reusable cup. We are proud to be a Refill stop for free tap water and we also offer a range of teas and coffees which we’ll happily pour into travel cups.

3. Toothbrushes. Every toothbrush you’ve ever used still exists somewhere in the world. If Henry 8th had used one, his would still exist somewhere, sitting in a landfill or washed up on a beach. Switch to bamboo, we stock adult and child sized options. Keep those old toothbrushes for cleaning tiles and grout.

4. Shampoo and conditioner. Think about switching to a solid bar shampoo or conditioner, or refilling existing bottles.

5. Perfume. Think about switching to solid perfume bars or oils. You can now also buy refillable glass perfume bottles which make you feel like a 1920s film star. Why make something that can only be used once?

6. Soap. Bar soaps are back in vogue and we stock a range of handmade soaps in lots of delicious scents.

7. Dishwashing. Dishwashers save water but can be plastic wrap heavy compared to handwashing. Use eco tablets with dissolvable wrappers, look out for dishwasher salt in cardboard boxes and if you prefer scrubbing the dishes yourself, visit us for refillable liquid.

8. Laundry. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it! Switch to an eco product that won’t harm aquatic life, powders in cardboard boxes or refillable liquid options. Eco Eggs can be a good option for some. Either way, switch to 30 degrees and the planet will be happy!

9. Period plastic is rubbish. Literally. Switch to a mooncup or reusable washable pads to save the planet and your money. If that’s a step too far for now, look at eco pad/tampon options which are plastic and chemical free.

10. Plastic containers. We don’t care what you bring into the shop, we’ll fill it up (as long as it’s clean and suitable!) old takeaway boxes, your Nana’s tupperware, immaculate glass kilner’s, we’ll fill em’all, we’re not fussy.

11. Beeswax wraps and silicon covers. We’ll be stocking some fab wraps made in Stroud, perfect for those bits that need to be covered before they go in the fridge or back in the bread bin. Silicon washable covers also work a treat. Never underestimate the power of a plate placed on top of a bowl of leftovers! Cost-free and zero food or plastic waste!

12. Food. Glorious Food! Raisins, beans, pasta, almonds, coconut, lentils, yum. Visit our website or pop into the shop to peruse our heaving shelves of dried goods, if there’s something you’d like but can’t see please ask or pop it in our suggestion box.

13. Clothes. The biggest source of ocean microplastic is man-made fibres in clothes (closely followed by car tyre fibres) both of which end up in watercourses and subsequently in the ocean. Try and buy natural fibres, steer clear of fast fashion and make the most of Cheltenham’s vintage and charity shops. Sequins and fake fur are also plastic so make this year’s Christmas party outfit on trend by re-wearing or shwopping with friends.

14. Bags. You’ve got your reusable bags to avoid that 5p charge but what now? Re-use them! Keep them handy so you can remember them. There are also many options for produce bags which mean you can bypass those flimsy plastic bags. Most supermarkets will take bags back for recycling.

15. Straws. Plan that cocktail or G&T session in advance and pop a reusable straw in your bag.

16. Cutlery. Sometimes there’s no avoiding eating on the run, pop a spork or takeaway cutlery from a previous lunch dash in your bag so you never need to grab a plastic fork again.

17. Cotton wool and cotton buds. Switch to reusable, washable face rounds made from natural fibres. Look for plastic free cotton buds too.

18. Toys. We’ve heard from the big man in the red suit and even HE is trying to reduce the amount of plastic that goes into and out of the workshop. Look for wooden toys, second hand or charity shop finds. If you’re a godparent or a grandparent, uncle or second cousin once removed, check you’re getting a gift that the child will love and avoid disposable, flimsy plastic options.

19. Events, parties and more. If you’re planning a big Christmas shindig have a think about alternatives to disposable tableware, look for paper alternatives or use proper glasses for fizz and mugs for mulled wine. Christmas Fair planning? Look at glass hire options and propose your school, scouts, guides or church group think about ditching single use plastic for all future events.

20. Toilet roll and kitchen roll. Look for plastic free alternatives, like Who Gives a Crap which is available in the shop. Cut up old towels or use cloths in the kitchen for spills and cleaning.

21. Nappies and wipes. Pop into the shop to find leaflets about the Real Nappy Project in Gloucestershire. Consider using reusable nappies, even if just for one or two nappy changes a day. Reusable wipes such as the Cheeky Wipes option are proving more and more popular.

22. GetLoopy! Nature is cyclical, all systems in nature are never linear, they always loop back round. Check out the Ellen Macarthur Foundation for more information about circular economy thinking, you’ll never look at waste in the same way!

23. Tell companies! Boycotting that plastic wrapped coconut? Loving that new naked cucumber option? Tell the manager in the store, e-mail or tweet or facebook to let them know that packaging is affecting your buying decisions. Talk to friends and family to amplify your impact even further. Individual action leads to system change, and system change leads to individual action.

24. Labels. Learn the label lingo. What’s the difference between compostable and biodegradable? What is and isn’t recyclable here in Gloucestershire? Should we be growing food crops to make plastic alternatives? We’re happy to share our thoughts but ask your local council representatives and MP about these issues to really ramp up your individual impact.

25. You can do anything but not everything. We all lead busy lives and there’s frankly quite enough negativity and confusion out there in the world right now. If you’re able to make one small step then congratulate yourself, then look for the next tiny step. If you’re able to make 10 giant leaps then fantastic! Don’t feel guilty that you’re not doing it all and don’t feel paralysed with fear about the scale of the problem, it will take lots of people just like us to all make changes to our lifestyles in order to turn off the plastic tap. It always feels impossible until it’s done so hang on in there and raise a glass of festive cheer to your efforts!

RK