It’s Veganuary, and the shops are full of plant-based foods to help you join the ever-growing vegan trend. Niki Webster, the well-known plant-based cook and cookbook author, has just published the perfect book for anyone with a youngster in the family who’s reluctant to eat meat. She’s created My Vegan Year, (published by Welbeck at £14.99) a handbook for young people, specifically focused on vegan eating. It’s filled with helpful advice and inspiration on how to cut down on (or cut out) meat and dairy, as well as giving nutritional information. “Veganism isn’t just about the food we eat,” Niki says. “It’s about doing the best for your body, for animal welfare and for the environment. Which is why I have compiled everything in one guide – including growing your own vegetables, making eco-friendly presents and even focussing on your own wellbeing, with helpful pages filled with essential advice from everything from food to fashion and cosmetics, and everything in between.”
Designed with her audience in mind, the book, which shows how to get the most out of the year, can be used in multiple ways to ensure Niki’s “My Vegan Year” turns into your vegan year. Each chapter focuses on a different season to help build the blueprint foundations for a complete year. Key features include: Foraging In Nature Across The Seasons, Growing Your Own Herbs and Produce, Creating The Perfect Plant-Based Party Platters, Staying Healthy in Winter and Making Deliciously Edible Festive Presents. It includes delicious rule-breaking recipes such as Tilly’s Easter Caramel Rice Krispie Bites, Summer Green Lasagne, Jerk BBQ Skewers with Mango and Black Bean Rice, Chocolate Pizza with Gooey Berries, Pumpkin Harissa Hummus, the Ultimate Hot Chocolate and a show-stopping Mushroom and Chestnut Wellington finished with a Clementine Fizz.
To demonstrate how delicious Niki’s recipes are, here are a couple for you to try – and the fizz is perfect for anyone doing Dry January too:
Pumpkin harissa hummus (Serves approx. 4)
What can you do with leftover Halloween pumpkin? Make some hummus, of course! This is the perfect way to use things up – just roast and blitz to a creamy, dreamy dip with some chickpeas, tahini and a little spicy harissa for warmth.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
2. Peel and cut up the pumpkin or squash, place on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil, salt and pepper.
3. Roast for 40–50 minutes until tender.
Allow to cool.
4. Now add all the ingredients to your food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy.
5. Add toppings to serve.
300g pumpkin or squash
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
230g cooked chickpeas
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp harissa
2 tbsp plant-based yoghurt
Pinch of chilli flakes
½ tsp sea salt
Juice of ½ a lemon
Extra virgin olive oil, Chilli flakes, Smoked paprika
Niki’s tip: You don’t need to wait for Halloween – this recipe works just as well with roast squash or sweet potatoes.
Spiced clementine fizz (serves 2)
Sweet clementine juice with lovely bubbly ginger beer and lots of mint and ice seems like a wonderful celebration drink to me. This also works well with blood oranges when they’re in season.
Juice of 2 clementines
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
A few drops of orange blossom water or orange extract
Handful of mint
500ml ginger beer
Lots of ice
1. Juice the clementines and add to a jar along with the sugar, vanilla and orange blossom water. Stir to combine.
2. Pour into two glasses then top up with ice.
3. Pour in the ginger beer and stir in the fresh mint.