Chocolate Caramel Digestive Biscuits

 

I don’t know about you but digestive caramel biscuits used to be my absolute favourite treat especially with a cup of tea. So I couldn’t be happier to have remade one of my all time favourite in a much healthier version. The crunchy base goes perfectly with the creamy and rich caramel and the chocolate coating makes everything even more delicious! They are the perfect treat to serve to guests which I promise will never guess these biscuits are vegan and gluten free!


Makes 10-12 biscuits depending on the size

Ingredients:

For the base:

1/2 cup of plain gluten free flour – I have used Dove’s farm
1/4 cup of ground almond
2 tablespoons of Natvia Natural Sweetener
1 tablespoon of brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons of coconut oil – melted
2 tablespoons of almond milk
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
A dash of vanilla extract

For the caramel filling:

7-8 medjol dates ( I wouldn’t recommend to use regular date for this recipe as medal are particular gooey and soft plus they have a gorgeous caramel flavour)
3 tablespoon of runny and smooth almond butter (the runnier the better)
Dash of water to thin it out

For the chocolate coating:

70gr of good quality dark chocolate (or any chocolate of your choice)

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. In a bowl mix together all the ingredients for the base until you have a solid dough. Dust your working surface with some flour. With a rolling pin gently stretch your dough (about 1/2 cm thick). With a cookie cutter or a small glass ( I used a glass) cut out the biscuits. Keep repeating the process until you have used all up all the dough.
Place the biscuits on a baking tray covered with parchment paper.
Bake them in the oven for 10-12 minutes until they start to go brown around the edges. Make sure not to overtake them as they can burn quite quickly.

To make the caramel filling: place the pitted dates and almond butter into a food processor. Start blitzing. Stop and scrape the sides and blitz again. Gradually add about 1 tbsp of water. Keep blitzing until you have a relatively smooth and creamy consistency. If the caramel is too thick add another splash of water and blitz again.

On a double boiler melt the chocolate.

Once the biscuits are baked let them cool down completely adding the caramel on top. Spread each biscuit with about 1 teaspoon of the caramel. Dip them into the melted chocolate and place them on a cooling rack to set. Once the chocolate is hard enjoy!

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Roasted Pepper and Sweet Potato Falafels

Nothing beats a fully loaded Buddha bowl especially when it has got falafels in it 🙂 These red pepper and sweet potatoes falafels are such a winner and so easy to make. I love how the flavour and texture of the sweet potato goes so well with the roasted peppers, they are definitely a match made in heaven! They are very convenient for lunch boxes or for when you want something quick and easy. I would recommend to make quite a large batch (just double the ingredients) and freeze them so you always have something ready on hand for when you have no time to cook.

Makes about 8-10 falafels depending on the size

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas -drained and rinsed
1 pepper – deseeded and cut into pieces
1 small sweet potato- peeled and cut into chunks
1 garlic clove -minced
1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Serving suggestion:

I like to eat them in a big salad with some quinoa, cabbage, sliced avocado, baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Place the chopped up pepper on a baking tray and drzzle with some olive oil, add some salt and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until soft.
At the same time steam the roasted sweet potato until you can pierce through with a fork. Once cooked let it cool down for 10-15 minutes.
In a large bowl add the chickpeas. With a fork or even better a potato masher roughly mash them down. They don’t have to be completely a puree, a chunky texture is more what we are looking for. Add in all the remaining ingredients and keep mashing! 🙂 Once everything is well combined add salt according to your taste.

Line a baking tray with some parchment paper. Roll the mixture into balls ( to make your life easier wet your hands so it won’t stick as much) and place them on the baking tray. Bake the falafels for 20-25 minutes. Make sure to flip them on the other side halfway through the cooking.

These falafels are super versatile, I love using them in buddha bowls, wraps or lunch boxes.

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Thai Green Coconut Noodle Soup

This recipe just couldn’t be simpler, using a ready made paste definitely make the life so much easier and it makes this soup redact in under 20 minutes.
I have always been a massive fan of Thai food as I love how it’s super veggie friendly, great fresh flavours and rice with anything 🙂

I love making this soup when I don’t have too much to cook and I want something quick, delicious and satisfying.

Ingredients:

1 heaped tablespoon of green Thai curry paste
About 1 litre of veggie stock
1/2 can of full fat coconut milk
About 150gr of rice noodles
200gr of shiitake mushrooms -sliced
1 pakchoi
1/2 block of firm tofu – about 175gr – chopped into small cubes
1 red fresh chilli
1 tablespoon of Tamari sauce
The juice of 1/2 lime

To serve: a sprinkle sesame seeds and fresh chopped coriander

Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water to cook them. Put them on one side while you are making the rest.
In a large pan add the curry paste and let it heat up for few seconds, add the sliced mushrooms and the chopped tofu. Stir fry for few minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Pour in the veggie stock and the coconut milk. Bring to boil and add the tamari sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes. Check if needs more salt. Add in the finely sliced pakchoi and cook for another 2-3 minutes. I personally like my greens quite crunchy so I wouldn’t cook it for longer than that. Drain the noodles and divide them between two bowls. Cover them with the soup, mushrooms, tofu and pakchoi. Squeeze some lime into each bowl and serve with some fresh chill, coriander and sesame seeds.

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Gnocchi with Red Pepper Ragu

Comforting and packed with flavour – this Red Pepper Ragu Gnocchi recipe is now on the blog! I am so happy to be taking part in the EU Funded campaign #itspeppertime, which is all about celebrating the humble pepper. Not only are peppers high in vitamin C, but also contain numerous vitamins and minerals! I just love how incredibly versatile peppers are, chuck them into stir fries or chop them into salads, the possibilities are really endless! This super rich pasta sauce has been my latest obsession, packed with gorgeous summery flavour and that sweet note from the pepper is just a winner, with any pasta of your choice! It’s also a great way to sneak in some extra veggies into your diet 😉

The sauce will serve 2 people

For the ragu:

1 red pepper – deseeded and cut into quarters
1 small red onion – roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic – minced
1/2 cup of tomato Passata
1/4 cup of frozen soy mince – this is completely optional, you can leave it out and the sauce will still be delicious. The soy mince makes it more substantial and adds the “proper ragu” feel to the dish.
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
About 4-5 sundried tomatoes finely chopped
A generous handful of basil leaves roughly chopped + extra to sprinkle on top
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of olive oil for frying
Salt & pepper to taste

Gnocchi of your choice

Place the onion in a food processor and blitz until it’s has almost like a mince consistency. Transfer the onion to a large frying pan and add the olive oil. Cook the onion on a medium heat until has soften and start to caramelised. Add in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
Place the peppers into the food processor (no need to wash it) and blitz for few seconds until they are finely chopped up. Add the pepper to the pan together with the soy mince (if using). Cook for 2-3 minutes until all the water from the pepper has evaporated. Add in the passata, tomato puree and sundried tomatoes. Cook the sauce for about 10-15 minutes with the lid on a low heat. If it becomes too dry add a dash of water or more tomato passata.
At last add in the chopped basil and the nutritional yeast.

Cook the gnocchi according to the cooking instructions. Once drained add them to the pan with sauce and a glug of extra virgin olive. Serve straight away with some extra basil and some black pepper.
If you have any leftover sauce you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for few days.

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Creamy Spring Pasta

Spring is finally in the air and this pasta is best dish to celebrate the warmer months finally arriving! Asparagus are now in season and I am obsessed with this gorgeous seasonal veggie! They are fragrant, almost sweet and with a gorgeous fresh note. I love them in pretty much anything or simple by themselves but with this pasta they are even more delicious!
The creamy cashew sauce is super rich and decadent and it works perfectly with the fresh flavours of the peas and asparagus. Since I am currently in Italy I went out this morning and I managed to find some super cute edible flowers to sprinkle on top, but other greta additions are finely chopped mint or an handful of baby spinach.

The sauce will be enough for 2-3 people

Ingredients:

1 cup of cashews – soaked in water for at least 3 hours or overnight
1 small white onion or 1/2 a regular one – finely sliced
1 clove of garlic – crushed
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
The juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon of yellow mustard
Salt & pepper
About 5-8 asparagus spears -chopped into pieces
1 cup of frozen peas

Pasta of your choice – I have used spelt penne

Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a pan and add the finely sliced onion. Sautee for few minutes until the onion soften and start to caramelise. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and set onto one side
To make the cream: Drain and rinse the cashew. Place them In a bender and add the cooked onion and garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, almond milk, salt and pepper. Blend until you have a completely smooth and creamy consistency. Add more almond milk if your blender is struggling.
Place the cream in the fridge while you are cooking the asparagus.

To cook the asparagus and peas I simply place a bit of water at the bottom of a pan and added the asparagus and l lightly cook them for 5 minutes until soft. I like to keep my asparagus white al dente and still bright green.

Cook the pasta according to the cooking instructions. Once cooked place it back to pan, add a dash of olive oil (to prevent from sticking), pour the cashew cream and add the cooked asparagus and peas and mix well.

Serve straight away with some extra nutritional yeast and black pepper on top.

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Chia Pudding Parfaits

These parfaits are the perfect breakfast, snack or treat! What I love the most abbot them is the contrast between different textures and flavours. I love the light sweetness of the chia pudding with the richness of the peanut butter and the sharp notes of the berry compote. These parfaits are also ideal to be made in advance for those rush mornings when you simply don’t have the time for breakfast or for keeping sweet snacks on hand.
To add extra goodness I have used Udo’s Choice Untimate Oil which is a blend of flax, sesame and sunflower seeds oils as well as oils from evening primrose, rice germ, oat germ and coconut. This oil is rich in omega 3-6-9 and is completely suitable for vegans.

Makes 2 jars

Ingredients:

For the chia pudding layer:

1/4 cup of chia seeds
1/2 cup of almond milk
1 teaspoon of Udo’s choice Ultimate Oil Blend
2 tablespoons of coconut yogurt or any yogurt of your choice
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla powder

For the berry compote:

2 cups of frozen blueberries or blackberries
A dash of water
Optional: 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or coconut sugar

For the yogurt layer:

About 3/4 cup of coconut yogurt or yogurt of your choice

About 3-4 tablespoon of peanut butter

Toppings:

I like to sprinkle some fresh berries and granola on top

Combine all the ingredients for the chia pudding into a bowl and using a whisk (helps to avoid lumps) mix everything together. Place a plate on top and leave it in the fridge for 1 hour to thicken up. You can also prepare it the night before.

To make the berry compote simply place the berries with a dash of water and the maple syrup (if using) into a pan and cook them a medium to low heat for 115-20 minutes. The berries sound start to fall apart and become like a jam kind of consistency. Don’t worry if it looks a bit runny it will thicken up during the cooling process.

Once the chia pudding is thick and creamy and the berry compote is cold assemble the parfaits.
Start with a thick layer of berry compote, then add about 2 tablespoons of the chia pudding, a layer of colony yogurt, the peanut butter, more berry compote and more chia pudding. Top with fresh berries and a sprinkle of granola and enjoy!

Store any leftovers in airtight container in the fridge for few days.

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Marsala Glazed Mushroom & Shallot Tart with Cashew Cheese

Nothing beats a flaky and golden puff pastry tart with some caramelised mushrooms and some creamy cashew cheese. This tart has been my latest obsession! I made it twice to make sure I got the flavours absolutely right and I served it once to Sam’s family and everybody totally loved it! It’s definitely one of those dishes which are guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser as it’s filling, packed with different textures and super satisfying.

To add bags of flavours and take some pretty ordinary mushrooms to the next level I used Just a Splash Marsala wine which adds a lovely sweet and rich flavour and make the mushrooms go super  caramelised and with a gorgeous golden shine.

If you are concerned about the alcohol content of this dish please bear in mind that most of alcohol actually evaporates during the cooking procedure. What is left is a rich and intense flavour which will elevates any dish to another level of deliciousness.

In case you are not familiar with Just A Splash, it is a NEW range of quality culinary alcohols in handy recipe-sized 100ml pouches, perfect for any sweet or savoury dish. Available in five variants of spirits and fortified wines: Rum, Marsala, Brandy, Sherry and Port. When your recipe calls for a little bit of alcohol, like a dash of brandy in a mushroom stroganoff, a drizzle of sherry in a trifle, or a swig of port to reduce your roasting juices, for the first time you don’t have to spend a fortune on a whole bottle! Just A Splash saves money, saves cupboard clutter, reduces waste.

Just A Splash is currently available from Ocado for just £1.99 https://www.justasplash.co.uk

Ingredients:

1 roll of puff pastry (the one sold in the UK supermarkets is vegan)
250 of Chestnut Mushrooms – cut into thick slices
8 shallots – peeled and cut in half
1 garlic cloves – crushed
1 Just a Splash Marsala pouch
A bunch of fresh thyme
An handful of walnuts – roughly chopped
Few rockets leaves to sprinkle on top
Olive oil for roasting and frying

For the puff pastry glaze:

2 teaspoons of agave syrup
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of almond milk

For the Cashew cheese:

1 cup of cashews – soaked in water for at least 3 hours or overnight
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
The juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
A pinch of black pepper

Start by making the cashew cheese (you can also make this the night before) Drain and rinse the cashews and place them in a blender with all the other ingredients. Blend until super smooth and creamy. Pour the cheese into a jar or container and place it in the fridge while you are making the rest.

Place the shallots into a baking tray. Drizzle them with some olive oil, salt & pepper and roast them in the oven for 25 minutes until soft and golden brown.
To cook the mushrooms add 1 tablespoon of oil to a pan with the crushed garlic. Cook it for 1 minute on low heat to prevent the garlic from burning. Add in the mushrooms, turn the heat up and cook them f0r 3-4 minutes until all the water has evaporated. Pour in the Just a Splash Marsala and let them cook for about 10 minutes until all liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms look glazed and caramelised. Sprinkle the thyme leaves and mix everything together.
On a baking tray covered with parchment paper roll out the puff pastry. With a knife gently score a rough border, approximately 2cm from the edge. Prick over the middle with a fork leaving the border intact. Halfway cooking the shallots place the pastry in the oven and lightly cook for 8 minutes until it starts to puff up.
Remove tart and the shallot from the oven. Gently add the mushrooms into the centre of the tart, alternate them with the shallot. Brush the edges off the tart with the pastry glaze.
Place the tart back in the oven for another 10 minutes until beautifully golden brown.
Serve the tart with the roughly chopped walnuts, rocket leaves and some dollops of cashew cheese. Enjoy!

 

This post is in collaboration with Just A Splash. http://bit.ly/2GMYrUs

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Double Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

After making these hot cross buns I really wish we don’t eat them just for Easter! Well I can honestly say that I will make them again and again throughout the year as they are so delicious!! They are pillow soft, with that perfect bread consistency which make them so comforting and decadent at the same time. I swapped the traditional raisin with chocolate chunks and I even added melted chocolate in the frosting! I mean, you can’t ever have too much chocolate right?
For this recipe I have used Mia 100% dark chocolate which is just every chocolate connoisseur dream! Super rich, intense and with a deep cacao flavours it works so well with the sweet dough.

What makes Mia different from all the other chocolate brands is that they entirely produce their chocolate bars in Madagascar where the cocoa grows. Most of all the other chocolate brands source their cocoa in Africa or south America and then manufacture their chocolate in Europe. MIA not only use locally sourced ingredients and materials, but by crafting the chocolate from bean to bar in Madagascar create more jobs on a continent where a single income can support an entire family.

Ingredients:

3 cups of white flour
1 sachet of dried yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
1/4 cup of coconut sugar
3/4 cup of lukewarm unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup of lukewarm water
60gr of Mia 100% dark chocolate chopped into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
A pinch of sea salt

For the glaze:

2 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon of maple syrup

For the frosting:
3/4 cup of cashews soaked for 3 hours or overnight
2 tablespoon of maple syrup
60gr of Mia 100% dark chocolate melted

Place the dried yeast + 1 teaspoon of sugar + the water into a large mixing bowl. Mix them together and let them sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast start to foam. Add in 1 cup of flour and mix again. Gradually add in the remaining flour, coconut sugar, almond milk, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt and keep mixing, first with a spoon then with your hands. At last fold in the chopped chocolate. Keep working the dough with your hands until it’s smooth, feel soft and it’s quite elastic and bouncy. Shape the dough Into a bowl and place it back in the bowl. Cover it with 2 or three tea towels and place it in the warmest spot of the house (I placed mine next to the radiator) Leave it to rise for 2 hours. After 2 hours the dough should have doubled in size. Knead it again to make sure they aren’t any air bubbles. Divide it into small round balls. You should have anything between 8-12 depending on the size. Place the balls directly onto a baking tray covered with some parchment paper. Cover it again with some tea towels and place it back into the hot spot for 1 hour. After 1 hour they have increase in size and be all nice and puffy.
In a small bowl mix together the almond milk and the maple syrup and brush the buns.
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius and bake the hit cross buns for 20 minutes until nice and golden.

While they are baking make the frosting: drain and rinse the cashews and place them in a blender with the other ingredients. Blend until super smooth and creamy. If your bender is struggling add a dash of almond milk.

Let the buns cool down completely before decorating them. Pour the frosting into a piping bag with one of the smallest attachment. Draw the cross on the buns and enjoy!
They are also super delicious toasted with some vegan butter or nut butter.

 

 

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Butternut Squash Falafels

Who said leftovers have to be sad or boring? I have been seriously loving getting creative my leftovers lately as I find it so exciting to create a delicious dish out of few humble ingredients which they might otherwise end up in the bin.
I couldn’t have been prouder to have collaborated with Vitamix on their campaign against food waste and I hope this recipe will inspire you to make the most out of your leftovers too!

For this recipe I have used the new Vitamix Ascent which is uniquely designed to make quick work of tough and unloved bits of food and can generate impressive results from unlikely leftovers due to its power and engineering.

If you want to find more about Vitamix Ascent range you can click here:
https://www.vitamix.com/gb/en_gb/shop/smart-system-blenders

For this recipe I have used leftover butternut squash but you can also use leftover roasted peppers, sweet potatoes or beetroot.

I have been loving making a big batch of these falafels on a Sunday so I have food ready for busy days when I have no time to cook. I love how simple they are and yet so delicious and flavoursome. I love serving them in a big buddha bowl with lots of veggies and whatever grain I have on hand. They are also an excellent addition to any lunch box, wraps or sandwiches. If you want to make them even more delicious make sure to add a generous drizzle of the tahini dressing, definitely a match made in heaven! 🙂

Makes about 8-10 falafels depending on the size

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
About 2 cups of leftover roasted or steamed butternut squash
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 teaspoon of pink Himalayan or sea salt

To serve:

These falafels can be enjoyed with so many different things, my favourite way to eat them is in a buddha bowl style kind of salad. I love adding:

roasted veggies like carrots and cauliflower
sliced radicchio and baby spinach
cooked quinoa
Sliced sweet pepper
A handful of chopped nuts (in this occasion I have used pistachios)

And finally I like to drizzle my tahini dressing:

1 tablespoon of tahini
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of miso paste
Water to thin it out

Just mix everything in small bowl and add water gradually until you have a the desired consistency.

Place the pine nuts into your Vitamix Ascent and select variable 1, start the machine slow and increase to its highest speed. You only need to blend them for about 30 seconds and the Vitamix power will have blitzed the nuts into almost flour like consistency.
Add the chickpeas and butternut squash. Select variable 4 and pulse 4-5 times until you have a coarse mixture. You don’t want to overprocess it otherwise you will end up with a hummus kind of consistency. Transfer the falafels mix to a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. Mix everything together and with your hands shape the mixture into balls.
Line a baking tray with some parchment paper and bake the falafels in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. Flip the falafels half way through the cooking time to make sure they cook evenly on both sides.

Serve the falafel while they are still warm with all the veggies, quinoa and drizzle with the tahini dressing. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for few days.

 

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Roasted Red Pepper & Chickpea Burgers

We all know we could probably do with eating more veggies, sadly just 1 in 4 adults in the UK eat their 5 a day! Vegetables don’t have be boring or bland, they can be exciting, vibrant and full of flavours! You guys know how much I love my veggies so I couldn’t be happier to take part of the #itspeppertime campaign to celebrate the gorgeous peppers coming into season. Not only peppers are seriously delicious and versatile but they are also packed with skin loving vitamin C, (even more than oranges! ) iron and calcium. They work incredibly well in all sort of recipes but I particularly fell in love with this Roasted Pepper & Chickpeas Burgers which they are super satisfying and packed with flavour! They are also great to make in advance and keep in the freezer for when you have no time to cook, the full recipe is on the blog, link in my bio!

Makes 3-4 patties depending on the size.

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas – drained and rinsed
2 red or orange peppers – deseeded and chopped into pieces
2 spring onions – finely chopped
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (use gluten free if you need)
A generous handful of basil leaves finely chopped
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper

To serve:

Bread buns of your choice ( I have used wholemeal)
1 avocado
The juice of 1/2 lemon
Few baby spinach leaves or lettuce
1/2 large tomato
Cress or sprouts
Sauerkraut or pickle of your choice

Place the chopped peppers into a roasting tray. Drizzle with some olive oil, add salt and pepper and roast them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until soft and squishy.
In the meantime place the walnuts into a non stick pan and toast them for 3-5 minutes until slightly golden and fragrant. Remove them from the pan and roughly chop them. In the same pan add 1 teaspoon of oil and add the chopped spring onions. Cook them on a medium heat for 5 minutes until soft.
Once the peppers are cooked transfer them to a food processor and add the chickpeas, fresh basil and spring onion. Blitz for few seconds, you don’t want to over process the mixture as you still want to have quite a chunky texture. Place the burger mixture into a bowl and add the chopped walnuts, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt & pepper. Mix everything together and shape it into patties. If you find the mixture too wet add a bit more breadcrumbs.

Line a baking tray with some parchment paper and bake the burgers for about 25-30 minutes, flipping them one the other side half way through.

Once they are cooked let them cool for 5 minutes. Assemble the burger by starting adding some lettuce the base of the bun, then the burger, a thick slice of tomato, some cress or sprouts, some mashed ado and some sauerkraut. You can obviously use other condiments like mayo or ketchup.

Store any leftover burgers in the fridge for few days.

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