bread sauce

Oatly Bread Sauce

A beautiful accompaniment to Christmas dinner and easy to prepare (in advance too). Below is a wonderful recipe from Oatly, though we do have a dear friend who makes bread sauce by simply putting all the ingredients in an oven dish and cooking it in the oven with everything else, just giving it a stir now and again. Experimentation required!

Oatly Bread sauce (Makes approximately 1 litre)
Ingredients:
600ml Oatly Oat drink
1 onion, halved & studded with approx 12 cloves
1 bay leaf
5 pepper corns
150g fresh white breadcrumbs
50g vegetable margarine, optional

Method
1. Put the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns into a medium saucepan and pour in the Oatly oat drink. Bring the liquid up to just below boiling and take off the heat. Leave for 2 hours to allow the aromatic flavours to infuse the Oatly.
2. Remove the onion, bay & pepper and keep them to one side. Add the breadcrumbs, put the pan back on and cook gently over a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bread crumbs have swelled.
3. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the marg, if using. You can use this immediately or chill and reheat it. If you are going to keep it for any time, pop the onion and aromatics back in to continue adding flavour.

Recipe credit
This recipe was made using Oatly Oat drink – a great dairy free, healthy alternative to milk. For more delicious recipes and further information about the Oatly way of life, visit www.facebook.com/oatlyab

And don’t miss all the other festive recipes on Vegan Christmas or Yule!

Space Age Cooking

gluten free mini chocolate logs

Doesn’t look a very space age treat, but it is because it was cooked in this:

Halogen oven

…and that looks like a robot, little eyes and everything, though it’s actually a VonShef Halogen Oven Cooker. It’s an amazing and energy saving device, great for when you want to just bake a cake or cook one dish without heating the whole oven. It also gets hot at once, no need to preheat. It comes with a bunch of kitchen stuff too: heat resistant basket, recipe book, extender ring, lid holder, baking tray, steamer tray, skewers, low Rack, high Rack (these work well as cooling racks) and a nice oven glove. It would make a great gift!

Halogen oven and accessories

So on with the recipes…

Gluten Free Mini Chocolate Yule Logs:
125g of vegetable maragarine
125g caster sugar
250g Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa
a good squirt of golden syrup (makes it ‘fudgey’)
a teaspoon of vanilla extract
soya milk to mix
decoration: marzipan, 200g melted chocolate and a sprinkle of icing sugar

Cream the marg. and sugar together and then gradually mix in the other ingredients like so: a little flour, a little soya milk, stir; add cocoa and some soya milk, stir. Once it’s all well mixed, pour into a greased cake tin and set the oven temperature to 175C and the timer to 45 minutes. Place the cake in there, close the lid and go for a walk to watch the sunrise (optional/replace with activity of choice):

sunrise

Check for readiness with a skewer, cook for a few more minutes if still wet in the middle. Once the cake is totally cool, remove from the tin and cut into bite-size pieces. Top with thinly sliced marzipan and melted chocolate. It’s ideal to let the chocolate cool a little before spreading on the cakes (go and pick holly) as you can then pull a fork through it for a nice wood-like effect. Let the chocolate set and then sprinkle with icing sugar.

We also made Creamy Sage and Onion Potatoes in the Halogen oven:
8 medium potatoes, sliced very thin and par-boiled for a few minutes, we left the skins on
2 red onions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
a small handful of fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon of marg.
1 tablespoon of flour
250ml of soya milk
salt to taste

Grease an oven proof dish. Melt the marg. and cook the onions and garlic in it until softened. Add the sage. Add the flour. Mix well. Gradually stir in the soya milk and continue stirring over a low heat until the sauce thickens. Season with salt. Layer this up with the potatoes in your greased dish, leaving plenty for the top as it just looks nice. Set the timer to 50 minutes and the temperature to 250C and light up the kitchen. Ta-da:

potato bake

All Dark

dark
photo credit: Charlotte Burnett

We’re close to the Solstice now. It is very dark. Above is a strange and dark perspective of our wild and non-conformist tree cut from the garden leading nicely into Hotel Chocolat’s first completely vegan collection. What a gift:

The All Dark Collection
The All Dark Collection: The perfect gift for vegans, dairy-avoiders, or lovers of deep, intense cocoa, featuring truffles, puddles, nano slabs and single-origin cocoa. Yum.

For more gift ideas and lots of festive recipes visit Vegan Christmas or Yule

c1 santa hat wintcakes (300x225)

chocolate and aprons

ethicoco

Isn’t that beautiful? And just perfect for Christmas with the sparkly red berries? It’s the Peruvian Dark Bar with Cranberries from Ethicoco and it’s absolutely delicious; the texture is smooth, the flavour is full, the cranberries are perfectly tart and there’s plenty of them.

Ethicoco is a new vegan chocolate company that uses ethically sourced and organic ingredients. They also make ‘milk’ bars using oat milk and hand craft their chocolate ‘from bean to bar’, read more about that on their website.

ethicoco2

In other news, we have resurrected our shop! We have aprons, t-shirts, bags, mugs, caps, bibs, badges and underwear in various designs both vegan and flowery…

vc vppanty chocolate cheesecake bag

chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

chestnuts and cocoa

Unlike previous chestnut roasting efforts, these were done properly, in an actual long handled chestnut pan, no less.

chestnut pan

So they were sweet and succulent and cooked all the way through, unlike the ‘wrapped in foil and put in the fire’ nuts of the past which were burnt on the outside and raw in the middle.

Washed and scored:
scored chestnuts

Roasting:
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The pan comes with full instructions on how to choose the best chestnuts and then how to roast them, making it a really nice festive gift.

It’s almost December! Chocolate Advent Calendars:
Dark Chocolate Advent Calendar

To finish off today, turn your sound up and listen to some beautiful whooper swans on the early morning loch.

black badger stew and other beans

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We were sent some wonderful British bean products by Hodmedod’s. Before the title causes too much alarm: black badgers are a variety of pea that has been grown in Britain for at least 500 years, also known as carlin or maple peas. They are exceptionally flavoursome for a pulse and made a delicious hummus (substituting the chick peas in our usual recipe) and a wonderfully filling stew:

Black Badger Stewblack badger stew
250g of black badgers, soaked and cooked
2 onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
4 sticks of celery, chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1 box passata (500g)
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
water as needed
seasalt to taste

Soak your black badgers overnight, bring to the boil and turn down to simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in the vegetables, passata, water to cover and bay leaves and simmer again for at least fifteen minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves. Thicken the sauce with tomato puree and season with salt. Nice served with rice or mash.

bean saladWe also made a fava bean (broad bean) salad:
1 can of cooked fava beans
3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 small onion, diced
a handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Mix it all together and dress with the juice of one lemon and a little olive oil.

The big vegan box pictured above would make an ideal Christmas gift for any foodie. Not only does it contain the useful store cupboard staple of dried beans (including split fava beans which do not require soaking) but it boasts a plethora of ready to eat tinned products and roasted snacks. The baked beans are broad beans in a homemade style sauce rather than the orange goo of most brands. The dahl makes ‘chips with curry sauce’ into something gourmet and delightful. And the roasted beans and peas – wow – horseradish peas! Spicy like wasabi… There’s also a UK-grown bag of quinoa, removing any ethical issues with the product.

And speaking of Christmas: don’t miss our Vegan Christmas or Yule page for lots of festive recipes and gift ideas and also Advent calendars (those will sell out soon).

orange is the new green

pumpkin

A lovely pumpkin, but it’s not really the orange of the title so we’ll return to it later. Here’s the green:

virb

Viridian’s Soul Food Greens is a nutrient dense mix of several green food powders: spirulina, wheatgrass, barleygrass, alfalfa leaf, seagreens wild wrack seaweed and chlorella, making it a good source of trace elements, vitamins, essential fatty acids, polysaccharides and soluble fibre.

It went well in a green smoothie:pumpkin

Smoothie recipe (makes 4 large glasses): 4 bananas, 1 large avocado, a few good handfuls of fresh kale (or frozen), 2 heaped tablespoons of Soul Food Greens, 2 heaped tablespoons of linseeds and a litre of orange juice.

The juice is the orange, it makes these green drinks more palatable to those who are not so used to the bitter tang that green powders and kale can have. It stops people saying ‘I can’t drink this’ and instead they comment on the nice orange flavour while downing their vitamins. Viridian’s blend is quite gentle though, far easier on the taste buds than pure spirulina.

pumpkinAnd so, back to the seasonal orange of the pumpkin, or in fact any squash in this most basic, but delicious, of soup recipes: peel, deseed and chop squash of choice, cover with water and bring to boil. Add in onion, lots of garlic, a chilli, and salt to taste. Blend up with a handful of cashews…

Also see:
Paprika Pumpkin Soup
Roasted Butternut Soup with Lemon Thyme

And for a range of wonderfully varied recipes see Animal Aid’s new Buzzfeed post, 8 Amazing Recipes You Won’t Believe Are Vegan

vegan recipes, books and festivities… Among the trees in Scotland.