Autumnal Moments

bramble smoothie

Smoothie of the moment:
Bramble, quantities are for four people, adjust as required. Ingredients: a quarter blender jug of brambles (blackberries); 100g of walnuts; 5 bananas; 1 large apple; orange juice to cover. Blend and enjoy the tart sweetness of the season.

Book of the moment:
Beauty by Sheri S. Teper. A stunningly well written, time-jumping, retelling of the sleeping beauty story for adults with a strong environmental message.
Buy UK or Buy US

Horse Chestnut is very much the tree of the moment:


Fried Green Tomatoes at the Last Bus Canteen

Las Bus Works Canteen

Update: café is closed for winter but it has made Trip Advisor’s Top Ten Restaurants in Aberdeenshire!

Actually there were no fried green tomatoes. But there was a plethora of other wonderful food at this 100% vegan weekend café in Aberdeenshire.

The Last Bus Works Canteen is just out of New Pitsligo and open 10-6 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


It’s quirky and friendly and has a great selection of cake. Below is a chocolate orange muffin with ice cream.

cake and ice cream

There’s pink Himalayan salt on the tables, olive oil in an oil can and recycled shelves all around.

oil and salt


It was a relaxing and fortifying place to visit after an eight mile walk in the rain! Well worth seeking out.


Tarragon and Thyme Roast Fennel


Simple and so, so  delicious.

1 bulb of fennel per person
root veg such as carrots or parsnips, at least two per person
chopped leeks or onions
a handful of fresh herbs, here we used tarragon and thyme, sage is also very good
seasalt to taste (you don’t need much, this dish is flavoursome)
fresh ground black pepper
sunflower oil to rub

Chop/scrape/wash your veg and place in a roasting tray. Rub in the herbs, salt, pepper and oil so everything is well coated. Roast at 200C/400F for at least half an hour, giving a stir/turn with a spoon a couple of times during cooking. Great served with brown rice and steamed kale that has been seasoned with lemon juice and a little margarine.

Another good combination: chocolate muffins (use one of our cake recipes) and mandarin segments:


Oh, Sweet Freedom!

chocolate syrups

Porridge on a cold day with Sweet Freedom‘s Choc Shot and natural sweetness syrup.

These products are a great alternative to refined sugar, the sweetness being sourced from fruit and carob. And they’re delicious! The chocolate porridge is creamy and rich, perfect for a day that ended up like this:

snow in spring

The chocolate orange syrup makes a wonderfully warming hot chocolate; it’s slightly spicy, reminiscent of Maya Gold chocolate, and maybe needless to say, but they’re all good on ice cream…

vegan ice cream

We adjusted our Banana Muffin recipe and it worked out very well.
200g./7 oz/1 and a half cups of self raising flour
1 large tablespoon of Sweet Freedom syrup
3 fl oz/100ml of orange juice
3 fl.oz/100ml of sunflower oil
2 mashed bananas (over ripe is best)
some soya milk as required
vanilla essence
dash of vinegar

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients – but not the vinegar – in a jug or bowl. Mix the two together and then stir in enough soya milk to make a smooth mixture and add the bananas, Finally add the dash of vinegar to get that lovely chemical reaction and mix well. This should make enough to fill 12 cake cases. It’s a good idea to put them in a muffin or patty tin to help them keep their shape but not totally essential. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes at 190 degrees and then cool.

choc shotsSweet Freedom and Choc Shots are available from many supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Co-op and Ocado. Also from Amazon here.

Spring is almost Sprung…


We’ve spotted some lovely vegan goodies around for Easter this year, see our page for listings.

Something else new and lovely: The Vegan Lifestyle Association. A not-for-profit organisation,  it is 100% committed to saving lives and saving our planet. Achieved through proactive education on the multiple benefits of a Vegan lifestyle and supporting all those who wish to try it. It’s also free to join with many member benefits, discounts etc. Go see!

Weather-blasted oak trees in Argyll last week:


chocolate chilli cupcakes

chocolate chilli cupcakes

Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes
4 tablespoons of self-raising gluten free flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 quarter teaspoon of hot chilli powder
4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 box of rice cream or something similar (we got this at Approved Food, always worth checking for vegan goodies), a vegan yoghurt or soya cream would do, even a chocolate pudding

Mix the dry. Add the wet. Stir thoroughly and divide between 12 cake cases. Bake at 200C/400F for up to 20 minutes or until risen and firm. Once they have cooled: ice them!

For the spicy icing:
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of caster sugar (or icing sugar)
2 tablespoons of marg.
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of salt
Melt it all up in pan over a very low heat. Once well mixed, allow to cool and thicken a little before spreading on the cakes.

Perfect for Valentines Day, as is our little friend Egbert:


And books, they always make perfect gifts… Here’s two involving love that we’ve read and enjoyed in recent months:


Matt Haig’s ‘The Humans’ is compassionate and funny and deeply moving.  When Professor Andrew Martin solves an important  mathematical problem, he is replaced by an alien who is charged with eliminating all evidence of the discovery and Professor Martin’s wife and son. It’s one of those books that is so good you nag other people to read it…

Buy UK or Buy US



Set in 17th century Amsterdam, Jessie Burton’s novel follows the lives of newly married Nella Oortman and her family.  Intrigue surrounds the dolls house that Nella is given as a wedding gift and the mysterious miniaturist whose wares echo the lives of the people in the real house. Gripping and unputdownable.

Buy UK or Buy US

getting a bit Nudie with it


It’s an exceptionally frosty morning. But it’s okay. Because we have hot chocolate and Nudie snacks.


Nudie snacks are toasted coconut chips, rich in healthy fats and fibre and decidedly moreish. You can make vegan bacon with them. You can top curries with them. You can eat them for breakfast with your cereal. They are available from Amazon and Whole Foods at present.

A beautiful birthday cake for a beautiful person:


In other food news: Graze are offering a free, no obligation to continue, first box again and we have a new lasagne recipe over on frugal.

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