Spring is almost Sprung…

scram

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:

trees

chocolate chilli cupcakes

chocolate chilli cupcakes

Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes
Ingredients:
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:

veganbunny

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

humans

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

miniturist

 

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

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

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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:

birthday

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.

coconutty

green smoothie

A Beautiful Green Smoothie made with wonderfully rehydrating coconut water (as ever these quantities make a large jug that serves four):
4 bananas
2 avocados
half a bag (about 3 cups) of baby leaf spinach
2 X 320 ml. tins of JT’s Coconut Water
1 tablespoon of nut butter such as almond or brazil (we used Cacao Brazilnut Bliss)
Top the jug off with juice of your choice: apple for a sweeter smoothie, orange for tartness.
Blitz and enjoy!

JT’s Coconut Essence are celebrating their UK launch by giving you 20% off all products until February 5th with the code:
VEGANFAM20 and by giving away this lovely Coconut Essence Smoothie Recipe Ebook.

We’ve also tried their coconut oil which is rich and smooth and nourishing. We made this with it:

coconut chickpea rice

Coconut Chick Pea Rice:
1 heaped tablespoon (or 2 runny ones if you’re in hot climes) of JT’s Coconut Oil
1 large spring onion
4 or 5 cups of cooked rice; we boiled ours with a little turmeric, hence the nice yellow colour
1 can of cooked chick peas
seasalt to taste
Fry the onion in the oil until softened. Add the rice and chickpeas and stir until everything is well heated through. Season. Serve with salad. Simple and utterly delicious. You can really taste the coconut.

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vegan gammon and pineapple

sunset

As the sun set on 2014 we went all retro with a VBites Gammon Style Roast and some pineapple fritters. The fritters were juicy and delicious!

Ingredients: one tin of pineapple rings in pineapple juice and half a cup (approx.) of Doves Farm Gluten free flour. Method: beat the flour and juice together to form a batter; dip/spread the rings with the mixture and shallow fry for a few minutes each side. Enjoy…

gam

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

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