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So first things first – it’s been FOREVER.

That’s completely my fault. I’ve been completely unmotivated in the recipe department, think more eating to survive rather than thinking of elaborate things to make and photograph. On top of that my husband came to visit for 3 weeks and it was the first time we had seen each other in a WHOLE YEAR. Visas are no joke, people. (Maybe once it’s done I’ll write something about my experience.)

Then whilst I was out on a mushroom hunting foray my camera broke. Like won’t turn on, dead, broke. I think the fuse is busted inside so will be a fun trip down to the camera shop in the near future.

So that leaves me with my Iphone 6s+ to take photos with. So I’m kinda breaking two of my own personal rules with this post. 1) Use the fancy camera all the damn time 2) Make some kind of recipe incorporating whatever thing you’re reviewing.

I’m gonna start going easy on myself with rule number 2, in the past I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to come up with some amazing recipe that someone has sent me to try, but why not just try it? So from now you’ll see me do little product reviews – sometimes with recipes and sometimes not. Of course they’ll always be vegan products!

Recently the team over at Ugly Drinks asked if they could send me some of their drinks to try. Upon reading that Ugly is naturally fruit flavoured sparkling water but with no added sugar I was really intrigued and gratefully accepted.

Ugly is a bit like an adult soft drink but without that nasty sugar crash and feeling of “oh god what have I done”. I love to drink plain old water – you’ll see me carrying a goblet of it around the house and I’m never far away from my Klean Kanteen when I’m out and about but I really enjoyed the flavouring with Ugly. I think if you were a drinker they would work really well as mixers for alcohol and cocktails.

It was a surprise to me but I really loved the grapefruit & pineapple flavour. I really don’t like pineapple at all but this is amazing! Since it’s been so warm lately I’ve been happily drinking my Uglies. I’d really love to try using them to make an iced tea type drink!

If you’re looking for an alternative to soft drinks and can’t quite leave the flavours behind then Ugly drinks are definitely a good alternative.

You can find Ugly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Ugly sent me a box of drinks to try – all opinions are my own and I think their products are great! 

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I’m a big fan of jackfruit. I’ve made BBQ pulled pork and a jackfruit pot pie. The stringy texture of the young, green jackfruit lends itself well to a meat like texture. I wanted to try and use it as a chicken substitute without shredding it like I did in my pot pie recipe.

The blog turned two the other day! I remember last year I said I was going to remember..well I didn’t! I only realised because Facebook gave me one of those “two years ago today” reminders. I’m a bad blog mum clearly. Anyway, thanks for sticking around and reading this blog for the past couple of years!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can young, green jackfruit in WATER or BRINE – NEVER IN SYRUP
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup soya milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the breading

Dry mix

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried dill

Wet mix

  • Reserved 1 cup of soya buttermilk marinade
  • 1/2 cup flour

  1. Mix the soya milk with the apple cider vinegar in a small cup or jug. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse the jackfruit thoroughly. Using a sharp knife cut away the small spongy triangle piece on each of the jackfruit. If you wish, use the knife to carefully pop out the round seeds.
  3. Add the jackfruit to a bowl and add the spices and garlic. Mix well with a spoon.
  4. Pour the soya milk and vinegar mixture over the jackfruit. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
  5. Carefully drain the jackfruit, reserving the buttermilk mixture.
  6. Prepare two bowls. In one bowl add the reserved buttermilk mixture and whisk in the 1/2 cup of flour. In the another bowl add the flour, spices and herbs. Whisk well to combine.
  7. On a medium heat, heat about 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan or cast iron skillet. When a little flour flicked into the oil starts fizzing immediately the oil is ready.
  8. Working in stages dip the jackfruit into the flour mixture, shake off the excess then dip into the batter mixture then finally back into the flour before frying each side for 3-4 minutes or until crispy and golden.
  9. Repeat for all the remaining pieces of jackfruit. Serve hot with your favourite vegan mayonnaise or ranch dressing.
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Bananas and I have reached a sort of impasse. I’ve talked before about how they are genuinely gross and I hate them…however I can stomach them baked and blended into things like pancakes, smoothies and banana bread.

Banana bread is the bomb. However, last time I made it it ended up getting all stuck in the tin and I was eating chunks of it out of there with my hands like a cave person. I wanted to make it again but in an easier and less messy way – in comes my mini muffin tray! Mini food is the best.

I’ll be eating these for breakfast a lot I reckon. Of course if you don’t own a mini muffin tin you can use a normal one – just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

This recipe makes approximately 36 mini muffins.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy milk mixed with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 2 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or other light tasting oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f. If your muffin tray is not non-stick, line it with mini muffin paper cases.
  2. Prepare the flax egg, mix the ground flax with the water and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the mashed banana and brown sugar and mix on low until combined.
  4. In a large jug add the soy milk mixed with the apple cider vinegar, oil and vanilla extract. Whisk together and set aside.
  5. In another bowl sift together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the mixer, mixing on low until incorporated. It will form a soft dough.
  6. Pour in the wet ingredients and the flax egg, beating on medium until the mixture resembles a batter.
  7. Carefully spoon a teaspoon of batter into each muffin case until all are filled. Tap the tray on the counter a few times.
  8. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  9. Leave the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes then carefully remove them from the pan to cool on a wire wrack.
  10. Repeat for the rest of the batter.
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January is one of those tough months. But its also one of the best times of the year! Blood Orange season! I’m using them here with fresh turmeric root to give a anti-inflammatory, Vitamin C and Vitamin A rich juice. It also happens to be a beautiful colour!

If you don’t own a juicer you can add all the fruits and vegetables to a blender and then strain the resulting pulp through a nut milk bag.

This recipe makes enough for 3 medium sized glasses of juice – depending on how juicy your fruit is!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium blood oranges
  • 20g fresh turmeric root
  • 3 large navel oranges
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 lemon

 

  1. Peel the citrus fruit.
  2. Add all the ingredients to your juicer and juice on high.
  3. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know I’m on a mission to eat as many different kinds of mushrooms as possible. 2015 saw me consume quite a few! My husband, being the all round sweetheart that he is, decided to increase my mushroom numbers for Christmas.

He sent me 3 huge bags of dried mushrooms – Morels (which we first foraged from the wild on our honeymoon), Chanterelles (which I first tried at Rowena’s dinner) and Candy Caps which I’ve never tried.
Candy Caps are extremely weird – the aroma from the SEALED bag was almost overwhelming – they smell and taste exactly like maple syrup. Some people also believe they have a slightly cinnamon like taste. I’m a huge maple syrup fan – I would pour it on anything, I no longer consume honey and frankly I don’t need it when my girl maple is around!

Coincidentally it’s my husband’s birthday this month and I sent him a giant box full of goodies that he likes (like decent British tea!) and I decided he really should get to try the Candy Caps. One of the things he really loves is granola, so this is for him!

If you can’t find whole Candy Cap mushrooms or the mushroom powder, reduce the olive oil by 2 tbsps and sub for maple syrup.

Sometimes on this blog I’ll include a product that I’ve used in a recipe. When Camano Island Coffee Roasters contacted me about using some of their coffee I was really interested (because I’m a total freak for coffee) – I’ve decided to pair the Papua New Guinea (medium roast) coffee they sent me with this granola. Perfect for a snappy morning pick-up! The maple sweetness of the granola contrasts perfectly with the chocolaty light acidity of the coffee I think.

Camano Island Coffee is roasted in Washington, it’s shade-grown, organic and ethically traded. I really liked the idea of the coffee being ethical! Being vegan I think we need to be aware of our human friends as well as our animal friends when it comes to being mistreated or abused!

If you’re lucky enough to own a Chemex the guys over at Camano have sent me a brew guide to help you get the most out of it. I brewed my Camano beans in a Hario V60 – a beautifully smooth cup with a low acidity, a very good cup of coffee. You can find Camano on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as well as online.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free certified if needed)
  • 1 cup puffed quinoa
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp candy cap mushroom powder
  • 1/2 cup light soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw pecans
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f. If using whole candy cap mushrooms, grind them in a spice or coffee grinder until they become a fine powder.
  2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients, mixing well to combine.
  3. Spread the granola on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven when golden brown and allow to cool completely before storing. Serve with your favourite nut milk.
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This year at home we had a completely vegan Christmas dinner! We made a plethora of delicious dishes – pan roasted brussel sprouts with toasted pinenuts, roasted potatoes and parsnips, mashed carrots and swede. I made Bon Appetit’s vegan chocolate tart for dessert.
All the food was AMAZING. Then the next day I went to family and ate even more delicious vegan food. Christmas without cruelty.

Cooking so much food and also being able to enjoy the day itself means I elected to make some portions of the dinner a day or two before. You can make the filling for this wellington 1 or 2 days before you plan to eat it. The longer you leave the filling, the longer the flavours will develop.

You may have some filling leftover – this can be frozen in a freezer bag and used for something else later on!

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g chesnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 125g oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 125g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 200g coquina (or sub butternut) squash, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 125g whole cooked chestnuts, cut into rough chunks
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
  • 150g dry bread crumbs
  • 20g fresh sage leaves, cut into small strips.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 500g puff pastry (defrosted if frozen)
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

  1. If cooking the roast on the same day preheat the oven to 180c/350f and prepare a baking tray.
  2. In a large saucepan add 1 tbsp of olive oil, heat on a medium heat. Add the diced shallot. Cook for 3 minutes, until the shallots begin to soften. Add the minced garlic, cook for another minute.
  3. Add the chopped butternut squash. Cook for 7-10 minutes until it takes on some colour.
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms, stir well, cooking for 5 minutes until the liquid is released. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the mustard.
  5. Once the mushrooms are softened, add the chestnuts and breadcrumbs. Stir well until the breadcrumbs soften in the mushroom liquid.
  6. In another small pan, add the other tablespoon of olive oil. Heat on a medium heat, once hot, add the sage, frying lightly for about 1 minute until crispy and fragrant.
  7. Stir the sage into the mushrooms. At this point, you can transfer the mixture to a container and once cooled, store it covered in the fridge until needed.
  8. If cooking on the same day, lightly flour a work surface and roll out the puff pastry to less than 1cm thick. A thinner pastry will yield a crispier roast.
  9. Carefully transfer the pastry to the baking tray. Down the middle of the pastry, spoon the filling, making sure not to take too much of the liquid. Pile up the filling into a large log shape, pressing it down with the spoon. Fold the edges of the pastry over the filling, a bit like you are swaddling a baby. I had some spare pastry so I cut out some shapes to cover the folded seam but this is purely cosmetic!
  10. Brush the top of the pastry with melted vegan butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cut 3 small slashes in the top of the pastry with a sharp knife.
  11. Bake the roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top.
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Edible gifts! The perfect gift for when you have no idea what to get for people! These also make sweet little favours to tie onto gift wrapping if you’re skilled at that. My wrapping skills are atrocious so I’ll leave that to the pros.

You can air dry these over a period of days, (around 2-3 depending on how humid your house is) and then dip them or if you’re lucky enough to own a dehydrator you can dehydrate them for 4 hours at 30f and then a final hour at 40f to firm them up.

INGREDIENTS

For the candied orange

  • 1 large navel orange
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white cane sugar

For the chocolate

  • 80g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

  1. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan add the water and the sugar. Heat on high and bring to a boil.
  2. Prepare the orange. Slice the nubs off both ends then slice the orange in half. Lay each half on the cut side and using a very sharp knife cut the orange into thin slices. Repeat with both sides of the orange.
  3. Once the sugar-water is boiling, carefully lower the orange slices into the pan. Boil for 5-10 minutes, turning them once.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the oranges for 30 minutes or until the syrup has reduce, turning them once or twice.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and leave the oranges for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Prepare two wire wracks, placing baking trays underneath to catch any syrup.
  7. Turn off the heat and allow the oranges to cool for a few minutes.
  8. Carefully lift the oranges out of the syrup and place them on the wire wracks. The syrup can be used for whatever you like – I bottled mine and added it to fizzy water!
  9. Allow the oranges to drain. If you don’t own a dehydrator, the oranges will now need to air dry for 2-3 days depending on how humid your house is. If you do own a dehydrator, dehydrate the oranges in a single layer for 4 hours at 30f and then a further 1 hour at 40f.
  10. When you are ready to dip the oranges, place a heat proof bowl of a pan of boiling water. Add the chocolate and coconut oil, stirring until melted. Carefully dip half of each orange slice into the chocolate. Leave to cool on a lined baking tray.
  11. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to gift!

 

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It’s nearly Christmas!! Meaning I’ve basically had time to do nothing. I really wanted to make some vegan gingerbread this year and I finally found some time to do it. I was a bit wary because this was my first time baking anything in our new oven – our old oven sadly died a couple of weeks ago (we had it for 20 years and it was here when we moved in!). The new oven is all in centigrade and has a fan so everything cooks a lot quicker.

These turned out great however! I’ve used wholegrain spelt flour because I wanted a deeper darker cookie but if you want to you can use regular flour. If you want to use these cookies as christmas tree decorations make a small hole in the dough before baking – then thread through some ribbon after they are chilled.

INGREDIENTS

Recipe adapted and veganised from here

  • 400g  wholegrain spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 125g vegan butter
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup

  1. Preheat your oven to 350f/180c. Line two baking trays with parchment paper or silpat mats and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium to cream together. Drizzle in the golden syrup and maple syrup. Add the aquafaba until everything is well mixed
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture bit by bit until the mixture comes together in a dough.
  5. Tip the dough out onto some clingfilm and knead lightly for about 3 minutes. It will be sticky – kneading it in the clingfilm will help reduce some mess!
  6. Wrap the dough up in the clingfilm and leave it in the freezer to chill for 1 hour.
  7. Remove the dough from the freezer. Tip it out onto a well floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin roll the dough out thinly, to around 1cm thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes until all the dough is used up. I used a mixture of star shapes, christmas tree and holly leaf cutters.
  8. Carefully place the cookies onto the prepared baking trays – making sure to leave a good distance between them as they will expand outwards when cooking.
  9. Bake the cookies in the oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Leave the cookies to cool on the parchment before peeling off and dusting with icing sugar.

 

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It’s Thanksgiving on Thursday! So it’s prime pumpkin pie time. Now that I’m pretty much half American it’s time to make my own. I never made one of these pre-vegan so I had to come up with a way to make the same eggy custard that the “normal” pumpkin pie has.

It was pretty much the worst day ever weather wise when I took these photos so it’s a really moody looking pumpkin pie!

I’m using my aquafaba sweet pastry from my cherry pie that I made back in the summer.

This recipe makes one 9 inch round and 2 inch deep pie. I use this dish from Le Creuset. The pie needs to cool completely before serving because of it’s custard like nature. Serve it cold with coconut whip or soya cream! It’s also yummy with a little bit of coconut sugar sprinkled on top.

INGREDIENTS

For the pastry

  • 8oz plain flour
  • 4oz vegan butter
  • 2oz aquafaba
  • 1oz caster sugar

For the pumpkin pie filling

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 8 hours
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder

  1. Start by making the pastry. Add the flour and butter to a bowl and either using your hands or the dough hook on a stand mixer, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse sand. Stir in the sugar. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the aquafaba. Mix well with a wooden spoon or beat with the dough hook until the mixture comes together in a dough. Either continue beating with the dough hook for another 3-4 minutes until smooth or tip out onto a well floured work surface and knead until smooth – about 5 minutes.
  2. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably 2.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350f. Whilst the pastry is chilling, make the pumpkin pie filling. Drain and rinse the cashews and add to a blender with the 3/4 cup coconut milk. Blend on high until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  4. Add the pumpkin puree, water, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, salt and arrowroot. Blend again until everything is well incorporated. Set aside.
  5. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Tip out onto a well floured work surface and using a floured rolling pin, roll it out into a 10-11 inch diameter circle. Using the rolling pin to help, carefully lay the pastry over the pie dish, letting the excess hang over the sides.
  6. Carefully press the pastry into the bottom of the dish. Prick the bottom of the pie dish all over with a fork – paying particular attention to the areas near the sides of the pie crust.
  7. Fold the pastry over the edges of the pie dish and cut away any excess pastry. Carefully press the pastry onto the sides of the dish – here you can add a fluted pattern to the edges if you like. Any excess pastry can be frozen or used as decoration!
  8. Line the pastry with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with baking beans – making sure to push them right to the edges to support the pastry. Bake the pie crust in the oven for 10 minutes, then rotate and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and baking beans then bake for an additional 5 minutes to crisp up the bottom.
  9. Remove the pie crust from the oven and pour in the pie filling, using a spatula to smooth it out.
  10. Bake the pie in the oven for 20 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 20 minutes. The top should have formed a crust and have a golden brown appearance. It will still have a bit of a jiggle to it but should not be completely liquid in the middle. If the middle seems too wet still, move the pie to the bottom shelf and lay a piece of parchment paper on the shelf above – this will stop the pie from catching too much and bake for additional 5-10 minutes.
  11. Remove the pie from the oven and leave to cool completely before placing in the fridge. The pie may crack as it cools – this is purely cosmetic and it tastes fine!