Category: Christmas

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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We had really good intentions for our chestnuts, We were going to eat them with brussel sprouts on Christmas Day. In end, that didn’t happen.

With a leftover box of chestnuts I obviously had to make some truffles. These are SUPER rich tasting so be careful! They’re also incredibly delicious. I recommend storing them in the fridge in an air tight container or they might melt all over the place.

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g chestnuts, cooked and peeled
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Vanilla pod, scraped or 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa powder for dusting

  1. In a food processor, pulse the chestnuts until broken into small pieces. Add in the maple syrup and salt. Pulse again until the mixture comes together to form a paste.
  2. In a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, melt the chocolate with the coconut oil and stir in the vanilla paste or extract.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into the chestnut paste and pulse on high until combined.
  4. Scrape out the paste into a bowl and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Line a baking tray with grease proof parchment paper.
  6. Once chilled, using a teaspoon, measure out the truffles and roll into uniform balls. Roll in cocoa powder to coat.
  7. Place the truffles onto the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  8. Chill the truffles in the fridge for another 30 minutes to 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Using a teaspoon measure made around 18 fairly large truffles. If you want a bigger quantity, use a 1/2 or 1/4 tsp measure instead.

Sarah xxx

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No recipe today, just a quick post to say

Merry Christmas to all our readers!

Thank you so much for following along on our vegan journey for the past 10 months.

Very excited to see what 2015 will bring!

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The other day I was thinking about nut milk and about how I always use raw nuts. That got me thinking, what would it taste like if I roasted and then soaked them?

I’m pretty happy with the results! Roasting the almonds gives the milk a deeper flavour which enhances the taste. The milk without the other ingredients added in is brown in colour but don’t let that put you off!

Because it’s the holidays I had to make this a chocolate milk recipe! There’s something undeniably comforting about chocolate milk so this is a little pre-holiday treat to keep you sweet!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups raw almonds (roasted and soaked 8hrs-overnight)
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • Pinch of salt

Optional variations:
Sub the 1 tsp of vanilla with peppermint extract for chocolate peppermint milk. Sub 1 tsp of vanilla for 1 tsp of espresso powder or coffee extract for mocha milk. Add in 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp sweet paprika for a Mexican style chocolate milk.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Pour the almonds onto a baking tray.
  2. Roast the almonds for 10-15 minutes, turning them occasionally until they are nicely browned and fragrant. Be sure to watch them carefully as they can colour quickly.
  3. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the almonds to cool for about 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
  4. Pour into a container, cover with water and add a pinch of salt.
  5. Set aside. Soak the almonds for at least 8 hours or preferably over night.
  6. After soaking, rinse the almonds throughly and add to the blender with the water.
  7. Blend on high until smooth.
  8. Drain the almond water mixture through a nut milk bag into a large bowl, making sure to give it a good squeeze.
  9. Rinse out your blender jug and then return the almond milk to the jug, add in the vanilla, cocoa, maple syrup and pinch of salt.
  10. Blend on high until combined. Bottle and chill until ready to be used.

My nut milks generally last 1-2 days in the fridge if I haven’t drunk them by then!

Sarah xxx

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The awesome folks at The Food Duo asked me to submit a recipe  to their holiday project and to talk a little about my holiday wish for this year!

The Food Duo asked us to include a photo of ourselves, so here we are in spectacular selfie style. I’m in the glasses!

We’re both London based vegans who enjoy baking and eating lots of dessert. Becky is lucky enough to have 3 dogs and 1 cat in her family! She has an awesome job for a well known fashion brand and is almost always busy. She likes food that is easy to throw together but full of flavour. She’s also a demon when it comes to baked goods. I work for an iconic British landmark and try to split my time between cooking, skyping my fiance, photographing food and running. I’m more into the more complicated recipes.

I think what I’m wishing for this year is for a smooth and happy 2015. I feel like the last half of this year has been quite stressful and I’m ready to be married to my bestie now! I’m also hoping to get a lot more cooking and blogging in 2015!

The Food Duo also asked me to mention a charity we’ve supported. This year Becky did an amazing thing of cycling 100km for Ride the Night 2014, for women versus cancer. A couple of years ago I donated 12 inches of hair to Little Princess Trust who make wigs for children who have suffered hair loss.

Onto the recipe!

You know how everyone is crazy for coconut whipped cream? Well, confession time – I’ve never made it successfully. I tried once and my coconut milk didn’t separate and it was Christmas Day and I was too emotional by that point to try to whip it, haha.

But Christmas is coming up and I need a killer dessert so here we are!

This time I ditched the milk and went straight for the coconut cream. You know the little cartons? Two of those babies and I had a rich fluffy chocolate mousse in about 3 minutes. It was beautiful.

If you’re not a fan of peppermint and chocolate together (my fiance isn’t!) you can always sub out the peppermint for orange extract and make yourself a giant Terry’s Chocolate Orange!

This recipe is loosely based on one I used last Christmas which you can find here.  I was also inspired by the folks over at Minimalist Baker who just made this incredible looking peanut butter chocolate mousse pie…heart palpitations over here.

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

  • 1/2 cup/47g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup/128g plain flour
  • 1/2 cup/59g cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter
  • Pinch of salt

For the cream filling

  • 200g/7oz dark chocolate
  • 2 250ml cartons or cans of coconut cream (chilled if not completely solid)
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

For the topping

  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Desiccated coconut (optional)
  • Mint leaves (optional)

For the pie crust

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350f/180c. Grease a 9 inch pie dish and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and the maple syrup in a pan on a low heat, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl add the desiccated coconut and sieve in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add the melted butter and maple syrup.
  4. Mix until the ingredients begin to come together, it will start to resemble a coarse soil.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, using your hands press the mixture into the pie dish. Make sure to form a crust up the sides as well.
  6. Bake the crust in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until crisp on top. Remove and let cool for at least one hour.

For the pie filling

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie over a saucepan of hot but not boiling water.
  2. Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the maple syrup. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Open the coconut cream cartons or cans, drain away any excess liquid and squeeze the cream into a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled chocolate.
  4. Beat on high until smooth and mousse like. Add in the peppermint. Beat again until fluffy incorporated.

Once the crust has cooled, assemble your pie. Using a spatula spoon the cream filling into the crust and smooth it out. Feel free to be as generous as possible! Top with chocolate chips and some more desiccated coconut if you desire! Any leftover cream filling can be eaten as a sneaky mousse treat.

Sarah xxx

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