Month: November 2015

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!

 

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One of the Le Creuset pans I received was a Madeleine pan. It’s the kind of baking pan I’ve always wanted to own but never really felt justified in buying. I mean, a pan that you only use for one thing? But now I have one!

I’m using orange extract here but feel free to sub it for fresh orange juice if you can’t find it although you may not get as an intense orange flavour.

This recipe makes approximately 24 madeleines.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2/3 cups cane sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chickpeas)
  • 150ml/2/3 cup melted vegan butter
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 2-3 tbsp icing sugar







  1. Preheat the oven to 375f/190c.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the aquafaba and sugar. Beat on low for a few minutes until mixed and slightly foamy.
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture whilst beating on medium until well mixed. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter. Add the zest and the orange extract.
  6. Beat until the mixture is smooth and shiny. It will resemble a thick batter.
  7. If your pan is not a non-stick pan, butter and flour the madeleine pan and carefully spoon a tablespoon of the mixture into the pan. Bake in the oven for 4 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 4-8 minutes until golden brown. The middle of the madeleine should spring back when touched.
  8. Remove from the oven, leave the pan to cool for 2 minutes. Carefully remove the madeleines from the pan. Cool the madeleines with the flat side on a wire wrack.
  9. Repeat the baking process with any leftover batter.
  10. Once cooled, dust the madeleines with a little icing sugar.



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One of the things I love about Twitter is it’s vegan community. More often than not it helps me to discover new vegan products, restaurants and all sorts of interesting things.

One of these things is Sgaia’s Mheat! Sgaia’s mheat is a seitan product, something I haven’t really seen marketed on a mass scale over here in the UK. The US has the brilliant Upton’s Naturals, it was about time we got some! Seitan is one of my absolute favourite vegan substitutes. In my opinion it has a meaty texture and deep flavour that surpasses any of the others!

So obviously I inquired about where I could get my hands on some. Hillary at Sgaia was kind enough to offer to send me some to try!

I’m happy to say it’s damn delicious. It has a really good firm texture and slices very well!

You can find Sgaia online here and on Twitter here.

I’ve always wanted to make a stroganoff and I thought the mheat would be a perfect replacement for the usual meat component! I served mine with pasta, feel free to use whatever accompaniment you like. If you can’t find any mheat, feel free to sub with any seitan your choice! If you eat gluten-free you could try subbing with firm tofu.

INGREDIENTS

For the the seitan and vegetables

  • 150g of mheat
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 50ml white wine
  • Salt and pepper

For the cashew cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • 3/4-1 cup water

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over a medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add bay leaf and the red onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until turning translucent.
  2. Cut the mheat into chunks and add to the pan. Brown the mheat for 3-4 minutes then reduce the heat to low.
  3. Make the cashew cream – drain and rinse the cashews. Add them to a blender with 3/4 cup of water. Blend on high until smooth, adding the other 1/4 cup of water if it needs thinning out. Set aside.
  4. Crumble the vegetable stock cube into the seitan, add the garlic and the mushrooms. Cook for another 4 minutes until the mushrooms begin to soften.
  5. Add the white wine and oregano. Add the cashew cream and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
  6. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta, rice or grain of your choice. Optional: garnish with nutritional yeast (the yellow powder!)

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I’m on a personal challenge of sorts to try to eat as many unusual mushrooms as possible. Ever since my husband found us wild morels during our honeymoon earlier this year I’ve tried chanterelles, enoki, shiitake, oyster and chicken of the woods.

I managed to find fresh ceps (or porcini) on sale yesterday! One of my favourite things to eat for breakfast is mushrooms on toast – usually chestnut mushrooms so I decided to work on a fancy version using the porcini.

If you can’t find porcini, sub them with a blend of fleshy mushrooms such as oyster or chestnut.

INGREDIENTS

  • 140g fresh porcini mushrooms, dry brushed and scraped of any dirt
  • 50g asparagus, cut into thin ribbons (I use a vegetable peeler)
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 small sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp vegan butter
  • 2-3 slices toasted sourdough bread (mine was a wholemeal sourdough)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. If your mushrooms are dirty, use a dry pastry brush and sharp knife to gently scrape away any dirt or grit. Cut the mushrooms into slices and set aside.
  2. Heat a completely dry cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed frying pan on a low heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes or until some of the mushrooms take on a little colour. If your mushrooms are very big, they may release some liquid. Boil off the liquid for about 2 minutes.
  3. Whilst the mushrooms are cooking prepare the asparagus, snap off the tough ends of the stem and discard. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus into thin ribbons.
  4. Once the mushrooms have taken on some colour, add the butter, asparagus and minced garlic. Stir well to make sure the butter is evenly distributed.
  5. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and a little golden on the edges.
  6. Sprinkle on the fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper and serve on toasted sourdough bread!
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I generally try to keep the tone of this blog as chilled out and cheerful as I am in real life. But sometimes you need a more serious tone. I wanted to talk a little about having confidence in yourself.

Having confidence in myself is something that has alluded me for a long time. Being an adult makes it a lot harder, I remember being 12 and thinking everyone who was 20 had it so clued in! Now at 26 I know full well it doesn’t really work that way. I know a lot of young adults feel pressured to know exactly what they are doing all the time!

I watched the Pure #bakedairyfree competition unfold as I was watching Great British Bake Off and keeping up with the tweets each week. Then I decided, what the heck, let’s take a chance on me. I submitted my overnight pumpkin cinnamon rolls into the competition a few days before it ended.

On October 22 I was shortlisted along with 10 other dairy-free bakers. I was shocked.  The next day I was anxiously checking my phone to see if the winner had been announced but eventually had to go into a meeting – when I came out an hour later I found out I was the winner!

I haven’t stopped smiling to myself since then. It’s hard to believe in yourself – especially in a world that’s saturated with people trying to do the same thing as you. I adore food and I’m passionate about my veganism.  This blog has reignited my love for photography tenfold. I keep muddling on with my blog because I enjoy the creative process so much and if even one person makes some of my food or enjoys what I post then I consider that a win.

I’d like to encourage you if you are reading this to do something that you’re scared of. Maybe submitting that piece of writing to a magazine or that photo to a photography competition. Be confident in your gifts – perhaps you will surprise yourself! It really is the best feeling.

On Saturday my prize was delivered! There were two massive boxes waiting for me when I got home from work. My mum and I went at them with the scissors and spent the better part of an hour unpacking them. There were  a lot of “oooh”s and “aaah”s and “oh my god”s involved.

The prize!

Bundt pan and madeline pan!!!

Pure Dairy Free pretty much sent me an entire kitchen’s worth of Le Creuset kitchenware. I said to my husband that we are basically set in the kitchen tools area for life! The whole time we were un-boxing my mum kept saying “THERE’S MORE?!”.

I guess the jewel in the crown is the Kitchenaid Artisan mixer they sent me. As someone who had a rickety Kenwood mixer that vibrated the entire kitchen counter, the Kitchenaid is AMAZING. It makes virtually no noise and the beating so smooth! I am in love!

The books!

Personalised spatula!

It also happened to be my mum’s birthday this weekend so I made her Fran Costigan’s Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake!

I used the Kitchenaid to beat the cake batter and baked it in one of the new Le Creuset cake pans (the 9 inch springform) In the recipe Fran tells you to invert the cake after baking and when I did this the cake slid out so smoothly I didn’t even need to release the sides!

I can tell I’m going to have a lot of fun using my prize. The first thing I want to do is bake some lovely bread!

Before I wrap this post up I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone at Pure especially Vanessa for such a wonderful prize, Saskia of Naturally Sassy and Sadie of Hip and Healthy for judging the competition, Le Creuset and Kitchenaid for a whole kitchen’s worth of beautiful things!

Normal recipes resume in the next post!

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We tend to have a lot of cooked beets in knocking around in the fridge. Last night I was thinking about what to eat for dinner and rustled up this beauty.

The beets will turn the cauliflower pink! So it’s like a totally pink bowl. It’s so pretty.

If you don’t have any leftover beets, you can boil them in water for 45 minutes until fork tender.

INGREDIENTS

For the vegetables:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, cut into strips
  • 200g cauliflower, cut into thin slices
  • 2 cooked small beets, peeled and cut into slices
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 3 tsp capers (or sub chopped green olives)
  • Salt & pepper

For the millet:

  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 bay leaf

To serve:

  • 1 tsp hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp olive oil

  1. In a cast iron skillet add the 1 tablespoon of oil and heat on a medium heat. Add the sliced onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions soften.
  2. Start the millet, in a saucepan add the millet, water, stock cube and bay leaf. Heat the pan on a high heat until the water begins to boil. Once the water boils, turn the heat down to low and cover. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the sliced cauliflower to the skillet and cook for 4 minutes until the cauliflower takes on some colour.
  4. Add the spinach. Stir until the spinach is wilted.
  5. Add the capers and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Once the millet has cooked, fluff it with a fork. Discard the bay leaf.
  7. Add the millet to a bowl, top with the cauliflower and beets. Drizzle with the teaspoon of olive oil and top with the hemp seeds.

 

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Happy World Vegan Day!

What better way to celebrate than with treats? These are almost raw besides the dark chocolate layer. No bake and done in about 20 minutes.

You may notice a couple new little banners on the side of the blog…I’ll be making a post about that soon! Stay tuned.

INGREDIENTS

For the base

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 10 soft pitted dates

For the date caramel

  • 20 soft pitted dates
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, scraped
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (depending on how salty you like it)
  • 2-3 tbsp water

For the dark chocolate layer

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  1. Line a 10 inch x 8 inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, add the pecans and pulse until they resemble a coarse soil. Add the pitted dates and pulse again until the mixture comes together.
  3. Press the dough into the pan in a thin layer and place in the fridge to chill.
  4. Make the caramel, add the dates, vanilla and salt to the food processor. Add 2 tbsp of water. Pulse until smooth. Add some more water if the caramel needs thinning.
  5. Set the caramel aside. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and coconut oil.
  6. Spread the caramel over the cooled base in a smooth layer. Pour over the melted chocolate mixture.
  7. Place back in the fridge to chill until the chocolate is solid.
  8. Remove from the fridge, using the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the tin. Using a sharp knife cut the bars into squares.
  9. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

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