Coffee Cupcakes with Caramel Drizzle

Confession: I’m not much of a coffee drinker. I know, in this world full of Starbucks and Costas that’s pretty shocking, right? The thing is, I can’t do caffeine, and getting decaf and vegan options at a coffee shop is always a little risk for me. So, I don’t really drink much coffee. This doesn’t mean I think coffee tastes bad though. One thing I really love is coffee cake.

Coffee cake is something that I believe means different things in different places. I have learnt that in America, coffee cake is cake that you eat with coffee. Like a biscuit for your tea. In the UK, however, coffee cake is cake that tastes like coffee. Coffee flavoured cake. I think our way makes more sense, because if you have a chocolate cake, it is a chocolate flavoured cake, right, not a cake you eat with chocolate? Anyway, these cakes are coffee flavoured. The buttercream is also coffee flavoured! And they’re all topped with a caramel drizzle – because caramel and coffee go very well together.

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When using coffee in things like cakes, the easiest way is to use instant coffee. You don’t need to worry about posh tasting coffee because in a cake, you can’t really tell, and instant coffee gives you the ability to just dissolve some in water to get the amount you need. You can make a really concentrated coffee that flavours your cake well without adding too much extra liquid. However, if you don’t have access to instant coffee, you could make up a really really strong cup of coffee and use a similar amount, liquid wise.

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To make the caramel sauce, I boil together some vegan butter, sugar, and golden syrup in a saucepan for five minutes, then add a little milk (I used almond milk) and beat it until it thickened up. I used an electric whisk for this because it makes it easier, if you want to do it by hand, use a wooden spoon and beat for a while until it is thickened and opaque.

 

Coffee Cupcakes with Caramel Drizzle

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients

    For the Cakes
  • 300ml milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 300g plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml oil
  • 160g sugar
  • 2 heaped tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • For the Buttercream

  • 75g vegan butter (I used vitalite)
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • For the Caramel Drizzle

  • 50g vegan butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 25g white sugar
  • 50ml milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 175C/350F
  1. First, make the cakes. Begin by combining the milk and the cider vinegar in a medium sized bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, bicarb, and baking powder.
  3. Mix together the instant coffee and boiling water until the coffee dissolves. Add this to the milk mixture.
  4. Into this, add the oil and sugar, and whisk with a fork until all well combined.
  5. Gradually pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, stirring, until well mixed with no lumps.
  6. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases, and place into your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into a cake comes out clean.
  7. Let the cupcakes completely cool before you make the icing.
  8. Once the cupcakes are cool, begin the buttercream. Start by mixing together the instant coffee and boiling water in a cup, and setting aside.
  9. Next, in a large bowl, add the butter and a third of the icing sugar. Mix well.
  10. Add another third of the icing sugar and mix again until well combined. Stir in the coffee.
  11. Then, add the remaining icing sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe the icing on top of your cupcakes.
  12. Finally, make the caramel drizzle. In a small saucepan, add the butter, sugars, and golden syrup, and bring to a simmer.
  13. Simmer for five minutes on a low-medium heat, then remove from the heat and add the salt and milk.
  14. Mix, either with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, continuously until the caramel thickens and starts to go opaque.
  15. Drizzle the caramel on top of the iced cupcakes.
  16. Store in the fridge!

Curried Chickpea Flour Scramble

Happy New Year, everyone! Christmas is over, holidays are over, and we’re left with…January. Here, January is wet and grey and cold. Social media is full of people talking about diets, cleanses, and all that stuff – eating lots of salads and fresh produce. Now…if you’re into that, it’s fine. But it’s cold, it’s miserable, who wants to eat a salad? You need good warming food!

January is also the month of all things new. A new year – yes, 2017 already! Veganuary is pretty big, with over fifty thousand people pledging to go vegan this month. And VeganMoFo has a new MiniMoFo challenge for this month!  They’ll be releasing monthly themed challenges throughout the year, with this month’s theme being to Try something New.

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If you’re a regular of my blog (if not, hi and welcome!) you’ll know that chickpea flour isn’t really new to me. I’ve made pancakes and fritters with it for past VeganMoFos, but this is the first time I’ve ever scrambled it! The idea came a week or two ago, when we wanted a fry-up (complete with vegan bacon, hash browns, roasted tomatoes…) but had no tofu to make tofu scramble. I’d vaguely seen chickpea flour being used as a scramble before – and I knew it set up nicely when making pancakes and fritters – so…why not? And it worked.

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For this version though, I wanted to add flavour to it and make it stand on its own. To brighten up the January coldness, I made it into a curried scramble. Complete with vegetables and spices, this makes a lovely meal on its own, or served (as I did) with vegan sausages, or even split into more portions as part of a cooked breakfast.

Vegetable wise, I used peas, cauliflower, and tomatoes, which lend themselves well to curry flavours, but you could use whatever vegetables you fancy, just make sure they’re cooked or at least blanched before you add them to the pan.

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The first step is to fry off onion and garlic until cooked in a pan, then add the vegetables. This cooks for about five minutes, while you make the batter – which is just chickpea flour, spices, and cold water, whisked together until smooth. Then, you pour this batter over the vegetables in the pan, and leave it till it starts to set around the edges.

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The next part is the fun part, scrambling! I use a spatula for this as it’s easiest, and just mix and mix. Break the batter up, let it cook a bit, and break it up again.

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Keep scrambling for 5-10 minutes, until the scramble is not liquidy anymore and has broken into nice little bits of chickpea scramble! Taste it for seasoning, and finally, serve.

Curried Chickpea Flour Scramble

  • Servings: 2 as a main, more as a side
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Ingredients

  • 100g chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp garam masalaa
  • 200ml cold water
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • approx 700g cooked mixed vegetables (peas, cauliflower, tomatoes…), in bitesize chunks
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  1. Begin by frying the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetables into the onion and garlic, along with salt and pepper, stir, and cook for 5 more minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make your batter. Mix together the chickpea flour and spices, and slowly stir in the cold water, until a smooth batter forms.
  4. Once the vegetables are cooked, pour over the chickpea batter.
  5. Leave the pan alone until the batter starts to set at the edges – you should be able to see this happen.
  6. Next, using a spatula, scramble the mixture! Stir, break the mix up, let cook for a few seconds, then stir again.
  7. Keep scrambling for 5-10 minutes, until it has the consistency of a scramble, and is not liquid any more.
  8. Serve immediately.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Topping

Do you remember MiniMoFo from the run up to the VeganMoFo? It was a series of challenges that took place before the main month, and I posted Apple Crumble Bars and Red Pepper & Thyme Rolls (plus an extra post on my Instagram!). Well, it’s back! There’s a new MiniMoFo challenge for December, and the prompt is ‘Hot Cocoa‘, which is lovely and wintery.

It’s no secret that I do love hot chocolate. Curling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate is a perfect way to relax, and I love finding different ways to spruce up my hot chocolate – adding cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne gives it some lovely heat, adding a spoonful of Biscoff spread makes it gooey and spiced, a drop of orange esscence for an orange hot chocolate…and so on. If you can get hold of vegan marshmallows, even better!

However, for this prompt I wanted to go further, and not make just hot chocolate, but baked hot chocolate. In the form of cupcakes.

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I present to you, Hot Chocolate Cupcakes…with Toasted Marshmallow Topping. Please excuse the slight messiness in the photos – I managed to get marshmallow topping everywhere!

And yes, that is all-vegan toasted marshmallow fluff on top. How amazing is that?

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The cupcakes themselves have three layers of chocolate – they’re made with cocoa, chocolate milk, and melted dark chocolate. This makes them super rich and chocolatey – perfect to emulate a hot chocolate drink!

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See that picture above? Look at the fluffy, glossy marshmallow fluff! What’s the secret? Well, it’s aquafaba. I’ve used aquafaba before – most recently in my Brookies recipe, where it’s used as an egg substitute, but I haven’t posted about it whipped like this before.

Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of beans – usually chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas through a sieve, catching the water in a large, clean, bowl. Put the chickpeas aside – use them in pasta, or soup, or however you like. You don’t need them for this. Into the liquid, add a quarter spoonful of cream of tartar – this is often used in meringues to help stabilise the mixture – and some vanilla extract. For the next step, you need to whip the liquid up. I use an electric hand mixer, but other people use a stand mixer with great results. You whip the liquid for quite a while – 10 minutes maybe – until it forms “stiff peaks”, which, if you’ve never made meringue before, is when the foam stands up on it’s own without flopping over when you lift the mixer out. Classically, this is where you can hold the bowl upside-down over your head without it falling on top of you.

Once it gets to this point, you need to slowly add the sugar. For meringues, you use granulated sugar. For this marshmallow fluff, inspired by a recipe from Seitan Is My Motor, I use part powdered sugar and part caster sugar (superfine, in America). Add the powdered sugar, a spoonful at a time, whilst the mixer is running, until the mix turns glossy and all the sugar is gone. Finally, mix the caster sugar in a bowl with 1/2 tsp xanthan gum – this is what gives it the stretchy, marshmallow-fluff texture – and slowly spoon that into the whipped mixture. It’ll quickly go sticky and start climbing up your mixer but that’s ok! It means it’s getting the right texture.

This method is pretty amazing when you first try it. The small amount of liquid from one can of beans whips up into a huge bowlful, and really tastes like marshmallow fluff.

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Once the fluff and cupcakes are both made, you just spoon the fluff on top of the cupcakes, and then put them under the grill (or “broiler” for Americans) until they’re toasty brown (you could use a torch if you have one). Finally, I finished off with a sprinkling of grated chocolate just for that extra chocolatey touch!

Though this recipe sounds complicated – it really isn’t, and it’s fascinating to see the magic of aquafaba in work, and get a toasty marshmallow topping on your cupcakes. Give it a go!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Topping

  • Servings: 15 cupcakes
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Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes
  • 400ml vegan chocolate milk (I used Alpro Dark Chocolate Almond Milk)
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 310g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 90ml sunflower oil
  • 140g sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 100g vegan chocolate, broken into squares
  • For the Marshmallow Topping

  • 150ml Aquafaba (liquid from 1 can of chickpeas)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • Chocolate for grating on top of cupcakes (optional)

Directions

    Preheat the Oven to 170C/335F
  1. Start with the cupcakes! In a bowl, combine the chocolate milk and the vinegar and set aside so the milk can curdle.
  2. In a separate, large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate, and salt.
  3. Into the milk, mix the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk with a fork to combine.
  4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix to combine thoroughly.
  5. Melt the chocolate in a bowl either in the microwave or over a double-boiler, until completely melted. Mix this into the cake batter.
  6. Set out cupcake cases in a tray, and spoon the batter evenly amongst them.
  7. Place in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cupcake turns out clean. Set aside to cool thoroughly.
  8. Now, make the marshmallow fluff! Place the aquafaba in a large, very clean bowl.
  9. To the aquafaba, add the vanilla extract and cream of tartar.
  10. Whisk the aquafaba with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks – up to ten minutes.
  11. Now, with the mixer running, add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, allowing it to combine.
  12. Once the icing sugar is all added, combine the caster sugar and xanthan gum in a small bowl. Add this a spoonful at a time to the fluff mixture.
  13. Once it’s all combined, your fluff is done! Place spoonfuls on top of each cupcake (you will have excess fluff leftover).
  14. Preheat your grill (or broiler if you’re American), and then place cupcakes underneath it, keeping a close eye on them, until the tops are browned and toasted.
  15. Finally, grate a small amount of chocolate over the cupcakes.
  16. Store in an airtight container.

Thanks to Seitan Is My Motor for recipe inspo for the marshmallow fluff!

 

Take the VeganMoFo 2016 Survey!

Hi everyone!

It’s been a few days since VeganMoFo 2016 ended…who misses it? It seems strange not to be writing daily blog posts or reading the multitude of posts on other people’s blogs, twitters, instagrams…

However, I know I’ve found a lot of new people to follow and I’m sure I’ll be finding lots more great food throughout the year thanks to that.

 

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Take the VeganMoFo 2016 Survey

 

Over at the VeganMoFo headquarters we’re very interested to know what everyone thought to this year’s VeganMoFo and what you think about the future of VeganMoFo. Whether you were a participant or just a spectator – or a mixture of both – everyone is invited to take the VeganMoFo 2016 survey (it’s just ten short questions!) and if you take part, you will be entered into a draw to win a vegan cookbook of your choice – it’s an international friendly so everyone can enter. So, please head over to the VeganMoFo website where you can take the survey, help make VeganMoFo even better for future years, and potentially win yourself a cookbook!

The VeganMoFo website also has some great round-ups of posts by people this month so check those out too – you might find some recipes you want to try (I have a ton bookmarked!).

I’m hoping I’ll be back with more recipes to share soon, although posting twenty-seven recipes in one month depleted my resources a little, but I’m always cooking and love to share that with you!

See you soon,

Emma

 

 

Brookies! – VeganMoFo Day 30

It’s the last day of VeganMoFo 2016! How sad is that? 😦 I really hope everyone has enjoyed it, and has found some great new vegan friends and recipes this month.

How apt that the final prompt for VeganMoFo this year is about giving. I love giving food as gifts and in fact did a huge order of food gifts for my family this past weekend. I made lots of my Millionaire’s Shortbread and lots of this recipe too.

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Introducing brookies! They are a cross between brownies and cookies. I used my brownie recipe as inspiration – these cookies have melted chocolate in the batter which makes them lovely and fudgy – and adapted it into cookie form. And these might be the best cookie recipe I have ever come up with!

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These cookies only take 10 minutes to bake – don’t leave them in any longer or they’ll overbake – and are so deliciously gooey and chocolatey that they are a perfect food gift for any chocolate lover. They use aquafaba, which is liquid from a can of chickpeas – read about it in my carob cookies page – which works in place of eggs and keeps them holding together.

Brookies

  • Servings: Makes 22 Cookies
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Ingredients

  • 100g vegan plain chocolate, broken into squares
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder (optional)
  • 75g vegan butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp milk of choice
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba
  • 225g white sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 75g chocolate chips

Directions

    Preheat your oven to 180C/355F
  1. In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate, cocoa, coffee, and butter. In a microwave, or over a double boiler, melt completely.
  2. Into the melted mixture, add the bicarbonate of soda, vanilla, and aquafaba, and mix well.
  3. Stir through the sugar until well combined.
  4. Add the flour to the mix and fold through until no pockets of flour remain.
  5. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Place tablespoon size balls on a baking tray – no need to flatten – leaving a space between as they will spread slightly.
  7. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. They will look slightly underbaked but do not leave any longer!
  8. Leave to cool before eating.

Seitan Wellington – VeganMoFo Day 29

Seitan is one of those things that sound weird to non-vegans. You’re eating what for dinner?! But, once you get past the name, it’s actually really good. It’s very high in protein and extremely versatile – chop it up and use it in curries and stir fries, mould it into sausages or burgers, make slices to put in your sandwiches…and so on. It’s made from Vital Wheat Gluten, which is gluten (the protein) isolated from wheat flour. It used to be made by washing regular wheat flour over and over again to get rid of all the starch, which is a laborious process, but luckily today you can buy it in bags from your local health food shop. If they don’t have it in stock ask, they should be able to order it for you!

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For today’s VeganMoFo challenge, we are to do a “Holiday Test Run” and this year we have decided to make a Wellington. Not a pair of waterproof boots, but a roast wrapped in duxelles and puff pastry.

The centre of this wellington is a steamed seitan log, which is seasoned with rosemary and oregano, worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, onion and garlic powder, and more. Spread around that are “duxelles” which are finely chopped mushrooms sauteed with onion, garlic, and parsley.  Finally, wrap the whole thing in puff pastry, brush with melted vegan butter, and put in the oven.

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It bakes in the oven for 45-50 minutes – perfect timing for your roast potatoes – until lovely and golden brown and then can be sliced and served!

This recipe does take some time to do – as you need to make the seitan and cool it before assembling the wellington – but it’s well worth it. If you’re making it for your Christmas dinner you could make the seitan and the duxelles the day before, keep them in the fridge, and just assemble it all before you bake it. Easy!

Seitan Wellington

  • Servings: 6-8 slices
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Ingredients

    For the Seitan

    Dry Ingredients

  • 225g vital wheat gluten
  • 25g nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • few grinds black pepper
  • Wet Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp marmite (sub miso if you don’t have marmite)
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 250ml water
  • For the Duxelles

  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 350g mushrooms, finely chopped or pulsed to a mince in a food processor
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 sheet vegan puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter, melted, for brushing

Directions

  1. First, prepare your seitan. Get a steamer ready to use as it won’t take long to bring the ingredients together.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients for the seitan together in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the marmite and boiling water together and mix to a paste.
  4. Add the rest of the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
  5. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to form a dough. Knead for 3 minutes until springy.
  6. Form the dough into a rough log shape – about 2 inches in diameter – and place on a sheet of tin foil.
  7. Wrap the dough in the tinfoil like you would a Christmas cracker. Don’t worry about getting it too neat – just make sure it’s all enclosed – as the seitan will spring into shape whilst steaming.
  8. Place the wrapped seitan in your steamer and steam for 35 minutes.
  9. Remove the seitan from the foil and leave to cool completely.
  10. Next, make the duxelles. Begin by melting the butter in a frying pan and adding the onion and garlic.
  11. Fry those until translucent, and then add the mushrooms and parsley.
  12. Fry until the mushrooms have released all their liquid and it has cooked off – 15-20 minutes. You should be left with a paste-like mixture. Season to taste and leave to cool.
  13. Preheat your oven to 200C/400F
  14. Finally, assemble the wellington. Spread a layer of the duxelles on the puff pastry (the same length and width as your seitan).
  15. Place your seitan on top of the duxelles, and spread the rest of the mushrooms on top and on the sides of the seitan.
  16. Wrap the wellington in the puff pastry sheet and score the top to allow air to release.
  17. Brush with the melted vegan butter – this gives it the golden colour when baked.
  18. Place in your preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden.
  19. Serve with your preferred sides!

Mince Pie Cookies – VeganMoFo Day 28

It’s the final week of VeganMoFo 2016! Can you believe that? In just a few days it’ll be December, nearly Christmas. Are you feeling festive yet? Or are you a bit of a Scrooge and wish we’d all shut up about Christmas? Well, I’m firmly in the former camp. Christmas is great! If I have to put up with the cold rainy months I am going to enjoy Christmas as much as I can.

Mince pies are something traditionally Christmassy here in the UK. If you’re not familiar with them, they are a dessert – small individual pies filled with “mincemeat” which has no meat but is actually a stewed spiced fruit mix. You can buy it in jars here in most supermarkets (these days it’s almost always vegan) but if you can’t access it, you can make your own. I like to change things up a bit, so in the past I’ve made Mince Pie Cupcakes using mincemeat, and this year I made cookies!

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These are simple cookies to make, with added mincemeat and mixed spice. “Mixed Spice” is something that you can buy easily in jars here, but if you can’t, it’s a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ginger. If you’re in America, you could sub pumpkin pie spice, which I believe is a very similar thing.

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I like to chill the dough for these cookies in the fridge for half an hour before baking. This makes it easier to shape the cookies onto the baking tray, but you don’t need to do this step if you are impatient.

Mince Pie Cookies

  • Servings: 20 cookies
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Ingredients

  • 130g vegan butter (I use Vitalite)
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 150g mincemeat
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt

Directions

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add the mincemeat and mix well to combine.
  3. Sift in the mixed spice, flour, baking powder, and salt, and fold gently to combine.
  4. Place the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes (or longer if you wish).
  5. Preheat the oven to 170C/340F
  6. Place tablespoon sized bits of dough on a baking tray, slightly apart from each other.
  7. Put the cookies in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

Mushroom and Marmite Stew – VeganMoFo Day 27

For today, we’re challenged by VeganMoFo to talk about a food we used to hate, but don’t anymore.

Now, this can be a difficult one, because you have to swallow your pride and admit you changed your mind – not something most of us enjoy doing! But it’s for the best, because you get to eat more tasty food! I don’t know why it is, but sometimes if you try a food you didn’t used to like after a long time, it’s not so bad – even good! Maybe there’s a reason for this – your tastebuds changing or something – but I don’t know.

It happened to me with two things. Mushrooms, and Marmite. The slogan in the UK goes “You either love it or you hate it” with Marmite. I was never really in either camp – I didn’t find it repulsive, I just didn’t particularly enjoy it. It does have a fairly strong taste. Mushrooms, I just plain didn’t like. I still don’t think they smell very nice when they are cooking, but they taste good!

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So, to showcase food I changed my mind on, and to warm me up on these cold winter nights, I decided to make some Mushroom & Marmite Stew. It also has potatoes and butter beans in it, and I served it on toast because I think everything is better on toast, and it really is deliciously savoury and warming.

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I use dried herbs – sage and rosemary – in this recipe. In things like stews, dried herbs often work just as well or even better than fresh, because they hold up to the longer cooking time. Serve this recipe on a cold day and you will find it delightfully warm and cosy!

Mushroom & Marmite Stew


Ingredients

  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 4 medium potatoes, in bitesize chunks
  • 500g mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 heaped tsp marmite
  • 1 can butterbeans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried sage

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, fry the onion and garlic in the oil until softened.
  2. Add the marmite, dried herbs, and mushrooms, stir well, and cook for 5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to soften.
  3. Add the potatoes and water to just cover them, bring to the boil, and then cover and lower the heat to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add the butter beans and balsamic vinegar.
  5. With the lid off, cook for a further five minutes.
  6. Check the potatoes for doneness, and taste for seasoning.
  7. Serve with toast, or in bowls with fresh bread!


 

Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen – VeganMoFo Day 26

Today for VeganMoFo we’re writing about our favourite cookbooks. Last year, I wrote about the Vegan Taste Of… series of cookbooks, but it was a tough choice between that and Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. So this year I will write about Vegan Richa and her wonderful cookbook.

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I got this book about a year and a half ago, but I’d been following the Vegan Richa blog for a lot longer. Let me tell you, I have never had a dud recipe from Richa. This is astounding as I’ve cooked a lot of her recipes and you’d expect at least one or two to not be to my taste. But no – even ones I wasn’t so sure about  from the name (like Mango Curry Tofu) were absolutely delicious. What follows are some of my photos of food I’ve made from the Vegan Richa book/blog.

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Above is the “Seitan Makhani” from her book. This is essentially a vegan version of “Butter Chicken” and oh it’s so delicious. You can buy seitan or make your own – check out Isa’s recipe for a great one – and the dish is made beautifully creamy with cashews and non-dairy milk and lots of spices.

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This, whilst perhaps not the best photo, is the “Chicken-Free Balti” which I used tofu for. It has vegetables, tomatoes, all in a simmered sauce that cooks down to be thick and beautiful.

veganricha

Finally – again, sorry for the poor quality picture – this is African Peanut Lentil Soup. This isn’t actually from the book, but rather from Vegan Richa’s blog. You can find the recipe here! Give it a go – it’s so delicious.

Not only is the book packed full with great recipes, but it’s a wonderful introduction to Indian cooking. If you’re already familiar with Indian cooking – don’t worry, it’s still got plenty for you – but it has in depth guides to spices, lentils, different ingredients that you may need to make Indian food. Including very helpful ingredients lists split into “Must have” “Good to have” and “Nice to have” ingredients – showing you which are essentials to buy, and which aren’t so much. This is great for those of us on a budget too.

Many of Vegan Richa’s recipes are on her blog – but the book comes with many many more that aren’t. It’s well worth buying – at just £11.99 on Amazon it is amazing value for money.

Creamy Tofu “Cheese” – VeganMoFo Day 25

My first vegan meal…well, I have no idea. I was brought up vegetarian and sort of stumbled into veganism, becoming dairy intolerant first and then realising there was no good reason to not be fully vegan. So I never had a “first vegan meal” – probably a lot of the meals I ate growing up were vegan anyway.

But an early memory of vegan food I have is cheese. When I stopped eating dairy, I thought that was it, I’d never be able to eat cheese again. However, I realised you could get vegan cheese. Wow! Dairy free cheese, what a winner! So I bought some. And tried it. And promptly spat it out. Yuck! Vegan cheese has not always been the violife/chao/etc that we have now.

Don’t worry, I am not going to recreate nasty cheese for this blog. What I am going to make is a nice, mild and creamy cheese that goes really well on pasta, soup, bread…all sorts of applications. In fact, it’s the cheese I used a few days ago on top of my spinach risotto!

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And it’s really quite simple to make. Just tofu, blended together with nutritional yeast, vegetable stock powder, onion and garlic powder, lemon juice, olive oil, and a tiny amount of vinegar.

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You then tie it in cheesecloth, or a tea-towel, and leave it to drain over a bowl overnight. This firms the cheese up and lets it hold its shape.

I then like to bake the cheese, which firms it up even more and gives a nice crust, but you could use it as a cream cheese just as it is!

 

This cheese recipe is SO versatile. You can adapt it however you want. Add herbs to make a herby boursin like cheese. Add chillis and smoked paprika for a Mexican style cheese. Add olives if you like! Or just have it as it is.

Creamy Tofu Cheese

  • Servings: 1 cheese block
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Ingredients

  • 300g tofu, drained
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend. Scrape down the sides and blend again, until a smooth mixture is formed.
  2. Pour the mixture onto a cheesecloth or (clean) tea towel. Pull the ends together to form a little parcel, and place in a sieve over a bowl.
  3. Leave in the fridge overnight to drain.
  4. Next, remove the cheese from the cloth. It should be much firmer now!
  5. You can either have the cheese as it is, or bake it.
  6. If you wish to bake it, heat your oven to 175C/350F and bake the cheese for 40 minutes. Cool before eating!