5 Ingredient Cinnamon Biscuits – VeganMoFo Day 19

What can you make with five ingredients or less? Something simple like pasta? Or even just toast, perhaps? I decided, for today’s VeganMoFo prompt, to make it a little trickier and do some baking. I’ve been wanting to make some cinnamon biscuits for a while – I’m in a bit of a cinnamon kick at the moment – and this seemed like the perfect excuse.

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These biscuits are crispy and crunchy, spiced with plenty of cinnamon and packed with oats – which I think go really well with the cinnamon flavour. They’re rolled in sugar before baking which helps get that crunch through them.

Cinnamon Oat Biscuits

  • Servings: 16 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 200g vegan butter
  • 175g sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 200g flour
  • 75g oats
  • to roll in

  • extra sugar

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 175C/350F
  1. Begin by creaming the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the cinnamon and flour, and stir to combine thoroughly.
  3. Next, stir through the oats.
  4. Pour a small amount of the extra sugar onto a plate.
  5. Break off walnut size balls of dough, and roll into balls in your hands. Roll each ball in the sugar, and then place on a baking sheet, flattening slightly with your palm.
  6. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  7. Place in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until the biscuits turn golden brown at the edges.
  8. Leave to cool on the tray.

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Chocolate! – VeganMoFo Day 18

Hands up if you like chocolate? Yep? I bet I’m seeing everyone’s hands raised (except my mum’s, but that’s ok because we’ll eat her chocolate instead). Everyone knows I am a huge chocolate fan. I mean, this is my second chocolate post in a row (have you checked out my chocolate truffles yet?). As a kid, people would say they knew my dad and I were related, because we both were such chocolate addicts…and nothing has changed since!

Chocolate is an odd one, being vegan. You hear “…wait, you can eat chocolate?” a lot. Or people who refuse to even try vegan chocolate, thinking it tastes gross. And, OK, there are some vegan chocolates that I’m not a fan of…but I know there are some non-vegan chocolates that also aren’t that tasty. We live in a day and age where veganism is booming, and this means that there are more vegan chocolate options available than ever! I’ve attempted to put together a little guide featuring my favourite chocolates, both cheap and not-so-cheap. Note – I am in the UK and so the chocolate featured in this guide will reflect that. You might be able to get it in a different country, but please check the ingredients first as sometimes sneaky companies change the ingredients for different markets!

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Let’s start with the basics – plain vegan chocolate. This is the one I use most of all. It’s Lidl’s own brand – “Fin Carré” – and sells for 30p per 100g bar, which is a really good deal! It tastes lovely too. I use it mostly for baking with – if you see a recipe on here that has chocolate as an ingredient, chances are it’s this one I use. Sainsbury’s also has a similar bar in their “basics” range that sells for 50p/100g, and Morrisons has one for a similar price too.

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My ultimate favourite chocolate bar is Cadbury’s Bournville. I don’t think I’d ever tried it before I was vegan, because I assumed it being dark chocolate meant I wouldn’t like it – but it’s actually quite low cocoa percentage (35%) which means it’s sweeter and not so bitter. It also has that classic “cadbury” flavour to it! You can buy this in most supermarkets. Sometimes you can buy miniature bars of Bournville, but I often have trouble finding those.

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The final “plain chocolate” I’m featuring is this “Smooth” dark chocolate from Poundland of all places. I never expected to find vegan chocolate there, but here you have it. It won’t win any gourmet chocolate awards, but for £1 for a large bar, it’s tasty and good!

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Now let’s take a look at vegan milk chocolate alternatives. One of the best out there is the Moo Free brand of chocolate, which actually has several different flavours (we’ll come back to that later) but does a lovely creamy milk chocolate bar. You can buy this in some supermarkets, Holland & Barrett, and many other “health food” or vegan stores.

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This photo is not the best, I’m afraid (it’s so awkward taking photos in supermarkets!) but many supermarkets have come out with their own range of dairy free milk chocolate now! Pictured above is Tesco’s range, including milk and white chocolate bars, and milk and white chocolate buttons. You can buy milk chocolate bars at Asda and Sainsbury’s too!

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That leads us nicely onto our next topic of white chocolate! As mentioned above, Tesco do small white chocolate bars and buttons, and now Sainsbury’s do large white chocolate bars! They’re actually very nice, and only £1 per bar, which is cheap for vegan white chocolate.

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This one is possibly the best vegan white chocolate out there. It’s rich, has a strong vanilla taste, and really, just tastes pretty luxurious. It’s not the cheapest out there, but if you’re wanting some special white chocolate, I’d go for this one. You can often find it in vegan and health food shops, and you can buy it online too.

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Finally on the white chocolate front, we have “Organica” white chocolate. This might be familiar if you’ve been vegan a while – it was one of the first vegan white chocolates I tried! It’s sweet and creamy – just what you want in a white chocolate. This can be bought in most of the same places as the above iChoc bar – health food shops, and online.

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Let’s move onto flavoured chocolate! The picture above is not very good I know, of course I had to put my thumb over the brand… (I told you I am not good at taking photos in supermarkets!) but it is Moo Free chocolate once again! They do many flavours including orange, bunnycomb (which has bits like a non-vegan crunchie bar), hazelnut, banana, and fruit and nut. These two mini bars are sold in Morrison’s, but you can find them in the same places as other Moo Free bars (as above).

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This is another familiar brand – iChoc again! I think this is my husband’s favourite bar. It’s chocolate cookie flavoured – the cookies being kind of like oreos. The chocolate is milk chocolate flavoured (it’s made with rice milk) and it has lovely little crunchy bits of cookies in! You can buy this in health food, vegan shops, and online.  iChoc also do a range of other flavoured bars, including white nougat, almond orange, and super nut flavours.

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The Vego bar has taken the vegan world by storm in the last few years. It’s been touted as the best vegan chocolate bar out there by many, and I’ve seen people say it’s a great alternative to milk chocolate. Well, I disagree that it tastes like milk chocolate, but it’s certainly very tasty. Did you ever have nutella before you were vegan? It tastes like that, only in chocolate bar form. It’s delicious! These are now sold at Holland and Barrett.

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thanks to veganoo.net for the image

Go Max Go bars are the go to vegan snack bars. They make imitations of many popular non-vegan bars, such as bounty, snickers, mars bars, and reeses cups. They are not cheap, unfortunately, but they are certainly very tasty. Check out veganoo’s review to see what they look like inside! These are sold in vegan shops, and online too.

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Fry’s Chocolate Cream bars are a lovely cheap vegan chocolate option! You’ll notice this is the only mint chocolate I have in this guide, I’m sorry, I just really don’t like mint chocolate so it’s not something I try! But the box was next to the regular Fry’s so I thought I’d include it in my photo. These are dark chocolate bars with a creamy fondant filling – imagine the inside of a creme egg. They’re often sold in newsagents in single bars, or in multipacks in supermarkets and budget shops (this photo was taken in B&M Bargains).

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Raspberry Ruffles are also vegan, and another great budget option! These are kind of like raspberry flavoured bounty bars. They have a coconut raspberry filling and a chocolate coating. You can buy them in bars, as pictured, and also in little bags of mini chocolates too. Once again, these are often sold in budget stores, and some supermarkets too.

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I didn’t know whether to include these or not, because they’re not exactly chocolate bars, but they’re chocolatey and I think they’re tasty so there you go. They’re “rice cake bars” covered in orange chocolate, which doesn’t necessarily sound the best, but they are actually really good and would work wonderfully as a quick snack. You can buy them from Aldi for less than £1!

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Now, I’ll talk about chocolate boxes and gifts. The first one, which is pretty widely available, is Choices Caramels. These are little caramel flavoured truffle type things that come in a box. You can buy them in the Free From aisle of many supermarkets, and Tesco themselves have their own branded version of them!

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Chocolate cremes are often vegan! They’re sold more often around Christmas time (if you can call October Christmas…) – Beech’s are the main official brand, but this year Aldi are doing their own version. Whittakers do lovely coffee cremes, and mint ones too (if you like). We even found vegan fruit cremes in the Lake District!

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These rum truffles are a cheap and cheerful gift! I found these in B&M Bargains but they’re also sold in The Range too. They’re flavoured with rum extract and coated in little chocolate sprinkles. They’re pretty small inside, but there are lots of them, and it’s only a pound for a box.

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From cheaper options to very expensive ones – Booja Booja are the luxury  brand in vegan chocolates! They have many, many flavours – check them out here and see them all! These are often sold in vegan shops, health food shops, and sometimes Holland & Barrett. These are really a bit too expensive for me, but they are still nice!

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Onto miscellaneous chocolate items! Chocolate is not all about bars! My favourite chocolate milk here is Oatly chocolate milk. The Oatly brand is really lovely and all vegan, and the chocolate milk is extremely creamy and has a wonderful chocolate taste. Have it cold or heated up and you’ll love it! Sold in most supermarket.

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How about some ice cream? Swedish Glace are a famous ice cream brand – their vanilla ice cream is the most widely sold vegan ice cream in the UK –  and they now have chocolate! It’s a little more difficult to find – I’ve had most luck in Sainsbury’s – but it’s still lovely.

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Hot chocolate, anyone? Yes, Cadbury’s drinking chocolate is vegan! Make sure you get the “drinking chocolate” – the one you add hot milk to – rather than the “instant chocolate” as the latter isn’t vegan. This is sold pretty much everywhere and is lovely. You can even buy vegan marshmallows to have it with!

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And finally, some chocolate spread! There are a few varieties of vegan chocolate spread out there actually, including a lovely Plamil version which you can buy from Holland & Barrett, and some chocolate and hazelnut versions which you can buy in supermarket free from sections. Morrisons also do a dark chocolate spread which is vegan too!

 

So there you have it, my huge round up of vegan chocolate. I’m sure I have missed out quite a lot, but I hope I’ve given you enough to go along with. What’s your favourite vegan chocolate? Are there any you can get where you are that I’m missing out on? Make me jealous!

 

Homemade Vegan Truffles – VeganMoFo Day 17

Mmm, chocolate. Yes, I know chocolate is tomorrow’s prompt. But who says I can’t do two days of chocolate in a row?

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When I saw the “boozy” prompt, I knew I had to make something like this. You see, I have a lovely bottle of creme caramel liqueur that is all vegan, and very delicious, and I knew how well it would work with chocolate in a dessert.

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I picked this up from Aldi actually – the budget chain is surprisingly good for alcoholic drinks – and they have a vegan list  so you can check that anything you buy is vegan. It’s great in hot chocolate.

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These truffles are actually really easy to make. They are made with a surprise ingredient –  broken biscuits! That’s right, biscuits, like the ones you have with a cup of tea. Kind of like what Americans call cookies, only not quite. You crush the biscuits until they’re pretty much a powder – I like to do this in my food processor, but you could just put them in a bag and bash them with a rolling pin, like I did when we made these as children (without the booze, of course). Then, chocolate, butter, and golden syrup all gets melted together and mixed with the biscuits, along with some icing sugar, and your booze of choice. The mixture sets for a while in the fridge, until you can mould it into balls, and then you can roll it into truffles!

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I rolled my truffles in three different toppings – caster sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate strands. It can be hard to find vegan chocolate strands, but I got mine from The Range here in the UK!

If you’re not an alcohol drinker (or eater, in this case?) you could experiment with replacing the liqueur with other liquids – coffee, or smooth orange juice, or anything else strongly flavoured!

Chocolate Truffles

  • Servings: makes 35 truffles
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Ingredients

  • 300g vegan biscuits
  • 200g vegan chocolate
  • 75g vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup (sub maple if you need)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 100ml liqueur of choice
  • cocoa powder, caster sugar, and sugar strands to decorate

Directions

  1. Begin by crushing the biscuits in a food processor until they are mostly a powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, melt together the chocolate, butter, and golden syrup, either in the microwave or over a double boiler.
  3. Stir the crushed biscuits into the melted chocolate mixture, along with the icing sugar and liqueur. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Place the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is firm enough to be formed into truffle sized balls.
  5. Place your toppings of choice either on plates or in bowls, ready to form the truffles.
  6. Using your (clean!) hands, take a bit of truffle mix and roll it into a ball. Next, roll it in one of the toppings until completely coated.
  7. Place the coated truffle on a baking tray, and repeat until finished.
  8. Place the truffles in the fridge to completely set before eating.

Kidney Bean Koftas – VeganMoFo Day 16

It’s the beginning of Week 3 in VeganMoFo land! This week consists of ingredient challenges and it’s a tricky one. When they say “challenges”, they really mean challenges. The first day asks us to imagine being in a zombie apocalypse, without access to the supermarket, what would we make? Having never actually been in a zombie apocalypse, this is a little tricky, but I decided to imagine that I wanted tasty food, that would also be portable, in case you wanted to eat it on the move.

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Koftas are, to super simplify them, basically spiced meatballs. Often they’re served with a curry sauce or similar, but I put them in bread with rocket leaves, because they are very tasty that way. Rocket, well, I don’t know much about foraging, but you could surely forage some salad (er, if you know what you’re doing)!

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For the koftas themselves, all the ingredients are things you can keep in the store cupboard! The breadcrumbs can be made by crushing up a box of crackers (like ritz, etc) which are storecupboard friendly. If you are not in a zombie apocalypse, and have access to a freezer…they freeze really well!

Kidney Bean Koftas

  • Servings: makes 12 balls
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Ingredients

  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • several grinds black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp oil

Directions

  1. Begin by mashing together the beans, curry powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large bowl. Mash until pretty thoroughly mashed!
  2. Add the tomato puree, peanut butter, and breadcrumbs, and bring together to form a stiff dough like mixture.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and once hot, form your mixture into twelve balls, and add to the pan.
  4. Fry over a medium heat, turning regularly, until golden brown.
  5. Serve as you like!

 

Creamy Courgette Turmeric Pasta – VeganMoFo Day 15

It’s Day 15 of VeganMoFo 2017, which means we’re pretty much halfway through (already!). Today is the last day of “behind the scenes” week and it’s all about spices. What spices do we use, and do we have any favourites? Well, I like to use a huge variety of spices. I would take a photo of my spice cupboard, but to be honest it is not very organised and probably isn’t very interesting! So we’ll talk about one of my favourite spices instead: turmeric.

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Turmeric is actually really good for you. It’s not just “that yellow powder that dyes your counter when you spill it” (though it is that too). It contains curcumin, which is what makes it so yellow, and has anti-inflammatory effects, similar to those found in NSAIDs like ibuprofen, only without the whole stomach upset those can cause (BBC). It’s been shown to be useful in treating pain and swelling in people with arthritis too, and there are trials ongoing with regards to other conditions!

It also looks pretty cool. I feel like Delia Smith could easily serve this at a Norwich City club meal and nobody would bat an eyelid. Look at that bright yellow!

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You don’t want turmeric to be too raw as it can have a kind of powdery taste. So, when you put it into the mixture, you let it cook for thirty seconds before doing the next step. This cooks the turmeric and gives this dish a delicious savoury flavour!

I also have white beans in this pasta which add to the creaminess, and give a nice protein boost – making this really very good for you!

Courgette Turmeric Pasta


Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium courgettes, sliced into half moons
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (or 1 tbsp oil)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tin white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 500ml unsweetened milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Cooked pasta

Directions

  1. Begin by melting the vegan butter in a large frying pan. Add the onion and garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and fry until translucent.
  2. Add the courgette slices and fry for 5-10 minutes, until turning translucent.
  3. Add in the tin of beans, and stir.
  4. Next, add the flour and turmeric, and stir over a high heat for thirty seconds.
  5. Gradually add the milk, constantly stirring, until the sauce thickens.
  6. Stir in the mustard and lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Stir through the cooked pasta, and serve!

Vegan Meringues! – VeganMoFo Day 13

Today’s VeganMoFo prompt is all about repurposing food – using food you’d otherwise throw away. I’m going to write about something that took the vegan food world by storm a few years back – aquafaba!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may remember it being used in my hot chocolate cupcakes last winter to make a marshmallow fluff topping. Today I’m showing you how you can make vegan meringues from it!

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Aquafaba is, quite simply, the liquid you get in a can of beans. The stuff that you throw down the sink when you’re making a curry. Well, stop throwing it down the sink! The proteins in this liquid make it great for whipping up just like egg whites – and it doesn’t even taste like chickpeas at all.

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You add vanilla, and cream of tartar (to help stabilise it), and just whip it up until it becomes light and fluffy and creates nice stiff peaks – unlike with egg whites, you can’t whip it too much, so you’re safe to just keep whipping away.

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Once it’s good and whipped up, you gradually add sugar and keep whipping until you have a lovely glossy mixture. This goes into a piping bag, onto a baking tray, and into the oven on a very low heat for two hours. After the two hours are up, you turn the oven off and leave the meringues to dry through in the oven until completely cool. And there you have it – vegan meringues! If you like, you can put sprinkles on them before they go in the oven, like I did in my pictures. Just make sure your sprinkles are vegan!

Vegan Meringues

  • Servings: 2 large trays
  • Print

Ingredients

  • Liquid from one tin of chickpeas (“aquafaba”)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 200g sugar

Directions

    Preheat your oven to 95C/200F
  1. Begin by, in a large, clean, preferably not plastic, bowl, adding the aquafaba, cream of tartar, and vanilla.
  2. Using either an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix until the liquid fluffs up.
  3. Keep whisking until you reach the “stiff peak” stage – where you can create peaks in the mixture that don’t fall over. Classically, this is where you can hold the bowl upside down over your head and it won’t fall out on you!
  4. Once you reach the stiff peak stage, begin slowly incorporating the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, continually whisking.
  5. Whisk until all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is thick and glossy.
  6. Use a piping bag, or a spoon if you prefer, and put meringue mix on your trays in the shape you’d like them to be. Experiment – but don’t make them too big or they’ll need to dry out for longer!
  7. At this point if you want to use sprinkles on top, do so now.
  8. Place the tray in the oven for two hours.
  9. After two hours, turn off the heat, and leave until the oven is completely cool.
  10. Remove and store in an airtight container.

Filthy Rich Vegan Muffins Review! – VeganMoFo Day 13

Today’s VeganMoFo prompt asks us how we would sell our food. I, being the exceptionally lazy person I am, decided not to bother with my own food, and found someone else who sells food to talk about. To my endless happiness they even let me eat their food so I could review it! How great is that? So here you have it, introducing the latest vegan business about to take the East Midlands by storm, Filthy Rich!

review2Filthy Rich, who you can find on Instagram and Facebook, are a company who specialise in vegan muffins of all sorts of amazing flavours – including “Candy Shop”, “Death By Chocolate”, “Lemon Popsicle” and so many, many more.

I got a chance to catch up with founder Chrissie and quiz her about Filthy Rich and veganism in general, before tucking into the muffins pictured above!

E: Why “Filthy Rich”? Where did that name come from?

C: I wanted to create an unapologetic vegan brand that’s strong and memorable. And I always wanted the muffins to be really indulgent and sinful (in terms of calories!), so the name seemed perfect. I think it represents the product quite well.

E: What made you want to open a vegan muffin business?

C: I have been on a gradual transition from vegetarian to being a vegan over the last four years and eliminating dairy from my diet has meant it’s more difficult to find indulgent things to eat. I guess I wanted to be part of what’s a really positive movement and do something proactive, most of all giving vegans great sweet food that they can spoil themselves with!

E: How do you come up with all the flavour ideas you have?

C: I am quite creative by nature so I find it fairly easy to come up with interesting flavour combinations. I consider the flavours that I would like but also try to adapt popular cake classics so there’s something for everyone. They all must have a fun twist though, even if it’s just in the name!

E:  What’s your own favourite flavour? 

C: I think Death By Chocolate. I get a bit sick of trying them myself day in and day out, but this one still tempts me! It’s just so rich and chocolatey with a nice depth of flavour.

E: What would your advice be to anyone looking into veganism?  

C: Adopt a positive view of what you can still eat instead of what you can’t! There is always more choice than you think. Also don’t assume you need to shop at wholefoods or health shops. The supermarket free-from ranges are growing rapidly and it’s important we maintain a continued demand there, as that’s how veganism will become mainstream.

And I agree entirely! Veganism is a lot easier than most people imagine – especially when you can eat food like this! So without further ado, lets get on to the bit you’re all waiting for, the muffins!

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I started with the muffin I was most looking forward to – “Candy Shop“, described as “Strawberry muffin with a strawberry centre finished with candyfloss buttercream, gummy bears, cola bottles & sour cherries”  – sounds absolutely perfect for a sweet addict like me! And it did not disappoint, not at all. The great thing about muffins is that they’re not as sweet as cupcakes – this flavour might have been a little sickly if the cake was super sweet too, but as it was, it was perfectly balanced. The candyfloss icecream was absolutely delicious!

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Next is the “One Of Your Five A Day” which I jumped at the chance to review. It’s described as “Carrot & walnut spiced muffin with vanilla buttercream, caramelised carrot and toasted walnuts”. Now, I really like carrot cake, walnuts, and so forth. I just happen to live in a household where I’m the only one who does like nuts and veg in cake – so I don’t get to have it often. So, when I got to try this flavour, I was so pleased. The muffin itself is perfectly spiced and feels like it should be accompanied with a hot mulled cider and a snowy winter landscape (if only we got that here…) and the creamy icing complements it in a wonderful way.

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Finally we have Death By Chocolate! It’s saying something about these muffins that the chocolate one is the last one I come to – I’m practically made of chocolate myself! Death by Chocolate is “Triple chocolate chip muffin with dark chocolate buttercream & finished with shards of milk, white & dark chocolate“. I’m of the opinion that you can never have too much chocolate, right? This muffin agrees with me, and gives you the best chocolate fix you could ask for!

Veganism is on the rise in the UK, and with companies like Filthy Rich providing great vegan food it’s sure to keep rising. Anyone, vegan or not (me included!) would be happy if you bought them a box of these muffins for their birthday, or any other occasion.

If you’d like to order a box of muffins from Filthy Rich, shoot them a message on Instagram or Facebook, or send them an email! You won’t regret it, I promise 🙂

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How to Shop Vegan in the UK – VeganMoFo Day 11

It can be a little confusing when you first try to shop vegan. What can you buy? What can’t you buy? Do you have to buy everything from the free from aisle? Isn’t it expensive?

I’ve been shopping vegan for quite a long time now, and over the years have learnt a lot about where to find great vegan food and get the most for your money. For this post, I’ll take you through the day, giving you advice on what you can buy and eat!

Breakfast

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Ah, breakfast. The most important meal of the day. Or is it? Well, there’s no real consensus on this, and to be honest I’m not a huge breakfast person – or a morning person at all, really! But I have a husband who is, and besides, you can eat breakfast food at other parts of the day, right?

The one major breakfast problem is cereal. A lot of cereals are artificially fortified with vitamins, specifically Vitamin D – which often (but not always) is animal derived, coming from lanolin, which is an oil found in sheep’s wool. So when you look at some of the major cereal brands, even some supermarket brands, and see the ingredient “vitamin D” – it’s not likely to be vegan. Can vitamin D be vegan? Yes. Usually if it is, it’ll specify – or it’ll be marked as “Vitamin D2” which is a non animal derived version.

There’s a huge list of vegan cereals here on the Vegan Womble, a great website for finding new vegan food! My personal advice would be to shop at “budget” supermarkets such as Lidl or Aldi, who don’t fortify their cereals. That way if you find a cereal that doesn’t contain milk, eggs, or honey, it’ll be vegan – and they have a really big selection, from cornflakes and rice crispies (which I used in my Rocky Roads) to granola, cookie crisp cereal, and much more!

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For milk to have with your cereal, you have so much choice these days! The cheapest option is usually soya milk, which you can buy the supermarket own brand of, in sweetened or unsweetened variety. Remember though, if you want to use the milk for cooking (such as in pasta), you want to use unsweetened! If you don’t like the taste of soya milk, try something different! Almond milk and Oat milk are popular, as are coconut milk and many other types of dairy-free milk. You can even get vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavours now. Try to look for offers such as in the photo above – 2 for £2 – this will save you money.

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If you’re not a cereal fan then there are plenty of other choices! Toast – most bread is vegan, just skim the ingredients for milk, egg, or honey. Some brands, like Kingsmill, say “suitable for vegetarians and vegans” on the back, which is great! Jam is also in general vegan, as is peanut butter – so a PBJ toast would be a nice breakfast. Morrisons have a vegan chocolate spread which I will say is absolutely lovely. And finally, Jus-Rol croissants, pain-au-chocolat, and cinnamon rolls are vegan and make for a decadent, tasty breakfast!

Lunch

butter

Lunch is not too difficult, I find. You can even buy vegan sandwiches in several supermarkets now! But if you’d like to make your own, remember as I said above, most bread is vegan. For spread, the two main brands are Pure and Vitalite – I tend to buy whichever is on offer at the supermarket. Don’t be fooled by supermarket “sunflower spread” or “olive spread” – unless it specifically says “dairy free”, it usually has milk in. The Vegan Society has a huge list of sandwich filling ideas, too!

crisps

There are also a lot of vegan crisps out there – including some you’d not expect, like many “bacon rasher” crisps, which don’t actually contain bacon at all. Beware of Walkers crisps meaty varieties because they recently started putting actual meat in them – but many other of theirs are vegan.

If you’re more of a dinner-for-lunch person, or a leftovers person, hang on till the next section where you’ll discover some dinner ideas!

Dinner

dinners

If you’re stuck for what to have for dinner, have you not been reading this blog?! Ha, but seriously, there are loads of vegan recipes out there and a lot of them are actually quite simple! I try to keep mine easy, at least (partly because I am a little lazy myself). If you don’t fancy cooking much yourself, there’s still a lot you can buy. Pesto – in the free from aisle of supermarkets, not the regular aisles (pesto often has cheese in). Tesco now has their own brand vegan pesto which is cheaper than branded stuff! Stir this through pasta for a quick and easy meal. Linda McCartney do a huge range of vegan products, from “chicken” and “duck” to burgers, sausages, and pies. These are excellent to serve with some vegetables. Quorn also now have a vegan range, look for the green “Vegan” corner on their packets to see what you can have! And finally – many supermarkets now have vegan cheese. Tesco and Sainsbury’s even have their own make! This is great for serving with jacket potato, grating on top of pasta, or just having in a toastie.

Snacks

snacks

Ah, my speciality. Stay tuned for a post solely on chocolate later in the month, but today we’ll talk about snacks. I’ve already mentioned crisps earlier in the post, so this’ll focus on sweet things.

Sweets themselves often have gelatine in, which is made from animal bones and is gross. So, you need to look for vegetarian/vegan versions. Thankfully, this is much easier than it used to be! Skittles and Starbursts (formerly Opal Fruits) are both now vegan! You can also buy “fruit jellies” in most supermarkets and sweet shops, including places like Wilko’s, and Marks & Spencer actually have a large range of vegan sweets.

For chocolatey snacks, Raspberry Ruffles are one of the most popular and cheapest – think a Bounty Bar only raspberry flavoured. You can buy them in bars or in little wrapped chocolate packets. Choices Caramel chocolates are a great gift – they’re little chocolate truffles that taste of caramel, and are really nice. Tesco now do their own version of them. Talking of Tesco, they also have chocolate buttons and bars in their Free From section that are vegan – including white chocolate! Many supermarkets will have fairly cheap vegan chocolate in their free from section too.

 

I hope this helps a little bit with shopping vegan – and if you need any more advice, please talk to me and I will be glad to help! Also, check out The Vegan Womble website for many supermarket “vegan lists”, and also the @accidentallyveganuk instagram page, for treats that are vegan in the supermarkets.

 

 

Marble Cake – VeganMoFo Day 10

Today’s VeganMoFo Prompt is “secret ingredient” – what ingredients do us MoFo-ers use that you may not suspect?

My “secret ingredient” is – well, I don’t know if you’ll think it’s weird or not. For some, it may be totally normal – if you’re familiar with the depression-era wacky cake for instance. For others (and I’ve had this reaction before), you may be going “you put what in your cakes?

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The secret ingredient – the one that makes my cakes work even without eggs and butter – is vinegar! Cider vinegar is the best as it has a neutral-sweet taste, but most white vinegars would work (don’t use the stuff you put on your chips!). You mix it with non-dairy milk and let it curdle (making a kind of buttermilk) and this helps give the cake rise.

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You can’t deny, it makes a pretty nice looking cake. You don’t even taste the vinegar at all, as it neutralises out with the baking soda (that’s what produces the rising reaction). So, here is a guide on how to make a delicious vegan marble cake!

First, you make your batter, by combining your milk and vinegar mix in one bowl, and your dry ingredients in the other. Mix them all together, and split it in two. In one bowl, you add cocoa powder, in the other, you leave it plain.

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Then, you spoon the batter alternately into your cake tin. One blob vanilla, one blob chocolate. Repeat until it’s all used up.

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Once the batter is all in the cake tins, get a knife and gently swirl it around. This creates the “marble” effect.

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Then, bake the cakes in the oven until lovely and golden brown, and leave them to cool completely.

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Once the cakes are completely cool, you’re ready to ice them. You need to prepare them by cutting their tops off to make them flat (otherwise your cake will be wobbly). I have this handy gadget that I got fairly cheaply from a local shop but you can also use a long serrated knife. Eat the cake scraps, they’re tasty.

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To fill the cake, pipe circles of icing in alternate colours on the inner layer of cake. Then, pop the top layer on top of it. Pipe alternate colours of icing around the outside of the cake, and smooth it all with a long knife or an offset spatula.

For the top of the cake, I just put dollops of different icings on top and swirled it all around with a butter knife to make little peaks.

Marble Cake

  • Servings: 1 two layer 9 inch cake
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Ingredients

    For the Cake

    Wet Ingredients

  • 600ml dairy free milk
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 300g sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 150ml oil
  • Dry Ingredients

  • 550g self raising flour (or use plain flour and add 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 tsp bicarbanote of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For the chocolate cake

  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 100ml dairy free milk
  • For the Icing

    Vanilla

  • 100g vegan butter
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp dairy free milk
  • Chocolate

  • 100g vegan butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 3-4 tbsp dairy free milk

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 170C
  1. Begin by mixing the milk and cider vinegar in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Next, in another large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt.
  3. Going back to the wet ingredients bowl, add the sugar, oil, and vanilla, and whisk with a fork until well combined.
  4. Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until no flour pockets are left.
  5. Split the batter between two bowls (don’t worry too much about being precise!).
  6. Into one of the bowls, stir the 50g cocoa powder and 100ml milk.
  7. Into your prepared cake tins, alternate between spooning the vanilla batter and the chocolate batter, until all the batter is used up.
  8. Using a knife, swirl the mixture around in the cake tins to create a marbled effect.
  9. Place the tins in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Leave to cool fully before the next steps.
  11. To make the icing, put the ingredients for the vanilla and chocolate icing in separate bowls. Either using an electric mixer, or a spoon and some muscle, mix each bowl until fluffy and creamy.
  12. Once the cakes are cool, trim the tops until they are flat.
  13. Pipe alternate rings of chocolate and vanilla icing on top of the bottom layer of cake, then put the next layer on top.
  14. Pipe alternate rings of chocolate and vanilla around the outside of the cakes, smoothing with a knife or a spatula.
  15. For the top of the cake, dollop the remaining icing on top, and swirl with a knife for the desired effect.
  16. Leave to set in the refrigerator.

Chickpea Tahini Soup – VeganMoFo Day 9

It’s week two of VeganMoFo 2017! That means a different theme – this week’s is “Behind the Scenes” with each day being about something…well, behind the scenes, in your cooking life. Today is about gadgets you can’t live without. Mine would be my immersion blender. Or stick blender, whatever you like to call it. I used to think they were just a gimmick and I was happy with my countertop blender, but then one day my Granny found out that I didn’t have one, was horrified, and bought me one (she reads this blog once in a blue moon – if you’re reading this, thanks Granny!). And it was brilliant! So much easier than transferring everything from a pan to a blender, then back to the pan, then washing it all up. The stick blender is easy to wash up and control, you can blend to your desired consistency just by watching it…it’s really good.

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First of all, please ignore the giant chip in my bowl. I am so embarrassed about that, apparently I didn’t notice when I was taking photographs. Anyone want to get me pretty bowls for my birthday? 😉

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This soup may sound familiar to you, because it’s very similar to my chickpea tahini pasta recipe, just in soup form. It’s lovely and warming for a cold, cold night – this would be absolutely perfect midwinter when you need to cosy up with a hot soup. I served it with pita bread this time, but if you fancied making (or buying) some freshly baked bread, it would be excellent!

 

Chickpea Tahini Soup

  • Servings: 2 large servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped,
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tins chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon (approx 3 tbsp)
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • salt + pepper to taste

1. Begin by frying the onion and garlic in the oil until translucent.
2. Stir in the cumin and saute for 30 seconds.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients, stir, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.
4. Using your stick blender, or a countertop one if you don’t have one, blend the soup until it’s completely smooth.
5. Return to the heat and warm through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
6. Serve in bowls with bread!
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