Cashew Nut, Coconut Milk and Sweet Potato Soup with Crispy Skins

The finished soup and crisps

This smooth yet really filling soup is perfect for a cold winters day. It’s rich and thick and lightly spiced which is what you need to take the chill off a day spent outside.

Although I have specified peeled sweet potato, feel free to add the skin in too. Alternatively use the sweet potato peelings to make yummy, yummy crispy skins to have with your soup. You may even find yourself peeling a little extra sweet potato than normal!

It’s even great as a base for a ramen – I used one portion for this, adding extra water and stock, green veg like broccoli and thick udon noodles. Cook briefly and voila!

A fully vegan feast!

Follow me on Instagram for more tasty pics like this ;)
Follow me on Instagram for more tasty pics like this ūüėČ

MDM’s Roasted Cashew Nut, Coconut Milk and Sweet Potato Soup

100g roasted cashew nuts, chopped roughly

1tbsp olive oil + 100mls for sweet potato crisps

250g white onions finely chopped

2 sticks celery, approx 100g

1 med-large sweet potato, peeled and chopped

200g carrots

2 tsp ground mixed spice

1tsp chinese 5 spice

1.5pt vegetable stock (more if you want to thin the soup a little)

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 can coconut milk

Salt and pepper

Cashew nut, coconut milk and sweet potato soup fresh ingredients
Cashew nut, coconut milk and sweet potato soup fresh ingredients
  1. Heat the oven to around 150oC fan and put the cashews in and stir around regularly. Roast for around 10-15 minutes until they start to brown ever so slightly.
  2. Meanwhile fry the onions and celery in the olive oil until softened.
  3. Add in the sweet potato and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the spices and cook for another 3-5 mins. Add in cashews.
  4. Add in the vegetable stock and tomato puree. Simmer for 30 minutes until all veg is soft.
  5. Take off the heat and blend everything until smooth. Make sure it has cooled a little and add in the coconut milk (allowing it to cool stops the soup from splitting).
  6. Heat the soup up again a little before serving. Swirl in some coconut milk which is left over in the tin.
  7. While soup is cooking, lay potato peelings out on a small tray. The aim is really just to dry them out a little before frying later. Cook for around 10 minutes in the oven (after the cashews). Stir around once or twice.
  8. Remove from oven and lay out on kitchen roll to cool and dry out further.
  9. Heat oil in a small pan and once hot place in potato peelings. They will only take a minute or two to cook. Once cooked scoop out of the oil and place on kitchen roll to drain off excess oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  10. Eat.

Serves around 6 people, or more if you thin it down a little.
Serves around 6 people, or more if you thin it down a little.

Let me know if you try it! I’d love to hear what you think.

Annette

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Yum Vegan Protein Pancakes

Who loves pancakes as a special treat on a Sunday – I do! Here’s my recipe for tasty vegan pancakes with a protein boost.

I bought some vegan protein the other week Рthis stuff from Bulk Powders. I had some just with water in the free shaker supplied (!) and it actually tasted all right. It was a little chalky but perfectly palatable. This time I decided to add it to this tasty pancake mixture for some added extra protein.

These were, I admit, pretty moist so if you are looking for something light and fluffy you may want to look elsewhere but what they lack in fluff they make up for in flavour.

Cinnamony, appley and peanuty chocolate goodness – what’s not to like here?

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Yum, yum yummy vegan pancakes

Here’s the recipe:


MDM’s Protein Packed¬†Cinnamony, Appley and Peanuty Chocolate Pancakes

1 cup plain flour

1/4 cup Complete Vegan Blend Protein Powder in Peanut Chocolate flavour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 cup applesauce (like this yummy homemade one)

1 1/4 cup of almond/soya milk (I used 50:50 because that’s what I had left/open)

2 tbsp cinnamon and nutmeg infused sugar (I keep this in the cupboard – see here. Alternatively add 2 tbsp any sugar + 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp nutmeg)

  1. Mix dry ingredients well together.
  2. Add in wet ingredients and mix to a loose batter.
  3. Spoon mixture into an oiled, cool to medium frying pan and cook for a couple of minutes on each side.
  4. Drizzle with maple or agave syrup, some more cinnamon sugar and serve with a selection of fruit. Yum!!

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Enjoy!

Annette

‘Perfect Vegan Brownies’ by Fried Dandelions

What a great idea to use the leftovers from one vegan brownie recipe¬†or this one¬† for another! This is the first time I have used aquafaba (essentially bean-juice-water) in a recipe. I was rather skeptical. Another vegan-in-training tried making meringues with it and lets just say it was a bit of a disaster! Anyway, not to be deterred I thought I would have a go at this ‘Perfect Vegan Brownies’ recipe by another dandelion, Fried Dandelions!

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Dual purpose tin of beans!

I was actually surprised at how frothy the aquafaba went when it was whisked up. These brownies had an excellent texture and the cinnamon is a nice touch. However there is too much coffee in them. Either that or my half quantity of espresso powder was still a little too over powering…I also dropped the amount of chocolate chips – about 1/3 to 1/2 cup is plenty and halved the vanilla. I think in future I would also be tempted to drop the sugar a little as they are on the sweeter side.

Still a very good recipe overall..

Here’s a photo of how many bubbles appear when you whisk the aquafaba:

It's surprising how many bubbles you get when you whisk up aquafaba in a brownie recipe
It’s surprising how many bubbles you get when you whisk up aquafaba in a brownie recipe

I would definitely consider using aquafaba in future vegan brownie recipes.

The verdict:

  1. Cakiness: 9
  2. Gooiness: 7
  3. Crispy top: 6
  4. Chocolateyness: 7
  5. Sweetness: 7
  6. Ease of making: 8
  7. Ingredient complexity: 7
  8. Overall taste: 8

One to consider if you fancy having a go at baking over the next few days.

Vegan Butterbean Brownies (and gluten-free)

Vegan brownies made with butterbeans, cranberries and nuts

I skipped to page 10 of a Google search for vegan brownies on the search for some more vegan brownie recipes to put to the test. I found this one and thought it was time to try another bean brownie recipe.

This was from Coconut Merchant and is a slightly modified version of their ‘White Bean Brownies’. Basically I added butterbeans rather than white beans (because I didn’t have any and it was the next best thing – they’re white and beans right?!). I also added mixed chopped nuts rather than walnuts and a few cranberries to add to the flavour.

So, the verdict. Not a great fan of these I must admit. They need to be sweeter. Even with agave syrup which is incredibly sweet, these tasted a little too bitter. The texture isn’t too bad and they cooked quickly but I don’t think I would make them again.

Saying that, they are pretty healthy being low in sugar and fat with, for a brownie at least, decent amounts of protein and fibre. And of course not forgetting they are gluten free.

Vegan butterbean brownies
Vegan butterbean brownies

Here’s my stats:

  1. Cakiness: 5
  2. Gooiness: 3
  3. Crispy top: 3
  4. Chocolateyness: 4
  5. Sweetness: 3
  6. Ease of making: 8
  7. Ingredient complexity: 7
  8. Overall taste: 4

PS – save your aquafaba for my next recipe – it’s a pretty good one!

Fun over, back to work now! X

Rawsome Vegan Cupcakes.. Cake…

Rawsome vegan 'Super Sexy Cacao Cashew Cupcakes'

This tasty cake requires no cooking apart from the melting of the coconut oil, which I had to do in the microwave. Despite this slight flaw to the whole ‘raw’ subject it was really simple and easy to make (I suppose one could melt it in one’s hands?!)

I have made just a couple of things from this recipe book before, like these S’mores cupcakes. It really is a great book with ‘rawsome’ photos too. All the recipes are based around nuts, dried fruit and coconut (oil mostly but also cream/milk, flesh and shredded). Generally if you are lacking in any one of the three then you’re kinda screwed. Que me running out of peanut butter and coconut oil -nooooooo!

This was designed for four separate cupcakes but I decided to make it into one large sliceable cake as I thought it would be more appealing and go further. There was plenty of the base mixture of dates, almonds and cacao powder but not enough of the filling quantities recommended to cover the entire single cake. These need to be doubled.

Raw base for the vegan cake
Raw base for the vegan cake – I neatened it a little after this photo!

This would be fine if I had enough extra peanut butter to cover the base but I ran out half way…. I also ran out of coconut oil which is used in the chocolate-style topping so ended up having to substitute the remaining required with Vitalite which I guess is not really ‘raw’ either. Even though this modified mixture tasted a bit margariney when it was warm, once it had been in the fridge you couldn’t really taste the difference.

The completed cake before entering the fridge
The completed cake before entering the fridge
I'm calling this raw vegan and gluten free chocolate torte
I’m calling this ‘raw vegan and gluten free chocolate torte’

The recipe recommends cashew butter for the filling and I substituted it for peanut butter – the OH liked the half with just chocolate topping and base but I loved both. It tastes just like those chocolate tarts you get. Yum.

 

Annette

Fougasse with Faces

Fougasse bread dough made into silly faces

Anyone watch Great British Bake Off this week? Don’t worry there are no spoilers here on who went out but only on the technical challenge recipe… They had to make fougasse which is a French variation of flat bread (think of how similar the name is to the Italian version,¬†focaccia which we all know so well). It usually has slashes in it. I have managed to make just two of the technical challenges so far – the jaffa cake recipe will be along at some point.

This is the recipe for Paul’s Herby Fougasse¬†and this is my attempt:

Ingredients required for Great British Bakeoff's Botanical Technical Challenge
Ingredients required for Great British Bakeoff’s Botanical Technical Challenge

I woke up in the middle of the night, as you do, and thought it would be really fun to make ’emoticons’ out of this recipe….beats doing a leaf shape…. Mine aren’t quite emoticons as it is very difficult, wet and sticky dough to work around but ended up being fun faces anyway.

The recipe recommends using a pizza cutter to make the slits so since I don’t own one I used scissors instead which actually worked really well. A knife just doesn’t work.

They started off having eyes and open mouths….

Close-up of jam, crumble and almond topping
Close-up of jam, crumble and almond topping

But ended up mostly squinting….

Fougasse bread dough made into silly faces
Fougasse bread dough made into silly faces

Even this dough is a bit/very/incredibly sticky to work with, it makes a really nice crisp outside and a soft centre. The added fresh herbs are really great as are the oregano and salt on the outside. They would make a really fun addition to a bowl of soup.

Super tasty.

Annette

 

Vegan Fruit Crumble Cake

Vegan fruit crumble cake topping

Sometimes taking an educated risk pays off. This recipe has been altered from the original Blueberry Crumble Muffin to transfer into a lovely fruity cakey crumble. If you fed this to your unsuspecting cake munchers they would have no idea that there are no animal products in it. It is perfectly cakey and light.

I used nectarines and peaches because they needed using up but any fruit would do – cherries, apples (mmm it would make a great apple cake) or even tinned fruit (though make sure it’s not too wet).

The thing I really liked about this cake is that it is attractive from both the top and from the bottom. You can¬†serve it either way up or on its side so it’s perfect for that ups-a-daisy moment when you plate it up and it tips over just as you make it to the plate….

The top of MDM's Fruit Crumble Cake
The top of MDM’s Fruit Crumble Cake
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The base of MDM’d Fruit Crumble Cake

MDM’s Vegan Fruit Crumble Cake

For the crumble/topping:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 50g margarine
  • 2 tbsp blackcurrant jam (or any jam is fine)
  • 3 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 1/4tsp ground nutmeg plus extra for dusting

For the cake:

  • 250g self raising flour
  • 40g almonds
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 140g granulated sugar
  • 250ml unsweetened soya milk (if using sweetened drop the granulated sugar a little)
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 1tsp vanilla bean paste (I much prefer this to essence or extract)

For the fruit layer:

  • 2 nectarines (substitute these for a fruit of your choice if you prefer)
  • 2 peaches
  1. Make the crumble by mixing the flour, sugar, nutmeg and margarine in a bowl until they form large crumbs. Set aside.
  2. Thinly slice the fruit and thinly layer in an attractive pattern on the base of two 7 or 8 inch lined and greased baking tins.
  3. To make the cake, combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a jug. Add the wet ingredients to all the dry and mix well.
  4. Transfer on top of the sliced fruit.
  5. Make a swirl with the jam on the top of the mixture you have just added. Then add the crumble on the top also, sprinkle over the almonds and finally provide a liberal dusting of nutmeg.
  6. Place into a 160oC fan oven. (Can’t remember how long I baked these for but it’s probably around the 35 minute mark). Test the cake with a skewer which will come out clean if it’s done. If the top gets too brown turn the oven down a little and cover the top with some foil to prevent burning.
  7. Once out the oven and cooled for around 10 mins cool upside down (fruit side up) on a cooling rack.
  8. Eat hot or cold.

Cakes cooling
Cakes cooling before being removed from the tins

This is a really good vegan cake and it received good reviews from everyone I fed it to!

Annette

Strawberry Jammin’

Fresh strawberries

I haven’t made much jam in the past – that which I have was either too solid or very runny. We ended up with a lot of strawberries (both fresh and in the freezer) so thought I could have another go at some homemade jam. I used this Silver Spoon¬†sugar with added pectin and handily, a recipe for strawberry jam on the side!

What often puts me off is the cleaning and sterilising of the jam jars. I usually wash them with washing up liquid in the sink, then rinse them in hot water, then sterilise them for 15-30 mins in a sterilising solution (I currently use Milton tablets) and then into an oven around 100oC to dry off before cooling and then using. I find it takes about as much time as making the jam!

Nevertheless the jam¬†was really simple to make. I followed the instructions exactly on the side, apart from maybe adding some more strawberries, an apple and some granulated sugar, but apart from those I followed it to the letter……

If I made it again I would probably puree the apples first. Because they were quite hard I ended up with whole chunks of apple in the final jam. It’s not really an issue as I chopped it quite small anyway.

I will definitely try using this¬†Silver Spoon Jam Sugar¬†again as it was great fun to make some propa’ jam. The packet sugar cost ¬£1, the strawberries were all reduced and were past their best and I used a small knob of Vitalite. This amount would have made about 4 jars though I made a little extra because of the added ingredients. The jam set perfectly though and tasted great on some toast. Yum!

Homemade strawberry jam on toast
Homemade strawberry jam on toast

Annette

 

Doughnut Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar

Spiced sugar doughnut-style muffins

I made these Doughnut-style muffins this morning to keep hungry family at bay for a little while. They are really good although incredibly sugary! You may feel the need to brush your teeth afterwards.

Mini muffins
Mini muffins

I used a recipe from ‘Baked in America‘ a great book if you like some American-inspired recipes.

Cinnamon sugar and butter for coating the muffins
Cinnamon sugar and butter for coating the muffins – notice my super messy worktop ūüôā

The coating is really easy to do. Just dip the whole muffin or just the top in melted butter or vegan spread (I used Vitalite) and then coat liberally in a spiced sugar made from spices, e.g. allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg etc. and 50:50 granulated to brown sugar.

Doughnut style muffins with cinnamon
Doughnut style muffins with cinnamon

Also, just to balance out all the sugar, albeit it ¬†before any contemplation of these muffins, I completed The Beast race (10k obstacle course) last weekend! The medal was pretty great although a little to similar to one that we made a few years ago…..!

The Beast Race 2016 medal
The Beast Race 2016 medal

 

It was great fun to do as a team if you ever fancy it!

Annette x

Another Vegan Brownie Recipe Tested

food.com vegan brownies

Doesn’t time fly? I have realised that since the beginning of August I have posted only six times – oops! Sorry readers. I have lots of photos ready but just haven’t done any writing. Well now that I am on holiday for two weeks I have less of an excuse not to write.

I did make a brownie recipe a couple of weeks ago and I forgot to add one of the ingredients therefore I didn’t think it would be fair to compare it. However I am very excited as it may have led to the most amazing vegan cookie recipe ever! Watch this space!

This ‘Rich, Fudgy, Vegan Brownies’¬†recipe comes ‘pollen’ from food.com. It tempted me because it said it was going to be fudgy and it had lots of coffee in it (do like a bit of coffee in brownies).

Vegan brownie mixture
Vegan brownie mixture

However, sorry to say, I was a little disappointed. They just didn’t have the depth of flavour required. They turned out very well, with a really good cakey texture, with a bit of fudgy-ness but they were a bit bland I found. I definitely need to consider coffee in my perfect recipe as an added flavour profile, but now I’m convinced more than ever that the recipe needs to have real chocolate and not just cocoa powder. I’m also tempted (Christmas list hint) to get some really good quality cocoa powder and investigate the impact that that has on the flavour.

Vegan chocolate brownie after cooking
Vegan chocolate brownie after cooking

I’m eager now to find something awesome that will blow my socks off! I’m thinking I might make something with some more complex ingredients…

Vegan brownies from pollen @ food.com
Vegan brownies from pollen @ food.com

Here’s my verdict for these:

So the verdict:

  1. Cakiness: 10
  2. Gooiness: 6
  3. Crispy top: 3
  4. Chocolateyness: 5
  5. Sweetness: 7.5
  6. Ease of making: 8
  7. Ingredient complexity: 9
  8. Overall taste: 6

And some others you should try:

Interested in the others I’ve made so far for comparison? Click on these links!

 

And finally it was our four year anniversary this week, so we went for a walk around Balmedie and the sand dunes. It was a very foggy day.

Balmedie sand dunes, Aberdeenshire
Balmedie sand dunes – could be in the Sahara desert, it was so misty

 

 

Ta ta for now,

Annette

Sweet Chilli, er, sauce?

The finished article

The OH and I both love sweet chilli sauce so it was high time that I tried to make some. My brother-in-law’s auntie makes the most amazing version¬†but we have yet to get the recipe! It’s sweet, tangy with the perfect amount of chilli and looks really colourful – more so than many of the red soup-looking varieties which are around.

I chose to base mine around Nigella’s recipe and then make some modifications as appropriate.

Ingredients for sweet chilli sauce
As you can tell from this photo my jam sugar is a little past its best…

Unfortunately my jam sugar was rather out of date and I didn’t have enough, so substituted 150g of sugar (out of 750g) with granulated. (Side note: there is mega sugar in sweet chilli sauce). This was probably why my sauce was pretty saucy and not very jammy! Jam sugar has pectin added to help everything set. Still tasted good – it just changes how you use it – more as a drizzle or a flavour addition.

I roasted some garlic and onion in the oven until they were soft and mushy and added these in, along with some fresh ginger blitzed with the chilli and peppers. The jury’s out as to whether they have added anything.

Garlic and onion for roasting
Garlic and onion for roasting
Blitzed chilli and sweet peppers and ginger.
Blitzed chilli and sweet peppers and ginger. This smelt so good.

I probably should have boiled the mixture a little longer. I did it the recommended time but heating for more would probably have helped the thickening process.

Boiling chilli sauce
Chilli sauce-a-boiling

I made 3/4 of the recipe and it filled 3x 300-400g jam jars and 2x smaller 100g jars, perfect if you want to give a few away. Because it was so runny I wasn’t sure about it, but it tastes pretty good, nowhere near¬†as good as ‘Auntie Lorraine’s,’ although there is plenty of room for improvement.

The finished article
The finished article

Also on a side note, wear gloves when you are handling chillies. My hands were hypersensitive to heat for almost 2 days after I deseeded these 8 or so chillies! They were burning for a lo-ong time! I thought I would be tough … and I regretted it ūüėõ

 

AnnetteX

 

 

‘Foosty’ Banana and Apple Spiced Muffins

Ever wondered what to do with a practically mouldy (foosty) banana? And apples which are getting towards the wrinkly stage? Make muffins! Well matured bananas make great cakes.

Well ripened banana and apples
Well ripened banana and apples

These are slightly on the savoury side. I deliberately held back on the sugar because of the banana and apples both of which go sweeter as they ripen. To be honest I could have added a little more sugar, but the icing on the top I think balances them well. They are very light. I made these for a lady at work who very kindly brought me in some homemade strawberry jam.

Here’s the recipe:


MDM’s Foosty Banana and Apple Spiced Muffins (makes 12)

1x egg

1 super ripe banana

110g sugar

170g flour

145g margarine

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

185g over-ripe dessert apples (3x very small ones) chopped into 1cm3-sized cubes

  1. Preheat oven to fan 160oC.
  2. Weigh all ingredients (apart from apples) into a bowl and mix well Рa hand blender is ideal.
  3. Stir in the apples gently.
  4. Spoon into paper cases.
  5. Bake in oven for 25 minutes. Remove when skewer inserted into cake comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool.
  7. Ice with water-icing.

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Also how cool is this stop clock? Obviously it counts up rather than down, so you have to pay attention but it’s so cool that I just had to use it for these cakes – the joys of finding random things you didn’t know you had when moving house!

Rustic stopclock
Rustic stopclock

Enjoy!

Annette

The Vegan Society Chocolate Brownies

Cakey brownies

It’s great to have a day off once in a while. My first port of call on my to do list was to make another brownie recipe on My Quest. This week’s recipe comes in the form of The Vegan Society’s Chocolate Brownies. I haven’t tried any other recipes from this site yet, but I do quite fancy this meringue one with aquafaba.

The making of these brownies are really split into two parts – the initial making of a thick chocolate sauce and then the more traditional combining of all the ingredients. Making the chocolate sauce was quick and easy. It thickened and cooled pretty quickly, ready for the next part.

After that it’s a pretty much straight forward combining of ingredients, including more sugar and fat! Mmmm.

Glossy mixture for vegan brownies
Glossy mixture for vegan brownies

 

The recipe says to put these in the oven for 30 minutes but mine were ready after 20 minutes, using the tray in the photo above. To be honest they would probably be fine with less. Unlike other recipes I have made, these were really easy to get out the tray and cut into portions.

Cooked tray of The Vegan Society chocolate brownie
Cooked tray of The Vegan Society chocolate brownie

And what about the taste? These are almost the ultimate cakey brownie – rich and dark and very cakey,’ would be how I describe them. I was worried these would be too sweet with the amount of sugar going in but they weren’t. The flavour was all there but there was no goo! And no crispy top either! This was definitely a chocolate cake –¬†but an excellent chocolate cake nonetheless. It would be amazing with a gooey fondant centre or made into a round version with layers, or cupcakes.

The Vegan Society Brownies
The Vegan Society Brownies

So the verdict:

  1. Cakiness: 10
  2. Gooiness:4
  3. Crispy top: 4
  4. Chocolateyness: 8
  5. Sweetness: 8
  6. Ease of making: 7.5
  7. Ingredient complexity: 8
  8. Overall taste: 8

In summary taste is great, cake is great, gooey brownie not so much.

Why not try the best recipe I’ve found so far: A slightly modified recipe originally by Kris Holechek.

Annette

Cat approved recipe
Cat approved recipe

 

 

 

Spicy Chilli Bread Garlic Bread

Spicy Chilli Bread Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is a great way to use up dry and/or stale bread. As a result I find home-made garlic bread often turns out a bit dry but that’s because I don’t add enough fat to prevent it drying out in the oven. This time however I clarted it on (Aberdonian for ‘putting on plenty’)¬†to make this¬†spicy chilli bread garlic bread so good!

To the margarine (probably about 70g) I added a good large handful of finely chopped basil and curly parsley, a big squidge of garlic puree, 3 finely chopped garlic cloves and about 1/4 tsp of garlic powder. Mix this up really well in a bowl. This makes enough to cover one of those 10-inch-ish long squat loaves that you get.

Then take spicy chilli bread, or whatever you fancy of course, but the chilli really goes well with the garlic. I think it’s what takes this to the next level! I used bought bread but you can of course make your own.

Clart (cover) thinly sliced pieces on one side with plain margarine to stop it drying out. Turn over and put an even better covering of the garlicky herby butter.

Place on a wire rack over a baking tray Рa grill pan would probably be fine. This is to prevent it going soggy on the underside. Put in a not-too-hot oven (fan around 160oC) for about 15 mins but keep an eye on it for any burning.

Cooked garlic bread on roasting tray wire rack
Cooked garlic bread on roasting tray wire rack

Once you have the perfect balance between crispy outside and slightly soft centre, whip them out. Eat hot where possible!

Spicy Chilli Bread Garlic Bread
Spicy Chilli Bread Garlic Bread

These are so good! I hope that you¬†enjoy too. There’s even enough for another day too. Spread the bread and keep covered in the fridge ready for putting straight in the oven.

 

Blueberry and Almond Crumble Cupcakes

One thing that we learnt shortly after moving into our new hoose was that the OH, as a meat-eater, is now outnumbered. Our nearest neighbours are both vegetarians and the others are vegan and vegan-most-of-the-time-but-possibly-has-a-bit-of-meat-occasionally. How novel it is to move into a place where it’s the norm! Maybe it says a little something about the place we have moved to….AMAZING!

Anyway, what better way to introduce ourselves to the neighbours than to take round some Blueberry and Almond Crumble vegan cakes! This time I tried them before giving, just in case….

Blueberries
Blueberries

This second bake in the new oven was, again from Ms Cupcake – read “I have no internet and can’t find any other cookbooks.” These were actually pretty amazing as they were really cakey and light, had a hint of that richness that is difficult to replace without using eggs, and tasted great! I will definitely use this recipe again and probably modify it for some other tasty ideas. After the Victoria Sponge recipe from this¬†book didn’t turn out that well,¬†I was a little apprehensive about this one but I thought¬†it would actually¬†make a much better Victoria sponge.

Ingredients for Blueberry and Almond Crumble Cupcakes
Ingredients for Blueberry and Almond Crumble Cupcakes

The only thing I didn’t quite negotiate was that the recipe in the book is huge – it made a large set in the normal 12x muffin tray and a whole other tray of 12 silicone cases! It could easily be halved. I would also add more blueberries too than the stipulated amount.

The cumble on top is a lovely idea and one I would take forward to other recipes. I’m thinking perhaps adding some cinnamon and making apple and cinnamon crumble muffins or maybe raspberry….mmmm. It feels great having a go-to cake recipe.

Vegan Blueberry and Almond Crumble Cupcakes
Vegan Blueberry and Almond Crumble Cupcakes

Until I modify it, I won’t post the recipe here as that’s kinda plagiarising so you’ll have to wait for a new MDM version of this one. If you can’t wait, it’s in their book, here.

Annette

 

 

 

 

 

MDM’s Recipe – Vegan Prune and Almond Brownies

Vegan almond and prune brownies

After last weeks Vegan Cherry and Almond Brownies¬†¬†I had an urge to have another go at something a little bit different and for some reason I thought that prunes would be a great idea. I wouldn’t say that I was wrong but nor was I right either.

These were slightly better overall I would say than the BBC Good Food¬†version above, mainly with vast improvements being made in the not-so-crumbly category but they didn’t quite have the depth of flavour I was hoping for.

So here’s my¬†recipe.


MDM’s Prune and Almond Brownies

2 tbsp chia seeds

8 tbsp water

2 tbsp soya milk

2 tsp hemp powder

 

80g vegan margarine such as Vitalite

120g dark chocolate

75g soft brown sugar

75g caster sugar

70g ground almonds

40g cocoa powder

120g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

100g chopped dried prunes

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Vegan prune and almond brownie mixture – it’s quite thick
  1. Switch fan oven onto 150¬įC fan and line and grease a 10×8″ baking tray.
  2. Mix the chia seeds, water, soya milk and hemp powder to make an MDM vegan egg. Mix up well and allow to sit for a few minutes.
  3. In a large saucepan melt the chocolate and margarine and allow to cool a little.
  4. Add the sugar into this and stir well. Add the MDM egg and mix well.
  5. Add the flour, almonds, cocoa powder and baking powder and mix. Stir in the chopped prunes.
  6. Put in the tray, levelling the surface and cook in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out almost, but not quite clean.
  7. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then cut into pieces. Allow to cool in the tray.
  8. Eat. Or eat when they are cool enough to put in your mouth.

Vegan prune and almond brownies
Vegan prune and almond brownies

I’m not a great fan of raisins especially in cooking and the prunes tasted a little too close to raisins for comfort. These were quite good in consistency but lacked a little gooiness and the crispy top. Dropping the sugar helped a lot from the previous ones I made. These have actually made me go back and downgrade the last ones.

These were definitely missing something. I think it could be that eggy richness. Time to get my thinking cap on as to what I could use to replace that.

Here’s the verdict:

  1. Cakiness: 8
  2. Gooiness:7.5
  3. Crispy top: 6.5
  4. Chocolateyness: 8
  5. Sweetness: 8
  6. Ease of making: 8
  7. Ingredient complexity: 6.5
  8. Overall taste: 7.5

A Healthy Shade of Beige and Sage

The different shapes and sizes of Sage leaves

Beige or even yellowy-orange. That colour of food that screams processed, deep fried, mass produced. Well I made a ‘beige’ supper the other day that is probably the healthiest beige thing I’ve eaten in a while, apart from possibly, the deep fried sage…

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Squash, orange, carrot and pea cous cous with Spicy Bean Burgers, Romaine lettuce and deep-fried sage leaves

To the cous cous I added roasted butternut squash, grated carrot, peas, tomatoes and fresh pieces of orange along with some of the oil I used to fry the sage, salt and pepper.

Well, the deep fried sage leaves may not have been so healthy. I had them at a restaurant once and i thought they were great. Therefore I thought I would have a go at making my own.

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Sage leaves
Deep frying Sage leaves
Deep frying Sage leaves

You only need to fry then for about 5 seconds – and that was too much! All mine seemed to come out burnt!

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Deep-fried sage leaves

Still, they add an interesting bit of decoration to a plate. I may try them again but only pretty much dip them in and out of the hot oil. That should help keep their colour too. It’s always fun to experiment otherwise you won’t discover anything new!

Annette

 

Vegan Cherry and Almond Brownies by Good Food Magazine

BBC good food vegan cherry and almond brownies

It’s been a couple of weeks since I made my last brownie recipe for my quest. Today’s recipe is brought to you by BBC good food in the form of these ‘Vegan Cherry and Almond Brownies.’ I thought I would stray temporarily from the traditional and try this recipe to see what it could offer.

I used a slightly larger tray than specified in the recipe so these turned out a little thinner than usual although were still thick enough. Just drop the cooking time a little if you use a larger tray.¬†I also didn’t have golden caster sugar so used 50/50 caster and light brown instead.

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Brownie mixture before going into the oven
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The finished BBC good food brownie

 

 

We found these really crumbly. Looking at the photo on the good food website they looked a lot more solid so not sure why there is such a big difference. They were also pretty sweet which dominated the chocolate flavour¬†but texture was almost spot on. The cherries didn’t really add anything though.

  1. Cakiness: 7.5 (but far too crumbly, could be the almonds perhaps?)
  2. Gooiness: 8
  3. Crispy top: 9
  4. Chocolateyness: 7
  5. Sweetness: 7
  6. Ease of making: 8
  7. Ingredient complexity: 8
  8. Overall taste: 7.5

To make them better I think omitting the cherries and reducing the sugar will prove beneficial. However the crumbliness is a major problem! Other commenters on the website seem to have noted this too so it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I wouldn’t say that they are overcooked as the texture itself was pretty good which was probably helped by the almonds. Dropping the amount of¬†these may help.

Vegan Victoria Sponge – Another Challenge?

Another staple of the ‘normal’ cake baking world which indulges in eggs and dairy is the classic ‘Victoria Sponge.’ Whereas I have my challenge for ‘The Perfect Vegan Brownie’ I have not embarked on such a one for this classic.

I may have to though because the recipe I used the other day was OK, but I wouldn’t feel happy serving it up to any guests. Though as I speak several runners maybe indulging in the left overs….

It tasted…..different. Not bad but not great either. It needs work so therefore I may embark on another challenge of ‘The Perfect Vegan-toria Sponge…..’

This one was a recipe from Ms Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town.

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Vegan victoria sponge cake with strawberry jam and coconut icing
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A slice of vegan victoria sponge cake
Close up of the inside of a vegan victoria sponge cake
Close up of the inside of a vegan victoria sponge cake

I was definitely impressed with how light and cake-like it was but it didn’t really taste like victoria sponge. It just tasted like a slightly weird cake. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t bad I just think there is room for improvement. It needs something to replace the richness of the eggs and I’m not sure what that is yet…

 

Cocoa Tea – Chocolately, Healthy Warming Goodness!

If you haven’t tried cocoa tea, then now is a good time to start. I tried a wee sneaky bag at a friends house and it was so good I went and bought a tub as a special treat to myself (my OH¬†just got his new job so it was deserved, for him, honest…..!) Anyways. This stuff is from Hotel Chocolat and it’s so good, and completely vegan too unlike a lot of their other oh-so-tasty chocolates. As I have hinted at, it isn’t cheap, working out at ¬£10 for 18 tea bags. Enjoyed in moderation though it is worth it. The smell when you open the tub is almost worth it alone anyway….

It’s a bit like ‘watery hot chocolate tea’ if that’s how I would be asked to describe it. I’m perhaps not completely selling it there but hopefully you get the idea. Sometimes hot chocolate can be really sweet and sometimes you want that chocolate hit without the calories. Well, your prayers have been answered. OK, I’d be lying if a bar of delicious chocolate wasn’t better….but it’s a step in the right direction at least.

All in all I really like it.

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Chocolate Tea
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Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Infusion Tea with Vegan Brownie

Add in my favourite vegan chocolate brownie recipe so far: Kris Holechek’s (modifed)¬†Ultimate Brownies¬†and you’re sorted. The one in the photo is from The Minimalist Baker.

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Vegan brownie from The Minimalist Baker

Featured flower today is Clematis ‘Marjorie.’ She is very beautiful and absolutely covered in these wonderful double blooms with a cream centre and pink edges around June time. Most pictures I have seen don’t do her justice.

Laters,

Annette x

Extra Refreshing Water

Infused water idea

So I saw this idea of Infused Water on another blog I follow: The Homemaker’s Life

Never really thought of trying it before but now I’m hooked!

Here’s my version with lemon, mint and a pinch of ginger. I have since gone on to add apple (adding lemon helps prevent it browning), raspberries, wild strawberries, plums….what am I going to add next?

Orange I think ūüôā

Lemon, ginger and mint infused water
Lemon, ginger and mint infused water

I find it best after leaving in the fridge overnight. Also once I’ve drunk them I refill them a couple of times, and then you can eat the fruit afterwards too – no waste!

Finally I’ll end with this wonderful pompom Dahlia I have flowering at the moment. Unfortunately I can’t remember the variety.

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Simply Spiffing Semolina with Chocolate Cream

Semolina with dates, apricots, flaxseeds, cacao nibs and chocolate and almond sauce

This is a really great, easy breakfast idea. If the mixture turns out too thick, add some more milk. Too thin and add some more semolina.

Almond, Chocolate and Oat Cream

  • 40g dark melted chocolate
  • 100g almonds
  • 40g oats
  • 1 tsp hemp powder (or other preferred protein powder)
  • ¬ĺ cup milk
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until almost smooth.
  2. Leave for 5 minutes for oats to absorb liquid and thicken.
  3. Keep in fridge until needed. It will thicken more in time.

Semolina

  • 2 tbsp semolina
  • 1 cup milk
  • Brown sugar or other preferred sweetener
  1. Add milk to semolina and mix until smooth.
  2. Put in 30 second bursts in the microwave and stir after each time.
  3. It is ready once it has thickened.
  4. Add your chosen sweetener to sweeten as desired.
  5. Add a big dollop of Almond, Chocolate and Oat Cream and/or any other toppings you would like. Here’s some ideas:

 

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Semolina with chocolate sauce
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Semolina with cranberry powder mixed in and fruit
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Semolina with banana, linseeds and berries

 

Looking for other breakfast suggestions? You could try ‚ÄėOvernight Porridge.‚Äô

 

 

Crispy Kale – an Easy, Tasty Veg

We quite often have crispy kale for supper. It’s easy to make, tastes great and is pretty healthy.

All you need to do is empty a packet of kale into a large oven tray. Next drizzle over a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and some salt. Then massage it all in with your hands until everything is well covered.

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Crispy kale before it goes in the oven

Put in an oven at about 150¬įC fan for 6 minutes, then mix around. Return to the oven for 4 minutes and stir again. After a final 3-4 minutes remove from the oven. You can easily put it in a hotter oven, you will just need to stir it around more frequently to prevent burning.

This is best eaten fresh as it tends to go a bit soggy if kept. However I do sometimes keep it in the fridge to add to salads.

Et voila.

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Crispy kale – so easy to make

 

It’s Brownie Day! Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan and gluten free Black Bean Brownies

 

As I continue on my quest for the perfect vegan brownie today is the turn of the infamous black bean brownie. I’ve heard good things about them and have had the recipe in my mind’s eye for a little whiley. Apparently you’re not supposed to tell anyone what’s in them before they try one….

Bowl of black beans
A tasty bowl of black or turtle beans for making vegan black bean brownies

Last night I cooked the black or turtle beans (you could use them from a tin) which, wonderfully, don’t need soaking although do need cooking for over 1hr. Still I had some for my tea as well to make the cooking more worthwhile. They are tasty if you haven’t tried them before.

There are various recipes around. I decided to start with one from The Minimalist Baker but ended up modifying it as I went along, so here’s my recipe.

BTW: keep updated with my cooking and floriforous exploits on Instagram: @raffanous


Vegan Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 8 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp hemp powder
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2/3¬†cup cocoa powder
  • large pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar granules/crystals
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp soya milk
  1. Put fan oven on at 160¬įC and grease and line an 8″x10″ baking tray.
  2. Add water and hemp powder to chia seeds and mix well with a spoon, whipping it up a little as you go. I thought that adding the protein powder should make it more representative of an egg! Put aside.
  3. Put sugar into food processor and blitz for a minute or two.
  4. Add all the other ingredients and blitz away for a good few minutes until as smooth as you would like it. Mixture should be fairly lax – use more soya milk if required.
  5. Spread into tray.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out almost but not quite, clean.
  7. Cut into squares while still in the tray and allow to cool a little. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Black bean brownie
The finished article – cooked vegan black bean brownie

These are completely moreish and not at all sickly which some brownies can be. There is a taste of the black beans but it goes really well with the chocolate. The texture of these is really good and there is even a crispy crust. I’d rate these pretty highly. There is a little something missing but only just. These are great if you like a fudgy brownie.

Next time I make them, and I think I will make them again, I’m going to use ‘normal’ white sugar and up the quantity of it a bit just to make them a touch sweeter. I also might¬†perhaps try them with some nuts. I think they might work well with a few oats or something like that and some chocolate chips.

Vegan and gluten free brownies
Vegan and gluten free brownies

Definitely a recipe to work on for the perfect vegan brownie.

  1. Cakiness: 6
  2. Gooiness: 9
  3. Crispy top: 7.5 (not a sugar crisp top but a chia crisp top!)
  4. Chocolateyness: 8 (it was a deep, dark, verging on bitter, chocolate flavour)
  5. Sweetness: 8
  6. Ease of making: 9 (assuming you have the black beans ready to go, 6 if not)
  7. Ingredient complexity: 7
  8. Overall taste: 8.5 (different, but good different)

 

Here’s a quick reminder of the other vegan brownies I’ve investigated so far:

I’ll leave you with a co-ordinating pic of my lily ‘James Brydon’ which is flowering away at the moment.

Pink water lily (Nymphaea 'James Brydon')
Pink water lily (Nymphaea ‘James Brydon’)

Enjoy!

Gluten-free and Vegan Rhubarb Crumble

Vegan, Gluten Free Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb crumble made with rhubarb fresh from the garden is one of the best puddings of spring. I don’t think I’ve ever followed a recipe to make crumble, but it has always tasted nice. Here’s my recipe for a vegan and gluten-free option.

Adding a little orange or lemon zest to the crumble adds great flavour. This makes a generous couple of portions in a small glass bowl.


Gluten Free and Vegan Rhubarb Crumble Recipe

  • 40g gluten-free oats
  • 20g ground almonds
  • 40g ground rice
  • 40g soft brown sugar
  • 30g dairy-free margarine such as Vitalite or Pure
  • grated zest of a small lemon or orange
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 3 sticks rhubarb and a little sugar to sweeten

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  1. Heat oven to 170oC fan. Chop up the rhubarb into around 1cm pieces and put in a small glass or ceramic dish.
  2. Add a little sugar to sweeten. About a teaspoon is OK. I generally won’t add any with the sweeter forced or early season rhubarb (Apr/May) but add a little with rhubarb from later in the season (May/June).
  3. Combine the oats, almonds, ground rice, sugar, margarine, zest and spice in a bowl until a rough crumble is formed.
  4. Put crumble mixture on top of the rhubarb. Put in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the rhubarb is cooked. Put foil on top if the crumble browns too much.

I must admit, I don’t usually follow the same recipe twice when I make crumble. I’ll generally see what flours I have in the cupboard and make something up.

Any fruit is great too – plums, tinned peaches, apples, tinned cherries…

Hope you enjoy.

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Finished Gluten-Free Rhubarb Crumble

 

 

Super Healthy Rice and Vegetable Rolls (Vegan)

Vegan rice paper, vegetable and herb rolls

Japanese-style food is always super tasty and usually super healthy too! These raw vegetable and herb rice paper rolls are no exception.

Last night I dug out some dry rice paper pancakes we had had for a while but had been waiting until I had loads of fresh herbs from the garden to incorporate in them. The great thing about these though is that you can pretty much add whatever you want. There is absolutely minimal cooking – all that’s needed is some hand hot water to soak the rice sheets in. There is time required slicing all the veg and rolling up the rolls but they are so satisfying that it’s all worth it.


Recipe for Super Healthy Rice and Vegetable Rolls

  • Rice paper sheets (available in Chinese supermarkets)
  • A selection of chopped fresh herbs – mint, basil and/or parsley are perfect
  • A selection of very thinly sliced vegetables – carrots, mini sweetcorn, pak choi, peppers, asparagus, cucumber, radish and/or celery are all great
  • Soy sauce and/or wasabi or maybe some chilli sauce?!
  • A large bowl of hand hot water
Rice pancakes and herbs
Rice paper sheets and fresh herbs
Thinly sliced vegetable platter
Check out this awesome platter of sliced vegetables!
  1. Place one sheet at a time for about 15 seconds into the hot water.
  2. You will notice that the paper collapses as it softens and becomes translucent. Try not to fold it if possible – you can peel them apart but they might rip (I’ve made a bit of a mess of this one as I was taking a picture). After the first you’ll be fine! Using two hands helps.

  3. Flatten out on a board and put your desired veg and herbs towards one side.

    Add your chosen vegetables to your spring roll
    How to make a rice paper and vegetable roll
  4. Start rolling so that the paper tucks in all the veg in a tight sausage. After the first roll tuck in the ends and then roll everything together to the end. The rice paper sticks to itself pretty well.
  5. Then eventually you’ll have lots of translucent-looking vegetable slugs!

    Finished rice pancake rolls
    Lots of translucent vegetable rice rolls ready to cut and then eat!
  6. To get a professional looking finish, slice them in half at an angle. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi.

 

Rice and vegetable rolls
Delicious rice rolls with raw vegetables and herbs
Soy sauce and rice pancakes
Perfect dinner to impress and so easy to make!

These are so easy to make. You could make them in advance but don’t keep¬†them touching¬†each other as they will stick to one another! They make a great idea for a meal starter or as part of a main meal. They are so colourful and healthy. My Super Speedy Sushi¬†would go so well with these. Why not get some friends round to celebrate and have a Japanese evening?

Hope you enjoy x

Annette

Vegan Brownies – The Minimalist Baker

So, today’s brownies on my quest¬†are brought to you by The Minimalist Baker¬†and a Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonic. They have simple ingredients, are easy to make and taste satisfyingly good…..separately that is ūüėõ

I decided to make one large tray bake rather than individual cakes as on the recipe as linked¬†above. Therefore I doubled the recipe to fill¬†a 7×11″ tray, though I did end up cooking it for a similar time, just a couple of minutes longer.

Technically, I will admit, these weren’t entirely vegan as I had didn’t have enough Vitalite left to make the full double recipe. This meant I had to supplement this margarine with 1/4 cup of Stork which¬†I’m trying to use up (it has a little buttermilk in it). I would probably have used oil but as I said I don’t want it to go to waste.

The mixture was a a lot¬†thicker than I’m used to having and it did seem quite oily at this stage. I added 1/3 cup of roasted, chopped, mixed nuts and 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips. I like to roast nuts before I use them in baking as it seems to release so much more flavour and aromatics.

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As for the taste of these babies, they are completely different from the other ones I’ve made. These have a much darker intense flavour which I really like but the consistency is not quite right. They are too crumbly and dare I say it, not sweet enough, although very only just. The mixture was thick and I suspect that there are too much flax seeds in this recipe to be more¬†fudgy. Using oil rather than margarine may also help in reducing the crumblyness. I don’t want to say I don’t like them as they have a depth of flavour which is not in the others which is worth giving strong credit. These would be good for someone who doesn’t like sweet brownies and prefers a crumblier, cakier option. However I personally won’t be making the recipe again as it is but I will be taking the depth of flavour on board.

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So for the final voting:

  1. Cakiness: 8
  2. Gooiness: 5
  3. Crispy top: 6 (the same as you would get on a sponge)
  4. Chocolateyness: 9 (it was a deep, dark chocolate flavour)
  5. Sweetness: 6
  6. Ease of making: 9
  7. Ingredient complexity: 8
  8. Overall taste: 7.5 (depth of flavour was great but they were too crumbly)

What recipe should I try next?

Annette x

 

 

Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes

…with Chocolate Avocado Frosting…

This was the first vegan¬†cupcake recipe I made from Ms Cupcake: The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town.¬†I did make the cocoa brownies earlier which you can read all about here. This is one of my go to recipe books at the mo and I’m having fun working through them all.

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Excellent Vegan Cupcake Book ūüôā

I made the cupcakes as per the recipe and they were sooo good. They were really light and fluffy and chocolatey and peanutty. They weren’t heavy or stodgy at all.


The icing on the other hand, I decided I wanted to try and make chocolate avocado icing. Here’s the recipe I ‘developed’ for that, roughly.

Chocolate Avocado Frosting

  • 85g avocado (half a medium one)
  • 40g vegan margarine
  • 100g chocolate
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g icing sugar plus extra if too liquid
  • dairy free milk (I used soya) to make more runny if neccessary
  1. Melt chocolate over bain marie and cool a little before using.
  2. Mush up avocado.
  3. Add milk to cocoa powder in a small bowl.
  4. Combine everything together including margarine and icing sugar. Mix until smooth and add milk as required. Add more icing sugar if it’s too runny.

TBH I followed a recipe from elsewhere but it ended up too runny and I made too much icing¬†because of that. If you only have half the above ingredients I think you will still have plenty for 12 cakes. The above should work if you fancy trying to make “Chocolate Avocado Frosting.”

However I wasn’t overly fond of this icing. Others have said it tastes great but to me it tastes quite a lot like chocolate icing and avocados….I’m not going to do it again. It was edible, there was just a strong after taste of avocado!


I did have an oopsy moment when I was ‘supposed’ to put the peanut butter under the icing but forgot so instead I dabbed a line across the centre of the cakes. Then I took a cocktail stick and drew it across the cake each time going in the opposite direction to the last to make a zig zag effect. I thought they turned out alright for a random cake decoration idea! You could also try this effect with some white icing.

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How to make a zig-zag pattern.

 

They went down pretty well with my ‘guinea pigs’ though I won’t be presenting avocado icing any time soon.

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Vegan Cupcake with Chocolate Avocado Frosting

Laters, Annette

Vegan Brownies from ‘Ms Cupcake’

I’m feeling lost now that I haven’t blogged¬†in a week! The reason being I’ve been head first into my literature review first draft. However I was so excited to get the book:¬†Ms Cupcakes – The Naughtiest Cakes in Town¬†that I took an hour this afternoon to try my first recipe from it –¬†the brownies.

I wasn’t intending to include any cocoa powder based recipes in my Quest for the Perfect Vegan Brownie¬†but this one is an exception (and there may be more). I must admit, I wasn’t sure that it can be a proper brownie if it doesn’t have ‘proper chocolate.’ So I’m including this with caution.

You’ll have to buy the book for the recipe ūüėČ but for me its worth it (the other recipes look yum) because this is a deliciously light chocolate cake with a nice hint of fudginess . And yes I would call it that. I would call it a really great tray cake rather than a brownie.

 

I’m definitely going to make it again as a cake or muffins with creamy chocolate frosting with nuts, or maybe some crystallized orange peel and cinnamon icing and for that¬†purpose I think it would be awesome. It’s such a light mixture for being vegan. I’m really looking forwards to trying other recipes in the book. And I may also try it again if I don’t have any chocolate around, which, is rare. I guess in the interests of repeatability one should try it again! If you’re more cake-brownie inclined then it’s a good one for you. For the chocolate-fudgy-indulgence-brownie you will need to look elsewhere, like here.

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Ms Cupcakes’ brownies – pretty moist
20160612_183518_Richtone(HDR)
Top down view – I love the chocolate chips on top.

Here’s the important bit:

  1. Cakiness: 9
  2. Gooiness: 6
  3. Crispy top: 6 (the same as you would get on a sponge)
  4. Chocolateyness: 5 (the chips on top helped though)
  5. Sweetness: 8 (despite a whole heap of sugar, these were pretty spot on)
  6. Ease of making: 9 (no melting of chocolate required!)
  7. Ingredient complexity: 8
  8. Overall taste:¬†7.5 (taste was pretty good, just weren’t quite brownies)

 

Interested in the others I’ve made so far for comparison? Click on these links!

 

Just thought I’d end with one of the hazards of photographing with someone who hasn’t had their supper yet….

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Baking + Cat = Cat – Baking

Got a recipe to suggest – let me know!

Annette

Let’s make and discover: Almond Milk

Is there a difference between ground, flaked and whole almonds when making almond milk?

I started hearing through various sources how great making your own almond milk is. I do like almond milk for a change, although I do largely prefer to stick to unsweetened soya.

Now I wasn’t really sure which type of almonds to use for making milk. Most recipes seem to use whole skinned almonds but I find the skins of these to be a little bitter. What better test therefore to try a few different forms of almonds and have a go at making some milk!

Here’s what I bought, all from Lidl for compatibility. Prices are very similar really. I suspect whole almonds at least could be got for a lot less elsewhere.

20160603_174727_Richtone(HDR)
Ground, flaked and whole almonds

The first stage is to soak them overnight or 24 hrs. I used 1/3 cup so that I wouldn’t end up with heaps of milk. You can rinse them if you like. Cover in water and leave to one side.

 

The next morning is when the fun starts. The almonds should have plumped up really nicely.

 

Next give them a really good rinse under the tap. You’ll need to wash the ground almonds through a cheese or muslin cloth placed on a sieve – this is obviously an extra step here for this one. I find this set-up works well. Some people like to use a Nut Bag.

 

Next get out your blender of choice. The almonds are quite soft so there wasn’t too much worry about damaging the blades. If you don’t soak the almonds then it may be an issue for dodgy blenders! Add the almonds and blend. Start with a small amount of water. I added 1 cup¬†to my 1/3 cup almonds¬†and it resulted in a far too watery a milk. I would recommend starting with equal quantity almonds to water and work your way up.

 

After blending I gave them a taste. You can clearly taste the skins at this stage and there were quite a few lumpy bits coming out with the whole almonds despite blending it for longer. The ground and flaked almonds were identical. Now you could just use them at this stage. But I decided to filter them for a smoother milk.

20160604_092358
Filtrate

Use the same set-up as before with the ground almonds except that this time you want to keep the milk. Give the cloth a really good squeeze once everything has gone through to get out all the last juices. You’ll be left with an almond cake which I found a bit tasteless but I’ll find something to do with it.

 

So this is what I was left with at the end. The amounts of left over almond bits were about the same in each case. I tasted the different milks¬†again at this stage and they all tasted the same. So I mixed them all together and decided to heat them up to pasteurise them to make it last a little longer……

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I did this a little wrong as I boiled the milk – do not do this as it will split!! I’ve done this so you don’t have to ūüėČ I was thinking at the time that it only needs to go to 70oC or something but continued to boil it anyway! Still tastes alright though.

To be honest I need to work on the ratios a little. I found this far too watery but at least I can say that the ground, flaked and whole almonds all pretty much tasted the same after filtering! It seems to remove the bitter skins from the whole almonds if you aren’t so fond of them.

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Have you tried making your own nut milk?

Annette X