Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Lyndhurst Teahouse

You may have noticed that I was a bit quiet last week, well that's because I was off becoming a graduate (woooo). As it was the official end of my time at uni, my boyfriend and I decided to go on our last (well maybe not last) New Forest adventure, which of course had to be accompanied by a cream tea.

This is me being a graduate/vampire/superhero
We started off with a walk around the forest (I'm not exactly sure whereabouts) where we found loads of weird mushrooms. If you've read this blog before you'll know that I HATE mushrooms, but there were so many exciting ones, it kind of made me want to like them and become some sort of mushroom picking expert.

Anyway, to the actual point of this post, if you are going on some kind of mushroom forest adventure, or chasing wild ponies, or visiting an otter and owl sanctuary (Yes all these amazing things can be done in the New Forest). I recommend you stop in Lyndhurst and try The Lyndhurst Tea House. They do absolutely amazing cream teas and also have a wide range of savoury vegetarian dishes. Because I'm extremely greedy I had lunch followed by a cream tea (much to my boyfriends despair) and it was so worth it, even if I did have to take my shorts off for the drive home because they no longer fit. I can't really remember the menu, but there was definitely quite a few veggie options. The traditional welsh rarebit really stuck out to me as it combined pretty much all of my favorite things, cheese, ale and mustard. For something so simple it really packed a punch, the ale and mustard were perfect and the chutney made my taste buds very happy. 

There are a few different versions of the cream tea and again I can't remember them all but there was the standard traditional one with scones and cream, a savoury one with cheese scones and chutney and the ramblers which is a slice of cake, a scone with clotted cream and jam and tea. Obviously I went for the ramblers. Cake and a scone. Heaven. You even get to choose your cake! I went for toffee apple which was delicious, as was the warm homemade scone. 

It was the perfect end to my uni experience and I'm sure I'll be back in the new forest soon to visit one of my favourite gingers and have more foodie fun. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Christmas Cake

I was debating whether to update you on my first ever Christmas cake or not, because I thought this would probably be a pretty boring post, but then I thought what the hell. So here you go!

hehe boobies! 
Just out of the oven
I've still been baking along with The Pink Whisk and this was the first recipe I have ever followed letter to letter as after 6 weeks of soaking my fruit I really didn't want to mess it up! I have to admit it was the most technical baking I've ever done, but I think the result will be worth it. I made it about 3 weeks ago and have been lovingly feeding it brandy every few days. The only bad thing about this cake is that I want to eat it so bad and still have to wait a whole month.

half way through Brandy feeding
Hopefully the decorating goes well and I'll let you know how it tastes on Christmas day (provided I am not in a food coma).

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

S'more Brownies

Mike is the best friend a girl could have, he likes to bake, he likes to go vegetable picking and go to history museums and last week he drove me to the Northampton DVLA after I stupidly got my tax disk sent to my uni house where I no longer live (6 weeks ago)! He's always complaining that he never gets to try the stuff that I bake (which isn't true) so I thought I would bake something just for him to say thank you! I know he likes slutty brownies so I was hoping he'd also like these. I'd seen a few recipes on the internet but decided to come up with my own and hope it worked.... so here it is!

Just out of the oven (how much does it look like the one on the left has a smiley face!)
If the slutty brownie had a slutty sister this would be it! It has layers of 'graham crackers', melted chocolate and marshmallow. This was a complete experiment and I kept looking in the oven to check nothing had exploded, but luckily they turned out great. I have to admit this isn't the prettiest looking brownie (I am extremely messy with my cooking), but it sure tastes good and that's what really matters. I couldn't find graham crackers because I don't think they exist in England, so I think any wheat based biscuit will do :)

For loads you'll need:

115g dark chocolate (I used 85%)
225g butter
4 eggs
375g caster sugar
75g flour
50g cocoa powder
A pack of wheat based biscuits (I used morning coffee ones, digestives will do)
150g milk chocolate
10 vegetarian vanilla marshmallows
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a brownie tin with baking paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bain marie.
  3. While that stuff is melting away, whisk the eggs and sugar together until they treble in volume. 
  4. Sieve in the flour and cocoa powder, then add the melted butter/chocolate mix and mix together really well.
  5. Pour half of your batter in to the brownie tin, then line with the biscuits, the chocolate, then the marshmallows, then pour over the rest of the brownie batter. 
  6. Pop in to the oven for 40 minutes. 
  7. Remove from the oven, let them cool a little bit, then eat them warm!
  8. Enjoy!
P.s this post makes Mike seem like some kind of saint, I would like to point out that he is also a massive bully. 

P.p.s He also proof reads all my posts so if you find a mistake it is definitely his fault and not mine :)

P.p.p.s I'm also entering this in to The Pink Whisks November Challenge as it may be my new favourite tray bake recipe :)

Hotel Chocolat - The Classic Christmas Gift Basket

Like it or not Christmas fever is in full swing and I couldn't have felt more festive when this Christmas hamper from Hotel Chocolat popped through my door. 

Every year Hotel Chocolat bring out a magical Christmas range with exciting new flavours, so I was more than happy to try some of the new products they've created. This hamper is £35 and has a huge range of festive flavored chocolates, so it's perfect if you're buying for a family, a chocaholic or someone you really love! Inside the hamper you'll find cinnamon almonds, tiddly reindeer, orange nice spice puddles, chocolate mince pies (I was most excited by these!) and winter liquid chocolat. The whole hamper worked really well together with lot's of different Christmas flavours like cinnamon, orange and mixed spice. The best thing about these chocolates is that you know they're all vegetarian (everything is labeled) and the chocolate is sourced and made ethically (They even have their own cocoa plantation!). They also have some AMAZING vegan chocolates which I'll put in another post.

Cinnamon Almonds:

These are just perfect for christmas, they reminded me of getting hot caramlised nuts from christmas markets, but even better because they're covered in chocolate. They're wrapped in a 40% cocoa coating which makes them not too sweet but full of flavour. Be warned they are very addictive, mine disappeared very fast!

Tiddly Reindeer:

These cute little reindeer are just your standard 40% milk chocolate Christmas shapes, but they make a nice break from the spices in the other products. If you are buying this for a family, then these are the ones to give to the kids while the grown ups eat all the exciting chocolates.

Orange Nice Spice Puddles:

People are always so put off by chocolate and chili, but these are the perfect remedy for a cold wintery day. The main flavour that comes through is the orange with just a hint of warming spice. I slyly fed them to my boyfriend the other day and even he liked them (he doesn't like spice, fruit or strange flavours so thats saying something).

Winter Liquid Chocolat:

This has pretty much the same flavour notes as the orange nice spice puddles but in a delicious hot chocolate. I love the liquid chocolat range because it's made with 100% yummy chocolate, no weird powder here. It does take a little bit longer to make than conventional hot chocolate (and by that I mean about 5 minutes) but it is so worth it for the proper chocolate taste. Perfect after a long cold day!

Alternative Mince Pies:

I thought I'd save the best till last here! When I saw these on the website I got a bit over excited, but in all fairness they are praline and salted caramel chocolate mince pies (what's not to like there). They lived up to all my expectations, the salted caramel was smooth and topped with a lovely soft praline. Just right for a little christmas treat.

If you've decided that you want to buy someone this wonderful hamper you can buy it here!

And if you want to search for even more lovely chocolate gifts you can find them here!

P.s although I was sent this hamper it didn't affect my review! I heart Hotel Chocolat anyway :)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tikka Paneer

Ever since I tired the cubes of cheesy goodness that are paneer I've been addicted to the stuff. I have it every time I have an Indian meal (my favourite is saag paneer, but that's for another week). So I thought it was about time I tried making something with it myself. 

If you're veggie and you haven't tried paneer, you don't know what you're missing! I know chunks of cheese in a curry sounds kind of weird, but it's very mildly flavored and has an amazing squishy texture. This was actually pretty easy to make despite the long ingredients list, the only thing that really takes any time is the marinating. To prove this to you, I got home at 7 the other day and it was ready in time for me to watch Hollyoaks on E4+1 (30 minutes for non Hollyoaks watchers (with already marinated panner).

For 2 you'll need:

(for the marinade)
2 tsp grated ginger
1 clove of garlic
2 tsp chopped red chili
a few stalks of coriander
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp garam masala (I forgot to buy some so used madras which worked fine)
A pinch of paprika
200g paneer cut into bite sized chunks

(for the sauce)
1 onion sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 tin tomatoes
A pinch of turmeric
A pinch of dried coriander
A pinch of garam masala
2 tsp natural yoghurt

  1. Blitz the ginger, garlic, red chili, coriander, tomato paste, garam masala and paprika together in a food processor to make the marinade and the brush all over the paneer and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. 
  2. When the paneer is ready, heat some oil in a pan and cook the paneer on a medium heat for around 3 minutes, then chuck in the onion, peppers, turmeric, coriander and garam masala and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. The panner should be nice and golden. 
  3. Pour the tinned tomatoes over the paneer and then simmer for 15 minutes. 
  4. Take it off the heat and stir in the natural yoghurt, serve with fluffy white rice and enjoy! 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Sweet Vegan Marshmallows

I got my vegan marshmallows ages ago and totally forgot to review them on here! So here you go.
Perfect in hot chocolate! 
Before I got these, I hadn't eaten marshmallows since I'd turned veggie (a very long time ago) so they were welcomed into my diet with open arms. I got a try me box for eating and a box of plain vanilla for hot chocolate and baking. Obviously I can't really remember what non veggie marshmallows are like, but I'm going to put it out there and say that these are even better. They're so everything about them screams home made, from the unusual flavours to the perfect fluffy texture. I also put them to the BBQ test and can happily say that they toast just like I remember. As you can probably tell, I bloody LOVE these. If you have any veggie or vegan friends, get them a box for christmas. I promise they will love you forever (hint hint).

Go to www.sweetvegan.co.uk and try them for yourself!

Sweet Chili Tofu Wrap

After trying an amazing fried tofu and chili sandwich made by Emma vegan herself I decided to try my own version in wrap form. 

If I'm buying lunch out I always end up in a sandwich dilema, shop brought veggie sandwiches are usually heavily reliant on cheese or egg or something else super boring. My favourite sandwich used to be the Thin Lizzie from Fresh (smoked tofu, chilli jam, mixed & alfalfa sprouts and rocket) but they've stopped doing it in boots, I don't understand why because It is quite litrelly the best sandwich EVER. So this wrap  is my replacement until I discover how to smoke tofu like a pro, it turned out to be pretty tasty and kind of filled the hole that the thin lizzie left in my heart.

For 1 wrap you'll need:

80g firm tofu, drained and chopped into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp corn flour
Olive oil
A handful of mixed salad leaves
A handful of spinach
More sweet chili sauce for drizzling
  1. Make up a marinade by mixing together the sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and water in a shallow bowl. 
  2. Put the tofu in to the bowl and mix well so that it gets well coated in the marinade, then leave in the fridge for an hour or so. 
  3. After the tofu has marinated, heat some olive oil in a frying pan, coat the tofu pieces in corn flour and place them in the pan. 
  4. Keep turning the tofu so that all the sides get nice and browned.
  5. Once golden brown all over, remove the tofu from the pan and leave to cool on a bed of kitchen roll to remove the excess oil. 
  6. Then get your wrap out, put the salad and spinach in the middle and then top with the cooled tofu. 
  7. Drizzle with as much sweet chili sauce as you want, then roll it up like a burrito (with the bottom and top tucked in so it doesn't explode when you go to eat it) and enjoy! 
P.s If you're making these for work, school, uni etc you can make lots of tofu and store it in a air tight container to use another day

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Tofu Scramble (vegan breakfast of kings)

Lovely vegan Emma came to stay on Saturday after we went to a sandwich party (yes really) and I'd text her in the week saying I was going to cook her a vegan breakfast that would rock her socks off (well I may have used a different word that sounds a bit like sock, but my nan might be reading this and I don't want to get told off).

You may notice that some evil little mushrooms made it on to my plate,
well I was brave for Emma's sake as she loves them :) 
3 years ago I stayed at my friend Georgies house and she kindly made me scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast. While I was eating them I bit in to something a bit weird and made a face. Georgie then told me a story about how she had cracked an egg in to the pan once and a little dead chick came out. I haven't eaten eggs since. So, I'm more than happy to replace them with scrambled tofu and to be honest I think it tastes better.

Any way this is a food blog and I should be tempting you to eat things, not grossing you out with stories of mank eggs. Emma and I both make scrambled tofu in different ways so I'll post a mixture of our recipes together, but you can really make this your own, add what kind of spices and vegetables you like etc. 

For 2 you'll need:

1 tsp vegan margarine
200g firm tofu, drained
A pinch of turmeric 
A pinch of paprika
A good grinding of roasted garlic and mix herb (fancy herb grinder from ASDA)
Salt and pepper
A handful of spinach
Fried mushrooms and toast to serve
  1. Melt the butter on a low heat in a frying pan.
  2. Crumble the tofu into a bowl and mix in your various spices, then pour in to the pan.
  3. Turn the heat up and give it a good fry so that it starts to brown a little. 
  4. When it done, stir through the spinach and serve up with your mushrooms and toast.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Banoffee Pie

My boyfriend was supposed to look at my car this week and in return I said I'd make him his favourite desert, banoffee pie. 

He never looked at my car which is mainly my fault because I'm lazy and have a kind of don't fix it till it's broke attitude (which probably isn't the right attitude with a car but never mind), but I still had my heart set on making banoffee pie. This is the first time I've ever made it so I loosely based it on this recipe, and by that I mean I had it open on my iPhone and didn't really follow it at all, but it still turned out yummy. The only problem was that I didn't use one of those tins with the removable sides, resulting in two slices being thrown on the floor and trying to wrestle my dog away from a pie related death/stomach ache. Any way this is how we made it:

For a 24" pie you'll need:

250g hob nob type biscuits (I'm sure we didn't have 300g as Mike kept eating them and feeding them to my dog)
50g melted butter (there was only this much butter in my house)
1 tin of Carnation caramel stuff
2 bananas, sliced
350 ml double cream
1 tsp icing sugar
50g milk chocolate

  1. Put the biscuits in a food processor, blitz until they're all crushed and mix in the melted butter. Alternatively if you don't have/can't be bothered to find the food processor smash up in a plastic bowl with a rolling pin and mix in the melted butter. 
  2. Put the biscuit mixture into a round tin and press down so it's flat and even, then pop into a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. 
  3. Let it cool down then pour the caramel over and top with the sliced bananas.
  4. Add the icing sugar and double cream together in a bowl and whisk until nice and thick, then spread over the top of the bananas. 
  5. Grate the chocolate over the top of the pie, leave to cool in the fridge for an hour or so and enjoy! 

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