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.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Rick's Thai Butternut Squash Soup

It seems a whole season has passed since I last blogged. I wish I could give you an excuse other than that I'm lazy, but I am just lazy. To add to my laziness this isn't even my recipe, but it was too good not to share. I work with some awesome people and one is those awesome people is called Rick. As if he wasn't already awesome enough, he has started making us all soup! I missed the first batch of soup due to that bastard tonsillitis (I was devastated, as you can imagine), luckily he made it again the week after and I'm not joking when I say that it was the best soup I have ever had. It's spicy and warming and it just tastes bloody delicious. 

Serves 4 (in Hef/large portions)

For the red Thai curry paste:

2 red chillis
2 cloves of garlic
2 shallots roughly chopped
2 long red chilies
A thumb of ginger, peeled and chopped
The juice of 1/2 a lime
3 tsp light soy sauce
A handful of fresh coriander
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

For the soup:

1 large butternut squash
A glug of olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 stick of lemongrass halved and bashed
400ml vegetable stock
1 400ml can of coconut milk

  1. Start by peeling, deseeding and chopping your squash (worst job ever!) then pop it in to a baking tray, cover with a bit of olive oil, season and pop in to a preheated oven at 200 degrees for around 40 minutes. 
  2. While it's roasting away, chuck all of the ingredients for the curry paste in to a food processor, blitz until smooth then put to one side. 
  3. Half way through cooking the squash, soften the onion in a large saucepan with a little olive oil along with the ginger and lemongrass for around 5-8 minutes. 
  4. Then chuck in 3-4 tbsp your home made curry paste and cook for around 3 minutes to release the flavour. 
  5. Then pour in your vegetable stock and coconut milk and bring it to a light simmer, add the roasted squash and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. 
  6. Finally fish out the lemongrass pieces, blend and enjoy!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Saf, Kensington

It was vegan Emma's Birthday a few weeks ago, which is always great because it means I get to go and play with Vegan Emma for a while and it almost always involves good vegan food (like most of our play dates). This year we met up after my training day in London, then went to Saf in Kensington. Emma had a voucher so we could only choose a few things on the menu, but I found it hard to chose out of 3 items, so would have definitely struggled with the full menu. The restaurant is based in Kensington above a Wholefoods (I could spend days in this shop), we rushed there after both being stuck on the same train in different carriages! 

I chose the starter before I went otherwise we would have been there all day! Emma already knew which one I was going to go for, but really, how could I resist raw vegan cheese. The dish sounded amazing, Pesto au Poivre: basil pesto between layers of cashew cheese with a pink peppercorn crust, served with rocket salad, dehydrated raw flax seed crackers and drizzled with a balsamic glaze. It was one of those dishes that tasted as good as it sounded, lovely crunchy flax crackers, with salty cheese and a thick layer of pesto. This was definitely the best cheese substitute I've ever tried and to be honest I would rather eat it over dairy. 

Emma had Dolmades: vine leaves filled with cauliflower rice, pine nuts, cumin, lemon juice and dill served with a vegan yoghurt and cucumber dip. I'm a bit afraid of vine leaves, but tried one anyway for the sake of my blog (and because I couldn't resist). I can confirm that they were also delicious. 

For the main I went for the Asparagus Farinata: slow-roasted asparagus tips in a chickpea farinata crêpe served with lemon- tarragon aioli and house salad. I feel a bit sad with myself for choosing this one because although it was really yummy, Emma and I made something similar not too long ago and I feel like I should have ventured out and had the raw pad thai. This can only be a good thing though, as it means that I will have to go back to try it :)

I loved trying the raw dish at Saf and I'd definitely recommend it for a filling, nutritious meal, you can check out the website here. I had a lovely vegan Emma's birthday (I hope she did too) and we finished the evening off by visiting the roof top film club in Hoxton and watching the Big Lebowski :) 

Monday, 1 October 2012

Pulled 'Pork' Flatbread

I don't quite know where September went this year, but it seems to be over and that means that Vegan Mofo has started! I not only wanted to blog about vegan food, but also wanted to try to be vegan for the month. I'm sad to tell you that I have already failed. There's a lady (we call her biscuit lady) who always leaves us a packet of biscuits after she shops in Lush. Well, today she came in and left us chocolate biscuits and without even thinking I ate two. I am rubbish. So I decided I should make up for it by making an awesome vegan meal. 

I'd seen vegan pulled pork online and was intrigued by how realistic it looked and how good it sounded. So I popped to my local asian supermarket and brought some jackfruit, it then sat in my cupboard for well over a month until I decided to finally use it. It looks a bit weird, but after you've chopped the solid insidey bit off, it leaves you with a non flavoured stringy 'meat' which you can turn in to pulled pork! I chose the lazy mans route and used ready made BBQ marinade and seasoning, because I feel like being lazy today. It still turned out great, full of flavour and melt in the mouth. Both of my brothers even wanted to eat it which is saying something because they are both massive meat eaters.

Serves 2:

A glug of olive oil
1 small red onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 tsp BBQ seasoning
Around 500g canned jackfruit in water
250g vegan BBQ marinade
150ml water
2 flatbreads
  1. Start by preparing the jackfruit, remove from the can and cut the hard bits off from the inside of the chunks and discard. Then rinse the jackfruit in a sieve under some water and pull the chunks apart with your hands, drain well and leave to one side. 
  2. Heat the oil in a sauce pan, then add the onion and fry for around 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute, then tip in the jackfruit and the BBQ seasoning in and fry for another 5 minutes. 
  4. Add the BBQ marinade and water and simmer for around 30 minutes stirring occasionally until the jackfruit is lovely and soft. 
  5. When it's done, transfer the 'pork' on to your flatbread and fold up, serve it with wedges and vegan slaw (I wanted to make some but Morrisons had run out of carrots!) and enjoy!! 

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Gingerbread Popcorn

While I was trekking through the internet trying to find a good recipe for candy cane popcorn, I managed to stumble across another one for gingerbread popcorn and knew I was going to be making it as soon as possible. I've tried making actual gingerbread a few times and it always goes horribly wrong, so I was a bit worried about attempting this. Luckily it turned out perfectly, it's crunchy like toffee popcorn, but with a hint of gingerbready spice. I will definitely be making more for actual Christmas (not just the fake one that I appear to be having on my own at the moment). We based it on this recipe, but again changed a few bits and made it metric. 

Makes a lot of popcorn!

75g Popcorn kernels
110g butter
175g brown sugar
45g black treacle
45g golden syrup
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
A pinch of ground nutmeg
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

  1. Prepare 2 large baking trays by covering them in tin foil and spraying with cooking spray (I used good old fry light) and preheat the oven to 120 degrees. 
  2. Pop your popcorn according to the instructions on the packet and leave it in a really large bowl (you need loads of space for mixing, if you only have small bowls do it in batches)
  3. Then pop the treacle, golden syrup, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt in to a sauce pan and melt the mixture on a low heat until well combined. 
  4. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes, after 5 minutes remove from the heat and add the baking soda. The mixture will foam up a bit so make sure you stir it in well. 
  5. Pour the mixture over the popcorn in the bowl and mix it up really well, making sure it's well covered. 
  6. Spread the popcorn on to the baking trays and pop in to the oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes, when cooked, give it an extra stir then leave to cool completely. 
  7. Once cool break up any large chunks and enjoy! (If you don't eat it all straight away, it should last up to a week)

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Candy Cane Popcorn

I am so ridiculously excited about Christmas, it's not even funny! I know it's only September, but Christmas is in full swing for me! We've had Christmas training in my shop this week, which is one of the most magical times of the year. We sit around, in our jammies and Christmas jumpers and unveil the new christmas range. We also tell people to bring food that reminds them of Christmas, I took mulled cider last year (I know that's not technically food, but who doesn't love mulled cider).

So this year I wanted to bring something super christmasy, but a bit different to mince pies and Christmas cake. Then I remembered I'd seen candy cane popcorn on Pinterest (I have a serious addiction to that site). I love popcorn, I had an addiction to popcorn last year similar to the avocado one I went through this year and even asked Mr Hef just to get me a tone of gourmet popcorn kernels last Christmas (which is exactly what I got, I still haven't eaten them all!). So my kitchen assistant Mike made a long due appearance, we donned our floral aprons and based our popcorn on this recipe. I've tweaked it a bit to make it even yummier and easier for my metric brain to understand!

Candy Cane Popcorn

70g popcorn kernels 
200g candy canes
350g white chocolate
  1. Pop your kernels according to the directions and put to one side, then prepare a large greaseproof sheet to put your popcorn on when it's coated.
  2. Stick the candy canes in to a food processor and blitz until you have candy cane dust (this makes the scariest noise ever).
  3. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie, then add 2/3 of the candy cane dust and mix well. 
  4. Put your popcorn in a very large bowl (you need lots of space to mix) then pour the melted chocolate candy cane mixture over to popcorn and stir it really well until its evenly covered. 
  5. Spread the coated popcorn over the greaseproof paper and leave it to cool until completely set. 
  6. If you don't eat it straight away it will keep in an airtight container for about a week. 
We made gingerbread popcorn too! Post to follow soon :) 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green

I've eaten here 3 times now (I thought it was way more times, then realised that I had just ordered more than one meal on each occasion) and each time I never get around to blogging about it, probably because the food is so good and the portion sizes are so big, each visit puts me in to some kind of food induced coma. This time vegan Emma and I decided to be a bit more refined and only order one thing each. As I said I've tried a few things off of the menu, the halloumi wrap, a calzone with vegetables and jalapenos and of course the nachos (if you didn't already know, I love nachos).

This time I wanted to try something different, but as soon as I saw the menu I couldn't resist the nachos. Luckily vegan Emma is a genius and suggested we get two different things and share, so I went for the vegan nachos and emma went for the facon burger.  Both were incredible, the nachos are the best I've tried, covered in vegan sour cream, refried beans, fresh salsa and jalapenoes (there's also the option to have them with vegan cheese). And the burger, oh the burger, since discovering a new love for facon I was well up for trying it on top of a veggie burger. It didn't disappoint, I'm not even sure what the burger was made of, but it was vegan and super tasty!

I full on love this cafe, if it was closer I'd be in there all the time. The staff are always lovely and the chef even gave me a free flapjack because they'd run out of vegan cheese! So if you're in the area, give it a try!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Cinnamon Sugar, Banana and Mango Pancakes

This morning I made myself a plan, an actual written out plan of what I should do, because If I didn't I knew I'd just stay in bed watching TV on my laptop and not doing anything all day. My plan was to clean my house, go for a run and something else that I can't remember and quite clearly have not done. I went on a mad cleaning spree last night (who doesn't love falling asleep to the smell of bleach) and I actually got up and went for a run. So I decided I definitely deserved a treat, a pancake shaped treat. I had some amazing mango and cinnamon crepes at Lushfest that I've been craving ever since and vegan banana and oat pancakes keep popping up on Pinterest; so I decided to combine the two together in to some monstrous cinnamony, sugary, bananay, mangoy, oaty pancakes. They tasted so good and I feel like they might be a bit healthier than normal ones (am I kidding myself?) AND best of all, because of the cinnamon they smelled a little bit like CHRISTMAS (which is nearly here you know). I based it on this lovely recipe here, but made a few little changes.

Makes 6 fat pancakes

100g oats
80g whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
350ml Almond milk (vegan Emma's got me addicted)
2 ripe bananas
1 mango sliced in to nice little chunks
4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Stick all of the ingredients in to a blender (excluding the banana) and give it a good old blitz. 
  2. Use one of those cake spatular things to get the mix off to the sides, then add the banana and blend some more. 
  3. When it's all lovely and smooth, heat some oil in a frying pan and pour a ladle full in.
  4. Cook on one side until it starts to bubble, then flip it over and cook on the other side. 
  5. Stack them up and enjoy! They're good on they're own, but even better with maple syrup and berries.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Fausage Rolls

Do you ever forget things? Things like turning the lights off in your car, taking your money out of the cash point and baking things? Well I obviously do because all of these things have happened to me more than once. I totally forgot about these fake sausage rolls until I was scrolling through my phone pics in a recent moment of boredom/procrastination. You may think this means that they we'rent very nice, since the were so easily forgotten, they really were, I just have the worst memory in the world. I made them for my Nan and Granddads 50th wedding anniversary party, mainly so I could join in on some good old party food eating. I also made them a cake, but I don't really want to focus on that as once again Mike did most of the work while I bossed him around/sprayed everything in my surrounding area gold and threw icing in the bin in a fit of rage (icing cakes is hard).

Ever since I started my love affair with ASDA's Lincolnshire sausage mix, I've been thinking about all of the different ways I could use it. One of them had to be sausage rolls, I can't remember the last time I've eaten one! They are very, very easy, almost too easy, especially if you use pre made pastry. I decided to be a little bit more of a domestic godess and make some rough puff instead, but pre made would be just as good (and if you use jus roll it's vegan too!) The best thing about these (aside from the taste) was the delicious sagey smell coming from the oven. It took me right back to when my dad was teaching me how to make them years and years ago!

For around 20 you'll need;

1 large red onion finely chopped (I blitzed mine in a mini chopper)
1 tbsp Olive oil
4-5 leaves of fresh sage finely chopped
1 packet of ASDA Lincolnshire sausage mix
Salt and pepper
250g Just Roll Puff pastry or homemade rough puff
2 tbsp melted butter or vegan marge
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line 2 baking trays with grease proof paper.
  2. Gently heat the oil in a small frying pan, then add the onion and cook for around 20 minutes until soft. Make sure you heat them gently, no super frying!
  3. While they're cooking make the sausage mix according to the directions and leave to stand. 
  4. Once the onion is nice and soft add the sage and cook for a few more minutes, then add them to the sausage mixture and combine well. 
  5. Roll the pastry out in to a long thin strip, then spoon the sausage mixture on to the pastry towards the right side leaving space to seal it. 
  6. Once you have one long sausage running all the way along brush the right side with the melted butter or marge and then fold the left hand side of the pastry over the top. 
  7. Brush the remaining butter all over the top of the roll, then slice it in to sausage roll sized slices. 
  8. Place them on to the baking trays, giving them room to rise, then pop in to the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  9. When they're golden brown, you know they're done. Leave them to cool and then eat! Ta dah!
Here's the cake, (Mr Hef lit the sparklers wrong and ruined the whole party*) Happy Anniversary Nan and Granddad (50 years, that's mental, isn't it?)

*not really.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Vegan Chili Cheese Fries

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been away house sitting and before that visiting my uni roots in Southampton. If you keep up with my Facebook page (shamless plug there guys) you will have seen that I ate myself in to a near coma with takeaways, cake and nachos from Laura and homemade pizza and beer batter halloumi from Georgie. So upon my return I decided I should probably eat some vegetables and a bit less saturated fat. As I was housesitting, I thought there was no chance of bad food making it's way in to my fridge. Of course it did in the end and I ended up eating beer battered halloumi again (it's just too good) and profiteroles, but I started my week with good intentions!
Sorry for the non DSLR'd picture, I'm house sitting and forgot the charger!
I've already mentioned my love for chili cheese fries, I found them when I was on holiday in America about 9 years ago and I became a full on addict. This was just before I became vegetarian so they were meaty and available everywhere. I loved them so much I even scoured the airport and managed to find some to eat before I went home. I must have become a vegetarian soon after that holiday and decided I could easily vegetarianise them. So since I'm eating less dairy at the moment and was trying to be healthy, I decided to try and veganise them. So I switched my regular chili for bean chili, normal potatoes for sweet ones and cheese for vegan cream cheese. They satisfied my chili cheese fries craving AND I didn't even feel guilty afterwards*!

Serves 2:

2 large sweet potatoes
1 tsp Olive oil + more for the sweet potatoes
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 red pepper chopped
1 tsp mild chili powder
1 can of mixed beans in chili tomato sauce
1 can of chopped tomatoes
As much tofutti cream cheese as you want
  1. Start off by preheating the oven to 200 degrees and pop a baking tray with a big glug of oil on in in to the oven.
  2. Heat 1tsp of olive oil in a sauce pan then add the chopped onion and the garlic to the oil and sweat on a low heat for around 5 minutes, then add the red pepper and chili powder and cook for a further 10 minutes. 
  3. While the onions and peppers are cooking chop the sweet potato in to chip shapes (as chippy as you can, they do come in strange shapes) and place them on to the hot pan with oil on and pop it back in to the oven and leave to cook for around 20-25 minutes
  4. Add the beans and chopped tomatoes to the onion and peppers and leave to simmer until the potato wedges are done. 
  5. Plate up with chili cheese fries with a layer of sweet potato fries, then some chili and as much tofutti cream cheese as you like and eat!
*until I started eating desert

Friday, 24 August 2012

Cherry Trees Coffee House, Padstow

To be honest, I just wanted to show you all a bit of veggie food porn here. Mr Hef and I were in Newquay last week for Boardmasters and although we didn't actually go to the festival, we sunbathed on the beach, played in the sea, watched skating competitions, drank some cornish cider and best of all... ate loads of Cornish food. We were only there for 3 days, but I managed to fit all of the essentials in! Mr Hef and I are quite a lazy couple, he takes ages to wake up and then once he does we take even longer to get out of bed. We only usually have Sundays off together and we never make it up past 12 then he ALWAYS wants a full English breakfast. This is a massive problem in Milton Keynes because there is no where that does one (and I'm often feeling too lazy to make one!). After staying up quite late to watch the meteor shower (mainly him, I kept falling asleep) the same thing happened in Newquay, despite it being 1 in the afternoon, Mr Hef still wanted breakfast, I did protest (as I usually do) and tell him it's lunch time, but once his mind is set thats it!

I was a bit bored of Newquay by the 3rd day, I love the beaches and the atmosphere for Boardmasters, but I know there are much nicer places is Cornwall. So Mr Hef and I popped in to Padstow to soak up the last of the sun before the long drive home. After looking around (unsucessfully) for some breakfast for a while we stumbled across Cherry Trees Coffee House. There was a table right in the front, facing the beautiful harbour which was enough to make us go in. I was also drawn in by the giant, delicious cakes in the front (although I was so full I didn't order one). After scouring the menu and realising they did an all day breakfast (Mr Hef was ridiculously happy) I battled with the decision of a veggie breakfast or Cornish cider and cheddar welsh rarebit with apple chutney. Obviously I ended up going for the rarebit and I'm glad I did. It was seriously good, in fact it was the nicest meal I ate whilst there. It was one of those things that you crave immediately after you've just eaten it. There were loads of veggie options on the menu at Cherry Trees Coffee House, so it's the perfect place to stop if you're soaking up the sights in Padstow.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Vegan Tales From The Creepy Death Cabin: Part 3

I never wanted to leave the wagon, I could have happily stayed there forever and lived a wonderfully self sustained, eco friendly life, but unfortunately it did have to end. Knowing we were nearing the end of our little holiday we took the boat out, did LOADS of relaxing and of course made use of the pizza oven. I was pretty excited about this and to be honest it was the thing that sealed the deal on booking the cabin for me. So after collecting what seemed like a million sticks of all varieties (choads, spaghetti's and big sticks) I tried to light a fire in the pizza oven. In my head it would work spectacularly well and I would be queen of the pizza oven. 
Vegan pizza
Unfortunately it wasn't that simple... parts of it kept going out, I kept burning my hands and after an hour it still didn't seem that hot. We decided to try it any way (I'm very impatient) and after a while we realised they were cooked, but the vegan cheese wasn't completely melted despite being boiling hot! They we're delicious anyway and I would definitely rate Tofutti mozarella style cheese, it tasted no different to me and was proper nice on top of a pizza. Vegan Emma made an amazing pizza making station and I got a bit over excited, topping mine with everything on the table, asparagus, peppers, onions, artichoke and olives (I even put a token mushroom in the middle).
Vegan Emma's spectacular pizza making station
We covered our bases in pre brought pizza topping (we were away from cooking civilisation after all) and topped them with Tofutti mozzarella style cheese. I feel slightly bad that we've given it the name of Creepy Death Cabin, as it is actually the most wonderful place I've ever been too. I'd highly recommend it if you need a bit of peace and quiet and want to get back to nature, you can find it here.  
Annie (resident dog friend) guarding the pizza oven

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Vegan Tales From The Creepy Death Cabin: Part 2

Vegan Emma did most things for me in the cabin, she cleaned up my mess, brought me breakfast in the mornings and made me tea. It was quite possibly the best thing ever, especially as this included her making me an amazing vegan meal on the second night. It did contain two of my most dreaded foods, mushrooms and aubergine, but I would eat anything Emma put in front of me (She'd be the best vegan housewife ever). To add to her super woman cooking skills, she managed to do this all in the dark with only a torch, some candles and a paraffin lamp. 

Emma's Peperonata

Serves 4:

A glug of olive oil 
1 large red onion chopped
1 glove of garlic 
250g mushrooms chopped 
1 aubergine chopped
2 red peppers 
250g passata 
1 tsp mixed herbs
A good pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and cook on a low heat until softened. 
  2. Add the rest of the vegetables and turn the heat up, give them a good old fry for around 10 minutes, then add the passata, herbs, salt and pepper. 
  3. Simmer for ages! (an hour and a bit) Until all the vegetables are nice and soft. 
  4. Then serve up with some cous cous and toasted bread... it really is as simple as that! 

Then after scaring ourselves to death on the second night and hiding behind the locked wagon door we decided we needed to man up, go outside and light a fire. The main reason for this was that we wanted to make BBQ'd bananas. I've tried for many years to convince people they're amazing, but it just hasn't taken. Luckily, Emma and I are pretty much the same person so she loves BBQ'd bananas too! They're very simple to make, just slice the banana length ways, fill it with goodies, wrap in foil and chuck it on the fire, it's done when it's hot and squishy. I filled mine with vegan chocolate and marshmallows and Emma had a more refined carmelised banana with vegan marg and sugar. They were both delicious and we didn't get killed by a mass murderer hiding in the woods. Smiles all round! 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Vegan Tales From The Creepy Death Cabin: Part 1

Horah! I made it back from the death cabin, vegan Emma didn't kill me off (I was slightly worried) and we had the best few days ever. We frolicked in the woods, foraged for sticks to make fires, took the boat out on the lake, showered under a tree, read hundreds of magazines and newspapers and most importantly ate loads of yummy vegan food. We decided that I would cook the first night, Emma the next and on the final night we'd try and master the pizza oven. I thought long and hard about what kind of fancy vegan meal I could make for Emma, but decided to just go with good old sausage and mash. 
Vegan sausage and mustard mash.
I know most people probably know how to make bangers and mash, so I'll just tell you my top tips. I always use ASDA Lincolnshire sausage mix because they're the best I've found so far. They have a nice taste, the best texture and the packet is only £1 for about 8 sausages! I like to fry the sausages up with some chopped red onion and once the sausages are done remove them from the pan, (leaving the onions) drain the water from the potatoes and pour it on top of the onions, adding some vegan gravy granules to make some lovely onion gravy to pour all over your sausage and mash! And I always add mustard to my mash because I'm a massive mustard fiend who could eat it all the time. If you haven't already tried it, give it a go, it's the perfect friend for your mashed potato!

Cooking in the death cabin.
Vegan Emma mashing outside.
Before we left, we made some vegan marshmallows to toast on the fire. I still haven't managed to perfect them, but this batch was much better than the last (they didn't explode this time!) They managed to stay on the stick just long enough to get nice and toasted on the outside and warm on the inside. If you're ever going camping I'd recommend trying your hand at making them if you're feeling brave (you can buy the kit here) or ordering some from Sweet Vegan (seriously good marshmallows!) If I go again I'll be ordering them out of sheer laziness!

I don't normally dress like a crazy person, this just happens to be my pajama bottoms and the warmest jumper I own.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Almond and Coconut Biscotti

This month is going to be awesome, I'm going on lots of adventures (which will hopefully all involve amazing veggie food) and the first is coming up this week. Vegan Emma and I are going glamping/staying in what has been named by my co-workers as the Creepy Death Cabin. Despite its terrifying name it looks amazing, it's a little cabin in Wiltshire with a wood burner, a pizza oven, a boat and a lake. We're planning on both having an evening of cooking a vegan meal for each other then playing with the pizza oven (posts to follow hopefully). I decided that this cabin seems like the kind of place I should take up tea drinking and you can't have tea without biscuits, so I decided to whip up some vegan biscotti to take. It's a very simple recipe, but it does take a bit of cooking time. It's totally worth it though, I can't wait to sit by the lake and dunk them in my green tea. 

For around 30 you'll need:

150g plain white flour
200g brown flour
100g desiccated coconut
50g ground almonds
1 tbsp baking powder
280g smooth apple sauce 
4 tbsp vegetable oil
200g light brown unrefined sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g blanched almonds halved  
  1. Start by pre heating the oven to 200 degrees and lining two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Mix the flours, coconut, ground almonds and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. 
  3. Whisk together the apple sauce, vegetable oil, sugar and vanilla essence in a separate bowl until smooth and then add to the dry mixture.
  4. Add the halved almonds then mix together with your hands until well combined, a spoon wont do here!
  5. Once combined split the dough in to two balls and roll them in to logs (I didn't measure the size, guesstimation is needed here, they will rise!) and place them on to a greaseproof paper lined baking tray. 
  6. Pop in to the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown, then transfer them on to a cooling rack for 15 minutes. 
  7. Once cooled slightly chop the logs up in to biscotti sized pieces and place your biscottis on to another greaseproof paper lined tray.
  8. Pop them back in to the oven for 10 minutes, then flip the over and give them another 10 minutes on the other side. They should be golden brown all over.
  9. Leave on a cooling rack until completely cool, then make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Cosmo blog awards, 2012

So.... It seems I've been shortlisted for best food blogger in Cosmo's blog awards 2012. I cannot express how ridiculously happy this makes me! I would love, love, love it if all of you lovely people who read my blog could vote for me and get your mum, brother, sister, best friend, dog, fish... etc to vote for me too. I wanted to find a picture of me looking ridiculously happy for this post but instead thought I'd share this majestic picture of my wonderful kitchen assistant Mike and I in our Cath Kidston aprons. If Mike in his apron doesn't make you want to vote for me I don't know what will. You can vote here :).

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Teapots, Olney

It was Mummy Hefs Birthday yesterday, so I wanted to take her somewhere special (she's the best Mum ever!) and after much deliberation I decided that I wanted to take her for afternoon tea. The only problem is that I live in Milton Keynes, so there's not really many options. Then I remembered that years ago I had faced the very same dilemma with my friend and we'd ended up in this absolutely beautiful tearoom called Teapots in Olney. I checked out their website and saw they were offering a special afternoon tea, I was automatically sold and called up to book a table straight away. The lady on the other end of the phone was absolutely delightful and asked if we had any dietary requirements and they were more than happy to offer a vegetarian afternoon tea. I've also seen that there's a gluten free and dairy free option as well which is amazing!

The tearoom is beyond cute inside, it literally looks like somebody's living room from times gone by. It's decorated with vintage cameras, tea pots, tea cups, phones, pictures and a variety of other lovely vintage things. The staff are all very welcoming and the atmosphere is very calming and serene, perfect for enjoying a big old pot of tea and some home made cakes. 

The selection of vegetarian finger sandwiches was fantastic! My favourites were the brie and cranberry and the cream cheese and cucumber, but no matter how amazing the sandwiches were I couldn't take my eyes off of the cakes. The cake stand was filled with temptation... scones, victoria sponges, chocolate, cake, meringue and chocolate filled biscuits. I managed to eat it all (well apart from half a biscuit) and man was it good!

The whole afternoon tea experience was already fantastic, but then they brought out tiny eton messes to top it all off. It was the perfect end to the perfect afternoon tea, especially as eton mess is my mum's favourite desert.

It really is an absolutely wonderful place and I am now tempted to try and persuade Mr Hef that Olney would be the perfect place for us to live so that I can visit there all the time. Even if afternoon tea isn't your thing, there were lots of vegetarian options on the menu including pancakes and omelets. They also do vintage tea parties! I hope Mummy Hef had a lovely Birthday, here she is enjoying her cup of tea :)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Emotional Brilliance Cupcakes

Lush is having a massive and VERY exciting launch on Saturday (seriously it feels like Christmas) and tomorrow we're having a special V.I.P night in our store to unveil the new range. It's called Emotional Brilliance and is an absolutely AMAZING vegan, animal friendly range of colour cosmetics. So I wanted to make some cupcakes for the launch based on the fantastic colours, then I saw this post on our staff room and had the idea of turning the polkadot cake in to Emotional Brilliance cupcakes. I can't really give you a recipe for this one as my lovely assistant Mike and I were making it up as we were going along. But we made them by baking small batches of colourful (I'd use gel colours) cupcake mix in a cake pop tray. Then popping a bit of plain cake mix in the bottom of a cake case, placing the colourful cake ball on top and covering with more plain cake mix. If you want to make them, I'd just say to experiment and play, it's the best way in the kitchen! If you're near a Lush shop on 21st July pop in to check out the new range, you won't be disappointed!! 

P.s I've just noticed that there's a tiny piece of cake missing in the picture above, this is because I couldn't wait to eat a bit before I put the icing on and thought I could cover it up. Obviously I was wrong :)

P.p.s That's Mike wearing a flowery apron, not me ;)

Facon Tegg Hefmuffin

Vegan fish and chips wasn't the only thing I tried at Lushfest, I also tried veggie bacon for the first time (well, not according to my Mum, but the first time I can remember). Before actually trying it I had already decided that veggie bacon was something from my nightmares. It looks super weird and I don't actually like the smell of bacon or the thought of ever eating it so had just disregarded it until now. 

There was a cute little tea and toast van selling tea and toast funnily enough, but they were also selling gourmet veggie bacon rolls. I wasn't too interested until the girl with me brought one, after seeing the bun filled with onions, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and topped of with veggie bacon, I got those dreaded food envies! So the next day I brought one and experienced the delights of veggie bacon, it didn't have much of a bacon flavour, probably due to all of the other delicious flavours going on so I decided that I would give it a try at home. Luckily this week Vegan Emma turned up at my door with Redwoods veggie bacon, tofu and english muffins in tow (we're clearly on the same wave length). We were going to make tofu scramble, but then Emma told me she's seen some kind of tofu egg bacon muffin on Vegan Zombie and we knew we had to try and re-create it! This one tasted really bacony to me, (not so much to my mum who eats the real thing) I felt like I was cheating on my vegetarian self a bit, but it was really yummy and the tofu egg was the best! It's super easy to make and perfect for lazy Sunday mornings.

To make 2:

200g drained tofu (I also find it's better if it's been frozen and defrosted) cut in to a circular shape (the same size as the muffin)
2tsp turmeric
2tsp paprika
a very large pinch of salt and pepper
50g plain flour
A large glug of olive oil
4 rashers of redwoods bacon rashers
2 English muffins
Vegan marge

  1. Put the turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper on to a plate then pop the tofu on top, flip it over and make sure its well coated all over, then do the same with the flour and make sure it's well coated. 
  2. Pour your olive oil in to a frying pan and turn up to a high heat, then place your tofu egg into the pan. 
  3. Fry on each side until golden brown then turn the heat right down. 
  4. Cook your bacon rashers in a separate pan to your liking (we used a griddle pan for a few minutes for a bit of crunch).
  5. Then toast your muffin, butter (I mean vegan marge) it up, place your tofu egg on then your bacon and complete your Bacon Tegg Hefmuffin with it's little muffin hat. 
  6. We served ours up with garlicy spinach and mushrooms (I love Emma enough to accept them on my plate when she's around) and loads of tomato ketchup. YUM. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Something Fishy

Sorry I haven't blogged in over two weeks, I've been off having super fun times and not had much time to do anything else. I spent a week in rural france stuffing myself with vegetarian delights (which isn't all that easy!) and last week I was off at Lushfest, which is not only a fantastic festival showcasing a brilliant company (who I happen to work for) but it was also 100% vegetarian. Meaning I could fatty on down on a whole load of meat free food (which I did, of course!) I scoped the food situation before I went and nearly did a little wee when I saw that Something Fishy were going to be there. If anything is going to make a little excited wee come out it's going to be VEGAN FISH AND CHIPS. I've seen them around but never had vegan fish and chips from their van before so I knew this was my chance.

It was seriously good, I never really liked fish but I do miss battered food and this satisfied a long old craving. The 'fish' was delicious, super batery and crunchy and the chips were fantastic too. Not only did it taste amazing, but they give all their proceeds to grass root organisations and animal sanctuaries, really putting the guilt free in to guilt free good! The only thing that could have made it better were mushy peas, but I was too excited to even spot those on the menu! If they're ever at a location near you, try it, you won't be disappointed.

N.B After I posted this, vegan Emma reminded me that not only have I eaten vegan fish and chips before I've also blogged about it! I have the worst memory!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Butternut Squash and Garlic Goats Cheese Ravioli

After some subtle hints (e.g PLEASE BUY ME THIS FOR CHRISTMAS) Mr Hef brought me a pasta maker for Christmas. He was quite against this gift as he was sure I'd never use it.
sorry for the bad quality, my slr is charging!
Well, I proved him wrong. It may be 6 months since he brought it for me, but I proved him wrong none the less! Since I've had it I've known exactly what I wanted to make and I knew exactly what goats cheese I wanted to use for my squash and goats cheese ravioli. So after Daddy Hef took me to the farmers market last week, I finally had the missing key... Garlic goats cheese from wobbly bottom farm! (yum). I was slightly scared of pasta making, due to the fact I've never tried it before, but it was actually very straight forward. I used a Jamie Oliver recipe to make the dough and the only issue I had was that I made it a tiny bit too thick, so if you're making it at home keep it going through the pasta maker! 

For 4 people, you'll need.

To follow Jamies Recipe for the dough ;)
400g butternut squash 
350g garlic goats cheese chopped up
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Truffle oil and vegetarian parmesan to serve

  1. Make your pasta dough and pop in the the fridge to chill for at least 30 mins.
  2. While it's chilling away chop up the butternut squash, place it in to an oven proof dish, cover in olive oil, salt and pepper and pop it in to a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes. 
  3. When the squash is ready squish it all up with a fork, leave it to cool then mix in the goats cheese.
  4. Take your pasta dough out of the fridge and flour both sides, pass through the pasta maker on the widest setting 5 times, then keep passing it through smaller settings until it is nice and thin. 
  5. Pop the sheet on to a floured side and put a tea spoon of the squash and goats cheese mixture a few centimeters apart. 
  6. Brush the pasta with water and fold it over to cover the filling, then cup around the filling to make sure its in there securely.
  7. Cut your ravioli with a sharp knife, boil up some water, pop it in for 3 minutes then serve up with some oil (preferably white truffle), black pepper and vegetarian parmesan. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

Avocado Fries

As I mentioned in the last post, vegan wifey Emma was round for a few days cooking up a storm in my kitchen, while I was slaving away selling soap. I think I may have influenced her menu slightly by banging on about my sudden love for avocado (seriously I can't get enough of it). Which amazingly resulted in these bad boys, avocado fries! They were pretty special, lovely and crunchy with hot squishy avocado inside! YUM! 

The recipe can be found here: The Gluttonous Vegan

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Pesto, Spinach and Tomato Tart

My vegan 'wife' Emma came to stay a few days ago and literally cooked, cleaned and entertained Ruby (doggy) while I was at work. I wish she could move in forever, because coming home to a vegan meal each night is the best thing ever (take note Mr Hef). On the first night she stayed I got home, had a bath (lush of course) and by the time I was out I was presented with this yummy pesto, spinach and tomato tart with vegan potato salad. The potato salad is super quick and easy, just boil some new potatoes, let them cool, cover in vegan mayo and spring onions and eat! The tart is just as simple, so if you're in a rush this is a great one to whip up.

Serves 4:

3 handfuls of basil 
100g chopped mixed nuts
Large glug of truffle oil (or olive oil if you don't have any)
Salt and Pepper
500g vegan ready rolled puff pastry 
Handful of spinach 
18 chopped cherry tomatoes
  1. Put the basil, chopped nuts and oil into a food processor and throughly blitz, keep adding oil until it becomes a lovely pestoy consistency and season.
  2. Unroll your pastry, cut into 4 equal rectangles and transfer on to a tray lined with greaseproof paper. 
  3. Smother your pastry with your vegan pesto and top with spinach and chopped tomatoes.
  4. Pop in to the oven for 15-20 minutes, until its puffed up and golden brown. 
  5. Serve up with your potato salad and enjoy! 

Friday, 1 June 2012

Cameron's Brasserie, Stony Stratford

I've definitely mentioned before that I live in the good old city... town? Of Milton Keynes and there's not much veggie stuff going on here. So when I got an e-mail from Cameron's Brasserie saying that they we're holding a 4 course vegetarian evening during National Vegetarian Week, I couldn't wait to book a table. I've eaten at The Navigation Inn, Dan Cameron's first venture, countless times and always enjoyed the variety of vegetarian options. And recently tried Cameron's Brasserie for the first time, so I was more than excited that there would be a whole menu dedicated to vegetarian food. The restaurant is situated in Odells yard in Stony Stratford and fits in perfectly with the charming market town. It was extremely hot when we went, but the huge doors were open making it light and airy in the restaurant. Once again I forced Mr Hef to eat vegetables with me, I don't think he was too enthused, but still enjoyed it (more than he let on, I'm sure!).
Boccancini Mozzarella, Air Cured Heirloom Tomato and Basil Salad
The vegetarian evening consisted of a 4 course set menu and I booked with out even looking because I was sold by the fact that there would only be meat free food! The first course was that cute little cauldron thing above filled with Boccancini Mozzarella, Air Cured Heirloom Tomato and Basil Salad. It was a nice light way to start the meal and I seriously wanted to steal the pot, I'm not sure what I would have done with it, but I want one.

Asparagus in Filo Pastry, Wilted Wild Garlic, Pink Grapefruit Hollandaise

The second dish was asparagus in filo pastry, wilted wild garlic and pink grapefruit hollandaise which was funking delicious. I love asparagus, so any kind of asparagus on my plate makes me happy. This made me extra happy though because it was wrapped in perfectly crunchy filo pastry and covered in tasty hollandaise sauce. 
Mushroom and Goats Cheese Wellington, Parmentier Potatoes, Crushed Peas and Mascapone and Chantenay Carrots 
The main meal had a mushroom in it, I knew there would be one snuck in there somewhere so I had already prepared myself. But to my surprise I loved it and actually ate the whole thing, it was cooked to a good texture (no nasty slimeyness) and went perfectly with the onions and goats. Topped off with pastry it made a really delicious main. All of the other vegetables on the plate worked really well together and lets be honest, it looks pretty fantastic too!
Balsamic Marinated Strawberries, Vanilla Shortbread with Basil and Cassis Sorbet
The desert was the most interesting dish, mainly because it had basil sorbet! I'm not going to lie, it was pretty weird, but it did go well with the balsamic strawberries and overall it was really delicious, very tart and full of flavour. Mr Hef didn't like it so much but still managed to eat his vanilla shortbread.

It was £23.95 for the set menu, which I think is great value for the quality and variety of the food. I really hope they put the night on again, as it was so nice to go out somewhere in Milton Keynes and have a whole vegetarian meal in a really wonderful restaurant. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Infamous Slutty Brownie

Loads of people have sent me these brownies telling me to make them. The genius creator The Londoner claimed that they are the best brownies ever (my friend Laura backed up this claim after making them) and to be honest the look delicious so of course I had to see what all the fuss was about. The original recipe calls for box mixes (the lovely Betty Crocker of course!), but I thought I'd be bold and try to make it all from scratch using my favourite cookie and brownie recipes. Luckily I had my baking assistant Mike on hand who pretty much did all the work, while I fannied about with my camera and got told off for not keeping an eye on the melting chocolate. I can honestly say they are the best I've tried so far! 

Recipe adapted from The Londoner:

For the cookie base:

110g butter
110g caster sugar
65g light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
275g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g milk chocolate chips
2 packs veggie oreos 
For the brownie:

115g Dark chocolate 
225g butter
350g caster sugar 
4 eggs 
50g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
A few drops of vanilla extract.

  1. First make the cookie base by creaming together the butter and sugars until soft, then add the egg and mix well.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder and chocolate chips and fold in well.
  3. Spread the cookie dough along the bottom of a grease proof paper covered brownie tin and top with oreos.
  4. Then to make the brownie mixture, melt the chocolate and butter in a bain marie.
  5. Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a large bowl until they have trebled in volume.
  6. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder in to the mixture, then pour in the melted chocolate and butter mixture and mix together.
  7. Pour the brownie mixture over the cookies, pop in the oven for 40 minutes at 180 degrees.
  8. Enjoy!

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