Rock Cakes…

I have happy memories of making Rock Cakes with my grandad Salway when I was a child. It was one of the first things I learnt to bake. They are so easy to make & simply delicious.

Rock cakes were promoted during the Second World War by the ministry of food as they needed less eggs & sugar than other cakes so it was crucial during times of rationing. This recipe as it’s vegan (dairy free) needs no eggs whatsoever.

This corona virus pandemic is being compared to war-times which our grandparents endured so i think it’s a very apt recipe.

Particularly watching the queens speech last night re the Corona Virus when she said :

“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again” resonant of the famous Vera Lynn wartime song “We’ll meet again”.

Queens Speech during Coronavirus Pandemic 2020
Coronavirus Pandemic 2020 The Queen’s Speech

I’m capable of making anything I bake look like rocks lol so these are perfect for me to make 😂

Ingredients

225g self raising flour

1 tsp mixed spice (or cinnamon if you don’t have mixed spice)

1 tsp baking powder ( or cream of tartar or bicarbonate of soda)

100g vegetable spread

75g caster sugar

100g dried fruit

3 Tbsps Plant based milk

Method

Heat oven to 200c / gas mark 4 / 400f

Add in the flour, and vegetable spread & blend together with mixed spice and dried fruit and stir together.

Gradually add milk the dough is thick & lumpy if more liquid is required add more milk.

Dollop mixture onto baking tray (makes about 10 dollops)

Bake for 15-20 minutes

Enjoy!!

Rock Cakes
Rock Cakes

Simple Roasted Broccoli Tray Bake

I’ve always found Broccoli to be a Boring b*****d of a vegetable, usually end up sighing and sticking it in the steamer or boiling it and over cooking so it’s too soft.

This recipe and style of cooking just jazzes it up and is really delicious yet healthy. I’ve never tried roasting it before and was pleased with the results; crispy, tender & tasty.

1x Broccoli cut into florets

1x Onion (I used red onion) cut into quarters

1 Pepper ( Orange, yellow or red) sliced

3 cloves Garlic (crushed)

3/ 4 Tomatoes – quartered

3 tablespoons Olive oil

1 tsp Salt & pepper

Mixed herbs

Roasted Broccoli Tray Bake

Roasted Broccoli tray bake

Preheat oven to 180c

Toss the broccoli florets with the olive oil, & other ingredients garlic on a baking sheet. Spread them out and then roast, without stirring, until the edges are crispy and the stems are crisp tender, about 20 min.

Roasted Broccoli Tray Bake
Roasted Broccoli Tray Bake

Apple Crumble (Quarantine Crumble)

This is such an easy recipe to make and it only needs 4 ingredients!! Funnily enough this was popular during World War 2 due to rationing & limited ingredients. A thing we can relate to a bit more now due to the corona virus with lockdown measures & social isolation – limited shopping trips & people relying on deliveries.

Apple crumble is a timeless british classic and you’re getting one of your 5 a day! Cooking can be sentimental and go back full circle in a way – I have early memories of my grandmother Nanny Harrington making the best Rhubarb & Apple crumble. It’s a real comfort food.

That’s the thing I enjoy about preparing vegan food it’s mostly just traditional old school cooking with a twist – butter is easily replaced with vegan spread; I used Flora for this one.

Apple crumble
Apple crumble

Also you can use any stewed fruit if you don’t have apples.

The filling

575g Cooking apples (3 medium apples), peeled, cored and sliced.

2 tbsp golden caster sugar (I ran out of caster sugar so used Demerara sugar – brown sugar)

The topping

175g plain flour. (I replaced 50g flour with porridge oats for a more crumbly topping, this is optional)

110g golden caster sugar

110g Vegetable/ vegan spread

Method

• Heat the oven to 190C/170 fan/gas 5.

• Toss 575g peeled, cored and sliced Bramley apples with 2 tbsp golden caster sugar and put in a baking dish.

• Put the Apple mixture in the oven to pre-bake/ soften for 10 mins.

Sliced apples
Sliced apples

• Put 175g plain flour and 110g golden caster sugar in a bowl with a good pinch of salt.

• Slice in 110g vegan spread and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like moist breadcrumbs.

• Pour the crumb mix evenly over the part-cooked apples.

• Set on a baking tray and put in the preheated oven for 30/35 minutes until the top is golden and the apples feel very soft when you insert a small, sharp knife. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

• Delicious served with vegan ice cream or custard.

My boys polished off the whole crumble!!

Apple crumble
Apple crumble

Cauliflower Hot Wings Recipe

The humble cauliflower a bland seeming vegetable; can be made exciting & flavoursome.

When my boys were young vegetable hating toddlers I used to sneak cauliflower into my mashed potato & they were non the wiser!!

My go-to recipe for cauliflower was always cauliflower cheese but now with a vegan in the family who doesn’t eat dairy I’m experimenting and find it goes so well with spices.

During this time of quarantine there’s an opportunity to experiment with food with limiting shopping trips & less stocked shelves more home-cooking – trying to make do with what you have and any spices in your cupboard this is an ideal recipe.

In fact this is my first ever proper healthy vegan recipe!

This recipe is very easy and it is a nice side dish or sharing starter. It’s nice and crunchy on the outside with a soft centre & really flavoursome.

• 1 head of cauliflower

• 3/4 cup of flour

• 1/2 cup plant based milk

• 1/2 cup water

• garlic powder

• paprika powder

• Cumin powder

• salt and pepper

• 1 tbsp Vegan Spread

• Siracha sauce or sweet chilli or you can use vegan bbq or buffalo sauce. We had sweet chilli as it’s a family favourite.

** You can use any spices you like or replace with what’s in your cupboard**

STEP 1: Carefully cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets

STEP 2: In a large bowl, combine the flour, plant-based milk, the water, the garlic power, the paprika powder, spices, the salt, and the black pepper. Stir until well combined

Spicy Cauliflower Wings batter
Spicy cauliflower wings batter

STEP 3: Dip the florets into the batter, so they’re completely coated. Be sure to drain the batter off the cauliflower so it doesn’t stick together when you bake it.

STEP 4: Line a baking sheet with baking paper and lay the cauliflower florets on the baking sheet spaced out.

Bake for 15/20 minutes at 180 c.

Baking spicy cauliflower wings
Baking spicy cauliflower wings

STEP 5: When the cauliflower has cooked for 20 minutes, remove it and coat the part-baked cauliflower wings with the vegetable spread & your favourite sauce and return to bake for another 20 minutes or until it’s crispy. 

Spicy Cauliflower Wings
Spicy Cauliflower Wings

STEP 6: Serve immediately, with a delicious dipping sauce.

We used A dairy free Garlic Aoli & Nando Vegan Perinaise which is delicious!!

Vegan dipping sauces
Vegan dipping sauces

Simple vanilla sponge with strawberries 🍓 for Mother’s Day (vegan)

A challenging Mother’s Day today for many who sadly can’t see their mum today, due to the corona virus & social isolating & quarantine. Or in my case my mum lives overseas. I guess 1 Mother’s Day without your mum is worth it if it means you still get to give her a big hug next Mother’s Day.

I’m fortunate that I live with my sons & I know a lot of mothers that are key workers would have been out working today, keeping the country going and am so grateful for that too.

We are staying in as much as possible practicing social distancing. Also I could’nt face the thought of a food shop today. Luckily I usually have a cake mix somewhere in the cupboard for a rainy day.

These cake mixes are also a great Vegan cheat, simple, effective – easy to make. You need to check the packaging but a lot of them do not contain any dairy so are suitable for vegans.

This cake is handy as there is a currently an egg shortage in the shops.

I never thought you could bake a cake without eggs but these simple tips really work – the cake still rises & nobody can taste the difference.

I used a Betty Crocker vanilla loaf cake mix. – literally mix in a bowl with 4 tbsps vegetable oil, 125 ml (instead of water I added soya milk you can use any plant, nut or oat milk.

To replace the Eggs – I added 1 tsp Baking Powder, and the secret ingredient – 2 tbsps of Fizzy Drink!! I had some lilt in the fridge but you can use lemonade, tango or sparkling water.

Line a greased cake tin – pour the mix in.

Bake for 35 mins (180 c Gas Mark 4)

I then quickly mixed a couple of tablespoons of Vitalite (you can use any vegetable spread) with approx 4-6 tablespoons Icing sugar to a thick creamy consistency- add 1 or 2 teaspoons of plant based milk.

When the cake cools down – spread the creamed icing mix and then put chopped strawberries on top. (You can add any topping or fruit you like)

Heat a few tablespoons of strawberry jam & then brush over the strawberries to glaze.

This cake took less than 20 mins to prepare & everyone loved it. It was a real treat + the strawberries are one of your Five a Day lol. Try it and see!

French Bread Pizza! Quick, easy & comforting

This is a classic old time favourite of mine. So quick, easy & cheap to make!

It was one of the first things I used to make as a teenager myself. My best friend Maria & I used to make this all the time when we were poor in Paris!! Funny how food can make you nostalgic!

All you need is a baguette- & some of your favourite toppings! It’s a great way to use up a day old baguette and not waste it.

French Bread Pizza

Ingredients

• 1 large loaf French baguette bread split in half lengthwise and crosswise

• 3 or more tablespoons of Tomato purée

• 3 or more tablespoons of ketchup

• Any herbs you have – Basil, Parsley, oregano or mixed herbs

• Garlic if you like?

• Vegan Cheese – (grated) we used (ready grated Violife)

• We used a combination of pre-fried red onions, mushrooms & sweetcorn

Violife vegan grated cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

• Preheat the oven to 180

• Cut the French loaf in half lengthwise, then cut each half open into two pieces. Place the pieces of French Bread, cut side up, on a large baking sheet.

• Mix the tomato purée & ketchup

• Top each piece of bread with about 2 Tbsp pizza sauce and 1 oz. (or 1/4 cup grated vegan cheese.

• Add any additional toppings you desire.

• Bake the pizzas in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the bread is slightly brown and crispy on the edges. Serve hot.

I converted my son who initially was not impressed with my lunchtime snack idea but joined in to help make it & loved every bite – he polished off 4 pieces!

French Bread Pizza
French Bread Pizza

Croissants! Can’t believe it’s Vegan!!

So my son always adored a croissant – a treat denied since he was vegan as they are known for their buttery content.

However we’ve discovered Jus Rol – which is chilled ready to roll pastry. They were on offer for 2 packs for £3 in Tesco. Unbelievably they’re Dairy free!

Jus Rol croissants

Really easy to bake! I added a spoon of strawberry jam in the middle before baking for a tasty filling.

Jus Rol croissants - with strawberry jam
Vegan Croissants!

1. Pre-heat the oven according to the packet instructions.

2. Peel open croissant packet and gently remove the roll of pastry.

3. Separate it on a chopping board and cut along the score lines into six separate triangles.

4. Turn the ends in to create a curved traditional croissant shape.

Great for busy mornings – they bake in around 10 minutes. We all enjoyed them.

Jus rol vegan croissants

St Patrick’s Day Vegan Guinness Chocolate Cake

Happy St Patrick’s Day!! It will be a very different St Patrick’s day in Ireland this year -with their pubs being closed due to the covid 19 corona virus.

Government guidelines in the UK are to avoid unnecessary social contact & pubs, restaurants.

We are socially isolating ourselves at home ; it’s a good opportunity to do some good old fashioned baking. In a crisis I make a cup of tea & bake a cake!

So We will celebrate St Patrick’s quietly with a can of guinesss or some Irish ☘️ whiskey & a delicious vegan version of St Patrick’s Guiness Chocolate cake!

(** You could halve the ingredients below as it was very big cake! Or split between 2 baking tins & use the filling in the middle as well**)

• 250 g / 2 cups plain flour

• 120 g / 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

• 2 tsp baking soda

• 220 g / 1 cup caster sugar

• 100 g / 1/2 cup light brown sugar

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 150 g Alpro yoghurt

• 480 ml / 2 cups Guinness

• 120 ml / 1/2 cup vegetable oil, I used mild olive oil

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the “Baileys” buttercream frosting

• 250 g / 1 cup vegan butter, (vitalite or flora)

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 600 g / 5 cups icing sugar

• 2-3 tbsp Vegan baileys almande

You can always swap ingredients- the shelves in the supermarket were a bit sparse so we are trying:

Vegan Shannon’s cream coconut & chocolate drink to replace the Baileys. (Found this £12 in supermarket)

Also sadly there was no Guinness – you can replace with a different ale, beer or we are using black fruit cider 😊

It’s a blissfully simple recipe – drink some of the Guiness or baileys – get a big bowl & (sift. whisk & mix all the top ingredients!)

Base line a cake tin. Put the mixture in & put in the oven 170

bake for 45 mins to an hour until the sponge is springy and a skewer comes out clean when tested. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins then turn out on a wire rack 10 mins.

To make the buttercream, cream the vegan butter and vanilla extract together. Add the icing sugar in a large tbsp at a time & add the vegan Shannon’s Cream.

I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Shannon vegan coconut & chocolate drink
Shannon vegan coconut & chocolate drink

Family meal review Wagamama

Wagamama

On Friday we went for a family birthday dinner, we chose to go to Wagamama’s as it’s a favourite of both our sons – if you enjoy spicy food – noodles & curry’s it is really nicely cooked. The Vegan menu is very good one of the best I’ve seen with a lot of variety.

Having a vegan in the family we try to be open minded & explore the options. So we opted to share some starters that were vegan.

Bang Bang Cauliflower is sensational- really nicely spiced and a good crunchy texture on the outside. I’m going to try to make this at home we all loved it.

Bang bang Cauliflower
Bang Bang Cauliflower

We also had Vegetable Tempura. A fun way to eat vegetables. Crispy fried tenderstem broccoli, red pepper, sweet potato and asparagus, topped with wakame and served with a sweet + sour dipping sauce. I went to take a photo and missed lol it all disappeared too quickly!

My older son enjoyed a vegan version of Katsu Curry Seitan (a chicken relacement made from wheat gluten) coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs, covered in an aromatic curry sauce with sticky white rice.

Seitan Katsu Curry
Seitan Katsu Curry

The Katsu curry is also available made with sweet potato aubergine & butternut squash.

All the vegan dishes are scattered throughout the main menu but it is much easier to ask for the Vegan menu which lists them all together.

Wagamama Vegan Menu
Wagamama Vegan Menu

It’s not inexpensive but the food is really fresh & tasty and the portions are very generous!

The vegan desserts looked interesting but we were too full to try them!

Wagamama Vegan desserts
Wagamama Vegan desserts

Pancakes Recipe

Just in time for Shrove Tuesday my first vegan recipe – pancake day recipe for tomorrow 25th February!!

I made this recipe as my son always loved my homemade pancakes & I didn’t want him to miss out. They are very nice indeed!

My homemade vegan pancakes recipe

Ingredients Serves 4

    225 g plain flour
    2 tbsp caster sugar

    1 tbsp. baking powder

    1/4 tsp. salt

    300 ml ( any non-dairy milk – oat, soy, nut)

    25 g Ground almonds

    1 mashed banana
    Small amount of vegetable oil or coconut oil to coat the pan

Method

  • In a medium bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, ground almond stir to combine
  • Mash the banana & stir in
  • Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until smooth.
  • Let batter rest for 5 minutes.
  • Heat some of the oil in the pan
  • Pour a big ladle of batter onto a nonstick pan over medium heat. When the top begins to bubble, flip the pancake and cook until golden.

Serve with syrup or strawberry jam… or we discovered 2 amazing Vegan alternative products!!

Sweet Freedom Chocolate spread!! Made from natural fruit extracts, cocoa. Great if you’re giving up chocolate for lent!! 😂It’s also only 14 cals a teaspoon so it’s a winner Around £2 a pot in most supermarkets.

Sweet Freedom chocolate spread

Sweet Freedom chocolate spread

I can’t even believe this next product exists!! You can pick up for around £2 in Tesco. Food Heaven Heavenly Whipped Cream. Totally dairy free & vegan, I’ve tried it and can’t taste the difference!

Food heaven Heavenly whipped cream

Food Heaven, Heavenly Whipped Cream

Enjoy your pancakes & if you do try my recipe let me know how it goes?