moo free Easter egg

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Open the box and it hits you: that exciting, sugary Easter Egg scent from childhood. I don’t know why chocolate should smell different when formed into an egg shape, but it does.  Dark chocolate eggs are of course gorgeous, but altogether more grown up. This is the one for children and those who don’t like high cocoa content chocolate. The moo free egg is sweet and mild and could easily be mistaken for a milk chocolate product.

It’s a good 100g size and the bunny, butterfly and flower packaging is a nice change from dark eggs which are usually aimed at very mature people…

Available from Amazon.co.uk and larger Waitrose stores. Moo Free Chocolates have full details of all stockists on their website

See Vegan Easter for our full updated listings.

gourmet raw brownies and crisps

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But first to the crisps: completely guilt free, dried raw squares of tastiness. The three flavours are Beetroot, Spicy Thai and Red Pepper and they’re all very good…

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…but the absolute winner for us was the red pepper. Reminiscent of pizza, these would be very nice little crackers too. Topped with a small slice of tomato, a basil leaf and maybe half an olive… but before these musings could be made real and captured on camera they were all scoffed by other people.

The brownies are satisfyingly sticky, soft and rich, remarkably like a cooked cake but you still feel great after eating them. No sugar rush/up/down thing going on at all.

And just look at this cacao mint brownie coming towards you:

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Excuse the food porn 🙂 Other varieties are cacoa cashew which is pleasantly cinnamony, carob hazelnut and carob orange. The carob ones are nice, they got gobbled down fast, but chocolate is always preferred here.

All these delicious, healthy products are raw, organic, vegan and free from wheat and gluten 😀 You can read more about them and purchase on  Gourmet Raw’s website Use code GR003 for a 10% discount.

red dragon pie

pie

This recipe originated in Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Kitchen (BBC cookery series). Topped with mash, the base is a rich mix of aduki beans – said to give you the strength of the dragon, this is where the dish gets its name – and brown rice in gravy.

Here’s how we do it:

Soak beans overnight if using dried ones. For the mammoth pie above which did dinner and lunch next day for four, we used 250g of dried beans. Place in a  large pan, cover well with water, bring to the boil and let simmer for a long time… (should be instructions on the bag). Throw in the rice (200g) about half way through cooking. Add more water if needed. Once it’s all nearly cooked add the vegetables. In this pie there were four carrots and one head of celery, all chopped. Onion is good too.

As that cooks up a bit, add a teaspoon of mixed herbs, a good  squidge of tomato puree and a teaspoon of yeast extract. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir well. Top with mashed potatoes – especially easy if using cookware that does hob and oven like our favourite Le Creuset Cast Iron Round Casserole – and bake in a hot oven until nicely browned.

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Glazed Parsnips and Carrots with Pistachio

dinner

Everyone agreed that this side dish was the best 🙂

8 medium parsnips (you can of course use bigger/smaller and adjust quantities)
8 medium carrots
a little sunflower oil to rub
a couple of teaspoons of maple or golden syrup
a teaspoon of rough seasalt
a handful of natural pistachios (not salted or roasted)

Peel/scrape the vegetables and cut into quarters, once lengthways and once across the middle. Rub them with oil and place in roasting tin. Drizzle syrup. Sprinkle salt and pistachios. Roast in a hot oven for about half an hour.

For more festive recipes see our Vegan Christmas or Yule page

Solstice Chocolate Refrigerator Christmas Cake

the sun sets on the Solstice
the sun sets on the Solstice

1 square cake tin,  greased
2 100g bars of good chocolate
1 tablespoon of margarine
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
1 200g pack of bourbon biscuits (other biscuits will do), bashed up
and here’s the Christmassy part… a crumbled slice of  Christmas cake including bits of marzipan and icing
a handful of raisins

Method:
Melt 1 bar of  chocolate in a Bain Marie (bowl over pan of hot water) along with the marg and syrup. Once nice and smooth, stir in your other ingredients and press mixture into tin.  Melt the other bar and spread on top. We topped with sugar stars… chill in fridge until set and cut into squares.

It’s gorgeous… quite different with the Christmas cake but very, very good and dangerously moreish 🙂

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vegan toad in the hole

toad in the hole, vegan

Turned out soft and light and delicious.

Partly cook sausages in oven at 200C for about 10 minutes:toad1

Batter made thus: mix 5 tablespoons of self raising flour with 3 tablespoons of gram (chick pea) flour, a pinch of salt and a pinch of bicarb. Beat in enough soya milk to make a creamy pouring batter. This quantity was to cover 12 sausages, adjust as needed. It would be far less ‘spongy’ if you used plain flour, but we like it like this 🙂

Pour over hot sausages:
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Then it’s back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes until nice and solid:
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Serve with gravy, roast potatoes and veg. Yum, yum, yum.


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lovely breakfast

bagel

A toasted onion and poppy seed bagel topped with hummus, chervil, rocket and tomato; a perfect mix of freshness and solidity for a cold morning 😀

A month or so ago I pulled out all the shot rocket and chervil from one of the raised beds, leaving behind only the cut and come again lettuces from the salad mix, or so I thought. The whole patch is now covered in a lawn of young plants. Beautiful.

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Will be interesting to see how long it survives…  self seeded parsley always goes all winter. These are in quite a sheltered spot so I have hopes for my liquoricey little friends. Love over wintering 😀

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vegan recipes, books and festivities… Among the trees in Scotland.