Wonderful skies just now. Especially on the coldest of days. Wonderful smoothies too, made possible by the wonder of frozen fruit. The combination of pecan nuts and tart purple berries such as brambles (blackberries) or blackcurrants creates a delicious and rich sweetness reminiscent of the best brown sugar.
(For four people, big servings, adjust as needed)
1 bag of frozen blackberries or blackcurrants
1 cup of pecan nuts
orange juice to cover in blender (probably about 1 litre)
If you like a thicker smoothie add an avocado or some linseeds.
Blend! Enjoy the brown sugary wonder! Go for a walk among the trees!
Montezuma’s do this gorgeous dark number with large blocks of chocolate.
And this year they have a dairy free kids one too!
Playmobil do a lovely range with great scenes to build from traditional Nativity to dragons, unicorns, pirates and Santa’s workshop.
Coco Loco Dark Calendar from Ethical Superstore
Lego also have a nice selection, some sweet and Christmassy, others less so!
The Dark Calendar from
CIATÉ’ LONDON’ MINI MANI MONTH 2017: all the nail polishes you could want!
Chocologic Calendars are for sale in Tesco and at Amazon
Kleeneze have some nice calendars available including the Block Tech Advent Calendar, a Magnetic House Advent Calendar, and a Fill Your Own one.
Divine Dark Calendar from Amazon and Ethical Superstore
Ethical Superstore are selling an organic fair-trade tea calendar here.
Moo Free have this really sweet and mellow tasting chocolate calendar:
Plamil do two, one with sugar and one without.
Holland and Barratt have some lovely Christmas goodies, both online and in store, including dairy free Advent calendars.
They also stock many vegan savoury chilled items such as festive roasts and cheeses. These items sell out fast this time of year but you can order them online to pick up in store.
Supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda do dairy-free Advent calendars now too. Don’t forget you could also go traditional with little pictures or fill your own reusable calendar with pockets!
The picture below is of mini gluten free chocolate logs, recipe here
Main Christmas page with lots of recipes here
There they are: chocolate chunk and walnut muffins. They’re very very good, but tricky to photograph so we’re going to intersperse with some professional pictures of seasonal Montezuma’s chocolate.
Lets start with the ghosts! Or Montezuma’s Dark and Vegan Halloween Treats to be exact.
Okay, onto the muffin recipe!
Chocolate Chunk and Walnut Muffins
4 (heaped) tablespoons of Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising flour,
2 (heaped) tablespoons of cocoa,
2 tablespoons (not heaped) of caster sugar
100g bar of chocolate
handful of walnuts, broken into small pieces
3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
Soya milk to mix (start with about half a cupful)
Start with the fun part: bashing up the chocolate. While it’s still in its wrapper, hit the bar of chocolate repeatedly with a rolling pin. All over. Backwards and forwards. Up and down. Tip the fragmented contents into a mixing bowl along with the flour, cocoa, walnuts and sugar and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and stir.
With gluten free cakes that are going into paper cake cases, you don’t want the batter too wet or the cakes might stick in there quite badly. So, you’re going for a nice sturdy batter, not too much soya milk. Or you could use silicone cases.
Spoon into 12 cake cases and bake at 200C/400F for 10-15 minutes. Cool, then eat!
And now let’s look ahead a little into the chocolatey year… to Advent!
It’s a raw bramble (blackberry) cheesecake sweetened with red Chinese dates or Jujubes. It’s rich. It’s delicious. Everyone should try it! Read on for how…
Abakus Foods sent us three of their wonderful jujube products to try: the pitted dates, some powdered jujubes and some jujube crisps. The crisps are just like mini cookies, all crunchy and sweet and moreish.
Jujubes (loving that word) are less sweet and sticky than ordinary dates and are traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat insomnia and anxiety.
Here’s how we made our cheesecakes:
For the base: food process 40g (about a cup) of dried jujube fruit with a cup of pecan nuts until they resemble biscuit crumbs. Line a 12 piece muffin tin with cling film, pressing it carefully into each recess. Press your jujube/pecan mixture into each base.
For the creamy cheesecake topping: blend together a cup of brambles, a cup of macadamia nuts, half a cup of cashews, a tablespoon of coconut oil and 50g (about two tablespoons) of jujube powder. Once smooth, spread this onto the bases. Cover with more clingfilm and press each little cheesecake down to make sure it’s well stuck together.
Freeze for about two hours. Remove from tin and peel away the clingfilm. Decorate with jujube crisps and melted chocolate of your choice (really dark goes well).
Say the word jujube a lot.
You can buy this range of jujube products online at Abakus Foods and, from September, at Wholefoods Markets and a number of independent health food and fine food stores. Amazon also have dried jujube fruit.
The weather may be dull but the soup doesn’t have to be!
Carrot, Sweet Tattie and Pepper Soup
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
5 large carrots, scraped and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 large peppers, de-seeded and chopped, we used 1 red and 1 orange
about half a cup of quinoa
small bunch of fresh coriander or a tsp of dried cumin
5 cloves of garlic
water to cover
seasalt to taste
In a large pan, fry off the onion for a few minutes before adding the other veg. Stir until coated in oil and then add water (boiled in kettle makes cooking quicker). Add the quinoa, coriander/cumin and garlic and cook until the quinoa has sprouted and the vegetables are tender. Add salt. Blend until smooth, adding more water if too thick. If you like a creamy soup and have a strong blender throw a handful of cashew nuts in there too.
Enjoy in all and any weathers!
We’re Davie, Lucy, Daniel and Charlotte, a vegan family living in Northern Scotland.
The Vegan Family House has been online since 1998 so the recipe collection has grown quite large. There’s lots of soups, mains, cakes, smoothies and specific chocolate, Christmas and Easter pages. You’ll also find food related posts and extra recipes on the food category of the blog.
We love books! See our recommendations for children and non-fiction titles for adults and we sometimes blog about fiction.
The latest blog posts are below. We hope you enjoy your visit!
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Sacred Elephant Incense is vegan and ethically produced and smells of peace and light and all the good stuff. The scent (in our case, Cedar) evokes Glastonbury and Findhorn and Iona, spiritual places, beautiful bookshops and clear skies.
Our dragon burner may not look so peaceful, but that’s just his way… The various scents: agar wood, cedar, cinnamon spice, gaura leela, Himalayan musk, myrrh, prema, rose, sandalwood, sayali jasmine, and vraja leela can be bought online here
To go with this we’ve dug back into the old archives of the Vegan Family House and found one of the first recipes to go online, back in 1998. It’s smokey too!
Smokey Seafood Rice
Don’t worry, the seafood here is Arame, a sea vegetable.
a little sunflower oil
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 block of smoked tofu
a good handful of dried arame
500g/18 oz/2 cups basmati rice (this makes a large potful to feed a family – reduce the amount of rice and water accordingly if you want)
a cupful of frozen peas
seasalt to taste
water to cover
Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes. Chop the tofu into small cuboids and add to the onion and garlic. Add the rice and mix well then add enough water to well cover the rice. Add the arame (you may need to add more water as seaweeds vary in how absorbent they are) and the seasalt. Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer. A few minutes before the end of cooking time add the peas. Nice served with a green salad. Enjoy!
This review has been organised by the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION and is our genuine and unbiased opinion of the product. Sacred Elephant Incense are listed with the VLA and you can see their listing here with an offer for members