Pre-breakfast chocolate time is fast approaching so let’s dive right in!
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.
Moo Free have this really sweet and mellow tasting chocolate calendar:
Plamil do two, one with sugar and one without.
Montezuma’s do this gorgeous dark number with large blocks of chocolate.
Then there’s the non-edible variety for children.
Playmobil do a lovely range with great scenes to build from traditional Nativity to dragons, unicorns, pirates and Santa’s workshop.
Lego also have a nice selection, some sweet and Christmassy, others less so!
Ethical Superstore are selling an organic fair-trade tea calendar here.
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!
First off, Holland & Barrett have a ‘Buy one, Get One Half Price’ offer on everything including their large vegan Easter Range. All available online too.
And then, back from 2006, because we made it again last night (with parts of an Easter bunny!) and it’s lovely:
Chocolate Rice Pudding
This is a recipe from the book ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’ that we veganised.
500ml soya milk
half teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
200g pudding rice
85g. dark chocolate (80% best), broken into small pieces
Bring milk, sugar and salt to the boil then add the rice. Stir occasionally while cooking for about 20 minutes – add more milk if too sticky. Stir in vanilla. Divide between 4 ramekins and insert the chocolate pieces into the middle and push down with a spoon. Leave at room temperature for a few minutes and the chocolate will go all melty like a rich sauce…
New Year: a time for brisk and breezy beach walks and fresh clean laundry! We used Planet Pure Organic Laundry Liquid throughout December and it proved a most effective product. We had the lavender variety, which smelled lovely and was nostalgically reminiscent of another eco laundry liquid from the distant past (the nineties), Down to Earth, that was also scented with lavender. Planet Pure scores higher on the purity front though: it’s not dyed some chemical colour, instead being a natural brown and it settles a bit, needing a shake before use.
It washed everything really well, the ingredients including saponin rich soap nuts. The fresh scent of the finished laundry was certainly put to good test, given the deluge there’s been in the last two weeks. There were times when washing had to be brought in from the line and spun again, but it still smelled air dried and nice.
The accompanying stain remover worked well on some festive food stains and we also used it to remove a rusty water stain from a carpet, left by the Christmas tree holder!
This review has been organised by the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. It has not been paid for and the products were sent free of charge. This is our genuine and unbiased review of the product.
We’ve spotted some lovely vegan goodies around for Easter this year, see our page for listings.
Something else new and lovely: The Vegan Lifestyle Association. A not-for-profit organisation, it is 100% committed to saving lives and saving our planet. Achieved through proactive education on the multiple benefits of a Vegan lifestyle and supporting all those who wish to try it. It’s also free to join with many member benefits, discounts etc. Go see!
Weather-blasted oak trees in Argyll last week:
Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes
4 tablespoons of self-raising gluten free flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 quarter teaspoon of hot chilli powder
4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 box of rice cream or something similar (we got this at Approved Food, always worth checking for vegan goodies), a vegan yoghurt or soya cream would do, even a chocolate pudding
Mix the dry. Add the wet. Stir thoroughly and divide between 12 cake cases. Bake at 200C/400F for up to 20 minutes or until risen and firm. Once they have cooled: ice them!
For the spicy icing:
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of caster sugar (or icing sugar)
2 tablespoons of marg.
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of salt
Melt it all up in pan over a very low heat. Once well mixed, allow to cool and thicken a little before spreading on the cakes.
Perfect for Valentines Day, as is our little friend Egbert:
And books, they always make perfect gifts… Here’s two involving love that we’ve read and enjoyed in recent months:
Matt Haig’s ‘The Humans’ is compassionate and funny and deeply moving. When Professor Andrew Martin solves an important mathematical problem, he is replaced by an alien who is charged with eliminating all evidence of the discovery and Professor Martin’s wife and son. It’s one of those books that is so good you nag other people to read it…
Buy UK or Buy US
Set in 17th century Amsterdam, Jessie Burton’s novel follows the lives of newly married Nella Oortman and her family. Intrigue surrounds the dolls house that Nella is given as a wedding gift and the mysterious miniaturist whose wares echo the lives of the people in the real house. Gripping and unputdownable.
Buy UK or Buy US
A beautiful accompaniment to Christmas dinner and easy to prepare (in advance too). Below is a wonderful recipe from Oatly, though we do have a dear friend who makes bread sauce by simply putting all the ingredients in an oven dish and cooking it in the oven with everything else, just giving it a stir now and again. Experimentation required!
Oatly Bread sauce (Makes approximately 1 litre)
600ml Oatly Oat drink
1 onion, halved & studded with approx 12 cloves
1 bay leaf
5 pepper corns
150g fresh white breadcrumbs
50g vegetable margarine, optional
1. Put the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns into a medium saucepan and pour in the Oatly oat drink. Bring the liquid up to just below boiling and take off the heat. Leave for 2 hours to allow the aromatic flavours to infuse the Oatly.
2. Remove the onion, bay & pepper and keep them to one side. Add the breadcrumbs, put the pan back on and cook gently over a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bread crumbs have swelled.
3. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the marg, if using. You can use this immediately or chill and reheat it. If you are going to keep it for any time, pop the onion and aromatics back in to continue adding flavour.
This recipe was made using Oatly Oat drink – a great dairy free, healthy alternative to milk. For more delicious recipes and further information about the Oatly way of life, visit www.facebook.com/oatlyab
And don’t miss all the other festive recipes on Vegan Christmas or Yule!