Tag Archives: festive

Space Age Cooking

gluten free mini chocolate logs

Doesn’t look a very space age treat, but it is because it was cooked in this:

Halogen oven

…and that looks like a robot, little eyes and everything, though it’s actually a VonShef Halogen Oven Cooker. It’s an amazing and energy saving device, great for when you want to just bake a cake or cook one dish without heating the whole oven. It also gets hot at once, no need to preheat. It comes with a bunch of kitchen stuff too: heat resistant basket, recipe book, extender ring, lid holder, baking tray, steamer tray, skewers, low Rack, high Rack (these work well as cooling racks) and a nice oven glove. It would make a great gift!

Halogen oven and accessories

So on with the recipes…

Gluten Free Mini Chocolate Yule Logs:
125g of vegetable maragarine
125g caster sugar
250g Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa
a good squirt of golden syrup (makes it ‘fudgey’)
a teaspoon of vanilla extract
soya milk to mix
decoration: marzipan, 200g melted chocolate and a sprinkle of icing sugar

Cream the marg. and sugar together and then gradually mix in the other ingredients like so: a little flour, a little soya milk, stir; add cocoa and some soya milk, stir. Once it’s all well mixed, pour into a greased cake tin and set the oven temperature to 175C and the timer to 45 minutes. Place the cake in there, close the lid and go for a walk to watch the sunrise (optional/replace with activity of choice):

sunrise

Check for readiness with a skewer, cook for a few more minutes if still wet in the middle. Once the cake is totally cool, remove from the tin and cut into bite-size pieces. Top with thinly sliced marzipan and melted chocolate. It’s ideal to let the chocolate cool a little before spreading on the cakes (go and pick holly) as you can then pull a fork through it for a nice wood-like effect. Let the chocolate set and then sprinkle with icing sugar.

We also made Creamy Sage and Onion Potatoes in the Halogen oven:
8 medium potatoes, sliced very thin and par-boiled for a few minutes, we left the skins on
2 red onions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
a small handful of fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon of marg.
1 tablespoon of flour
250ml of soya milk
salt to taste

Grease an oven proof dish. Melt the marg. and cook the onions and garlic in it until softened. Add the sage. Add the flour. Mix well. Gradually stir in the soya milk and continue stirring over a low heat until the sauce thickens. Season with salt. Layer this up with the potatoes in your greased dish, leaving plenty for the top as it just looks nice. Set the timer to 50 minutes and the temperature to 250C and light up the kitchen. Ta-da:

potato bake

All Dark

dark
photo credit: Charlotte Burnett

We’re close to the Solstice now. It is very dark. Above is a strange and dark perspective of our wild and non-conformist tree cut from the garden.

For gift ideas and lots of festive recipes visit Vegan Christmas or Yule

c1 santa hat wintcakes (300x225)

chocolate and aprons

ethicoco

Isn’t that beautiful? And just perfect for Christmas with the sparkly red berries? It’s the Peruvian Dark Bar with Cranberries from Ethicoco and it’s absolutely delicious; the texture is smooth, the flavour is full, the cranberries are perfectly tart and there’s plenty of them.

Ethicoco is a new vegan chocolate company that uses ethically sourced and organic ingredients. They also make ‘milk’ bars using oat milk and hand craft their chocolate ‘from bean to bar’, read more about that on their website.

ethicoco2

In other news, we have resurrected our shop! We have aprons, t-shirts, bags, mugs, caps, bibs, badges and underwear in various designs both vegan and flowery…

vc vppanty chocolate cheesecake bag

chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

chestnuts and cocoa

Unlike previous chestnut roasting efforts, these were done properly, in an actual long handled chestnut pan, no less.

chestnut pan

So they were sweet and succulent and cooked all the way through, unlike the ‘wrapped in foil and put in the fire’ nuts of the past which were burnt on the outside and raw in the middle.

Washed and scored:
scored chestnuts

Roasting:
15836909702_ae1570f539_z

The pan comes with full instructions on how to choose the best chestnuts and then how to roast them, making it a really nice festive gift.

It’s almost December! Chocolate Advent Calendars:
 

To finish off today, turn your sound up and listen to some beautiful whooper swans on the early morning loch.

black badger stew and other beans

15588065210_8ee32d8b89_z

We were sent some wonderful British bean products by Hodmedod’s. Before the title causes too much alarm: black badgers are a variety of pea that has been grown in Britain for at least 500 years, also known as carlin or maple peas. They are exceptionally flavoursome for a pulse and made a delicious hummus (substituting the chick peas in our usual recipe) and a wonderfully filling stew:

Black Badger Stewblack badger stew
250g of black badgers, soaked and cooked
2 onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
4 sticks of celery, chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1 box passata (500g)
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
water as needed
seasalt to taste

Soak your black badgers overnight, bring to the boil and turn down to simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in the vegetables, passata, water to cover and bay leaves and simmer again for at least fifteen minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaves. Thicken the sauce with tomato puree and season with salt. Nice served with rice or mash.

bean saladWe also made a fava bean (broad bean) salad:
1 can of cooked fava beans
3 tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 small onion, diced
a handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Mix it all together and dress with the juice of one lemon and a little olive oil.

The big vegan box pictured above would make an ideal Christmas gift for any foodie. Not only does it contain the useful store cupboard staple of dried beans (including split fava beans which do not require soaking) but it boasts a plethora of ready to eat tinned products and roasted snacks. The baked beans are broad beans in a homemade style sauce rather than the orange goo of most brands. The dahl makes ‘chips with curry sauce’ into something gourmet and delightful. And the roasted beans and peas – wow – horseradish peas! Spicy like wasabi… There’s also a UK-grown bag of quinoa, removing any ethical issues with the product.

And speaking of Christmas: don’t miss our Vegan Christmas or Yule page for lots of festive recipes and gift ideas and also Advent calendars (those will sell out soon).

Viva! Cookbook

viva cover

The beautiful new cookbook from Viva! by Jane Easton (see her delicious beanburger recipe over on frugal).

The organisational structure of the book is exceptionally user-friendly. First there’s the main sections: Vegan Basics; Souperb; A bit on the side; Back to the sauce; The main event and Sweet thing. Then there’s a range of indexes based on the codes found on the recipe pages: budget dishes, fast feeds, Gluten & wheat free, cooking for one, kid-friendly, freezable, low fat/diabetic-friendly.

The recipes themselves are diverse and gorgeous and there’s a stunning colour photo beside each one. It’s hard to know where to start with describing them as there as so many, so we’ll give you a favourite: Speedy Chocolate Pudding. You can click the photo to see a bigger version.

viva recipe

The book is a wonderful mix of simple advice for beginner cooks and those new to veganism through to advanced ideas such as Christmas Stuffed Squash with Two-rice, Cranberry and Porcini Mushroom Filling. Rose Elliot’s Chestnut and Red Wine Pate en croute that we’ve loved for years is also included.

There’s Scrambled Tofu; Socca Pizza with Cream Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts; Perfect Pancakes; Vegetable Tempura; Smokey Black Bean Cakes & Sausages; cakes, muffins, slices… we could go on and on. Really we could, there’s 145 recipes!

The beautiful photos make it an excellent coffee table title, so much better for inspiration than tucking it away on a shelf…

To buy or read more visit Viva!

Also available from Amazon.co.uk

Literary gifts for book lovers, gorgeous gift ideas for readers, writers and literature fans

just pointing you to Vegan Easter…

bunniest-dark-button-eggHere it is

There’s bunnies and eggs. Online stock always sells out fast. Go get.

 

snowdrops