Before we get to the sweet and delicious baking, some news: we are now on Facebook. Go visit us there!
Onto the cake, which is relatively low sugar, relying mainly on the sweetness of the raisins, and they are very sweet!
300g/12oz/2 cups of Dove’s Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 cup/8 fl.oz/200ml of sunflower oil
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
1 cup of soya milk (or possibly a little more to get a good mixture)
2 teaspoons of natural vanilla extract
2 good handfuls of raisins (or more if you like!)
1 or 2 tablespoons of preserving sugar or sugar crystals (optional)
Oil your cake tin and preheat oven to 180C/360F. Mix together the flour and cinnamon. Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil, golden syrup, soya milk, and vanilla – mix well. Stir in the lovely juicy sweet raisins and then sprinkle the preserving sugar, if using, on top. Pour into cake tin and bake for about half an hour or until cooked in middle (insert a knife or skewer into the centre of cake and if cooked it will come out clean).
The Old Auction Room in Strichen, Aberdeenshire, has recently been all done up and its wonderful café always has gorgeous vegan cake! There seems to be a vegan and gluten-free main or soup each day too. Above is a raw chocolate brownie, below a slice of date and walnut loaf, both gluten-free.
They also have vintage clothes, old books and antiques for sale. Some hats:
There’s a florist and a barber on the premises too.
And a wee fairy! Here’s their facebook page.
Bonobo Cafe, a 100% vegan café in Aberdeen, also a worker co-operative, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign.
They started as a Saturday pop-up, ploughing all the takings back into the business and saving in order to open up full time. It’s been 18 months since then and now they’re almost there, having agreed a lease on a premises. They’re hoping to raise the funds for the fit out through this campaign.
Their reward structure includes the option to provide a vulnerable person in Aberdeen with a hot drink every day for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months of the year as well as some other nice gifts.
The kickstarter campaign link is: www.kickstarter.com/projects/bonobocafe/bonobo-café
You can also visit them on Facebook or Instagram
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!
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.
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.
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