Living in a Forest Garden

summer garden camping
Forest Gardening by Robert Hart

In Forest Gardening by Robert A de J Hart, the vegan author details his garden – a miniature forest filled with an abundance of things to eat. This is low maintenance gardening once established with trees, bushes and perennial plants which provide both shelter and food. Included are recommended plants for different regions of the world – this book is a huge resource of information and inspiration.
Amazon UK

It’s certainly inspired us over the years. We live among the trees and love to eat the garden!

Below are more pictures and recipes from the food forest.

Courgettes and lettuce growing all wild and mixed up together:

Courgettes and lettuce in the forest garden
tattie and broad bean soup
Tattie and broad bean soup, all from the garden

Daisies are edible, pictured on top of a wild garlic pesto.

We transplanted some wild garlic from the woods to a shady spot under trees in the garden and it’s thriving and spreading further every year.

wild garlic

A rabbit relaxes on the grass…

rabbit in the forest garden

We grow quite a few annuals too…

carrots from the forest garden

Apple and bramble (blackberry) juice from trees and bushes:

juice from the forest garden
berries from the forest garden

Fruit bushes there are aplenty. White chocolate mousse above, topped with redcurrants and raspberries. Chocolate cheesecake below with mint and currants.

Mint is a wonderful herb to spread and grow wild. Minted noodle soup is a simple summer favourite:

Homemade ketchup by the barbecue:

Blend up:
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 small onion also roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 heaped tablespoons of tomato puree
3 tablespoons of vinegar (apple cider best)
a little salt to taste
herbs make a very nice addition – to the pictured sauce we added a bunch of fresh dill. This variety grows huge.

Sage, lovage, thyme and oregano are all great perennials too, and nice and hardy for Scotland!

Don’t miss our latest post over on Frugal Living in the UK:

Sourdough Bread for Pennies

sourdough olive bread with rice and tomato soup

A courgette flower in the forest garden:

courgette flower in the forest garden

Ailish Sinclair's novels

Set in a castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the Scottish witchcraft accusations and a love story.

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen.

Paperbacks and kindle:

Amazon UK

Amazon worldwide


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Cauliflower Steaks and Blue Potato Poppies

cauliflower steaks

Really flavoursome and delicious, these cauliflower steaks are super easy to prepare.

We used two medium sized cauliflowers and cut them into thick ‘steaks’ (there will be lots of wee bits too). We then rubbed them with two tablespoons of olive oil, a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a dash of soy sauce. Roast in the oven at 200C/400F for about half an hour or until soft. Turn at least once during the cooking time and sort of squidge them around in the oil else they tend to dry out. YUM!

cauliflower steaks and baked tatties
Cauliflower steaks served with a simple meal of baked tatties and beans and salad.
blue poppy in the potato patch

Beautiful blue poppy (flies like it too obviously) growing in the potato patch. These were the result of throwing a bag of out of date blue poppy seeds into the compost! They’re popping up everywhere…

poppy in the potatoes
Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 600 children and young people who were kidnapped from Aberdeen during the 1740s and sold into indentured servitude in the American Colonies. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s proper derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!

From the Publisher’s press release here: “Fiery and forthright, Elizabeth isn’t someone to be argued with. Through her experiences, the reader sees her grow from a girl, into a woman with a powerful voice… a woman of her time, but very much of ours too.”

Amazon UK

Amazon worldwide

Waterstones 

Barnes and Noble

Vegan Cake Mix and Hazelnot Gnawbles

vegan chocolate cake mix from Creative Narure makes a wonderful cake!

The cake above was made with the cacao rich vegan cake mix from Creative Nature. The little round sweets are their Gnawbles which are basically vegan Maltesers!

The mix makes a gorgeous, sweet and luxurious cake – you just add oil and milk of your choice – and the Gnawbles are delightfully crunchy and delicious.

vegan chocolate cake with Gnawbles

Creative Nature also make snack bars which are great too. See the whole range here. It includes many different types of vegan cake mix and numerous varieties of Gnawbles and bars. Particularly innovative is the Hazelnot flavour, containing no nuts.

Use code VEGANFAMILYHOUSE10 at the checkout for a 10% discount.

Everything is gluten free, vegan and nut free too.

cake made with a vegan chocolate cake mix from Creative Nature

See our chocolate page and cakes page for our own recipes.

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Easy Vegan Meals with Free Sausages

vegan meal

We made some scrummy and easy vegan meals with the free sausages mentioned earlier (now 15% off). We highly recommend them, they’re a really nice product and well-priced even when not free. Above is a mega salad consisting of: the braised sausages, tomato and sweetcorn; Greek baked beans (Lidl baby!); stuffed vine leaves (also Lidl); potato salad made with left-over baked potatoes; baby cuke and a red cabbage/onion/soy sauce salad.

Next – less photogentic, but no less delicious – pitta pizza with the salami and a homemade sauce that included lots of oregano from the garden.

pitta pizza - a great vegan meal

Then – the last of the easy vegan meals for now – a baked tattie topped with hummus, pointed red pepper and sweetcorn and paired with soused red cabbage (similar recipe here) and the tofu & quinoa sausages.

baked tattie and soused red cabbage

Lots more meal ideas over on our Instagram.

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Free Vegan Sausages, Primroses on Soup

Nettle soup with primroses, vegan

Roll up! Roll up! Get your free vegan sausages here! Well not here exactly but over at Green Bay Vegan Supermarket. Their new range of plant based braised sausages, quinoa and tofu sausages and salami slices is totally free with any order of £10 or more.

Add the free vegan sausages to your basket here

It’s a limited time offer, while stocks last.

Free vegan sausages

The pretty picture at the top is another cream of nettle soup – like this one but no broccoli – topped with primroses (they are edible, and sweet).

Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE, inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen, is out now!

The paperback is currently reduced on Amazon. Available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited too.

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Welcome to the Vegan Family House

currants in the garden of the Vegan Family House

We’re Davie, Lucy, Daniel and Charlotte, a vegan family living in Scotland. We’ve been vegan since 1997 and the Vegan Family House website has been online since 1998.

The recipe collection has grown quite large in that time. There’s lots of soups, mains, cakes, smoothies and chocolate, Christmas and Easter pages. You’ll also find food related posts and extra recipes on the food category of the blog.

chocolate truffles

We love books!

Reading them.

Writing them.

Scottish Historical Fiction

Sometimes we review excellent vegan products and yet more books

Vadasz Pickles and Kimchi

The latest blog posts are below. We hope you enjoy your visit!

Vegan Family House is also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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Cream of Broccoli and Nettle Soup

Cream of Broccoli and Nettle Soup - vegan
Nettle soup love…

Cream of Broccoli and Nettle soup method:

🥦 Fry off an onion and some garlic. Chop and add: a head of broccoli, a potato, a stick of celery, a little fresh sage, parsley and lovage. Cover with water, bring to boil, turn down to simmer. Add several young nettle tops and a handful of cashew nuts. Once potatoes are soft, season with salt and pepper and blend just enough to leave some texture.

Serves three or four people.

wild garlic pesto

More wild food recipes on our sister site Frugal Living in the UK:

Two different nettle soup recipes

Dandelion Fritters

Wild Garlic Pesto

Creamy Carrot and Wild Garlic Soup

Lots more vegan meal ideas over on our Instagram feed and recipe section.

vegan pie, salad, chips and homemade curry sauce
Vegan pie, salad, chips and homemade curry sauce.

Vegan Moussaka with Sweet Potato

Vegan Moussaka
Green lentil moussaka

Vegan moussaka. Rich and delicious and good for you!

The most basic of recipes: layer up four roasted aubergines (thinly sliced length-ways prior to rubbing with olive oil and roasting until soft, about 30 mins) with green lentil ragu (simple pasta sauce recipe here, just add two small diced sweet potatoes and a chopped red pepper to it along with cooked green lentils, either two tins or 250g dried then cooked) and top with a thick white sauce (recipe here, leave out the vegetables).

Our quantities served six, or three eating it cold for lunch the next day too, which was very very good.

See all our recipes here

snowy morning
A snowy morning, a good day for vegan moussaka!
Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE, inspired by the kidnapped children of Aberdeen, and featuring a historical vegan character (see post here), is out now. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… and there’s chocolate!

Amazon: kindle and paperback

Waterstones 

Author Website

THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR has six whole chapters of medieval Christmas, romance, witches, a Scottish castle and a stone circle…

The Mermaid and the Bear

Amazon

Waterstones

Author website

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Vegan Lentil Loaf – traditional, wholesome, delicious

vegan lentil loaf

Vegan lentil loaf is not the most photogenic of dishes. Its brown whole-foody visage summons vegetarian magazines from the 1980s to mind, with their equally brown grainy photos.

But it’s delicious. And good for you. And pretty easy to make.

Ingredients, quantities serve six, adjust as required:

  • 250g of green lentils (other types will work too)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a teaspoon of dried rosemary or sage
  • water for cooking
  • 3 slices of wholemeal bread
  • a handful of porridge oats
  • salt and black pepper to taste (it really doesn’t need much salt)
  • sliced tomatoes for topping

Place the lentils in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn down to simmer for about 15 minutes then add the carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf and herbs. Cook until the lentils and vegetables are all tender, adding more water to keep covered if needed. Once the veg and lentils are ready, discard any excess water. You want it wet but not swimming in liquid else the loaf will be soggy. Transfer half the mixture (including the bay leaf) to a blender and give a quick blitz. It does not need to be smooth. Tip it back into the pan with the rest of the mix. Crumble the bread into it. Add the oats. Season and stir thoroughly.

Place it all in a greased baking dish. Top with sliced tomatoes and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200C/400F for half an hour.

vegan lentil loaf with salad and a baked potato

Great in a roast dinner, or paired with macaroni cheese, or as part of a lighter meal with a baked potato, this lentil loaf also slices really well when cold for sandwiches and salads.

See all our recipes here

The Contented Vegan

Featured book:

The Contented Vegan

The book is a satisfyingly chunky hardback with lots of beautiful full page colour photos that reminded me of when my son was a toddler and used to like to look at recipe books. He would point at each picture and say ‘Nums!’ Well, there’s lots to say ‘nums’ about in this book… See our whole review here

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cream of tomato soup #vegan

vegan cream of tomato soup

Ingredients for the cream of tomato soup:
2 tins of plum tomatoes
about a cup of water (rinse out tins with it)
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 or 2 handfuls of cashew nuts
a few fresh sage leaves
seasalt to taste

Place the tomatoes and water in a pan and bring to the boil, adding the onion, sweet potato, sage and garlic as it heats. Once it boils, turn down to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Place soup in a blender and add the cashew nuts. Blend and taste for seasoning, add salt as desired.

If your blender is not very strong, try soaking the cashews in water overnight to soften them before using.

We had the cream of tomato soup with a cheese and onion pasty made in a similar manner to the basic pasties on frugal but using Kamut flour in the pastry and filled with chopped red onion, cubed potatoes and vegan cheese all cooked in a little soya milk first, also very good 🙂

vegan cheese and onion pasty

See all our soup recipes here

GreenBay 100% vegan supermarket