Category Archives: food

Choc Hotlate and The Contented Vegan

Choc Hotlate

Gorgeous Choc Hotlate, a recipe for hot chocolate topped with ice cream, from the equally gorgeous book The Contented Vegan. What could be better on a snowy day?

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.

Written by a chef who has been vegan for over 30 years, the pages are bursting with great advice for people starting off on the vegan journey and those who’ve been on it a while.

vegan guide

I enjoyed the section on raising vegan children and it also brought back memories. The author advises trying to make the food to be eaten with other children as ‘normal’ as possible. I recall planning such a meal and getting my daughter to check that her friend liked spaghetti, thinking a nice Bolognese style sauce would go down well. Indeed, the initial report came back positive. But I will never forget the look of sheer horror on the child’s face when presented with a bowl of spaghetti and sauce.

‘What is this?’ she asked.

‘Spaghetti,’ said I.

‘But spaghetti comes in orange juice.’

Luckily I did have a tin at the back of a cupboard, so all was well!

The Contented Vegan

Recipe sections include breakfast, snacks, lunch, suppers, family dinners and feasts and celebrations. We’ll be trying the Winter Solstice Pie and the Fennel and Pepper Presto has caught the eye too. In fact I can tell it’s a book of nums that will be dipped into often over many years.

It’s snowing again, may have to make more Choc Hotlate!

a snowy path, time for more Choc Hotlate?

See our main books section here, also books for kids and the book tag of the blog.

red dragon pie #vegan #plantbased

red dragon pie

This Red Dragon Pie recipe originated in Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Kitchen (BBC cookery series). Topped with mash, the base is a rich mix of aduki beans – said to give you the strength of the dragon, this is where the dish gets its name – and brown rice in gravy.

Here’s how we do it:

Soak beans overnight if using dried ones. For the mammoth pie above which did dinner and lunch next day for four, we used 250g of dried beans. Place in a  large pan, cover well with water, bring to the boil and let simmer for a long time… (should be instructions on the bag). Throw in the rice (200g) about half way through cooking. Add more water if needed. Once it’s all nearly cooked add the vegetables. In this pie there were four carrots and one head of celery, all chopped. Onion is good too.

As that cooks up a bit, add a teaspoon of mixed herbs, a good  squidge of tomato puree and a teaspoon of yeast extract. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir well. Top with mashed potatoes – especially easy if using cookware that does hob and oven like our favourite Le Creuset Cast Iron Round Casserole – and bake in a hot oven until nicely browned.

Enjoy your Red Dragon Pie!

red dragon pie

See all our recipes here

THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR (a historical novel by Lucy, written under her pen name), has six whole chapters of medieval Christmas, romance, witches, and a Scottish castle and stone circle…

The Mermaid and the Bear

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banana raisin teabread (gluten and sugar free)

banana raisin teabread

Teabread Ingredients:
250g of Doves Farm Gluten free Self Raising flour
1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum (flour already contains some)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4 mashed bananas
2 generous tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
300g of raisins
juice of one lemon
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
unsweetened soya milk to mix (quite a lot, flour is very absorbent)

Mix dry ingredients and then beat in the wet ones and fruit. Bake at 200C/400F for at least half an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

Lovely with Booja Booja Vanilla ice cream or just with a bit of marg and a cup of tea.

Chocolate variation!! Add 50g of cocoa powder to the flour and liquidise 100g of pitted dates into some soya milk instead of raisins… delish 🙂

Enjoy this teabread after an icy loch-side walk… and see all our cake recipes here.

loch

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The Mermaid and the Bear

Escape to 1596 with THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR! Exchange lockdowns for witchcraft accusations! Live in a castle, visit the stone circle and taste the Twelfth Night Cake…

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Burns Night: vegan haggis and Scottish recipes

FAIR fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!

So said Robert Burns of the haggis. Good word ‘sonsie’, it really should be used more. You can get a sonsie vegan haggis in many shops now to serve with neeps and tatties.

Vegan Haggis on Burns Night

You could make some sonsie Cranachan for afters, recipe taken from our cakes and puddings page.

Cranachan
This is often served at Burn’s Suppers in Scotland.
Ingredients: half a cup of porridge oats; 1 small box of soya cream; 1 tablespoon of Agave Nectar; 1 tablespoon of whisky (or whisky flavouring if you don’t take alcohol); 1 punnet of fresh raspberries

Lightly toast the oats in a frying pan on the stove. Remove from heat and pour in the cream – it will bubble and thicken a bit with the heat. Stir well and add the agave and whiskey, and mix in. Add most of the rasps, keeping a few back for garnish. Place in dishes and chill in the fridge until pudding time.

The perfect Burns Night pudding: Cranachan

Other Scottish recipes that might be of use or preferable to haggis:

Scotch Broth
Balmoral Pie can be found on the main courses page (scroll down a bit). It’s a lovely dish of beans and sausages topped with mash.
Scottish Macaroons are a feast of sugar and potato.

Whatever you do, have an honest, sonsie time this Burns Night 😀

low sun

Experience a perfect Scottish escape with THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR! Exchange 21st century lockdowns for 16th century witchcraft accusations! Live in a castle, visit the stone circle and taste the Twelfth Night Cake…

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Waterstones

Author website

See more recommendations for vegan books from us here.

Christmas Frazzle: when things get too hectic

salt and vinegar twists

We’ve reached that Christmas frazzle time when, regardless of how simple your planned festivities are, everything becomes really hectic. So: frazzle style crisps on a plate. It is a festive plate though. And people are happily gobbling up their Tesco salt and vinegar twists as happily as they gobbled down the fancier snacks 🙂 Moral of the crisps on a plate? Don’t try too hard, don’t tire yourself out: enjoy Christmas.

Take a little walk on the beach. Breathe. Eat some crisps.

sunrise over the dunes

Today’s recipe: Gluten Free Mini Chocolate Yule Logs

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The Mermaid and the Bear, the perfect read for Christmas!

Escape Christmas 2020 with THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR! Exchange lockdowns for witchcraft accusations! Live in a castle, visit the stone circle and taste the Twelfth Night Cake…

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Amazon worldwide

Waterstones

Author website

Solstice Pudding Truffles! #vegan #plantbased #raw

raw chocolate truffles

Chocolate Truffles (rawish): Blend or food process up two handfuls of mixed nuts and 2 handfuls of raisins with a heaped teaspoon of cocoa. Roll the mix into little balls. We then put them in the freezer for ten minutes while we melted the white and dark chocolate in Bain Maries. This meant the chocolate set really quickly when  spooned onto the cold puddings rather than running everywhere.

So: spoon the melted chocolate over the top and decorate with pumpkin seeds and chopped dried cranberry. Yum!

The truffles are now nestled happily in the Christmas Dish 🙂

vegan truffles

Recipe for today: mini pizza bites

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See all Christmas recipes

The Mermaid and the Bear, historical fiction set in Scotland

THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR (a novel by Lucy, written under her pen name), has six whole chapters of medieval Christmas, making it the perfect festive gift! Also: romance, witches, and a Scottish castle…

Amazon UK

Amazon worldwide

Waterstones

Author website

Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site


Fabulous Vegan Fudge and Chocolate Raisins!

Fabulous vegan fudge and chocolate raisins!

From the Fabulous Freedom Factory comes this fabulous vegan fudge and these Chocolate Covered Raisins. Incredibly delicious.

Festive recipe: Carrot, Coriander and Ginger Soup

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See all Christmas recipes.

Oh, and we’re on Instagram now!

Eating Vegan Trifle, Reading and Sunsets

vegan trifle

Eating: a simple trifle made of bananas in vegan jelly, topped with thick custard and this rather nice provamel cream (we were lucky enough to find a few of these cheaply on Approved Food recently). There’s a more detailed trifle recipe on the  Vegan Christmas page.

Reading: Manda Scott’s Boudica series.

Looking at: wintry sunsets.

The Mermaid and the Bear, the perfect read for Christmas!

THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR (a novel by Lucy, written under her pen name), has six whole chapters of medieval Christmas, making it the perfect festive gift! Also: romance, witches, and a Scottish castle…

Amazon UK

Amazon worldwide

Waterstones

Author website

Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site


Vegan Christmas Cake, a Christmas Dish Post

vegan Christmas cake bites

Co-op Free From Christmas Cake Bites. Christmas is still a little frazzled… Here’s the enormous Christmas tree at the Old Auction Rooms in Strichen (vegan cake usually available there too):

Christmas tree

Today’s recipe: really simple trifle

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See all Christmas recipes

GreenBay 100% vegan supermarket

A Festive Soup: Carrot, Coriander and Ginger

A festive soup, colourful and delicious

This festive soup is such a bright and flavourful recipe, it would make a good addition to any Christmas meal!

Ingredients (for four):
a little olive oil
8 carrots, scraped and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
a stick of celery, chopped
1 small potato, diced small
2 inch square of fresh ginger, peeled and cut up
1 tablespoon of dried coriander (you could use fresh but it will make the soup go a bit green/brown in colour)
6 or 7 cloves of garlic, crushed or sliced (or even thrown in whole)
a handful of cashew nuts
water as needed
seasalt to taste

In a large pan, fry off the onion, carrot and celery until softened. Add the potato, ginger, coriander, garlic and nuts and cover with water. Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Add salt to taste and then blend it all up! Delicious 🙂

If you liked this festive soup recipe, see all our Christmas and Yule fare here.

THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR (a novel by Lucy, written under her pen name), has six whole chapters of medieval Christmas, making it the perfect festive gift! Also: romance, witches, and a Scottish castle…

Amazon UK

Amazon worldwide

Waterstones

Author website