Improve Your Insta Food Pics with a Bag!

Improve your Insta food pics: here's our noodles...
Noodles. Love this background!

We were sent The Instagram Bag, a bag choc full of amazing items designed to help you improve your Insta food pics, from The Paper Bag Co. They produce this and many other paper bags too.

The Instagram Bag

Included in the large zip-up bag are a 5 in 1 pop up reflector:

Imrove your Insta food pics with these reflectors from the Paper Bag Co.
Reflectors

8 postcards with tips from a professional photographer on aspects like composition and lighting:

Photographic tips

… and 4 wonderful backgrounds. We used the gold reflector to good effect in the top noodle bowl photo. It was a really dull day. One of the frequently occurring storms was ongoing and the reflector really helped light the food.

And here’s a chocolate smoothie on the white marble background:

You’ll see us using the backgrounds over on Instagram from now on. We love them, and highly recommend this bag as a great way to improve your Insta food pics!

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Vegetable Curry: a Simple Vegan Recipe

vegetable curry

A simple but truly delicious vegetable curry with onion bhajis from Lidl and some winter lettuce from the polytunnel.

Vegetable Curry Ingredients (serves four)

  • A little oil
  • one onion, chopped
  • a pepper, chopped
  • an apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of curry powder or spices of your choosing (we like a combo of fenugreek, cumin, turmeric and chilli).
  • vegetables of your choice, chopped: we used an aubergine, some green beans, a few small potatoes and a diced carrot.
  • water to cover. We had some broccoli stock from earlier cooking and water saved from a tin of cannelloni beans.
  • a teaspoon or two of cornflour
  • salt to taste

Method

Fry off the onion, pepper and apple in the oil for a few minutes then add the spices. Stir well for a few minutes taking care not to burn the mixture. Add the vegetables and water, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer until all veg is tender. Combine the cornflour with a little water and mix until smooth then add it to the curry, stirring all the time until it thickens. Add salt. We served it with some golden vegetable rice (add turmeric and a few peas/pepper/celery to rice as it cooks).

Check out these Potato Broccoli Croquettes, a no waste recipe over on Frugal Living in the UK.

vegan potato broccoli croquettes

And see more of our meals on Instagram!

vegan meals on Insta, including vegetable curry
Ailish Sinclair's novels

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

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

Paperbacks and kindle: Amazon UK or Amazon Worldwide

“Ailish Sinclair spins this Scottish tale filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society

5% off when you spend £50 at Vegan Outfitters using code VEGANFAMILY5.

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; a 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:

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…

Amazon UK

Amazon worldwide

Waterstones

Author website

See more recommendations for vegan books from us here.

Turmeric Macaroni Recipe, vegan, anti-inflammatory

turmeric macaroni

This turmeric macaroni is flavourful and nutritious, high in protein and also, thanks to the turmeric, has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s important to use a high quality turmeric: we like this one.

We used Tesco’s free from macaroni as it’s one of the nicest we’ve found. It does have a tendency to stick together in the pan so stir frequently for the first few minutes of cooking if using this one.

Turmeric Macaroni Ingredients

  • Pasta of your choice, cooked to pack instructions. The sauce is enough for 500g.
  • half a cup of quinoa grain
  • half a cup of cashew nuts
  • a medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, scraped and chopped
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 3 cardamon pods
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of cumin
  • and another heaped one of ground fenugreek
  • water to cover
  • salt if you like, but it really doesn’t need it

Method

While your pasta is cooking, place all the other ingredients in a medium saucepan and cover well with water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer until the quinoa is cooked and sprouted and the vegetables are soft. Blend well until smooth then stir into the cooked, drained, pasta. Yum.

If you liked this recipe try some of our others here

Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes, perfect with turmeric pasta!

Over on Frugal Living today: Frugal Living Basics and Jerusalem Artichokes


THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic while FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children of Aberdeen.

The blend of dark events and romance in these stories is perfect for wintry nights in front of the fire!

Paperback & kindle: http://author.to/mermaid

Ailish Sinclair's novels

#vegan bread sauce – perfect for Christmas!

Vegan Bread Sauce

This vegan bread sauce is 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!

Vegan Bread Sauce Ingredients (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

Method

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Recipe credit
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/OatlyUK 

vegan roast

Looking for something easy to go with your vegan bread sauce? See all the ready made roast options at vegan supermarket GreenBay! They also sell a variety of gourmet vegan products that would be great for Christmas treats such as cheeses (including Camembert), steak and bacon etc.

vegan bread sauce and cheese

Don’t miss all the other festive recipes on Vegan Christmas or Yule!

Sign up to our occasional mailing list to be sent new recipes as we put them up!

The Mermaid and the Bear

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

Vegan Christmas Dinner and Minty Snowmen

vegan Christmas dinner: nut roast!
nut roast

Vegan Christmas dinner. The best Christmas dinner. This year we intend having our favourite homemade nut roast stuffed into pepper halves along with:

vegan bread sauce
bread sauce
Sgaia roast for vegan Christmas Dinner
garlic and rosemary roast

We’re also going to be enjoying this delicious vegan Camembert:

Camembert for vegan Christmas dinner

And these gorgeous minty chocolate snowmen:

chocolate mint snowmen for vegan Christmas dinner

Whatever you’re doing this midwinter season we hope you are cosy and well fed and happy! For more vegan Christmas dinner recipes, including lots of puddings (we haven’t decided on that yet) GO HERE 🙂

Vegan Christmas Recipes and Lucky Truffles

vegan christmas recipes

Vegan Christmas Recipes

We have built a large collection of vegan Christmas recipes over the years for you to see here. Soups. Starters. Mains. Sweet recipes. Some of our absolute favourites are the golden soup above, the best nut roast ever and chocolate Yule log cakes.

vegan christmas recipes: chocolate yule log

Advent

Don’t forget those half price advent calendars. Go see!

vegan advent calendar, half price

Lucky Truffles

Now to the lucky truffles. Winter Solstice 2018. Lucy made these:

vegan Christmas recipes: raw chocolate truffles

You can see the recipe here. They’re delicious and quite healthy. And lucky. Within an hour of making them a book publishing contract was received. Obviously it was the truffles. Not the years of researching and writing and polishing… So make these. You never know what will happen!

The book in question was THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR.

Aberdeen’s 1597 witchcraft panic (mermaid) and 18th century kidnappings (fireflies) combine with love and hope in Lucy’s traditionally published novels THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR & FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE. Christmas features in both books!

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Waterstones

See the Historical Novel Society review of Fireflies here and a post on the real vegan historical character contained within here.

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

A vegan Supermarket for those Christmas goodies!

The UK vegan supermarket GreenBay sell a variety of gourmet vegan products that would be great for Christmas treats such as roasts, chocolate, cheeses (including Camembert), steak and bacon etc.

Camembert for Vegan Christmas

And a lovely festive book…

vcre

‘Vegetarian Christmas’ by Rose Elliot. Not exclusively vegan but there is a plethora of vegan delights included and most of the lacto-ovo recipes are easily ‘veganisable’. Our favourite Christmas dinner of Chestnut and Red wine pate en croute is one of many included here along with lots of advice on taking the work out of Christmas catering. This book is full of ideas for lots of special touches which can be prepared early and frozen – a firm favourite. Now out of print but the hardcover is available cheaply from both UK and USA Amazons below and has lots of lovely photos throughout 🙂 We love this book so much we even wrote a blog post on it!
Buy UK 

Vegan Chilli and Cornbread, winter food

egan chilli and cornbread

This vegan chilli and cornbread was perfect on a stormy day when trees had blown down and power had gone out. It was warming and fortifying and super tasty! We made it with brown lentils, adjusting the simple chilli recipe here. The cornbread was made with a mix from Creative Nature – use code VEGANFAMILYHOUSE10 at the checkout for a 10% discount. It was soft and filling and lovely. Don’t forget their delectable little Gnawbles either… like a Malteser and a Munchie had a vegan baby, pictured below on the chocolate cake mix.

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

Montezuma’s vegan Advent calendars are now half price! Go see them all here.

advent

Trees that survived the storm:

snowy trees on a day of vegan chilli and cornbread

Aberdeen’s 1597 witchcraft panic (mermaid) and 18th century kidnappings (fireflies) combine with love and hope in Lucy’s traditionally published novels THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR & FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE. Christmas features in both books !

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Waterstones

See the Historical Novel Society review here

books for christmas with vegan chilli and cornbread!

If you liked this vegan chilli and cornbread, check out our other recipes here and our Vegan Christmas section here, for lots of festive food like the nut roast below.

nut roast

Everything5Pounds sell unsold stock from top High st. brands, all detagged, and all £5. Some bargains to be had across clothing, footwear and homewares!

Vegan Meals Delivered and Big Breakfasts

vegan porridge with chocolate and blueberries

Vegan meals delivered? Yes, read on. But we have to show you our breakfasts first!

Breakfast at home (on our pallet table!) above and the Vegan Fry at Food Story in Aberdeen below:

vegan breakfast from Food Story

It’s great to eat a really good meal prepared by someone else sometimes, isn’t it? So now we come to those vegan meals for delivery! allplants deliver 100% vegan meals directly to your door.

The details: customers can select six dishes from their menu of amazing meals, sides, breakfasts, treats and smoothies such as:

vegan meals delivered from allplants!

CHOOSE YOUR DISHES

Build your box of six meals – there’s over 30 to choose from

VEGAN MEALS DELIVERED TO YOU

Flexible options throughout the week – whenever works

YOU’RE IN CONTROL

Change, pause or cancel your subscription anytime

See all our recipes here and don’t miss Vegan Christmas for lots of recipes and gift ideas!

Aberdeen’s 1597 witchcraft panic (mermaid) and 18th century kidnappings (fireflies) combine with love and hope in THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR & FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE. Christmas features in both books !

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Waterstones

See the Historical Novel Society review here

Vegan Advent 2021: toys, traditional and chocolate

vegan advent

The shops are full of vegan festive products now, including Vegan Advent Calendars. Long gone are the days when we excitedly told other vegans about the one and only dairy free calendar that you got by ordering online and paying twice what the dairy ones cost… and it always arrived with all the chocolate having fallen out 😀

There are still some that are worthy of a wee mention here though…

playmobil dragon advent calendar

Playmobil do a lovely range of toy calendars with great scenes to build up day by day from traditional Nativity to dragons, unicorns, pirates and Santa’s workshop. We loved these when the kids were, well, kids, and frankly wish we still had an excuse to buy them. Look at the Back to the Future one!

White Chocolate Vegan Advent Calendar from Moo Free

Then there’s this White Chocolate Moo Free Vegan Advent Calendar available from GreenBay Vegan Supermarket here.

Lego also have a nice selection, some sweet and Christmassy, others less so!

vegan advent calendar from Montezumas - kids like no udder!

Montezuma’s have three calendars for vegans this year: the organic dark, the absolute black (100% cocoa!) and the kids like no udder! See them all here.

Traditional Advent Calendar with pictures

You can also go traditional with little pictures or fill your own own reusable calendar with pockets!

The picture below is of mini gluten free chocolate logs, recipe here

gluten free mini chocolate logs
chocolated
nutroast

Don’t miss our main Christmas section with lots of recipes and gift ideas here