Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen panic, with a love story.
1 batch of vegan chocolate ‘butter’ icing: Beat together half a cup/130g/4oz vegan margarine with 1 and a third cups/210g/7 oz sifted icing sugar and one tablespoon of cocoa (also sifted to avoid lumps). Beat in a few drops of natural vanilla extract.
1 tablespoon of icing sugar for dusting
1 festive cake board or large plate and decorations of your choice (fake flowers or berries, holly leaves, small baubles etc.)
Cut the corner off one end of the cake and turn it round to look like a branch (excuse rough drawing!) – arrange on the cake board or plate. Secure the branch with some of the icing.
With a knife smooth off the corners of the log to make it rounded. Cover the entire cake with the rest of the icing, then use a fork to make lines and knots like a log 🙂 Dust with icing sugar. Decorate to your hearts content.
Little Chocolate logs
1 chocolate cake prepared in a large square tin so it will not be too deep ( visit the chocolate page if you need a recipe for this)
A bar of dark vegan chocolate
icing sugar for dusting
glace cherries and crystallised angelica for decoration or children might prefer D&D chocolate beans or other sweets – in the picture weve used pecan nuts
Cut the cake into small rectangles ( 10 cm. X 4 cm. and 2 or 3 cm. deep). Cut thin pieces of marzipan and place on top of the cakes. Pour melted chocolate over the top of each log, decorate to your hearts content and then dust with the icing sugar (snow!).
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.
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.
Ingredients: 300g Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour 100g. caster sugar 100g of cocoa 2 large heaped tablespoons of coconut oil (it’s solid in this country) 1 small courgette or half a large one (yes you did read that right, it’s not a mix up with a pasta sauce recipe!) 2 tablespoons of golden linseeds soya milk, rice milk or water to mix a teaspoon of vanilla extract 2 tablespoons of golden syrup 100g walnuts (optional) dash of vinegar
Mix your dry ingredients together. Melt your coconut oil (if in a cold climate!). In a blender combine the courgette and linseeds with a bit of soya milk until fairly smooth (doesn’t matter if some small lumps). Combine the coconut oil, linseed/courgette goop, golden syrup and vanilla and beat until nice and smooth adding as much soya/ricemilk or water as you need for a good batter. Add walnuts if using and finally a dash of vinegar, well mixed in, before going in the oven at 200C/400F for about half an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Pictured cake is iced with chocolate fudge icing and decorated with whizzers chocolate beans.
Chocolate Fudge Icing or soft chocolate fudge:
Ingredients: A 100g. bar of chocolate of your choice 1 tablespoon of vegan margarine a tablespoon of icing sugar 1 teaspoon of golden syrup optional additions for fudge: chopped nuts, raisins, mint, vanilla or almond essence, crumbled biscuit pieces
Melt everything together slowly in a small saucepan. For icing: leave to cool, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a good spreading consistency, ice the cake and leave to set completely. Vegan chocolate beans are go again – from health food shops or here on Amazon
For Fudge: Add your nuts etc. if using and pour melted mixture into a dish that leaves it at least 1cm. thick. Set in fridge and then cut into squares.
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 🙂
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.
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 🙂
‘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
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 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.