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.
‘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 Amazon UK
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
These are from a Tesco Finest Free From Salted Caramel Easter Egg, which is a bit of a mouthful, but a delicious one! A bit of a jump too, from what was available in supermarkets last year, with those white chocolate truffles.
Despite what the blog might suggest, we haven’t just been living on Easter chocolate and trying to claim it as ‘seasonal eating’. Soup is such a staple just now as we come to the end of winter. See our page of soups here.
Winter is ending. We are convinced of it. Sunsets are later, and sunrises, like the one through the trees below, are earlier and earlier!