preserving: redcurrant jelly with rosemary

redcurrants ready for making redcurrant jelly

This redcurrant jelly is absolutely delicious, the addition of rosemary giving it a savoury tang that makes it the perfect accompaniment for roast dinners. Also great in a sausage sandwich! Ripe in summer, redcurrants are great to preserve for winter, given that they’re so nutrient rich and have immune boosting properties.

Here’s the basic recipe for the Redcurrant and Rosemary Jelly. It makes a cloudy jelly. If you want a sparkling clear one, other, more time consuming, recipes will come up on a Google search.

Ingredients

We picked 1.5 lbs/0.75kg of redcurrants and put them in a pan, stalks and all, with a few sprigs of rosemary. Then we added 1lb/500g of sugar, half a cup of water and the juice of half a lemon.

Redcurrant Jelly Method

Bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for half an hour, stirring quite frequently. Allow the mixture to cool a little, though not until the jelly sets, and squash it through a sieve into a bowl. This is the hard work phase of the recipe! Press and rub it with a spoon until you’re left with mainly stalks and seeds in the sieve. Pour into jars of your choice. Cool completely before sealing/adding lids. Yum. This amount filled two medium jam jars, and should keep in the cupboard for months (if not years).

redcurrant and rosemary jelly

Cooking on the stove this morning is Apple and Ginger Chutney from the Cranks recipe book with the apples gathered on a bike ride, heavily supplemented with ones from our trees and our own onions too 🙂 Adapted recipe on the sauces page.

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

Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

Summer Solstice Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

vegan chocolate cheesecake

This vegan chocolate cheesecake is from an older post from the happy fun-filled days of home ed 🙂 Happy Solstice!

The Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

We eat blue stars (borage flowers).  Based on recipe here

The Study

Studying sonnets here just now. Apparently in the 1590s May did extend into what is now our June so not too inappropriate:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date…

Set in the 1590s:

The Mermaid and the Bear

Set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, features an often overlooked event in history, the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, and a love story.

Amazon UK

Amazon worldwide

Waterstones



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.

#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 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

Vegan Toad in the Hole

toad in the hole, vegan

Our vegan toad in the hole turned out soft and light and delicious and filling and tasty. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Partly cook sausages in oven at 200C for about 10 minutes:toad1

Batter made thus: mix 5 tablespoons of self raising flour with 3 tablespoons of gram (chick pea) flour, a pinch of salt and a pinch of bicarb. Beat in enough soya milk to make a creamy pouring batter. This quantity was to cover 12 sausages, adjust as needed. It would be far less ‘spongy’ if you used plain flour, but we like it like this 🙂

Pour over hot sausages:
toad2

Then it’s back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes until nice and solid:
vegan toad in the hole

Serve with gravy, roast potatoes and veg. Yum, yum, yum.

If you enjoyed this vegan toad in the hole, check out all our other main dishes here.

Sign up to our occasional mailing list to be sent new recipes as we invent them 🙂

Lucy’s traditionally published books – THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR (witches!) and FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE (kidnap and adventure on the high seas) – are available on Amazon UK  and Amazon worldwide, and also at Waterstones or see Author website for more details.

Ailish Sinclair's novels
TheVeganKind Supermarket

Vegan Chocolate Mint Squares & White Mousse

mint squares
vegan chocolate mint squares

Vegan Chocolate Mint Squares made by a clever friend who is generally good at making things 🙂 (recipe now in the comments below)

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White chocolate mousse with red berries. Made by us. Sometimes good at making things…

Melt about 100g of cocoa butter and blend into a block of silken tofu with some icing sugar and vanilla.

And here’s a flower:

vegan mint chocolate squares

If you liked these vegan chocolate mint squares, check out our other cake recipes here.

The Mermaid and the Bear

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. 

Amazon UK

Amazon

Waterstones

Author website

Roasted Beetroot Cream Sauce for Pasta

roasted beetroot cream sauce on spaghetti
With garlic bread and broccoli…

This roasted beetroot cream sauce is earthy and easy, and so delicious and vibrant in colour.

We roasted a bunch of beets the night before when the oven was on for another meal, and then popped them in the fridge until needed. We used beautiful stripey Chioggia beetroot from the garden but any beets will do.

Beetroot Cream Sauce

  • Pour the beets and roasting oil into a saucepan.
  • Add: 1 chopped onion, a few cloves of garlic, a small bunch of parsley and a little chopped celery.
  • Fry up for a few minutes until the veg is softened.
  • Pop into a blender with a small box of vegan cream and a little salt. We used Oatly.
  • Blend!
  • Stir into pasta of your choice. It worked very well with spaghetti, coating a 500g packet perfectly.

If you liked this beetroot cream sauce, check out our other main dishes here.

Book of the Moment

Creating a Forest Garden: Forest gardening is a novel way of growing edible crops – with nature doing most of the work for you. A forest garden is modelled on young natural woodland, with a wide range of crops growing in different vertical layers. Unlike in a conventional garden, there is little need for digging, weeding or pest control. Buy UK

Olio

Active in many countries across the world, Olio is an app that you can download to your phone to share food in your local area. It does have a desktop version too. People share things that they can’t use up in time from their fridge, or cupboard items that they no longer want. Food Waste Heroes (which you can volunteer to be) collect yellow stickered or surplus food from businesses and then share it for free on the app.

sunflower in the garden and a beetroot cream sauce
Sunflower in the garden
GreenBay 100% vegan supermarket

paprika pumpkin soup, a vegan recipe

paprika pumpkin soup

This recipe makes a LOT of paprika pumpkin soup (serving at least 6), but the quantity all depends on the size of the pumpkin.

Ingredients:
flesh of one culinary pumpkin
3 red peppers
4 carrots
water and soya milk to cook up in (does not have to cover veg, will be too runny)
handful of cashew nuts
seasalt and paprika to taste

Peel and de-seed the pumpkin and chop into chunks. Place in a pan with chopped peppers, carrots and liquids. Bring to boil and simmer until veg is tender. Add salt and paprika – we used about a teaspoon for a big pan but you could go hotter. Blend up with the cashews, check for seasoning and serve with paprika sprinkle.

If you liked this paprika pumpkin soup recipe, see all our soup recipes here

TheVeganKind Supermarket