Tag Archives: cooking

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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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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See all Christmas recipes

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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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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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…

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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


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



Chestnut Roast for Christmas or Thanksgiving

chestnut roast, vegan and gluten free

A very nice chestnut roast, the sweet spiciness of the nuts making it quite different in flavour to our cashew and walnut ones. Serves four generously.

Fry off 2 large red onions and 4 sticks of celery, both roughly chopped. Add in seven cloves (or less, up to you) of finely chopped garlic and a good bunch of fresh rosemary, scissored in.

Once the above has softened add a jar or tin of chestnut puree and stir until dissolved. Add a little water (about half a cupful) before mixing in a cup of Orgran Rice Crumbs (or other bread crumbs) and a couple of tablespoonfuls of gluten-free flour. Salt to taste.

Place in an oiled loaf tin and bake at 200C for at least half an hour or until firm. Yum. Slices well cold the next day for chestnut roast sandwiches or salads too.

For more roast recipes, see Vegan Christmas or Yule

The tree picture is dark and creepy today, but still brighter than the weather.

dark and creepy trees by a loch
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Lentil Walnut Roast – gluten free

lentil walnut roast

This lentil walnut roast is delicious, nutrient dense and slices very well cold the next day for sandwiches too. Quantities are for a large loaf serving four generous roast dinner portions with leftovers:

Ingredients:

a cupful of lentils. For some reason organic ones cook much faster and just seem generally nicer. Buying the 3kg bags makes them cost about the same as the harder darker orange supermarket ones.
4 sticks of celery, finely diced
1 red and 1 green pepper, also diced
a 200g bag of walnuts, blitzed in blender or food processor
half a pack of Orgran Rice Crumbs (so 150g)
a tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs, I used rosemary and sage
2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour
small handful of sunflower seeds and some for sprinkling on top
seasalt to taste

Method:

Place lentils in a pan, cover with water and bring to boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the vegetables until everything is cooked. Mix in the walnuts and crumbs, add more water if the mixture is too stiff but you don’t want it runny at all. Add the  herbs, flour, seeds and salt and mix well. Press the mixture into a greased loaf tin, sprinkle more seeds on top and bake in the oven at 200C/400F for about an hour.

For more roast recipes, see Vegan Christmas or Yule

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 Advent 2020: toys, traditional and chocolate

Chrismas nuts

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

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.

Then there’s this White Chocolate Moo Free Vegan Advent Calendar available from Ethical Superstore (see all the Vegan Festive Food at Ethical Superstore here). This calendar and others are also online at GreenBay Vegan Supermarket here.

White Chocolate Vegan Advent Calendar from Moo Free

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

Lego Star Wars Advent

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

Traditional Advent Calendar with pictures

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 bread sauce – perfect for Christmas!

Oatly 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!

Oatly Bread sauce (Makes approximately 1 litre)
Ingredients:
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
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 

Looking for something easy to go with your vegan bread sauce? See all the options at vegan supermarket GreenBay!

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

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

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The Mermaid and the BearTHE 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

 

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preserving: redcurrant jelly with rosemary

redcurrants ready for making redcurrant jelly

A post from 2010, updated for 2020, partly because we’ve been making the recipe again. Redcurrants are also great to preserve for winter, given that they’re so nutrient rich and have immune boosting properties.

What a bumper year it’s been for the currants, both red and black. We’re having berried up green smoothies daily; there are lots in freezer which will extend the berry smoothie season and it’s looking to be a very abundant bramble year too. Last year we gathered quite a lot of those for the freezer as well as smoothie-ing them fresh. At least I thought we’d gathered a lot until I met a man in the woods with 3 huge bucket loads of brambles. He must have spent all day picking. Maybe for jam? I really want to try preserving in different ways this year so we can eat the home grown stuff in winter too. So we made strawberry jam as mentioned, and then moved onto redcurrant and rosemary jelly for savoury things.

Here’s the basic method 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. This pairing of flavours is amazing; the rosemary gives the jelly a slightly savoury edge, making it perfectly suited as an accompaniment to roast dinners. Also great in a sausage sandwich!

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.

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.