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

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 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

Spinach Tofu Manicotti for Christmas or Yule

vegan spinach tofu manicotti recipe

This Spinach Tofu Manicotti recipe is by Secular Pagan

Not exactly a traditional Yule/ Christmas dish, but it’s red, white, and green, so it fits.

Filling Ingredients (stuffs about ten manicotti tubes)

  • 1 pound/450g firm tofu, drained and rinsed
  • 1 10-oz/300g box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • A Tbsp. Italian seasoning (blend of oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, basil, sage)
  • 3 green onions (scallions), including green part, sliced thinly
  • 8 ounces/230g (more or less) white button mushrooms, chopped in big chunks
  • PASTA: 1 package large manicotti tubes
  • SAUCE:  About 28 ounces/750g of your favorite pasta sauce, homemade or prepackaged.

Method

Plop tofu into a medium-sized mixing bowl and mash/crumble with your hands. Add spinach and fold into tofu with a fork, using fork to break up strands of spinach and mix evenly with the crumbled tofu. Stir in Italian seasoning, onions, and mushrooms.

Boil about 10 manicotti tubes just shy of al dente (they won’t fall apart this way when you’re stuffing them) and drain. Use your fingers to push clumps of filling into the manicotti tubes till each one is plump and full. Lay them in a covered casserole dish (more than one layer is O.K.) and pour your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce (homemade or bottled) over the whole thing. Cover and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, maybe a little less (say, 45 minutes) if you have the manicotti spread out in a single layer. Remove from oven and give it a few minutes to cool off before attempting to eat.

Note: I have to keep my sodium intake low, so I don’t add salt to anything I make from scratch (except some baked goods), so some of you might prefer to add a. 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the filling.

If you liked this spinach tofu manicotti try some of our other festive recipes