Montezuma’s, a company that has provided vegans with completely delicious chocolate since we went vegan over 20 years ago, has some lovely gift ideas this year! There’s truffles and buttons and gift bags and even a library, yes a library, of chocolate! Go see!
Holland and Barrett have a gorgeous selection of dairy free Christmas goodies in store and online here.
Cranberry & Orange Tiffin Mini Bites and Mini Iced Fruit Cake Bites from the Co-op (click photo for bigger image):
They’re light. They’re fluffy. Gluten free. Soft and gooey too. Welcome to vegan chocolate chip pancakes made with aquafaba and the wonderfully sweet and mild, just like high quality milk chocolate, Moo Free Baking Drops!
This recipe was developed for the #MooFreeBakeOff 2017
Just look at the chocolatey gooey-ness…
And the fluffiness? Can you see the fluffiness?
And the magic ingredient that makes them light and fluffy? Aquafaba, the cooking liquid from beans or chickpeas. Here we used the water drained out of one tin of chickpeas.
water from one tin of chick peas (or other beans)
1 heaped tablespoon of caster sugar
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
1 bag of Moo Free Baking Drops
10 heaped tablespoons of Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
soya milk to mix to a good pouring batter (about a cup, but add it gradually)
a dash of vinegar
We used a cake mixer but you could whisk by hand! Pour the aquafaba into your mixing bowl and add the sugar. Then, on the highest setting, whisk for about six minutes: until frothy and possibly forming peaks. Turn the mixer down to a slow setting and add the sunflower oil, baking drops, and then gradually, bit by bit, alternate soya milk and flour until you have a good thick batter that can also pour. Pour in those Moo Free Baking Drops and turn up the speed on the mixer to fluff things up!
Our first batch, with only 8 spoons of flour, was too runny and the pancakes were not fluffy, but we quickly ate those up and added flour 🙂
At the very end of mixing add the dash of vinegar.
Spray or wipe a sturdy frying pan or skillet with a tiny amount of oil and heat to quite a high temperature. We made small pancakes using tablespoons of the batter, three at time, in a large frying pan. Once little holes appear in the batter (probably after about a minute, depending on heat) that’s the time to flip them over and do the other side which generally needs less time.
We ate them while still warm, with strawberries.
Onto the cake, which is relatively low sugar, relying mainly on the sweetness of the raisins, and they are very sweet!
300g/12oz/2 cups of Dove’s Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 cup/8 fl.oz/200ml of sunflower oil
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
1 cup of soya milk (or possibly a little more to get a good mixture)
2 teaspoons of natural vanilla extract
2 good handfuls of raisins (or more if you like!)
1 or 2 tablespoons of preserving sugar or sugar crystals (optional)
Oil your cake tin and preheat oven to 180C/360F. Mix together the flour and cinnamon. Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil, golden syrup, soya milk, and vanilla – mix well. Stir in the lovely juicy sweet raisins and then sprinkle the preserving sugar, if using, on top. Pour into cake tin and bake for about half an hour or until cooked in middle (insert a knife or skewer into the centre of cake and if cooked it will come out clean).
The Old Auction Room in Strichen, Aberdeenshire, has recently been all done up and its wonderful café always has gorgeous vegan cake! There seems to be a vegan and gluten-free main or soup each day too. Above is a raw chocolate brownie, below a slice of date and walnut loaf, both gluten-free.
They also have vintage clothes, old books and antiques for sale. Some hats:
There’s a florist and a barber on the premises too.
And a wee fairy! Here’s their facebook page.
Bonobo Cafe, a 100% vegan café in Aberdeen, also a worker co-operative, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign.
They started as a Saturday pop-up, ploughing all the takings back into the business and saving in order to open up full time. It’s been 18 months since then and now they’re almost there, having agreed a lease on a premises. They’re hoping to raise the funds for the fit out through this campaign.
Their reward structure includes the option to provide a vulnerable person in Aberdeen with a hot drink every day for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months of the year as well as some other nice gifts.
The kickstarter campaign link is: www.kickstarter.com/projects/bonobocafe/bonobo-café
It’s a new year, a good time to get fit and healthy, so let’s climb a mountain! Up we go into the mist…
Bennachie in Aberdeenshire has several peaks. We’re going to visit four. Firstly the Mither Tap, then Craig Shannoch then onto the Little Oxen Crag and the Oxen Crag. The Little one is somehow the toughest, you’ll be peching as we say up here, Fitbit lighting up with joy at the raised heart rate.
Keep going! Keep going! Think about the healthy chocolate protein shake you’re going to have when you get home!
Purition‘s Raw Vegan Chocolate Hemp Mix blended in soya milk with some added banana and avocado. Yum, yum, yum.
But we’re not there yet, we’re circling back to cover more of the hill.
And down we go.
And it snows.
So we’re inside.
Sweaty Betty Ballet Bootcamp Encore is a great cardio and core workout from the ladies at Sleek Technique (lots of nice DVDs available too), no dance training required.
And now, a smoothie made with frozen blackberries, bananas, orange juice and a sachet of Purition‘s Raw Vegan Hemp Mix.
And after all that, how about some fortified cake? Yes, cake. It’s doesn’t have to be (that) unhealthy. This one’s made with 3 large mashed bananas mixed into a cup of gluten free self raising flour, a packet of Purition‘s Vegan Vanilla Hemp mix, a little sunflower oil and enough soya milk to make a nice thick batter. Pour into a greased square cake tin and bake for about half an hour at 200c/400F.
Cut into pieces and cover with dark chocolate, chopped pecan nuts and fresh blueberries. Happy Eating!
The Purition mixes mentioned in this post are their three vegan products, all made with nuts and seeds, all natural, nothing nasty, and over 14g of protein per 40g serving! See them all on their site here.
Wonderful skies just now. Especially on the coldest of days. Wonderful smoothies too, made possible by the wonder of frozen fruit. The combination of pecan nuts and tart purple berries such as brambles (blackberries) or blackcurrants creates a delicious and rich sweetness reminiscent of the best brown sugar.
(For four people, big servings, adjust as needed)
1 bag of frozen blackberries or blackcurrants
1 cup of pecan nuts
orange juice to cover in blender (probably about 1 litre)
If you like a thicker smoothie add an avocado or some linseeds.
Blend! Enjoy the brown sugary wonder! Go for a walk among the trees!
There they are: chocolate chunk and walnut muffins. They’re very very good, but tricky to photograph so we’re going to intersperse with some professional pictures of seasonal Montezuma’s chocolate.
Lets start with the ghosts! Or Montezuma’s Dark and Vegan Halloween Treats to be exact.
Okay, onto the muffin recipe!
Chocolate Chunk and Walnut Muffins
4 (heaped) tablespoons of Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising flour,
2 (heaped) tablespoons of cocoa,
2 tablespoons (not heaped) of caster sugar
100g bar of chocolate
handful of walnuts, broken into small pieces
3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
Soya milk to mix (start with about half a cupful)
Start with the fun part: bashing up the chocolate. While it’s still in its wrapper, hit the bar of chocolate repeatedly with a rolling pin. All over. Backwards and forwards. Up and down. Tip the fragmented contents into a mixing bowl along with the flour, cocoa, walnuts and sugar and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and stir.
With gluten free cakes that are going into paper cake cases, you don’t want the batter too wet or the cakes might stick in there quite badly. So, you’re going for a nice sturdy batter, not too much soya milk. Or you could use silicone cases.
Spoon into 12 cake cases and bake at 200C/400F for 10-15 minutes. Cool, then eat!
And now let’s look ahead a little into the chocolatey year… to Advent!