Monday, 26 April 2010

My home computer has ground to a halt so no posts for a least another week until it gets fixed or I have to invest in a new one :(

Back soon with a weekend of Breakfast posts including 3 ways with Aldi croissants!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Pirate Bread



It's my friend Jan's birthday and she is coming round later with her family for a celebratory meal. We are having the fabulous Sweet Potato Crepes from Vegan with a Vengeance to start with. Jan is a big fan of rum so I have developed Pirate Bread! This is a banana loaf infused with rum soaked raisins which I have loosely based on the banana chocolate chip bread I've been making from Babycakes so it's gluten free too.


Pirate Bread

Ingredients
1 cup of Dove's Farm Gluten Free Flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon of xantham gum
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of sunflower oil
1/3 cup of agave nectar
1/3 cup vanilla soya milk (or if using plain also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
3/4 cup mashed bananas (approx 1 and a half bananas
1 cup of chopped raisins soaked in 2 tablespoons of dark rum (for a least 1/2 hour)

Preheat the oven to 325F/ 163C
Grease a 7x4x3 inch loaf tin

Sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xantham gum, salt and cinnamon and mix together. Add the oil, agave, soy milk and vanilla extract if using.

Stir until the batter is smooth. Mash the banana and gently fold into the batter along with the run and raisins.

Cook in the oven for 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let it stand for 20 minutes on a cooling rack before trying to remove from the tin.

Finished off with a drizzle of icing made from icing sugar and dark rum.



Saturday, 17 April 2010

Well Hellooooo


This morning whilst making my usual breakfast of a smoothie my blender went on fire. It was quite dramatic but luckily it was just lots and lots of smoke and I didn't have to set my mini fire extinguisher on it. It has served me well being about 10 years old and being used pretty much a daily basis. I was sad to see it go but look who has just arrived in it's place.


So back to smoothies tomorrow and I'll be experimenting with this new Kara dairy free coconut milk which is not like the stuff in tins but can be drunk on it's own as a milk substitute and used on cereal too.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Save the Children by having a brew



Twinings Tea are encouraging customers to hold tea parties whilst raising funds for the charity Save the Children. They have put together a pack with posters, invites and vouchers for money off their teas. A chance to have a good time with friends or work colleagues and help children in the UK and places like Haiti and Afghanistan too.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Everybody Needs A Little Booja Booja



As the Booja Booja people say 'Everyone Needs A Little Booja Booja' now and then. Couldn't agree more. Just had an email from Helen the owner of the Cocoa Emporium to say that not only will they be selling a wide range of Booja but that they are extending their vegan cupcake range to weekdays not just the weekend. Excellent - see the post for April 10th for more details on their yummy cakes or even better check out their store on the second floor of Afflecks Palace, Manchester.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Beetroot Cake



Made myself take a break this afternoon and left work for half an hour to meet a friend for a brew and a chat over at Earth Cafe. After a hot apple and cinnamon drink I was feeling much better. I also had a taste of the latest addition to their range of cakes - beetroot. I can report that it is good, very good indeed. I think it's the nicest cake that they've had there to date.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Vegan Millie's Style Cookies



I decided to have a go at making a vegan version of the type of chocolate chunk cookie that you get at somewhere like 'Millie's Cookies'. I used a Humdinger Tangerine chocolate bar and two bags of their white chocolate buttons. The recipe is adapted from the chocolate chip cookie one in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes 16

Ingredients

3/4 cup of sugar
2/3 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 bags of humdinger white buttons roughly chopped
1 bar of tangerine Humdinger 'milk' chocolate

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350f / 180c. Lightly grease your baking sheet.

2. Mix together the sugar, oil, soy milk, almond extract and arrowroot for about 2 minutes until it makes a thick caramel.

3. Mix in the vanilla extract.

4. Add 1 cup of flour, the bicarbonate of soda and the salt. Mix in then add the rest of the flour and mix to a dough. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

5. Roll the dough into balls and flatten to about 2 1/2 inches wide. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

An Odd Sunday Afternoon


Spent this afternoon relaxing in Odd Bar in the Northern Quarter for my friend Deb's birthday celebration. Such a good choice of venue. I love the Odd bar chain (Odd, Odder and Oddest) as they are one of the few bars in Manchester that actively cater for vegans. The menu has several choices that are clearly listed. They don't have any desserts or soy milk but they have things such as a vegan breakfast which is tasty and imaginative and not a poor cousin of their vegetarian breakfast like in most places. Great jukebox and friendly staff too.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Sugar High

Spent most of today down at the fabulous Islington Mill in Salford,home of over 50 artists studios, a gallery, recording studio and venue space. Went along to the middle day of this weekend's Reading for Readings Sake event and joined in some workshops, watched a performance and enjoyed a candlelit dinner.

Sneaked out for a couple of hours this afternoon as we had heard that there was cupcake samplings at the new Cocoa Emporium stall on the 2nd floor of Afflecks Palace. We sampled and then went a bit overboard and bought every flavour to share over cups of tea in the sunshine in the Peace Gardens. They were Orange County, Blueberry, Chocolate Oreo and my favourite Black Forest. Oh, and peanut butter blondies too!

UPDATE****
Cocoa Emporium have now moved down to the 1st floor in Afflecks and also have a great vintage cafe as well as the cake and chocolates.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Breakfast Scoffer



Exciting news, The Breakfast Scoffer is due out mid month and is available on pre-order from Vegetarian Guides. For a mere £1.50 you can get vegan recipes for Pancakes, Full on Fry Up (Eggy style bread, posh fried tomatoes, satisfing sosages, Derbyshire oatcakes, rashers, scrambled tofu, potato cakes, wheat free sosages, apple crumble smoothie, Aberdeen Rowie Croissants, Petit Pains au Chocolate and many more. Invite your friends round for Brunch!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Paddington Cake


Saw on the Vegan Village noticeboard the other day that Ronny is updating the fabulous little book that is the Cake Scoffer. If you don't own a copy I would highly recommend it. It's only £1.25 and money goes to charity. You can get it here from Animal Aid. It's a great one to buy for people who have a vegan in their life and panic at the thought of making egg and dairy free cake. The recipes are super easy and everything I've tried from coffee and walnut cake to trifle to cheesecake has been good.

I've entered a recipe to be considered for inclusion in the new edition. It's my chocolate marmalade 'Paddington Cake' which I came up with for a homemade cake competition at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival a few years ago. I didn't win but I did score a 10 from one of the judges.


It was inspired by the taste of the then vegan 'Green and Blacks - Maya Gold' chocolate. Here's the recipe if you'd like to have a go.

Paddington Cake - a chocolate orange layered sponge with a secret ingredient!

1+1/2 cups of plain flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1+1/2 cups of soy or rice milk

1/2 cup of sunflower oil

1/2 cup of orange marmalade

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1+1/4 cups of caster sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Grease and line the bottom of 2 round cake pans with baking paper or a loaf tin (cut the cake in half lengthways when cooled and sandwich the halves together).

Sieve the first 6 ingredients together and mix. In a separate bowl and using an electric whisk combine the rest of the ingredients. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Divide between the 2 baking pans or fill the loaf tin and bake for 40-45 mins until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pans.

Sandwich together with the following filling.

Orange fudge frosting: (use half for the middle and half for the top of the cake)

1/4 cup of sunflower margarine (Suma, Pure etc)

3 tablespoons of marmalade

1 teaspoon of orange liqueur (Eg.Triple sec or Cointreau)

2 cups of sieved icing sugar

Put the margarine and marmalade in a pan and melt over a gentle heat. Once melted remove from the heat and stir in the orange liqueur. Stir in the icing sugar. Once the mixture is cool use half to sandwich the cake together and half for the top.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter Sunday afternoon tea


Over in St Anne's a group of us had a gorgeous Easter Sunday afternoon tea to celebrate Jude's birthday. Sandwiches were cream cheese and celery, sundried tomato and kalamata olive tapenade, humus and red onion and turkey slices with mayo and watercress. The feast of sweet treats included chocolate mousse, chocolate and orange marmalade cake, coconut cupcakes, maple walnut cookies and Easter biscuits. Washed down with gallons of tea and pink fizz. I'd forgotten about the turquoise papier mache teapot in this picture. I gave it to Jude one birthday with a cup shaped tag attached which was an invite to afternoon tea at the Midland Hotel in Manchester with Alex and I.

And here's what happens when you're nearly three years old and have just spent the afternoon on an Easter egg hunt round the garden and then have eaten what you've found!


Friday, 2 April 2010

Great minds....

Others had the same idea about getting Easter presents to grow hence this lovely selection of bulbs courtesy of family and my new manager at work. Once the flowers have gone the bulbs can be replanted. Seeing as I don't have my own garden I'm tempted to do a spot of guerilla gardening in the local neighbourhood.
Wasn't completed deprived of chocolate though, I got some chocolate covered biscuits, an egg from Hotel Chocolat and an elusive dark chocolate bunny which are very hard to find. Apparently Selfridges appeared to be the only place in Manchester selling them!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Happy Easter

I'm getting together with my family tomorrow for an Easter lunch, then I'm off to St Annes for the weekend. I have got some chocolate goodies for people but I'm also giving these basil micro planters as Easter gifts. Chocolate eggs traditionally symbolise new life to come so the idea was to get people something to grow. I've included 3 different recipes for vegan pesto to make with the basil once it's fully grown. Got one for myself too so watch this space!