Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Rhubarb Rhubarb

I don't have any space to grow things but my friend Siobhan has both a garden and allotment and kindly brought me some rhubarb round earlier. At first I was thinking of stewing it to have with porridge but then I came up with these muffins. Very quick and easy and just 1 bowl to wash! The combination of rhubarb and orange is lovely.

Orange Rhubarb Muffins

Makes 12

2 cups of plain flour

1 cup of sugar

2 teaspoons of baking powder

½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

½ teaspoon of salt

1 cup of orange juice (approx juice of 2 oranges)

½ cup of sunflower oil

Zest of 1 unwaxed orange

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

11/2 cups of finely diced rhubarb (2 sticks)


Pre-heat the oven to 190C/ 375F/Gas 5.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt.

Make a well in the centre and add the orange juice, oil, zest and vanilla extract.

Give it a few stirs then fold in the diced rhubarb. Stir until just combined.

Fill the muffin cases two thirds of the way up.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until just browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter Everyone!


Hope everyone is having an relaxing Easter break. I've not been able to get out to the shops much recently so when I did make it to my local supermarket on Saturday I was disappointed not to find any vegan friendly Easter goodies to buy for presents so my family ended up with plants instead!

However, the Easter bunny was very good to me! When I was a kid I used to make my Easter eggs last for months. I don't know why but I used to keep them in the sideboard and ration them out. They always seemed so special and I don't think I wanted them to end! Don't know how long this lot will last though! I got a big bar of dark chocolate, little marzipan eggs and amaretto filled eggs that were all from Lidl. In addition to this I also got not 1 but 3 Easter bunnies! My mum got me the dairy free Sweet William bunnies which apparently were on 2 for 1 in Sainsburys and my sister managed to track down one of the elusive dark chocolate Lindt bunnies. The milk Lindt bunnies are everywhere but it's always really hard to find the dark ones which unlike a lot of Lindt dark chocolate bars these days are still vegan friendly.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Easter Cookies

I don't remember ever buying a bunny cookie cutter but I reckoned I might have one seeing as I have acquired rather a lot of cutters. Sure enough half down the sweet shop size jar I keep them in was a rabbit. I've got a visit with a friend tomorrow and I wanted to make something that was quick and Easter themed.


This Easter Shortbread Biscuit recipe from Parsley Soup was perfect. Chuck everything in a bowl, stir it, cut out, cook for 8 mins. I was also pleased to see that the recipe used currants. Currants seem a bit unfashionable, less used than the sultana and infinitely less popular than the raisin. Being from the part of the world where the Eccles Cake was invented I have a soft spot for currants. I then started to feel like a kid who doesn't realise that pork comes from a pig or beef from a cow. Just what fruit does a currant start out as? I always thought that raisins were from red grapes and sultanas from white. After a bit of Googling I have discovered they are both from white grapes and the currant is from a black seedless variety called Corinth originally from Greece!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Inheriting the Family Silver

I'm not too well at the moment and am signed off work. I started having seizures a few weeks ago and am waiting for a hospital assessment. Most of the time I don't feel too bad but I can't move around a lot. So I'm doing lots of reading both books and blogs! I've also been spending some time at my mum's. One of my mum's school friends was staying this week as they were going to a school reunion and over breakfast there was talk of vintage tea sets. The following items which I'd never seen before then appeared from a cupboard and my mum has let me keep them! Apparently my Great Grandma loved to have afternoon tea (ha, ha must be genetic!) and my mum remembers them from when she was a young child. Isn't this silver plate dish pretty, I like the oak leaf cutouts on the sides.


And this is the piece de resistance, when it's 'resting', this chrome object looks like some sort of gong!

When the cakes and sandwiches come out though it transforms into this fab 3 tier stand.


Friday, 15 April 2011

Cake to make your teeth ache!

Lots of my friends have birthdays in April and this weekend is a chance to get together for drinks and cake. These cupcakes are my favourite way to do cupcakes at the moment and certainly have a big sugar hit.

The sponge is the Golden Vanilla recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take over The World. Once cool a knife is inserted at an angle and a cone shaped piece of sponge removed. Most of this is cut off and discarded (or eaten) so you are left with a lid. The hole in the middle of the cake is filled with strawberry jam and buttercream. The lid is replaced and the cake is finished with a spoonful of icing and sprinkles. Easy but yummy.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Pop-Up Shop

The Pop-Up cake shop today had an amazing array of treats. Unfortunately I wasn't very well and had to go home after an hour but heard that the day went well. Steve brought my cake tins back and the few cakes that were left were taken off our hands by some neighbours having a meal in the communal garden who donated some money in exchange.

Cake Libbers brought cookies, cupcakes, a lemon cake and scones. There were lots of other non vegan cakes too, sweets, cookies and macaroons as well as badges and origami for sale.

I also sold all of my teacosies so the Folksy shop is currently empty. Maybe now I'll get round to sewing a load up that I knitted ages ago.

The person who made the bags of sweets above also had some vegan treats in the form of bags of vegan date lollipops that look really nice - will have to post these later in the week.

Steve won the raffle for the amazing cake above. He says he's going to donate it to someone but hasn't decided who yet!
Edit - The final count is now in - the sale raised £780.46 - brilliant!
And, Steve decided to create a Facebook event to 'tour' the cake and sell it off piece by piece delivering it to people and has raised over £50 doing so!!!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Cake Factory

I've had a bit of production line going this afternoon trying to make 4 dozen cupcakes for tomorrow's Manchester 'Cakes For Japan' event. Here's the Matcha Green Tea and Almond with cherry blossom flowers.

And, although they took ages, I think my favourites are these Golden Vanilla Hello Kitty cakes. Both cake recipes are from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. Hello Kitty just makes me smile.


Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Heads up for Lidl

One of my nearest supermarkets is a Lidl. A couple of years ago I got a waffle maker that makes the thinner crispy type of waffles. Sadly, the waffles were a bit hit and miss and I'm not the world's most patient person and got irritated at how often they stuck to the sides and gave up with it pretty quickly. Other people I know mastered the same model just fine though so maybe it was me! They have got the deep waffle makers in store on this Thursday's specials for just £11.99 and I'm tempted to get one and give waffle making another go!

I'm definitely going to get some of these non-stick baking sheets at £2.99. There's no need to grease and it will save on all the greaseproof paper I use for cookie making.


There's lot of other bargain baking tins, a revolving cake platter, icing sugar stencils etc. too. And how cute are these Easter themed tins. Check out the lamb cake!


Saturday, 2 April 2011

Babycakes Covers The Classics


Back in August last year my sister and I enjoyed a long weekend in New York City. We made sure we got in several visits to one our favourite places - Babycakes Bakery. We'd been a few years earlier to buy treats for breakfast for my 40th birthday breakfast and loved it. On this trip we were having to pace ourselves, my sister was 5 months pregnant with twins and I wasn't feeling on top form - when I got back I was diagnosed with severe (non diet related) anaemia. We were very grateful to be able to cool off in the window seat, mid afternoon, with iced coffees, brownies, doughnuts, cupcakes etc. We tried to work our way through the menu and we got muffins and pastries to take back for our breakfasts at the hotel. We even bought Babycakes mugs we were such fans!

I've got the Babycakes cookery book and although there's lot recipes I've yet to try and I do tend to sub sunflower for coconut oil, the banana bread, blueberry muffins and raspberry scones are all firm favourites. I was pleased to see that they are about to release a second book. Check out this great little film to see more.