Breakfasts · Picnic · Recipes

Baked Bean Pasties

Perfect Picnic Food

Ingredients

  • 1 Pack of Jus Roll short crust pastry (ready rolled for ease!)
  • 1 tin of baked beans
  • A little vegan spread

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/200c
  • Unroll the pastry and using a cutter cut out disks a little bigger than the size of the hole in your muffin tin.
  • Rub a little oil around each muffin tin and then line with the discs.
  • Pop a good spoon of beans into each case and on the top of the beans place about 1/4 teaspoon of the vegan spread. this gives the finished filling a creamy texture!
  • Re- roll the scraps of pastry and cut out the lids.
  • Pop into the oven for about 10 minutes until the pastry is golden!
  • Eat hot or wrap in foil and pop in a thermal lunch bag for a hot picnic treat.

Tips and Cheats

We often make bigger pasties by cutting out large squares, popping a good amount of beans in the middle and folding over. You can even add in some chunks of vegan sausage and vegan cheese for your very own breakfast pasty!

Recipes · Waste Not Want Not · Week Night Winners

'Egg' Fried Rice

‘Egg’ Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 200g of cooked rice
  • 200g extra firm tofu (we like the Tofoo one)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • bunch of spring onions
  • 1 cup of cooked frozen peas
  • 1 clove garlic

Method

  • Heat a little oil in a pan/wok and chuck in the spring onions, peas and garlic.
  • After 2 minutes add the tofu and gentle heat through. Stir constantly as it will stick.
  • Add the turmeric and stir until the tofu goes a lovely yellow colour.
  • Add in the cooked rice – this should be freshly cooked not reheated so as to prevent food poisoning.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Tips and cheats

You can add any veg in to this as you like! We often add in sweetcorn, beansprouts, peppers, edamame beans, cooked diced carrot and mushrooms. The tofu is what gives it that eggy texture. If you are feeling super lazy you can use a packet or two of microwave rice or if you are feeling healthy opt for brown rice or wild rice. There are no rules here just chuck it all in and season to taste. I often use soy sauce to season rather than salt if I have it and I love a drizzle of sweet chili sauce on top where as the kids love a drizzle of plum sauce!

Recipes · Sweets

Gingerbread

Perfect Gingerbread

Ingredients

  • 400g flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g brown sugar
  • 150g dairy free butter
  • 1 tbs molasses
  • 100g golden syrup

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/180c.
  • In a saucepan on a low heat melt the sugar, butter, golden syrup and molasses, just melt it do not let it boil.
  • In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the wet ingredients in to the dry and stir together until a dough forms. It will be quite a soft wet dough.
  • Put the dough in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
  • Flour the surface lightly and roll out the dough. You can cut it in to any shapes you like.
  • Place on to a baking try lined with baking parchment.
  • Bake for 8 minutes for chew gingerbread or 10 minutes for hard gingerbread (watch your teeth!)

Tips and cheats

Once the dough has been cooled you can roll in to a sausage and freeze it, you can cut out the shapes and freeze those too. It is a really versatile dough that I use as a pastry case for my Christmas chocolate torte and my son even made a viking longboat from it. If you want to build a gingerbread house then cook it for a little longer. In the oven the gingerbread will fluff up as you take it out it will then settle down and that is what makes it nice and chewy in the the middle. To store the biscuits pop them in an air tight container and they will last a week unless you eat them first!

Recipes · Week Night Winners

Stuffed Jackets

Stuffed Jackets

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 2 tbsp of dairy free butter
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 cup of grated dairy free cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Cook your jacket potatoes. I personally like to blast in the microwave for 10 minutes to give them a head start and then pop into a medium oven for an hour until the skin is crispy.
  • Cut the jackets in half length ways and scoop out the filling, please don’t burn yourself but it does need to still have some heat in.
  • Put the potato filling into a large bowl and add in all the other ingredients. Give it a good mash together and watch the cheese melt!
  • Take the filling and refill the potato skins.
  • Pop them under a hot grill until the tops brown.

Tips and cheats

You can put anything you like into these stuffed jackets. My children like some yellow pepper rather than the spring onions. You can add in some kidney beans for extra protein along with some sweetcorn for a more Mexican feel! Get as creative as you like. They are great for hot picnics (something we like to do in winter), or even on a buffet. I really like the Sainsburys grated dairy free cheese or the Violife in this as they both melt really well and have a nice mature flavour. If you don’t like dairy free cheese you can leave it out and just add in some dairy free butter along with your fillings.

Cake · Recipes · Sweets

Angel Cake

Angel Cake

Ingredients

  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150g sugar
  • 70ml vegetable/sunflower oil
  • 210ml dairy free milk (I use oat)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • pink and yellow food colouring
  • 300g icing sugar and water to make icing.

Method

  • Preheat oven to gas mark 5/180c
  • In a mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, oil, milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  • Split the mix in half and colour one half pink and one half yellow. (This is totally optional!)
  • I use a small roasting tin to cook the cake in but you can use any tin you wish. Line the tin with baking paper.
  • Pour in the pink mix and spread evenly.
  • Carefully pour over the yellow mix and very gently spread it out.
  • Cook for 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool
  • To make the icing put the icing sugar in a bowl and add in a tsp of water at a time until you get a thick icing. It should just be able to pour.
  • take out 3 tbsp of the icing and colour pink.
  • Pour the white icing over the cake and then either using a piping bag or a spoon drizzle over the pink icing in a pattern of your choice!
  • Allow the icing to set before cutting.

Tips and cheats

This cake really is a chuck it all in and mix cake it is so easy. You don’t have to colour the batter and you don’t have to colour the icing. Depending on your oven cooking time will vary slightly by 5 minutes so just watch it from 25 min so it doesn’t burn.

Blog Posts

Cost of being vegan and what to buy!

During Veganuary there are so many new products popping on to the shelves and lots of folk trying veganism! I think this is amazing. Having been dairy free for almost 10 years and vegan for 3 I have seen a huge surge in the products on sale and the choice. I have also noticed a huge shift in the labeling of food which makes finding those accidentally vegan products easier to find!

There are several things to consider when doing your shopping which shouldn’t be anything new to you! Firstly, you don’t want to live on junk food! Whilst the pies, pasties and pizza’s hitting the shelves look tempting remember it is just like eating the non-vegan equivalent. You wouldn’t eat them every night then so you probably shouldn’t now either. These products are also super expensive. Personally, I also limit how many meat replacement foods we eat. Whilst they are tasty and make a quick meal it does limit your nutrients and increases your weekly food bill!

I try to include 1 tofu dish and 1 meat replacement dish a week into our evening meals. A large block of tofu which feeds 4 of us is £3.00 and a bag of vegan meatballs is £1.50 so not about to break the bank.

The other meals we eat are made up of beans, lentils, rice, and mushrooms. It is often joked that I will turn in to a mushroom one day the amount we eat. Mushrooms are so versatile. They can be eaten whole, sliced, diced or even minced. They hold flavour, are a good source of protein, potassium, vitamin D, vitamin B-6, and magnesium so they are a good food to fill out your dishes with!

You can get so many recipes for vegan food. When I started I went out and bought lots of weird and wonderful items that looked vital for all these complicated dishes. Not only was it wasteful as you used them so infrequently it was totally unnecessary in reality most meals can be made quickly, easily and with basic items you can buy in your local Coop!

So what do I buy and what is in my cupboards?!

Dried Foods

  • Plain flour
  • Self raising flour
  • Baking powder
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Arrow root powder
  • Cornflour
  • Caster sugar (some aren’t vegan so do check)
  • Brown sugar
  • Oats
  • Dried pasta
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Gnocchi (Aldi’s is labeled vegan)
  • Red lentils
  • Green lentils
  • Tinned beans (kidney, chickpea, butter, cannellini, black)
  • Baked beans
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Passata
  • Jam
  • Peanut butter
  • Marmite
  • Chutney and pickles (onions, gherkins etc)
  • Tinned coconut milk
  • Tomato Ketchup
  • Brown Sauce
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Dark chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Cocoa powder
  • Hot chocolate (Cadbury and Coop are both vegan)
  • Birds custard powder
  • Golden syrup
  • Molasses (not vital but we make quite a bit of gingerbread!)

Herbs and Spices

  • Mixed herbs
  • Turmeric
  • Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Curry powder
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Garam Masala
  • Cardamon pods
  • Soy sauce
  • Veg stock cubes (Sainsburys are marked vegan)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Mirin (not vital but we love sushi)
  • Nutritional yeast (i love this stuff)
  • Tomato puree
  • Pesto (vegan although we buy sun dried tomato paste!)

Fresh Food

  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers (Only red and yellow here as no one likes green!)
  • Greens (Broccoli, kale, spring greens, cabbage etc)
  • Salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions)
  • Fruit (we stick to plums, apricots, apples, pears, oranges etc and try to stay in season)
  • Bananas (we go through a lot of bananas)
  • Vegan cheese (we like the Sainsburys grated vegan cheese and also the Violife range)
  • Vitalite
  • Jus roll pastry
  • Jus roll croissant dough (these last two are one off’s!)

Frozen Food

  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chili
  • Peas
  • Sweetcorn
  • Stir fry mix

Vegan Specific Food

  • Tofu
  • Vegan sausages
  • Vegan meatballs
  • Vegan chicken pieces
  • Vegan yogurt (we like Koko)
  • Vegan milk (we like oat)
  • Vegan mayo
  • Vegan ice cream (Swedish Glace is our favourite)

Other Items

  • Bread – most bread is vegan
  • English muffins
  • Crumpets (check for vegan ones)
  • Crisps
  • Popcorn
  • Biscuits (hobnobs, oreo, party rings are all vegan)

Whilst this list isn’t complete and I will buy other bits and bobs depending on the week and what the children want to eat generally speaking our weekly shop is made up of topping up the dried foods and fresh fruit and vegetables. We don’t have vegan cheese every week and we don’t eat a lot of yogurt or ice cream and I try to limit the processed food to once or twice a week. Being vegan doesn’t have to be expensive and you certainly don’t need to chuck away everything in your cupboards when you start! Take it a step at a time and a meal at a time! You will soon know what you like and don’t like and save the complicated expensive dishes as your show stoppers!

Recipes · Week Night Winners

Sticky Hoisin Tofu

Ingredients

  • 1 XL pack of extra firm tofu (we like Tofoo Co)
  • 4 tbsp Cornflour
  • Veg oil
  • 2 small sachets of Hoisin sauce (Sainsbury’s is labeled vegan)
  • 1 1/2 cups rice (this serves 4 of us easily)
  • 1/2 pack beansprouts
  • 1 cup peas
  • Spring onions and black sesame to garnish (not needed but adds flavour and extra calcium)

Method

  • Pop the rice on to cook. I like to pour in to a pan of boiling water and cook until just tender.
  • Open the tofu and drain the liquid. I give it a squeeze in my hands too but not too much.
  • Slice the tofu block in to 1/2 cm strips and then each block in to 4.
  • Sieve over the cornflour to coat the tofu.
  • Heat 1 cm of oil in a pan and when hot drop in the tofu. Turn it until each side is crispy but not burnt!
  • Drain the tofu by scooping out and laying in a bowl lined with a paper towel/muslin cloth.
  • Just before the rice is cooked chuck in the peas and bean sprouts (last 3 minutes of cooking).
  • Heat the hoisin sauce in pan and add in the cooked tofu coat the tofu in the sauce.
  • Drain the rice and serve. You can garnish if you wish!

Tips and Cheats

Tofu is a bit of a minefield for new vegans. Silken is great for sauces but for this dish you need firm or extra firm. I love the Tofoo Co one as it has a great texture and flavour but all firm tofu will work. You can cut it how you like. My children like sticks as they call them sticky ribs but squares work too! Please watch when heating oil I don’t want oil pan fires! If you are nervous you can do it on a lower heat and it still works. If you are dieting or wanting to be healthy you can spray the coated tofu with olive oil spray and bake it in the oven for 15 minutes until it starts to brown. The garnish is a lovely touch but not needed. I like to add sesame seeds as they are full of nutrients and add a little extra calcium. If you don’t like hoisin sauce then use black bean or sweet and sour or even sweet chili. It is okay to use packet mixes from time to time everything doesn’t have to be made from scratch.