Recipes · Uncategorized · Week Night Winners

Cowboy Casserole

Cowboy Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 onions sliced
  • 1 tin baked beans
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin butter beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp brown sauce
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 vegetable stock cube and 300ml water

Method

  • Saute the onions in a pan until they are soft (about 10 minutes).
  • Add in all the other ingredients and stir well.
  • Cook on a low heat for 1 hour stirring frequently so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • Serve with fluffy mash potato or crusty bread or even some shroomdogs!

Tips and Cheats

I made this in my food technology exam at 16, back then I finished it off with some grilled fresh tomatoes but it really doesn’t need them. If you don’t have Dijon you can use English or American mustard just alter the quantity to taste as it is often stronger. The dish does make quite a lot but it is easy to freeze.

Breakfasts · Recipes

Fluffy Pancakes

Fluffy Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 250g self raising flour
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • good pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 300ml dairy free milk

Method

  • Whisk all the ingredients together until they make a smooth batter
  • Heat some oil in a frying pan
  • Spoon a good dollop of the mixture in to the pan and watch it fluff up. It works best on a medium heat
  • Flip the pancake and brown off the other side.
  • Serve hot with your favourite toppings.
  • The mix makes about 16-20 depending on the size!

Tips and Cheats

You can go to town with these pancakes! Serve them with maple syrup and banana or with sugar and lemon juice or even chocolate spread! If you want them extra special throw in a cup of blueberries before you cook them. A perfect weekend breakfast.

Recipes · Sweets

Poached Pear Tart

Poached Pear Tart

Ingredients

  • 3 large conference pears
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 6 Vegan Caramel/toffee sweets
  • 1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry

Method

  • Pre heat the oven to Gm 6 or 200c
  • Peel the pears and slice them in half. scoop out the core leaving enough room for the caramel.
  • Pop the pears in to a pan with the maple syrup and cover with boiling water.
  • Cook the pears until they just start to soften, this should take less than 5 minutes but will vary depending on how ripe the pears are.
  • Remove from the heat and drain from the liquid.
  • Roll out the pastry and lay the pears on top leaving enough room to cut them out.
  • Cut around each pear leaving a 1cm edge.
  • Pop the caramel in the hole where the core was.
  • Lay the pastry pears on a baking tray
  • With the scraps of pastry cut out leaf shapes and adore the pears (get as fancy as you like!)
  • Place into the hot oven for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is puffy and golden.
  • Serve warm with either vegan cream or vegan ice cream!

Tips and Cheats

If you can’t get hold of vegan caramels you can either make your own caramel sauce and spoon that in (Just melted brown sugar, vanilla and coconut cream!) or you can swap out for a spoon of vegan chocolate spread or lotus biscoff! My mum made me these as a child after seeing the recipe in a mother and baby magazine and they are still a firm favourite with my own children! They look so fancy yet are so easy to make. If you have ripe pears you don’t need to poach them first!

Recipes · Sweets

Lemon Cheese Cake

Lemon Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pack of plain hobnob biscuits (I use Aldi ones)
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan butter
  • 2 packs of vegan cream cheese at room temperature (I use Sainsbury’s which is 170g each pack)
  • 2/3 cup of icing sugar (check it is vegan!)
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 bag of frozen forest fruits – defrosted (Aldi)
  • 7 inch tin – ideally spring form or with a pop out bottom

Method

  • Crush the biscuits in a food processor and add the melted butter
  • Use this to line your tin, a spring form tin is best as it makes getting it out a the end easier. work the mix up the sides pressing hard.
  • Put it in the fridge to set.
  • In a clean food processor add the cream cheese, icing sugar and coconut oil and blend until smooth.
  • Slowly add in the lemon juice.
  • Pour the batter into the tin with the base in it and leave it for 5 hours in the fridge to set.
  • Once it is set drain the defrosted fruit and adorn the top. Serve immediately.

Tips and Cheats

I used to make this dish when I wasn’t vegan and it was always a winner. If you can’t get forest or frozen fruit you can use fresh raspberries or any soft fruit. I like the tartness of the fruit against the richness of the cheese cake. You can swap the lemon juice for lime too if you want a key lime pie type flavour!

Cake · Recipes · Sweets

Scones

Scones with Jam and Cream

Ingredients

  • 500g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 80g caster sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 80g dairy free butter (I like the Pure sunflower or Vitalite for these)
  • 240 ml dairy free milk (Oat works like a dream)
  • Strawberry jam and vegan cream to serve (Food Heaven squirty or Elmlea plant based double. )

Method

  • Pre- heat the oven to GM 6 or 200c
  • Put all the ingredients in a bowl or food processor and mix into a dough.
  • Flour your hands and the work surface
  • Tip out the dough and bring it together to a smooth dough
  • Using a cutter cut out your scones.
  • Put on to a lined baking sheet and pop in the oven for 12 minutes.
  • Eat warm straight from the oven or allow to cool if you have the patience!

Tips and Cheats

If you want an even rise on your scones don’t twist the cutter as you cut them out. You can add sultanas to the mix, about 100g for fruit scones too, or cranberries, apricots, dates etc what ever takes your fancy! If you don’t eat them all at once the scones will keep for about 3 days in an air tight container, although I wouldn’t know because they never last that long!

Recipes · Week Night Winners

Meatballs

Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of vegan meatballs. Our favourites are the Plant Power frozen ones from Sainsburys.
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 onion (either red or white it makes no difference!)
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 bottle of garlic tomato passata/ or normal passata (Aldi)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs

Method

  • Slice all the vegetables in to strips, or chunks (your choice!)
  • Saute off the onion for 5 minutes until soft in a large pan with a little oil.
  • Add in the garlic and the rest of the vegetables and saute for another 5 minutes, if it starting to brown add in a little water.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes. The 200 ml of water is optional but i like quite a saucy meatball so add it in!
  • Serve with rice or on top of pasta.

Tips and Cheats

You can honestly throw in any veg you like to this dish. I like the more Mediterranean veg and if i have left over tomatoes I chop them up and chuck them in too. If you make the sauce without the meatballs it keeps for ages in the freezer and makes a lovely pasta sauce on its own. You can even blend it to a smooth sauce for those fussy eaters. Often with any left overs we make our own meatball subs by popping them in to a cob with cheese and salad. AS mentioned we really like the plant power meatballs from Sainsburys. They are £1.75 for a bag of 20 so easily feeds a family of 4.

Little treats · Recipes

Best Hot Chocolate

The BEST hot chocolate

Ingredients

  • Your favourite hot chocolate powder. We love Cadbury’s or Co-op
  • 1 cup of oat milk
  • 1 square of dark chocolate
  • Food Heaven vegan squirty cream

Method

  • Heat your milk on the stove don’t let it boil over.
  • Add your chocolate powder to a blender and our over the hot milk.
  • Blend until frothy.
  • Pour in to your favourite mug.
  • Squirt on the cream and grate over some chocolate.
  • Enjoy! It is that simple.

Tips and Cheats

If you don’t have a blender pour in to an old clean jar and shake! Or you can use a hand whisk. We love Cadbury’s and Co-op hot chocolates as they are accidentally vegan which means no premium price!

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 · 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!

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!