Saturday, 24 December 2011

Cranberry Christmas Cake- vegan

I decorated the cake with lemon royal icing and made snowflake cutouts, finished with edible glitter

I realise that this recipe may come too late for the current Christmas, but at least it's out in good time for next year :)
It was my turn this year to make the Christmas cake and I was fully planning to do something very traditional, but my local Waitrose had other ideas: I nipped in there a couple of days ago for some glace cherries to find that they only had huge (and very expensive) tubs that I just couldn't justify buying for one cake. I even asked a member of staff to help me look for the regular-sized tub, so desperate was I to get those cherries- to no avail. Then my despair turned to delight; I saw a packet of dried cranberries at a fraction of the cost of glace cherries, and an idea began to formulate in my creatively-challenged mind... thank you, Waitrose!

340g plain wholemeal flour
175g muscovado sugar
175g flaked almonds
175g rasins or sultanas
175g mixed peel
170g packet "craisins" (sweetened dried cranberries
1tsp bicarb
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
8 tabs double-strength mixed fruit herbal tea (or I'm sure a Norfolk Punch-type of fruit, spice and herb drink* would be even better)
250ml soya milk
75ml rice bran oil
  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl
  • Mix the oil and soya milk in another bowl
  • Add the wet to the dry mixture, beating well
  • Stir in the herbal tea/ Norfolk Punch
  • Put into a greased and floured med. cake tin/ dampened silicone mould and bake for about 45 mins at 180C. I use a rectangular mould that's not too deep, and the inside and outside cook evenly. Check frequently to ensure top does not overbrown. (If it does look like it has browned before the inside is cooked, turn the oven down to 110C for the remaining time.) Use the skewer method to test if done.

*Non-alcoholic, of course!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Smoked Paprika Sauce- vegan

If you are looking for a different sauce to liven up a nut roast or as a change from gravy, then this might just be what you were looking for! I served it on top of brown rice and roasted vegetables for a simple but tasty dinner. The tahini makes it creamy and the liquid aminos and smoked paprika add an unusual savoury flavour which goes beautifully with anything roasted. It's also simple to make, but be sure to use a balloon whisk to prevent lumps. These amounts make enough for 5-6 people, so scale them down if you need less.

800ml soya milk
21/2- 3 tabs tahini
2 tabs liquid aminos
3- 4 tsps smoked paprika
1 tsp seasalt
1 tsp paprika
a pinch of coarse black pepper

  • Heat soya milk in a thick saucepan and bring to a simmer
  • Add the liquid aminos
  • Add the salt and black pepper
  • Stir in the paprika and smoked paprika
  • Gradually blend in the tahini with a balloon whisk
  • Adjust the seasonings if necessary and serve over vegetables/ roasts

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Date and marzipan chocolates- a vegan Christmas treat

Looking for some vegetarian treats for the festive season?- then look no further!

I first made these many years ago for a friend who is allergic to dairy and wheat, and she proclaimed them the best chocolates she'd ever had. I forgot about them for a long time, then last week I was trying to think up something suitably decadent to put on my husband's birthday cake and I found some dates in the cupboard, some dark chocolate, some ground almonds... they ended up as chocolates on top of the cake, but would be equally good in petit-four cases in a pretty box and given as a present. Easy and fun to make- you can't go wrong with these luscious little choccies!

24 dates, stoned and split
175-200g plain chocolate
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
1 1/2 tsps natural almond essence
cocoa powder for dusting

  • To make the marzipan, mix the ground almonds, icing sugar and almond essence together with a little water, to get a paste-like consistency. (Take care not to add too much water, or the resulting sticky mass will be impossible to handle!)
  • Fill the date halves with the marzipan and press together
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl placed over a pan of hot water to melt
  • When the chocolate has melted, give it a quick stir to get rid of any remaining lumps and dip each filled date carefully to coat.
  • Lay on a piece of foil to cool and set, and dust with cocoa powder before completely solid.