Saturday, 9 August 2014

Summer Berry Birthday Cake- vegan, nut free

Simple to make and looks pretty too!
Excuse the slightly blurry picture, but we really wanted to share this cake with you guys, blurry or not! It was made for a birthday celebration, in two heart-shaped silicone cake moulds. It is a light and fluffy, buttercreamy, berry-licious confection based on white self-raising flour, raw cane sugar, coconut oil and soya milk- we reckon it's fine to have a slice of something like this as a treat every once in a while! I would probably have used coconut whipped cream rather than vegan margarine-based buttercream if we had been at home, but the cake had to be transported, and it was a very warm evening. If you'd like to try this cake for yourself, here's how to make it:

400g self raising flour
4 tsps baking powder
200g light brown unrefined sugar
400ml soya (or other plant) milk
150ml melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
Filling and frosting:
a few handfuls of summer berries- we used cherries and blackberries, but currants, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries would also be delicious
vegan margarine (we used Pure brand)
unrefined icing sugar (or grind your own)
a little jam (optional)

  • To make the cake, mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another and then beat the wet into the dry.
  • Turn into prepared cake moulds and bake in an oven preheated to 180C for 25-30 mins, until cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, either make coconut whipped cream or use the vegan margarine and unrefined icing sugar to make buttercream. 
  • When the cake is completely cool, fill and top it with the buttercream and berries, adding some jam to the filling if you like.
  • Now all you need are some candles and guests and the party is ready...

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Three-Ingredient Blonde Burgers- vegan, gluten free, soya free, cooked or raw

Serve with plenty of salad and your favourite relish and bread
These are called "Blonde" because they are pale in colour, just like white chocolate brownies are called blondies. We have made them three times now, and each time we like them even more than the last. Other burgers we have made taste as good, but two things set these apart: the texture and the simplicity. They are chewy outside, and soft and slightly sticky on the inside, and even though they are baked, they don't turn hard and dry when cooked. The recipe is really simple too; just three ingredients plus seasonings- so easy to put together!

Makes 4 burgers (Warning: you will probably want more than one each!)

100g brown rice flakes
100g ground cashews
1 large bell pepper, grated (or the equivalent in courgette)
1 tsp seasalt
1/4 tsp compound hing
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp miso (optional- I added this to the raw version)

  • First, soak the rice flakes in a cup (250ml) water and set aside for about half an hour, or until soft. The water will have been absorbed.
  • Mix with the ground cashews and the seasonings (you may want more pepper or salt than this recipe suggests, or you could add yeast flakes, curry powder or herbs- it's up to you.)
  • Grate the bell pepper or other veg into the mix and combine thoroughly.
  • The consistency should be moist, but the mixture should still hold together in balls when shape with wet or oiled hands. This depends on the moisture content of the veg you used. If the mixture is too wet, simply heat it gently in a saucepan for a few minutes to drive off some of the moisture. (Note: If you intend to make these burgers raw and they are too wet, just add more ground nuts and/ or yeast flakes and adjust the seasoning accordingly.)
  • Shape the balls into burgers on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook at 200C in the centre of your oven, turning several times, until firm and browned- see picture. While they are cooking, you can rustle up your favourite salad and dressing to go with them.
  • For raw burgers, dry them out for several hours in a dehydrator or fridge.