Monday, 29 September 2014

Vegan MoFo #22 - Pop Tarts

It's the last day of Vegan Month of Food! I've had such a great time blogging every weekday this month, and I'm so glad it's gotten me back in the swing of things after having a baby! Although I can't promise to continue posting every day, I will be posting recipes here often!

For my final Vegan MoFo post I thought I would make something really simple but super delicious! I don't know about you but I have always loved Pop Tarts. Maybe it's because as a child we only had them on special occasions like Birthdays, but there's something so fun about them! Sadly all of the iced Pop Tarts aren't suitable for vegans (they put gelatin in their icing - yuck!) and I just don't have time for an unfrosted Pop Tart.

They are actually really easy to make, and there are so many possibilities for different flavors! I was lazy and used store bought vegan shortcrust pastry, but feel free to make your own if you prefer.

I went with a classic Raspberry Pop Tart and then a Speculoos Pop Tart, as we all know how vegans love their speculoos!

Pop Tarts
Makes 8

2 sheets shortcrust pastry
4tsp, heaped raspberry jam
4tsp, heaped speculoos spread

1 1/2C powdered sugar
1tsp, heaped crunchy speculoos spread
3tsp vegan sprinkles or colored sugar
2 lotus biscuits, crushed

Preheat the oven to 180. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature, this should take around 10mins. Unroll the pastry and cut each sheet into eight equal pieces.
Place four pieces of pastry on each baking tray and put one teaspoon of filling onto each piece, spreading it out but leaving a centimeter border around the edges. Use your finger to dampen the border with water and place the remaining eight pieces of pastry on top, pressing down slightly around the edges. 
Press a fork around the edges to secure the tarts and pierce twice on the top. Bake each batch for 15mins, until lightly golden and firm to the touch. 
Transfer to a wire rack to cool while you make the icings.

In a small bowl make the icing by gradually adding water to the powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time until a thick but spreadable icing forms. Separate into two bowls and mix the teaspoon of speculoos spread into one of them, adding a little more water to thin it down if necessary.

Spread the raspberry tarts with the plain icing and the speculoos tarts with the speculoos icing and top with a sprinkling of the toppings. Leave to set and then store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Note: I do not recommend heating these in a toaster, however if you wish to eat them warm you can either microwave them for 20 seconds or heat them under a grill/broiler for a minute or so.

Vegan MoFo #21 - Vegfest London!

On Saturday I went to Vegfest for the first time! I was so excited to be able to go as we had tickets last year but my morning sickness was so bad I ended up giving them away through Instagram. This year I was feeling really ill but I was determined not to miss it again, and I'm really glad I went!

Vegfest UK is the biggest veggie event in Europe! Once a year the London Olympia West is filled with vegan stalls selling books, magazines, food and all sorts of vegan products. There are also talks and workshops throughout the day on everything from nutrition to vegan travel.

I took my mother in law Louise with me (she's been vegan for about a year and a half now-how awesome is that!?) and we had so much fun looking around and trying lots of yummy food! I also got to meet some Instagram & Blogger friends like Jojo , Sarah and Abigail which really made my week!

I thought that today instead of posting a recipe I would post some of the photos I took on Saturday and tell you a bit about my Vegfest experience!

One of the stalls I was really drawn to was this amazing tropical fruit stall. There were so many incredible fruits that I had only ever seen pictures of! They even had a HUGE jackfruit, but I'm not sure it was for sale!

I was really excited to see the Big Fat Vegan Bakery stall! Everything looked so tasty, including these donuts! I bought a huge cream filled chocolate donut (you can see the picture on my Instagram) and was really looking forward to sharing it with my husband, but I was a bit disappointed with it if I'm honest. The 'cream' filling was actually a very sickly buttercream frosting which, combined with the very thick chocolate icing was so overpoweringly sweet that I had trouble eating even half of it! (And I have a real sweet tooth!) Pete loved it but also didn't eat the 'cream' filling.

I grabbed a funky Avocado-Coconut ice lolly at Pop Cycle and ended up having a great chat with the sweet lady who makes them. She even let us try some of her Strawberry-Lime Granita which was AMAZING - I'm definitely going to try to recreate it soon! I wasn't too fond of the pop I got, but Louise liked it a lot! I love the idea of having these pops at a summer wedding!

I was so happy to see Lakeside Ethical Treats had a stall! They do the most amazing selection of vegan chocolate - including Vegan Creme Eggs!! I always order loads of these at Easter! They also had loads of yummy crisps and snacks available, but I was in it for the chocolate!

One of the stalls I was most impressed by was Trina's Delicacies. They were selling a whole host of amazing baked goods, and I had a hard time deciding what to try. They even had some vegan quiches! In the end I went with a giant slice of their Salted Caramel Cake and oh my goodness was it good! The cake was so fluffy and light, the frosting was sweet without being overpowering and that salted caramel drizzle. Oh boy. This was probably the best thing I ate all day!

Viva! had a stall with loads of fliers and information about the meat industry and I picked up loads of leaflets to pass on to people.

There were some really delicious looking chocolate stalls, and I really wished I had taken more money with me as I would have loved to have bought some of these amazing artisan chocolates to take home with me! Next time I definitely will!

Goody Good Stuff had some great deals on their gummy sweets, and I picked up a tub of their Christmas trees & Baubles to set aside for Christmas! I'll be reviewing some of their products on my blog soon.

When it came to lunch time I was so torn between the Vegusto Hot Dogs and Gillie's Food Chinese, but in the end I couldn't resist the Chinese BBQ with Rice, Cucumber & Sesame seeds. This was so incredibly tasty, sweet with just the right amount of spice, but I definitely had an MSG headache for the rest of the day...

Nakd were giving out samples of their new fruit & nut bars, and I tried the Christmas Pud flavor which was so good!

I tried some Hazelnut Chocolate from the Italian Chocolate stall Cacao Crudo. It was too dark for my taste, but I'm not a big fan of bitter dark chocolate.

I couldn't resist gabbing one of these delicious fresh coconuts to quench my thirst! It was so refreshing!

I stopped by the Pana Chocolate stall and sampled lots of their flavors! I've been wanting to try this brand of chocolate for ages and wasn't disappointed! Their raw chocolate bars are so sweet, chocolatey and creamy that they are almost more like truffle! I particularly loved the orange flavor and will be buying some soon!

The stall I spent the most money at was definitely the Vegan Tuck Box! They do a monthly treat box which is delivered right to your door, and have such a great selection of treats! I'm definitely thinking about signing up soon! 

It was great to see Rebel Kitchen giving out samples of their incredible flavored coconut mylks. I'll be reviewing their mylks here soon and using them in a few recipes, so keep your eyes peeled!

And finally I couldn't believe the amazing selection of vegan marshmallows I found! Lemon Crunch Marshmallows, who would have thought it!?

I loved my day at Vegfest, and will be going next year (with more money to spend!)

If you missed Vegfest London never fear! You can always go along to the one in Brighton in March next year!

Did you go to Vegfest? What was your favorite stall?

Friday, 26 September 2014

Vegan MoFo #20 - Phish Food Ice Cream

Before I went vegan I loved Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Seriously loved it. And after my ice cream success last week I thought I would try to veganize one of my favorite flavors of Ben & Jerry's - Phish Food.

Creamy, sweet chocolate Ice Cream studded with dark chocolate chips and mini marshmallows with a caramel ripple. SO GOOD!

Phish Food Ice Cream
Makes 1 large tub

1 400ml tin full fat coconut milk
1 340g carton silked tofu
1C sugar
1/3C dark cocoa powder

1/2C dark chocolate chips
1/2C mini vegan marshmallows

In a blender blitz together the coconut milk, tofu, sugar and cocoa powder until thick and smooth. Pour into a plastic or metal container and place in the freezer for 45mins. Remove from the freezer and whisk vigorously, breaking up the ice particles. Return to the freezer and whisk every 30mins for about an hour and a half, until the mixture is too thick to stir with a whisk. Fold through the chocolate chips and marshmallows and drizzle on the coconut caramel sauce. Fold the sauce through slightly but so you can still see some of the ripple on the top. Return to the freezer to set overnight.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer 10mins before serving.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Vegan MoFo #19 - Coconut Banoffee Pie

I'm combining two recipe requests I got through my Instagram last week in this recipe. One of my lovely followers asked for a recipe for Coconut Whipped Cream and another asked for Banoffee flavored stuff! So here we have a Coconut Banoffee Pie!

A buttery, biscuit crust filled with a layer of sticky, sweet coconut caramel, topped with slices of banana, whipped coconut cream and a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips.

Coconut Banoffee Pie
Serves 8

15 digestive biscuits (Tesco's value brand are vegan)
3Tbsp, heaped vegan butter spread

2 large bananas

1 400ml tin of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight*
1/4C powdered sugar
1/4tsp vanilla extract

1Tbsp dark chocolate chips

In a food processor blitz the biscuits until the crumbs resemble sand. Add the vegan butter spread and pulse until everything comes together. Press the mixture into a tart or flan tin and refrigerate.

Pour the coconut caramel sauce into a saucepan and simmer over a medium heat for 10-20mins, until the mixture becomes very dark and thick. Pour into the crust and refrigerate for a couple of hours to set.

Open the can of coconut milk and carefully scoop the coconut cream from the top of the can. Whip vigorously until soft peaks form and add the powdered sugar and vanilla.

To assemble the pie slice the bananas and place in an even layer on top of the caramel. Top with a good dollop of the whipped coconut cream and sprinkle with dark chocolate chips.

*If you want to cover the whole pie with whipped cream use 2 cans of coconut milk and 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Vegan MoFo #18 - Coconut Caramel Sauce

This is a bit of a cheat. I'm cheating a little bit today, as this Coconut Caramel Sauce is actually an ingredient in the recipes I'll be blogging for the rest of the week. But I thought I would post the recipe separately as it's a recipe in it's own right!

This caramel sauce is easy to make and can be used in countless ways! Drizzled on ice cream or stirred into coffee its creamy, coconutty goodness is irresistible!

This is essentially a recipe for vegan condensed milk, so feel free to use it in any recipe that calls for it. I will be turning it into thick, dark Dulce de Leche for tomorrow's recipe!

Coconut Caramel Sauce
Makes 1-1 1/2C

400ml full fat coconut milk
2/3C light brown sugar

Whisk the brown sugar and coconut milk together in a small saucepan until smooth. place over a medium to low heat and leave to reduce by half, stirring occasionally. This takes about 1 1/2hrs. The mixture should not be boiling but will bubble slightly. Leave to cool for 1/2 an hour and then pour into a jar and pop into the fridge for a few hours to thicken up.

Keeps well in the fridge for a week.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Vegan MoFo #17 - Pepperoni Pizza Mac//Violife Cheese Review

This week the lovely people at Viotros sent me some of their Violife cheeses to sample! If you haven't tried Violife cheese you have been missing out big time! 

Not only are all of their cheeses 100% Vegan, non GMO and free from nuts, gluten and soy - they're made using coconut oil which means that they melt oh so well. If you've been searching for the perfect ingredient for a gooey grilled cheese, here it is!

I was really excited to try these cheese slices. They are really convenient for making sandwiches and rolls and of course grilled cheese! You get 10 slices in each pack which is enough to make 5 cheesy sandwiches - if you really wanted to stretch it you could just use one slice of cheese in a sandwich but it's much better with two! There are lots of different flavors available including Mushroom and Hot Pepper flavor.

The mozzarella slices are really creamy and mild, just like the dairy version, and go really well with sliced tomato in a sandwich.
The original slices are very like a mild cheddar or edam, creamy and cheesy without being overpowering.
The cheddar slices have a stronger taste than the other two I tried, not quite as strong as dairy cheddar but really delicious.

I was also sent some of their amazing Pizza Cheese - I use this cheese regularly when I make my Pizza Rolls, and I have yet to find a vegan cheese that is so melty and works so perfectly for pizza!
The smoked cheese has a really appealing flavor which reminded me of edam. Both of these shred really well and are great to use for pizza or pasta dishes.
They are a bit tricky to remove from the packaging, but they are one of the best vegan cheeses I've come across - and I eat a lot of vegan cheese!

Violife is available in various health food shops worldwide and online.

The other day I was craving pizza AND macaroni cheese, and this is what happened!
I used vegan pepperoni in this recipe but feel free to adapt it by adding your favorite pizza toppings - olives, roasted veg and even vegan ham with pineapple are all great options!

Pepperoni Pizza Mac
Serves 4

500g macaroni

3Tbsp vegan butter spread
4Tbsp plain flour
2 1/2C soy milk
1/3C nutritional yeast
1tsp onion powder
1tsp garlic powder
1/2tsp smoked paprika
3Tbsp tomato paste
1C grated vegan cheese (I used half Violife Pizza Cheese + half Violife Smoked Cheese)
100g vegan pepperoni, chopped
Fresh basil to serve

Boil the macaroni according to the package instructions while you make the sauce.

In a medium pan over a medium heat melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until a thick paste forms. Add the soy milk in 1/2C increments, whisking well after each addition to form a thick but smooth sauce. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, onion, paprika, tomato paste and vegan cheese and whisk until everything is melted together and smooth. (You may need to add a dash of almond milk to help the cheese to incorporate into the sauce.) Season to taste and drain the pasta. 

Return the pasta to the pan and pour over the cheesy sauce. Fold the sauce into the pasta until each piece is coated and then fold in the pepperoni. Sprinkle over the fresh basil and serve.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Vegan MoFo #16 - Jaffa Cakes

It's the final week of the Vegan Month of Food, and I have to be honest...after blogging recipes every weekday for three weeks now I've sorta run out of ideas! Thankfully I was able to ask my Instagram followers for some recipe requests, and one of the most common suggestions was for something British, so I decided on one of my favorite English treats - Jaffa Cakes!

Is it a cake? Is it a biscuit? There's no need to decide!
Chocolate and Orange are a classic combo here in the UK, and lots of my American friends fell in love with Jaffa Cakes when they visited London. I have yet to find a brand of Jaffas that is (accidentally) vegan, but thankfully its really quick and easy to make your own!

Jaffa Cakes
Recipe adapted from here
Makes 12

4Tbsp vegan butter spread
1/4C sugar
1/2C plain flour
1/2tsp baking powder
2Tbsp corn flour + 2Tbsp water
2Tbsp water

1/3C smooth marmalade
80g dark chocolate

Grease a 12 hole cupcake tray and preheat the oven to 180/350.
Cream together the butter spread and sugar until light and creamy. Mix together the corn flour and water until smooth and beat into the butter and sugar mixture.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and add the water to loosen the batter slightly.

Drop a tablespoon of the mixture into each hole of the cupcake tray and spread out into an even layer. Bake for 10mins. Remove from the oven and use a knife to slip the sponges out of the tray, transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

While the sponges are cooling heat the marmalade in a small saucepan over a medium heat until melted and smooth. Drop about a teaspoon of marmalade onto each sponge base and smooth out into a neat circle. Pop the sponges into the fridge for about half an hour to set the marmalade.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler and set aside for a few minutes.
Remove the almost finished Jaffas from the fridge and carefully drop a teaspoon of melted chocolate onto the top of each one, then use a spoon to gently spread the chocolate over the whole top of the cake. Once all of the cakes are coated in chocolate use a fork to make a little score pattern on the top of each one and leave them to set completely before devouring!